My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, May 30, 2010

it's been a great weekend!

I'm sitting here staring at a blank screen trying to find the words to capture the past three days and ... despite my relative gift for gab, I'm not sure I can properly articulate the emotions and events that I've experienced.

It was beautiful. It was everything a parent could have wanted for their child. There was some chaos - every wedding has it's snafus and I think that's what makes memories!

I drove down on Thursday to do what I could to help with the set up, pick up Austin's outfit, get Austin a haircut and basically just be there. It was a long but very sweet day for me. I went by Jim and Angie's on the way home Thursday night so I could see everyone, have a bite to eat, make sure the girls' dresses fit... and just regroup with the support of my "sisters".

I got up Friday morning and did the glam routine and then drove back to the southside. I was incredibly calm, which I attributed partly to prayer and partly to the fact that I had very little responsibility in the whole process. I went straight to Cody's house and got to spend a little time alone with my 3 boys. Again, very sweet time for me.

I went to the spa where Cody works to get my eyebrows waxed and checked in on Marquee, who was having her hair done at the salon next door. She was a bit anxious but hanging in there. I gave her gum (it's what she asked for) and went back to the boys.

We cut hydrangeas and gardenias to go in the flower girl baskets. We puttered around and rushed around and took care of little details. I added Marquee's name to the big framed family tree in my parents' living room. That makes 24 of us.

The boys and I headed over to the wedding venue... first we stopped for gas... then we stopped to grab lunch. When we got to the venue her family was leaving after finishing up the decorations. They did an amazing job! There were a few final details - putting out the wedding signs, etc - so they left Cody with the keys for the venue and went to get ready. Cody had to leave to pick up a few more things so he left the keys with me and left me to begin to greet our family as they arrived. (this becomes an important detail later on)

All along Purple Michael had told me that there was no way he was going to be able to come to the wedding. I was bummed, of course, but I understand. He lives in Chicago, after all. But Michael was such a huge part of Cody's childhood. And Michael, more than anyone else in the world, knows how to hold me together in times of emotional distress. I understood, though. He called around 2pm to let me know he was thinking about me and once again expressed his regret at not being there... and then... about a half hour later... Austin said, "mom, look, there's Michael!" He was there! It was the most emotional moment of the day for me... I rushed to him and buried my face in his chest and just sobbed. Such a precious, precious gift!

It was hot and muggy at the time we were supposed to start but some family members were stuck in traffic so we delayed the start of the ceremony by about half an hour. In that time, the weather moderated, the sun went behind a cloud and it was much more comfortable during the ceremony.

The kids had no idea of how they wanted things done but fortunately my sister in law Angie is an absolute pro at these sort of things. She organized everyone... arranged seating in the ceremony... pulled it all together in a way that no one else could have. Once again, I have no doubt that God brought her into our family because He knew that we needed her.

The ceremony was perfect, beautiful, simple, sweet. Not a big production... no drama, no nerves... just a very sweet exchange of vows in front of a gorgeous gazebo and scenic view.

The reception was the most fun reception I think I've ever been to. Again, very relaxed, nice but not elegant to the point of being stuffy. They had Cody's favorite mexican restaurant cater - we had chips and dip on every table, fajitas, sopapillas. It was awesome! Really good food. The cake was orange/pineapple with cream cheese filling. There was a candy station. And a DJ.

I sat at a table in between Barry and Michael. It was exactly as it should have been. The two men who provided the greatest support for me in raising my boys were right there on either side of me. We had family gathered all around... we laughed and talked and visited and danced. Oh man, did we dance! I danced until my hips hurt! Michael danced. Candice danced. Even Jim and Angie and the girls danced. We had the best time! My 86 year old grandmother even danced! Not slow danced - I mean she really danced! It was such a precious memory!

The wedding was at 3:30. The reception started around 4. I think it was around 7:30 when Austin and i left and we were completely spent. We stopped by my parents' house and then headed home... made a stop for a bite to eat and a drink... got home around 10pm, completely exhausted and then... got a phone call.

I had the keys to the wedding venue in my purse.

Yep. In my purse. My cellphone was out of minutes so I had turned it off. For two hours everyone had been frantically trying to reach me. The kids had started driving north. Yes. On the road, in pouring rain on their wedding night... Ryan, the maid of honor, Cody and Marquee. I think that makes me officially the worst mother in law ever.

When they got me on the phone we decided i would drive south to meet them. Two problems: I gave my garmin to Bryan and Candice to use since they were driving Grandma home to North Carolina. I can't see to drive at night. I do ok if I'm going somewhere I'm familiar with but I can't read street signs. I really can't see in the rain. And... oh yeah, third problem... I was exhausted. One more problem... no phone... I could text but not talk. And who can text and drive at night in the pouring rain? It was crazy.

It took about 45 minutes but I found my way to the Waffle House off the interstate they had described. I wish I had brought my camera because it was the sweetest site of the whole day... these four kids in my parents brand new car... sitting in the parking lot of the Waffle House with to go plates in their laps - they couldn't eat inside because they had Sammy the dog with them. I apologized profusely... hugged them... apologized again... suggested that maybe someone should get mommy a real phone... and let them get on their way. I got back home at midnight. They had another hour and a half to drive... in the pouring rain. I haven't heard from them since... I'm taking it as a sign that they're having a great time post wedding/pre-honeymoon and not that they hate me forever. Oy vey.

It was after 2am before I got to sleep Friday night. Barely 6am when I woke up. I fell back asleep around 9am and slept until noon and then went to Angie and Jim's to help set up for her birthday party. They were having 50 people over for dinner... and... Angie's dad had to be rushed to the ER as soon as they got there because he was altered and obviously not well and Angie had to go to the hospital to be with her dad. It turns out he has double pneumonia and was only at 83% oxygen. He was admitted. We pulled it together, though... the college girl that lives with Jim and Angie did all the cleaning, I did all the decorating, Jim did all the set up and heavy lifting... Bryan and Candice put the food together... and it was a lovely party. Angie made it back to the house about a half hour before the guests arrived.

And I... am.... worn... out. I'm skipping church this morning and spending the day with Bryan and Candice. We plan to check out Babyland General, maybe Dahlonega, Fred's Peanut Stand, Betty's Country Grocery... all the great places around here. Tomorrow I'm sure I will have a great big old pj day in the nest... but it's been a great weekend.

Time to glam for the day ahead! I have a ton of pictures on facebook. If you aren't able to access my facebook page, let me know and I'll post some pictures here. Have a great day, y'all!

Friday, May 28, 2010

today's the big day!

I'm already teary. Maybe I'll get it out of my system early.

Yesterday was a loooong day but it was a good day. Lots of running around... lots of "hurry up and wait". But lots of time with my boys.

At one point I just watched the three of them together and thought... "they are all mine". Three amazing beings... that are part of me.

The wedding is outdoors at a civil war battlefield park. A gazebo overlooks a beautiful rolling field. Margaret Mitchell describes Clayton County in Gone With The Wind as having "gentle rolling hills"... you can really see them in this park since there is so much open land.

Driving down to the southside of town and back yesterday with a lot of activity in between was tiring. Sleeping in my own bed last night was priceless. I made good time both ways, no traffic, which was a blessing. I drove home with the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs.

I went to Jim and Angie's last night for dinner. Bryan and Candice were there. They had grilled burgers and saved me a plate. Finishing that long day with two of my brothers and my two sisters-in-law gathered around the kitchen table laughing, talking, loving on my nieces... could not have been more perfect.

The girls' dresses fit perfectly. I made the flower girl baskets yesterday. I worked on lots of elaborate decorations for them and then decided to go with something very simple.

The ceremony will be very short. Just vows. No songs, pomp or circumstance. The reception will be very elaborate. This is good as it will be HOT outside. The wedding is at 3. The ceremony is outdoors, the reception is indoors.

I'm going to leave here in the next hour or so, I think. Just taking a few minutes to gather my wits about me then glam and go... want to try to keep things as calm as possible. I only have a few details to worry with today but want to make sure I'm close by just in case I'm needed.

Will post details and lots of pictures tomorrow! Keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

considering the lilies

It's wedding eve! I'm pumping so much adrenaline this morning that I can barely sit still! I've been puttering around the house tidying up so that I won't be humiliated if Bryan and Candice come by. I may still be a bit embarassed but... eh... they know me.

Yesterday was my first real wedding crisis. See... I've really kept out of the whole wedding planning process. I have a tendency to take over any creative project... and I have a tendency to be sort of strong handed about my ideas... and bad about getting my feelings hurt when people don't like my ideas... so I've really held back and let this be Marquee's mom's deal. I just haven't had the resources - time, energy, money - to contribute much to this process...and I want this to be what the kids want.

