Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mama Mia!

I was flipping my pizza dough in the air and my pizza meme landed below the Monkeys post. Go figure. I guess I didn't change the date before publishing! Scroll down to read. Sorry guys! :>)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hey! Hey! We're The Monkeys!

A whole lotta sea monkeys jumpin' on the bed.

Some stopped swimming and then they were dead.

Three little sea monkeys jumpin' on the bed.

One felt sick and then he was dead.

Two little sea monkeys jumpin' on the bed.

One went into a coma and then he was dead.

One big sea monkey jumpin' on the bed.

He kept flippin'

And talking to Wilson.

He kept going

And going and going and going and going...

Three new baby sea monkeys jumpin' on the bed.

One Mommy- thankful that they all aren't dead!

Mama Mia!

It's A Pizza Meme

I was tagged by Mommy Dearest @ Home Sweet Home for a pizza meme. It seems it originated from a pizza box!

What was your favorite thing about being a kid? Still being able to swing and not feel like I need to throw up.

What was your favorite subject in school? English, Science. And I majored in Psychology at one time. Definitely not Math. I love learning, but I don't like learning that involves counting.

Who was your best friend when you were 10? I had two best friends- Janet and Sherry. I can honestly say we never left anyone out. It was the only time I really had two best friends at once. It may have had something to do with the fact that we were Charlie's Angels.

If you could be any animal what would you be? Mommy lion. If I could be my pet cat Maggie right now, that would be the life, too. She is treated like royalty, even if she is weird.

What would you change about your school, occupation, life right now? I would be thinner, stronger, faster... with super powers to fight Spandex Girl.

What's your favorite color? pink!

What's your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza? Thin crust with artichokes, garlic and mushrooms. And a mint.

I may be the last one of the free bloggy world to do this pizza meme. If you haven't done this one, leave a comment. I would love to read it!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A New Song

One year ago...

I was in my home, four walls standing, a roof over my head.

The sun was shining outside, not a cloud in sight.

My power was on. My house was nice and cool. My water was clean. The food in my refrigerator was fresh.

That night, I tucked my child in bed. She slept soundly, holding her favorite stuffed animal.

But, in a place that seemed to be so far away, yet just down the road...

The wind blew. The waves came. And the rain seemed to never stop.

The air was hot. humid. heavy.

People cried out because they were trapped. They did not leave.

The helicopter passed a man holding a sign- "Help Me."

And all I could do was watch. Pray. And cry.

Days and nights went on. The suffering continued.

Many perished.

Those who survived returned to destruction. No walls. No food. No water. Just total, overwhelming sadness.

But, one morning the veil of suffering was torn.

The Light was shining. His Truth was told. His Love was shown. His Church went forth and fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless and clothed the naked.

Hope filled the space that had once been filled with sadness.

"I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be astounded.
They will put their trust in the LORD."
Psalm 40:1-3 (New Living Translation)

People are still waiting, healing. God's people are still reaching. And, the world is still watching.

Please remember the victims of Katrina in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana by giving through your church's ministries. You can also visit the following links to find out other ways to help our country prepare and respond when disaster strikes. I have personally witnessed what The Church can do when disaster strikes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What's In A Name?

Barb, over at A Chelsea Morning is challenging us to explain how we chose our blog's name.

So, here goes.

My dear friend Nancy at The Ultimate Creator and My Many Impressions encouraged me to start a blog. She had started two blogs- one for her business and one for personal use. Nancy knows how much I love to write and just be silly, so she thought this bloggin' nonsense would be right up my alley. (I say nonsense because most of what I post doesn't make a lot of sense.)

Finally, one day I sat down at my computer, logged on, and began to, like Pooh, "think, think, think." I knew that I would write about The South, my family, silly stuff in life, and about my faith in God. I can be serious from time to time, but most of what I write is at least an attempt at humor. That just comes more naturally to me than profound embellishments of magnolias and mint juleps. (Can you see where this is going?)

Most of my life, thankfully, has been filled with laughter- the laughter of my friends, family, extended family, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins, and stray dogs under Granny's house. That is why my blog isn't loaded with mush. Laughter has always been the medicine for me, although Zoloft and Effexor work pretty well, too.

Back to the name.

I love Mary Engelbreit. Her art has always inspired me. It makes me smile. My favorite tote bag has one of Mary's works on it with a woman at her desk, feet propped up, straw in her mouth, and a view of the farm in the window. It also reads, "We Don't Care How They Do It In New York." So, while I didn't take Mary's creation, I was inspired by it.

Another thing you must know about me. I have never really cared about doing things just because that is how everyone else is doing things. If you ever really meet me, most likely you will know right at the start where I stand on things. I don't apologize for that. And, I also respect the views and convictions of others.

So, that is how it all came together. A little sassiness and a little southernness all in one. And, that is also how my old header came to be:

Being Southern has nothing to do with magnolias, mint juleps, and the mason-dixon line. Southern is a state of mind, a kind of soft, warm blanket that you wrap around your shoulders, rocking on the porch on a cool evening. It warms you. It comforts you. It just plain makes you feel better. And, no matter where you are from, you can embrace the Southern state of mind. So, come on and sit for a spell. There's always room for you on the porch.

You still have a Standing Invitation to sit on the porch. Have a seat in the swing. The chain creaks a bit and the neighbor across the street stares a lot. (We call her Mrs. Kravitz.) Just stick out your tongue at her and wave. She'll pull the drapes. Always works for me. ;>)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Taaaa Daaaaaa!

I love my blog's new look. Thank you, Susie at Bluebird Blogs for your wonderful creative design. It was a lot of fun to work with Susie. She is a talented lady. Be sure to visit her site if you are interested in just tweaking your blog, or maybe you would like the whole makeover.

