Tuesday, October 17, 2017

That Time I Charbroiled the Bathroom

There was an incident.

Just a few short days after the fried pickle incident, the smoke alarm robot yet again spoke up loud and clear that her overly-sensitive sniffer whiffed some smoke and she was going to make a loud sound.

My prayer group had just finished and the ladies were still here chatting.

As I was grabbing a chair, I heard a lady apologize from the bathroom something about the candle.

I assumed she blew it out 
and the smoke irritated the robot lady.

I told her it was fine and to just keep the door closed when she was finished.

I turned off the smoke alarm and forgot all about it.

About an hour later I was upstairs when I heard the smoke alarm robot lady say something.

I waited but no beeping followed.

Again, I went about my business.

Shaking my head because this smoke alarm 
was more like a false alarm.

A friend stopped over to drop off some books.

We chatted in the kitchen for awhile.

I complained to her about the ridiculous 
"false alarms" of Smoke Alarm Robot.

All in all, it was about SIX HOURS LATER when I finally went into the small bathroom off our kitchen to see that the candle I had lit that morning was still burning.

Tall and bright.

After that it was just a rapid fire series of discoveries.

The toilet seat was soot covered.

The walls, especially the corners, were black.

The ceiling, Soot City.




Smoke Alarm Robot tried to tell me.

I ignored her!

To my credit, 
she had cried wolf a few times.



The candle still had some wax in it.

I did not understand the Armageddon it set off.

Bliss, my foot.

I grabbed a spray bottle and mixed up water and Dawn, grabbed some kitchen gloves and went to town scrubbing the walls.

Some came off, some didn't but overall I was making things SO. MUCH. WORSE by rubbing it all in.

I searched the internet what to do.

It recommended I use rubbing alcohol.

But just like that time it told me to put Frankincense on the mole on my neck before I went to bed, the internet BETRAYED ME.

The rubbing alcohol took the paint off the wall.

Guess where I used to have a picture hanging.
It looks like I chalk outlined its body for a police report.

I furiously sprayed and scrubbed, sprayed and scrubbed.

At one point, I thought if I could just get some sort of pattern going with my soot-smearing, that I might be able to pass the bathroom off as some sort of creative "leathering" or "rag rolling" paint technique.

Then I started in on the ceiling.




It was just ALL BAD!

Somewhere in the middle of my soot smear, Monte got home from work.

He asked what I was doing.

"Something bad happened,"

I said in defeat.

He listened quietly to the whole howler monkey pitch of my story.

I left nothing out.

He walked away and said he was glad it was just smoke damage and not fire damage.

Then he casually passed through the hallway again as I continued my futile efforts and added,

"The smoke alarm robot tried to save your life."

I agreed but I silently vowed to 
NEVER apologize to that smug white squawk box, 
even if Monte asked.

The next morning, I went to the paint store and then spent the ENTIRE DAY painting the walls, ceiling, trim and door.

For such a small room there was lots to work around with the sink, light fixtures, mirror and toilet.

I wasn't about to get Monte involved.

Guess who's judging presence kept an eye on me during the repainting?

As I recounted my bad story to friends, they all asked if I had trimmed the wick of the candle.

Trim the wick?!

I didn't realize this was still a thing
 this side of The Little House on the Prairie.

And boy did I learn the hard way.

**NOTE:  As I was typing this, Monte asked if I was having trouble with the wifi. When I said no, he said The Nest thermostat was having trouble connecting. He looked at me accusingly.

"It knows I'm writing about its Smoke Alarm Robot sister?!"

Monte took this picture.

Failed to connect indeed.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Strike Two

Ellie decided to make fried pickles after school the other day.

I told her to be sure to turn on the exhaust fan lest the smoke alarm robot flip out.

Oh, why do I even speak words sometimes?

The smoke alarm robot lady flipped out.

She warned us there was smoke.

She warned us that there would be a loud sound.

Then she beeped 
and warned 
and over 
and over 

I got my chair out and tried to turn her off but she told me she could not be shut off.


