Friday, December 21, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  This is what really gets me in the Christmas spirit.  I love our school program and that handsome king/wiseman and pretty girl from Bethlehem singing the songs I love really set my heart on the important things of Christmas.
2.  It's been one week since the horrible tragedy in Newtown.  I have gone up and down dealing with this.  I have cried thinking about those babies.  I have cried thinking about those teachers and how they gave their lives to protect those babies.  Walking in to Packy's Christmas party I cried because I know his teacher would have done the same thing.  Thinking of those presents under the tree that won't be open, I cried.  I don't think there will be any level of understanding why, except that there is evil in this world.  Makes it all the sweeter to celebrate the birth of our Savior, who came to save us from this evil and will come again to restore this world to what it was created to be like, without sin.
Here are some blog posts that were helpful to me:
God Identifies With Suffering: Rev. Tim Keller
Lamentations: Jen Hatmaker
A Tragedy at the Birth of Jesus: Rev. Chip Miller
A Connecticut Winter: Why our Hearts Break: Rebekah Lyons
(Did you read the 11 days before Christmas poem?  I wept.)
(SNL also made me weep.)
3.  Ann Curry created a 26 Acts of Kindness Campaign where people are participating in acts of kindness and tweeting it in memory of the people who died at Sandy Hook.  Now let me just say, I am not an Ann Curry fan, but this is really cool.  I love reading all the #26acts tweets and see how people are reaching out to others.  Shouldn't this be how we always live?  Taking care of others and finding ways to be kind?  Wasn't that what Jesus did while he was on Earth?
4.  I guess I am a big crybaby during Christmas. The TV shows and radio shows that I listen to are helping people and surprising people and it's just heart warming.  Kidd Kraddick, my morning radio show DJ, had a couple of weeks of helping people who were struggling financially during Christmas.  People would write a letter and "nominate" a friend or co-worker who was having a hard time and needed help buying toys.  I would cry just about every time.  I watched a story about Inner-City Arts, a downtown LA after school center that keeps kids off the streets and involved in the arts. Wal-mart came and donated an amazing amount of supplies, computers, and toys to these precious kids.  It's these stories that really get me out of myself and caring about others.
5.  I have had some anxiety for the past couple of weeks.  Like wake up and my heart starts racing anxiety.  I hate it, but I can deal.  I think the more I take the focus off of me and onto helping others, however that looks, the less the anxiety overpowers me.  The more I keep my eyes on Jesus, and the freedom that his birth, and ultimately death, gives me, the less I see the tiny things that are irritants in my life. So grateful for the gift of Jesus.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mercer Full Circle

Mom dug up some pictures to show you the full circle of Mercer cheering in our house. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. Emory attended a cheerleading clinic at Mercer University on Saturday.  For $30 she went to a clinic from 1-7, ate dinner, got a t-shirt, and cheered at the game with the varsity cheerleaders, including a half-time show.  First of all, what a bargain. She had so much fun, they did a great job with the half-time show, and I didn't have to entertain her on a Saturday. Second of all, my mom cheered for Mercer.  My dad remembers seeing my mom on the court before they started dating (and thinking she was super hot).  I went to games when I was little with my grandad (my only grandparent that has passed).  Cheering for the Bears is a sweet childhood memory for me. I love that kind of full circle nostalgia.
2. I love Christmas shopping for Emory.  She no longer wants toys and I love shopping for clothes, bags, and earrings.  She is in fourth grade and I find myself in a dilemma with her.  I try teach her to think for herself and not to be influenced by her friends, but I also don't want her to be left out.  I want her to belong.  Yes, I want her to be her own person.  And yes, I want her to feel comfortable with her own style.  But I also know that when all of your friends have a certain bag, that you (I) might want it, too.  Let's just say it's hard to be the mom of a girl.
3. Sometimes Facebook makes me mad at people. I know this is my problem and that people are not out to get me. For the trillionth time, I have taken it off of my phone. It's fun to see what 1000 of my closest friends are doing, but when it affects my attitude towards people or makes me feel left out, it's time to take a break. For some reason, if it's not on my phone, I don't check it nearly as much. If I don't check it, I don't know that I wasn't invited to go out to dinner with people that I'm not really that close to anyway.  Maybe it's a girl thing, maybe it's a me thing, but even though I know Facebook isn't reality, it can sometimes alter the way I feel in an unhealthy way.  When that happens, I take a break.  I always do better when I cut out the junk.
4.  I am over birthday parties.  Sad right?  It's just that I don't know how to handle them.  I have one who gets invited to lots of parties.  I have another who doesn't. When I have parties I can either invite the entire class or only invite close friends, and that's where it gets sticky.  I know everyone says not to talk about it at school, but I know that they do.  There are no secret parties.  If it's an after school party, the birthday mom usually picks up the kids from the carpool line so the ones who weren't invited see the group leave.  Breaks my heart.  Now I know that you can't invite everyone to everything and that in real life you must learn to deal with disappointment.  I can use these opportunities as teaching moments but that doesn't mean they don't hurt.  Me and them. (This is where Facebook can once again remind you of everything you weren't invited to.  And no, I don't let my kids look at Facebook.)  I have really gone to the invite your one friend over and we will go out to eat party.  Or, I'll send you to NYC to see your Aunt Betsy because that can sometimes be easier than navigating a birthday in a small town at a small school. 
5. My mom came over to help decorate my house for Christmas.  The kids and I did the tree, but she did the rest (it looks so pretty).  She likes to do it.   She finally said out loud what I know she (and maybe others) has been thinking.  "You need to hang some pictures on the wall.  It looks like no one lives here."  I struggle when it comes to decorating. I have so many blank walls and empty tables that are begging for some kind of display.  I can't just go to Tuesday Morning and buy bric-a-brac.  I am totally knick knack challenged.  It has to be really special for me to want to put it in my house and the problem is that I don't find things that I love that often.  And if I do, it is usually too expensive.  I'm not a minimalist, but my house kind of looks like I am.  I just hate clutter and a knick knack that has no meaning, looks like junk, to me.  
6.  Here's what I'm watching right now; 30 Rock, Modern Family, and Scandal.  The first two make me laugh and the last is a drama that takes place in Washington, DC.  I love "behind the scenes of your government" type of shows.  It's really good.
7.  Britney Spears has a new song and video with It's mostly his song but I love her part in it.  She looks so pretty and happy in the video.  She has had a good year and that makes me happy for her. (I kind of have a Britney Spears thing in case you didn't know.)  I have listened to this song way too many times.  With my iPod in (because it says a bad word) or in my car sans kids.  I got busted booming in the Kroger parking lot when I got out of my car next to someone I knew.  She laughed about my thumping, and I replied, "It's Britney B#$&*."  At that moment, I realized not everyone loves Britney Spears like I do and that she had no idea what I was talking about.  I quickly explained myself and went in to buy some milk. (And if you don't understand that, then you don't really like Britney like I do either.)
8.  I am keeping Christmas simple again this year.  No Christmas cards or crazy expectations. I know people are simplifying presents, but I really like that part.  I like buying the kids presents.  I don't want to do want, need, wear, and read.  I don't want to do 3 presents because the wise men brought 3 presents.  I don't go crazy but I like finding things that I know they won't be sick of before Valentine's Day.  It's a challenge to find things they'll like, find the best price, and then wait for Santa (UPS man/love this) to bring it to me.
9.  Have y'all seen the guy who built Noah's Ark?  Like an actual ark.  Really cool. Please look here.
10.  Packy came home from school wanting an Elf on the Shelf, because all of his friends have one. I have never bought one of these elves, mainly because I'm lazy. (I have tried to eliminate anything that requires me to do something every day of December, including the Jesse Tree, wrapped Christmas books that are to be opened and read each day, Advent envelopes with daily activities.  It's too much pressure and I feel set up to fail. Getting behind and feeling like you have to catch up [and guilty] is the worst.  The worst!)  I asked Packy if he knew what the elf did.  He didn't so I explained that the elf observed the kids in the house during the day and then reported back to Santa each night about how you were doing.  He thought about it for a while and then looked up at me with tears in his eyes.  He said, "Mama, I don't want to get an Elf on Shelf because I know that I'll mess up and he'll tell Santa.  Then I won't get any presents."  So, I'm off the hook. No elf for me.
11.  Have you seen this yet?  (Language warning.)  If you are on Instagram you will really like this.

