Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shameless Plagiarism

God has blessed us with a fantastic new church home here in Hattiesburg!

Our Teaching Pastor, Tony Merida, had a thought provoking write-up in our last newsletter. I wanted to share a bit of it with you.

                                           ( Let the plagiarism begin!)


        "The spirit of the age is discontentment. Millions 'chase the wind' after everything under the sun. In the words of Solomon, a man who had everything modern man desires (wealth, women, wine, wisdom), the quest to find contentment and satisfaction in these things proved to be "meaningless", "vain", "futile", and "empty".     

        We were made to be satisfied
        in God Himself, who has sent
        His Son to save us from our sin and futility.
                                                      1 Peter 1:18 

        But the Christmas season is a time in which millions of people repeat Solomon's folly. While material goods are not evil in and of themselves, and should be enjoyed with a sense of thankfulness to God and to the gift-givers, they will never satisfy the deepest longings of the hearts of a people made in God's image.

        The poem Present Tense  honestly conveys the empty spirit of modern man. So what do you want this Christmas, in life itself? May I suggest that we give up chasing the wind and accept what Augustine finally realized after a life of pleasure-seeking;
        You have made us for Yourself, O Lord,
        and our hearts are restless,
        until they find their rest in You.

             Present Tense

It was spring, but it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, and the great outdoors.
It was summer, but it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.
It was fall, but it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, but it was spring I wanted,
The warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom and respect.
I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature, and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted,
The youth and the free spirit.
I was retired, but it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over,
and I never got what I wanted.

(Written by Jason Lehman ~ when he was 14 years old.)

Augustine discovered what Paul referred to as the 'secret' of contentment. What was that secret?
It was simply knowing Christ.
(Phil. 3:10, 4:11-13)

May we find our satisfaction this season, and in every season, in Jesus - the infant ruler born in Bethlehem . . ."


Monday, November 29, 2010


I Love Thanksgiving!

With all other holidays, there's an exciting build up before - and an "Aw, it's over" afterwards.
But not Thanksgiving. It is the grand beginning of the whole fall/winter holiday season! It single handedly ushers in the boughs of holly and the tidings of comfort and joy! I mean, just watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and you'll see! Start with Tom Turkey, and end with the Clause!

Thanksgiving means family, friends, food, fun, and maybe even the occasional fight. We are human after all. But it's all good! Just because the world is so much more mobile than it used to be doesn't mean that families shouldn't make an effort to spend time together.

We were blessed to be able to make a very quick trip home for Thanksgiving last week.
During the turkey induced coma 'afterglow' of dinner, I thought about the exciting days to come;
Trimming the tree, hanging stockings, baking cookies.
Seeing the excitement on the girls faces as they packed their 'Operation Christmas Child' boxes.
Watching the Nativity Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and Scrooge a million times.
Lighting our advent candles and telling stories.
Singing carols.

Speaking of which, let me give you a little sample of our first twelve days of the season!

12 - Times we heard "Are we there yet?"  


11 - Slightly toxic emissions from a somewhat carsick dog.

10 - Hours in a car to grandma's house.

  9 - Minutes we lasted in the cold walking around looking at Christmas lights.

 8 The number of relations I hugged, then whispered to my sis-n-law "Who was that?"

  7 - Number of times I heard someone bemoan, "Why did I have that second piece of pie!"

  6 - Snowflakes the girls caught on their tongues!

  5 - Yells at the T.V. "Come on ref! That was interference!"

  4 - Homes to visit on our four day mini-vaca.

  3 - Loose animals at the farm. Two horses and one bull -
        looking for love in all the wrong places!

  2 - Huge family dinners!

  1 - Beautiful brand new niece!


Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. . .

Welcome Christmas!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Melodic Prayer

I pray.

I sing.

And sometimes I hear a song that so touches the heart of me that I can't help but do both.

It doesn't matter so much if the song is old or new. It could tickle the funny bone or tug at the heartstrings.
It may even be that I've heard the song a hundred times before without any special connection. But when the Lord brings to mind a melody with lyrics that seem to have been written with my exact situation in mind, there is a quickening in the soul, and the heart soars.

I have been praising my awesome God all week with this one;


I pray I never get over the immensity of what He did for me.

