Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love One Another

I was in the fabric store the other day buying material to make my daughter a white angel costume for Halloween.  Apparently the stores have decided that this is the year for children to be the angel of death or the pink ballerina angel, but not a regular white heavenly angel.  Having my child dress up as the angel of death just didn't sit right with me so I tried talking her into being the pink ballerina angel at the store but all I got was an exasperated sigh and "Mooooom???  There's no such thing as pink angels in heaven". 

White Angel, Christians

It's pretty hard to reason with that logic and no amount of encouragement on my part could get her to start a fashion trend by being the pink angel.  After hitting 6 other stores plus Goodwill, I finally gave up and went to the fabric store to buy some plain white costume fabric and a simple pattern for my little angel's dress. 

As I sat there flipping quickly through the pages of several pattern books at the same time (yes, I'm talented like that) looking for something acceptable (i.e. super easy and cheap), I couldn't help but overhear a woman speaking to someone she recognized.  As hard as I tried to ignore her, I couldn't.  Her voice carried to such a degree she could be a color announcer for sporting events and never need a microphone.

Before I knew it, the loud woman was asking her acquaintance (a younger woman) what church she was attending because she hadn't seen her recently.  Put on the spot in front of a store packed full of women doing last minute Halloween shopping, the quiet woman tried to quietly explain that her family had moved and were attending a church closer to their new home.  The brash woman blurted "Don't tell me you're going to blah-blah church?  That place is like Six Flags Amusement Park! HA!  That place has a bunch of people who are just too into Jesus for me.". 

The younger woman just stared at her and there was an awkward silence between them.  The older woman then picked up right where she'd left off and continued berating her in front of a store full of people "Oh my gosh! You're going to that church?! How can you handle being around all of those kind of people?!"

At this point my redheaded self was getting mighty peeved with this woman and I knew it would have taken every ounce of control I could muster to keep myself in check.  After a long quiet stare, the quieter woman spoke "I don't believe I need to continue this conversation with you, nor do I need to justify my choice in houses of worship.  Have a nice day.".

And with that the quieter woman walked off.  The loud woman turned to the fabric cutting employee and said "Ooooooo! I must've touched a nerve!".  The employee had her back to me but I heard her terse reply of "and how much fabric were you needing?".

This encounter really set me on edge.  There are over 2 billion Christians on this planet and with those billions come different worship needs and desires.  What right does one Christian have to denigrate another person's choice in worship? 

Maybe you like organ music, someone else likes a guitar, another person like a full orchestra, another person likes the rock band style, and someone else prefers no music at all.  Who are we to judge how someone else choses to worship?  Isn't the Bible clear on judging others?  Matthew 7:1-3 (NKJV) “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

As this woman demeaned the other woman in front of a store full of people, how many of those customers were non-Christians?  How many were just turned off from ever wanting to learn more about Jesus because of how rude, hateful, and judgmental this particular woman was?

I am by no stretch of the imagination perfect and make more than my fair share of mistakes daily. But people, we all need to stop and think before we act or open our mouths and do something injurious to another. Ask yourself "Is this what Jesus would want me say or how He wants me to act?".

There are enough things in this world for a Christian to get up in arms about, but someone's choice in a house of worship, as long as it falls in line with the Bible, should not be one of them.  Do you think this is how Jesus wants us to act not only amongst ourselves, but with others?  Is this why He allowed Himself to be beaten and crucified on a cross? 

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

by:  Christie Bielss

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Me?! High Maintenance?!

For some inexplicable reason being a redhead automatically classifies me as "high maintenance".  I really think it's a bit of a stretch to call me high maintenance.  Ok, so I can sometimes, on a few rare occasions, be difficult, sassy, hard-headed, cheerful, temperamental, zany, and bewildering, all at the same time.  I don't think that classifies me as high-maintenance though.  I think I am more along the lines of............ animated.

Low Maintenance, Fashion

I'm definitely not like Meg Ryan's character Sally in the movie "When Harry Met Sally".  No, I'm usually a regular old "order it like it's on the menu" kind of person....... aka low-maintenance.  I don't even ask for dressing on the side of my salads. 

