Tuesday, January 27, 2015

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

I haven’t linked up with the #TuesdayTen at The Liebers blog in a while.

A long while.

I’ve also not known the sweet sense of accomplishment 
with actual glass and porcelain and stainless steel can provide.


So here is the latest list:

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

1)  A kitchen.

I know, I’m a broken record. But seriously, meals are tough to prepare without a sink and running water and a stove and just one real knife. To say that we are sick of take-out is SUCH an understatement. I was LITERALLY sick of the Thai take-out we had Saturday night. So much so, Monte and the girls had to go to church without me Sunday morning. 

2)  Running water on the first floor.

It’s made me think twice about cutting an apple or cheese or lettuce when I know I’m going to have to go to the basement to wash the knife and cutting board in the utility sink where we give Nigel his bath. And wash out our paint brushes. And where spiders go to die as it turns out. 

In all the changes with the house, the workers took out one of the only two lights we had in our laundry room. And by lights I mean a naked bulb screwed into a socket. So now the remaining light is way off in a corner far from the utility sink and washer and dryer. I never really know if what I’m cleaning is clean. Or what I’m washing is in the same color family. I broke down and bought those color out sheets that are supposed to right any laundry wrong by pulling out color where color should not be. They work!

3)  A place to recharge.

It’s been a fairly new discovery that I am an extrovert that needs alone time to recharge. Not sure why I’ve never been able to put my finger on that. But lo and behold, I am. And when you are living in a construction zone with lots of people coming in and out during your “recharging time”, it’s hard not to want to throw a fit. Even when they are installing your hardwood floors. 

4)  My laptop.

I know, that makes me seem way more important or geeky than I am, but it is pretty key to my writing. And getting ideas on what paint colors to put in the kitchen and family room. And what style of cabinet pulls and knobs I like. And HOW MUCH a leather sofa is going to cost (?!) And, of course, what the latest deal is on Pick Your Plum. 

5)  Water.

No, #6 isn’t going to be air. I’m dead serious, I LOVE water! I’ve never been one of those people that has to force herself to drink 8 glasses a day. I surpass that easily. Happily. In fact, I may have mentioned that I was pretty stressed about how I was going to live without filtered water during this construction project. You want to know how? LOTS and LOTS of bottled water. We may single-handedly fill an entire landfill with just the bottles of water consumed during this house project. It’s crazy. And can we talk about how flimsy the bottles have become? The crunching sound the thin plastic makes when you simply pick it up is deafening. Drives. Me. Crazy. I hope to never purchase another bottle of water for a VERY, VERY, VERY long time after our house is done.

6)  Air. Kidding! My family.

I really do enjoy being with the people that live in this house. They are my favorite people. I’m so sad when I hear it isn’t that way in other families. That dread and maybe even fear exist upon one of their own entering a room. I can’t even imagine. And I say that as a parent of two hormonal girls. Monte and I look forward to growing old together. Well, continuing to grow old together. 

7)  Reading Material.

Not only do I feel the absolute need to read devotions and the bible (not in a legalistic way), I really enjoy it. I like good reading. It can be in the form of a blog post or an article in a magazine or a book. I’m never without reading material. In fact, I like to read during commercials while we are watching TV. Last night I read the most interesting article on the link between diet and Alzheimer’s while Monte was upstairs praying with the girls. SPOILER ALERT:  I’m on a fast track to not knowing who my favorite people are by the time I’m 60 if I don’t lay off the candy. Sadly, sugar is not good for your mental health. 

I’ve just started reading Sophie Hudson’s latest book,  “Home is Where My People Are”. 

I’ve already laughed out loud and texted my mom on just how right she is in describing small town life. In particular, small town church life.

I’m also reading “Enough. 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls” by Kate Conner. 

This book is just awesome and I’m only two chapters in. It’s written by a mom in her twenties, so it seems a bit more fresh and relevant. Believe me, once you actually HAVE teenage daughters, you are no longer fresh or relevant. My daughter saw me dressed for a party and said she never wanted to get “so old” that wearing my particular pair of gray pants seemed like a good idea. Ouch. 

The first chapter describes femininity as a superpower given by God and how if it is improperly taught and regarded, it can lead to burkas or spandex miniskirts. (Not a peep about gray pants.) Great stuff!! I’ve already bought the teen version of the book for my girls to read. 

Hopefully, one chapter will address

8)  My people. 

It’s been so vital these past four months to have people stop by and see our construction zone and offer their opinions on so many things that I never would’ve thought of on my own or paid someone to tell me. I need all the free help I can get! Especially now that we are at the crucial pick paint color(s) stage. 

