Friday, December 31, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Colorful New Year to You All

I know I will.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ My Favorite Things


Crystal Body Deodorants contain no aluminum chlorohydrate, are hypo-allergenic, and are fragrance and paraben free. This patented twist-up stick offers the economy of our rock in an easy to use and easy to hold container. It can last up to one year with proper use. Slightly moisten the top of the stick and apply generously to clean skin.

(Also at natural health food stores, I've been told, Walgreens.

My Review:

I was SO skeptical. Let me tell you. I was so, so skeptical. I've seen the big deodorant rocks in the back of magazines and have never been tempted. The whole idea of rubbing a rock on my armpit was gross. And I didn't think it could work. I've smelled a few folks who've embraced natural and somehow exude that very, very natural scent that is pungent to the point of gagging innocent bystanders. But a friend went on and on about this little stick. Told me how easy it was to use and how undisgusting it is. And how well it worked. So. I invested in it. I love the fact that it is all natural, and it's encouraged by oncologists and the breast cancer society. What could I lose but a few friends, right?

This stuff is AMAZING! I have not smelled like a goat since using it, and I've been using it for well over a month, which is a good trial as most of my deodorants/antiperspirants have shown their true colors or odors long before a month is up. I sweat, a little, but there is no odor. Even after doing something strenuous, or going beyond the usual shower times. Seriously. It is the BEST deodorant I have ever used.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Scribbles

A writing acquaintance recently shared his thoughts about the one and only time Jesus was recorded as writing. This unique peek at Jesus took place when the adulterous woman was thrown at His feet... the "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" incident. Mike shared his thoughts about Jesus's overall lack of writing, how He let others tell His story. Something in Mike's comments grabbed my imagination. And coupled with the Scripture that I shared with my family as my favorite regarding Jesus as a baby, I felt a zing moment and I want to share it with you.

My favorite Jesus-come-to-earth and one of my all time favorite Scripture passages is John 1:1-14. Condensed through the Kelly filter it is "The Word becomes flesh and dwells among us." Mike shared how the legacy of Jesus was "written" on the hearts of His disciples vs. by His own hand on scrolls. Scripture is God-breathed but not physically written by the hand of God. How awesome that God allows us to be part of His work and His plan. That He uses us to share the truth about His love for humanity.

The thing that fascinates me and grabbed my heart...besides the awesome picture of God writing truth on my a tiny seed of a picture in this story. Not only am I as guilty as the adulterous woman... that's obvious, we all are. That's why there were no accusers left to hurl stones.

This is the part that jumped out at me.... Jesus bent over and began to write in the dirt. Then her accusers, one by one, began to walk away. He wrote in the DIRT. The God of creation, the one Who created dirt, mind you, and then molded man from that dirt....wrote in the dirt. Can He fix people? Can He pull us out of the muck and help us find a different and better path? Can He clean us up? Can He actually write His words on our hearts so we are changed from the inside out?

Uh yeah... He can. He created every bit of the material needed to do this amazing feat. Wouldn't it be awesome if we all decided to surrender a bit more of the dirt of our lives to Him and see what He can do with it?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ May You Find Your Own Golden Hand

Hope you had a fabulous Christmas. We finished up tonight. One last big meal. One more night-of-everything-pizza-type of dreams, no doubt.

But also another night of talking and laughing with family.

24, Rob and I were able to share our favorite Scripture passages about Jesus with each other. I took some of my own advice and wrote notes to everyone near and dear to me.

And other gifts were, for the most part, low-key and meaningful. We gifted some homemade stuff like laundry soap in recycled glass bottles. Toad-Boy, Mrs. Toad-Boy, 24 and Rob and I decided to avoid gifts and to use that money to do a few things together that we normally wouldn't do as our gift to each other. We did get gift certificates for flooring. I will be sure to post a picture when that bad boy is installed with a big thank you to parents and grandma!

