Saturday, December 30, 2006

In Memoriam, President Gerald Ford

Former First Lady Betty Ford kneels
beside the casket of her late husband, President Gerald Ford.
Our prayers are with you, Mrs. Ford, as you grieve the loss of your husband.

* Photo courtesy of Reuters

Friday, December 29, 2006

I Won!

According to a commerical that keeps playing on TV, chances are that I am already a winner of a sweepstakes. I can enter today and win tomorrow.

Who knew?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

A Little Christmas Potpourri

1. If your child goes to bed with the sniffles Christmas Eve, give her some benadryl so she won't wake up at 4:30 AM to open gifts. Oh, and so she will sleep well...

2. One of the sweetest things evah- A letter to Santa asking for a TMX Elmo for her mommy. Oh, yes she did. I told her even Santa couldn't work those kinds of miracles, and that he probably gave the TMX Elmo's to all of the kids first, instead of to the middle-aged big kids like me.

3. I love A Christmas Story, but I do wish Ted Turner would use some creativity in his programming next year.

4. On the subject of TV, I found Pirates of The Caribbean an odd choice for Christmas day. Nothing says Christmas like plunder, pillage and swashbuckling nonsense. (I started to watch a little, but the creepy ghosts were too much for me.)

5. It makes perfect sense to shop at Target at 8:30 PM, the day after Christmas. After all, it isn't like I just received a lot of gifts or anything. Plus, whimsical Santas at 50% off!

6. After closing down Target, one must go to Wal-mart and peruse the gift sets, boxed lights, and ahem, whimsical Santas because Wally World is open 24 hours. You never know when you might need a leaf blower at 3:00 AM.

7. When you leave Wal-mart at 11:00 PM and enter the dark, cold parking lot, be sure to walk out with someone, like the creepy shopper or another woman shopping in her sweats without make-up. You will feel so much safer. Always have a plan of action, just in case. Thread your keys through your fingers as protection. I find that the sharp end of a key is most threatening to a thief with a knife.

8. In case the keys don't work, just whop him over the head with those two bottles of Martinelli's sparkling cider that you just purchased at an unbelievably low price. You have to protect yourself, and keep him from getting your whimsical Santas.

9. Just in case you didn't get enough, um, whimsy, go to Michael's on the day after the day after Christmas... are you following me?... and look for bargains. Your daughter is a huge help in any craft store. She will find the shiniest poinsettias in the store.

10. A great hamburger hits the spot several days after Christmas. I find that turkey and ham are just over done. They were soooo two days ago.

11. This is also a good time to decorate the gingerbread house that has been on the kitchen counter for a while, now. Lucky you, it is a kit and full of preservatives.

12. And mail the Christmas, I mean New Year's cards.

13. And catch up on blogging. :>)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Because it wouldn't be Christmas without lies and deception.

I finally realized why there really are no traditions for the day after Christmas, except for eating leftovers and taking out the trash. It is because after the cooking, eating, opening of gifts, eating, playing, and napping no one really has any energy left for any yuletide tradition whatsoever. Unless you count eating.

That being said, Christmas Day was one of the best ever. Last year, I was in the hospital unexpectedly and sort of missed Christmas. Although, Jesus was with me in the hospital room. He always meets us where we are. :>) Anyhoo, I was very glad to spend the day with my husband, my daughter and even my very needy, annoying cat.

I gave my husband a new grill for Christmas. It was a surprise, planned many weeks ago. He is very hard to surprise. This year, I even hung Christmas bells on the front door so that he could not sneak in from work while I was trying to stash or wrap gifts. Oh, yes I did. I have never, no never been able to pull off any kind of surprise anything for this man. He is just too clever. Or I am just not. It's hard to say.

So, surprising him with any gift, much less a huge one, is hard. A grill was a big challenge. I purchased it weeks ago. It was assembled and scheduled to be delivered last Friday while husband was at work. The plan was to hide it on one side of the house, covered in plastic. After all, it is made for outside.

Everything was looking all rosy until the store called at 6:00 AM Friday morning to tell me that they were on their way to deliver our grill. You read that correctly. The sun was still sleeping, but apparently the local home improvement store is so on-the-ball that they arise before the chickens and deliver people's grills. You know, because most of us wake up to throw a rib-eye on the barbie before we have our coffee.

What I didn't know is that, as I was telling the home improvement store delivery guy what time it was, my husband had picked up the extension. Sigh. When I convinced the delivery guy to come at a decent hour of the day, I walked back to bed and met hubby in the hall. Lucky for me I told him it was a "wrong number."

I'm good, but I can't lie very well before 6:30 AM. I'm more of a night person.

Since it was a "wrong number", I didn' t have to make up a lie as to why someone we know would call us at that hour of the morning. Most of the time, when the phone rings at that ungodly hour, it isn't good news.

Everyone went back to bed. Husband went to work. And the home delivery guy brought the grill at 7:50 AM. I hid it in the planned location, covered it in trash bags, and hoped for the best.

It wasn't until that evening that this conversation occurred...

Husband-"When the home delivery guy called, I thought you were giving me a grill for Christmas."
Me-"Why? Did you hear him on the other line?"
Daughter- piercing look from across the room
Husband-"Yeah. Remember? I said I had it, and then you picked up and I hung up."
Me-"Oh. Well, it was a wrong number. I told him Didn't he know it was 6:00 in the morning?! and he had a wrong number. We've had a lot of calls like that. I think someone else had our number before we did. I hope whoever did buy a grill, finally got it."

At first I thought husband was just going along with the whole surprise, for the sake of our daughter. I really wasn't sure until he saw it Christmas morning, sitting on the back patio with a big red bow. (after I sneaked out of bed at 1:00 AM to move it in the cold, dark rain. That's love.) He seemed to be really surprised. Or maybe he was just delirious from sleep deprivation.

We opened our Christmas gifts at 4:30 AM.

My daughter woke up with the sniffles and couldn't go back to sleep. After a few minutes of pleading and begging, I just gave up. Ok. Let's see if Santa came.

He did. It seems that Santa is a night person too.

More on the rest of our day later... ;>)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Not-So-Perfect Perfect Night

I was feeling a little stress this morning, getting ready for church, thinking about everything I still needed to do before the clock strikes midnight tonight. The Martha (sister of Mary) in me wants everyone to love their Christmas dinner, and for all to happily open their personally, artfully wrapped packages, smile, and say,"Oh! It's just what I've always wanted!"

The Mary in me is drawn to Jesus, His Message and His Love. I want to be finished with all of the Martha things and move on to the Mary things.

Did you read that? "To finish with the Martha things, and move on to the Mary things."

It sounds as if I am giving Christ what is left of me. I am fitting Him in after everything else is complete. Why can't I just focus on Jesus as Mary did, listen intently, sitting at His Feet? What makes me think that I must finish all of these tasks so that I can enjoy Christmas myself?

-The Overwhelming Desire to Be Perfect.

I still can't get over the fact that I am not going to bake 3 dozen cookies, decorate them with detailed piping, while wearing a festive red and green apron. I can't get over the fact that my family really doesn't care what we have to eat Christmas Day. They would rather see me happy and pleasant, than tired and grouchy from preparing a fancy meal.

I thought today about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how she must have felt that night. Surely she never wanted to give birth in a cave, surrounded by smelly animals, miles away from her mother and family who could help her. She was really giving birth on her own. Even with Joseph at her side, she must have felt very lonely.

I wonder if she thought to herself,"Oh, no! This can't be! I am afraid and alone. How can I give birth to any child under these conditions? I am going to disappoint Joseph and God. I am certain God never meant for me to give birth to His Son, The King of All Kings, surrounded by animals. How can I lay The Messiah in a feeding trough?! How can I kneel and worship Him as He lay in a manger? Oh, no! This isn't how I planned it!"

Scripture really doesn't reveal anything about what Mary expected. We do know that she pondered it in her heart. As a woman, I can only imagine what she could have felt. The truth is that, no matter what Mary expected or wanted, Christmas happened anyway. Jesus was born.

So, I am posting this (apart from what was to be a blogging break), to remind all of you that you do not have to be perfect this Christmas. Never mind what you think you have to do, to be. Just be you. The mom. The wife. The sister. Just you.

No one is going to remember the meal you cooked many years from now. They will forget the bow you painstakingly made. Your kids will probably forget the toys they received, but they will remember you, your smile, your hugs. Let them see you. Let them see you kneeling by His Manger. Let them see Jesus.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Signing off until after Christmas...
Have A Safe And Merry Christmas With Your Families!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things You May Hear Today At The North Pole

In honor of my Daddy, my husband, and all of their many trips to the store.

1. "Santa, I have everything nearly ready for Christmas. I just need you to go to the store for a few last minute things."