My parents drove 4 hours last week to bring an over 100-year-old barn beam to me to use as a fireplace mantle. 
Isn’t it beautiful?

The going rate around here for anything barn wood and old is about $500. Dad found a guy who’s barn fell down and he was planning on burning all the wood and beams. Can you imagine?! He gave us this beam, get this, FOR FREE. 

Also, the dinners! It’s been so great to be invited into homes that use real plates and knives and forks and glasses that don’t crinkle so loud when I pick them up to take a sip that I have to turn the TV up louder.  We’ve been brought meals too. Real actual delicious homemade meals that didn’t make me so ill I had to miss church. We certainly have been loved by our people through this whole project.

9)  Fellowship.

We left a church about 5 years ago. While we were trying out other churches, it was just the worst feeling of not belonging. I missed the fellowship of church. A church where I KNEW people and they KNEW me.  And no wonder, we were MADE to fellowship. To be in the company of other believers to encourage each other and hold each other accountable. I posted this recently:

But the verse goes on:

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

See? We are meant to spur one another on by MEETING TOGETHER, fellowshipping. Doing church. God says so. 

10)  Funny.

I think we all knew that was coming. Seriously, if I get so far in a situation where I cant see the funny, than Ive lost hope. And hope is all we have. Like Tim Hawkins said, its our God-given weapon against this world. I could not have fought off lice without it. Or managed to walk about town with three bandages on my neck covering a fiery red tear drop shaped chemical burn with an intact mole in the middle of it. Or survived ANY doctor appointment with Carisa. Not one. 

So that’s my list. 
What 10 things could YOU not live without?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God Knows My Funny

Yesterday morning was intense.

Lots of different emotions coming out loudly

and some tersely typed in email form.

Just an all out 

very tense,

no good,


bad morning.

Not the way I would’ve preferred 
to spend the early part of my day.

Then I got a call from school that McDaniel was sick and needed to come home.

Not how I planned to spend the rest of my day.

Some time before I picked up soup, saltines and orange juice, I got a text from my mom with a little nugget that changed my day.

Without too many specific details,
an elderly woman was escorted out of the public library in my hometown wearing nothing but

a coat, 

a pair of shoes 

and a smile.

No, she wasn’t drunk. 
I asked.

But she was in the book club that my mom leads 
at that very same library.

Poor thing is on the slippery slope of senility.

She might very well be at the bottom of that slope now.

Not that senility is funny.

It isn’t.

But the incident was funny.

And I needed to laugh.

In the same way falling can be painful
but it will ALWAYS be funny to me.


Of course, I had to text Carisa all the details while I was asking to borrow her Little Green Machine carpet cleaner.

You would NOT believe the caked on mud and construction dust on our entryway rug.

Carisa commented that old ladies were supposed to be cold all the time.

Layered in cardigans and turtlenecks.

And then she asked if she was driving still.

Can you imagine if someone dropped the elderly lady off at that library knowing there was nothing between her friend 
and her coat than her birthday suit?! 

I so hope the coat was an appropriate dress length.

So hope.

I made Carisa promise that she would not allow me to walk around a public library wearing nothing but a pair of shoes, a coat and a smile one day.

But who am I kidding? 

She’ll be the one dropping me off.

And videoing it.

Senility and my future aside,

that story came at just the right time. 

Laughing loosened up the tension in my back.

I could relax my shoulders finally.

It was the big sigh that I needed to sigh.

Carisa gave us the new Tim Hawkins concert on DVD for Christmas. He is a Christian comedian who just cracks me up. He cracks up the entire family.

Watch it! 

I laughed until I cried at one part and when I texted Carisa that information,

she knew the EXACT part I lost it.

She knows my funny.

Tim says something so profound in the video.

Something like,

"Laughter is God’s weapon for us against this world."

You see, God knows my funny too.

And He knew when I needed it most.

While typing this, I thought of something I saw in early Fall:

I was driving out of the Whole Foods parking lot, when a car with the license plate reading Kevin1 ramped right up on the median between the in and out lanes.

Two elderly ladies were in the front seat. 

The one driving could barely see over the steering wheel as she committed to the median ramp and decided to just ride the thing out.

The entire length of the median.

The passenger lady had her mouth open wide in laughter and may have slapped her knee once or twice as they drove by me, lopsided.

It occurred to me that they were not Kevin1.

And that ol’ Kev probably would not have found the incident
nearly as funny as I did
or the passenger of his car.

Oh, I do hope those ladies were wearing pants!