So honestly... I don't know a lot about the wedding. I didn't know who was in it until a few weeks ago. I figured they were using some of Marquee's extended family for the flower girls because I hadn't heard anything different and... well, I didn't ask. Then on Sunday Angie asked me what the girls are supposed to wear to the wedding. I was clueless. It didn't cross my mind again until yesterday when I was talking to Cody... and he said that he had told Angie on Monday to just let them wear something white or yellow. *gulp*

Did you notice that *gulp*? Here's what I know... my sister in law lives her life with her schedule maxed out. I also know that here in the boondocks we have great views and great friends but very few options for shopping. And if she just found out this week... that the girls needed matching dresses - dressy dresses, which they don't wear often - of a certain color - I knew that would not be quite as easy as it would for any normal suburban housewife.

I called Angie and asked if she had found dresses yet. She hadn't. I offered to go by the ONE place in the county where decent childrens clothing can be had at a reasonable price. She was relieved. She's also planning a big birthday party for herself this weekend... lots on her agenda. This was something I could do and this was something I would have wanted to do anyways, right up my alley!

I prayed. I'm not kidding. I prayed that God would lead me to the right place to find what we needed. I needed two yellow dresses in sizes 6 and 8. I went to Belk in Cornelia. The only dressy dresses in the store were on two clearance racks. I found two reasonable possibilities in sizes 8 and 10. Maybe. Could work. The smaller dress had a brown mark on the hem of the dress... so I talked the cashier out of another 10% of the cost. Originally these dresses were $58 each. (who pays that much for little girls dresses? seriously?) I got them for $8 and $7.20.

The dresses were long and had about a 3 inch lace trim so I thought I could just remove that last tier of lace and shorten them enough to fit. I decided to get the contrasting wedding color and trim them out with it. I ran by Walmart and was soooo relieved to find that they had the perfect color ribbon - same color as the wedding but in a pale (little girl appropriate) shade. I bought all they had. Angie brought the girls to the office as soon as they got out of school... we tried the dresses and *gulp* THEY FIT! The length was fine! The both needed a little alteration to the fit in the top - easy enough - I just took a few tucks in them. I used the ribbon to trim the hem and cover up the brown mark on the one dress. I wanted to make a big ribbon sash but there wasn't enough ribbon so I just trimmed the waist with what I had and left enough to go in their hair.

I think they turned out beautiful and I was so glad to have a project - to have a part in things.

Today we're heading down to the southside to help set up and then we're driving back home tonight. I decided that I really needed a good night's sleep and I really need my own "glam station" to get ready in the morning. It will mean a lot of driving but I don't mind driving.

I guess it would be easy to say that it was just fate that those two dresses were there, cheap, and easy to alter into what we need. But... I just like seeing a bigger picture. God tells us to consider the lilies... they do nothing except exist and yet God clothes them in splendor. I love shopping. My experience in theatre has taught me to look behind the article of clothing in it's current state and envision what it could be. Finding the perfect base dress... the perfect price... exactly the color ribbon I needed... I believe that *someone up there* likes me. Or likes Cody and Marquee and wants them to have a beautiful wedding. Or likes my redheaded girls and loves seeing them dressed up as much as I do. Or maybe He just knew I needed something to do. I don't know. I praise God for those dresses and for how he cares about every detail of our lives.

Time to glam and head south! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

wonderful wednesday

I'm so glad Bitty Kitty lets me hug him. He curls up on my chest and purrs like crazy... especially when I wrap my arms around him. It's a sweet way to start the day... getting some kitty cat love. I really believe that my kitten has been the best medicine for me... lowers my blood pressure, keeps me calmer... except at 5am this morning when he was nibbling my toes. I think he just wanted me to wake up...

I'm so sleepy this morning... but it's my Friday so I'll make it. No early release for me today... working the whole day. Or trying to work. My mind is so far away...

As I was in between sleeping and waking this morning courtesy of the toe munching kitten, I envisioned Cody and Marquee at the altar with Jim saying, "I now pronounce you..." wow... it's only two days away!

Today is Angie's birthday... her party is Saturday. I'm looking forward to her party... and praying it doesn't rain.

My coffee is uh-mazing today! Love it! I baked some low fat cranberry orange muffins last night and just had them for breakfast. Mmm!

Our fly situation is still out of control... they are everywhere. I spray constantly. I need to get some of those sticky traps. I hate flies. I've tolerated - even been philosophical - about all the other challenges of living in the mountains. I don't mind the fertilizer smell. I don't mind the loss of Starbucks and Chickfila and no access to a big city newspaper. But the flies must go!

Of course, my friend Alisa lives about ten miles further north, closer to the National Forest and her pest problem is coyotes and bears. Fortunately, she's a good shot. I considered moving to a rental place on Alisa's property and would have loved being closer to her but... yikes at the thought of having to own a weapon to protect myself... and not for the same reasons I would have needed one in Clayton County.

Right now my plan is to drive down to mom and dad's tomorrow to help set up for the wedding, retrieve Austin's wedding outfit and in general be of assistance where needed. I'm trying to decide if I want to stay on the southside of town overnight or drive back home and then head back down on Friday. I worry about the glam routine in a place that is not routine... and although it's roughly an hour and a half drive... I like the idea of having that time to decompress, pray, meditate, marinate, etc. I don't sleep well when I'm not in my own bed and I need to be fresh for the big day.

I'm also trying to figure out what I need to do about a bag. I don't want to tote a big purse but I don't have any little purses. I just need a lipstick, my keys and some cough drops/gum or mints. Oh. And tissues.

Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to be here... for us to have this time to celebrate as a family? I'm just so durn blessed.

Time to glam and dash. Love and hugs, y'all! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

terrific tuesday ahead

Only two more days to work in this whole month! I'm so excited! So glad to have a break! It will be action packed... but still fun.

I'm sort of in a hurry up and wait mode. This whole mother of the groom thing is far too easy. I called Cody and Marquee yesterday to see if there was anything I needed to do but... really, it's all under control at this point. At church on Sunday, my sister-in-law's dad asked if I was busy with the wedding and I said, "not the least bit"... and he said, "hmmm. boy mama". He has two girls. I mean, I could almost NOT take Thursday off as I had planned but... honestly... my mind was a million miles away yesterday... I'm guessing that will only getting worse as the week progresses.

Austin didn't go to my parents' for the week so he's hanging out with his friend Zach. I took the two of them out for ice cream last night. Loving his summer.

The girls had their dance recital on Sunday. The nicest way for me to say this is that I'm now more appreciative of the top notch dance training my kids had under Miss Maggie at Georgia Youth Ballet. The senior girls at this recital were on the same level as the kids in Cody's first dance class - at 8 years old. I told Angie that if they want the girls to take ballet - it needs to be at a different school. If they're doing tap and clogging... eh, no big deal. But poor ballet training can really mess up your feet. GOOD ballet training can mess up your feet. I'm just so accustomed to the very polished and professional shows that I've been a part of. This was... well. Not. My girls, however, were SOOOO cute!

I've decided to start a Little House on the Prairie book club with the girls. We're going to read through the whole series... starting with Little House in the Big Woods. Several people have mentioned participating long distance and I'm not sure how to do that but we'll figure it out as we go along, I guess. So if you're interested, go ahead and get a copy of the book and start reading! My plans at first are to map out where the family traveled, talk about the time period they lived in (no cars, no electricity, etc) and give some background to make the story make more sense. I'm researching ideas for crafts, recipes, etc, so any ideas you have would be great.

Haven't had coffee yet... time to get brewing! Hope you have a Terrific Tuesday!

More random stuff:

I sing to my cats. They seem to like it. There’s this old hymn, “all creatures of our God and king… “ I feel it has particular significance to them.
Bitty Kitty has adopted/conquered a sock that has another sock stuffed inside of it which I assume he found under Austin’s bed or in some other random place. He carries this new baby/conquest everywhere he goes. He is the oddest cat.
We have a horrible fly invasion. I’ve been cleaning like crazy, pouring bleach down the drains, keeping the trash taken out and not leaving dirty dishes out but… ugh. It was like this last summer too.
Do you read the Drudge Report? It’s one of my favorites, although, I have to admit I read it and get angry at all the stupidity in our world.
Then I go to and get angry at all the stupidity in our media.
Then I go to and realize that there is intelligent life out there.
And then I go to and begin to wonder again.
I found the camisole I needed for my M-O-G dress to keep it conservative.
The only thing left to buy is stockings and cushions for my shoes to keep them comfy. Of course, I don’t know why I need heels. Marquee’s mom is about 4’11. If that.
Our poor grandbabies are gonna be freak show short. We’re talking… their own show on TLC.
But the shoes are cute and conservative and look nice with my dress.
The magnolias are in bloom and they’re so beautiful. That only lasts a short time so I’m enjoying it.
The air around here smells so sweet – between the honeysuckle and the magnolia and the other flowering plants. You don’t realize it when you live in the suburbs – how sweet the air can smell.
I had this feisty old lady come in this morning to talk to D. She was feisty on the phone with me yesterday and she apologized for that this morning. I told her if that was the worst thing that happened to me yesterday, it would have been a good day.
It wasn’t the worst thing. But the worst wasn’t all that bad. It was still a good day.
I had watermelon for breakfast which means I’ll go to the bathroom thirty eleven times this morning. It was still worth it.
I also have pineapple yogurt and pineapple chicken to eat today which was poor planning. I’m allergic to pineapple. The fresher, the more allergic. Frozen and preserved in yogurt are mid-range. I could do one but probably shouldn’t do both.
I love pineapple.
I think I’ll go to the library on lunch… brush up on my Laura Ingalls knowledge for our book club.
Our feisty old lady was so sweet and precious when she left. D was able to help her with the issue she had and she left grateful. We do good work.
I just bought a birdhouse from a vendor who stopped by the office.
Good times.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

a little more about the wedding

It's surreal to think that someone I gave birth to will become someone's husband in five short days.