I went to my phone app and got the same message when I tried to shut her down remotely.

The dog turned into a shaky, nervous mess.

We ruined him on beeping noises years ago 
with an ill-advised shock collar.

The robot kept telling us there was smoke even though the exhaust fan was on and Ellie was simply frying pickles.

Smoke Alarm Robot Lady shut down the AC and I couldn't get it back on so I opened the windows and nothing seemed to convince her that there was not in fact a fire happening in our house.

Finally, after what seemed like 4 weeks, 
the blasted alarm stopped beeping 
and Smoke Alarm Robot Lady said the smoke was dissipating.

I told Ellie those fried pickles had better be the best things ever.

They were. 
They really were!

I informed Monte I was not happy with Smoke Alarm Robot.

In my head I noted:


And I tried to remember the last place 
I saw Monte's Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

I'm not sure I have a Strike Three in me.

But I might be able to summon the strength to Carrie Underwood Smoke Alarm Robot.

Friday, October 06, 2017

One More Robot

Monte LOVES technology.

He's an early adapter when it comes to anything technological.

He is a beta tester for for Apple's new 
iPhone operating systems.

Yeah, that's a thing.

He treats every new technology as his own "A Christmas Story" major award fish net leg lamp.

And I'm left to not "accidentally break it" while dusting.

Monte has to download new operating systems on my phone while I sleep because I would never agree to it.

This old dog does not give three hoots about learning new tricks.

This summer,


Monte ordered a new thermostat called The Nest 
that links with your phone to control the temperature in your house.

Supposedly, it picks up on your patterns of heating and cooling and intuitively, turns on and off the thermostat for you.

Like, if you like to sleep in a cooler temperature, yet eat breakfast warmer.

Monte sees this as freedom from not getting up in the middle of the night to change the temperature when I put my ice cold feet on him to warm up.

I see this as another example of robots taking over our lives and somehow, some way one of us is going to have our identity stolen because of The Nest.

Or we will be murdered in our sleep by thermostat robots.

Which is why Monte bought it WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE.

He loves it so much.

He sits in bed at night and changes the thermostat because he can.

When he was out of town on business, he texted me goodnight and I mentioned the temperature had really dropped that night.

I heard the heat kick on for the first time in months.

Monte, using The Nest, turned on our heat from Pennsylvania!

Show off.

I leave The Nest alone. I've tried to change temperatures a few times but I can never seem to get it to work. I have yet to use my phone to change it.

I've chalked it up to another robot hating me like Siri and Alexa.

But thank goodness The Nest doesn't talk.

Several weeks ago, Monte secretly opened a package he'd received and started acting very mysterious.

I got distracted and forgot about it.

The next morning he announced that he had installed The Nest's smoke alarm and that it might "talk to me" during the day as it was being set up.


I made it very clear that if a robot lady starting talking to me suddenly and randomly in the middle of the day from the hallway,

I wouldn't handle it well.

Just like Alexa always piping in her two cents 
when Nigel and I were trying to enjoy a quiet day 
while the girls were at school.

I had a very vivid dream the other night that I walked down to the kitchen in the morning to see a man asleep in the hammock in the backyard.

The next morning the same man was asleep on the chair on our patio, closer to the house.

Each time, I'd turn on the outside lights and he'd run away.

Monte suggested, in the dream, that we get The Nest's security system since there were cameras with it.

Each time, I'm like,

"Are you even kidding with the more robots?!"

When I told Monte this dream he said it was true that The Nest had just come out with a security system with cameras and he didn't bring it up to me because he never thought I'd ever go for it.

He's right. 

Creepy sleeping guy or not, 
I can't handle anymore technology.

And I'm starting to wonder if Monte yammers on to me 
about new technology while I sleep because 

I host a mother's prayer group in my house once a week.

Three seconds after everyone had left after prayer, I blew out the candles in the bathroom and the kitchen.

Suddenly and loudly a robot lady announced that smoke had been detected and that an alarm would soon be sounding and that it was going to be LOUD.

