i'm truly indispensable

>> Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not that long ago, my daughters and I had a conversation about the possibility of death. The other day, the subject came up again.

They were begging me to leave them at home while I quickly drove to The Little Village a mile away to pick up some milk and the mail. They were just going to play outside and they'd be fine while I was gone.

While it's tempting, I told them that I just didn't really feel comfortable doing that because, what if something happened to them while I was gone? Who would take care of them and make them feel better ~ or worse, rush them to the hospital if necessary?

"Or what if something happened to mommy while she was gone?" I asked. "Like a car accident or something like that. What would you girls do then? (blank stares) You see why I don't think it's a good idea?"

The girls gradually nod in understanding. And then Peanut voices her concern,

"Cuz then we'd only able to eat LEFTOVERS!"

Eating leftovers. That's their biggest fear if I die.

Ahhh, it's wonderful to feel so valuable.

Rolling Eyes


photostory friday: doin' corn

>> Thursday, August 28, 2008

Y'all know how pathetic I am with gardening already, so maybe you've guessed that I wouldn't be too thrilled about the harvesting part of it all. You'd be right.

Every time I have a garden, I dread this time of year ~ when there's more than we can keep up with eating and I'm forced to harvest and preserve. I am NOT a fan.

Which is why, of course, I'd decided NOT to plant a garden this year.

But, thanks to my husband, The Bushman, we had one anyway ~ and I'll admit it's the best garden we've had.

I'll also admit I'm resenting him just a little because while he was around to look after it during the summer BEFORE everything was ripe, he's now working 16-18 hours a day hauling grain off the fields for a local farmer. Leaving me, once again, with the job of harvesting the garden. Which I haven't done that well with so far.

Until today, when my wonderful, thoughtful, best friend came over to "do corn" with me.

Now, at one point in the not-so-distant past, I did the whole job myself ~ all the picking and shucking got done first thing in the morning before my girls were even awake (they were 1 and 3-1/2 at the time), the blanching and cleaning got done in batches throughout the morning, and then the stripping and packaging got started during their afternoon nap and finished in the evening once they were in bed again.

It CAN be done.

But it's so much more fun ~ not to mention a heck of a lot quicker!! ~ when you've got the help of a great friend. (And your kids are a little older and better at occupying themselves. Heck, they even helped for a while! A very short while, but hey, it's progress!)

And now I have 44 two-cup packages and one three-cup package of delicious, crisp, juicy, home-grown Northern SuperSweet in my freezer. Tiny morsels of pure gold.

And every time I break one open over the next year, I will think of my caring and generous best friend, whom I shared a wonderful 3-1/2 hours with this morning.

Talking, laughing.... and doin' corn.

Click below for more...
PhotoStory Friday


a slightly better frame of mind

>> Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, there will be no donuts.

Because there are no in-laws.

My mother-in-law had a mild heart attack at the end of July and thought all along during her recovery that she was having occasional angina pains. Last night it got particularly bad ~ so bad that they ended up spending a few hours in the hospital.

Fortunately, it was NOT angina, nor any heart issues. The ER doc thinks it's quite likely the Lipitor wreaking havoc on her digestive system and causing the pains.

In any case, they didn't come out today as planned because they were dead tired and she's hoping her regular doctor will take her off the Lipitor so she can enjoy food again before they come.

Because I'm a marvelous cook and she doesn't want to miss out.

And because she doesn't actually have cholesterol issues. Apparently Lipitor is the protocol for heart attack recovery, regardless of what the cholesterol tests show.

So all of this means no donuts for Tammi.

BUT, I had an awesome afternoon at a friend's house. She'd invited me and another woman ~ who happens to be the mother of one of Peanut's school friends ~ so it was great to spend time with new friends and get all the kids together. Between the three of us, we've got NINE kids! And six of them are girls between the ages of 3 and 6. (Oh, I can hardly wait until they're all teenagers.... Can you even imagine the drama?!)

So I had a wonderful lunch ~ which included my leftover birthday cake ~ and afternoon.

Before heading home from town, I stopped at the grocery store to try my old photo CDs in the little photo developing kiosk thingy. A last resort.

I held my breath.....

Bouncy 5

So despite throwing my home computer into conniptions, the files appear to not have been corrupted after all and the discs themselves work just fine. As long as I'm not using them at home. Go figure.

But you can imagine my relief.

Especially since there are no donuts.



tammi and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad week

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Thursday one of our six kittens died.

