Saturday, October 31, 2009

Circles, circles everywhere. It's rumored that before Michelangelo was given the job of painting the Sistine Chapel, he was asked to provide proof of his artistic talent, perhaps because he was primarily a sculpture and there may have been some doubt that he was skilled enough with a brush to pull it off. When the envoys came to collect his pieces of formal, finished artwork to take back to the Pope, the artist supposedly dipped his brush into a lump of paint and on the spot, free-handed a perfect circle on blank canvas to make his point. I wonder where that canvas is today. Did some good nun dispose of it while cleaning out a church attic a long time ago, thinking, "It's nothing but a circle..."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Even you

Even you
a copy cat
a liar
and a common thief.
Because you boast
before your art,
claim to do
something new,
stand apart.
But Even you
are inspired by His brush.
Yet still you dare
to take His glory
as your own
when Even you
can't compare,
don't measure up.

By Veronica Boulden

This poem was fueled by my previously unproclaimed, yet almost uncontrollable contempt for abstract art. And, it was ignited when Norah picked up this leaf and showed me its glory. I'm sighing deeply now. It feels good to have finally gotten that off my chest. Until I wrote this poem, any time I saw a piece of abstract art, something inside me just wanted to open a gallon of paint and hurl it at a wall.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Leaves on wet pavement
make me wonder.
How often does God cover
the path we make for ourselves
with the one He intended
to create something
even more glorious?

By Veronica Boulden

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This weekend, we were sitting at our kitchen table, having lunch, talking. Dwayne was looking through the front room, out the big window, admiring our tree. "That tree is something else," he said. "Yep," I said while chewing. "Our neighbor's tree?!" Norah asked. She sounded scared. "No. Our tree." Dwayne said. "But, our neighbor's tree is pretty, though... " I said.

"It's not a red maple anymore?!" Norah asks with real alarm in her voice. "No, it is." Dwayne answered. "But, you said it's different." Norah said. "What?" Dwayne asked, really confused now. "You said, 'That tree is something else...'" Norah said, rolling her eyes up and mimicking her dad's rhythm perfectly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So. We tried the costume on and it was way too big. Norah looked more like a Monk than a Native American. And she has no love for the Middle Ages, so we have to do some alterations in the next few days. It turns out that this is what happens when you buy a pattern before you measure your kid. Hum!? Who knew?!

But! Lesson learned. And like I told Norah, who stood like a statue when I put this over her head and looked back and forth nervously, not sure what to say for the first time in her life for fear of hurting my feelings... when I am done with this potato-sack of a costume, my husband and children will rise up and bless me and call me things like "Costume Whisperer" and "Design Star" because of the amazing thing I will have wrought with the help of my sewing machine.

I've got to psych myself up for this, but I vow that by Saturday I will make this costume ROCK! Raise your arms and say it with me now: Poca- whose your- hontas? Sacaja-what?!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009


And Then.

These pictures show how much Norah and her view finder collection have both grown since she first got the toy.

Now and then I like to compare my pictures, to see how quickly my kids have grown. This serves to remind me how quickly time flies, how what seem like insignificant minutes add up to hours, days, years.

For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I just finished sewing Norah's Halloween costume for this year. She wanted to be an Indian. She has a small obsession that started with her home school studies last year. I did most of the work myself, Dwayne only helping to pin the pattern to the fabric at the very beginning of the process. So, I'm pretty proud, even if the pattern is labeled "Easy 2 Hour." It took me four and I found it hard enough since it was the first garment I've ever attempted with sleeves! Norah's been in bed for a while, so I just followed the pattern because I didn't want to wake her in order to try it on for size. For all I know, she may be swimming in this, so I will probably have to make some alterations after she tries it on in the morning. I know I have to cut the fringe and make the headband and I am thinking about tying on some colorful beads... but I am glad the majority of the labor is done and with a whole week to spare!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Warning: If you are under eighteen, do not click on the link at the bottom of this post. I will be very angry with you if I find out that you did so against my warning. Not to mention, your parents will be very angry with you for doing so and they may even be mad at me because you clicked on the link and then forbid you to look at my blog in the future without their supervision. And, if I find out that happened, I will be even more angry at you than I was to begin with.

