Thursday, August 16, 2018

I'll Miss You, Summer and Other Random Things

I really do love summer.

I like hot days and warm nights that don't require wearing jackets.

I live in a part of the country where jackets are required THE MAJORITY of the year,

so I do enjoy the brief season we can shed them.

And I will NEVER understand the people 
who spend that brief season going places 
that require those jackets. 

Do some people just really love jackets?


School started yesterday and even though it is still the middle of August, it feels like summer is over.

I'm giving you the side-eye all things pumpkin flavored.

I don't get it
 the cold-shoulder shirt trend.

I really want my Bitmoji's dress.

But, I digress…

I want to talk about other random things.

I had a Charlie Horse the other night.

It was intense.

Monte gets them all the time and pops out of bed and hobbles and dances all around the room groaning.

I've learned to sleep right through most of them.

But I never get them.

I didn't get out of bed with my Charlie Horse because I do believe I was briefly paralyzed.

It was so painful that I am still sore, days later.

Monte managed to sleep right through it.

I was telling someone about the Charlie Horse and was asked what I thought brought it on.

I thought about it…

We had friends over for dinner that night and I was cleaning and prepping food and on my feet a lot.

Could standing, 
just being upright,
cause a Charlie Horse?!

Nothing says, "You are old" like your body rejecting being in a position other than sitting or lying down.

Later that day I took the girls to get stuff for school and we saw a dead animal on the road.

I thought it was a beaver.

McDaniel said it was just a bloated squirrel.

Ellie didn't care enough to weigh in.

I circled back so we could investigate further.

Because why in the world would a beaver be so close to our house and so far from the river?

It was a ground hog.

It reminded me of a time we were driving to see my parents years ago and we were in Lawrenceburg, Indiana by this big grassy embankment by the river and a groundhog was running on the steep embankment.

Like, hauling it, running.

Monte decided to see how fast he was going as compared to our car speed and it took some acceleration to catch the furry fast guy.

Who knew ground hogs could run like lightning 
on those short little legs?

Well, not the one by my house. 


On the same errand trip, I realized I had not eaten lunch.

It was mid-afternoon at this point and I do not do well without three meals a day.

We saw this walking into Target.

Trash can jelly beans!!

Jelly beans are one of my favorite things!

I was weak in my flesh.

My girls had to steer me away from them 
after I said they didn't look "that dirty."

Over the weekend, Monte and I were sitting outside listening to music, contemplating what to make for dinner.

On the table next to where I was sitting, I saw this little guy.

For a fuzzy guy, the red horns and red face/eyes/mouth, didn't leave me with a fuzzy feeling.

He kept doing fast laps around the edge of the table and every now and then he stretched out 
like he was going to jump off or whisper something to me.

No doubt it was a message about how he planned 
to kill me in my sleep later that night.

I went to adjust the volume of the music and the devil dragon caterpillar made me jump.

He was FAST!

Not Lawrenceburg ground hog fast, 
but faster than well, 
the one by our house. 


One night recently, the girls had other plans and Monte and I were on our own for dinner.

I didn't feel like cooking or sitting in a restaurant, so we went to Whole Foods to grab something to go.

Monte was perusing the hot bar while I was looking at the salad bar.

He walked up to me and said something like,

"I knew it. Cods are jerks."

Then he walked me over to this sign.

You know, with a name like COD, I believe they probably are jerks.

We did not partake of it to see if it was delicious.

To celebrate Ellie's first day of school, I took her and a friend to dinner.

They were discussing their classes and teachers when Ellie told me her Environmental Science teacher said the methane gas from cow farts was damaging the ozone so farmers were making cows fart into balloons to power cars "and stuff."

I had just taken a big bite of food when she dropped this nugget of funny on me.

I almost did a lot of things (like choke and wet my pants) but I did manage to laugh until I cried.

I had so many questions.

And SO. MANY. 
images in my head.

It wasn't until after we did a little post dinner school supply shopping that I was able to do some research.

Turns out, they are more of a balloon backpack attached to the stomach than what I had imagined.

I think this is weird for him too.

This is what was swirling around in my head.

Ellie did say one of the kids in her class asked the teacher if any of the cows ever flew away.

Per the cartoon above,

Maybe it goes without saying, that I was a bit punchy after almost choking and wetting my pants yet still crying actual tears from laughing in a public place.

So when this picture popped up on my Instagram feed, I was weak.

Laura Dern! Oh my word.

