Monthly Archives: March 2007

Do’s and Don’ts of Rhode Island Driving

Now that I have been in Rhode Island for half a year, I will let you know what it is like here. I will begin by telling you about the driving habits and manners of Rhode Island drivers. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts


  • Just go around a car on the right if it is turning left. This is actually in the Rhode Island driver’s handbook. It keeps from blocking traffic as it is very common here not to have a left turn lane. The interesting thing is that cars will actually pull as close to the center line as possible when turning left to allow cars behind them to go around.
  • Reverse the right of way when someone is turning out of the driveway or side road that you want to turn into. Instead of turning in and then letting them turn out, it is very common to let them leave the driveway first. Maybe this began because many driveways are quite narrow, but it seems to be more of a courtesy now because this is practiced even with wide driveways.
  • Make more room for cars if there is an interference with traffic on the other side of the road. If there is a police car or a telephone truck on one side of the road, each car in oncoming traffic will move over slightly on the shoulder to give room for both streams of traffic to have adequate space to get around the construction, etc.
  • Drive Slowly. The speed limit is 25mph within city limits! This one is still taking some time to get used to. I was used to going 35 minimum in Tennessee, and my foot seems to have adjusted to the faster minimum speed limit. In the past I remedied my heavy foot syndrome by setting cruise, but our cruise won’t work below 30!
  • Expect bumpy roads that hold water when it rains. This one really bothered me at first, but now I am realizing how nice it is not to have to deal with Tennessee’s state mascot – the construction barrel


  • Don’t hesitate if you are turning left and have no left signal. Many times I have seen a left turner book it when the light turned green. It seems to be accepted and actually expected behavior because drivers who are going straight actually pause long enough to allow it. Unfortunately, there seems to be a limited window of opportunity for this expected behavior that I have missed quite a few times.
  • Don’t honk your horn. It wasn’t until someone honked at me the other day that I realized that a car had not honked at me since moving (except in New York)! I actually almost changed lanes on top of someone (accidentally of course), and they didn’t even honk then! They just slowed down and let me in!
  • Don’t go blind looking for non-existent road signs. There seem to be certain areas that do not advertise what road you are on or the intersecting roads. Some areas have neither, some have one or the other, and occasionally you will find an area that has both the road you are on and intersecting roads.
  • Don’t assume no one will go behind you as you are backing out – even if you are over half way out. I guess I am used to people beign afraid to go behind a car if they merely have their reverse lights on. It has shocked me several times to have a car zoom behind me as I was backing out!
  • Don’t go the wrong way. Here in RI, we have rotaries. These are intersections where everyone coming into the intersection turns right and goes in a circle until they come to the road they want to turn onto. If you want to go straight, you still have to go around the rotary. If you want to turn left, it can be a bit confusing b/c you have to turn right and go all the way around. this is really a neat idea; it just takes a little getting used to.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple of years ago at Christmas, we had some very yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Mom’s house. Unfortunately, we forgot to mark which recipe was so delicious. I searched online for Betty Crocker cookbooks and found the recipe below. I wasn’t able to tell if this is the same recipe because my memory is not that good and because I edited the recipe a bit to make *egg-free cookies.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins, chopped nuts or semisweet chocolate chips, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat all ingredients except oats, flour and raisins with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in oats, flour and raisins.
2. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

* To substitue for an egg, use 1.5 Tbs water, 1.5 Tbs oil, and 1 tsp baking powder for each egg. This will alter the texture somewhat.

The 7 Year Old Babysitter

Last week, Luke and I made plans for an at home date on Friday night.

Here’s how we planned it.
We would have our meal in our own kitchen while the kids enjoyed a picnic in the floor in their room. After eating, we would have our movie in the living room while the kids watched one in their room (on a laptop). Anna would be named official babysitter and have Luke’s cell phone to call us whenever she had a question. She even requested to change B’s diaper.

Here’s how things really went.
We had a nice peaceful dinner complete with a tablecloth, candle, and china. The kids were too caught up in their own picnic and coke (a special treat) to interrupt many times. We ended up watching our movie in short bursts in between checking on and tending to the kids. We took the phone away because Peter started calling for the fun of it. Anna did change B’s diaper and did a great job! The least interrupted part of the movie was when the older three kids had settled down a bit, and Bethany was in the room with us. Things went quietly from there until toward the end of both movies. We eventually got them settled again and finished our movie. Then Anna did bedtime routine with the boys including prayer and stories, and they all came for bedtime hugs and went to bed.

