Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Holiday Hodgepodge

This will be the last Hodgepodge of the year. You know you've been wanting to join every time you see one. You always have answers for all the questions. Now's the perfect time to set aside all that holiday preparation and jump in. What have you got to lose?

1. How will you spend 'the night before Christmas'? 
Not sure, but I know I won't be wearing a kerchief or a cap. And if we hear a clatter on the roof, Santa just might get taken out with a .357. We don't do well with unexpected night visitors.

2.  What is one thing you are not?
A man.

3.  Fudge-are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?
I made some last night, and I know it was good 'cause I licked the spoon. (And maybe scrapped a little leftover chocolate out of the pot. Shhh!)

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls? Are you giving any homemade gifts this year? 
I'm giving some homemade gifts this year. Maybe. It depends on how they turn out. I can get very creative with duct tape and staples.

5. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering? 
Any type of gathering. Presents. Lots of fattening foods we never eat any other time of year. Friends. Family. What's not to love?

6.  We're approaching a new year...what's going to be different in 2013? 
Well for one thing, it will be 2013 instead of 2012.

7. Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.
It is madness for sheep to talk peace with a wolf -Thomas Fuller

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. The words are someone else's, but the sentiment is mine.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Age of Innocence

Every once in a while we get a laugh from some of the innocent comments of our boys, and today I thought I'd share a couple of them with you.

As you can well imagine, things have been hopping around here. With having a new Boyd in the family, we're all getting an education and a half. And since that new Boyd is a girl, the boys are finding out more than they ever thought they didn't know.

On the day that Kylee was induced, my phone conversations were filled with discussions about how far along Kylee was and how much she was dilated. I didn't realize the boys were paying so much attention to what I said until we got to the hospital to see the new baby.

As everyone in our family ooohed and aaaahed over Stella and took turns holding her, one of the boys turned to his oldest brother and asked the brand new dad rather innocently, "So how much did Kylee's eyes dilate?"

Matt blinked a moment and then said, "What?"

Our innocent hesitated. I could tell that he was a little proud of himself for working this all out in his head. He'd had his eyes dilated before, so he put two and two together and got nowhere near four. However, the snicker or two he heard made him unsure. Finally he repeated his question, "How much did Kylee's eyes dilate?"

This time Matt was ready. "All the way," he informed his brother. "All the way."

Last night on the way to church, we passed a bar that advertises their live music. I noticed another of our boys showing extreme interest in the sign and asked him what he was looking at.

"Their sign," he told me. "It says 'Chippendales'."

I could tell from his tone that he wasn't sure why the Rescue Rangers would be at a bar, so I had to break the truth to him.

"They're not talking about the squirrels."

"Oh." He looked relieved that some favorite cartoon characters weren't hanging out at a bar, but I could see a question lingering too. I let it linger. Some things they're just not ready for yet.

And neither am I.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another Hodgepodge

I haven't done one of these since before Thanksgiving! And it's not because I've been busy doing the items mentioned in Question #1! It's more like Question #5. And #2 which has to do with #5 which makes me wonder if I'm really doing Question #2 for the right reasons. At least, I would contemplate that, probably while enjoying Question #4 and especially while enjoying Question #1, except that I can't do any of that because of Question #5. And don't even get me started on Question #7!
While trying to sort all that out, why don't you read about my issues, and then click here to go see Joyce's blog and the answers of everyone else in the world. (Everyone who is someone anyway because that's who does the weekly Hodgepodge!)

1. So, when did you last take a walk in the woods? A stroll along the beach? A drive going nowhere in particular in the car?
I don't walk in the woods because of the bear. I last strolled on the beach on our anniversary in June. (Don't awww. We weren't alone because his parents were visiting.) Also, we live less than an hour from the beach, and I haven't strolled there in six months. That's just wrong.

As far as the drive goes, we went nowhere in particular on Saturday, but we were trying to go somewhere in particular. We just missed a turn (there were six of us talking. Ahem!), and we went way out of our way.

2. Are you sending Christmas cards this year? About how many do you send? Photo card or something more traditional? How do you display the cards you receive?
I did most of my cards last night, only stopping when I ran out of cards. I hate doing cards, but I love receiving them and unfortunately, most people eventually quit sending them if you don't send some too.