Now, as for some of you who call me high-maintenance but like to call yourselves low -maintenance?  Well, I got behind you at the Taco Bell drive-thru window the other day, and let me tell you, you were soooooo not low-maintenance.  Three separate cars who had 1 female driver alone in each vehicle (2 blondes and 1 brunette), and yet it took over 5 minutes per car to place their orders because of all the special requests and substitutions.

By the time the third car pulled up, I was ready to smack the woman with her "bean burrito, no cheese or onion."  When she got to: "a meat only Cool Ranch taco - which means no lettuce, tomato, cheese, or onion.  A large soda with half Diet Pepsi and half regular Pepsi and no ice. Did you get that?  No, you did it wrong.  I want a bean burrito, no cheese or onion....." I was wishing I had a Sherman tank to move her out of the drive-thru lane.

For myself, I ordered a burrito supreme.  The order-taker asked "Just a regular burrito supreme?".  Yep, a regular old mystery-meat supreme.  When I drove up to the window to pay, the person looked shocked that I was a redhead ordering something simple.  Really?!  They are going to give me that look when the real high-maintenance women, who weren't redheads by the way, came through the line before me?

This experience reminded me of my last experience at the M-A-C Cosmetics counter at Nordstrom's.  As I sat there and dutifully waited for the makeup artist to find the right type and shade of foundation for my whiter than a Saltine cracker skin, I listened to the woman next to me give the makeup artist her list of "wants".  She was searching for the "perfect" eyeliner.  I gathered from several remarks she made to her salesperson that she thought she was low-maintenance.

Well, Ms. Low-Maintenance wanted a waterproof eyeliner that could withstand sweating while working out but came off without eye makeup remover, and it had to be hypo-allergenic and not tested on animals.  The liner had to go on smoothly, had to be a different shade than her mascara but not make her look like a peacock, doesn't drop down under her eyes when she blinks because she doesn't want attention drawn to her under-eye circles, but it must smudge nicely when eye shadow was applied.  Oh! And she had to be able to apply it without stretching the skin of her eyelid in any way because she didn't want to encourage crow's feet.  But she's low-maintenance and I'm high-maintenance?

Ok, I will concede that I do like to keep my gray hairs dyed.  I guess in this area I am high-maintenance.  I guess my high-maintenance side doesn't appreciate  looking like a contestant in a beauty pageant for skunks. But in my high/low-maintenance defense, my family is quite verbal in letting me know that it's time for me to get my roots done.  Heck, there are days when my son purposely parts my hair just to see if he can spot my gray roots.  So in all fairness, I'm really going to the hair salon as a benefit, or even as my duty as a wife and mother, for my family.

And if I was truly high-maintenance then I don't think I'd have clothes in my closet that are so old and out of style that even Goodwill rejected them.  Not to mention my shoes.  I have had more pairs than I can count which have disintegrated into a puddle of material and leather on the floor of my closet due to old age.  Every time I find another pair which have self-combusted, I feel the need to say a quick prayer over them before I vacuum up their pieces "ashes to ashes and dust to dust....".

I'm no Imelda Marcos or Ivana Trump though.  I don't have people waiting on me hand and foot (although I wouldn't mind getting used to that), and I don't have multiple closets full of clothes............ anymore.  Yes, I used to have 3 closets full of clothes.  Having children moved me from high-maintenance to low-maintenance very quickly.  The number of clothes I wear in my closet now probably wouldn't fill up 1/4 of my closet.  It's a sad, sad low-maintenance wardrobe, to be sure.

But now that I think of it, what if people are actually telling me I'm high-maintenance in the hopes that I'll actually become high-maintenance because my clothes are so old?!  Wait.......... if I spend money on me, then I might have to reduce my chocolate budget.......... which could have the unintended consequence of weight loss.  Hmmmm.............. Which could mean I could fit back into some of those clothes in my closet.

Oh, this is going to be a tough decision.  High-maintenance or low-maintenance.  Which way will the pendulum swing??? ............. I guess we will have to wait and see which direction I go but now that I've thought about it this long, if I'm going to automatically be classified as high-maintenance, I do think I should practice giving people the high-maintenance redhead they expect.  Now, how did Meg Ryan order her food in that movie?????

