Several snowmen came out to play over the weekend.

As I drove to work on Monday morning, I passed one bending over to get a drink from the water fountain in the town square; I smiled at the imagination of the unknown builder. The realistic facial expression atop the drinker's characteristic three balled-body caused me to slow my car. That's when I noticed his buddy about three feet away, sitting on a park bench. His back was to me, so all I could see was his hat formed from snow and his left arm branch stretching along the top of the bench as though inviting someone to curl up with him.

The playful genius-ness of whoever created those men amused me and filled my Monday with light-heartedness.

As I left work that afternoon, I approached the drinker and the sitter from another direction. This time, I noticed a third snowman. He stood at the center of the stage that is planted in the square. His arms outstretched on either side, as though he were passionately singing away to an expectant crowd.

I began eagerly searching the area for other snowy figures. I found one across the street seated at an outdoor table for two in front of a local cafe and sipping from a Styrofoam coffee cup. The companion chair was empty and pulled slightly away from the table, tempting a guest to join him in a cup of hot cocoa on a snowy day.

All evening at home, I thought of the quartet of snowmen, and Tuesday morning, I stuck my camera into my bag. "Are you beautiful?" I asked Kimmie as she prepped herself for another day of high school.

"Why?" she questioned me suspiciously.

I wiggled my camera for her to see and sung out, "Because we're going to take pictures this morning! Of the snowmen! And us."

Kimmie protested, citing the fact that she might be late for school. I rolled that thought around in my mind and decided sometimes taking time for fun is worth it and maybe even necessary. I told her that I would write her a note of excuse.

After dropping Liberty off at Rhonda's house, Kimmie and I headed for the square. We climbed over fallen branches and picked our way over the ice. I sat down next to the bench-sitter, and Kimmie snapped our picture. Kimmie posed behind the bench for her shot. I bent next to the drinker at the water fountain. His finger was already on the button, so he did not need my aid. Kimmie clicked the camera. We headed for the stage to belt out a trio with the singer, but he was lying flat on his back, overcome with stage-fright. So we turned to the cafe instead. Our cocoa consumer had apparently had too much to drink...maybe a little brandy with his chocolate?...because he lay on his side, in too much of a stupor to stir.

We cut our photo shoot short and skated towards the car. Guess what? Kimmie wasn't late after all!
You've probably seen the news and heard about our ice and power troubles, so I'm here to give you an update on the beautiful side of the storm.

Our power flickered a few times and finally succumbed to the ice on Saturday. It popped back on in the middle of the night though, and the TV entertained itself while we slept. (We had been about to watch a movie when the lights went out.) Since then, it has been off and on...mostly on.

Kimmie and I oohed and awwed on our way to school and work on Monday (Libby did too, but not because she was impressed by anything, just because she's a happy baby!) The beautiful, shimmering trees and power lines sparkled in the sunshine. The fences and prairie grass had been transformed into crystal, the kind of crystal that deserves special lighting and a glass showcase. They were definitely receiving special lighting. The sun sparkled through the ice, sending shivering points of light in every direction.

Amid the beauty, devastation abounded; huge, broken branches dangled dangerously above the ground. Fresh, splintering wood exposed to daylight for the first time mixed an idea of spring into a world of winter white. Limp power lines appeared to be strands of diamond necklaces cast to the ground after an evening of dancing.

Driving through the snow-packed streets in town revealed a new form of fencing in front yards. Miscellaneous twigs, sticks and branches waiting for pickup by the city decorated the strips of land between the sidewalks and the streets. Every house had its own brush pile made from fallen wood, and the wood still had shimmering, icy diamonds attached. The sun created sparkly barriers, and the houses falsely looked protected. A large branch at one home had broken through that barrier and appeared to be knocking on the front door of the house. The slight tips of the tree brushed just inches from the glass door.

As I walked from my parked car towards the office, I passed under a massive, ice-laden oak tree. The crackling of ice and maybe wood sounded loudly in the morning air while from a distance faint chainsaw noises reached my ears. I wondered how likely it would be for a branch to come crashing down on me. I paused under the canopy of wood and gazed up through the silvery entwined mass, shivering with delight at the beauty and potential danger.
While at work on Friday afternoon, I needed to pick up some color copies that were waiting for me at another business a few blocks away. The rainy day had been unpredictable, and I had left my coat at home due to the warmth of the previous weekdays. I longed to stretch my legs on a leisurely walk across town, but I did not relish the weather raining on my parade. I put the task off.