That's so not right!

3. What's a word you've heard too much of in the past week?
JUN Spartan. It's the name of a particular action figure that my boys want for Christmas. Back in October we had a guest speaker at church that was preaching on prayer. He talked about asking God until you get an answer, and he used the illustration of a child repeatedly asking for something until the parents get it for him. Apparently my boys were actually listening, at least to the illustration part.

4. December 13th is National Cocoa Day-are you a fan? Plain or flavored? Marshmallows or no marshmallows?
Cocoa is flavored. It's cocoa. And it's been too warm here to really enjoy any.

5. What is something you do to help alleviate the hectic pace of the Christmas season?
First, I make a list of everything I have to do for the season. Then, I put things in order by when they need to be done chronologically. Then, I cross things off as I accomplish them.

Then my time gets away from me and I start panicking whenever I look at my list. Then I quit looking at my list because I start hyperventilating.

Then I reevaluate my list and start crossing off things that really didn't need to be done anyway.

Then I start crossing off things that didn't get done on time and now it doesn't matter.

Then I usually lose the list and operate in total crisis mode, running from one deadline to the next.

It's a complicated system, but it works for me.

6. Besides jewelry, what's a favorite sparkly-glittery item in your home or closet?
I like my tree because it glitters. And no, I don't have a picture of it. That's not on my to-do list.

I used to get aggravated with my tree because all the ornaments and ribbons would fall off whenever a boy or a pet was near it, which was often. This year I fastened my ribbons to the tree with binder clips. It works for me.

7. Share a favorite line or two from any Christmas carol.
It's not a favorite line by any means, but when we hear someone sing the phrase Do you hear what I hear, the boys always follow it up by singing Please be more specific.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
My answers are longer this week probably because I'm putting off some of those items on my to-do list.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Astute followers may have noticed that I fell off the blogosphere sometime a little before Thanksgiving. Astute followers may also realize that I fall off that sphere a lot. (Coordination and gracefulness have never been characteristics of mine.)

At any rate, I'm back and, as usual, I have a really really good reason for being gone. I know I always say that, but wait until you read this one!

I've taken on yet another new job in my life. I know, I know. Like I have time for that. I already work in an office (my only paying gig). Plus, I spend one day a week at the church office, never accomplishing everything I have on my to-do list. I also homeschool my boys which is an interesting ... challenge and helps me develop skills (mostly coping skills, but whatever).

And then of course, there's the writing. Not blog writing, which clearly is not taking enough of my time, but writing for publication. Just in the last month I've had the possibility of a new opportunity open up, so I'm trying to develop a project for that, although the project at this point is getting about as much attention as my blogging.

With all that going on plus the normal demands on a housewife, mother and pastor's wife, you'd think I wouldn't have the time or inclination to take on anything else, but this is something I truly couldn't resist. Seriously. Even if I wanted to, which I don't.

Ya'll may remember how I took on the role of mother-in-law about a year and a half ago. Here's a picture from the celebration of me becoming an mil. Oh, and it was my son's wedding day as well.

I've done admirably in the in-law role, if I do say so myself. If you don't believe me, ask Kylee, who has adjusted even better to marrying into the Boyd Bunch. It takes a special person to be able to deal with our clan, but Kylee seems to thrive on it. (Or she hides it well, but I'm thinking positively here.)

Earlier this year I blogged about the fact that this couple was going to make me face the G word. I've had nine months to face the fact that I'm taking on this older, supporting role and I found myself looking forward to it, even though it took four or five months for me to actually bring myself to say the G word. It's clear from this picture that I didn't have much time left. This was taken the night before Kylee was to be induced. She was really sick of everyone telling her she looked like she was going to pop. And we were all taking bets on wondering how big Baby Stella would be. After all, Kylee's birth weight was 9 pounds and 13 ounces, and Matt weight 10-1/2 pounds! (And 32 hours of labor, son, don't forget!)

Stella Elise was born at 12:58 in the morning on Tuesday, November 27th. She weighed a tiny 6 pounds and 12 ounces and was 20-1/2 inches long. And she's adorable, if I do say so myself. All of us, including my motley crew of boys, can't get enough of her. I doubt this little girl will ever put her feet on the ground until she enters kindergarten because we're always lined up to hold her.
Matt and Kylee, ya'll did real good.

