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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life in the Balance

I cannot weigh 2009 in a balance and come up with any semblance of equality or tipping.

The hurts were deep, but the joys were soaring. And to say that one would outweigh the other is not going to work. Life just doesn’t work that way.

I get a visual of a giant hand shaking a tray of hilly sand. Once shaken, it all levels out. As a literary device it might work for some illustrations, but not for the emotions and spiritual lessons of a year like 2009.

Death was waiting at the doorstep in January. And yet in February, a job of mammoth proportions was given out.

Anxious waiting and financial stresses. And yet the year ended with two new grandsons, beautiful and healthy.

No, you can’t shake this year down and make it level. But my favorite Bible verse still applies. I love it. I cling to it. I repeat it even when I don’t believe it.
Romans 8:28 (NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Out with the old. In with the new. And trusting God for making me into the image of His Son!

Tips the balance every time.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Right Around the Corner

2010 is waiting on my doorstep. I think I want to open the door to see it. But right now I just don't have the time, and I'm running in circles, doing and not doing stuff. Both the "doing" and the "not doing" are causing me anxiety.

"Just stop it!" I say. Doesn't work. "Pray" I say. Does it work? Is it supposed to "work"? That sounds rather formulaic to me.

Prayer is communication. Private, personal, supposed to be two-way, if I would just listen. So part of prayer is silence? Maybe that's what I've been missing. The listening part.

Prayer, blogs,'s all a pouring out. The soul stretched out for all to see. Except for the prayer part. My soul is always stretched bare for God to see. The difference is that He sees the REAL me, not the one I'm trying to show others. The "got it together" person. Or the "always anxious" person. He sees who He made me to be...who I am right now...and the chasm - or gap - between the two.

When I write, I realize that others could be reading it. And so everything is couched in preaching to myself and either encouraging, exhorting, or entertaining others. But with the Heavenly Father, there's none of that.

He strips the anxiety away to show what is lying beneath it: a broken relationship (or one on the brink), desires that are ungodly, perceived needs that aren't being met (translation: selfishness), words that are left unspoken out of fear of rejection. It amounts to a big pile of nothing in eternity, but a big pile of useless fretting here.

So in about a week, my door will open to a new decade. That is if God gives me breath for the next week. And at that time, I'll really try to stop and listen. Listen to the prompting for what He intends for 2010 in my life. Given His propensity for gift-giving, love, power, justice, etc, I shouldn't be too anxious, should I?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The New Elf Yourself for 2009!

I signed a "no social dancing" policy, but I don't think this is social... is it? Hahahaha!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, November 07, 2009

She Did It!!!

Yes, folks, Grandma turned 100 on November 1, the first in living memory for a family member to hit that mark. Several got to 98 and 99, but this milestone was elusive until Grandma achieved it. If God so chooses, I certainly hope I am this lucid at the century zone.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Looking Forward

It's coming soon! My grandma Nelson is turning 100! November 1 is her birthday and we're heading west to celebrate.

So, here's something that we should read at her party. You've probably heard it before, but it's certainly true that Grandma will have bragging rights!

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. How old are you?.... "I'm four and a half "....You're never 36 and a're four and a half going on five!

That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number. How old are you? "I'm gonna be 16." You could be 12, but you're gonna be 16.

And then the greatest day of your life become 21. Even the words sound like a BECOME 21...YES!!!

But then you turn 30....ooohhh what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk....He TURNED, we had to throw him out. There's no fun now.

What's wrong?? What changed?? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.....stay over there, it's all slipping away........

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, you're PUSHING 40, you REACH 50.....and your dreams are gone.

Then you MAKE IT to didn't think you'd make it!!!!

So you BECOME 21, you TURN 30, you're PUSHING 40, you REACH 50, you MAKE IT to 60......then you build up so much speed you HIT 70!

After that, it's a day by day thing. After that, you HIT Wednesday.... You get into your 80's, you HIT lunch. You TURN 4:30, my grandmother won't even buy green's an investment you know, and maybe a bad one.

And it doesn't end there....into the 90's you start going backwards.... I was JUST 92...

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again.... "I'm 100 and a half!!!!"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm Not Old! But I'm wearing it anyway...

Happy Birthday to me... :-)


When I am Old
I will wear Purple!

When I am an old woman,
I shall wear purple - -
With a red hat which doesn't go,
and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals,
And say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
and gobble up samples in shops
and press alarm bells
and run with my stick along public railings,
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit!
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
or only bread and pickles for a week,
and hoard pens and pencils
and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
and pay our rent
and not swear in the street,
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner
and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised
when suddenly I am old,
And start to wear purple!

