Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Feast

Appetizer: Who is the easiest person for you to talk to? My husband. I can tell him anything. He may not always understand my feelings or know just what to do, but he listens without criticizing. He also knows now that sometimes I just need him to listen and I don't really need solutions. I hope he can say the same thing about me. He's my best friend.

Soup: If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose? I would say Rome because I would love to say,"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

Salad: What is the most exciting event you have ever witnessed? Childbirth.

Main Course: If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt? Hmmm... Let's see. I would wear white after Labor Day and make all the tabloids.

Dessert: What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?
When you and your husband have spent enough couple time together, as husband and wife.
When you are both comfortable and confident in your roles as husband and wife and can take on the roles of mom and dad.
Every married couple needs time to be married before they become parents. They will appreciate their time with their child even more, rather than look forward to the next time the babysitter can relieve them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unwrapping a Lifetime

When I opened the box, I smelled it.

It was the scent of an elderly woman's home, of furniture polish and moth balls, of rose and lavendar, and of freshly ironed linens. Doilies and hand-embroidered dresser scarves. Sepia toned family photos. China. And memories.

The contents of the box were wrapped in packer's paper and the dust that had settled was soon sprinkled in the air as I unwrapped each plate.

Most of the dishes were probably rarely used. Kept safely on shelves in a cabinet, the plates were often dusted. I could picture her over the years, taking the plates one by one, carefully cleaning them, then gingerly putting them back in their place.

Wheat dishes and amber depression glass.

As I unwrapped each piece, scratching my nose from the dust in the air, I carefully placed them in my own cabinet. One by one, finding their special place.

Then I saw it. My name. She had written my name on a box. Inside I found a cake plate and server I had given her for a birthday. I remember picking it out, standing in a gift shop, wondering if she would like the pink and blue flowers that decorated the china cake plate and matching server. Somehow, I knew she would never use it, but I bought it anyway. It didn't matter if she never used it. It was pretty and I wanted her to have something pretty for her birthday.

I suppose she wrote my name on the box not long after she opened her gift, as many old ladies do. They want to remember who gave them what, not so that they can just remember, but so that when they are gone, that person can have it back. My own grandmother did the very same thing.

And so I have a cake plate with pink and blue flowers, with a matching server. It belonged to her- my husband's grandmother, my daughter's great grandmother. Somehow what means more to me is the box, with her handwriting on it. So I will keep the box, but I will take out the cake plate and server and I will use them.

Along with the wheat dishes and the amber depression glass.

Because I want to remember her. I want to honor her memory. I want my daughter to know that people live on in our hearts long after they are gone. I want her to learn that when a loved one dies and goes on to be with The Lord in Heaven, that we will see them again someday.

Until that day, we will look at the wheat dishes and the amber depression glass in our cabinet. Some days we will take them out to dust them. Sometimes we will take them out and make beautiful place settings for Thanksgiving or for no special occasion at all.

We will share laughter and cake over the china plate with pink and blue flowers and matching server.

And we will remember her.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bloggy Break

I have a few posts in the works, but for now I am taking a few days of bloggy break.

In the meantime, visit my archives or better yet, visit the great blogs in my blogroll.

See ya soon...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Welcome to Mayberry

I've mentioned before about the sweet neighbors we have in the neat little neighborhood with the critters from the deep.

Y'all have no idea how eerily wonderful it is.

Today a lady down the street invited some of us for a "Back To School" potluck because, you know, our kids have gone back to school and now it is time to Par-Tay with casseroles and broccoli salad.

WOOHOO! Somebody just might be wearing a lampshade!

It was also my next door neighbor's birthday. We signed a card that played the chicken dance music. As it played, we all flapped our arms and clapped and MADE COMPLETE FOOLS OF OURSELVES.

Happy Birthday from your nerdy neighbors and their Pyrex dishes.

Then this evening my daughter and I went out for a birthday dinner with our neighbor and some of her friends. She had graciously invited us along for the celebration. Hubs was working and we would have been sitting home eating chicken nuggets or some other fine cuisine. Instead, we had Thai- yum.

On the way home, we looked in awe at all the cars at our new McDonald's. Y'all just don't know. This new McDonald's has been all the buzz. You'd think we got a mall; the anticipation has been nearly impossible to contain. Every day during construction we would ride by and observe the progress.

My neighbor looked at us and said,"You guys wanna try out the new McDonald's? Let's stop for an ice cream."


"You wanna go through the drive thru or go in?"