Finally, I realized if I waited any longer, it would be too late, so I donned Craig's jacket (with his permission) and headed into the grey day. The air was brisk but not too chilly, and the rain drops held off as I stepped out. I lengthened my stride, kept my head up, and breathed deeply, enjoying life. On Thursday as I had perambulated, many others had been out as well, but this afternoon was empty of pedestrians.

I finished the length of our block, and turned right, waiting at the crosswalk for the signal to change. As I waited, small balls of almost-ice began falling from the sky. They were not in a hurry to hit the earth; instead they took their time and tried to space out their descents as though parachuting with buddies. I enjoyed the solid thud as they landed on my hair and jacket, and I realized they were not wet enough to be uncomfortable and not hard enough to be painful. The wind velocity increased, and I leaned into it to cross the street.

As I continued down the length of the second block, I analyzed my feelings. Wind thrills me. The stronger it is, the happier I become. This has always been the case as long as I can remember. With a huge smile on my face, I breathed the temperature-dropping air. My hair waved wildly behind me (I do NOT like when the wind pushes my hair stubbornly into my face, but this was perfect wind blowing my hair away from my face) and I thought of how content I was with life.

I am married to an incredible man. He loves me so much, and I am head-over-heels for him. We don't always agree on how to do things, but when that happens we are willing to discuss it, and compromise. Sometimes only one of us compromises to allow the other one to have their way, and sometimes we both compromise to agree on something altogether different from what either of us wanted. We both know that when we are angry with each other, we are still in love with each other. There is security in our relationship.

I have a wonderful girl in high-school. Kimmie stretches herself to become the lovely young lady whom God has made her to be, and she is succeeding. Of course there are times when she falls flat on her face, and there are times when she begs to give up. But when she turns back to God, He helps her up again, and she's off for another round. She brings so much life and joy to my heart and to our house. She's exuberant. She's funny. Her sense of humor is light-hearted and refreshing, and I love her with all my heart.

I have an adorable baby at home. Liberty is at the delightful stage in babyhood where she laughs at the slightest facial expression. Her high-pitched giggles and coos could melt the most angry heart. Her chubby legs wave excitedly, and her arms stretch out to capture her toes as those tiny piglets wiggle before her eyes. She is still immobile, so she's safe (and so is everything around her). Sure, she comes with dirty diapers, and sometimes inconvenient needs, but she's mine. My precious. (Sorry, had to say it.)

God has given us even more than just a beautiful family (which is enough), but He's also given us a beautiful home. As I walked, I thought of my living room/dining room/kitchen with the warmly inviting red walls, and a smile tugged at my lips. God has given me what I always wanted growing up, red walls. I really live in a house with red walls! I thought to myself, and praised God all over again for His wonderful gift to me.

My thoughts flitted onward to my occupation. I thoroughly enjoy my job, and I have nice, fun people to work with (Craig and occasionally Kathy).

I sighed happily to myself. I would not change a thing if I had the opportunity. Well, the only thing I would change would be Jeremy's work schedule. I would love for him to be on day-shift instead of working nights. Other than that, I carefully re-examined each aspect, I definitely would not change a thing. If Liberty never got any older, if Kimmie stayed at her current level, if we never moved to a bigger/better house, if I always have this same job...I would still be completely happy.

Then God whispered, "What if it all changed? What if Jeremy got laid-off? What if Kimmie grew up and left for college? What if Liberty learned to walk and cry and say 'No!' to me? What if your house burned down? Would you still praise Me like this?"

I thought about it.

Truthfully, I don't know how I would react. I hope that I would still praise whole-heartedly. Yes, I'm happy because life seems to be sailing along just perfectly (with several little squalls to keep life interesting), but really, my true happiness is not tied to things or people. My happiness is tied to my relationship with God. If all else disappeared, and only God remained, I want to be able to say, "I'll praise you in the storm."

