Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book review: The Revolutionary Paul Revere

You don't know how much you don't know, until you find out. Isn't that how the old saying goes?

I had studied American History in eighth and twelfth grades, and again in college, but other than memorizing a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I knew next to nothing about Paul Revere.

Did you know that he was a soldier in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War? I didn't. I also did not know that he had two wives, and between them bore 16 children for him.

I also learned that he wasn't the only rider on April 18, 1775, but one of three - and that he didn't even make it to his destination because of a run-in with British forces.

So if you're a history buff, or even if you aren't, you owe it to your American self to read The Revolutionary Paul Revere. It will give you a much deeper understanding of a true American patriot.

You can buy your copy here or here.

Full disclosure - this book was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh Pandora, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…

• I love that I can access you from work or at home, and not have to worry about which computer I've synced my iTunes library with.

• I love that you give me access to WAY more music than I have hard drive space/money for, and help me discover new stuff all the time. For FREE.

• I love that I can dial you up on my netbook, take it into the kitchen, and listen to TobyMac or Sinatra or Aretha Franklin or Jack Johnson while I putter around.

• And I really, REALLY love that when Jason brings home my Android phone in the next day or two, there will, indeed, be an app for that.

Sigh. What did I ever do without you, Pandora dear?

Monday, May 17, 2010

You just THOUGHT I was back from the Bloggy Wasteland

Instead, I continue to take long, unscheduled breaks from Melz World.

Heh. Guess I showed you.

In the past couple of weeks, we've finished up our One Month to Live challenge, and, as a result, I'm thinking a lot more deeply about some things than I might have otherwise.

And, last weekend, Jason went to Discipleship Walk, the life-changing retreat I went on last fall. And, well, it was life-changing for him as well.

And now, I've been thinking a lot (since yesterday, anyway), about self-control.

I thought I had self-control. Most of the time, anyway. I've never been a binge eater, unless you count the whole bags of Vinegar and Salt Lays I'd inhale in college. (And really, since their slogan is "You can't eat just one, I seriously think that doesn't count.)

I've never gone out partying, and I've never blown $1,000 on a mall-wide shopping spree.

I've lost 90 pounds. I think that speaks to some measure of self-control, don't you?

But lately, I've been letting that self-control slip. And my waistline is starting to show it.

And then yesterday after church, Anna Marie told us what their verse was in Children's Church: "A person with no self-control is like a city with broken down walls (Proverbs 25:28)"

Man. That hit me as very profound. We spent a good bit of time at lunch talking about what that verse meant. I explained to her that in Bible days, cities had walls to guard their residents, but a broken down wall let all sorts of things in.

In modern language, I broke it down even further. Lack self-control in your spending? That can let in massive debt. No self-control in your eating? Sign me up for bigger pants, please! Need to control your mouth at school? That'll cost you recess.

A lack of self-control can let all sorts of ugly things into our lives. And make no mistake, you can lack self-control in some good areas too. Too much exercise can be just as bad for you as none at all, and you can eat too much of the right things just like too much of the right ones.

Not that I've ever been accused of either of those. It's just, you know, an example.

So, I'm looking at my self-control today. I am exhibiting a major amount of it, because one of my co-workers keeps putting snack-sized Snickers on her desk. And she isn't even there a lot of the time, so no one would know it was me getting one every time I walk past.

But I would. And eventually, so will my pants.

And I'm looking at my self-control when it comes to wasting time. Instead of getting caught up in watching TV when I got back from the gym this morning, I sat and ate my breakfast quietly, enjoying the short solitude before my people-filled day began.

So, today, take a little time to look at areas when you need to exercise a little self-control. Let's build up those city walls, instead of letting them be broken down.

Your pants, and probably your sanity, will thank you.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sometimes, being a mom is kinda like being God.

You know, in that "Better clean up your mess because you won't like it if I have to step in" sense.

(Because I'd MUCH rather see my issues and start to deal with them, before God has to bring them to my attention. Because sometimes He can be a little drastic. I'm just sayin.)

I spent nearly my whole lunch break today cleaning Anna Marie's room.

I've been after her for weeks and weeks and weeks to do something about it, but somehow, nothing ever got accomplished. So today, I took action.

I actually started last Tuesday, in the space of time after I take her to school and before I have to be back over there to volunteer with the PTO. I carried out three Walmart bags full of T-R-A-S-H.

(And lest you think my kid's room is a landfill, bear in mind that I'm including Happy Meal toys and broken Dollar Tree trinkets in that designation.)

Today, I did the same thing. Another couple of bags of trash, plus two large-ish school projects. As much as I love that model of K-9 she made last year for her class, I just don't have room for the pooch anymore.

Sorry, little dude.

I wisely made sure to carry the items to the trashcan, which was on the curb, because I've made the mistake of ditching it in the kitchen can one too many times - and then she throws something away herself, and discovers what I've done.

At lunch, out went another 13-gallon bag. I took all the "junque" on her floor, placed it on her bed, and will give her a checklist this afternoon.

To whit:

• Pick up EVERY SINGLE THING on this bed. Individually.
• Put it WHERE IT BELONGS. If it's a book, put it on the bookshelf. If it's a small plastic toy, put it in your toy box. If it's paper, put it in the sidetable drawer.

If it's money, give it to me. KIDDING! Well, only slightly.

That's it. That's the extent of what I need her to do today. Go through the stuff on her bed, and put it away. I'm not asking for the cure for the common cold here, folks.

I think she shall be pleasantly surprised when she gets to the bottom of the pile, because her reward will be several items she's been looking for over the past couple of weeks. I'm not going to even tell her they're in there - I'll know she's done her job when she finds them.

This weekend, Jason is going away with the men from church for four days. Know what I'm NOT going to be doing while he's gone? Cleaning her room.

She may get a bit miffed if/when she figures out where some of her "things" have gone, but I think there's a life lesson to be learned here: if she had dealt with it when I told her to, I wouldn't have had to step in and be the Cosmic Sheriff.

As I saw on a billboard once: "Don't make me come down there - GOD."

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Contrary to popular belief

We did not blow or wash away this weekend.

Although, at times it felt like we could have.

Really, we didn't get nearly the bad weather that those around us did. There were lots of bleary-eyed folks at church today because the tornado sirens were going off all night Friday and Saturday in the county where the church is (and where most of the folks live). They didn't go off down here at all - we just got tons and tons and TONS of rain.

(We were bleary-eyed this morning too, but because we had an eight-year-old climb into bed with us during the thunderstorm last night!)

There are stories of horrible flooding not far from here, and a couple of tornadoes touched down - and some lost their lives. Add that to the tornadoes in south Mississippi last weekend, and that oil spill making its way towards shore, and we have a lot of praying to do in the next few days, my homies.

I hope that wherever you are out there in blogland, you are safe, and DRY!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Looks like I'm going to have to moderate you folks

I wish it was because my posts were so awesomely thought-provoking that they inspired great debate.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case. You can thank your Friendly Neighborhood Spammers for the change. The word verification doesn't seem to be stopping the weird, out-of-country comments, so this is the only way.

Now, if you'd like to have some heated debate about this, I'm all ears ...