Friday, September 29, 2006

Before I go...

Just wanted to say bye! :)

But I'll be back next week~

I'm off on an adventure with my son- to New York and will meet at least one dear blogger friend.

I've never been to the city- but I have maps, and books, and subway directions! :)

I'll post with lots of pics when I get home.
Hope you all have a great weekend!

-Cora :)


PW- the house will be occupied and fully alarmed in the evening- just in case you were planning to stop by while I'm gone! :)

I'm kidding of course, except about the house being occupied and the alarm...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The corner of my house

And the Critters who live there...

I took all of these shots this afternoon- then I called the kids out. We tried to catch the snake, but she got away. The praying mantis and the writing spider we left alone!

A pretty green garden snake~

A rather large writing spider! --->>>

Reaching for a tasty meal?
Did she pray first? I think so! :)

The last pic shows the proximity of the wild life in my front yard.
The snake was in the bushes (dangerously close to that crawl space too- I might add!!!)
The Mantis was on the drain pipe next to the bushes, and the spider is in the corner on the far right- you can barely see her- but she was rather big!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

13 Candles

24 years ago I had my first "Boy- Girl" birthday party...I turned 13.

Today, we celebrated my son's 13th birthday.

24 years ago, the man who would become my husband- came to my party, along with my best friend Chris, and several other kids.

I thought long and hard about the girls who would be at my son's party today.
There were only 2-my daughter, and my best (the same one!) friend's daughter.

My parents were here today, as well as one of my sisters- in all about 18 people.
I am blessed.

Lately I've been depressed- and struggling- and so tired...this has been one of the hardest years I have lived through.

And yet- today, as I stood in my kitchen- for just a second- looking at all the people who were there...dear friends and family...I felt awestruck that I have been given so much.

That 24 years ago I had a birthday party- and some of the people in my life then are still with me- still love me- still want to be with me. I am amazed.

My son's party was great :) The boys sat on the deck and ate dinner, the girls sat in the dining room chatting.

I had to laugh...some thing never change!
At my party, the sexes sat on opposite sides of the room from each other. When I asked Tim to sit with me on the couch- he consented, but sat at the far end and said, "This is as close as I'm getting!" :)

He did get closer eventually ;)

Please... If you want to~
Tell me about 1 of 2 things.
Either tell me about your 13th birthday....

OR, tell me what you were doing 24 years ago.

I can't wait to read your stories :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Emerald Isle in September can NOT be beat! 85 degrees, warm water,and a cool breeze~

We had the beach almost to ourselves...


And I was hoping for one last day in the sun at the coast-

I got more than I wanted...

However...I'm still smiling :)

But between the tweeking on my braces last week,
and the sunburn...
I'm not sure what I'm smiling about! :D

It's been a long week- with a big birthday party this weekend, as well as a memorial service for T's Uncle in Asheville who passed away last week .

I hope to get caught up with all of you soon- I've missed reading your blogs and sending you notes! However, with a big trip (NYC) in less than 2 weeks- it may be October before I get back into the swing of things...

Apparently- I do have a life :)
Aren't you glad?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Apatheia Chap 3: "Distraction"

(Friends- I've been away...sorry this has taken so long to post. I'm writing chapter 4 now. The story should be finished soon- thank you for all your words of encouragement as I've worked on this! Hugs to you!)

On Saturday the kids had a play date with their Grandmother from 10 am to 5 pm.
William needed to cut the grass and Clara wanted to run errands.

The serpent slithered into the further most corner of the crawl-space, towards the front of the house, on the opposite side of the garage.
Saturday was the only day of the week that she might be found by William and she wanted to be in the darkest corner under the house.

William mowed the grass, it wasn't his favorite job, but he didn't mind doing it. He recalled that when he and Clara were first married she'd plant flowers while he cut the grass, but those days were long gone. Life was busy and they were often on different paths.
As he pushed the mower along the side of the house he spotted something unusual. One of the vents in the foundation was open- which was fine for ventilation in the summer, but the screen behind it was broken. It crossed his mind that the screen is what kept "critters" like mice and rats and other rodents out of the crawl space. As he thought about it though- he realized he'd never seen a mouse, or even a mole, in his yard.
He shrugged his shoulders and pushed on, deciding that the broken screen could wait.