Friday I turned 36.
(Okay, that's a little melodramatic ~ this didn't really bother me, but it fits in well, don't you think?)

Also on Friday, we had to have the fridge repairman out. He couldn't fix the problem because he had to order us a new defrost element. He'll be back to install it for us late this week or early next. For which we will pay through the nose, no doubt.

Today, I needed to bring my computer to the shop AGAIN despite having already had it there for TWO STINKIN' WEEKS earlier this month.

I was forced to purchase a new CD burner.

On the way home, I picked up the mail. Hello, Mr. MasterCard bill.

Upon coming home, we discovered our mother cat had died of unknown causes. As far as we knew, she was perfectly healthy. Two of the remaining five kittens are missing now, too.

But worst of all, the CD's holding ALL my pictures from the last 3-1/2 YEARS have somehow become corrupted. Not only will the new burner/player not read them, the whole computer shuts down to 'prevent further damage.'

Computer Smash

Needless to say, I'm a little afraid of what tomorrow will bring.

Which is kinda funny, because tomorrow will bring my in-laws.

And while the standard in-law jokes are no doubt playing in your minds, having them here should actually cheer me up.

Unless they decide not to stop at Tim Horton's on the way up to pick me up some donuts like they usually do.

In which case all hope is lost.

So if you don't hear from me for the rest of the week, it's either because I'm busy with company or wallowing in self-pity.

Or both.

Goodbye, Ice. You were the best cat we ever had. A fine mother and a dang good mouser, too. Your kitties and your humans ~ especially the youngest one ~ are missing you terribly.


the new me

Well, the new 'do' anyway.

The photos below are from December and March. My "regular" cut. The one I get once or twice a year, anyway.

Since it's now August, the cut was long overdue ~ as you'll be able to tell from this second row of "before" pictures...

Yikes. But I decided to try something a little different, too.

So.... wa-LA!

The new me!!
(I know, how "Victoria Beckham", eh?! I totally look just like her. Annoyed And Disappointed )

And my new bling, too!

I'm so not an eye-catching jewelry wearing person, but for quite a while already, I've wanted to be. The only thing that's been stopping me was the belief that I might feel a little silly all of a sudden sporting large necklaces, dangly earrings, and chunky bracelets when I just haven't all my life.

My wonderful best friend solved the problem for me in giving me this necklace (and a pair of matching earrings that you can't see unless I tuck my hair behind my ears) for my birthday. Now if someone comments on the sudden appearance of a chunk of metal suspended by fine leather cords around my neck, I can say it was a gift. To my convoluted way of thinking, that's just more acceptable than if I'd just inexplicably decided to purchase something so seemingly out of character for myself!!

And now, of course, I have a great excuse to by more such jewelry, too. Because I'd hate for people to get tired of seeing the same things.

Funny how I wasn't worried about them seeing the same old headrag month after month....

Rolling Eyes


MSM7: "Mind Control"

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

MSM Week 6 @ Truly Captivating Well, after what feels like an eternity, I'm back in the bloggy saddle and can post my thoughts in this study once again. Better late than never.

1. If you could trade mental capabilities with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be? I've always been in awe of Thomas Edison ~ curious all his life and extremely self-motivated. He just blows my mind. Did you know that it took him 10,000 attempts to create the electric light bulb? TEN THOUSAND TRIES!! Man, if I don't get something after the first or second try, I generally give up!

I love this quote: During his efforts to invent the light bulb, a reporter came to him and asked, "How many times are you going to fail at creating the light bulb?" Mr. Edison turned and looked at the reporter and said, "Son, I haven't failed! I've simply discovered another way NOT to invent the light bulb!"

I covet that kind of persistance, determination, and belief in my own abilities and God-given talents.

2. What does most of your self-talk sound like? In other words, how do you treat yourself in your mind? What kind of repetitive tapes do you tend to play and how do they affect you? You know, I can't say I've ever really thought about this. I was a little shocked to read Tim Hansel's claim that approximately 70% of our self-talk is generally negative. Either I have an unusually (and probably unrealistically!) high opinion of myself or I've just learned to ignore the negative self-talk. I just don't have problems with this.

There are certain areas in my life where I'm embarrassed with my lack of performance; where, when the subject comes up, I will the earth to open up and swallow me whole, because I don't want to have to admit that I've given up or not progressed like I'd originally planned and publicly claimed I would. Like, I can almost literally feel the pin prick and the explosive balloon-deflation process!