And that is exactly what I did on Friday afternoon. I walked through the slush-laden road, stared down the wind, lifted my face to the grey sky, was pelted by icy drops (isn't icy a cool word - no pun intended, but definitely enjoyed!) and praised in the storm.

God, please give me Your grace to praise when the real storms come into my life.
Guess what? I am officially an editor now.

The pastor in town is writing a book (a real going-to-be-published book) and he asked me to do the editing on it. I am very excited because this is almost close to being an author, which I have wanted to be since sixth grade.

His deadline is in March, so I've been keeping VERY busy at home. As soon as the girls go to bed, I jump onto the computer and edit away until my eyes start crossing. That's how I know it's time for bed.

I'm so excited!
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A joyous post!

The weather is beautiful! We have a snow storm predicted for Friday, but the town is feeling spring-like today. Everywhere I look, people are wearing sweaters or light jackets, their faces upturned to the sun. Smiles abound. I heard birds twittering in the bare branches as I walked to work this morning. Yesterday, Craig and I opened our office windows! Hallelujah! I love fresh air!

On Sunday, the high was 38 degrees, yesterday 42, and at 8:30 this morning it was 33! The snow has been melting all over the sidewalks into huge puddles, and our white snowplow-created mountains are quickly disappearing. On my lunch break yesterday, I took a walk around town. I stepped through a stream flowing over the sidewalk and after reaching dry ground turned back to see my footprints. They were very cute, because I was wearing cute shoes. I skipped a few steps and looked back. My footprints skipped happily along behind me. I ran down the street and looked back again. My footprints exuberantly followed. Sheer joy overtook my soul, and I jumped into the next puddle. Sparkling droplets flew over the sidewalk and the bottoms of my pant legs. I hopped twice on the dry cement being careful to keep my feet close together. My footprints looked like stamped art.

How fun!
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eth·ics [eth-iks] - that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Who knew dieting could be so tricky? I am competing against Jeremy and Kimmie to see who can lose the most weight by February 28th. Simple, straight-forward contest, right? Wrong!

You see, I get to prepare the menus and meals for my competition. (Ah, temptation strikes.) I could buy lots of fatty snacks and send them along "innocently" in their lunch-boxes. After all, if I have to exercise self-discipline and good judgement when I am chosing what to eat, they should have to also, right? Let them stare at the Snickers bar lying quietly at the bottom of their lunch bag and decide how badly they want to win. Why do I get to be Mrs. Nice Guy and pack sliced and peeled oranges into their bags?

Logically thinking, I am the underdog here. Jeremy works out at a gym everyday before work. Kimmie works out at cheer-leading practice and then runs through the halls at school every hour between classes. I just sit all day at a computer. My workout consists of cleaning the house when I get home and taking care of Liberty. Maybe I should start doing sit-ups with Libby on my tummy. She'd love that!

Does starting out with a handicap entitle me to hide my sit-ups in the bedroom so Kimmie won't get the same idea and be inspired to exercise more? Should being at an activity disadvantage allow me to serve donuts for dessert and then only pretend to eat them while I watch my family scarf down lovely extra calories? Or would that be considered cheating?

What about "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

Forget that! I say, "All's fair in love and war!"

Root for me, the underdog! :-)
Jeremy and I are now officially grown-up.

"Oh, because you have become parents?" you guess.

"No." I respond.

"Because you feel old now?"

"No," I respond.

"Did you find a grey hair this morning?" you smile knowingly.

"No," I respond and cast a dirty look in your direction. "Enough of this nonsense! I will explain."

Valentine's Day, I was sitting busily at my desk, minding my own business (and Craig's), when I heard the bells jingle on the front door. I rose to greet the newcomer, and behold, it was my handsome prince, Jeremy!

He strolled towards me with a grin on his face and one hand behind his back. "Surprise! Happy Valentine's Day!" After greeting him with a kiss, I walked around him and found beautiful roses in a gorgeous vase. Now to all of you who are yawning over the roses cliche, let me tell you, Jeremy is NEVER boring. He has never bought the usual roses. This time, he had a trio, one vibrant red, one medium pink and one slightest blush, combined with baby's breath and baby ferns (that always remind me of dill) in a painted vase that started at vibrant red and slowly faded to slightest blush, criss-crossed with silver and interspersed with hearts. Beautiful!