We did do stocking stuff. 24 got Rob a golden hand back scratcher. This trinket is the hit of the moment. It is used for far more than scratching backs for sure. It has been used as a hook to annoy family members, dogs and cats. It has become a pointer to make sure someone gets a very important piece of information. Game pieces have been moved by it, both for convenience and for annoyance. It has been used as a "fake" hand and tucked into sleeves. Overall, it might be the best $5.00 spent for Christmas gifting.

Let the New Year fun and festivities grind into gear.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Of Red and White and Celebrations of Life

I've been pondering a series of thoughts all day while I finished up some of my Christmas preparations.

The first thoughts are focused on my failures... I didn't get cards done again. That my house will not be Martha Stewart approved. The foods are going to be basic and comfort foods. I don't have a single perfect relationship that isn't tainted by my failures and the failures of others. Tinsel and bows and shiny paper will never even come close to repairing the broken things in my life.

The second series of thoughts center around my focuses. Why is this random day, which is very likely not the day of Jesus's birth, so meaningful? Why do people go into debt and travel mile upon mile and gorge on antacids? What exactly are we celebrating with our bizarre rituals?

Finally, my thoughts swirled around in my very tiny brain and left me with pictures and concepts and awe. Why would the very Creator of the entire cosmos humble Himself to undergo thirty-three years of humanity? This is the God who created the miracle of birth, and submitted His power, His Spirit and His divine personality to this mind-blowing, painful process.

This God of the universe created miles of blood vessels and arteries and the automatic, constant circulation within them that keeps us alive. This God subjected Himself to this marvelous spider web, and then He allowed Himself to be crucified so that the life-giving, life-saving, life-altering blood that He dressed Himself with was shed for you and for me. The God who gave sight to the blind, and still does, was Himself blind for months while inside His human mother's womb. Jesus, who opened ears, and still does, was Himself in a muffled "universe" until He was forced into a cold, startling world. The God who raised the dead was powerful enough to submit to His own death and powerful enough to crush it beneath His heel when He stood on that Sunday morning.

And He did this for me. Knowing who I am. Who I should be. What I did last week, the unkind thoughts I entertain, the selfishness that pumps through my life....He knows. And He did this for me. I haven't fooled God into thinking I'm better than what I am. He sees right through me. And praise His Holy Name...He wanted a relationship with me anyway. I am a ridiculous sheep. And He knows all about sheep and He knows how to help them, and how to heal them, and how to talk to them.

This "Day" we celebrate isn't about a date. Or the time of year. Or even the warm, fuzzy memories we make. This DAY is about Jesus becoming flesh and living perfectly because we can't. And it's about Him taking on that flesh and blood so He could use every bit of it to pay for my sins and yours. It's about Him being the author and creator, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It's all about Him. Thank you, Jesus. Inadequate words from a very full heart.

Merry CHRISTmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

1. Forgive someone. Is there something you are hanging onto that just isn't worth hanging onto? Someone has said or done something that has hurt you. Is that hurt more important than the person? If it is, forgive it and let go of the relationship. If it isn't, do what you need to do to move beyond it and have peace about the fact that you are maybe going to see things differently and that it is okay to agree to disagree.

2. Look around you. Do you have difficult relationships because you have made a habit of assuming and reading into the behaviors of others? Sometimes people are just surviving. We can't know the burden that others carry. We can't read minds. Wouldn't it be awesome to decide to be honest in your communication? I could let my yes be yes and my no be no. I could ask someone what they mean when I don't understand what they are saying. I could ask someone who seems too busy for me or distant what's going on.

3. Write a note to important people in your life and tell them why they are important to you. Text, e-mail, Facebook it, whatever works for you.