I thought to myself,

"That's what the robot wants my take away to be? 
Brace yourself for a loud sound? 
Not, run!? 
There's a fire!? 
And it will be HOT!?"

I instantly hated the smoke alarm robot lady.

I grabbed my bible (it was handy and it made practical sense, don't you think?) and started wildly fanning the smoke alarm as the loud sound, along with a flashing light that I wasn't warned about,  started doing their things right in my face.

The robot lady said a few more things but I couldn't really hear them because of the LOUD alarm.

I grabbed a chair and started pushing and pressing every part of the alarm.

It worked and turned off.

Before I could even put the chair back where it belonged, 
my phone rang.

I knew it was Monte before I even looked.

The Nest is connected to our phones.

"Our" meaning mine AND Monte's.

He was already informed that there was a fire.

I told him the smoke alarm robot lady was a liar.

And I was REALLY glad that didn't happen during prayer.

Strike one, smoke alarm robot.

And I'm keeping my stink eye on you too, The Nest thermostat.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Church of the Small Things

This summer I got to be part of the book launch team for one of my favorite authors, Melanie Shankle.

I was able to read her latest book, "Church of the Small Things" in July.

It was finally released into the world officially, yesterday.

It's worth it, people! Go get it!

I received the DVD last week of her bible study that goes along with it.

I can't wait to dig into that.

This is a departure from her other books.

"Sparkly Green Earrings" talks mostly about parenting but both of my girls have read it and LOVE it!  The part about Melanie's elderly neighbor asking for "rat cheese" on a grocery shopping trip is hilarious. And Monte and I still talk about "Tim Duncan's Shoe" in reference to "things that let us down".

"The Antelope in the Living Room" is mainly about marriage. 

This is my all time favorite of her books. 

Which is tough to say 
since I love them all.

Melanie hits the nail on the head when describing situations and responses as "NEW LOVE" and "OLD LOVE". 

Meaning, how marriages naturally change the longer we're in them. 

My friend Shannon and I quote this all the time when talking about our own marriages. 

For example, I recounted a time this Spring when Monte was out doing yard work. He stuck his head in the door and hollered, "A breast, a thigh and a leg!" then slammed the door and went back outside.  

A "NEW LOVE" response would've followed him outside and slapped him in the face. 

"OLD LOVE" figured out that he was talking about the pieces of fried chicken he wanted me to heat up from the night before.

"Nobody's Cuter than You" is a sweet and funny book about friendship.

And now a new one!!

"Church of the Small Things" is still the funny, sweet, laugh out loud one second and tear up the next book that I've come to expect from Melanie.

 But it also sheds God's light on the everyday business of ordinary life.

I was reading this book at Fripp this summer and it uncharacteristically rained for two solid
days. Which made for bad beach weather but great reading time on the porch.
See the water spout? How cool is that?

This book exposes the purpose in the minutiae of our lives through the filter of God.

Melanie grabbed my attention immediately in the Introduction when she wrote about the mother who packed the five loaves of bread and two fish for lunch for her son that Jesus would eventually use to feed 5,000 people:

"No matter what was involved in packing that lunch on that particular morning, I'm willing to bet she wasn't really concerned or even thinking about how God might choose to use her boy's lunch that day. I bet she didn't wring her hands over whether or not that lunch might matter in the larger scheme of God's plans or wish she could do something on a larger stage in front of an audience of people cheering her on as she tucked that fish and those loaves into a basket, and she definitely didn't do an Instagram story about it. The bottom line is, she didn't do the glamorous thing; she did the faithful thing. She packed a lunch for her boy just like she'd probably done a million times before, and God used her small act of faithfulness to feed five thousand people."

Not feeling as good about convincing Ellie to 
"just buy already" because I didn't feel like 
packing her a lunch last night.

The book is full of the small things that make a big impact.

Like time spent with grandparents, the decision to get bangs, exercise and a hilarious story of her husband literally dodging a bullet.

Do yourself a favor and get this book.