Do you remember when you were little and you would go in your room, get all dolled up- fancy dress, new shoes and all? And, then you would run out in the living room to show off to your Mama and Daddy and say, "Taaa Daaa!" That's how I feel! I feel just like I'm wearing Mama's shoes and lipstick, and I am running out into your living room to say...

Taaa Daaaaa!

Got My Head In The Clouds

This is my word cloud! Isn't it cool? I was so tickled to see bologna, Georgia, Jesus, and strange! I apologize that Jesus and God are not capitalized. The font on the site didn't adjust for that.

I also found "mean melanie mint" a little funny. Sounds like a Mentos that could blow up a Diet Coke...

Check out this site to make your blog's word cloud.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sea Monkey Update

And, there's still one.

You thought it was the wake, didn't you?

No, but I thought I owed you a sea monkey update. Being that most of you have shared your fondness of the little shrimp and all.

Our lonely guy is still swimming around. I moved him to my T-Rex desktop desk so I could watch him. More proof that I should get out more.

To tell you the truth, he kind of inspires me- swimming his loopty loo's, plugging along in his little plastic home with the fake coral reef at the bottom. Here's a guy/girl/whatever who could just give up. I mean, his entire family is dead at the bottom of the coral reef. He just keeps swimming and swimming. What stamina! What drive! And he doesn't even have a friend named "Wilson" to talk to.

Kind of makes me want to hug my own family, and play a little volleyball.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Our Family's "Marilyn"

Remember Marilyn Munster? Everyone has a Marilyn. Ours is Maggie.

Maggie is, in pet politically correct terms, shall we say... strange. She is not that bright either. She thinks she is a dog, at least she acts like one. When we go to bed at night she cries for us. We are pretty sure she cries when we leave and she greets us at the door when we come home.

She is totally cat in one regard- It is all about her. We are here for her needs. Totally. No doubt about it.

The only time she remotely acts like she is serving our needs is when she catches a "mouse." Rest assured that we are not being overcome by small rodents. This ain't New York. But, it ain't Green Acres either. No barns. No barn animals. And, no Mr. Haney.

But, Maggie, bless her heart, doesn't know any better. She still has a little bit of mama cat instinct in her. So she hunts at night for her kittens' food. I am a little concerned that she thinks we are her kittens, being that we are a lot bigger than her and a totally different species and all.

When my daughter was small, Maggie would cry at night until one of us got up out of bed, found her in the darkness, and then praised her for the "mouse" she caught- a tiny, baby sock. As our daughter got bigger, the "mice" did, too. We don't get out of bed, but now we call out to Maggie in the night and yell, "Good, Maggie! Did you catch a mouser? Good job!" until she stops crying.

The next morning we find the mouse- a sock. I do try to keep things straight around the house, but ya'll know how socks seem to just disappear. They find their way under sofas, behind chairs, and in between the washer and dryer. Somehow a sock manages to break free and Maggie finds it.

Now to the "cry." It isn't really a cry as much as a dreadful wail. She sounds like she is in pain. And then she talks. She could win us a huge prize on America's Funniest Home Videos if I could ever catch her on tape. Inevitably, as soon as I grab the video camera, she stops talking and just flops over in a massive ball of lazy fur. It's a lot like that frog on Bugs Bunny.

When she meows, her meow comes out as "Wik-KOWWW!" That is the feed me now or else I will wake up the neighbors meow. But when she finds a sock, she says "Carolllll" or "Howarrrd." We have no idea who Carol and Howard are. Maybe they lost a sock.

Last night Maggie started hunting early. I was reading a story to my daughter. We heard Maggie begin wailing and then we heard,"Carolllll. Howarrrddd."

As usual, I called out "Good job, Maggie! You found a mouse. Good job."

My daughter said, "Mommy, do you think Carol and Howard are married?"

"I don't know. I guess they are," I answered, and I just kept reading.

Now, who do you think is the weird one of the family?

*photo courtesy of Check out the site and listen to the theme song!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

If I Could Design Bloggity Bumper Stickers

1. Christian Blogger On Board

2. Honk if you read BooMama

3. What part of html don't you understand?!

4. My other vehicle is a Mac

5. I post. Therefore, I am.

6. Bloggers Rule. My Spacers Drool.

7. I Love Mr. Linky

8. How many times have you checked your site meter today?

9. What blogroll are you from?

10. Have meme. Will post.

11. Just Say "NO!" to the Anonymous Comment Robots. Support Word Verification.

12. Proud participant of the Tour of Homes

13. How's my driving? To comment, go to my URL. Registered users only.
Bloggers: Please be aware that this is a family friendly blog. Comments with inappropriate language, even using abbreviations, will be deleted. If your site refers to witchcraft or any other subject offensive to the author of This Ain't New York, your comment will be deleted. This is not an exclusive club.
But, I must always Honor Christ on this web page.
Thank you!

Sea Monkeys: Part Deux

And then there was one.

Stay tuned for more in our Sea Monkey mini-series.

What works for me is saving money. I was at Target today looking for some inexpensive jersey shorts for house cleaning, walking, or just running out to drop my kid off at school. I went to the Ladies' Active Wear Department to find something comfy and casual.

Most of what I found had at least 40 % of spandex or lycra. The only time I wear lycra on these hips is when I am wearing a shaping garment (formerly known as girdles) under a dress. And, most of the shorts were in the $12-15 range. I am sure they are cute for going to the gym. The rest of the shorts I found looked too much like men's briefs. This directed me to my best buy of the week-

I headed over to the Men's Active Wear Department and found some drawstring cotton jersey shorts for only $4.99. They are loose and comfortable, and affordable.

Now, that works for me! Blog on over to Shannon's for more tips.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This Is What My Life Has Come To?

After yesterday's post, I was hoping that I may have something a little more positive to write about, something heartwarming, downright silly, something the least bit entertaining or slightly amusing.

Me, being the imaginary writer that I am, I either have something to write or I don't. I can't just sit down at the laptop or the old T-Rex desktop and just spew out a post. It just doesn't work that way.

