My daughter has a hero.

This weekend, Liberty followed her hero wherever he went. His name flew from her lips repeatedly, "Daddy! Daddy!" If he sat down, she climbed onto his lap. If he walked into another room, she followed closely on his heels. When he switched directions, she whirled around, fell over, picked herself up and trotted after him.

Daddy cleaned out the garage this weekend and pushed his to-be-restored 1983 Camaro into the driveway. He talked about washing the car, and Liberty dragged out the bucket and sponges necessary to complete the task. Daddy pulled the garden hose over to the driveway and began spraying his beloved machine. In her pink and green sun-suit, Liberty followed directly behind. When the wind blew droplets of water onto her skin, she squealed and ran away laughing then quickly returned for more, her little blond curls bouncing as she ran. Liberty kept Daddy supplied with fresh, soapy sponges, and she scattered bubbles delightedly in between sponge deliveries.

When Daddy walked to the other side of the car, Liberty walked to the other side of the car. When Daddy backed up suddenly, Liberty got stepped on. But that did not deter her from her hero-worship!

I really can't blame her. He makes my heart go pitter-patter, too!
Yesterday was HOT. Ninety-five degrees hot, to be exact, and I told Liberty she could swim when we got home. We walked into the blessedly cool house, but when I opened the shades on the back patio doors, I realized Liberty would not be swimming for a while.

A largish, pure white bird was sitting in our kiddie pool.

I stared at it for a moment, trying to classify it in my mind. It was about the size and shape of a pigeon. Ruffled feathers and a strange bump on it's beak made me hesitate to call it pretty. It must have been residing in our pool for most of the day; multiple bird droppings marred the liner at the bottom of the pool, and small floating feathers and crud swirled around the surface of the water.

Liberty and I pulled up a dining room chair and discussed the bird for several minutes. I slowly wrapped my mind around the task ahead: empty, scrub, disinfect...and even then, I wasn't sure that I would let Liberty swim in that pool again. I pondered the power of bleach, all the while dreading the energy required to bend over my enormous belly-bump AND keep Liberty away from the pool AND work in the 95 degree sunshine. Finally, Liberty insisted on going out. I hesitantly opened the door, ready to grab her back if she appeared too close to jumping into the contaminated water.

I expected the bird to fly away in a flurry of feathers and rushing noises, and I prepared myself not to flinch. (I am scared of birds...blame Alfred Hitchcock.) Instead, the bird just stared as we slowly slid the patio door open. Liberty squealed and ran onto the deck. The bird just stared. "Hi!" Liberty proclaimed to her new friend, and she ran over to the pool. The bird looked very nervous and poised for flight but remained in place, just staring. The two of them were less than two feet apart, and my warning radar jumped into full alert mode. Birds SHOULD be afraid of people. Birds SHOULD fly away immediately, and it scared me that this one did not. I pulled Liberty back inside amidst much protesting.

I sat back down at the patio doors, and watched The Bird. That's when I noticed the blue rubber band around one of his orange legs and the white band with tiny marks around his other leg. I decided to call a wildlife preserve a few miles away from our house. Rick answered the phone. After I described The Bird, he thought it might be a homing pigeon or a carrier pigeon.

A Carrier Pigeon! For the tiniest fraction of a moment, I considered checking that white band around his leg to see if a secret message was being carried by The Bird. My adventure radar and imagination were in full bloom. But my fear quickly tackled that thought and shut it down. America could be taken over by terrorists, and I would not lift one finger to stop them as long as they used birds to frighten me into submission. (Unless I had a gun.)

I'm sorry! Birds scare me. I enjoy them from a distance or with a protective barrier in place, but too close is entirely too close. When I was about ten, I watched a group of blue jays peck my brother's skull repeatedly until he ran into the house crying. And this was my tough brother. And he hadn't done anything to them.

Rick then asked the unthinkable. "Why don't you go out there and tell me what the markings on the white band say?"

"Uh. NO. Can't you come out here and do that yourself?"

"Wal," he drawled, "I could, but I would have to charge you for it."

