Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Green Chocolate?

So my friend Jenny was asked to do a review of an environmentally responsible chocolate brand. I'm intrigued now - and there's the opportunity for free chocolate! Check out her blog ( to see the review and enter the drawing!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Very funny, and pretty impressive!

So this Italian composer wrote a gibberish song that was supposed to sound like English, or at least what foreigners think English sounds like. Truth is, though, it does sound a lot like English! I was impressed and found it highly amusing. =D

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Very Interesting

It's long, but very interesting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Wish List of Books.... Griffin and Sabine

Today I am ordering some books in order to take advantage of some discounts I've accrued from Borders. As I am trying to find the "perfect" book to round out my discount in the most advantageous way for me, I am remembering some books that have been on my wish list for a long time. The "must have" books that are really just fun for me.

Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine series.


The Morning Star

I believe that I will get The Morning Star and The Gryphon today, since Amazon has them bargain listed for $4 and $6. It's hard to beat that. The rest will just have to wait, but feel free to buy them for me if you want!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


From time to time, my thoughts return to the subject of synesthesia, and right now is one of those times. Ellie recently described a song as "the black and yellow one that dances and dances and dances..." which started me thinking again.

My mom and I have had several conversations about how we see different colors or patterns when we listen to music, and how we have colors associated with pain. It appears that Eliana does some of the same.

So yesterday I was telling Robert about the conversation with Eliana and he said he didn't quite get the color thing, as he has no color associations with things. So I went onto explain that some synesthetes "taste" certain words, or how some see different months as closer or further away. Without hesitation, Robert said, "Oh, yeah, my whole calendar is a lopsided oval." I laughed out loud. I have no idea how strong a role genetics play in synesthesia, even mild synesthesia, but there are 4 of us in 3 generations with it. =D

It also got me thinking about my calendar. I laughed at Robert and his oval calendar, and said I didn't have a spacial calendar like that. But I do... Mine is linear, with some color associations. It always starts at September and stretches out kind of at an angle from me toward the right. The months have color associations, though some are stronger than others, for sure. September is a dark, cloudy blue, July is a navy blue, June is more of a royal blue, as is January. December is a light, almost glittery, blue. March is kelly green, while November is brown, and October is orange.

Certain numbers have color associations for me, too. 1 is yellow, 2 is green, 3 is red, 5 is blue, 6 is blue, 7 is yellow, 8 is orange, and 0 is black. 4 is purplish.

My week sort of works like my year, though not exactly. It starts on Monday and stretches out in front of me through Sunday. With the year, it's ALWAYS in front of me (no matter what month we're actually in) and September is always closest to me. I can "zoom" in to the month we're actually in, but when I think of the calendar, September is always first. With my week, whatever day we're in is automatically right in front of me (or I am in it, however you want to say it) and the others are in line with it, in front of or behind me. There is only ever one week. It's not like thinking of next week means that there are days after Sunday. Sunday is always the last one. So today (Sunday), the entire week stretches out behind me. Then tomorrow it will sort of move right back through me and the entire thing will stretch out in front again. What is in front of me is "this" week. So, for me, today is Sunday. That means that "next" Sunday will be on December 6. A new week starts tomorrow, though, which means that tomorrow the 6th becomes "this" Sunday and "next" Sunday will be the 13th. I have thought of it this way for as long as I can remember, but never realized until today why I have always had a communication break down when it comes to "this" Sunday and "next" Sunday (or whatever day). Now I get it. Huh.

So... there you have it. I don't know exactly what you have, other than more evidence that I'm weird, but there you have it.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Obedience.... Sometimes it means doing what you need to do, even when you don't feel like it. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I turned 30 this week. 

It was a milestone.

And if this week is any indication, 30 is going to be a great year!

My actual birthday was pretty low-key. Ellie and I spent the day at home. She was great, played nicely, didn't whine. My mom called at 7:35am, like she does every year, my dad called, my best friend Charlotte called, and my brother called, all to wish me a happy birthday! When Leif came home he made me delicious steak for dinner. It was great! Tuesday she was at a friend's house from 9-3, so I hit the town and did some shopping! It was wonderful to have a relaxing day in town! Wednesday was busy, but great! I got everything done that I needed to in a timely manner, and even had time to take Ellie to the park! Thursday I had a brunch at my house, and then yesterday was, perhaps, the greatest day of the week... It started with Bible Study at 6. I love my morning Bible Study!! Then Ellie and I went for a walk (well, I walked, she rode her  bike) around the lake and to the park. We came home and had lunch and then Erika and a babysitter showed up so we could leave Ellie and Zoe with the sitter and Erika and I went scrapbooking at Kristii's! We got home around 5, and at 6 Taylor and Leif threw me a birthday party!

