Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Best of the Best in Hometown, Texas

Today, our local newspaper published a section called "Reader's Choice: The Best of the Best". Area residents submitted their votes for businesses/people, etc. they deem the most worthy of recognition in certain categories. For example, the "award" for Best Family Entertainment went to the local bowling alley, followed by the movie theater. Some of the other Best awards included: Best Doctor, Best Fries, Best Builder, Best Italian Food, Best Funeral Home (Are you kidding me?), Best Hair Stylist (Mine did not make the list, so I must file a protest, because she is absolutely adorable and she keeps me from having a "brown helmet" hairstyle like Sally Field in Steel Magnolias.) and Best Oil Change, just to name a few. Big Joel and I had plenty of giggles at our own expense, as well as the members of our community. But the thing that made me laugh out loud, the best of the Best of the Best, if you will, were the "winners" in the Best Place to See and Be Seen category. Are you ready for this...
The Best Place to See and Be Seen in "Hometown", Texas (drum roll, please)
#1. Main Street Winery(not its real name, but if you're a stalker reading this, I don't want you looking me up)
#2. WAL-MART!!!!
So I ask myself, "Has it come to this? My social circuit revolves around Wal-Mart?" I admit that each Monday morning when I'm doing my shopping for the week, I keep a running list of People I See and Speak To, as well as People I See and Hide From. I text the totals to my friend Johanna, who understands my dark side, and knows that I'm not trying to be rude. I'm simply trying to avoid uncomfortable situations and also keep my milk from spoiling.
Then, the other question that comes to mind is, "If this is the place to see and be seen, why don't people take more care in their appearance? Like maybe, put in your false teeth and put on a bra?" I will concede that I am usually spotted in workout clothes. But that's to give people the illusion that I'm not only caring for the needs of my family, but that I'm also health conscious and have either just come from the gym, or plan to go there after I put away my groceries and before I start the afternoon carpool rounds. However, since I don't frequent the Winery, perhaps I should put a better foot forward when it comes to my public appearances. Maybe now that the word is out about Wal-Mart being the "hot spot" in town, paparazzi will be hiding in the produce section. Yes. Yes, I must remember to check my lipstick from now on...

Monday, September 29, 2008

To Know Me Is To Love Me

I read on a blog coaching site the other day that you should make your blog personal so that people feel like they really know you. So I decided to share 5 things that my "readership" may or may not know about me. Or more appropriately, 5 things you may/may not CARE to know about me. Anyway, I'm thinking of making this a recurring feature, but only if you leave me comments and tell me 5 things about yourself. That's only fair. Why should I be the only one to share my crazy?
1. I'm an only child. (That explains a lot right there, doesn't it?)
2. I do not like to have my feet touched. (I nearly have to take a Valium just to get a pedicure.)
3. I always park on Row 15 at Wal-Mart. Always. (Even if there's a closer spot, I'm afraid I'll forget where I parked my vehicle and have to wander aimlessly around the parking lot looking silly with my groceries.) Wal-Mart. Always low prices. Always Row 15.
4. I took Karate in college. (I had to drop out after two weeks because we had to go barefooted--see item #2)
5. One of my alltime favorite comfort foods is "Tunafish Gravy and Waffles". (Its better than it sounds. Really it is. I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested. Any takers?)
I've bared my soul, now its your turn...

Weekly Pic--Happy Birthday Daddy

My daddy's birthday is this week. In his honor, I've chosen one of my favorite pictures from Christmas 2005. So, happy birthday Daddy! How much longer til I'm as old as you?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Don't Need Another Hero

