Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Our Moldy Souls

The title pretty much sums up our last week.

Except you know it doesn’t.

There are more details 
and background 
and possibly a few pictures.

It has rained A LOT this summer.

Like, so much that my soul is starting to mold.

I just heard that out of the past 30 days, 28 had measurable rain.

28 days of rain, people!

And that does very little in the way 
of motivation for me.

For anything.

Like sometimes being patient.

Or kind.

On the bright side, our patio got finished! 

And we did a quick DIY project with these poles and lights over the 4th of July weekend.

Just waiting on the rain to stop long enough
for grass to be planted and some landscaping done.

Patio on the 4th of July.

Patio today.

McDaniel and Ellie went camping with their bible study group last week.

One of the moms has a camper and brave spirit and invited a slew of girls into the woods.

In the rain. 

God love her.

On the day they were to leave, Monte had scheduled an appointment with the cable company to fix our extremely spotty and sluggish wifi. 

Since I would know nothing more to say to them except,

“Make it go faster!”

Monte decided to come home to discuss speeds 
and routers and things that put me into a coma.

For whatever reason, I decided to take a bath that morning.

I walked out of the bathroom to the girls hollering for me to come downstairs.

Knowing that the cable guys were getting ready to ring the door bell any second and I was in my robe, I declined.

They kept hollering things up to me like,

“It’s bad!

It’s really bad!

So I went downstairs to see what was so bad.

Water was pouring out of the recessed light fixture dangerously close to the piano.

And dripping from other spots in the ceiling as well.

The ceiling that was just painted, 
in part, 
during our renovation project.

It was bad!

I called Monte and we decided that the plumbing service we had just called the week before to unclog our drains (I know, AGAIN!) may have broken something or left something loose.

Monte decided to call our beloved builder Paul and ask his thoughts.
(He was on vacation the week before which is why I didn’t call him originally.)

Two seconds after the cable guys showed up, 
Paul and Jay showed up.

We had a house full of help.

After just a few seconds looking at our pipes, Jay asked if the plumber who had been here before was a "big guy."

And not in the muscular way.

He was.

He said his arms were too “big" to fit into the tiny space and tighten the pipes fully after working on them.


**Our daily showers weren’t enough pressure to cause a leak, 
but the rush of water draining from a full bath tub was.

In case you were wondering.

Luckily, it was an easy peasy fix for slender, in-shape Jay. 

The next day I happened to get a follow up email from the original plumbing service to write a review of my plumber.

I toyed with the idea of saying something like,

“Nice guy, but his love of pie almost ruined 
my newly painted ceilings!” 

But I was afraid that was just my rain-soaked, 
moldy soul talking.

So I deleted the email.

Monte and I had big plans to go out to eat, go see a movie and possibly walk around the city while the girls were camping.

But it rained.

No, it didn’t just rain. 

Water was unleashed from the sky.

Bucket and buckets of water.

So we decided to get take-out and order a movie from Apple TV.

Except our wifi wasn’t working.

Yes, the very same wifi that two people were here over an hour “fixing”.

Monte drove his VERY moldy soul right to the cable company office building.

He texted me that he was 18th in line.


The good news is, he isn’t still waiting in line, 
we have a new server 
and our wifi seems to have perked up considerably.

And no one at the cable company had to die.

Our next night with no girls at home, it rained harder.

No, seriously.

So we cooked seafood at home and brought out all the equipment we have accumulated 
through the years to eat seafood but rarely get to use because not so many people in the 
Midwest actually like seafood.

Sometimes it’s fun to use a lot of tools on your food.

It was lovely.

And we went to bed at 9:38 like we were the parents of newborns.

It was glorious.

Nigel went to the groomer on Friday.

I noticed as I was paying,

a higher price because they charged me a “detangling” fee (?!)

that Nigel kept pawing at his eye.

I thought maybe he didn’t like the way he smelled.

He often sneezes 47 times after being groomed and chews at his bandanna until we take it off.