And if you haven't read any of Melanie's other books, get them too!

Then call me, so we can talk about them.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Chipmunk, A Cardinal and So. Many. Rats.

On the 4th of July we had family in town.

My sister-in-law, Gretchen said she saw a rat run across our backyard in broad daylight.

I thought surely she was mistaken and it was probably a mole.

She brought up pictures of moles and rats on her phone and declared definitively that it was indeed a rat that was cruising through our yard.

Later that evening, I saw it too.

Totally a rat.

Which was totally not cool.

If you remember, Monte had an encounter with a rat in our garage last fall.

But he set traps and laid out poison and never saw him again
so we thought the problem was taken care of.


Over the next month, we saw multiple rats of various sizes running through and around our yard.

I was pulling weeds and saw a baby rat scurrying around the bush I had just had my hand underneath.

I was on the phone outside when two teenage size rats ran along our fence like they didn't see me standing right there.

I half expected them to turn around 
and wave a little top-of-the-morning greeting to me 
because clearly they weren't the least bit alarmed 
by the nearness of an adult human.

Ellie had some friends over for a backyard picnic for her birthday.

I was on the patio talking with a group of her friends when I saw the BIGGEST RAT I had seen to date run out of our garage into our neighbor's yard.

I didn't say a word about the rat but quietly excused myself to let Monte know I would be setting the entire house on fire soon.

Monte set out more traps.

He woke me up super early before he left town for a business trip to tell me that the rat trap he had set  out the night before was gone.


He explained that he looked under bushes and trees and even walked down the sidewalk in both directions to see if the trap had been drug there by a desperately hurt, hopefully near death, rat.

Then he kissed me goodbye and left town.

The longer I laid in bed, the more convinced I was that no rat had been killed in this missing trap mystery.

No, this trap merely infuriated the thriving rat community that had moved into my yard.

I envisioned a rat meeting with the trap as Exhibit A, fueling plans being drawn up for revenge.

I decided to go all Braveheart myself with freedom from rats my new mantra.

I put big stones over any hole I found in the yard. 

I sprinkled peppermint oil EVERYWHERE because I read they hate it.

I talked with neighbors and found out 
they all had a rat story as well.

One neighbor said that they wouldn't stay long where they aren't getting fed.

I grow tomatoes in a raised metal livestock trough.

I wondered if they could climb up its slick sides.

The two baby rats I saw the next day climbing the tomato plants answered that.

I pulled up every single plant.

Monte called an exterminator and asked if he had stronger poison than we could buy on the market. 

We weren't above meeting a guy in an alley for 
"the good stuff" if it meant no more rats.

The guy said the poison only kills the baby rats because the adults build an immunity to it.

This sounds like the villain of a super hero movie.

Rat Man.

The exterminator also told Monte not to buy a trap that doesn't kill the rat because relocation doesn't really work for them.

They will come right back.

Monte explained very plainly 
that we were not interested in relocating rats.

We were told we were going to need bigger traps.

Monte experimented with different bait.

One morning Ellie and I woke up to see a baby mouse struggling to free its foot from the trap.

It was tough to watch it flip and flop so we didn't.

Some time later I checked to see if the mouse had given up and it was gone.

The mouse, 
the trap, 


I envisioned another angry revenge meeting led by a rat with a missing foot.

I took Ellie to a friend's house and when I backed up, I saw a dead rat in the middle of the driveway.

It had all four feet so it couldn't have been the other baby rat.

How many rats were living in my yard?!

I had the strong urge to put a For Sale sign in the yard.

My girlfriend, Beth, texted that she was coming over so I could help her with a project.

I gave her a little FYI on the dead rat in the driveway that I had no intention of moving until Monte got home.

She told me to get her three plastic grocery sacks and that she was going to handle it.

I grabbed a big farm scoop shovel too, 
just in case.

Using the bags as a glove, she grabbed the rat up like it wasn't the most disgusting thing on planet earth.

She put it on my shovel so I could put it in the trash.