"Oh." He didn't seem very interested in the possibility of a rare and glorious creature being recaptured and put back into it's natural environment. I hung up with nothing accomplished. I flipped through the phone book some more. Then I called the local animal clinic.

My new best friend Bev was enthusiastic about the whole situation and eagerly peppered me with questions over the phone. I just as enthusiastically answered them, thrilled to finally have someone who seemed as excited about this fun happening as I was. She decided it was probably a dove released at a wedding and lost. With this new insight, I examined The Bird again...through the patio doors. "Is it a dove?" she asked.

"I don't know. I always pictured doves as prettier than this. But maybe." The odd bump on the beak and the out-of-place feathers gave it a scraggly appearance. Then I noticed the strange dark markings on the chest. It looked like a spatter of mud or blood had hit The Bird squarely in the center of it's chest and then leaked in irregular lines down the front of its body. I strained to get a better look. I told Bev about it. "I wonder if it might be hurt." Small stirrings of sympathy struggled to slip free in my heart.

Bev and I chatted in some detail for a while, but she could not leave her clinic, and I was not about to collect The Bird and take it to her. She suggested I call the state wildlife department. I did. They were closed. She suggested I call the police. I did. They didn't plan to come out to see a bird...not even if it could have been a jailbird. (I'm so funny.)

Bev and I hung up, and I continued gazing out the window at the motionless bird standing in our pool.

Jeremy came home. I excitedly informed him of The Bird trapping us in our house. He wanted me to leave the window and begin making supper. I explained to him why that would be physically impossible. "But I can't watch him if I'm making supper. That would require me to step away from the window."

"Is he doing anything?" Jeremy asked.


"Has he done anything in the entire time that you've been staring?"


"Then you probably won't miss anything if you decide to make supper." He pointed out so logically. I sighed and left the window.

For 23 seconds.

I couldn't help it. I was drawn to The Bird. Even Liberty had stopped being fascinated long before this and gone to the living room to play with her toys. Why couldn't I?

I forced myself to stay by Jeremy's side as we prepared supper, but every so often I would make a quick dash over to the glass doors to check on Fred.

I had to leave the house to pick Kimmie up from work several hours later, and on the way home, I told her all about our new pet Fred. We eagerly ran to the patio doors as soon as we got home to check on him.

But he was gone.

I checked the yard, my body in a permanent ducking position in case he dive-beaked me from the sky. But it looked as though Fred had flown the coop.

Now, I just have to deal with his poop.

Maybe I'll buy a new pool.
After that horrid post on Thursday, I took a deep breath and decided to claim a vacation day for Friday...which was also Jeremy's 30th birthday!!!!

We began the day just like any other ordinary the hospital. (Don't worry. I was at the hospital for an ultrasound. Hee-hee! My sugar level has been up and down at odd times, and my doctor wanted an ultrasound run to be sure that the baby was doing okay.)

My technician was named Donna, and she began telling me about her recently deceased husband. She was so sad. She revealed memory after memory as we explored the interior of my tummy, and we cried together there in the darkened room behind the curtain. While we cried, I prayed that God would use me to comfort her somehow, and I believe she just needed someone to talk with, to listen to her. While I am still very sad for her, I really enjoyed our time of story-telling and memory-sharing. Her husband sounds like he was a fun-loving man, and her stories made me smile through my tears.

My baby is due on her husband's birthday, and I am glad to share it with him. It's more special that way.

After the ultrasound, we dropped my van off for an oil change, and to our delighted surprise the shop gave us a loaner car with a FULL GAS TANK!!!! We stared at each other gleefully, and Jeremy announced, "Let's go to Des Moines!"

The sunny day, bright blue sky, beautiful temperatures and happily singing birds all encouraged us on our journey. I settled deeply into the luxurious passenger seat and snored away as Jeremy piloted us down the road.