We were having dinner guests so I busied myself cooking while the girls noticed just how squinty and red Nigel’s eye was getting.

Ellie had a friend spend the night and as I was making them pancakes for breakfast the next morning, Monte was texting from the very crowded vet office that a cat had just swatted and barely missed Nigel’s hurt eye.

And also caused Monte to wheeze, 
develop a headache 
and cement his theory that all cats are evil.

The vet said the irritated eye was either an allergic reaction to the shampoo the groomer used or a scratch from loose hair.

We got some antibiotic drops and a large bill.

I felt like slapping an eye patch on Nigel, loading him up in the car, going back to the groomer and demanding AT LEAST the detangling fee back as restitution. 

But that was definitely my moldy soul talking.

Later that night, 

McDaniel came home from a babysitting job looking like this:

She did not go to the babysitting job looking like that.

The 4th grade little girl she was babysitting watched a bunch of You Tube make up videos and decided that McDaniel would make a great guinea pig.

The little girl said to McDaniel,

“This is a casual dramatic look.”

I’m not sure about you, but I’m not seeing 
the casualness of this look.

She also said, 

“Please tell me you are going to party after this!”

Not over my dead body 
looking like that!

McDaniel feared getting pulled over by the police on the way home and having to look the cop in the eye with her overly made up face and nervously assure him that it was ok because, 

“A 4th grade girl did it." 

On Sunday, a friend of mine and her daughter visited our church.

We all went to lunch together afterwards.

As Monte was talking over one of the sermon points with my friend,

I noticed something looked different about one arm of his long-sleeve dress shirt than the other.

It was ripped.

I pointed out the rip to Monte and without remembering who I was talking to for a second, 

I told him not to rip the shirt any further.

Three seconds later and to the TOTAL SHOCK AND HORROR of our daughters, our friends and the people sitting close to us at Panera,

Monte had managed to rip his entire sleeve mostly off.

It was an Incredible Hulk moment with a Larry the Cable Guy result.

At least on one side.

That man.

My friend and I chatted as we headed to the door to leave.

She stopped what she was saying and burst out laughing.

There was Monte, by the outdoor patio WHERE OTHER PANERA CUSTOMERS WERE EATING, wearing nothing but his undershirt.

I guess we missed him not bother with unbuttoning 
and just rip off the rest of his shirt and toss it into the trash can.

I blame his moldy soul.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

“Why Do You Look So Familiar?"

This is what I asked the man after introducing myself at a Young Life post-camp parent meeting.

“I’ve been in your house,” he said to me.

Before I could freak out, he added,

“I’m a fireman. I responded to your call.”

This was the view from our front door back in February. 


Then he looked at the other parents standing nearby and informed them I had a good story to tell.

Then he patiently waited for me to tell it.
(click HERE to read our fire department story)

Which of course, I did.

Later, I saw him talking in another group and when laughter broke out, they all looked across the room at me. 

I walked over since I KNEW what they were talking about.

My friend, Beth, was asking him how our call ranked with all the other fire calls this fireman had ever received in his career. 

“I’d say it’s definitely in the top five.

Top five?


I couldn’t help but be touched. 

I may or may not have put my hands on my heart when I thanked him for the honor.

But I have to say, it seemed the pleasure was all his.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What I Learned in June

I’m linking up with Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky for:


1.  I need summer to be hot and sunny.

No offense New England, the Great Lakes or the Pacific Northwest,

but this girl wants some humidity and sunshine 
to make her summer count. 

No jackets and umbrellas. 

No “getting used to the water” because the temperatures dip so low in the evening that it remains an unbearable 58 degrees. 


If I’m going to endure the Midwest weather for the remaining 9 months of the year, 

I need me some hot and sun for June, July and August.

I’m giving you the side eye, 

It’s time to step up.

2.  I’m easily fascinated.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that I had stepped in something.

I used a stick to scrape it off.

Look at all that crud! How long was it on my flip flop??

Ellie was horrified that Monte and I were not only discussing it but photographing it as well.

