Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Blog Questions

   Ok, with the New Year fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to get some feedback on my blog. 

Is there anything about my blog that you loved from 2009?

Anything you didn't care for?

Anything you'd like to see more of?

Less of?

Any suggestions?

I really loved publishing the monthly book lists, so I plan to continue doing that.  (Unless 50 of you comment saying you hated them).  :) 

Looking forward to a GREAT 2010 at the Flowershopgirl blog!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry and Bright (And Polka Dots)

   I'm noticing a distinct "polka dot" theme in my gift wrapping this year... :)
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


There are definitely moments when I feel that being a florist is about the worst job in the world.

A little 5 year old girl died on Sunday.  I don't think they even know how or why yet.  She woke up in the morning, wasn't feeling well, collapsed and died in her mother's arms.  Today I delivered flowers to her funeral and I got a peek at her laying all serene in her little casket.  A peek was all I could take.  She looked so peaceful and had such a sweet little face.  All dressed up in a little black velvet dress, hair brushed so smooth and shiny.

I immediately devoted myself to unwrapping the 20 or so plants/flower arrangements I had delivered.  Anything to distract myself from the growing lump in my throat.

The tragedy of it brings back all the worst memories.

An 11 year old boy who committed suicide after his mother told him he had to get his grades up or he wouldn't be able to do rodeo in the summer.  I think every customer that came into the shop or called on the phone to order flowers for his funeral broke down into tears.  We kept kleenex handy all over the shop and I bawled over a picture of him and his best friend playing in the mud when they were 6.

Making a casket spray for a baby's coffin.  I remember the funeral director calling me and telling me "It has to be really small"  He gave me the dimensions of the casket.  Tiny.  Tears fell on those flowers.  When his mother came into the shop the next week to pay for the flowers I hugged her...  I didn't know what else to do.

There are good memories attached to my job.  But, times like this bring all the bad ones to the surface.  I know it's not my job that's the problem.  These things would happen regardless of whether or not I'm a florist.  And if I don't arrange a dozen pink roses for that little girl's funeral someone else will.

For me the problem is that I don't want to know about the sad things.  I don't want to deal with tragedy.  I don't want to think about young lives cut short, about potential forever untapped.

But, should I really hide from reality?  Isn't it better to face up to the hard things and do what I can to help?  If all I do is make this little girl's funeral a beautiful garden, if all I do is help people express their grief and sympathy than it's all I can do.  But, at least it's SOMETHING.

Facing grief is challenging.  I don't know if I've learned how to do it yet.  Maybe I never really will.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Investing in Lives

 Last night we watched "It's a Wonderful Life."  I'm assuming most of you have seen this movie, so there will be spoilers in this post... just warning you.

I walked away from the movie and fell asleep comfy-cozy in my bed  while the temperatures outside dived below zero.  And I thought about it before I fell asleep and when I woke up this morning I was still thinking about George Bailey. 

The man gave everything away.  Not just his money, not just his time, but his dreams too.

I love the part when he's getting ready to leave on his honeymoon and he gets delayed because of the bank run.  As soon as his wife shows up with his life savings he runs to begin distributing it to people in need.  And not because they really NEED the money.  After all, as he's already informed them, they could walk into Potters office and get half their money in 5 minutes.  He does it to save his father's business (which he hates) and to save these people from making a bad investment with Potter. My sisters and I looked at each and asked "Do you think he ever got that money back?"  I don't think he did.  Maybe eventually... over time.  But, did he ever have that $2000 lump sum again?  I highly doubt it. 

Countless times he gives up what he wants or plans in order to do something that appears to be the best thing at the time... for everyone else.

I was struck for the first time with George Bailey's attitude.  He so obviously does NOT want to make a lot of the sacrifices that he makes.  But, he makes them in spite of himself.

And that brings me to Do Hard Things.  We've been reading this book in our Bible Study lately and I'm finding something inspiring in every chapter.  But, mostly I'm convicted by the entire of concept of those three words.  Do. Hard. Things.

In other words, Don't do the easy thing, when you have an option to do something harder.

George Bailey's hard things just kept piling up, making the hard things he did harder and harder.  But, every hard thing he did was an investment in another person's life.  Every hard thing HE did made someone else's life a little better and a little easier.  He was making investments in people's lives.  The kind of investments that aren't easily forgotten because they start as tiny seeds and grow and grow.  Little by little he bought the kind of friends that are just waiting and watching for an opportunity to give back.  So, ultimately, though everything he did was for others, HE was the mnost blessed in the end.

And as Clarence says: "No man is a failure who has friends."

What kind of investments are YOU making?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, Hi.