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Playing With Fire

I have been getting questions lately as to when my husband's caveman instinct to discover fire first manifested itself.  His family was visiting his grandparent's house when the opportunity availed itself in the form of a pack of matches left unattended on a table.

fire, matches, lighter, starter

My husband, always the Curious George, took that book of matches and snuck outside with them before anyone could discover them missing.  He found a place on the edge of the yard between his grandparent's house and the neighbor's, where no one could see what he was doing.

He figured out how to open the flap and then fiddled around with the matches until he figured out how to pull each match out of the packet.  He immediately set about trying to strike the matches with enough force to get one to light, just as he'd seen his parents and grandparents do.  After multiple failed attempts, he got a little frustrated with it and gave it some extra muscle as he slid the match along the strike strip.  Instantly the match lit.  Like a cave dweller, he marveled over the first fire he was able to create.

As he gazed at the fire, the match burned closer and closer to his fingers.  Not knowing what to do with the match as the flame was now starting to burn so close to his fingers that it was becoming painful to hold the match (I guess blowing out the flame didn't cross his mind), my husband dropped the lit match........ on a dry yard.

The grass started smoking instantaneously.  As he sat and watched in horror, the fire grew.  Not knowing what to do but knowing he would be in deep trouble if he was caught, he high-tailed it to his grandparent's back patio and acted like he had been playing there for hours.  Neighbors noticed the fire as it grew and the fire department was called out, arriving with sirens blaring.  While all this commotion was going on, my husband continued to sit on the patio as if he was completely oblivious to it all and innocent of any wrongdoing.

His parents knew something was up when he hadn't come running outside at the first sound of the fire engine arriving.  When they found him on the back patio, he acted like he was completely unaware of the smoke which had almost completely enveloped him at that point.  The jig was up when they asked him if he knew anything about the fire and, while coughing from the smoke, he said he didn't know anything about any fire.

The neighbor's prized front lawn was completely burnt up but thankfully the house didn't sustain any damage.  My husband's punishment?  Well, let's just say his parents taught him a very valuable lesson in the dangers of playing with fire.  Of course, I learned about this after we were married and after the incident with the fire ants........

by:  Christie Bielss

Thursday, October 17, 2013

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat....

"You're gonna need a bigger boat.".  A legendary quote from the blockbuster movie "Jaws".  The quote is still as relevant today as it was in 1975 when the movie was released.

Alligator, Croc, Gator
A crocodile at the Fort Worth Zoo
A few months ago we were watching a program on the NatGeo (National Geographic) channel about how a wildlife refuge in the Philippines was on the hunt for a monster crocodile.  Several people had gone missing in a village where the people survived off of fishing, so to have a monster croc preying on them while they were trying to feed their families was creating havoc.

A wildlife refuge expert was contacted to come and catch this beast.  The man came out with his 12 foot metal jon boat thinking the villagers were exaggerating and he'd be in and out of there in a day or two.  The expert started interviewing the villagers trying to ascertain the actual size of the croc and one of the last people he interviewed was a man whose home was out over the river.  Not only had this villager seen the croc, but the croc had come right alongside his deck scaring the man half to death.  Since the villager had a very close call with this beast, he was able to give the expert distinct areas as to where the croc's nose began and where its tail ended.

My family and I sat there transfixed to the tv as the villager showed the length of this croc.  Looking at my husband, I said "he's gonna need a bigger boat".  The expert took out his tape measure and measured out the distance:  19 feet and some inches.  Immediately my husband broke out into the theme song from the movie "Jaws".

As my husband continued singing "duuuuh....... dum", we watched as it took around 100 men from the village, as well as experts from the wildlife refuge, to finally capture this monster croc alive. The croc measured in at 20 feet 3 inches, and 2,370 pounds and they loaded it onto a cart that looked like it had been made by cavemen.  A link to the National Geographic story is HERE.

We know there are alligator hunters here in the United States who have caught some world record 720-740+ pound alligators which measure some 13-14 feet long.  When we have seen photos of these catches, we get the distinct feeling most of these kind of hunters look like they "are gonna need a bigger boat".  As we were discussing these big crocs and gators, my husband was quick to remind me of my own up-close and personal experience with an alligator when I was a kid.