--Jenny Joseph

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not-so-speedy Internet

All in all, I like the U-Verse package from AT&T, however, the download and upload speeds (and we're paying for the highest end of home Internet) are pathetic!!! If you go to you can find out just how fast your Internet service is to your computer.

When we had Comcast, we had speeds of 21 Mbps download and 14 Mbps upload.

Now, with AT&T, this is what we struggle to get.

It's not even hamsters running in their wheels. It is the turtle family doing laps.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pointy and poignant

This was the lead cartoon for the movie, UP! It's amazing what emotion can be evoked through animation.

Cloud - Watch more funny videos here

Monday, August 17, 2009

A creation of Aussie

Check this out! It's an Aussie Burger, and you have to ask for it by name, because it isn't on the menu.

The menu is located at the Lakeside Grille in Petersburg, Kentucky. Better known as the site of the Creation Museum.

And it takes some creativity to put this thing together...burger, cheddar, bacon, fried egg, shredded carrots, pickled beets, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pineapple! Practically a rainbow in a bun.

Which is very appropriate for the restaurant. The Creation Museum has multiple allusions to the global flood (billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by flood water, all over the world). You really should try it... and I don't just mean the burger.

Head for the Creation Museum as fast as you can! It's worth it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Might as Well Admit it, I'm Addicted to ...

Do you supposed God "gifted" us with addictions? Something in us wants to either be devoted to something (or someone) or at its zenith... addicted.

I find that just like the "whack the mole" game, my addictions just switch places. When I think I've got one mastered, another pops up. Perhaps I'm addicted to shopping online. So I quit cold turkey and, voila, I'm staking out Dairy Queen for the latest Blizzard flavor every day. Neither is true, but I do find that when I'm relying on food, for example, my reliance on the Lord wanes. And when my food love is under control, my love for the Lord increases.

This may not be true for everyone, but if you look at my waistline, you'll get a pretty good indication of how my soul relationship is doing. Right now, it is inversely related. Not a pretty picture.

Remember Anne of Green Gables? She spoke of her "besetting sin." Mine shows itself in too much food. What's yours?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Blame it All on Mondays!

Or I could blame it on the Sixties. The 1968 Congress that decided to begin the unraveling of history. Ever since, we've leaned on convenience rather than truth (oh, now *that's* an inconvenient truth!). Instead of celebrating Lincoln's birthday on February 12, it's whatever Monday Congress declared. And Washington's birthday...February 22, but unless you read the fine print on your calendar,you and your kids just assume you get a federal holiday somewhere in February.

Not that this was an intentional dismantling of American history, but I do believe it has served as such.

It's sad to watch our generations lose their moorings because they don't know history, or the importance of that history.

So, it is with equal distaste that I come upon my Grandmother's 100th birthday. Oh, no, I'm excited about her turning 100, don't get me wrong. But part of the family decided it would be convenient to hold her birthday a month earlier than the actual date. I can feel my skin starting to crawl. "She turns 100 on November 1," I want to scream! But no, October 3 is more convenient.

I'm considering a boycott, but that would only look like I didn't care about Grandma, so I'll be there, Lord willing. However, since I can't stand the thought of her birthday not being celebrated properly, ssssssshhhhhhh, I may actually show up on the real date, too!

Viva la history!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King has Died (The King Lives)

Late 1970s, the headlines read that The King has Died... Elvis Presley.
June 25, 2009, the headlines read that The King has Died ... Michael Jackson.

Circa 30 AD (depending on which calendar you trust), the people alternately chanted and mourned: The King has Died.

Newspapers for the last 30 years have had "Elvis sightings." No doubt there will be "MJ sightings."

But Jesus appeared to more than 500 people AFTER his death and resurrection. No Photoshop retouched images.

Go ahead and mourn your "king." Mine is alive!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers, Past... Fathers, Present ... Fathers, Future

It seems like I blog in bursts and then sit on my haunches for long periods of time. Much like the rest of life for someone who is very intense. So, it is with great pleasure, fear and trepidation that I delve into where that intensity originated.

Fathers Day. My dad was 24 when I was born, just shy of 35 when going into the Air Force as a chaplain, and is "pushing" 80 now. But he never slows down. Well, maybe slows, but doesn't quit. He is still out there visiting in the hospitals, feeding AIDS patients, preaching at his home church and at the Alzheimer's unit, and cuddling babies that come to church for dedication. Yep, that's the public dad that he is.