The serpent hugged herself tightly and lifted her head. With eyes like 2 shiny beads in the cool darkness, she flicked her tongue- knowing she was quite safe.

However, William did see one bothersome thing as he made the turn to mow the back yard-
A patch of poison ivy near the swing set.
Without much thought he pulled the plants up and tossed them over the fence into the wooded area behind his house, and kept mowing the grass.

Meanwhile Clara was at the drug store picking up Tylenol, allergy meds, and trying to find a lipstick to replace the one she thought she'd lost. While she was shopping she noticed a different pharmacist behind the counter. She recognised him as being the parent of a new boy on Billy's little league team. From what she'd heard he was going through a rough divorce and had moved to the area less than 6 months before. He seemed to be a devoted father and was good with the other children on the team. He was also quite handsome.

Clara had not introduced herself, but Billy had spoken often about the new boy, Jacob Douglas, and wanted him to come over and play. Clara looked up from her shopping basket to see Jacob's dad coming towards her.
"Mrs. Thomas?", he asked.
"Yes", said Clara smiling, "And you are Jacob's dad, right? "
"Please call me Ryan", he said. "I've wanted to say hello for a few weeks now, but I just haven't been able to. My son Jacob really likes your son, and Billy has been a good friend to him as the newest member of the team. It's meant alot to him, and to me. I wanted to say thank you."
And he reached out to shake her hand. Clara was touched.
"Oh, what a nice thing for you to say!" Clara exclaimed warmly, as she took his hand.
"Billy has mentioned your son to me several times. We would love to have Jacob over ...maybe you and Jacob could come over for a cook out with our family one night?"

They chatted for a few more minutes and exchanged phone numbers. Ryan Douglas went back to work, and Clara finished shopping- feeling sorry for little Jacob, and touched by Ryans kind remarks. He was seemed to be so nice and she wondered, "What woman in her right mind would let that ONE go? Smart, a loving dad, and so good looking! She must be an idiot!"

By the time Clara finished all of her errands and got home- William had finished the yard work and was itching like mad. A red rash with tiny blisters covered most of his left hand and part of his right arm. Clara took one look at the rash and said, "That is from poison ivy! How did that happen?"
William said, "I saw a small patch of it next to the swing set, so I pulled it up and got rid of it."
"Were you wearing your gloves?" Clara asked pointedly.
" I couldn't find my damn gloves!" He retorted.

Clara gave instructions for him to soak his hands and arm in cool water.
She didn't have any Poison Ivy lotions or cremes in the house and she would have to go back to the drug store, and get William some cotton gloves to keep the rash from spreading.

William filled the deep kitchen sink with cool water, and removed his watch and wedding ring.

Clara stepped into her bathroom and fluffed her hair and put on her lipstick before heading out to the drug store for the 2nd time that day.

The serpent yawned and stretched out a little. She wondered when the kids would be back...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It didn't last long...

I took down my photo-
Deleted some posts,
Needed to ponder on
What matters most...

One said- "Looks aren't important!",
Another said, "You be the judge."
My sisters and Dog said to me-
"It's you that we love."

So If, "It don't matter",
And I must ultimately decide...
Then I must tell you directly-
I'll post ALL the dang pictures I like!

And IF, on some morning...
I wake up and pout-
You might discover
That "Mayden's" a COW! :)

But most of time...
With apologies to NO ONE-
I'll be spiffed up with lip gloss...
And my hair will be done!

I will put my best foot forward,
And smile as each new day begins-
'Cause what you see on MY outside-
Reflects what's within :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Apatheia Chap 2: "Trespass"

The serpent lived under the house for months.