It's a lot like trying to make yourself throw up. You either have to hurl or you don't. Otherwise, you just make yourself gag. And then the just isn't pleasant. But if you actually do have to hurl, once you do, you just feel so much better.

I wish my high school English teachers could have understood this.

I cannot just write something because someone suggests it, or because Mrs. Literature Her Majesty stands in front of the class and says, "Today, class, we are going to write an essay. I want you to compare and contrast the papaya and the mango. You have exactly 25 minutes to do so. This essay is worth half of your six weeks' grade. Remember to write your name, the date at the far right corner, fold your paper in half, then again lengthwise, crease it nicely, or else I will take off 50 points for not following directions."

Real writing doesn't work like that. Real life doesn't work like that. And I am fairly certain that Walt and Ernest wrote on whatever scrap of paper they could find. They would have whittled it in the bark of a mighty oak if they were so inspired, and the trunk from that tree would be somewhere in the Smithsonian right now.

For you teachers and list makers out there, I know there are rules in life. There is order. Without order, there would be chaos. I know all of that. But sometimes rules are there for the teacher's survival. Let's just be honest about it. If it makes it easier for the teacher to grade 3000 essays in one night, why can't she just stand up in front of the class and be honest about it?

"Students, I am overworked, underpaid, and even less appreciated. Please fold your paper this way so that every waking moment of my life is not spent grading papers. It would make my life easier, and maybe, just maybe if I spent less time bogged down in paperwork and meetings, I may be able to teach you something worthwhile. Thank you. You get extra points for making me happy. And if the teacher ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

I would have responded much better to honesty. Instead, I got the "speech." The speech about how I should fold my paper a certain way or else I would never learn the rules of life, the order of society, and never be able to survive college. You know, because college is the real world...ahem.

I digress.

I do actually have something to post about. I just had to get that out. Deep breath. I feel much better now.

So, I sat down to write and I heard my daughter cry. It seems we only have two Sea Monkeys left.

We have a friend who loves to send our daughter living things with short lifespans. I have raised an ant farm, butterflies, and now Sea Monkeys. Of course, this friend does not have children of his own, but, when he does, oh boy, the sweet revenge I have planned for him.

His latest gift is this family of Sea Monkeys. I don't know if the two remaining family members are Ma and Pa, brother and sister, or just a couple of first cousins. I don't know if they are mourning the loss of their relatives, swimming around in some Sea Monkey ceremonial funeral dance. All I know is that, when my daughter's tears began to flow, I had to explain the workings of nature, that sea monkeys do not live long, that it had nothing to do with the fact that we may or may not have underfed or overfed them. Thankfully, we still have two little guys swimming in there.

Here-I- am. Watching two brine shrimp do the Triple Lindy in a tiny, plastic tank.

And- reading- about- them- from- a- tiny- book. (I am not sure why the book has to be tiny, too.) Other people are reading C.S. Lewis and Robert Frost. But, I, the imaginary writer, am reading excerpts from The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys.

To top it all off, I decided to write about the experience for you, my adoring fan.

This profound thought-provoking post would not be complete without a few quotes from the tiny Sea Monkey book, which, I might add, is printed in English, Spanish and French. Apparently, the French are not as cultured as we are led to believe.

I promise you on my grandmother's Southern good name that I am not making this up! These are words of wisdom from our miniature sea monkey manual-

"Overfeeding is the most common reason for sea monkey deaths! This uneaten food consumes oxygen and causes the Sea Monkeys to suffocate, the poor little things. Better to have a skinny and healthy Sea Monkey than an over-fed one in a coma."

"In time, your healthy tank should have many generations of Sea Monkeys swimming around. Like a pool party celebrating your grandparents anniversary, the pool is filled with humans at all stages of life...just like your perfect little salty pets."

"Sad days may occur also. If all of your pets die, don't throw out the water in your tank... put the tank back into the light. In a few days, you should have a new batch of baby Sea Monkeys swimming erratically through the water..deja vu for you... Happy Days are here, again!"

I don't know about you, but I get a little teary just reading those words describing the life cycle of crustaceans. Pure literary genius. Elisabeth Kubler Ross could not have said it any better.

Yes! Sniff, sniff. Happy Days will be here again!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Madness!

Warning: This is actually a rant and rave, stomp my feet, one fist in the air and the other on the keyboard post.

I am sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. And very, very angry.

I am tired of watching the photo of the alleged killer of a precious, innocent child flashed across my television screen. I am tired of his smug look, his flat affect, and his dark eyes.

I refuse to print his name. The media has printed it enough.

I do not want to see anyone allegedly or even remotely associated with the brutal murder of a child, in custody or not in custody, sipping champagne and eating pate.

I do not want to hear about his life, his surgery, or anything else.

I do not want to hear his name in full- first, middle and last names- as if he is some sort of celebrity.

I want to see JUSTICE. I want to see a little girl's killer put away for life- whoever that may be.

I want to see her grieving father be at peace at last.

I want to see a mother's memory honored- a mother who suffered from cancer, then lost her life to the dreadful disease before her daughter's killer was brought to justice.

I want to see our country regard children as highly as we do stray animals.

I want to see mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers finally stand up and say, "We have had enough!"

I want to hear children laughing and playing, instead of crying from fear and abuse.

I want to hear about a neighbor who did call the police, and kept calling until someone saved a child from his abusive home.

Until then, I am turning off the news.

I am going to continue to get too involved. I will keep recieving Amber Alerts on my cell phone. I will keep an eye on the predator list. I will use the strength, courage and wisdom that God gave me. I will strive each day to be the arms of Jesus, holding my own child in love, and reaching out to each and every child I meet.

God, please be with us.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Novel for Meme? Why, Bless Your Boggin' Heart!

