2008 Reflections

December 31, 2008 at 9:07 pm (Decorative Painting, Scripture References)

I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions.  I end up breaking them shortly after making the statements in public.  I do however, look back then look forward; choosing specific goals important to me after I’ve reflected on my recent/present life.  This is my reflection… goals will come later.

Three Scripture verses came to my mind as I sat to write this blog-all from the Old Testament.  While I am certainly grateful to be living under Grace, when I struggle, I am often drawn to O.T. passages.  The God of the Old Testament is a strong warrior-deliverer.  I’ve needed a warrior this year!

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22,23


  • For the first time in 49 years, I actively practiced fasting
  • I started journaling as I studied the Word
  • My prayer life came to life again
  • I continued to grow as a decorative artist-I designed a few pieces
  • I lost 25 pounds — from September 2007 — most of it coming off when I got my eliptical in January 2008
  • My children continue to move forward in their lives
  • Danny and I were married 28 years in May
  • God blessed Danny and I financially — we were able to pay all of our bills and are practically debt-free!
  • We found a church — Emmanuel Baptist Church
  • I started charting music and singing for no other reason except that it makes me smile
  • I beat Sacha in Facebook Scrabble  (Libby too, but she has mush for brains because she has a new baby)


  • My MS has greatly progressed in 2008 — I also have what the doctors think is a glioma on my brain — they are monitoring its growth
  • I have severe arthritis in my back
  • Along with medical issues, I have “medicine” issues.  I have to balance what medicine I need to take with what I can do without!
  • I struggled at times with anxiety attacks and have worked to control them
  • When I don’t get an answer from the Lord, I get frustrated and sometimes angry
  • I have made the difficult decision to stop playing the piano for the school district after this school year is over
  • I have not always been rock-steady through all of life’s challenges
  • I have struggled to stop “mothering” my darling kids.  They are 23 and 26 for goodness sakes!!!
  • I have issued a challenge to myself — 21 days straight of 30 minutes on my eliptical and 15 minutes of yoga… 3 down-18 to go!

Lord, I claim your promises.  While I know you love me, your mercy and grace continue to surprise me.  I am overwhelmed to know that you are my warrior, my sustainer, my provider, my healer.  I love you.   I am waiting for direction.  I will be faithful in 2009.  No matter what happens to my physical body, within my spirit, may you find me faithful. 

Summer Angel

Spring Angel


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Christmas 2008

December 30, 2008 at 10:25 pm (Christmas 2008)

Well, Christmas 2008 has quickly passed and I am slowly recovering from all of the madness.  Dan’s family celebrates Christmas Eve with 12 dishes, no meat and I think there were 34 people at the dinner this year.  It is such a special family time.

Dan and I put up our very wide tree by ourselves this year 🙂 

I keep telling him to get a smaller tree, but I think they all look small in the field!  I haven’t taken the decorations down yet, because I like to enjoy the lights peacefully for a time after Christmas is over.  Here are a few pictures from our Christmas celebration!

Me and Danny O.

Me and Danny O.

My nieces, Miranda and Kristi

My nieces, Miranda and Kristi

Grandma O. and a few of her grandchildren

Grandma O. and a few of her grandchildren

Nieces Renee and Kari

Nieces Renee and Kari

Amanda and her Dad

Amanda and her Dad

Me and my sisters-in-law, Marty, Lucy and Yvette

Me and my sisters-in-law, Marty, Lucy and Yvette

Our Very Wide Tree

Our Very Wide Tree before the village was set up

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The Mom Song

December 21, 2008 at 7:23 pm (Mom Song)

More silliness…  my sister-in-law, Georgina sent me this link to the “Mom Song.”  Proof that moms everywhere say nearly the same thing!

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No-Calorie Christmas Cookies

December 20, 2008 at 12:10 pm (Musings...)

From my sister, Heather… I like these rules 🙂

A little refresher course on cookies

1. If you eat a Christmas Cookie, fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.
2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.
3. If a friend comes over while you are making your Christmas Cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend’s first cookie is calories free, rule #1, yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.
4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas Cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have 3 and Green ones have 5 – one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!
7. If you eat cookies while watching “Miracle on 34th Street” these also have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one’s personal fuel.
8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
9. Any cookies consumed from someone else’s plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

And finally…
10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed has no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It’s a rule!
“Sounds good to me!!


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A Presence On Your Finger

December 14, 2008 at 6:53 pm (Musings...)

My apologies to anyone who is hooked on home shopping TV programs 🙂

I have bought probably five items from TV shopping shows.  I, however, am intrigued by the psychology they use to entice viewers to purchase the products.   They often tell you that if you want to make a statement, or if you want people to notice you, you MUST purchase lots and lots of stuff.  Today a woman was selling  jewelry. 

I had to laugh when she described this HUGE ring as being a “presence on your finger!”  🙂

Just what I need…

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Santa Sled

December 14, 2008 at 12:22 pm (Decorative Painting)

I have been blogging for six months, but have painted for two years.  Last year I painted two sleds, one for me and one for my best friend, Jana.  It was so much fun to paint!!





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Editing Christmas

December 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm (Musings...)

