Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Questions: Answered

I was given an honor in the form of a Liebster Award.

Along with that came a list of questions to answer by Rabia from over at The Liebers. She also asked me to share some of my favorite blogs I follow (the smaller great ones that are just waiting to be found, read and enjoyed). I will share those in another post.

Here are the questions she wanted me to answer:

•What is the funniest thing that has happened 
to you in the past week?


These are my party planning partners after I said, “Look off into the distance!” before our picture was taken at an event we planned last week. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. 
I’m in the middle all like, “Look!” 
Julie’s looking in the opposite direction like, “What? Where?” 
And then there is Sumita whose memorized
expression clearly says, “It’s soooooo beautiful!”
 to absolutely nothing. 
We were looking at nothing! 
Oscar worthy, I know.

•What is the first thing you do when you 
wake up in the morning? 

Go to the bathroom and wash my face. 
Drink my coffee if Monte is so inclined to bring it up to me.

Do you speak another language? If so, which? 
If not, what language would you like to learn? 

A little Spanish--from classes in high school. I can sing "Happy Birthday" in Spanish (which I did to myself at a restaurant in Mexico on my 40th birthday and the waiters didn’t even roll their eyes. Of course, one asked if I was 23, so maybe they were just after a sizable tip.) 

I bought these cassettes tapes to learn French before we went to Paris a million and a half years ago. All I really remember about them is that I was always asking Mr. Dupont where his hat was and where he put the cheese. Hopefully not in the same place. I never did meet Mr. Dupont while in Paris so I never found out.
I have no aspirations to learn another language. Right now. But if Monte announces tonight we are booked to go to Italy, I will certainly seek out CDs so I can ask Mr. Dupont where he put his cheese and hat in Italian. 

I think learning sign language would be cool.

In high school were you into sports, band, choir, 
art or something else? 

I was a cheerleader and in show choir. So I had pom poms and a sequined belt. 
I could do a toe touch and jazz hands. Not to brag.

If you were going to write a memoir, what would you call it? 

I’m kinda liking “Toe Touches and Jazz Hands” or “Who Moved Mr. Dupont’s Hat and Cheese?  And Other Important Questions Answered” but that’s just me spit balling and looking over what I just wrote 3 seconds ago. 

When you snack do you go for sweet, 
salty, fruity, or crunchy?

 I find this question cruel since I am in the homestretch of a self-imposed fast from jelly beans. Which in hindsight was not a smart thing to do at EASTER. All that to say, because I am not eating jelly beans, I have been craving salty. I’ve been digging popcorn and pistachios as of late. There’s another memoir title:  “Popcorn and Pistachios:  A Look Into My Life Without Jelly Beans”.

List three songs at the top of your play list lately. 

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I know. I KNOW. My daughters say it is overplayed. But I don’t care. It makes me happy to listen to it. Truly. And it makes me dance. And it makes me clap along because I feel like a room without a roof (even though I have no earthly idea what that means).

“Keep Making Me” by Sidewalk Prophets. The words are amazing. It had me at the first line:
“Make me broken so I can be healed.”

There is a tie for my third song:  “As Sure As the Sun” by Ellie Holcomb. Just love her voice--the way she sings in an almost whispery way.  And the way she says mercy. 

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong. Oh my, I love this song. It is very calming to me. But it is long. I thought I had accidentally put it on some sort of repeat replay when I realized:  NOPE, it is just a l-o-n-g song! Worth every second.

Which of your parents do you think you are most like and why? 

A good mix of both. I can find the funny in things like my mom but I am not as tidy as her. I am creative like my dad but wish I could build things like him. But there is still time (for the building--being tidy just might be a lost cause).

If you could become a character on a TV show for a week, who would you choose to be? 

I would love to be Julia Sugarbaker from “Designing Women” and eloquently chew someone out in that polite gentile way. 

What is your favorite blog post that you've written?

I have lots of favorites! (Is that braggy to say that?) A stand out is "Care Taking" that I wrote about helping mishandling Carisa after her surgery. 
I also really liked, “This Is the Way, Walk In It.

Tell us something interesting going on in your life right now. 

I am trying to get a party planning business off the ground. 

Why wouldn’t someone hire us?!

Thanks to Rabia for honoring my blog!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are You Willing?

It was Baptism Sunday at church yesterday.

I love those Sundays. 

I love hearing what each person has to say about why they decided to get baptized.

Our pastor is good to let them speak their heart.

Which isn’t treating baptism like a checklist.

This isn’t a legalistic to-do.

It is a public expression of a very personal relationship with Jesus.

And it is just precious.

