Friday, December 21, 2012

Proxy Letter to Santa

Baby writing to Santa.
I hope he is fluent in Scribble.

Dear Santa,

This morning I sat my daughter down to write a letter to you. But when I asked her what she wanted to ask you for, all she said was “a present”. Then I tried to explain, a laughable attempt in the face of two-year old distraction, and when I asked again, she said she wanted one present. I asked her what that one present should be, and she changed it to three presents. While I may be an English major, I'm no fool: I know an increasing numerical pattern when I see one, and in order to avoid the next request being six presents, I just figured I'll take over the letter writing for this year and she can try again when she's a little older and not quite so hyper-focused on counting everything.

So... how are you, Santa? How have things been up at the North Pole? I hope all the reindeer are well and Mrs. Claus and the elves are in good spirits. Goodness... this is awkward. I'm sorry, it's just been so long since I wrote you a letter myself. What has it been... fifteen, sixteen years? I know I was only barely on the cusp of preteen-hood when I “figured out” that Santa wasn't real. And it took me until about three Christmases ago to learn what most parents eventually learn around the time their first child is born: that they were mistaken and you are very real and it is my highest Christmas calling to make sure my daughter knows it well. (Though I would appreciate it if all your gifts didn't magically have a way of emptying my bank account, but I guess you can't mess with a good system.)

Anyway, I guess, being how you know when we've been naughty or nice, that you probably have some sort of surveillance capabilities and have been keeping up pretty well with what's happened with me in the meantime, so I won't bore you with details. Suffice to say, I grew up, moved to Maryland, got married, had a kid, etc. Fast forward to present.

Oh, speaking of presents, let me get back on track here. Honestly, I really don't know what to tell you as far as what my daughter might want. Thanks to her grandmother, she has plenty of warm clothes for winter, and she just got a bunch of toys for her birthday in October. Her dad is supposed to be making her a doll-bed, and I was hoping to make a little pillow and blanket to go with it (I know-- four days to go; I am the Queen of Procrastination). But she has been getting very into pretending lately, and as I already mentioned, she LOVES counting right now, so anything that appeals to those would probably be perfect. I'll leave that up to you, Santa, since you're the expert. How many centuries have you been doing this now?

As for me, well, the only thing I really want is a house. Preferably one that cleans itself, and has room for a garden. And has some space between neighbors, since sharing a wall with a series of smoking residents has really taught me to cherish my own space. It would also be nice if the house had teleporter pads or portals so I could easily step out a special door and walk over to visit a friend in Boise or my parents in California. Oh, and while we're at it, could it also have a special shield around it to block out noise pollution? They've been doing construction for about 6 months next door here and it is getting old. And of course, I'd like all the usual: hi-tech security system, big modern kitchen, nice big deck to host parties and get Three Days of Barbeque up and running again (the Mayans were actually right! There was no 3 Days this year! End of the world!). Oh, and if it could also come pre-furnished, that'd be great. And make sure there's a replicator in the kitchen, so I only have to cook if I want to.

So in other words, something like this:

Okay? Awesome. Thanks! You're the best Santa!

Merry Christmas,

The Grove Family

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My New Favorite Psalm

I'm still not 100% sure about sharing this, since it's kind of personal and I'm not a fan of trolls commenting on my faith. But I've had a rocky year spiritually, and I know at least one of my friends who has also been going through similar problems and might need to hear what God taught me, so here goes. 

To be brutally honest, I have spent a large chunk of the past six months whining like a sleep-deprived two-year old to God and envying all the cool "stuff" others had. 

About a year ago, we had to ask some friends to take our Compassion International Sponsored Child off our hands because we couldn't afford to pay the bill. We've had several conflicts with the landlords at our apartment complex which basically resulted in them threatening us with ridiculous consequences if we didn't roll over and take it, but we can't get enough money put away to come up with a down-payment for a house, and we can't afford a more expensive (i.e. better) apartment. Plus, since I've lost all this weight, practically all of my clothes are pretty much falling off, and most of them are very old and ragged, and I haven't really been able to afford more. 

This Christmas, the hubby and I decided we weren't even going to exchange gifts with each other, and I've had to hand-make all the gifts for everyone else on our list. Our finances have even been so bad that I have actually had to ask my parents for money at least once this year (something that just shamed me and my self-image of self-sufficiency to no end), because I couldn't afford to buy winter clothes for my daughter when it got cold out and I couldn't find any hand-me-downs in her size. 

So, needless to say, I've spent much of the year rather bitter over what "everyone else" has while we scrimp and save and go without, all in vain it seems. But then, in the past couple months, we started keeping a very detailed budget (my OCD said this would be a better way to keep track of our money). At first, all my l33t math skillz (can you hear the sarcam?) could come up with was a paltry $200 a month that we could maybe save if the price of gas and groceries remained static, and we didn't go out to eat or spend any money on anything except absolute essentials. But then, without any sort of explanation I can come up with, we have ended each the last two months with more than a thousand dollars left over to put into savings. In fact, we had so much extra this month that we were able to adopt a new Compassion Child (as a gift for my daughter for Christmas).

Popy, our new Compassion Child.
Look at those cheeks! We looked for a girl with the same
birth month and age as my daughter, and those cheeks sold us!
At the very least she and my daughter will have cuteness in common!

Not only that, but we were also able to pay for two nights at a hotel for a family facing the possibility of spending this Christmas on the street because they can't get a place at a family shelter, and we even bought Hubby a new wedding band (he lost his about a year ago and has been bare-fingered ever since). And there will even be enough leftover next month to fill the gap while I'm unexpectedly out of work for two weeks. Maybe all that doesn't seem like a lot to everyone, but to us, having been living paycheck to paycheck and counting every grudgingly-spent penny, it really is a Christmas miracle.

Then, this afternoon, as I was listening to my devotions while unloading the dishwasher (thank you, YouVersion Bible App and the Chronological reading plan), Psalm 73 came on. This Psalm just struck such a cord in my heart that I had to personalize it. So after the dishes were all put away, I sat down at my computer and wrote the following. This is Psalm 73 if I had written it instead of that Asaph guy.

Psalm 73 (Paraphrased)
A Psalm of CaptainConundrum

  1. Truly God is good to His people, to those who love and obey Him.
  2. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
  3. For I was envious of those who have more, when I saw the prosperity of those who don't care about right and wrong.