Now, I haven't had a birthday party since, well, since I was in college, I think. Not since my 18th! So this was pretty special... To top it off, I had great friends there, chocolate fondue and cheesecake for dinner (I love it when dinner smells like chocolate!), and I even got gifts! Who knew you still got gifts at a birthday party when you were 30?? I certainly didn't. I got a beautiful watch from my friend Tracee, an amazing beaded garland from Cheryl, and an hour massage gift certificate from Cathy! Sweet!

Today began with my Aerial Dance class. I love it! I am always just plain giddy by the end of class. I didn't think I would get to go today since we have road-trip plans, but I did! Pleasant surprise that was! So after class we hit the road and now I'm enjoying some peace and quiet in a hotel room in Red Lodge while Ellie and Leif enjoy the pool. Tomorrow we head up the Beartooth highway to the pass! It should be beautiful this time of year, and I'm looking forward to it! 

So there you have it... my first week of 30. Pretty crazy great, right?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We The Living

As I'm sure I have mentioned before, I am a fan of Ayn Rand's works. I find her writing fascinating and thought provoking; it strengthens my worldview to read hers and observe the contrast between them, and makes me consider where mine might be weak when I find myself agreeing with her, even in the slightest. In most of her works I appreciate her writing style so much, and she manages to capture my attention for hundreds of pages, which fly by almost without my notice.

I first read Atlas Shrugged as a challenge to myself in recognizing the worldview of an author. Looking back, I find it interesting that I used her masterpiece as the subject for my experiment. Really, I just picked something random that I had never read before. I'd have to say, though, that reading Atlas Shrugged has changed the way I see some things, based both on the book and my experiment. It was an eye opening experience and I am glad I read it. From there I went on to read Anthem and The Fountainhead. The latter I enjoyed. The former seemed more like a retelling of the legend of Prometheus. I believe it was after reading Anthem that I felt the need to do more research on the author, as she seemed obsessed  with societies that were turning to ruin and her heroes were those who would make society better through innovation and change, but were not allowed to and ostracized for their attempt. It turns out that Ayn Rand comes from Soviet Russia, and that background plays quite the role in her belief system and her philosophies. A basic summary of her philosophy of Objectivism would be "the virtue of selfishness." Her writings are full of this ideal, and it is interesting to see how clearly her villains are the altruists and her heroes the selfish. I don't remember the exact setting for Anthem, but Altas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are set outside of Russia, so it took some reading to trace the thematic roots back to the USSR.

This summer I came across a copy of We The Living at a garage sale for 25 cents. It was one of hers I hadn't read before and a cheap book, so I picked it up. I brought it with me to Texas and read it on the airplane and in the car and just finished it today. We The Living is Ayn Rand's first book, and she claimed it was the closest thing to an autobiography she would ever write. It was interesting to see how different her writing style was in the earlier days. Her chapters were choppy and broken, and paragraphs seemed to end before they were finished. While this does add something to the feel of this particular story, I'm glad it isn't a style she carried on into her later works. I enjoyed most of the story, though some of her expository sections got a little long and needlessly detailed. I found myself skimming paragraphs every so often and there were only two or three I felt the need to go back and read to understand what followed. It took some time before I felt the story pick up speed, which was a problem I remember encountering with The Fountainhead as well. As with her later works, We The Living has a protagonist who was bent on engineering. I have yet to research what that connection to Ayn Rand is, but I'm sure there must be one. I don't know that she was an engineer, but perhaps she was. Or perhaps she had an unfulfilled dream to be one. Either way, this one was like the others in that respect.