Thinking he had stopped by on his way to work, I attempted to distract him from leaving by bringing him into my office and sitting on his lap. (Don't worry, no one else was around.) Surprisingly, he did not seem in a hurry to leave, and when I realized he would soon be late for work, I urged him to hurry. He just grinned and informed me that he had TAKEN OFF WORK to celebrate V-day with me!!!!! Wow! He planned to take me to Olive Garden, which is an hour away from our house, so we made arrangements for Kimmie to babysit Libby, and we left.

And here's the part where I discovered we were grown-up. Instead of heading straight to the restaurant, we drove to Lowe's. On Valentine's Day.

Now, you must understand, visiting a home improvement store has been a long-standing tradition of my parent's whenever they go on a date. They go out to eat, or they go Christmas shopping, or they drive around town, and they always finish the night off by strolling through Lowe's or Menard's. The attraction? I have never known. But here Jeremy and I were on Valentine's Day, strolling hand-in-hand down the aisles looking for a snow shovel.

Ah, romance is not dead! :-)
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We have a new challenger. Kimmie has been watching Jeremy and I diet this month, and she decided to start trash-talking. You know, things like, "I could lose more weight than both of you put together with my tongue tied behind my back." (Well, if someone would tie my tongue behind my back, then I could win all the weight-loss competitions too!) So we're making her put her money where her mouth is! She has joined the competition.

After we all agreed that she was part of the contest, she asked, "So what do I get if I win?" We answered, "We will take you out to eat anywhere you want to go so you can gain it all back." She said, "Oh good, and what happens if I lose?" We said, "You get to pay for the three of us to have a meal wherever the winner chooses to go so we can gain it all back."

She smiled smugly at us and said, "But I don't have any money."

She's right. Jeremy and I looked at each other in dismay.

If she wins, the money has to come out of our bank account to take all three of us out. Now why isn't this fair?
On February 13th, Destiny Rose joined her brother, Roman Joseph, and her cousin, Liberty Grace, to become the third grandchild of their very proud grandparents!

And now, here are some pictures to celebrate:

Grandma snuggles with Destiny

Mommy Hannah with her kids (not the greatest lighting)

Aww, big brother takes his job seriously

Here is my dad shoveling.

Here is me shoveling.
Kimmie shoveled for a while...

Then she took a break.

She made a snow angel.

I did too.

We found a chunk of ice that resembled North Carolina.

First I conquered it.

Then I broke it. Oops!

Later, Kimmie's friend Rachel came over to sled.

We hope you enjoy your snow as much as we love ours!

One more reason that I love Jeremy: He does all of the counting at our house! Hee-hee!
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Here is the man I am in love with, and here is why: 1. He's cute!

2. He loves Liberty.

2. He's fun to be with.

3. He laughs often.

3. He loves Kimmie

4. He's a good cuddler.

4. He is great at protecting us from dangerous wayward basketballs and from other not so obvious dangers.

5. He's comfy to snuggle with!

6. He doesn't need to be the center of attention.

7. He's content to work hard and not take credit for it.

8. He's an awesome provider and caretaker for our family.

9. He loves road trips and adventure!

10. He loves me!!!!!

And most importantly, he loves God. And it shows in everything he does.


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My niece was born yesterday at 6:35 PM, and she doesn't have a name yet. I'm craving pictures!
Yes, I said snowed out. While everyone else in the entire Midwest had the foresight to be snowed IN today, Kimmie, Liberty and I are snowed out.

We woke up this morning and checked the news to see if Kimmie's school was closed today. The TV informed us that she had a two hour delay, so we faithfully dug ourselves out of the driveway, and slipped down the road. Jenny got stuck in a three foot snow drive that covered the span of one intersection, and Kimmie hopped out of the car in her tennis shoes (because she refuses to wear her snow boots) to push. It took about 10 minutes, during which time we saw not one fellow work/school-goer, but we finally made it through the intersection. Did this cause us to give up hope and return home? No! We chose to valiantly push onward.

