Can We Talk?

Coffee Chat Writing Project – December 2008


This is a sticky post. Please scroll down for current entries. Thank you!


Are you ready to submit your blog links?

If you know what to do, please feel free to skip this introduction and put your links into the Mr. Linky script below. If you subscribed to my feed, don’t forget to leave me a comment so I can add another ticket for you to the pot!

If you’re scratching your head, wondering what in the world I’m talking about …

… You can read the full rules and guidelines here.

The writing prompts for this Coffee Chat are:

1. Tell us how your Thanksgiving dinner went. (What was on the menu? What food item did you contribute? Did you have any family drama? Post pictures if you have them!)

2. Tell us about how you celebrated the holidays when you were a child. (Do you have a certain holiday experience you’d like to share? Scan photos and post them if you can!)

Write about one, or both prompts (separate posts, please), if you wish.

Your posts can be fiction, or nonfiction – interpret these prompts any way you wish – whatever inspires you.

You have two weeks to write a blog entry based on one, or both, writing prompts. When you’re finished, leave the PERMALINK to your blog entry in the Mr. Linky script. I will update readers periodically with who has submitted their links so far. I will draw two winners December 15th – the first winner receives a $25 gift certificate, the second winner receives a $10 Starbucks gift certificate (I’ll need the address of the second winner as I’ll be actually buying these myself).

Need an example? Here’s my Thanksgiving post.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!

December Coffee Chat Participants

Abundant Life

Teaching: Christians Do Not Wrestle Flesh and Blood

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Be Strong in the Lord

Because life is difficult, and God wants us to stand year after year, He has given us armor to help us stand in the fight.

Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV)
(13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
(14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
(15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
(16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
(17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Before we go into the specifics of the armor, we need to make a couple important observations. First, the armor of God mentioned in verses 13-17 is so intriguing, and so intrinsically powerful, that it is easy to forget that this section of Scripture opens with the exhortation to be strong in the Lord.

Ephesians 6:10 (author’s translation)
Finally, be strong in the Lord, that is, in his mighty strength. [4]

The Christian must be, and remain, strong in the Lord. In him we have the strength we need to stand and withstand. The armor we put on is not our armor, it is God’s armor. Furthermore, we are not strong in ourselves because we have the armor. If we forget that, and begin to trust in our strength, then the Evil One will quickly discover how to defeat us. The “armor” section of Scripture starts with us being strong in the Lord, and that is where we must stay.

Another thing we need to remember is that the armor not only allows us to stand day after day in “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4), but it specifically enables us to stand in any given evil day (cp. Eph. 6:13). [5] Every one of us has good days and bad days. There are days when no fiery darts from the Evil One seem to hit us, and there are days when we seem to be hit with arrow after arrow, problem after problem.

Too many Christians act as if the armor of God was there to protect us during the days when we have no trouble, or only mild trouble. During those times we withstand evil well, and do a good job of acting like a Christian should act. However, when the Adversary (or adversity) really hits us hard, we are not as diligent to act as we should. For example, many people who pride themselves in not using profanity or letting their anger get out of control in their day-to-day lives, will then excuse themselves and allow their anger to get out of control. Or, a person who never gets drunk at home might excuse himself and get drunk. The point is that the Word says that the armor is so we can stand in the “evil” day, not the “regular” days. Christians should be known for being our best when things are the worst. Unfortunately, that is something that many of us have to become much better at.

Another thing we must keep in mind is that “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood….” A major point of comparison between wrestling and Christian life is that the wrestlers did not kill their opponents. The games went on place after place and year after year, and although today’s match might be over, another would come next week, or next month. The contest never ended, and such is the case with Christians. We cannot beat the Devil once and for all and then have peace in our lives. Rather, we wrestle against evil and ungodliness day after day, week after week, throughout our lives. This can get discouraging, and it is why we must grasp the fact that God does not ask us to “win” the contest, because we cannot kill the Devil. We are told to “stand.”

Please read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page.

Thank you for visiting and God bless.

NaNoWriMo, Writing Stuff

NaNoWriMo 2008 WINNER!