Friday, November 30, 2012

And the winners are...

I used to generate 5 random numbers and the numbers it chose are 4, 10, 2, 7, and 9.
So I need  Miriam, Karin, Natalie, Lauren, and Beth to email your address to by December 2.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green will be mailed to you from Disney, not me, so make sure you get it to me as soon as possible.  
I'd like to thank Different Drummer for allowing me to be a part of this giveaway.  And to Betsy, who has friends with cool jobs.  I hope you all enjoy this movie as much as my family did!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1.   So we had an amazing Thanksgiving, as you can see.  Amazing.  We drove 18 hours, with my Mom to Warren, CT where Betsy has a country house.  The drive was not bad at all (on the way up) and I have 2 favorite new apps.  The Red Box app and The Starbucks app were lifesavers.  We took my mom's car (since you know my wonky van wouldn't make it that far) and she has one of those fancy DVD players with headphones for all of the kids. I also took my cigarette plug in DVD so I could watch movies (Moonrise Kingdom was my favorite) that I wanted to watch (12 Dogs of Christmas was not really my speed). (Do you know how many movies there are about dogs who save Christmas?  Tons! Why are we leaving it up to dogs to save Christmas?)  We were fresh on that first drive and we did lots of activities.  Emory knitted, Mimi hand quilted, I made friendship bracelets, Packy did activity books, and Jay read. We lost Jay's shoe at a Starbucks in Virginia and didn't realize it until we were almost in Pennsylvania.  He wanted to know if we were going back to get it.  At this point we were at a restaurant and all of the bags were on top of the car, so we told him to limp in case anyone questioned his missing shoe.
2.  Betsy's house is exactly what you want away from the city.  It's in the woods with tons of trees, across the street from a beautiful park, and most importantly, no television.  She does have one TV that is hooked up to a VHS player.  That's right, VHS.  The kids watched Home Alone 1 and 2, and that was all of the screen time they had for the week.  (Full disclosure: Jay does have an iTouch and the other kids did play on my phone.) The kids had so much fun playing outside (we had perfect weather) and the men did lots of "work" in the yard.  (Is playing with a chainsaw really work?)

3.  We hiked Kent Falls and Mount Tom.  Both were beautiful and gave us amazing views of how beautiful Connecticut is.  When I am in New York, time seems to fly.  The days are gone in a second.  In Warren, time stands still. Literally moves at a snail's pace. I would think it was time for lunch and it would be 10am.  I would think it was 9:30 at night and it would be 5.  What a nice change of pace for these city folks to come and relax where time stands still.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28
Kent Falls.  Jason didn't get the memo that it was crazy picture time.  Packy is falling into the falls.
View from the tower on the top of Mount Tom.
4.  Let me interrupt my trip recap to tell you a story about New York City and the people who live there.  Jason and I watch SNL (DVR'd, of course) and we watched this short about the "sloppy swish" before the break, which has a catchy song and dance.  We thought it was very strange but funny, like most SNL humor.  We kept singing and doing the dance. I showed Betsy the video so she would know what we were talking about and she exclaims, "I know that guy!" The actor?  "NO, the guy he is imitating.  Josie and I saw him all summer on the Upper West Side.  Except he doesn't wear pants."  Of course she does.  Betsy and Josie know Mokiki.  Only in New York.
5.  Need some Tweedle love?  Here they are and this pretty much sums it up.

This is Packy trying to explain something to Josie. True frustration on his face.
6.  We went to eat ice cream after our hike up Mount Tom.  Regular ice cream? Nope.  Fancy ice cream.  As in the men behind Manolo Blahnik decided they wanted to open a dairy farm and then decided to make ice cream, fancy.  It's called Arethusa and while we did not get to tour the farm, Betsy assured me that it is beautiful with beautiful cows.  (I started to figure out that Connecticut is where fabulous NYC people go to feel country.  Fancy country.)  The ice cream was most delicious.
7.  We did alot of other stuff but my favorite thing we did was sitting around the fire.  We spent hours around this fire.  Lee made each kid a chair out of a stump and then monogrammed them. (Lolly got the Laverne and Shirley "L".)  Amazing!  (I didn't allow Betsy to put any pictures of the chairs on Instagram so she wouldn't spoil my post.)  Spending time with the Norwood family is my favorite thing to do in any city.  I am so blessed to have my sister and her people.  Thank you Norwoods!
8.  The ride home was not as smooth as the ride up.  We added an additional person, my Dad, so that put all of the kids in the back, together and tight.  We had more snacks and more movies in order to keep the peace. We were a little stir crazy by that last day.  Just a little.  
9.  When I got home, I realized how behind I was, and still am.  Everyone (not really) has already decorated for Christmas.  I felt the pressure start to seize my chest.  Breathe in.  Breathe out. Since Thanksgiving was so early this year, I am totally giving myself a pass.  I am shooting for December 1st.  I am not behind.  
10.  Don't forget to comment on my last post in order to win a copy of The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  It really is a great family movie and if you have ever struggled with infertility or have experienced some aspect of adoption, please don't miss this movie.  It's a tear jerker and a heart warmer all wrapped up in one.  (I'm going to be honest and tell you that I was really nervous about doing a giveaway.  I had some fear that since people don't really comment on my blog, that I might struggle to get 5 comments.  How embarrassing to tell the person that set me up with this that I couldn't get enough responses.  So, thank you to all of you who have commented and if you haven't, please do so here!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and My First Giveaway!