2. "Ok, honey. Just make me a list."

3. "I need wrapping paper, bows, Scotch tape- now don't get the off brand, coffee, cream of tartar, and a pound of Virginia baked ham from the deli- sliced thin for sandwiches. And, take the sleigh. The SUV needs gas."

4. "Take the elves with you. I'm in the kitchen and they just get under foot."

5. "All of them? I can't concentrate in the store with all of them. I'll just take Elf Junior. Can you pick out something for him to wear?"

6. "Where are my boots?"

7. "They're by the door."

8. "OK. We're leaving now. I'll be back soon."

Three hours later...

9. "Where on Earth have you been?"

10. "Well, Columbia was out of coffee, so I had to go to Hawaii. Virginia's ham was too high, but North Carolina had some on sale. I got it sliced really thick, like you like it. And here is your tartar sauce."

11. "I can't make sugar cookies with tartar sauce. Sigh.."

12. "Where's the Scotch tape?"

13. "What tape? You didn't tell me you needed tape. Now I have to go back...

More On The Mommy Award and Homeless Cats

Because of some comments about this post, I feel like I should explain.

It is very hard to tell a story in text only, without any opportunity to use expression or voice. So, I want to tell y'all why I shared that story.

I usually share funny or sweet stories about my daughter and me, but not every moment is funny and sweet. Some of them are sad. Some of them remind me that I have a lot to learn as a mom. I have a lot to learn as a wife, too. I depend on God every day for guidance in both areas.

My daughter is very sensitive. She is also very dramatic. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell which she is being at the time. I am still learning. Sometimes she is being both. What happened in Winn Dixie was a good example. My concern at first was that she was sick. Then, she finally told me she wasn't. Pushing the issue in the car was just a way to "get it over with." I thought she would feel better once she got it out, no matter what it was. And, once she did share her feelings with me, she did feel much better. She realized Mommy was a little more caring and sympathetic than she thought.

For those of you who asked, there actually was a donation box for the homeless cats at UPS. It is by the register. I told her that we could put money in there the next time we are there. (We also are owners of a previously homeless cat.)

In the meantime, we are working on communication and "signals" when she doesn't want to tell me something (even in a private whisper) around other people.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Santa's Footsteps-

This only works for preschoolers and maybe toddlers. If you have boots or shoes with deep tread, sprinkle baby powder on the bottom. Then make "footsteps" from your fireplace or door to the tree, and back. It looks like powdery snow. Comment on how Santa forgot to wipe his feet. :>) It will vacuum up really easily.

Visit Shannon @ Rocks In My Dryer for more tips!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesdays Transformed: Christmas Edition

How The Grinch Borrowed Christmas
By: Melanie, This Ain't New York

There's a lot of hoop-la about words and phrases
So much to-do that it often amazes
Red isn't red, and green isn't green
Nice isn't nice, and mean isn't mean.

No one is bad and nothing is good
Unless it's a film out of Hollywood
The celebs like to blame all the suits on the Hill
CNN is at odds with a man named Bill

Terrible crooks who should be sent away
Are told to dress warm and go out and play
By judges who think everyone needs a friend,
Unless you're a war veteran, home on the mend.

Then there's the controversy of 25 December
For Christians, it's a special time to remember
When Christ was born and the angels above
Sang a glorious anthem of Peace and of Love.

But now they want to call it just a holiday.
It's up to us to keep it a reverent Holy Day.
I am here to tell you that nothing has changed
Only the words and the phrases have been rearranged.

Whether Wal-mart says Christmas or Holiday at the door,
The world never did acknowledge Christ as Lord
They only used Him this season to makes lots of loot,
Just as they promote the man in the red suit.

So, why are we shocked and say they're all wrong
When the world just calls Christmas what is was to them all along
To those who are lost and don't know the reason
For a time that is now called a "Holiday Season."

To all of the Who's in Who-ville I say,
Let's keep Christ in Christmas every day
So, the world may know He is more than a word
He's The Savior, The Way, The Truth, and The Word.

No Grinch, no store can take Christ away
He lives in our hearts and He's there to stay
Stand up for Jesus, but do what is right
Let the world see His Mercy as we continue this plight.

This fight will continue and this Who will keep praying
That the world may understand my reason for saying
As I leave the mall and head out of sight
Merry Christmas to All and to All A Good Night.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Thus I receive the Mommy of the Year Award

I keep working on this imaginary Christmas list I have, you know, because I don't make lists. (Long live the Organization Of My Mind!)

The list, er whatever, isn't getting shorter., or checked off, or whatever you OCD's out there do with your lists.

Today I did make it out for a few errands, mailing packages and doing a little grocery shopping. First, I went to UPS with an armload of boxes. Y'all know how I hate the post office. I just love Brown. So efficient. So friendly. So courteous. So brown.

UPS- Just go ahead and send me a check.

I digress.

So, my daughter and I left UPS and walked over to Winn Dixie to pick up a few items. On the short walk over, I commented on my love for UPS and my disdain for the post office. This prompted a conversation full of "why's" and phrases like "cause they are so grouchy" and "they can actually keep up with stuff." I am nothing if not informative and deep.

While in Winn Dixie, I noticed my daughter's mood change. This isn't odd. She is a girl. And she has a flair for the dramatics. (I have no idea where she gets it.) After picking out a good slab-o-meat, we headed to the Mexican foods aisle to pick out some really authentic refried beans and tortillas. (It was burrito night, formerly known as taco night.)

Right there, next to the salsa, I finally pressed the issue...

"What's wrong?"


"Are you sick?"

"No. I don't want to tell you. "

"Do you have to potty? Do you have gas? What is it?"

"I don't want to tell you."

Then I got "the look." You know, the "Please leave me alone, Mom, before you embarrass me right here in Winn Dixie and I end up mortified from embarrassment because of this horrible issue that I refuse to share with you which may or may not include a bout with gas" look.

I hate The Look. I hate disrespect. All I want is an answer to my question.

Still. The Look.

I calmly bent down next to the pintos and the garbanzos, turned her face toward mine and calmly said, "Answer me when I ask you a question. You are being disrespectful."

Then The Look turned into The Tears, because I am such an awful mother to ask a question and then actually want an answer for it. Someone go ahead and call CPS. Cruel, demanding mother on Aisle 9!

She sniffed and whimpered and I hurriedly filled my cart. The entire time I am thinking she may vomit at any moment. For all I know, she is feeling sick. I still have absolutely no idea what is wrong.

We completed our shopping and headed to the car where the conversation continued...

"Now, will you tell me what was wrong with you?"


"Ok. Go ahead."

"Can I tell you when we get home?"

"No. You are going to tell me right here. I need you to understand that you are supposed to answer me when I ask you something. If you really cannot tell me something in public, then tell me it is something you can't say out in public. Or whisper it to me."

"Ok. I'll tell you. I was thinking about the cats."

"What cats?"

"The homeless cats."

"What homeless cats?"

"There was a donation box in UPS for the homeless cats and there was a picture of a cat, and I started to think about the poor, homeless cats and it made me sad, and I didn't want to say anything in the grocery store because I was embarrassed someone might hear me, because thinking about the poor, homeless cats made me want to cry."

"Oh. You could've just told me that. This would have been a lot easier. So, next time you are sad about the poor, homeless cats or you are thinking about something else, just tell me. OK?"


Can a mother feel any lower? HOMELESS CATS, PEOPLE! HOMELESS, CATS!

Just send my award UPS.

You Might Be A Redneck...

You might be a redneck if you post your presents on your blawg.

Lookie here at the sweatshirt I got in the mail today! Ain't it cool? I LOVE IT! I laughed out loud when I opened it.

Thanks, Nancy! Let me tell you what a good friend she is. The shirt is a size Large. Well, she attached a note that read,"If I had known how big it would be, I would've ordered a smaller size." She complimented my writing and my weight all in one very cutely wrapped package.
That's a true friend! :>)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tour Of Homes

Welcome, y'all! It's BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

This year I decided to display our cross with the nativity sets. After all, the two of them go together. Jesus was born so that He may die for us. Thankfully, He rose again and lives with The Father in Heaven so that we may live there with Him some day.

Our Christmas tree has a lot of ornaments with sentimental value. My husband has many ornaments from when he was a child. When we married, we gave each other an ornament each year. Then we had our daughter and decided to just add an ornament each year for her.
My daughter and I made the star a few years ago out of cardboard and a paper towel tube! If you ever want to use glitter to cover a big area, I suggest using spray adhesive. It works great. You just spray an even, thin coat all over the paper and sprinkle the glitter. It goes on evenly and doesn't clump up!

I love this little village. The three houses to the right were gifts. I found the "one on the hill" at Michael's. My daughter picked out the horses and cart. We arranged the little trees to look like a Christmas farm. Guess what I will be looking for on Christmas clearance this year...