From the NaNoWriMo website:

Through storm and sun (and cold, crappy weather like today), you traversed the noveling seas. Pitted against a merciless deadline and fighting hordes of distractions (like website updates, family obligations and intestinal problems), you persevered. You launched yourself bravely into Week One, sailed through the churning waters of Week Two, skirted the mutinous shoals of Weeks Three and Four, and now have landed, victorious, in a place that few adventurers ever see. (But should! Come on writers! Focus!)

We congratulate you on your hard work, salute your discipline and follow-through, and celebrate your imagination.

You did something amazing this month, novelist. We couldn’t be prouder.

*blush* Why thank you.

Here’s a stupid short video that I shot at the university library today, shortly after I crossed that 50,000 word line. If you think I look tired, you’d be right. 🙂

(The sound is pretty crappy, so you might want to turn your sound up. Thank you!)

Can you imagine a world WITHOUT the National Novel Writing Month challenge??

I can’t. And I hope I never have to. Won’t you please consider donating? I know times are tough, but this challenge is one of the most amazing experiences out there and all for FREE! If NaNoWriMo blessed you, then please, consider donating and help them continue their writing goodness. 🙂


NaNoWriMo, Writing Stuff

I Can See the Checkered Flag Waving in the Distance

I’m dying here. Both physically (I’m physically uncomfortable – intestinal problems – too much information? *grin*), and creatively. It was like squeezing tomato juice from a lemon today. Part of me WANTED to write, the other part of me RESISTED that urge to write. It was the oddest feeling. I felt like there were two sides of me at war and neither side was winning.

Really strange. Maybe it’s the Red Bull talking, who knows. (I am sort of buzzing right now).

At any rate, I’m close. Hopefully, I can cross the finish line and post a winner’s badge very soon.

However the story? Doesn’t feel close to being done. But I will continue to work on it. I’m determined to see this thing through.

In the meantime, pass the Pepto, will you? *burp*

NaNoWriMo Progress


Another Thanksgiving Memory

The day of giving thanks is over and all I can think is, thank God.

Now please, don’t get me wrong, my husband’s family is great, in fact, they are beyond great, they are all fantastic people – and I like all of them (and no, I’m not just saying that). And when we get together, we have lots of laughs and enjoy catching up on each others lives, but honesty? They intimidate the h-e-double-l out of me.

And I think it’s partly because they are successful, attractive, God-fearing (which by the way, the word “fear” is a mistranslation in the Bible; it’s actually “respect” in Hebrew [in some cases] so anywhere you see folks “feared” God in the Bible, they actually “respected” Him – so I’m saying they are all God-respecting Christians) people.

In essence, they seem perfect.

I know, I know, no one is perfect, I get that. The intellectual part of me gets that, but the emotional side of me doesn’t feel like I live up to their standards. Which is stupid, I know, because they would all tell you I was crazy for even thinking that …

but I do.

When I’m around them, I feel fat and ugly. I feel stupid and flawed. And I feel ridiculous for typing that out because I know what their reaction would be if they read that – incredulous. They are down-to-earth people who love God and are strong family units. They are simply people trying to make the best lives they know how for their families, and yet, I don’t feel totally relaxed around them.

Which is really stupid considering I’ve known these people for 21 years now. I’m not sure why I feel this way. I have nothing to be ashamed of – I love my husband and my in-laws have seen how happy I’ve made their son. Our boys are amazing, well-rounded people and again, my in-law family sees, and appreciates, this. And when compared to other families? We’re the freaking Waltons, people.

And maybe that’s why I’m intimidated. It’s hard to live up to that standard, I think. On the surface, everyone is happy go-lucky people and heck, maybe they really ARE that way. But I can’t help but wish someone would get angry, or just be a complete arsehole once in a while just to keep things grounded, you know?

Everyone is just a bit too happy.

And what sort of warped individual am I to wish they weren’t??

Geez, I wonder about myself sometimes.

As a result of my irrational feelings, I don’t eat as much as I would like to every Thanksgiving, in fact, I am usually pretty hungry when we get home. And I can’t tell you the number of years I’ve turned down the HUGE assortment of delicious pies my MIL makes every year simply because I feel self-conscious stuffing my face.

And I leave the gathering with a raging headache each and every year because I’m assuming the pressure of being the “life of the party” (which I’ve been called) is simply too much for me.

