Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Winning Combination?

Thank you to Other Mother who sent me this article. I promise I will stop soon with my Maid-Rite obsession, but Aaron and I were just discussing the possibility of someone opening a Maid-Rite "lunch counter" again in my hometown of Canton. Sadly, it was closed after I left for college. But, could it be that one could eventually return within our very own Hy-Vee grocery store if this joint venture succeeds in Iowa and Missouri? Hy-Vee and Maid-Rite. I think that WOULD be a winning combination!

Word Sweep

A fun part of preparing for our family Christmas exchange is trying to figure out which game I might buy my parents or my brother and sister-in-law. I don't buy each one a board game every year. Nor do I receive one. But, I can't remember a year when at least one of us didn't receive a new game.

This year, I was intrigued by many, but I have finally purchased one. (More details on that later.) Another game that interested me, however, is Word Sweep. The idea? Read three definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster's dictionary. The players must identify the three consecutive (usually root) words from the dictionary that match the definitions. And, the game provides boxes of clues in 3 levels of difficulty.

Here are the puzzles from the sample card on the game web site:
1) a long upholstered seat usually with a back and arms
2) not hard, solid, or firm
3) a game like baseball played with a larger ball

The answers
1) sofa
2) soft
3) softball

This seemed like a lot of fun, so I thought I would list a few combinations here. Some simple and some a little more difficult. Feel free to submit your answers or guesses. If you like this sort of thing, you might want to consider Word Sweep for your family (if you don't already have it!) I'll post the answers in the comments section or a new post at the beginning of next week, but I'm sure they will be answered correctly before then.

First Sweep
To emit breath or vapor
To consume entirely
To submit (as a document) to a court or office in course of proceedings

Second Sweep
A theatrical art form using dancing, music and scenery to convey a story
A non-porous bag of tough light material filled with heated air or gas
A sheet of paper used to cast a secret vote

Third Sweep
An amorphous brittle brown and somewhat bitter substance obtained by heating sugar
A small weight
A company of travelers on a journey through the desert or hostile regions

Fourth Sweep
A sudden notable gain or profit
One who spoils the pleasures of others
An oven, furnace, or heated enclosure used for processing a substance by burning, firing or drying

Fifth Sweep
A work done with extraordinary skill
The printed matter in a newspaper including the title, ownership, date, etc.
A breed of very large powerful smooth coated dogs, often used as guard dogs

Sixth Sweep
A person through whom a deity is believed to speak
A berry with a yellowish to reddish rind and sweet edible pulp
A largely herbivorous arboreal anthropoid ape of Borneo and Sumatra with long sparse reddish brown hair

Seventh Sweep
To present an obstacle to
Tending to check bleeding
Smoothly though often superficially gracious and sophisticated

Eighth Sweep
To make possible, practical, or easy
To cover, inlay, or decorate with metal
To inflame with love

OK. Maybe these aren't difficult at all. But, maybe they will provide a little fun for your day. Mom, with your crossword puzzle skills, you should be great at these!

By Request

I found out that some of you were having a hard time while going to my blog because it was taking a long time to load. I know that situation is due to the number of pictures I have. So, I diminished the number of posts that are shown on the front page. Hopefully, hopefully, this will help. And, I'll try to keep that in mind as I make posts in the future.

For those that don't check often, it means you may have to go over to the right column and look in the archives for posts from the past week. (That is, if I make posts.)

Also, I have a question for the tech folks out there. Is there a way to "lock" a blog so that text always lines up properly with pictures that I post? I am asking because posts on my computers will look fine... but as soon as I see the blog at my parents' house or on my friend Mike's computers (both Macs), the blog looks entirely different. It also does the same when I look at the blog on some PCs - even when the text is not magnified. Maybe this problem is also occurring because I post too many pictures. :) Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tastes of Home

This past Saturday, I had a great day with my brother while running errands around Peoria - about 30 miles from our hometown. Because I haven't lived near home since high school, I still don't know my way around Peoria, and I have forgotten anything I once knew about the roads. Aaron was great in helping me find my bearings. (Sadly, Aaron, I believe all of the information from Saturday has already left my head, and I think I need that huge laminated map that we discussed.)