I have to keep the tissues handy.

Yesterday one of the little girls I have taught in Sunday school and VBS, announced that she felt a “pulling in her heart" and wanted her mom to call the pastor about getting baptized.

She is 7.

The pastor and the little girl talked over the phone and when the mom got back on the line, the pastor heard the little girl in the background yell,


Isn’t that awesome?

Don’t you want that excitement?

A 6th grade boy, when asked by the youth pastor what he’d like to tell the congregation about his decision to accept Christ and also be baptized, said this:

“Don’t worry about me! I’m going to heaven when I die!”

He is 12.

Isn’t that so profoundly simple?

Don’t you want that kind of assurance?

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”

--Isaiah 43:1

His confident statement has made me think of fear.

In my bible study we are talking about David and how he became angry and afraid of the Lord when Uzzah was suddenly killed on the spot for mishandling the Ark of the Covenant.

As a result of Uzzah’s death, 

David became “unwilling” the bible says, 

to have anything to do with the ark. 

So therefore, Obed-edom housed the ark for 3 months and his whole household was blessed.
(2 Samuel 6:6-11)

Someone posted this video on Facebook of these two foreign 70-year-old ladies flying in an airplane for the first time.

One was so completely fearful and full of anxiety that it is a bit shocking she was even willing to go. Her husband said they never were able to take vacations very far from home because of her fear of flying. 

She had been “unwilling” to face her fear.
 It was paralyzing.

The other woman, who did not previously know her flying companion, was a free-spirit, full of joy and laughter who had never even heard of the word turbulence.

Not fearful at all but still never flown on an airplane because her husband was terrified of heights and “unwilling" to fly. 

Watch what happens:

Isn’t this fascinating?

Don’t you want that sense of awe 
and excitement 
and anticipation?

Who would you rather be in this duo?

I’m Team Ria all the way! 

Anyone who laughs until 
their belly hurts has my vote!

Isn’t it interesting that An cried when she Face Timed her husband after the flight?

Do you think that her tears were in mourning of all her years of “unwillingness”?

And maybe the sting of embarrassment too?

I read in “Jesus Calling” this morning:

“The absolute certainty of your heavenly home give you Peace and Joy, to help you along your journey. You know that you will reach your home in My perfect timing:  not one moment too soon or too late. Let the hope of heaven encourage you, as you walk along the path of Life with Me."

I have no idea of Ria or An's faith, but I can see their “willingness".

And I want some of that, don’t you?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Riding a Horse on the Beach Is Not Like the Picture In Your Head

When we were researching things to do in Florida over Spring Break,

Monte mentioned that he saw advertisements for horseback riding on the beach.

Of all the seaside places that we have been to,

I have never seen people riding horses on the beach.

But I had a picture in my head of what it looked like.

After calling a stable and asking some questions, Monte decided he did not want to go horseback riding after all.

Beach regulations prohibited the horses from 
doing anything faster than walk.

For understandable reasons.

Monte said,

“I want to "Runaway Bride" it if I’m going to ride a horse.”

Wedding dress excluded, I’m sure.

I guess Monte had a picture in his head of what the whole thing should look like too.

Poor guy living with all us girls. 

He now speaks “Chick Flick”.

I blame myself.

So Monte deemed himself the photographer of me and the girls’ horse riding experience.

We met at a sandy park right on the water to fill out paperwork and get our horse assignments.

Highly recommend if you are in the
Cape San Blas area.

While we were waiting, McDaniel started bonding with a horse. 

Whenever she stopped scratching his nose, he’d nudge her to keep on scratching on. 

Just like our dog, Nigel.

McDaniel finished the ride with swollen red itchy eyes and a runny nose. 

Seems now horses goes onto to the list of things she is allergic too.
Along with cats and dogs that shed.

Instant buddies.

I have ridden a horse before and have a healthy respect for their strength and power and speed

 but never spent enough time around them to see all their playful dog-like behavior. 

It was like watching Maximus on Disney’s “Tangled".

Love that movie!

Except not animated.

When a guy from the stable came out to give us our horse assignments, 

McDaniel got paired with the horse she already bonded with named Lightning Bug. 
Bug for short.

He told us he was special because he was a mustang.

Of course, me and the girls put hand on heart thinking of the mustang in the movie, “Flicka”.

Tear-jerker movie, but good ending.

Ellie was instructed to ride Sassy.

Another perfect match!

One of the workers came over, looked Sassy right in the eye and said,

“You are not the boss. I AM. Got it? You are NOT the boss.”

Ahem. Can I get an AMEN from parents 
with tweens and teenagers?

