Wednesday, January 29, 2014


We saw Disney’s Frozen before Thanksgiving.

We LOVED it!

I shivered the entire movie because of how 
believable they made the cold seem.

And, oh by the way, it was actually cold outside.

Or what we thought was cold.

At the time.

Today is the second day in a row that school has been cancelled due to the sub-human temperatures.

I decided to take the girls and their friends to see Frozen again.

And AGAIN, I almost froze too death 
in the theater watching the movie. 

Like I kept my coat and gloves on 
and wished I had a scarf for my nose 
kind of cold.

The movie was just as good the second time around.

That song, “Let It Go” is something else, isn’t it?

After a winter of lots of snow and dangerous cold,

I have a different version of this song I’d like to sing.

Winter, I mean, not you.

You stay.


But seriously, how prophetic were the powers that be at Disney to release this movie THIS winter when many schools across the country have already exceeded their number of snow days and it is not even February yet?

Which is probably why Frozen is still in the top 5 at the box office because so many people are free from the confines of a school schedule to repeatedly go see the movie.

Like us, today.

Well played, Disney.

Well played.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Silent Sunday

“Winter Storm”
(featuring Audrey Assad)

Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow, yes, You did
You were quiet, You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Ooh no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

Oh, You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Falling, oh yeah, to the earth below
You came falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Arrow, the Song, the Poem and Buttonholes

I love poetry,

but it seems somehow I forgot that

in the middle of doing this thing called LIFE.

McDaniel recently brought to my attention that she needed to memorize a poem for school.

That old love was immediately awakened.

She had to choose the poem from a website of lots of different eras and styles and poets.

I told her it would be easier to memorize something that made sense to her.

We read A LOT of poetry that day that did not make any sense.

There was an opportunity to enter a competition reciting a poem with feeling.

We watched some videos of kids doing just that.

They were amazing.

McDaniel chose this poem:

"The Arrow and the Song"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

I memorized it right along with McDaniel because I listened to her practice over and over and over.

And also, because I really, really liked it.

She said that she was able to recite it perfectly in front of her entire English class on Tuesday.

I forgot to ask if she slipped into the British accent 
she was prone to do while she practiced.

The teacher suggested McDaniel enter the poetry reading contest, which she promptly poo-pooed.

 We have a beret for her to wear should she change her mind.

In the bleachers after their basketball game Tuesday night, McDaniel and her friend recited their poems to me and her friend's mom.

Her friend's poem took me off guard:

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

I was sitting next to the girl's mother as I listened to her daughter unaffectedly speak these words that so affected me.

We had just been talking about all the unnecessary pressures on our daughters in school and sports. We talked of dances and tests that revealed what our children should be when they grow up.

A journalist for McDaniel
but, oddly, enough, 
also a construction worker
or brick layer.

Which is a bit different than 
the tattoo artist suggestion
she got when she last took
this career test in middle school.

And then this poem spoke out into the air 

louder than the

dribbling basketballs

or squeaking tennis shoes

or blasting rap song 

in the gym.

When the poem was done and McDaniel and her friend skipped off unchanged to get pizza, 

I turned to her mom, who's eyes were misty like mine and I said something like,

"See? We need them to realize they are buttonholes. Buttonholes!!"

And she burst out laughing because, well,

I had just screamed buttonholes really loud
which sounded a lot like a slightly different word,

in a gym that suddenly had gotten a whole lot quieter.

I am reading Emily P. Freeman's book "A Million Little Ways".

It says "uncover the art you were made to live" right on the cover.

I keep reading this one section over and over because it is just so "a-ha moment" powerful.

Emily is describing what it means to be God's workmanship:

We are created in Christ Jesus, on purpose, with purpose.

Adam and Eve were made in his image and given a job to do.

You and I are remade in Christ, and we're given a job to do too.

But, this type of work we are to do is not the kind that comes from the outside, like a task we discover or approach. It isn't a talent or skill we go to school to perfect. This word for "work" is the type that assumes the completion of an inner desire.

When a poet writes a poem, he isn't writing a technical manual or a how-to booklet. A poet writes to express an inner desire.

We see that same idea here in Ephesians 2:10, where it essentially says, 
You are a poem written inside the person of Jesus Christ. You exist to carry out his inner desire. This is your good work.

So this is our job, to carry out the inner desire of Christ. And the inner desire of Christ is to bring glory to the Father.

I would've sworn to you that in that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem,

that my "work",

my writing,

was what was being shot into the air

or breathed into it

by ME.