I pray the same for you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mutually Exclusive: Notions of Halloween

    First let me say that I am no expert. I've read several books and have studied enough on the subject to satisfy my own mind, but am quite sure I've only scratched the surface.

1. Knowledge is Power

It all started with the Celtic festival of Samhain (Summer's End).
The Celts only observed two seasons; summer and winter. Sometime around November, they would bring the finest of their herds into shelter. The rest would be slaughtered for a feast.

This marked the start of what they called the "dark" time. Nights were longer, darkness fell early, and this time of year was thought to belong to the spirits. It was believed that spirits and demons alike roamed freely during this time. The people took to dressing as ghouls in the belief that malicious spirits would take them as one of their own and pass on by.
Families would lay out food offerings in their homes in the hopes that departed loved ones would drop by for a visit.
Since this time also marked the Celtic new year, people would pay their debts, renew leases, buy land and trade livestock.

Samhain also represented one of the Fire Festivals. The Celts noticed the sun growing weaker in the winter months and feared it would leave forever. They would light bonfires on hilltops in an attempt to "rekindle" the sun.
Yeah, that'll work.

Enter the conquering Romans.

Samhain begat the Roman Festival of Pamona;
The Roman Festival of Pamona begat All Saints/Souls Day;
All Saints/Souls Day begat Martin Luther and the 95 Theses;
Martin Luther and the 95 Theses begat the Reformation;
The Reformation begat Guy Fawkes Day. . .
And so it went.

Fledgling colonies begin in the new world.

Massachussetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut settled by rigid Puritans tried to kill the holiday all together.
Rhode Island and New York championed religious freedom and celebrated many different styles of the festival.
Yada, Yada, Yada. . . the colonies were inhabited by Dutch German, Swiss, Africans, Native Americans, Catholics and Anglicans. The Holiday became a mish-mash of traditions and customs.

So, Halloween has it's roots in Celtic Samhain and the christian All Saints Day.
Today it is predominantly a secular holiday.

2. Ignorance is bliss

I remember as a kid having a blast on Halloween! What kid doesn't love to play dress-up? And then of course there's the candy!
Some years were spent Trick-or-Treating house to house. Some years the churches would have hayrides or bonfires or Fall Festivals of some kind.
I even remember a few spook houses made up in the basements of churches. Say it ain't so!!!

Not once in all my growing did I consider ritual or religion when choosing a costume or handing out candy.

I remember laughing kids and smiling parents. A cool crispness to the air and the crunch of fallen leaves under foot.
I remember costume contests for the little and pie eating  for the big. Roasting hot dogs and telling stories at the bonfires, and being giddy beyond belief when a cute boy wanted to sit next to me on the hayride home.

Then we grew up. And got more smarterer. And realized that there is a meaning behind everything. And when we find that meaning, all the innocent fun goes out the window.

It's exhausting, isn't it, trying to decide where to draw the line?

Take books for example.
*Chronicles of Narnia has witches and mythical creatures and magic. It's a moral tale of good versus evil. It's ok because it was written by a christian.
*Harry Potter has witches and mythical creatures and magic. It's a moral tale of good versus evil.
It's bad! Evil! Stay away!
*Lord of The Rings has witches and mythical creatures and magic. It's a moral tale of good versus evil.
It's ok because it was written by a christian.

Seriously? So when my kids ask why they can't dress up and  wear make-up and rake in the candy, I have to say, "Well, you see, thousands of years ago there were these nut jobs . . .".

Now please understand, I would never presume to judge another's ideals. But - my blog, my soapbox.

Our pastor talks about two kinds of issues.
Ones that are open handed - things that Christians can agree to disagree on sometimes without sin or eternal consequence.
The others are closed handed issues - things that are at the very core of our beliefs and should never be compromised or ignored.

Halloween is one of those open handed issues.

Joey and I have run the gamut with this and have finally reached a peace about it.
-We do not celebrate Samhain. We do not practice divination. We do not burn sacrifices.
-We do not celebrate All Saints Day. As much as I love my family that has already crossed over, no amount of praying or baking "Soul Cakes" is going to help them at this point.
-We celebrate Secular Halloween. We dress in silly costumes and go out in public. We tell age appropriate ghost stories because our girls are at that "love to be scared" stage. We jump out of closets and yell "Boo!". We watch old scary black and white movies, and the girls watch the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' video. We carve pumpkins.