Our first stop was Barnes & Noble to return a purchased book that did not live up to its cover. This provided us with an in-store credit that burned a hole in my pocket immediately. I haven't mentioned this before, but I've been testing my blood sugar twice a day for the past week, and the levels have been great! So I decided to reward myself at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble. I marched happily towards the counter with my in-store credit card waving high above my head.

"I want something with lots of chocolate and caramel in it! Iced!" I proclaimed to the barrista. She laughed and pointed out a couple options. I chose one, and then hesitated. "Um, do you happen to know the nutritional information on that drink?" Inwardly, I sighed at myself. I knew that I didn't want to know the real answer. She pulled out the paper bearing the information. I fainted dead away in complete shock. There were enough carbs in that one drink to eat up my allowance for lunch and supper together!

"Oh. Nevermind."

She must have taken pity on me because she valiantly flipped through her nutritional info book, pouring over page after page of drinks, trying to find one that didn't use up so many of my valuable carbs. Fifteen minutes later, I decided to try a strawberry lemonade.

Because that page was missing from her book.

And it sounded less carb-ful to me.

I hope it was.

Anyway, it was good!

Jeremy and I continued on our adventure into the mall, and I felt my body relaxing as we held hands and laughed our way through the stores. I marveled at the lack of responsibility I felt. My shoulder muscles un-tensed. I sighed happily, reveling in the freedom.

After purchasing a few items for him, we decided to find a place for lunch. On the way to the mall, we had passed a new restaurant called Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. It looked fancy. We decided to check it out. The darkened lobby and thick carpeting informed us right away that this was no ordinary eating establishment. The prices on the menu resting casually at the "Please Wait To Be Seated" podium quickly confirmed that this was no ordinary eating establishment.

We fled. Quickly. Before a host could captured us and wrestle us to a table.

Instead, we dined at Red Robin, where I further ruined my diet by sharing onion rings with Jeremy before finishing off the fries that came with my meal.

And boy, was it worth it!

I had forgotten how good food could taste!

I did, however, NOT eat any of the rest of my meal in an effort to reduce the damage I was probably causing to my blood sugar.

I took it home in a doggie bag and ate it for supper.

It was good.

We stopped at a swimming pool store to look into buying a pool for our yard. Yeah. The prices were a bit steep. We gazed longingly at the sparkly water and the refreshing blue promise of coolness. And a sudden sharp pain stabbed my abdomen. I gasped and stumbled backwards. Another knife-thrust knocked me into a nearby seat. I sat, quietly enduring, while a saleswoman explained the benefits of a new pool to us, but when I attempted to rise from the seat, my grimace triggered her concern. With Jeremy helping me, I staggered to the car, all the while evaluating my pains. They didn't feel like contractions. At least, not like anything I had experienced with Liberty.

The pains continued most of Friday evening and intermittently throughout Saturday. But my newly relaxed attitude and muscles prevented me from being too concerned. The family spent a casual Saturday together. We celebrated Jeremy's birthday. Kimmie bought him a new shirt. I bought him a MANLY GRILLING COOKBOOK. A manly one.

Sunday continued with more of the relaxed feeling, and a couple stabs of pain to the abdomen in the morning to keep me aware. We emptied and scrubbed Liberty's kiddie pool, then re-filled it. I sat in it and enjoyed the sparkly water and relaxing blue coolness while Kimmie and Liberty ran and splashed. Jeremy stood on the back deck and watched from a careful distance after Kimmie "accidentally" splashed him.

That afternoon, we explored some dirt roads that we had never traveled before. We examined peaceful looking farmhouses and pastures waving with wildflowers. The wind pushed our hair back from our faces and off of our necks. The sun kissed our cheeks. In the evening, we walked around our neighborhood. Liberty collected pretty-looking rocks from the sides of the road. She ran in ovals around us as we strolled. She laughed in sheer joy, a delighted sound bubbling from her lips. We laughed with her.

Back at home with Liberty in bed, I made brownies for Jeremy to take to work. We tasted them to be sure they were not poisoned. I ignored my sugar tester. Then we watched "The Bridge to Terabithia" which Kimmie had borrowed from the library.

