In Which I Expose You to More Randomness. My Apologies. And Understanding If You Don't Bother Reading.

~~ All it's doing at my house right now is raining.  Just plain ole rain.  While the rest of our area is getting all this crazy winter weather, we're getting boring ole rain.  The weather lady in her perky suit and helmet shaped hair called it "The Triple Threat" this morning on TWC.  I know...because I watched TWC for 2 hours this morning begging for her perky suit to tell me that we were going to get SOMETHING.  ANYTHING.  Besides boring ole decaf rain. 

I actually don't know why I care.  Since I'm home now, snow and ice and whether school buses can run their routes safely really shouldn't matter to me.  But for some insane reason, I still find myself perusing the school cancellation tickers at the bottom of my tv screen and pleading with the inaccurate weather persons to tell me something that I want to hear.  I think it is just ingrained in my educator bones.  Once a person who lives for a snow day sleepin, always a person who lives for one. 

~~ In other news, our remodel is officially close enough to being done to call it "done."  We're all moved in and are living well in our new living space.  As evidenced by the twelvity hundred and five lego pieces that are scattered on my new floor.  For the record, legos hurt my bare feet lots more when I step on them on hardwood as opposed to carpet. 

Be patient on the after-pictures of the remodel (ahem, Jim-Dad)....they're coming.  Just finishing up a couple of details before the big reveal.  I also am searching for a megaphone so that I can channel Ty Pennington.  And Walmart was fresh out last time I checked.

~~ Moving on.  Other interesting tidbits of information:

~~~ The children are wearing the same clothes that they wore two days ago.  I'm thinking it is possibly time for a bath.

~~~ Every bath towel that we own has been out of commission this week.  We have moved on to the beach towel stash.  I pretend like I mean for it to be this way.  What with wanting to transport the family to beachy places during this nasty winter rain weather and all.  I'm a good wife and mother.

~~~ My besties and I pretend that we are grownups every week and go out for coffee while our kids are occupied at a local church activity on Wednesday afternoons.  We always go to Cracker Barrel because of the desserts it has the best coffee in town.  Not being ones to hurt any one's feelings, we decided that we would help the Barrel out by trying the new cheesecake on the menu.  It was slap your mama good. 

~~~ I've decided that I wear pajamas way too often.  The other day I pulled on a pair of jeans and threw on a plain ole white tee-shirt and cardigan sweater.  Nothin' fancy.  But Tate walked into the bathroom where I was putting on ONLY mascara and asked why I was getting all dressed up.  I said, "I'm not dressed up, honey."  To which he replied, "Yah, you are.  You're not wearing your jammies."  Point taken. 

I obviously didn't listen.  I am currently wearing a pair of hot pink fleecy polka dotted monkey pants.

~~~ Yesterday I posted a picture of my new haircut.  Thanks for all your sweet comments, but I'm still highly embarrassed for the mascara running down my face and the crow's feet that have more than scratched their way into my face.  My friend Jackie mentioned that her little girl saw my picture and said that I was pretty (jeepers, I'm blushing) and that I looked like Princess Fiona. 

Now, you see, I'm a boy mom.  I don't know my way around the princesses.  Give me a quiz on Wookies or Jedis, and I gotcha covered, but exnay on the rincesspay.  So I had to ask my BFF, Tiffani, to remind me who Fiona was and if she was pretty.  Tiffani quickly reminded me that Fiona happened to be the ogre chick.  From Shrek.  Awesome.

Surely Jackie's daughter meant Pre-Ogre.  Surely???

If not, I not only will be scheduling colorpy, but also a full on chemical peel for ye olde skin.  And a trip to Jenny Craig.

On that note....

I'm taking my monkey pants and heading for the couch.  I've heard naps are good for the skin.

And green is most definitely not my color.


Gray. Schmray.

So the husband calls Sawyer "Red."

And Sawyer is making a habit of calling his daddy "Black" in return.

After such an exchange last night, I asked Sawyer what he would call me if I started calling him "Red."

Without missing a beat, he grinned that freckle-faced toothy grin and said, "Gray."

Thanks a lot, kid.

I will now be scheduling a colorpy with my hairapist.


Speaking of hairapy.  I got a new sassafras cut the other day.  I've been waiting until I was all fixed up and had my cute on to take some pictures, but since I never go anywhere and rarely slosh makeup on my face anymore, you are going to have to deal with the wrinkled raccoon-eyed picture that was taken that afternoon.


When Our Worlds Collide -- Taking the Time

Last week I made the commitment to dedicate a portion of my blog to missions awareness.  Some of you may have read that particular blog post and probably sensed my aching heart coming through the words.  The Lord had provided me with a heaping dose of conviction, and I was struggling to find my way under all the pressure of that burden.  I knew that I was being called to do something, but was positively unsure as to what the something was.

In keeping it real, I still have zero idea. 

I just know that I'm supposed to be doing SOMETHING.

I have been praying about what to write here today.  About what to say.  Perhaps there was a specific need I was to mention.  A specific missionary that was in need of prayer.  A country maybe.  A inner city ministry right here in the States. 

But nothing was standing out as THE something.

I clicked through different organizations' pages and links, searching for something that the Lord would stop my heart for.  Letting me know that I had found it.

Still nothing.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm incredibly moved and called to pray for each and every story and prayer request that I ran across, but I wasn't feeling like it was the SOMETHING that Jesus was calling me to share here.

And then I saw it.

It wasn't anything but a picture.

But it spoke volumes to me.

The woman is Haitian.  But she could be from anywhere.  Her dark skin could be fair.  Or she could be Asian.  Or Hispanic.  Her clothes don't match, but they could...and it wouldn't matter.  She's pregnant.  But she wouldn't have to be. 