I collect angels, Santa's and Nutcrackers. These are my Kissing Angels. I made them when I was 11 years old. They have survived so far.

I absolutely love The Nutcracker. In fact, we went to a performance today. It was my daughter's very first one. I was in The Nutcracker Ballet as a young child, and have been fascinated with all of the music and whimsy ever since.
My husband gave me the Confederate Soldier one years ago. One day I would like to have a Union soldier to go with him. I like pretty traditional looking ones; they have to at least resemble a soldier of some kind for my taste.
When my daughter was about 3 yrs. old, she called them "Cracker Nuts."

We are ready for Santa! I made that applique stocking for our daughter's very first Christmas. (Notice I covered her name.) I was literally finishing the stitches late Christmas Eve. Ahh... a Mother's love! The funny plaid one is for the cat.

Thanks for visiting! I am sorry I don't have any freshly baked sugar cookies or gingerbread men. Maybe next year... imagine if Bill Gates could figure out that one!

Merry Christmas to All of You!

Jesus is the gift. You are the reason!

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Almost Christmas, Y'all

I am still working on my tour of homes. You must be absolutely at the edge of your seat to see the glittery, glued, popsicle stick and pipe cleaner ornaments, so I shall make haste...

Also- if you have blogger beta, I am having trouble commenting on your blog. Just want you to know I'm not snubbing you on the tour. :>) I'll try to comment later... and while I'm thinking about it, Mommy Dearest/Home Sweet Home has some awesome looking snicker doodles, so head on over there before they're all gone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Moments In The Car

Some people listen to Paul Harvey, others Bill O'Reilly. Me? I listen to a little girl who is just chock full of wisdom and insight.

How old is (my teacher)?

I don't know. Maybe 27 or 28. Why?

Just wondering. She looks like a teenager. I guess when she's old, she'll look like a mom.

Later on...

You know what? I bet the horses on the Kentucky Derby don't even know they're on TV. They think they're just running.

Have You Voted?

The deadline is almost here!

Head on over to Christian Women Online and vote for your favorite bloggers. There are some amazing ladies nominated. You have until Dec. 15 @ 11:59 PM Central Time.

Y'all know I already voted.
I like to vote. I'm Baptist, remember?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesdays Transformed

Due to my internet problems yesterday, I was unable to share this post with you. I want to tell you about a young girl I met last week...

Facing Changes: The Story Of A Young Girl

Junior High is one of the worst times in a teen's life. One is caught between being a young girl and maturing into a young lady. In America, pre-teens are faced with negative worldly influences, broken homes, and the intense pressure to be thin and beautiful.

Last week, I was introduced to a girl named Marlie. We didn't meet face to face, although I wish I could have. I met Marlie while watching a special presentation on TLC, A New Face for Marlie.

The program began with Marlie at the age of 13. A young girl, growing up in Haiti, Marlie was faced with an unspeakable disorder that caused her face to become grossly disfigured. It began when she was a young child, first as a lump on her face. It then grew as she did, interfering with breathing and threatening Marlie to go blind. The tumor, at 16 pounds, threatened Marlie's life.

One day Marlie's father was watching television. He and Marlie's mother, devout Catholics, had prayed and prayed for a miracle. They had nearly given up hope, until Marlie's father saw two Haitian nurses on a special television broadcast. The nurses work with an international mission organization that helps children receive medical treatment in America. Marlie's father immediately contacted the Haitian nurses and pleaded with them to see Marlie.

What they found was shocking. Marlie's tumor had grown so large and disfigured her so much that the people in their Haitian neighborhood ostracized her. They believed it was the work of a voodoo curse and were terribly frightened of Marlie. When the nurses arrived at the home, they found Marlie holding the heavy tumor in her hands to keep her head up. She could barely eat, breath, or see. They realized at once that Marlie must go to America.

Marlie and her mother traveled to Miami where Marlie received the first of several life-saving surgeries to remove the tumor and reshape her face. As Marlie was rolled into the operating room, the Haitian nurses and Marlie's mother began to sing...

"God Bless America. Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her..."

They sang. They cried. They prayed. Their voices echoed down the hospital corridors as Marlie was taken to the OR, where a very special surgeon would change her face and change her life. He is a surgeon, a Christian, and his name is Jesus.

When the nurses asked him why God would have a man named Jesus save this girl, the surgeon smiled and replied, "You'll have to ask my mother."

During the long surgery, Marlie's mother and the Haitian nurses prayed and sang hymns in the waiting room. They held hands and praised God for this miracle. Hours passed as they waited for the news. Marlie's surgery was a success.

A large portion of the tumor was removed during this first surgery. Marlie could breathe better and her eyes were no longer forced closed by the invasive growth. As the surgeon gave Marlie a mirror to see herself, tears began to flow down her transformed face. With her mother by her side, Marlie lay there in a Miami hospital recovery room, a 13 year old girl from Haiti, looking at the image of a girl that had always been there, trapped behind a terrible growth.

As Marlie healed, she began to be herself again. Though she was unable to speak because of a tracheotomy, Marlie started communicating with others again. She smiled and even danced. She was free.

Upon arrival to Haiti, Marlie was welcomed by her father and sisters. She was greeted by the same neighbors who had once shunned her. The children gathered around Marlie and kissed her healing face. Marlie was overwhelmed.

Marlie's mother and the Haitian nurses lead a community praise service in Marlie's honor. They praised Jesus. A chorus of praises to God rang out through the village. An entire community was changed by this one girl, whose only dream was to be like other young girls her age.

With more surgeries ahead of her, Marlie is on a journey to recovery. She has been promised eternal life by her Savior Jesus Christ. She has been given a beautiful future by a surgeon in Miami who is also called Jesus, and who calls upon Jesus as his Savior, The Great Physician.

To learn more about Marlie's recovery visit

Also, look for of A New Face for Marlie on TLC. I hope it will air again. You don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Still Here...

I have had internet problems today, and am really wanting to share something with you. Check back later for the post...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Word Verification Bullies are at it again.

I'm glad they stop the automatic comment robots, but why can't they just be nice? I was leaving a comment on someone's blog and a word verification popped up. Besides the fact that it was hard to read (as always) and wavy (are you getting sleepy?), this time it was just plain mean.

This is what it read:


I feel like a blogger reject. If you leave a comment, please be sweet. I've been picked on enough today.

I'll go back to my side of the playground now.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The truth is bittersweet.

I have lived a lie my entire 36 year long life. All these years I thought I was doing things correctly, and it seems that I have just been completely ignorant. Oh, the trauma!

This morning, while watching Martha, I found out that I have been eating chocolate the wrong way.

I never knew. This information was never part of any heart-to-heart talk with Mama. She taught me about when to wear white, how to apply lipstick and blot, what to do when I scorched lima beans on the stove, and how to properly suck the juice from a boiled peanut (lady-like, of course!) She never told me how to eat chocolate.

You have no idea of the shame I felt this morning when I saw Martha's guest demonstrate the proper method of tasting chocolate. It was like I was having dinner at The White House, talking to Laura Bush, engaging in intelligent conversation, and then I looked down and saw there was toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

I care about you, so I want to share this valuable life lesson. Courtesy of Martha Stewart and her entourage of etiquette experts, here is the correct way to taste chocolate:


These guidelines will prove helpful when you throw your next chocolate tasting party.

Tasting mats
Tasting cards

Pitcher of water
Great chocolate such as Cacao Reserve by Hershey's

Before The Party
To make the experience entertaining for everyone, do some research before the party so you can educate your guests. Be sure to place your selection of chocolates on tasting mats. Include tasting cards which can be used to evaluate and rate the chocolates. Also, provide water to cleanse your guests' palates between tasting. Be sure to inform your guests of the four most important things to be aware of when tasting the chocolate:

Observe the visual characteristics. A high shine indicates a well-tempered chocolate. Do not refrigerate your chocolate. Always keep it in a dry, cool place away from any sources of sunlight, moisture and odor.

Just like fine wine, use all of your senses to enjoy chocolate. There are more than 600 different aromas in
a piece of chocolate. Always smell the chocolate before tasting.

Hear the snap of the chocolate when you break it. Chocolate high in cacao content will break cleanly with a sharper sound, whereas chocolate with lower levels will tend to break more softly.

Place only a small piece in the middle of your tongue. Close your mouth and wait for the chocolate to begin to melt. Then, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and swirl the melting chocolate all over each area of your mouth.

* Found @

In an effort to prevent others from this horrid embarrassment, I am founding Choc-Anon, a 12 step program for other people like me. Please be patient with me as I take the leap into recovery. I ask you to keep me accountable. Here goes...