  1. For they have it easy until they die; their bodies are toned from private gym memberships and tan from vacations in the tropics.
  2. They don't have daily worries like I do; they don't wonder how they will pay next month's rent or have to wear clothes that are too big and full of holes.
  3. Therefore, pride is their sandwich-board; they think nothing of taking from others or ignoring the needy.
  4. Their wallet swells with crisp twenties; their minds are occupied with manicures, cruises, vacation homes, parties, booze, and one-night flings.
  5. They scoff and make fun of my faith; loftily, they accuse me of being a blind fool or a bigot and sue people like me because we worship the only true God.
  6. They claim God doesn't even exist, and they talk themselves up as the only god worth worshiping.
  7. They buy expensive cars, houses and electronics, they eat out every night, and still they want more, and their friends cheer them on!
  8. And they say, “How can God let bad things happen? Is there any proof to that God of yours?”
  9. Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
  10. Apparently for no reason, I have tried to live a clean life and clothed myself in Christ's innocence.
  11. Morning, noon and night, I read articles and Facebook posts that shun me and call me any number of derogatory names because I believe in You and Your Word.
  12. If I had decided “I will give them some of their own medicine” and stooped to their level, calling names and kicking up lawsuits right and left, I would have betrayed Christ's higher calling on my life.

  1. But when I tried to understand why things are the way they are, it wore me out and frustrated me,
  2. until I went to God in prayer; then I understood what that lifestyle results in.

  1. Of course! You put them in a difficult position; you make everything they work for worth nothing.
  2. How the point of their lives are made pointless in a single moment, swept away like garbage in the face of what really matters.
  3. Like waking up from a wonderful dream, O Lord, when you show yourself, you prove all their glory to be nothing but their own imagination.
  4. When I was bitter, when my heart envied everything they had,
  5. I was just like them, selfish, ignorant, and shallow; I acted like a wild animal toward you, suspicious and ungrateful.

  1. Nevertheless, You never left me; you hold me in Your arms.
  2. You guide me with that still, small voice and the signs of Your work in my life, and when this life ends, You will bring me to be with you, where my every need and desire will be overwhelmingly fulfilled forever.
  3. Who do I have in all Creation if not You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.
  4. My clothes may be holey, my bank account may be in the red, I may have bills I cannot pay and live in a crappy apartment, but God is the strength of my heart and all the riches I could ever hope for.

  1. Listen up, everyone. Those who keep putting distance between themselves and God aren't going to end well; God gives a sad ending to every life that chooses not to honor its Maker.
  2. As for me, I will stay as close to God as I can; I have hidden my hopes and dreams and desires in Him, and I will declare His awesomeness to the world.

    Is there a Psalm or Bible verse that pretty well summarizes a lesson God has been teaching you this year? 
    Please share it in the comments!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Firefly Depression

Good morning... if you can call it good.

I'm having a full on Firefly-depression day. It's all Facebook's (and of course FOX's) fault. First I watched this, linked on the “Help Nathan Buy Firefly” page:

Then I watched this:

Now I'm a mess. Yeah, pathetic as it is, the mere thought of FOX's monumental stupidity in canceling the best show ever made when it was not even a full season in still gets me weepy sometimes. Don't judge me! 

I love Star Trek, and Star Wars is obviously a family staple in our household. Just learned to love Doctor Who this year, and while I haven't seen it yet, I hear nothing but good things about Battlestar Galactica. Nevertheless... Firefly will always be my true and first sci-fi love!

You hear that FOX? You can't take the sky from me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Captain Gave to Me Five Months Worth of Updates in One Entry!

August!? Geez! [Insert the usual apology here for neglecting to update for so long.]

Hmm, updates, okay, well, I'll make it quick so I can get to more interesting stuff:

Little Bird's Treasures

My store has been doing fairly well, for being a pretty new side project. I've sold maybe six items at this point, mostly to friends and family, though I did sell two items at a vendor site during a Darkon function. Meanwhile I've been busily coming up with new items all the time and stocking my store on Etsy as much as possible. The business hasn't taken off quite as much as I was hoping, but as I explained to a friend, I think this is just going to be one of those stages in life where I have other, more important things to juggle (i.e. work, family, young children, church, etc.), and the store will have to remain a lower priority until I can afford the time and attention to really market it like it needs to be a successful business and primary income. But that doesn't mean I haven't been hard at work. I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a busy month between making Christmas gifts and custom projects. Below is a custom ornament I just finished. It turned out even more adorable than I hoped!

As requested by my friend's five year old Brony son: "A dragon and a pony."

Bone Throwers Theater

You may have noticed me mention that I am a big fan of podcasts. Some of my favorites are listed in the links. But I never gave a thought to actually being ON a podcast, that is until my friend Jordan, a longtime veteran of radio and broadcasting media, approached me and the hubby about starting an RPG actual-play podcast with a small group of gamers we play with fairly often. We've just finished up designing the world using a book called Microscope, and we'll be basing the mechanics on the Mini Six system. We've spent a few months now ironing out details and designing an epic, dark, sci-fi/fantasy dystopia and the history to go with it, and we are officially ready to begin recording. The podcast will be available on iTunes, a soundcloud website, and at the website posted above in March. We have an awesome mix of players, and I feel so honored and excited to be a female collaborator of a podcast in a genre that is so typically male-dominated. All of the people participating are not only amazing and creative gamers, but very talented people, and I'm really looking forward to this being a huge success in the nerd world!


I've been really working to entrench myself into the community of foam fighters and LARPers I've become a part of. My character is apparently at least semi-well known, and very much so in my immediate country, Elidor, because she is a baker (i.e. I bring free cookies and pastries and bribe people to like me!). Apparently my food-as-friendship ploy has caught the notice of a few game officials, because a friend of mine in the game senate told me I was nominated for an in-game award (“The Golden Spud”-- how ironic is that for a girl originally from the Potato State?) that recognizes new players who have “gone above and beyond”. Ha! Boy do I have them fooled! I'm just making a bid for the other players to not disown me despite my total lack of coordination and couth! LOL.