4. Drop your expectations. It would be amazing if everyone processed information the way you do. Better yet, it would be amazing if you all thought the way I did. We'd all get along so well!!!!! : ). Expectations can be dishonest, manipulative and relationship killers. Expecting someone to read my mind, expecting someone to do things my way are controlling and manipulative. And expectations that I have for others to be better or more mature, or more able, or more like me are not loving. Those lead to frustration because we are all on learning curves. Our own unique learning curves where most of us need to learn things the hard way or over and over again. These expectations hurt our relationships because we generally don't actually tell people what our expectations are, or if we do, they are cloudy. Make this season, and this new year, a year of honesty where you tell people if you need or want something from them. And then give grace and mercy to them and be aware that what you hope and dream for that person, or what you want to see happen may hit a brick wall. Then go back to gift idea number 1 and reassess.

Relational peace is an amazing gift. Unconditional love is even better And forgiveness beats the heck out of a gift card.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Kindle Giveaway

The Clouds Roll Away KINDLE Giveaway

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!


One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi

  • $25 gift certificate to

To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog:

About The Clouds Roll Away - "Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello's mystery also features well-developed characters..."

—Booklist, starred review 
Find out more here!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Cute Time-Waster

Too. Too cute. Takes awhile, and very likely a poor use of time. But. Penguin charades...doesn't get much cuter

And. 24 and I actually got some things accomplished. The house is minimally decorated. Excuse for minimal decor? Rob is going to be working, a door and drywall mud moved in last night. And since he will be moving things from point A to point B and making lots of dust, minimal it is.

And we are slightly ready for visitors from New Mexico on Monday.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Bleeding Glass

On bleeding in public places.

I look at this as a mixed bag of blessings. A) There was laughter involved. At me, but that's okay because I was laughing, too. B) I had to go to the bathroom anyhoo, and was putting it off because I was obsessed with the project on which I was working. And my focus kept diverting itself to my screaming bladder. C) Blog content.

Scene: Creating glass fusion ornaments. Now that may sound like a sweet nightclub...Glass Fusion...but it's not. It's playing around with and gluing bits and pieces of glass onto other bits and pieces of glass so the instructor can melt it together in a 1300 degree kiln.

24, my mom, a few friends and I took a glass fusion class right before Thanksgiving. I'd show you pictures but some of them are Christmas gifts. : ). So I won't. Not now anyway. Okay, here's one. This was so much fun we signed up again. Last night I made six more creations. And cut myself...actually, I stabbed myself with spaghetti glass.

My dad and uncle, and one of his friends took the class last night, too. My dad is the Monet of glass artists. He actually brought photos of scenery and recreated them in glass. I can't wait to see those fired. My uncle created one perfect tiny square mosaic, and my uncle's friend created a chain saw. Yes. Really. Ha.

I may end up in the newspaper, too. Before I stabbed myself. The reporter should have stuck around for the real story. But alas, she left before the chainsaw massacre. And the spaghetti glass stabbing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Ring All the Bells

Ringing My Bells... A Poem to Recite to the tune of Carol of the Bells.

Soup Christmas Eve,
Guests Monday night,
Crafts everywhere,
Menu unknown,
Dust covers all,
Dog hair does, too,
Shopping is done
Or maybe not all,

The season is here,
Stress overwhelms,
Wedding Saturday,
Drama unfolds,
Words to this poem,
Do they work,
Or do they not,
Dry, dishpan hands,
More dishes to do,

No decorations up,
Still need to dust,
Must put things away,
And think about next week
The stuff to be done,
The things to complete,
augh, augh, ding, dong,
clang, bang, whimper

Deep breaths
Candles all lit
Listen to songs
Drink up some tea
Stress isn't gone
But life is what it is...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Week's End...Random Thoughts.

Random facts from recent events:

I can sit through about an hour of "comedy" and not laugh one time til someone fakes getting hurt. And then, the har-har pump is primed and everything becomes hilarious.

I don't recommend that you squeeze those little plastic spice bottles. Nutmeg in the eyes burns and is a bit gritty. However, if you are me, you will laugh and then it's all good again....