If you look at it just so 

(with maybe one eye closed) 

it looks like a flower.

A junky trash flower.

Slap that in a modern art exhibit and SOMEONE would be pointing out it’s representation of man’s inhumanity to man. 

You KNOW they would.

3. I was not in the right shape for VBS.

I taught the crafts class at our church’s Vacation Bible School last week. It exhausted me in a way that was total body.

Mind, body and soul.

I taught four different classes each morning and sometimes the preschoolers as well.

It was mentally exhausting to be “on” for three solid hours. 

I don’t know how you do it, teachers!

My back and knees hurt from standing and bending over to help the kids with their crafts.

Some of the kids were so insanely precious that it actually hurt my heart.

One little tiny girl was filled with affirmations everyday.

“I can’t wait to make this!"

“This is great!”

“I love being here!”

One little boy sat in my lap. 

It’s been a long time since someone sat in my lap.

I teach Sunday school all the time but this was different. 

I will try to prepare accordingly for next year.

4.  Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

McDaniel volunteered her and Ellie to teach the preschool class at VBS. Ellie spent a week preparing the lesson plans for each day while McDaniel was at camp. 

They weren’t quite prepared for how exhausting teaching was going to be either.

Especially McDaniel who was working on little sleep from camp.

Double especially that some of the kids were 
in the midst of being potty trained.

I stuck my head in their classroom on the first day to check on everyone.

Once I left, Ellie said one of the little girls pointed at the doorway where I’d just been and said,


When they were headed outside to play, Ellie told me what happened.

I’m not sure how you’d react after being told that a preschooler called you Satan, 

but it did not feel one ounce of good.

As I was processing what I’d just heard,

another teacher walked by with his class and I made 
of telling him what happened.

I received texts later of the little girl’s “prophetic statement” and if he should call me Lucifer or Lucy for short from then on.

It was two days later when we all heard the same little girl call out to her friend “Kaitlyn” that we realized it sounded A LOT like “Satan".

And Kaitlyn didn’t seem the least bit offended 
by how her name was pronounced. 

So I decided not to be either.

5. Glitter Glue is Evil

We’d had a pretty successful run of craft successes when Day 4 rolled around involving the use of glitter glue on a dragonfly clip craft.

I had purchased tubes of glitter glue at Dollar Tree that had pointy caps on them very similar to the caps on Elmer’s glue bottles.

You know, the kind you twist up, but not off, to open.

I did not realize that the boys on one end of the room were making this “must be just like Elmer’s glue” cap assumption until it was WAY too late.

I was in the slow motion mid-run, hand outstretched in the universal “NOOOOOOO!” position when the force of three boys squeezing the tube AS HARD AS THEY POSSIBLY COULD

shot the cap right off.


I looked around to see who’d been hit.

The two girls ON THE OPPOSITE END of the nearly 12 feet of tables looked at me besparkled.

It was in their hair, on their arms, on the upholstered chairs and on their clothes.

We did our best to clean them up but glitter was everywhere.

As I hugged one boy goodbye, I saw glitter all over his scalp.


Before the day was over, we wiped glitter glue off the walls, chairs, tables and ourselves. I have a pair of shorts that will now sparkle forever.

By the 4th class, we hid the glitter glue. 

But I’m pretty sure the kids saw the mess. 

They knew what they were missing.

The next day, we checked on the dragonfly clips and some of the glitter glue STILL wasn’t dry.

Learn from me, people, glitter glue is evil!

Don’t be fooled by it’s sparkle combined with adhesive claims.

It’s explosive and begs to be abused. 

And kids will always, ALWAYS agree to that request.


Friday, June 19, 2015


I have had a “thing” about dinosaurs since before I can remember.

I’m not just saying that.

My love for dinosaurs PRE-DATES my memory.

I could spell the word dinosaur before I bothered to learn to spell my last name.

I knew all their names, how to pronounce them, how to spell them and what period they lived in.

I read EVERYTHING both my school and town’s library had pertaining to dinosaurs.