But in any case, the real honor and delight has been forming friendships with other players, most especially several other women who have become close friends both in- and out-of-game. I met Dorie at a Darkon function when she randomly showed up to try it out (much the same way I did). Laura was actually already an acquaintance from church who started volunteering with me in GAs this year (and therefore saved my life and sanity), and when I happened to mention I spend two Sundays per month smacking full-grown men with foam sticks, she was immediately intrigued. We three now carpool to Darkon functions as often as possible, and often hang out outside of Darkon as well. We had a sleepover the other week which resulted in several episodes of hilarity, including “T-Rexy” dance breaks, old-man crushes (Elidorian males over 40 would LOVE to know those secrets!), and the coinage of our characters' shared last name (Some relation, but we're not clear yet how. Sisters or cousins, perhaps?): DuCield'or. Dorie came up with it, since she's a cool Canadian chick with a handle on funky French (see the alliteration I did there?). It means “Of the golden skies” in French. Epic, am I right?

The Warrior Women: Couth have we none, but chicken wings and T-rexy-ness aplenty!

A Slice of Simericana

Okay, here's where I give you free license to point and laugh at me for a period of up to but not exceeding 5 minutes.

You done? Okay.
Confession time: I am a total dork. You may say, “Well, we all know that,” but I beg to differ. A nerd and/or geek are significantly different from a dork. They imply interest in nerdy things like gaming, role-playing, sci-fi/fantasy genres, etc. A dork, on the other hand, just says that the person is basically so far gone it's pathetic. Well, a dork I am. And proud of it, since I am apparently quite successful at it!
Long story short, I like to play Sims 3 (which is a very understated way of saying I am a hopeless addict and belong in rehab). Well, one evening my dearest hubby decided my game and the expansion packs were taking up too much room on the laptop's hard drive so he took all my data and moved it to the D drive. TOTALLY screwed up my game.

My husband, the Sim-world wrecker.

Anyway, it took a full day to get my game back to working order (i.e. uninstall and reinstall the whole thing), during which I needed to get my fix and wandered into the online community forums. Several hours later, I had discovered challenges and a whole new, dorky world of... wait for it...


“Seriously?” you say, raising an eyebrow. Seriously. People play their game, use their screenshot feature to capture photos of their Sims mid-shenanigan, then post them up and write stories about them. Well, not only do I fly my dorky colors proudly by declaring that I fell in love with the concept as well as several blogs (see links!), but I started my own Sims blog! I started off with a legacy challenge because it was among the simplest and least rule-complicated challenge, and my family is currently on Generation One of the Hemlock Chronicles, with a gypsy wizard and prophetess named Moriah Hemlock as the founder. My first few entries were rather blasé as I worked up to a decent plot, but the last couple entries have been-- if I do say so myself-- rather scintillating. I welcome the blog traffic if you'd like to go read it and/or make fun of me in the comments! (The really sad/intriguing thing is that after only a month, I'm already up to 3 followers and quite a few comments, which blows this blog's progress out of the water. I guess people would rather read made up stories about my Sims than real stories and thoughts about my life. Wow... let me tell you, that makes a girl feel great!)

Weight Loss and Tai Chaun Do

In case you haven't checked the Lilypie widget in the sidebar, I'll just declare to the world here that I have officially lost
45 pounds!!!
[Pauses for applause. Takes a bow.]

I've been keeping very dedicated to my diet viaEverydayHealth's Calorie Counter, and going to Tai Chuan Do twice a week as often as I can. I am now an Orange Belt. Oh... and I did this:

Pine boards everywhere: FEAR ME!

Anyway... that's about the extent of my updating for the moment.

[Insert usual promise to update more often here.]


Friday, August 24, 2012

Girlcott #2: Girl on a Mission

Okay, I know I said I would start small, and I had an idea in mind that I wanted to do for this week's girlcott, but then I read something on Facebook, and all of a sudden I knew with that sort of “only God could have given me this idea” feeling that this was going to be my girlcott this week. I am so excited to share this with you that I was literally bouncing off the walls explaining it to my husband last night. The thing I'm supporting today doesn't even fit into just one specific category, so I'll try to keep my list of things we're supporting as brief as possible, despite my excitement. Okay, here goes:

As a Christian, I support...
… missions.
… faith in God's provision.
… human worth.
… basing our identities in Christ.
… believers encouraging one another.

Before I explain those, let me introduce you to a woman I know. Even at first glance, she is hard to ignore. She is tall and thin, with a graceful boyish figure and a ready, mischievous smile. The first time I saw her, she had a mohawk, dyed in various colors, and was sporting it as proudly as any punker ever would. Being a former punk myself (way back when!) this immediately drew me to her, and I was eager to become friends with this fearless young lady who sported a brown belt in Tai Chuan Do. As the weeks and classes passed, we got to know each other a little better, and I learned many things about this woman. She loves to laugh, and is incredibly ticklish. Despite that, she is tough and disciplined, and eagerly takes on even black belts with an energy that cannot be squashed. She has a several sisters and an older brother and loves them with quiet but fierce loyalty. Perhaps most striking to me is the fact that she is incredibly unique, and fearless. Something I've always struggled with as a woman is the concept of how others view me, a question that can feel literally disabling on my worst days. But this young lady walked into the dojo with her head literally shaved, and as everyone else blinked in surprise, she just grinned and went to practice her katas. Whenever we have a Bible study that she feels led to comment on, she does so with an insight and directness that speak directly to her close relationship with the Father. And she is such an encouraging person to be around. Every time we run laps (which is pretty much every class), she is there smiling at me or giving me an encouraging high five or “Way to go!” at the end of it that almost makes ten laps of high-knees worth it (almost). Her beauty, faith, courage, encouragement, energy and discipline in the dojo have all inspired me to do my best and try my hardest, even when being the oldest or least in-shape person in the room has made me consider quitting. And if my experience with her is any gauge, I'm sure she has the same effect on every person she comes into contact with.