This is an official announcement. 
I am very happy. 

If you have ever been to my house you know exactly what I'm talking about.


For those of you that haven't ever been to my house, here's the deal. 

I live in the bottom floor of a house.  The upper floor is another apartment, and the shower in the other apartment started leaking...  a while ago.  The leak got worse and worse and worse and worse... 

We removed the ceiling tile where the leak was because the excessive water was just going to break the tile.  And now, for the last few months, we've had two bowls underneath the leak to catch the water that literally RAINS out of our ceiling every morning when the shower upstairs turns on.  We emptied those bowls once a day. 

We PRAYED for the day that this leak would be fixed.  We had scores of plumbers in.  None of them could figure out the problem. Finally, some super intelligent plumber figured it out.  And then he had to order a part.  And then we waited for the part to come in.  And waited.  And waited. 

Today, I am happy to announce that as I was walking up the street to my house the plumber flagged me down to tell me that "We're all done, the ceiling tile is back in place and there shouldn't be any more floods." 


*happy sigh*

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Friday, December 11, 2009


   For those who are unaware: At all military base theaters, the National Anthem is played before the movie begins.

This is written by a Chaplain in Iraq :

I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom at all military bases, we stood to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going well until three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem, the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and yell for the movie to begin. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here in Iraq , 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again and the Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. But again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect 1,000 Soldiers standing at attention to do?? Frankly, I expected some laughter, and everyone would eventually sit down and wait for the movie to start.

But No!!... You could have heard a pin drop, while every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly, there was a lone voice from the front of the auditorium, then a dozen voices, and soon the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: "And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

It was the most inspiring moment I have had in Iraq and I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you. Remember them as they fight for us!

Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. Many have already paid the ultimate price.

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins
LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq , north of Baghdad

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My Thoughts on Twilight

The Twilight craze is sweeping the nation.  Not being the type of person that runs out to read a book or see a movie the second it becomes popular I didn't mind admitting that I had no personal experience with Twilight.  To be perfectly frank all I had to hear was the word "Vampire" and I knew Twilight had no interest for me.  I held this stance for a couple of years.  People asked me "Have you seen Twilight?" Me: "Um, no, I'm not into vampire movies." Fine.

But, with the release of the second movie, New Moon, Twilight has once again become very common conversation.  Only this time around, instead of just getting the "Have you seen it?" questions I was starting to get "What do you think?" questions.  From young girls, from parents of young girls...

I don't like to give an opinion on something I haven't seen or read.  In some cases I'm completely comfortable with saying "I haven't read it/seen it myself, but I know I won't because of 'such and such' theme."  In this instance I was beginning to feel like I needed a little something more to go on.  I was bothered a little bit by the amount of people (especially young girls) following this craze.

So.  I watched the movie the other night.

And, (aren't you lucky) I'm going to tell you exactly what I thought.  Please don't be offended if my opinion differs from yours.  This is my blog and I reserve the right to publish my opinions here.  If your opinion isn't the same as mine it doesn't mean I don't like you or think you're stupid.  It just means that I believe in my opinion enough to share it with you.

So, Twilight.

My first impression was this:

Bella has zero social skills.  Within a day or so of moving to Forks and starting at her new high school she acquires a group of friends.  I honestly don't know how this is possible.  She almost never talks to any of them, they all talk and she's always off in another world, paying no attention to their conversation.  In fact, she avoids conversation in the most obvious ways.  If someone approaches her she often responds with a monosyllabic answer and beats a retreat ASAP.  I wonder if she's supposed to be shy?  She comes across as stuck-up and arrogant.  I bet I could count on one hand the number of times she actually smiles in the movie.  Yeah... I can see why Edward is attracted to her.

When Bella goes shopping for prom dresses with two of her "friends" she spends most of the day staring out the window of the dress shop and giving half-hearted "that looks good" comments to her friends.  Even her friends laugh because she gives them the same opinion on every dress they try on.  She's so obviously not paying attention or even caring much what her friends wear to prom.  Honestly, I wouldn't take her dress shopping with me...

At one point, Bella is forced to be mean to her dad so that he will let her go, which is imperative since her life is at stake and so is his if she's near him.  After breaking his heart Bella feels badly and looks melancholy for a minute.  I kept waiting for her to break down and bawl but it never happened.  But, honestly, they didn't have that great of a relationship before.  She treated him with the same cool aloofness she gave her friends.

