Saturday, October 31, 2009

Like Water to a Thirsty Soul

I am still living in Spangle--squarely situated on American soil.

But my heart longs for Europe, where God has called me to serve Him.

I am especially "homesick" for France today, since we were THERE at this time last year.

But just when I was becoming parched in my waiting, God sent a gentle rain in the most unexpected way. This week I was asked by an associate with GEM to review two grants that she was writing for programs in Kosovo.

I cannot tell you how thrilling it was to participate in God's kingdom work in Europe from my cozy home in Spangle.

By this small opportunity to engage in a very practical effort abroad, my soul is refreshed, re-inspired, and reminded that God has not forgotten I am here--and wanting to be there.

Oh how He loves me!

The really funny thing is, I have been recently asking God to show Himself to me. You know, not in a "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" general way; but in a "His Eye is on the Sparrow" personal way. I wanted (needed?) to know that He was aware of ME.

Yes, I know He has a universe to control. Meteors, raging wars, and people in genuine dire straits are just a few of the larger issues that should clearly trump my self-centered little demand for attention.

But my Father in heaven is big enough, and loving enough, and God enough to manage the big stuff AND hear the whimper of my small heart. A small heart that, though weak and inconsistent, beats for my Father.

He is, indeed, The God Who Sees Me. (Gen. 16:13)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'd Rather Have Jesus Have Me

I have Jesus. I invited Him in to my life when I was about six or seven years old, and just as He promises in His word, He came and made my heart His home (Eph 3:17).

But this week, the Holy Spirit has been whispering a gentle question to my heart. It goes something like this:

"Yes, you have me. But do I have you?"

Does Jesus have me?

I have been trying to figure out the difference, and the more I think about it, the more I am realizing that the difference is huge.

If I HAVE Jesus, He is with me wherever I go, helping me, guiding me, directing me, and providing for my needs. Sort of like a GPS. Or my purse. I have my purse with me most of the time--it's the feminine version of a tool-kit. But I carry my purse to serve MY needs, and sometimes to serve the needs of others. That's why I HAVE a purse.

Is that why I have Jesus? To serve MY needs?

I don't really want to answer that question. I thought I had matured past the "genie" mentality with Jesus, but perhaps I have not. Perhaps I still cling to Him because of what He can do for me. And if I were to be candid here, I would have to say, "OF COURSE I have Jesus for what He can do for me!" After all, scripture is quite clear that I cannot save myself. I need a Savior, and Jesus is just that. Thank you, Hallelujah, and Amen.

Years ago, when I was tiny little underweight tadpole of a girl, my family went inner tubing down the rapids of some river in San Antonio, Texas. Though only six years old at the time, I was an avid swimmer in a tube all my own. Still, my parents were cautious. Whenever we hit white water, my dad would reach his big hand out and hold the edge of my tube, keeping me close to him. One time, though, we went bouncing over a series of rapids, and when Dad looked over to my tube, which he faithfully held, I was missing from it. He immediately stood (the water was only waist-deep to him) and began frantically searching under the rushing water for his little girl. Finally feeling some skin, he held firmly and pulled me out of the water--by an ankle! He had me.

HE had ME.

For so many years I have looked at my salvation as a function of me having Jesus in my life. But the better option, clearly, is for Jesus to have me in His life. Like my father rescuing me from white water, Jesus can rescue me from any depth.

If Jesus has me, He is in control--and I am not. If Jesus has me, I will no longer treat Him like a GPS system that I can turn off when it leads me in a direction that I don't want to go. If He has me, then He is the driver of the car, and I am His passenger.

And by passenger, I mean like my dog, Libby, is sometimes my passenger. Libby never asks, "Where are we going?" She just hops in the car because she wants to be with me! She doesn't try to tell me how to drive or suggest alternate routes. She never asks, "Are we there yet?" She trusts me without question. She is just happy that I have her along for the ride.

And I am happy that Jesus has me.

The answer to His question, is, "Yes, Lord, of course You have me. Forgive me for living like I have You along to do my will. Help me remember what a great honor it is that You have chosen to have me along to do YOUR will."