I was visiting my grandparents in Mobile, Alabama.  They had a small lake just around the corner from their house.  The lake had paddle boats, and other fun stuff for kids to do there.  One day after pleading relentlessly to go to the lake, my grandfather took my brothers and I out to the lake to ride the paddle boats.  The boats only had 2 seats, so my 2 oldest brothers rode together while I rode with my youngest brother.

We had a grand time!  It was so much fun.  While my brother and I paddled ferociously around the lake doing our best to simulate the speed of a motorboat, we noticed that no matter where we went, this knobby log kept popping up right next to and behind us.  I decided to reach my hand out to push on it to see if it was somehow attached to our boat, but it was juuuuust outside of my reach.

About that time the horn blew signaling the end of our rented time, so we headed back to the docking area.  Wouldn't you know it that when we got to the dock, that log was again trailing right behind us.  My grandfather said he saw me try to reach out and touch the log in the water.  With humor he told us that we shouldn't ever do that because it could've been an alligator.

I was horrified, and it must've shown as my grandfather got a good chuckle out of it, as did my oldest 2 brothers.  My youngest brother was like me in thinking it wasn't all that funny.  We drove back to my grandparents' house and sat down to watch the evening news.  The lead story that night was with a news reporter who was broadcasting live from the lake we had left .......... because a 6+ foot long alligator had just been found in it.

Apparently that was no log I was reaching out to touch! There was a reason that "log" was following our paddleboat.  Apparently we smelled like dinner.  I have never had much of a desire to go paddleboating since then........... but if I did go paddleboating, you can bet that I would want a bigger boat.

by:  Christie Bielss

Monday, October 14, 2013

Prayer Time

My parents raised me and my brothers to pray for our needs, our blessings, and before each meal.  We didn't do elaborate or foo-fooey prayers, just your average short, to the point prayer.  For our dinner-time prayer, it came down to having a prayer we could remember when we were little, which meant a very short and sweet prayer.

Prayer Time, Dinner Prayer, Prayers

Maybe it's because of those short, pointed prayers early on which cause me to prefer the no-nonsense approach to prayer.  Growing up in the church, I have experienced some ministers whose prayers were so pointed that you'd hardly bowed your head and closed your eyes when they were saying "Amen" and others who delivered very flowery prayers. 

We had one minister, I'll call her Pastor Jane Doe, when I was growing up who, bless her heart, drove me nuts with her long-winded prayers.  Her prayers went something like this:  "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this glorious morning.  Thank you for all those who were able to get up and make a safe trip to church and worship with us today.  Thank you for the trees that sway so gently in the breeze, the butterflies who float through the air, the birds who soar, the dogs who are our companions, the squirrels that jump from tree to tree and entertain us with their antics, the flowers that feed the bumble bees so they can make honey, the cats who snuggle up next to us, the grass that's so soft under our feet, for the bricks and siding that build our homes, for the window screens which keep the mosquitos out of our homes, the sun that brightens our day, the moon and stars which light up our night, the clothes that adorn our bodies, the hair color which covers our gray roots......".

By the time she got to the squirrels, I'd usually be trading eye rolls with my siblings.  I know she was reminding us all of the little things which we needed to be grateful for and that we most likely took advantage of, but a 5-10 minute prayer was just too much for my redheaded get-to-the-heart-of-the-matter self.

No, when I pray for myself, my loved ones, my friends, or strangers in need, I am very direct.  "Lord, you know what we need, please supply it.  You know what we need fixed, so please fix it.  You know what we need healed, so please heal it.".  If I'm on Facebook or writing in an email that I'm going to pray for you, you can rest assured that I'm going to pray right then for you just as I've written above. 

If you're needing me to include the squirrels, bumble bees, and the brick/siding on your home, you will need to let me know so I can be a bit more specific.  Those prayers will probably sound a bit like "Lord, please fix what they need fixed, heal what needs healing, help them where they need helping, and please give them some of my bushy-tailed tree rats that are always trying to get in my attic, the bumble bees that always chase redheads as they try to gather pollen from our heads, and give these folks some new brick/siding so their home doesn't look dilapidated.".