Fond memories include camping and also my 18th birthday, when Dad took me on a "date" to a country kitchen type place where you drink out of mason jars. He bought me a small amber colored glass pitcher to commemorate the time, and that pitcher still sits by my front door.

If you boiled it all down, I think I got my "life by points" mentality from Dad. Do, do, do. I'll let that settle in a bit. And a bit of the schmaltz as well. But all that doing doesn't allow for getting into someone else's skin and seeing what's going on.

Present: Even though there are no longer kids under the roof that are our dependents, I'll still call Mark the "Fathers, Present." He stepped up as a father, at the age of 25, also without having the best recollection of what a father should be. His dad died when Mark was 16, and was busy, busy, busy - like my dad. And fairly tight lipped about personal life - like my dad. Makes for interesting communication in the next generation, I'll tell you.

But Mark has worked, and read, and done his best to be the dad he felt the kids needed. Yes, communication styles vary and come across in a double-minded way sometimes, but he loves those kids! We often talk about wishing we really were independently wealthy, and start Elfstrand Enterprises, and hire all the kids.

Future: Ah, it's good to see the next generation take the past and remold it so that it comes out much better! Better communication. Better parenting styles. And giving us grandchildren that are being brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Pain included. The fathers they are becoming are so rewarding.

If God so chooses, may their quivers be full! And if not biologically, then may their influence on fathers be spread around the globe.

Happy Fathers Day - past, present, and future!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Up with UP!

If you haven't already seen it, you really must go see the Pixar movie, UP. They have masterfully crafted a story and animation that will make you laugh hysterically and weep (if you're not careful, you may sob). 3D version is not necessary, but when the DVD comes out, I'll be in line to get it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

They Call Truth "Hate" because they Hate the Truth

This is on a t-shirt and refers to the "hate speech" legislation up for review. I think I'll buy one.

What a weird and warped country we live in, because people have not understood, nor have they cared to understand, the founding fathers' intentions on free speech. Nor do they understand, nor care to understand, sin.

Scripture says that "they call evil 'good' and good 'evil.'" We've reached that day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mathers Day Rhonda Family!

If I could only get it to look like that again!Several years ago, shortly after we moved here, Mothers Day was celebrated with our daughter at a Teppan dinner house. I love Japanese food, and love the atmosphere of Teppan style cooking.

At the end of the meal, the wait staff took our picture and presented me with a paperframed photo with the caption... Happy Mathers Day Rhonda Family! We've laughed about it ever since.

So why am I weeping this morning? I don't have any right to. I received yellow tulips from my hubby on Friday (so I would have them in the house for our house-guests on Saturday), and on Saturday I received a gorgeous bouquet of red roses from Marshall and Lara. Tonight I will go to the "in-laws'" house to have dinner with Ingrid and family.

Part of why I'm weeping is my heart breaks for Lara this Mothers Day. Empty arms instead of a card and kisses are really hard to bear when, all around you, mothers are being feted.

And I ache for Britany who really would like the family to be their own little family. I truly hope that God's hand will clearly be shown - perhaps even the influence of a daughter on her mother and father during this time.

And I'm being selfish, because neither son and family are here. And because not even my hubby said Happy Mothers Day this morning until he saw me weeping over my latte. And because the mothers had to plan their own dinner... I should really do the honorable thing and just bite my tongue on that one, but this is my blog, right?

I had better make a plan for Fathers Day. I don't want him to have to plan his own dinner; that is, unless he really wants to. Nah, barbecue somewhere with the family in the evening after sloppy joes for lunch- that's the plan!

There's a big difference between self-sacrificing and martyr. Which will I be today?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Gonna Wing It

Our friends, the Wingers, are coming to visit this afternoon. I haven't seen them in years. They were very close friends when we lived in northern California, and he was our family dentist. Jacque is a gem.

We left northern CA the last time in 1991. Seems like yesterday, but I'm sporting more gray, a set of progressive bifocals, and a whole lot more pounds. Now, I ask you, are you embarrassed to see people you haven't seen in a long time? Am I the only one?

And then there's the house. We have never, and I mean never, made a killing in the real estate market. Every time we move, we start at ground zero. Need I tell you what a successful dentist who rides the market has in the foothills? Gorgeous. Now I'm in the coveting category as well as the slippery slope of having my husband feel like he hasn't provided. We do well, mind you. I'm proud of my hubby and thankful for all God has blessed us with over the years. But we've also made some bad decisions financially. 'nuff said.