Susanne tagged me for a meme. Being the prompt person that I am, I commented to Susanne that I would write the meme for yesterday's post. Well, being that there is no "yesterday's post," it will be today's post.

See, I am on medication. Not just my usual anti-depressant that keeps me on a smooth, slightly sane, mental plane. My allergies are giving me fits. I have a cough that mimics that of an old, tattoo- sporting, Winston smoking woman who hacks over the sneeze guard at Western Sizzlin.

To prevent my lungs from completely deteriorating, I woke up this morning, not so bright-eyed and bushy- tailed and took two Advil Cold and Sinus caplets. PLEASE READ THIS- The label recommends only one caplet. But, I have a very high tolerance to medication.

Example- When I was in labor, the nurse gave me a really goooood drug for the pain. The kind that makes you look around the room and see things dancing. The kind that makes you say things like "I love ya, man." or "DUUUDE!"

Right before she injected me with this blessing from the pharmacy, she said,"You may want to use the restroom. Most patients fall asleep before I even finish pushing this drug into their IV."

Such a sweet kid.

I told her that I was fine. My bladder was quite comfortable.

So, she gave me the medication. Not only did I NOT fall asleep, I continued to talk to her. She finished administering this blessing from the pharmacy and left the room in Shock and Awe. And, after she left, I felt much better and just kept talking to my husband.

AND NEVER EVEN FELT A TWINGE OF GROGGY. This tolerance to medicine is also a reason my epidural wore off. But no one believed me... that's another story.

Back to the tag- See I told you this medication might affect me. (or is it just an excuse?)

The Meme is This:

If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be?
Just the subject, don't give away any plot ideas.

Considering that the above portion of this post could be a novella with a plot that goes absolutely nowhere, hmmm. Let me think...ok... here goes-

My novel would be about a completely fictional character, a woman, let's say. She grows up in the Deep South and has some of the weirdest relatives. Some of them are so strange that her family doesn't talk about it, unless it is in a whisper.

This woman is... let's say... fairly attractive, no, she is absolutely GORGEOUS! So much so that people have to turn away when she passes on the street. Kind of like staring at the sun. You could go blind. (Not sure if this is fiction or non-fiction. What do you think?)

The novel would be about her life in the tropics, sipping sweet tea, eating seven layer chocolate cake, and never gaining an ounce of fat. Quite the contrary, the more she eats, the more she radiates charm and beauty, and extreme intelligence.

Most days she is in her hammock solving world hunger, and writing peace treaties for nations across the globe.

The End.

Really. That's the end.

Never underestimate the creative power of decongestants.

I tag BooMama since she is under the delusion that she isn't a writer, and Nancy but wait for hers; she is trapped in dial-up land right now.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thirteen Things My Grandmother's Generation Would Say About My Generation

1. That curio cabinet is just a glorified what-not stand.

2. Sushi? You mean you pay this much for bait and then you actually eat it? Well, I never!

3. God did not want you to expose your midriff for the world to see.

4. Speaking of exposing- What on earth was that Spears girl thinking? Her poor ole' mama.

5. Let me get this straight. You were in labor for how long, had access to narcotics, and you turned them down????!!!!!

6. Are you actually trying to pass off those frozen biscuits for homemade?

7. Never wear white after Labor Day. I- don't- care- what- Hollywood- says.

8. Don't be afraid of hard work. But, never let them see you sweat. You go ahead and glisten, girl.

9. Things you must have with you at all times- lipstick, face powder, Kleenex, and grace.

10. Remember, if God said it, that settles it, whether you believe it or not.

11. There are some things that should be left to the imagination.

12. There is a time and a place for all things.

13. This blogging stuff you girls are doing is about the silliest thing I ever heard of! When do you have time to get your hair washed and set on Fridays?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Works for Me today is a blatant product endorsement...

I just purchased Nichole Nordeman's latest CD Brave. It is fantastic. She has done an outstanding job on this CD- beautiful lyrics that inspire, encourage, and challenge. Crimson brings tears to my eyes, as does We Build.

Visit her website-

Really good Christian music is so hard to find. Nichole gets past the usual "praise and worship" repeat, repeat, and reaches the heart.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fudge, Red Cabbage, and Meat Loaf

This is not my menu for dinner. I am actually cooking chicken leg quarters in a lot of butter, salt, and garlic powder. (Paula would be proud.)

My daughter is, as I type, watching "A Christmas Story" and it is about to get to one of my all time favor-ITE parts- the fudge part. You know, the part where Ralphie excitedly runs out to help his father change a flat tire and, right there on the side of the road, the lug nuts and the language go flying into the cold, winter night. He says the word, the one with all the dashes. They do spare us by Ralphie saying "Fudge" instead of the real thing. (Otherwise, my daughter would not be allowed to watch it, people! Did you think I had lost my marbles?)

This movie is one of my absolute favorite movies for so many reasons. I mean, it has to be. Why else would I blog about it in the middle of August? It is funny to me on so many levels.

A running joke at our house was born from the dialogue of this movie. Any time I have to get up from the dinner table to get something for someone at the table, inevitably the someone who requested the item will say, "Can I have some more red cabbage?" when I sit back down. Most of the time that someone is my husband.

This movie has made its way into my posts on several occasions. It ranks at the top of creative genius (in my book) right there next to Seinfeld. Yes, my name is Melanie, and I am a quote-aholic. Before you do an intervention, please know that I have seen "Cable Guy" more than once, and I know the bitter reality of dependence on virtual reality.

For the many times I laugh, snort, and try to keep from spewing my Diet Coke, there is one part that makes me smile sweetly-

When Ralphie beats the tar out of the bully. Not because the bully gets what has been coming to him for a very long time, but because 1) Randy gently picks up Ralphie's glasses and runs home to get their mom 2) Mom helps Ralphie up and does not get angry and 3) Mom lets Randy drink milk under the sink, honestly reports the fight to Dad, but does it in a way that Dad does not punish Ralphie severely.