But Emily Freeman helped me realize that




And God is the archer.

God is the breath of the song.

God alone is the glory in the poetry

that is me.

And may I, 

like the buttonhole,

never forget that.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Pants with No One Inside Them

Remember that Dr. Seuss story about the green pants with no one inside them?

I was walking in the night
And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid
Of anything. Not very.

Then I was deep within the woods
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of pale green pants
With nobody inside them!

That used to give me the heebie jeebies!

Monte too.

Later in the story:

I said, “I do not fear those pants
With nobody inside them.”
I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them. But I lied them.

Monte had a incident with a pair of pants with no one inside them.

And it creeped him out. 

Like in the Dr. Seuss story.

He called me from work a few days ago and the first words out of his mouth were,

"Something just happened that is blog-worthy."

Which is basically a signed waiver 
giving me permission to post this.

I asked Monte to write this post from his perspective but he suggested an interview type format instead.

So, here goes.

Me:  What happened?

Monte:  On my lunch break at the gym, I put my work clothes in the locker and my gym bag under the bench in the locker room. After working out and showering, I noticed my jeans and belt on the floor by my bag, which confused me.

Me:  Why did it confuse you?

Monte:  Because I didn’t wear jeans that day, my khakis were in the locker.

Me:  So what did you do?

Monte:  I thought that maybe my jeans were in my bag and had fallen out when I pulled out my workout clothes.

Me:  Did you ever think someone had rifled through your bag?

Monte:  Nope.

Me:  Why is this a blog-worthy story?

Monte:  I was still confused about why the jeans were outside my bag. But I shoved them back in and forgot about it. No big deal. No story…yet.

Me: So…

Monte:  The next day was “jeans day” at work and I pulled the jeans out of my gym bag BUT as I put them on something didn’t feel right. The waist fit right but they were too long. I took them off and looked at them closer and realized that the length was 2 inches longer than I wear and the belt was a little different. These weren’t mine! I realized I was a thief. But not a normal thief--a thief that steals someone’s jeans while they are working out.

Me:  So what did you do with the jeans?

Monte:  I was panicked. My first reaction was to throw them away and pretend it didn’t happen.

Me:  You really wanted to throw them away? In our house?! You never considered waking me up to tell me of the stranger’s pants in our house?

Monte:  No. But I didn't throw them away, I decided to return them to the stylish guy with good taste in jeans and belts.

Me:  Nice plug for yourself. So what did you do?

Monte:  I put them back in my workout bag with a plan to return them to the gym at lunch. I couldn’t help thinking of the guy returning from the shower only to find he had no pants to wear back to work! Everyone at the office thought the guy may have been swimming and had to go into the 20 degree weather with WET swim trunks on.

Me:  Wait. You told everyone in the office before calling me?

Monte:  Yes.

We stare at each other silently.

Monte:  Do you want to hear what the office said?

Me:  Yes.

Monte:  Here are a few scenarios the office came up with about the pantless guy in the locker room:

•He had to drive to the mall in his workout shorts to buy pants so he could return to work.

•He was only wearing a Speedo while swimming and 
just opted to drive home instead of facing walking around the mall
to buy a new pair of pants or into the office basically naked.

•He went to the front desk of the gym and asked for Lost & Found 
looking for his jeans.

•Upon not finding his jeans in Lost & Found he reported them stolen.

•He became irate and vowed to hurt whoever stole his jeans.

Me:  What if he was so desperate for pants that he started rifling through lockers and gym bags for any pair of pants to steal?

Monte:  So I triggered a crime spree? An evil pay-it-forward?

Me:  Yes.

We stare at each other silently.

Me:  How did you return the pants?

Monte:  I was too embarrassed to return them to the front desk because I didn’t want to have to admit that I stole some dude’s pants.

Me:  And tried them on.

Monte:  Right. I placed them on the bench in the locker room near where I found them.

Me:  Did anyone see you?

Monte:  No. I was hoping someone would turn them in to Lost & Found and return them to the guy.

Me:  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if you just returned them to Lost & Found and they could have connected you with the guy and you two could have had a big long laugh about it?

Monte:  NO!!

Me:  Why?

Monte:  NO!! I don’t know. It’s creepy. I wanted to throw them away!

So if may:

I was walking in the gym at lunch
And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid
Of anything. Not very.

Then I was deep inside the locker room
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of blue jean pants
With nobody inside them!

It goes on:

I said, “To Lost & Found I will return those pants
With nobody inside them.”
I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them. But I lied them.”