I was sickened yesterday morning when I read the headlines of our local newspaper about a pastor from a neighboring town being arrested on child pornography charges. I live in a small town. He lives in an even smaller town. In the cliched words of every 10 o'clock news sound byte, "You just don't think that would ever happen here."
This turn of events is just another in a long line of atrocities and indiscretions perpetrated by men of God. One of our former pastors boasted from the pulpit weekly that he had accountability partners--Men who could ask him at any given moment, "How's your spiritual life?" and "How's your personal life?" But at the end of day, he answered those questions the way he knew he should, but not necessarily truthfully. Our next pastor struggled with issues of integrity. I'm not sure even he knows the truth about who he is.
And so, now we are in an interim period yet again. I cannot even begin to describe the toll these men have taken on our church. Yet, they are not solely to blame. How many Bible study leaders, deacons, laypersons, etc. are just like them? How many of us get up on Sunday morning, fight with our kids all the way to church, and then put on a happy face and pretend like everything is alright? How many of us feel the need to hide our hurts and struggles for fear that others would think less of us? How many of cannot even be truthful with ourselves about who we really are?
This past Sunday night, when our interim pastor took the pulpit to bring his message, he was visibly struggling. He tried to regain his composure, but to no avail. He finally apologized for bringing his personal life to the pulpit and sat down. His son was ill and the burden had become too heavy for him to bear. We had a time of prayer for him and his family. Not the kind where people take turns praying out loud with their Thees and Thous. Not the kind where you don't hear what others say because you're trying to think of what you want to pray. And not the kind where you're nervous because someone else might start speaking at the same time you do and that would be awkward. No, this was the kind of prayer where we fell silent on our knees before the Lord, pleading and agonizing for our brother who was hurting. Genuine intercession.
I have been thoroughly blessed, challenged and even chastised by this man. He has spoken truth to us every single time he has stepped into the pulpit. He has exhorted us and reprimanded us. But most importantly, he has been authentic, transparent and real with us. He has shown us that he has nothing to hide. He's "one of us". He does not claim to have all the answers. But he lays claim to the One who does. He's not necessarily the most eloquent or polished man I've ever heard, but he's definitely one of the most genuine. And I will take that over a flashy, well-packaged, self-proclaimed hero anyday. Pastors talk all the time about "leading by example". Dr. P set an example of the kind of vulnerability and transparency that I hope to find in our next pastor, as well as in myself.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Famous Last Words

Yesterday I went through the drive-thru of a favorite restaurant for my sweet tea fix. When the oh-so-nice man in the window handed me my drink, he asked, "Do you need any napkins with that?" "No, thank you," I replied and thought to myself that the fast food chain must be trying to become more eco-friendly by cutting back on its use of paper products. That's fine. Who needs napkins with sweet tea anyway? Famous last words...
As I pulled out into the traffic flow of a major thoroughfare here in my quaint little hometown, Dale Jr. came racing down the straitaway forcing me to accelerate quickly to get out of the way. (Ok, so it wasn't really Dale, Jr., because if it was, I would have let him crash into me so I could get an autograph and maybe a year's supply of Amp.) The point being Bubba didn't realize that Main St. is not the Texas Motor Speedway. Anyway, can you guess what happened? My precious sweet-tea-nectar-of-life spilled all over the passenger seat of my blessed little Jeep! And of course, I had no napkins.

This reminded me of other times in my life when flippant quips have become "famous last words." Such as the time my inspection sticker had expired on my vehicle. My oh-so-thoughtful colleagues at the time suggested I take the afternoon off to renew it. "No, No, thanks. I'm going on a trip tomorrow and I'll get it done in the morning before I leave town." Famous last words...
I volunteered to make the lunch run to pick up food for everyone and on the way back to work, only a few yards from my destination, the friendly Man-in-Blue pulled me over and gave me a gentle reminder on a pink piece of paper that the state of Texas does not look kindly on letting your car inspection sticker expire, not even if it is only 28 days past the renewal date.

And then there was the time when I boasted about having never locked my keys in my car. Famous last words...
Over the next two months, I proceeded to lock them in 3 times. Not just once, not twice, three times! And one of those times just happened to be at a gas station on Christmas morning. Bah! Humbug! Who knew Mr. Scrooge was a locksmith?

The ultimate has to be when my husband and I swore we would never return to our hometown except on holidays. Its a nice enough place, we just wanted to raise our children in a metropolitan area where there's more to do on weekends than cruise up and down Main St with an occasional pass through the Sonic. Oh, no. We will never move back there. Famous last words...
God really has a sense of humor, doesn't He? Yep. Here were are. Right back where we started. Our children are being taught by teachers who taught us in school. I've discovered that driving 25 miles to the nearest Target is easier than it sounds. And most importantly, I've learned not to talk ugly about people, because someone who's related to them is probably sitting in the booth next to you at the Dairy Queen.

