Can I get a witness?

So I totally ripped this post's title from the title of Brian's sermon of a couple weeks ago.

I should also add that there is nothing of value in this post, at all. Unless you're into side-abs, in which case, read on.

I was out of town last week. Well, for like half of last week. And I am still recovering from my having left and having returned. Apparently April was really busy and got really out of control without me really noticing. And then I disappeared for a few days for everything to simmer and fester and (in the to-do list's case) grow exponentially. I left feeling a little overwhelmed, and then I came back feeling a LOT overwhelmed, and pretty tired, and with a few new things rolling around in my brain JUST because I needed to be a little more distracted this week.

Also. Four days without an adolescent border collie = bliss.

(Although I must say that she doesn't get up earlier than 7am these days, which is good for my Sleep Recovery Program but detrimental to my Get Stuff Done And Stay On Track Plan.)

Brian and I have worked out a Border Collie Management Plan, which I think is going to benefit every single one of us (including both dogs) in a few different ways.

I'm still working on the Life Management Plan. Not to mention the Kitchen Management Plan and the What Is All This Stuff All Over The Carpet Management Plan, which I expect will be twofold, with one prong addressing the mysterious black stains and the other prong addressing all the bits and pieces of chewed-up whatnot that make my vacuum tremble with fear.

My real frustration is that I don't even really have anything that I can point to and say Look, THIS is why I feel like I'm drowning*. There are some smallish and mediumish things, like a 30-page paper I'm editing, some contract work that's about to be kick-started, VBS planning, blah blah blah...but nothing big and hairy and loud. It's really weird to feel so overwhelmed for no apparent reason.

But to be completely honest, I am happier right now than I've been maybe EVER. My life is so good right now, y'all, and I know and acknowledge and am deeply grateful for how richly God has blessed me. I'm in a tizzy, but I'm also deeply immersed in something that used to be called 'bliss' but might be called something else these days.

ALSO. I was adjusting the waistband of a skirt I wore yesterday, when I felt...SIDE ABS**! I've been doing the 30 Day Shred for most of April and the side ab confrontation was the first real evidence that something is happening under all this skin. Note to anyone about to do the 30 day shred: Weigh yourself in the beginning if you want, but ALSO take some measurements, because your weight probably won't drop all that much for a while but things will be changing! I think I've lost two lbs on the scale, but my stomach is flatter, I'm starting to have calves and ankles instead of cankles, and my clothes are fitting better. And also: SIDE ABS!

*Drowning, or suffocating. One of the two.
**Normal people call these 'obliques'

I've linked up with Company Girl Coffee this morning. Company Girl Coffee is a fun weekly link-up at Home Sanctuary. Check it out, and come on in!


Question for you

What do you do when you are running late, you have about 18 things to do today, it's time for breakfast, and there's no milk?

Eat your Cheerios with half and half!

Usually Tuesdays are my busy/errand day, but I was pretty nonfunctional on Monday which means that my busy/errand day got pushed back to today. And boy do I have a lot of things to do. I can't even bear to look at my to-do list because it's so long.

Anybody wanna make a meal plan for me?

How's your Wednesday going? Mine has barely started and I'm already overwhelmed.


Can I just take a moment...

and exclaim over how much I like these farmers market baskets?

What a magical farmers market trip that would be.

Do you go to the farmers market? How do you haul your goods?


dontcha know

Punx and kittens*!  I am in Atlanta this week! My gal-pal Hollz is getting hitched and I'm a primary spectator.

This marks my second trip as a married lady sans Brian. I think.

Check ya laterz.

*Greg Behrendt uses this phrase and I like it.


One hundred forty

Note to my dear friends: I'm still really tired, but I'm also tired of not talking to you! This blogging thing has made the world MUCH easier on some of us introverts. Posts might still not come three times a week as usual, but they are coming!


I am a reader. If you know me or anything about me or my work, this is probably no surprise to you. I am not a super duper major reader who reads 4 books at a time per week, but I AM a reader. I try to read at least 50 books a year. Now that I'm not working, you'd think I'd be able to plow through at least 100 a year, but you'd be wrong. I've found other stuff to do.