Sorry, Dr. Seuss.

And extra special sorry to the man who had to tell his wife the story of why he came home in his gym shorts or a brand new pair of pants. 

But I’d love to hear their side of the story.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Lost SIZE 10 Basketball Shoe


This is just so


and infuriating.

But this is our life.

Once upon a time…

it came to my attention that McDaniel left a basketball shoe in our neighbor's car who we carpool with.

"A" shoe.

As in one.

Why just one?

Good question.

The answer came to me in a mumbled mess of I don't know's and something about a zipper not being completely zipped on a gym bag.


somehow a SIZE 10 high top basketball shoe "slipped out" of her unzipped gym bag and was lying in the car of our neighbor who then gave it back to McDaniel on a day she didn't have basketball practice right after school.

So McDaniel didn't have her gym bag with her.

On that day after school, she and her friends were being picked up by a friend's dad and taken to the mall to shop for a gift for another friend who was moving away.

So this one SIZE 10 basketball shoe was loose in her friend's van.

It was too big to put into her
already stuffed backpack.

When McDaniel was dropped off in our driveway and she went to retrieve the loose SIZE 10 basketball shoe,

it wasn't there.


They looked all over the van.

No shoe.

It must've fallen out in the mall parking lot and somehow been overlooked by all her friends getting out and then back into the van.

The petite, 
nearly invisible, 
presence of a 
SIZE 10 
high top basketball shoe.

Are you kidding me?!

I trip over these shoes all the time 
like they are a log in my path.

If these were her practice shoes it would be no big deal.

But these are her GAME shoes.

The ones we had to order from the special web site so they'd all match and get that discount where the extra money would go back to support the girl's basketball program.

And they weren't cheap.

So at dinner we decided that Monte would go to the mall parking lot to look for the shoe since he didn't want me to roam through the dark parking lot at night,

asking if anyone had seen just one SIZE 10 basketball shoe.

Like I was a character in some weird 
"sporty version" of Cinderella.

Monte ran into McDaniel's friend's Mom at the lost and found desk in the mall.

She was not happy with her husband.

The one driving the van that somehow managed 
to spit out a SIZE 10 basketball shoe unnoticed.

They looked everywhere.

In between cars.

Underneath cars.

In trash cans.

No size 10 basketball shoe.

And no mall security asking them why they 
looked like they were casing the parking lot.

Monte left our number with the lost and found desk.

We are pretty confident that no one would steal one size 10 basketball shoe.

Would they?!

We told McDaniel that she would have to pay for the new shoes and take care of talking with the coach to get the special web site ordering form once again.

She said that she'd just order ONE shoe.

Because apparently THAT is a thing that you can do.
When you are 14.

McDaniel doesn't have the money.

She blew her Christmas money on Sunday at one store.

All at one time.

Because apparently THAT is a thing that you can do.
When you are 14.

So the current owner of just one SIZE 10 basketball shoe is going to be getting a nice long list of chores to do around the house. 

And I don't care if that makes me the evil Step-mother in this Cinderella story.

There's that word SEEK again…

Monday, January 13, 2014


Lots of people choose one word to focus on for the new year. I tentatively gave it a go last year with the word "link".

I thought I would forget all about it by, like, February 1st.

But I didn't.

I thought about it a lot 

or something would happen to remind me of it.

I have to say, on many levels, that word really did sum up my 2013.

So much so that I didn't want to ruin it by choosing the wrong word for 2014.

I really wasn't "feeling anything" for a new word.

I wanted to stick with "link".

It was working for me.

I prayed about it.


Then, what seems to be my thing lately, I noticed I was humming this song.

  • Seek ye first the kingdom of God
    And His righteousness;
    And all these things shall be added unto you.
    Hallelu, Hallelujah!
  • Ask, and it shall be given unto you;
    Seek, and you shall find.
    Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
    Hallelu, Hallelujah!
  • Man shall not live by bread alone,
    But by every word
    That proceeds out from the mouth of God.
    Hallelu, Hallelujah!

  • "Seek" really popped out at me.

    Then I second guessed it and thought maybe it should be the word "first".

    As it is when God wants your attention,

    the word SEEK showed up EVERYWHERE.

    When I was looking for something else, I came across this beautiful piece of scripture art. I printed it out and it now hangs right by my computer.

    Don't you love my hanger? Got it from Pick Your Plum.

    I looked everywhere and couldn't find this again to link back to.