But generally, I would have to say I don't think this is an area where the devil gets to me. (Now that I've said that, of course, that's precisely where he'll be on the attack!) I've always had a strong personality and for the most part, a very positive self-image. I guess I've been blessed.

3. With "Uncle Screwtape's letter to Wormwood" (from C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters) in mind, how does the devil usually distract you from hearing God's voice? I'm with Susanne on this one, and I'm betting most mothers are ~ in the everyday responsibilities and demands on our time. I rarely think about all the little nit-picky details of keeping house, except while I'm trying to read my Bible or a Bible study book. (Or a web design textbook, for that matter!)

I'm constantly distracted while trying to pray, too, although with both the Bible reading and the praying, I've discovered that if I do them out loud ~ or at least moving my lips, pretending to talk out loud ~ it makes it a lot harder to entertain other thoughts at the same time. But then there's the issue of making the time to do them in the first place!

That's another way the devil distracts me. There are certain things in my day that I ALWAYS have time for (and you all know blogging is one of them!) and they happen almost regardless of what's going on in my life or how tired I am. But my time with God is not one of those things. I'll be quite disciplined for a while, but then one morning my routine is disrupted and it'll take me a month or more to force myself back into it.

This computer is another HUGE distraction. I constantly debate quitting blogging and even going to the extreme of getting rid of the computer altogether (especially when after being in the shop for two stinkin' weeks, it's STILL not working properly!!), but it constantly sucks me back in.

It's purely self-discipline issues. All of it. The devil knows I've got almost none and constantly puts things I love to do in the way of things I know I should be doing. And I allow it. Plain and simple.

6. What do the following verses say about the importance of our minds and what we think about?
Isa. 26:3 ~
Having a mind steadfastly focused and trusting in God will be rewarded with perfect peace.
Matt. 16:23 ~ Focusing on ANYTHING other than God causes us to stumble in our faith.
Rom. 8:6 ~ "...the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."

I think that pretty much says it all!!



i'm back ~ FINALLY!!

>> Friday, August 22, 2008

High Jump I KNOW! Didn't that feel like FOREVER??!! Yeah, for me, too. First we were gone for a week and then my computer (poor baby) was sick and in the shop for an ADDITIONAL week and I just got it back today. All I can say is, good thing the computer store doesn't charge the way the vet does for restoring health!! Yikes. But the good news is my house is much cleaner than usual AND I'm completely caught up with my Bible reading ~ which was a month behind schedule just a week ago. Amazing how much I can get done when there's no computer to distract me!

And guess what? Today is my birthday. (Yup, that's a shameless plea for well-wishes.) And I'll admit I turned 36. (Okay, so well-wishes or condolences ~ I'll take either one! I'm not that picky.)

So anyway, I'm back, having a happy birthday (ie. The Bushman made breakfast and lunch, I got a new haircut and a pedicure) and now I'm off for a family dinner at the local Chinese food joint. YUMMM!

Regular sarcastic boringness to resume next week.

I promise.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Birthday Surprise Party


photostory friday: one more thing...

>> Thursday, August 14, 2008

...my Li'l Fidget doesn't need me for anymore.

She can get herself started now and within a moment or two, she's sailing back and forth, just like her big sister.

Part of me is excited for her; yet another step towards independence.

Part of me is a little sad; she's growing up so fast and just doesn't need me for a whole lot of things anymore.


Oh who am I kidding?! I think it's AWESOME that I don't have to stand there and push her for half an hour while I'd rather be doing something else!!!

I love it that she figured it out with the help of her big sister, who loves to show her how to do things ~ some good, some bad.

I love it that she can experience the wind whipping her hair back and forth and experience that supremely carefree and exhilirating feeling of almost flying, almost being able to touch the clouds with the tips of her toes...

...and I love that she still needs me to help her get her shirts on.

Click below for more...

PhotoStory Friday


flowers (and other questionable content)

>> Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As we drove onto the yard after three days of camping, I hear these excited shrieks from Peanut in the back seat:

Mom, mom! Our pee-pees are open!
Look, our pee-pees are open!!!

I whipped my head around to see what the HECK was going on in the back seat of the van...

and realized Peanut was pointing at my PE-O-NIES, which had indeed opened up while we were gone!

Have you noticed I like taking pictures of flowers? I don't know what it is about them, but they fascinate me. From the lowly ditch daisies and alfalfa blooms to the fiery tiger lilies and regal peonies... I just love 'em.