I remember writing to the publisher of one book to let them know of an error.

What a nerd!

My absolute dream and the subject of many a story I’d write, was that somehow I could be transported back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

To see them live and up close.

I had just graduated college when I read Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park”.

This book rocked my world.

I loved it and hated it at the same time.

A dinosaur theme park?

Sign me up!

Tyrannosaurus Rexes and Velociraptors?

No thank you.

I was more of a Brontosaurus and Triceratops girl myself.

I distinctly remember staying up late at a friend’s house reading Jurassic Park.

At the exact moment I was reading when the Raptors were click-click clicking their claws on the tile floor of the kitchen after the kids,

my friend’s dog decided to click-click click his toenails on the hardwood floors my way.

I jumped, threw my book and the dog screamed.

Or maybe that was me.

My opinion of wanting to see dinosaurs live and up close was forever changed.

But I still “dig” dinosaurs.
Pun intended.
Going on a fossil dig 
is on my bucket list.

Emphasis on “dig” not staring at one living 
and breathing in my face 
and wanting to rip my intestines out 
while I’m still alive.

That is most certainly NOT on my bucket list.

So last week leading up to the premiere of “Jurassic World”, Ellie and I decided to catch up on all the Jurassic Park movies to date while Monte was out of town.

McDaniel could only handle bits and pieces of the movies.

Mainly because so many people ended up in bits and pieces.

While none can compare to the first one, I was pleasantly surprised by how not totally terrible the third movie was.

And shocked I’d never bothered to see it.

I was up early one morning last week watering my garden when I heard a bird that took me right inside all of the movies we'd been watching.

I could say I didn’t jump.

But it would be a lie.

I did jump.

And I looked around a little panicky, 

trying to make sure there wasn’t one of these waiting to spit in my face.


the bird sound was JUST like this!

And I’m not just saying that because we’d spent the 
last three nights watching dinosaurs eat everything 
in their sight.

I went ran inside and texted Monte that I might be on dino-overload.

He texted back that he’d heard the 
walking to his car before work just a few days earlier.

And it seemed to be coming from one of the trees 
in our neighbor’s back yard.

Nothing puts a little speed in your step 
like a prehistoric animal squawk
that’s stalking you from the neighbor’s backyard.

I decided to Google the sounds that were used in the Jurassic Park movies to emulate the dinosaurs.

Fun fact:  the hooting sound the raptors make in the first movie is the tortoise mating call.

Sorry if that ruins things for you.

Like ever looking at a tortoise the same again.

After perusing the list, I narrowed down the possibilities.

I texted Monte back that the culprit was either a swan or a hawk.

Since I’ve never seen a swan in my neighbor’s tree, 
my money’s on the hawk.

We went to see “Jurassic World” over the weekend.

As we waited for the movie to start, four 8-year-old girls sat down in front of us.

They had sparkly bows in their hair, Slurpee's in their hands and parents that kept walking past them to let them know they were “just a few rows back” if they needed anything.

Monte asked if he should shake the back of their seats to give them a scare during the previews.

I reminded him that he would’ve punched the guy in the head who did that to our girls when they were 8.

He agreed.

The movie was awesome!

Everything I feared it would be it was not.

I was afraid it would take itself too seriously,

be WAY to CGI-focused,

include incorrect dinosaurs,

and involve aliens.

McDaniel and Ellie were afraid I’d embarrass them 
with all my nerdy dinosaur facts.

The theater was full and there was a group sitting in the back that had no problem breaking out in boisterous applause when their “chosen heroes” came on screen.

I’m looking at you, nerd character, Larry and T-Rex.


Oh yeah, I was SO NOT the 
nerdiest one there.

Sorry, Chris Pratt and Raptor named Blue.


Blue is not laughing here, FYI.

Yes, the audience actually CHEERED for the T-Rex!

The same T-Rex that ate ALL the crew members on the ship bound 
for San Diego in the movie “Lost World”.

Well played, director, Colin Trevorrow

Well played.