We did a little comparison shopping for possible Christmas gifts, and we made a very important stop at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. And, right across the Metro Center from Jo-Ann's was...... MAID-RITE. Yippeee! So, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some food that can be found only close to home. I can't believe I've had TWO this year! (Above) I made the mistake of ordering the Mega Maid-Rite lunch special instead of the regular. I couldn't finish all of it. (My brother and I hypothesized that the cooks place the dots of ketchup and mustard on the plates to notify the servers which toppings are included. I had never seen that before. What do you think?)

Aaron seems very happy with his Horseshoe. While I was home, I was also able to enjoy the "absolute must eats" of a Monical's Pizza "Family Pleaser" dinner (thin crust pizza, salad with house French dressing, breadsticks with cheddar cheese and drinks) and Italian Express' ravioli with sweet garlic bread that melts in my mouth. YUM! Are there a certain foods you must eat at a restaurant or a family member's house each time you go home?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful for Cousins

This post will be for my family members who check in from time to time. Thanksgiving is always great because I am able to visit with my cousins and my cousins' children (which, of course, are also my cousins) on both sides of the family. There is always a lot of laughter and joking mixed in with our celebration of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, there are many cousins I didn't capture this year, and each of them is probably very thankful that they aren't included in this blog post. :)

Below are Brianna, Emilia with Jenna and Elijah, Tim enjoying some pumpkin pie, little Carter, Adam visiting Lillie in her kennel, Soon-to-be-newlyweds David and Jennifer, Braiden standing between Aaron and Ketra, Ryan and Janelle, Izzy and Shai, and not-so-tiny-anymore Tegan. His smile makes everyone smile.

Hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let It Snow!

It was difficult to leave home on Sunday after such a wonderful long weekend with all of the family. But, it had to be done. So, I had a little fun with Cindy and Lennie before saying goodbye, began gathering all of my bags in the kitchen and bedroom, and took a look out the window to see the backyard and woods before heading out the front to load up my car.

And, to my surprise, there it was! SNOW! BIG SNOW! Yet another thing for which to be thankful. You might catch a glimpse of it here, and some of the flakes and clusters were as big as nickels and quarters. These pictures were taken right after it began to fall. But, by the time I left (less than a half hour later), the grass was almost completely covered. Good thing I purchased some gloves last week and had them with me. I cleaned off the top of the front deck railing and made a well-packed, wet snowball before heading out. It was a beautiful drive through the falling snow on my way out of Canton. Less than 30 miles into the drive south toward my house, however, the snow turned to sleet and then into rain. And, rain hasn't stopped falling on me since. I wonder when we'll receive some snow here in the St. Louis area. It might be a while, but it was wonderful to see it at home. Already, I'm anxious to return home for Christmas. And, I'm hoping for some snow there at that time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Raise The Praise

This past Saturday evening, Jerry, Chris, Lydia, Jeff, Tracy, Tressa, Abigail, Rian and I met up with my friend Mike to attend the Raise the Praise benefit concert for Beverly Farm. On the last Tuesday of each month, I meet with other ladies in a needleworking group called Violet Threads, and we meet in the basement of Eden United Church of Christ. Each time we meet, I have the pleasure of hearing the Raise the Praise Choir practice in the sanctuary, and I usually sneak upstairs to have a closer listen. Since Mike helps in directing the choirs at the church, he told me about the concert, and I am so thankful we were able to attend. Not only were we able to hear beautiful gospel music, we were able to learn more about a valuable organization within our community. In between the solos and choir selections, choir members who work at Beverly Farms recounted touching stories about the special residents.