Grandpa and Grammy are real pleased too.

And that's why I've been absent from blogland. I think she's a good enough reason, don't you?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobbling Up the Hodgepodge

I know, totally lame title, right? Sometimes you hit it and sometimes you don't. In the meantime, do you want to complain about cheesy titles or do you want to enjoy the Hodgepodge and then get on with Thanksgiving? I thought so. In that case, read and comment (with or without thankfulness, your choice) and then head on over to Joyce's to see what everyone else fancies in a turkey.
1. Turkey-love it or leave it? White meat or dark? What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?
I like turkey on the table, but I'm not too fond of turkeys at the table, especially the human kind. My favorite thing to make when we have leftover turkey is reservations 'cause with all our boys, we don't have much in the way of leftovers.

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?
Considering the crowds on Black Friday, it seems that shopping could be just as strenuous and work off just as many calories.

I'm not going to go shopping on Friday, but I'm not doing a 10K run or climbing a mountain either.

3. Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse? Explain.
Considering I would not have a relationship with a lot of you wonderful fellow-bloggers, I'm gonna say better. Except where it made it worse. (Get real. Do you expect me to do my best answers when I still have pies and stuffing to make?)

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life?
Mostly by whining and complaining until I realize the person I'm talking to has it much worse than I do. Then I feel both grateful and guilty.

5. In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'. Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?
My shopping is done wherever I find the deals and whenever I have to money. Suffice it to say, I haven't done any shopping yet.

As far as stores opening on Thanksgiving (some are opening at 8:00 p.m. that night) I'm against it, but I saw it coming. If a day about giving thanks can't be ruined by sports and gluttony, might as well get rid of it completely, right?

6. Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?
I have a lot of black in my closet. It makes a good canvas for great colored scarves and jewelry.
(Oh come on, I really have it 'cause it's slimming. Are you saying you don't wear black for that reason? Yeah, right.)

7. What do you appreciate about your life today?
That you all keep coming back and reading even when I get snarky.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Right now I feel absolutely no pressure about getting things done for the Holiday season. It could be 'cause I'm really organized and ... sorry, I couldn't help but laugh. I have no idea why I feel no pressure, but I'm enjoying the sensation while it lasts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Genuine Boyds Bear

So let me start by pointing out that we don't live in a rural area. We don't live near a rural area. We're in a suburb of Orlando, Florida. The only wild animals we should see running around are Chip and Dale. And the occasional alligator.

Not only are we in a suburb, but we're in a subdivision. A genuine, bonafide subdivision with a name and HOA nazis and everything. Seriously. We get "gentle" reminder letters if we leave our garbage cans at the curb for too long or if we have weeds growing in our cracks. (Cracks in the driveway, people! Even the Homeowner Nazis don't look that closely so get your mind out of the gutter.)

I must admit, I'm beginning to see the sense in removing your garbage cans from the curb as soon as they're empty. Or even removing them from the property completely. It seems that garbage cans are the real life pik-a-nik baskets for roaming Yogi-wannabes.

There were rumors that a bear had been seen in the area. I saw one several months ago about a mile from our subdivision. It was crossing a very busy street with the lumbering cadence of an animal that might have taken too seriously his need to store up fat for the winter. Especially given that he's apparently chosen to hibernate in Florida. Then we heard that one had been seen inside our subdivision. Then we heard that one had been seen in the conservation land right behind our house.

Even at that I wasn't too worried. That conservation land is less than a mile wide, and there's a bar and a highway on the other side of it. Didn't seem like a place where wildlife would really like to hang out. Except a couple of weeks ago I was headed back on a Sunday night from dropping our son back off at college. It was late, and I was chatting on the phone with my husband. He had just gotten home from church and was complaining that some sort of critter had gotten into our garbage, even hauling some of it off to the edge of the woods. He speculated that it was a bear because entire bags had been dragged across the small clearing and ripped apart at the edge of the trees.

Suddenly I heard my husband gasp over the phone and then say, "It is a bear! It is a bear; I just saw it come out of the woods. I'll have to call you back." Common sense would indicate that he was hanging up because he had to call the authorities.