Beautifully surreal. I was chatting with the ladies at the check out counter at the Christian book store yesterday and shared with them what was coming this week... and one, a mother of four young children said, "how do you feel?" I paused and said, "accomplished". I don't feel empty nested - he left the nest three years ago. I feel blessed. At peace. Grateful that there is someone willing to love him... to pick up where mommy couldn't... to share his life, to carry his burdens. To know that a beautiful, smart, ambitious young lady finds my son worthy of sharing life with... that makes me feel accomplished.

I envisioned this time differently. I wish I had more to give them... I wish I could have been more involved in planning the wedding... I wish I could help more with the financial end of things... I wish I had more worldly wisdom to share. But I believe that what I have learned through two painfully failed marriages gives me as much - if not more - insight into what it takes for marriages to succeed.

I know that God has to be the center of your relationship. I know that you have to be transparent. I know that you have to be faithful. I know that you can't hold grudges. I know that you have to not only love your spouse but also love the things and people that they love. I know you have to be their partner. That you have to love them in the way they need to be loved, not in the way you decide to love them. I know that they have to be your priority. I know that your love has to be unconditional.

Two concepts that - he who doesn't deserve to be named- insisted that I give up while with him were 1. compassion and 2. unconditional love. Maybe there are people who can exist without these two principles in life. I learned that they are desperately fundamental to my life. I'm so completely imperfect that I need both compassion and unconditional love on a daily basis. They're so closely tied to mercy and grace and all those spiritual concepts that are the very foundation of who I am and what I believe.

I'm the kind of mom that cries at every crossroads in life. I have a videotape somewhere of me sobbing through Ryan's first preschool program. I cried every first day of school. I cried at baseball games, honors days, PTA meetings, dance recitals... I mushed my way through so much of their childhoods. It wasn't sadness that time was passing, it was pride at who they are and how beautifully their lives have evolved. I am just so stinkin' proud of all of my boys... three completely different people but so completely a part of me.

I know that Cody loves well because he has been well loved. I know that Cody has learned by watching me how very precious love is and I know that he appreciates the wonder and frailty of it all. Statistics say that children of divorced parents are less likely to have successful marriages - I don't worry - I know that Cody has seen the carnage of a failed marriage and he knows how important it is to keep it together.

My kids are not afraid to say "I love you" because it has been said to them many, many times a day throughout their whole lives. My kids know how to wait patiently while a lady picks out a dress for a special occasion. They know how to order in a restaurant and how to tip. They know how to give and receive with grace. They understand the importance of family. I always use the example of how sweetly my boys will grab a plate to fix for their young cousins at family gatherings... how they show up at birthday parties for cousins who are much, much younger... how they respect family... how they look for opportunities to be with their family.

It's a new season in life. I've never been a mother-in-law before but I've been a daughter-in-law and I know what does and doesn't work. I know that it's important to respect her role in his life. I know that their relationship has to be solid before his relationships with anyone else can work. I know that she gets to set the boundaries for their family... but I know that she loves him enough to honor the things that make him who he is. And he is who he is because of a family that loves him... because of his cousins and aunt and uncles and grandparents and brothers and mommy and the village (or village people) that raised him.

Cody has felt the pain of losing contact with a beloved uncle and I know that because of this, Cody will never leave his family. I know that Marquee's family loves my son and will embrace not only him ... but his brothers and his mommy and his grandparents. I know that they love him enough to make a way for our families to be joined- not be competitors. I've watched how my nieces have blossomed into confident little ladies because they are loved and treasured by two sets of grandparents... by an Aunt Mimi on their mommy's side who loves them and an Aunt Heather on their daddy's side that loves them... and having this cohesive unit of people who have their best interest at heart has given them a secure foundation.

I've always been a boy mommy and boy mommies have a different responsiblity. Marquee's mother, bless her heart, has devoted her life to planning this wedding. She has poured herself into every little detail. My job was much easier... wear the right color dress and show up on time. But I'm confident that my contribution to this wedding began long, long before Cody and Marquee ever crossed paths... in taking my baby boy to church... in teaching him kindness... in teaching him to be sensitive and loving and respectful... in helping him be the amazing person he is. I'm giving them an awesome young man.

Train up a child in the way he should go ... and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

my weekend...

I used to have to wake up early on the weekends with my babies... dreaming of the day they would be self-sufficient and I could sleep late.

Then once they were self-sufficient... they were social creatures with ball games to get to every weekend...

Then... all of a sudden we were past that season of life and I found myself programmed to wake up early and worked to retrain myself to sleep late on the occasional occasion that I could.

Then I got cats. Two bossy, determined, greedy cats who think that they run this house. And every morning whenever the first light starts to peek through the blinds, they start their "wake up mommy" routine. Bitty Kitty stands on my chest and starts licking my face. If that doesn't work he wiggles his way under the covers and nibbles on my toes. Stubby takes his big neanderthal head and pushes against me and says, "ma-ma"... in his meow language. It's relentless. I say to them, "mommy sleepy"... "no mommy up yet"... and they don't care. They can have a full bowl of food and not need a thing but when the light is up, they want mommy up. And then they climb into that warm spot in the bed and go back to sleep.

My Saturday was everything I needed it to be.

I think I have completed my M-o-G outfit. Yesterday I found some nice open toed pumps with a sturdy heel that were on clearance at Kohls - marked down from $55 to $16. I used the extra money in my shoe budget to buy Austin a good pair of flipflops - he only likes the kind with the cloth straps and the base has to be padded. They were marked down from $50 to $20. I found a nice chocolate brown wrap that is light weight and sorta silky. I found a hat that I *may* be able to redecorate to make it match.

I had to shift that hat budget to a memory card. My memory card is no longer working. I've had it for three years so I guess it's time.

I picked up a small gift for the kids... not nearly what I would like to do for them but they know mommy is broke. I also bought Angie Smith's book "I Will Carry You"... I've wanted it for a month but hadn't had the money or time to go to the Christian bookstore. It turned out that I filled up my rewards card with them so I got 25% off the book.

I had a nice lunch of thai beef curry... one of my favorites and hard to find in these parts.

I made a great Publix run for lots of fresh produce and some other stuff you can't find here.

I drove home with the windows down, soaking in the sweet spring air. It's hard to explain unless you live in a remote, unpolluted area how wonderful the air can smell. I love soaking up that sweet air.

I got home and curled up for a nap. Perfect Saturday!

I made a big batch of taboule (recipe at the end) to eat this week. Salad days are here!

I picked up Austin from his friend's house... brought him home to shower and change... and took him to his cousin Devin's 18th birthday Luau.

I came home... read a big chunk of the book... went to Dairy Queen for a Buster Bar Blizzard which is my new crack... ate reasonably all day and then had to have a blizzard. Ugh.

I picked Austin up... again... driving with windows down to soak up that sweet air.

It was a great day!

Today we have church... then the girls have their first recital. I was going to do a detox diet for a day and then I realized that I wouldn't be home enough to do the specific things I needed... and I am a little worried about feeling weird on a busy day. I'm going to do it on Memorial Day... once all the merriment is over and I will have a day to just sit home and veg.

Taboule (spelled a lot of different ways - tabouli, tabbouleh) is a Middle Eastern salad that I imagine is their version of our southern potato salad. It's a combination of bulgar wheat, mint, parsley, fresh veggies in a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. It's very basic, with wholesome ingredients and it's filling. The Lebanese version has more parsley than wheat. I don't like parsley that much... although it is very good for you. Near East brand has a box kit for it that you just add veggies, oil and lemon juice to. I made that the other day and it was sooooo good! I decided I'd try to do it completely from scratch... here's how I did it... you can adapt it to suit your taste.