It is a huge blessing to enjoy spending time with my adult children. I spent an evening with Toad Boy and 24 and I really like them. 19 is flying the friendly skies back to Iowa...and some not so great weather. Mrs. Toad Boy had other plans. But I really like them, too. I'm going to say that spending time with these people is in my top 3 favorite things to do.

God is in control. Even when it doesn't seem like anyone is, and it seems like things are going from frying pan into roaring open flames. And I'm glad I don't have God's job. I wouldn't want the responsibility.

Random facts typed at 11:43 p.m. may not make sense at 7:30 a.m.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ For Being a Friend

How do you define the word "friend?"

The word friend can be defined as many ways as there are people. So here's my definition.

A friend is someone I don't talk to every day, nor do I need to see that person on a regular basis. Our connection is one where we are able to pick up where we left off after we catch up on the details of life. Our relationship is based on mutual respect and warm feelings. Not on needs.

My friends are unique in lots of ways, but they all have this in common, they love to learn, grow and stretch, seeking ways to live a vivid life. No matter the circumstances, they persevere and move forward. I guess that would be resilient, the ability to be knocked down, yes, but then get back up again.

Honesty and reality based. No flattery, no game playing, no manipulations. Those are the best kind of friends. I can know where I stand, don't have to guess at expectations or do the dance of dysfunction with a needy Nell. A friend can and will tell me that I have spinach in my teeth, a bat in my cave or toilet paper on my shoe. Then, since we are talking about my definition of friend, she'll (or he'll) mock me.

What a friend isn't.... (suffice it to say that the examples below are folks who don't read the blog and if they perchance stumbled upon it wouldn't recognize that they are an example.)

I had a friend once who looked at me and said. "You are really a disappointment to me. I wanted you to be a real girlfriend, one who I hung out with every day." Honest. Check. She was honest. However, her expectations were intense. We both were married and both worked and had children to deal with. I couldn't even guess what her scenario looked like. And she tried every trick in the book to manipulate me to be "that" girlfriend.

Someone who sucks the life out of me and then kicks the dried up shell looking for just a bit more. I had another friend...her mom encouraged me to take her under my wing...(wonder why). This girl called me constantly, ran every last detail of her drama past me. She must have breathed through her eyes because I could never get a word in. Period. I would set the phone down and do things and come back and pick it up and she'd still be going. We lost touch about 15 years ago. And I recently ran into her and couldn't avoid her. I expected for her to ask me for a phone number etc.etc. She didn't even REMEMBER me. Seriously? How many victims has she gone through...are people just ears? Maybe. I'll NEVER forget her.

Someone who brings on palpitations, defensiveness or guilt when we connect. The game player, the hinter, the "gosh, I never see you anymore, you and your crazy life, but I still love you." when she was the one who canceled our last get together.

And that is the long answer to the short Plinky question. Now. How about you. How do you define a friend?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Brrrrrrrr

Baby! It's COLD outside.

Thought this might warm you....

Didn't help me much. So I'm going to put on the flannels and commence hibernating.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Serials and Scenarios ~ Some Reviews for You...and a To Do.

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk

Robyn Okrant
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (January 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599952394


What happens when a thirty-five-year-old average American woman spends one year following every piece of Oprah Winfrey's advice on how to "live your best life"? Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah's suggestions and guidance delivered via her television show, her Web site, and her magazine. LIVING OPRAH is a month-by-month account of that year.
Some of the challenges included enrollment in Oprah's Best Life Challenge for physical fitness and weight control, living vegan, and participating in Oprah's Book Club. After 365 days of LIVING OPRAH, Okrant reflects on the rewards won and lessons learned as well as the tolls exacted by the experiment.

My Review:

I love this type of memoir -- journeys of self-discovery, rigidly planned adventures into the unknown, uncharted soul.These journals detailing the progress and process of the adventure are part documentary and part voyeurism. I couldn't pass Living Oprah up.