Now a few months ago, I learned that this young lady is planning on taking a mission trip. I don't know about you, but when I hear about young people taking a mission trip, my first thought is the type of “mission trip” I took in college: spending a few days working hard at painting houses in an orphanage in Mexico, then take the rest of the week to head out to the beach and shops (oh, and “hand out tracts,” of course). In other words, there's often an equal amount of tourism and evangelism. Perhaps we could even coin a new word and call it evango-tourism. Regardless, while it's a wonderful thing, it tends not to require much commitment on the part of the missionary. Even if they do spend the entire week working their kiesters off, it's only a week, and then they head back to the comfort of their normal lives, secure in the knowledge that they did their time for God and will be blessed accordingly. So I'm sorry to say that was the first thought I had when she said she was raising money to go on a mission trip. Evango-tourism. But then she went on to explain that she would be leaving to live in Thailand for six months, and my eyes popped wide, my shallow little idea of “mission trips” flying out the window like a fat startled pigeon. She explained further, that she was being sent by a group called Adventures in Missions to go work with an organization called SHEThailand (Self Help and Empowerment), a ministry that focuses on forming relationships with girls and women working in the sex trade in Thailand, helping them to discover their worth in the eyes of their Heavenly Father and providing a new life for them through jobs making jewelry with the ministry. I went onto SHE Thailand's website and read some of the testimonials, and was so struck by the beauty of what this ministry is doing. Trust me, if you read those testimonials, have a box of tissues close by. The stark realization of the treatment some of these women, children, and “lady-boys” are exposed to on a nightly basis is horrific, and the friendship, faith, and hope they find through forming friendships with workers in SHE is a touching picture of redemption through relationship.

And this woman, this fastastically quirky, confident, strong, beautiful, and faithful woman, wants to go be a part of this. Only one problem: she still needs $1300 to pay for her trip. Is she worried though? Well, yes, we all tend toward worrying when time is coming up and we don't know what will happen if we don't make the cut. She hasn't been able to ascertain exactly what will happen to her next six months worth of plans if she doesn't raise the money. But whereas I would be practically frantic to still be a thousand dollars short two days before I leave the country, this cool cucumber merely uttered a prayer request and smiled her usual mischevious smile at Tai Chuan Do on Tuesday night. She knows it is in God's hands, and she trusts his provision as much as she initially trusted his calling for her to go. She knows he will provide.

So what do I want to do about it? Well, I've already been giving money to help her meet her goal. So far I've given her three weeks worth of my “allowance”, $60 in total. And I wish it could have been more, but I found out about it rather late and didn't have the chance to manage my cashflow as I wanted. But as I mentioned before, I have other resources: I have a blog and a Facebook. And I have such great respect and admiration for this woman that I am determined to help get her over there to Thailand, because I look at her and just know that God created her for this express purpose of giving the same encouragement and confidence to other women that she has given to me. So I am dedicating this Girlcott to my friend, Gloriel, to help her raise funds for her mission trip. She leaves Monday, so not a minute can be spared if we want to help her get over there and working for the Lord. I encourage you to take a look at your wallet and bank account and prayerfully and sacrificially consider if you can spare any amount to give to her. If you can, then go to the following website and follow the instructions below. If you are unable to do so, never fear: you can still help! Gloriel has asked above all for prayer, that she receive the money before time is up, that she be safe and effective in Thailand, and that the women she is working with will see God through her. So whether or not you give, and before you even leave this page, would you please say a prayer to God in thanks for His having created such a wonderful person, and asking Him to protect her and use her extravagantly for the glory of His kingdom? And if you want still more to do, here's an idea for you: check out SHE Thailand's onlinestore, and consider buying some of the beautiful handmade jewelry for yourself or a friend, and help to support these victimized women as they form a new life based on God's love for them (this stuff would make some excellent Christmas gifts!).

To donate toward Gloriel's mission fund:
  1. Go to her Adventures in Missions Online Donation Page
  2. Under “Choose Program”, select “The Passport (formerly Real Life)”
  3. For the Participant's name, type in “Gloriel Taylor”
  4. Enter the amount you would like to donate (NOTE: While they do accept debit and credit cards, the most effective gift is in the form of a bank note, since it bypasses the card charges to the recipient, so if you are able to do so, I would recommend it.)
  5. Select “Continue”.
  6. Fill out all the information on the next page (this is just so they can charge your account and send you a receipt).
  7. Say a prayer that the money would be used effectively and thank God for sending His willing servants out harvest the souls that are crying out to Him!

I'll be checking back to see how much people are donating, so if you'd like to list the amount you've donated in the comments, I'll keep a tally here: 
$60 so far! ($1300 still needed.)

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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

พระเยซู“สิทธิอำนาจทั้งสิ้นในสวรรค์และในแผ่นดินโลกทรงมอบไว้แก่เราแล้ว ดังนั้นจงไปสร้างสาวกจากมวลประชาชาติ ให้เขารับบัพติศมาใน พระนามของพระบิดา พระบุตร และพระวิญญาณบริสุทธิ์ สอนเขาให้เชื่อฟังทุกสิ่งที่เราสั่งพวกท่านไว้ และแน่นอน เราจะอยู่กับท่านทั้งหลายเสมอไปตราบจนสิ้นยุค”

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Girlcott: The Word of God

(For my initial brainstorming on the meaning of and purpose behind a girlcott, see the previous entry.)

Okay, so I promised myself that however tempting it might be to launch into some epic girlcott for huge sociopolitical reform or something, I was going to start small, in order to encourage myself and others that change actually is possible, even with the limited resources and time of a SAHM. So my first girlcott ever is a total no-brainer:

As a Christian, I support the Word of God!

There is one scripture I've based pretty much my entire faith and Christian life off of, and it is 2nd Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” That pretty much says it all right there. If we're working through girlcotts to try and show what we are for, we should of course start with the Word of God, the Scriptures.

And frankly, I would never have had the idea for girlcotts if I hadn't been really delving into the word lately. Now I don't know about you but the hardest part for me about reading the Bible every day is pretty much my lack of familiarity with it. If I don't have a study of some sort of plan, I never know where to begin, or what sort of verses would be useful for me to review and apply for what I'm going though at the time. And that's probably the best thing I've discovered about the Youversion Bible app: the reading plans. Currently, I just finished the 3-day Book of James reading plan, I'm halfway through the 5-day Parenting focus, and I've read 0.8% of the one-year Chronological Bible Reading Plan. In fact, several of the verses I included in my initial idea post on girlcotts were pulled from my Youversion Reading Plans. So it seems only fair that my first girlcott, a movement to support something that glorifies God to a watching world, would be supporting a tool to help Christians get more into the word of God.

I promised myself I'd actually look into things I supported, though, so here's a bit of the associations and affiliations I found connected with LifechurchTV, the organization that produces the Youversion Bible app, and as always, if you have more information, please feel welcome to share it with us in the comments!

LifechurchTV is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, an originally Swedish religious movement with Lutheran roots that is now a pretty fast growing evangelical movement in North America. I checked them out on Wikipedia, and I know you're probably rolling your eyes, but if there's one place you can usually find any dirt on something or someone, it's that gossip-based website. Anyway, I couldn't find a problem with it, and even if I had, the app is free, so they don't gain any money or anything from it. It is simply an effort to help people get more into the Word of God daily, and contains many different translations of the Bible so that pretty much anyone of any denomination can use it.