Somewhere between there and the garage, a swift wind popped up and blew the bag my direction.

I may or may not have flat lined for a moment.

Beth grabbed the bag and shoved it in the trash can like it was filled with food scraps not the survivor of the plague.

I walked across the street that evening to see a neighbor when I noticed something dead in the trap in the front yard.

It didn't look like a rat.

Upon a guarded closer look, I found it was a chipmunk!

I texted Beth that her services might be needed again but Monte took care of it when he got home.

The next morning, Monte woke me up early with a,

"You've got to come see this."

I knew right away it was rat related.

I walked out in my pajamas then instantly got squeamish and decided I couldn't risk a stray rat running across my feet so I asked for a piggy back ride.

Monte took me (on his back) by two of the biggest dead rats I've ever seen.

I stared at them a long time to make sure they weren't faking it and would use that as some hilarious anecdote at the next rat revenge meeting.

"They really thought we were dead!
And the lady in the pajamas couldn't even walk on her own two feet, she was so scared!"

Monte asked for two garbage bags.

This was going to be WAY bigger than a grocery sack job.

When he shoveled the first rat in, he picked it up to put it in the trash can and said it was so heavy it creeped him out.

I saw the dead rat claw through the trash bag like it was going to kick its way out to freedom.

The girls and I went out of town (not because of the rats, although it was a well-timed escape) and Monte sent a sad picture that his latest rat trap bait option, maple syrup, had unfortunately killed a cardinal.

Our trash was filled with the contents of a horror show.

Little did those unsuspecting sanitation workers know that inside our trash can were 

three rats, 
one chipmunk 
and a cardinal.

Yesterday, I accidentally found myself in the scary Halloween section of a home decor store.

I saw this:

I considered buying it and putting it in our yard as a warning to any future rats.

But it was just too creepy.

I sincerely hope this is the end of this story.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Wing

I got in the car to take Ellie to school and there was one, single, solitary wing staring at me from the windshield.

It was some sort of insect wing.

This isn't the actual wing because I didn't take a picture. I just turned on my
windshield wipers.

No body.

No legs.

No head.

Just the one wing.

I instantly wondered and supposed all the various circumstances that could have taken place to cause the one wing to be left on my windshield.

They were all pretty violent, 
ending with a one-winged bug hopelessly nauseous, 
spinning in out-of-control circles unable to get where he wanted to go 
because his other wing was lying on my windshield.

It was all very ironic in "The Twilight Zone" kind of way,

and oddly animated.

It was sunny and warm and I had had a good full night of sleep but this one wing on my windshield felt like the beginning of a bad day.

I dropped Ellie off and read my verse of the day from the bible app on my phone.

Romans 8:39

"…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So nothing can separate us from the love of God.


"… not death nor life, neither angels nor demons, 
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…"
Romans 8:38

Not anything in all creation.

Not even a severed wing.


The dictionary defines separate as,

"to keep apart or divide; to put, bring, or force apart; to remove or sever from association"

My study notes say that Paul wanted to show his readers in these verses that suffering does not separate believers from Christ but actually carries them along toward their ultimate goal.

So what can look or feel like separation 
can actually be huge strides forward.

That's a huge comfort to a mom dropping off a college freshman in two days who has felt a bit like the whole summer has been one big fast, barfy spinning-in-circles, not-really-going-anywhere, ride.

There has been a lot of wondering on the various situations of the future and many times we supposed the most ridiculous, violent endings that not even "The Twilight Zone" would think to ironically write.

And most certainly not in animation form.

But God holds us in His hand and looks at us spinning in one-winged circles with a love that not even our crazy imaginations can separate us from 

and then He carries us.

And leaves a wing on our windshield as a reminder.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Romans 8:37

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If Disney World Was Our Real Life or Our Real Life was Actually Disney World

If we were Disney World, I'd definitely be 1 or all 7 of the dwarves that follow around Snow White.

But mostly Dopey and Grumpy,

followed by fleeting moments of Happy 

but realistically, it's more Slap Happy. 

