Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oh, if he only knew....

This morning Little Mark was getting dressed for church. He came in wearing his black Dockers pants and a blue shirt. He asked the inevitable question, "Does this match?" I respond, "Yes, black goes with anything." He turns to return to his room and I here him say, "black and white go with anything. I guess they don't make white dress pants."

I immediately think, "Oh, honey, if you only knew....."

Thankfully, Little Mark is too young to remember this fashion fiasco.


Wendy Darling

Saturday, September 29, 2007

NEW CD! :-)

I have the BEST sister and BIL in the WORLD. They got me the new Casting Crowns CD. :-) THANK YOU, LASLO AND QUEEN B!!!!!

Little Mark and I will be attending the October 18th concert. At least, that is the plan. :-) I am very excited. :-) I hope to have the entire CD memorized before the concert. :-)

EAST TO WEST by Casting Crowns- Enjoy!

Wendy Darling

Friday, September 28, 2007

Weigh-in #8

I know ya'll have just been holding your breath, anxiously awaiting today's results. :-) I will now end the suspense....

The nephew lost another pound, but I can tell he has lost several inches. :-) So, he is doing good.

I lost 2.3 lbs in the last 10 days. This brings my total loss, so far, to 45.6 lbs. Yeah, I can't believe it either.

Now, before you all start on the "How did she do it?" "Man, wish I could be that dedicated" kick let me just say, "I have to confess, I did cheat." Sorry.

Last week, on my birthday, I ate a Milky Way. Yes, I am ashamed, but MAN DID IT TASTE GOOD! And, yesterday I had a piece of an ORGANIC candy bar. Just a piece, and it WAS ORGANIC! And last night I ate about 10 candy corn. They are fat free you know. Did I mention the candy bar was ORGANIC?

Ok, I know that isn't an excuse, but in my defense it was the first piece of candy I had in about 4 months. AND I will not go overboard. I had my "fix", so I'm good.

I did go to water aerobics this morning, and we have exercised our regular schedule this week. Actually we were going to go for a longer workout yesterday, but we had a storm hit and it knocked out all of the electricity on our side of town. Let me tell you there is nothing like "huffing and puffing" on a cycle for over 30 minutes only to have a large clap of thunder and a black out stop your fun. :-) At least I did get in the whole hour before it happened, because I had already gone a mile on the treadmill.

I can already tell such a difference just in losing the 45 lbs. I can reach behind me farther, I walk easier, and my ankle hasn't bothered me in a long time. I am more flexible, and my clothes are baggy. :-) I can tell that my behind is smaller. Seriously. I still have a very LONG WAY to go. I won't tell you how much I have to lose, until after at least half of it is gone, but trust me when I say it is A LOT.

So, I am considering going back to phase 1 for a few days, just to "shock my system" into more weight loss. If I do I won't do it until Monday, because I already have fish thawing in the fridge for supper, and I DO NOT WASTE GOOD FISH. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, September 27, 2007


WOO HOO! I got my new camera yesterday. I, FINALLY, got a chance to play around with it today. :-) I am SO EXCITED! If you all remember this post you know that my BIL has a very cool camera. Well, he HAD a very cool camera. Now, it is MINE, MINE, MINE!! :-) Thanks to my family, it is now my birthday present. :-)
Here are some photos my brother and I took. Can you guess which feature we like the best? :-)
My brother took the above photo. I thought it was really cool. :-)

Little Mark gave me this flower. He picked it from our front yard.

My brother also took the above photo. I just love the feature of only showing one color!

This picture is actually a painting of our mom. It is her Senior photo. My Daddy had it when he was in Vietnam, and he got a man there to paint it. It is kind of great, because the photo was black and white, and Daddy had to tell him Mom's hair/eye color, etc... It still hangs in our living room. My brother took the photo using the same feature we used in the above photos, and it featured the "pink" shades. It is really cool.

Thank you, again, Laslo!!! :-)


Wendy Darling

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not a pleasant discovery....

It happened ya'll. I turned 39 on Sunday, and I was very content with it. I went to church, had fun worshipping. Came home, got some cards, got to visit with Princess Ladybug, went to Bible Study and then to a Sunday School party. It was fun. But then, today it happened.......

While waiting in the car to pick up my brother I looked in the "vanity mirror" to check how much of my makeup had "sweat off" at the fitness center. While doing that I found 2 grey hairs. :-( I stared at them for a LONG time thinking, is that REALLY blond hair? It has to be blond. My hair is naturally about 4 colors. Brown, red and light brown/dirty blond highlights and black.

