Monthly Archives: January 2009

These are the people in my neighborhood…

I realized this morning that some of you may not know the rest of you on my blog list.  Since I’m new to blogging and I have a short blogroll right now, I thought I’d introduce you guys to each other so that you’d all know why these people are in my life and why I think they’re important for other people to know about them.  Let’s get started:

Tina is a friend I met through my son’s elementary school.  She called me out of the blue one day to let me know that her son wanted to invite Travis to a playdate at his house.  I cried. No boy had ever invited Travis on a playdate before.  I think I panicked and tried to back out of it.  I remember telling her “You realize that he won’t talk to JD and that he’ll probably just want to wander around the house and explore, and he won’t really ‘play’?”  She totally didn’t care.  Wow.  And so we went, and Travis pushed buttons, and JD played Playstation, and Tina and I sat across the table from each other and became friends.

Candace is a friend I may never meet.  She is a physical therapist that lives in Louisiana and she’s on the medical team that has been part of caring for my best friend’s dad who is recovering from brain tumor surgery.  Amy told me about her and gave me the link to her blog so that I could know who she’d been talking about.  The first day I visited her blog, I read this and it changed my thinking about how I approach my life and the challenges that I face.  Don’t skip over that link.  It’ll change you.

Elevated Speech currently wishes to remain anonymous, but I will tell you that I have known this person for seven years and we have walked through many a low valley together, but s/he always encourages my heart.  Speech is new to blogging, and very busy, but when something’s on the blog, it’s worth reading.

Jeff is a college friend of mine.  I had always admired him because he was witty, funny, friendly, and had a plan.  “The plan” involved dating a friend of mine, whom he married.  They are perfect for each other.  Things are not perfect for them right now.  The friend is going through her fourth round of cancer treatment and life’s a bit of a roller coaster.  But Jeff would tell you that the perfect place to be is right in the middle of where God has them, and he wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe a couple of things, but that’s okay – God’s big and He’ll take care of it all).

Meredith is proof that you never stop making friends and that God gives us “do-overs”.  I knew Meredith in college, but we were not friends.  We were “friendly”, but in that casual sort of “Hi Meredith”, “Hi Susan”, sort of way when we passed each other on campus.  I don’t know that we ever stopped to say one meaningful word to each other.  I was intimidated by the fact that she was part of an “in” crowd that I could only observe, and I was too insecure to even attempt to make friends with people outside of the ones I knew.  Meredith moved on, and our paths didn’t cross until last year when Amy told me that she was making Meredith’s spaghetti soup.  I started stalking her blog, then we became friends through Facebook, and the Lord has knit our hearts together through discussions over kids, living away from family, finding freedom, being stay at home moms, dreaming big dreams, wanting a simple life, and all things Trader Joe’s.

John is Meredith’s husband.  He was the big man on campus while we were in college, and most of the girls had a crush on him (confession – I would include myself in that category).  I read his blog because he’s a gifted writer, and I study how he artfully uses a shade and a nuance to evoke a mood that haunts me every time I read his stuff.  What he writes is not for the faint of heart.  It will make you think.  And react.  But isn’t that what good writers do?  He has a book coming out this fall.  I can’t wait to buy it.

Karen is one of those people that I have a girl-crush on – one of those women that you admire and aspire to be like.  She has a jillion kids – seven, at last count.  And they WALK INTO CHURCH (not run, mind you, like my three) and they are polite to strangers, and they smile and they serve, and are kind to puppies…you get the picture.  [I can hear her protesting all of this while I’m typing.  I’m getting to the good stuff.]  When I first met Karen, I was completely intimidated by her because I thought she had it all together.  And for that reason, I didn’t think that I could relate to her.  I had imperfect children, I still carried 20 extra pounds of baby weight (and she is still slender after all those pregnancies) ,  she was never harried and I forever felt like I was two steps behind.  Then one Sunday, I walked down the hall and saw her in the hallway talking to one of her little ones that was pitching a fit.  I remember thinking “There’s a chink in the armor!”  (Probably a bad day for her, and here I am rejoicing?!!).  She’s a cool chick, and I still want to be like her when I grow up, even though we’re the same age.

Tracey will forever be in my life because she taught me how to potty-train the boys.  I ran into her one day at BJ’s, and we started talking about the kids, and for some reason I blurted out that I was sure my kids would go to prom in their diapers.  She told me about throwing cheerios into the toilet and keeping an M&M bucket for rewards.  My kids were trained in a week.  This woman deserves a medal.  Jewels in your crown, dear Tracey, jewels in your crown…

Jennifer was in my Sunday School class when we began attending our church.  Her testimony as to how God totally changed her life moved me to tears.  She is so genuine and honest and approachable and capable, she homeschools her kids, she serves at church, she has the sweetest spirit, and and and…you get the picture.  I love her consistency and her transparency.