The perennials anyway. Man, I tell ya, if it weren't for them, we'd have NO colour in our yard at all! Well, other than green.

(That centre picture above just blows me away. I still can't believe that shot comes from MY camera. It's a peony bud after a good rain.)

Some are simple and beautiful. Some are wild and plain. Some are intricate and delicate. Some are all one colour. Some have more than one.

And look like they're wearing crazy party hats.

And then there are THESE insolent orange ones,
sticking out their tongues at me.

Or flipping me the bird. I can't decide.

But being the pathetic black-thumb that I am, I love them all. Even the rude ones.

Because they grow every year, DESPITE my best efforts.



MSM5: "Dying to Live"

>> Monday, August 11, 2008

MSM Week 5 @ Truly Captivating2. What kind of "muscle memory" behaviour do you struggle with? Where do you think it came from (ie. was it ingrained by repetition, inherited from family patterns or genetic traits, influenced by society, etc.)? I have a very critical, opinionated, sarcastic nature. This is my 'muscle memory.'

"It's just the way I am" is how I've often thought ~ and possibly even stated out loud. But I really don't WANT to be that way and I know I've improved over the last months in the area of holding my tongue when an opinion DESPERATELY wants to pop out. (Again, I apologize to those who know me who haven't noticed this yet, but believe me, even more unwanted opinions would have been spouted in the past!!)

My cousins and I have sometimes joked about sarcasm being our family's pastime. Not that sarcasm, in and of itself, is wrong ~ personally, I find it quite enjoyable and downright humourous most of the time ~ but so often I use it to criticize others. This is the part of my personality that's so difficult to excise because I'm so dang used to exercising it. I'm frighteningly quick to pass judgement and criticize others for doing things the 'wrong' way. (ie. not the way I would have handled it. Which, of course, would have been infinitely superior. See how I worked that in there and gave you a perfect example of sarcasm to boot!)

And yet my children don't understand sarcasm. They simply don't recognize it. Which leads me to believe that these behaviours/personality flaws/whatever you want to call them, are definitely influenced by family patterns, but can't really be blamed on genetics, unfortunately. Even though a fair percentage of my extended family exhibit the same tendencies, it's obviously a learned behaviour. And you can bet my girls will catch on eventually, too. And likely start using it themselves, furthering this trait, passing it on to their children. Ahhh, what a legacy! (See what I mean? I can't stop!!! It just happens!)

4. What do the following verses have to say concerning Christ's work for us?
Rom. 8:1-2 ~ we've been set free from the constraints of sin; even though it still exists in us, we now have the power to control it and even when we fail, we are forgiven
2 Cor. 5:21 ~ we have become THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD through Christ's perfect sacrifice!!! I don't really know what that means, but it sounds like an incredible honour and responsibility; like I've become a great tribute to God.
1 John 2:1 ~ Jesus mediates on our behalf when we've sinned

8. What spoke most to you in this chapter? Honestly? The second answer in the previous question:

We have become
through Christ's perfect sacrifice!

I looked and looked for an exposition of this phrase and finally I found Horatius Bonar's take on it. I love the way he explains it, especially since he includes a look at the word "reckon" which Joanna Weaver also did in this study:

This righteousness is "reckoned" or "imputed" to all who believe; so that they are treated by God as if it were actually theirs. They are entitled to claim all that which such righteousness can merit from God, as the Judge of righteous claims. It does not become ours gradually, or in fragments or drops; but is transferred to us all at once. It is not that so much of it is reckoned to us (so much to account, as men in business say) in proportion to the strength of our faith, or the warmth of our love, or the fervor of our prayers; but the whole of it passes over to us by imputation: we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Eph 1:6); we are "complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Col 2:10). In its whole quality and quantity it is transferred to us. Its perfection represents us before God; and its preciousness, with all that that preciousness can purchase for us, henceforth belongs to us (1 Pet 1:7). (2)

The stone, the chief cornerstone, elect and precious,-this stone in all its preciousness is ours, not only for resting on, not only for acceptance, but for whatever its divine value can purchase for us. Possessed of this preciousness (imputed, but still ours), we go into the heavenly market, and buy what we need without stint or end. We get everything upon the credit of His name, and because not only has our unworthiness ceased to be recognized by God in His dealings with us, but our demerit been supplanted by the merit of One who is absolutely and divinely perfect. In His name we carry on all our transactions with God, and obtain all that we need by simply using it as our plea. The things that He did not do were laid to His charge, and He was treated as if He had done them all; so the things that He did do are put to our account, and we are treated by God as if we had done them all. (emphasis mine)

Isn't that incredible? How freeing and suddenly overwhelming this is! Just like when the bus rolls away and the recipients of the latest Extreme Makeover: Home Edition burst into tears at the instant realization of how much work others did on their behalf, how much time was spent, how much attention to detail, how much their community values them and rallied behind them.... THAT'S HOW THIS FEELS.