If you are over eighteen, you may click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the photo I am about to gripe about, but then again, you may not want to see the photo. Keep in mind: No one is naked in it, but the girls in the photo are all dressed very immodestly.

That said, click on the link to the photo if you are old enough and feel free, but here's the post and you can read my comments either way.


Contrary to what you might assume, the picture below was not taken in Vegas or Reno or New Orleans at Mardi Gras. It wasn't even taken during one of those notorious spring break trips to Daytona or Myrtle Beach. In fact, these girls aren't even in college.

Ignore for one second the obvious questions that must be coming to your mind like, "How do you know, Veronica?!" or "How did you even get a picture like this?!" I'll answer those questions in one second.

I bet you'd never guess that this is actually a row of high school girls lined up for a photo-op on Halloween one year ago. That's right. These girls are in high school (or some of them were at the time). But, even if you did allow for that much, I bet you'll never guess where these high school girls were standing when they lined up like this, never in a million years.

You might think it's bad enough these girls are school-aged. Now what will you think when I tell you that this picture was actually taken while they were at school?

Now let me get to those questions that I know you must have. How do I know they are at school? Well, I went to high school in the same place. The courtyard where they are standing is where I hung out every single day with my friends. How did I get this photo? That's simple enough: Facebook. I am part of my high school's alumni group or I toured the groups page and someone in that group is in this photo, so I was able to tap into their photo collection and see their pictures that way. Oh the sights that a few innocent clicks will lead you to on the Internet.

Now, let me say. I cheered in high school, so at least once a week for four years in good weather I wore a cheerleading uniform with only an inch or two more fabric covering my young tush than these girls are wearing. Once, my team even did a dance routine at a school assembly wearing shiny bathing suits. We called them "bodysuits" but really, they were no bigger than what we'd wear to the beach. For effect and because we were told we had to have "skirts" on over such skimpy little bodysuits, we tied a handkerchief-type piece of fabric around our hips. One of our moms even cut these "skirts" out of a bolt of fabric, measured them to "fit" us just right and then hemmed them with her sewing machine. I shudder to think.

So, now you know, this whole post will be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. But, that said, I still manage to be shocked by this photo. It's probably because these costumes were obviously meant to illicit sexual desire. Some of them are actually classified as lingerie and sold on websites that pop up when you Google that kind of thing. And, I know department stores don't sell pantie hose like the red ones in the picture, the kind that stop mid-thigh. Those are still "novelty items" and sold only at stores tucked away from the main road with the word "adult" all over the signs.

I am not the first to notice kids wearing costumes that only a few years ago were reserved for raunchy adults in cheap motel rooms. This article in a high profile newspaper ventures to bring up the same sticky issue, only it says the problem has spread to pre-teenage girls, too.

We ponder why more and more young men are graduating from high school or college and going into the work force for the first time only to be charged with sexual harassment then fired or imprisoned over things they described as "innocent" and "harmless," things their high school teachers and college professors passed off as "normal heckling" or "flirting."

With their eyes covered, it's really hard to tell that these girls aren't ten years older. So hard, in fact, that I wonder if we should be making any distinction between them and their adult counterparts at all. If I couldn't go to work in skirts like this tomorrow, skirts that show my privates when I bend over, why was I ever allowed to go to school in a cheerleading uniform like the one I had? Aren't schools, teachers, parents, adults even, supposed to be preparing children for life, for the work force, teaching them what kind of things are appropriate in the world they will venture into?

It goes without saying that we are doing the next generation a disservice by not taking these kinds of things more seriously. Girls grow up thinking the men they work with are allowed to treat them like that, even dressing to encourage a certain kind of attention. Boys go into the world thinking they aren't doing anything wrong and are shocked to find what they are saying to the secretary when she smiles at them is actually illegal.