Because it's fun!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Unexpected Moments. I'm just sayin'.

* Just a note before I start. Joey was gone last week which means I double and triple checked the doors each night and peeked in on the girls pretty much every time I heard the wind blow.

10:48 PM. The girls are sleeping (HAHAHAHA!!!) The girls are in their room. I'm in bed wondering why we pay for satellite if nothing is ever on. I decide to check on the girls one last time, then conk out.

10:49 PM. Unlock and re-lock all four doors - just to be sure. (I get a little psycho-cautious when Joeys gone. Don't judge!)

10:50 PM. I walk the hall and reach out for the knob on the girls bedroom door. My hand still two inches away, the door flies open.

-Blood-curdling screaming!
-The dog barking!
-I'm sure some where crystal is shattering!

I freeze - hand still outstretched.
Maddie backs into the nightstand and passes an incredible amount of gas.
Shelby staggers back, trips on the leg of her pj's and falls to the floor.
The 'security' dog, of course, runs to hide.

10:52 PM. The screaming has turned to shouting.
Maddie - "Why did you do that?"
Me - "I was just coming to check on you! Why were you up?"
Shelby - "I needed to go to the bathroom!"
Me - "Do you still or should I get a towel?"

10:53 PM. Shouting turns to laughing. Hysterically!

10:55 PM. We decide to break out the chips and salsa and watch a movie. Seriously, who's going to sleep after that adrenaline pumping ruckus?

You gotta enjoy the little things.

I'm just sayin'.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dawn of the Dead-Looking

It's been one of those weeks! Seems like I'm saying that a lot lately. And from reading some of your blogs, sounds like I'm not the only one.

For me, last week started with a knock on the door.  At 6:30AM.  Are you kidding me? Forget it!
It wasn't yet time for a visit from my new special someone - the Orkin man. (What woman living in the country doesn't love him!) We weren't expecting anyone and Joey was already off to work. I figure if it's important, they'll call. I am not answering that door.

First of all, I haven't reached that highly evolved state of wifey-hood where my house is run so efficiently that it is pristine every hour of the day.
Secondly, we are not what you'd call 'Victoria's Secret' sleepers. All of my cutsie nighties were replaced years ago with maternity moo-moos and nursing pads, and have yet to make a comeback. I do no freshen my lipstick before my head hits the pillow, and I don't wake with my hair perfectly coiffed.

Three unanswered knocks later, these guys are stomping around on my back deck! The dog is going nuts, and I'm getting a little miffed! At times like this, vanity takes a back seat to the concerns of safety for my two little sweeties still snoozing away in their room.

I jumped up looking like an extra from a bad zombie movie. I turban a towel around my head to hide the rats nest, swish a little toothpaste around my mouth - after all I don't want to kill the guys - and grab the phone on my way out. After dialing 9-1 and firmly placing my finger again on the 1 key, I throw open the back door. Looking as fierce as one can while wearing Mickey Mouse pj's, I gave my best "here's Mama bear, don't mess with my cubs" look.

Turns out, it's the homeowner walking around with a painter discussing home repair.  Ok. I mean, they could have called to warn a gal, but Ok.

So that was the start of my week. Painters were her every morning by 7.
I also got a call around 11 am from Joe telling me we had a housing inspection at 2:30. WHAT!?!

And so it went.

In the end, we had a clean, freshly painted house. Joey was called to KY for a week. And the smell is wearing off of the dog. Still don't know what he rolled in, but it fit the week perfectly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Project Runaway"

Daddy was down to visit this last week! Woo-hoooo!!

He's been preaching since 1964  . . .

and is taking a much needed sabbatical.

The Dr. suggested  ordered one full year, minimum, time off. No preaching, teaching, revivals, no anything that could possibly bring on any type of stress. (You gettin' all this, Paddy?)
As the Doc so gently explained  flatly put it, if we want dad to be around another year, (we do), and if he eventually wants to get back into ministry, (he does), then this time off is crucial!

The 'rents currently live in their old hometown and attend dad's childhood church. Small town America is a great place to be, kind of like 'Cheers' - everybody knows your name.
They also know where you live.
So to really get away, daddy heads to our house. He can pack up his overly frayed nerves, over-worked pacemaker, and his sleep apnea machine, throw them along with a hefty bag full of prescription drugs into the old 'red Bomber' (more on that later) and high-tail it out of town.

