You have nothing to fear

While in Chicago, I was able to soak in quite a bit of the liberal news media and '08 Presidential politics and as a result, I have become quite "fired up" about the upcoming primaries and election. Fired up because WE as conservatives have quite a lot at stake in this election, from moral issues to fiscal issues to the general and quite basic rights and liberties that have traditionally been afforded to us as capitalists and citizens of the United States of America. Thankfully, the left-wing liberals seem to me to be their own worst enemy and may very well end up nominating Hilary Clinton, who seems to me to the LAST person they should elect if they want to win as she is quite a divisive and polarizing figure. However, even if they do their part and nominate Hilary, WE as conservatives must do our part as well by:

a) nominating an electable candidate. I know that this may break your heart but Duncan Hunter does not fall into that category. He is not going to win the '08 election. And neither is Mitt Romney, no matter how presidential he looks :),

b) actually going to the poles and voting for this electable candidate. I don't want to hear (or read!) any of you say, "I just don't agree with any of these candidates. I'm just not going to vote." Whether you like it or not, you vote either way. If you--a Christian, Libertarian or otherwise conservative voter--stay home, you vote for other side. So please, PLEASE vote against the candidate LEAST like you if that makes you feel better, but by all means VOTE. The Christian right is a powerful force in elections and we need US now more than ever!

c) and finally, under no circumstances nominate or support a 3rd party candidate to run on a "Christian values" platform (does the name Ross Perot ring a bell???).

An example of an electable candidate is Rudy Giuliani, who has been called THE most Republican electable candidate in the poles I've seen. He is also, unfortunately, the most likely to inspire the nomination of a 3rd party candidate. And (gasp) - I actually like him! See why below...

From Mayor Giuliani’s Remarks At The Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, Washington, D.C., 10/20/07 -

As you look at this simple list of priorities, you’ll see a great deal of evidence of our shared views and our shard values. I’m not going to pretend to you that I can be all things to all people. I’m just not like that. I can’t do that. And you know that we have some areas of disagreement, but I believe we have many, many more areas of agreement and the one thing you can count on with me is I’ll always be honest with you. I’ll always listen to your ideas. I’ll always take them into consideration. And I’ll do the best I can to honestly tell you mine. I come to you today as I would if I were your President–with an open mind and an open heart and all I ask is that you do the same. Please know this— you have absolutely nothing to fear from me. I find it difficult understanding those who try to make me out as an activist for liberal causes. If you think that, just read any New York Times editorial while I was mayor of New York City...Ronald Reagan had a great way of summarizing it. He used to say my 80 percent friend is not my 100 percent enemy...Government should not force parents to send their children to failing or inadequate schools. Really, the idea, it takes a family, not a village to raise a child...We can all agree to move in the direction of setting specific goals to decrease as much as we can the number of abortions in America and to increase the number of adoptions in America...I can tell you I would appoint Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, or Chief Justice Roberts...There’s one last thing that I’ll mention the briefly in the time remaining, but it’s the most important and that is that we remain on offense in the Terrorists’ War against the United States...And we must be prepared to take action and participate in places like Darfur because genocide in Africa is no different than genocide any place else. Never again must mean never again...This conversation that we’ve had about shared values and goals is a beginning, it’s not an ending. I want to work with the community of faith to develop new ideas that can protect our shared vision, building a more civil society, restoring the social contract, promoting a culture of personal responsibility and in the process we’ll achieve our shared goals, protecting our children’s’ innocence and defending the expression of religious faith, strengthening parents’ rights and expanding school choice, advancing toward a culture of life by decreasing abortions and increasing adoptions, appointing strict constructionist judges, and winning the Terrorists’ War on Us. Because the more we all talk together, the more we share ideas, the more we all respect each other, the more we can achieve. I’ll continue to extend my hand to you and I hope that you’ll take it. Together we can help our country rise to new heights and continue to form a more perfect union. May God bless all of us and may God continue to bless our great nation, the United States of America. Thank you.

Bottom line: while he may not be as conservative as we'd like in terms of the social and moral issues that are very important to us, he's not a liberal social activist and will not a be a crusader against these important conservative values.