1 1/2 cups of bulgar wheat combined with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Sprinkle with mint flakes, cover and set aside for two hours for the wheat to absorb the water. (I put mine in the fridge)

I chopped 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, 1/2 a bunch of parsley, three tomatoes, an avocado, a cucumber, a few radishes to mix in with the wheat. (You can also use onion, peppers - anything you want)

Once the veggies and wheat were mixed together I added about 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. You can add as much or as little as you want, just like you would with salad dressing on a salad. You can also add more later. Let this chill for at least an hour. It's one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits. I served it on some crisp romaine lettuce... it was so good! And it makes a huge bowl so I have enough to last me through the week.

I also bought stuff to make broccoli slaw, ceasar salad, spinach salad... it's Salad Week here! I have to keep the ickies at bay!

Gonna make some coffee... hope you all have a great day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

fabulous friday

So glad it's Friday. I feel awful. My eyes are burning and running and I have a sinus headache that will not. go. away. I've had a sore throat since yesterday and I feel like I got hit by a bus.

Austin's wedding outfit is settled... now I just have to make sure I'm set and have all the necessary accessories. I still really want a hat. That will be my treasure hunt tomorrow... making sure I have the shoes and hat, etc, to be a stylish M.O.G. (mother of the groom).

One week, people! Cody gets married in ONE WEEK!

Tonight Austin is spending the night with a friend... tomorrow night is cousin Devy's 18th birthday party... Sunday the girls have their dance recital... Ryan arrives in Atlanta tomorrow... lots of stuff going on this weekend.

We have a huge problem with flies... same thing happened last summer. I think it's because we're close to the woods. I don't know. Anyways... someone told me that if you put out strong vinegar, they go away. I did... and Austin said, "mom... you know you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar..." So he put out a bowl of honey. The vinegar is winning... with a score of two to zero.

My kitties are soooo potty trained! We use the disposable litter boxes... Austin took the old one out last night but forgot to bring in a new one... I discovered it this morning around 5am (when two kitties were licking my toes and sitting on my chest and apparently trying to tell me something... "what's that Bitty? Austin's in a well?" anways...) But the good news is that there was not a single puddle or pile anywhere!

As soon as I started feeling icky yesterday I went into produce overload... big spinach salad for lunch... taboule (it's a wheat salad with tomatoes and avocado) for dinner... I have watermelon for breakfast and a banana.... I've learned that citrus stuff makes me not feel good in other ways so I'm just trying to eat a rainbow of fresh stuff to stave off any ickies. I can't get sick. Not this week.

Yesterday Angie had to have Princess, the fabulous feral feline put down. It was sad... but the compassionate thing to do. They gave her a little funeral and it was all sad and stuff and then my little Jamie-gurl pops out with, "CAN WE GET HER IN THE GROUND ALREADY???". It's a shame how much those girlies were grieving.

By the way... I've gone five months without a doctor visit! That's the longest since 2007. The only medication I've taken this year has been prescription strength naproxen. I intend to continue to avoid doctors, drugs and doctor bills as LONG AS I CAN!

Time to get ready for work now... hope you all have a fabulous Friday! Love and hugs!

PS... a few more things I thought about while getting ready...

I'm studying the book of Ezra. It's random, maybe, but I like the thought that these are people who needed a second chance at serving God.

I've been meditating a lot on how you take your life's experiences and allow them to be attained wisdom instead of just plain old baggage.

I love the transitional stage that summer break brings.

I don't understand why the kitten loves to play with razors. I try to remember to keep them closed so he can't cut himself.

He also loves goldfish. The pepperidge farm variety. He plays with them for hours... and then when he's completely brought them into submission, he eats them. It's hilarious.

It's pouring rain. Guess I better start my commute. Bye again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RIP Princess

Princess the Fabulous Feral Feline has officially crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She was laid to rest in a quiet spot beside her brothers Sammy Dog and Andy Dog. Condolences to the Gant family in their time of loss.

thankful thursday

Good morning, y'all! Such a bright and beautiful Thursday is dawning... this week is flying by and I'm tired but peaceful. Love this peaceful feeling I've had this week...

Angie and Todd Smith - she of the blog Bring the Rain and the book, I Will Carry You... he of the Christian music group Selah... are the proud parents of their fifth little girl. I have shared Angie's story several times with you... their little girl Audrey was born with multiple problems that were "not compatible with life". She lived only two hours. Baby Charlotte was born five weeks early due to some liver problems that mom was having (similar, it sounds, to what you had, Mary) but she is beautiful and perfect... fearfully and wonderfully made. It's so incredibly to see this blessing after all their suffering two years ago.

Yesterday was a long day... I worked a full day (instead of leaving early like I normally do on Wednesdays)... then rushed to get to church in time to eat dinner and attend the AWANA Commencement service. Angie had picked up Austin and fixed a plate for me so that I could work later, which was fine but I wouldn't want to be rushed like that every week. I barely had time to talk to anyone, other than about two minutes with my friend Natalie, a hug from Stasha and whispering with Angie during the service... the girls were cutie-patootie... got their little awards and we arrived home a little before 8. That's a 12 hour day. Oy.

Today is Jamie's pre-k graduation... and again, I'll go straight from work. Jamie is bummed that I won't have time to get Austin first. She LOVES her Auggie! This is one of those little bonus things that I would miss if I wasn't so close by... not a big enough deal to travel a long way to see it... a big enough deal that I want to be there.

Man. Time is flying this morning.

Cody went to the tux rental place yesterday and we were able to work out a deal on a modified outfit for Austin. It's going to be a little under $100 ... he'll still look nice but won't be matchy-matchy with the expensive wedding party outfits. And... that saves me from having to rush around trying to find his wedding outfit this weekend. All I have to do is finish the accessories for my outfit, get my eyebrows waxed and we're set. 8 days away!

Austin's last day of school is tomorrow. He only has half days today and tomorrow. He just came back in from the bus stop because he wanted to take a book to one of his teachers... it's a used book, one he really liked that he thought she would like. I thought that was really kind and thoughtful of him.

OK... gotta dash and glam. Have a beautiful Thursday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

wow! it's wednesday!

I've been trying to blog more consistently... seems like the more I blog, the less y'all comment... IS ANYBODY OUT THERE????

So... it's Wednesday. The week is going by quickly. I'm not leaving work early today... Angie and the girls are picking up Austin and I'll just meet them at church. I won't make it in time for dinner but I'll be there in time for the AWANA commencement. And Austin will be there for the youth group program. He helps with the audio/visual stuff. The guy who is speaking tonight, Jase, is one of Austin's favorites (besides Jim, of course).

Just remembered that I need to change the litter box. Ugh. I've got some stinky boys.

Austin's poison ivy is under control. His face is still puffy but he's ok.

The guy who swallowed the bug on accident on the Today show yesterday is reporting now... have to stop and watch...

Lots of people in my life are having good things happen... Melissa got a degree... Ross got a degree... my friend Christy's son Josh is graduating... Austin's best-cuz, Devy is turning 18... Stasha's got a BOY-friend... happy times~! Makes me happy!

I've got other friends who are going thru really ugly, tough times and I'm working to be faithful to pray.

Me... I feel like I'm in a peaceful season.... like there's a break in the times of crisis for now. I sat down yesterday in my nest and felt so relaxed. I'm grateful. Usually, though, if I'm not stressed, it's because I've forgotten something...

There was a line on Parenthood last night where Sarah, the single sister who always has drama in her life, with her kids and her car and so on... she said to her older brother, "I'm tired of always being the problem..." I completely identify with that. I don't want to be the one that people have to feel sorry for or worry about. I want to be the one that people can come to when they have problems.

I guess I'm a work in progress, right?

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful this week... around 80 degrees, bright sunshine, blue skies, puffy white clouds and the smell of honeysuckle is soooo sweet! I'm glad to be here, in this little corner of the world.

I'm loving my new haircut. I can style once and it's good for two days. Easy!

Bitty Kitty has been so entertaining lately. He's not as tiny (obviously) as he was when we got him but he's still such a love! His latest thing is playing Hide and Seek. He loves to get under a pillow or "hide" somewhere where he thinks I can't see him and have me say, "where did my bitty boy go?" and pretend to look for him... then he pops out from wherever he's hiding. Yesterday he climbed underneath the crochet bed spread that has a wide weave and was peeking out at me. When I said, "where's the bitty boy?" he poked his little paw through the blanket. He's just precious!

OK... must put on the war paint and head to the office! Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a lesson from a jigsaw puzzle

Copied from Ma at On the Bright Side...

Here's some life lessons I've learned from jigsaw puzzles:
Don't force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.
When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.
Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.
Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.
When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see above).
The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook.
Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.
Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.
Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.
Take time to celebrate your successes (even little ones).
Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.