 I was on the phone with Monte when I told him the library story.

He said,

“You needed to laugh.”

He was right.  

It was just the weapon I needed to slice the head right off 
of my nasty mood.

Then Monte thought he’d add to my “funny arsenal” and told me that he left his gym bag in his car and his workout clothes were too cold to put on so he held them under the hand dryer in the men’s locker room at the gym.



I’d been on all fours sucking mud and construction dust out of carpets

and dealing with a sick teenager

ON TOP of 
the very tense, 
no good, 
 bad morning.

I needed a bigger weapon.

Thank goodness, God knows my funny.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Under Construction…Still

We seemed to hit a lull around the holidays on our house addition.

Partly due to the fact that it was the holidays,

and partly due to the weather.

We had two snow days last week.

The first actually because we got snow--4 or 5 inches.

It was fun because it wasn’t dangerously cold and we could actually go sledding without fear of frostbite.

Ellie, our neighbor Claire and McDaniel.

Ellie, me and McDaniel.

Why is Ellie on our fours?
While we were sledding, a guy from our city paper came out of nowhere and asked to take some action pictures.

We said sure and then McDaniel decided to sled down the hill on our neighbor, Claire’s shoulders while covering her eyes.

Three seconds later, I crashed spectacularly down the hill with both legs straight up into the air and a thick snow beard on my face.

We felt a little nervous about what our pictures would look like if they made it into the paper.

The girls teased me that it could just be a picture of me by myself, zooming down the hill in some sort of sad, “Snow Day for Moms Too” pictorial.

We didn’t make the paper, after all.

A teacher pushing her kids on a sled did with a very familiar sounding title of 
“Snow Day for Teachers Too”. 

But the photographer posted a picture of the girls on Instagram.

How did we know that? 

Claire became instantly enamored with the photographer, looking him up and following him on social media. He does take awesome pictures.

Great picture!

Our second snow day came two days after our sledding day due to extreme cold.

The extreme cold being negative 400.

 Or something close to that.

I know this because I was out in it with Carisa getting her distorted mole removed at the doctor’s office.

8 stitches!! 

And I didn’t have to watch one single one of them! 

THANK GOODNESS, I got to sit in the lobby and see on the TV how a woman found a snake in her toilet.

Like THAT hasn’t been a thought in my head 
EVERY TIME I use a pit toilet.

But this was her HOME toilet!!!

Honestly! Can we please not have to see that in a 3-D attraction coming soon??

“Attack of the Toilet Snake” 
(or something a little more gripping than that). 

Moving on…

Monte and I braved the cold to pick out a light to go over our farm table in the new space. We’d been searching and searching in all types of stores.

Monte ran into an old friend (and her guitar)
in a flea market we went to.

We even combed through online stores on Etsy. We finally decided on this one we found in a local store called Objects For the Home:

It’s made of wood and metal. Monte wants to use Edison bulbs instead because he thinks candelabra bulbs are girly.

But I am so glad we have that done. 

Now only six more lights to pick out.

I finally picked out a kitchen faucet yesterday. It seems it is taking me longer and longer to make a decision on all the little details.

The girls took one look at it and screamed that it was the same exact faucet 
that was on the Disney show “Jonas L.A.”

Well, how about that.

The kitchen sink just arrived in a box so big I expect there might be a mistake and a “a very special award” in it involving a leg and a lamp shade instead of a stainless steel sink.

Back to the house…

In spite of the snow and cold, the dry wall got completed by two brothers who loved to listen to dance club/rave music with a driving beat and no more than four different words sung over and over and over.

It was mind numbing and soul sucking.

And it made me miss “Highway to Hell”,
as much as it pains me to type that.

Drywalling involves sanding which involved me dusting and mopping the floors only to see an hour later that mopping the floors turned the drywall dust into a white pasty film.

Seeing that made me have a moment.

And it wasn’t one of clarity.

Monte bought the girls yoga mats and they started doing workouts in the new space.

Before the yoga mats.

The hardwoods started going in this week.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3--all done!!
It seems so much more like there is a light at the end of this dusty tunnel with a real floor. I love it!

I needed this pay off since Monte was out of town all week and while he was gone

the bathroom sink was clogged,

the bath tub drain wouldn’t plug 
and I REALLY wanted to take a bath,

saw dust coated EVERY. THING,

my phone started acting up

and the cable went out causing American Idol not to be taped.

Now, I’m not a psycho American Idol fan.

But after a week of clogged sinks, no baths and saw dust every where, 
I needed a little American Idol levity.