I may make this part of our breakfast routine.

I got a gorgeous splotchy horse named Preacher who was prone to stop and eat everything so I was instructed to keep a close reign (literally) on him lest he be tempted.

There may be a sermon in that.

It was just an amazing experience! The sun was shining and there was the most pleasant breeze off the water.

Loved my view!

Oh, sweet beach, I miss you!

McDaniel in front of me had to make sure that Bug
didn’t get too close to Ellie. Sassy didn’t like to her
style cramped. Seriously?!
The horses wore bags so “their business” didn’t defile the beauty of the beach.

Except Sassy lifted her tail up high, bypassing the bag and did it right on the beach anyway.

Never once did I feel bored with the walking pace. 

The sand was uneven and the horses were good to 

avoid sandcastles 

and holes dug by kids 

and fishing poles stuck in the sand waiting for a bite.

And they must’ve been thoroughly trained on what to do with dogs.

On our way back to the park, 

a little black and brown dog, 
leash dragging behind him, 

sprung out of the dunes bullet fast. 

Two little boys, probably 5 and 9, ran like crazy to catch the dog’s leash. 

They’d get close, 

the dog would stop in an “about to pounce” stance 

and then take off again 
just as the boys dove head first 
to get the leash. 

They ran, 

they dove, 

they even threw a flip flop at the dog 

in an attempt to get him to stop.

Nothing slowed him down.
The horses all stopped. 

In a row. 

With heads turned, they watched, 

almost in amusement, 

as this little dog darted in and out of close proximity to them, 

barking his mischievous little head off.

The oldest boy finally caught the dog’s leash. 

I clapped and cheered. 

And the horses walked on.

Just fascinating that something so strong and powerful and fast could be trained to not be distracted by something so small but bent on being a nuisance.

Hmmmm. I might need to make that reminder a part of my breakfast routine too.

There was a time about 30 minutes into our walk that Monte and Dad came out onto the beach to watch us. We stopped for pictures.

Preacher and Bug were playfully butting heads. Sassy was careful to protect her personal space.

Preacher looks a little hungry.

Monte decided that if he wasn’t going to ride one,

he certainly needed a horse selfie.

Not your best side, Bug.

Monte and Preacher.
McDaniel and one ear and eye of Bug photo bomb.
Oh wait, there's me too!

Full-on photo bomb by Bug.

On our way back to the park after the fastest hour of my life,

I noticed the hoof prints from our trip out.

Love it.
Riding a horse on the beach far surpassed any picture I had in my head.

“Runaway Bride” didn’t even cross my mind.

Not even for a second.

But the beauty of God’s creation did.

More than once.

As soon as Preacher saw the dune grass as we left the beach, the temptation proved too great for him.

I had to pull the reigns back and be quite stern to keep him in line.

It was a battle.

I didn’t like it.

As soon as we got among the trees again,

Preacher went right up to a palm tree and started nibbling on its bark.

I pulled and nudged and said, “NO!" numerous times before the worker said,

“Kick him! It won’t hurt him, it’s for his own good!”

Well, you certainly don’t hear that in Parenting 101

or Christianity 101

but we probably should.

It’s for our own good.

Even if we don’t like it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

What I Would Find If I Cleaned Out My Car Right Now

I have a bit more to say about our spring break trip to Florida

but first I want to link up with another #Tuesday Ten.

The Lieber Family

The topic this week is:

What I Would Find If I Cleaned Out My Car Right Now.

We just got back from vacation.

And you may remember the 

Here goes:

1)  Sand. Yes, I know that for a fact because I saw some on the floor mats today when I went to the grocery store. In the rain. Far, far, far away from the sunny warm beautiful sugar sands of the beach. Sigh.

2)  Dried up shredded cheddar cheese. Yep, saw that on the floor mats too. From one of those snack wraps from McDonald’s. There weren't super healthy choices on the road that could be eaten in the car (Monte wouldn’t let us take the time to eat inside) and I wasn’t about to get one of those hams in a bag hanging on a hook from Nervous Charlie’s. Yeah, we went back on the way home. Monte thought it would be hilarious. 

McDaniel bought a t-shirt. 

There is the exit number if you want to check it out.
I don’t recommend using the bathroom.
Don’t ask.
We took more pictures with the gorilla.