So who was it that said, "Let your words be soft and sweet, because tomorrow you may have to eat them."? I suppose a glass of sweet tea would help them go down a bit easier. But this time, yes, please may I have some napkins?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

BA--Bloggers Anonymous

I might be addicted to blogging. My husband and friends can tell you that I have an addictive personality which is why I choose not to consume alcohol or play the lottery. For a while I was addicted to Solitaire on the computer. Then came Text Twist, Tetris on my cell phone and a list of other computer generated games. My latest obsession is Facebook, and of course, blogging. But technology is not my only weak spot.
Let's discuss food. The current craving is Serendipty Salt from Chicken Express. I enjoyed it so much on my chicken that I Googled it and found the supplier is based not too far from my home. I ordered the 4lb bucket. (Hey, its cheaper than crack.) Also on my list of obsessions: chicken flautas from Taco Cabana, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, sweet tea and sloppy joes with cole slaw. How unfortunate that I can't be addicted to low-carb/calorie-good-for-you-foods. But then it wouldn't be called an addiction, it would be called "healthy living".
What's next? Oh. Television shows. I only have two, actually. The Office (season premiere tonight! Woot! Woot!) and American Idol (If I were younger and single, I'd be all over David Cook--yet another obsession).
The final addiction, or at least the last one I'm willing to speak about publicly, would be jewelry making. I spend hours on the internet looking at beads, materials and techniques. Then, I spend more hours sitting at my dining room table going through my bead repertoire. I'm always on the lookout for beads or other found objects I could possibly turn into jewelry. Always.
As you can see, I have an affinity for a wide variety of things. I fiercely love them. Fortunately, this has not led to any restraining orders, yet. Blogging is kind of like therapy for me. So if its therapeutic, then how could it be considered obsessive? Maybe I could re-phrase my original statement to, "Hello, my name is Denyse and I am an addict." Acknowledging there's a problem is the first step...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Those who know the heart of God are those who have looked for it
like an explorer. God wants to be known, but He wants to be known by those who are genuine seekers. He makes the gospel very clear and accessible, but He reserves the deeper secrets of His heart for those who respond to His call to follow Him in true discipleship.

From A Call to Die
David Nasser

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Mother's (Unoriginal) Prayer

Today, as I was blogstalking, I came across a post about praying for your children. So since I have not-an-original bone in my body, I decided that this would be a good topic for a blog of my own. I heard my youth minister say one time that she prayed three things for her daughter every single day. So, again with the inability to produce original thoughts, I adopted that same prayer when our first child was born thirteen years ago and have prayed it for both of our daughters every since.
The first thing I pray for is a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This has now become a praise, because both of our girls have made public professions of faith. Instead of slacking off though, now my prayer has become that they will act on that saving knowledge every single day, that they will be ambassadors for Christ, and that their thoughts, talents and actions would all be directed toward bringing God glory.
Secondly, I pray for the friends they make. When I was growing up, especially at the age that HannahKate is now, my friends were everything to me. So I pray for the salvation and spiritual lives of the girls (and boys, ugh) that my children trust and value as friends.
Third, I pray for their future spouses. There's an old Wayne Watson song, Water-Colored Ponies, that talks about praying for the little girls that will grow up to marry his little boys. Its terribly sappy, but it is honestly a beautiful illustration. My mother knew long before I did who I would marry. She might not have known his name, but she called out the qualities and character traits boldly before the Lord on my behalf. I still remember when I was a freshman in high school, she said to me, "You know that little Joel, he is so handsome and he looks at you with such kind eyes." Of course, I rolled my eyes and sighed. (I've made a mental note to never try to steer my girls in the direction of a particular boy because that only drives them away. Instead I have a secret list of boys I'm praying for in case any of them turn out to be "that little Joel") Oh, and I also pray for their future mother-in-laws. When I say this, people think I'm kidding. But I'm not. I am so very blessed by both my mother-and-father-in-law, that I want my children to enjoy that same blessing. The way I see it, they are the ones responsible for raising the man I love so much, and they did a darn good job! So many of my friends have meddling or wildly disfunctional in-laws. I pray that somewhere in the world right now, there are two sets of parents praying for their sons, the girls (Hannah and Hallie) they will marry and maybe even praying for me, too! (I sure hope so, because I need all the prayers I can get.)
So there you have it. The three things I pray over my children. Do I miss a day? Occasionally. Do I claim to be the perfect parent? Pshhh, far from from it. But, do I still believe God will answer my prayers? Absolutely.
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekly Pic--Sunset in the Sacred Valley

Sunset? Or moonrise? Taken at dusk on the return trip to Cusco from Macchu Picchu.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Birthday Blog for Dilbert