The other night as we sat down to dinner, our kids started acting out as kids sometimes do. My husband got quite exasperated with them but when ahead and led our dinner-time prayer.  As we all bowed our heads and closed our eyes, he prayed "Lord, please help us understand our children's behavior.  Please guide us in disciplining them and teaching them appropriate from inappropriate behavior.  Please help me figure out why they think it's ok to act this way because if I'd have acted this way growing up, my parents would have knocked me into next week.  Lord, show us if we should be doing something more because we don't want to spare the rod and spoil the child, but we obviously need help since our kids aren't acting as they've been brought up.......". 

As he droned on, I couldn't help but pop an eye open and look at him.  I looked over and both kids now had their eyes open and they were looking at me quite puzzled.  We were now a good 3+ minutes into this prayer with no sign of stopping and no sign of blessing our meal, which was now getting cold, when I realized I might have to interrupt him.

I had to think about that for a minute because it seems not only rude to interrupt a prayer but somewhat sacrilegious.  I said a quick prayer of my own for forgiveness but if we didn't get this prayer back on track we could be sitting here until breakfast.  "Ummm....... excuse me, hon?  Uh....yeah..... ummmm...... are you going to pray about our dinner?  Maybe this prayer you're doing now would be better prayed at a different time?  Just a thought.".

He bristled for a minute as he took in my question.  Then, without any warning, he burst out laughing at himself.  "I got a little side-tracked there now didn't I?  I almost sounded like Pastor Jane Doe.  I guess I probably should've thrown in something about the squirrels, bumble bees, and brick/siding.......".

by:  Christie Bielss

Friday, October 11, 2013

Well, Ain't That Desheet!

Lately it seems like all I do is replace toilet paper rolls.  As soon as I put a new roll on, someone is hollering for another one.  Is it really possible for a family of 4 to go through this much toilet paper?

desheet, bulking,

This was seriously starting to bother me because I felt like the cashiers at the grocery store were thinking "You're buying another case pack of toilet paper?!  Really?!  Good heavens woman! Lay off the fiber!".  With the price of toilet paper climbing every month and eating into our budget, we really needed to get to the "bottom" of this problem.

I enlisted the aid of my husband.  We checked the kids' rooms for toilet paper projects, and the dog's hiding places thinking she may have grabbed a wad to shred in private.  Our search turned up nothing.  Then, just as we gave up hope of figuring out this mystery, my husband had to change yet another roll of toilet paper and discovered the secret!

"We've been desheeted.", he announced quite confidently.  "Excuse me?!  Why are you using that kind of language?", I replied.  He smiled and held up the new roll of toilet paper and pointed to the cardboard tube and said "No, we've been de-sheeted".  The circumference of the cardboard tube which the toilet paper is wound on was considerably bigger than before, but the overall size of the roll was still the same.

I was shocked and, to be honest, a bit outraged.  When you start messing around with a person's toilet paper, that's just plain wrong.  A quick Google search turned up answers.  The manufacturers are justifying pulling desheet over the consumer's eyes by saying they are "bulking up" their products.  Apparently this bulking up is supposed to help you get a cleaner.... ahem...  wipe by using fewer sheets and thus reducing waste.

The manufacturers are probably thinking this kind of change is purely business and the consumer shouldn't take it personally.  When you are in the bathroom at your most vulnerable with your pants around your ankles and you run out of toilet paper because some big wig wants more profit in his coffers, it becomes personal. It's like booking The Incredible Hulk for an appearance at a body-building seminar and getting Pee Wee Herman instead.

But, my husband and I are always game to try and be a greener family so we sat our children down to discuss this toilet paper issue and explained to them that we wanted them to go green.  Their expressions of horror and the shouts of "Ewwww!!!  Gross!!!!" let us know we probably worded that wrong.  

When we all sat down and started discussing the situation, we made some additional observations.  The number of tissues you get in a box has dropped by 15% or more.  Of course they left the box the same size so the changes are much less noticable.  I guess we're supposed to feel better because they say the tissues are now stronger and supposedly better able to contain a sneeze.  Anyone who has ever dealt with a toddler with a head cold knows there is no tissue strong enough or big enough to contain those sneezes.