Some would say that the date was a complete flop, but I have hope for future dates with our 7 year old babysitter. Most of the interruptions were questions she had regarding her very first babysitting experience. That is understandable. I hope that after doing this several times, things will go a little more smoothly. And, hey, maybe by the time she’s 12 or 13, she will be able to babysit with complete confidence.

We are hoping to have dates like this once a month (although maybe not always with table cloth, candle, and china). Stay tuned next month for the results of “The 7 Year Old Babysitter II.”

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11 Ways to Beat Time at His Own Game

Luke and I have discovered that we do not get along with Time very well. Somehow he always runs ahead of us and beats us wherever we want to go. Here are a few ways that we have fooled Time into thinking he is winning when we are really giving ourselves a head start.

We do everything possible the night before. Here are some suggestions:

  • lay out clothes for everyone including socks, shoes, and belts
  • pack diaper bag, purse, laptop bag, etc.
  • decide what’s for breakfast (make pancake batter and refridgerate)
  • prepare pot for tea
  • pour drinks into cups, cover, and put in fridge
  • set the table or at least make sure your dishes are clean. 🙂

Here are other tips to help beat Time:

  • Put everything by the door that you plan to take with you (purse, laptop, coats, diaper bag, etc)
  • Make a list of anything you can’t put by the door the night before (like lunch or a favorite blanket) and tape it to the door (even if there is only one thing on the list).
  • Fool yourself into thinking you absolutely have to be out the door half an hour before you really do
  • Make up a morning checklist (we use a dry erase marker on the mirror), and check off (or erase) actions as they are done. (This is helpful b/c I don’t have to ask Luke if he brushed Phillip’s teeth. I just look to see what is still on the “to do” list).
  • Have everyone clean up after themselves by washing their own breakfast dishes, or at least putting them in the sink or dishwasher.

Please let me know if you have other suggestions for beating Time. Moxie and I would love to hear from you!

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A New Look

Luke has been teaching me how to edit the style sheet for my blog. It is SO exciting to see a change in my blog that I did (mostly by myself)! 🙂

The background picture is one we took in 2005 while on vacation in Texas. I used a tool called pipette to find colors for the links and headings based on the colors in the picture. This was very fun and quite addictive!

What do you think about my new look?

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A Name Change

Well, I knew the day would come, but it came a little sooner than expected! Anna Marie has decided that she likes just “Anna” better than “Anna Marie.” The reason? The name of her best friend in Rhode Island is Hannah. We have been talking about how Anna and Hannah have the same meaning because they originated from the same word. Plus Hannah and Anna rhyme.

After “Anna” told me she wanted to change her name (or not use both names), I said, “OK, but it might take a little getting used to. I’ve called you ‘Anna Marie’ for over 7 years now.” She thought about it a minute, and then said, “Well, I guess you can keep calling me ‘Anna Marie,’ but I want anybody new I meet to call me ‘Anna.'”
I will try to start calling her “Anna.” I decided when she was very young that I would agree to the shorter name should she ever decide she liked it better. It might take a while, though. I am still adjusting to her decision that she doesn’t like being called “Banana Marie!”

Well, I guess my little girl is growing up!! Wait….haven’t I said that before?

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A Lesson Learned?

This is probably the hardest post for me yet. It is about very important opportunities in life that you should never let pass you by….yet I have. And I’m not proud of that fact. I think it is important that I share this. Maybe it can help others. Maybe it can even help me.

When I was in high school, I rode the handicapped bus to and from school because my brother, Timothy, was in a wheelchair. I sat on the bus every day near a boy about 2 years younger than Timothy who had muscular dystrophy just like Timothy did. I knew the disease and knew it was terminal. While still in his early teens this little boy unexpectedly passed away due to his disease. It wasn’t until then that I realized that I had missed the opportunity to tell him about Jesus. I had at least a half hour ride each way to school every day. Why did I not step out of my shell to share something worth coming out of my shell for?