None of that matters.

What matters is what she's doing.  She's taking time out of a crazy absurd horrific situation and looking to the One who brings Peace.  She recognizes that the Giver of All Good Things didn't mean that the good things were always tangible.  And she's going to the only Source of Help that she can fully and 100% rely on.

Look at her.

And be amazed. 

Photo from IMB


A Play. About the Mystery of Nuggets. And I'm Not Talking Chicken.

A little history to get us started: 
It is possible that our children have a slight aversion to the handles found on standard toilets.  A slight aversion meaning they forget to use them.  It is also possible that their aversion to bathroom fixtures extends to toilet paper.  As in..they don't use it.  Judge our parenting all you want, but it doesn't matter how many times we discuss the need for wipeage and flushage...it seems to go in one ear and out the other.  And we continue to discover gifts in the potty. Gifts that aren't wrapped.  If you get my drift.  The husband has become prone to refer to these little treasures as the "poop nugget."  Thanks to our big mouths and lack of knowing the definition of T.M.I. our commitment to openness and honesty, the infamy of the poop nugget is spreading.  Lucky us.  Now...on with the show....


  • BABY DADDY -- also known around these parts as "The Husband."  Dressed in work clothes and sawdust stuck to his head.  Fresh in the midst of The Great Remodel of Twenty Ten (TGRTT), his nerves are about shot and possibly a little less patient than usual.
  • MOI -- that's me.  Wearing Tinkerbell pajama pants and a Razorback shirt.  Because I have insane style sense.
  • THE RASCALS -- a collection of the most rowdy, handsome, ornery little men I've ever met in my life.  Dirt smudged faces, mismatched socks, and looks of pure innocence upon their sweet cheeks.
  • Our home.  In compete and utter disarray thanks to the remodeling project that is sucking the very life breath out of us, but yet at the same time still comfy and homey.  Like in the dirty socks in the hall way and yesterday's lunch dishes still in the sink kind of way. 
ACT 7328. SCENE 3.

The scene opens with THE RASCALS playing in the living room.  BABY DADDY and MOI are working on various projects pertaining to the TGRTT, and there is an air of general contentment in the air.  BABY DADDY exits the room and heads down the hall to the restroom for a little..uh...break.

BABY DADDY:  (voice booming) AMBER!  Come here!

MOI:  (rolling eyes, thinking that she had just restocked the toilet paper)  What in the world?

BABY DADDY:  Just come here.  I need to show you something.

MOI:  (gives audience a confused look...because although she is a curious individual, she isn't THAT curious.)  Coming. 

MOI makes way down the hall to the bathroom to find BABY DADDY standing in bathroom with hands on his hips staring at the floor.  Focus shifts to...get ready...a POOP NUGGET in the middle of the floor.

BABY DADDY:  Do you see what I see?  We have now graduated to poop nuggets in the floor.  Do you see that?

MOI:  Uh. Yah.  I see it.  But I didn't do it.  (surely that could have gone unsaid, but felt the need to defend herself)

BABY DADDY:  (yelling)  BOYS!  Get back here.  NOW.

THE RASCALS take off stampeding down the hall to reach the BABY DADDY who is maintaining his stance of poop nugget frustration.  MOI takes the opportunity to slink away and leave BABY DADDY to handle that bundle of fun on his own.  MOI resumes place in living room and continues with her previous task.

BABY DADDY:  (audience can here muffled voices as the interrogation proceeds)  says a battery of things like:  Do you see that?  Who did this?  Your mother and I didn't do it, so we know it was one of you?  That is disgusting.  Look how far away from the toilet that is.  Which one of you was it?

THE RASCALS soon return to the living room with confused and dazed looks, whispering amongst themselves.  BABY DADDY enters with stern look and body posture.

BABY DADDY:  (obvious gruffness)  Mama, we have a LIAR in this house!  A LIAR!

THE RASCALS:  (all begin speaking at once and super quick on the defensive)  It wasn't me!  I haven't even pooped today!  I know I poop a lot, but I wouldn't do that!  I did go poop today, but I didn't do it!  It wasn't me!  It wasn't me!

Some time passes.  MOI continues to giggle at herself while she works.  THE RASCALS continue to hash out the possibilities of who left the poop nugget on the floor.  BABY DADDY returns to the room, still looking gruff.

BABY DADDY:  Mama, has anyone fessed up yet to leaving the poop nugget?

Heads shake.  BABY DADDY rolls his eyes and leaves the room. 

The lights go down on the stage and one lone light comes on in the bathroom in the hall.  MOI quietly enters the bathroom.  The spotlight hits the poop nugget STILL ON THE FLOOR.



MORAL TO THE STORY:  Apparently Baby Daddies may take great offense to poop nuggets.  But not so great of an offense to mind it being left in the floor. 

But I suppose in any great case, evidence is to remain untouched until all evidence has been properly processed (no pun intended!), and the investigation is complete.

You may now refer to the husband as Horatio Caine. 


I Do Not Understand Boys. And Other Questions Totally Unrelated.

Hey, Amber, so are you still in the middle of The Great Remodel of Twenty Ten?

Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  As is evidenced by the restraints that are currently holding my hands back from clawing my eyes out one pupil at a time.

So what have you been doing while you're waiting on the husband to finish up?

Aside from meandering around aimlessly and shuffling piles from one spot to another, I've been trying to clean up the few areas in my house that I can still reach.  The ones that aren't piled up or reserved for more piling.

So that's loads of fun, huh?