I have VERY thick hair, and a lot of it. When I was really little my hair was a dirty blond color. My sister, Queen B, had very beautiful blond hair. I wanted my hair to be as blond as hers, but mine was darker. Still, it wasn't bad. The older I got the darker my hair got. So, the
underneath looks black. The top is a medium brown, and like I said, has the highlights.

But, today I saw them. They were buried under some hair, but I saw a "glimmer". I pulled my hair apart until I found the offending piece, and just stared at it. I tried to justify it. Telling myself it was blond. But, my hair always gets darker, not lighter. Then, I tried to decide, should I pull it out? I have always heard if you pull it out two will take its place. I don't want to do that.

Then, I almost cried, ya'll. I swear I did. Between having the shingles and a grey hair someone is trying to tell me something.

While trying to wrap my mind around what was happening I then saw a hint of another "glimmer." I immediately made my way to that offending hair and compared the two side by side. Exact same color. This doesn't look good.

My brother came out and the first thing I said was, "Does this look blond or grey to you?" He looked hard, and a SMIRK came upon his face. But, he said, "I can't tell." THEN he said, "But, you're 5 years older than me and I have been going grey for years, so you get no sympathy from me."

Oh yeah, he went there. I can't believe it. I may have to get Queen B to color my hair. Seriously. Oh well, Happy Birthday to Me. :-(

Wendy Darling

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Click to view my Personality Profile page
Here is your profile:

Communication Style
A Natural People Person

When you are walking down a corridor or a street, you like to greet or stop to speak to someone. People just love to talk with you about anything. That's because the positive energy that you give off during conversations develops an instant bond with everyone.
You love to interact with people. It doesn't matter how many people there are or at what level you're communicating; you do it effortlessly. Conversation has been extremely natural to you your whole life.

You have a wonderful sense of humor. When people are with you, they smile and laugh a lot. Whether it's telling a joke you heard before or sharing a spontaneous ad lib, you're naturally funny and entertaining. Your humor and ways of communicating are constantly creating situations that relax and motivate other people.

Strategic Creativity

Unless people know you very well, they won't realize that you are quite capable of creating strategic plans, following intellectual pursuits and developing new, abstract theories about how things integrate or function. You're able to look at the whole picture, break them into discrete, unusual parts, and synthesize these into unique wholes or strategic plans. You thoroughly enjoy discovering creative options when thinking through difficult problems and challenging ideas.

Motivating and Leading Others

When it comes to dealing with people and problems, you use a combination of intuitive and rational thoughts very successfully. Your positive, personal and intelligent ways of relating to people make them want to follow you during times of confusion and stress. It's when the situations are dynamic and need optional thinking and/or in-the-moment organization that you're able to step forward, take command and lead others towards successful outcomes. This is when your style of leadership becomes most effective.

Even if you're not knowledgeable about a subject area under discussion, you come across as smooth and intelligent. It doesn't matter to you what conversations others are having or what topics they're discussing, you can join in without missing a beat. That's because you intuitively know how to listen to the underlying messages being delivered and how to successfully respond to people intellectually with just a few facts.

How You Learn

Besides reading and studying, conversations and dialogues provide you with an enjoyable opportunity to learn. It's during this repartee that you're able to ask any type of question: logical, analogical or just odd ones to serve your curiosity. One of the best ways for you to learn and to be motivated is to belong to a study group, particularly one that has members who are focused on the objectives and deadlines. The process of these groups can provide you with the focus and further detail to study and learn effectively.

Speaking in front of Groups

Speeches and presentations to small or large groups come naturally to you. You can either be prepared or wing it when making a speech. The latter, with a few notes jotted on a piece of scrap paper, is your preferred way to present. Also, you'll use theatrical intonations and gestures, personalized comments and anecdotes with humor, integrating them around facts, logic and important points. When you have finished, people leave your presentations feeling that you have presented a solid case, you have touched them personally and you have spoken to each one of them intellectually.

Your Leadership Qualities

As a leader, you're a powerful combination of intellectual insightfulness, future predictions and personal charm. The former allows you to plan and think things through intuitively and logically. The latter allows you to be empathetic and personal in your expression of motivation and planned action. The two of these combined give you the positive power that people trust and follow.

Communication Tips

People who have a predominantly Left-brain Abstractthinking style thrive on careful analysis of all pertinent factors before making any decisions. Their style is naturally systematic and detail-oriented, characterized by the pursuit of logic, predictability and discipline. They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. They tend to stick to the rules and stay within the confines of their orderly world.