I closed my eyes in sleep on a soft bed and a newly laundered summer bedspread courtesy of my husband who dug it out of storage and washed it prior to putting it on our bed.

All good things must come to an end, but this good thing -- this mini-vacation -- has given me enough happiness and relaxation to help me face the next month or so.

James 1:17 - "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

PS> Only 31 days until the baby comes!
I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel tired and worn out, discouraged. I am ready to stop being pregnant. I'm tired of feeling sick; I'm tired of being slow. I'm getting impatient to meet my baby, but I'm also dreading adding another little responsibility to my crowded days.

I just want to yell loudly at somebody and then cry like the world has ended.

Or better yet, I would like to go on vacation to a beautiful deserted island where I can laze around in a hammock all day and sip icy lemonade from a pretty glass. An island where I can have servants (so much for the deserted part) who bring me delicious food, and I don't have to worry about the sugar or the carbs involved. Where I can read books and write stories all day or all night until my brain is finally relaxed. Where I can find some peace and quiet without running after a tantrum-throwing two year old, or arguing with a teenager who already knows everything there can possibly be to know in this world. I don't want to move or think or talk until I'm all sorted out inside.

There is no reason for these strange feelings that I can tell. Other than hormones, I guess.

Nasty little hormones!
For his Father's Day feast, Jeremy requested roast, green bean casserole and corn on the cob. I popped the roast into the crock pot early in the day, and just before supper time, I began creating the green bean casserole. Kimmie sat at the dining room table to shuck the corn, and Liberty crept closely up to Kimmie, fascinated by the shucking process. After a short time, Kimmie lifted Liberty into a nearby chair and handed her an ear of corn to shuck. She showed her how to pull the leaves away from the cob, and Liberty delightedly went to work. She finally finished her first ear of corn at the same time that Kimmie finished all the rest of the ears.

From time to time, I glanced up from my casserole making just to drink in the picture of my two pioneer girls shucking corn side by side at the dining room table, the afternoon sun lighting their happy faces through the nearby patio doors. A peaceful and happy scene that still makes my heart smile in memory.

Once the shucking was finished, Liberty attempted to eat her newly naked corn. Kimmie quickly guided it from her lips and interested her in the tiny silky threads still entwined in the kernels. While Liberty pulled the threads, I handed Kimmie the cleaver and asked her to divide each corn cob in half. Now, Kimmie has a healthy fear of knives, especially one as cool-looking as the cleaver. So with her thumb and pointer finger she gingerly held the end of a cob, and with her other hand, she gently tapped the cleaver onto the corn.

Nothing happened.

She tried again.

Still no results.

I smiled and told her, "You've got to be the boss of it!" Then I took a cob and showed her the violent action required to chop that thing in half.

She took a deep breath. "Okay, I'll try it, " she whispered with grim determination. She gingerly held the corn again and told Liberty to watch out. She raised that cleaver high over her head, until even I was scared that it would come down in the wrong place. She chopped quickly down, and the corn separated and flew in two directions, spinning to the opposite ends of the table. Random kernels flew up in the aftermath, bathing Kimmie, Liberty and the wall behind them. Liberty's first shocked expression dissolved into giggles of glee, and Kimmie grinned broadly.

She grabbed another corn cob and repeated the process. This time, Liberty almost fell off her chair from laughing so hard. Kimmie and I joined her. The laughter was so contagious! This process was repeated for each ear of corn, and the three of us were almost helpless with mirth by the time all the ears were divided.

I plopped all of the corn cobs into a pan of boiling water, and watched as Kimmie cleaned up the table, the wall, Liberty and herself. And I wished for a video camera to capture this memory forever.
I feel like a lab rat that has been poked and prodded and sleep deprived and food deprived so that scientists can learn what NOT to do to a lab rat.