As it turns out, Hattiesburg is a pretty good place to 'get lost'. Dad can go to church with us and just blend in. He's not a known pastor who could be called on at any time for anything. He's just another member lost in worship.
He can buzz all over town and remain anonymous. No one here knows him.
He can take a chair and sit at the beach all day, or splash in the waves with the grand kids.

Usually his visits go a little something like this;

or this

or this!

After all, relaxation is the main goal here!

This last trip however was a little different.

For years now, my dad has had a 'wish list' of sorts. Things he'd love to have, but wouldn't die without. The a fore-mentioned 'Red Bomber' is a prime example. In a previous life it was a Geo Metro. Why did he want a Metro, asked I? 50 miles to the gallon that's why, said he! A friend put him on to this particular little wonder a few months back, and daddy just couldn't pass on the deal. He saved it from being parted out, and after a few quick fixes, like getting the doors to close and putting tires on it, he finally had the car of his, ahem, dreams!

With that one checked off the list, daddy was on to the next conquest - a camper!
Up until now, practicality had always won out in the 'Great Camper Debate'. But this time the RV gods dropped a golden opportunity right in daddy's lap.
Just a few miles down the road from us, and auction house was having a big sale on campers. Crazy good prices!
Yeah, an auction house. I'm sure that's exactly the kind of calm, serene atmosphere the Doc was recommending. (smirk)
Anywho, when daddy heard about the sale he headed down for the week.

It wasn't as relaxing as usual, but he accomplished his goal. After 4 days messing around at the auction house, blood pressure through the roof at times, I'm sure, he was the proud owner of this little baby;

Did I mention he called an old preacher buddy (the one who sold him the Metro, of course) and told him about the sale? Yep. A quick nine hour drive later, he and his missus were here buying a trailer of their own! 

It wasn't exactly a laze-about week, but there was one quiet evening spent at the beach. And a new 'toy' to play with!  
The only thing missing was mom. She, bless her heart, was working. She has a wonderful job that she'd love to keep for a few more years!
Until then, daddy will be tweaking the trailer and, as he put it, 'frilling it up'. So that when mom does retire, they can runaway together - in style!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From Juliet's rose to a big ol' can-o-worms.

Preface:  Nothing serious today. No life affirmations or hidden morals. Just my mind wandering in it's normal nonsensical way!

Names. Been thinking about names this week. How they're chosen and how often they're changed.

I blame Shakespeare. I have a feeling he started this whole big mess with a little play called "Romeo and Juliet". "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo's name had very negative connotations for the Father of his lady love. Why not change it? He'd still be he and she'd still be she and everything would be kosher, right? "I take thee at thy word: Call me but love and I'll be new baptized. Henceforth I never will be Romeo."

People are still changing names for one reason or another;  asserting their individuality, getting married, fleeing prosecution.
I was thinking of this Sunday while filling out a card at church. (We finally found a church! Woo, Hoo!!) Anywho, these days we're going by 'Ben and Angela'.

I remember sending out our wedding invitations and having a friend ask, "Who's Benjamin and when did you dump Joey?"  Benjamin Joey Smith has always been 'Joey' to me and family. But the Army only goes by the legal signature - so 'Ben' it is. I wanted a new name too, but my middle name is Darlene and I just don't feel like a Darlene. I considered 'Angelique', but I like to lounge around the house in sweats and tee shirts. This didn't seem like a very Angelique-ie thing to do.

Over the years, I've noticed several of my aunts and uncles tweaking their names a bit;
Suzie is now Sandra.
Freddie is now James.
Ross is now Marvin.
Anna Sue is now just Sue.

This is all fine and dandy. But if we're going to switch first names for middle names, middle names for first names, formal names for nick-names and back again, I'm going to need name tags at the next family reunion!

I've known a few people who have changed their name to something totally new and unique. Some were just for fun, but some were actually made legal! Oi.
Just to name a few;
'Cabbage' Root
'Crawdad' Sizemore
Dr. James James James
Krystal Shanda Leare
Crescent Dragonwagon
(I reiterate - oi!)