I encourage you to read the full text of his comments and to give him and his platform real consideration - http://www.joinrudy2008.com/article/pr/919

Not doing so could lead to increased abortions, liberal marriage laws, higher taxes, more limited civil liberties, a more demoralized military, and leave us more vulnerable to future terrorists attacks.


For those of you acquainted with our precious first born, Tyke Samantha Moody (our Jack Russell Terrier), you might be interested to know that he had surgery yesterday to have a hopefully-benign cyst on his tail removed. We'll know if it's cancer after the sample is tested at UGA next week. Poor Tyke, I hope he doesn't have cancer!

Oh, where to begin?

We made it back safely from Chicago at about Monday night, after flying into Savannah, picking up Charlie and the doggies and then driving to Augusta. LONG day.

Our trip was great – Chicago is beautiful, the shopping is heavenly, my dream shopping experience and we enjoyed lots of quality time together and some really good food, including deep dish Chicago pizza (of course). But right before leaving Thursday, we found out that our elderly across-the-street neighbor (affectionately called The Mayor of the neighborhood!) passed away suddenly while on a cruise in South America. We are very close to this man and his wife and they love us (especially Charlie!) as well. I’ll spare you all the disturbing details involved in passing away on a cruise ship off the coast of COLUMBIA of all places, but suffice it to say that the stories we heard were awful, unbelievable. And the tears of his wife of 47 years were heart-breaking (she’s German – he brought her home from war to be his wife and she never became a U.S. Citizen…that’s another story in itself). Since finding out this news, we have been deeply sad and mourning this loss. Mourning the loss of our neighbor and friend, Charlie’s friend and sad for his lonely wife, across the street all alone in their new home purchased for retirement. I have also been so convicted and saddened by all the times when I rushed by these neighbors, too busy with life to stop and chat. Those with elderly / retired neighbors know how high-maintenance these people can be :0) and these folks are no exception. Having all the time in the world to chit-chat, sit out on the porch, point out all the problems with the landscaping of the yard, etc. can sometimes, well, be a lot of work for the busy young parents across the street. But this whole experience has taught me a lesson about what is important in life: relationships, taking time for people, knowing that life happens in the moments when the chores are not getting done and the daily schedule is not being followed. How I wish that I had taken advantage of all the moments available with this gentleman, to talk about life, things that are really important, to get beyond the dailies. I feel honestly like this relationship and this ministry opportunity passed me by. And I have been grieving this loss and soul-searching, trying to cement this lesson into my mind, hoping for a new “M.O.” in life. My schedule-oriented personality will have a hard time with this one but by grace, I’m hoping for real change…

Anyway, back to Chicago: The Magnificent Mile is indeed MAGNIFICENT. Every store and shopping experience was available, right on this one stretch of beautiful, CLEAN Chicago road. I was able to get re-acquainted with H&M, an old friend from the Charlottesville days, explore several of the most beautiful malls I've ever seen and just generally have fun shopping sans child. It was so pleasant to be able to shop without having to provide a constant stream of food or stop Charlie from crawling under the dressing room stall walls. It really was a treat. I think my favorite mall was Water Tower Place - among other things, the food court was a real gourmet restaurant and I had a delicious falafel pita served on real china! I sure did miss my favorite shopping partners ever, Jill and Libby! In addition to shopping, we also experienced a boat and river tour, which was a quick way to see the famous Chicago landmarks, though not as in depth as we would have liked. We will definitely be back, Chicago! We love you!


First pictures

Today I had another ultrasound to confirm a few things because our littlest son was not cooperative last time (except for showing us his maleness) and the doctor wanted to try for some better views of his heart. Everything looked great, Praise the Lord, and I came home with some great pictures.

Here's a good shot of our boy -

and a precious little foot...

His name is Elliot, for one of my hero's Jim (and Elizabeth) Elliot (the rest of the name is still under discussion). And Elliot means The Lord Is My God...what more could you want? :)

Tomorrow we head back to Savannah, to drop Charlie off with my parents and fly to Chicago early Friday, returning Monday. Ryan has another conference and I'm once again going along for the ride. We've never been to Chicago so even though I hate to leave Charlie, I'm excited to see (and shop!) the city.