About ten years ago while on a mission trip to Colorado, I was assigned to a small church in a very small town. My missions partner and I led a children’s program in the park, which included a Bible lesson and a time of singing. One day I encountered a pre-teen girl there whom I had never met. I talked to her and felt the Spirit nudging me to share Him with her. But we parted without me saying a word to her about the Heavenly Father. I felt awful, and the awful feeling grew as the evening wore on. It was dusky when I got back where I was to sleep, so I decided to search for the girl the next day at the park. After searching for a long time and keeping my eyes open for her until I had to go home from the trip, I had to face the fact that I had missed the opportunity to speak to her about the most important Person ever!! The opportunity was not likely to come again.

One of my pastor’s points Sunday was something that I have always struggled with. The tongue is a very strong weapon that can be used to harm others if we are not careful. I had also read James 3 earlier in the week. Evidently it did not go very far into my brain, or more importantly, into my heart. Tonight I got into an argument with a total stranger in the bathroom at Wal-Mart because my 3 year old looked under the bathroom stall door at her. She did not know he was so young at first and was extremely upset about it, but I could have eased her emotions by smiling and pointing out his age and the fact that he meant nothing by it (and was only looking under because I asked myself out loud if anyone was in that particular stall). Instead I matched her mood with my own, and was very rude to her (in front of my children, I might add).

As soon as she left the bathroom, I felt God say, “Tabetha, you knew better than that and should not have done it.” Too bad I didn’t listen a little sooner. I was so busy beating up on what I perceived to be my enemy to hear His voice! I ended up siding with the enemy (Satan), instead. I searched all over the store several times for her, but she was not to be found. I had, yet again, missed an opportunity. I sat the kids down right there in the store and told them that my behavioir had been wrong, that I had been a bad example, and that I had very possibly ruined my testimony for Christ to that woman.

As I shopped, I kept finding myself muttering, “I can’t believe I let this happen again.” I have cried and prayed multiple times, but you know what? That opportunity very likely will not come again. I blew it again – even with God’s reminders to watch my tongue earlier in the week!

While I know there are several lessons to be learned from these three instances, the most important one is probably this: Listen when God speaks to you or nudges you in a certain direction, especially when it involves sharing Him with others. Some opportunites only come once. In all three of these stories, someone missed out on an opportunity to hear about a loving God who could change his/her life for the better….because of me.

I hope you never find yourself in this situation. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. If you ever do find yourself in a situation similar to the ones above, please do not forget that there is one thing that can still be done. Pray! Pray! Pray for that person! Even if God never uses me to reach the two remaining people mentioned above, He could still send someone else into their paths. “Oh, Lord, let it be so. I know I failed, but please don’t allow them to suffer such a severe punishment due to my disobedience! Help them to open their hearts to you.”

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Nothing Else Matters

I was forwarded the following story. I didn’t want to forward it because I didn’t want to send everything at the bottom of the forward. You know, “send this to 5 people,” etc…. I just wanted to share it. So, here it is on my blog.

You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to the game you want to see or the meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you’ve ever heard fills the air. The sound is high above you.

A trumpet?
A choir?
A choir of trumpets?
You don’t know, but you want to know.

So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up. As you do, you see you aren’t the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot. Car doors are open, and people are staring at the sky. Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store.

The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt. Players and parents are searching the clouds. And what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen.

As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the Earth. There are no shadows. None. From whence came the light begins to tumble a river of color spiking crystals of EVERY hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky.


Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, “Holy, holy, holy. ”

The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship.

Presently the movement stops and the trumpets are silent, leaving only the triumphant triplet: “Holy, holy, holy.” Between each word is a pause. With each word, a profound reverence. You hear your voice join in the chorus.

Suddenly, the heavens are quiet. All is quiet. The angels turn. You turn. The entire world turns, and there He is:


Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King. He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud. He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his Declaration: “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”

The angels bow their heads. The elders remove their crowns. And before you is a figure so consuming that you know, instantly you know:

Nothing else matters. Forget stock markets and school reports; sales meetings and football games. Nothing is newsworthy. All that mattered, matters no more….

For Christ has come .

There was no author information on this story. If anyone knows who wrote it, I will gladly give credit where it is due. 🙂

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Apple Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Here is a yummy snack that Luke and I came up with.

1 small apple diced
1 heaping T of peanut butter (creamy, crunchy, or mixed)
1/4 c dry oatmeal
2-3 T apple juice
A good drizzle of honey

Stir all this together thoroughly and enjoy. Note that these measurements are estimates. I usually do not measure the ingredients. Have a nice snack!!

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