Oh. Sure. Especially when you sweep under your CHINA CABINET and find these.

No telling how long those suckers have been under there.  And I don't even want to know how they got there.  And, no, they aren't the husband's. *wink*


When Our Worlds Collide

What happened in Haiti this past week was devastating.  The news coverage showed faces of the hurting.  And the dying.  And the lost.   It is heartbreaking to see the impoverished become even more so.  To know that within seconds a natural disaster can wipe out mass amounts of people.  People who seemingly didn't have a chance anyway.

The same thing happened in 2004 with the horrid Indian Ocean tsunami.

And the AIDS crisis in Africa in the 90s.

The wars.  The famine.  The floods.  The cyclones. 

The tragedies that strike third world countries bring us to our knees.  In the same breath that we are begging God for mercy on the people who are affected, we are praising Him for our own comforts and conveniences.  We make donations to relief efforts.  We pack up extra shirts from the backs of our pregnant closets and drop them off at donation sites from the backs of our oversized mini-vans and SUVs.  We sponsor children and tack their wallet sized pictures on our refrigerators.  We weep at commercials on our big screen televisions that tell us that it only takes pennies a day to send a child in another country to school with shoes on her feet.  And we beg our children to finish up their Happy Meals and chocolate milkshakes lest they forget that there are starving children around the world.

I stand ashamed and guilty at the foot of the Cross.

Not that any of those things are bad.  But my complacency is appalling.

I weep the same tears over pitiful looking children on my television screen that I weep over my laundry room when I am feeling entirely overwhelmed by the daunting task that lies ahead of me.  I breathe a sigh of relief as those boxes and bags of clothes that are dropped off at the donation site because not only does it make ME feel good to be doing something proactive, it is freeing up some room for a little stop by Old Navy.  My speeches to my children about "starving children" aren't always about the desire to instill awareness in my kids, but more times than not it is about trying to manipulate their attitudes into being easier for me to handle.

If you don't know what I'm talking about and are appalled that I would even brave the keys to type such words, then I'm fine with your judgement.  But, my inclination is that the majority of you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Our hearts start out in the right places, desiring to develop true hearts of compassion and generosity, but we drift towards angles of self-centeredness.

It's ugly.  But unfortunately it's true.

And you know what stinks?

I know better.

I was young when I was an MK on the mission field.  And though I have distinct memories of the poverty and neediness of the Gospel, I will not sit here and tell you that my entire life has been devoted to the plight of the needy.  Because of my age, my experiences were just part of the norm for me.  I didn't make special efforts to note the significant.  Or record the prolific.  I was just a kid.  All that stuff I saw was as normal for me as Spongebob is for my boys.

But, at the same time, I DO know what I saw.

And maybe more than seeing the actual people who were living the lives of such devastation, were the missionaries.  The men and women of God that were willing to put their very safety and the safety of their families on the line for the sake of those people that had nothing to give in return.  I could talk about my mom and dad and their remarkable faith journeys.  But I could also tell you about a hundred more men and women just like them.

Please hear me.  Giving to organizations and being charitable and allowing our hearts to be stirred by crisis is the amazing work of the Father in us.  I believe that with all my heart.  I know that not everyone is called to full-time ministry as is obvious by my husband's secular job and my choice to be in my comfortable Bible Belt home raising my family.

What my hearts aches for is that I forget too easily.  It is easier for me to concentrate on MY own set of issues and MY own set of problems and play in MY own little world where everything fits MY way of doing things.  I'd rather focus on MY wants.  MY needs.  What would make this life easier for ME.

Disasters, like the one in Haiti, bring us (and I mean, ME.  I'm talking to myself.) back to reality that the rest of the world is out there.  That they need Jesus.  That they need what we as abundant Americans can offer.  But, as is usually the case, media coverage will begin to die down, our minds will begin to shift gears, and our blessed lives will begin their routines again.  Until something else happens to bring us to our knees.

I don't have the answers.  Not even close.  Because I'm still dealing with my own heart that is heavy with conviction, and I am praying that God will teach me how to throw off the chains of complacency and take up the yoke of urgency. 

Urgent to pray.  Urgent to give.  Urgent to be aware.  Urgent to become like Jesus.


Lord, make me urgent.


My apologies for this "thinky" post.  Many of you don't visit here to hear me preach a sermon or ramble about convictions.  And I don't blame you.  I wouldn't want to listen to me either. Light-hearted stories and the antics of my family are usually what abound here.  But in the spirit of authenticity, I must tell you that the Lord is currently walking me through a valley of self-examination and self-dissection.  These travels with the Lord are not fun for me.  They hurt.  And the road is hard and long.  And He and I discuss often as to the necessity of these valley trudges.  One area in particular that He continually brings to my mind is missions.  I openly confess that I have not acted upon the tremendous legacy that I have been left, and I am choosing daily (though sometimes it is an all out battle) to surrender to the work that God the Father has chosen for me to do. 

I will tell you that I am not feeling convicted to sell all of my possessions and pack up my family for the jungle.  And although I have the desire to travel and be in the bowels of these countries, I don't know that it is a true calling for ministry. 

What I am feeling convicted about is raising awareness.  Raising awareness of the world's people who are in desperate need of not only clean drinking water and food on a daily basis, but of Eternal Water and Food.  And raising awareness for the tremendous need of prayer for the missionary warriors that brave those front-lines.

I can't do much.

But I can do that.

I will soon begin dedicating a portion of my blog to mission's awareness, and I am excited to see where the Lord takes us on this journey.  If one person is stirred to pray.  Or to give.  Or to go.  Then His work is being done. 