She ate the hapless mice who wandered into the crawl space, but could still venture out for larger prey when she wanted. The mice were not very filling for a serpent her size.
The neighbors 6 month old kitten went missing. And the lady who lived 3 doors down had an older dog who went berserk everytime she walked past William and Clara's house.
There were fewer rabbits in the yard hopping about, but no one paid much attention to the bunnies other than the kids.

The serpent had been looking for a way into the home. At last she found the perfect spot.
A pipe in the laundry room behind the washer was not sealed properly. The hole was just large enough for the snake to flatten her head and push her way in alongside the pipe. The laundry room, while an active place in the daytime, was quiet every night and afforded the serpent the ability to come and go as she pleased.

Now that she was familiar with the occupants of the house, William, Clara, Billy, and Hannah, she wanted their things. She coveted them.
On her first entry, following a scent, she went straight to Hannah's room. The little girl was sleeping soundly in her bed, her door left ajar and a nightlight was glowing softly.
The serpent, impossibly silent, moved towards the bed and raised herself up to see the sleeping child, flicking her toungue to fully taste her scent.
"Sssssweeeeet", the beast whispered, with a vile look and an evil smile.
She lowered herself back to the floor and looked for something special.
An item completely covered with the scent of the child. She soon found it.

Hannah's favorite blue bear, the one she slept with nightly, had been thrown on the floor in a tantrum of sorts at bed time. It was gone in the morning.

Next, in the boy's room, a favorite silver race car disappeared.
The silver one had been his dad's. It was sleek, and fast, and even though it had been scratched up a little, it was pretty. He placed the little silver car on the edge of his window seal earlier in the day. Several more days would pass before he noticed it was missing.

In the mornings Clara did not have much of a beauty routine.
Dressing, feeding, and getting the kids ready for school was her top priority. If she had one minute to herself, after getting dressed, she brushed her hair, put on her moisturizer and her favorite lipstick.
It was one of the few things she did for herself- and sometimes didn't even have time to do that.
On this day though, she had a few minutes to spare. The kids were ready and waiting on the couch watching Sesamee Street. Feeling somewhat pleased, Clara headed for her bathroom.

She brushed her long brown hair, it was pretty when she left it down, but she usually pulled it back, it seemed to get in the way. She washed her face and put on her moisturizer, reached for her lipstick...and it wasn't there.
She looked on the floor, and in the drawers. She double checked her make-up bag, and the basket on her bathroom sink...She even went out to the living room to check her purse. It was gone!
This frustrated Clara. As she walked back to her bathroom- under her breath she scolded herself, "If I could just keep this house organized I wouldn't lose things!" And glancing over at her husbands side of the bed, which was empty and unmade, she muttered, "Of course, it would be nice if I had some help around here."

William's Swiss Army knife was missing too. He left it on his night-stand and usually put it in his pocket before heading to work. Clara was still asleep when he'd left that morning, so he couldn't ask her if she had seen it. She was always moving things like that to places where the kids couldn't reach them. He used the pocket knife several times a day- to open mail, and various boxes of stuff at work and he needed it. It had a cool little screwdriver and a bottle opener too. He was bummed about it, but assumed his wife knew where it was, and he'd ask her about it when he got home later that day.

The serpent encircled herself around her new found loot. The house was full of things, and she was greedy, but patient.
Eventually she inteneded to hoard most of their "prizes". She would drain the home, one by one, of its valued treasures, no mater how worthless they really were.

The faintest odor was beginning to permeate the home. It was stronger in some places than others, particularly towards the front of the house. It was the odor of death, of small things decaying under the house. Regurgitated bones of mice, and bunnies, and one kitten.
Clara got out an air freshener. "That should take care of things" she thought. And it seemed to.
But over all it was barely noticable. The kitchen trash, which daddy often forgot to empty, usually smelled worse.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Apatheia~ Chap 1. "Dwelling"

The long dark serpent, ever hungry, slithered in and out of the shadows in the moonlight around the happy, but dimly lit cottage. Her soul was empty and her cravings were monsterous.