Robyn Okrant set out to do, buy, try and believe everything touted by Oprah for an entire year. Okrant is an amusing writer and some of her mini-adventures were laugh out loud funny. Her misadventures even funnier. Her husband deserves some sort of medal for participating in this grand adventure that left no area of his life untouched. Oprah was thorough in 2008, from belly to bedroom, it was all covered. But beyond the funny was the emotional journey Okrant took. While shelling out big bucks for a must-have wardrobe, rearranging her home yet again, buying the latest book, embarking on personal renewal quests, she did quite a bit of soul searching.

Huge Oprah fans who feel she can do no wrong might not care for the conclusions and some of the struggles faced by Okrant. After all, Oprah is just a human being…a powerful one…but not perfect. If you love the idea of one woman’s quest to do as Oprah says (but not necessarily does) for a year, I think you’ll love the book.

Carol: A Story for Christmas
Bob Hartman
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Lion UK (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0745953360

Product Description

Jack O'Malley hates shopping,snow, and even Christmas. All three at once is Jack's idea of a very bad day. Storming into a Starbucks seeking escape, Jack runs smack into a beautiful and mysterious stranger, almost knocking her over and unintentionally changing his life forever. In this one moment his entire life—who he once was, who he is, and who he has the potential to become—flashes before his eyes. In this humorous rendering of Charles Dickens' classic tale, timeless lessons are reexamined through the lens of modern society. The result is funny, moving, and ultimately thought-provoking.

My Review:

This little 96 page book is perfect if you just want a dash of Christmas spice, especially if you are looking for something that shares a good message.

Jack (aka Scroogish guy) hates just about everything having to do with the holiday season. Shoppers, check, stores, check...etc. etc. He finds himself in a coffee shop talking to an attractive lady he decides to chat up. And she takes him on a bit of a journey...a similar visitation of Scrooge-based characters in all books/movies borrowing the plotline... to past, present and future, but Carol has a bigger focus, a global focus. This story reads like a quick three act skit or a comic book style story and would make for a decent Christmas skit for a group who felt compelled to embrace the cause. There are several humorous references to the classic Christmas Carol throughout the book.

On the to be read soonish pile:

Becoming a Man: Sweat, Blood, and Tears Required

Author Xan Hood challenges his generation to grow into godly men

Trapped somewhere between boyhood and manhood are some 20 million young men between the ages of 22 and 35 who are seeking direction. These young men lack the skills to successfully leave boyhood behind and enter fully into the role of manhood and the responsibilities that belong to that mantle. Xan Hood, author of Untamed and director of Training Ground in Colorado, has written Sweat, Blood, & Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man out of his own experience related to this difficult transition period in his own life. He wants to encourage other young men that they can and will make this transition into becoming the man God wants them to be, but that along the journey God uses three intentional elements to make a man—sweat, blood, and tears.

Xan Hood has lived through the uncertainty of moving beyond boyhood into manhood. He has recognized that young men who are raised in homes of both economic privilege and economic adversity often grow up in the absence of a father who is willing and able to teach them the skills they will need to enter into manhood successfully. Oftentimes, a father’s willingness to supply his son’s every need is done without teaching him the true cost of obtaining a particular goal. While the role of provider is vital in a man’s life, provision without teaching responsibility creates a void of understanding and skill that leaves the boy ill equipped to become a man in his own right. Hood feels compelled to address this void and reassure young men that they are not alone in this awkward place of transition. He wants them to know that God can equip them to enter into adulthood with confidence and the assurance that they can understand and become men of God who have much to offer those around them.

Written from the narrative perspective of a young man, Sweat, Blood, & Tears shares Hood’s own process of leaving boyhood behind and embracing his role as an adult. With searing honesty, Hood shares his experiences with God and men and paint and trout and fashion and hunting. He examines critical issues common to many young men, and then outlines the journey that must be traversed in order for them to become the men God created them to be. Through the pain of physical labor, emotional trials, and rewarding adventures, Hood carries the reader to a place of understanding that will equip young men to confidently enter adulthood and leave boyhood behind once and for all.