The mission organization that my family chooses to sponsor is the International Mission Board (part of the Southern Baptist Convention) which is funded by gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  But there are other well-established and reputable organizations that hold the Lord's vision for missions dear and sacred.



I have had a bloggy request.  And since I'm at a loss for anything to discuss except The Great Living Room Remodel of Twenty Ten, which I'm most certain you are tired of hearing about (because I am), then I am more than happy to oblige.  That and because my good good buddy New Every Morning asked me to.

I think I've discussed my childhood in bits and pieces before.  But I don't know that I've ever devoted an entire blog post to my jungle-ality

I'm a jungle girl.  Raised where coconut and banana trees stretched tall to the muted gray skies.  The rivers and ponds were dirty and infested, and mud and dirt seemed to grow easier than grass.  The flowers were more beautiful than anything I have ever seen, and the dark hues of the people's skin were as pure and beautiful as chocolate. 

When I was a toddler, my parents began the very long process of preparing themselves and our family for a life of service on the mission field.  I have never in my life met anyone with more of a mission-minded heart than my father, and we were about to embark on a journey that would forever change all of our lives.  Our family had a few hiccups in the process what with some medical delays and such, but when I was 5 years old we said goodbye to our grandparents and extended family and boarded a plane for Asia to become part of the Foreign Mission Board family (now the International Mission Board, or IMB). 

We spent almost 4 years in Bangladesh, a very primitive 3rd world country that juts up next to India.

We lived in the capital city of Dhaka for a year while my parents were in language school.  My sister and I attended an American School during that time, and our whole family settled into a period of trying to adjust to the tremendous culture shock that comes with moving to the jungle from the land that flows with Walmart and super sized fries.  I think everyone would agree that I had the easiest time of any of us.  As a small child, I acclimated well. I became fluent in the language, spent endless hours playing with my ayah and the other household servants, and learning to love the food and the environment.  That new world was full of things to explore and learn and do, and I soaked it up.

After a year, my parents, equipped with the language well enough to begin their ministry, packed our family up and moved us to village life.  We lived in the village of Comilla for our remaining time in Bangladesh (If you look on the map:  just southeast of Dhaka).  Our home was inside a large gated compound, which provided me the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside playing.  Being young, I never noticed the people hanging out of their apartment windows just to catch a glimpse of my white skin and blonde hair.  My sister, however, was older and did notice.  And she rarely left the house because of it.

Michele and I were homeschooled during that period of time in Comilla, and when she reached 9th grade, she went to boarding school in Thailand leaving me an only child.  I spent my days playing in my room and busying myself with my toys and playing with our servants...my only playmates.  Our gardener and day guard was a Muslim man named Abdul, and he became my best friend.  I know that sounds weird and strange...but it wasn't.  He watched out for me and never tired of me "helping" him in the garden (or at least never let on that he did!).

That's me and Abdul shelling peas. 

My dad was heavily involved in one of our mission's primary ministries, installing tubewells in villages so that the people would have access to clean drinking water.  He also provided a means of income for local village women by giving them embroidery projects.  Dad's sewing circle changed the lives of many families in Comilla both financially and spiritually.  Dad was also involved in relief work and spent many days out of the week in the villages sharing the Gospel with the Bengali people.

A village woman fetching water from a newly installed tube well.

Jim-Dad teaching his sewing class.  If you look on the board, you can see that he was writing in the native language. 

What came from the hands of one of the ladies in the circle.  Gosh. It's beautiful, isn't it?

My dad overseeing a boat building project as relief work.

Sharing a meal with a gathering of villagers.  That's right.  Eat with your hands.  On the ground.  Only way to eat curry! *wink*

When I was 8 years old, my dad answered the Call to transfer our family's ministry to Thailand. 

The English speaking church in Bangkok was in need of not only a pastor, but of general help.  The church was struggling and needed strong leadership.  Our family moved into the parsonage next door to the church, and my dad got right to work.  Another bonus was that my sister, who had been in boarding school there, was able to move back in with us.

My sister and I attended the International School of Bangkok, and quickly settled into modernized and Westernized life.

Thailand (or at least the parts that we were in) were so very different from Bangladesh.  The hustle and bustle of the Bangkok city were a far cry from the mud huts and dirt roads of village life.  We quickly became used to the shopping and the luxuries that come with a booming Asian metropolis.  McDonald's.  And department stores.  And swanky hotels.  And enormous buffets of food.  Definitely not the onslaught of poverty that had been staring us in the face the previous 4 years.

It's actually very sad how easy it is to become so used to modern conveniences.  Regrettably, it didn't take long for my mind to shift gears and focus.

My dad remained the pastor of the church there in Bangkok until I finished up my 8th grade year.  My sister had already returned to the States to attend college, and my parents were being faced with the decision about my schooling.  The options had turned to boarding school for me or homeschooling, and after much prayer, my family packed up and headed across the big water.

I started 9th grade in an American high school, and my dad became involved in mission ministry here in the States.  And we've been here ever since.

Of experiences on the mission field, most siblings tend to share memories and outlooks.  My sister and I, however, are very different on our takes as MKs (missionary kids).

She struggled when she was younger.  I didn't.  I struggled when I was older.  She didn't.  While she holds our time in Thailand dear, I hold our time in Bangladesh as treasured.

I'm a jungle girl.  That time of my life stirred something in me that I feel shaped me to be adventurous and eager to see and try new things.  Though I can become grossly entrenched in bouts of materialism, the memories of nothingness and poverty haunt me.  The people of Bangladesh still hold a special place in my heart, and I would love one day to revisit.  To see it.  To minister.  To show my husband and my children where I come from.

The old adage is most certainly true.