I love motherhood because...

1. It helps me stay on top of my wrestling skills: every day with an 18-month old little boy is a wrestling match...

physically -

and emotionally -

2. I get to be an interpreter: who knew that "guygise" means "bicycle or "anana" refers to a stinky, dirty, well-loved blue lamb / blanket. And don't forget that "RoRo" means "motorcycle!"

3. I get to read Goodnight Moon (Goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight light and the red balloon...) no less than five times a day and talk about trucks and balls once every twenty-seven seconds.

4. I'm constantly reminded to always wear shoes in the house: tiny trains and cars are NOT fun to step on. Ask my friend Lisa, whose husband had to get stitches after stepping on a star-shaped metal cookie cutter!

5. Children call it like it is: this morning on our walk, Charlie yelled, "Mess! Mess!" (pronounced "Mace!") after spotting our neighbors yard literally covered in tacky Halloween decorations. My sentiments exactly.

6. I get to indulge my creative side by thinking up really good stories like, "the moon is hiding" to explain the waxing and waning of the moon.

7. While daddy's are for fun and games, I'm needed whenever my little son is tired/hungry/thirsty/sick/hurt/otherwise in need of a cuddle.

8. I am allowed the privilege of observing my husband love and lead his son. There is such beauty and strength in the everyday moments of fatherhood.

9. Life is filled with wonder now: who knew that a hot air balloon, rising slowly and majestically over an early morning sky would be so magical? It is when it's spotted by a child, who wide-eyed with wonder, begins babbling, "balloon?! airplane?! bubble?! blue?!" over and over again, standing at the window until the balloon moves out of sight, and then sadly waves and mumbles "good-bye!"

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

10. I finally see some of the darkness of my heart, the depth of my sin and selfishness and the extent of God's saving and fathering love for me. Loving Charlie more than life itself has taught me that I love myself still more...but mercifully I have a Savior who helps me love him enough to put my trust in the One who promises to sanctify me, love and keep me, and use me-in spite of myself-in Charlie's heart, in this home, in this world.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15


We're back from our trip, much more relaxed--and in Charlie's case, healthier--than we left, thankfully. Ryan and I had a great time enjoying each other, the beautiful resort and delicious food. Charlie enjoyed his time with my parents, being the center of attention and having lots of people to clap at all his accomplishments.

But we sure are HOT here in middle GA, like everyone else up and down the east coast. Today, with the high temp of 94, we broke a heat record from the 1800s. This is the second high temp record we've set in the past month. So instead of serving up traditional fall food, like a bowl of chili and candy apples, we had to cool off with a taco salad supper. I whipped up some homemade salsa and guacamole (better than any store-bought brands, guaranteed!) .
In case you are so inclined, whip up some of your own - I promise it'll be a hit!
Fresh Guacamole
3 ripe avocados
1 small sweet onion
5-6 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
3 T fresh cilantro
5 T fresh lime juice
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Habanero hot sauce to taste
Cut avocados in half and scoop out flesh. Fork-mash avocados in a large bowl. Add finely chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and hot sauce to taste. Stir in lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Guacamole tip...store leftover guacamole in a covered bowl with the avocado pits - it'll keep it from turning brown!
Currently Reading
Bright Captivity by Eugenia Price, for fun
The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood by Susan Hunt, putting my Christian-woman-book-hater tendencies aside to appease my mother...will let you know how it turns out
Lord, I Want To Know You by Kay Arthur, biggest shocker of all, more on this later
Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor, a childhood devotional favorite for my siblings and me, original copy being recycled for Charlie
Plans for tomorrow
Charlie to school, dogs to the vet, dogs back home, clothes to consignment store, post office, Target. Can I fit it all into the 4 hours of Mother's Morning Out and squeeze in a pedicure?