Tuesday's mysteries...

I find it interesting that there's one lone rose from my birthday bouquet from my parents that is still pretty.... yet the cheap bouquet I bought myself for mothers day never bloomed... only wilted as buds.

I find it interesting that the Obama Administration is speaking out so strongly against the Arizona Immigration law yet NO ONE HAS READ IT.

Of course, this is a trend for them... no one ever read the healthcare bill either.

It's interesting to me that Miss Oklahoma was boo'ed onstage and not chosen as Miss USA because she believes that states should have the right to make their own laws... totally an American principal.... but the winner of the Miss USA contest is an Arab-American and former "Miss Stripper"... nice role model.

Catering to political correctness, much?

Yesterday afternoon was a bit comical. I picked up Sarabeth at school... went to Miss Cassie's to get Jamie and there was no one there. After many phone calls and texts back and forth between myself, Jim and Angie, they realized that it was Jamie's day to go to Miss Wendy's house. Oops. Having been a parent (for 23 years now) I know how easy it is to get those logistical details mixed up. Happened to me all the time. Still does. Sarabeth knew where Miss Wendy's house was and she graciously had Jamie dressed and ready to go.

I wasn't exactly sure where the Habersham County High School was but I knew Garmin would know. Um. Nope. Not on there. So I programmed a school that was close to it and tried to go from there.... but I also prayed out loud with the girls that God would show us the best, safest way to get there. Garmin directed me one way and I *instinctively* felt another way was better... so I followed my instincts, explaining to the girls that I felt God was showing me a better way. When we arrived there, safely, ahead of the time Garmin had predicted, Sarabeth said, "whaddaya know? God knows more than Garmin."

Yep. He sure does.

Austin has a raging case of poison ivy... it is even up on his face. He has exams on Thursday and Friday... and a wedding next week... hope it heals fast.

In ten days my sweet little Cody will become someone's husband... it's surreal!

Stubby the 3legged Wondercat has developed a jealous streak since Itty Bitty Ferocious Kitty has been getting so much attention. Stubby doesn't quite understand that he's too big to curl up on my chest like his tiny little friend. Right now he's trying to figure out a way to fit on my lap along with the laptop.

Time for me to scare up some kind of healthy breakfast... and head in to the office. Hope you have a beautiful tuesday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

random monday

Excited to be facing a new week... I'm only working 8 days between now and the end of the month! Woohoo! I'll have five days off in a row without being sick! That hasn't happened the whole time I've lived here.

Leaving work early because Sarabeth and Jamie have a dance rehearsal at the high school instead of at their dance studio. Normally I drop them off and an hour later either Jim or Angie pick them up. I'm not comfortable leaving them in a less controlled environment without there being a grown up there. I'll lose an hour work... but I'd lose an hour either way because I'd be panicked that they wouldn't be ok.

I didn't watch Miss USA last night. I tried. It's just too slutty now. I can't stand seeing that sort of representation of what is supposed to be the best of our country's young women. No way! Even though Paula Deen was one of the judges... I just couldn't watch.

I was disappointed with the outcome of Survivor. Sandra did NOTHING to win... just existed. She just managed to avoid controversy. Nobody likes Russell but yet he manages to make it to the end.

Now they're blaming Bush for the oil spill. Idiots.

I'm so sick of this current administration.

Not much time to blog this morning... I won't go into it... I just get ill seeing Obama's smug little comments. Grow up. You're the President of the United States. Buy some dignity.

This is Austin's last week of school. He's got horrible blisters on the backs of his feet from these new shoes I bought him. He's miserable.

Must dash and glam... staff meeting this morning.

Happy Monday y'all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

my girls

I think this photo just may end up being my all time favorite of my nieces... could there be anything sweeter than two sisters walking hand in hand down a dirt road, picking wildflowers? It brings tears to my eyes...
We had an action packed day but ... really... it was just a day to make memories. From dressing them in their fancy dance costumes... to our trip down to the Mall of Georgia practicing our Italian with the CD that Candice and Bryan sent me... to the long, hard choice for Sarabeth to pick out *just ONE* surprise out of all the amazing things at Claire's... to their spin on the carousel... Sarabeth's first Starbucks - teaching her to order and how to listen for her name to be called at the pick up counter... tossing coins into the fountain... playing on the playground at the Chickfila... walking the long "bumpity bump" road to their mailbox... playing the Just Dance game on the Wii... so many things to remember, so many precious memories, so many ways that I got to enjoy the incredible young ladies they are growing to be.
I walked a lot today and my feet are KILLING me... but it feels good to be moving. Austin was an absolute champ today. He got up early to go with me... helped keep the girls entertained while we were driving... stayed in the playground with them... held hands crossing streets... gave piggy back rides... and was so incredibly patient with everywhere we went and everything we did. It was a disappointing day for him in that we went to have him fitted for his tux for Cody's wedding and realized that there is no way we can afford to rent a tux for him. He's not in the wedding, he just wanted to dress like his brothers but... the total cost was going to be $161 and I just can't justify that expense. Not for one day. I can buy him one nice outfit for the wedding that he can wear to church and other special events for... however long he stays this size. I just couldn't rationalize that kind of money. Part of the problem is that they wanted to charge us a "rush fee" because we're less than two weeks from the wedding (by one day - if I had gone yesterday, no fee). But I didn't know. He didn't get upset. He was disappointed but he understands. If he was in the wedding, yes, I'd figure out a way... but just for a photo op? No. Too many other things we need to spend that money on.
Other than that little disappointment... it was a good day, a good time and gave us some awesome photos. I took over a hundred pictures of the girls today! I posted them to my facebook page, I think you can access it even if you don't have a facebook. If not, let me know and I'll email you the link to the photo album. Lots more pictures to come this month... lots more great memory making events ahead!
Hope you're having a great weekend too!

I’ve just been a flood of creativity lately.
I've spent so much of my energy absorbed in trying to make ends meet. Since the car situation has become easier... I am able to think about other things.
I’ve been walking in such a place of quiet inspiration. It’s almost impossible to articulate.
It feels like major transformation is taking place… like the work that goes on inside a cocoon, imperceptible to the eye.
I was resting in my nest, thinking that my life had become terribly unproductive.
Where I have felt so unplugged and self-absorbed… big things have been going on behind the scenes.
And I realize that I can make a difference, right from my nest.
I don't have to give a million dollars or travel to deepest darkest Africa.
I can impact others right where I am.
God whispered into my heart, “this is it. This is your ministry. Do this. More of this. This is what you were created to do.”
I had been really convicted that I was only creating relationships that were – as Beth Moore says – ten miles wide and a half inch deep.
And then I realized that all those surface relationships each held potential.
They didn’t have to be shallow.
A pivotal moment came when I saw someone who I only know through online gaming reach out to my friend Natalie through her Facebook group.
I didn’t have what this person needed but I knew someone who did.
And that made me feel so purposeful.
And then another friend asked that I ask the same people who pray for me to pray for her.
To know that the power that has manifested itself in my life through the faithful prayers of a faithful body of believers has garnered enough attention that someone else would desire it for themselves.
That’s awesome to me.
To realize that my failures and weaknesses and feeble attempts and … well, even the time that I waste… in the hands of a mighty God can be turned into something worthwhile.
Just because I talk a lot.
I realize that I would make a horrible secret agent. That I could never be a lawyer and say only what has to be said. “No comment” is never going to be my comment.
So many people are just looking for someone who understands what they're going thru.
Pick a crisis... I've probably been through it.
I’m realizing that sometimes all people need is to know someone cares.
A smile.
A text.
An email.
A card.
A prayer.
Just whatever little bit I have to share.
I colored a picture for a friend this week and mailed it to her, just to let her know I was thinking about her.
It was a very simple thing. 44 cents and a few marker stains on my fingers.
Sometimes it’s just hearing the words, “I’m proud of you” or “keep breathing” or “you aren’t alone”.
Sometimes it’s just one word. Hope.
I wear a ring that says, “hope”.
I wear it where my wedding rings used to be… (on the birdie finger… because I was never allowed to get my rings sized to fit.)
My rings… that I thought were the most expensive and beautiful things I had ever owned… that made me believe I was loved when I wasn’t, that gave me a false sense of security…
And turned out to be complete fakes. (that’s why I was never allowed to get them sized, I would have discovered the truth.)
Where falsehood once lived… hope moved in.
And the great thing about hope is that if you have it… you can share it and share it and share it and it never runs out!
It’s like an uncapped oil well, spouting into the deep, in volumes that are too large to calculate.
That’s my gift! Hope! That’s what I have to give!
I just have to keep talking, unashamed, transparent, honest, open, vulnerable...