"Doesn't matter."

"OHHHHH! Let's go in so we can check it out!"

Yes, people. We spent the end of our evening checking out the new McDonald's because apparently they all have their own unique way of frying up the exact same recipes. I use the word "recipe" loosely.

But, oh! It was soooo cool. It is one of those new ones with contemporary decor. If I wasn't Baptist and didn't know any better, I'd say it looks a lot like a club.


And this Mickey D's has video games. Yes, M'am. If your brain has not turned to mush from the lack of nutrition, you can add to the damage by playing a game on a touch screen.

While eating your ice cream.

Andy never saw excitement quite like this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Quick Cooking for Kids

Here is a tip that may make your life with toddlers and preschoolers a little easier.

Go ahead and buy a toaster oven. They are very inexpensive. I have always cooked chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and popcorn shrimp in our little gem. It is so much easier, quicker and more energy efficient than heating up your conventional oven.

Visit Shannon for more great tips!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More stuff I don't understand

I was thinking about something the other day...

If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and then you have to stand up and say, "My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic, doesn't that like, totally make you NOT anonymous?"

I'm just sayin.'

And why do they advertise toilet paper? I mean, we're going to buy it anyway. Right? It's not like I'm going to see those little cartoon bears in the woods talking about quilted softness and think,"Hey! I never thought of buying that stuff! I think I'll run out to Target and get some!"

One more thing...

Why does it take two anchor people to report the weather on The Weather Channel, but it only takes one to report stuff like, oh... The War on Terror?

Just wondering.

She's quite the budding artist.

Overheard at my house...

Me- "So, what are you painting?"

Daughter- "A tree."

Me- "Oh, that looks great."

Daughter- "It's supposed to look like the front of a southern lady's house....YOU!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

His Eye is on the storm.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own little life, preparing dinners, shopping for school supplies, doing the laundry, and then blogging all about it, that I forget about the rest of the world outside of my square footage of suburban space.

Even in the blog world, with a site meter that shows international readers, I forget that there are people out there very different from me, preparing their own dinners and doing their laundry.

Right now, some of them are packing up their belongings, boarding up their homes, and filling their gas tanks.

There is a powerful force to be reckoned with brewing in the waters of the Caribbean and headed for the warm Gulf of Mexico. His name is Hurricane Dean.

I have lived through a few hurricanes myself. Some were "nothing," and some were, well, something. Something awful.

Let me tell you that nothing on television or in the newspapers could ever truly represent the terrible suffering and destruction caused by a hurricane. Long after the News has moved on to another story about Lindsay Lohan or Angelina, people are still recovering from the storms.

While most people in the path of Dean are preparing to evacuate, my pastor is headed straight into the midst of the troubled waters. He is joining a team of other pastors on a mission trip to Central America.

This trip has been planned for months and many obstacles have been thrown in the path. Satan has tried his best (if he has a "Best") to stop my pastor and his team from traveling to Central America to share the Gospel of Jesus. Still, my pastor has pressed on, praying God's Will be done in it all.

So why would God allow a hurricane to be in the path of a mission trip?

I don't know. But God does.

I do not believe in coincidence; everything has a purpose. Perhaps God wants these messengers of Christ to be there when the storm strikes, right alongside those who will need God most. I don't know. What I do know is that God is omnipotent and omnipresent.

He knows all. He sees all. He is everywhere, all of the time. Even in the eye of the storm.

Please join me in praying for my pastor and the rest of the mission team.

Pray for all life in the path of this hurricane.

Pray that Christians will step forward and help those affected by the storm.

Above all, pray that God will be glorified, even through tragedy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Safety In Your Home

A Word of Caution:

Stop what you are doing and read this about Linda's experience with the new spiral light bulbs.

Then, proceed with caution about their use in your home.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Owner's Momentary Lapse of Judgement Leads to Mad Cat's Loss of Title

It was reported that Maggie gave up her title of "Miss Congeniality" after being forced into the bathing suit competition.

When asked what contributions she would make to society if she won the competition, Maggie answered,"Forget World Peace. I want revenge."

Diary Of A Road Trip: Part Two

AKA "This Is the Last Part of a Two Part Series, So You Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief"

Or was that a yawn?

1. Before leaving for town, I did the obligatory house cleaning in case I die while traveling and all the southern women in my family and church must come to my house to bring potato salad and chicken and rice.

So why does it look like it needs cleaning again today?