Somewhere in the middle of the T-Rex scene,

all four of the little girls in front of us got up,

without saying a word,

 and ran out of the theater.

We couldn’t help but laugh.

They’d had enough.

And they were not about to be a part 
of the group cheering for the T-Rex.

We ran into those girls in the bathroom after the movie was over.

They were wide-eyed and drained of all color.


My guess is these girls could easily spell their last name before they could spell the word “dinosaur”.

And they probably couldn’t tell an Ankylosaurus from a Stegosaurus. 

Or a Brachiosaurus from a Brontosaurus.

My geek was showing for a second.

And it probably will NEVER be their wildest dreams to see one live and up close EVER.

I’m with you on that girls!
I am totally with you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

With All That Out of the Way, It Finally Feels Like Summer…

It seems as if a lifetime has been lived since the last day of school just a week ago.

Remember last year around the last day of school when we drove past the house with the “zombie children” all over their front yard?


They were at it again.

Except this year’s theme was something about “keeping an eye on you” I’m guessing from ALL THE EYEBALLS peeping out at us while we waited at the stop light and Ellie snapped these pictures.

What in the…?

I certainly got the feeling I was being stared down.

Bless their hearts,

I think they THOUGHT they were accomplishing something less creepy 
than smear-faced, oddly-positioned zombie children, 


The weather hasn’t been able to decide between being extremely hot and extremely chilly but landed on being most certainly, overcast.

Which hasn’t helped with the “it doesn’t feel like summer yet” feelings.

Our schedule has been chock full.

Mostly fun stuff like attending several graduation parties which allowed me to not have to worry about cooking on a weekend for the past SEVERAL weekends.

BBQ, Stromboli, pulled chicken, tacos, gyros, not to even mention the cupcakes and cookies!! 

It’s been great and waist-widening.

 Incidentally:  I signed the girls up for a free summer teen membership at my gym 
where they tried out ALL THE MACHINES in the first 10 minutes. 

Which was somewhat distracting since 
I just wanted to get in, exercise and get out.

There’s talk of taking a Zumba class.

I’ll be sure to update you.

Our cute little dump truck that lived in our back yard for so long, got moved and replaced by a back hoe.

Within an hour, I heard a high pitched “honk honk” and realized two things:

1) Back hoes have horns.

2) I was being honked at to come outside. 
From a back hoe.

Jack had hit a fairly large root to our beloved Sycamore tree and needed permission to cut through it as it might be the death of it.


Jack told me to talk it over with Monte and let him know by the next day on how to proceed.

I love our old Sycamore!

My emotions for that tree are the stuff of country songs.

Especially how it took a nasty lightning strike several years ago, sparing our house and it survived despite a nasty scar and eight arborists telling us it was a goner.

How could we kill our beloved Sycamore for a patio 
when a lightning strike couldn’t take it down?

Monte and I called our builder, Paul who happened to major in something having to do with plants and knew a thing or two about root systems.

He examined the root in question and determined it was small and therefore not a main artery for the tree which more than likely had many more and significantly larger roots.

The patio was back on as planned.


Monte and I breathed a sigh of relief until the washing machine repairman told me that something-something was broken and needed replacing since some doo-hickey was stripped.

It was going to be at least $275.

What is the opposite of whew?

Monte and I did a quick online search of what new machines cost and decided to try to save the old one which could last five more years.

The washer could be like our beloved Sycamore.

So, while we waited on the parts to come in, the laundry piled up.

In between time, the concrete for the patio was poured from the large concrete truck in our driveway.

And a mound of sand was deposited in our driveway for the pavers.

The first night the back hoe was left in our back yard we tried to open the door but it was locked.

You KNOW we checked.

The next night, we discovered the door was open and the keys were in it!

Monte felt there were just too many levers to comfortably “take a spin” around the yard.

Or neighborhood.

Hey, it has a horn so we could’ve
honked at the neighbors.

I didn’t realize Monte was snapping pictures as I exited the back hoe.