See, I love this Mom. She understands her son's heart, (just as Dad does when he gives Ralphie that Red Rider.) Mom understands that punishment for fighting, in this instance, would not be good parenting. Mom knows Ralphie needs her love and understanding, her compassion. She doesn't lie to her husband. She just knows how to approach the subject at dinner as she dollops that spoonful of mashed potatoes on Ralphie's plate. This is a mother's love. And, this is one reason that I truly love this movie.

That, and the" You'll shoot your eye out" part. ;>)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

From The Outside Looking In

While sitting in church today, I noticed the pretty flowers on the Lord's Supper table. I read the inscription on the table to myself, "This Do In Remembrance Of Me." I have always gone to a Baptist church. I have visited other denominations with friends and family. But I am most familiar with Baptist churches. In every Baptist church I have attended, there has been a similar table with the exact same inscription. You will have to let me know if you have the same inscription on a table at your church's altar.

What dawned on me today was this- What would a person who had never stepped foot inside any church think when she read "This Do In Remembrance Of Me" on a day that isn't designated for The Lord's Supper? Any time I have seen that table where the words were visible, there has always been flowers on the table. The times the table was actually used for communion, the letters have always been covered up with a white table cloth. Just by looking at the table, the flowers, and the inscription, you could assume that we put flowers on the table in memory of someone.

It makes me wonder what "unchurched" people are walking away with. What if no one interacts with them, or worse still, is rude? What if they walk away totally confused? I know that the minister has a message. But, people notice more than just the message.

Some of the routines we have in church may be puzzling. And I wonder if we are doing a good job explaining it all. Or maybe we are just too focused on the routines, and not on the really important message of Jesus Christ.

I just don't know. What do you think?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Just Set It And Forget It

Most nights I am up late Swiffering the floors or blogging, or watching TV. After about 10:30 PM nothing is on, not even on HGTV, so I surf and surf and sometimes I just give up. I end up purposely watching cheesy commercials. Some of them are downright comical.

We are all familiar with the king of infomercials- Ron something-or-other. You know, the man who started this entire genre of advertising. His most memorable one is for the rotisserie oven. It looks so easy. All you have to do is impale a chicken, set the oven temp., and forget it! Really! He wants you to forget it! Only you can't forget it, because you are watching the chicken rotate over and over and over. I picture most people standing at their kitchen counter, staring at the bird, the succulent juices staying in the meat, while the fat is dripping to the bottom. It is absolutely fascinating, even mesmerizing. People have been hypnotized by it.

Ron's latest is for a set of knives that Emeril himself must have. "BAM! Watch me cut this tin can and then slice a tomato! BAM!"

These are not Ginzu's, folks. No, you will not see any kara-TAY on this commercial. A bona fide chef with a real chef's hat and apron actually uses these knives to cut the most unimaginable things- Bread! Cheese! Roast Beef! Have you ever heard of such? I am so glad they demonstrate for me because I, the ignorant consumer, would not be able to figure out how to slice bread without this incredible, educational segment.

My very favorite product advertised now is "Urine Gone." Yes, there are apparently millions of people out there with a urine stain problem. This product is so powerful that all you have to do is spray it on your carpet, your furniture, anywhere urine is an issue in your household and the stain disappears. And, get this, it even removes the smell!

Here is my thought on this product- If you have urine stains throughout your home to the point that you require a special product, maybe cleaning isn't your problem. Maybe you need to see a physician!

If you stay up long enough, there may be an infomercial for a unique urological formula that can eliminate your problem. Stay tuned... and have your credit card ready.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sociology 101 and Decency for Dummies

Today was one of those days when I just took in my surroundings, observing people, their behavior, their expressions, you know- the kind of stuff you had to do in college for a grade. But, I was doing all of this sociological, anthropological boggle just for the fun of it.

I need to get out more.

I met my husband for lunch at a fabulous Thai place. While sweating profusely and attempting to cool my lips with the rice and the sweet tea, I made an observation- lots of men also enjoying their lunch (and sweating profusely.) Well, you know my theory on that, so I mentioned said theory to my husband. He is quite familiar with my restaurant rating method. I informed him that we, being a couple and all, were totally throwing off the experiment. (If you are lost, go to my "Scientific Method" post! :>))

After a very hot and very garlicky meal, I headed to TJ Maxx, where I observed that I don't really need about 90 % of the merchandise in the store. Yet, I am drawn to the fringy pillows and the fluffy sheets that only cost $60.00! This is really a bargain, see, because in a regular store where all the suckers shop these same sheets would cost $100.00! I would be saving $40.00! Wow! Let's not mention the fact that my family wouldn't know the difference between Egyptian cotton and Alabama cotton, and I may as well just head to Target for some $30.00 sheets. Let's face it, people. The only part you really feel is the pillow case those few minutes you are trying to drift off into la la land. After that, you aren't even conscious!

Now on to the next store- Books-A-Million, or as my husband says "Books One Hundred." I browsed the store, looked at the local interest books, the sale tables, and so on. (Let me digress. My biggest fear is to someday actually publish a book and then see it at a book store on the clearance table, or worse- The Dollar Tree!)

I headed back to the magazine wall, looking for a copy of Southern Lady (love it!), and there, on the shelf, was the current issue of Bazaar. Let me prepare you for the next time you are out with your kids- Ya'll, Britney Spears is NECK-ed. Not naked. No, naked is what you are when you go to the doctor and put on that little paper gown. Naked can be somewhat dignified in the appropriate situations, like birth. No, people, she is neck-ed. And very, very pregnant.

Appalled as I was that anyone would pose for a magazine cover necked and pregnant, the other thing that stood out to me is that she has dyed her hair brown. (Funny a southern girl would notice another southern girl had returned to her roots, so to speak!) We have a pregnant, neck-ed, dyed hair woman on the cover of a magazine for all to see.