I have two more questions. If these girls are children, why in the world are adults letting them dress like this? Why aren't authorities stepping in and calling other authorities to intervene accordingly? And, if these girls aren't children (and I think it's pretty obvious that they aren't, functionally, children), then why aren't we treating them like adults? Why are we simply dismissing their antics as nothing but child's play?

I believe I speak for these girls, too, since one of them may not be able to run for congress when she is my age because of photos like this. Will the adults responsible for young people please step up, put your foot down and say, "No" when the teenagers you love and are supposed to be watching out for want to show this kind of indiscretion? They may not know better, but you should.

Only click to see this photo if your over 18!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My husband Dwayne has been guest posting on my blog here and there. I like having him around, you know, so thought I would give him his own label and give readers a photo that will serve to let them know that he was the one who wrote the post for the day. So, when you see this picture from now on, you'll know Dwayne will be adding his two cents.

The other day I heard the singer of this song interviewed on the radio. He explained that his new song is about falling in love again and how we have the power in our relationships to "rekindle" what we had in the beginning. Here is the song:

Let's pretend baby
that you've just met me
and I've never seen you before

I'll tell all my friends
that I think you're staring
And you say the same
to yours

And Oh
We'll dance around it all night
and then I'll follow you outside
And try to open up my mouth
and nothing comes out right

And I wanna fall in love with you again
I don't have to try
It's so easy who needs to pretend
But because
It's so funny let's just think about it honey
Let's just fall in love again

I'll call you in three days
Not too soon not too late
And I'll ask your roommate if you're home


You'll call me on Thursday
And we'll hang out all day
Then fall asleep on the phone

And Oh
I'll hold your hand when we drive
And we'll lose track of all the time
And we'll tell everyone that we ain't never felt so alive


We'll fall disgustingly fast
And we'll stop hanging out with friends
And they'll be so offended

Oh ooh oh


Let's just fall in love again
So let's just fall in love again

I chuckled through the song since my wonderful wife (the keeper of this blog) and I are basically guilty of everything this song describes as "Falling in Love." It's a fun song and catchy, but as I got to thinking about it, I started to ask myself, would I really want to go back to the days of awkwardness, exploration, and uncertainty over the real intimacy my wife and I have today? It did not take me long to decide.

I think in our culture, we have stopped celebrating love and have started focusing our celebration on a subset of love based around the intense feeling felt with the newness of a new person. Perhaps this is why so many of our marriages end in affairs. As a culture we have been told to expect that amazing take-over-every-thought-in-your-mind feeling all the time. If that is lost then we must "fall in love again." How unfortunate because there is nothing as powerful and fulfilling as knowing and being so fully known as what comes with long enduring marriage.

The parallel spiritually is obvious. When we first come to Christ, everything is new. Everything is exciting. Spiritual truths seem to enthrall us each day. Some folks live for that feeling. They pursue new ways to create that spiritual high and start to miss the power in coming into deeper knowledge of the One who knows them completely.

In marriage and in Christ, falling in love does not look like this song would allude to. Instead it should look like two folks, so in tune with one another that they act and think alike. They feel completely at peace in each others' company. There is no need for a facade. There is no need to try to impress. There is no fear. There is simply perfect Love.

My prayer is that the Lord help will me to grow in my "perfect love" of Him and my wife. If anything my cry is that I could fall deeper in love with the Lord again!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The tree-lined one-way street next to the YMCA where I work: In the spring, I turn the corner and gasp. These trees bloom and drop bright pink blossoms along the curb that pile up like confetti after a big parade. But, I'll come back only a day later and the blossoms will have all blown away. In the fall, the same trees change color and drop leaves of every shade. But, within one week the sun will come out again, it will dry and heat up the ground and that is when the wind will sweep the leaves away, all within one day.