My name is Melanie and I am a chocoholic. I lived in darkness for 36 years, but from now on, I vow to change. I will no longer purchase my Hershey bar from gas stations and grocery store check-out lines. I will pay up to 3 times more for horrible tasting quality chocolate.

It pains me to say this, but I have never taken the time to Look, Smell, Listen and Taste. No. I was a Rip and Gobble kind of girl.

I have always served milk with chocolate. I am ashamed to say that I have never cleansed my palate between chocolate desserts.

This is when you may want to send the kids out of the room.

I have eaten Hershey bars while driving, never taking the time to snap the little squares and listen to the little guys. I have scarfed Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that have been stored in the refrigerator close to humidity and the little light that comes on when you open the door. I have eaten Hershey's kisses in one bite, never taking the time to swirl.

I promise, from this day forward, to take the time to smell the chocolate.

Please, for the love of Godiva, don't make the same mistakes I've made.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Freezer tips:

1. Put candles in the freezer to lengthen burn time.

2. Busy holidays and lots of cooking: If you are going to miss a trash pick-up day because of the holiday or if you will be out of town, put those yucky food scraps in a freezer bag, label it, and put it in the freezer. Make yourself a note to toss in the garbage when it is time for trash pick-up. This is also helpful during the Summer months when you have icky meat scraps and a few days to wait for trash pick-up.

3. Having a party and out of space in the frig.? Did you know that you can pour bags of ice in your washing machine, then ice down drinks?! When the ice melts and the party is over, just put the washer on spin cycle to remove the water. Just make sure you take out all of those cans of Coke first. :>)

4. Save orange or lemon peels. Freeze them in a ziplock bag. Toss one down the garbage disposal to freshen it. Smells great!

5. Pedialyte makes a tasty popsicle for when your child has been sick. A lot easier to give to a very sick child. Make sure you label them. You don't want to give Pedialyte to a child who is not dehydrated or sick, mistaking them for a regular popsicle.

6. I keep Caladryl lotion in the frig. The cold feels good to any itchy bug bites or rash.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Secret Baked Goods and Mystery Meat

One and a half score and six years ago my mother and my father didn't know what hit 'em. I was born. Today, I turned 36 years old. That's dead in dog years.

The day has been a pretty good one. I spent the morning volunteering at my daughter's school, helping kids age 3 and up shop for their parents. A business provides all kinds of gift items at very reasonable prices (starts at 25 cents!) and the kids are able to shop for their parents' Christmas gifts. They even provide a gift bag. It is really a neat idea.

When I asked one 3 year old little girl what her grandpa liked she said, "All he does all day is watch TV." Since a remote control and TV Guide were not in her budget, we found a really cool "#1 Grandpa" flashlight.

I then had lunch with my daughter. I am here to tell you that school lunch has not improved whatsoever in the past 30 years. In fact, I think I may have eaten some sort of meat item that was indeed left over from when I was in the third grade. And, can you believe that they are still trying to cover up the taste with ketchup?

Even with the smooshed roll and sad little cupcake, it was a fine lunch with my little girl. I have had many birthday lunches with my husband and I cherish them all, but school lunch with my little girl, well, those days are fleeting.

And then there was the shopping. Real shopping. I hit the mall and had a blast buying Christmas presents. I found a few bargains and even bought something for myself. I highly recommend the Savannah Bee hand salve from Bath and Body Works. It feels like honey scented silk on chapped hands which have been covered in stinging orange juice. Oh, yeah, did I mention that I peeled oranges for half the class?

We went out to dinner last night, so we had dinner at home this evening. As I type this, my husband is clanging bowls and checking the status of a birthday cake that I am not supposed to know about. It smells good. I'll let you know how it tastes. To tell you the truth, I have never had bad cake.

Except for on the school lunch tray. :>)

Tuesdays Transformed returns next week. Thanks for "sharing" my birthday with me! :>D

Monday, December 04, 2006

Not So Happy Feet

Since I love me some sequels, I thought I would continue with the theme of in-laws and freezing temperatures, and tell y'all about one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

The ski trip.

It was Christmas 1995. We met my husband's family in Colorado for a week of winter wonderland. I was pretty excited about it, even though I had never been skiing in my life. My husband assured me that I would have ski lessons and do just fine. (We hadn't been married for long. He had no idea how unathletic I am. I can cut a rug with the best of them, but don't make me do anything that remotely resembles sports. P.E. brought my GPA down in high school.)

We arrived in Colorado with much anticipation and without our luggage. I borrowed a sleep shirt from my sister-in-law and tucked myself in for a long Winter's nap; visions of snow covered mountains danced in my head.

Morning arrived along with our luggage. The trip was looking a little bit better. Until...

Ski lessons.

One other family member went along with me. He had grown up in the south, too, but he probably made better grades in P.E. He caught on very quickly and was actually promoted from the bunny slopes. I wish I could say the same about my learning curve.

Let me set the scene for you. Knowing that I had never skied and that I probably would not be skiing very often in the future, my mother-in-law offered her old ski clothes to me before our trip. This was very gracious of her, but there was one tiny detail we had not considered. Her old ski clothes were from the 80's. One outfit had white pants and a light blue parka. The other was a light yellow jumpsuit. Both ensembles were quite warm and comfortable, and paired with great powder shredding moves, they would have been fabulous. But, since I was the least athletic person in the middle of a group of sporty ski students all dressed in black, let's just say I kinda stood out.

Nearly everyone else was catching on, fumbling at first, but getting back up, brushing the snow off, and happily gliding from the bunny slopes to the real slopes. There was one other woman as clumsy and clueless as me- a Spanish woman on vacation with a friend. To add to her struggle, she couldn't speak English very well. Her friend was trying to translate for her. There are just so many times that someone can translate, "He said to get back up and try again."

I can remember falling for the last time. I wasn't even coordinated enough to get up! There I was, dressed like a yellow marshmallow chick, rolling in the snow, trying to get up. It was a play by play remake of Randy in A Christmas Story. Finally, in either compassion or frustration, the ski instructor ran up the bunny slope and rescued me.

I stood at the bottom of the slopes with my new friend, the clumsy Spanish woman. She turned to me in the midst of her own angst and, with a Spanish accent, she said, "Skiing is hard. Yes?"

We stood there together. The yellow marshmallow chick and the clumsy Senorita. We stood upright with our poles pressed firmly in the not so wonderful wonderland. Our instructor walked by, a smirk on his frosty face, and said, "I see you two found each other."

Yes, Ralphie. Indeed we had. We had found each other, partners where no language or fashion barriers could keep us apart, bound by that one thing that brought us together-

Skiing is hard. Yes.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cold enough for ya?

My in-laws just returned from an excursion to Antarctica. Yes, Antarctica. Like they couldn't just hang around for this snow storm in the Midwest. :>)

Now, for me, Antarctica is just a tad bit too cold. I like warmth. Not too much, though. I wouldn't want to go on a safari in the scorching heat. I guess I am a tepid traveler. Ok. I'm a wimp. My idea of roughing it is when Hampton Inn runs out of the continental breakfast.

But, in the spirit of those who do have a real sense of adventure, I will attempt this little Welcome Home post with lots of photos from the web (not from their trip) and sarcastic, I mean serious comments.

Welcome Home! Keep warm and drink lots of cocoa or coffee, or whatever it is you do when you return from the literal ends of the earth. ;>)

This is what happens when you forget to defrost the window of your car while in Antarctica. Don't ask me what kind of car would actually run in Antarctica, but I am pretty sure, whatever it is, it has some pretty awesome antifreeze invented by NASA.

The morning gargle. AGGGLLLLAAAALLALAAGH!!!

I call this shot "Two Men and A Fish Cooker"
This is what you do for Thanksgiving in Antarctica.
Peanut Oil, Meat, and an Iceberg. Let the good times roll.
"Honey, can you pass me the rolls and hand warmers, please? I can't feel my thumbs."

The downside of booking with a discount travel agency.
"But, the brochure said it was a room with a view.."

At the end of the trip, everyone gathered 'round and sang Kum Ba Yah, but someone forgot to start the campfire and half of the group fell dead from hypothermia. A tragic ending to an otherwise upbeat vacation.

*All photos courtesy of smart scientists, cold people I never met, and a really cute penguin.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I met her in 1994. Our husbands worked together and had gotten to know each other pretty well before she and I met. When I first met her, we were at a ladies' get together. I can remember that she had a friendly smile, a welcoming laugh, and great hair!

Nancy and I grew to be good friends. She also made a really good impression on my husband. You know he really likes you as a friend when he gives you a nickname. Nancy's was "Magic." My husband found out that Nancy's maiden name was Murphree. The name immediately reminded him of Murphy and the Magic Tones from Blues Brothers- logical word association for our family.