3)  Laffy Taffy wrappers. We had been caravaning on the way back from the beach with my parents until we stopped at a gas station in Tennessee. Monte and the girls went in to get snacks and my parents went on. That decision delayed us over an hour. A wreck happened just a few miles from the gas station exit that my parents missed but stopped us completely. Like turn off the car stop. For an hour. Firetrucks and ambulances zoomed by. Luckily, the girls had bought a big bag of Laffy Taffy at the gas station and the jokes kept us entertained. Yeah, that’s how bored we were.
UNTIL, people started making their way to the trees off the road to pee. The women took a blanket to fashion a makeshift port-a-pot of sort. Guys barely made it into the trees. One lady fell down the hill after she emerged from the woods. The guys in front of us, all wearing University of Kentucky t-shirts, started a rousing game of “Throw the Water Bottle” then they started pantsing each other. Except they were wearing shorts.

4)  Mint wrappers. I swear, those things have such static that you think you’ve thrown one into the trash and then you find the wrapper, like an hour later, clinging to your shirt or on the side of your hand. Or all over your car.

5)  Straw wrappers. I noticed those on the back seat floor mats while I was out today. So many wrappers. And I didn’t pick up any of them.

6)  Gloves. I know! I needed them the week before Spring Break. When we all loaded up to go out to dinner one night at the beach, I noticed the gloves and the sight of them made my stomach hurt.

7)  Turquoise socks. They belong to one of the girls. I thought I told them BEFORE we left for the beach, to take them inside, like 100 times, but they must not have heard me. (!!!)

8)  Cords. As I discovered during our trip, we have a ton of phone cords in our console that hook into phones we no longer own. And they are still there.

9)  Lollipop sticks. McDaniel got a wonderful belated birthday gift from her friend the day before we left.

Isn’t this adorable? Her friends call her Mickey or Mick.
McDaniel plucked all 4,013 of the lollipops out of the Styrofoam ball and put them in a Ziploc bag that proved to be quite the handy snack in the car, at the condo and even for my diabetic dad who took a few with him on his 8 mile walk each morning on the beach. Talk about the gift that kept on giving! 

10)  Reusable shopping sacks. I have so many of these things. I keep them in the car or I completely forget to use them. Which I still do 50% of the time even when they are in my car. So I end up organizing the flimsy plastic grocery sacks into the bigger reusable ones by the contents that need to go in the refrigerator, the freezer or the pantry. It sounds like I am crazy organized. But I’m not. Just how the grocery items in my cart go onto the conveyor belt (by what goes into the refrigerator, the freezer or the pantry) so they will be bagged accordingly. It’s my one thing. Drives. Monte. Crazy.
So he refuses to follow along when we shop together. Which drives. Me. Crazy.

So what would YOU find if you cleaned out your car right now?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April Fool’s Day and Other Funny Things

I am linking up with

The Liebers

again with the prompt of 10 things that I find funny.

We are in Florida on spring break with my parents. 

Just thought I’d set the scene a bit for the first item on my list.

1)  This morning at our beach condo, the owner stopped by to drop off some lumber for an upcoming project. He came to the door to tell Monte that he discovered a gas leak with the water heater and would need us to go to a hotel (paid for by him) for a night until the gas company could repair the leak, which wouldn’t be until tomorrow. He looked so nervous and seemed to feel so bad about having to tell us that news. I was just speechless thinking about all we’d have to pack up when Monte turned around and yelled, “April Fool’s Day!” He and the owner just laughed and laughed. Monte set the whole thing up. 

Monte LOVES a good prank. 

And Monte LOVES getting the girls on April Fool’s Day.

But usually I’m IN on the joke.

2)  One year Monte changed all the clocks in the house and woke the girls up at 3:30 telling them they were late for school and to hurry and get dressed. In the kitchen, he had put out bowls and a box of cereal and a big sign that said, “It’s 3:30, go back to bed. April Fool’s Day!”

3)  Another year, Monte surprised the girls with a box of fresh doughnuts before school. He had taken toothpaste and squirted it inside where the cream should’ve been. Ellie took a huge bite and said, “You bought mint doughnuts?”

4)  Another year, he printed up on what looked like official school stationery, a letter stating the new policy of Saturday school per state regulations, blah, blah, blah. The girls seemed wary of it from the beginning and showed it to a neighbor girl who threw a fit thinking it was true!

5)  April Fool’s Day pranks aside, I do find Monte consistently funny. Yes, he does tell an insane amount of lame jokes to hopefully get one good laugh. But his humor has a way of surprising me, which adds to the amusement. 

For example:

6)  The condo we are currently staying in is just lovely with high ceilings, beautiful crown molding, a really nice kitchen and beautifully tiled spacious bathrooms. 

But the toilets. 

The first time we used one we all jumped. 

Because no matter which toilet is being used (upstairs or down, there are three), we all know it. 

It is SO loud that it sounds like something is wrong. 