I dropped Libby off at Rhonda's house, where Rhonda was surprised to see us, and Kimmie and I skidded on to my office. I planned to slalom her to school after the two hour delay had passed. We had been in the office about an hour when Craig's wife, Kathy, called. She informed me that Kimmie's school had changed from a two-hour delay to a closure, and that all other working moms had elected to stay home with their snowed in children. Oh, no, not I! I logically chose to bring my children out with me!

Now we have to see if we can make it back home.

This is a continuation of the previous post. Please read the previous post before embarking on this literary journey.

I pulled into the slushy, Happy Joe's/Subway/Dollar General parking lot and performed a quick self-evaluation before opening my car door. What were my motives? What was my purpose? I realized that this action was entirely out of character for me. (I tend to run from confrontation, instead of searching for it. Even taking the note to the police station had been extraordinary for me.) I hesitated, wondering if this was right or wrong. A tiny part of me screamed, "Go home! Just drop it!" But the rest of me wanted justice. I named my daughter Liberty for a reason: this is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I want my children to stand and fight to keep it that way if necessary. Business owners should not be allowed to threaten car owners, even if the car owner has parked illegally on their property. Instead, America has provided a legal course of action that the wronged business owner can take to respond to illegally parked cars. I know this sounds crazy, but I would have been satisfied to have received a ticket on my windshield from the police rather than a threat on my windshield from Craig. (I desired to do something about the fact that the police wanted to sweep their part of it under the rug, too, but I do not crave receiving a ticket every time I enter town as retaliation...and I didn't know if that would have been their next course of action.)

I finished my self-examination very quickly, afraid that I might talk myself out of the pending confrontation. Since the note implied that it was from all three businesses, I walked into Happy Joe's first and asked to speak with the manager. I planned to apologize for parking in their lot, and to inform them that the note they had written was deemed illegal by the police. However, no one at Happy Joe's was even aware that I had illegally parked in their lot. The same thing happened at Dollar General. They were shocked by the note, and ended up apologizing to me that their name had even been associated with it! I was surprised at these two reactions and as a result, much calmer when I headed into Subway.

"Hi." I congenially greeted the two young men behind the counter. "May I speak with the owner, Craig, please?" I smiled.

"He's not here right now, but I can give you his phone number if you'd like," the first man volunteered.

"Okay, that would be great!" I smiled again. He took me into the back room, and handed me a directory. Craig's name and number were the first on the list. The agreeable young man allowed me to use the phone in the back room to call Craig, and he even thoughtfully left to give me some much appreciated privacy. I did not relish the thought of him listening in on the about to ensue conversation!

I counted the rings, and then enjoyed a short moment of sheer panic when Craig's voice mail kicked in. Decision time: leave a message or hang up? Leave a message or hang up? At the last second I chose to leave a message.

I made sure that my voice was very nice and pleasant sounding. "Hi, Craig." I began. I gave him my first and last name, and told him that I had received the note that he had placed on my windshield. "I took your note to the police," I conversationally informed him, "and they told me that what you had written was illegal and inappropriate. They also apologized to me for illegally giving my name to you. I'm just calling to let you know that I will no longer illegally park in your parking lot, and to thank you for sparing me a ticket, but I wanted to advise you that in the future, if you have an unwanted car in your lot, you may want to leave them a nicer note, explaining that if they park there again, you will can choose to call the police, instead of threatening them as you did me. This may help you to obtain the voluntary removal of their car, and still ensure that you retain their business. Thanks, Craig! Goodbye." I hung up, took a deep breath, and walked back into the dining area. I marvelled that I was not shaking as I headed towards the door. The man who had escorted me into the back room looked up from the sandwich that he was preparing and nicely inquired, "Did you get a-hold of him?"

I turned back and smiled at him, "No, I got his voice mail, so I just left a message. Thanks very much for your help!"

When Kimmie climbed into Jenny at the school's parking lot, she was happy to be regaled with the story of my adventures, the same with Rhonda, when I picked Liberty up, and the same with Jeremy, as we sat side by side at Kimmie's basketball game (by the way, Jeremy worked day shift last week, so we got to be together every evening!!!!) The next day, Wednesday, I was dreadfully sick. I stayed home, and with nothing else to occupy my mind, I spent the day mentally telling-off Craig. I could not shake thoughts of "what I could have said" from my mind, and I became obsessed with the best way of telling him off. The more I thought of it, the angrier I became. I spoke with a friend of mine on the phone on Wednesday, and he commented that I sounded really down, not like the usual Missy. I responded that it was because I was sick, but I knew it was because I was angry. A few hours later, I sat down with my Bible for my daily devotions. I've been reading through the book of Matthew in the New Testament, and on that day, I was scheduled to read Matthew 18.