I'm spending today with Sarabeth and Jamie. Angie's grandmother passed away and her funeral is today. Jim is preaching. The girls have dance pictures this morning... I'm super thrilled to be needed. I'd be glad to help wherever I'm needed but being needed for dance pictures is the best! My camera is charging right now... I'm sure I'll take a couple hundred pictures.
Life is good.
Have a great Saturday, y'all!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

thoughtful thursday

What a difference a week makes! Last Thursday morning I woke up without a vehicle, unsure of how much it would cost to retrieve my car - if I even could. This morning I woke up with a peaceful heart... not stressed, not upset, not fearful... our lives can change in the blink of an eye, for better or for worse. We never know what crisis, what challenges, what issues and what blessings lie ahead.

Seriously, if you're going through hell, keep on going.

My friend Natalie, who I've written about before, is the surviving spouse of an amazing man of God who ended his life prematurely due to bi-polar disorder. Natalie is a tower of strength, a woman of faith, an incredible example for those who face their darkest hour. She is writing a book about her experiences with her husband and her journey since his death. Her publisher wants to see interest in the book before they will give her a contract and she's working to demonstrate that interest through her blog, her twitter account and a facebook page. Her blog is - I encourage you to follow her blog. You can link to the facebook page at!/group.php?gid=118005558233031&ref=ts or just go to my facebook page and search my groups for the group, Tears to Joy... and please, share these links with your friends. Natalie has a beautiful spirit and a wonderful perspective. Even if your life hasn't been touched by the same tragic circumstances that hers has, you can learn to face anything with the faith that she has. Natalie is a humble woman and would never self-promote... but I believe that her message needs to reach people... so I will unashamedly promote her! I hope you'll join me in this effort.

This has been a week of peace for me but I've been acutely aware of people in my life who are not experiencing peace. My heart is so heavily burdened... every time something happens that breaks MY heart, while I'm healing and resting from that, it seems like I'm so much more sensitive to what's happening around me. I am grateful that God allows me to share those burdens, that He trusts me to love others. I want to be good at it.

Last night was my brother's last night as Youth Pastor at our church. Now he can be a "real pastor". That's an inside joke... he is a REAL pastor... having love and compassion and wisdom and patience to guide and disciple a group of UNRULY (Stasha's word) young people requires a true professional. Bubba will now be working as Pastor to young adults and handling counseling, helping in those transitions from youth to adult. He'll be great at it. It's a new stage of life for him. Young people who had been part of his youth group for the past ten years came back last night to be there... it was really sweet. As he was giving his last message at the youth service, our pastor's daughter, Abbie, who is 16 and has downs syndrome, FELL at his feet in tears crying, "Don't go, Pastor Jim!!!" She got up and stood beside him on the stage and wrapped her arms around him... My brother is usually fairly unflappable. I mean... he's spent a lifetime around dramatic old me... and Angie's a fairly emotional woman... and he's got two emotional girls... so Jim usually is the calm, level headed one in the group... but Abbie got to him... and of course... once Jim started crying, me and Angie both got mushy... it was a precious moment... funny, sweet and sad all at the same time.

Made me glad, once again, that I'm here to share in those kind of things.

Time for me to glam and dash... time to make the donuts... or sell the insurance... or whatever I do.

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

expecting a Wonderful Wednesday

I wrote "bank" on my hand to remind me to stop by the bank and pick up the ONE dollar change we have coming back from yesterday's deposit. Usually Ginger goes by the bank but she's been out this week. Ginger's having neck problems. T is having stomach trouble but she's been hanging in there (as Purple Michael would say, "like a hair in a biscuit!"). My lungs are junky but I feel ok. I'm not dragging today. Well, not as bad.

It's Wednesday so it's my early release day. I was going to skip church tonight because my ladies group isn't meeting as Alisa is in West Virginia (of all places!) (she's actually FROM WV) (I don't hold it against WV that they allowed Pure Evil himself to be born there... no longer going to mention him by name). Anyways... our bible study isn't meeting but it's Jim's last night leading the youth worship service as he begins a new position at the church this summer as minister to young adults and I forget what else. We've got a half dozen pastors and I'm not sure what all of 'ems titles are but they seem to know what to do and it all works really well so I don't concern myself with it too much. So many of the kids that Jim and Angie "raised" are actually young adults now... it's a good fit for him to minister to them. And I think there's something else involving counseling which is his big thing anyways.

How cute is Cody and Marquee's wedding invite? I wish I could invite all of y'all... but as the M-O-G I'm not really paying for anything so I can't really invite anyone. We invited a few people who Cody knew well and honestly, most couldn't make it because of the day/time (Friday afternoon before Memorial day - last day of school for many). But I know that they will be surrounded by prayers from lots of people who love Cody only from reading about him here or from loving me... and i know that God is going to bless them and give them a beautiful life together.

Time for me to glam and dash - got to stop and pay the water bill and then go by the bank so I'll have a busy commute. Love and hugs.... wishing y'all a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

cody's wedding invitation

tuesday snoozeday

It's a cool morning here in the mountains... 54 degrees.

My lungs are junky and my eyes are burning so there must be something new growing out there...

I didn't sleep well Friday night or Saturday night and I've made up for it the past two nights by sleeping over 9 hours each night.

I was so tired last night that I tucked myself in at 8pm... and was asleep soon after.

I only saw two dances on Dancing with the Stars.

I've had a headache since yesterday morning... not a migraine level... just a nagging little sinus headache... just enough that if I cough, it hurts worse.

I have nothing profound or exciting to say, only that in 17 days my sweet Cody is getting married!

I've waited a long time to have a daughter...

One very wise older woman told me right after Austin was born that mothers of sons get their daughters when their sons get married...

I think I'm a much better "girl mama" now than I would have been back then.
I've learned a lot about love, forgiveness, patience... and all the things that girls need.

Austin has nine more days of school. His last day is the 21st.

They are adjusting their school calendar this year because they have to renovate the middle school and it will take longer than the normal summer break.

He won't go back until late August, instead of the first of August.

He needs a job badly.

I'm considering buying him a scooter. I mean... obviously, not immediately. I can't afford to.

But I mean, for a first vehicle. They're street legal and can be had for less than a thousand and can't do much damage to anyone else.

I have great fears of him being at fault in an accident and causing harm to someone else.

Not that I would rather him hurt himself... but you get the point.

He wants some farm experience. Wants to work with farm animals. I'm trying to line up a place for him to work.

He's doing better in school than he has in the past.

Tme for me to glam and dash!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

random Sunday

I tried to get the cats to bring me breakfast in bed but instead, Itty Bitty Kitty brought me a razor. Maybe he thought I needed to clean up before breakfast? Hmmm...

Austin spent the night at his friend Zach's last night so it's just me and the fur-boys my Mother's Day morning.

I'm getting ready for church... Sarabeth is singing and my friend Alisa is doing a monologue so I'm up and at 'em.

Yesterday was a perfect weather day here in North Georgia. It was breezy and bright. The temperature was mild.

I had lunch out with Stasha... then dinner out with my parents, Jim and Angie and the girls and Austin. We had chinese.

At dinner I asked the girls what they want to be when they grow up. Sarabeth wants to be a teacher... reasonable, predictable... her mom has a doctorate in education and is the head of the education department at the local college. It makes perfect sense that she wants to be a teacher. She will make a great teacher.

Jamie wants to be a rock star. I said, "do you mean CHRISTIAN rock?" thinking she's probably never really even heard much rock music (other than those two sermons my brother preached using his 1970 Billy Don't Be A Hero video)... and she said, "you know, fun songs, happy songs!"

Yep. She will make a great rock star.

I was determined not to do any chores on Mothers Day but I'm gonna have to go to the grocery store, at least, since we're out of coffee creamer. And I've already done a load of laundry.

I asked Austin for a clean kitchen for Mothers Day. Then we're going to buy him some new shoes.

This all sounds really boring, doesn't it?

It's ok. It's been a quiet weekend but I've still gotten to spend time with people I love... without having any all day long commitments.

I haven't been sleeping well this weekend. Only slept about 4 hours each night. Had a great nap yesterday... plan another great nap today.

My birthday flowers are still hanging in there. I re-arranged them and pulled out the ones that were droopy.

We watched a great video in bible study over the past two weeks - Chonda Pierce - she's a Christian comedian. Do a you tube search for her... she's got a lot of funny stuff out there.

There is this Publix commercial (Publix is a grocery store, for those who don't live around here)... about this amazing looking cake you can get in the Publix bakery. The nearest Publix is 45 minutes away and the last thing I need is a $20 bakery cake in my house... because then I'd feel like I need to not let it go to waste... but that is the most tempting thing I've seen in a long time.