Edward.  Um, creepy stalker?  Seriously.  He practically haunts Bella.  He stares at her, is always telling her to "stay away" from him, but won't leave her alone himself.  He follows her everywhere (but, it's ok, because he says it's because he "feels protective")  He even climbs in her bedroom window and watches her while she sleeps.  (But, that's ok too, because he says it "fascinates him".)  He admits that when he's with her it's all he can do to keep himself from killing her.  Romantic, huh?  Yeah, someday I hope to fall in love with someone who wants to kill me, too. 

About three-quarters of the way through the movie I was wondering "What is the draw here?"  Why are so many people enamored by this?
Here are the things I've heard are the supposed "good points" of Twilight.
  • Robert Pattinson, (Edward) is kind of cute, I guess.  If you like the anemic, violent, angry looking type. 
  • Edward and his family are mild as vampires go.  They don't survive on human blood, instead they restrict themselves to only drinking the blood of animals.  Wow.  That makes me feel so much better.
  • There's evidently some kind of pro-chastity message in the movies/books.  I don't really see it.  Edward and Bella share some passionate kisses and it's evident they would go farther except Edward is afraid he won't be able to control his passion and may kill her.  Now, there's a real reason to save yourself.  Especially if you're dating a vampire.
  • Edward saves Bella's life several times.  I think the whole movie is made up of him saving her life.  Now, I'm certainly as much excited by the romance of that as the next girl.  Prince Charming rushing in battling evil to save a girl's life is exciting.  But, is it at all realistic that Bella encounters near-death experiences 6 or 7 times in the space of 90 minutes?  Edward has amazing strength and speed and that's pretty cool.  But, then again, Superman has amazing strength and speed too, and he uses it to save Lois Lane's life plenty of times but as far as I know he never fantasized about drinking her blood.
  • Aside from the times when Edward is staring at Bella with his intense, crazed stalker eyes, he is a perfect gentleman.  He always opens the car door for her.  Aww...  How sweet.  I wonder.  Are girls today so starved for a little proper affection and respect that a nice gentlemanly act like opening a car door would make them willing to date someone that wants to kill and eat them?

  • Edward  refuses to turn Bella into a vampire even though she insists that she wants him to and is "Ready."  Honestly, I think it's just the author's way of making room for 3 more books.  
  • The one positive aspect of the film that I found was Edward's "parents" especially his dad.  (The "mom" is somewhat underdeveloped.)  Vampire though he is, he manages to live as a respected member of a human community without being weird about it.  You won't find him giving the intense, stalker vibes that Edward is constantly putting across.  When Bella's life is threatened Edward's dad pulls the family together and they risk everything to protect her.  As he says "Bella is with Edward, and we protect our family."  It may mean losing everything they've worked to build but there's a strong sense of family unity and fighting for justice that is always a positive message. 

I'm aware that Edward is a vampire.  I'm aware that vampires live on blood and that if Edward didn't have blood to drink he would die.  So, therefore this kind of message is acceptable?  WRONG.  The scary thing about this message is that it's all too real.  Take out the vampire element and Edward is an intense, possesive, murderous stalker.  And there ARE people out there like that who do not have the "I'm a vampire" excuse.  Do we really want our young girls to get the impression that it's ok to date someone like this?  Bella is not afraid of Edward.  This makes Edward love her.  But, really, shouldn't she be afraid? Shouldn't she avoid him?  Shouldn't she run away like he's the plague even though he does open the car door for her and habitually saves her life?  Girls, there are better guys out there. 

Imagine Bella explaining her new boyfriend to her dad "He's really sweet, he watches me while I sleep, he follows me everywhere, he knows he's dangerous and isn't really sure he can control himself enough to be around me without murdering me, but it's ok, because he's a vampire and I'm not afraid of him."

Obviously, Bella cannot explain this to her dad (or anyone else for that matter).  He wouldn't understand.  So, she has to keep it a secret.  Which brings me to my biggest beef with Twilight.  Do we REALLY want to encourage this kind of mentality in our young girls?  The "my parents won't understand, so we have to hide it from them," mentality.  For the sake of argument let's again pretend that Edward doesn't have the vampire excuse.  He's just the intense, possessive, murderous stalker.  And somehow, someway, he's able to use all these bad qualities to pick up a quiet, introverted, secretive girl.  Isn't that a recipe for disaster?  Aren't those the guys we tell girls to stay away from?  Aren't these situations EXACTLY the reason that we promote and encourage communication between kids and parents?  If so, then WHY is a story with the exact opposite message so popular?

Tales of forbidden love have held a special place in our hearts since Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet.  And my heart melts as much as any other girls' over these stories.  Um, Lorna Doone?  *sigh*  But, the question I have to ask is: "Aren't some loves forbidden for good reason?"