Common sense would be wrong.

I waited an hour for someone to call me back and reassure me that the bear hadn't eaten my entire family. I was not thrilled to find out that Indiana and our grown son, Matt, had chased the bear back into the woods.

Chasing bears does not seem very prudent to me.

A week or so later I reminded the boys to set out the garbage for pick up in the morning. A short time later I came downstairs to find the garbage ignored and all of the boys joining their dad for a movie in the family room. When I reminded them about the garbage, I was informed that they were waiting for the bear to go away before they went outside.

I suggested (more than once) that we should store the garbage cans in the garage to keep from being the neighborhood drive-through for wildlife. I've been soundly ignored. (More than once.)

Tuesday night my husband was on the phone with Luke, our son at college. On nice nights Indiana likes to pace up and down the driveway while he chats. Don't ask me why. At any rate, he opened the front door the front door, mind you, and came almost face to face with the bear. I guess if we're not going to put out our garbage early enough, Yogi is now feeling free to come knock on the door and remind us of our duty to share our garbage bounty with those less fortunate.

The bear was literally on the sidewalk, between our driveway-parked vehicles and the house. Startled by Indiana's sudden appearance, the bear hurried over to the (small) clearing at the side of our house. I guess he realized we wouldn't chase him any farther because he turned around and sat down not ten feet from the house. He looked like a giant dog. (We tried taking pictures by the way, but when you take a picture of a black bear at night, there's really not a whole lot to see.) After a few moments of sitting at attention, Yogi sprawled lazily in the yard and watched the cars drive by.

He also watched all of my men-folk who were congregated in our driveway. I couldn't convince any of them that standing there with nothing between them and the bear was not the smartest move I've ever seen them make. Being the only one with some common sense, I went inside to cower and watch the bear through the family room window.

After about ten minutes, I was relieved to see the bear get up and waddle away from us down the sidewalk. I was not so relieved a moment later when Indiana moved into view. He was less than 10 feet behind the bear, and was following (re: chasing) the bear away from the house. At that point I couldn't stand to watch any longer so I did the only thing that made sense. I closed the blinds and re-confirmed the amount of life insurance I'd be receiving.

The bear eventually left. Someone called the police, but by the time they got there, Yogi was long gone. One neighbor called animal control, but they said they couldn't do anything because there hadn't been an "incident". That left me wondering how much blood had to be shed for it to be considered an incident.

Stephanie named the bear Yogi because she said we couldn't have a normal bear visit us; we had to have a grandstanding one.

I'm just worried that Yogi is auditioning one of the boys to play BooBoo.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hodgepodge 101

I know the title sounds like a class course. But after 100 Hodgepodges under our belts (and that's the only reason for the bulge around the middle!) we're going back to the basics. Well, the Hodgepodgers might not, but I am. The basics, of course, would be what we do every Wednesday. Read and laugh. Then comment, click, repeat. Very simple and you'll get an A+ for effort!

1.  What rule of life should never be broken?
Breathe. If you ignore this basic rule, life tends to be rather short.

2.  What's your favorite family recipe?
Ice. I'm a master at making it, and it's always requested at our church fellowships.

3.  Is the media manipulative?
Is the sky blue? Is the White House white? Are boys going to make a mess? Am I going to be sarcastic?

4. Hubs and I saw Skyfall last weekend...are you a fan of the Bond films? If so, who's your favorite Bond?
I've never actually watched all of a Bond film. I'm more of an Indiana Jones girl, what with being married to him and all.

5. What is one thing you hope people never say about you?
I hope people never say, "Jill who?"

6.  What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see, but haven't gotten around to visiting?
Disney World. We can't afford to take the whole family. But since our family is one tent short of a circus anyway, I don't think we're missing out on much.

7.  Where's your favorite tree?
The one in the garage. It's in a box labeled Christmas.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Life with Indiana Jones has its own set of rules and hair-raising adventures. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you about the bear that has adopted us.
Yeah. I said bear.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Centennial and Completely Common Hodgepodge

As is completely common for something as auspicious as the 100th Hodgepodge, I can't make the linky-picture-thing work on my blog this morning. (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm so technical I call it a linky-picture-thing.) At any rate, by now you know what this is, and you know what to do. Read the questions, laugh or nod thoughtfully in the appropriate places at my answers, leave a comment and then click this link and go see everyone else's answer at Joyce's blog. Hopefully Joyce will be able to fully participate in this wonderful and epic Hodgepodge, although power at her place is questionable as she is right in the middle of all the havoc Sandy has caused this week. We're praying for you, Joyce!