Aside from her writing style, I felt like most of this story was similar in thought and tone to her later works, at least until the end. This one differed strikingly, though, in setting. We The Living is actually set in Russia, at the beginning of the Communistic era. It gives a lot of insight into the author, and perhaps would have been a good work to start with. I have a feeling, though, that I would not have continued reading her work if I had begun with her first. I would consider most of the stories I've read by Ayn Rand to be comedies. Not because they are necessarily humorous, but because they end in triumph, in reunion, or in a marriage of sorts (though never actual marriage, because I'm fairly certain Ms. Rand was vehemently against marriage, based on her life and works), We The Living, on  the contrary, is a tragedy, clothes in the apparel of a comedy. It reads like a comedy until about the last 20 pages, when the whole story unravels and the stage is littered with bodies. I was really looking for a happy ending, but when I reached the end  of the book what I was handed was a funeral dirge in a major key. Honestly, it just felt wrong. Instead of the promised hope, I was handed depression and told to take it with a smile, because the heroine's life had once held potential.

If you love Ayn Rand's work and you've read several of her others already, go ahead and read We The Living, but don't expect it to be satisfying. It is far too transparent and blunt to provide the layers of thought provoking material I had become accustomed to, though it did give me a clearer picture of the author and her background. If you've been looking to read something by Rand and think that starting at the beginning is the way to go, don't. Start with her best work (Atlas Shrugged) or her most well-known work (The Fountainhead), but don't start at the beginning or I fear you'll never work your way to what is actually worth reading. View this book as a stepping stone, a blip in history that helped make her the author she eventually became. 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Story Telling

I've been writing lately. It's been years since I've written (6, I think, as the last things I remember writing were just after we moved here) and I have to say that I'm loving it. I am a story teller at heart (which sort of explains my need for 8 different blogs) and the written word fascinates me. So I'm enjoying writing.

Right now I have Leif reading the first couple chapters of my writing project, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous. It turns out that when I write, what comes out is that which is nearest and dearest to my heart, which is, consequently, where I am most vulnerable. But when I handed him the printed pages to read over and critique, I gave him permission to give it his all and be brutal about what would make it better.

He's always been better at the form than I have, which sort of stinks since I'm the one with the degree in English. Hrmph.

So here I sit, making my own changes, thinking of areas I'd like to expand, places more details would be helpful, etc. Mostly I'm sitting here waiting, though, because I know he's on the last page. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Review: Protocol Matters

Protocol Matters: Cultivating Social Graces in Christian Homes and Schools Protocol Matters: Cultivating Social Graces in Christian Homes and Schools by Sandra Boswell

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Protocol Matters is an excellent book on etiquette as a part of the Christian's life. It is an excellent resource for parents who want to teach their children how and why to show deference and respect to others, as well as for adults who want to learn themselves.

Protocol is not just about the stuffy "rules" of formal dining. Instead,

"Protocol training promotes the valuable character-building habits of self-control, humility, and thoughtfulness. Good training is practical, providing our children (and ourselves) with a working knowledge of how the Christian worldview applies to social actions, relationships, and culture." Protocol Matters explains how the rules of etiquette allow us to demonstrate God's love in a practical way. It also details what the rules of protocol are for different situations.

This is a great etiquette handbook covering protocol for many situations, ranging from casual to formal. It is thorough in detail, but written well enough to be accessible even to those without training in the social graces. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their own social behavior, teach their children or students etiquette, or dig deeper into how etiquette is a practical application of love. I give this book 5 stars.

View all my reviews.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Galatians 3 and Romans 4

This morning I am reading Galatians 3 and Romans 4.

I am mostly reading this because my Bible study book has not arrived yet. Yes, I ordered it almost a month ago. Yes, I finally received notice on April 22 that they shipped it. Media mail. It could take up to 4 weeks for it to arrive. Still. *sigh* I really thought I was doing the right thing by ordering it through LifeWay instead of through Amazon. I probably won't do that again.

So... Galatians 3. Wow. That's a pretty powerful chapter! I know that I've read it before, but here's what struck me this morning:

"Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

If this were a comic  book, there would be a giant ***POW!!*** over my head. That's pretty much how that hit me. There are some things I've been trying to do in my own strength, that I do not have the strength to do. I have been teaching Ellie that we are weak and He is strong, so why am I not acting on that faith? Why am I trying to do it by myself? Am I so foolish?

Lord, please give me the faith to believe, to be fully persuaded (Romans 4:21) that you have the power to do what you have promised. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still no book...