Which leads me to this afternoon. Lord, protect me from apologizing for my home. Put me aside and grant me the spirit of hospitality.

It is what it is. We are what we are. We're gonna wing it.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Good Beginnings = Good Reads?

Wendy Lawton asked her readers to mention a lead-in line to a novel that really grabbed their attention. You know, I've heard that when novelists are awarded, the only clue as to who is getting the award is the reading of that first line in the book.

It has to grab you.

I personally like Snoopy's intro line: It was a dark and stormy night... followed by some random jumbled thoughts. Which, I might add, works for Snoopy.

I've actually thought about intro lines quite a bit. Leading the reader to the next paragraph, the next chapter, the next book.

So ... It was a dark and stormy night ...

Don't hold your breath.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cross over the Moon

Oh, Lord, quickly come. That's the answer for current believers. But our children and grandchildren are inheriting a world of which we can only imagine. We've succumbed to the zero population rhetoric of the 60s. Please watch this video, and take it into consideration for evangelization and for child-bearing. Rather sobering.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The - One - Little Pig

Are you afraid of the swine flu? It is getting so much press, and - oh, my - 60 people have contracted it in the US!

Well, folks, I'm wondering how much of this is just another strain of hyped flu. Check out these flu statistics from a "normal" year in the US. Astounding.

So, just keep washing those hands, and quit worrying about stray pigs that might sneeze on you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The FAT trap!

I was just reading in Genesis 45 where Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, tells them about the next five years of famine, and encourages them to come back with the entire family to Egypt. Pharaoh agrees and sends carts with them, saying that they needn't bring much in the way of furnishings because they will be allowed to live on the FAT of the land in Egypt.

For anyone who has read the "rest of the story" (as Paul Harvey would say), we're thinking, No! don't do it! You'll end up enslaved for the next 400 years!!! I know the prospect looks like an answer to prayer now, but don't get trapped by the trappings! Just take the food and go!

So, the question becomes, when God answers our prayers, can we get trapped in or by the answer? Have we given more credence to the "stuff" of answered prayer than the character it is intended to produce? The richness of our relationship with Jesus?

I think I'm trapped in the fat layer.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Nazis. Fascists. US politics.

That ought to make you wonder, huh? The headlines today are shocking. For a generation who has never read the truth of history...and another generation who decided to rewrite history...there is shame and future shock coming.

The public seems not to be able to see past the media hype and the end-of-the-nose stimulus packages. Read history and you will see what a scary road we are traveling. The picture is much bigger than our pockets, folks. I wish I knew who to attribute some of these quotes to, but one has to do with "woe to the nation who discovers the deep pockets of government."

Ask the people who have socialized medicine. You DON'T want to go there. This country was built on individuals, inventions, freedom. With every finger government has in our lives, it creates a clenched fist around our throats.

This could very well be the generation that sees why the US is not listed among the nations around when Jesus returns.

Pray for pre-trib. Prepare for post.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hello, brain?

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted anything. One would think there is nothing rolling around in my mind worth talking about.

As a matter of fact, when I see other people's posts I do wonder whether I should just delete this whole thing. They sound so spiritual and deep. Sometimes I feel that way, but other times I just need to "talk."

But speaking of the brain, I was alerted to an article on smells and Alzheimer's. Pretty interesting. Did you know that you can take a scratch and sniff test to determine if you are at risk for Alzheimer's? Cinnamon, cloves, almond, lilac, peppermint. Etc. Seems that losing the "attachment" of an odor to its name is a clue to whether the rest of the brain glue is starting to lose its grip.

I'm afraid to sniff this one out, how about you?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Should Write a Book

It has been said that each person has one good book in them. Maybe. Maybe not.

So, when Ingrid said that I should write a book, I laughed. "About what?" "Well, you could start with devotions taken from your blog."

Hmmmmm. Working in the publishing industry has jaded me just slightly to that prospect. I don't have a "pulpit" nor do I have a name anyone would recognize outside of my own four walls. Maybe if the whole family each bought a copy... no. No publisher would touch that.

She said that if I spent as much time writing as I did reading, I'd have a book done in no time. Might be true, but might not be a good one, either.

I read the blogs of the authors I know. And I know how hard they work on writing. It is a discipline and a never-ending endeavor - attending writing workshops to hone the craft, doing research, writing, editing, writing, editing. And you have to have fairly thick skin for the editors and critics out there.

Really, she brought up something that tells me I don't have thick enough skin... I don't even allow anonymous comments on this blog! :-)

Until now ...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Funny Lot

Man, he is a funny lot.
When it's cold, he wants it hot.
When it's hot, he wants it not.
Man, he is a funny lot.