Being as how it is a free app, that also kind of limits what I can do to support it, but I haven't actually written a review for it on the app store, so I'm going to go do that, and will probably recommend it to anyone I happen to bump into today who owns a smartphone or tablet. If you have a smartphone, I encourage you to download it and start getting into the Word or check out their topical or other reading plans. And if you don't own a smartphone; no worries! A regular old Bible works just as well, and you can still check out their reading plans online or download the app onto your PC or laptop using their Windows 8 app. Biblegateway is also an excellent website to read the Bible in different versions and does offer a few reading plans, though not as many. Anyway, I'm going to continue reading my daily Bible plans, and I'll see you next Friday for the next girlcott!

Can you think of any other ways you could support the Word of God to a watching world this week?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Girlcott, anyone?

So I've been thinking a lot lately (read: nearly obsessively) about ways to live out the things I believe as far as how Christians could improve their behavior in the world and in the Church. For those who haven't been following my Facebook status feeds, etc., here's the low-down:

Obviously, with the elections coming up as well as the whole Chick-Fil-A Gay Rights fiasco recently, Facebook has been a hotbed for sociopolitical and theological arguments, even moreso than usual. My feed is constantly flooded with articles, status posts, and pictures that seem to contribute to the utter polarization of almost every issue under the sun. This friend is reposting a picture that encourages everyone to "Like if you support traditional marriage" (the picture portrays a young, mid-twentiesish white male and female embracing-- not exactly what I have in mind as "traditional marriage"... at least not so exclusively),
and that friend is posting a viral meme that says "You’d never see that many Christians lined up to help at a food bank or homeless shelter. And that’s something Jesus actually said to do" (a statement that is at least as factually flawed as it is emotionally provoking). 
Then of course, you have the comments, for or against what is being stated/posted. We wont even get into those except to say that they are often apparently knee-jerk reactions motivated by fear or anger (on both sides), and are often downright rude to both the poster and anyone who happens to agree/disagree with them. Now I'm not saying that these are the only things being posted on Facebook, nor are they largely being posted by one group or another. In fact, the most disturbing thing I've seen is the fact that it is literally impossible to distinguish one "group" from another, based on what they are posting/commenting. Nowhere is this more disturbing than when Christians, or at least people who claim to be Christians, are posting things that are meant to shame thier own church and ridicule at least the majority of their fellow Christians.

Now maybe I'm just being old-fashioned. I never could get into the spirit of passive-aggressive demotivational posters, and politics (or really any subject that turns kind, reasonable people into slavering narcissistic maniacs) has always turned me off. But it seems to me that the Church, at the very least, should be following Jesus' command to "Love one another," if for no other reason than to attain his promise that thereby everyone will know that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35). If we can't even manage to love other Christians, it's no wonder that the world sees us as cold, heartless bigots. 

Part of the problem, I think, is that in our attempt to avoid being silent in the face of sin and temptation which permeates our culture (and has always permeated every culture since the Fall of Man), we get into this knee-jerk naysaying mindset. We are slow to approve of any good thing the world comes up with, but we know what sin looks like, and we choose to speak up against it at the first opportunity. I definitely got into this mindset as a baby Christian: I was new in my faith and just beginning to understand how differently I would have to live now in order to please God. And like a child who has been told by thier parents what words they arent allowed to say and then hears another adult say it, I spoke up at the most inappropriate of times, claiming that "That's a sin" and "God told me that's a bad word/thing". I understand why we do that: it is because we fear sin and the death it brings, emotionally, physically, spiritually, sociopolitically, and every other "-ally". And rightly so. James 1:17 tells us that sin produces death, and death is something mankind has feared since it first entered our world. I would also like to believe that the reason Christians are so keen to correct the world is that not only do we care about others' souls, but we also recognize that "no man is an island," so to speak, and every sin committed by a person affects those around them to some extent (even if they seem like private sins that don't hurt anyone-- for more on that line of reasoning, C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is an excellent read!), and so we are concerned not only for the sinner, but the others that they are influencing. 

But the reality remains that Christians are very much known for what we are against (i.e. homosexuality, pornography, atheism, etc.), rather than what we are for (i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, sacrifice, purity, generosity, etc.). True, the media delights much more in giving face-time to Christians protesting things, and you'll rarely hear in any major newspaper about Christian groups ministering to homosexuals dying of aids, building homes for and feeding the homeless, or giving away their earthly possessions to those less fortunate. But that shouldn't be an excuse for us. If we were truly living in such a way as to show those things we value and live for, the media would not be able to prevent that message of God's love from getting through. And that's the crux that I've been personally stewing over. I want to live in such a way as to show what I believe: that there is no God but YHWH, and that he is GOOD and LOVING, and MERCIFUL, and JUST! I'm tired of being an "anti" Christian; I want to be a "for" Christian. 

Anyway... I came up with a tentative idea. Bear with me, it's kinda silly, but here it is: a girlcott. 

No worries, this isn't me going all feminist or anything, but rather a play on words for "boycott" meant to indicate that what I'm doing is the exact opposite of it. I was thinking that maybe for a month (to begin with, and maybe more if it catches on), I would pick something weekly to support that does exemplify those things I am for: love, peace, generosity, etc.

Now, I've talked before about how I am a woman of somewhat limited means to support the things I believe in. I don't have a lot of money, and with a kid and an at home daycare (not to mention only one working vehicle), I have pretty much no time to go out and volunteer my time in lieu of money. But here's what I do have: I have $20 a week at my disposal, which my husband has encouraged me to set aside from my regular income to do with as I wish. I have a love of baking, knitting, and making jewelry. I have a Facebook account and a blog, which, as I have indicated above, are both effective means of spreading a message, at least within my own social circle. And I have a God whose imagination and innovation far surpass my own and whom I am certain will be willing to bless any effort I make to glorify Him. So...

Starting this week, I am going to start a Girlcott, supporting things that glorify God and the things He stands for with any and all of the resources at my disposal. Who's with me? (This is the part where you raise a victorious fist and cheer.)