When communicating with a Left-brain Abstract person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:
You might find their passion for logical analysis to be ponderous or overly pedantic at times, but if you keep an open mind, their conclusions could be beneficial to you.
In situations where you must collaborate on a project or a plan, their tendency to stick to the rules can be limiting to your own creative visions. Present your optional ideas as logical alternatives worthy of consideration.

They may appear distant and aloof at times, as they prefer to listen rather than talk. Don't take this personally or assume they're arrogant. Remember that they're absorbing and processing information before they render an opinion.

They can be a valuable source of background or historical information, which you sometimes tend to overlook while you aim for the "big picture." Nevertheless, expect them to provide more details than you might care for.

People who have a predominantly Right-brain Concrete thinking style thrive on interacting with people and being the center of attention. They inspire others with their charm and warm personality. They can read other people very easily and use their intuitive skills to adapt effortlessly to changing situations. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions. They often speak without spending too much time thinking about what to say.
When communicating with a Right-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:
At times, you might find their ebullient need to be the center of attention to be overpowering or annoying.

Like therapists, they can sometimes encourage you to open up and confide with them about personal problems or concerns you have. You're usually okay with this, as long as they don't pry too deeply or push their solutions too strongly.
As much as you think before you speak, they think by speaking. They are excellent at exciting and persuading others to follow their suggestions.
Even if they don't take logic or factual data into account, they may come up with innovative or imaginative ideas that are worthy of your consideration.
Since you both like to come up with ideas, the verbal interaction can be both personally rewarding and productive. They may not share your visionary creativity, but they often have an intuitive sense of what is most suited for you.
They can sometimes seem manipulative in getting their way. While you might find their personal charm and charisma irresistible, don't allow yourself to be swayed in a direction that you know is not right for you.

People who have a predominantly Left-brain Concrete thinking style are action-oriented and thrive on challenge. As movers of people and organizations, they enforce rules, focus on goals, meet deadlines, and demand immediate action. They typically avoid getting bogged down in details and want to go directly to the bottom line. They prefer short and easy action-items or conclusions. They are decisive people who want to get things done quickly and efficiently.
When communicating with a Left-brain Concrete person, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:
You might find their style at times overbearing or in some cases, even intimidating. As a result, you're likely to interact with them only as much as absolutely necessary.
When it comes to solving problems, they view feelings or abstract concepts as intrusions that prevent them from reaching a firm conclusion. You'd be better off not allowing your feelings to become too much of an issue.
On the other hand, your feelings about certain situations are paramount to your comfort level, so don't be afraid to let them know how important that is to you.
There might be times that you will feel they are pushing too hard to get you to make a final decision. On the other hand, you might be struggling with all the options you're considering and could benefit from their decisive nature.
Don't be offended by their direct talk if it seems abrupt � they are goal-oriented people who know how to get things done.
When communicating with another Left-brain Concrete, you are likely to experience the following characteristics:
Like you, they tend to be visionary thinkers who look at the big picture and try to understand how things relate to each other.
They value creative, inspirational options as much as you do. They can usually provide interesting alternatives that would be worth your while to consider. At times, however, you might become a bit irritated with their tendency to go off on tangents when you're trying to focus on a particular issue of concern.
With the tendency you both have to procrastinate while exploring your options, one of you will need to refocus your energies on making a decision when the need to accomplish something arises.
You are both open-minded and feelings-oriented. Together, you are likely to create a relaxed, low-key atmosphere based on trust and good rapport.
Remember to be patient with their quiet, reflective nature; just like you, they may be thinking of other options that are more suitable for you or for themselves.
Ultimately, you both need to feel comfortable with how your decisions fit into your world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I have a problem...

Ok, ya'll. I need some advice. If ya'll will remember this post then you will remember my friend Jimmy, and that we were engaged.

Well, I am still friends with his mother. We speak on the phone about once a week or so, and today she took me to lunch for my birthday.

A few weeks ago she told me that she had gone to the bank a couple of months back to clear out Jimmy's safe deposit box. In there she found our wedding rings. I still have my engagement ring, but Jimmy had put his wedding ring, and the part of my ring that was to be "fixed" to the engagement ring to make my wedding ring in the box. She wanted to know if I would like to have it. I said, "Yes, Ma'am. I think I would." So, she gave it to me today at lunch. Not sure why I wanted it, but I did/do and now have it.

She also wants me to come over and spend some weekend with her. She REALLY wants me to come over. I know she is in poor health, and she really could use someone over there. I know she is lonely. The problem is, I still do not feel comfortable going over there. I really don't. It isn't just fear. I REALLY don't want to go.