My friend, Elizabeth, has a feature on her blog called "I Love You Because..." in which she honors those closest to her on their birthdays. So today, in honor of Elizabeth's birthday, I'm copping her idea.
Elizabeth, I love you because of your fabulous sense of style. Being 12 years my junior, my first recollection of you is a little girl in frilly-froo-froo dresses sitting on the steps of our sanctuary listening to the children's sermon. I believe you wore a Leslie Luck's blue and white sailor dress to my wedding, complete with the huge square collar and even huge-r bow. We cringe now, but in those days that was trendsetting fashion! You are still my go-to person when it comes to clothing. When in doubt, I ask myself "What Would Elizabeth Wear?" and you haven't failed me yet.
I love you because of your adventurous spirit. We've been everywhere, Man (props to Johnny Cash)... Mexico, San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Colorado, New York, Florida, Peru...the list keeps growing and so do the fun memories. Whether its a mission trip, a road trip or a shopping trip, you are a great travel companion. You understand that its not the places we visit that we remember nearly as much as what we ate while we were there.
I love you because you give great gifts. I don't mean that as selfishly as it sounds. Its that you don't just go to your Martha Stewart gift closet and pull out a generic present. You really put a lot of thought into the recipient's likes, needs and personality. (Flannel pajamas at Christmas are still one of my all-time favorites!)
I love you because of the way you love my girls and the role model you are to them. You were the first person to ride in a car with HannahKate behind the wheel. (So what if it was Disney, it was still unbelievably courageous) You come to volleyball games and school plays that even I don't always want to be at. You appreciate the girls' sense of humor and encourage their individual talents. I am so thankful that they have you to look up to and to go to when I'm too much of a "mom" to remember what it was like to be 13.
I love you because of the way you love others so unconditionally, like your students and the people of Peru.
I love you because of your passion for knowing and understanding God.
I love that "I don't know" is an acceptable answer when we discuss deep theology.
I love the way you laugh, and the way I laugh so much when we're together. One day its gonna get us in trouble, but til then let's just keep giggling.
You are the sister I never had and I'm flattered when people think we're related (as long as they don't think I'm your mother!) So happy birthday, Dilbert! You sure look good for 40!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Than I Bargained For

You know the old saying, "You get what you pay for"? That is not always true. Earlier this week my friend Johanna and I spent the day shopping at a huge handbag store that carries designer look-alikes and jewelry for cheap, cheap, cheap. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Johanna will ever take me back there again because I suffer from the plague of indecisiveness. She was very patient with me as I opened and inspected no less than 101 wallets. She listened politely to my critique of each one's good and bad features. I finally had to put the wallets down and walk away. So then we moved on to handbags. I had gone in search of one particularly adorable purse that a girl from church had this past Sunday. Evidently, everyone else also thought it was adorable, because there were none left by the time we got there. So disappointment, coupled with the massive inventory (minus the one purse I wanted) only added to my predisposition of being unable to make a decision. I finally settled on one style that I liked. But then came the task of choosing which color. I was relying on Johanna for help to talk me through this. I personally liked the golden toned leather one, all though unsure of the everyday practicality. Johanna tried to steer me toward a more reasonable choice of classic brown. Very pretty, but boring. I am 41, I'm boring enough without any help from my handbag. Then she found the pewter colored one. Oh.my! It.was.GEORGOUS! Unfortunately, I already have a bag that I currently carry when I'm wearing black or colors in the "cool" family. If I got the pewter purse, that would only add to my decision-making stress because then I would have two viable options. I needed a purse to carry with my "warm" color wardrobe, which is why I kept gravitating back to the gold bag. Not too gawdy, but trendy enough to say, "I'm really not as boring as you think I might be." Johanna, wearied from the 3 hours we had now spent in the handbag super-store, finally gave in and encouraged me to go for the gold. She said, "If it were me, I'd get the brown; but if I were you, I'd get the gold." (Translation: Go for it sister, but don't say I didn't warn you.) We made our final purchases and went to lunch at an amazing Mongolian BBQ place where you choose your own ingredients and spices and they cook it up for you. I'm really a pretty good cook after all because my meal was de-li-cious. (Of course, I probably wouldn't be able to recreate it the next time I go, but hey, that's the way I cook at home too--different every time regardless of the recipe.)
Now back to the purse story. When I got home that evening and was showing the day's treasures to my oh-so-sweet and handsome husband, he kept sniffing around my shopping bags. "What's that smell?" he asked. "Oh, its your purse." I grabbed it away from him only to discover he spoke the truth. My beautiful golden handbag reeks with an unidentified chemical odor. I have tried all I know to rid the purse of the smell. I've sprayed it with fabric deodorizer inside and out. I've hung it in a well-ventilated area to allow it to air out. It might be a little better, but I can still smell it...and worse, so can everyone else. I was so excited about walking down the streets of New York next month with my stylish bag and maybe even finding myself on the "Do" list of a major fashion magazine's "DO's & DONT'S" column. But now I'm afraid that if I carry my bag on the subway, the ATF might be called because of the unidentified chemical odor permeating the train car. While I don't mind a little adventure, being added to the "Possible Terrorist Watch List" is taking it a bit too far.
And so, in this instant, I not only got what I paid for, but I got more...a foul smell. Next time I shop at the Off-Brand Purse Mega Store, I will have yet another factor to consider in the decision-making process. Yep, I'm pretty sure Johanna will not take me back there. And I do not blame her. Not one bit.
P.S. On a bright note, I did finally choose the 102nd wallet I looked at. It's a lime green, faux alligator, slim line clutch. I love it! (and its odor-free)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dear Prude-ness Sings the Beatles