Everything was la-dee-dah, until I got to verses 21 through 34. Here is what it says:

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

Ouch! That hit me right in the heart. God has forgiven me for innumerable sins - just wiped my slate completely clean, and here I am trying to hold one note against this Craig-guy, when I had even started it by illegally parking in his lot. Have you ever tried to forgive someone whom you were REALLY mad at? It's hard to do! But when I think of how thankful I am that God is not holding my multitude of sins against me, it makes forgiving others a little easier.
In our little town, there are diagonal parking spaces along the main streets instead of parking lots, but when it snows, I do not like to park along the street. I don't like the idea that someone could easily slide into the side of my car, or the fact that the snow plows would bury my poor, freezing Jenny. Instead, I "borrow" a spot in the Happy Joe's/Subway/Dollar General lot for the day, and when I do this, I make sure to spend money at one of those places so that technically speaking, I am a customer using their lot.

On Tuesday, after I left work, I found a note on Jenny's windshield tucked under the driver's side wiper. Thinking it was probably an advertisement for something going on in town, I slipped it from under the wiper and opened it, prepared to grin and tuck it away. Instead, I was shocked to find a hand-written note with my first and last name printed in large letters at the top. The rest of the note informed me that I had parked on private property and that I had cost three business owners $80.00 that day in lost revenue. It proceeded to tell me that I needed to hand my address over to the business owners so that I could be billed for the $80.00 that I had cost. The note's wording did not sound professional, and the tone of the note was distinctly angry. I could not read the scrawled signature at the bottom of the page.

Since the parking lot is a block away from a small college, I first thought that this must be a practical joke from a college student. But how did this person get my name? Then I wondered, if it is really from these three businesses, can they legally bill me for lost revenue since my car was parked on their private property? The more I thought about this, the more disturbed and frightened I became. The cute, little police station is across the street from my work, so I decided to take the note in there and see if they could give me some insight into whether I should really be scared or not.

I handed the note to a uniformed, young receptionist with short, blond curls, and I said, "This note was on my windshield just now. I'm not sure what to think about it, but I'm a little worried about the fact that someone I don't know has my name. What do you think?"

She read the note, and then looked at me with something like panic in her light blue eyes. "I am SO sorry!" She informed me. "I was the one who gave your name out. Oh, I'm sorry!" She hesitated, then said, "I'm not sure what to do about this note. I'm going to give it to an officer. I think I heard one just pull up outside. Do you mind waiting a minute?"

"Sure, no problem." I replied. I stood in the waiting area by the reception desk and watched through the Plexiglas as she took the note into the back. She spoke with two officers, one of which read the note and began shaking his head. He walked into the waiting area and said, "Would you mind coming with me, miss?"

I followed him into a small room, wondering just how much trouble I could possibly be in for parking in a business-owned parking lot. We sat in some plastic chairs at a small table, and he put his head into his hands, his elbows on the table. He sighed. Finally, he spoke, "I am so disappointed. So disappointed."

I waited.

"First of all, I want to apologize to you on behalf of the police force. Our receptionist gave your name out, and she should never have done that." He shook his head, and his soft-looking brown hair did not stir. "Her mother works at Subway, and I suppose they used that connection to get this information from her. The caller, Craig," he indicated the note, and I realized part of the signature must have said Craig, "told her that he needed to ask one of his employees to move his car, but he did not know which employee the car belonged to. So he read the license plate number to Chris, and she gave him your name. She thought you worked for Craig." (Well, I do, but not for this Craig!) "And she thought he was just going to walk over to you and ask you to move your car, not leave a nasty note like this! I am very sorry, and she is devastated. She should never have given your name out."

"Oh," I brilliantly stated.

"So as far as safety is concerned," he continued, "that's how he got your name, and I know him. You have nothing to worry about. Now as far as legalities go," he rubbed his thick mustache, "we're not so lucky there. Nothing about this situation is legal, and the note is also completely inappropriate. I am so disappointed. So disappointed."