Now, I feel guilty. I have made excuses until now, and in a few weeks I literally will have no time until after the first of the year. So, if I go it will need to be in the next couple of weeks.

So, should I keep making excuses and not go? Should I go, and risk my nerves, because I really don't want to be there? I may not last the weekend. (Please don't suggest being honest with her, because believe me she is not the kind of person that would take the truth well.)

The other thing is, I could really use a few days away from kids. But, I know I won't be able to rest that weekend, even if I went.

Should I feel guilty? Am I being selfish?

Wendy Darling

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Win a FREE Dyson vacuum...

And the money for the vacuum goes to Breast Cancer Research. Go here and enter to win.

and Dyson created a limited edition, oh-so-fashionable Pink vacuum and they are donating $40 from each sale to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can also get them at Target. What a great way to support Breast Cancer Research.

Wendy Darling
Lessons learned, and a recipe....

I just came back from the fitness center. It is my 3rd day this week to go, but today was a little different, because I learned a few new things. I also believe that if I learned something new today then it is only right I share something new with all of you, because... you know... that would only be fair. So, I am going to share a recipe. But, first, on with what I learned.

1. When you go to the gym, and your mother has a doctor appointment around the same time let her drop YOU off at the gym and pick you up later, instead of vice-versa. Because, your mother might get the hospitals confused and you have to stop in the middle of your huffing and puffing to go pick her up and take her to the correct hospital, which happens to be located RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO YOUR GYM. Then, you have to go back and pick up said "huffing and puffing" again. This can't be good for the heart.

2. When getting on a treadmill make sure you stand on the rubber thingies next to the tread, not directly ON the tread before hitting the start button. BECAUSE the person who used the treadmill just before may not unplug the red ball turning OFF the machine, which RESETS the speed of the treadmill. And then you are at the mercy of whatever speed they were going. Like today when the lady was apparently running a 100 mph marathon. OK, it was only set at a 4. But, to me, who is used to going 2.3 speed that picks up VERY fast. My heart rate went from 95-173 in seconds, literally. It took everything I had to let go with one hand so I could hit the stop button. Praise God, I did it without falling. :-)

I WAS told lesson #2 when I joined the gym, but I forgot.

3. The music you listen to while on the cycle machine and treadmill is VERY important. I listened to Mandissa while doing the weight resistance, but when I got on the cycle machine I flipped the MP3 player to Clay Aiken's Christmas album.

Yes, you read that right. CHRISTMAS. I have really been in the mood to hear some Christmas music, and so I thought it would be a good time. While it was nice, it isn't exactly "heart pumping" if you know what I mean. So, I flipped back to Mandissa (because I LOVE me some Mandissa) and listened to "Shackles" over and over again. THAT is some "heart pumping" music! :-)

Okay, now for the recipe. I call it "Ain't Your Mama's Grilled Cheese" (like the title?) :-)


1 Whole Wheat Tortilla

1/2 C of grated low fat cheese

about 1/4 C of red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 of an avocado, sliced

about 1/4- 1/2 C of greens ( I like to use Spring Mix Salad)

1 t olive oil

Heat your pan and put in the olive oil. Place the whole wheat tortilla in the pan and move around some to spread the oil. Place the cheese around the tortilla. Lay your other ingredients on the cheese and then fold over tortilla using a spatula or tongs. Cook on one side about 1 minute to brown. Flip and brown the other side. I like to pull mine out so the greens are still a little crisp. (Sometimes I put in mushrooms and onions. Really, you can put in whatever you like)

After I had eaten half my lunch it occurred to me to take a picture of it, so here is a picture of the finished product.

Sorry there aren't any pictures of how to prepare it, but really, if you have ever made a grilled cheese or quesadilla then you know how already. :-)



Wendy Darling

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

loaded questions #31

I "stole" this one from kwizgiver. :-)

Hypotheticals: If you could attend any awards show, which would you choose?

I don't like the awards shows anymore. They have become way to political and self-serving. I haven't watched them in years.

Anything Goes: What are you thankful you're not doing right now? Running, I'm still pooped from water aerobics

No-Brainers: What is your favorite kind of candy? I love Hersheys Bars, Whoppers, Twix and candy corn.

Personals: Who is the most famous person you have ever met? I met Lisa Whelchel last year at a Mom Time Getaway. She is really great! Very personable, and a wonderful speaker. I even had my picture taken with her. :-)


Wendy Darling

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Finally, weigh-in #7

After 3 weeks of being "down" I went to weigh-in this morning. The rash is completely gone, so I am determined to get things back to normal, and live through the pain.