I asked a few girlfriends if it was wrong that I wanted Nigel to let me do this to him.

The most he's allowed is a Velcro bow tie attached to his collar.

How much different is Laura Derning your dog from strapping inflatable backpacks to your cow?

Talk that one through amongst yourselves. 

I have to go wake up Nigel.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Sweetest Worship

Sunday at church members of an international group who use our church building for their services, led worship.

It was so powerfully beautiful.

On top of their wonderful voices, they had such passion when they sang.

I honed in on one girl on the stage.

I'm not sure if she was terrified 
or just full-on in her teenagerness, 

but she sang with the stone face 
of no emotion.

I was intrigued.

50% of the people living in my house are teenagers.

I get it.

I couldn't keep my eyes off of her.

A new song started and she was the solo vocalist.

Her voice was gorgeous.

As she sang each word, 
her face softened ever so slightly.

At one point she half-raised one arm and there was the tiniest hint of a smile on her face.

It overwhelmed me practically to tears.

I got it.

God rushes in like that,

even when we're trying super hard to stay right in our bad mood 
or bad attitude, even while singing a Chris Tomlin or Elevation Worship song, 
thank you very much.

God's bigger than our own worst mood.

And it's in that moment of turnaround 
that is the sweetest worship.

He floods us with grace and mercy and unconditional love and we can't help but forget for just a second what we were so honked off about.

And we start meaning the words we are singing.

I have this head planter that I adore that I named Hattie.

I enjoy sticking all kinds of flowers and plants I cut from my yard to give her different hair styles.

Monte did not care for this Hattie look.
He's always been partial to long hair.
When I refresh the water it makes Hattie a bit flushed.

One of my faves.

I had to trim these WAY down as I feared for my eyes as I worked in the kitchen.

I like to think Hattie was praying in this picture.
I will explain these tiny hands in a later post.
So festive.

This morning, I decide to refresh her look.

After a whiff of the nasty old flower water, 
I decided to give the inside of her head a good sudsy wash.

I couldn't help but think I was transforming her by renewing her mind, like in Romans 12:2

Getting out all the old stinking thinking gunk so my Rose of Sharons could stay nice and beautiful in clean fresh water.

In John 15:5 it talks about Jesus being the vine and we are the branches.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, 
you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

We have this great living water source in Jesus that is all we need to sustain us.

When we remain in Christ, 
not even a bad mood
or the stink we keep inside our head,
is too much for God to fix 
and make into beautiful fruit.

And it's in that moment of turnaround that is the sweetest worship.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Just Another Rat Story

Happy Summer!

Our summer started with Monte and I sitting on the back patio after dinner chatting while a rat ran across our yard.

This rat looked like something the makers of Jurassic World 
concocted in a lab to be "scarier" than the plain old average rat.

It was a Ratasaurus.

Seeing it set me off.

I'd already NOT planted various tomatoes in my garden like I usually do so as not to feed any lingering rats after the February rats we found dead in the dryer vent.

I only planted basil and cilantro.

Do rats like herbs??

Monte bought big traps and set them out in various places around the yard.

One was dramatically moved the next day but there was no rat in it.

We have not seen any rats since.

We felt like a message had been sent:  no food, lots of traps, get out.

The rats moved on.

I was digging in the back of our garage today looking for something.

I smelled something that I thought might be on the bottom of my shoe.

I checked. It wasn't.

I kept moving stuff in my search, when the stench got stronger.

I actually said out loud to no one,

"Ugh. It smells like death!"

I was right.

I spotted a dead rat.

It was big.

Ratasaurus big.

Or it had been big.

It was so dead that it wasn't three dimensional anymore.

I dropped what I was holding and ran inside to call Monte.

When he got home he shoveled up the dead rat carcass, made sure I captured just how dead and stiff it was and tossed it into the field by our house.

I watched as Monte walked to the field. I thought he'd do a little low toss into the base of the corn growing in the field.


He swung the shovel up high over his head and the stiff rat sailed far and deep and stiff into the corn.

I do hope this is the last of my rat stories.

Friday, June 15, 2018

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

If I could, I wouldn't be so surprised when crazy things happen.

And they do.

All the time.

Much to my surprise.

We went out to dinner with friends Friday night.

They picked us up in a torrential downpour so we ran out the front door (instead of the side door which we normally use) to get to their car quicker.

When they dropped us off at the end of the evening, the rain had stopped.

As we walked up the driveway to the side door, Monte bent down by his car and said, something like,

"My underwear?!"