Well, so was I for that matter. I wondered what was going to be done about it, but I wasn't sure how to word that question without sounding pushy, after all, I had also illegally parked on private property...although, I had been a Subway customer on my lunch break, I wanted to remind everyone.

The officer continued rubbing his brownish, pumpkin colored mustache, and he continued to tell me how disappointed he was in Craig, in his department, in the world in general, I guess. Finally, he said, "I'd like to keep a copy of your note, if you don't mind. I plan to address my officers on this subject at our staff meeting tonight. This cannot continue."

"Continue?" I questioned.

"Yes." He explained, "Normally, if a car is parked in a questionable location, and a party calls regarding that car, an officer is supposed to go to the car and leave either a ticket or a warning note, or find the person and ask them to move their car. However, recently, we've been allowing the calling party to ask the person to move. We're going to have to put a stop to that." He rubbed his mustache some more, and I studied the fine lines around his eyes. I watched as he thought of something else, probably the added time his officers would have to spend to personally attach a note to every windshield of every phone call that came in, and I saw his expression change. "I'm definitely thinking of bringing that up at the staff meeting tonight." He rephrased his earlier decision. "We'll probably for sure need to stop doing that."

I noted the change in definite-ness in his wording, and I wondered out loud, as passively as I could, "So you're for sure going to tell your officers to stop giving names out, and you're going to talk to Craig about his note?"

"Well, I'd like to keep this note business under our hats, if you don't mind," he backtracked. "You see, we are just as much at fault here at the station as Craig was with his inappropriate note." (I was glad to hear that my name wasn't listed in the at-fault list, even though I HAD illegally parked.)

"So you're not going to tell Craig that his threatening note was illegal?" I questioned again, hopefully gently. "You're not going to tell him that it's okay to write a nice note asking the person to not park there anymore, or informing the person that he will be calling the police if it happens again, but that he should not write another note like this one?"

"Well, I'd rather drop the whole thing since we were the ones who originally gave your name out," he responded.

Now, I know when my luck has run out, and this appeared to be the time for it to happen. So I said, "Thank you, Officer. I really appreciate your time with me, and I'm very glad that I'm not in any danger, and that I am not expected to hand my address over for billing purposes!" I smiled as I stood up and shook his hand, but inside I was seething. How dare the police give my name out to just anyone who makes up a story! How dare that Craig-guy write a threatening note to me...this is America! Yes, I used his parking lot illegally, but he could have called the police and asked them to give me a ticket...that's the way the justice system should have worked. Now, there's no justice happening at all, and Mr. Craig thinks he got away with threatening me!

I continued to seethe as I buckled my seat belt and navigated through the snowy street. I continued to seethe as I headed towards Kimmie's school to pick her up. I continued to seethe as I waited at the stop sign for another car to pass through the intersection. Finally, I flicked my right blinker on and headed back to the Subway parking lot. I was going to inform Craig that his note was illegal and inappropriate, if the police wouldn't!

To Be Continued...
I've been sick.

That's why no posting for the last few days. But I'm back now! And I've got lots of fun things to say...but I need to catch up on work first.
We lease out the back part of our office to another company that has two employees, both named Steve. Craig and I call them Steve 1 and Steve 2, in a slight parody of the Cat in the Hat's Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Our office and the back office have separate entrances, but we share a hallway and a restroom. To get to the restroom, we walk through the hallway which passes between their two individual offices. Somehow, these two gentlemen are able to spend most of their time out of their workplace. Maybe they travel a lot or maybe they play hooky frequently, Craig and I haven't figured that out yet, and we have decided not to ask them for two reasons: 1. It's more fun to imagine why they are absent most of the time, and 2. We are more like smile-and-nod-acquaintances than we are ask-about-their-work-habits-acquaintances.

Most days, after a trip to the facilities, Craig or I will report to each other, "Ah, Steveless again today." But today, Craig came back from his venture to the little boys room, and reported, "Rare Steve 1 sighting!"