From now on I want to live like my dog, nose in the wind, delighting in the adventure, happy to had by my Master. Only I'll pass on the drooling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to Enjoy Where I am When I am Not Where I Want to Be, and Other Lessons From Having to Wait, Part 2

I was raised by a mom who spent a lot of time waiting on five daughters, and she often passed the time with some sort of craft. Whether knitting, needle-pointing, crocheting, or hemming a dress, mom knew how how to make the most of a doctor's office waiting room, a road-trip, or an afternoon at the DMV. She created innumerable things during minutes and hours that many might have lost to fretting or impatient clock-watching. My mom seemed to have figured out something wonderful about waiting:

WAITING is a great time for CREATING!

Our God is a creative God, and I am so thankful that He put a creative part of His spirit in us. I cannot paint or draw. I am not a visual artist of any kind. I can't even make something recognizable with play-dough.

Despite my lack of artistic gifting, a desire to create continuously stirs within me; so, as I wait to go to France, I do what I can with my creative energy.

I can follow a pattern and create something with yarn. I can follow a recipe and create something with food. And I can read notes, and create music with voice or instruments.

Creating is LIFE-giving to me. It redeems times that could otherwise be the waiting.

This week I crocheted a curly red scarf:

I baked some peanut-butter blossom cookies:

And as you saw in the previous post, much music has been made in our house over the past few days.

Whether making scarves, cookies, or music, my spirit finds joy in creating. I may never be a Monet, a Mozart, or a Martha Stewart, but I am thankful for the ability to create. It truly is a gift--and it is a great way to wait.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guitar-Playing Boys... the form of husband...


...or sons...

...make me VERY happy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today I am thankful.

I am blessed by many who are standing with us...holding us up...loving us. Thanks for reminding me that you ARE out there! And forgive me for ever forgetting it in the first place!

I am blessed to have just celebrated my father's 75th birthday with him.

I am blessed to have new yarn, a scarf pattern I can't wait to try, and an outlet for creativity. Maybe I'll put the project button back on he sidebar...

I am blessed to have a job that I love at a church that I love doing things that I love with people that I love.

I am blessed to have found a pair of pants that fit my body. I bought 2 pair!

I am blessed to have a friend who opens her home every couple of months for an afternoon coffee. Being with girlfriends restores my soul--and just in the nick of time! Thanks P.B.

I am blessed to have book club tonight, where we will discuss a wonderful memoir.

I am blessed to be the mother of two of the best boys in the whole wide world.

I am blessed to have a husband who follows Jesus with all his heart.

I am blessed to serve a God who promises to work all things together for good. I am thankful to be His child...a daughter of the King.

I am blessed to be in the position of waiting on the Lord. He has, indeed, renewed my strength.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is Anybody Out There?

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Exodus 17:10-13

Whenever I blog about raising support, the crickets start chirping, and no one comments. I suppose it just isn't right to talk about money in our culture, since it feels highly personal and it makes people uncomfortable. Perhaps blog readers are scared that if they say anything ( or leave a comment), they will be the next person on our list to call. Well, you just might be...would that be so awful?

And just so you know--raising support isn't exactly my favorite topic either. But whether we like it or not, fundraising is what we have to do right now. And boy are we doing it--at least our part, God is really doing the work.

But nevertheless, I am tired.

I feel like Moses in the story above. I know that when I am vigilant in prayer and in seeking God's face, it feels like we are winning this fundraising "battle." After all, we are at about 73% of our needed monthly support, and that is so awesome!

But we are not at 100%--the battle is not won--and quite frankly, I just can't "keep my hands up" anymore. Moses needed Aaron and Hur to stand boldly by his side. They held up his hands when his strength was gone.

My strength is gone.

I need an Aaron. I need a Hur. I need people who will pray with great faith when my faith is weak. I need people who will shout words of encouragement when my courage is waning. I need people who will have hope when I am feeling beset with despair.

This is a cry for help!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Something Special about Sisters

I recently had the joy of helping to plan a dear friend's surprise 40th birthday party. Her husband, who was throwing the party, gave me a ton of room to do whatever I wanted with the decorating; however, he had one request: "I DON'T want it to be an 'over-the-hill' party!"