My daughter cleaned her room and made her bed all nice and neat. The night before we left she said she wanted to sleep in our room so, "I won't have to mess it up and have to make it all over again in the morning."

She's got her priorities straight, along with her linens.

2. When we got to Mama's it was hot as blue blazes. The heat index was 120. That is insane. You could have fried an egg and a side of bacon on the pavement.

3. One day we took a trip to the Riverquarium in Albany. The aquarium is still fairly new and they are adding exhibits all the time. The latest is the venom exhibit.

They have a raised exhibit of rattlesnakes that you can crawl under and then pop your head up in glass domes where you can see the rattlers nose to fangs, like an idiot, I mean like a brave person who is interested in snakes.

I told my daughter I would go with her. We climbed under and then stuck our heads up in the "protective" dome, right next to two of the rattlesnakes. One of them started to coil when he saw us and I took the moment to teach her that it was a sign he was about to strike. A coiling rattler (under normal conditions with normal people) is a signal to get far, far away.

Daddy could see us from outside the exhibit. You should have seen his face. He kept pointing and motioning at the coiled rattler as if to say,"Um, look, my idiot offspring, I mean sweet daughter, you are about to get bitten by a huge rattlesnake."

A thin layer of plexiglass is not very comforting to my Daddy.

The coiled rattler never did strike at us, or at the plexiglass. I guess he didn't find us very threatening after all.

4. The rest of the visit was spent trying to find fun things to do indoors because it was hot as blue blazes.

It's a good thing I love crafts.

5. Now I must go. I have a house to clean even though it has been empty for a whole week and no one has been here to make it dirty again.

6. And Miss Congeniality needs a bath.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Diary of A Road Trip: Part One

Oh, the people I've seen.

First, let me apologize for making this a two part series. I am not claiming that my writing is worthy of one part, much less two parts, but I am southern and long-winded.

We have been on a road trip, first stopping off at Mama's and Daddy's house in Albany (more on that visit in a later post), and then on to my in-law's home in North Augusta, South Carolina.

North Augusta is just across the Savannah River, close enough to Augusta (and Starbucks) yet far enough away from the big "city" life. (Yes, Augusta is considered the city when you want to go shopping or get a good steak.)

My in-laws have lived in North Augusta since before we were married, and I have slowly become acquainted with the town's unique charm and grace. I've also gotten to know some of the people.

On Sunday, we celebrated in my niece's baptism. (As a side note- I have to tell y'all that she was as beautiful as a china doll. Precious. Just Precious. But I'm not one to brag...)

After the service, we went to Sunday School where I met many of my in-laws' friends. I also met a lady who has been reading my blog. She was just as sweet as I imagined. (Hey, Virginia! :>))

The Sunday School teacher, while quite scholarly and Biblically sound in his wisdom and knowledge, was a TOTAL RIOT! The lesson was on Ezekiel and y'all know, unless you are good at discussing dry bones, Ezekiel is a tough book to teach.

Mr. Larry's teaching led us down memory lane to the time when he was a little boy. He reminded us all of the serious consequences of sin and of playing hookey from school.

I also remember something about a shaved dog that looked like a lion...

Yes, M'am. Billy Graham's got nothin' on Mr. Larry. All we needed was a chorus of Just As I Am and it was all over but the shoutin.'

To all of the wonderful people I met Sunday morning, thanks for the hospitality and, in all seriousness (if that is possible at this point), the Christian fellowship and time in God's Word.

Sincerely, Melanie


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My cat, Miss Congeniality.

Maggie, our family's juvenile delinquent, has been in the kennel for an entire week. Our very sweet neighbor offered to care for her while we were gone, but I just couldn't ask her to scoop the litter box for that many days. I mean, y'all just don't realize how much my cat eats.

'Nough said.

When we arrived at the kennel to pick her up, I already knew what to expect. As usual, she was "not happy."

One of the kennel techs looked at my daughter and said,"I really want to love your cat."

Sweet Deb, the kind, brave woman who takes care of Maggie, said that Maggie did let her pet her on the nose once today. This is real progress! During her last stay, Maggie climbed on Deb's head.

I have come to believe that only a small portion of the boarding fee is for food,water, and other basic needs. Most of the boarding fee goes toward employee hazard insurance.

And a whole lotta therapy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hi from beyond...

I am on a road trip visiting some family...

I just wanted to take a moment to let all of the miners' families know that I am praying for all of you.

Please, let's all keep praying.

In His Name,

Monday, August 06, 2007

Quote of quotes

"Mommy, I have to quote Spongebob."