Description from the Program:
Beverly Farm, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is a planned community designed to enhance the lives of residents, develop their life skills, and provide the required medical care and a variety of therapies. Situated on 220 acres with an abundance of green space, Beverly Farm is a pleasant place to live and work for adults with developmental disabilities. Beverly farm strives to make the environment feel like home to their residents - in face, better than home in many ways. With planned social activities, comfortable housing, and unique recreational facilities, Beverly farm is as much about quality of life as it is about quality of care. Our Mission: We are her to provide a loving, caring home for adults with developmental disabilities, providing each individual with physical and emotional security and a dignified quality of life, with opportunities and challenges, within each individual's functional capabilities.

Already, I can't wait for next year's concert and to learn more about Beverly Farm.

Martha's Tea Room

Saturday was a gorgeous day, and it seemed like the perfect time to finally go to Martha's Tea Room, a restaurant right down the road from our church building. After hearing so much about it, the Tea Room definitely lived up to all of the expectations. I had one of my favorites: chicken salad. And, the pies there are DEEE-LISH-OUS! Too bad I didn't take a picture of the dessert platter the waitress showed us. Your mouth would be watering. The decor was mostly purple and green (which I love), and the murals were gorgeous. There were bible verses painted around the room. Such a nice place to visit... especially with wonderful friends!

I never would have guessed that there would be a peacock in the restroom, but there he was! If any of you ladies from work or far away churches or my family come for a visit, we will be able to eat at Martha's if you would like. (Of course, if any of you men would like to go, you may also choose to eat there!) :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh, Forgetful Me!

No matter how quickly I take out my notebook during the prayer request time in services, no matter how diligent I am at writing notes about those that are mentioned, no matter how many times I take out that notebook page during the week, I often fail to do what I should. There are prayers that should be said and people that should be remembered that fall through the cracks of my memory.

I don’t take it lightly when someone opens up to share their trials with me and I tell them that I will be praying for them. But, I can’t begin to describe that awful, sinking feeling I have in my gut when I might see that person again days or weeks or months later… knowing that I told them I would pray but haven’t… or have, but not nearly as often or as fervently as I should have prayed. I have the best of intentions, and it is important to me. But, frequently, I downright fail to do my duty.

When the days grow dim and my own trials appear, it is the realization of my shortcomings and humanity that makes me doubt that others are praying for me. And, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I so often question if our Lord has done the same: forgotten me in this deep, dark valley of life.

There is a hymn we rarely sing at our Sacred Harp gatherings. But, each time we do, these few beginning lyrics make me catch my breath. (Kedron, 48b)
Thou man of grief, remember me,
Thou never canst Thyself forget.

It becomes too easy to place conditions… “If He really cared…,” to place blame “He allowed this…,” to have doubts “Does He even know me?” and treat Him as less than He is “He doesn’t understand.” It becomes too easy to hold him to human limitations… “He has way too much to do.” and “He surely has forgotten me.”

So, forgetful me must be reminded over and over. First of all, He has sent others to pray for us and help us in our walk. He has comforted them and, in turn, they will comfort us with the love and wisdom they’ve received from God. But, even in the rare occasion it seems as if no one is there, God is there. Remembering. Never forgetting.

Sacred Harp Hymn (Sweet Union 424)
But though I have Him oft forgot,
His loving kindness changes not.

No matter how hard the trial, He really cares. No matter the difficult lesson, He is beside me. No matter how large the doubts, His love is steadfast. No matter how large the trial, He understands what I am experiencing and doesn’t turn away. No matter how many troubles in this world, His promises to me, his child, are kept. No matter how many human limitations I try to place on him, His mercies and love are unending. Never failing are His remembrances of me.

While, one day, I can remember this and hold on to this, so easily the next day will I forget. Time and time again.

We sing a special hymn that pleads, “O Lord, remember me!” and I love its sentiments. But, I need a hymn that cries out, “Forgetful me, remember our Lord”… remember all of whom He is… all of which He is capable… all of which He has accomplished for me. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, He will never forget or fail…no matter how many times I do so.