That's me to a "t". Busy, busy during the week and wishing for a breather. Now, with no one in the house, I'm so totally bored I don't know what to do with myself. Don't want to waste time by watching TV. Don't want to gain another five pounds by grazing through the pantry. So, perhaps I'll go watch a nice sunset.

Seems to be an appropriate end to the week.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Definition, Please

I'm collecting definitions of "a trophy wife." Do you have one you'd like to share? The definition, not the wife.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Apple of my Eye

Ah, yes, photo software is pretty fun. Especially when it's free. 



We make a lot of decisions based on weather. Good or bad, it affects not only farmers, but commuters, teachers, kids, the elderly, travelers ... We determine our day based on what we see outside. Or what we expect to see.

Snow storm, they said. Three to eight inches starting at midnight, they said. 90 percent sure of it, they said. 

Could be that is true in some areas, just not here in the northerly parts of our zip code. We got two inches maybe. Enough so the dog romped out the back door. But even my Corolla could get out of the driveway in this.

We totally changed our weekend plans because of the weather forecast. A flight was scheduled for this morning - oops, might be 8 inches of snow and a cancelled flight. So.... rescheduled the flight for last night, had to reserve a hotel room at the other end, have to go pick up a car in the extended lot of the airport, Papa missed playing with the grandgirls (they were coming over because he was leaving the next day) ... all because we believed the weather report. 

Just for fun, I'm going to check the flights for Southwest. Frankly, I'll feel a whole lot better if some of them are cancelled. It will make our machinations more palatable. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Green eyes. I have them, and they come in handy as a symbol of jealousy and/or envy.

That's me right now! My hubby gets to visit with our kids in California while I get to take care of the birds and the dog and work from dark to dark.  Rats!

Marshall and Lara will be moving into their new place so he'll get to walk through it and feel at home. Rats!

And while he's there, he will be visiting our best friends from northern California, who are getting all our "old" friends together for a soirĂ©e. Another rats!

I could have taken vacation to go with him, but I'm in the middle of an extremely busy convention schedule, and don't have as much vacation as he does. More rats!

Oh, and if I thought I might spend my time playing with the grandgirls and making dinner for Ingrid and Andy while he's out there playing? Not a chance! They leave for Florida two days after he leaves! Mega rats!

I don't know whether to be depressed or angry. I'm just sure that acquiescence isn't part of the equation. "Rats" pretty well sums it up.

Thanks for coming to my pity party. I'll be staying home with my rats now.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine Vignette

We played, we baked, we painted, and we collapsed. But this is just a minute of the evening.

Friday, February 13, 2009

No triskadecaphobia here!

In 1980, February 13 fell on a Wednesday. How could that be indelibly etched in my memory?

I went to see my favorite hairstylist that morning - Cindy. She asked me not to have a baby in the salon, as I was just a few days over my due date. I assured her I was fine, thanks.

So, newly coiffed, I ate my lunch, puttered around the little grey house, put Marshall down for a nap, and continued puttering.

Around 4:30 I felt "something" happening. I called Mark, followed by calling Sharon, who was to be my backup coach, given the fact that Mister Dad bailed out the first time. I decided to lie down to see if the contractions would continue, and also so I could concentrate on my breathing.

Finally, we decided we needed to get Marshall to the babysitter, and jump in the car for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

After much breathing, no meds, and pushing/shoving/pushing, Adam Richard Elfstrand made his debut at 7:37 PM (like the plane has landed!). All 12 pounds and 4 ounces of him! He looked like he had been through a fight, and I have to tell you, he had been.

I shook and shook after that - the muscles begging for oxygen. The nurses joked that they should get us a bicycle so he could ride home. How appropriate! Today, Adam is an avid biker.

Adam was the second largest baby ever born at that hospital, and that warranted a newspaper article, quipping that the Green Bay Packers were on the doorstep asking for him.

Today is your day, Adam! You are such a gifted, handsome, humorous, and loving man. God has blessed us and you greatly.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Prayer List

  • Self control in words and in eating. (duct tape over my mouth might solve both!)
  • Discernment in all of my "to do" list.
  • Lara's job interview this afternoon.
  • Housing that accepts dogs, good neighborhood, near church (another prayer request), and transportation.
  • Safety for Lara's drive back south to get ready for move.
  • Full employment and health insurance for Adam and Britany.
  • Safety for their trip to Chicago.
  • Full support for Andy and Ingrid with CEF.
  • Full health insurance for their family, especially for maternity care.
  • Awakening in the country - to provision of God, not government.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

It Pays to Wait

I decided it was time to put some addresses into the spreadsheet. Addresses of people who had taken the time to send a condolence card for the loss of Timmy. I'm really glad I let some time pass before doing this, because it caused me to look at them and read them over again.