Silently she glided past a bright red plastic ball and a slightly rusty tricycle, inhaling the scent of the children who lived and played in the cottage. Everyone was asleep, or so it seemed.

In fact, the mother of the home, Clara, was not asleep. She was in bed reading something about current events, something political, an article that didn't have to do with pre-school, weight loss, or romance! She sighed as she glanced over at her snoring husband who lay next to her and was breathing heavily. His features had changed a lot. She marveled at how different he looked now compared to the man she married 13 years earlier. She had changed too. A tiny, but deadly feeling of dread came over her as she wondered what 13 more years would do to them...but she quickly forced the ill feelings away. They would mange, they always did.

Outside, the serpent suddenly lifted her head, as if the scent of something she was looking for had brushed by her. She flicked her tongue and continued to look for an entrance into the cottage. Yes, she was hungry, but she could be patient, vey patient. This family might suit her needs perfectly...

The next morning a sleepy Clara, who had stayed up too late reading, arose to the sound of little bare feet skipping down the hall. The 3 year old was making her way to her mother. A golden haired creature named Hannah, full of sunshine and music would soon cross the threshold of of her mothers room and find her mom sitting up on the edge of the bed, trying to wake up. Daddy would be in the shower, or off to work already.
"Mamma- I want...." And this is how the family's day began, almost every day.

The sun was coming up and the serpent had found a way in, under the house, long before day-break. A vent in the foundation of the house had been left open.
She curled and coiled her long thick body into a pile to keep warm, and she listened. Though the serpent was a night creature, she could hear and feel the vibrations of the morning routine, and was becoming aware of the occupants of the house. She heard the tiny steps of Hanna, a shower running, the heavier footsteps of a slightly bigger child, a boy perhaps? She could hear Clara calling out at various times, "Breakfast is ready! Where are your shoes? Don't forget to brush! Billy, where is your homework? And a phone ringing."

The serpent sighed, and an evil smile curved on her wicked mouth,
"Yesssss"...her toungue slithered, "This family will work out jussssst fine."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Well said friend...

Lux gives a tribute well said, as usual.

The issues of 9-11 swirl around me- I'm reading, and listening- at times with disbelief at what I am hearing...still in something of a shock over all the lives that were lost that day in Manhattan.

A city that takes on new meaning to me as I pour over books about it- and study the maps...

I can't imagine how hard it has been for the families and friends of those lost...not really imagine.

My heart still goes out to them.

In a CS Lewis devotional book I have, part of the September 11th entry says,

"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisons you and I make every day are of such infinite importance."

I will try to err on the side of love today in whatever I do.
And err on the side of kindness, grace, and mercy for others- and for myself.

If you lost someone on 9-11, and would like to share something about that person- I would love to hear it. Please share if you feel so inclined-



Saturday, September 09, 2006

By those who love...

"Our lives are shaped by those who love us,
and by those who refuse to love us."


This quote has been hanging around in my office for several months now. It is on a poster with 30 or so other quotes...and I hadn't really noticed it (that particular quote) until the other day.

A friend, who is the ultimate teacher at heart, was trying to explain to me about something in psychology called "shaping"- and while I think I understand the concept of this...(I've used it many times to teach my own kids- I just didn't know what it was called) I think the above quote sums up the idea pretty well.

"If you don't love me- I don't care much what you think of me."

That is a fairly profound thing for a person to say. And it's usually NOT true.

I'm ruled to some degree by what complete strangers might think of compells me to wear make-up when I leave the house- and to double check what I'm wearing. Heaven forbid someone think of me as unattractive, or sloppy- or FAT!

I've lost a fair amount of weight in the last year...40 pounds. I need to drop another 20- and it's hard. I've gotten slack about walking with the accursed summer heat, but it's breaking- and I'll be out on the pavement again tomorrow.

But to be clear...the walking and weight loss has mostly been for me-and not to impress anyone.
I want to be healthy.