My husband brought up how he likes granola bars and that I had bought a package for him recently.  The box was the same size it has always been, as were the wrappers on the bars.  When he opened the wrapper though, he was surprised to discover the bar was 1/3 smaller than it used to be.

Being somewhat disgusted with that, he decided to try the new protein granola bars.  Upon opening that box, he discovered there were only 5 bars instead of the 6 you get with the regular granola bars.  If the manufacturers can call their reduction in paper products "desheeting", then I think we should be able to call this reduction in food quantities "shrinkage".

Recently I bought a package of chicken fried chicken.  The package said it had 5 servings and our family of 4 had an extra person for dinner that evening, so I thought I was all set.  When I got the package home and opened it up, it only had 4 chicken patties.  I guess 4 people were supposed to share 1/4 of their patties so the 5th person would have something to eat.  I've heard of wealth redistribution but this was my first taste of "food redistribution".

Desheeting, shrinkage, redistribution are all synonymous with the same idea:  buyer beware.  Who'd have thought that in this day and age of more information and greater openness, we'd have to be more vigilant about the products we buy because of tampering.  Not tampering by the lone crazy person bent on injuring someone, but tampering by the manufacturer who is trying to increase his bottom line by not being up-front with the changes they've made to the products you've been buying for years.

by:  Christie Bielss

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Renovation Reality

Home renovation.  2 words that strike fear in the hearts of most normal people.  Why?  Because when those 2 particular words are spoken there is the immediate fear of attempting the renovation yourself.  Because so many people have chosen to try and tackle home renovations themselves, the D-I-Y Channel created the show "Renovation Realities".  Sometimes the show makes you laugh and sometimes it makes you cringe because you can foretell the danger or disaster about to befall the DIY'er.

The reality is that home renovation rarely happens the way you planned or in the time you've alloted.  DIY projects can be difficult, aggravating, exasperating, depressing, dangerous, messy, disgusting, and a whole slew of other adjectives.  Heck, depending on the level of the project's difficulty, and whether it's flowing smoothly or not (usually "not"),  you generally start making up your own string of adjectives as you go along.

So, in honor of all those who have gone before us, and those who will follow in our footsteps, here are just a few of my husband and I's "Renovation Realities" moments:

Our first DIY project was a patio extension.  It was the first time we had ever worked with concrete.  We went to the local home improvement store, took a class on building and laying forms, mixing concrete, and how to create a professional looking surface.  You'd think in the course of an entire weekend on the "how-to's" they'd have said "what not to do".  One of those very simple don'ts could've been "concrete is caustic, so don't ever work it without gloves and protective clothing". It only took about a month for the skin to heal over all of the blisters and burns on our bodies.

Our next project was replacing the cabinet bottom under our kitchen sink.  That is one of those "Renovation Reality" moments that is forever seared into my memory.  If you haven't read about that escapade, you can read about it HERE.  My husband still has a few choice words for that particular project and has discussed the need for psychological counseling to get over his fear of that particular insect.

Another project was taking down a brick fireplace and putting up drywall with a new fireplace surround.  The guys at the home improvement store, with whom we were on a first name basis by this time, told us it would be easy and there was really not a lot to the project other than the drywall portion.  Yeah, that wasn't exactly true.  When one demolishes an interior wall of brick, it's advisable to wear a hard hat.  We started with the hearth surround........ and apparently it was actually attached to and supporting the brick wall.  A lot of bruises and a doctor's visit to rule out a concussion later we discovered it's best to start at the top of the wall first.  On the bright side, the demolition took a lot less time than we had originally estimated.

Next up was painting a clapboard wood-sided Cape Code style house.  This is still one of my all-time favorite houses we have purchased. The big project on this was painting the exterior siding.  This is the "Renovation Reality" where the stuff got "REAL".  The house, even though it was a single-story, had a very high elevation.  For my husband to reach the uppermost portions nearly 30 feet high, he had to borrow an extension ladder and lean it up against the house.  He discovered when he was up there that this portion of the siding just so happened to be the slats for the attic ventilation.  It was a very hot, oppressive summer in the deep south, so in hopes of not expiring from heat stroke, we chose to paint late in the evening .