I still don't have a book for Bible Study on Friday mornings. I ordered it last Thursday, and it still hasn't arrived. Sadly, Beth and I ordered our books together so her's isn't here, either! They will probably arrive while I am in TX, so I asked Leif to take her book over to her when it arrives. In the meantime, though, I still don't have a book. So I'll try to remember what we talked about today, but I don't have a way to reference it, so I'll be brief...

Today we talked about Pleasing God. We focused primarily on Paul, and his life after the transformation on the road to Damascus. This lesson struck the same nerve that has been plucked quite a few times this year for me, and I think perhaps God is teaching me something. =D

It's not about me.

That seems to be the resounding theme in my life this year. It's not about me. It's about Him and His glory. But it's not about me. It comes up in my relationships, in my Bible Studies, in my parenting, in Mary Kay... and guess what? It's (I think!) starting to sink in that this life I live is not about ME!

Now, I've "known" this for a while. But the knowledge is starting to make its way through my mind and into my actions. The knowledge is starting to affect what I do. And I am seeing myself change, which is pretty neat. A few years ago I read a book called "It's Not About Me" by Max Lucado. Can you guess what it's about? =D This is the book that planted the seed that started to grow and now, through the work of the Holy Spirit in my mind and life, is beginning to sprout leaves! If you've not read it, DO. It's an easy read, not too long, but it is packed with truth. It really has changed my life, and I don't say that about many things.

So today in Bible Study I was reminded once again that it is not about me. None of it. It is about Him and His glory. And knowing that makes me want to know more about Him and His glory. So hopefully my book will arrive soon, because studying and spending time in the Word is one of the best ways to get to know more about Him!

Friday, April 03, 2009

6am coffee

What better way to start out a Friday morning than with a 6am Bible Study at a coffee shop?

Can't think of one? Me either!

I have contemplated joining this Bible Study more than once, but have always been too lazy to get up early in the morning. The last two weeks, though, I have been getting up at 5am and getting stuff done, so I guess that excuse just doesn't hold any more. =D So on Sunday I talked to Mel about joining the study and she said they were starting a new book this week. Perfect!! We are studying "Living Beyond Yourself" by Beth Moore, a study on the fruits of the Spirit. I am really excited about the study! What I am probably MOST excited about is the fact that we are doing one day of the book per week. It does mean it will take us about a year to get through the book, but it also means that (1) I will be more likely to do the study, since each "day" consists of several pages of questions and I have had trouble getting all 5 in when I've done studies like this in the past and (2) we will actually get to study more in depth on Friday mornings since we're not rushing to get through 15-20 pages of material in an hour!

Today we focused on Act 13:50 and 14:22. Good stuff to think about! We had lots of questions about why they were women of high standing (since culturally we didn't think women held positions of high standing, but maybe they were just the influential wives of ruling men), and we had good discussions about what we need to do in order to keep ourselves from being incited to persecute others.

We have a good sized group, if you ask me, with 6-7 members. I think that's great! A good sized group for discussion, and a pretty good sized group for 6am!

I'm looking forward to the material and studying with this group of women!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God's Appointed Times

In Bible Study this Spring we are studying about the Jewish festivals. Last time we were doing a study of Jesus by Beth Moore and it occurred to us that we really didn't know or understand much about the festivals that Jesus was participating in throughout the New Testament. So in attempt to have a better understanding of what we are reading in scripture, we set about to study the festivals God set up for His people.

We're about halfway done with the book so far, but I put a little write up on GoodReads. Here it is...

God's Appointed Times New Edition: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays God's Appointed Times New Edition: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays by Barney Kasdan

My review

This has been a very good book for learning the Jewish festivals, as well as why and how they were and are celebrated. As a protestant, I did not know much about Jewish festivals, but they are the foundation of many of our own and so integral in understanding the Biblical times and customs, both in the Old Testament and the New. It is written by a Messianic Jew, which makes its message particularly applicable to protestants.

View all my reviews.

Time to SHINE!

In one of the flylady emails today I read this line in a testimonial:

"If I have time to whine I have time to shine."

What a great quote!! How often do I spend time whining and worrying about a situation instead of just taking care of it? If I have time to whine about what I don't want to do, I have time to to put my best work into it. I would do well to remember that! Here is the full testimonial...
Dear FlyLady and Friends:

I always tell my kids "Don't spend more time complaining about doing something than it's going to take to do it in the first place." But then just last week I realized that I was talking the talk but not walking the walk.