You can take the girl out of the jungle. 

But you can't take the jungle out of the girl.

No matter how many pairs of GAP jeans and Quarter Pounders you buy her.  You just can't.


Vintage. A Word for Ugly Clothes.

As you know I'm way over my head and gasping for air up to my knees in this blessed remodel.  In between going out in public with my hair shining with various paint splatters and breathing in drywall dust, I've been working through some kind of design process in my head.  As I've already mentioned, this is not my spiritual gift.  I am not on the list for Heaven's interior decorating committee, and I've already decided that if Jesus gives me a choice, I'm inviting my good buddy New Every Morning over to my mansion to decorate it for me. 

But in my minute attempts to feather my nest (there's that phrase again...oy), I have decided that on one wall I am going to try to throw together some kind of photo collage thing.  You know....lots of frames that are all matchy and mismatchy and such.  (I saw it in a magazine....so it must be okay.)

I've gone through my pictures and sorted and sifted.  All while trying to remember the days when I actually took my film to the processor to get developed; paid $4.68 for a stack of photos that may only have 7 good shots in the bunch; and sprang occasionally for doubles.  I've picked some of my most favorite ones of the boys from when they were younger that I'm going to turn into black and white, but I also think I'm going to mix and match them with some of my most favorite old photos of mine and Kirk's families.

Wanna see?

Aw...you know you do.  Everyone loves old pictures.

And if you are like me, your favorite thing is looking at all the horrid fashion emergencies vintage clothing.  (Ahem, Carpoolqueen.)

Lookey there.  That's Jim-Dad.  Looking very smart in his skinny tie and killer glasses. 

This is one of my most favorite pictures EVUH.  That sweet chunk of a baby is my gorgeous mom.  And that beautiful lady holding her?  That's my Granny. 

Look at that hair on my mama!!!  And it was red, too!!  Even cuter!!!  That big ole baby is my Uncle James.  I love this picture because it is just precious, but it also hung in my grandparents house for as long as forever.  Makes it even sweeter when I see it.

This is Kirk's dad.  This picture is one of my most favorite.  I love his polka dot shirt.  I love his 50's curl swooning down his forehead.  I love that he is putting on his cologne.  LOVE IT.

Now there is almost too much in this picture to discuss.  The carpet and lovely draperies are enough for a post in themselves, but our fashion choices are my fave.  Jim-Dad's shoes are rockin', my mama's skirt makes me want to sing for Scotland, and my sister is rockin' the green pants.  (Mich...please still speak to me after this post.)

And here's Kirk's family.  Aren't they..uh...something?  I love his dad's purple ensemble.  Groovy.

Guess who????  That's me...in the quintessential Olan Mills portrait from the late 70's. 
And if you don't think I look like Jim-Dad in this picture, then you have done lost your mind.

I'm not putting this one on my wall, but it cracks me up every time I see it.  This is my first passport photo.  I was THRILLED. 

Nothin' like a good ole' pair of UnderRoos.  The husband is thanking me already, I'm sure of it.

And here's Don Johnson...uh...I mean, Kirk.  Miami Vice rocks.  And, no.  That wasn't a Halloween costume.  He dressed like that for real. 

Oy.  This one isn't going on my wall either, but because I have lost all pride in the blogosphere anyway, I decided what the heck.  Yes, I thought my bangs looked awesome like that.  Yes, I'm wearing a jumper.  When I was 13.  And yes, I thought I was gnarly cool.

I'm not putting this next one on my wall either, but I saw it when I was going through pictures, and remembered that it was the very first picture Kirk and I had taken together.  We were babies.  I made a habit of wearing ribbons in my hair, and fabric paint on my shirts.  And Kirk was too cool for anything. 

Trips down memory lane are fun, aren't they? 

Except when you realize that your mother actually let you out of the house wearing a puffy paint reindeer on your shirt.  And you were 18.  Not 3.

Geez, Mom.  Really.


In Which I Explain Why the Lord Didn't Make Me a Bird

I have become painfully aware in the last few days as to why exactly that Lord didn't make me a bird.

Although I have indirectly asked Him to several times.  Not like for real for real, but when I'm doing my best Jen-nay impression from Forrest Gump.  You know:

"Dee-uh God, Make me a buhd, so I can fly fah. Fah fah away frum hee-uh."

Moving on.

I'm pretty sure though that when the Good Lord was drawing in His sketchbook all of the creations that He had on His mind, when He came to me He said, "I'll make her a bird.  No wait.  She'll be a person.  Because she'll be forgiven as a person if she can't feather a nest."

What does "feather a nest" mean anyway?

Whatever it means, I can't do it.  I'm completely inept and disfunctional in that department.  All the feathering genes were passed to my sister, and I was left with only the ability to stutter and stammer my way around a Pottery Barn catalog.  I roam the home interior aisles at various stores and get all sweaty palmed and nervousy. 

Because it just isn't my thing.

My home is comfortable.  It's cozy.  And it fits us.  But it is the farthest thing from fancy or well-decorated..  And I'm perfectly fine with that.

But there is something about a floor-to-ceiling remodel that causes a person to do crazy things.  I know for some of you, the thought thrills you to no end.  But for me, it has just made me need to double up on the ole Prozac.

I've lost sleep at night rearranging furniture in my head.  And trying to envision picture placement on the walls.

The day I went to pick out paint, it is possible that I freaked out the 17 year old kid with slouchy jeans who was working the paint counter.  I second guessed myself.  And third guessed.  And sixty-seventh guessed.  I finally settled on a couple of colors only to turn around and settle on different ones.  Only to turn around and go back for the first ones I picked out.