Granny would say, "Lord, have mercy!"

I know there are people who say the pregnant body is beautiful, blah blah blah. I won't even try to argue with you, though I disagree. My point here is that, no matter how beautiful something is or isn't, it doesn't mean that everyone has to see it. Can we have a little self control? This is what women's lib did for us? (Don't make me go there on that one. Have to save that for another post!)

Please, Britney, if by any smidgen of a chance you are reading this blog, go out and buy all those magazines girlfriend, whatever you have to do to remove them from all shelves. Go put on something decent and pose for a nice magazine your mama would be proud to show her friends, like Southern Lady! But, before you pose again, please, please, I beg you- get your highlights done.

I wound up not buying Southern Lady. I purchased a gift instead. Something about Britney just threw me off.

So, what did you observe today?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A One Sided Conversation

This was what I heard on the way home from school today:

"Mommy, I love riding across bridges. Looks like a lake down there. Hey, the water changed colors. Why does it change colors?"

I don't know hon....

I think it changes colors cause the sun is shining and the sun shining makes it lighter. When the sun isn't shining, then the water is-ya know- dark. And then sometimes the dirt underneath, it gets deeper, like where boats can go, and then it goes on a diagonal... Then it gets really deep down where the pin cushion sea devil lives, he has red on him... he has lived for a long time, like before people knew how to make salt. That book you got for me when you went on your trip that time, about fish... you know the one about all the fish. There's a lot of stuff in there about fish...

What book was tha...

The book you got me on that trip you went on when you brought back Freckles and I went to bed that night with Freckles, only I hadn't named him yet and then you came in to tuck me in and you said his spots looked like freckles to you... and so I named him Freckles. REMEMBER, MOMMY?

I guess...

Yea. And piling up all that dirt under the water would be hard work.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Have Found In My Purse
(But, not necessarily at one time)

1. a plastic fork

2. leftover goldfish crackers

3. empty goldfish cracker bag (daughter dropped them in my purse to "save them for later")

4. receipts, receipts, receipts- mostly from Target

5. stuffed animal

6. gum, candy, cough drops

7. medicine

8. crayons

9. stickers

10. juice box

11. Spongebob band-aids

12. sunscreen

13. any other item that a little girl or husband could fit in my purse while on vacation, out to dinner, out shopping, or just generally "out" because the Mom Purse is the all purpose piece of luggage.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How to Keep Betta Fish Alive and Well, and Not Floating at the Top!

We have a Betta fish "Rainbow" who is over 2 yrs. old. I hope I don't ruin our luck so far with this post... no such thing as luck, so here goes.

I learned from a dear friend to always use only bottled water (any kind will do) when changing the water in the bowl. I don't add any of the water additives and I never use tap water. We have even moved with this fish and he has survived.

That's my tip for the day- bottled water for your Betta fish! Works for me. Be sure to visit Shannon for more tips.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Original Survivor Series

I was reading BooMama's post, and yes I know that is quite long and detailed, and that with a bloggy blink of an eye I can somehow post that post on my post without actually posting the post. But, I haven' t taken the time to figure that out, simple as it may be, because I am busy with other things, like washing my hair and doing windows.

Anyhoo. I was reading about BooMama's terrible moments without AC in Alabama, of all places, in August, and it dawned on me. BooMama, you gotta flip your pillow, or "pilluh" as we say down here.

My parents and I lived in Albany, Georgia and we did have air conditioning, running water, cable TV, and all of those other things people think Southern folks know nothing about. But, my maternal grandparents lived in a little town in Southeast Georgia. I cannot divulge the name of the town, because I write about it often and I would like to remain in the wills of all my relatives.

While my grandparents did have running water and cable TV (PaPa had to watch his Hee Haw and his Jeopardy!), they did not have air conditioning. I think they just didn't see the need for it. They had survived just fine without it so far. Why change now?

South Georgia is a lot like parts of Alabama in the summer. It is just hot, Africa kind of hot. It is sticky hot. If you don't know sticky hot, count yourself as one of the fortunate ones. Because, let me tell you, those people on Survivor don't know hot 'til they've been sticky hot. And, you don't run around your Granny's house in a bikini like the contestants on Survivor. If you tried, Granny would have firmly informed you of your lack of modesty, moral decency, and the fact that you were in her house, and as long as you were in her house, you would not be " prancing around looking like something off the street." (I am not quoting, but guessing that's what she would have said, if you had the guts to try and walk around in a bikini in her house.)

Along with sticky hot and appropriately dressed, you were also in Granny's kitchen at high noon frying, boiling, baking and broiling because Granny cooked three full meals a day. There was no sandwich meat in the refrigerator because PaPa did not eat sandwiches. There were no salad ingredients because PaPa said salad was rabbit food. Only full course, fully cooked meals would do. Period.

In between the three fully cooked meals, you were standing at Granny's sink washing dishes, because Granny didn't use the dishwasher. Notice I said "didn't use" because she did actually have one. She just never got around to using it. I suppose it was at the bottom of the "necessary" list, along with air conditioning. Washing dishes in very hot water without air conditioning after a lunch (aka "dinner") of fried chicken, boiled butterbeans, and biscuits baked at an oven temperature which still permeates the room, is- well, you get the picture.

When you weren't in the kitchen, you were on my grandparents' porch because it was cooler outside. Sometimes we would ride over to Dollar General across town (about 4 miles away) just to cool off.

The worst part of the day in a non-air conditioned house in the middle of the summer in South Georgia is actually not the part of the day. It is night time. I would take my bath, get nice and cool, and before I had finished brushing my teeth, I was sweaty again- sticky hot.

When I climbed in bed, the sheets would feel fairly cool as I lay under the ceiling fan. I can still remember the feeling of the fan blowing and the sound of the crickets outside. Something about laying there really still kept you a little bit cooler. And then the pillow felt hot. So, I flipped it. This is a survival tool for sleeping sticky hot. For some reason the underside of the pillow is at least 5, 10, 20 degrees cooler.