2 days, 1030 miles, 3 Redbox movies, 6 chapters of Harry Potter (finished Book 4 and started Book 5), 2 Starbucks, 1 lost shoe, 1 Hampton Inn,  3 tanks of gas, and we (by we I mean my family of 5 and my mom) made it from Macon, GA to Warren, CT to spend Thanksgiving with Betsy. (My dad flew up on Monday, missing all the road trip fun.)  I had some serious anxiety about such a long road trip but it was really not that bad.  We are having the best time and I can't wait to tell you all about it next week.
This Thanksgiving I am so grateful for my family.  I am thankful that we enjoy being together.  So thankful that we can make fun of each other and laugh about it without feelings getting hurt.  Thankful that all of the kids love each other and love to play together.  

I am also thankful for you, the readers of this blog. Your comments and emails brighten my day. And I am so happy that I can give you something to say thanks for being a part of the birdhouse. This past Labor Day, Jason and I took the kids to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  It was such a sweet family movie and every person in my family enjoyed it.  Since Betsy has friends with cool jobs, I have been given 5 DVD's to give away in time for you to enjoy this movie with your family over the holidays. So, leave me a comment and let me know what you are most looking forward to over the Christmas season and I will use to pick 5 winners.  Leave a comment by noon on November 30th and I will announce the winners that afternoon.    

Friday, November 16, 2012

Four on Friday

1.  Let me give you an example of where I am in life.  On the way to school this morning Packy started talking about his book parade.  The one where he dresses up like a character from a book and parades into every single elementary school classroom.  So I asked him when this parade was and he said he thought it was today.  I grabbed his binder, which I had not checked this week, and there it as...Book Parade 9am.  Panic sets in because it is 8:30 as I realize my blunder.  Here are the events that followed.  Dropped big kids off at school.  I knew my friend, that lives close by,  had a Harry Potter leftover from Halloween but she is in Arizona. I texted Jason and got the number of her in laws who were keeping her kids at her house.  They tell me to come on over and look for the costume.  On two wheels I fly to their house and start digging through the dress up clothes.  (Lucky for me, my friend is super organized and the costume was not hard to find.)  So we grab the robe, tie, wand, and snitch, and hall back to the school.  Make it to the classroom in time to find someone who knows how to tie a tie, put the costume on him, grab a red marker and put a scar on his forehead.  Done. 8:57  He is Harry Potter and is happy as a lark as he parades through every classroom with the biggest smile as he watches people figure out who he is.  (Now, I was in sweats with my teeth not brushed and my slept in ponytail, but I went on the parade with the other, more put together, moms. Luckily I  had changed out of bedroom shoes and popped in some gum before running into the school.) 
2. I feel judged when I buy Lunchables.  This lady at Publix looked in my basket and I wanted to tell her quit judging my food. Back off.  I need to make things easy once a week.  And my kids like the pizza ones.  I draw the line at bologna. 
3. Whose kid is that?  Have you ever heard someone utter that dreaded phrase?  Ever uttered it yourself?  Those are some dangerous words.  If you are the person who that kid belongs to it feels like a punch in the gut.  I have been that mom.  It has been my kid that has been doing whatever it is that made all the adults start looking around looking for the awful parent that needs to claim this child.  That's what it feels like even if that's not actually what they are thinking. I've also said those words and watched as a mom crumbled, wondering what she did wrong in her parenting.  Be careful with these words.  That mom is probably doing all she can to parent that kid and she might be struggling with him in ways that you can't even imagine.  Encourage her.  Pray for her.  Love her. We need to support each other as fellow moms in the trenches, not judge.
4. I feel like I cut Packy's fingernails every other day.  My nails are so long right now and I hate having long nails. Our fingernails are constantly growing and I have to take care of them or Packy has "girly" nails and I have "witchy" ones.  I wish it were a one time thing.  Cut them once and not have to worry about them again, but that's not how it works.  This is the same way that I look at recovery.  It's not a one time deal.  It's not a go to rehab and come home fixed sort of deal.  It's an ongoing process, but not one of drudgery. It's a daily check in to see where I am, and where am I slipping.  Where I am I with my walk with the Lord?  Am I relying on myself or Him?  Am I working my steps or do I think I've got it and don't need to worry about it.  Ongoing process.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1.  It's that time of year.  After trying to make a good impression on this years teachers at the beginning of the year, and really trying to make it look like I am one of those "on top of it" moms, the jig is up.  At the beginning of the year we were getting to school early and prepared.  Now, we are flying in on two wheels while studying our spelling words and cramming for the science vocabulary.  Packy may or may not have his show-and-tell on his designated day.  I am not getting up when my alarm clock goes off and I have no idea what I'm having for supper.  Book reports and projects sneak up on me.  I am totally out of whack.  I don't think the teachers were ever really fooled.
2.   When I get out of whack, it's time to regroup.  Time to start reading the school planners again so I know what's going on.  Time to start planning supper a couple of days at a time (the people who can plan a month at a time totally kill me).  Time to get up so I have quiet time that lasts longer than 10 minutes. Time to quit spending so much time on the computer looking at everyone's Halloween costumes.  Practically, I start with doing every bit of laundry in my house and changing the sheets.  It just feels like I'm ahead when those things are done.  In case you haven't noticed, I have to regroup about every 3 months.  I can't keep it together much longer than that.
3.  This week I have been in close proximity to alot of hard stuff.  A friend of a close friend of mine lost a child when he was struck by a car.  Another friend of Jason's, took their baby, who has retinoblastoma, to have his eye amputated and now must wait to see if his other eye will have to go too.  I have no idea what to say to people who are going through this type of heartache.  I don't have anything to compare it to in terms of grief and pain. I used to avoid the situation, scared I would say the wrong thing.  Then I realized there is never a right thing in some situations. The only thing I can do is show up.  Don't try and say the right thing or even come up with the perfect Bible verse.  Just show up.  Be there and help carry the burden. When there are no words, I usually give someone chocolate chip cookies and a hug.  And I pray for them.  Constantly.  (If you haven't read A Praying Life, let me recommend it.  Amazing, life changing book.)
Carry each other's burdens.
Galations 6:2a
4.  Carrying each other's burdens, really getting in the pit with someone, can be exhausting. Physically and emotionally.  When someone you care about is in intense pain, you take some of that pain on yourself.  You can't make it go away for them but you can help them carry it.  Just by showing up you help shoulder that pain.  You help them to keep living. And you can remind them that Jesus wants to carry the entire burden.  He wants to take it off of our backs and know that He's got it.  We don't have to carry it around, letting it crush us. He wants it, so let Him take it.  And be prepared for the weariness of being in the pit.
Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22
5.  So while I was at the library picking out some books for Packy (part of my regrouping plan) I saw a book that I had wanted to read for a while.  I had already enjoyed one from the author and Oprah recommended it so I checked it out.   I read almost the entire first chapter before realizing that I had already read it.  And this book has 912 pages so I obviously spent some small part of my life reading it.  The even sadder part is that it's the second time I've started to read a book recently that I've already read. Sometimes I pass by a mirror, take a second look and wonder how I got this old? 
6.  I took the week of Halloween off, as far as exercising and eating goes.  I lived off of candy, Cheez-its, and Dr. Pepper.  I'm really not kidding.  I can eat an insane amount of candy and fully feel that as long as I have a Reese Cup, for the peanut butter, that I can sustain.  It's not a good plan, I know.  I just really love candy.  So now that Halloween is over I really have no excuse.  But there is still so much candy in my house (no one was up for the candy buy back at the dentist).  (Jason just gave me a scolding for buying the "on sale" candy at the grocery store he discovered in the pantry.  But it's so cheap and I am a candy crackhead. More candy Payton? Really?) Mmmm Butterfingers. (Actual thought I just had: I should just go ahead and eat all of the candy so then I won't have to eat it anymore.  Crack head.)
7.  There are 49 days until Christmas and I have anxiety.  I would say that I am not normally a controlling person but I go into overdrive at Christmas. Just the thought of crap (and there is no other word) entering my house that I know will be played with for a couple of days and then tossed aside, kills me. I put alot of time and thought into presents for my people.  
8.  Fall is the best right?  Macon is so pretty right now and we have already used our fireplace a few times.  We have been so busy, like stuff every night for almost 10 days busy.  I am looking forward to relaxing this weekend before we hit Thanksgiving.  And I'm not telling you my Thanksgiving plans but we are hitting it hard.
9.  Packy was asking me about world records today and how people got them.  I told him that you had to call the officials so they can come verify your record, whatever that might be.  He then asked me if I thought he could set a record for jumping from tree to tree.  Yes baby.  If that's what you want to do, then I believe you can do it.  He was beaming in the back seat. Big smile.  These are the things we talk about while we are riding around in Macon. 
Packy really cracks me up with his Ninja moves.
10.  By the way, I really like the Tide Pods.  You know, the little detergent things? I know I'm probably a year behind on this, but they really help keep my laundry room tidy.  
Emory and Lola Grace after completing the 1 mile Cross Country meet.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