And if that isn't enough to put a spring in my step today, I don't know what is.


photostory friday: we've got a groovy kind of love

>> Thursday, August 7, 2008

Or bizarre kind of love. Maybe even unholy.

But what's a girl to do when it's THAT TIME OF THE YEAR and there are no males of the same species nearby?!


Love the one you're with.

(C'mon everybody, sing it with me now, "Doot doot, doot doot, doot doot, doo-doo-doo! Doo-doo-doo!")

So other than the two songs already referenced, and the obvious Stones' classic (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, anyone know any other songs that fit this rather peculiar, um, situation?

Click below for more...

PhotoStory Friday

PS. The boot you see in the video is Shadow's first love, but when Tigger's all needy and whatnot, he can't get a moment alone with Boot. Boot was feeling quite sensitive about the whole thing, but Tigger's lost interest in the time since this video was made, and so Boot is no longer feeling neglected, I'm happy to report. She's chewed, slobbered on, and tossed around daily, just like she used to be. And all is right with the world once again.


tour tuesday: a trip to the grocery store by bike!

>> Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tour Tuesdays(click the button to check out more tours and any of the following photos to see an expanded version)

A few months ago, I tried making up an 8-week menu plan in order to streamline the planning and shopping, but that was just a little too organized for me! However, I still try to do a huge grocery shopping trip only about once a month. (Sometimes it's twice ~ depends on when the store is giving the $25 gift card for $200-worth of merchandise and groceries!).

I stock up on non-perishable items, of course, and then I usually only need fresh produce, milk, and a few other miscellaneous items each week for the rest of the month. The Big Town where I do my 'big shopping' is about 15 km/9 miles away, but since The Little Village that's only a mile away also has a tiny little community owned and operated grocery store that has comparable prices, I thought I'd like to try getting groceries by bike. Especially when all I needed this time was milk and eggs. (that's our yard that clump of trees in the backgound is surrounding ~ we're only about 1/2 a mile from home here, but the camera distorts the distance a bit)

The grocery prices aren't that much higher than in the larger national chain store, and, of course, I wouldn't be using any costly gasoline. AND I'd be getting some great exercise. AND I'd be spending some great quality time with the girls. That's killing like, THREE birds with one stone, people!!! Talk about efficient! (we can't cross the bridge without stopping to throw some stones into the lazy little river)

It took a bit of planning because I had to figure at least an hour and a half, if not two whole hours. The round trip itself would only be about 40 minutes, but the school playground is along the way, so naturally, some time gets spent there first! Just a little. And the girls wanted a picnic snack. Plus we chatted with a friend for a few minutes who was mowing her lawn and needed a break. At 11 am, it was already 25C/77F ~ which in Canadian means HOT. Haha, go ahead and laugh.

Then it's off to the little store, pick up my few groceries, chat with another friend while our kids play in the gravel beside the road and have to be told repeatedly to move out of the way so people can park in front of the store, and then head home again. With an even heavier drag chute than before. Man, you definitely don't want to try this on a windy day!! That bike trailer is great for hauling kids and other stuff, but when you're driving into the wind, it's, well.... PURE TORTURE REALLY GOOD EXERCISE, let's say! (here's the little community store in all its 3-aisle glory! I love how homey it feels)

These pictures are from our first time trying it last FINALLY last Friday. We've biked to the school playground once before, but this was the first milk'n'mail run.

Overall, I gave the experience ~ and the gasoline savings ~ a high rating. My plan was to try to do it at least once a week this summer, but with the impromptu kid-free weekend followed by two weeks of swimming lessons, it just hasn't happened nearly that often. I hope we'll be able to do it a few more times this month, but August isn't really looking any less busy than July!

Bike Riding

PS. Remember the kittens? They're a month old now and Mama Ice moved them about a week ago from the barn hayloft to the shed beside the garage. Here's at least 5 of them (believe it or not) ~ although I think actually all 6 are in this clump of fuzz!!


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