By the way, the reason for the title is because of Joyce's eloquent introduction this week. The Hodgepodge really is not about the monumental in our lives, but about the everyday minutae that make up our day. Sometimes it's poignant, sometimes it's funny or thoughtful, but always it's us in all of our flawed glory. Of course, Joyce expressed this thought much better than I did, so go read what she had to say. After you finish here, of course.

1. What creeps you out?
Feet. I know they're necessary, but they're gross.

2. What's your least favorite candy?
Why would I have a least favorite? Candy is candy and it makes me happy. Except for candy that is hot instead of sweet, like redhots. That makes absolutely no sense.

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
I like suspense movies, but not horror. And sometimes a movie starts out as suspense, but crosses over into horror. That's never fun. Like the movie where the woman's head ended up in the dryer. A laundry room is never a good place in a scary movie. Come to think of it, my laundry room scares me all the time.

4. What part of life confuses you the most?
The living it part.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?
Why settle for a seed when you can have the whole pumpkin, sunflower, poppy or ... sesame?

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?
Certainly not the amount of gray in my hair. It will still be mostly nonexistent, thanks to Clariol. Maybe by then I'll look good in hats. You never know.

7. What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?
I love that it's always there. I don't like when I miss joining in, although I don't think that's the fault of the Hodgepodge or its creator.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Two more of my children are old enough to vote in this election. I helped both of them through the process, and even thought I was a good sport for helping them celebrate this milestone. Then Paul reminded me at dinner that he would be voting in the next election. I had a little trouble swallowing for the moment. He waited until I took another mouthful before casually mentioning that Joel would also be voting in the next election.

I barely managed to avoid spitting my food across the table.

Hmmm. Now that I think about question 6, perhaps in ten years the kids will have to be helping me get through the voting process!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ninety-Nine Bottles of Hodgepodge on the Wall

So we're at ninety-nine Hodgepodges and counting. Can't wait to see what Joyce comes up with for the big 1-0-0! Click on the link to read everyone else's answers and to post your own. Join in before we reach 100!

1.  So, do you like beer? 
Root Beer once in a great while. But when I sing the ninety-nine bottles song, I usually sing ninety-nine bottles of Coke. Mostly because it's single syllable and fits in the space.

2.  What's your least favorite repetitive task?
Exercise. Seems like I'm never done with it.

3.  When was the last time you rode a bus?  Where was it headed?
I drive the Boyd Bus everywhere I go.

4.  What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?
This question implies that there's a children's song that wouldn't make a parent's nerves stand on end. The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other ... Am I driving you crazy yet? Any of these songs going to stick in your head for the rest of the day? How about This is the Song That Never Ends

Now you hate me, don't you?

5.  The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held last night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?
I don't debate so much as I passionately discuss. There's a fine line there.

6.  Can a person make too much money?  How much is too much?
I don't know if a person can make too much, but I volunteer to be the guinea pig and find out. And too much is probably just a little bit more than anyone has. 

7.  Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live? 
I don't care as long as you serve it with ice. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Referring to Question #4, I don't know why but the theme song from The Rescuers always sticks in my mind. And when it gets stuck there it stays for a couple of days. Seriously. I'll get up during the night to use the bathroom and still find that song running through my head. It makes me want to smash something.

My children try to plant it in my head on purpose. They are devils.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where Have You Been?!?

Hello! Yes, I know it's been awhile and I didn't even participate in the Hodgepodge this week and where on earth have I been?

Well, I could give you the short story, but what would be the fun in that?
You may recall that Luke is the big college guy now, although I still sometimes see him as the baby with three pacifiers.