I did not mean to publish last night.  Really you knew it wasn't going to be up on time didn't you?
 1.  I pick Packy up from Kindergarten at 12:30.  Everyday we have a discussion where I tell him he has to eat lunch if he wants a snack (meaning something sweet).  Everyday he cries (unless we go to Chick-fil-A) and tells me he doesn't want to eat.  Today he said, "Mama, I'm just not into eating."  I told him he didn't have to be into soccer or television shows, but food was not optional.  Some days I give up and just let him eat snacks.  On Columbus Day, I cleaned like crazy and let the kids fend for themselves.  Packy announced to his Dad at bedtime, "By the way Daddy, I didn't eat anything healthy all day."  Great.  Send my Mom of the Year award right over.  It's hard to have a child that doesn't want to eat.  Sometimes I plan to fail.  I cannot control what the church serves on Wednesday night and since Pac usually won't eat the hot meal or the kids option (peanut butter and jelly) (None of my kids eat PB&Js. ?$&!), I just know that on those nights he doesn't eat.  He eats a dessert and some lemonade.  It's just not a fight I'm going to have every week. 
2.  Let's talk commercials.  New Brad Pitt for Channel #5?  Super creepy. It doesn't make sense and it's just weird. (SNL already did a great job making fun of him.  And 7 million? Seriously?) Jimmy Dean commercials with The Sun?  Really makes me happy and has for a few years now (since 2006).  I really like that guy (and the clouds, moon, leprechaun). He's so nice.  T-Mobile girl on her motorcycle?  Hate.
3.  Guess what? I am typing this on a laptop.  I am close to becoming an actual blogger.  Now I just have to blog more than once every 3 weeks. (Thank you to R for "finding" an extra laptop at the office.  You are awesome!)
4. Speaking of the past few weeks, I'll catch you up.  I sold my camera, a lens, and a broken lens on Ebay and avoided being scammed by people who wanted me to send my camera to Africa before they paid for it.  (Really?)   I bought a new, simpler camera, and 2 new lenses.  Then left my camera bag and one of the lenses at a public park in Macon where we went to celebrate a family reunion.  It was found the next day and, thankfully, turned in to the people who run the park.  (So thankful for honest people.) I also sold Jay's bunk bed on Craigslist and he is now sleeping in a queen.  He is so happy to finally have a "big" bed and since he's 11 and very sensitive to textiles, I bought him some nice sheets.  Not anything crazy, but nice and not below 200 thread count scratchy. So throw in a business retreat for Jason, field trips, a wedding, a few birthday parties, Uncle Lee in town for a night, and all the regular school activities, and the past few weeks have flown by.  Fall is my favorite time of year, but it is busy.  Wonderful, but busy. (62 shopping days until Christmas in case you were wondering.)
5.  It's hard to learn from the experiences of others.  We have to sometimes learn from experiencing it ourselves.  
A man at our church said this a few weeks ago when we were studying 1 Kings on a Wednesday night.  We were discussing how the different kings kept repeating the mistakes of the past kings.  I really thought this was a good observation.  I can tell you my story and you can maybe identify with parts of it but you haven't experienced it.  You may have similar issues and I can help you by telling you what helped me, but I can't take away the part where you actually have to experience it.  Whatever "it" is.  If you are active in addiction then you probably aren't going to get sober because you know me.    You have to experience it yourself.  The entire process.  If you don't go through the process, and feel the pain, then the reward of sobriety isn't as sweet.  And to me, it is a reward.  (More on this later.)
6.  My parents have lost their dog.  He's been missing since Saturday night and they are really hurting.  "Tate" is the dog my mom gave my dad after he battled prostate cancer and she was in the Georgia State Senate (so she was in Atlanta during the session). Prostate=Tate...get it?  He is 14 years old and just wandered out of their backyard.  We are still holding out hope that Tate will return.  In the meantime we are just really sad.
7.  How about that Felix guy that jumped from space with a parachute?  That really made me sick to my stomach.  Someone would have had to push me out. I have absolutely no desire to hold any world records.  I set the bar low.  
8.  The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61; 1-3
Karen Russell is the person I took my photography class from and she wrote the most beautiful post called  Ashes that you can read here.  I just think that this is the theme of the Christian walk; using what He has brought you through in order to help others.  I know he uses suffering us to draw us near to Him, but it doesn't end there.  It wasn't without purpose.  God gives us a story so we can share it with others and give people hope.  The hope that is found by trusting in Him alone. What story do you need to be sharing?
9.  Thank you to the people I've seen in the last few weeks that have told my you read this.  I do not have any high tech tracking devices and have no idea who reads this.  This is just a small way I feel like I am telling my story.  It helps me and if it helps you then great.  
10.  I have heard lots of sad stories of sickness, marriage problems, and addiction over the past few days.  Let's just say that my prayer life is in overdrive.  Realizing that I am powerless to heal and powerless to change a person's heart, prayer is all I have.  I am thankful to worship a living God that listens to my prayers.  He may not answer them the way I think is best, but I don't see the world like He does.  He has the big picture and I'm glad.  It would be way too much pressure if I actually had any kind of power.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1.  If you are trying to win the "Crazy Mom" award for the 5th grade at my school, give up now.  I'm a sure bet.  In the bag. I know I have 3 teachers on my side and one of them isn't even currently teaching my child.  This is a new award for me.  I have been the stressed out mom, but never the straight up crazy mom.  Let's just say 5th grade is kicking my butt, and I am not handling it well.  This is the first grade where we have really had to study and not just memorize.  We went from handouts on the Arctic to a full blown high-school looking text book in Social Studies, complete with tests that cover 4 or 5 chapters.  I'm a little stressed out.  In order to win this award, you must cry on a teacher's answering machine (seriously alarming her husband), text a teacher and tell her you can't call her because of your tears, have numerous, lengthy discussions with parents who had children in 5th grade last year and beg for guidance, and most importantly, cry, hand your husband the text book, and tap out.
2.  The ridiculous thing is that Jay is doing great.  He made a 93 on the test that I lost sleep over.  That's right, lost sleep over a 5th grade test.   Jason is again the voice of reason.  Reminding me that if Jay doesn't do well on a test it's a good learning process for him. (I should really start apologizing to Jay now for having him first.  That first child just doesn't stand a chance with a crazy mom.  My mom started apologizing when I was in my 20s.  I don't know if her mom has apologized to her.)  Jason is really good at calling me out on how I talk to the kids.  Not necessarily what I say, but the tone and demeanor I have when I say it.  Because of his tone, I can take it when he says, "If you look at him like he's an idiot (when we were studying), he's going to feel like an idiot."  He's right.  Ugh.  Parenting is so hard.
3.  I give up.  I am an organic/homemade snack fail.  (Fail is my kids new favorite expression.  "Mom you're a fail" is not what I want to hear. Ever.)  I tried.  I really did. I watched the movies and I read the books and I tried.   But it's hard and we are busy. (And expensive.  Organic milk is tough to buy at $6+ a gallon.) Now I have to send snacks for after school activities in addition to lunch a couple of times of week.  I'm going to be honest right now and tell you that I went to Sam's and bought a boatload of crap.  Individually packaged crap.  And I do feel a tiny bit guilty about it, but not really.  It's making my life easier to not have to be up at night making cookies or granola bars.  Now, I can enjoy baking when I want to.  And for the record, I make healthy dinners most nights and always a good breakfast for Jay. We drink mainly water.  My people eat a ton of broccoli, so don't be judging.
I know right?  Betsy said it was disgusting.  I told her to shut it.  She's so bossy.
4.  Are you already Christmas shopping?  I have not started, but did put the Christmas List app back on my phone.  This is a great app and helps me track of all of my gift giving and decorating expenditures. I really love this app.   (I just emailed my sister to tell her to call me.  I can't find my phone.)
5.  Just found a website called  Put in your number, they call you, and it's free.  My phone was under the couch.  (If I start getting spam calls, I'll let you know.)
6.  It's weeks like this that I look back and wonder what people might think if they are reading my blog for the first time.  If their impression is that I am a mess, then they are probably right.  Welcome to the birdhouse!
7.  Jason and I are missing our annual Return Visit at TRC (happening right now).   We are both really sad about it, but we just couldn't make it happen this year. Return Visit is for alumni of TRC, from 1974 to present.  Alumni can come to any of the six Return Visits that are put on throughout the year and they are so valuable to a person in recovery and their spouse/family.  You get to connect with people you went to treatment with, meet people that went before/after you, and basically recharge your recovery batteries with process groups and education classes. October has traditionally been the month we go, and it was really hard to tell the people we have gotten to know over the past few years that we weren't coming.  One of the most rewarding things about Return Visit is seeing families that you knew were so broken at one time and now, through recovery and God, they are strong again.  There is no greater joy than to see a family that was on the verge of destruction, back together in loving arms.  (If you are currently in a mess, don't give up hope.  I've seen God repair things that, by all worldly standards, looked impossible to fix.)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21
(Why do we try to put limitations on what God can do, when he can do more than we can even imagine?  Don't think your situation is too big or too messed up for our God.  He can handle it.)
8.  I don't have any new pictures because I sold my camera.  It was too much for me. I was intimidated and frustrated with it.  Too complicated and too heavy.  No one is paying me for pictures so I don't need a professional level camera.  I sold it on Ebay and hope to buy a simpler camera this week.  And maybe a laptop so I can become an actual blogger.  I am all about simple.   
This sweet puppy wants to be a Ninja this year.  
9.  Emory went to her first University of Georgia football game.  She left our house at 9 in the morning and did not get home until 11 something at night (I was asleep).  She was in heaven.  Tailgating, cheerleaders, and college life in general is right up her alley.  My friend, who took her, videoed her expression when she first came into the stadium and could see the field; priceless.  I just keep having to remind her that college is about 9 years away.  (9 years?  That sounds way to soon. I'm not really prepared for her to shave her legs.  I don't even know when she is supposed to start doing that.)  (I am on my knees for this one. )
10. I may or may not have eaten 20 caramels today.  It's fall and caramel goes perfect with the weather.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