It also makes me think of the many times I intended to encourage and empathize with the grieving and never did. Shame on me. The cards were lovely, the sentiments lovelier. And now I can actually take some time to think about them.

So, thank you again for those who helped, who prayed, who grieved with us, and who encouraged us to look "to the hills, from whence comes our help."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

They're Off!

Tomorrow morning, a new chapter begins in the book God is writing for Marshall and Lara. You can read more about it HERE.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Points, hunger, exchange, carbs, yo-yos

They want me to do it. "They" are Ingrid and Britany. I hate being fat. And sometimes I get to the "sick and tired" stage and do something about it. I have a feeling I'm just about there.

But I don't want to spend money on something I should be doing myself. I already have a chart of exchanges if I want to do that. And I also know I'm not supposed to be eating until I'm truly hungry, and stopping when I'm just satisfied. Sounds pretty easy...

But, of course, weight is a problem beyond what I eat. It is an addiction to something I already need. So, what should I do? I really don't want to go to meetings, but know they keep me focused and accountable. I don't want to buy diet food - it's expensive and doesn't solve anything in the long run.

I keep telling myself I'll just eat less. Well, if I have, you'd never know it.

What should I do??? Self control is the answer, but it sure is easier said than done.

Race you to 50 pounds...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

God is Great! God is Good!

And we thank Him for answered prayer - BIG time!!! We're doing the happy dance, too!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just When I Thought it was Safe

Remember the Jaws 2 movie? Teasers went ... (with appropriate drumming/sawing sounds in the background)... Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

Just when I thought I had a handle on the tears that came with Timmy's passing and memorial, I broke down again. Of my own doing this time. I thought I'd set all the photos I took during the trip to a particularly meaningful song to me: Jamie Slocum's "Dependence." I've grown to love that song. So, if you can handle the download time - and the meaningless shots of a shattered iPhone at the end - please settle back and listen to the words of this song as you see what we saw in southern CA. WARNING: some photos may be unsettling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Decaf Wars

Starbucks no longer has decaf in the afternoon. True or False?
Caribou is giving away decaf tomorrow afternoon. True or False?

Those are the business news reports, but look a little deeper and you'll see a lot of hype.

You get people totally unnerved that Starbucks could quit serving decaf at the very time that people presumably switch over to decaf. NOW the truth: Starbucks will be serving decaf ON DEMAND! In other words, they will brew a pot of decaf when someone wants it, not letting a pot sit there without being consumed. I say that's responsible. I say that's FRESH COFFEE!!

Caribou has twisted the news, of course, and says they will give their customers anything, anytime, etc etc. So tomorrow afternoon, you can get a free 12 ounce cup of decaf. I say - grab the free coffee, but don't buy anything from them.

I've been on a Caribou boycott for several years now. Reason? They are owned by an Islamic bank. This is no email joke or hoax. Check it out for yourself.

Personally, I won't take my money to a place that may very well support more than a decaf war.

What Not to Pray For...

I hear it all the time..."And, Lord, please give me (them) patience..."

Eeek! Do you know what that means? How does one attain or obtain patience? By trial! So is it okay to pray for something to happen fast so I don't have to pray for patience?

Lord, you know what it is I'm praying for, and patience isn't it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And a one, and a two, and a sticky finger day

Let's see if this works. I wanted to upload an audio file for Jill Savage, so she can hear the Moody Radio spot for her new book, REAL MOMS, REAL JESUS. However, I think I have to upload a movie instead. So, you are stuck with a slideshow of sticky fingers set to the 60 second spot. When it was recorded, a word was left out. Hopefully it is not too noticeable. Let me know if you figure it out. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change, change, change

Some of us love change, and some of us love stability, and some of us realize that balance is the key. Here is that test to check your stress level. I have a reason for putting it here, of course. You won't be able to get your score unless you actually take the test on their website. Or you can add them up yourself.

Stress Test
Find your stress level by checking the events you have experienced in your life in the last year.
Check any event that applies to you then click on "Calculate My Total Stress Units" to get your score.