They come and go so quickly
Spring and Fall...
as if they had not really
come at all.
we could not take
too much beauty,
breath-catching glory,
ecstasy without relief;
and so
God made them

-Ruth Bell Graham

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Norah walked in on me grating the soap to make my homemade laundry detergent. When she saw what I was doing, she assumed it was edible, part of my dinner preparations and asked, "Blue cheese? Can I try some?!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's that time of year again! We picked apples, so now Dwayne is making his delicious crumb top pies. We take some to friends and neighbors, others we keep and eat ourselves. Norah's got quite a lot of pie-making experience under her belt at this point, so she's a real help to her dad now. This is great for me. I just get to sit back and take pictures and then do a taste-test when they are done, of course.

Friday, October 16, 2009


And Then.

We visit an orchard and pick apples every fall. Norah always eats one right off the tree.

Now and then I like to compare my pictures, to see how quickly my kids have grown. This serves to remind me how quickly time flies, how what seem like insignificant minutes add up to hours, days, years.

For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Thursday, October 15, 2009


And Then.

Norah poses with a pumpkin every fall.

Now and then I like to compare my pictures, to see how quickly my kids have grown. This serves to remind me how quickly time flies, how what seem like insignificant minutes add up to hours, days, years.

For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We went apple picking last weekend just like we do every year. We got two large bags full of Golden Delicious and Empire apples, enough to make half a dozen pies with plenty left over to snack on. And, on the way to the orchard, we stopped, as always, to pick a pumpkin from St. Peter's pumpkin patch. It's New England in the fall. People come from all over to see the leaves changing and to celebrate the harvest, but we get to live here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We took a trip to Cabela's on Saturday. I am the proud owner of a shiny new Smith and Wesson .38 Special. I wonder how many hours Norah's has had to wait on her parents in this store.

We asked the Arbour's to come over and babysit and they obliged us. We wanted to go to the range so I could practice with my new gun. Dwayne made me drive his car on the way over and I agreed reluctantly. But, I figure since I am learning to operate a firearm, I should be able to drive a stick shift for goodness sake.

Dwayne sets up our target during the ceasefire. It was a beautiful fall day to be at the range.

His and hers unloaded and pointed downrange.

Dwayne's gun is such a gentle shot compared to mine! My revolver really kicks and I didn't mind it at the time, but as I type this, I'm really feeling the consequences in my right hand.

The worst part is running out of ammo.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We just got home from the Arbour's house. What a blessing to have them living so close now. We went there for dinner and of course, stayed and talked for hours. The kids played like siblings. And, I could not have designed a better friend than Karen has turned out to be to me. She came over earlier this week and just let me sleep off my cold medicine. I tell you, there aren't many souls who can make me feel enough at ease to nap while they are a visitor in my house.

Avril plays peek-a-boo with Karen while we visited around the table after dinner.

Victoria reads Christian and Norah a story.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

After dinner last night, we sat in the family room for a while. I nursed Avril while Norah read a book to earn another star towards her free pizza. Later, we tried to snap some candid pictures.

I actually like this one of the girls and I.
And, below, I captured Avril trying to eat Norah's face off, as she often does.

I also tried to get a picture of the girls with their dad, but we couldn't get the timing right. I have about a dozen pictures like this... Someone's face is always half out of the frame or someone else isn't looking at the camera.

In this photo, Norah is fixing her hair, Avril is pushing Norah out of her space and Dwayne is in pure agony. Norah was sitting in the... uh hum... wrong place and I clicked the button at the exact moment she plopped down. I usually choose only the best pictures to display on my blog, but I thought you'd get a kick out of seeing what goes on behind the scenes to make those more heartwarming images a reality.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"I just love the song, Say, Won't You Say by Jennifer Knapp. Do you love it too? Think about it... I would love to hear your thoughts about it on your blog."