He remembers. And, each time I remember this, may I fall at His feet to worship Him as I should.

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
But when I see thee as thou art,
I’ll praise thee as I ought.

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

De 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What I Have Learned At The Hotel

In the short time I've worked at the hotel, I've learned a few things.

1) I will never ever put a glass or bottle of liquid in the garbage but will first dump out the drink. Some poor soul has to tote that bag of garbage outside to the dumpster.

2) When wearing black clothes (which is almost a constant for me), cleaning out the lint compartment of an industrial sized dryer is tricky business.

3) No matter how many times I fold fitted sheets, the finished product still doesn't look very good.

4) A vending machine will often jam causing a bag of chips to become suspended, but a vending machine can do it repeatedly and suspend 4 bags without dropping a single one.

5) Newlywed couples are the most kind, courteous guests, and they smile from ear to ear. Guests who check in after midnight have usually had a very difficult day and should be greeted with caution.

6) Never take a guest's word on what room number in which another guest is staying... especially on the night shift.

7) Smoke detector batteries die at the most inopportune times.

8) Even when the nextdoor Sonic is closed, they keep that funny Sonic radio station playing on each of their drive-up order boards. Sometimes softly. Most of the time, loudly.

9) The same infomercials play on various channels during the night and wee hours of the morning... sometimes up to 4 channels at one time.

10) The most common noise complaint has not been about pets, loud partying or TVs... but snoring!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Catching Up

As of 11:00 pm central time this evening, benefits open enrollment is complete, and I'm hoping to return to my usual schedule. I haven't been able to post very often. At the same time, besides being at work and sleeping, there hasn't been much happening about which to write. Still, I hope to pick up with the posting in the next week.

To get started, I thought I'd follow Other Mother's lead and post her meme. These little quizzes make me chuckle - as they are usually created by and for teenagers... and I don't exactly know how to answer certain questions.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? I made myself laugh.

2. What were you doing at 0800? Pulling into the parking lot at work.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Rushing to get to the hotel after a short nap.

4. What happened to you in 2006? I would say the most significant things that happened last year were some major shifts in beliefs. It was a big time of exploring, and I read and read and read. I also joined the St. Louis Shape Note/Sacred Harp group and tried to return to a lot of hobbies that I had dropped in the busy-ness of leaving Indianapolis.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? I found myself singing a hymn... which is pretty much a constant.

6. How many beverages did you have today? Orange juice, diet coke, lots of ice water.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Black and silver

8. What was the last thing you paid for? Over $45 for gas. I pray the price goes back down soon.

9. Where were you last night? Right here at the hotel.

10. What color is your front door? As my neighbors say, "lemon lime green"... which matches my shutters.

11. Where do you keep your change? In my billfold, in the pocket with a broken zipper. A new wallet is long overdue. Guess I need to save up my change.

12. What’s the weather like today? Sunny and surprisingly warm.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? I love vanilla.

14. What excites you? Lately? The opportunity for a nap. :)

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Yes, a haircut is also long overdue. As of this morning, I have an appointment set.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Yes, even though I don't feel like it.

17. Do you talk a lot? If you know me, you know the answer. But, I'm doing it less and less these days.

18. Do you watch the O.C.? No. Never have.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes, many.

20. Do you make up your own words? Yes, as often as possible.

21. Are you a jealous person? Not usually. But, I'm sure it is one of the many sins I commit.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter 'A'. My brother Aaron is my friend. My "niece" Abi is my friend. Those are the first two of many that came to mind.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Other Mother posted this first, and she's my friend.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? My cousin David.

25. What does the last text message you received say? It's from my friend John, and I shouldn't repeat it.

26. Do you chew on your straw? I hardly use a straw to sip (I'd rather chug), so I rarely unwrap them to chew on them. If anything, I twist them up so someone else can flick them and make them pop.

27. Do you have curly hair? Enough so that it is right between curly and straight... which means it is just frizzy.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Home to my house.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? I have no idea. I'd rather not try to figure that out.