Well naturally, I couldn't agree with him more. So when I discovered that the venue we chose only had black table cloths--the signature color for an "over-the hill" party--I decided I needed to find a way to minimize the impact of the black.

I went to the fabric store to choose a fabric that I could cut in to squares to put on top of the black table cloths to brighten the atmosphere and make the room appear festive and fun. As you know, there are hundreds, probably thousands of fabrics in a fabric store. I spent an hour looking, and finally settled on this cute little polka-dot number:
When I took the fabric home, I went to find my fabric scissors to cut out the squares that I needed for all of the tables. I keep my good scissors in a knitting bag that my sister Keri made me last year for my birthday. I hadn't touched the bag in months, since my life has not had much time for crafting lately.

Imagine MY surprise when I opened my knitting bag, only to discover that the fabric that I had chosen for my friend's birthday party was EXACTLY the same fabric that my sister had chosen to line my knitting bag!

Coincidence? I think not. This kind of thing happens all of the time with my sisters. We live in different cities, none of us closer than 6 hours to another. Yet, we have often bought the same clothes, chosen the same patterns, cooked the same meals, switched to the same perfume, or read the same books without ever discussing any of it ahead of time.

Sisters. Man, I love 'em!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Under a Cloud



Suddenly sad for no apparent reason.

Sleep alludes me.

Pout. Pout. Pout.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. Psalm 73:25

Cry during worship at Bible Study.

Cry during prayer at the end.

Should have joy.

Should have peace.

Beat self down for having neither.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Look for Jesus.

Listen for His voice.

Depend on His goodness.

Believe in His faithfulness.

Gratitude, despite the cloud.

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge. Psalm 73:28a

Sunday, October 11, 2009

S-t-r-e-t-c-h Marks

Everyday for the last four months of both of my pregnancies I slathered my belly in an aloe vera gel that was tauted to prevent stretch marks. Why I cared is beyond me, since I am not one who wears anything, ever, that would show my midriff. Nevertheless, my belly is free from the unsightly red marks that I worked so hard to avoid.

If only there were such a gel for my heart.

As my boys grow I am beginning to realize that their time in our home, as our children, is but another gestation period for their birth into adulthood. Now they are in the womb of our care, but someday they will leave us--men, ready to enter the world and do all that God has prepared for them to do. It is my heart instead of my tummy that now swells each time they grow, and while the stretching of my heart tells me that my boys are thriving and healthy, it also reminds me that eventually they will be too big for me to contain. And I do not want to contain them any more than a pregnant woman wants to stay pregnant forever. I am both eager to see the men of God that they will become and sad at the thought of no longer having them with me all the time.

But for now, they are still mine...or so I thought.

This week, in talking about some of the challenges that are before us as we plan to move to France, I found myself face to face with a hurdle that I had believed to be much further down the road. It seems that in looking over the schooling options, Graham thinks that he might prefer the highly acclaimed Black Forest Academy (a GEM missionary boarding school in Germany) over the public school option in France. Black Forest Academy is about 300 miles away from where we will be serving in France. Would God dare to ask me to live 300 miles from my boy? 300 miles from his thoughts? 300 miles from the possibility of a family dinner? 300 miles from his dry sense of humor? 300 miles from his rare, but occasional hug? 300 miles from his enormous appetite? 300 miles from his growing (but not grown!) spirit?

Can my heart bear a 300 mile stretch mark?

"And what about Chandler?" you ask. Yes. I am asking the same thing. Though only 16 months younger than Graham, he is still my baby. He doesn't even know what he wants. He will rely on David and I to decide. What a burden!

We have not made any decisions about this. There are other facets involved--like expenses that would have to be added to our support schedule to pay for boarding school--that will play in to the decision. Will you please pray for our family as we revisit all of the schooling options available for both boys?

GEM has an educational planning packet that we haven't even begun to work through. They also have staff members who are professional educators that will walk us through forming an educational plan for our kids. Perhaps God kept us from diving into this subject too deeply until now, when we are at least open to looking at all of the possibilities.

Graham is not in any way being rebellious. He is completely willing to go wherever God wants him to go, and he does believe himself to be a part of God's FOUR for France. I honor him for bringing this difficult subject to our attention in a very respectful and humble way.