My lovely little daughter, Liberty, who is not yet two has been sleeping just fine in her big girl bed for over a month now. But this week, she decided the big girl bed is not for her. She gave it a fair shot, and that bed just doesn't work out. Instead, she prefers to throw her body violently against the closed bedroom door while screaming as though a vital organ were dangling from her abdomen. Because, you know, it is so much more pleasant to spend your nights and evenings practicing to be in a horror movie than it is to loll lazily against fresh-smelling sheets while a gentle fan-created breeze blows over you.

Since Monday, I have tried everything imaginable to get her to go back to bed, to stay in bed, to fall asleep, to just be quiet, but NOTHING works. On Wednesday, I slept a total of three hours, and on Thursday, I had glimpses of sleep in ten minute stretches at a time until 5:30 in the morning when Jeremy took over. I do now know what he did, but after all the screaming I had endured over the past four nights, the silence from her room was eerie enough to prevent me from sleeping. There is nothing more frustrating than NOT sleeping at 5:30 in the morning when you haven't gotten any sleep to speak of during the previous four nights.

On top of my sleep deprivation, the new gestational diabetes diet is wreaking havoc on my normally sweet and wonderful personality. (See my halo?) Who knew that carbs were in so many foods? Who knew that carb withdrawal could create homicidal tendencies in a person? Who knew that carb withdrawal + sleep deprivation could create a mental imbalance that prevents the curbing of those homicidal tendencies?

Huh. They say you learn something new everyday. I'm just getting my quota of knowledge, I guess.
Our friends were told yesterday to evacuate their house due to flooding, so our church has a group there all day today moving all of their things into various storage places around town. Many families have volunteered spots where our friends can keep their things for the next three months. I'm so thankful to belong to a church like this where people immediately drop their own plans to get involved in the lives of each other.

I tried to imagine three months of living in various homes that weren't my own. That could provide lots of partying fun! And lots of stress. I'm hoping to help them make it fun!

Our next door neighbors dragged their brand new basement carpeting out into the backyard a couple days ago to help it dry out. Ironically, that carpeting has now been rained on many, many times and is even wetter now than it was when they brought it out to dry. Kelly said, "Oh well, it's not coming back in until it's dry."

Yeah, that's going to be out there a while.

Our sump-pump has been running non-stop, and I toured the perimeter of our home yesterday afternoon. We have about eight inches of standing water up against our foundation. I wonder how long our dry basement will last?

Road closures all over town are forcing businesses to close, and I'm waiting for our little creek to overflow. We only have one road to get to and from our house. I hope I'm home (with plenty of food and the entire family) when the creek crosses the road. Woo-hoo! Bring on the party!
You've probably heard all about our flooding on the news. It has rained for three weeks straight. During the day, it is beautiful, hot, sunny, swimming weather, but at night Mr. Hyde comes out to rain on our parade. Only, he doesn't just rain, he violently throws hail and fierce winds and torrential downpours at us. One morning, the radio informed me that we had received two inches of rain in ten minutes' time. Two nights ago, our (heavy) grill and deck chair were pushed into our pool.

Last night, I heard our house blowing apart bit by bit, and I got up to investigate. After turning the outside light on, I watched beautiful hailstones slam into our patio doors. I checked on Liberty, sure that the concert-level decibels would wake her up. She slept blissfully unaware, her arms thrown up over her head, and her tousled blond curls and little red cheeks healthfully shining in the semi-darkness. I checked Kimmie's room, only to find an empty bed. I quietly called her name as I searched the house. I saved the basement for last, fully expecting to find her anxiously watching the TV screen for tornado warnings, but when I reached the basement, she was not in sight.

"Kimmie?" I called quietly, for the first time beginning to wonder what might have happened to her. No answer. "Kimmie?" I repeated, louder this time, and I turned to go back up the stairs. A scraping noise to my right whirled my body quickly around. Kimmie's form loomed out of the darkness setting my heart pounding.

She smiled sheepishly at me while I recovered.

She had been hiding from the storm behind some storage boxes in the basement. I coaxed her into returning to her bedroom, and she reluctantly climbed the stairs with me. Before going back to bed, she and I sat at the patio doors and watched the ice fall from the sky. The light on the porch shone through each hailstone as it passed, casting quick shimmers of color into our eyes. The beauty-lover in Kimmie awoke, and she was able to go back to bed feeling better about the storm.