Our friends Lindsey and Marlon are getting married this weekend. Last night I went to her bachelorette party/lingerie shower. First off, I must confess, I'm a prude. Its not something I'm proud of, but its who I am. Since I wear huge sunglasses and a ballcap (like celebrities at the airport trying to be incognito) when I shop for my own "unmentionables", the thought of buying lingerie for someone else makes me break out in hives. Or shingles. I can't remember which is the one you get when you're stressed, but neither is pleasant. So instead I opted to go the sentimental, mushy route for my gift. I made her a necklace with the words "I Do" and the date stamped on little silver tags. To complete the mush, I added a Swarovski crystal dangle the color of the bridal party's dresses. I was relatively pleased with the result.

We went to a Dueling Piano Bar for the party. I must say it was a lot of fun. The musicians took requests and made every song into a sing-a-long. I realized that I can never be a contestant on "Don't Forget the Lyrics". I realized that not everyone is as much of a Johnny Cash fan as I am. Who knew? I also realized that I am old. One of the girls with us made the comment that the songs reminded her of Jr. High and High School. I was thinking how they reminded me of college and the birth of my first child. Finally, I was reminded of what a sheltered life I lead in my little insulated-smalltown-bubble-of-isolation-from-the-real-world. They do not sell rainbow colored lollipops in the shape of male anatomy at any of the stores in my hometown. No, they do not. And did I mention that I'm a prude?

Anyway, we laughed...a lot. We laughed at the musicians witty banter. We laughed at the people around us who had consumed too much alcohol. We laughed at the naughty gifts bestowed upon the unsuspecting bride by a bunch of otherwise clean-living church women. So even though I'm a prude, I had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

One of my all time favorites...

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Jim Elliot

October 28, 1949

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

I love my precious youngest daughter. Really, I do. She is usually funny, oh-so-funny. She is also smart, scary smart. She has a lot of very positive qualities. However, there is this one character flaw that I really wish someone could help me with: she is a whiner. There are days (and today was one of them) when I swear the child must have stayed up all night the previous night compiling a list of things to whine about. It must be very hard work. Now, I have been know to occasionally indulge in a little whine myself (no comments from the Peanut Gallery, please) but I cannot even begin to hold a candle to Hallie once she's on a roll. Here is a small sampling of our day...
"But we don't have anything for breakfast" (Yesterday was grocery day. The pantry and fridge are both full.)
"But I want to wear pants today because its freezing cold." (It was about 68 degrees, so she put her legs and feet through the sleeves of her school sweater which gave her the appearance of a Dr. Seuss character and made me grrrr just a little bit.)
"But she got to ride in the front seat yesterday" (The front and the back seat are both going the same place and arriving there at the same time, so I do not understand why this is such a big issue)
"But I just want to play for a while before I do my homework" (What have you been doing for the past two hours down the street with your friends?)
"But why can't we go get dessert with Elizabeth and Paige?" (Because we just ate mega-rolls smothered in butter and huge platefuls of pasta for dinner...with Elizabeth and Paige)
"But there's a bug in the laundry room, so I can't go in there" (Well, at least he's a clean bug if he's in the laundry room.)
"But I don't have any underwear." (I know, a little TMI, but the point is the aforementioned bug was guarding the laundry room where all the clean underwear is kept.)
"But why does Hannah get to do it and I can't?" (Ummm, let's see...maybe because she's 13 and you're 8?)
And one of my all-time favorites: "But I'm too tired to go to sleep." (Oh, well then by all means why don't you turn on the TV and watch Home Improvement reruns until 3 a.m.)
Of course, her sister gets in a good whine now and then as well. Yesterday she was upset because her least favorite teacher moved her from the spot right next to his desk to the very back of the room because she is one of the few who does her homework and behaves in class. Let's recap, she doesn't like him so now she doesn't have to sit close to him and its because he's taken note that she's a good kid. This should be a good thing, but for some reason it struck a sour note. *shrug*
Honestly, I have no idea where my children have learned to whine like that...must be their dad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly Pic--Lunch with Friends