We've also seen a plethora of catchy business names during our travels!
Some of my fav's;
Jehovah Java - coffee shop in LA
Sumo to go-go - drive thru sushi place in GA
Mexi-go - taco stand in AL
Quick and easy Japaneezee - Japanese restaurant in GA
Divine Swine - BBQ place in MS
The Rehab Saloon - bar in FL
(On the parkway in Columbus, GA, there is a strip club called 'The Catwalk'. Right next door is a Veterinary Hospital. I just know there's some deep cosmic irony there.)

Gweneth Paltrow named her daughter 'Apple'. Demi Moore named her's 'Rumor'. There's a kid on Disney Channel named 'Sterling Knight' (seriously). I've known men named 'Shirley' and women named 'Michael'.  Who decided that 'Buffy' was a ditz and 'Gilbert' was a nerd? Just wondering.

Back to Willy and the 'rose'.  Shakespeare, with his 'any other name' biz, was letting us know that the name wasn't the end all, be all. The changing of a name doesn't in any way change who a person is inherently. I can call myself 'Angelique', or 'Darlene', or 'The Domestic Diva Formerly Known As Angie'. It doesn't matter. I am who I am.
And that's OK with me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Only Breakfast - I'm just sayin'.

So we went out for breakfast the other morning before hitting the "Wal of Marts" (nod to Amb;) for our bi-weekly shopping trip. All was bliss until I heard the total - $24.00!!!


Now, I'm not opposed to paying a fair price for a meal. But you gotta understand, this wasn't a  welcome-to-chez'blah-this-way-to-your-seat  kinda place. Nay, nay. This was a  walk-to-the-counter,  pray-they-get-the-order-rightcarry-a-tray-of-paper-wrapped-food  kinda place.

A quarter Benjamin?!? For one biscuit, a little sausage and something that passes for potatoes?

I guess I'm showing my age a little. I sound like my dad with the "When I was a boy..." syndrome. Although, when he was a boy, he could go to the square in Harrison and get four hamburgers and four cokes for $1.00!! How sweet is that?!

Are my girls destined to repeat the process when they hit their 40's? After paying the tab for their brood, will they breathe a heavy sigh and reminisce "Yep, breakfast was only 24 bucks when I was a kid!"

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lee Anne

The coming of fall always puts me in a somewhat contemplative mood. Most people make New Years resolutions. I prefer quiet autumn reflections.

Holidays are a big deal at the Smith house. Labor Day usually kick starts the season with a good BBQ (This year hubby smoked a turkey to perfection!) followed by dragging out the boxes of red and gold leafy garlands, pumpkins, and scarecrows. We decorate the house and talk about who's going where this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the girls try to decide what to be for Halloween, and of course, there's football!

Around this time is when I like to get away for a little quiet thinking. Introspection. Evaluate who I am, and how I got here. I don't have to go far - just sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, or take a stroll around the yard. I love these solitary moments. Just to take a deep breath and feel the world around me slow down.

This is not meant to be a time of deep melancholy, but as I'm sure you're aware, not all memories are good. And even good memories are sometimes marked with despair.

I have carried this photo around for years. It is torn and tattered and more precious to me than gold.
Lee Anne. She was my college roommate, my singing partner, and the dearest friend I've ever known. She was amazing. She had more maturity in her christian walk than you would ever expect from someone her age. She was sure of herself, yet humble. She had a quiet strength.

We were at Campellsville College together and spent a summer with the Campbellsville Singers performing in churches and counselling at children's camps. I cherish every hot sticky day spent with rowdy kids, and every buggy night doing bible studies in the cabins. From hiding undies in the freezer (in a block of ice, of course!), to trying to save a baby bird, we had a blast!

Lee Anne, Billy, Bill, me, John, and Jana - The Campbellsville College Singers. This was one of the best times of my life. Those of you who knew me in high school know what a big deal it is that I ever took the stage and tried out for this group. I couldn't believe it when I made the call-backs.  And being chosen in the end was a dream! There was a beautiful harmony between the girls, in every sense of the word. And how could you not melt for those guys; the teddy bear, the flirt and the comedian with his 'fun-glaftifs'!
There are very few moments in my life that I'd wish to re-visit, but Singers summer, maybe . . .

Time marches on, it always does. The six of us moved on to new places, new faces, new experiences.