So, this week I've been working very hard on walking the walk. When I find myself whining about having to do something I remind myself that I if I have time to whine I have time to shine. And I don't just mean my sink. This applies to any task that I am responsible for, whether it's a project at work or a meal at home.

I've noticed that this week I'm getting more done, and that my whine sessions are getting easier to shake off. Sometimes I DO need to vent, so I set my timer (There's that amazing timer again, what can't it help us with?) and C-R-A-B for five minutes. Unless I'm really mad, I generally feel pretty silly after about a minute or two and turn the timer off and get to the task at hand.

Thank you for all that you do.

Fluttering in Northwestern Ohio

Kelly here: Our children watch us everyday..and if you aren't walking the walk..then what are you teaching them?

Monday, March 02, 2009

What not to wear...

I don't know anything about the show "What Not To Wear", but I can say that if you are a weather man, a green-screen colored tie is what NOT to wear.

More thoughts on baptism...

I'm now reading through the passages that relate to baptism in Acts, since those passages relate to baptism after Christ's death, and after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. One of the questions I had/have is... does the "baptism with fire" or the coming of the Holy Spirit replace the necessity for baptism with water in relation to forgiveness? So that's where I started this morning...

Acts 2:38 - "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

This passage echoes an old question and brings up a new one for me: Is it the repentance or the baptism that brings about the forgiveness of sins? And does the baptism bring the Holy Spirit, or is the Holy Spirit the baptism and the water was merely symbolic because the Isrealites still needed the ceremony?

Acts 10 describes the giving of the Holy Spirit to the first gentiles and answers one of the questions above. In verse 47 it is clear that the gentiles there had been given the Holy Spirit, just as the Jews had, but that they had not been baptized with water yet. So the answer to that, at least, is that no, baptism with water is not required for the Holy Spirit to be given to someone. It doesn't say, though, that the baptism wasn't important, because those gentiles then went and were baptized with water. Was it just to fit in with the Christian community, or did it serve a greater purpose?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The best explanation I've seen yet...

This is the best explanation I've seen yet for why our economy is doing what it's doing and how all the subprime mortgages ended up messing things up like they did. It's worth the watch...

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mark 1:1-8

"And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

As a protestant, and specifically along baptist lines of theology, I was always taught and have always believed that baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. It is a public declaration that one has decided to follow Christ and live life for Him from that point on. Baptism is not necessary for salvation, though it is a spiritual act of faith. When I read the verse above, it seems unclear what John was preaching, though. Is it the baptism or the repentance that brings about the forgiveness of sins? At the time that he is baptizing, Christ has not yet died and resurrected, so why is John baptizing? What does it mean? I was always taught that it is a metaphor for Christ's death and resurrection and our death to the world and life in Him. You are dunked under the water, symbolizing death, and brought back up, symbolizing the resurrection and new life you have in Christ. But when John was doing this, Christ had not yet died and risen again. Is it prophetic symbolism? There is plenty of that in scripture, but is this part of it? Where did the whole notion of baptism come from? It turns out that I have a lot of questions.

I certainly won't be able to answer all of my own questions in a single morning, a single blog post, but I can do a little more research, particularly on the references to baptism in the book of Mark, since that's where I read today.

The second mention of baptism in the book of Mark, at least according to my handy concordance reference at the back of my Bible, comes from Christ's own mouth during the Great Commission. He says,
Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Matthew's version of the Great Commission is slightly different, though baptism is certainly part of it.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Which brings me to wonder what else Matthew has to say on the subject of baptism. It looks like the first mention of baptism is in Matthew, chapter 3 verse 11. John baptizes with water for repentance, but one will come after him who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire. More interesting to me, though, is just a few verses later where Jesus insists on being baptized by John. He says,
"Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness."

How does baptism fulfill all righteousness? Especially in Jesus? Wasn't he already righteous to begin with? And where did the custom of baptism come from? It appears to just be mentioned casually in its scriptural debut. But who came up with the idea? Is there something in the old testament where the sacrifice must be baptized or ceremonially cleansed before it can be used as an atonement for sins?

Clearly I have some more reading and researching to do.