Question 1 of 8
Your Finances
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan (30)
Mortgage or loan less than $10,000 (18)
Mortgage more than $10,000 (31)
Change in financial state (38)

Question 2 of 8
Your Living Conditions
Change in living conditions (25)
Change in residence (20)
Change in recreation (19)
Change in church activities (19)
Change in sleeping habits (16)
Change in eating habits (15)

Question 3 of 8
Your Family and Personal Life
Death of a Spouse (100)
Death of a Close Family Member (63)
Divorce (73)
Marital Separation (65)
Marriage (50)
Marital Reconciliation (45)
Retirement (45)
Pregnancy (40)
Gain of new family member (39)
Death of close friend (37)
Son or daughter leaving home (29)
Trouble with in-laws (29)
Outstanding personal achievement (28)
Change in number of arguments with spouse (35)
Wife begins or stops work (26)
Revision of personal habits (24)
Change in number of family members (15)

Question 4 of 8
You and the Law
Jail term (63)
Minor violations of the law (11)

Question 5 of 8
Your Work
Fired from work (47)
Business readjustment (39)
Change to different line of work (36)
Change in responsibilities at work (29)
Change in work hours or conditions (20)
Trouble with boss (23)

Question 6 of 8
Vacation (13)
Christmas (12)

Question 7 of 8
Your Education
Begin or end school (26)
Change in schools (20)

Question 8 of 8
Your Health
Personal injury or illness (44)
Change in health of family member (39)
Sex difficulties (63)

I was messaging with Lara yesterday and realized (I guess it just came back to mind, because I always knew it) just how many major stressors they've had in the last month or so. But here's the trump card: Jesus. That may sound trite, but along with Jesus comes His assurance of eternity, His body of believers, and His sufficiency.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One score and seven years ago...

Mom was home from Germany.
I was lying in bed, minding my own business.
It was 1:15 AM.
I turned over...
"We've gotta go!"
I don't remember whether it was snowy outside in Grass Valley that night. Might have been.
But we hopped in the car, complete with bag, and making sure Mom had Marshall and Adam in her routine for the morning.
At 3:16 AM, no thanks to the ER doctor, Miss Ingrid Christine Elfstrand was born.
I cried.
I had such a good relationship with my mom that I wanted that same thing with a daughter. And here she was.
Ten pounds, 2 ounces, and my doctor got there just in time to catch her.
I'm happy to say that God has been gracious over the last 27 years. Some big downs, but the ups have been better.
And now she's a mommy to girls and understands that special bond.
There is that old adage: A son is a son 'til he gets him a wife...a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life.
Happy Birthday, Daughter of Me. And your name means... Daughter of the King - of Christ.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'll Meet You There!

God has been so gracious throughout this time of human grief. Some of the "timing" issues that the Lord has brought to mind are:

  • Marshall's unemployment as of December 15 meant that he was able to spend the last month of Timmy's life with him.
  • Marshall's employment search elsewhere means that if Timmy had passed away later, the family and friends surrounding Marshall, Lara, and Timmy would not have been there.
  • Friends visited from out of town the day before Timmy's death, causing Marshall and Lara to stay home (they had planned to be at Disney all day)
  • Both nurse friends were available for insight and encouragement
  • Timmy was at home in his mama's arms, with his daddy holding his mama - and the FATHER holds them all

Some encouraging thoughts brought up at the memorial service and brought to mind this morning:

  • The arms that Timmy could not lift are now being raised in praise to the Almighty God.
  • The legs that didn't serve Timmy here are now kneeling before His maker.
  • Great Grandpa Nelson is meeting Timmy around the Throne of God!
  • Great Grandpa Nelson can see him!
  • All tears have been wiped away.
  • And in an instant any one of us are there with them. If we are called children of God.
Prayer requests:

  • For Marshall's interview on Thursday - wisdom, insight, and fulfillment of purpose.
  • That the praises would be brought to mind when tempted to despair.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Please Hold

As in "wait." Soon we will have information about a memorial fund for Timmy. Right now, the info I do have is that the memorial service is open to whoever wishes to support Marshall and Lara. It will be held at 1 PM on Saturday at Trinity Church in Redlands, California.

Please pray that we will all be held in the strong arms of Jesus as we celebrate the fact that Timmy is already there.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Safe at Home

August 11, 2007 to January 10, 2009

Sent to friends and family at 6:40 PM Central Standard time:

I just got off the phone with Marshall. The paramedics are still at their house, and their pastor and wife - Gary and Elizabeth Inrig - are also there.