However, someone in my life...someone close to me- loved me with "conditional love" for a very long time. It's hard to overcome the kind of "shaping" that does to a person. As I approach my 40's (in a few years) I see that I am still bound to thinking that a person can only really love me if I am a size 6. (and I am a 12/14)
Or, they can only love me if my teeth are straight...or if I am happy all of the time. Or whatever---

If you don't love me...what of it?
I personally wouldn't blame you.
Sad- huh? I know me better than you do, and some days I don't love me either!

I wonder how many of us struggle with the image of who we are...and how we are received by the outside world. How many of us lie and say, "If you don't love me, I don't care what you think!!!"
And on the inside...we are pleading with tiny voices:

"Please love me...please like me...I need you."

And we hate ourselves for it.

I am who I am.

Even Jesus said something close... "I AM". No apologies- no explanations...Just a profound and powerful statement of Who He was.

I'm nothing close to that...and yet, I can identify...I long to just run around and shout out...
"I am who I am. Not always nice, not always pretty, not always right...almost never skinny!"

I am me. You are you.

None of us perfect...all of us special.

I'm blessed to know each of you. And I refuse NOT to love you!
It does shape you...and it shapes me- not into a size 6, but in better ways :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Inspired by Bird :)

My everyday life looks different to me through the lens of my camera...
Welcome to my home :)

This is my comfy chair, with a lap blanket I made last year :)

And this is the view from my chair (I need to hang more photos!) --->>>

My room...see all the books piled up on my side? Yes...that is how it really looks, though usually I don't make the bed! The photos above the lamp are of the lions I met in South Africa.

Is the kitchen EVER tidy???
Just be glad I didn't take a pic of the floor! (Hmmm...mop or blog???
Whatever shall I choose??? LOL!)

My office! Either a writer of some sort works at this desk, or a group of 5 yr olds!
Somedays I'm not sure which! This shot really makes the office look small, and I should probably move the book cases, but the piano is there too!
Ok, it IS too small! But I love it. I adore the Aslan picture over my desk- and the fact that I can cram all of my stuff into the desk and close it!!!

I wish everything in my life was like this roll top! :)

This is hubby's office- he plays the bass, the banjo, piano, keyboards, tuba and sliding trombone. He loves "Rush"...I love Limbaugh.
Somehow we manage!

Someone asked for a full lenght pic of me, so there it is...

All the paint and wallpaper in the house was done by me. I still have a few rooms left to do.

Overall I'd say the house is clean, but not well organized. I know where things are, but anyone else would be lost:)

The kids rooms, and the craft room/spare bedroom I left need to traumatize myself further :)

I've invited a few bloggers to come for a now you know what you're in for!
Actually- most of you would be welcome if you came to my part of North Carolina.

It's not the Ritz...but it is home- and I feel pretty blessed to live here :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Chinese Name means "Beautiful Moon"

I Know this should go to MaydenPersona...but I just had to post this on the main page!!! I'll probably move it in the near future :)

Thanks to "SJ" for the link :)

You Are From the Moon

You can vibe with the steady rhythms of the Moon.
You're in touch with your emotions and intuition.
You possess a great, unmatched imagination - and an infinite memory.
Ultra-sensitive, you feel at home anywhere (or with anyone).
A total healer, you light the way in the dark for many.

X, my friend, as well as Schaumi and Lux, won't be surprised by this test result :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Our Lady of Perpetual Blogging Magnets :)

K9 has these ready :) (I'm not sure of the size)

A special thanks to him and /t- who both worked on this :) Smooch to both of you!

If you would like one- please EMAIL me with an address, (work, home, PO box, or your friend down the street- whatever makes you comfortable)

And I will mail a magnet to you :)

(Please don't post your address on the blog :)

A "magnet" seems appropriate in this case- I feel drawn to so many of you! :)

I can't wait to put one on my fridge! :)

you can email me at:

Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

I'll try to get some photos of the "Wrath of Ernesto" in my yard- and post them some time this weekend ! :)