*Warning.  This is long and full of pictures.
1.  I meant to follow up my post last week with a disclaimer, but I never got around to it.  Now, I have two disclaimers that relate to Glennon who writes the Momastery blog.  I wrote that I did identify with her post on the "other side", and at times I do.  But, for the most part, I don't.  I don't walk around sad because I can't drink or numb away pain like I used to.  I just don't.  I'm also not angry or depressed. The difference between my sobriety and Glennon's is that I have recovery.  Recovery and sobriety are different.  Sobriety just takes away the substance that you are abusing, while recovery helps you deal with why you were abusing it in the first place.  This is where the 12 steps come into play.  I've told you before that they are actual steps and that you work them in order, with help from someone who has worked them herself.  They help you live without the shame of your disease and the guilt of your behavior while active in addiction.  If you just "cold turkey" sobriety then all the yuck is still inside you and often times comes out in other ways, new addictions. The steps follow the put off, put on concept of Ephesians 4:21-24. Putting off the old self is not enough.  You have to put on the new self. I feel very blessed that my recovery began at a treatment center that explained how important it was to enter sobriety through recovery, and stressed the importance of the 12 step process.  I might miss a drink every now and then but I am much more happy, joyous, and free living the way I am today.
The second disclaimer is that while I do relate with Glennon on many different levels, I do not agree with every thing she writes.  We have different religious theology and different stances on many topics.  I want  you to know that just because I link to her, it does not mean we are 100% on the same page.  If that leads you to questions, please ask me!
2.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program.  My mom and I went to visit Betsy this weekend.  September is my favorite month in New York.  It's just perfect.  We left Thursday morning and I flew home Sunday night.  (Mom is there for another week.)  We planned this weekend at Tybee this summer and decided that Lee should take the baby girls to Connecticut (where Betsy has a house) for the weekend, so it would be a true big girls weekend.  It was the best of both worlds.  I got to see my girls for a day, but didn't  have to worry about them while I ran all over the city.
This is Betsy's street, West End Avenue.
I love picking up Hattie from school, PS 166.