One of my fondest memories is when we went to Magic and her husband's house for a mystery dinner. It was Halloween and we all were supposed to dress up in full character. I was a German woman and hubby was an absent-minded professor. Hubby dressed in a black suit, goofy glasses and a cheap, fake beard. I was in a short cocktail dress with black stockings and, ahem... augmentation. (My character was sort of a German Dolly Parton,shall we say.) We arrived at Magic's house in full attire. As we came up the walk, they all caught a glimpse of our outfits and burst into laughter. I could see them from the front door. They were supposedly all dressed up as well, but they looked pretty normal to me. Magic said later that she found bits and pieces of my husband's beard all over the house. Lucky for us, she had dogs and was used to vacuuming up shedding hair.

Since that mystery dinner, we have had many meals together and many memories. Nancy and I have shared the births of children, deaths of loved ones, illness, and the usual ups and downs of life. She is from the South, too and we have talked about small town stories and Mamas and Daddies, and how to make the best biscuits and black-eyed peas. Nancy and I also share a deep faith in God. That is what I cherish most.

A sweet and loyal friend, Nancy is the kind of person I could call in the middle of the night. If I needed her, she would do her best to get on a plane and be right there by my side. I would do the same for her and she knows it. She loves my daughter and I love her kids just like they were my own. She is one of the few friends I have had in life that I can say are like a sister to me. My husband named her as one of the few "genuine ladies" he knows. (Coming from him, that is a real compliment.)

I am very proud to share with you that she is also a very talented artist. The real word is gifted. Nancy is gifted more than she knows, and being the lady that she is, she would never give herself any recognition.

So, I will. This weekend, Nancy's solo exhibit begins at the Arlington County Central Library. The exhibit runs through this month. If you live in the DC area, I encourage you to view it. If not, please visit her blog at and see just how talented she really is. She would love for you to leave a comment.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just in case you thought I made this up...

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Did Over Thanksgiving

OK. I'm a week late, but I said I would share. By the way- we have run out of Himalayan Pink Salt. Must. Order. Now.

1. Rode in the car while listening to a Spongebob movie. Great entertainment to keep the kids busy, but let me give you some advice. Don't buy the movie that has the "Spongebob loses his laugh box" episode because before he loses his laugh box he laughs about 1000 times. You will suffer from ringing in the ears or possibly a stroke before the trip is over.

2. Arrived at Mama and Daddy's on Wednesday and started cooking. I was in charge of a pumpkin pie, sweet potato souffle, and helping with the dressing. I ended up making the dressing- HUGE responsibility. Almost as important as cooking the turkey. Mama made the cornbread and I did the rest.

3. Drove 2 hours to my Aunt Barbara's house in the "one red light town" where folks drive the hearse of the dearly beloved who have passed on. BIG news- The number of red lights has doubled. They have two now. I think it made it in the paper.

4. Ate. Ate. Ate. Aunt Barbara said my dressing tasted just like how my Granny made it. I nearly cried right there at the table. You have no idea what kind of compliment that was. I felt like I should walk up to a podium and give a speech.

5. Caught up on the small town news, like the BIG red light advancements, the number of lanes on HWY 82 and the fact that THE BBQ place was "ready" for the increase in lanes.

6. Rode around town and looked at the new lanes on HWY 82. Oh, yes we did. We live on the edge.

7. Visited family graves... sniff sniff... then we dried our tears, piled back in the car and drove around the cemetery. And talked about whose funeral tent was still up, whose huge tacky monument that was, who needs to pull weeds, who owns that plot, and who had some really pretty poinsettas already out- cause we still had spring roses on our family's graves and we feel just awful about it because it is FALL and nearly Christmas! Other families probably drove through the cemetery and commented about it. I am quite sure.

8. While in the cemetery, we discussed which plot my parents may buy, the pros and cons of said plot and the fact that they better act quickly. You know, the good ones are almost gone and they don't want to be "buried way over there where water stands when it rains", or "over there because it is too far away from the current family plot", or "over there in the new addition." OH! THE DECISIONS!

9. Drove around town and looked at old family homes, land where my Papa grew tobacco to make extra money for a down payment on a house, and the school where my uncle once jumped out the window and tried to run home. He slapped the teacher when she tried to catch him.

10. Rode through the epicenter of town- the one block where it is "happening!" They now have a French Market where a few ladies have opened up some cute booths. Aunt Barbara's friend thought they were selling pastries.

11. Discussed the recent Walking Tour where the town made a huge sum of $500 which will go towards downtown improvements. There was an overwhelming response; twenty people participated. It's a wonder that they didn't run out of refreshments. (This DID make it in the paper.)

12. Went back to Aunt Barbara's house. Looked for the cat. Ate. Looked for the cat. Drank a lot of sweet tea. My daughter finally saw the cat. She was happy. ( my daughter, not the cat.)

13. Drove back to Mama's house and looked at all the small town Christmas lights along the way. They are the same lights I saw as a child, on this same drive. Memories. Memories. And no Spongebob movie.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can I just say that Shannon has made the coolest header for Works For Me Wednesday? Please visit her blog for more great tips.

Simple Christmas Project:

Every year I buy Christmas cards, write a note of encouragement, and just address it to a special person. I have given them to homeless people, the kids at a children's home, or anyone I happen to feel may need a smile. Last year, I ended up in the hospital on Christmas Eve and gave them to the staff!

I pray while I write them and ask God to give me the right words, and that He would help me give them to the right person. When I gave a card to a nurse during my hospital stay, she later came back to my room and said,"What you wrote was so true. Thank you." I didn't tell her that I had written that card days earlier, when I had no idea I would end up in the hospital! God is Good. :>)

My mom has a much larger Christmas card ministry. She starts at the beginning of the year, and she buys her cards on sale. This year she has written over 500 cards! Most of her cards go to the VA hospital, the Youth Detention Center, or to the local prison.

Cards are a great and inexpensive way to reach out to people. You would be surprised at what a card can mean to someone.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Little Life Lessons for the Day

Lesson #1:

Whenever you pull into Hardee's drive thru because you are craving their biscuit and gravy, be on the look-out for who is in front of you. If at any time, you see the Super Septic Tank Specialist truck parked next to the restaurant, you can bet it isn't a good sign. Another clue is when the driver gets out of his truck, waves everyone around, walks up to the entrance of the restaurant and knocks on the locked door because the "Lobby Is Closed Until Further Notice."

It also becomes apparent to you that other people can somehow ignore the fact that there is some sort of reason the lobby is closed and the septic guy has stopped at Hardee's for reasons other than a sausage biscuit or a 3 inch thick burger, you know, because perhaps the entire restaurant is flooded with foul substances that would kill most appetites. Or make one heave and retch. Good ole N and V. (That's nausea and vomiting to you newcomers.)

You also learn that the Health Department allows the restaurant to continue serving food, albeit on a limited drive thru basis, even though there is a foul substance erupting from toilets where even gravity has lost its influence. You wonder, "At what level of communicable diseased disgust does the health inspector shut the place down- ankle or knee deep?"

Lesson #2:

After laying rubber on the road, you head to the next fast food restaurant, the one that prides itself on not selling beef. AHEM.

Let's just say, um, their coffee and biscuits? Well, they should stick with chicken.

Lesson # 3:

After a heavy helping of nausea and a side of disappointment, you pour out your coffee and go to Wal-mart. This is when you realize one of life's greatest lessons- Never, I say never go anywhere, even to Wal-mart without make-up. (Didn't your grandmother teach you anything?) The cashier may in fact comment on the cute toy you have purchased and ask you if your granddaughter likes them. Oh, yes she did. She later looks up, gets a good look at either your fair as snow skin or the look of disdain across your not-so rosy cheeks. She then will correct her comment and say "I mean your daughter," but alas it is too late. You are scarred for life, or at least until you can get to your make-up bag at home.

Lesson #4:

You realize that the UPS guy may have done more work before 8:00 AM than you have done all day, but you have learned more before 10:00 AM than most folks will learn in a lifetime.

Or maybe not. But it sounded profound and a good ending to an otherwise uninspiring post.

Tuesdays Transformed

Whatever Happened To Bug-Off Jeans?

We haven't even reached the tween years and it has appeared that fashion has taken over our humble abode. If it ain't pink and shiny, well then, it just ain't happenin'.

Our daughter loves the bling. Modesty is a priority at our house, so the fashionable fluff is taken in moderation. She has learned our standard of modesty and what it means to act like a lady. At this point, at least, she has also embraced it- a little too much, perhaps. She not only recognizes what is appropriate for her to wear, but likes to point out rather loudly what is inappropriate for others to wear.