I fully expected to have gained weight, because I have not exercised in those 3 weeks, and I have cheated some. But, I lost 4.3 lbs. It makes me wonder how much I could have lost if I hadn't allowed myself to "stress eat". I have noticed that my portions are getting a little bigger, and I did eat some frozen pizza. The other night I ate a cheeseburger and onion rings from Sonic. And a couple of BITE SIZE Snickers. But, NO MORE. I DO NOT want to gain back even one pound of the weight I have worked so hard to lose.

So, my mind is once again being focused on the "prize". I have met my first goal of 25 in the first 13 weeks. I have set my new goal. I would like to lose 30 pounds by December 1st. When I meet that goal that means I will have lost about 73 lbs, since I have now lost 43.3 lbs. SO, today starts at "0". My new jumping off point. :-)

My birthday is on Sunday. I'll be 39. I have decided that I will not "splurge" to celebrate. No cake, etc... It will make a great birthday if I can weigh-in next Friday and show a loss of at least 3 pounds. That will be the best birthday present. :-)


Monday, September 17, 2007

For the last time, "Rice Krispies do NOT go up your nose...."

Everything went sort of back to normal today. Due to my rash finally going away the "little angel" came back today. She was very excited to be back, as we were to have her back. The first thing she did when she came in was hug everyone, and then proceed to show us all the Video Now Jr. she acquired while she was gone. It took "little Mark" less than half a second to ask, "Can I see it?" Then, the normal fighting began. :-) Ahhhh.... just like old times.

I then tried to begin school with "little Mark" while Nana made a bowl of Rice Krispies for "angel". Yeah, school..... uhmmmmm didn't start out so well. He let it be known that he most definitely did not want to do school today. I am not sure if it was hormones, or surviving the shingles, but I was not putting up with any foolishness today! The boy was in for a time. Aunt Wendy got TOUGH, and didn't back down. Not only did he get the assignments, he had to do them mostly on his own, and he had to do some of them twice. (When I say I want it written neatly it BETTER be written neatly!) I did not accept any excuse or foolishness. He did end up in his room for awhile, but when he came out his attitude had changed for a bit. I was all business today, and he took note of the attitude change, and did not like it one bit.

But you know what? Things got done. He realized Aunt Wendy actually has a backbone, and I am dead set on him learning. We have been reading the Little Britches series at night. Well, I decided that after today I needed a break, so I crotcheted, and I made HIM read. You would have thought I had asked him to build a house without a hammer, but eventually he caved in and read. Oh yeah, that will be happening a lot more.

I decided to do a few things the old fashioned way. The saying "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" spoke true, because I didn't give the boy time to be idle. I went "old school" when he talked back and I grabbed him by the ear. Oh yes ma'am, I did. I only had to body check him 2 or 3 times. (Just kidding about the body checking) :-) But, I did get his attention. I am now "Mean Old Aunt Wendy", and I am considering it the highest of compliments. When he went to bed I did tell him that I loved him very much, but I would not tolerate any foolishness tomorrow, and he could expect more of the same. Believe me when I say he doesn't doubt that one bit.

It may sound like I am being harsh, and I admit that I am, but by the end of the day he knew I meant business, and I think the next few days will be easier.

On the other hand "angel" (and I do use the term loosely) did fairly well. She learned her "Bs" and water colored. Unfortunately she also got into the bread, spilled the Rice Krispies on the floor, and then proceeded to put one in her left nostril. I was working with "little Mark" and happened to see her almost put one in her nose. I said "Don't do that", and of course she stopped. Until she went to the other side of the room, and then came to me with a shocked look on her face saying "It won't come out." I calmly put my finger on her right nostril, pinching it closed, and said "blow." She did, it popped out, and I looked her in the eye saying, "Don't ever do that again." She very calmly said, "Yes, Ma'am.", picked up her bowl and took it straight to Nana. I don't think she will be having Rice Krispies for awhile. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Little Britches"

About three years ago I was at a homeschool convention and I heard about this book, "Little Britches." I am sorry to say that I had never of this book before. "Little Mark" and I became excited about it, and the more I heard/read about it the more excited I got to read it.

We checked it out at the library, and after getting through the first book we decided not only did we need to read the rest, but we needed to own the entire series. It took me awhile, but we finally bought book 2. We just finished it, and we began the next one last night.

Ya'll if you like the Little House series you will absolutely love this book. This is what has to say: "Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father's place when it becomes necessary."