- Anonymous

Dear Friend (who shall remain nameless),

I was happy to filter your question and bump the other post that I had planned in order to bring you this response on my blog right away. I hadn't heard that song in ages and I was eager to hear it again and share my thoughts about it. You know I love to tell people what I think! And, you also know, I listened to Jennifer Knapp... umm, like, constantly in college. However, I was none to surprised, believe you me, that when I listened to the song again tonight, now years after I played it to death while riding around in my car, the song no longer resonated with me like it used to, not even in the slightest. I was pretty disappointed. And, I didn't want to disappoint you.

But, after some thought, I believe I know why I feel this way now. And, this may sound arrogant, but hear me out. At this point in my life, I don't live with regret. It, literally, does not have a place in my life. And, it has been so long since I have been used to it's presence, by now, I can't even abide it!

What I mean to say is that when I get up in the morning, by God's grace, I usually live the life I want to live everyday. And, when I put my head down at night or in the early hours of the morning, as the case may be, nine out of ten times I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with my day and I've done it all in the way that I wanted to do it. Or, I guess you could say, I feel like I have accomplished the things that God wanted me to accomplish and I usually feel that I've done them in the ways that are pleasing to Him. So, lyrics of the song like, "Every afternoon I find I have only wasted time in light of your awe..." don't speak to me anymore. I just haven't felt that way in a really long time.

But, this song did resonate with me at a time when I had pretty constant regret over several minor and a few very major issues in my life. In general, at that point in time, I wasn't doing what I felt like I was supposed to do with my days and there was a near constant pull or even wrestle with the Holy Spirit over those things that He had shown me I needed to straighten out and that I still hadn't straightened out.

Like I said before, I listened to this music in college and I'm pretty sure that in college, for example, I was in a relationship (or two) that I knew wasn't right for me. And on top of knowing that, I wasn't throwing myself into my work (my studies) the way I knew God wanted me to. In short, I wasn't proud of myself. I didn't feel like I was living a life "worthy of the calling I had received."

But, I don't think my love for God was the problem at the time, nor was it ever. I think it was always more a lack of faith. I had strong feelings for the guy I was dating and I wasn't sure that if I gave him up, God would do better for me. And, I always felt eager to just get on with my life, never content to just settle down and take the time God had given me there in college to do the work I needed to do to prepare for the rest of the live He would bring my way eventually. So, lyrics like "On the edge of all I need, still I cling to what I see and what have I there?" really described where I was spiritually at the time.

So, in saying all that, if I could go back and give myself any advice in that place it would be, "Do not merely listen to the word (or merely listen to what you feel God's Spirit is telling you to do), and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word (or hears what the Spirit says to do) but does not do it, is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom (who listens intently for direction), and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but then doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

That's a portion of Scripture from the book of James. Forgive the words I added. I believe God forgives them. But, like I said, if I could go back and say anything to myself, that'd be it, every word exact. And, I think I would need those extra words because I actually knew this Scripture in college at the time I was struggling so much, but at the time, I also thought, "I do what God's word says... I just don't know what God's word says about _."

Well, in truth, I sought God in His word and from that wisdom His Spirit lead me in the way I should go. I had strong feelings about what I needed to do, but I lacked confidence in those feelings because I also had feelings to the contrary. And, since, "Lo, Dump the jerk you're with and spend more time doing your school work" was never written in any of the Gospels, I didn't dump him and dedicate myself to my work even long after I felt that is what God's spirit wanted me to do.

So, my friend, to you specifically I say: God has over and over again confirmed His love for you. And, He will continue to do this as often as you need Him to. He will remind you as often as you ask that He loves you with a "love everlasting." But, now, let "all your devotion" be "put into motion" and take the next step, do the next thing, whatever it is, that you know God wants you to do. You will be blessed for it. And, in this way, you'll be "finally free."

All my love,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Here's a bit of trivia for you.

Do you know who the first person was that thought to attach an eraser to the end of a pencil?

It was Cushman. The same man who manufactured all the furniture Dwayne's grandmother gave us.