Lee Anne flew to Arkansas to visit one summer. We took up like we'd never been apart. She joked all week about us 'hillbillies' trying to sell rocks.  

I joked about the 'yankees' who actually bought them! We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about all we wanted to accomplish in life. And when the time came;

I was in her wedding,
 (With Kathleen-1993)

                                                                                    she was in mine.

I'll never forget the day I got the call. Singer buddy Billy said, "We've had a tragedy."  I didn't want to hear it. Didn't want to accept it.
It was late fall 2001. America had been attacked. I had a 4 month old and a 27 month old and my husband was heading off to war. And now Lee Anne was gone. And for what? What conceivable good could ever come from this? Everything happening around me seemed so senseless.

Is it possible, I wonder, to have too much faith? Not in God, but in men. When do you say. "Enough!!" and walk away?

Lee Anne's faith was unwavering. She believed there was good in every man, even the man who took her life. And she believed that good was worth fighting for. Like I said, she was amazing.

Lee Anne is on my mind and in my heart every day of the year. But for a week or so at the start of  every fall, thoughts of her consume me. I remember the person she was and the experiences we shared. I think of her three handsome boys and long for them to know her as I did. I pray for her amazing parents Tom and Mary Anne who are now raising those boys.

Sufficient time has now passed that most of my remembrances are happy. Oh, there are the scattered tears, but mostly - smiles! Smiles about her penny loafers, her mushroom hair, and her no-make-up natural beauty. Smiles about climbing in dorm windows after missing curfew, picnics with friends at the lake, flirting with the cute doc at the blood drive. Seeing her face light up over Mickey Mouse, the Dallas Cowboys, or when talking about her family.

There's no question that I'm a better person for having known Lee Anne. She was, and is, an inspiration. And I dream of the day when I'll see her again.

Goofing in the dorm
Working one of our summer camps

Reception after our final concert -
someone was goosing me!

                          "I thank my God upon
                     every remembrance of you . . ."
                                         Phil 1:3 

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Tween' Fasions - I'm just sayin'!

Ok. I know that the economy has been pretty much in the toilet lately. And I understand that some businesses have had to scale back. But, seriously, is there some national denim shortage that I'm unaware of? Is fabric so precious these days that rationing is the only way to go?

If you have girls, you probably have some inkling of what I mean. For the last couple of years, it has been almost impossible to find an acceptable pair of shorts. Most of them look like they come from what I like to call the 'Daisy' line.

Exhibit "A"
Daisy Duke
Exhibit "B"
Daisy Mae

Please don't get me wrong! I want my girls to look cute and trendy, just modestly so.

Designers these days know that the way to sell clothing is to emulate celebrities. That's all well and good, depending on the celebrity they choose.

Honestly, when you tell the kids to go get dressed, which in-home version would you rather see:

Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga

I'm Just Sayin' . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monogamy - sooo over rated.


Now stay calm! Before you brand me with a scarlet letter and start mourning the fate of my immortal soul, understand . . .

I'm referring to the expanded definition of monogamy:
     5 [muh-nog-uh-mee] noun - The state or quality of being loyal; faithful adherence.

This definition, and this one alone, can be stifling when coupled with a narrow mind or a blind eye. When dealing with the little things in life, variety is key! Change things up, be a swinger!

Take my cell phone for example. I had used a Motorola
Razor for years! When one would fall apart I'd buy another. The color might change, but that was as far as it went. I knew what I liked and was fiercely loyal, so why look around, right?
  Hellooo Gigi!
This is the new iPhone that has stolen my heart! It was an anniversary gift from Joe, and I absolutely LOVE it! He's been offering to buy me one for quite a while now, but I was set in my ways. Oi! When I think of what I was missing . . .

Restaurants are the same way. I have one fav dish that I order over and over. Why mess with a good thing? But seriously, being loyal to one menu item? Live it up! Try something new and exciting! Last time we went to Olive Garden, I passed on my usual grilled Chicken Alfredo and took up a delicious affair with the Chicken Gnocchi soup. Yumm-o!

I love football! But every year seems to be a challenge as far as loyalty is concerned. When you move as much as we do, there are a lot of teams to choose from. Do you stick with the previous state or try the new one? I know some people say that long-distance relationships can work. But for me, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

Now I say again, this is only acceptable when dealing with the little things.

On the BIG things, I'm as chaste as they come!