Moments at the convenience store counter go something like this- Yes, honey, I see that belly button ring... I have no idea why that lady got a belly button ring, but that doesn't make her a bad person; that is her choice... I just don't want you to get one... no, I don't want one either...yes, you can have some M & M's if it means your mouth will be full of chocolate...

And, can I say muffin tops and midriffs have turned into entire sermon length editorials. Oh where does she get this stuff?


As much as I am thankful for modesty being embraced at our house, I am also deeply disturbed at how fashion has become a focus for our daughter. It doesn't matter to her if it is a designer brand or if it is from Wal-mart. It also doesn't matter if the clothing item has graced the covers of any fashion magazines. What matters is if she thinks it is in fashion. She doesn't care about other people's fashion. She only cares about her own wardrobe. She would absolutely take up for any child who was teased about their clothes. She just wants to have her own sense of style at her ripe old elementary school age.

When I was a kid all I cared about was if my Garanimals matched each other. The worse possible fashion faux paus that could be committed was if I wore a giraffe shirt with a zebra skirt. Or maybe if my corduroy pant cuffs collected dirt from the playground. I had no idea what was in fashion and I really didn't care. Of course, it was the 70's. I should probably be grateful that I was not in style wearing bell bottom pants and collars that could poke your playmate in the eye.

I make an effort not to emphasize styles and trends with my daughter and we do monitor television in our home. Nevertheless, our daughter is influenced by this intense focus on fashion and trends. I do think that part of her interest in finding her own style is an effort to express herself. (I just wish she would color me a picture and put it on the frig.!)

She is a very sweet girl and loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is just going to have to balance style with sensibility- a lesson all of us need to learn. In the meantime, we will stress the importance of beauty on the inside, that those treasures stored in the closet will only attract moths, but those stored in heaven will endure for eternity. We'll tell her the importance of being beautiful in God's Eyes.

We'll keep teaching her about modesty and moderation.

And muffin tops.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We're back. And the natives are restless.

So, we are back from our trip to Georgia and I would love to share. I'll have to post about it later because right now my husband is heckling all of the gadgets in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
I keep hearing things like this:

"Melanie, are we out of Himalayan pink salt? Please don't tell me we're out of Himalayan pink salt."

You can see how organized, coherent narratives are just not possible at this juncture. I'll be back later when the house is at least at a dull roar...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesdays Transformed

Shine or Whine?

"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corninthians 4:3-5

Thanksgiving is almost here. Many of us are in the kitchen baking pies and breads, sprucing up the house, getting ready for company, or packing our bags to visit relatives out of town. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time of sharing with family and friends and enjoying delicious, traditional food. It is also a time for the biggest shopping day in the United States- Black Friday.

Black Friday is the day retailers across America are no longer in "the red," ringing up profit totals that are astronomical. Many stores open as early as 6:00 AM and these opening times seem to get earlier every year. People gather outside of malls and shopping centers before the doors open, sipping hot coffee and drooling at the discounts that await them inside. A lot, if not most, of these shoppers are women.

Did you read that? A lot of these shoppers are women. Imagine the consumer power that gives us, ladies. I won't go into what we should buy, what we shouldn't buy, what stores to shop, and which stores to boycott. That would be dipping into the pool of legalism. And, frankly, swimming in the pool of legalism will leave you breathless as you try to keep your head above water. (I am so thankful for Grace, aren't you?)

Everyone has to decide which clothing they will buy or which store they will patron. Those decisions are between them and The Lord. One thing we can all remember is that we are to be a Light for Christ amid the madness.

It's hard to be a light when the lady behind you keeps grumbling about the line, or the woman in Wal-mart nearly knocked you down while you reached for a TMX Elmo (that is just an example. It will never happen. All of the TMX Elmo's are gone.) It is very difficult to shine when you get to the register and the sale item rings up at regular price. Never mind that the clerk doesn't believe you and she takes what seems like forever (while the lady behind you grumbles) to look up the price in the sale circular.

I really want to shine, Lord. I do.

When my daughter starts to complain that she is tired and hungry and all I want to do is scream, "CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR A HAPPY MEAL?!" I really want to shine.

When the store management refuses to acknowledge Christmas in their display or allow their employees to wish me a Merry Christmas, I really want to shine. It is hard to shine while you are indignantly complaining to middle management.

I want to shine for You, Lord. I do.

Help me remember that the clerk was already at work while I was crawling out of bed this morning. She has been barked at by rude customers at least a hundred times before it was even my turn in line. She has neither the desire nor the responsibility to memorize every single sale item in this store. Lord, give me the encouraging words You would have me say to her this morning. Give me a smile, Lord, because right now the humanness in me does not feel like smiling.

Lord, remind me that the lady behind me in line is human, just like me. She may be a believer. She may be lost. Help me to be kind and patient.

God, I have no idea why that lady nearly trampled me while I was simply trying to buy the most popular toy of the season. In any case, help me forgive her, brush off the dust from my knees and hold pressure on the head wound she gave me. Help me love her, because I sure can't do it on my own.

Lord, I understand why retailers are hesitant to display any religion in this over sensitive, politically correct world. Help me to express my faith and conviction in love, but to hold my ground and stand for what is right in Your Eyes. Help me to know the difference between conviction and judgementalism. I never want to be a stumbling block.

Lord, when my daughter is tired and hungry from a long day of shopping, help me remember that she is part of the reason I am out here in the madness. And maybe Mommy needs a Happy Meal, too.

God, help me make wise choices while shopping, to be a good steward of what you have given me. Help me to understand that the purchases I make may have a profound impact on what retailers choose to sell in the future.

Lord, I want to Shine for You this Thanksgiving and every other day. Help me. Guide me. Teach me. Help me Shine!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Have a safe and happy time wherever you are.

In Christ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

If She Only Knew...

More conversation while riding in the car-

Me- "I mailed a picture of you sleeping with your stuffed animals to MeMama and Aunt Barbara."

My daughter- "OH MY GOSH! It's like I'm all over the internet!"

Friday, November 17, 2006

Construction Update

Here is the latest on the local construction site:

Observations This Week-

1. One man was measuring a manhole with a yellow tape measure. Five other men watched him. One man then kicked something that looked like it could be important.

2. There is a new guy going through the secret construction worker initiation- He is now holding the Slow sign.

3. They have posted a new speeding sign. The one that reads "Speeding Fines Doubled When Workers Present." If I get pulled over, I think I should ask for a discount.

4. Two men were shoveling a dirt pile that was about 30 or so feet high by hand. It seems that this project is going to take a lot longer than we thought.

Freaky Friday

I woke up this morning to a little girl who wanted her bowl of apple crisp oatmeal, a big fat cat who wanted her morning attention, and the most excruciating pain above my right eye. I rolled over to try and ignore it all, you know like a good mother does. But, the pain. Oh, the pain! And the headache was pretty bad, too.

Through this morning stupor, I realized the source of this incredible, throbbing pain. It seems that Bin Laden is hiding out in my sinus cavity. Call the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the USAF, the USMC, and all of those other important letter groups. I have solved the mystery. Osama has been located and I have just sprayed him with saline solution and drugged him with some Advil Cold and Sinus gel caps. Hey, it ain't mace. But, it's all I've got.

Send in support soon. This stuff only lasts 4-6 hours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get the flashlight. I feel a drizzle.

Storms are sweeping across the South this week. I can bet you that the majority of the folks affected are either glued to their television screens or listening to weather radios. It's just what we do. Most of us in the Deep South don't see snow, much less blizzards. But we do take a tornado, hurricane or even a severe thunderstorm very seriously. Rightly so, considering the damage they cause.

At any given time during the day, you could walk in my grandmother's living room and find her television on. It was playing one of two channels- CMT or The Weather Channel. That's it. So, you either had to absolutely love Garth Brooks or Jim Cantore.

If I called Granny or Papa they would always tell me the weather at their house. Then they would ask me the weather at my house. It didn't really matter where I was living- across the country in the southwestern United States or just a 45 minute drive away. This information was vitally important to the conversation.

Growing up, I can remember little rules of the weather- "Get off the phone when it is lightning. Don't stand too close to a window. Get out of the bathtub, Melanie. I think I hear thunder."

I remember our school going through tornado drills. One afternoon a tornado touched down nearby.

I was actually a little excited about it. "Cool. A real tornado. We don't have to curl up in a ball on our knees and just pretend."

Hey! I was a naive little kid. I had no idea what those storms could really do. My only exposure to twisters involved a tin man and a cute little dog.

With all of this serious weather hypersensitivity, it stands to reason why my own mama would react the way she did one day last year on a "severe weather conditions" evening.

Severe thunderstorms were threatening the area. Mama and Daddy had been watching the weather all evening. (Surprised?) Let me repeat that- the weather was threatening the area. It had not actually arrived to the area to follow through on the threat. Which makes me wonder: Does the storm send a note to the weatherman outlining the threat with some demands or does it just call him and hang up the phone?