One evening while my husband was painting and I was standing nearly 30 feet below him holding the ladder steady, when we started hearing this odd squeaking noise.  At first we thought it was the ladder.  My husband stood very still and yet the squeaking sound continued and even started to get louder.  We listened intently and yet neither of us could figure out what in the world the noise was or where it was coming from. 

As we shrugged our shoulders and he turned his attention back to painting, all of the sudden there was a giant "whoosh" and thousands of bats came zooming out of those attic ventilation slats all at once!  Bats were everywhere!  It was like the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds".  I was paralyzed with fear when I saw those flying vampires swarming and swooping around my husband's head and flying into his chest and into the ladder. His arms were flailing everywhere as he tried to knock them away from him.

When the bats started swooping down around my head, I broke out of my paralyzed state with a blood-curdling scream and all bets were off as it was every man for himself!  I was not waiting to see whether he managed to get off that ladder safely, I had to get away from these blood thirsty creatures.  My husband must have channeled some inner superhuman power though because he nearly beat me to the backdoor of our house.  He probably would have if I hadn't shoved him out of my way.  From that day forward, all exterior house painting was conducted in daylight hours only.

The house we are currently in was a foreclosure and the home, inside and out, requires extensive renovation.  We've already had a few reality checks and I'm sure there will be many more "memories" being made with this home in the very near future...... and you can bet I'll be documenting our experiences along the way.  So stay tuned and remember:  Safety First!

by: Christie Bielss

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Faith and Hope

Sometimes, no matter how hard you wish for it not to happen, life falls apart around you. Do you throw your hands up in the air and succumb to the pressures or do you hang on to your faith and hope knowing this time will pass?  

chores, husband, wife, to-dos

You may be wondering where this crazy redhead went again.  Well, life took a bit of a crazy turn and my husband lost his job.  It's been a very difficult week as we have tried to make sense of it all.

You would think we would be sad, beaten down, and even dismayed at having to be out looking for a job in this job market.  We were.  There was a feeling of loss and anger, but we've picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and are moving forward.  God will put us where He wants us to be and we just have to trust.  So faith and hope is the path we have chosen.

What is it like when your husband is suddenly under foot every minute of every day?  Well, let's just say it's like having a toddler around again.  You can't open the refrigerator without him asking what you're eating.  You can't talk on the phone with your girlfriend because he wants to join in on the conversation and make witty remarks about you both.  And heaven forbid if you should want to quietly use the ladies room.  Having my husband home is similar to having a Royal Herald announcing my every move "The Redhead is now going to the kitchen!  The Redhead is going to vacuum!  The Redhead is hiding in the ladies room!". 

Obviously this underfootedness is not conducive to anything getting done.  My house hasn't been vacuumed or dusted, the laundry is still in the dryer from a few days ago, my bathrooms make roadside rest stop lavatories look clean, and there is really no point in even fluffing the sofa cushions since he's parked his derriere there with the television remote alternating between the many channels that are about restoring old cars.

So what is a poor, beleagured wife to do?  Well let me give you a hint.  Get an inexpensive spiral notebook and a pen and start making a honey-do list.  Put everything you could ever think of and dream of on this list.  A few of mine include: use the Shop-Vac to suck out the alien life form that's clogging our daughter's sink drain, dead-head the geraniums, grease all of the door hinges so every time a door is opened it doesn't sound like the Addam's Family home, spray bug killer around the house so I don't have to share my toothbrush, use the toothpaste the children have so generously left on the bathroom counters and sinks to buff out stains on the bathroom countertop. 

All of the trash cans in our house (as well as the ones that go to the curb) could use a good scrubbing, so I made sure to write those down too.  I have even listed for him to use the extendable feather-duster to dust all of the cobwebs out of every ceiling corner in every room, and tighten all of the toilet bases more securely to the floor. 

We have really big oak trees in our backyard and my husband's pretty handy, so I wrote down an idea for him to make a tree swing.  I figure that will take at least 6 months to complete and it's an outdoor activity.  

I showed my husband the spiral and after reading what I've written down so far, he said he appreciated all of my hard work in creating such a detailed list.  He went so far as to say that my list was "inspiring" .............. inspiring him to check all of the new job postings multiple times a day.  My work here is done........

by:  Christie Bielss