"You have to?"

"Yes, I have to. I am allergic to not quoting Spongebob."

I can't say much. She gets it honestly.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's a creepy, crawly kind of strength, really.

In the midst of raising butterflies and fighting biting flies, we have had a time trying to get rid of a family of small, yet largely irritating insects.

Sugar Ants.

Their name is quite misleading. They aren't always in in the sugar and they certainly aren't sweet. Sugar Ants. It makes you think of something sweet and darling, something you may even want to cuddle with on the couch and watch a Disney movie.

Instead of something you want to smash to smithereens and scream, "DIE! You tiny, syrup- stealing, suckers! DIE!"

I really hate violence.

So I called The Man. The one I really dread to have to call, but always look forward to seeing. He has saved my pantry and my sanity on many, many occasions. He may not wear a cape, but he is my hero. He is- The Bug Man. I have never referred to him as the Exterminator, because that just seems so extreme and Arnold Schwartzanneger-y.

"Maa-REE-uh, I'm going to destroy the earwigs and then I'll be bahhhk."

Before making the call, or sending out The Bug Signal, I tried to rely on my own strength. I tried all of the little home remedies of killing sugar ants. I sprayed Windex, hoping the ammonia would kill them or, at the very least, make them suffer from little sugar ant hangovers. I tried things the old-fashioned way. I smooshed them with my pointer finger.

Still. The teeny army marched on.

So today The Bug Man came. He saw. He conquered. He left bait for the little critters to innocently eat and then take home in little doggie bags and share with their little families, thereby poisoning them all.

It's a microcosm of Jonestown within my kitchen walls.

As I type, they are snacking on the stuff. I can almost hear their tiny voices saying,"Mommy, the syrup on my pancakes tastes funny. I think it went bad."

There's just nothing like the neuro-toxic strength of a man in khaki green with a cannister and a spray gun. For all of the crawling, disease-carrying, annoying bugs everywhere, he IS the party pooper.

Asta la Vista, baby.

Never underestimate the influence of good hair.

Trista from The Pumkin Patch saw my sad little Aqua Net trophy and made a real award for Big Mama, complete with the correct Flex Net logo.

Thanks, Trista! You rock!

Without further ado, Big Mama, here is your proper Hair Spray Award. May it grace the mighty mantel in your mind... or something like that.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Good Hair Moment In Time

I am no good at Photoshop. I can hot glue feathers and do some mean seam ripping, but my computer graphics abilities would make Bill Gates blush.

Inspite of these shortcomings, I wanted to make Big Mama an award because of this post, where she takes us back to many moments in her high school times.

Big Mama, I hereby award you the Hair Spray Award (John Travolta, eat your heart out) for your excellence in styling and maintaining big, perfectly coiffed hair with some of the best mall bangs I have evah seen.

Yes, M'am. That's some stellar hair fixin.'

I apologize for not finding a photo of Flexnet hair spray. It appears that when one Googles for Flexnet in 2007, an Internet Service pops up. (sigh)

Big Mama, I know you have a great imagination, so just imagine a flimsy plastic figurine of a dancer in white boots dancing to "Shake Your Love" attached to the top of the spray can.

It's not "Most Likely to Succeed," but it'll have to do.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Works For Me: That's why they make soap.

Update: This post was meant to be an encouragement to those who are messy like me, not an insult to the organized and the tidy. :>) I hope you all will take it that way.

One thing I want my daughter to remember is that our home is her home, too. While we try to keep things neatly put away, I have never been the kind of mom who put the crayons in one box, the markers in another, and so on.

We even mix Play-Doh.

If you are starting to twitch a little, that's perfectly understandable. I would be twitching to think that I had to keep my art supplies segregated. We're all different.

I also don't freak out (too much) if she accidentally spills something or gets something on her clothes. I have told her that we try to keep things clean, but an accident is an accident. As long she doesn't make a mess on purpose, it is OK. (Painting or coloring the walls when you are two years old is obviously not an accident.)

We keep the house "clean." We teach her to respect people's property and to take care of what God has given us. I just don't mind if things get a little messy when we are having fun. The ceiling will not fall in if she gets a little mud on the floor.

Whenever something spills or gets on her clothes, I have always said, "That's why they make soap," to reassure her that mom is not angry or disappointed.

A stain on the carpet is just one small thing when compared to all of the other trials we face as parents.

Now, if they could just make some special soap to help them clean their rooms. :>)

Visit Shannon for more parenting tips.