This of course, makes today a special day. The sun shines a little brighter, the air a little crisper. We sneak back often to observe Steve 1 in his not-so-natural habitat. (Well, not really. But I AM taking the time to blog about it today.)
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I weighed myself on Saturday morning with suspicious results. I had lost three pounds, and instead of rejoicing over my miraculous weight loss, I wondered, "Now how can that be?" To lose one pound would have produced rejoicing, but three pounds in five days seemed inconceivable. (And yes, that word does mean what I think it means.) I repeated the process to be sure, and the scale still said three pounds were missing.

On Saturday night, I weighed myself again. The mysteriously missing three pounds had returned. In fact, I was only missing 0.6 pounds...which seemed more likely to me, albeit disappointing.

Today, Jeremy challenged me to a competition (oh, how I love a good competition). The challenge: who can lose the most weight by the end of the month. The consequences: Loser has to take the Winner out for dinner at an eating establishment of the Winner's choosing.

By now, you may have noticed several ironical elements to this challenge.
1. Jeremy and I share a bank account, therefore any "taking out" done by either party will be withdrawn from both paychecks simultaneously.
2. The Loser is also awarded a night out with the love of his or her life.
3. The reward for eating right and losing weight includes eating and gaining the weight back again.

Nevertheless, I am planning to WIN!
Kimmie and I had an interesting conversation this morning on the way to school. I asked her how her devotions were going, and she told me that she had not spent any alone time with God this week. I thought back through my week and realized that I had only spent time with Him once. How sad, I thought to myself. The King of the Universe takes time to listen to me and love me, but I can't stop my puny little life for just one hour to listen to Him and love Him? What's wrong with me?

The radio was playing at this time, and a song came on, I think it's by Matthew West, but I'm not sure, called "I Love You More." It is God talking to a person, and this is what He says.

Here is the chorus:
I love you more than the sun and the stars that I taught how to shine. You
are mine, and you shine for me too. I love you yesterday, and today, and
tomorrow I'll say it again and again. I love you more! I love you
more than you can imagine. More than you can fathom. I love you more
than the sun, and it shines for me.

Have you ever been faced with an awe-inspiring view or thought or reality? That's how I felt right then as I listened to that song. Do you realize how huge and gorgeous and powerful the sun is? Do you realize that every single day, it does EXACTLY what God asks it to do? What about a tree, or the Grand Canyon? Have you ever stood under a beautiful, spreading oak tree, and looked up at its leafy grandeur? Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? All of these things do exactly what God wants every single day without end. He created them, and they glorify Him. They say, "Hey look, there is a God, and He must be extremely powerful and wonderful to have created something as cool-looking and lovely as me." The Bible says even the trees and the rocks cry out His praises.

So why does God bother with me? Why did He once and for all forgive every sin that I will ever commit? Why did He make it so that I don't have to work for forgiveness? I'm not so obedient, incredible, glorifying. He says love every one around me, and I don't. He says point others to me at all times, and I don't. He would love for me to spend time with Him every day, and I don't. That is probably why Deuteronomy 7:7-9 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.

7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more
numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it
was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that
he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery,
from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand
generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Back in college, Pastor Schettler preached a sermon once from Genesis 1:16. He called it, "He Made the Stars Also." Like making stars is no big deal. Well, to God, it isn't. Stars are huge, and beautiful and way out there, but God cares about ME. Even when I don't take time to care about Him.
I thought about titling this "Celebration #1" but I decided that optimistically naming it #1 might ruin my chances for obtaining "Celebration #2." So I chose "Yay for Mommy" instead.

I have been quite a good little girl this week. After a weekend of disastrous food choices (from which I will spare you the details; see illustration below)...

...I have found success in dieting. Baby carrots should receive a lot of the credit for my success. (Although, strangely, I seem to be hungrier after I eat them than I was before I ate them) And popcorn has been my savior. I need to buy stock in Pop Weaver! All in all, I've made great choices. I'm going to weigh myself this Saturday (BEFORE the party at our friends' house) Yikes!

One question: How do you reward yourself for eating right? Maybe I'll go smile at myself in the mirror and say, "Great job, Missy."

Here I am doing the hula and wearing the skirt from the Christmas tree while we were packing up our decorations a few weeks ago. (I wore gloves to keep the needles from pricking me.) See the Christmas box? (I thought the picture looked sufficiently celebratory to be used now.)