And that leaves us with Amy.  I have no words to tell you what Amy means to me.  We have a friendship forged through the darkest of days and starriest of nights.  We have seen each other through bad haircuts and finals.   We have eaten ice cream out of the carton together.  We’ve traded lipstick and once, even a boyfriend.  I do not think there is anything about me that she doesn’t know.  I am honored to call her friend.  I am sorry for you if you don’t know her.  She is incredibly smart and witty, and she needs to write a book but she’s too busy being so fantastic that she doesn’t have time.  She doesn’t get how wonderful she is and would deny everything I just said.

So these are the people in my neighborhood.  I hope y’all have had fun getting to know each other.

Funny Friday…

Found this in Tommy’s homework stack…Instead of worrying about him drawing in class, I’m going to focus on the fact that he got all of his math correct on the board…0022

Things I do Thursday…

No, this isn’t a list of what I do on Thursdays – I’m not that routinized, though I probably should be. Today is a Thursday, and this is a partial list of things I do that help me get my life organized (or at least give me the fleeting illusion that things are proper and in place).

1. I sort my dirty clothes as I take them off.  That saves me a step when I want to wash – I just grab a hamper and throw it in.  If the boys’ room was bigger, I’d give them two hampers, but it’s a little crowded in their room right now, so they only have one.  When it’s full, I wash.0021

2.  I keep my makeup routine to a minimum.  This is all I need to be gone for two days or two weeks. 0041

3.  I buy in bulk.  If I take my coups to the warehouse store, they’ll honor them, and most of the time I can get it for the same sale price at the regular grocery store.  This keeps me from having to run to the store more than once a week.  I love cooking and browsing the grocery store, but I do not love HAVING to go to the grocery to get a couple of items.  I’d rather have them on-hand and spend my time elsewhere.

01014.  Containerize, containerize, containerize…. It suits my personal style to have baskets that generally hold the stuff that I’m looking for.  It keeps me from having to be completely neat about lining things up on a shelf.  I use baskets for our shoes, library books, medicine, and miles of hot wheel tracks.


5.  I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly running across an errant Lego piece or a part of some toy.  I put them all in this little pitcher, and when it’s full (about once a week), I empty it out and let the boys put it all back where it belongs.


6.  I try to keep stuff from coming into the house.  I don’t know about you, but I feel guilty about the all the grocery sacks that go into the landfill just because of little ole’ me.  Last year I began buying the cloth sacks from my grocery store – one at a time – and now I have enough to hold an entire week’s worth of shopping.  I keep them by the door so that I can grab them on my way out.  Sometimes I forget, but I don’t beat myself up about it.  It’s a process….


7.  Kinda’ related..I save bits and pieces here and there and stash them in the freezer to use later on.  I buy whole chickens where possible and cut them up myself.  It doesn’t take that long and I use a good knife to make it easier.  I freeze the wing tips to use in stock.  I also freeze little bits of leftover veggies  – those single servings – and use them in pot pie or soup, and I save the pan juices from beef roasts for use in stews later on.  It saves money, yes, but I mainly do it because it gives me a better dish…


8.  I keep the pathway clear to my door.  Okay, no, I really don’t….typically this picture would feature a ginormous pile of boxes, bikes, cokes, random bits of junk…but Craig asked me last night if, as a favor to him, I would clean it up.  He NEVER asks me to clean anything, so I know this was a big deal to him.  So, it’s what I did today.  It only took me 15 minutes, but he’ll be happy when he walks in the door tonight, and I’m super happy to do it and show him I care…


I want…

…a little more cabinet space
…a salon color for a box price
…the sun to shine
…a cleaning fairy
…the laundry to be done
…the sour milk smell to fade from the interior of my car
…to learn to knit in the round
…to be more patient
…to have a great pizza dough recipe
…a nap!

Partying with the pastors…

Busy day today!  My friends Cheryl and Karen and I threw a little appreciation dinner for the pastors and their wives from my church.  Well, I say “little”, but it was really a big affair with about 40 people there.  It was a lot of work, but SOOO worth it to have the opportunity to express thanks and serve the ones who give so much of their time and energy to spiritually feed and nurture me in my faith walk.  I’m embarrassed to say that this is the first time I think I’ve ever intentionally done something like this for any of my pastors, but  now that I’ve done it, it won’t be the last.



My bucket is full…

Back from the big city…can I tell you it was bliss?  Traffic, energy…I called Craig from the Beltway to give him the narrative…”Look, it’s the Gallow’s Road exit!  Remember when we used to eat at that Peruvian place?”  or “I’m on I-66 and driving past the exit to our old house.”  (I actually went to our old house and pulled up to the curb and had a little moment.  We were so happy there.  I remembered our wedding day and stepping over the threshhold.  We thought we had the house to ourselves and enjoyed exactly two minutes of “Yeah, we’re married!” time before 40 people pulled up to the house and let themselves in.  Apparently they didn’t think we’d be there and had planned a birthday party for my mother-in-law after the wedding.)