He turned around to show me the sopping wet drawers in his hands.

Monte explained he must've dropped them walking into the house after work because he'd spent the afternoon with a friend at a lake. 

He didn't bring a cute beach bag to carry his clothes in like I would've.

And we didn't see the dropped underwear when we left for dinner
 because we went out the front door.

So there the underwear sat in the driveway in the rainstorm.

Soaking wet in the driveway when McDaniel's friends 
came over for pizza and movies.

The wet underwear with no one inside them.

From Dr. Seuss' "What Was I So Scared Of?" story.

Might sound familiar to those who know about Monte's 
"pants with no one inside them" incident at the gym.

I walked into the house and asked if any of the girls had noticed the wet underwear in the driveway.

They said yes but didn't know whose they were and went about their night.



We are ALL girls in this house except for Monte and Nigel 
and only one of them wear underpants.

Hint:  it's Monte.

It makes me wonder what these girls have seen at college…

The next morning Monte went outside to flip over his now known as "driveway drawers" to make sure they would completely dry in the sun.

After breakfast we went for a long walk and ran into some friends.

Of course I told them the "driveway drawers" story and our friend suggested that it probably looked like Monte pulled in from a long day at the office and shed his clothes from the waist down right then and there as a way to usher in the weekend.

Little did we know what that would come to mean…

Later that evening, Monte and I were playing corn hole in the backyard before dinner.

I looked up to see the neighbor boy in our driveway NAKED.

He's 4.

We went into awkward mode and Monte walked him home to "get some clothes on, buddy."

As they walked down the street, our elderly neighbor pulled into her driveway.

She's one of those says-whatever-she's-thinking-no-filter kind of people so Monte knew he did NOT want to be spotted walking a naked little boy down the street.

Monte quickly got him to his house where his parents were unloading things from a day at the pool and didn't even realize their son was streaking over to our house.

They have two boys and a toddler girl 
and we love them all so much. 

Those boys have been coming over 
and making Monte and I want grandsons SO BAD 
one day.

Not soon.

But one day.

Monte told the little boy to come over again but he had to have clothes on.

So that was our weekend.

Wet "driveway drawers" 
and a naked driveway neighbor boy.

Hope your weekend is just as fun but in much different ways.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Tree Demon…Or Not

A few weeks ago I hosted a movie night for my small group girls.

We've been reading Fervent so it made sense to watch The War Room since

1) Priscilla Shirer is in it. 

2) The theme of the movie is prayer as is the theme of Fervent.

Monte decided to busy himself outside the house by taking our various cars to get washed, filled up with gas, you know…Dad stuff.

It was after dark when he returned and the movie was over.

After everyone left he said he had something to tell me.

He said he was driving on the street that runs along the field by our house. There are trees that line the street along that field.

The headlights of whatever car Monte was driving at that particular time caught a shadowy figure that jumped in front of the trunk of one of those trees so as not to be seen.

Monte looked, and he said he looked hard, as he drove closer by but he could not see ANYONE in front of or behind the tree.

"It's like they faded right into the tree trunk."

I asked what he thought it was, more rhetorically, than seriously. He answered immediately,

"A tree demon."

For two weeks straight he brought up the "tree demon" every time we drove past the tree where the supposed "fading right into the trunk" happened.

We all just kinda let him talk about it.

It was a busy time.

FYI:  don't Google "creepy trees" if you value a good
night's sleep.

Sometime within that two weeks I saw on Facebook that there had been a police car chase very close to our house which led to a chase on foot and the police had asked all the residents just two streets away to not leave the house and to keep their pets inside.


I vaguely remember hearing sirens 
during the The War Room movie.

Just a few days ago,  I was sitting with neighbors on their porch when they started talking about the police car chase situation so close to our house.

I asked when it happened exactly.

It was the Tuesday of our movie night!

The same Tuesday Monte saw the tree demon which actually was just a dude hiding from the police because he stole a car and then engaged in a high speed car chase.

Thankfully, Monte had stopped by our neighbor's porch to say hi 
after he got home from work because I don't think he'd believe me.

He was all invested in that tree demon story.


Monday, June 04, 2018

Savage Squirrels

I was weeding the side yard yesterday when I heard a lot of squeaking and squawking.

We have lots of birds and squirrels (and sometimes rats) so I didn't think too much of it.

Monte was spraying the weeds an hour or so later and came in to tell me he thought there was an animal dying in the bushes.