Timothy Joseph Elfstrand, one day short of 17 months old, received his new body this afternoon. He is safely in the arms of Jesus. Lara said he was doing well yesterday, but was sleeping more and more, and struggling to breathe today. He fell asleep. Praise God for the peaceful passing. Both Marshall and Lara held him for quite some time, telling him they loved him.

Please pray for all the details that go along with death, that Marshall and Lara really weren't yet prepared to deal with. Pray for the peace that passes all understanding - that certainly holds true for me!

This has been a very hard (understatement) month for them, with Marshall losing his job, but ultimately losing their child. Also pray that if it is God's will, He will bless them with children again.

In tears and prayers -

PS for the blog - We do not mourn like those who have no hope. Eternity is real. And we will really see Timmy again. But the ache will last a long time on this side of heaven.

She's a Good One, She is!

No way! 
Yes, way!
Well, almost four.
But she has the bug. The Shutter-Bug! 

Ashley has the photography bug like so many in this family do. She keeps asking to use Nana's camera to take pictures. The picture you see was taken by Ashley (age 3 years and - let's see - 10 months) at what she calls the "muffin store," AKA Dominick's grocery store. 

This either proves that anyone with a digital camera can take decent shots, or that she definitely has a career ahead of her! And I'm embarrassed to say that it is every bit as good as those I take. 

Time to take a photography class, Nana.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mom was right

Mom always said I was a worrier. She was right. There are just way too many things out of my control. Take, for example, the weather. 

Knowing that the last time I ignored the weatherman, I paid for it with a 4 1/2 hour commute (one way), I was determined not to duplicate that mistake. So, when they said driving would be treacherous (which I guess it was this morning and would have taken me 2 hours to get to work), I decided that working from home would be more efficient. Snow in the form of 3-8 inches was to fall in late afternoon, snarling rush hour traffic...using the term "rush" loosely of course.

I'm looking out the window just before dark and nary a flake in sight. I feel like a wimp.

Oh, but that's not all! I got a phone call from my director, who is waiting in Cincinnati to help set up for a conference. The product was (I repeat "was") to have arrived anytime from Monday through Wednesday. Today is Friday. No product. I'm toast. No one left in Distribution, but one. He says he overheard a conversation that the trucking company messed up and will deliver at 8 tonight!!! Yipes! They'd better! Now I have to be anxious over a trucking company not getting product where it belongs because that is my job to be anxious over these things!

Ah, now I feel better just venting. Not...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Truth or Consequences?

That was a TV show from long ago, but here's my assertion: what we used to call "true" now gets relegated to "myth" or downright "fiction." 

Take, for example, that turkey makes you sleepy. Is that true or not? says that it is false. Wait! For years and years, we were told that turkey contains L-tryptophan that in turn causes drowsiness. Now they are saying that it is the overeating that causes drowsiness, not the turkey.

Okay, I'll give you that. And being as I just consumed turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pomegranate, salad, olives, rolls, apple crisp, and ice cream... I think it's time to close my eyes. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, January 02, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Can that Little Coat be?

I am so upset. Not hopping mad, but that unsettled upset where you just can't get comfortable.

Today seemed like a good day to take off, being between New Year's Day and a Saturday. Good idea! And it also seemed like a good day to take Ashley and Amberleigh to see "The Cheese" - AKA Chuck E Cheese.

Got there. Found a booth. Got our olive pizza (yep, that's the only topping they won't pull off). And then we sallied forth with our 30 tokens. But just before that, I said to Ingrid, "I'll wait here if you want to take the girls." "No, we can all go." "But who will watch the stuff?" "Everyone leaves their stuff in the booth, that's not a problem." 

Being the untrusting soul that I am (I do admit that trust is an issue for me...), I grabbed my purse, and we all left our jackets on the booth benches. Ashley's was lying on top of mine.

The place was unbearably warm, and I wondered if they ever found bodies that had expired from heat exhaustion under the tables or games. 

Around the time we were ready to get the girls home for their nap, we went back to retrieve our coats. Mine was there, but that was all. After a slight elevation of blood pressure, I looked under the table. There was Amberleigh's coat. But Ashley's? Gone. Not under the table, not in the next booth, not on a hook somewhere, not on any other child that we could see in our 20 minute walk around the "amusement" center. Nowhere! 

We left a phone number and description, but someone is either walking around in Ashley's coat, or selling it on e-bay. Pink, the color of her headband. And hearts sewn into it. And a very soft inner lining in the hood. 

I'd like to think it was an innocent mistake, but what "innocent" person takes a coat from someone else's booth?

So, be on the lookout, and let's hope it was someone who was freezing and desperate for a new coat.