The little boy waving is Paul. He just turned 16. I'm struggling to keep up with life. I think this picture was just taken last month.
In addition to my children just deciding to grow up on me, we also had to host the pastors' fellowship this week. You know, the one where we were supposed to eat some kind of chicken? Indiana told us to plan for 20-30. Luckily we planned for more because we ended up with over 50.
As soon as that event was over, I got busy with the baby shower our church is giving Kylee this Saturday.  I'd show pictures of the diaper cake I made and the centerpieces I'm working on, but they keep turning up sideways when I try to put them into the post, and I don't have time to fix them right now. Trust me, they're fabulous.
I'll have pictures next week. We're decorating tonight because tomorrow I have to leave for a ladies' conference. I'll skip the second day of the conference so I can get back here in time for the shower.
Then it's the usual Sunday church activities, followed by the two hour trip to take Luke back to college Sunday night after the service. I don't mind the drive except I'm having more and more trouble staying awake.
Can't imagine why that would be a problem!
So that's why I haven't been around here on the blog. Busy with life, events, traveling, and even attempting crafts and food for the shower. We'll see how that goes.
By the way, I guess Luke and Paul would appreciate it if I posted a picture of what they look like now.
I'm not gonna. 'Cause in my heart, they'll always be those adorable little baby boys.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peanuts! Popcorn! Hodgepodge!

This week we have Peanuts. (Not the salty kind, but the humorous kind.) We have popcorn, competition and chivalry. So after leaving a comment, click on the link and follow along over at Joyce's. You know you want to.

1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.
How can I stop at just one? Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler temperatures, the changing colors, the crispness in the air ... of course, I don't get to experience these things because I live in Florida. We still hit 90 degrees on a regular basis.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

2.  Is chivalry dead?  Explain.
No, but I think it might be on oxygen.

3.  On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip made its debut.  Which character is your favorite?  Which character is most like you?  (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock, or Pig Pen)  If you need a description click 
here .
I love them all, and I think I'm most like Linus. I have a take-life-as-it-comes attitude and a occasional surprising word of wisdom to offer, but I'm a basket case without my security blanket.

4.  What's something you're competitive about?
It's so much that I'm competitive ... I just like to win. (The first step is admitting you have a problem.)

5. October is National Popcorn Popping Month...are you a fan?  How do you like your popcorn?
Am I a fan of National Popcorn Popping Month? I suppose so. But why doesn't chocolate have a month? I could really support an idea like that.

6.  When did you first realize the world is small?
When I started taking up more space in it.

7.  In terms of architecture, what's the most beautiful building you've seen up close and in person?
Big or small, home outshines them all. Look at me; I'm a poet!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I have a lot of thoughts right now--random and not so random--and they're pinging around in my brain like a room full of superballs run amok. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Devil's in the Details

And yet another strange discovery about that distant planet that men have come from if you subscribe to the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus theory. Apparently there are no details on Mars.


Because men don't seem to need any. I'm a detail-oriented person, and I've often wondered how on earth men can go through life so oblivious and uncaring of all the millions of details that make up their world. I guess it's because, on their original planet, everything falls into place with absolutely no effort.

That's strange because, here on earth, it takes a lot of effort for details to fall into place. Not that men notice.