Survival instincts stay in a person, long after they have lived through an experience. Even now, when we have power outages, I can remember the survival methods I was taught as a child. The sound of the crickets outside triggers a childhood memory and a tiny voice cries out to me in the sweltering, sticky heat- "Flip the pillow."

Ahhhh, off to dream land...

Monday, August 07, 2006

One Person CAN Make A Difference

You have heard people say, "What can only one person do?" Well, I am about to tell you.

Let me preface this with "I am not tooting my horn, that of my daughter's or anyone else for that matter. Just want to be clear on that one."

This post is really about what one person can achieve if she sets her heart to it. (Notice I didn't say mind?) My daughter loves animals, all animals, even the little ones with tiny, creepy, crawly legs. Since infancy, she has been fascinated with bugs and has taught me to appreciate them in a way I never would or could have before. In her mind, they are just another part of the animal kingdom, just a really tiny alcove tucked somewhere between the big cats and the birds.

Many times she has shed genuine tears over the death of a bug. She understands the distinction between the "good bugs" and the "bad bugs." This lesson was necessary. We do live in the south, where lots of bad bugs absolutely must, well, die at the mercy of a big shoe or Mr. Terminix himself.

You can see how a child who so fervently loves insects would just dote over the cute, cuddly animals like cats and dogs. You can also understand how tender hearted a child like this could be.

One day I was applying my Maybelline to hide or enhance something or other and my daughter walked in sheepishly, her face in her hands, sobbing.

She said, "I wish Maggie wasn't so cranky so that I could help all of the homeless animals." And then she wailed.

Our cat has post-traumatic stress disorder from a dog attack. And she is just an old lady, "no other animal is going to live under this roof" kind of cat. So, adoption of a dog or any other animal is just out of the question while Maggie graces this green earth.

I explained to my daughter that we can help animals without bringing all of them home. And, even if we didn't have Maggie, we could not adopt absolutely every homeless cat, dog, or other cute creature in the world. So, at that moment, in our bathroom, between the mascara and the lipstick, we made a pact- To go to a local shelter, find out what we could do, and do it. Together.

That is exactly what we did.

After researching and finding a local "no kill" dog shelter, we went for a visit and spoke to the manager. She was very excited that my little girl wanted to really do something for these needy animals. In addition to dog toys, food, treats, and harnesses, she told us that they always need old towels, blankets or other soft items for the dogs to sleep on. We purchased some of the items, and yes, I splurged a little. How often does your child go shopping and ask for nothing for herself?

Over the weekend we took her little red wagon and went door to door asking for donations. I let her do the talking and I just added some facts here and there. You would be amazed at what she was able to collect! People just opened their hearts. Of course, a little freckle-faced girl had some influence, I'm sure. One lady asked us to come back later so that she "could really collect some things that would help, not just grab a few items." She wound up giving us several old towels (that smelled freshly laundered) and some old men's t-shirts. We had a wagon load when we got home, and we only visited a few houses.

The manager of the shelter was thrilled at what my daughter had collected. But, the happiest one of all was a golden retriever named "Jake." Jake had arrived at the shelter after being beaten by his owner. He is now very healthy, with a wagging tail, a shiny coat, and a new ball. My daughter was able to toss it over the cage to him. Her smile was even bigger than his.

On our way home, I told her to always remember that one person can make a difference in this world. You just have to be willing to try.

I know that Jake and the other precious pups will remember too.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In case you haven't noticed...

I can tend to be a wee bit sarcastic. Sarcasm is the backbone of humor. Or is it the funnybone? Along with sarcasm, I think cynicism lends a witty flair to life.

What makes you laugh? Is it slapstick? Sarcasm? Knock Knock jokes? What makes you nearly split your pants? I would love to read your comments!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Letter to the Editor

I was standing in line at Winn Dixie today scanning the magazines. One particular magazine caught my attention. I won't mention the name, but the title has "world" in it and it is for, ahemmm...women. You connect the dots.

So, I was standing there at the cash register waiting my turn trying to ignore the silicone and botox fest of photos on the covers. I looked at the "normal women's" magazines. That is when I read "Hate Your Belly Fat?" in gigantic font.

Is this a rhetorical question?

Does the editor of this magazine really want to know if I hate my belly fat? I have decided to assume that she really does want to hear my deepest feelings concerning the cellulite that rests at what used to be a waist. So, I wrote a letter and I'm sharing it with you.

Here goes...

Dear Editor-in-Chief,

I was purchasing an entire cartload of high-fat, high-carb food for my family when I saw your magazine at the cash register. The cover showed a very thin woman all dressed in horizontal stripes and a question-"Hate Your Belly Fat?" I just knew that you truly cared about my belly fat and all the other problems of the world, so I am writing to answer your question.

I have to be perfectly honest with you. The truth is that I adore my belly fat! When I am alone, it is still with me. And any time I want to forget childbirth, I just look in the mirror at my belly fat to remind me that the labor of children goes on for years and years.

The times I most love my belly fat are when I am trying on clothes. Ahhh, the image in the 3-way mirror with the fluorescent lighting is just stunning. What would I be without my belly fat? A size 8, maybe? Those were the days. But I am an optimist. So I don't look at the past- the past when I had a waistline and nearly every pair of jeans I tried on actually fit me. No, not me. I don't live in the past. I live in the present, the here and now. Yes, sir! Carpe diem, I say.

Tears come to my eyes as I write this for my belly fat is just so dear to me. What would I do without it? Sun bathe in a bikini? Don a pair of Calvins with confidence? Become a supermodel? Not me. I am just happy to wear my baggy sweats and my swimsuit with the little ruffled skirt. The ruffled skirt is such a classic.

I hope that I have been helpful. Please feel free to ask me any other personal questions concerning body image, bladder control, or premature aging.