Then there was the fabric for my new curtains.  I was drawn to a certain fabric but was unsure of anything except that I just loved it. And after flip-flopping between safe and not-so-safe, I just decided to bite the bullet and go with what I loved.  Because it's my house and I have to stare at it.  And I'm not planning on a Southern Living photo shoot anytime soon.

Then there is the flooring.  And the moldings.  And the trim.  And the new tiles for the fireplace.  And. And. And.

I'm so happy for you people who live for this kind of thing.  Your homes are beautifully decorated.  Your paint colors were chosen effortlessly.   And you can just hang a grouping of pictures on a wall without a second thought, and it just looks...well...good.

Me?  Not.At.All.

But I'm pretending this week.  I'm trying to feather my nest and stretch the wings that are not there. 

And once again, the Lord is confirmed in His creation.  He knew what He was doing.

A bird.  I am not.


Want To Know Some Random Stuff About Me?

* I'm under the impression that I would have been a fabulous dancer had my parents invested in lessons for me.  Having never been given the opportunity to don a tutu and those swanky, but oddly weird, toe shoes, I do a heck of a job making up for all that lost time by channeling my inner ballerina in my kitchen.  Daily.  Much to the chagrin of the men who live in my house. 

* My favorite all-time cereal is GrapeNuts.  Nothing like chewing on gravel to start the day off right. 

* I've met the Queen of England.  Seriously.  If you count "meeting" as standing on an upstairs balcony of a restaurant watching her motorcade go by.  Details. Schmetails.

* I have, however, for realz met former President Jimmy Carter.  He visited the church my dad pastored in Thailand while he was there on diplomatic business.  I even slept in teensy braids the night before so my hair would be all crimpy for the Prez.  Faincy.

* One of my most favorito snacks evuh is cucumbers in salted lemon juice.  It's an Asian thang.  But seriously delish.

* I have a weird food allergy in which I'm allergic to cucumbers.  Hold the phone there, good buddy.  What about the weird lemon juice thing?  Well, I'm not rightly sure.  But, to the best of my I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-talking-about knowledge, the lemon juice must kill the allergens.  Because I can eat the lemony ones for days, but feed me just a plain ole' cucumber, and my mouth and ear canals will itch for a week.

* I also am allergic to raw carrots, anything that ends in "-melon," and bananas.  And lest you think I'm crazy, I saw it discussed on Oprah by one of her very attractive guest doctors.  So it must be legit. 

* I have a tee-shirt fetish.  I will sign up for events if it means I get a tee-shirt.  In fact, tee-shirt disbursement is a high ranking criteria on my decision making list. 

* The whole time the husband was gone on his trip this weekend, I drove his ginormous Conan truck.  Because I didn't want to have to put gas in the van.  It makes sense. Even if I can't see over the steering wheel.

* I always have to sleep farthest from the door.  In my own room, hotel rooms, guest bedrooms....always farthest away.  Because if by some chance we are robbed by an axe murderer...I don't want to be the first to go.  So thoughtful I am.

* I returned a book to the library yesterday that had been missing since July.  July!  We are no longer on the bibliotheca blacklist.  The taste of freedom is indeed sweet, unlike the glare of the librarian as she reprimanded me in front of the offspring for being so irresponsible.  She also did not happily accept my excuse of it having been lost under my couch.  Since July.  Ok. You're right, that's gross.

* After several more attempts and a YouTube tutorial, I still am unable to make fire.  I will now be reneging my application video for Survivor.  It's okay though.  I was already considering pulling it due to the fact that I was having insane nightmares about millions of people watching me walk around in nothing but bathing suit bottoms and a cardigan sweater for 3 months. 

Now.  Your turn.
Tell me something random that I don't know about you.
And if your mind has gone numb due my inconsequential ramblings, here's a jumpstarter for you:

If you were forced to transform into a toy for the rest of your life, which toy would you be?  Why?

Here....I'll go first. 

I'd be the Barbie Primp and Polish Styling Head.

Not only does she have an amazing tan, but I love how Audrey Hepburnish she looks with her hands like that.  Very Breakfast at Tiffany's. And who doesn't want to be like Holly Golightly (minus the whole long cigarette stick thing)? 


And not to mention I'd then have folks making me over all the time.  Which is just fun.  And I live with boys.  So my makeover time has been seriously deteriorated.

And when they do make me over, I just look like this.  Remember?

Good times.


When Things Get Bad, Superman Gets Bound and Gagged

So the husband has been gone.  To a sales meeting for his company.  He travels a lot, and though I don't like it, I have gotten used to the splotchiness of his attendance here at home.  I can handle every kind of meeting EXCEPT sales meetings.  They grate on my ever-lovin' nerves.  Every year at this time, my knuckles turn white and every nerve that I have is clawed out of my spine.  Can't explain what it is about them that makes me get all Mr. Hydey, but let's just say it ain't pretty.

Not to mention that when he is away, I have to take over fire making duties for the fireplace.  And since Arkansas decided to get all cozy with Antarctica this week, not having a fire wasn't really an option.  One teensy problem.  I don't make fire.  When the Good Lord was doling out the spiritual gifts, He didn't bless me with fire making.  Not.tat.tall.

Add a go-round with a stomach virus that was hell-bent on stealing the one strand of joy that I had left intact, and I was an ever-loving mess.

So I went to bed.

Because it's what I do.  I draw great comfort from my flannel sheets and my remote as it flips between vH1 specials and Food Network cake decorating challenges.  It's therapy.  Therapy that wears cozy socks.