Take, for instance, my Indiana Jones. I love the man to death, but sometimes I think he'll be the death of me. Recently he and another pastor got together and decided our churches should compete in a month-long campaign.                 
We were out with another couple from our church when Indiana enthusiastically explained the plan. They wanted to kick off this campaign with a joint picnic/early evening service one Sunday night at a park halfway between our two churches. The other church would provide the meat, and we would bring the sides.
Clearly, Indiana was pleased that they had hammered out the details. Vicky and I looked at each other across the table, and I silently agreed that she should go first.
"What kind of meat?" She asked. "That might make a difference in what sides we would fix."
Indiana shrugged. "Probably hamburgers and hotdogs."
That shrug means it wasn't discussed. He's just putting his own spin on things. Now it was my turn.
"What about buns? Is that part of 'meat' or 'sides'?"
Indiana looked blank as he admitted he didn't know.
Vicky's turn.
"What about condiments?"
My turn.
"Who is bringing beverages?"
Vicky's turn.
"Are desserts included in sides?"
"I guess I can send the other pastor an email," Indiana decided. I could tell he didn't want to. He doesn't want to worry about details. In fact, later on he just told me we should plan on bringing all that extra stuff. To him it was an easy way to deal with our questions without his having to bother anymore.
But there's a problem with that line of thinking. Guys see the worst-case scenario here that everyone brings everything and we have more than we need and everyone's happy.
Women see that, if we bring desserts when they already made desserts, we risk sending the message that their contributions aren't good enough. We also worry about irritating ladies if they spend time and effort on something, only to find out it wasn't really needed.
As the picnic drew closer and I badgered asked Indiana for clarification, he confidently asserted that we needed to bring buns and condiments as well as sides. We planned for some desserts, but it was implied that those would be coming from both churches.
The day before the picnic, Indiana called me while I was at the grocery store to let me know that our church was responsible for bringing all the desserts.
The day of the picnic I found out we were having pulled pork and hotdogs. No need for the lettuce, tomatoes and mayonaise we brought. We definitely could have used more cole slaw. There were enough desserts, but judging from the way they were picked clean, a few more brownies wouldn't have hurt.
We had more 2-liters and buns than we knew what to do with. In fact, we ended up taking home most of the ones we'd brought because the other church also brought plenty. Both churches provided plates, plasticware, cups and tablecloths.
I made a mental note to call the other pastor's wife next time, but I didn't have time to dwell on it because this month it's our church's turn to host the local pastors' fellowship. Having never been to one (seeing as I'm not a pastor and all), I asked Indiana about the meal we're supposed to serve after the meeting.
He thinks he's usually eaten some sort of chicken at these luncheons.
Make sure there's desserts.
We should probably have a vegetable.
Plan for 20. Or maybe 50.
Perhaps I should just make reservations for this luncheon.
On Mars.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's a Hodgepodge Party!

Joyce, the inquiring mind that comes up with all these wonderful questions every week, celebrated a birthday yesterday. Please note, it's not about turning another year older; it's about celebrating the day! At any rate, make sure you click on the link below and wish her a happy birthday. After you've read my answers and commented here, of course. I mean, we wouldn't want to get too carried away, would we?

1. What's the best and worst thing thing about growing older? I'd say the best thing is that you're around to grow older. And the worst thing is that, well, you're growing older.

2.   Autumn arrives this week in the Northern Hemisphere...what one thing do you love most about the fall season? The cooler weather. We had a cold front come through this week, and now our highs are only in the upper 80's. Brrr! Almost time to get out the jackets! (Yes, I'm being sarcastic. You're surprised?)

3.  Speaking of fall...pumpkin seems to be flavoring everything these days-are you a fan?   What's your favorite pumpkin flavored food or beverage? Pumpkins are okay in their place, but their place is not in flavoring my food and drink.

4.  Since we're on the subject of fall...what's the worst fall you've ever taken?Perhaps the one where I dashed up onto the platform so I could make it into the choir loft just as the choir was getting ready to sing the opening song of the evening service. I tripped and ended up on my hands and knees with my rear end waving at the congregation.

5.  If you could own a prop from any film what would you choose? I married the original Indiana Jones. What better prop could I have?

6. What's the most interesting word you've read or learned in the past week?
Although yours truly is imminently cognizant of the lexicological parameters, at the moment I can't come up with anything.

7. When was the last time you locked yourself out of your house, car, or office?  Was it a big deal?
I don't usually lock myself out (jinxed myself there, didn't I?), but the week before we moved down here to Florida, Indiana made the 12 hour drive with two of our children. They arrived in the wee hours of the morning, only to discover that he'd left the key to our new house on the dresser. In Alabama.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Only 96 shopping days until Christmas. That gets your heartrate going, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stephanie's Story

As I mentioned yesterday, September 11th has positive as well as negative memories for us. If you look back through the archives of my blog (you don't have to; you can take my word for it), not long after I started blogging I had a three-month silence. At that time, Stephanie was 17. In what seemed like an overnight transformation, Stephanie changed from our sweet, submissive teenage daughter, to someone who rebelled against both her parents, and the God that she had followed most of her life.

Without our permission, or even our knowledge, Stephanie left our home. And our family relationship. I did not blog during those three months because there simply weren't words. There was only a haze of pain and loss.