Yesterday I went to the amish bakery and got a loaf of cheese bread, half of a sour cream poundcake and two of the amazing key lime cremes that I was so addicted to last summer. What was I thinking?

I made tuna salad to eat with the cheese bread.

I want to make some tabbouleh... need to get some cilantro to go in it, though. Guess I'll get that while I'm getting some coffee creamer.

On Alexis Stewart's blog she has some great recipes that I want to try. (she's the daughter of Martha Stewart) it's at

We need a better litter box solution. I just changed it yesterday and it already stinks.

I'm getting sleepy. Better get up and moving so I don't miss church.

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

alls well that ends well, right?

My car is back home and in my carport. Going to the nasty little repo lot was a whole new level of humiliation... as was coughing up the extra $240 IN CASH that I was forced to pay for "storage" charges. The loan people didn't bother telling me about that. I mean... ultimately... it's my fault... I cost myself a day of work and $640 in repo fees ... but I'm not going to beat myself up over it... I'm just going to move forward and pray that I find a way to get my head above water. Right now... drowning. And not even because I have a closet full of jimmy choo shoes or fabulous clothes... or because of a fabulous trip I took... nope. Just going to work every day and trying to live off a commission dependant income in a failing economy... and not getting child support... and trying to make it work. Somehow. Trying to stretch a dollar out of fifty cents.

All things considered.... today ended up far better than it could have. Mom's accident was nearly as bad as it looked to the paramedics at the scene... I got my car back today instead of Monday or Tuesday as I was first told (which would have cost me another couple hundred bucks in storage). My friend Alisa drove me to work... drove me down to pick up my car and stayed with me in the awful repo office... and then took me out to dinner at Chili's! I'm home, it's quiet and peaceful and I'm planning a long night's sleep...

Then tomorrow I'll get up, clean out the fridge, do my cooking for the week so we can eat healthy and cheaply... and just focus on counting my blessings.

you can't make this stuff up

This morning I got a call from my brother, Jim... "mom's been in an accident and they took her to Grady".

Grady is the biggest local trauma center. They bypassed the local hospital - about 1 mile away from her accident. So it didn't sound good.

Jim didn't know much. He didn't ask a lot of questions since dad was driving... rushing to the hospital in Atlanta. He just knew the airbag had deployed and her hand was broken.

I called Cody... he was at the scene of the accident cleaning out mom's truck. He said someone had stopped to turn left and mom must not have realized it and hit them from behind. her hand apparently hit the windshield.

Cody was upset. He said her hand looked bad. He didn't know anything more.

I am (as you know) without a car. Jim had Angie's car and was on the way to the mechanic because it was running hot. So our extended family, collectively, down three vehicles.

My friend Alisa came to pick me up to take me to work. (thank God for friends who are willing to drive over an hour round trip to get me where I need to be). She asked if we needed to just go to Atlanta. I didn't know. While we were debating and discussing, she got a call... while she was on the phone, I prayed.

I'm the daughter... I'm the one that needs to be there. I'm the one with the spiritual gift of exhortation. But since I'm without a car, I potentially become a liability because someone has to get me back and forth.

Ultimately, I decided to go on into work to handle the paperwork to get my car back. Alisa had a meeting this morning so we decided to just do what we needed to this morning and then re-evaluate midday. By then we'll know more about what's needed and whether or not Jim is going to be able to go down to Atlanta.

For those who aren't local... where I live is about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Atlanta... as long as there isn't traffic. And there's always traffic.

Grady is in the heart of Atlanta... very congested area... expensive to park... high crime area. But it's a good trauma hospital.

Update on my car... the modification papers have been submitted. I will have a "release" in 1-2 business days which means it could potentially be as late as Tuesday before I can get my car. Argh. They said it might not take that long. Praying I can get it today, would help quite a bit.

So that's the haps... will update as the circumstances evolve. Never a dull moment.

OH! AND! I locked my keys in my house so I have to depend on Austin to let me in this afternoon.

UPDATE... looks like there are no broken bones! They're waiting for the xrays to be read and then they'll be able to leave.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

i love this quote...

We know that this is where God has called us and we know everyone has their own calling and place in life. You're always going to have the negative naysayers and you're not going to please everyone. You please God and you seek to do what he's called you to do and you will have peace. When there are criticisms, you listen and you take that through the grid of God's words and ask if there's something you can learn from them.

This was in an interview of Michelle Duggar... answering how they respond to their critics. I thought it was incredibly wise. I know a lot of people think the Duggars are nuts for their decision to have so many kids... and I know their lifestyle is unpopular. I watch them and I respect them because they are so kind and non-judgemental of the people who judge them. There's a lot to be learned in how they work together as a family and how they interact in their world.

there's a way...

i can get my car back with $600
i have it... it's meant for rent... but i have it.
the good news is i can probably get my car.
the bad news is i may be looking for a new place to live.
i'm still trusting.
i know there's a way.
with the $600 payment, it may be monday before i have a car so i'll have to find a way to work tomorrow.
and i really need to work tomorrow.
i'm still trusting.
at least my hair is cute.

when i am afraid i will trust in you

well, i slept last night.
a few hours anyways.
there will be no capitalization on this entry because i don't feel like it.
the shift key has been missing for months and it takes too much concentration to connect with the remaining little rubber knob.
gosh. i feel like such a loser.
my head is killing me.
i've cried so much i look asian.
it's just a car. just a stupid, stupid car.
you know how they say in survivor that fire means life in that game?
in the mountains, where everything is so far apart and there's no public transportation... cars mean life.
i didn't start driving when i was 16.
my parents didn't really have a car for me to practice on. my mother didn't drive at that time. i was scared. i don't know... i just didn't drive.
it was only when i was much older... around 28 or so... that i actually started driving.
for so many years i had to depend on my family and friends to get me where i needed to go.
it was inconvenient. it was frustrating. but the fear was in charge.
and then one day... my friend rachel's little girl got sick at school and rachel didn't have a car. she was going to walk the mile to my house to borrow my car to get her daughter. i thought about that sweet little rebecca sitting at school throwing up during all the time it was going to take her mama to walk to my house... and i said, "no.... I can drive"... and i did.
and from that day on i ventured a little further and a little further with my three boys in tow.
at first i would only drive to the ballfield.
and only to church.
both were less than two miles away.
and to the little swimming pond down the street where we'd pack a gallon of koolaid and a loaf of bread worth of pb&j sandwiches... buy a few cucumbers at the garden stand... and spend the day getting sunburned.
and gradually my circle expanded.
i gained confidence.
the need to travel further grew.
my marriage fell apart.
their dad stopped coming home.
i had to do what i had to do and i did.
it changed my life, both good and bad.
i was so scared to drive on the interstates in atlanta but cody had ballgames in distant parts of the city... so we'd load up the car and i'd have the kids help me merge by telling me when it was clear.
it's what i had.
but i always had a car.
and now i don't.
and i trust God. i do. completely.
i asked him the other day to put me in the place He wants me to be. to remove all the "me" from the picture. to move me from the stagnant place i've settled into.
i asked him to not let me sit, soak and sour.
ultimately... i was walking a tightrope with complacency.
i've lived behind the 8ball for so long that i stopped letting it stress me out.
to the point of doing nothing, even in a time of urgency.
i had the money and could have made ONE payment since i got paid on monday and this would not have happened.
but i didn't and it did and all i can do is move forwardin the light of this current reality.
i called my brother jim last night as they pulled the car away. he's a pastor and psychologist and generally unflappable.
his role in this life, i'm convinced, is to calm the crazed women in his life.
he said there would be a solution. he sounded confident. he said "we can't do anything until you talk to the bank in the morning"... and he said, "don't lose sleep over it"
and then he got his wife, my sister in law, to call.
i'm convinced that God made me the only girl in a house full of boys because growing up, i was about all the "girl" one house could handle.
and i'm convinced that God, in His wisdom, knew that the older i got, the more i would need sisters.
and He gave them to me.
we talked for a long time.
me and bubba had talked about the facts.
me and angie talked about the feelings.
i played out all the "what ifs" and worst case scenarios all night.
i'm exhausted.
i don't know what today will hold. i don't know what the answer is. i don't know if i'll end up losing everything i've pieced together in the past 18 months since the last time i lost everything.
i just don't know.
this is the verse that i turned straight to this morning:

when i am afraid i will trust in you.
psalm 56:3

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Transparency. It's why you guys read my blog, isn't it? Ultimately... being able to know the whole story is ... whatever it is. Entertaining, maybe. Interesting, I guess. Maybe it makes you feel like your life isn't so bad after all. Maybe it gives you hope. Maybe you read just to see what crazy messes I've gotten myself into now.

My car just got repossessed.

I didn't have to blog about it. I don't know what I'm going to do about it. I don't know how I'll get to work tomorrow or the next day or the next day. I don't know how I'll get to the grocery store or church or... wherever or whatever. I don't know.