I took this in January in Tulum, Mexico. We were flirting with danger by eating at a foreign establishment of questionable health standards. But, hey, they have "Air Conditioned Burgers". Sometimes you just have to embrace the wild side. Wasn't it nice of the cat and the dog to share their table with us? Although we opted out of air conditioned burgers, we did enjoy some really yummy chicken tacos. Oh, and beef ones, too. Yes. Yes, we did.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Perfect Job for Me

I was spending way too much time on the internet this weekend and I saw an ad for "Life Coaching". I've heard about life coaches before, but hadn't really given it much thought...until now. Wikipedia defines life coaching as:
"a practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches use multiple methods that will help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals... Life coaching also draws inspiration from disciplines including sociology, psychology, positive adult development, career counseling, mentoring, and other types of counseling. The coach may apply mentoring, values assessment, behavior modification, behavior modeling, goal-setting, and other techniques in helping their clients."
And it hit me...this is the perfect job for me! No one is better than me at assessing someone else's lot in life and quickly identifying the problem and/or solution. I am a veritable wealth of health, parenting, friendship and marriage advice. I am wise beyond my years. As my precious youngest daughter used to say emphatically, "You KNOW things, Mommy!" And I do! I have either personally experienced it, know someone who did it, or have read a book about it. This coupled with my spiritual gift of discernment (or paranoia, as Joel likes to call it) gives me the credentials to be the ideal life coach. I've known for a long time that if people would just listen to me, the world would be a happier place. If they'd just give ear to my misgivings, they'd save themselves a lot of heartache. If they'd just heed my advice, they wouldn't get themselves into so many predicaments. Now, I do try to refrain from being the nosy old lady in Wal-Mart who makes it her job to tell you that your baby is yellow because you feed him too much squash or that double-breasted suits really look better on "slimmer fellows". I mean, that's just rude. But the way I see it is, I'm here to help you. Why waste all this wisdom and common sense? Its been said that people don't appreciate things as much unless there's a cost involved. So, if I charge for my services as a life coach, then everyone wins! People get the benefit of my expertise without feeling they've taken advantage of me and I am compensated for my effort for, alas, it is a heavy load I bear. **sigh**

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Like Ike

Please don't think I'm unaware of the devastation that is currently being wrought by Hurricane Ike. I kept the TV on all night to listen for updates on his progress. I've prayed for those I know as well as those I do not know who are in his path. I realize that peoples' lives have been changed forever and that the life they knew yesterday now no longer exists. I understand that millions of people are without electricity at this very moment and possibly might be for 2-3 weeks. I'm not at all excited about the imminent price spike at the gas pumps. But since I like to see my glass as half full instead of half empty, here's the silver lining. There's just something about being "hunkered down" in my cozy little home that appeals to me. Joel should be home in an hour or so and the girls' activities have been cancelled so all my people are with me. We have food on hand, so lunch and dinner are covered. We have absolutely no obligations today. What a luxury to get out of the shower and put on my flannel flamingo pajamas as my outfit for the day! So, I'm settled in with my people, some food for sustenance, my pajamas, and steady rain falling outside...I think I'm having an "International Foods Coffee" moment. Do I plan to get even one thing accomplished today? No. I do not. I like Ike.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rollin' Old School--Part 2