    Even when we were dealing with our "blessing of lice" over the long weekend,

    the word "seek" was right on the tip of my tongue.

    Seek and destroy.

    But also, thanks to my husband,

    seek God in this

    because this is His provision.

    And so it is.

    What is your word for 2014?

    Wednesday, January 08, 2014

    Twas A Few Weeks Past Christmas…

    ’Twas a few weeks past Christmas
    And all through the house
    Christmas was all packed away
    The creature stirring? A louse!

    Yes, for those of you that have been through it

    or just for those of you who would ROCK at Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit,

    a louse is the singular of LICE.

    Yes, I said that correctly.


    Apparently other than a sleepy girl and crunched up pretzels on the basement carpet, one can also expect LICE to be left behind after a sleepover.

    For the love of Pete!

    Ellie came down Saturday night after her shower and weepily announced she found a bug in her hair.

    Monte whipped out this magnifying contraption thingy I got at Restoration Hardware that I stuck in his stocking thinking it would look good on an end table or shelf not realizing how much he would actually use it.

    Those clips can hold eyeglasses or a necklace chain.

    Which is a lot as it turns out--

    from fixing a necklace of Ellie’s Christmas morning,

    Fixing Ellie’s necklace.

     to digging out splinters 

    and, oh yeah, seeking out and identifying lice.

    I wonder if we should contact the magnifying glass
    manufacturer with this consumer testimonial?
    For the love of Pete.

    Monte determined Ellie did in fact have lice and left for the drug store as I shoved everything I could touch into the washer and/or dryer and/or big plastic bags sealed tight.

    I was knee-deep in research on what else I should wash, bleach or set on fire when Monte started the shampoo and nit-picking stage.
    Ellie is not happy.

    Do you know that is where that phrase came from??


    “Hey, stop nit-picking me!”

    Actually means,

    “Hey, stop picking all the lice nits from my hair!”

    Which I think we have gotten all turned around through time.

    Nit-picking is a good thing.

    A very good thing.


    Sunday morning we woke up with a clatter 
    rushed to Ellie’s room 
    to  find out what was the matter

    Okay, I’ll stop.

    Ellie still had lice.

    I sent Monte and McDaniel to church and set about the process of 

    stripping beds, 
    and pillows, 
    laundering EVERYTHING in my sight 
    and shampooing 
    and nit-picking 

    I could tell Ellie was weary and just about beside herself.

    So I cranked up some music and tried to make the process of me picking bugs out of her hair as fun as possible.

    Monte and I tried to reassure Ellie that it wasn’t her fault. It didn’t make her dirty or gross.

    It certainly helped that neither Monte or I are the kind of people that freak out when someone sneezes or gets sick. There are no medical mask-wearers or “Wait, these tissue boxes would make great shoes” over here.

    Hey, I was raised to pick up the Popsicle from the ground and keep on licking. Dirt only adds protein, Jack!

    So, Monte and I are pretty laid back about germs and tried to convey that to Ellie in her time of despair.

    But bugs are bugs. And we wanted them to,

    “Dash away, dash away,
    dash away all!

    Yeah, I  am not done.

    We told her to pray.

    I read that some lice are very resistant to the over the counter shampoos and gels and a prescription might be necessary.

    School was to start on Monday after 2 weeks off for Christmas and I hated the thought of Ellie missing class.

    So Monte called the emergency on-call number to talk with our pediatrician.

    As it turns out, she did NOT feel that lice was a reason for Monte to call the emergency on-call number to which, as the only male in our household, Monte informed her,

    “Oh, it is about to get REAL over here with emergency.”

    Or something like that mostly in his head.

    God love him for knowing the 
    importance of hair in our house.


    The pediatrician (who we love dearly) went on to explain that America is the only country "freaked out" by lice and that on any given day 40% of school children in England walk around with lice. Even higher in Israel.

    To that I say,

    “God bless the USA!”

    So she prescribed Ellie a shampoo that she warned Monte is highly flammable and would need to stay in her hair for 8 hours.

    So flammable that she shouldn’t even THINK about walking into a room with a hair dryer going or a curling iron on or a candle flickering lest she want to burst into flame.

    And oh yeah, the shampoo is $150.

    Take a guess which part of that was most shocking to Monte.

    We spent the rest of our Sunday itching everywhere and checking one another’s hair for bugs like monkeys.

    Monte bought a shower cap for Ellie for fun and she had a ball with it.

    This might be when Ellie informed Monte a lot more
    head was showing than she previously noticed.