But God does. And I think... if I do nothing else right... it's that life of transparency that gives me credibility. It's sharing these ridiculous bottom of the pit experiences that make my top of the mountain stories that much sweeter.

I'm ok. I'm worried. Really worried... about how to solve this. I suspect that I'll probably have to pay the loan off to redeem the car... it's about six payments plus fees and penalties, etc. Around $2,000. I don't have that kind of money. Obviously.

My credit is horrible and my bank account is pitiful and I'm so tired of being broke. So tired. I catch one thing up at the expense of falling behind on something else. This wasn't what I signed up for. There is a lot of blame to go around... lots of people who put me here but ultimately, I have to figure out a way out.

I'm not depressed. I'm not about to jump off a bridge. Don't worry. I'm sad. I'm frustrated. Tired. I want to just go live in a cave somewhere. As long as that cave has internet.

So that's the story. I'll let you know what I figure out... I'm having to take the day off of work tomorrow because.... well... I have no way to get there. And because I have a lot of calls to make. A lot of figuring to do. And praying.

To be continued.

wacky wednesday

I think this week we’ll have Wacky Wednesday instead of Whiny Wednesday. I hope that’s ok with y’all. I know how y’all love my whining.
We got a new door chime for our office. It was very exciting. We thought we got an awesome deal and then D found it on for less than half the price we were charged.
I took photos of three different houses this morning for work… made me feel like a real photographer. I could SOOOO do that for a living!
I got my hair cut today – back to the length it was last October. I’m a little uneasy about how I’ll make it through a high humidity summer with my curly (frizzy) hair so short but today it’s cutie-patootie.
I bought a new straightening iron yesterday and I don’t like it. It came in that clear plastic packaging that you have to annihilate to extract the product out. My hair dresser said “take it back anyways!”
Love my hair dresser.
I mentioned that Candice was thinking about getting her hair done for the wedding… she said, “tell her to wear a hat. It’s the south.”
There you go. Professional opinion.
I am looking for a hat for myself.
I keep touching my hair. I love the way it feels when it’s first cut.
The latest reports on Elvis’ death indicate that he may have died from constipation.
There was a girl in the hospital with me who had a horrible case of constipation… she looked 7 months pregnant. I loaned her my clothes because hers were too tight. I wasn’t exactly styling while I was in there and I didn’t exactly care. Plus, if your husband is so callous as to cause you to end up in a psych ward, he’s probably not going to put much effort into packing your luggage. I’m just saying. Sent me in there with no conditioner. In Jacksonville. In September. With my curly hair.
Kendra Wilkinson has a sex tape out. Imagine that. I love Kendra… I think her show is hilarious. She’s so unpretentious. Her and Hank are cute together. I’m not surprised she has a sex tape, though. I mean… her claim to fame is having been one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends.
Isn’t he just a sad little old man? I think he stopped being suave about 30 years ago.
I don’t think having a whole gaggle of girls makes a man look sexy anyways. It makes him look pathetic. Show me a man who knows how to make a commitment and keep it… THAT’s attractive!
Austin went to church with his friends last night. They talked about Jonah and the whale. Austin was surprised to learn that the bible never calls it a whale.
Tonight his friends are coming to church with him. I still think they’re a bunch of delinquents but if they attend church 2-3 times a week, they can’t be complete heathens, right?
The alarm woke me up again today. Second time this week. Usually I’m awake an hour before.
Lunch time is over. Peace out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things...

For some reason my energy level keeps dropping off dramatically at random times. Sunday it was early in the morning. Last night it hit me at around 7pm. I was completely wiped out… yet… it was nearly midnight before I fell asleep. Today it hit me during lunch. I am drained… fighting to keep my eyes open… so tired that breathing is an effort. I’m sure I’ll rally… hopefully… my day is only half over.

I think the heat had something to do with it while I was out at lunch. I had a car picnic while working on my Italian CDs… and the sun was super bright. The temperature is bearable… but the humidity is high.

I’m loving my Italian language CDs – I’ve never learned a foreign language before and it seems like a good way to keep the old 42 year old gray matter functioning at top performance. Italian is a beautiful language. I’ve noticed, however, that I seem to do a better job of speaking it while using my hands. Apparently, you can’t speak Italian without wildly gesticulating. Many musical terms are Italian so there are a lot of words I already know. Bits and pieces. I’m using the Michel Thomas course, if anyone is interested. He was a student of psychology and part of his philosophy is that we are able to get our brains to do things above and beyond what we think they can do. I’m a smart girl, of that I have no doubt, but I’ve never really tested myself in this way. Learning is fun. For reals.

One of my customers joked with me last week that since I’m 42, I’ve hit drinking age twice so I’m doubly entitled to imbibe. Oddly, I still don’t care for it much. Alcohol makes me sleepy and dizzy and … well, I can achieve that on my own for free just by living. I’m naturally drunk.

I bought a new type of grain cereal for breakfast… it’s the 10 grain hot cereal and it’s yummy! It cooks in the microwave in 4 minutes… very filling… has protein. I need to toss in some fresh fruit to make it more balanced. It’s also relatively affordable. The bag was $2.98 but you only use ¼ cup per serving so it will go a long way. Love my grains and dried beans! I need to try more of the grains that Bob’s Red Mill has. Since it’s nigh on impossible to find that sort of stuff locally, it’s nice to know you can purchase online.

Lunch was my FAVORITE kashi meal – the mayan harvest bake - . Best frozen meal ever! Kashi is more expensive than Lean Cuisine but cheaper than an extra value meal at McDonalds.

Since this post has turned into an Oprah’s Favorite Things episode, I’ll also add that I love Vitamin Water Zero by Glaceau.

I'm sneezing like crazy. Ugh. I usually have these quiet, delicate, feminine sneezes... but this afternoon they've been loud and they HURT. I think I broke the seal.

My lunch time is over. Back to the salt mine. Or… my nice, cushy, well-lit, office with a great view where I do non-menial tasks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rainy days and Mondays.
And there are ants all over my desk. Not because of food… there is no food. I don’t know if they’re trying to get out of the rain or what. My office smells like bug spray. I’ve threatened to cover myself in it. I’m itching like crazy, not because they’ve bitten me but because I keep feeling them crawling on me. It’s awful. Hard to concentrate.
We’re short by two people today but it’s deadly slow.
More ants than customers right now.
I opened my office window (post ants) to let some of the smell of the spray out and let in some of the rain soaked air. The sound of the rain is relaxing.
My hair is a mess. I didn’t even try today.
I’m thinking of wearing a hat for Cody’s wedding. Have to find somewhere to buy a hat. I’ve been glancing at the internet. My dress has chocolate brown silk accent ribbons so if I can find a nice hat in that color or even if I find a plain hat and adore it with chocolate colored silk ribbon. I think I could detail my own hat.
Purple Michael says that since I live in the south, I should be able to find a hat easily. Or he suggested – I’m not sure that’s a real website. Will check and let you know.
Have I told you about ?? Check it out. It will either make you sick or hungry.
Quiet weekend. Mucho headachey yesterday.
Saturday Cody and Marquee came over after their LAST premarital counseling session. They passed. They can get married now.
We spent the afternoon looking at old photos. Cody wanted to find pictures of his cat Tommy, when he was a kitten. We found them.
Also found photos of my Codester with my high school friend Dwaine’s little boy, Dustin. Both are 19 now. Also have a picture with my friend A.T’s daughter, Haley and my son Ryan. It was a heartbeat ago… now they’re all grown.
Also found *THE* photo of my brother Bryan that gave us a glimpse of his future. He is protesting my laying out in the sun in the area of the backyard where he wanted to play. He is now a big-shot attorney in Manhattan. Heck, if I’d known he’d grow up to be a rich lawyer, I might have let him have his spot in the backyard.
Just kidding. But in the picture you can see his passion for social injustice… and my detached amusement. It’s obvious that I was used to annoying little brothers.
Favorite websites right now: , ,
Saturday night Jim & Angie took us out for my birthday… I loved it!
Austin spent the weekend hanging out with his friend Zack. And with Tasha, I think. He’s awful phone-chatty lately which makes me think a girl is involved.
My head is still bothering me. Once I get a headache, it will rear its ugly head a few times before it goes away for good. The unstable atmosphere hasn’t helped.
Mostly today my head just feels full.
My Italian CDs came over the weekend. Now I can start learning. The book Eat, Pray, Love inspired me. The movie comes out this summer.
The failed bombing in Times Square was approximately ¾ a mile from my brother’s apartment. He was in Chicago, though. No danger to him or Candice – but Shadow the cat was in jeopardy.
So that’s my Monday. Hope it’s a good one.