REALLY wrong. 

Monte called the owner and spoke with his wife. 

I overheard him say, “The toilet sounds like a dragon when it is flushed!” 

That struck me funny because it was so. dead. on. 

Monte usually doesn’t get caught up in descriptive detail 
(which has proven frustrating to me 
on more than one occasion). 

But this time he got it right! 

And I hadn’t thought of it in that particular way first. 

The toilets flush with the force and equal decibel of a jet engine, 

followed by a deep growling and a thudding whack, 

finished off by a hiss. 

Every. Time. 

We have started not flushing them in the middle of the night (regardless if we’ve used them or not) so we don’t scare each other into night terrors.

And the response of the owner’s wife when Monte told her about the dragon toilets?

“Yeah, they do that. Scary, isn’t it?"

7)  Traveling. Yes, there is so much funny to me in traveling. Especially when you get off the interstate and start seeing some true culture. Not strip malls and chain restaurants and high rises. 

No sir. 

Like the pig races at the petting zoo portion of African Wildlife Safari we drove through in the rain during our misadventures in northern Ohio last summer. 

The safari that we had to pass the nuclear power plant to get to.

On the drive here, we passed a spray-painted sign advertising the sale of miniature donkeys. What?! Miniature donkeys exist? That is hilarious to me! I instantly wondered what a miniature donkey would cost. Monte and I discussed that at some length and felt settled that they probably run about the same as a good designer dog. We all entertained the thought of owning one and then put it in the teacup pig category. Which means no, no, never, never, ain’t no way.

8)  Speaking of donkeys, I find this funny:

Sumita and I went to this really cool furniture store a few weeks ago. It had some really unique pieces including this picture. It’s two donkeys looking at each other. I snapped a picture of it and sent it to Carisa who is decorating her brand new house and I already knew for a fact that she has a big picture of a horse head in her basement alongside some adorable cow prints, so why not add some donkeys in the mix? I ended up calling her so we could laugh and “talk out” all the funny of this picture. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I showed this picture to Monte. He loved it right away. The contrasting light donkey, with the dark one. One seeming to be recoiling under the stink eye of the other. Monte and I deemed this picture to be marriage. Two stubborn donkeys (or the other term to describe this animal depending on the condition of your marriage), staring each other down. One right, one wrong. Monte said he wants us to paint it ourselves--each painting our own donkey. The $365 price tag may have had a little to do with that. Can you imagine the conversation starter a big ol’ painting of two donkeys staring each other down could be? 

Guest:  “Umm. What’s this here?”

Me:  “Two donkeys staring at each other.”

Guest:  “Oh. Why?”

Me:  “Marriage.”

9)  Another thing we saw on our drive to Florida was an overpass with huge graffiti letters spray painted on it spelling out the word MOIST. I had to text Sumita because that word is on her daughter’s “Words I Can’t Tolerate” list. I wondered if MOIST was this particular artist’s name, or possibly a gang name marking its territory. How intimidating could a gang be with a name like MOIST? Unless their rival is DAMP…

10) When I mentioned to Monte outside of Nashville that a restroom break was needed, he deemed a gas station called “Nervous Charlie’s” right for the job.

McDaniel and the “Nervous Charlie’s” gorilla.

There was a gorilla out front.

And large hams in sacks hanging on hooks inside.

And enough fireworks for sale to light up
 several cities for the 4th of July.

I’m not sure which of the three made Charlie more nervous.

Hey, you can’t soak up this kind of culture flying to your destination.

What 10 things do you find funny?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

So Ready for the Break of Spring

So there is this:


And this:

I should have put a question mark after it.
Or an exclamation point!

And this:

All in my attempts to send Winter packing. 

Like the seriously bad house guest that sucks the very life 
and hospitality right out of you,

that it has been.

So I just put on my winter coat (ugh!)

and went out in the cold in search of our dear, beloved, SHY Spring.

I’ll take this as a good sign.

Like a timid toddler,

walking for the first time,

I saw the slow beginnings of Spring.

Even with snow still in its hair, the moss is greening up.



What a sight for frozen, sore eyes!

Hello, gorgeous!


You don’t bother me, Mr. Weed. 

I will gladly take care of you, when? 

In the Spring!

Because it’s coming.

And so is this:

And this:
Peonies! Can you smell them?

And this:

Well, hi there, Cutie!
 And this:

And this:

I promise to take better care of you, Rose!

And these:

Mouth watering.

And even him:

Winter, I am ignoring the ping of sleet you are spitting at my windows as I type this, 

because I SAW the signs of Spring, 

just now,

and it’s time for you to GO!