We will keep you posted as we prayerfully ask God to reveal His highest and best for our boys. We know that His will is good, pleasing, and perfect, so as we discover His will for Graham and Chandler, we will walk in it with great confidence and peace.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Traveling Light

One of my favorite devotional times at CIT last summer was led by Peter Pikkert, who talked about three characteristics of a pilgrim. Lest you are concerned that I might don a bonnet and shoes with shiny buckles, rest assured, I am not talking about THAT kind of pilgrim.

The dictionary defines a pilgrim as a traveler or wanderer, esp. in a foreign place. By that definition, we are certainly going to be pilgrims in France; however, all of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ are also pilgrims. Philippians 3:20 says, "But our citizenship is in heaven...." If our citizenship is in heaven, then we are pilgrims here on this earth--or at least we should be. As the old hymn says, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through."

Do you want to live like a citizen of heaven? Do you want to be a traveler here on earth? I know I do. This is why for the past few months I have been pondering what it means to be a pilgrim. What, exactly, are the characteristics of a pilgrim? I am glad you asked. The first one (according to Peter Pikkert) is that pilgrims travel light.

A few years ago I flew to New York for a family reunion. My sister Keri and I arrived at our destination together, and my Uncle Daryl rushed out to help us with our bags. We each had only one small carry-on bag, and my uncle could hardly believe it. "That's all you brought?" he asked, genuinely shocked. My dad--a season traveler himself--beamed in the background, proud to have daughters that knew how to travel light.

Now that the airlines are charging for checked baggage, most of us are learning how to make some cutbacks when packing for a trip. I now ask myself two questions when determining what to take with me:

  1. What is essential? and

  2. What can I do without?

But lately I have been wondering what might change in my life if I asked myself those questions when I am not going on a trip. That is to say, if my life is indeed a journey, am I traveling light? Or have I forgotten that I am pilgrim, and begun to "feather my nest" here on earth.

There is a reason I must ask myself both questions. The first ensures that I have everything that I need. The second ensures that I don't have anything that I don't need.

Take shoes. (Yes, I know. Now I'm meddling.) I think that we would all agree that a person needs shoes. So the answer to the first question is, "Yes, shoes are essential." However, the second question addresses the quantity of shoes that I have. In other words, do I have shoes that I could do without? Before cleaning out my closet last week, I had three pairs of red shoes. Three. One pair is the amazing pair that I wrote about in this blog. I kept that pair. The second pair was a pair of red sandals that I wore exactly zero times last summer. I guess you might say that I could do without those. They went in the Goodwill pile. The third pair was pair of dated pumps that I stopped wearing the moment I acquired pair #1. Again, they were shoes that I could do without--Goodwill.

I believe David and I got a helping hand from the good Lord when our house flooded in 2006. We lost skis that hadn't been skied on in years, appliances that were wasting away in the garage, and filing cabinets full of papers that must have seemed important at one time or another, but have never even been missed. In many ways, our losses set us free. And I can honestly say I am thankful. Things tie a person down, and Jesus knew that He had places for us to go.

I am starting to believe that the inventor of the storage unit did not do us any favors. Don't get me wrong, storage units do a booming business. But they also give us permission to accumulate more stuff than we really need and then save it, cherish it, LOVE it--until our stuff owns us.

And so I have found it necessary to make a lasting commitment to vigilantly (maybe even relentlessly) eliminate excess from my life. It is the only way for me to remember my first love, to live daily in His grace, and to be free to do His will.

But Pilgrims not only eliminate excess, they minimize the acquisition of stuff in the first place. As I go through life I must continue to ask myself, "Is this essential?" and "Could I do without it?" I can't tell you how many times those simple questions have kept me from turning into a Starbucks, putting an item in my shopping cart, or even saving a piece of mail.

Peter Pikkert also suggested asking, "Does everything I own serve the purpose of service?"

This question takes the discussion to a whole new level. It addresses not only WHAT I have, but what I DO with what I have. Do I realize that anything I own only has value if it is used to further the kingdom of God? Keep in mind that really, it's all His anyways.

