Monday, October 20, 2014

We Know How

Day #20

There is something about a church women’s retreat.

We certainly know how to make things pretty.

How to put out a spread of food.

And how to eat it.

How to keep the coffee brewing.

How to take the conversation to the next room when it dives deep.

How to laugh.

How to laugh hard.

How to laugh at ourselves 
and then share it with others 
so they can laugh too.

We know how to talk.

How to share our feelings,

our hurts, 

our misconceptions 
and what God is doing with all of them.

We know how to hear when a word is being spoken

and when to notice when someone in the corner 
is being split wide open from that word.

We know how to hug.

How to stay up too late talking

and laughing

and playing games.


We know how to ask for prayer and when to offer it.

We know how to make a mess

and how to clean it up.

We know how to encourage.

We know how to cheer.

We know how to celebrate that we are 
fearfully and wonderfully made.

And we know that that looks differently on every single one of us.

We know how to lead

and when to follow.

We know when to acknowledge the struggle

and when to suck. it. up.

We know when to look up

and notice all the beauty around us.

And we know that sometimes it takes leaving

what’s comfortable 

and close 

and tidy

to find what we’re really made of.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It Seems

Day #19

It seems that the world doesn't want us to "voice" our opinion.

They don't want us to point out a wrong.

That is "intolerant".

They don't want us to stand on a principle.

That is "narrow-minded".

They don't want us to speak up for our child.

That is "not letting them grow".

They don't want us to hold them accountable

for their jobs, 
their actions 
or their word.

That is "being difficult"
or “judgemental”
or “not supportive”.
This is how things seem.

But I know that God can be held accountable for every promise He ever made.

Every. Single. One.

He doesn't whine that it isn't in his contract.

Or turn it on me to uphold.

He doesn't accuse me of not having any promises.

Or "being difficult" for asking Him to keep His.

He just keeps them.

Before time began He had every intention of keeping His promises.

Before I ever acknowledged Him,

He kept them.

When I don’t understand,

He keeps them still.

And it seems the gap between this world 

and HIM 

will always feel IMMENSE.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Look Up

Day #18

Is it just me or is EVERYONE looking down at their phones ALL THE TIME?!

I’m certainly guilty as well, at times.

But it’s the walking and looking down that baffles me.

Droves of people walking down the sidewalk or even CROSSING THE STREET,

not looking where they are going, 
not noticing their surroundings, 
but looking down.

At their phone.

Not only are they missing the possible dangers of tripping

or getting hit by a car 

or just running into someone else,

but they are missing what’s around them.

They are missing seeing a friend drive by.

They are missing the wispy white clouds against a beautiful deep blue sky.

They are missing the orange and yellow and red leaves on the trees.

In their need to not “miss out” on news, TV, emails, etc.

They are missing out.

A friend and I went on a walk the other day.

It was a beautiful day after several days of rain.

We wanted to take advantage of it.

We were chatting away at the very beginning of our walk when my girlfriend stopped and pointed up.

It was a monarch butterfly flitting just above our heads.


I’ll never forget the beauty of the orange of its wings against the gorgeous blue sky.

My friend put her hand to her heart and smiled.

She has always associated monarchs with a loved one who is now in heaven.

It felt like such a wink from God.

A promise,

that if we just look up,

we’ll see He is all around us.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Picking Things Out

Day #17

I thought this was going to be all fun.

Picking out cabinets and doors and such for our exciting addition.

I did my time on Pinterest and knew what type of kitchen I wanted.

I knew I wanted a fireplace in the new family room.

What I didn’t realize was HOW MUCH 
everything was going to cost!!

I’m not going to Home Depot or Lowe’s for things (yet) where I can see a sticker price and just keep on walking when too many zeros are in the number.

No, my builder has special pricing with 
specific manufacturers around town.

Places where you have to call ahead 
and make appointments to meet with them.

These people already have our building plans so I naturally assumed that meant they knew the budget allotted for their particular products and would only show me things within that respected price range.

Not. So.

Not so at all.

After making appointments ON OPPOSITE SIDES of the city to pick out

windows and doors, 

kitchen cabinets,

and a fireplace insert,

I’ve managed to blow the budget.

Like not even close.

Insert sound of explosion here.

I’m not a diva.

I don’t need cabinets made from Amazon Rain Forest trees that have never seen the sun because of the thick canopy of foliage above them.

Is that a thing?

Because I’m thinking that if a tree 
could survive all that rain and darkness,
that wood would be soft and 
well, ROTTEN.

So, bad example.

I swipe furniture off of people’s curbs on trash day 
and then bring it into my house and use it.

Nothing diva about that.

I want a white kitchen.

I want doors that open and close and windows that do that AND add natural light.