In a day and time such as ours, when families don't spend enough time together. When everything is all about "ME", this book is SO REFRESHING. It really shows what a family can do when they pull together.

The main part I love about it is when Little Britches daddy teaches him about building his "character house." It is explained in such a way that even the youngest of readers/listeners can understand it. "Integrity" is not a characteristic taught enough in our society today, but Little Britches definitely personifies integrity. I just can't say enough about this series.

I strongly encourage you to get a copy of the first book and read it with your family. I have a feeling this will be a series that will be handed down from generation to generation, if we are truly blessed.

Wendy Darling

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Invisible Woman

This article appeared in the September issue of Homeschool Co-op Newsletter. I LOVED it, and I wanted to share it with all of you. Whether you are a mom or not, this will touch you. Pass it on to all of the women you know. I don't know the author, personally, but she really touched me. :-)

"The Invisible Woman"
By Nicole Johnson

It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, 'Who is that with you, young fella?' 'Nobody,' he shrugged. 'Nobody?' The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street, I thought, 'Oh my goodness, nobody?'
I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like 'Turn the TV down, please' - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, 'Would someone turn the TV down?' Nothing.
Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, 'I'm ready to go when you are.' He just kept right on talking.
That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible. It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not! No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.
My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought this for you.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: * No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. * These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. * They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. * The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Wendy Darling

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Update on me... :-)

I thought I would give you a quick update on me. :-) I am doing better. I am half-way through the meds. The rash is almost gone. I still have some of it lingering around, and it looks like some red spots will remain, but they are not the rash, just a "scarring". I was warned that would happen. I am still itching, stinging, and have pains and numbness. But, like the doc said, it could be a LONG time before that goes away.

So, I have resolved that as soon as the rash is gone, I am going back to my life. I can hurt being productive, just as much as at home. So, hopefully, in a little over a week I will be back at homeschool co-op and the gym. I'll take it easy, though. Promise. :-)

Thank you all for your prayers, well wishes. It really has helped. I actually think I was over the worst of it before I went to the doctor, but the medicine seems to be finishing it off.

I still can't really wear clothes, yet, which is a problem when you want to go out in public. I pretty much walk around in my gown all day. Having clothes touch my left side feels like needles sticking me, but I think I can get used to that sensation. I'll be working up to it before I actually venture outside fully clothed. Because, you know, the public saw me in a bathing suit this summer, I really don't think they want to see me naked. :-)

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thank you.....

It doesn't seem enough. This is just a "thank you" to any and all soldiers who have ever fought in ANY war. Especially the heroes who did not come home.

With my sincere thanks.
Wendy Darling
We remember....

Wendy Darling

Monday, September 10, 2007

He's going to be a preacher....

The last couple of years I have heard that statement made about my dear older nephew several times. :-) There is a dear friend of mine, that I first met our first year in homeschool group. She had the nephew for a class. She came to me one day and said, "I can just see the hand of God on him. He is going to be used for something very special. Probably a preacher."

I have to admit, that there are days when he absolutely drives me crazy. Then there are days when I know I drive him crazy, and that the Lord is dealing with him. I pray for him constantly. :-) I tell him a lot that God has a special plan for him, as he does for us all, but I believe he is going to be used for some special purpose.

He definitely has a sense of humor, and the boy is very MUCH into technology. Just this weekend he was pulling music from a DVD and putting it on his iPod. He has never done this before, and no one showed him how. He just "figured it out". I swear, if it has a button or computer on it he will know in less than 5 minutes how to work it. He did the same thing at the fitness center last week. I was afraid to touch the buttons just to change the channel on the TV, and he was changing the settings on the treadmill like he had been doing it for years. In his own words "Technology is a wonderful thing." He is definitely "wired" that way.

Unfortunately, he is also very much what Dr. James Dobson calls a "Strong Willed Child". He does get it honestly. Most of our family is "strong willed". I know that God created him that way for a reason, and one day it will come in very handy. Unfortunately, he has not yet learned when to control this.

I was thinking about it today. Today he did really well with his school work, and did not throw a fit that we cannot go to homeschool group until my rash goes away. We talked about politics, ya'll. AND HE LISTENED. AND UNDERSTOOD. Days like today amaze me.

Then there are the days when he reminds me of a Christian Comedian named Mark Lowry. :-)

I truly believe he could be another Mark Lowry. He truly does have this sense of humor. Tonight I watched the following video clip of an old Mark Lowry video. After a bit I substituted "Aunt Wendy" for "Mama", and I could hear myself saying that very phrase, "I just want the last word." It's hilarious, ya'll. :-)

If you have never had the pleasure of seeing Mark in concert you should. I first saw him my Senior year. Actually, I had already graduated, and was leaving for college the very next day. We drove to Houston to see him open for the Steve Archer concert, but truthfully Mark is the only one I remember from that night. It was when he was first starting out, and he was so funny. :-)

So, I thought I would share the video with you. :-) Enjoy!