I have always been struck by the fact that almost everyone Jesus called left something behind to follow Him:

  • Peter and Andrew: "At once they left their nets and followed him." Matt. 4:20

  • Matthew(Levi): "After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him." Luke 5:27-28
  • The woman at the well: "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'" John 4:28-29

Apparently, Jesus likes empty-handed followers--Pilgrims who know how to travel light.

And the most amazing part of it all, for me, is that the more I let go of the things of this world, the more satisfied I am.

But it wasn't just things that people left to follow Jesus. They also left their homes, their professions, and even their families.

  • James and John: "Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him" Mark 1:20

I imagine these were the hardest. The closer we get to leaving for France, the more aware we have become of what and who we must leave. The following slide show represents the people, places, and things that we will leave behind. We love every single one of them.

Is Jesus asking you to leave something behind to follow Him?

Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18:28-30

Sunday, October 4, 2009

State of the Closet Address

Last weekend I had the sublime pleasure of shopping with my mom. My mom is a champion shopper. If shopping were a sport, she would be an Olympic Gold Medalist. She would score the highest possible points for both Style and Technique--she has amazing fashion sense AND a great nose for sales.
She is the perfect shopping partner for me, because I need a lot of help. I like to shop, but since I spend most of my time with boys, I don't have much opportunity. I have become the type of person who goes months--usually 10-14 months--without buying a single item of clothing. Then, about once a year, I do a major wardrobe overhaul. I find that I am a better and more satisfied shopper when I can buy whole outfits, as opposed to picking up individual items one at a time throughout the year. Since this has become my pattern, David and I plan for my annual shopping spree in our budget. We have discovered that even though I spend a nice chunk of change on clothes once a year, overall my clothing budget is quite modest.

According to Wikipediea, "The average American woman has an annual clothing budget of $1,729." I don't spend a QUARTER of that. Dave Ramsey (my hero!) believes it is reasonable to budget 2-7% of a family's income for clothing (or 1-1.5% per person for a family of four). I easily spend less than 1% of our annual income on clothing, but it might seem like a lot because I do it all at once!

That being said, my total Scores from the 2009 Mall Marathon were:
Tops: 4

Jackets: 2

Pants: 1 (I still need 2 more)

Shoes: 1 pair

Socks: 3 pair

Total: 11 pieces for $325.95 (74.05 remains in my budget)

Each year, after I purchase new duds for my closet, I get rid of bunches of clothes. I use several criteria to determine what to keep and what to give away.

First, I only keep clothes in my closet that fit my body. Today. There are no "fat" jeans in my closet. Neither are there "skinny" jeans. There are simply jeans that fit. And the same with every other piece of clothing. Clothes that are too big just give me permission to put on weight. Clothes that are too small give me cause to obsess about weight loss. Clothes that fit are the only friendly clothes in a closet.

Second, I only keep clothes in my closet that I wear. I do not keep clothes that I "might" wear someday. I do not keep clothes that I "hope" to wear. Research shows that most people only wear 41% of the clothes that they have in their closet. I don't want to have to fish through a closet where 59% of the clothes in there are just gathering dust. I do have seasonal items that only get worn a few months out of the year, but I try to eliminate everything that is NOT getting worn within it's appropriate season.

Finally, I only keep clothes that are in style. I may love my Twin Sets but they haven't been the height of fashion since 1999. Yes, I know every trend comes back eventually, but it takes a good 20 years, and I am definitely going to want a fresh start by then. And if I am not sure whether something is in or out, I ask a good friend--one with a sense of fashion integrity that is too strong to lead me astray. After all, friends don't let friends dress dowdily.

I will send the out-of-fashion clothes to Goodwill, where they can become pieces of halloween costumes! The stuff that is cute, but either no longer fits or no longer gets worn by me is going to be given to my nieces, who can take what they like, and then give the rest away.

Total Score for Fall 2009 Closet Clean-out:

Tops: 3

Jackets: 2

Pants: 10

Shoes: 3 pair

Socks: 4 pair

Total: 22 pieces.

Here is my happy closet. There is nothing in here that I would not want to wear in its proper season. Dresses on the left, then skirts, pants, tops, and jackets. This concludes my "State of the Closet Address." Today I have focused on WHAT I do to maintain my wardrobe. Tune in later this week, when I will blog about WHY I delight in keeping my STUFF to a minimum.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

They're Magically Delicious!