I want a fireplace insert that ignites when turned on.

That’s the simple expectations I had going in to each of these showrooms.

I was shown sample doors and windows and quickly decided the new windows in the new space should match the old windows in the old space.


I have to admit, I did get sucked into the idea of having blinds built right into the glass of the French doors for the family room.

Even though Carisa warned me more bells and whistles
 would just be more bells and whistles that could break.

Cha-ching. Cha-ching.

All I wanted for kitchen cabinets was white. The simpler, the better.

I didn’t realize there are 4,782 different shades of white.

The first one I picked ended up not being white but grey.

The next one turned yellow against the counter top.

The following was so bright it hurt my eyes 
and gave me the beginnings of a headache.

Sumita helped me pick one called coconut.

What happened next, I guess, was a lot a cha-chinging because our builder, Paul, was pretty shocked at the price when the quote came in.

They don’t give you prices in these showrooms.

They give you quotes. 

And the quotes don’t come in right away 
but days later,
after you have driven back across town
and crossed that item off your TO-DO list.

Paul sat across from me at my kitchen table with the quote for the cabinets and dialed the lady I met with at the showroom.

I overheard him say the amount allotted for the budget and the amount listed on the quote.

Miles apart. 



They went over things line by line.

Every now and then he’d repeat things she’d said out loud for my benefit,

“China cabinet? What china cabinet? For HOW MUCH?!”

Then he’d look at me over his reading glasses and say,

“We never talked about that.”

“Built-ins?? What built-ins? How much?!”

Another look.


Long look with a little stink eye.

I could only shrug,

“I don’t know. Everything was shiny! I didn’t know. I DIDN'T KNOW!”

The fireplace insert I chose went pretty much the same way.

“You chose one with a blower AND a remote control?!”

Honestly, they didn’t show me one without.


So the process of REPICKING less expensive everything has been the priority.

Top of the TO-DO list.

No more built-in blinds in the French doors.

In fact, no more French doors.

Paul felt sliders would better fit into the new space 
and budget.

Paul called the lady I met with about fireplace inserts and got better pricing WITHOUT a blower and remote.

Sumita and I went back across town to repick kitchen cabinets that better fit in with the allotted budget.

I expected a big difference in quality but there wasn’t.

I even found a color that was extremely close to the one I picked before. 

It’s called Brie.

I told her to axe the china cabinet and pantry and built-ins.

She said she’d price them out with the cheaper cabinets.

Just in case.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Random List

Day #16

I looked through the pictures on my phone and found such a random assortment of STUFF, that I felt the need to share them with you in list form.

I haven’t made a list in awhile anyway, right?


1) Garage BBQ

Monte sent me these pictures from Pittsburgh last week stating that he wanted something “different” for lunch.

That’s huge for Monte.

Monte is fine eating the same thing over and over and over and over every. single. day.

Variety is not necessary to him. 

In college, his friends said that he’d be happy with Food Sticks.
Food Sticks.

This is a restaurant?

I asked him if he was in someone’s garage. 

That just might be a card table in the above picture. 

He said it was delicious.

2)  Where Julie Barbie is Now

Julie sent me a picture of where the Julie Barbie sits in her house.

On top of a stack of children’s books with the added flair of holding a parasol. 

She said she should probably take the leg bandages off now

but I love that she hasn’t!

3)  Zombie Barbies

I follow this fun blog called Roadkill Rescue. It is a collection of up cycled, reclaimed furniture and crafts. I found this in my inbox a few days ago.

They took perfectly good Barbie dolls and made them zombies. 


For the love of Pete.

It reminded me of this:

But maybe not as scary.

4)  Say What? Food Label.

We went to Whole Foods for Dollar Taco Night and spotted this while we were browsing after dinner.

This was a Pumpkin Angel Food Cake.

Angel Cake Food Pumpkin is flat out confusing.

It really shows the importance of
word order, doesn’t it?

Food Pumpkin doesn’t really sound like food, does it?

I think someone needs to lose 
their food labeling privileges.

5)  Literally Kickboxing

The night before the kickboxing class they took, McDaniel decided to practice her skills with an actual box.

And actual kicking.

She made me take pictures.

Why I did, I do not know.

Then it got weird.

It’s like McDaniel already knew the kickboxing instructor 
was going to pick Ellie to be the Rocky to his Mickey.

And she’s not a bit happy about it.

6)  The Quail Tale

Once upon a time, McDaniel had a friend named Berit. Berit’s family decided to raise quails. Four of them to be exact.

Well, in some freak act of nature, one of the quails PECKED OUT the eyes of 


but TWO of the other quails.

And get this, 

they were all females.