Ellie and I walked outside and we noticed there were no less than 6,000 squirrels around on the electrical wires, telephone poles, tree branches and trunk, the driveway and even in the neighbor's yard across the street.

Whatever was in that bush was of great interest to those squirrels.

Immediately, I assumed it was a hurt squirrel.

Monte got a rake and decided to "rake the bush" to see what would happen.

I'll tell you what happened.

6,000 squirrels all stopped what they were doing to stare at Monte.

Ellie said something like,

"What is happening with all these squirrels?!"

It was eerie.

Two small birds flew out of the bush and all the squirrels fled the scene all at once except for a few.

One squirrel was on the electrical line that runs above our side yard and he was giving Monte such a mean stink eye that it was uncomfortable.

Another was standing upside down on the tree trunk right next to Monte.

He looked enormous for a squirrel.

And I swear he never blinked.

We all came inside and wondered why the squirrels were so fixated on tiny birds in a bush. 

Isn't there a saying about that?

Monte did some research and found out squirrels EAT birds.



I thought they were vegetarians
or whatever you call something 
that just eats nuts.

We think the squirrels must've knocked over a nest and the baby birds were in the bush trying to call out for momma and daddy for help but they were probably already EATEN by the savage squirrel gang in my yard!!

Hours later we were still bringing it up in an effort to process the carnage.

We've watched the squirrels in our yard for years digging up our grass to hide a nut only to dig it up a few days later to hide it somewhere else.

I always thought they were adorably simple.

Squirrels once ate every nut shell from a wreath I made for the front door--glue and all.

Maybe even a little dense.

I had NO. IDEA. of what they were capable of!

Later that night we watched the end of Jurassic World that was on television.

Now, you EXPECT a raptor to eat a guy.

Meat eater.

I learned that about their nature 
when studying them.

And watching all the Jurassic movies.

I had a dream last night something bit off my hand.

I assumed it was a raptor until now…

Friday, June 01, 2018

Summer! And ALL the Books

School is finally out, it's nice and hot and I'm ready to do little but read and ride my bike.

I thought I'd let you in on a few books I've already read and ALL the ones I've ambitiously purchased to read this summer.

Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray

One of my favorite authors, Melanie Shankle, plugged this book so I decided to give it a try.

Lincee is funny!

And also vulnerable and sweet.

It's written as a series of essays from different parts of her life.

Seriously, the whole why she hates green beans story is hysterical. 

This book was super easy to read and would be great to take on vacation.

Because of this, I follow Lincee's podcast 
which is also called Why I Hate Green Beans.

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey

This is such a great book. It follows Jamie's Christian upbringing and how some bad choices made in her teens left her feeling unworthy in the church. How people in the church made her feel like she could never share that part of her life. She began believing that "if they only knew" all the parts of her past, people would ask her to leave the church or think very little of her. 

Very thought-provoking and revealing how the church AND us as believers 
may not always extend grace the way God does.

I read this over spring break. I was actually sitting out on the balcony of the bad hotel reading a chapter on sin shock when the drunk college kids started whooping and hollering and announcing they were in Miami when they indeed were not.

It was convicting.

I highly recommend this. It would be a good gift for the college girls in your life too.

Jamie has an awesome podcast called The Happy Hour.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

This is more of an inspiring motivational book than a Christian living book. Rachel breaks down typical lies that we believe that get in our way of fulfilling our purpose. She shares her own story of working for a Hollywood studio, becoming a wedding planner to the stars and then starting her own media company. It's hard not to feel ready to tackle the world after reading this.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

I used to always say that I loved this book growing up. I still have the copy I read back in the 70s. Here's the thing I discovered when I reread it:  I DON'T REMEMBER IT AT ALL.

Not even a few things.

It was super hard for me to finish with all the sciencey fictionish stuff. 

And I have less than no desire to see the movie.

The End.

Everybody Always by Bob Goff

Bob Goff also wrote Love Does, which I adored. 

I just started this and already have it marked up. It's so good.

He's such a great storyteller.

Other books I have purchased for the summer but not read yet are:

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

The Middle Place and Glitter and Glue were such great books so I have high hopes for this one.

The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford

I did a quick 7-day devotional plan on the bible app on my phone based on this book and loved it, which led me to this purchase.

Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt

I heard an interview with Jen and she talked about how we have become a generation of Pinterest perfect pretty table settings yet we don't actually host anyone for dinner anymore. She talked about how people feel that they deserve to just sit on the couch alone in their sweats rather than fellowshipping with friends and neighbors. This intrigued me.

Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey

I heard about this on the Happy Hour podcast since one of the authors is Jamie Ivey's husband. It's the story of the unlikely friendship between the English theologian Charles Spurgeon and a slave named Thomas Johnson. I can't wait to start this one. 

Laugh It Up! by Candace Payne

Candace is the Chewbacca mask wearing mom who laughed her way into viral video fame. I heard her in an interview and she is so well spoken, knows the scripture and flat out funny. She's a blast to follow on Instagram. Especially during her recent trip to Israel. 

One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler

I know nothing about this except that Melanie Shankle wrote the forward. 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I realized today that I have no novels in my summer reading pile so on the recommendation of a few people, I ordered this. 

In stark contrast, all of Ellie's school recommended summer reading books are about war, racism or sexual assault. 

Oh, to be in high school again.

Happy summer reading!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Toddler Tired

In the midst of hosting family from out of town,

we decided to host whoever wanted to come over at 5:00 am 
to watch the Royal Wedding Saturday morning.

Ellie's sweet Young Life leader showed up.

I woke up at 4:45 to make tea and set out muffins, mini cinnamon rolls and fruit tarts.

There was NARY A SCONE to be had in this town.

I didn't realize that at 5:00 am it was mainly just watching the guests arrive and that it would be SOME TIME before we actually saw Meghan in her wedding dress.

The girls dozed at various points in the service and I was super glad my cousin was up early for a run to watch the fantastic Bishop Michael Curry's spirited message with me.

The wedding was beautiful, Meghan was stunning and I'm glad we got up to watch it.

After everyone left, we made breakfast for our company and then Monte and I decided to go for a long walk, 

which turned into running stadium stairs,

which turned into push-ups and sit-ups,

which turned into us running home in a DOWN POUR,

which turned into us just walking and laughing because running didn't keep us dry at all.

We were SOAKED.

After showering, I was pretty jazzed and decided to run a quick errand to look for new athletic shoes.

Not just because mine were soaking wet at home.

Somewhere during walking around the shoe store and trying a few pairs on, I hit a wall of tired.


Monte had brought me a pair of shoes that he thought would be fantastic for me (i.e. cheap) and they felt like cement blocks on my feet.

I bent down to untie them and I just. couldn't.

I laid on the floor of the shoe store with my feet in the air SAYING NO WORDS.

Monte took my shoes off and we left.

On the way to the car I told him how I had a new understanding of why toddlers throw themselves on the floor when they get tired.


Monte and I both agreed I needed a nap PRONTO.

It was around that time that I realized I had missed a call.

The name of the caller reminded me that I had committed to making several dozen cookies that day.

I almost cried.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I made close to 72 million cookies without crying.

Or throwing myself on the floor.

Then I made dinner.

All without a nap.

It's amazing what a lack of sleep does.

I felt cross-eyed.

I have a new appreciation for parents of newborns.

And for older parents of newborns.

But mostly for the people that live like this 

People that cram so much into each day that there is no time to sit and enjoy it.

There's always something else to go to, 

to say yes to,

to do, do, do.

My small group just discussed this idea of recharging.

Figuring out where all the pressures we are under are coming from.

Which ones we can get out from under 
so we can be more fully charged 
for what is the most important.

We are reading Priscilla Shirer's Fervent and she suggested that the many pressures in our our lives can resemble slavery.

"Slaves don't rest.
Slaves just work.
They don't control their agenda for the day;
the day's agenda controls them."

When we start thinking we CAN'T say no, 
then well, we are talking like a slave.

We are free.

We DO have the freedom to say no.

To allow ourselves space in our day to be still, 
to go to bed at a reasonable time, 
to be sensitive to what our body and mind are saying 
when it's cross-eyed tired.

I still don't think I have fully recovered because it's May and May is its own form of toddler tired without the royal wedding.

But I've planned some margin in my week to allow me some downtime to recharge for what I know will be a busy weekend.

Because of just a few no's,  I saw a frog outside my window this morning while I was watering my flowers.

I noticed the first peony of the season.

 I watched flags being installed along the sidewalks by a school for Memorial Day on my walk.

And I listened to an awesome sermon about Jesus coming to us 
in the midst of the storm.

I think my head planter I got for Mother's Day perfectly sums up my current mood.

I'll Miss You, Summer and Other Random Things

I really do love summer. I like hot days and warm nights that don't require wearing jackets. I live in a part of the country where ...