I am faithful to my God - unshakably.
I am monogamous in my marriage, in every definition of the word - unwaveringly.
love my family - unconditionally.
I am loyal to my country - proudly.
It comes down to this: Open your eyes. Exercise your mind. Understand the BIG things in life and take a stand. Know why you believe what you believe. Is it habit or conviction? Faith and loyalty are precious commodities. Make sure you give them where merited.
As for the little things? Go ahead - have a fling.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

P.U.berty - It Stinks on So Many Levels.

I am a woman. I live with two other smallish women-in-the-making. It is from this perspective that I write. You he-men, macho types reading who wish to avoid any hint of feminine understanding may want to run away now. Or, if you’ve got the moxie, read on and I’ll throw you a bone every once in a while.

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Yes, today’s blog is about that wonderful, exciting, thrilling, unpredictable time in your life called puberty.

Now, because I love my girls so, and because I still want them to claim me in my twilight years, I would never deign to embarrass them. So instead, I’ll be discussing the daughters of a friend. Lets call them, um, Jill and Jane.

Jill and Jane have been going through quite a few changes lately and they haven’t been altogether thrilled.

This stinks.
Deodorant is no longer an option. At all. I know girls in the south are supposed to ‘glisten’ or ‘glow’ but these girls SWEAT! They aren’t happy about the new-found aroma, or the fact that they shower and wash their hair every morning, and it’s oily again by dinner.

Hairy situations.
New hair growing everywhere. Legs like Brillo pads, but mom won’t let them shave. Not fun.

       Men: How 'bout those Vikings? Brett Vavre's back you know!

Gut feelings.
Some days Jill and Jane are ravenous. Others they’re like Gandhi on a mission. They gain a little weight here and there, but it’s starting to settle differently. Their tastes are also evolving. “Mom, this meatloaf is great!” (One week later. . .) “You know I hate meatloaf!!”

Keeping abreast.
Enter the training bra. Jane couldn’t wait to get one. Jill would rather eat dirt. “Why are you so upset about this? You’ve never worn one. It might be comfortable.” (Yes, I lied. Don’t judge me.)
She said, “Once I start wearing one, I can never go back.” Well, she had me there.

       Men: Did you see the hit Eli Manning took last week? What a crusher!        

That thing at the end of a Declarative sentence.
Not even going to go there.

Attitude adjustments.
What really keeps you on your toes, or so my friend says, is waking the girls in the morning to see which personality will be gracing you with it’s presence. Apparently this can range from Mother Teresa to Attila the Hun . It also has the ability to change, without notice or provocation, quicker than a New York minute.
~ Mom, do you need any help? (Sweet)
* Sure. Can you put away the shoes in the living room?
~ Hey! These are mine! Jane, you didn’t even ask! You just took them! (Furious)
* No fighting! Just put them away.
~ She never asks for anything! She always takes my stuff! You always take her side! (Sobbing)
Three total swings of the emotional pendulum.
Total elapsed time: 12 seconds.

I honestly don't know which is worse - going through puberty yourself, or watching your kids go through it. Um, er, I mean my friends kids!

          Men: Gym socks and monster trucks and power tools, Oh my!

It's a scary time for all concerned. My little girls aren't so little anymore. I have to start letting go a bit. I still want to be 'Super-mom' and keep all the pain and evils of the world away from them. I resent the fact that the older they get, the less innocent they are allowed to be. It's not just the body that changes, it's the perception of the world around them. When children's eyes are opened to certain facts of life, they can never be closed again. Frankly, this terrifies me and tests my faith more than anything else imaginable.
How do you prepare them for the world, while still trying to protect them from it? How can they defend against things to which they've never been exposed? How much should we expose them? Just in the last year we've had to discuss virginity, rape, sexual predators, child abuse, homosexuality, alcohol and drug addiction, and prostitution. There's also abortion, racism, war. . .God help us.
It all comes down to faith.
I have faith that God loves my girls even more than I do.
I have faith that God has a plan for their lives.
I have faith that God will help Joey and I raise them with the proper morals and values.
I have faith that when the time is right, God will help me let go.

Nothing to do now but smile and accept that my girls are going
from this:

Mom, can I get just one more?

To this:

              Ohhh, he's hot!

Oh well, at least it's not Justin Bieber.