Cushman was also the first person to market a school "supply box" for children with a pencil, an eraser, etc. inside.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dwayne came up with this very simple, very tasty recipe himself. Make or purchase your pizza dough. Roll it out as directed. Cover your dough with a very thin layer of spaghetti sauce, so thin that you can't even see it in places. Add shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to suit your taste. Finally, sprinkle minced garlic and Italian seasoning all over the pizza on top of the cheese. Bake as directed and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our dear friends Brittoni and Ernie were married last Thursday. Dwayne was honored to be able to address them and choose a collection of Scriptures to read during the service.

The reception afterward was a masquerade ball. Dwayne and I had fun dancing and getting to know some of Ernie's old friends sitting at the same table.

Their first dance was set to a portion of the song "Everything" by a band called Lifehouse. Not sure if it is supposed to be Christian, but I found the video of a powerful skit set to it online.

This picture below captures Brittoni's essence.
She always manages to be hilarious and stunningly beautiful at the same time.

She scored major points with me for rubbing the cake in Ernie's face. Dwayne said, "It takes a special kind of woman..." Generous of him, yet subtly hostile. I covered his face with cake on our wedding day more than eight years ago.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We don't eat out much anymore (especially at Target.) But, a combination of chance and desperate hunger made me purchase a salad with these ingredients at the eatery at the front of their store. It was so good, I went to the grocery store the next day and got the ingredients I needed to copy it. I've had this for lunch every day since.

Copy-Cat Salad

Romaine Lettuce
Crumpled Feta Cheese
Cooked Chicken

Optional: Caesar Salad Dressing

Add the ingredients in the proportions you'd prefer and enjoy a very delicious, nutritious meal. But, don't put the dressing directly on the lettuce! Dip the lettuce in the dressing as needed. This salad is so good it can be eaten without dressing. For real. I'm not jut saying that. It's that good. And, I'm girl who could bathe in Ranch, I like dressing so much.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Norah has a new chore. She's now responsible for feeding her little sister her solid foods. While I clean up the kitchen after meals, Norah gets out a spoon and gives Avril a portion of baby cereal or baby food from a jar, whatever it is that I give her that time of day. She loves it.

After all, kids crave tasks with real meaning and I can't think of anything more satisfying than giving a baby what she needs to grow and seeing her stop fussing from hunger.

Notice Norah's mouth wide open in the top left hand corner of the picture... Precious.

But, Norah still tends to talk with her hands, so the spoon follows where her hands go and poor Avril, naturally, follows the spoon, so I'll often turned around to see the baby's head going back and forth and up and down as Norah is talking to me about something... Too funny.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's getting colder outside and the bottoms of Norah's pajama pants have been creeping farther and farther up her legs as she grows. So, I broke down and bought her new ones recently. This felt like a sacrifice since we are on a tight budget right now.

With her help, I picked out two pairs of pajamas with a Disney princess pattern (of course). Each pair of pajamas was around $14 and with a coupon for 15% off, I got them for around $12 each.

I also bought them four sizes too big, so Norah will (most likely) get at least two and maybe even three year's winters out of them. I know this because I bought the pajamas she just outgrew sometime in the fall right before she turned three and she just turned five. So, she got three years wear out of those pajamas.

The only trouble with buying them so big is that the pants are way too long and unfortunately, the new pants are not trimmed in elastic like the old ones were, so they won't just grab her leg wherever they end.

So, I left the manufacturer's hem in the legs, tucked them under, pinned them, ironed them (to make a professional-looking crease) and then sewed a temporary hem with my machine. When she outgrows this new hem, I will use a seam ripper to carefully take it out and at that point, she'll be tall enough to use the manufacturer's hem.

As far as I can tell, my plan is flawless. So, my money-saving advice to you moms out there is to go as large as you can in the waist and then just hem the legs to death. After all, with things like pajama shirts and pants, they can be baggy (at first) and still do the job just as well.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Norah's learning place value and how to "build" and say numbers up to 999. No kidding.

I continue to be impressed with her math curriculum and thankful that my sister-in-law introduced us to it. I think everybody should be able to enjoy math this much. The world would be a much better place.