For the next three years, our family was fractured. At times we didn't even know where she was. Let me assure you that, although Stephanie was rebelling, she was still the same responsible person she had always been. She did not do drugs or live on the street. She got a job and supported herself. She just had no contact with us, and no relationship with God.

Eventually, we reconnected through Facebook. Short, awkward messages were occasionally sent and received. Sometimes we had electronic conversations, but they were awfully stilted as we tried to rebuild a relationship without talking about the gigantic elephant in the room.

An elephant that, at times, seemed to be sitting on my chest.

There were occasional rays of hope in all this. Late one night, Matt got a text from his sister saying she wanted to come home. In the next hour we tried repeatedly to contact her through texts and phone calls, but there was no answer. Finally, Matt got a text saying she'd changed her mind. A few more months went by with the same stilted contact. We thought, perhaps, we were getting closer until just before Matt and Kylee's wedding. Then a seemingly innocuous comment erupted into a huge, bitter argument. It would be many months later before we discovered that both these instances had been orchestrated and even continued by a third party whose selfish actions stemmed from the fact that they cared nothing for Stephanie or her relationship with her family.

Things continued in this new, painful norm until late in August. At that time Stephanie was living with distant relatives in another state. Some of whom had no desire to see Steph do right or return to her family. Living in that area was a cousin who was dying of cancer. Terry had already made note of the fact that he'd need to travel there when this cousin passed away, and that he would see Stephanie at that time. When I came home from work that Friday in August, Terry was consumed with the idea of making a trip to visit the cousin--and Stephanie--right away. He'd rather spend traveling and vacation time seeing his cousin one more time while she was alive, instead of waiting for her funeral. He was so driven and so certain, that we both knew this had to be the leading of the Lord.

The following Monday Terry set off, making the thirteen hour trip on his motorcycle. He spent a day visiting with his dying cousin, and then he spent a day with Stephanie. Towards the end of that day the two had a serious talk. Later on that evening, he texted me and said that we had our daughter back.

My immediate thought was that he should throw her on the back of the motorcycle and bring her home. But Indiana wanted to give her time to make her own decisions. He returned to Florida the following day, and our contact with Stephanie improved in frequency and in quality. Almost two weeks later she told her dad she wanted to come home, but not if her presence was going to hinder his ministry in the church. Terry told her that family came first and that we wanted her home no matter what. The two set a date for the following week when he would come to get her.

We were all in an uproar at home, working to get her room ready for her, when she called me that Saturday night, crying. I don't know how Terry even knew she was on the phone, but suddenly he was in the room, telling me that if she said the word, he'd leave immediately to go get her. Steph asked us both to come because she was ready to come home.

We threw a few things into a suitcase, left the boys with Matt and Kylee, and pulled out of the driveway fifteen minutes later. We took turns driving all night, pulling up into the driveway of the place where she was staying the following morning. As we headed to the door, I thought I would explode with all the emotions roiling inside me. What if she changed her mind? What if things were different? What if this didn't work? All my questions were answered when Steph opened the door and walked straight into my arms.

Our daughter was truly home.

Shortly after the holidays, Stephanie moved away from home again, but this time with our blessing. God had led her to move to Alabama, and she is serving Him in a church there. She's active in the choir, working with a bus route, and living with the youth pastor and his wife.

Although it was painful to see her go again, there was peace this time. And more joy ahead. Stephanie met a wonderful young man who is attending the Bible college there. He is planning on serving on the mission field once he graduates, and both he and Stephanie prayed earnestly before starting a dating relationship. They've been serious about each other for over six months now, and I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled we are to see our daughter happy, content and following God's purpose for her life.

I think it probably helps that he's not too bad looking, either.

I love seeing that smile on her face. I love when, although we're miles apart, we watch the same movie at the same time and text each other all through it.

I love that she calls me at least once a day, sometimes more. We have serious talks and silly talks. She asks me occasionally if I mind that she calls so much.

Not even a little bit!

When Stephanie gave me permission to write this post, she told me that the three years she spent away now seems like mostly a bad dream. She said she never wants to forget what happened, because she doesn't want to forget the lessons she's learned. But at the same time, those years seem like an alternate reality, and now she's back in real time. (Spoken like a true sci-fi fan.)

I'm glad she's back in this reality too.

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