To borrow a line from Paul Harvey, "And now....the rest of the story..." So about two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to drive the Ol' Truck by myself for the first time. Joel had given me a list of instructions of what to do, what not to do, how its in "Drive" even when the needle looks like its in "Neutral", how to put the key in upside down and how to hold your mouth just right so the thing will start. I was so proud doodling down the road to pick Hallie up from school! It was a little warm as I waited in line at the school. I also became increasingly aware that, for some reason, I don't look near as cool as Joel when he drives. I tried to look relaxed and confident, but its pretty hard to do when you have to move the seat all the way forward to touch the pedals and grip the steering wheel tightly at "10 and 2" in order to maintain control over all the horses under the hood. When Joel drives, he looks like a man driving a piece of Americana that makes people stop, stare and reminisce about the "good ol' days". I, on the other hand, look like redneck, white trash. When people stare at me at stop lights, they seemed surprised to find that I have all my teeth and only 2 "young'uns" with me. Why is that?
Once Hallie was in the truck, we still had about 20 minutes before it was time to get Hannah. So, of course, we went to Sonic. We pulled up to the drive-thru lane first, but apparently no one saw us in that huge mint green tank. A little perturbed, I lumbered the truck into an actual parking place and pressed the red call button...which did not elicit the speedy response I had hoped for, but I was trying to set a good example for my daughter, so I refrained from pushing it another 20 times and yelling, "Hello! Is this thing on?" The little silver speaker box finally acknowledged me and I placed our order. It was simple enough: 2 large sweet teas and an M&M Blast. Unfortunately, we had to wait for the tea to arrive on the slow boat from China. Let me just say this...its summer...and I'm in TEXAS...oh, and just in case you forgot...there's NO AIR CONDITIONING! Those who know me well, know that I do not like to be hot. It makes me cranky. Sometimes it even makes me cuss a little...I'm trying to get a hold on that. To add insult to injury, a friend from church pulled up beside me in her nice, new, air conditioned Tahoe. She rolled the window down and said, "I don't think I've ever seen you drive that before." To which I replied, "No. No you haven't. And there are reasons for that...the greatest of which is...there's NO AIR CONDITIONING!" She smiled politely and raised her eyebrows as she rolled up her window so as not to let the precious cool air from inside her own vehicle escape and probably also to keep me from frightening her children. When our order finally arrived, I threw that old truck into "Reverse" (which really looks like "Park" on the gear shift) and headed for the open road. Hallie asked, "Where are we going?" To which I replied, "To the highway. So we can drive fast and get some air circulating in here!" This tactic did help to improve my mood a bit and the danger of saying cuss words in front of my eight year old quickly passed. Thank you, Lord.
We finally picked HannahKate up from school and rode home enjoying our sweet tea. I made a promise to myself that I would not complain to Joel about how hot it was and instead focus on the fact that I didn't kill the engine or squeal the tires, not even once. (Except for maybe twice) And thus, my first outing in the old truck had come to an end. I did it. I proved to Joel, the girls and myself that I could do it. I feel the need for a pat on the back. Thank you, thank you very much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rollin' Old School

My handsome husband drives a classic 1965 Ford truck. It has been in his family for nearly thirty years. His dad bought it from the original owner for Joel's older brother's first vehicle. When Older Brother got a job and purchased a totally rockin' '79 TransAm (brown, complete with huge Firebird sticker on the hood), the truck reverted back to Poppy, my precious father-in-law, who drove it for many years. He was the jr. high principal here in our small town. When he finally opted for a new truck, the ol' Ford made its way to our home. The truck is a most distinctive color of 60's mint green and therefore impossible to escape unnoticed. We hardly ever go anywhere that someone doesn't say, "I remember your dad driving that old truck. When he pulled up at the Jr. Hi, it struck fear in our hearts. There was this one time when we (insert stupid jr. high prank here) and, oooooowheeee!, he lit our backsides on fire!" (I hope you read that with your very best redneck twang...and a plug of tobacco makes it sound even more authentic. And I must add that Poppy is what I like to call a "gentle giant". He doesn't say much, but when he does, people listen. And those were the days when corporal punishment was not only legal, but encouraged. To get "licks" from Mr. B was a rite of passage.) But I digress...
Its fun to go to Sonic in the old truck on a summer evening and get a vanilla coke...very "American Graffiti". One of my favorite sights is Joel driving down the road with his arm on the back of the seat and the girls' heads just barely visable from behind, of course now that Hannah is taller than me, its lost a little something, but it was soooo cute when she used to wear that little "fountain head" ponytail on top of her head. I also enjoy riding "cowboy girlfriend" style by sitting in the middle even when no one else is with us (especially because it embarasses HannahKate). Now all this nostalgia is not without cost. The truck does not have air conditioning and only in the past year did we add power steering and power brakes. Due to said lack of power steering/brakes and the fact that engine is more powerful than the Space Shuttle thrusters, I have never been able to drive the old beast until now...which was originally the point of this story. But now I've gone on and on and on and I think Blogger might have a word limit on its posts. (Or maybe because I don't like to read really long blogs, I assume other people are the same way) Anyway, I'll stop here and save the adventure for next time...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New! Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Alright, since I'm totally fascinated with this blogging thing, I've decided to add a new "feature" called Wednesday Words of Wisdom. I plan to include quotes from a variety of places such as books I'm reading, conversations, Scripture, sermons, or anything else that interests me. I really enjoy doing the Weekly Pic because it gives me a framework to go on...in other words, a lazy person's prompt for making sure they post at least once a week. So now, my "regular readers" will have something to look forward to on Wednesdays! (Perhaps some of you over there in my Blogroll should try a weekly feature also....) So here goes the first installment of Wednesday Words of Wisdom:

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is
established;through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful
Proverbs 24:3-4

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Weekly Pic--Sunset on the North Shore

Words can't do it justice, so I won't even try...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Blog About Nothing

So its 11:30 p.m. on Sunday and I'm just now washing school clothes for the upcoming week. But thanks to my lengthy afternoon nap, I wasn't planning on going to bed any time soon anyway. Since I have two loads left to go, I thought I'd spend a little time blogging because I check my blog roll daily, and you people do not post nearly often enough. However, instead of sending you snide remarks about the frequency of your posts, I decided not to be a hypocrite.
When I first began telling people I had a blog (I kept it secret for about 3 months because I'm insecure like that) one person said, "Oh really? What is your blog about?" (Please imagine a snooty, upturned nose and fake British accent. I don't think that's what she intended, but that's how it plays in my memory) Evidently this is why I'd been keeping it secret. I didn't know a blog was supposed to have a "theme". I thought it was merely a form of self-expression, an online diary of sorts and had therefore adopted the Seinfeld approach of "a [blog] about nothing". So this comment made me self-conscious and I hoped I would not be kicked off Blogger once the blog patrol found out I was merely taking up cyberspace. Joel reads about a bajillion different blogs of pastors, businessmen, writers, and other cool, trendy guys who all have a theme or purpose. One friend devoted her blog to chronicling her homeschooling adventures. Another person I know bakes something new everyday and posts recipes. I follow a lady who makes really cool jewelry and blogs about it. Another couple has committed a year to volunteer at an orphanage in Peru. Other people use their blogs to stay connected to family and friends who live far away by posting updates on their children. Unfortunately, there is not one single area of my life that is interesting enough to merit its own blog. I am not smart enough, disciplined enough or talented enough to say "Because I am an expert at XYZ, I'm going to start a blog to encourage all the other XYZers out there." However, maybe that's the thing that makes my blog unique...that there's nothing unique about it except for me. If there's one thing I'm an expert at, its being myself, especially since there's only one of me. However, this brings the question, who really cares? So while I don't aspire to become the next BooMama, hopefully the few of you who read my blog will enjoy it from time to time and get a little chuckle now and then. I guess I do this mainly for my own entertainment. Its cheap therapy, and because I never know exactly who's reading, it helps me keep my emotions in check. I always try to refrain from posting things that could affect any future political aspirations I might have :) (Hey, I wear lipstick too, Sarah!) All I know is I enjoy doing it, so hopefully the blog patrol will continue to allow a blog about nothing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Weekly Pic--It's a Small World

This week's pic is from our trip in June 2007 to Disney. Believe it or not, it was my first time to go to the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Elizabeth and her mom thought it would be fun and invited us to tag along. Now, while I had never been to DisneyWorld, I have been to DisneyLand twice. Neither experience convinced me that this was the "Happiest Place on Earth". The first time involved blacking out from heat exhaustion/dehydration (seriously, not exaggerating for the sake of artistic license) and the second time involved one of the worst migraines of my life in which I wound up taking unidentified prescription medication from a complete stranger. These two experiences mixed with three other important factors: 1.) I don't like being hot. 2.) I don't like amusement parks; and, 3.) I don't like traveling with my children, made me somewhat skeptical about the trip. In fact I didn't even tell the girls about it until Elizabeth spilled the beans. I had planned to pack their suitcases while they were sleeping and load the car without their knowledge. How cool would that be? Just imagine, "Mom, where are we going?" "Oh, no where in particular....wait, look over there! It's Disneyworld! Let's stop in for a bit, shall we?"
Mr. G and Big Joel both had "previous engagements" that prevented them from going, so the stage was set for "Girls Gone Wild". (Wild in this case refers to crazy, giggly, we've-been-in-the-car-for-days wild, not the other wild that refers to getting drunk, signing a waiver and then losing your dignity on late night TV.) To make a long story not quite so long, we had the most wonderful adventure! There really is something magical about the Magic Kingdom that softens even hard-hearted cynics like myself.
So Joel and the guys are going to Disney this weekend and the girls and I are not...not that I'm bitter or anything. Unfortunately, Tropical Storms/Hurricanes Hanna, Ike and Josephine will probably spoil most of the fun, and Joel is working so we wouldn't see him much, and the girls have school, and since I quit working we don't have as much "disposable income". In other words, sometimes the real world gets in the way of the "Small World" (After All).