Stuff like trimming about 1700sqft worth of stuff down to something much more manageable in our 1100sqft apartment, cooking, knitting fancy lace, dreaming up quilts, and oh yeah, surviving various new afflictions including high altitude, back spasms and a border collie. 

I've always been 'a reader' and definitely 'a book lover.' I've always had WAY too many books. Like, way too many. Except for maybe when I was in elementary school, when I read so voraciously that I had basically every book on my shelf, and in my classrooms, practically memorized because I'd gone through them so many times. I was insatiable. (Incidentally, I was also afraid of the library, though I have no idea why. Hence all the re-reading.)

So while I'm still not reading as much as I would like to be - that is to say, while I still feel compelled to get stuff like laundry and dishes and grocery shopping done rather than read all day - I like reading ABOUT people reading. Weird, I know. What I'm trying to say is, I like reading Reading Blogs. Right now my favorites are At Home with Books and Chick With Books.

These gals are great. They keep me apprised of some of the major book-y things going on and they provide so many reviews and recos that my To-Read list (which is not the same thing as my TBR pile - that will be addressed later) has probably doubled from 250ish to 500ish in the past...3 months. (I also like to read blogs from the publishing side of things, namely Editorial Ass [-istant].)
Not long ago, when I was still really tired, Alyce (rhymes with peace) at AHWB posed this question: 

How many unread books do you have? (aka, how big is your TBR pile?) 

And I went, and I counted. And I got a number. A big number. A really big, scary, kind of overwhelming number.

Wanna see it?

Brace yourselves.


That's the number of unread books* in my apartment.

This doesn't count the stack of about 7 library books in my dining room, still waiting to be read, nor does it count the 4 books I am reading at the moment. (Generally I am a monogamous reader, but right now I have 4 going - one on theology and doctrine for one bible study, a little study book for the other bible study, a novel I've wanted to read for a while now [Jarrettsville] and the Simple Abundance daybook, which is more like a 'devotional' than a 'book' per se. If you asked me what book I'm reading right now, I would say Jarrettsville, for simplicity's sake.)

*Here are the caveats:
- I didn't count reference books like cookbooks, pattern books, fix-it manuals and the giant book on homeopathic care of pets.
- I didn't count Brian's books. Just mine. (I might faint.)
- I didn't count the 4 boxes of books that I am trying to swap or sell. Some of those I've read, and some I haven't. I'd say it's maybe 50-50.

So you could say my TBR pile is...HUGE. At least, it feels huge to me. But that might be because I am hyper-sensitive to money right now, and that's a lot of tied-up money. Like, a lot.

Where did I get them all? Well, the answer will make me hyperventilate less. I love authors and I want to support them, but I've never been on a budget that wasn't super-tight, so I rarely pay full-price for any book. I hit up the sale tables at book stores a lot - especially local used bookstores. Thrift shops are another culprit. A while back I bought a big box of interesting-looking novels off Ebay, and I am still working through those. I get some books from Amazon too, and I get a LOT of books these days from PaperBackSwap.com - which is more or less free, but there's the cost of postage...hence the 'less' free. And of course, my birthday is tomorrow (yay!) so gifted books are always an option, tee hee

And now, I turn to you, my friends, to make me feel better. Tell me I'm not the only one with a 3-digit list of books that I own that I have not yet read (the Scrooge in me cringes at all those dollar bills sitting around). How many unread books do you have?


I'm back!

Sorta. Well, tomorrow I'll be back for realz. Today's post is paltry, intentionally.

You see, I did my second day of level 2 of the 30 day shred this morning. And I am....ashamed by how fatigued I feel. In a good way...I think...

I am going to try to bike to the store today since the nearest (and safest biking-to route) grocery store happens to have the best sales this week. And I'm feeling brave.

And maybe a little sadistic?

Also, I gotta go find my bike lock. Altho I actually wouldn't be that sad if my bike disappeared. It'd give me a good excuse to get another, sturdier, less threatening-to-fall-apart one. HA, joke's on YOU, potential bike thief!!