I don’t know, this is a bizarre area for me because I’m not usually intimidated by people. And my mother would say I care too much about how I look or how I’m perceived by people and I would have to agree with her. And yet, here we are.

Let’s move out of the self-analysis range and chronicle the day because this is a journal after all and given my POOR memory, I need to write this stuff down or I’ll forget about it next week.

My husband drove my car in order to pick Nanny and L. up. He was quite happy with this arrangement because he thinks my Pontiac Vibe handles like a go-cart and he’s always fancied himself a race-car driver.

Here’s a great picture of Nanny that my husband took:

(Isn’t she sweet? This woman helped me out in so many ways … I’ll have to write a vignette about her soon).

So, I ended up driving my husband’s F150 truck over there. *gulp* Yikes, his truck is HUGE compared to my Vibe and his leather seats are so slippery I was quite literally sliding from end of the truck to the other whenever I took a corner – it sort of freaked me out actually and I had to hide my fear of losing control from the boys.

We arrived right on time (noon) and took our salad and rolls in to contribute to the table already overflowing with food. The next fifteen minutes was spent saying hi, giving hugs (I’m not a huggie sort of person) and exchanging pleasantries. My brother-in-law said Grace and the husband and I promptly disappeared outside to allow the other 20 + people to get their food first.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. In fact, it was unusually mild for this time of year. It was sunny and about 60 degrees with virtually no wind – ideal weather to eat outside. Plus, the inside of the house was a sauna and there were so many people that we felt claustrophobic.

My brother/sister-in-law have a little dog, I don’t know the breed, but her name is Lady. And she was the sweetest dog! She barked maybe twice (at me, no less because I talked baby talk to her) and she highly entertained the boys.

(Don’t tell the boys this, but I could see myself with this sort of dog – I truly loved her).

The line finally ran it’s course and the husband and I filled our plates. Well, he filled his plate, I stuck to small portions of several food items (again, no pie *sad face*). We ate outside, just me, the husband, our boys and their uncle whom they are fairly close to. I don’t know if the rest of the family thought we were being snooty by not eating with them, but it was so hot in the house and it was such a beautiful day – it just worked out that way.

After dinner, the family fired up Skype in order to talk to my niece is who currently doing missionary work in Hawaii.

Anna on Skype
(It was good to see her – I haven’t seen her since last Thanksgiving).

After that, my other sister-in-law brought out the games and we started playing a new game called “Pick” using Scrabble tiles. In essence, here’s how it works – everyone gets seven tiles, everyone turns the tiles over and frantically tries to use all of the tiles making their own individual word puzzle. Whoever uses all of their tiles first says, “pick” and everyone takes one tile from the pile. Then you try and insert that tile into your word puzzle. The first person who is successful in incorporating their tile says “pick” and everyone draws another tile. This goes on until there are no more tiles left and everyone counts up their points, deducting for any tiles not used.

I loved this game!! It was fast paced and super fun.

(I later found out that it’s based on the Bananagram game. Though I prefer the regular Scrabble tiles because of the harder letters being worth more points).

We then went on to play “Whoonu” (which my youngest nephew got a kick out of) and then “Last Word” which a guest of one of my nephews won.

In the meantime, we were highly entertained by my nephew tickling the ivories …

Tickling the Ivories

And all the while …


my husband ran around and filmed everyone and my father-in-law …


got some much needed rest.

I wish I had taken more pictures. Unfortunately, I always SAY I’m going to take a lot of pictures and then when the actual event is happening I chicken out and don’t.

I don’t know why I turn into this shy, awkward person whenever I’m around my family by marriage but I don’t like it – at all.

So, we can paste another Thanksgiving dinner in the memory book. And though I had a great time, I’m sort of relieved that it’s back to business as usual.

Friday Fun

Friday Craft: Christmas Stockings

Here are some fun and cute stocking ideas from Family Fun.

In fact, wouldn’t these be fun to scale down and put on packages? OR, maybe you know a child who has a birthday around Christmas? You could scale them down and make cute little goodie bags, er, stockings to take home.

Fancy Boot Stocking

This boot was made for stuffing, and that’s just what Santa will do this Christmas Eve.