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Tomorrow Promise

It is truly one of God's many mercies that He always promises us a fresh tomorrow morning.

[His mercies] are New

every morning: 
great is Thy faithfulness
-Lamentations 3:23

As I told a friend the other day "Sometimes when I've had a bad day or I'm lonely... I don't delay going to bed.  The sooner I can start tomorrow morning the better."

Because as Anne Shirley says:
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is always new... with no mistakes in it."

Thank you God for Tomorrows. 

Monday, December 07, 2009

December for sure

It's December for sure now. 
I guess our beautiful dream-like weather is over. 
Snow on the ground this morning when I woke up.  Enough to make me bundle up immediately and head out to clear the sidewalks.  It was really only a 1/4 inch or so, not really what you could classify as "Shoveling" snow.  But, the sidewalks have to be cleared so I still got to experience that "bending-over-my-lower-back-is-killing-me-nose-biting" experience that's all too familiar to us Wisconsin-ites in the winter. 


My little brother has a Christmas concert tonight.  There are pine boughs draped over the railings on my front porch steps.  The world is white.  I'm going to wear my tall boots to work this morning.  I know I'm a wimp but I just can't stand it when my feet get wet and cold.

I have to admit.  This snow is beautiful. 

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Blog List Malfunctions

Hey guys!

I've discovered that when I re-entered the blogs in my blog list (in the sidebar) some of them either didn't transfer over or there's some kind of difficulties between google reader and blogger... or somethin'.  Anyway, if you would like your blog to be listed in my sidebar, or if your blog was listed in my sidebar before, please take a minute to look and see if it's there now.  If it isn't, leave me a comment and I'll add you. 

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

November Book List


107.  Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery - (*****)  I love discovering new friends.  This book is absolutely delightful.  I read it and I know that I will never forget these characters.  I know I will think of them as friends and that their story will always have a place on my bookshelves. 

108.  The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis- (*****) Reviewed  HERE

109.  The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie- (*****)

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie -(*****) I've read this one twice now.  One of my favorite Miss Marple's.  

111.  A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie -(***) I actually solved this one before Miss Marple did.  That's always disappointing. 

112.  Nemesis by Agatha Christie - (****) I bet you're tired of me reviewing Christie. 

113.  Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott- (*****) I love, love, LOVE this book.  If you had walked into my living room while I was reading it chances are pretty high that you would have found me grinning from ear to ear like a sappy lunatic.  I hadn't read Eight Cousins in a while and so it was fun to keep turning pages and finding another "favorite part."  Conclusion being: This whole book is full of my favorite parts.  I love the eight cousins.  I want to be Rose.  And I had a crush on Archie when I was younger.  Ok, I still do.  :)

114.  Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott - (*****)  Sometimes I think I will never forgive Alcott for killing off a certain *ahem* character.  The sobs and kleenex usage are great. It's a beautiful story and I love it. 

115.  A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie- (****) Another good Christie. 

116.  Mrs. McGinty is Dead by Agatha Christie-(****) Another one of those "quiet village murders" that Christie is so famous for.  :)

117.  The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie- (****) International Intrigue with Christie.... :)

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New Blog LOOK!

High Fives to Stephanie who showed me how to use Photoshop to create the header and ended up doing most of the work...  and Katie who helped me figure out the HTML. 


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George Mueller's Faith

"If God fails me at this time, 
it will be 
the first time."
-George Mueller

This from the man who:

  • Began his ministry caring for orphans with 2 shillings in his pocket. 
  • Built 5 large orphanages.
  • Cared for over 10,000 orphans in his lifetime
  • In 1834 there were accomadations for only 3,600 orphans in England and twice that many orphans under the age of eight were in prison.  50 years later, through George Mueller's hard work and dedication England was able to care for over 100,000 orphans.
  • Became a travelling missionary (a lifelong dream of his) at the age of 70 and continued for the next 17 years.
  • Travelled to 42 countries preaching on average once a day often to crowds of 5,000.
  • Read his Bible cover to cover more than 200 times.  
  • Took in donations for several million dollars for the orphans without once asking anyone for money.
  • Gave up his small salary when he discovered it was paid for by the rental of church pews and didn't  take a salary for the next 68 years.
  • Never took out a loan or went into debt.
  • The orphans never went hungry although several times they prayed over empty plates, only to have food arrive at the last moment.
  • Founded 117 schools.
  "The beginning of anxiety is 
the end of faith, 
and the beginning of 
true faith
is the end of anxiety."
-George Mueller

"Now faith is the 
substance of things 
hoped for, 
the evidence of 
things not seen."
-Hebrews 11:1

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