The children are usually patient during my days of psychosis that drive me to my hermitage.  They often times pile up in bed with me and talk so loud that I can't hear my shows and it is all I can do to not boot them out of my room head first snuggle up.  But when that gets old, they head out for their own entertainment.

Like rendering Superman helpless.

Poor guy.  Arkansas must be low on kryptonite. 

Later I walked into the kitchen to find something to feed the offspring, because I heard somewhere that even if you are snuggling flannel sheets, you still are required to provide some kind of nourishment for your children other than Slim Jims and Fun Size Snickers. 

And I walked into this.

Styrofoam sculptures. Shudder.

I'm quite certain that there is nothing harder to clean up than styrofoam bubble balls.  Because I think I swept up the same pile of the dangity little things 349 times. 

While we're discussing things that are bugging the fandango out of me, let's discuss this pretty little gem.

Can you see that?

That horribly terrible thing growing on my knee? 

It came from me thinking that I was 13.  And that I could still skate like a tween.  Yep.  I said SKATE. 

News Flash:  I can't skate like I am 13.  And I have the big ole purple people eater on my leg to prove it.

But I'm sure I looked all kinds of graceful when I fell. 

I'm just sure of it.


You Have Got To Be Kidding.... (Stories of What Is NOT Happening Around These Here Parts)

My laundry is all completely washed, dried, folded, and put away.  All hampers in my house are barren of dirty clothes.  Every bed is sporting fresh sheets, and every cabinet is filled with fluffy snuggly towels.  The members of my family are not having to fish for underwear in laundry baskets that are not scattered throughout the house, and the husband did not have to reuse a towel for the 56th time this morning.  I also have not had to rewash a load of clothes 5 times because I keep forgetting them.  I would never allow this to happen.

Speaking of laundry, my washing machine and dryer are very very clean.  They do not have soap gunk stuck all around the edges, and they also are most definitely not covered in lint from when I attempt to empty out the lint trap.  You could eat off those appliances.  That is if you are into eating in the laundry room.  I hear it is a fashionable thing to do in Constantinople.

My kitchen is also sitting pretty.  Every dish has been washed and put away, and there is not a skillet nor a muffin tin still sitting on my cabinet begging for a washing.  Every cooking surface has been de-germed, and if you look hard enough you can see yourself in the cooktop, because there is most definitely not a rather large remnant of a boil over issue. 

The remodel is coming along swimmingly.  My living room is beginning to resemble a usable living space that humans might actually want to habitate inside of, and it certainly is not anywhere close to "condemned" status should, say, the feds show up.  My children will not be taken away from me for the disaster area that is not present, and the lovely layer of white drywall dust that has taken over the every surface of the house is not a pain in my neck but instead is lending itself nicely to the wintry wonderland landscape that is January.

Fourth grade math is now my most favorite subject to teach.  Being a supreme mathematician, the endless hours of long division, fractions, and decimals are like music to my soul.  I awaken each morning to the sun pouring in my white dust laden window and say, "Hooray, Self! It's another day that you get to experience the joy that is math!"  The only thing that could possibly make me more giddy would be teaching Bernoulli's Law to a room full of Kindergartners while standing on my head and wearing a gorilla suit.

Because of the remodel, one of our two working satellite equipped televisions is out of commission.  This has resulted in the fantastic arrangement of the tv in my bedroom being taken over by the little people.  This has thrilled me and the husband to no end.  Because it is a blessed thing to go to bed and wake up with Animal Planet and Scooby Doo blaring in your ear and rolling over onto a pile of sour cream and onion potato chips that have mysteriously found their way in between your sheets.  It is such a lovely arrangement that we have decided to just get rid of our living room television entirely and just settle for our bedroom being Grand Central Station indefinitely.  Because it is just.that.awesome.

Our family has been surprisingly healthy this week.  Not one of us has managed to go through a box of Kleenex or a bottle of NyQuil all week.  No one has chapped noses or lips, and everyone is able to breathe perfectly out of both nostrils.  No one has been to the doctor, been shot with steroids, or prescribed heavy duty drugs.  We are the poster children of health.  Anyone sick? Definitely snot here.

No one around me is blogging anything good anymore.  In fact, this post about Facebook written by my friend New Every Morning is terrible.  Do not read it.  It is not true.  And it will not make you laugh.  Also, this post about the delightful weather we've been experiencing written by my buddies Whimzie and Tiffani  is also a piece of non-hilarity.  Not worth your time.  If you go visit them, don't say I didn't warn you.

Go forth, prosper, and have a horrendous day.  You all are most definitely not my favorite people.


Roots and Seeds. And I Hate To Garden.

I have never viewed myself as a grudge holder.

I'm usually very good about moving past hurtful issues and chalking painful situations up to bad days or hormones or misunderstandings.  And I'm not one that will be outwardly rude or mean to someone that has wronged me.  I may avoid, but I'm not vocal.  And I only avoid because I'm a coward and despise confrontation...not because I think I'm paining the other person in anyway.

But yesterday I was slapped in the face with the fact that I've been holding a grudge for awhile now that has really begun to eat away at the outskirts of my heart.  And most probably the inskirts. I have become more guarded with my emotions.  I am turning more inward.  And I don't like it.  Because that isn't the me that I know.  And it isn't the me that my friends know either.

A situation came up in my personal life some time back that presented choices that had to be made.  Choices that were wrong to have ever been an issue.  Choices that forced my family to go in a direction that we shouldn't have been forced to go.  Feelings were hurt.  Horrendously hurtful things were said.  And confidences and trusts were placed in jeopardy.

And it made my heart ache.

Countless tears were used up on the whole scenario, and thoughts and feelings confounded my body.  Thoughts and feelings that were so foreign to me.