2 pieces of purple felt, each 24 by 15 inches
2 pieces of black faux fur, each 24 by 15 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Purple embroidery floss
Costume jewelry buttons and chains (sold at many fabric stores)
Clear tape
9 inches of black twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the fancy boot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 boot shape from each piece of the purple felt and 1 from each piece of the black fur. Be sure to cut the fur boots so the toes point in opposite directions with the fur sides up.

3. Pin together the boots with the fur boots on the inside, furry sides in, and the purple boots on the outside.

4. Using the floss, whipstitch around the edges, sewing the boots together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

5. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

6. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

7. The Trimmings: Use floss to sew the buttons and chains to the boot.

8. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.

Elf Boot Stocking

Here’s a whimsical stocking in honor of Santa’s hardworking helpers.

2 pieces of light green fleece, each 24 by 20 inches
3 pieces of dark green felt, each 24 by 20 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Dark green embroidery floss
Red jingle bells, 4 medium and 1 large
Clear tape
9 inches of red twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the elf boot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 boot shape from each piece of the light green fleece

3. Cut a decorative shape from 1 piece of the dark green felt for the front of the stocking and 1 stocking shape from each of the remaining 2 pieces of the felt.

4. Place a light green boot on top of a dark green boot, pin the decorative shape on top, and use the floss to whipstitch (see page 131) around the inner edge of decorative shape through both boots.

5. Pin together all 4 boots with the dark green boots on the inside.

6. Using the floss, whipstitch around the edges, sewing the boots together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

7. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

8. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

9. The trimmings: Use the floss to sew the medium red bells to the decorative shape and the large red bell to the toe tip.

10. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.

11. Stuff the curly toe of the boot with fiberfill to keep it from flopping over when the stocking is empty.

Bare Foot Stocking

Add a touch of color to the season with this stocking that celebrates every kid’s favorite footwear — none!

4 pieces of gold felt, each 21 by 20 inches
Red felt and red embroidery floss
Green felt and green embroidery floss
Purple felt and purple embroidery floss
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Gold embroidery floss
Pony beads
Clear tape
9 inches of red twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the bare foot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 bare foot shape from each piece of the gold felt .

3. Cut 5 circles from the colored felts for the toenails.

4. Place one foot on top of another and pin the toenails in place.

5. Using the matching floss, whipstitch (see page 131) around the edges of each toenail, sewing through both feet.

6. Pin all 4 feet together and use the gold floss to whipstitch around the edges, sewing the feet together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

7. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

8. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

9. The Trimmings: Thread pony beads onto a 24-inch piece of colored floss, wrap it around the ankle, and tie together the ends.

10. Tape the ends of the cord to keep it from fraying, then sew it to the stocking for hanging.

Ballet Slipper Stocking

“Nutcracker” nuts, for one, will dance with joy over this dainty stocking.

2 pieces of white felt, each 24 by 12 inches
3 pieces of pink felt, each 24 by 16 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Pink embroidery floss
White embroidery floss
2 ½ yards of 7/8 -inch pink ribbon
Clear tape
9 inches of white twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The basic stocking: Click here to download the ballet slipper stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 stocking shape from each piece of the white felt.

3. Cut 2 shoe shapes from 1 piece of the pink felt and 1 stocking shape from each of the remaining 2 pieces of pink felt.

4. Lay out the pink stockings, toes pointing in opposite directions, with a white stocking on top of each one.

5. Pin a pink shoe on top of each white stocking.

Stitch diagram 6. Using the pink floss, whipstitch (see page 131) along the inner edge of each shoe, sewing through the pink and the white felt. Leave the outside edges unsewn.

7. Pin together the stockings so the shoes are on the outside, then whipstitch together the layers using the white floss along the white edges of the stocking and the pink floss for the shoes. Leave the top unsewn.

8. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2, with the white floss.

9. The Trimmings: Cut the ribbon in half, tie it in a bow, and then sew the knot to the stocking.

10. Crisscross the loose ribbon down and around the leg of the stocking and tack the ends flush to the top of the heel.

11. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.

A Stitch for All Stockings
Thread your needle with a length of floss and knot one end. Begin sewing by pushing the needle up through the underside of the fabric and then out the top. Loop the needle back under the fabric and repeat the stitch.

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