Do you have any suggestions for things I can look into girlcotting? Remember, they have to meet the criteria of being described using most or all of the fruit of the spirit!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Motherhood, a.k.a. Christian Bootcamp

So I was noticing the interesting way in which motherhood kind of forces you to follow Jesus' admonition to “die to yourself.” Ever since becoming a mom, and especially since Baby began talking and becoming more mobile, I've noticed that dying for my own needs in order to live for another is basically the job description of motherhood. Once that baby is born, and if I hope to have any sense of having been a good mother, I must officially and unofficially put that child's needs and-- to some extent-- desires before my own needs and desires. I see examples of this every day in my own and others moms' lives, whether it's forgetting to eat lunch or breakfast because we're too busy getting our kids fed and ready for the day, picking up a bunch of toys that we didn't get out because they pose a tripping hazard, or eating vegetables we are loathe to eat because we want our children to follow suit. Okay those are some sparse examples, and I'm sure you can think of better ones... 

But the fact remains: motherhood is a little akin to Christian boot camp. What if (and not to promote a trend of condescending Christians or anything) we all behaved toward other people-- believers or otherwise-- the way we behave toward our own children? What if we forgot to eat or went hungry because we were ensuring that our local homeless had a full belly and good nutrition? What if instead of moving to safer or cleaner neighborhoods and setting up camp behind well-guarded community fences, we were out there cleaning up litter, helping repair houses and whatnot, and actually doing something about the health and safety hazards that are common in so many less well-to-do neighborhoods? What if we actually lived out some of the hard truths in scripture (such as actively loving our gay/liberal/sinful/annoying/different neighbor in deed as well as words) as an example to a non-believing world and other Christians?

I wonder what the world would be like if we looked on the world as our children... not in a tyrannical or helicopter-parenting sort of way, but with the ardent love and self-sacrificing devotion that comes with being a true mother (or father!)...

What is something you've done or seen a mom/dad do for their kids that could be applied as a way of “dying to self” to serve others and Christ?

Friday, July 20, 2012

In Memorium: A Prayer for Forgiveness

I actually woke up this morning in a decent mood. Then I looked at my Facebook and discovered what happened last night.

Reading about the Colorado shooting gave me the weirdest sense of deja vu as I recalled a scene from a novel I read recently (Terry Brooks' Running with the Demon) in which a group of friends and coworkers in a small town sat around a table at a local diner discussing the ever more shocking and appalling things that happen in the news, and wondering if such things will ever occur in their own hometown. Later in the series, one of the main characters assures the heroine that mankind is indeed doomed to a very real Hell of our own making unless we start taking personal responsibility for each other, instead of looking out only for our own desires.

Reading about the 24 year old white male who broke into a movie theater only to gas and gun down the movie-goers in time with a shootout scene onscreen (Coincidence or not? Kinda makes you wonder if there's some connection between movie violence and psychotic behavior after all.), I am reminded that such things start with the small steps of forgetting that our fellow human beings are people, and not just means to our own ends, there to be used or tossed aside as we see fit. I know I have been guilty of forgetting this in my rush to get things done and achieve my own goals, and I am taking a moment today to say a prayer for God's forgiveness of my inhumanity. Meanwhile, in memory of those who died in this senseless tragedy, I am going to make an effort today and in the future to treat people not just as objects for my own use, but as brothers and sisters in my dear family, regardless of race, creed, color, or orientation.

What will you do to memorialize those that died yesterday and in other senseless tragedies?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wordless... Tuesday?

So I'm having a crazy day with the kids today. I've already cleaned up three puddles of pee, broken my to-do list down into day and hour slots just to get something done today, put the same child down for a nap twice(the first one unsuccessfully), and broken down on the phone with my best friend. So needless to say, I'm not gonna be writing anything extravagant today. Instead, I thought I'd share this fun little picture I found.

See that last lady? The one with the pouty face? Yeah... that's me today...

And how is your day going?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cellphone Etiquette (from the perspective of the girl serving you your latte)

I honestly can't think of anything interesting to say today, so I figured I'd do storytime. Then, while I was going through my portfolio, I found this lovely little rant that I wrote way back when, as a barista, and I thought it still had some useful points. Number 8, especially, gets on my nerves! Enjoy!


You’d think these were all no brainers. Cell phones have been around a while now. You might think at least most people would be fairly well-versed in the polite and timely use of their mobile best friend. Yeah… you would think…

Yet day in, day out, at work, at play, and on the road, I see rude people, many of whom are not only wholly ignorant of their own obnoxious behavior, but often dangerous to themselves and others because of it.

So here are a few easy tips on cell phone etiquette that may keep you out of danger, both from chance and others’ annoyed fury.


This is a simple and easy way to adjust your cell phone behavior. In fact, most cell phones come with an earpiece that you can easily insert and free up your hands for driving, writing, typing, or any other activity. Bluetooth technology is also becoming more prevalent and affordable. It may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many drivers I’ve seen cutting others off and nearly colliding with other vehicles because they were so occupied with keeping their phone held up to their ear that they couldn’t turn to check their blind spot.


Regardless of whether or not you have an earpiece, it’s still important to be aware of what’s going on around you. I know that drivers who talk on their cell-phones springs to mind first and foremost, but today I nearly collided with a man who was talking on his cell phone while walking along the road. I’m telling you, there’s nothing a biker likes better than to politely call “On your right!” and have a pedestrian who is blithely unaware while talking on their electronic tumor turn to the right to see who was just calling to them. Can we say “near miss”?


I work at Starbucks, so I see this about a thousand times per day, and it is my biggest pet peeve. This is rude, crude, and obscene, not only to those serving you, but to those waiting in line behind you as well. It not only slows down the line and often messes up your order, but also gives the server or cashier the impression that you esteem their individual worth to about the level of the electronic ATM at the bank. Trust me, I will give you decaf for this.


You laugh, but I’ve seen someone do this at a job interview. Needless to say, they weren’t hired.


I know that it’s exciting that you just found your aunt’s favorite author’s new mini-series or you want to tell all your friends how awesome the battle scene in the new Hulk is, but here’s a novel idea: wait until afterward! Other movie-/library-goers can hear you, and charming as your voice is, it’s definitely not what they came to the quiet environment seeking. And if there is something pressing to attend to, take it outside. I don’t care if you paid ten bucks to see this show, right now, about a hundred other people whose movie experience you just interrupted are willing to pay at least that much to kick your butt.