Seriously, where is that dwarf? 

He's like the cousin to Sleepy and Happy 
with maybe just a teence of Dopey, 
once removed.

But instead of whistling while he works,
he laughs uncontrollably at Snapchat filters
until he's exhausted and falls asleep.

Which is really early.

In other words, emotions are running high over here as graduation approaches with all of its 152 million details.

McDaniel is feeling all those emotions by being Cruella one moment and Cinderella the next followed by whatever princess cries uncontrollably for no exact reason.

Makeup cried off.
It's been a season of last games, last clubs, last prom.

Prom turned out fantastic, by the way!

It rained and stormed so hard the night before that we lost a branch from our Sycamore tree.

It landed on our patio, ripping down our strands of lights, breaking only one bulb remarkably, and knocking over some potted flowers.

It rained all morning so we couldn't clean up until around 2.

The sun came out and dried out the grass and everything was gorgeous by 6:00 when we started pictures!

The bald spot in the grass is my fault. I burned all the sticks in the yard in the fire pit
and it burned this nice circle into the grass. 

In keeping with the Disney World theme, it does look like magical woodland
creatures made her dress and did her hair, doesn't it?

The swing my dad made was such a cool photo spot.

Doesn't this look like they are palming Ellie's head like a basketball and holding
her up in the air?

It was such a beautiful night and all the parents came to take photos.

Right as we were finishing up, another big branch dropped to the ground from the tree quite suddenly.

Luckily, people were able to jump out of the way just in time.

Monte loudly announced that the Sycamore had spoken and it was time for everyone to leave.

Just like Pocohontas.

But not.

It was around then that I noticed there was a hole in our house.

The branch from the night before!

Womp womp.

One of my best friends from high school came by a few weekends ago.

I laid out the EXACT SAME SHIRT to wear that day but changed my mind at the last minute.

The tall family meets the short family. We thought it was a hoot positioning McDaniel (over 6 feet)
by Jenna who is right at 5 feet.
It was such fun laughing and telling old stories.

She gave McDaniel her very first graduation gift.

That made it real.

So did putting this up in the front yard.

Luckily, I warned Monte that I put it up so he didn't sob pulling into the driveway from work.

He's already promised to be a mess 
when McDaniel leaves in the fall.

Was there a sad dwarf?

Sobby, perhaps?

As the to-do lists keep growing, Monte and I keep our spirits light by playing with Snapchat filters.

Can you believe the school sent me registration forms for Ellie for next year?

Can we not just cross this year off our to-do list first?!

Snapchat is a great break from the stress (and procrastinating filling out those registration forms) and it's so cathartic to laugh. Hard.

Monte totally thinks he could pull off this look.

The girls think we are nuts.

Ellie told us the other night at dinner that, in a nutshell, we might want to go ahead and grow up a little.

She'd had enough.

Total evil step-mother move.

I send her even more videos now.

I got into my car the other morning after McDaniel had borrowed it and found out what has been sustaining her crazy busy schedule.

Granola and super dark chocolate.

I ran a bunch of errands and forgot about the mess in my car until the NEXT morning when I found melted chocolate smeared everywhere in a sad half-hearted attempt at cleaning.

So, like a good member of Snow White's dwarves, I sent her a video at school.

Yesterday after 3:00 the power went out. It was a hot day and I was 18 loads into a big laundry day.

The girls had a concert to go to downtown so Monte and I were stuck outside on the patio watching police helicopters fly overhead, playing trivial pursuit and trying to remember where we'd put a flashlight.

Sadly, I couldn't remember where our flashlight was 
and couldn't name more than 3 members of the Jackson 5. 

Monte wouldn't count LaToya.

We never did figure out what the police helicopters were about.

But we entertained ourselves with our good friend, Snapchat.

The first of the graduation parties is this weekend and baccalaureate is Sunday.

By Sunday evening I should be ALL the 7 dwarves rolled into one, rocking back and forth in a corner sucking my thumb.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now

I only have a quick second.

There are a million something else's I should be doing right now.