It’s was a bit treacherous since there were no steps and it wasn't on level ground and I had on flip flops.

So Monte caught the exact moment I rolled my ankle and let out a big, “OUCH!”

On the day the washing machine repairman came back,  it was discovered that a significant piece of washing machine technology was completely rusted through deeming it unfixable.

News that would’ve been 
much more helpful several days earlier 
when we were contemplating fixing or buying new
and our pile of laundry wasn’t the size of Mt. Everest. 

At that point, I was knee-deep in helping a friend with her son’s graduation party and fresh off the torment of the decision to proceed or not proceed with possibly-probably-not killing our beloved Sycamore tree over a patio install.

Not to mention the soul-sucking brain-dead 
that the end of the school year leaves one in.

I had nothing left in which to 
or pick out 
a new washing machine.

Luckily, Monte could hear that in my voice when I called to tell him the news.

He elected himself for the job.

All I told him was that I did not want anything newfangled, low-flow or such that would require me to work within a “learning curve” to do laundry.

No. Way.

I wanted a top loading, non-stinky, non-molding, non-special-detergent machine that actually left clothes smelling WAY BETTER than when I put them in.

That was a harder find than Monte thought.

He could not believe the store staff that tried to “sell" him on things like,

“Doing more loads with less clothes is fine, your wife won’t mind!” 

“Your wife will love this once she learns the 
extremely specific and important way it receives detergent.”

“This model doesn’t smell nearly as bad as the previous one!’

Monte would have none of it and kept to my requests.

Which can sometimes be hard for him. 
He LOVES new technology. 
Or even just things that say “new and improved”.

Yesterday, after over a week with no washing machine, this beauty arrived:

Hello, gorgeous!

The delivery was ill-timed as the ENORMOUS truck was trying to find a place to park on my street as the back hoe was being loaded onto a trailer attached to a truck that was already parked on our street. Not to mention the other two trucks parked on our street. Plus our cars. I felt the need to “help” them back into our driveway.

To say that it was tight driving was a complete understatement.

But it was all worth it.

And I’ve been doing laundry HAPPILY ever after since.

It’s so great to have clean clothes!

And it has decided to be hot and sunny so we actually went to the pool yesterday and then a farmer’s market so it FINALLY feels like summer…


Monday, June 08, 2015

The Sacrifice of Fools

Our youth pastor, Dave, preached this past Sunday.

The sermon was out of Ecclesiastes and titled:  “Precipate Worship vs. Pure Worship, The Sacrifice of Fools"

The word fool popped right out at me.

A person who lacks sense or judgement. 
A person who is made to appear ridiculous. 
An idiot or imbecile. 

It should not come as a surprise that I am 
VERY familiar with the definition.

But fool was not, in this context, any of those definitions.

Quite the opposite.

And potentially,
far worse.

The fool was someone who was in denial.

Or flat-out rebellion, 

wrapped up in denial 

with a teence bit of liar, liar pants on fire thrown in.

You know, the fools that sit in church but don’t listen.

That nod their head at all the right sermon points but don’t hear.

That sing the songs that praise our God but don’t feel it,

much less mean it.

That rush into church late, without properly preparing their hearts and minds for God’s lesson for them.

That says things like, “Well at least I came to church…”

God never wants our least.

The fools that speak fluent Christian chatter but don’t hear what they are saying.

 That take their anxieties to bed and have stress dreams that are “meaningless”.

“As a dream comes when there are many cares, 
so the speech of a fool when there are many words.”
--Ecclesiastes 5:3

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.
--Ecclesiastes 5:7

Stand in awe of God.

You know, get over ourselves 
and get on over to Him.

The one that can actually do something about anything
and everything.

The fool is one who makes promises to God but doesn't take them seriously.

Got wants us to take promises so seriously that he says He’d rather us not vow anything at all then to take them lightly.

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; 
fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. “
--Ecclesiastes 5:4

So no, the fool is not one who is incapable of learning, 
yet one who refuses to learn.