Until thirty minutes later when she pounded on my door, waking me up to ask about the "strange orange figure in the sky."
Lately I've been struggling for coherency. Which is why I've been posting surveys and memes instead of really writing. My thoughts are so jumbled. I don't even know what they're jumbled about.

I'm even struggling to put complete sentences together now. I re-read what I've written, and I wonder, does that sound right?

I guess it's the baby, but this is really getting ridiculous.

Only 45 days till I get to meet my little brain-eater!

By the way, I have the most awesome husband in the world, in case you didn't already know that. He helped me get all the baby clothes sorted and put in place yesterday. He helped me pack the hospital bag yesterday.

And most importantly, he rubbed my back last night! Mmmmmm! He loves me! :-)
1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing? Oh yes! Especially mixed with French dressing.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? I thought the question said, "Have you ever HAD smoked herring?" I thought long and hard about whether I had or not. Then I read the question again and realized it was a drug. Um, no.

3. Do you own a gun? Several. They are mainly bright green or bright pink and filled with water. I use them in the summer time, or if I'm feeling especially mean, in the winter time. "Heh-heh-heh! Come here, little kiddies. Just a bit closer..."

4. What's your favorite drink at Starbucks? Something without coffee and with lots of chocolate or caramel.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No, I actually enjoy doctor appointments. That's odd, I suppose.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Not much.

7. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night. Ooh, I hope that just got stuck in your head!

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Milk

9. Can you do push ups? Define push-ups. Just kidding!

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My dangly spirally earrings with the pink ball hanging from them.

11. Favorite hobby? Writing Stories

12. Do you have A.D.D.? Nope

13. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? Allergies

14. Middle name? Jane (yay for me!)

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. Lunch. Food. Sandwich. I'm starving!

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Milk, Water, Fruit Juice (whatever kind we bought for the week)

17. Current worry right now? Where's the nearest bathroom!!!!! Why is it so far away??!!!

18.Current hate right now? Um, hate? That's a mighty strong word there, partner. I hate...oh! I know! MOSQUITOES!!!!

19. Favorite place to be? Outside, preferably in a tree, but it's been a long time...

20. How did you bring in the New Year? I didn't. God did! Ha!

21. Like to go? To sleep!

22. Do you own slippers? Yep. My awesome sister Charity bought me fuzzy yellow slippers several years ago for Christmas (or my birthday), and I love them...Except, I leave them in the basement because my feet get cold when I'm watching a movie down there, and now I'm afraid to put my toesies into them because I'm afraid a spider might have built a web inside. So...I kind of don't have slippers after all. Sadness.

23. What color shirt are you wearing? Navy Blue

24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No, they're too hot. They make me sweat in the night. Nasty!

25. Can you whistle? That's none of your business!

26. Favorite color? Pink and Yellow

27. Would you be a pirate? If I got a cool outfit.

28. What songs do you sing in the shower? Beautiful ones, of course, that show off my incredible singing talent!

29. Favorite girl's name? Huh, that's a hard one. I love Grace, but so many other names are beautiful, too, like Sassafrass, and Kumkwat, and Juicifruiss and Ka-zam!

30. What's in your pocket right now? Two silver barrettes in case my hair starts falling out of my pony-tail holder.

31. Last thing that made you laugh? My brother Zach's email

32. Best bed sheets as a child? A white sheet with beautiful pink roses all over it. I always picked that one out of the closet.

33. How many TVs do you have in your house? One giant one in the basement and one tiny one in a box somewhere, probably in the basement, too.

34. Who is your loudest friend? Jeremy

35. How many pets do you have? Three: Jeremy, Kimmie and Liberty. Oh yeah, and the fleas that come with them. I'm very fond of the fleas.