Tomorrow ends our brief stay here at "home" in Augusta. This is pretty typical for us lately...we come home during the week for 3 or 4 days, Ryan to work, me to clean and do laundry and work a little, all the while planning and preparing for our next trip. And tomorrow we head south, first to drop Charlie (and our 2 dogs!) off in Savannah for a long week-end with the grandparents and then on to Florida. Ryan has a conference in Ponte Vedra and I've been invited along for the ride. We are staying at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and have been looking forward to this trip for quite awhile. The only problem - Charlie is not doing well today. Around noon he suddenly spiked a fever, 102. 4 or something like that. I called the doctor and was instructed to take him to the E.R. but this seemed a bit extreme so I just took him to the pediatrician. His ears and throat are fine, thankfully, so we aren't exactly sure why he is having such high fevers but they continued all afternoon, not even breaking after multiple doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. And he's still wheezing and in need of his breathing treatments. *sigh* So we aren't sure yet what we are going to do...Ryan might go alone, we might wait until Friday morning to go, maybe Charlie will rally and we'll head out tomorrow evening anyway. We shall see.

In between trips to the doctor, cleaning, laundering and working, I decorated about 1/16th of our house for Fall...

And Charlie is learning to deal with his breathing treatments, often climbing into his rocker and attempting to self-medicate!



All is well! Thank you for your prayers, kind phone calls and emails. It has been a long day but the prep and the surgery went as smoothly as possible. The surgery was done at The Children's Medical Center and it was great - very kid-friendly and parent-friendly. Everyone was understanding and kind. I think that overall I was much more upset than Charlie, who made about 20 new friends and brought home 2 new toys! :) All in all, we were only away from him for probably 20 minutes. And the hardest part of the day, surprisingly, was the time we spent in the recovery room. When we went back to see Charlie, he was screaming bloody murder, which is uncommon for him. As wild as he is, he is not high-strung and rarely cries. So I was alarmed until the nurse explained that all the young children wake up upset, mad about all the wires they are connected to and how weird they feel because of the anesthesia. He was so groggy he couldn't sit up so he was just flailing around and crying, trying to rip off every wire attached to his small body. So we got out his cup and rocked him and he soon calmed down. And we were outta there...all by about 9:20am! This day, so dreaded by me, has been a blessing and an answer to prayer! Thanks again for thinking of us - we are so blessed to have an army of friends fighting for us!


Travelling and Tubes

Just got back from Savannah late last night...Ryan was working this week-end. It was a fun but exhausting couple of days. I helped my sister with my nephew's birthday party (and by "helped" I mean pretty much devoted my entire Saturday to running errands, cleaning, setting up, etc. as my 12-week pregnant sis has been in and out of the hospital with severe pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting and dehydration, poor thing).

And I have been meaning to post about this for a week or so but in between all the trips and illnesses, I haven't had much time: Charlie is having surgery tomorrow to have tubes inserted into his ears. Yes, it's come to that. But after talking with quite a few friends and some really good surgeons, we feel that it's right way to go for him, in hopes of avoiding another illness-filled winter and long-term damage to his hearing. SO I just talked to the O.R. and we have to be there at 7:45 am for an 8:45 procedure. I was crying on the phone with this poor woman, in part due to my hormones, I'm sure, but also because I was hoping for (read: had my heart set on) a 5am arrival time. Why, you ask? Because Charlie can't have anything to eat after midnight tonight or anything to drink after 5:45 am tomorrow. As if the thought of my poor little baby having surgery, including general anesthesia (scary!!!), isn't enough, now I have to worry about him being hungry and thirsty on top of that. I just can't handle him begging for food or drink - that will break my heart! And he's a big eater so it's going to be rough. Thank goodness for the car DVD player. Hopefully that will distract him!

So everyone, please pray for Charlie (and us!) tomorrow. Pray specifically for:

1. General anesthesia - very scary for me. I had to sign many papers during the pre-op that list all the possible side effects and risks and believe me, it isn't comforting. And you never know how anyone, much less an 18-month old, will react to the anesthesia. Pray that all will go well, that he'll respond normally, and wake-up on schedule and in good in spirits.

2. The actual procedure - pray for wisdom and skill of the doctors, that the procedure will go well and be effective

3. Peace for Ryan and me - that we will trust our little precious son to his and our heavenly Father

Thanks for your prayers...and we'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1,2