I may have to start reffering to my nephew as "little Mark" on here. I really don't like Dear Older Nephew. It just doesn't seem personal enough. But, this may work. :-)

Wendy Darling

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mystery is solved.......

I just came back from the ER, again. My family made me go, because I had another sleepless night. I told them everything that has been happening, the doctor took one look at the rash and said, "You have shingles." It's a virus that attacks the nerves, not muscles. I now know more about shingles then I ever wanted to know.

It is not common in my age group, but does happen. Everything he described that could/would happen has happened. In a way a feel a huge relief that I know what the problem is, but it still doesn't make the pain go away. Hopefully, the med's they prescribed will.

He said if I had been diagnosed with it from the beginning it would have been better, but I hope it works. He couldn't believe I have survived the last few weeks without the proper meds, because he has had them and knows how painful they are.

My only dread now is that it is contagious to people who have not had Chicken Pox. Homeschool group starts tomorrow, and I am not sure what is going to happen. I may not be able to go. :-(

Also, let me publicly apologize to people at Bio Freeze for thinking it was there product.

Wendy Darling

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I should have just done a list.

I would love to report that yesterday was a perfect day. I slept all night with no abdominal/back pains or muscle spasms. The children were angels and did not aggravate each other even once. They both ate the lunch I made with no complaining. The nephew finished every assignment I gave him with no trouble, and it was perfect, and finished in a timely manner. Both of the children helped around the house, and it was in pristine condition when "Granny" showed up for the "little angel".

I would love to report that, unfortunately not a word of would be true. :-( Fortunately, my sister and brother helped with the house when the got home. The nephew did vacuum most of the house, and he did finish one assignment. To be honest, I was so busy I am surprised he finished that one. I did finish school work with the "little angel." She did really great, and we learned about Reggae music and Jamaica. :-)

Sometimes young children are just amazing. Yesterday was her day. She was so happy to back with us, after not being able to come for the last couple of weeks. She has discovered the hand puppets. She loves for me to put it on my hand, and she will carry on conversations with them for HOURS. She sees my lips move, and she knows I am the one talking, but to her it is still "alive", and her perfect playmate. Yesterday I turned on the "kids music channel" on the TV. They played several songs, and she and "rabbit" (the hand puppet) danced. A Reggae song came on, and "rabbit" took the opportunity to teach her the words "reggae" and "Jamaica". :-)

We went to the library where "Pinocchio lives". The children's librarian is wonderful, and she has hats and stuffed dolls/animals all over the children's section. The children are encouraged to play with them, and I had to read several books to "angel and Pinocchio". :-)
Then we all came home, and I was dying to lie down and rest. So, we all laid on the king size bed and watched TV. I am not above resorting to TV when absolutely necessary.

I did, however, lose my temper yesterday as well. When I was trying to clean the disaster area known as the living room and kitchen, and pretty much begging the nephew for help, all he could do was gripe and cry that he could not find his iPod. After about the 10th "I Want...." I had had enough. I threw down my towel, literally, and yelled "What about the children who live in places who have no food or shelter, much less an iPod?!"

Yeah, I went there. And I was thinking as I was saying it, I can't believe I am saying this, because it will go right over his head just like it did mine at his age. And I could see by the look on his face that it did, go right over his head. But, after my fit he did help. (The lesson here friends, "Throw a fit to get what you want. IF you are an adult.) I did feel better, because later he did come and apologize. He asked if I needed anything, and said he knew he was wrong, and being selfish, and that he would really work to do better. I know this will come with maturity.......someday.

I know I was sensitive yesterday, because I was in pain, but also it was just a bad/blah week. I couldn't figure out why I was feeling the way I was feeling. Was I depressed? Ill? Tired? Hormonal? Who knows..... but, tonight I believe I found the answer.

I am currently doing the Beth Moore Bible Study on "Daniel" at church. We are in our second week. Each Sunday we discuss, and watch the DVD together. Then, each day you do a "home work lesson" on your own. Well, I hadn't made the time to mine at all this week. So, tonight I sat down to do all 5 lessons, because section 3 starts tomorrow. You want to know what she talked about in the first home work lesson? Yep, how not doing your Bible Study effects your daily life. Boy, did it effect mine.