36. Does someone have a crush on you? Jeremy had better!

37. What is your favorite book? Oh, that's much harder than the girl's name question! Most of them!

38. What is your favorite candy? I am not allowed to think about candy so I refuse to answer.

39. Favorite Sports Team? Cubs and Bears!

40. What were you doing at 12 am last night? Snoring very loudly.

41. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It can't be morning already!
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I have nothing to say. Nothing.

You should mark this day on your calendars.

So, since I have nothing to say, I am going to completely ignore Biblical advice like Keep your mouth shut, lest you look like a fool. And I will happily display my foolishness for all to read.

My friend DeAnn (kind of) tagged me to post 8 random things, so here they are. I hope I can come up with some good ones.

1. Saturday is my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I am so excited for it to come. I have noticed however, since moving out of my parent's house, that birthdays just aren't as exciting as they used to be. My mom always did an awesome job of making a big deal out of our birthdays. We did not have any chores to do. We got to eat our favorite foods. The birthday supper was always of our choosing.

I have tried to explain these things to Liberty, "On my birthday, I don't have to get out of bed until I want to. I don't have to change any dirty diapers, and I don't have to make breakfast, lunch or supper for anyone."

She hasn't quite gotten the point.

2. Last night, I walked out of church and saw twelve thousand three hundred twenty-seven fat June Bugs buzzing around the spotlight outside the door. A huge toad hunched on the cement against the building, just waiting for one to zip close enough to his tongue. I enjoyed that picture, even though I worried about a buzzing beetle landing in my hair or on my clothing as I hurried past.

3. My mom sent a package to our house yesterday that contained several outfits for Liberty Grace and an 8x10 professional picture of me when I was Liberty's age. Kimmie opened the box, and said, "Oh look, your mom sent us a picture of Liberty." I looked at it too, and was surprised to see how alike the two of us look at that age. Huh. I was pretty cute! :-)

4. Yesterday was Kimmie's last day of school, and she immediately stopped at the library to rent five videos. She watched the first one last night, and I believe she plans to watch the rest of them today because they are due back on Friday. She has a job, but the hours are random and usually only in the evening. She has applied for a second job. We live far enough out of town that her friends cannot easily come and go, and she does not have a car to easily come and go herself. I have been silently brainstorming ways to keep her occupied and out of boredom for the summer, but I've got a feeling this is a losing battle. Does anybody have any ideas?

5. I'm starving.

6. My devotions are in Second Chronicles right now, and last night I read chapter 8, verse 11 which says, "Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, 'My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.'"

That surprised me. I always assumed that Solomon never really thought about the fact that he was sinning by marrying people that God had told him not to. But obviously, he thought about it and still continued to do it. I do that, too. It's like slapping Jesus again after He's already been through so much for me.

7. Only two months left til the baby comes!!!!!!

8. I've got to get the girls' bedroom organized.
We had an awesome storm this morning. So loud, it woke me up early, and that takes some doing! I lay in bed listening to the thunder crashing and watching the flashes of lightning through the curtains. The pouring rain BEAT down hard on our roof and windows. Then I heard small hail stones pinging against our house. I kept listening on the baby monitor for Liberty to stir, but she slept soundly through it all. I'm amazed by that, since the thunder cracked so loudly directly overhead.

When we opened the garage door, a nearby screen slammed into my van. Kimmie propped the screen up behind my bicycle so that it wouldn't blow again, and then I heard a strange sound. I looked around to identify what had caused it, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. Kimmie pointed to our attic door. The little door is a square cut into the ceiling of our garage. The wind must have swept in so strongly that the door blew upwards into the attic, screeching in protest as it traveled.

I wonder how Jeremy's going to fix that.

I struggled to keep my van in the correct lane on the way to town, but I enjoyed the large circles created on my windshield as the heavy drops plopped down. The sound of rain makes me so happy, and thunder and lightning strike awe into my heart. As I drove, I remembered a storm that occurred while I was in college. I was sitting in church on a Sunday night when suddenly the incredible sound of POURING rain began beating on the roof of the church. The sound was so loud, the pastor could not be heard. I remember listening to the fury of the storm raging outside and marveling at the feeling of security and happiness inside, and I thought to myself, This is the reality of trusting God to care for everything. When I truly let God be in control of my life, I do not have to fear any circumstances that arise. Good or bad, I know that those circumstances are under God's almighty hands.