I don’t understand how people who self-righteously claim that they never talk on the phone while they are at work or in a meeting can then turn right around and text people while on the clock. Texting is only a literary form of chatting, and it’s still rude and wrong. If you need to talk to your friends at that very moment you can either go on break (if you’ve checked with the manager), or quit, because you are wasting your employer’s and coworkers’ time. (Yes, texting for work is a different matter, but should still never be done on the actual floor, since it still looks bad.) And for heaven’s sake, I hope I don’t even need to go into calling people (or answering calls) while at work!


It’s annoying, and in some cases embarrassing, both to you and your caller/callee. Nobody needs to know your private conversations. Keep the speaker phone for at home or during conference calls, ok? Thanks.


Now some people think, “Oh, I’m in line, I’ll just tell the person to hold on while I keep the phone glued to my ear and order my venti latte.” Not okay. Even if the person on the other end is dutifully quiet as you order, a huge chunk of your attention is still fixed upon the speaker held up to your ear, which means you are not focusing completely on the task at hand. And if you forget to order that latte with extra foam and another shot of espresso, the person who makes it will be very ticked off when ask for it to be remade now that they’ve lined up thirteen other drinks behind it. Not to mention, it’s rude to the other person. Quite a few times I’ve been asked to “hold on a second” while a friend does something else, or takes another call. “Second” in most cases translates to at least five minutes, during which time my minutes are being wasted while Slowpoke takes his sweet time. Ask them if you can call them back later when you’re more able to talk. I guarantee they’ll appreciate it.


Not to be a hypocrite, I’ll just let you know right now, I am the world’s largest offender on this one. I regularly check my messages… about once a week. But I regularly miss opportunities, including job interviews, social invitations, and conversations with distant friends because I didn’t take the time to check my messages. Don’t make my mistake. Check your voicemail: it only takes a minute.


It’s the simplest form of cell phone etiquette: the quick, sincere apology. If you ever find yourself breaking one of these rules, just stop, and apologize to those around you. There have been customers where I was seething at their lack of politeness as they held a conversation on the phone while ordering a complicated drink, but as I rang them up, they hung up and looked me in the eye and said “I was being rude, I’m sorry”, and all desire to throw that burning hot beverage on their dress suit evaporated with the apology. It’s amazing what a little retroaction will accomplish.

Now I would probably add on #11: 
Don't use your phone to show each other pictures on the internet or play retarded sound effects during an RPG session, since that usually tacks on about an extra 2 hours to our already LATE night sessions (between passing it around, laughter, and getting back on track from the conversation tangents it sparks), but I suppose that's not highly typical outside of my group of friends.

What's the most annoying thing you see people doing with their cellphones? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mental Meandering

I've got a few things on my mind today... but none of these things seem to be worthy of a blog post. However, in the interest of writing consistently, I'll go ahead and put them out there anyway.

I'm trying out a couple new techniques with my clay-working, including making Celtic knots, mold-making, and powdering black clay with silver dust to make a metallic pendant. The pendant came out pretty cool, but the mold part is getting annoying, and I need to make that before I can powder the pendant. I asked Hubby to stop by the store this evening on his way home and grab me some Sculpey Mold-Maker, which will supposedly capture the details a little better. Anyway, here are some preliminary pictures...

Elidor pendant. Close enough? You be the judge. (It'll hopefully look cooler when I put on the powder and glaze it.)
The Elidor standard.

Celtic knot pendants ( Probably one of my favorite types of designs.): 3" and 1.5", respectively. Incidentally I was going for kind of a greenish marble look, but it turned out looking more like wood grain, but cool anyway. Still need to be glazed.

I went to karate last night and I was surprised at how I'm suddenly so much more comfortable running. Not only has my asthma lessened considerably, but I think the extra weight I lost has made it easier to keep going, endurance wise. Of course, my pride at tht accomplishment was lessened somewhat by the fact that I'm a total dweeb with the new green belt techniques I learned. My “scissorhand technique” leaves something wanting. Le sigh...

I keep checking stats: on my blog and on my new shop. I know this is a bad habit to get into. I should just make and write what I'm called to do and let it speak for itself. But there's just something about that "Stats" button that tempts me every time I log in, and suddenly I just need to know how many people viewed my post or looked at my jewelry, if I have any new comments, or if anyone favorited any of my pieces. And every single time I see the results-- it doesn't matter what the numbers look like-- I'm disappointed. I always hope it'll be more. Isn't that awful? I hesitate to even think how many times a day at this point that I am checking to see who read, viewed, or “liked” something I've put up. It makes me wonder how much less stressed I'd be if I just went at my own pace and ignored what others thought of my stuff? Hmm... perhaps this is a fast in the making? How far away is Lent again?

I had a great chat with my dad last night. I was admitting to him how bad I feel that sometimes, when Baby is being funny and cute, all I can feel is annoyance. Of course, it's worse at a certain time of month (that would be now), but it does happen frequently. Anyway, he pointed out that my mom used to feel the same way when she snapped at me when I was a kid, and it just kinda hit me: this sudden feeling of understanding toward my own mom. Yeah, your kids are cute, and you love them more than life itself, but sometimes they are just plain annoying! Even when they're being cute and funny and just wanting to make you smile, if you are trying to get something else done and they are all up in your business trying to get your attention, that charming thing they're doing can just make you want to scream. I've been feeling that way with poor Baby lately, as I'm trying to set up shop and stock new items. In fact, yesterday, I had to leave the room several times, or hold her at arm's length and count to ten. I guess it's just a sort of natural reaction to having no personal space whatsoever for extended periods of time, too. Plus we spent the whole weekend all together in the RV, and I was pretty much always the “on-duty” parent since Hubby ended up having to help his dad fix the air conditioning or fridge all weekend. So before last night's class I hadn't had a “break” from Baby in almost a week. But still: I hate feeling angry at my kid for something I shouldn't feel angry about. It gives me mommy-guilt, and no mom needs more of that. But I guess I had never made that mental connection before, so when my memories of my mom's less-than-chipper moments from my childhood suddenly clicked into place in that context, I just suddenly felt so bad, and so compassionate toward her. Because, lets face it: I was annoying. That goes without saying. I probably still am! 

Hubby and Dad-in-Law fixing our stubborn A/C in the 100+ degree heat. Poor guys...
So anyway, if you're reading this, Mama, know that I love you, I understand, and thank you for not beating me! And thank you, Daddy, for being understanding and helping me to be compassionate!