Had Carisa not decided to stop in for a visit right then, 
I very well may have set the whole house on fire.

I was dangerously close to having another moment.

A BIG ugly moment.

But Monte is home now. The wood floors are completely installed. I’ve dusted and Swiffered everything. And Ellie made me this in Life Skills class.

A super hero apron.

A reversible super hero apron.

A reversible super hero apron with a pocket!
She got a 94% on the project. 

And Monte can wear it when he grills. 

McDaniel made me an apron back when she was in Life Skills 
but she threw it away in the classroom trash can.

I’m afraid she must’ve inherited my sewing capabilities.

The trim around the windows and doors is going up right now while I type this and AC/DC is singing “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” loudly on the worker’s radio.

So all is right with the world.

Monday, January 12, 2015

You are Loved

Yesterday a lovely young woman in our church sang a song I’d never heard before.

Not only is her voice beautiful,
(I’ve already told her I’ve prayed to have it in heaven and she seemed okay with it)

but the words were beautiful.


You dance over me while I am unaware

You sing all around but I never hear the sound


Lord I'm amazed by You

Lord I'm amazed by You

Lord I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

(verse 2)

You paint the morning sky with miracles in mind

My hope will always stand

For You hold me in Your hand


How deep how wide

How great is Your love for me

Check out: http://youtu.be/D9S86nMqaLg if you’d like to listen to it.

It was such a lovely moment that there was this screaming silence in the sanctuary afterwards. I felt like standing up and clapping but I was too struck. 

Struck with the intensity and simplicity of the line:

“You paint the morning sky with miracles in mind

I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget.

Every day. 

Every single day God paints the morning sky with miracles in mind. 

That is truly amazing.

I’m thinking of Ellie’s color “yerple” again.

The pastor took his place behind the podium and heard our screaming silence. 

He saw in our faces that we’d been struck. 

So he prayed. 

Right after the AMEN, he chucked his entire sermon. 
All his notes.

He felt the overwhelming nudge to tell us that we are loved. 

He told us over and over. 

Then he showed us. 

In the lesson from Luke 7 about Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman. He told us how Jesus explained to the Pharisees that those who have been forgiven much, love much. 

The pastor went on to refer to one of my favorite verses, Hebrews 12:1:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Our pastor said that sometimes we not only get out of our lane in the race marked out for us, 

but we trip down the hill and plop right into a mud puddle.

Instead of getting up and jumping back into the race, we sit there in the mud puddle feeling unworthy and unloved.

In fact, we heap more mud onto our head, for effect. 

Wallowing in self-pity and doubt.

Jesus leaves his place at the finish line of our race, to meet us in that mud puddle and offer His hand to help us up and out.

But we resist.

“No, no! I’m not worthy. 

I’m too dirty. 

I can’t do it. 

I’ll never finish this race.”

Jesus simply points to the sacrifice He made for us on the cross.

And asks if it was not enough.

Because our denying His hand up and out 
is basically saying that it wasn’t.

And that is all selfish pride.

Our pastor reminded us again that we are loved.

We listened to “Amazed” again.

"You dance over me while I am unaware

You sing all around but I never hear the sound"

I guess it would be hard to see God dancing 
and hear Him singing 
when we are busy in the mud puddle 
heaping dirt on our own heads.

What great encouragement that sermon was,


Love requires some action on our part:


Dont roll over in the mud puddle.

And dont be afraid to chuck your sermon notes 
3 seconds before you are ready to preach.

Gods right there with His hand out.

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. 
Luke 7:47

I got this in an email yesterday.

It made me think that sometimes we “stir up” one another by simply stirring the mud in the puddle.

It takes pointing to Jesus who is standing RIGHT THERE by the puddle to truly “stir up” anyone.

Just as I was “stirred” by the song yesterday,

And my pastor was “stirred” by the Holy Spirit to chuck his prepared sermon,

I hope you are stirred.

And know that you are loved.


Friday, January 09, 2015

The Dog and the Bird

My girlfriend, Shannon told me a story this week that I can’t get out of my mind.

Her friend has this big enormous dog and a very large bird who likes to sing.

Apparently, the big dog likes it when the bird sings,

so much so, that every time he hears the singing,

he stops what he is doing and runs in his 
bumbling, big dog way, right to the bird.

Then the bird promptly bites the dog right on the nose.

Every. Time.

The dog never seems to “get it”.

Singing + running to the bird = pain.

It just doesn’t compute.

The owners of the dog try to warn him when the singing starts,

“Don’t go!”



But every time the dog runs straight to the bird

and every time he gets bit right on the nose.