Josie and I are kindred spirits.
The girls are so excited to have a weekend with Daddy.

3.  The weather in New York in September is amazing.  Perfect for walking around, my favorite activity ever.  Remember the September 11th sky?  It's like that.  The pictures below are completely unedited from my phone.  It's actually that blue.   
The Flatiron Building
Empire State Building
4.  Friday, we went to the first meeting of a women's Bible study that Betsy's church started.  It was a time of fellowship, singing, studying the Bible, and then breaking into small groups to pray.  It was a very sweet time of prayer which left Betsy and me both in tears.  (I love praying with other people.  If you always pray alone you should try praying with someone else sometime.  I can't explain the feeling except to say that you really feel the presence of God.)  Afterwards we had lunch (Bouchon Bakery) with some of Betsy's friends, who I also claim as my own friends.  Lots of fun catching up over delicious food.  After a trip to Williams-Sonoma to drool over cooking supplies and taste the samples in the back (pumpkin bread with cream cheese icing) it was time to pick up Hattie from school.  I spent an hour playing with all the girls before Lee came home and took them to Connecticut.  (I was excited that it was a no kids weekend but it was sad to see them get on the elevator.)  After walking around Chelsea, and visiting the High Line, we had dinner at an Italian place that Gwenyth Paltrow likes and that started my weekend of mozzarella, bread, and tomatoes.  
5.  Saturday morning we left the apartment around 9 and did get home until almost 11.  We started with the Chelsea flea market and then stopped in to Starbucks for a pumpkin latte and some girl talk.  When my mom, Betsy, and I get together we laugh.  And then we laugh some more.  Next, we toured the Fashion Institute of Technology's museum.  (We even saw some clothes that Lee was a part of designing in the Ivy Style section.)
6.  If you know me, you know I am obsessed with New York history, so our next stop was right up my alley.  The Tenement Museum tells the story of immigrants living on the Lower East Side and you tour restored apartments of past residents from different time periods.  Amazing.  First we watched a film about how tenements came to be on the Lower East Side and then we had a guide take us to an apartment that had been occupied by an Irish immigrant family in 1869.  I totally could have spent the rest of the day doing all of the different tours.  I was asking Betsy about the different mansions I knew were built in the late 1800's and if they still existed in any form.  At the museum bookstore I found the book Lost New York, and I knew I had struck gold.  Pictures of all the New York landmarks and mansions that were either demolished or destroyed (mainly by fire) and what is in their place now.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  (On my next trip, and yes I am already planning, I want to do an architectural tour of the city.)
 7.  After the museum we walked to a restaurant in an alley that Betsy and Lee love.  We sat down and realized they were only serving brunch.  Mom had mentioned going to Eataly a few times and it sounded better than brunch so we left our table and hopped in a cab. (This is not the first NYC resteraunt I have walked out of after looking at the menu.) I can't even describe Eatlay.  Mario Batali is one of the owners and it is described as a supermarket with restaurants inside. It is crazy big and beautiful. It was packed, as is everything on Saturday in NYC, but it was worth fighting the crowd to eat at La Piazza. Enter my second round of mozzarella, bread, and this time prosciutto (and some other amazing cheeses and meats).  This mozzarella was made a few feet from where I was eating and it has totally ruined grocery store mozzarella for me.  We walked around this giant, once a bank, store and looked at all of the amazing and beautiful food.     I did pick up a flourless cake with chocolate and caramel spooned in the middle and Betsy got some gelato.