Let’s just pause on that fact for a moment…

I’m horrified, yet curious, as to what would cause otherwise happy cage mates to go all, well,

ANIMAL on each other.

Google led me to a website called Backyard Chickens. There was an informative Q&A forum all about quails.

I learned that quails can get stressed if they don’t have enough room to live in 
or enough to do in the room they are living.

If one of the quails gets a wound, the other quails can smell it 
and then “peck at it” as a way of checking it out. 

Apparently they don’t know when enough is enough.

For the love of Pete.

I also learned that there are bully quails that need to be separated 
from the others so they can straighten up.

I also learned that sometimes bully quails don’t ever straighten up and they are best eaten.

Berit informed McDaniel that they were in the "separate the bully quail from the others stage" and the bully quail was “doing its time” in the house.

With the humans.

Berit expressed fears of waking up 

And they all lived NERVOUSLY ever after.

The End

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Everything’s Nutty

Day #15

Here’s just a little peek into what’s happening on the house front:

This little ADORABLE machine dug a trench for our electrical line to be buried.

It dug up a lot of roots from my beloved Sycamore.


When one of the workers got out a SAW to hack through an especially large root,

I almost went Lorax on the whole situation.


I texted Monte:

“Poor, poor, Sycamore!”

It survived a massive lightning strike and still wears the scar.

I’m hopeful this won’t take it down either.

We were left with a deep trench that ran from our construction hole to the back of our detached garage.

Then it kept raining so the progress stopped for a few days.

McDaniel asked if we could play “World War 1” in the trench.

It would’ve totally worked

and been a lots of fun,

but it was a mud fest out there.

As we decided against playing in the trench,

we noticed a flurry of activity around it.

Squirrels were in a great number 
jumping in, out and even over the trench in a panic.

They couldn’t find their food.

Or couldn’t hide their food.

Or they were looting from someone else’s food.

It was fast and furious.

Even Nigel noticed and put aside his fear of the construction hole to bark territorial warnings to the seemingly caffeinated frenetic activity of the squirrels.

It was nuts.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Harvest Fest

Day #14

Our church had its annual Harvest Fest this past weekend.

I’m on the social committee so I helped organize it.

We have a great committee.

Especially when I forgot to call back the Christian radio station 
that wanted to attend and help promote it,

and forgot to bring safety pins 

and clothes pins

and pumpkins,

(I KNOW! What is WRONG with me?!)

The committee members just shrugged it off 
and worked with what we had.

I have been on social committees that weren’t this grace-filled.

And sometimes I forget that this church is different and panic when I blow it.

I’m so thankful this church and this committee is such a great example of the body of Christ.

The event was well-attended and we had youth willing to help man the stations.

And it didn’t rain!

Thank you, Lord!

The Cuco’s food truck came and was quite popular.

When Juan and a helper pulled up, I was so disappointed that I didn’t see Carisa with them.

She told me she was going to help.

A few minutes later, she walked up with her friend, Rebecca.

Carisa dressed up!!

Complete with a fake beauty mark and everything!

She worked so hard that beauty mark started to
smear and bleed just a bit. 

I could not have loved her more at that moment!

Carisa stood outside of the truck and took orders on a pad and Rebecca delivered them once they were done.

Even though Carisa had on the authentic Mexican dress,

her accent was all Kentucky.

Especially when she said,

“Order up!”

And slapped the ticket on the counter.

I told her she was to Cuco’s what Flo was to Mel’s Diner.

Carisa decided that instead of Flo’s signature line, 

“Kiss my grits!”

she’d say, 

“Kiss my rice!”

Which, is delicious by the way.

Although, in that context, 
sounds pretty gross 
and slightly inappropriate.

Especially the way Carisa
drawls out the ‘i’ sound.

Carisa was as popular as the food truck.

Carisa and Beth.

In fact, when McDaniel asked a little girl what she’d like her to paint on her face,

she pointed to Carisa and said she wanted to look like that princess.

McDaniel told Carisa that and I BET YOU MONEY,

Carisa teared up.

I told her that she was a Mexican Princess.

But she needed a name, 

like PiƱata or something.

And when I called her Carnitas later it WAS ON ACCIDENT!
I was distracted by the Food Truck menu 
and Monte had just told me how delicious they were.



Scarecrow Toss

We ended the night with Trunk or Treat where the kids walked from trunk to trunk with us handing out candy.

It’s become a tradition for Carisa and I to sit in her trunk and hand out candy.

I needed help getting out of the trunk last year.

As we were starting to clean up,

I ran into this:

Monte decide to wear a mask that one of the youth brought.

It was both terrifying yet oddly familiar.

It wasn’t just a monkey face.

It was an AGING monkey face.

After a good long look I said,

“You’ve let yourself go, Monte.”