Sweat, Blood, & Tears: What God Uses to Make a Man by Xan Hood

David C Cook/July 1, 2010/ISBN 978-1-4347-6681-6/256 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

Monday, December 06, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~

Not everyone feels jolly around the holidays. In case someone is feeling overwhelmed and blue here is a source for some spiritual information, help and hope.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Plinky Romance

Plinky moment:

They suggest sharing the most romantic thing ever...

I've shared it before. Way back in 2007. But. I'll see if I can't make it more interesting.

When our kids were little, 24 was just a baby, I had a terrible nightmare. One of those where you wake up full of adrenaline and sorrow. The horror is still fresh and the awareness dawning that you are still in bed, and just awakening from a dream filters slowly into your consciousness leaving you weak with gratitude. One of those.

The dream had me on our town's viaduct. In reality this viaduct crosses train tracks and about eight blocks. In my dream it crossed the Missouri river. In reality, the Missouri river does flow just a few miles down the road, and several bridges cross it. In the dream the viaduct was slick. I was alone in the car with my two small children. Up ahead a train had derailed and broken through the viaduct so I slammed on the brakes to avoid the plunge into the river. Instead, silently, we sailed off the pavement and slammed into the icy water. Frantically I began to get the kids out of the car seats. Or I tried. Frigid water slowly started to fill the car as I struggled with clips. I woke as it reached the level of my children.

This was such a vivid nightmare that I wouldn't cross the river for weeks. And finally, I did, but I ran through a checklist of what to do in my mind, over and over again. And I'd hold my breath for the crossing.

One night Rob came home from work. He gave me a hug. And then he looked at me and said. " I know you hate crossing the river. So I just want you to know that I timed how long it takes to cross the bridge. It only takes 3 seconds."

Now why is this the most romantic thing in the world to me? Because in the middle of his day he thought about me. And he had listened to me when I shared my fears with him. And he knew that it still haunted me. And he cared enough to want to ease my mind.

This is one of the reasons I love this man. Call me crazy but a dozen perfect roses, candlelight and diamonds could never touch this one.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Life and Other Antidotes

A local doctor died recently. Young. Barely in his sixties and he had just retired due to his illness.

And his death has made me pause in the ebb and flow of activities of daily living.

He didn’t have a chance to fully enjoy the fruit of his labor. Medical school, interning, residency, continuing education, endless hours in and out of the hospital, being on call. I work for doctors. I wouldn’t want to be one. People have a stereotype that their lives are just an endless golf game and lying on the beach. Nope. They do not get paid enough. But I digress...

I don’t want my life to be ebb and flow of activities. I don’t want to put my living on hold while I attend to life.

These are the things that make me feel alive. And I want to fill (and feel) my days with them.

Being. With my family biological and chosen. There is nothing that fills my soul like my relationships with my near and dear ones. Being with them energizes me and helps me to face the days and the nights and the in-betweens. A hug, a word, an inside joke. A few handfuls of people who make my life rich.

Learning. Especially from God. But learning in general, too. I want to never stop being awed and overwhelmed by the things I don’t know.

Creativity. I just get in the do mode sometimes. Creativity makes me feel alive. I don’t want to just function. I want to add beauty.

Feeling. When something touches me, I want to respond. When the sunrise takes my breath away or the tangy autumn breeze wells up a gratitude within me...I want to respond to those feelings. When love overwhelms me I want to express it. When sorrow and loss darken my days, I want to feel those, too. I don't want to live from my feelings but I don't want to bury them beneath a plastic exterior of competency.

Is there something you are missing in your day-to-day activities? Do you need to laugh, cry, grab someone and hang on for a life-infusing hug? Do it.