    McDaniel did find one bug in my hair 

    to which I doused with the OTC shampoo 
    saving the “fire water shampoo”, as we deemed it, 
    for McDaniel should she be found with a stow away.

    That girl has enough hair to provide quite a community of lice happy, warm, long-term accommodations.

    Look at that prime real estate!
    By dinner, we were laughing a lot.

    The good Lord saw fit to blow in a mighty cold front and a snow storm that just missed us but cancelled school for 2 days due to the frigid temperatures and icy conditions.

    We had more time to launder the entire house and nit-pick and evaluate everyone’s hair condition.

    Which we deemed good.

    So Monte tried to take back the $150 prescription “fire water” shampoo.

    Which you can’t do.

    So he briefly wondered what the street value 
    of $150 lice shampoo would be.


    While we were digging through each other’s hair and shampooing and nit-picking and doing load after load after load of laundry,

    we started hearing of people very nearby losing power

    and heat

    and water due to frozen pipes.

    God was so good to keep us home those coldest days and using our water, 

    what seemed like endlessly,

    so there was never a threat of freezing.

    Monte and I talked about the blessing of lice in a cold front.

    Protection from worse, more damaging problems that were happening all around us.

    We were able to praise God for lice. 

    And bitter cold.

    And for Monte’s frozen car battery.

    Because it could have been so. many. things. 

    An incurable disease.

    An unhealable injury.

    An expensive breakdown.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
    “plans for welfare and not for calamity 
    to give you a future and a hope.” 
    -Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

    This is a different version than I have memorized, but I like it as it applies to our story. 

    Our school doesnt call snow days, snow days”-- they call them calamity days

    God is such a God of little things. 

    To offer welfare in the form of bugs. 

    And hope to a weary girl with them in her hair
    and a busy family with them in their house.

    Can I get an Amen?

    Happy New Year to all 
    and to all a good night!

    Thats all, I promise.

    Friday, January 03, 2014


    First of all,

    Happy New Year!

    I have taken a nice break from schedules and carpool and blogging to spend time with family.

    I will recap all that later.

    I have to tell you about my morning.

    First of all, it is COLD here. 

    Like single-digit cold.

    Like wear gloves and a coat even if you are just sitting in your car with the heat on waiting for basketball practice to let out eating a breakfast wrap with this yummy roasted red pepper paste.

    But eating a breakfast wrap with this yummy roasted red pepper paste and drinking a coffee with large ski gloves on is difficult

    and resulted in a red and brown stain 
    on the front of my white ski coat.

    After Ellie and I dropped McDaniel off at home after basketball practice, we went to the grocery store to load up on a seemingly endless list of “special requests” from her friends for the sleepover that was to take place that night.

    I said no to the pop tarts

    and cookie dough ice cream 

    because, well, gross.

    As we were filling our carts with still quite a bit of junk, Ellie mentioned that she saw a camera crew and reporter from NBC interviewing someone in the bread aisle.

    I said something terribly interesting like, 

    “That’s nice.”

    Until I realized that I needed something from the bread aisle.

    I told Ellie to zoom her curious self down the aisle to pick up our needed item while I hid out in what I thought was a safe office supplies aisle.

    I hadn’t even made it fully into the office supplies section when a lady with a microphone popped out of books and greeting cards.

    She looked into my cart of ice cream, potato chips, dips, salsa and asked if I was loading up to watch the game tonight.

    I looked at her blankly and asked,

    “What game?”

    Yes, with no make up on and an obvious red and brown stain on the front of my still zipped up white ski coat,

    I asked the TV lady,

    “What game?"

    Just then, someone I knew started laughing nearby.

    It hit me.

    I live in a big college town.

    That college was playing in the Orange Bowl.

    We root for a different team at our house.

    Who didn’t even make it into a bowl game, ahem.

    So this game was SO not on my radar.

    I was at the store to prepare 
    a sleepover menu, NBC!

    Not feel like this news story’s “passerby" only missing 
    pink curlers in my hair and an auto-tuned version of 
    my clueless , “What game?” ready to go viral.

    My heckling friend hollered out that Monte would be none too pleased if his wife were to appear on the local news talking about ANOTHER football team that wasn’t, well, his team.

    She knows him well.

    Somewhere between my comment 
    and my friend’s  heckling, 
    the reporter just walked away.

    So Monte spent the evening texting his fellow college friends my almost-on-air comment.

    But it wasn’t a slam against the college of our town--

    just pure, straight-up cluelessness.

    And Monte couldn’t be more proud.

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