We are all the fool at times.

But repeatedly?

“… He has no pleasure in fools…” 

I don’t know about you but I want God to delight in me. 

To take pleasure in me.

To nudge an angel up in heaven and point down to me here on earth and say,

“You see that woman down there? The one with her thumbs shoved up her nose, trying not to laugh until she cries? 
She’s one of my own and I’m crazy about her.”

At the end of the sermon, we broke up into small groups and were led in discussion by a member of our youth group.

We discussed precipate worship vs. pure worship. 

HINT:  it’s an intentional heart thing.

We discussed being late and/or rushed getting into church.

We aren’t late for jobs and school, 
why church?

We prayed about ways to apply this, God’s word, to our lives. 

It was such a blessing to see how seriously
 the teens leading us were taking it.

So I’m asking God to reveal to me an area in my life where 

 I’m just going through the motions.

Where I’m empty talk.

Where I’m possibly in denial or rebellion or just lying to myself and ultimately God.

You know, where I’m acting the fool.

This morning my devotion led me to 2 Corinthians 3:3. I especially liked The Message’s translation:

“Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it--not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, 
but carved into human lives--and we publish it."

If I am a letter walking around for anyone to read, I don’t want to be a lie inside of a rebellion wrapped up in denial. 

What kind of a read would that be? 

HINT:  worldly

No, I need Christ carved in me,

more Christ, 
less me, 

so I’m something worth publishing.

“You see that woman down there? The one with the tear-shaped scar around the mole on her neck?
She’s a letter that I wrote, not with ink, but my Spirit 
and I’m crazy about her.”

Thursday, June 04, 2015


You might remember a painting that caught my eye in a local store a year or so ago.

I originally tried to get Carisa to buy it but $365 for a picture of two donkeys 
staring each other down would be a bit much for anyone.

Monte and I really liked it and vowed to paint one ourselves once our addition was complete.

Monte felt it summed up marriage in a single work of art.

No words needed.

Well, that time came last week.

I bought a pack of poster boards so we could feel free to make mistakes.

I just grabbed the paint I had and mixed colors to get what I wanted.

We did a pencil sketch first, each drawing one mule.

Monte decided that “muleart” is what 
this form of art should be called.

A little classier than “donkey art” 
or “mullet” 
as my autocorrect keeps trying 
to change “muleart”  to.


We outlined the sketches with black paint.

I tried to do the spots on my mule like the expensive painting but it ended up looking like some sort of medieval executioner hood.

Not the vibe I was going for at all, 
since you know, 
the summarization of MARRIAGE,
so I erased them.

My mule.

Monte’s brother said my mule reminded him of a character from a Kevin Henkes book.

Which are all mice.

So I have a mouse mule vibe going out.

Monte’s mule.

I had to fight Monte to put any definition of a pupil in his mule’s eye.

Without it, there was a possessed-mule-back-from-the-dead kind of vibe,

which would’ve changed the entire tone of the painting for sure.

I hope no one’s muleart could be best defined by
a possessed-mule-back-from-the-dead.

Especially one that’s trying to scare
Chrysanthemum, for the love of Pete.

Monte’s mule is still giving my mule a pretty stiff stink eye.

But I love the bewildered look of,

“Who? Me?”

that my mule is sending out.

Says a lot about our marriage.

I decided to use a barn wood frame that my dad made for our finished muleart.

While our builder, Paul, was over last week with the painter, Chuck, doing touch-ups, I asked the best way to hang the picture and next thing you know, I was sitting on the sectional telling BOTH of them to move it “just a teence to the right”. 

I’m going to miss them SO MUCH.

Paul asked if Monte painted it.

After I said yes and before I could say that I painted part of it too, 

he wanted to know why Monte drew my mule 
giving his mule such a stink eye.

Says a lot about our marriage,
doesn’t it?

Before Paul left, he said he wanted to commission Monte for three more paintings since,

“It won’t take him more than 7 minutes for all three of them!

Then he laughed and laughed.


So misunderstood.