8.  At this point we had run mom ragged and she jumped in a cab to go and rest her feet. I was determined to enjoy every second of my trip, so with no plans we sat on a park bench outside of the Madison Square Park.  We got out my new book and looked at together while a band was playing bluegrass in the park.  I commented how I felt like I was at Merlefest (a predomintaely bluegrass festival that Jason and I used to go to in the spring).  About that time the MC thanked Jim Lauderdale, a mainstay at Merlefest (and the object of a major crush of one of my family members), so I jumped off the park bench to go and try to see him.  I talked to him about Merlefest and thanked him and then walked away without a picture.  It took walking away about 3 times before I convinced myself that the story would be so much better if I had a picture of us and not just of him (and I really wanted to torture said family member). 
9.  Betsy and I were really tired at this point and we started talking about getting massages.  She mentioned going to a Korean spa like her friend Kelsey had in LA, so we walked over to Koreatown while Betsy looked up spas on her phone.  We found one that sounded promising and was open 24 hours (?!?).  Korea Way is a block in Koreatown that is filled with restaurants and karaoke bars, and on the 5th floor (above a karaoke bar) we found our spa, Juvenex.  The first thing that we noticed was that people were wearing bathing suits (required after 5 when the spa goes co-ed, before that it's up to you) and since this was spur of the moment, we had no suits.  No worries, they have disposable suits.  Nice, black, mesh bikinis.  After we got into our bikinis and were issued our robe and towel, the hostess took us through our pre-massage schedule.  First we were to shower, then go into a stone igloo jade sauna,  next to an herbal steam sauna, and finally to take a cold rainforest shower. As we showered in the open showers we noticed one lady did not care about the after 5 bathing suit rule, but to each their own.  After we completed this "Jade Journey", as they called it, we were so relaxed.  This is the way to prep for a massage!  We sat in our robes drinking some ice water and were about to fall asleep on the bar when the lady called us to go up to the 6th floor for our massages.  (By the way, this is not the first couples massage Betsy and I have received.  We once did a spa package that required us to rub mud on each other in a steam shower before our massage.  It's so fun to have a sister.)  Now, I have had many massages in my lifetime, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced.  It started off pretty normal with some acupressure on my back and the next thing I knew the lady was crawling up on the table and pulling me around by arms and digging into my back with her elbows.  After I got over the initial shock of her being on top of me, I really enjoyed my massage.  (It was also comforting that Betsy was just a few feet away from me.) After the massage we were taken back downstairs to the soaking tub where we completed our journey.  This was over a 3 hour journey, so when we made it back to the street Koreatown was kickin'.  All the karaoke bars were in full swing and people were decked out in their Saturday night best.  After walking around for another hour we decided to eat at a random Italian place where I proceeded to end the night with more mozzarella, in the form of a pizza.  It was an amazing day.
10.  Sunday came so fast.  We started by going to Betsy's church and hearing Tim Keller preach an amazing sermon.  He is so smart, but at the same time does not make you feel dumb.  We dropped in for a quick party one of Betsy's friends was having for her child's baptism and then it was time to shop.  When I shop with Betsy it kind of goes like this; she picks out a ton of things, I say no to most of them, she makes me try them on in the dressing room, she was right, and I walk out with clothes I love but would never have picked out or put together on my own.  I am style challenged.  It's so fun to have a sister.  (I actually came home a little depressed that Emory doesn't have a sister.)
11.  Getting in the cab to leave my mom and sister is the hardest part.  I teared up and Betsy said mom cried.  I was excited to see my people but I just love being in New York.  It's comforting to know that there will be a next time.  Thanks to Mom and Betsy for an amazing weekend.  I love you girls! (And a big thanks to Jason for sacrificing a golf tournament in order for me to leave for the weekend.  Love you!)
In the cab on the way to LaGuardia.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1.  I know alot of you read Momastery.  Did you read this, For Maggie, Who Lost Her Lobster? (If you haven't then read it now.  Right now.  Then come back.) Glennon is an amazing writer and I read this article in tears (and continue to read it that way) as she put into words how I often feel.  I don't struggle with an eating disorder or take lots of medication to keep me off the edge like she does, but I identify with everything else.  Especially the part about missing "the other side" and not being invited to parties.  It can be alienating at times to be an addict and that makes me extra thankful for my husband, who is always supportive.  He will leave the party as soon as I start feeling squirrely.  He doesn't keep (that doesn't mean we don't allow it) alcohol in our house, nor has he ever asked me to.  Sometimes he gives my hand an extra squeeze when he knows I need it.  He also knows that I sometimes miss "the other side" and that's OK. He knows, as well as I do, that the other side would never end well for me, and in turn him.  It's not worth the blessings God has poured out on our family to dance on that side again.  Not even for a night.
Read this one and this one too.  (I love that she has a sister like mine. And of course I mean amazing.)
2.  It poured rain on our Labor Day yesterday, so Jason and I took the kids to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  Such a sweet, family movie.  Emory and I were wiping away the tears.  The older couple behind us were weeping.  Full on.  (I love hearing the rain pouring when I am at the movies.   Makes it extra special to be there for some reason.)
3.  Jason is working on a budget (ugh) for us.  He printed out our bank statements to help him figure out our monthly expenses.  Then we had this conversation.
Jason: How many times do you think you went to the grocery store in June?
Me: Twelve?
Jason: How about twenty-one times. 
As you can see, my meal planning has gone out the window.  It takes me forever to do a meal plan, and I have three picky eaters (well, really four, because I am picky too).  Like over an hour for one week.  That is insane.  And don't tell me about a website that plans for you because we are picky.  I usually just try to make   it until Wednesday when the church cooks.  It's the best night of the week!
4.  I just read Same Kind of Different As Me.  It's a memoir about a rich art dealer and a homeless man. It's a quick read but very inspiring.  This is the second book I have read lately that has made me check myself about how I look at God's people.  Do I treat the people at my church differently than the tatted up lady with a couple of guys and kids with her at the grocery store?  Do I give the same warm smile I reserve for my friends to the person sitting outside the AA meeting who looked like they have been living on the street?  Am I loving like Him?  (Apparently I am behind on this book.  So many people have told me they have already read it.  Like last year.  I'd never heard of it.  Maybe people don't think I read.  I read people.)
5.  When we were in Tybee this summer, Betsy had a NYC friend staying in Savannah with her mom.  She invited us over for wine (and water) and cheese one night to meet some friends she had made in her mom's neighborhood.  At some point in the conversation blogs were brought up.  Betsy, my number one blog fan, piped up and said, "Oh, Payton's a blogger!"  I got really embarrassed and might have flushed a little.  I don't even own a laptop so I can't be a blogger.  I don't have any of those BlogHer things on the side of my blog with a bunch of sponsors and I still have a long blog name with blogspot in the address. The people who end in a dot com are real bloggers.  They sit in cool coffee shops and blog.  Most of the people I read online actually make money with their blog. (These things would actually be amazing.  Don't think I wouldn't want these.)  So for today I will say that I have a blog, but I am not a blogger. We'll see what else God has planned.
 6.  It's after Labor Day.  Every year Jason and I have a discussion disagreement argument about Labor Day and clothing rules.  I say no summer fabrics (seersucker, linen) after labor day.  He says he goes by the weather and not some made up fashion rules. I am a total rule breaker but this is a hard one for me to let go of.  Somehow this rule got inside me and will not leave.  Maybe it's because I was forced to go to White Gloves and Party Manners class at our local Belk department store as a child.  I have proof.  They did an article on our class in Woman's World magazine in 1985.  I'm kind of famous.