I had girly time with Kate and her 4 year old daughter Ally.  We went shoe shopping for Ally (pink, tiny, cute) and spent several hours in the mall’s kid play area (or as we called it, “the pit of despair”) watching her run around while the two of us unloaded six months worth of “I worry about…” and “I feel guilty about…”  and “what should I do???”.  My heart needed it.

Sunday morning was a special privilege to watch Kate be baptized (from the wings of the baptistry!) and join the church we love and where we both married our respective husbands.  While many faces were new since we left 9 years ago, the older, grayer, fuller faces of those that have walked with us and supported us and prayed with us and laughed with us were the most treasured.

And then it was four hours of silence in the car on my way back to contemplate over the events and conversations of the weekend.  Pledges to do better at being a mom, prayers to strengthen the work of my hands, gratitude for the blessing of friends, and gratefulness to a husband who held it all together while I was gone.

My bucket is full today.

Changing my theme….

So you may have noticed that I changed the theme of my page.  I’m random that way.  I decided that the other one looked too “fall-ish” and I’m in the dead of winter, and I really don’t like it when things don’t match [Slightly changing subjects – the style editor of the Washington Post was giving kudos to Mrs. Obama for not being “matchy matchy” with her green shoes and olive gloves.  I was dinging her.  I’m a southerner.  My purse and my shoes match.  Most of the time.  Unless I’m using my killer kelly green Kate Spade, in which case there are no shoes on this earth that would match…and now I’m off on purses and we’ll never get back to what we were discussing…which was what?]

Oh yeah, themes.

So I like this theme even though it looks slightly urban and I live in the SUBurban part of town, but a part of my heart loves the city.  I love the funky shops and restaurants and the vibe that comes from having a bunch of people all squashed together.  I used to live in DC, and I still miss hopping the Metro, wandering the Mall on my lunch break, and walking the black and white tiled floors of Treasury.

I’m headed up that way today for a girl’s weekend to see my dear friend Kate.  I’m so looking forward to it, and grateful to Craig who’s coming home early so that I can have more time to play.

I’m going to drain some energy from the city to recharge my own batteries.   See ya’ Monday.

I swear he lives in my house…


Amor Fati

I just finished reading Alix Kates Shulman’s To Love What Is.  The book captures the events surrounding the fall of her husband from a loft, his subsequent brain injury and its concomitant impact on their marriage.  Having read an excerpt in a magazine, I was curious to read the entire book and explore her thoughts on love in the midst of trial and see if the lessons she’s learned might apply in my day to day life.  (Before I go further and get calls from concerned friends, my marriage is perfectly happy and we are all healthy, and my husband is not brain-injured or diminished in any capacity.  Still, at the rate that I exasperate him, I know the time may come when he loses his ever-lovin’ mind dealing with his psycho wife, so it’s good to be prepared.)

While I do not share Shulman’s lack of belief (she is atheist), I found common ground on themes that are familiar to both – the sudden twists that life brings, the loss of dreams, new realities against which we sometimes struggle, sometimes accept, sometimes not.  My favorite passage comes from the last chapter which I have quoted below:

“When that tough-minded visionary philospher Friedrich Nietzsche proposed his principle amor fati, love of fate – meaning ‘love your fate,’ which is in fact your life – he wasn’t suggesting that you love only the pleasant parts.  He himself was suffering extreme physical pain at the time. No, to embrace life fully meant to him to accept life’s inevitable limitations without hiding from them, no matter what fate had in store.  “Amor fati,” he said, is “not merely to endure necessity, still less to deny it…but to love it.”  Not a passive resignation, but an active embrace.  He called it his “formula for greatness in a human being.”  Amor Fati! Love your fate. Love what is.”

The active embrace of what life (or God, to this writer) has to offer is something I’ve been mulling over.  This past Sunday, our Bible reading included the following passage from Romans 4 discussing Abraham’s faith through what appeared to be challenging circumstances:

“Without weakening his faith, he faced that fact that his body was as good as dead…Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.”

When I compare what Nietzsche said to what God said (oh, the irony), I’m struck with the thought that love comes through living, and that living fully, despite the circumstances,  increases our love.  Abraham could have chosen to live in doubt when told that a child was to come in his old age, but he instead chose to GROW during his time of waiting and actively praise God and LIVE instead of burying his head in the sand and remaining static.

What a challenge to me to actively seek to become stronger, bolder, wiser in the midst of life’s trials instead of weakening and shrinking from those things that I fight to accept.  I want to embrace amor fati and enjoy the life that He has given.

Oh the weather outside is frightful

but to see the joy in their faces is so delightful…..