I heard that same beating sound this morning on the roof of my car and immediately felt the same peace and happiness inside my heart as I remembered God's sovereignty.

I'm so glad! :-)
Okay, I have had a weekend to absorb and adjust, and I'm great now.

Well, almost great. I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The doctor wants to first try treating it with a diet change alone. If that does not work, then I'll begin insulin shots. As you can imagine, I am eager to utilize the diet instead of the insulin.

So I'm on my best behavior.

I read the diet and was surprised at how easy it looked. All it said was stay away from simple sugars like cake, candy, ice cream, soda pop, ect.; when hungry between meals, snack on fresh fruits and veggies; exercise lightly every day.

Not a problem! Normally, I don't like cakes, candies, ice cream, soda pop, ect. I do enjoy fresh fruits and veggies, and having Liberty around ensures that I run non-stop until bedtime, so I'm sitting pretty! I thought.

However, with this pregnancy, I have regularly craved chocolate. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup. Anything chocolate, which is highly unusual for me. And apparently, I have made a habit of having a dessert after every supper, which is also highly unusual for me.

So I started off with jubiliant expectations. This diet will be a "piece of cake." (Ha!)

Until Saturday came along.

At breakfast, I fixed eggs and pancakes for the family. I buttered Liberty's pancakes, poured syrup over them, and cut them into tiny pieces. Then I turned to my own plate. I buttered a pancake and lifted the syrup container. With it poised over my food, I suddenly remembered that syrup was made out of sugar. Oh yeah! I can't have that! Instead, I cut up a banana and smugly spread the pieces out over my pancake.

At lunchtime, Jeremy and I were at the mall. A bowl of mints sat on the store counter, and I was hungry. I absently unwrapped the mint and popped it into my mouth. Halfway through my swallow, I realized I was eating candy. "Oh no!" I told Jeremy. "I'm not supposed to be eating this!"

At suppertime, I ate my taco and searched the top shelf of the refrigerator for a drink. I pushed past the milk and the sweet tea, the apple juice and the Pepsi. I found some berry juice (100% juice, I noted with appreciation) in the back of the fridge and decided to mix it with Sprite. Then I remembered...and had to pour the mixture down the drain. (No one else likes my mixtures.)

On Sunday, I had planned peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch along with diced peaches and something else that I don't remember at the moment. I created Liberty's sandwich and cut it into "windows" for her. Then I pulled out two pieces of bread for myself. It suddenly dawned on me that the jelly had to be at least 50% sugar. I sighed and read the label. The idea of a plain peanut butter sandwich did not appeal to me. I thought of the honey in the cabinet, but I wasn't sure how that fit into the diet. Is honey considered sugar? I think so. Instead, I spread peanut butter onto Townhouse crackers and topped them with a slice of cheddar cheese. It was very good, but I started feeling discouraged as I thought of all the little sugars that I had not paid attention to in the past. This is a drastic life change, I realized.

At suppertime, we went to a friend's house. They served chicken quesadillas (contributed by my awesome cheffy husband), a fruit salad, chips and pop. I drank water, and did not feel badly about missing out on the pop or the chips (which I chose not to eat based on the carbs.) But after supper, I badly craved chocolate cake. So badly, in fact, that I began to wonder if I were suffering from withdrawal symptoms. At that point, I would have given ANYTHING for ANY KIND OF SUGAR!!!! I NEED SUGAR!!! The monster inside my tummy raged. SUGAR!!! The battle inside was so intense that I wondered if my friends could see it on my face. I tried to look normal. An hour or so after supper, the hostess told me, "I made some cheesecake. Would you like a piece?"

I stared at her face for an eternal thirty seconds. Cheesecake or insulin? Cheesecake or insulin? The chant raged through my brain.

"No!" I almost shouted at her. "Uh, thank you, though." I added meekly.