I digress in a post, yet again.

So, there was Daddy watching Wheel of Fortune in his recliner, with the severe weather banner running across the bottom of the screen.

While Mama was seeking shelter in the safest part of the house.

Mama has arthritic knees (hence my daughter's comment on "the poopy walk"). So, being the resourceful person she is, Mama got a dining room chair to sit in while she waited for the impending storm that had not arrived. She pulled the chair in the hallway, away from all doors and windows.

Daddy was still in the recliner watching television. Ya know, because the power and the cable were still on.

Then Mama went in her room and put on some decent clothes, "because a woman does not want to go through a tornado or a bad storm and end up on Channel 10 News in some old house clothes." (Her words, not mine.) Then she put on a little make-up, the really crucial items, blush and lipstick. Mama made sure she was wearing her wedding rings, and then she sat in the chair in the hallway and waited.

While Daddy watched Pat Sajak.

Then Mama realized she had forgotten something. She hopped up and went back in her room to find it. Once she found it, she got back in her chair in the hallway and sat it on her lap, clutching it to her chest, the most important possession for every Southern woman- her purse.

And she waited. And waited. And waited.

And nothing happened.

While Daddy watched Millionaire.

And that, my friends, was the night that the lights almost went out in Georgia.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Tuesdays Transformed
This Ain't New York

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2 NIV

After seeing the Dove film while reading Grafted Branch, I strongly felt led to start a new themed post that you can read here every week called Tuesdays Transformed.

We have seen an evolving (although the word evolve implies improvement) of our culture, especially of women. It is a culture of vanity and immodesty, one of selfish pursuit of pleasure masked in freedom. It is my prayer that, through this weekly post, we can lift each other up in prayer and encouragement as moms, wives, and women.

The plan is to post on subjects pertinent to this downward spiral of false beauty and success. Please check back each Tuesday for information, current events, and words of encouragement that may help you or your kids (for sons and daughters) renew and transform their minds through God's Word and guidance.

If there is something you would like to add or you would like me to post about, please leave a comment and I will try to feature it in an upcoming Tuesdays Transformed post. I hope to have a button soon!

Thanks for reading,

Dove Evolution

Let There Be A Revolution. This is the first of the Tuesdays Transformed, This Ain't New York

Monday, November 13, 2006

It was like my own personal Project Runway, really.

It was the year I became really good friends with Camille. We had known each other since elementary school, but it was in the seventh grade when we bonded. That was the year we took Home Economics.

My mama insisted on it. She was convinced that every girl should take Home Ec in order to learn all of the basic, well, home economical skills a woman needs. Like cooking and doing the laundry.

And sewing.

From what I remember about Home Ec that year, Camille and I didn't really learn anything. We mostly talked about cute boys and clothes, and how big the Home Ec's teacher's head was. Bless her heart. She was a sweet, old woman. She must've been in her late 60's, but I think we thought she was at least in her 80's. She had a sweet little voice to match her tiny frame (and not her big head.)

She never did teach either one of us to sew. For our big sewing test, we had to make a blouse for ourselves. And, get this- we had to actually wear it to school. I remember shopping for fabric with Mama and trying to select something that was inexpensive, but not hideously unfashionable. I ended up with a pink fabric with a tiny floral print. (It looked like something you'd find on an old quilt top.) Look out, Gloria Vanderbilt.

I wore it to school and it was the most uncomfortable top I ever had. I can't remember what Camille's shirt looked like, but I can guess it was some serious ugly, too. We laughed about the whole thing and somehow we made it through the school day. We passed Home Ec, mostly because we were sweet and polite to the teacher. At least we learned something that year.

So, when my daughter came home from school last week and said she would like to dress as a pigeon for her school project, you can see why I would be a little anxious. I don't own a sewing machine, and even if I did, I can't sew. I didn't learn a whole lot in junior high home economics. Unless you count the near professional skill of using a seam ripper.

I am quite skilled at using a glue gun or that near addictive foam. And I have been known to paint some serious Vacation Bible School props. But the pigeon challenge? It was a big one.

After a trip to Michael's and Target, I painstakingly began to attach a feather boa to a grey tunic top. My daughter modeled. I pinned. I even stuck the pins in my mouth like a real seamstress does, squinting my eyes a lot, and yelling "hold still!" It was all quite impressive really. I was beginning to feel pretty good about it.

Even though she looked a lot more like Chicken Little, and not the pigeon from Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus, I was determined to make it work, no matter what. Isn't that what moms do? But, I have to say that I was relieved when I overheard this conversation-

"Well, you have to tell Mommy now. She is working on it right now. Don't wait until she is almost finished."

"But I don't want to hurt her feelings."

"You won't. She needs to know, though. If you really feel that way, just tell her."

Pretending not to hear it, I stopped attaching feathers and casually walked in the room. My daughter then told me, nearly in tears, that she had changed her mind. She didn't want to be a pigeon. She really didn't want to hurt my feelings, because she "knew I had worked so hard on it." After a long talk, she shared that it was turning out to be too fluffy and that, well, she didn't want to be teased by the little boy at her table.

Hey, I may not be able to sew, but I'm not cruel. I'm a girl, too. I can remember what it was like to be in elementary school. I don't want my daughter going to school covered in feathers surrounded by giggling kids. She'll probably need therapy one day as it is; I don't want to add on even more motherhood mistakes.

So, we thought it over together. We laughed about the feathers, and the fact that she was starting to look more like a chicken than a pigeon. And she picked another favorite book and character for her project, Ike from Dear Mrs. LaRue. In case you haven't read it, Ike is a dog. Yes, a cute dog and not a pigeon.

It may not be Laura Ingalls, but it doesn't get much easier than that.

For a girl who can't sew.

Because, to loosely quote Laura from the PR finale, "You just can't pull that kind of craftsmanship out of your hat."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Cousin Vinny

In honor of the yummy bowl of grits my hubby just made me this morning to soothe this yucky cold I have. And the ongoing cholesterol problem.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kar-a-TAY, Pirates, and David Hasselhoff

I think we need an intervention.

When my husband and I first married, we spent our Friday nights out to dinner or just tucked in at home watching a movie. We saved movies at the theatre for Saturday matinees because they were, ya know, a lot cheaper. We've never led the most exciting life together. Ok. I admit it. We're boring.

Now that we have a kid, our weekends are just chock full of excitement- Barbie scenarios, trips to the park, and begging, pleading, and gnashing of teeth to clean her room. We still take in a matinee, as long as it is rated G and animated.

Yesterday was the best day ever. And, if you have any idea who Spongebob is, you are now singing those three words and the song is stuck in your head. You can thank me later. :>)

Yesterday was...


And if that weren't enough...

This marathon of sponginess led up to the new episode The Best Day Eeeeeveerrrrr!

And, I know this is getting to be too much for you. But, the best day ever? Well, that wasn't enough either. The day ended in... hold your seahorses...

The network PRE-MIERE of The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.

Ok. Give me a minute. I need to take a breath. I'm better. The post must go on.

We watched Spongebob all day long. Well, not all day. We made sure our daughter had a lot of breaks, long 2-3 hour breaks. We wouldn't want her to lose her eyesight or all of her brain cells. But, when it came time for the final countdown (did you suddenly hear an 80's song?), we sat together, the three of us, yes my husband too, and watched the little yellow guy.

We laughed out loud. Yep, we are lame. But, that's ok. After the much anticipated Best Day Eeeeveerrrr, the movie was equally riveting. The diabolical Plankton was up to his usual evil hijinks while Spongebob and Patrick saved the day. There was even a celebrity cameo by David Hasselhoff. Add in some gummy worms and you've got a real par-TAY!

You gotta love Spongebob. He's little, yellow, different. He's annoying. He needs some new pants!

And, can I say- David Hasselhoff, you are my hero! ;>)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

There Will Be Water Ready

The angels of Heaven are rejoicing!

Mommy Dearest's
son, Clayton, just joined their church, asking Jesus into his precious little heart. In her post, Mommy Dearest shared that her son had been talking with them about his decision. They talked about it again Saturday evening. Knowing that others were scheduled to be baptized, Mommy Dearest told her son "if he was really serious, there would be water ready."

My heart was filled with joy when I read that.

You see, Mommy Dearest was speaking of baptismal waters, of course. She was referring to being baptized after accepting Christ, an outward demonstration of our cleansing through Him. When I read her post, it reminded me that Jesus is the Living Water and that He is always ready to take us into His arms. All we have to do is ask.