And that's about all I have to say. Now to find a recipe for the chicken breasts I put out for dinner that looks good. Hmm...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Post-Achievement Blues

(To be sung to the plaintive wails of a harmonica and slowly strummed acoustic guitar:)
I've got the bluuuuuuues...

This past week has been a little bit like a MMO Guild-run dungeon crawl in real life, for me. (And just because I don't want to spend time explaining what all those words mean to people who aren't huge nerds, I linked them to definitions via Urban Dictionary; see definitions 1, 2, and 3, respectively).

By which I mean that I have accomplished so much this week that I was almost constantly getting comments, texts, phone calls, or statements of “Congratulations!” and “Way to go!” thrown out at me, much how they are when your player character manages to level twice, complete an awesome set of armor, and kill a squirrel you just “loved” (Yes, that is a WoW achievement; do not ask me why). In the spirit of friendliness and camaraderie, everyone in your guild who happens to be online is sending encouragement your way at once, and your message box is flooded with well-wishes, and you feel an inflated sense of pride, as if that squirrel was Hitler (or, if you prefer, some other easily-hateable historical figure) in disguise and you just saved the whole world by smacking it with your virtual mace. Then the dungeon crawl ends, you get your final fanfare sound byte and banner scrolling across the screen saying “Congratulations, you just completed PigglyFinx Instance!” and it's all over. No more congrats. No more encouragement and cheers. Just this kind of empty and slightly confusing feeling. Now what?

That's how I feel right now. In case you haven't been keeping up, I've...
  • lost five pounds
  • earned my orange belt in Tai Chuan Do
  • potty trained a toddler
  • submitted a short-story for a story contest, and 
  • started up my Etsy shop. 
All in the space of about a week (maybe two; I have no head for dates). I didn't realize how pumped up I was getting on all the cheers and encouragement my fantastic group of friends and family were giving me... until it was over.

Please understand, I'm not feeling sorry for myself or any such silly thing. I know that the encouragement has ended simply because I completed my accomplishments. And it's not that I don't have anything to do now. There's a whole page full of projects I have written down to make and post on my shop, and I want to retake pictures of some of my pieces. I have karate tonight where I will be learning some neat new orange belt stuff. And of course, I still have about 60 lbs left to lose altogether. It's just that I've checked off all the major accomplishments (for the present) from my list, so I'm suddenly feeling a little... empty. A little... confused. A little... “wondering-what-to-do-now?” Hmm...

Unlike in real life, most MMO achievements are just plain silly...

Do you ever feel like you just completed a real-life dungeon crawl? What do you do to get past the Post-Achievement Blues?

And the Winner is...

As you probably know, I've been hosting a contest for naming my Etsy shop. Well, the contest ended at 12:00am last night (this morning? I'm never quite clear on that). The results are in. The shop is made. And the winner is...


for her suggestion:

Pop over to my Etsy shop, Melissa, and choose your free pair of earrings! If you want to wait, that's fine, too. I'll have more items popping up soon. And thank you so much, everyone, for all the awesome suggestions! There were so many great ones to choose from, but this one ended up being nice, simple, nonspecific and available, so that's why I chose it.

I just spent the morning posting up 10 new items while my poor daughter patiently watched Pooh and waited for Mommy to have time to spend with her, so I'm gonna get out of here now and let you browse my wares in peace! Thanks again, everyone, for all the cheers and support. You have been invaluable to me as I pursued this crazy dream! A special thanks to Rachel Anne for her amazingly generous advertising post!

"Eclectic" means random and fun, right?

What's your favorite LittleBird's Treasures item so far? Any new things you'd like to see?

Monday, July 9, 2012

On the Bright Side

I am sitting here listening to my obviously-exhausted and hungry (yes, I did attempt to feed her: she wouldn't eat) almost-two year old crying piteously and fighting sleep in her crib. I have a raging headache, and all I want is a few moments of peace and quiet after our crazy morning of running errands this morning. It's rainy and yucky outside, and I still have half a to-do list left to do that is going to have to wait until Baby either finishes napping or until I finally give up trying to get her to do so. So yeah... I guess it's just one of those days.


I do have a lot of good news to share!

1. I lost another five pounds! I'm eleven pounds away from my goal for September (to lose forty by the time my mom and I go to New York).

2. I am ready to open my Etsy shop! I have all my items and pricing and packaging (and even my ear model!) ready for tomorrow, when I will officially pick a name from the contest entries, and as my first order of business, mail off the lucky winner's free pair of earrings! You have till midnight tonight to enter some name suggestions in the contest if you'd like to participate to win a free pair of earrings!

Who doesn't love pretty jewelry?

3. Baby is pretty much potty trained. We drove around a LOT this weekend, and she didn't have a single accident in the car, but always told us when she had to go potty.
She had a great time camping this weekend!

4. I finally downloaded the e-book I've been wanting to read. I first read the back cover of this about two months ago, and ever since have been trying to get it via the library or, but it's been pretty popular. My hold finally came through today for the Adobe Epub book.
Can't wait to finish reading it! You can read the first three chapters online!

5. It is only 84 degrees outside! It's been in the 100s the last few days, so even though it's rainy and humid (and I think the change in pressure system is what's causing my headache), it's at least back to a liveable temperature. Plus, God did one of my chores from my to-do list for me and watered my plants this morning! Can't beat that!

6. I might be going to a con! I was looking up cons this morning on a whim, and found two I'd like to attend. Gateway 2012 is going on the last few days while we're visiting my parents in CA in August; it's a gaming con, and includes a table for Catan! Woohoo! And then there's Shore Leave 2012: a sci-fi con going on right here in my very own Maryland in a few weeks (Meet Captain Janeway? If you insist! ::fan squeal::)! I've never been to a con, though I've always wanted too, ever since I learned about Trekkie cons back when I was a kid. I'm hoping to make both of these, but even just one would float my boat! Now... if I could just get together a group of people to dress up like the crew of Serenity! (I want to be either Kaylee or Saffron. Hubby would make an excellent Jane.)

Saffron, the smoldering temptress and con-woman.

Oh my... can it be? Yes, I think, after nearly 40 minutes of sleepy wailing, Baby has finally nodded off! Yay! I think I'll go play my new Worgen Druid to celebrate (7.  I got Lich King and Cataclysm for $30 as a weight loss reward, because Blizzard was having a killer sale.)

Do you have any good news to share?