Shannon and I had a good laugh at that story.

But later, after mulling it over,

I realized that God sees us that way.

Over and over again, 

running to the thing that brings us pain 

rather than Him, 

who will bring us peace.

I am that big ol’ bumbling dog.

The bird is any number of things.

Things that are different for each us.
Possibly even different every day.

God has to watch us get “sucked in” again and again to the false beauty of a song that was not at all what it first appeared to be.

He watches us run to a lie.

The lie that if it makes us happy, it must be right.

The lie that if we just keep trying, we might be able to change the situation all on our own.

The lie that it’s all about us.

God watches us not “get it”.

That the beautiful melody is drowning out every warning sign,

makes us deaf to the shouts from others to stop,

blocks the memory of the inevitable pain.

What is it about that bird’s song that makes the dog think it will be different this time?

The dog isn’t even timid about approaching the bird,

not leery at all.

He RUNS each time.

Head first.

And then, CHOMP!

As the owner of that dog, I’d be tempted to question the dog’s intelligence. And loyalty.

Kinda blows Pavlov’s dog theory 
right out of the water.
But we don’t have a God like that.

His mercies are new every day.

He waits with open arms for us to come to Him,

 with disappointment, 

with frustration,

with a broken spirit,

and with sore noses,

 to seek shelter in Him.

He wants us to trust Him.

Not ourselves.

To spend time with Him.

Not be self-absorbed.

To know His word.

Not the tune of a diabolical bird.

I keep humming:

  But to trust and obey.

"So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!"

--Romans 8:12-14 The Message

Missional Women

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Greatest Hits

As it turns out, these were the most read posts,

my “Greatest Hits” if you will,  

of 2014 on Chairs From the Curb last year.

I am so thankful to each person who takes the time 
out of their day to read words that I have typed here. 

I love hearing from you and reading your comments.

But in case you missed some of them,
you can click on each title 
and it will take you directly to the post.

1) ’Twas a Few Weeks Past Christmas…

This was back when we were laughing and thinking we had a “handle” on lice.
Jump to #6 on this list if you don’t know the rest of the story.

Fun ideas. This got me thinking how I will decorate a table this year…got any ideas for me?

This is a good list. Give them a try if you haven’t already.

4)  The Pants with No One Inside Them

Epic. Monte gets lots of questions and comments STILL about this post.

A list of some pranks Monte has played on the girls for April Fool’s Day
 and some other things I found funny.

Like this:

Which reminds me that Monte and I need to paint our own version of this.
We can put it in our new family room!
That won’t be weird at all, right?

6)  Lice, Lice, Baby

My palms started to sweat reading this again.
**SPOILER ALERT** We didn’t have a handle on lice.

Last winter was so long and cold and snowy.
I’m so thankful for the mild weather we have had so far.

Ah! That quote from Job would’ve come in handy for a homework assignment McDaniel had for school in which she was supposed to compare Job and Oedipus.
I really should read my own posts more…

Neat insight on two different sermons I heard in two different states but with a similar message.

10)  Sunday Nights in the 70s

A nostalgic look back at Sunday night TV when I was growing up.

Oddly enough, my “Greatest Hits” list was different per my Facebook analytics.

Different as in, no overlap whatsoever.

I’m just learning how to read all that info 
and discern what it actually means.

So basically, the people that read Chairs From the Curb via my Facebook links read different things than the people that either subscribe to get my posts via email or just go to my site and see what’s new.


Here is that list of posts:

Check out Wonder Woman parking her invisible jet.
**SPOILER ALERT** Wonder Woman is me.

Packing up the kitchen during our construction project.

3)  19

And we thought 19 years was a long time to be married.

Eavesdropping my life.

You have to click on this for the quail story.

A birthday tea and a funny underwear (under where?) story.

The title pretty much sums it up.

Me not handling well a doctor’s appointment with Carisa. 

9)  Real Life

A port-a-pot truck, a sunrise and a sermon point.

10)  I Am Not Good in Medical Situations

The backstory to #8 on this list.

So from lice to pants with no one inside them.
Superheroes to construction projects.
Gorillas to donkeys.
Marriage longevity and listening.
Blogs and luncheons.
Quails, horses and a kidnapping.
Winters I thought would never end and looking in awe at God.
(Even when it’s a sunrise with a port-a-pot truck 
driving right through it).
Ga Leor and 1970s TV.
Stitches and words I can’t handle.

Now, that was a year.

Thanks for reading in 2014! 

I’m looking forward to seeing what God has for me this year.

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