Jesus said to the woman at the well, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (John 4:10)

As the passage goes on, we learn that the woman does take this precious gift of living water, believing on Jesus as her savior. She leaves her waterpot (she doesn't need it anymore!) and runs into the city to share her news. Praise God!

Jesus tells us to just reach out to Him- "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Luke 11:10)

To everyone, not just some of us. Everyone- you, me, the executive on Wall Street, the cashier at Winn Dixie, the prisoner on death row. Everyone! All we have to do is ask.

And be serious.

By serious, I mean sincere. God knows our hearts. He knows our thoughts. Once we sincerely admit our sin and believe that Christ died and rose again so that we may live, we are saved. Saved! Refreshed and renewed! Never to be thirsty again!

There were two thieves crucified on the right and the left of Jesus. One of them denied Jesus, but the other one cried out to Him. This thief believed right then and there,hanging on a cross himself, between life and death, where he could do nothing but believe, and he accepted Jesus as his savior.

"And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23: 43

If you want to ask Jesus into your life, do it now. You don't have to take a number. You don't have to wait in line. You don't have to do good deeds or try to be a good person. You don't have to go through any kind of church program. All you have to do is sincerely (seriously) seek Jesus. He is waiting for you right now.

The Water is ready.

I am having trouble with linking this morning. To read about Clayton's experience, click on Mommy Dearest's blog "Home Sweet Home" in my blogroll. Scroll down for "Oh Happy Day."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hot Glue and Feathers

Next week my daughter's class is dressing as their favorite book character, fictional or non-fictional. They are going to share with the class why they like the character and what makes the book a "good book." This little project is supposed to spark interest in reading.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Sure it does, if your kid loves Sleeping Beauty or Charlotte's Web. A pink princess and a cute spider- those are easy. My kid? She wants to be a pigeon. Not just any pigeon, mind you, but one that can drive.

We love Mo Willems. His stories are funny and quirky, and his illustrations are unique. Our first intro to Mo was Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus a few years ago. We later read Knuffle Bunny about a million times. The first time we read it, my daughter noticed a man in the illustration wearing a shirt that had the pigeon on it.

On the way home from school yesterday we were discussing which character she should be.

I shouted out, "KNUUUFFLLLEE BUNNNNYY!" and laughed.

She said, "I am not going to dress up like a bunny, mom."

You know, because that would be uncool.

I suggested Laura Ingalls. (Yes, pick that! Laura the pioneer girl! A long dress and some black shoes. How easy would that be?)

"No, I don't want to be Laura," she said.

You know, because that would be too plain.

By last night she had decided she wanted to be a pigeon. Let me get this one straight- It is uncool to be a bunny, but not a pigeon? I am totally not in tune with the elementary student's mind.

I am usually very creative in these matters. I am like the MacGyver of crafts. But, other than a hooded sweatshirt and a beak made from a Dixie cup, I am stumped on this one. Any suggestions on how to design a costume which represents an ugly bird that scavenges in parks and poops on your head, and can drive?

Oh, and he eats hot dogs too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Take Your Daughter to VOTE Day

Today was a scrapbook kind of day, if I had taken any pictures and if I actually, ya know, scrapbooked.

I took my daughter with me to the polls. Before we went, we talked a lot about how the election process works (on her level), how very important it is to vote, and how she had to be absolutely on her best behavior while Mommy carried out her civic duty and all. We talked about what kinds of things would be on the ballot, about the people and the laws (amendments).

She said, "I hope they don't change the law."

"What law?" I asked.

"The American law! I hope they don't change it."

This comment launched a conversion about how the law is different than laws in general, and so on. It was quite the civics lessons in the family car.

I have to say that she was an angel. Most of the poll workers were AARP eligible and we said a lot of yes ma'ams and yes sirs. One poll worker actually thanked me for coming out to vote. I told her that if the Iraqis could do it, I figure I could, too. She literally started to cry.

Talk about patriotic. It was very moving. Seriously, I was touched.

I asked for a kids' sample ballot for my daughter and they kindly obliged. I went over my own ballot with her and told her we wouldn't discuss who Mommy voted for until we got to the car. She filled out her own little "ballot" and was very proud of herself.

We walked to the car, hand in hand, each wearing our own "I Voted" sticker. At that moment, I was filled with so much emotion and gratefulness. It struck me that it was really not that long ago that no woman could vote in this country. Here I was, taking my daughter with me to the polls for the very first time, without fear of persecution or even death. I explained to her that women could not vote many years ago, along with certain races. Thankfully, those laws have changed and we all can vote.

And that is why I vote. I vote because I can. I vote for my daughter and for others who cannot speak up for themselves. Thanks be to God for the women who went before me who fought for me to vote. Thanks be to God that I am an American citizen. I pray that I can live up to the responsibility that comes with that citizenship.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pray The VOTE

Tomorrow is election day. It may not seem like an important election, but every election is important. I won't get into political agendas, party lines, blue states or red states. When I started to blog, that was one thing I promised myself- keep this blog politics free.

The amazing thing about the country we live in is that I could pretty much say anything responsibly that I chose to say- on a blog, in the open public forum, or even in church. Praise God for The Constitution!

Because of these freedoms, I think it is very important to vote. Plus, I am Baptist. We vote on everything, right down to carpet colors,hymn books, and who is bringing the fried chicken.

So, I encourage you to vote tomorrow if you have not already voted early. Be sure to make an informed decision. Know the candidates. Know the issues. Most importantly, pray, pray, pray! Ask for guidance from The Lord on how to vote. We have a responsibility as Americans to vote. We also have a huge responsibility as Christians to vote.

If the Iraqis can vote in the face of car bombers and terrorists, I know I can fight traffic and stand in line to wait my turn at the polls.

God Bless America!

Now, who is bringing the fried chicken?

You can visit the Christian Coalition's website to find out more about your state's candidates. The CC asks candidates for their stand on certain issues that are important to American families today.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thanksgiving Quiz

Another worthless, yet delightful quiz. Like Reality TV; I just can't get enough.

My Results. (Someone call The Wiggles so I can join the tour... Hot Potato Hot Potato)

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Festivus for the rest of us.

My dear Canadian friend Susanne asked me what chitlins are. While doing a search for a link to send to her, I found this.

People in the South can turn anything into a festival. Some things just should not be celebrated. Someone stop the madness!

The link to the Chitlin Festival also had this delightful little poem that cracked me up!!!

I am not a Chitlin' eater;
But a Chitlin' eater's son.
Someone else can eat de Chitlin's
'til de Chitlin' eater comes"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Compare and Contrast Baker's Dozen

Ya'll know I have an aversion to the compare and contrast aspect of writing. Well, only when it is forced on me for a grade...

I digress.

I am giving myself this very important assignment:

"Compare and Contrast the southernness of your/my generation to that of prior generations. You have as long as you want to complete this assignment. You may eat and drink at any time and you are not required to use a #2 pencil. Laptops and pointy things do not work well together. You will be graded on this assignment completely objectively."

1. My generation's Cadillacs have four wheel drive.

2. Prior generations ate chitlins. We don't. Sorry. There just isn't anything to compare or contrast to chitlins. Well, maybe my sushi to them is like their chitlins to me. (I know the proper spelling is chitterlings, but to people who actually eat chitterlings, they're chitlins.)

3. My daddy bought all of his tools at Sears. My husband buys them at Lowe's, Home Depot, or any other 50 acre retail store where those little trucks are always backing up.

4. Daddy owns Dickies. My husband has no idea what those are. (Can I say, "Thank Goodness!")

5. They watched Hee Haw. We watch American Idol.

6. "More cowbell" to them means, "Get a bigger bell for that cow. She keeps wandering off."

7. Atlanta or "Hot-lanta" is still where you go for serious shopping in Georgia, and you still hate driving there.

8. They would never goes to church without pantyhose- whether it is 32 degrees or 102 degrees. I have even worn pants on Sunday morning. AAAAHHHH!

9. My generation knows that Black-eyed Peas can be dried, canned, frozen or on tour.

10. My grandmother had her hair done once a week. I have my done every six weeks, if I have time.

11.Their teen heartthrobs- Elvis, James Dean, Robert Redford
Our teen heartthrobs- Rick Springfield, Tom Cruise, Kevin Bacon(OK- These are for anyone, no matter the latitude or the attitude!)

12. Their Country Music- Johnny, Patsy, and Merle
Our Country Music- Natalie, Emily, and Martie
(Maybe they have lost some of you along the way with the whole Presidential comment and all. I still love them. 'Til they deny Jesus in London or Paris or anywhere else, I still listen. Don't throw any blogger stones at me, please. :>)

13. My grandmother wouldn't be caught dead without lipstick.
My mother wouldn't be caught dead without lipstick.
I wouldn't be caught dead without lipstick.
I mean this literally, of course.
Some things never change.