(Can you spot Betsy?)
7.  Why are you already in the grocery store Halloween candy? And why do I think I can buy you and put you in a cute jar and have the willpower not to eat you?  We both know I am going to eat you.  (Jason threatened to count the candy before he went to work.  Go ahead and count it.  I'm an adult.  Happy Birthday to the ground.  And if you don't know what that means you can watch it here. It makes me laugh every time.)  
8.  We finished the third Harry Potter book and watched the movie.  I'm little nervous about starting the fourth book because it is so thick!  How long is it going to take to read that out loud?  Reading aloud takes forever!  I read for an hour and a half the other night so we could get to the end.  My voice was all scratchy when I went to bed.  
9.  Jen Hatmaker-Not a Fan So funny.  (Have you read her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess? It's a life changer.)
10.  I feel like someone hits the fast-forward button the day after Labor Day.  Labor Day to Christmas just flies by with football, Halloween, Fall Festivals, Thanksgiving, and everything in between.  So, it's on.  Get ready.  (NFL starts tonight. This makes Jason smile from the inside out.  I like it too. I am little disappointed that it starts on a Wednesday.  Don't they know that So You Think You Can Dance is still on?)  Emory is cheering after a two year break so I think between college, NFL, our varsity team at school, and Emory's elementary team that football will be in our lives pretty much every day.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Let's talk about Sunday morning church.  Is it hard for you to worship surrounded by your people (my word for your kids)?  I go in with high hopes. We sit on the second row.  I am way too easily distracted to sit any farther back.  (And yes, I do have a row I share with my childhood friend and her family. And yes, we will be put out if you sit on our row.  But we are nice people and if you are a visitor, we will find somewhere else to sit without giving you a dirty look.  If you are a member, you better back off our row.) When the Introit is played and Call to Worship is read, I am  ready to get my worship on.  All in. And then one of my people needs some gum.  Or a pencil.  Or a potty break (despite my excessive reminders before we walked in the sanctuary). So, I break and accommodate.  Back to worship.  It's time to stand and sing (Come Thou Fount, my favorite) and the littlest person doesn't want to sing because he is drawing.  When I remind him that it's time to stand, he begrudgingly stands and then scrapes his cheek on my wedding ring.  Whimpering ensues.  Pass him down to his dad and let the big boy sit by me.  Back to worship.  Ready for the pastoral prayer.  The big boy wants to know where we are eating.  Ignore.  It's time to send the littlest to children's church and listen to the sermon.  All in.  Did I mention that Emory and her best friend sit in front of me?  Hello distractions.  She plays with all the sticky letters on her 3 ring binder, flips through the Harry Potter book she brought to church(?!?), and for the finale, takes out her wallet and looks through every card and receipt that she has.  I can't tell you how many times I kick the back of her chair during one service.  When she broke out the wallet I gave her some actual words. Listening intently to the sermon and the one next to me leans over and asks how much longer.  Ignore.  (I won't even mention that Jason started passing notes to me at this point.)  Thank goodness for that closing hymn. (I want to print the entire song but this is going to be long enough.)
Father, Long Before Creation
God's compassion is my story, Is my boasting all the day;
Mercy free and never failing, Moves my will, directs my way,
God so loved us, God so loved us, That His only Son He gave.
And the world will song His love, Yes the world will sing his love, 
And we'll all join hands, every woman, every man,
To sing His love, To sing His love.
Emory and her friend were dancing as they sang and I really wanted to throw my hands in the air and shout "Hallelujah!".  It was another good day in the House of the Lord.  
2. Then we went out to eat. It was Jason's idea and I reminded him of that numerous times.  We had 3 adults and 5 kids.  We went to a throw your peanuts on the ground steak place.  It took forever.  Jason's grumpiness is in equal proportion to his hungriness, and he was hungry.  My friend and I took the prime seats at the table that was pushed up to the end of the booth.  We felt like we were having our own private lunch while Jason dealt with the kids.  And our waiter just kept bringing buttery yeast rolls with cinnamon, honey butter.  Two hours later we were stuffed and the kids had been assigned work detail in our backyard.  (His idea.)
3.  I am not embarrassed at all that I have more than one song on my iPod by Chiddy Bang. I just hate saying that name.  
4.  My kids got out of the habit of watching TV while we were in Tybee.  My goal was to keep them out of the habit.  My solution was to unplug the cable wire in the playroom. My people have not attempted to plug it back in.  Maybe it's because the TV in the playroom weighs 500 pounds and they know they better not try to move it.  Whatever the reason, it's nice.  They can play the wii, but not watch hours of dramatic teen shows or insipid cartoons. Such a simple solution.  
5.  I have a friend who is an amazing baker. (One night last week I was really just done.  Kids, bills, and so on.  She texted me a picture of the three different types of cupcakes [raspberry, chocolate, and blue cream cheese icing] she had just made and said come get some. I did.  And that was my supper.  Plus a Diet Coke and some pretzels.  And some girl time.)   She told me about this baking blog that has now become a favorite of mine.  This girls has ridiculous recipes but her blogging is hilarious.  She has a way with words. These are some of my favorites and I really want you to check these out.  I promise you will be eating something delicious and rolling on the floor laughing.
6.  My apologies to you if you wear sunglasses inside, but this makes me laugh.
7.  I'm just going to have to say that I was happy to hear that Britney Spears' judge ruled that she must stay under her conservatorship.  I love Britney.  I am so proud of how far she has come, but I do think that it's best for someone else to make all of her decisions for her. All of them.  In other Britney news, I am super excited to see her on the X Factor (which I have never watched before, but will now) and at the same time I am so nervous for her.  I don't know if live television is the best place for her.  I think I might start biting my nails when she comes on. (I'm even more super excited that I will be in NYC and get to watch with Betsy.  She also loves Britney.)  
8.  Where did this baby go?
9.  My car leaks.  That's right.  Somehow a seal was broken and now it leaks on the passenger side, under the dash.  That is in addition to someone keying it.  That someone was Emory, and I know because she wrote her name.  It was a little muddy and she got a rock to write in the mud.  Nice. Wet car equals stinky car so I bought a fabulous air freshener at Bath and Body Works.  Just remember, I am not defined by the car I drive.  I drive a wonky car, but I am not a wonky person.  At least most of the time.  
10.  I don't usually like Christian pop songs.  I just don't.  I do like this song.  And I love the lyrics (from 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
If I sing but don't have love

I waste my breathe with every song
I bring, an empty voice
A hollow noise

If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love
I leave a bitter taste
With every word I say

So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You
And what You're made of
How you lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love

If I give to a needy soul
But don't have love then who is poor
It seems all the poverty
Is found in me
11.  Amen!