Christmas has always been very important in our family.  Dan and his brothers go for trees — and spend a day together.  We have a big Christmas Eve dinner at Danny’s Mom’s house.  I think last year there were 50 people.  The tradition is so cool — we eat 12 dishes, no meat, all traditional Slovac dishes.  Perogies, muchunka, sour soup, cooked mushrooms and many more great dishes!  The men wash the dishes after the meal.  Our tree is usually 10-12 feet high and it is decorated with ornaments collected in our 28 years together.    We have a village under the tree with a train. 



For years I tried to be Mrs. Christmas Diva!  I would bake 20 different kinds of cookies, make fresh pine wreaths, make fresh cinnamon/clove ornaments,  write 100 Christmas cards, shop till I dropped…  and I usually dropped! 

I have slowly edited what is important.  I bake three things, apricot roll, pumpkin roll and nut roll.  I write 50 Christmas cards.  I shop 2 or 3 times only.  I listen to Christmas music and relax and watch the snow fall.   Once my concerts are over, I enjoy the season.   I have only shopped once so far this year and Danny is going with me the next time (I will probably need a wheelchair.)  😦

Christmas is Jesus, family and  friends, not stuff and more stuff.  The gift I give myself is peace.

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Jehovah Rapha

December 9, 2008 at 6:16 pm (Musings..., Scripture References)

I had an MRI last night.  I have no idea what the results are, but I am truly not worried.  Last night, though…

I gave myself a betaseron injection and at about 9:00 p.m. went to bed.  Once in bed I started to feel “uncomfortable.”  That is the only warning I had.  Within 15 minutes I started to shake violently, from head to toe.  If I put enough pressure on my hands or feet, my brain shook!!  After about 30 minutes I crawled downstairs.  Danny held me in an attempt to stop the shaking.  He heated my rice bag in the microwave.  I was shaking, but wasn’t cold; the heated rice bag gave me comfort.  We probably should have called 911, but quite frankly I didn’t want to spend the night in the ER.  At about 10:30 I crawled back to bed.

I prayed, “Lord, you’ve got to help me here.  I need help!”  “Lord, please stop the shaking!”  “Help me!”  I was telepathically sending Amanda messages because I couldn’t have dialed her phone number… ( You get the picture) 🙂

At about 11:30 I ached all over but was still shaking, still praying for help.  But for a reason I don’t know, I changed my prayer to praise. 

YOU are “JEHOVAH JIRAH, my provider, You are JEHOVAH RAPHA, my healer, YOU are my Shepherd, YOU are the Bread of Life, YOU pulled me from the slimy pit, YOU are my Savior, YOU are the Giver of Life, You are ‘I AM.'”  On and On I praised until I must have fallen asleep.  At about 12:30 a.m. I woke and the shaking had almost all stopped.  I was able to get a few hours of sleep and have muddled through today!!  I have learned that sometimes to “muddle” is okay!!

I know what happened to me last night wasn’t because of anything I had done.  God has shown me that He IS, Jehovah Rapha, my healer, even if only for last night.  In Job, he says, “The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away, Blessed be the Name of The Lord.”

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Santa Door Crown

December 4, 2008 at 11:11 am (Decorative Painting)

Good Morning!  I have the morning off and have been slowly drinking my coffee (on my second pot) and Bible Studying (I am researching the “absolutes” found in scripture).  As most of you know, I have been painting for two years.  It is my refuge.  I finished a Santa Door Crown and thought I’d share pictures with you… notice the authentic “sprinkles” on the cookies! 

For my friend, Frieda, I also am posting my Jonah and the Whale box (my darling hubby made the boxes!)  Happy Thursday to all! 

As an aside, I haven’t even STARTED my Christmas shopping.  Kids, give me your list!!!

My First project that included a face!

My First project that included a face!


The beard was fun to do... although I think my Santa has Beatles-bangs! 🙂

Yes, the sprinkles are real sprinkles!

Yes, the sprinkles are real sprinkles!

My Jonah Whale Box — Traditions Module C-3!!


Swedish Dal painting


My whale has muscles 🙂

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Claude Hopper

December 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm (Memories, Musings...)

My sisters and I have been singing since we were we little.  We had a singing group called The Christian Diplomats.  We sang as a group from 1979 until about 1986 or so.  Then life got in the way 🙂


John Lythgoe, Deb, Me, Sue, Mom, Dad~~Me, Mom, Heather, Sue, Dad

When we sang, there was a group called “The Hopper Brothers And Connie.”  Now they are just called “The Hoppers.”  The bass singer’s (and Connie’s husband, I think) name was Claude and he had the most beautiful smile.  He smiled the whole time he sang, the whole time he greeted people… quite frankly we never saw him without the smile. 

I can’t remember how our phrase originated, but I suppose it was during a time we were singing and were crabby.  Someone said, “Just Claude Hopper it.”  That was our cue to smile 🙂

“Claude Hopper” as the expression morphed to become, has filtered through my life.  Most of you who know me well will have heard me say, “Claude Hopper,” as I paste on a smile.

Today, Paul Seymour and I were scurrying though the day, dealing with hyper kids and concerts in two weeks.  At 2:07 p.m. as I wearily trudged back to rehearsal, Paul looked at me and said, “Claude Hopper!”  My smile was already forming!!!

So, with no disrespect to Claude Hopper, actually with great respect for that beautiful smile, when you are feeling like you don’t want to smile, just think…  “Claude Hopper!”  🙂

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