So, I did a lot of prayer tonight about being more consistent, patient, understanding, and wiser. Especially wiser.

I have so many thoughts going on in my head that maybe I should have just done a "list", because I know I am jumping all over the place here.

I am thankful my Mom is home. Now things can get back to "normal" and the nephew and I can really get our routine at the fitness center down. I think we all learned to appreciate each other more while she was gone. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Day At The Gym....

Well, we made it to the fitness center today. We were there at 5:45 am waiting for our appointment at 6:00 am. I took a chance and wore shorts. And I met a whole bunch of people I know who have never seen me in shorts. I felt a twinge of embarrassment, until I realized, THEY WEREN'T LOOKING. They were too busy doing their thing and sweating. After all, we are all there for the same reason, right? To get healthy. :-)

The trainer said that we were doing great, and to keep up with the diet, etc. He showed us how to use the weight resistance machines, the cycles and the treadmill. Those were the things he suggested for me since I have knee and back problems. He said, "I don't recommend you do the step machine." I was happy to agree. :-) The nephew, however, loved the step machine. :-) We were able to work out about 20 minutes before my sister picked us up, so I rode just under 1 mile. Then we went back this afternoon and got in a full hour.

I am amazed at how much I am hurting. I know I haven't worked out in about 3 weeks, but my goodness. My muscles are SORE. I did 2 repetitions of 12 on 7 different weight resistant machines, and then I did 15 minutes on the cycle and 15 minutes on the treadmill. I "upped the resistance" on those too. All together I rode right at about a mile.

I guess that makes almost 2 miles counting both sessions. Maybe that explains the soreness. :-)

The trainer showed me the neatest thing. All of the cardio equipment comes with these handles on the side. These handles actually tell you what your rpm and heart rate are. That way you know if you need to step it up or slow down. He said I should stay around 102 for my heart rate to start. OK, I am for that. I got on the cycle machine and at the end of my 15 minutes my heart rate was 98. I then got on the treadmill. after about 7-8 minutes I realized I was breathing kind of hard. I put my hands on the handles and waited for the number. 158! Yes Ma'am, I was going at it. :-) I then lowered the resistance on the treadmill and tried to bring my heart rate down slowly. After my 15 minutes I was still around 130, so I just sort of walked around the floor for a few minutes. It came out fine. :-)

We hope to do the water aerobics in the morning, if the little girl I babysit doesn't come tomorrow, otherwise we will go tomorrow night. :-)

So, I survived my first day "at the gym". LOL... never thought those words would come out of my mouth. :-)

The nephew kept saying, rather loudly, "I have never worked so hard in my life! I love the exercising." :-) Glad to hear him say that, and I hope he keeps liking it.

Oh, and it really helped to have the TV. We brought our headphones and just went to town, he watching "Kim Possible" and I watching "Fox News and Rachel Ray". Which made me wonder, "Does it really make sense to be exercising while watching someone cook fattening foods?" Hmmmm........

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I am no longer MIA! :-)

Hello Everyone! Man, am I glad to be able to sit and blog. I am just happy to be able to move!! :-)

The last couple of weeks have been torture! My back and side have almost cleared up from the "Bio Freeze" burn. It was so bad I almost took pictures, but I just didn't want to remember it that way. Seriously, it hurts now just thinking about it.

Everything else has gone away. I still, occasionally, have a twinge in my stomach and back, but for the most part I AM CURED! (Can we all say PRAISE GOD, because honestly He is the ONLY reason I lived through "it".)

On to happier news. My nephew and I joined a fitness center today. :-) He is VERY excited, and can't wait to get on the equipment. The center has a children's class where they teach nutrition and exercise with different things. He did get to attend that tonight. He really liked it.

We weren't supposed to use the equipment tonight, because we don't have our "intro" with the personal trainer until 6:00 am tomorrow. Did you catch that? 6:00 AM! It's going to be fun.

My nephew however decided he needed to start early. When I was waiting for him to come out of his class I was talking to a friend of mine. I then thought I heard his voice coming from the area of the cycle machines/treadmills. Sure enough there he was on one of the cycle machines like he had been doing it for years. He LOVES the machines, and I am glad he is so eager to exercise.

Part of the reason I believe he is so eager is because of the machines themselves. They have TVs on them, ya'll. EVERY ONE OF THEM. WITH CABLE. I have never in my life seen anything like it. :-) I have to admit though, I am excited to start too. Especially, water aerobics. I am already trying to figure out how I can work in two sessions a day. :-)

Wendy Darling