So we'll see how that goes. I'll report back tomorrow.

But I probably won't mention the bike thing. Or the shred, for that matter.


an open letter to my readers

Dear Readers, all 4 of you:

I am tired. I am really tired this week. I'm not sure what's up, except for the obvious matter of staying up too late and getting up too early, and tossing and turning all night. And doing the 30 day shred every morning for the past 8 days (go me!).

As an aside, my computer is really tired too. It's making all these weird gurgling noises, and I am going to back everything up today just in case.

The thing is, because I'm so tired, I am really behind. On everything. No, really. Everything. Every blog post this week has gone up late. Like, a day late. I'm usually not more than 2 loads of laundry from having a zero-laundry pile. Right now, I've got about 5 loads waiting for me. I have work that I was going to try to finish last weekend that I haven't started. I have a MUST DO list from Monday that hasn't been touched. There has not been a scrap of bread in my house for 3 days.

I am so tired.

I don't know why I haven't been sleeping well lately, and I don't know what to do to fix the problem. Except for go to bed earlier, which has been surprisingly elusive. Gotta get on that.

So, dear readers, all 4 of you, I am posting this to say that I am taking a short break. We have a busy weekend ahead of us, and I don't know when I will be back. Chances are good that I'll be back Monday, but it might take me a little longer to get everything back under enough control that I don't feel guilty blogging (and I don't post the same thing twice). You know how that goes, right?

Y'all are the best.



what's your purpose?

Rick Warren, author of the whole Purpose-Driven series of books/journals/CDs/DVDs/lectures about the purpose-driven life, church, youth, family, marriage, sibling rivalry, used car dealership, and other what-have-yous, really tapped into something when he released his first of the montage, the Purpose Driven Life. It resonated with so many people for a number of reasons, but I like to keep it shallow here at Chez Duckling (not actually true) and I'm going to go out on a limb (also not actually true) and suggest that a big reason why Warren's first Purpose book did so well is that people are searching for their purpose.

Finding your purpose, waking up with a sense of purpose, getting all your stuff done with a sense of purpose, living with purpose, strikes a chord for many of us. A lot of us haven't found our purpose - or A purpose, yet, and we look at those around us who are living their lives with meaning or intention and wonder how we can get that.

I don't speak from experience, of course, as my life is veritably riddled with purpose (NOT TRUE), but I know many of you out there might be wandering.

Like me.

So what's your secret? Do you know what you were 'meant' to do, and if so, how did you figure it out? Or maybe, like me, your secret is that you have no idea what you're doing, and you're making it up as you go along.

What say ye?


The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian?" Scorecard

So after a busy, but great, Easter weekend, I'm back! I hope y'all had a great one too.

Today, we're in for something a little different. Do you know who Jon Acuff is? If you don't, you should, and if you do, you know I'm talking about the Stuff Christians Like guy. I've been a fan and follower of SCL for...I don't know, 2 years maybe? And as a life-long Christian, I can vouch for Jon and his satire...he is a riot, and he is spot-on. My favorite post of all time is the one on the youth minister uniform. Because it's about 97% accurate about my own husband, a youth minister. I laughed out loud the whole time I first read it. (And yes, it's a guest post not written by Jon, but STILL.)

Now on to today's specialness. One of the things Jon likes to do is put together scorecards on a certain topic, or issue, or question. And they are HILARIOUS. Today, I am hosting one line of the current scorecard, as a part of a massive SCL link-up. Check back to Stuff Christians Like (stuffchristianslike.net) to see the rest of the scorecard, and do the math on YOUR favorite Idol contestant, past or present (if you have one). And if you are so not into AI (like I'm not) then hit up SCL and poke around the archives. If you are a Christian or you know a Christian or you know anything about Christians, you will be amused. And the Serious Wednesday posts are great, too.

So here goes:

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”

98. Their friends in the crowd write signs with CS Lewis quotes on them, like “Cory, we hope you’re surprised by joy!” = + 3 points

To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net. I'd love it if you came back here and told me your score!