30. What was the last thing you ate? A veggie burrito from Qdoba.

31. Will you get married in the future? I pray God will bless me with marriage, but I have no idea. I wouldn't ever want to get married just to get married.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I saw part of Babe again the other day. I never get tired of it.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? Sure, and I hope to pass them a note during study hall. (Just joking.)

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? Wednesday evening, and I have a ton more to do that are waiting for me at home on the counter.

35. Are you currently depressed? Nope. Pretty hopeful.

36. Did you cry today? Yes, during a deep discussion with a co-worker.

37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I thought I'd join in the fun with Other Mother.

Let me know if you post this on your blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Celebrating Their Service

My friend Alan had a great party for his sons this weekend. Both were home from active duty - Seth from a sub, Kyle from the Air Force - and neither will return to battle again. Knowing this was such a relief to all of that family, and Alan thought it was time to celebrate. So, he hired our co-worker's band, rented a hotel banquet room, ordered food, and sent out the invitations. It was a great time Saturday night, and I was so happy to catch up with Alan's parents, his sons, and all of their family besides making some new friends and celebrating with work pals. My pictures really captured the essence of the event.

But, trying to save time today, I messed up. When trying to copy them from my camera card to my picture files, I CUT (my first no-no), I DELETED the file they were in (my second no-no), and then tried to paste the pictures where I wanted them. POOF! And, they vanished... not to be retrieved. I've never done that before, and I hope to never do that again. It's very important to COPY, PASTE, and then go back and delete the originals, if desired. Oh well. Just take my word for it. The party was a good time, and I think Alan's sons really appreciated being home.

We've been praying for them, and we pray they have continued safety as they carry out the rest of their duty here in the U.S. We are so thankful for the sacrifices both young men have made to defend us!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rushing and Reflecting

I've been working around the clock, but it has been an energizing week. It's been great to interact with the employees on the "off shifts" and help them determine which benefits plans are best for their families. I have been getting so much done at work, but I feel like I'm getting very little accomplished for myself. Hopefully, this weekend can provide some time for catching up... with sleep, with bills, with study, with taking a few deep breaths.

On my way to and from work, I've had a special time listening to some hymn CDs that I dug out of my collection. So often, I get in a rut of listening to what I've had in my car for weeks. So, this past Sunday night, while reflecting on the blessed church meeting we had, I took the time to choose some new music for my time in the car. There's nothing like a capella hymn singing!!!! While listening this morning, I realized I had failed to post some pictures from last weekend because of the recent rush.... so I thought I would post them today. Unfortunately, I didn't pull out the camera early enough to catch all of the pictures I wanted, but here are some great ones! We had wonderful worship services and a fun time fellowshippin', as usual.

Brother Jim & Sister Delores, Brother Neal and Sister Debbie

Sister Marlene and Brother Chris (who's about to crack up), Elder Clayton and Sister Nancy Nowell

Sister Tasha and itty bitty Rian, Abi with some bananas (???)

Brother Tom enjoying some fellowship. We're not Lambert's, but we've got our own throwed rolls. Brother Dale is having a good time demonstrating.

We're a big FAN of John's special smiley face throwed roll. Here's Piano Man, John and Uncle Roger after the roll exhibition.

Most of the Corn Family... along with Sister Michele's sister, Daphne, and nephew, Hayden.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Things In Common

What common items are measured in lignes? (ligne = approximately 1/40 of an inch)

The tops of what common items are known by pan, button, dome, round, truss, flat, and oval?

Bobby T Plympton invented and manufactured what common item for men in the late 1800s?

Ferdinand Magellan kept 18 of these common items on his ship to track time.

What common item has the length of 0.250 inch, a leg thickness of 0.020 inch, a leg width of 0.030 inch, and a crown width of 0.500 inch?

What common item has the chemical formula C5 H5 NO2 ?

The plastic or metal end of this common item is called an aglet.