Like vacuuming since there are 18 kids coming over for prom pictures Saturday.

I spent two days planting flowers for OUTDOOR pictures.

But the weatherman announced that while it's been beautiful and delightful all week 
it's all going to change on Saturday.


Maybe even some thunderstorms .

I feel like I can't even talk in complete sentences anymore with all the to-do lists in my brain so I'm just going to communicate via bullet point.

• We got rid of our trampoline.

We have been planning to get rid of the trampoline since the fall. The girls just don't use it like they used to and it took up an enormous chunk of the yard.

We bought the trampoline years ago from friends who were moving to China.

We naturally thought it would be easy to find someone interested to buy it from us.

Monte took pictures and posted it to our street's Facebook page with an asking price.

No bites.

Monte posted it to some other type of buyer/seller type site and got some freaky responses and decided to immediately shut it down.

Monte works in a sales environment so he decided to work his talents and try to sell the trampoline to any and everyone he knew in the office.

No interest.

So he dropped the price to FREE to anyone who could move it.

Still no takers!

It took our daughter bouncing on a friend's trampoline while babysitting her Young Life leader's kids and seeing the joy in their eyes as they were jumping to suggest that we offer the trampoline to them.

So Monte did.

And they accepted!!

It took them no time to take it down.

I really wasn't sad to see it go until I told the new owner to be sure to tell his daughter to have sleepovers on it like our girls used to.

Just another punch in the gut that things are changing and that time is cruelly marching on--all over my heart and face and a few other places I'm not going to talk about here.

Monte has plans to build a fire pit in the area where the trampoline used to be.

In the meantime, I'm hoping the weatherman was wrong and we can squeeze 18 dressed up kids in front of the bushes for prom pictures.

• Disco balls rock

I bought a disco ball for McDaniel's surprise 18th birthday party. 

I will eventually post those pictures.

I read a blog post from The Nester a long time ago that she keeps a disco ball as home decor and at certain times of the day it lights up the whole room.

So after the party, I tossed the disco ball into a tray on an ottoman and forgot about it.

One afternoon I walked into this magic:

It really is the coolest thing each afternoon.

When it's sunny.

• I love this filter on Snapchat.

I don't know how Snapchat works and I don't quite understand why things disappear, but this filter CRACKS ME UP.

A toothier, big-eyed me is hilarious. I'm sorry. It just is.

I use it to help me stay awake when waiting on the girls to come home at night.

Monte and I have a little fun with it too.

I also used the filter in a video to let McDaniel know I wasn't happy she used my toothbrush as a shovel to remove the remainder of the coconut oil out of the jar.

I really do have to go now.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have Seen the Lord!

It's the season of contemplation.

What we agree with.

What we believe in.

Who we agree with.

Who we believe in.

In one way or another, it's all contemplated.

As believers in Christ, we can over think it.

And by "it" I mean the whole thing.

We over intellectualize the sacrifice God made by giving up His only son for our forgiveness.

We make it about laws and rules and dates and times and commentaries and personal theories as we throw stones and fiery darts at anything that disagrees with us until we are so far from the heart of the matter that we don't even know what's the matter anymore.

And people certainly don't think of Christ 
when they see us coming.

In John 20:17-18 after Mary found the tomb empty and wept, Jesus revealed himself to her and told her to go tell the disciples.

"Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

"Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:  'I have seen the Lord' 
And she told them that he had said these things to her."

I have seen the Lord.

I have seen the Lord.

It's so incredibly simple.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to show off her knowledge of who He is.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to provide proof that she had in fact for real seen Him.

Jesus told her simply to go tell that she saw Him.

She was in His presence.

When Jesus preformed miracles he didn't ask them to research its validity, or their own worthiness of the healing, He simply told them to go tell others.

In a nutshell their healing became their,

"I have seen the Lord!"

I think if we think hard enough, we all have examples of situations where we can say, 

"I have seen the Lord."

Not literally the face of God.

Where's the faith in that?