Your biggest fan and her belly fat

Friday, August 04, 2006

It's The Scientific Method

Ever wonder how people make decisions? Not big decisions like marriage or hair color, but small ones.

I use my very own high-tech method to choose a good restaurant. I carefully survey the room, not the menu. If there are a lot of men happily eating, then I know it's good. That's it.

My theory is this- Men only eat what tastes good. They don't care that it looks pretty, or the napkin is folded like a swan, or if there are lace cafe curtains in the window, or how delightful the egg salad presentation may be on the restaurant's china. No, men want good tasting food in plenteous portions at a reasonable price.

The best time to judge an eatery using my high-tech method is at lunch on a weekday. If you walk in and it looks like there are men eating happily with other men on their lunch hour, just go ahead and order girlfriend. I can bet you that the sandwiches are big and hearty. The tea is cold and sweet, and the service is excellent. (Exception to this rule would be Hooters.)

If, on the other hand, you walk in and observe a man and his wife eating together, the place could be questionable. See, he will go out on his lunch hour with his wife to a place she likes. This somewhat qualifies as a date. And since men try to please their significant other on a date, the fact that the two are a couple eating out together totally disqualifies them from the study group.

Now, what if you walk in a restaurant and see nothing but ladies sitting around talking? If you want a good chicken salad or maybe a grilled chicken caesar, or the chicken sandwich (something about a ladies luncheon place and chicken...), then put your name on the waiting list. If you do decide to order the chicken salad, it will most likely be served on a lettuce leaf, with a slice of tomato, and a roll.

Listen up! This one is important! If there is a large group of women sitting together at a long table giggling and exchanging gifts, be sure to ask for the dessert menu. Chances are your waitress will bring out a dessert tray for you to drool over. Go for the cheesecake. That's always the best bet at these places.

Back to the method.

What do you do if you walk in and see nothing but families with a lot of kids?
Run, Forrest, run!! Unless you like to waste your money on overpriced chicken nuggets, pizza and macaroni and cheese, you may as well go home.

Praise God!

Update: Addison's surgery was successful. She is recovering in PICU. Continue to pray for her and her family.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Addison's Precious Heart

Sarah's ( daughter Addison is having heart surgery tomorrow. I was thinking of Addison, her tiny frame and sweet, precious little heart and Psalms 139 came to mind.

Addison needs her heart repaired, but God knew this all along, even when Sarah was carrying her under her own heart.

God is sovereign and He is Love. And, I am confident that He will hold sweet Addison in His Arms tomorrow. And when she wakes up from her surgery, God will still be with her.

Psalms 139:13-18 (NIV)

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you."

This week's "Works For Me" is on a more serious note-

Sex Offenders.

We all want our kids to be safe, so let's empower ourselves as much as possible by educating ourselves as much as possible- Do you know who the registered offenders are in your town?

It is very easy to look up. I have listed the FBI's site so that you can find your state's link.

Here are just a few personal tips from me, the Queen of Protecting Kids (you have no idea!-but you will soon find out how neurotic I am on this subject!!)

1. List/Bookmark your state's Sex Offender Registry in your computer's favorites.

2. Check the site, at least monthly. Most sites are updated regularly. These people move, and when they do actually comply and register their new address, you need to know it.

3. If your state does not provide a photo of the offenders, or if the site is not easy to navigate, contact law enforcement, write a letter to your state representative, or whatever you have to do to change that. We need to be able to see the offenders' faces. Names are not enough.

4. In addition to knowing who lives in your neighborhood, close to your kids' school (you will be amazed at how close they can legally live to a school), learn the faces. You may see an offender every week at the grocery store and not even know it. For example, a dear friend of mine had hired an independent contractor to install a fence for her. Her husband was away on business for weeks. She later found out that the man she had hired to install her fence was a registered sex offender. You can imagine the sick feeling in her stomach when she saw his photo.

5. Please remember that the information provided is not for us to harass the registered offender. If we abuse the information, one day the law could change so that we do not have access to it at all.

6. Last, but not least, don't be afraid of every stranger on the street. We need to tune in to our intuitions and trust our instincts. If we are afraid of every strange man on the street, we will not know when or how to read a real fear that comes along. Stay informed! Stay safe!

Check the FBI's site to find your state's registry-

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Child's Wisdom

Sometimes the most profound words come straight from the mouths of babes.

My daughter struck me with one of these moments a few days ago. We were just going about our day, the usual routine, when she said, "Mommy, I'm glad I was born."

Of course, I am glad she was born too, but I want to know what are her reasons. And, why is she thinking this way to begin with?

She explained,"So I can help people and animals."

Siggghhhhh...awwwww....bless her sweet, little, precious, yes-that's-my-girl! heart.

What makes it so sweet, is that I know she means it. I am, of course, openly and proudly bragging right here on the web to all of the 1 or 2 faithful readers of my blog. But, the thing is, I know you get it. We have all heard a child say something so innocent and so sincere. That's what makes them children; they are so open and honest. Our prayer each night is that they will grow up to care about people, animals, and most of all, to love Jesus and ask Him in their sweet, little, precious hearts. We pray they will not be hurt by the terrible evils of the world, jaded by the images on the nightly news, and, Heaven forbid, literally hurt by someone.

So, when they just come right out and say "I want to help others" or "Mommy, I wish all the animals had a home" or (my personal favorite) "I want to be a missionary," our hearts melt. They just melt, right into that squishy, soft, cuddly place mommyhood has placed us.

Then we share it with grandma and our best friend, and of course, we post it for all to read. We know that other mommies and daddies have been to that squishy, soft, cuddly place too. Their hearts have melted there, and they, too, have dwelt in the warmth of this thing called love. It is a love unimaginable, indescribable, until it is expressed in the profound words of a child, your child, God's child.

Thank you, God, for the sweet words of children.