For those of you who have been wondering whether I officially filed complaints with Lucky Charms and TANG--the answer is, "You bet your itty bitty marshmallows I did!"

And I have already heard back from General Mills. Here is their response:

Dear Mrs. Williamson:

Thank you for contacting General Mills. Your comments regarding the recent change in the size of the marbits in Lucky Charms are important to us. This is a Limited Edition product event.

We are committed to making a difference in the lives of our consumers. Feedback such as yours is important to the nature of our business.

We appreciate your loyalty and the time you took to contact us. Please be assured that we will share your thoughts with the appropriate individuals.


Leah Giovanni

Consumer Services



Yeah, we're still laughing.

At least it sounds like the mini-marbits won't be around forever.


P.S. to my scrabble playing friends--MARBITS is not in the dictionary, and will not be accepted as a valid word. Just so you know.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheers and Jeers

Three Cheers for Compassion International! We just received our first hand-written letter from the boy we are sponsoring in Haiti, and I cannot tell you how amazingly COOL it was. I have a question for all of you people out there who have been sponsoring Compassion kids for years and years: WHY didn't you tell me how much FUN it is to sponsor a child? You should be ashamed of yourselves for keeping all of that good stuff a secret! Our family finally made the commitment because Graham was so convicted by the needs of children who live in poverty. And the needs are real. But I had no idea that I could feel such hope for a person I have never met. I had no idea that WE would be the ones who felt like we were on the receiving end of the deal. I had no idea how much joy could be bought--for ME--for only $38 a month. This sponsorship thing could be my newest addiction.

BOO (stomp one foot, huff and pout!) to Lucky Charms for switching to "mini-marshmallows." I want the BIG marshmallows back! While we were in North Carolina, the Lucky Charms had mini-marshmallows, and I thought it was just another deep south anomaly. However, when we returned home I was horrified to find that, indeed, it was a nation-wide change (for the worse) to the best cereal known to mankind. Lucky Charms are my favorite afternoon snack. I like to eat the crunchy parts first, and save the marshmallows for last. But with the itty, bitty, microscopic mini-marshmallows, I can't get the crunchies separated out and eaten fast enough, and so the crunchies cease to be crunchy and start to get soggy in the milk. No one likes soggy crunchies! By the time I get around to the marshmallows, they have practically dissolved into oblivion.

Three Cheers for a House Full of Boys! Graham and Chandler have four friends spending the night tonight. Have I ever told you how much I love their friends? We just prayed over dinner, and every one of them said, "Thanks for making pizza, Mr. Williamson." Now they are discussing what movie they want to watch and what games they want to play. David was definitely chiming in on the game discussion, counting himself among the players. I will be reading a book in my bedroom by then, happily hearing the sounds of the competition through the living room wall.

BOO to TANG for their "new great flavor!" How do I despise thee? Let me count the ways. I despise thee for doubling your packaging size, only to find that you have more than doubled the amount of powdered drink mix needed to make 8 ounces of Tang. I despise thee for changing from a formula that had 40 calories per serving to a formula that has 90 calories per serving. I despise thee because I bought TWO canisters without reading the label carefully and noting any change. But above all else, I despise thee for abandoning the original, spunky, tangy flavor of Tang and settling for a dull, ordinary, orange-ish drink mix. Tang WAS a staple in our house during flu season--a source of Vitamin C that we drank hot on cold mornings. Boo to Tang, for messing with one of my autumn delights!

Three Cheers for FLATTY. Flatty is my favorite pillow. Is it strange to name a pillow? Oh well, I did. Any guesses how Flatty got his name? He is the flattest pillow I have ever seen. Flat as a pancake. No fluff. No feathery fullness. Flat, flatter, flattest--that's my Flatty. And I LOVE him. He is not the pillow on which I lay my head. My head pillow is a nameless sack of synthetic down. Flatty is my cuddle-pillow. And I have slept (not very soundly) without Flatty for THREE months because I accidentally left him at my parents' house when we went to North Carolina. But last weekend, Flatty and I were reunited. HOORAY for Flatty! HOORAY for sleep!