And then I moved on.

Or so I thought.

But I realized yesterday that I so had not moved on. In fact, I had moved back.

The mention of a name or a word spoken makes my stomach turn.  A picture or a reference to something familiar makes me tremble.

And why?

Because I feel betrayed. 

And betrayal, I've found, is most usually a one-sided ordeal.  The person who does the betraying doesn't even realize it half of the time and is somehow able to move on without so much as a look back.  And the person who has been injured is left wallowing in a whirlwind of still just trying to process what all exactly happened.

My bestie, Tiffani, relayed an amazing piece of wisdom to me just today as I was discussing my feelings over with her.  She said that she had heard someone say once that "allowing a root of bitterness to grow is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person would die."

Now, I'm not going all Juliet and drinking poison, so hold your hotline calls.

But, I do think that that is an astounding image of what it feels like. 

I am bitter.  I know that I am. 

And I also know that I'm the one that is suffering from it. 

I'm hurt.  And I'm angry.  And I'm tired.

But I know that I have to let it go.  To move on.  To trust the Lord to dig deep in my heart and weed out that root that has taken a strong hold.

I could tell you that I've done it.  That I'm starting today knowing that it will be different.  That my heart is healed and that there is no looking back.

But it isn't going to happen like that.

I can tell you that Jesus and I are going to struggle a little bit with this one.  I'm going to fight him tooth and nail to hold on to the bitterness.  Not because I want it.  But because it's hard.  I can tell you that things are going to probably happen that are going to make this release journey worse.  The Evil One is going to pop up and use things to try to get me to yank the gardening tools away from My Jesus; to try to get me to hang on to my seeds and roots with full force.  And most probably, he'll succeed a time or two.

But I'm going to try.

I'm going to trust the Lord with the journey.  Even though it is going to hurt.  A lot.

The betrayal didn't happen in a day.  So I know that the healing won't either.

But it's time.

Definitely time.


A Fork In the Eye Would Be More Pleasant

Our living room now has drywall up. 

And the boys and I were able to get half of the room mudded and taped last night.

And all of that would be tremendously good news.


The big If.

If the husband wasn't sick as a dog.  He came home last night declaring that he felt like dog poop dragged in on the bottom of a shoe.  Lovely imagery.  Especially while dinner is cooking on the stove.

So.  The house in shambles.

The husband is pitiful yet trying to hold it together which just makes him more pitiful.

And on top of that....


I'm calling Al Gore today to have him send me the Global Warming for Dummies book. 


Demolition Day. Only Thing Missing Was Ty Pennington and His Bullhorn


The Great Remodel of Twenty Ten is moving right along.

And by that I mean moving right along into a myriad of other projects.

One of my good friends, CPQ, made a comment about remodeling projects like these being like the book of Numbers...you know. Such and such begat thus and so which begat whose and whats' it. 

She was right.  Ridiculously right.

What started with a little paint job has now begat new walls altogether.

Which has begat new flooring.

Which begat new insulation.

Which has now begat a new fireplace makeover.

I'm waiting to see what the fireplace begats.

Here's a few pictures of Demolition Day.

Remind me that I'm excited about this project.



Day One of What Could Possibly Be the Longest Ordeal of My Life

Skillets and an angel fresh off an Aruban vacation weren't the only thing I got for Christmas.

I also got new furniture for my living room.

The rascals had completely demolished our other couch and chair, reducing them to piles of...well....crap, for lack of a better word.  Two of the four legs on the couch had been completely ripped off, so the couch actually functioned more as a slide.  Of course, I had tried to construct makeshift legs out of dictionaries and a exhaustive Bible concordance (after much prayer that I wasn't performing any sacrilegious acts by doing so, of course), but the books usually just resorted to flying out of their posts as soon as one of the boys took a Superman dive off of the back of the couch.  Speaking of Superman, the boys had also taken to perfecting his style of leaping and bounding by using the back of the couch as their take-off platform, causing the back cushions to detach themselves and become nothing but a nasty mess of foam and fuzz.  A slipcover was then hired, but was used more for tent construction than actually covering the couch.  In a word....the furniture was gross.  Downright n.a.s.t.y. 

So new furniture wasn't just fun and trendy.  It was a matter of necessity. 

The husband knew better than to go out blindly and pick out my Christmas present.  So, on Friday, New Year's Day, we headed out for the torturous event of furniture shopping.  I knew exactly what I wanted, and my men were less than thrilled to humor me as we traipsed through endless stores petting fabrics and taking various makes and models for seat tests.  I'm pretty sure I placed the back pockets of my jeans on every couch in the 60 mile radius.

But then I saw it.

There might have even been a heavenly aura and an angel choir singing.

And I knew it had to come home with me.  It and its mate.  And its mate's mate.

Because sitting just inside the doors of a furniture store (which just so happens to have one of the most annoying commercials running on Arkansas television right now) was my new couch, huge ole' chair, and blessed ottoman. 

Cue Hallelujah Chorus.

These pictures don't do my finery justice.  But let me just tell you that they are definitely nap worthy.  And cozified book reading worthy.  And snuggle with my babies worthy.

And apparently remodel worthy.


You heard right.  I didn't stutter.

No sooner did we have the shipping plastic stripped off my blessed pieces of chocolate comfort, was the husband discussing remodeling plans. 

And he didn't waste any time.

We went and bought drywall today.

And he's starting demolition tomorrow.

And all I wanted to do was paint.

Welcome to The Great Living Room Remodel of Twenty Ten. 

This should be loads of fun.