Watching a loved one suffer from illness but still possess a joy and humor in their pain,

I have seen the Lord.

Seeing grace and peace that surpasses ALL understanding in someone who has every right in this world to be bitter and angry, 

I have seen the Lord.

Witnessing a newborn baby yawn,

I have seen the Lord.

Recovering from an addiction of any kind,

I have seen the Lord.

In a time when it's become more popular to be entertained at church than educated, 

easier to slam someone's theology on social media than talk to them face-to-face, 

trendy to be super extra careful not to offend an ever growing list,

we need to go back to John 20:18.

We need to tell someone the news,

"I have seen the Lord!"

Because it's filled with hope 

and love 

and forgiveness 

and faith.

It's personal yet for everyone who will just open their eyes to see.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Planet Earth 2

Have you seen any of the BBC's Planet Earth 2 series?

The series is broken down into segments, each episode takes on the animals of that particular segment even if they live across the globe from one another.

One episode was about islands.

We learned about the 3-toed sloth.

Oh my goodness.

This sloth was hanging out in a tree when he heard a mating cry.

The slowness in which he reacted is quite fast for his species according to the narrator, David Attenborough.

He's looking towards the mating call. 
David Attenborough has the type of soothing voice 
that could make Winnie the Pooh seem harsh.

And his brother played John Hammond 
in Jurassic Park!

Back to the sloth.

After hearing the mating call, the sloth jumped into the water and started swimming toward the cry.

I'm not sure why but this struck me funny.

I've never really had a reason to believe a sloth couldn't swim but I sure didn't expect him to look like a tourist on vacation rather than a sloth on a mission to find his soul mate.

He's doing the doggy paddle.

I didn't get the feeling that there was a great deal of urgency.

He got all the way across this inlet only to find out the mating call wasn't for him and he had to turn around and super casually swim back.

Womp womp.

It was like the Charlie Brown of sloths.

The scariest part of this episode was showing the perils of being a baby iguana.

They hatch on rocky beaches and must RUN AS FAST AS THEY CAN to the higher elevation of rocks by the water where their parents are waiting for them.

They must RUN because speed snakes are waiting and watching for them under rocks near by.

Yes. I said speed snakes.

These snakes are HUGE and they got their name honestly.

They are FAST!

I've never rooted for an iguana in my life like I did these newborns.

"GO! GO! GO!! 

My hands are sweating from watching that again.

Did you see that snake lunge at the baby iguana with his MOUTH OPEN in a last ditch effort to stop him?!

Isn't that just like the devil to try to WIDE-MOUTH bite us 
when we are two steps from freedom? 

We went to the Florida Keys for spring break.

It's much more tropical than south Florida.

In fact, the girls kept asking us if we were still in America.

At the pool of our hotel, there was a waterfall spilling over rocks into the pool so that guests could walk under it.

Iguanas were ALL over the rocks.

They were fascinating to watch!

I was an instant fan 
because… Planet Earth 2.

Sometimes, in the morning, we'd see 3 or 4 iguanas squeeze out of holes in the rocks where they had slept overnight.

I can only imagine how cozy
those accommodations were.

The iguanas became our live version of Planet Earth 2.

Except, THANK THE LORD, there were no speed snakes around. 

I would've run the entire way back to Ohio 
if I'd caught even a glimpse of a speed snake 
eyeballing one of my iguanas.

They became our entertainment.

From a distance.

One did come down to the pool deck and sniffed around a few sunbathers.

I preferred them at a distance.

I couldn't believe how dinosaur-like they seemed.

Slap on a back fin and they would resemble a baby Dimetrodon.


There was always a "changing of the guard" of who got the highest rock. They'd raise their head high up towards the sun and close their eyes. They'd remain still, in the same position, for long stretches of time.

Around day 3 of watching my iguanas, I determined Monte had lots of similar characteristics.

He agreed.

I just happened to be videoing my iguanas when I caught this interesting behavior:

After doing some research, I found out that the thingy-do under the iguana's neck is called a dewlap. Males puff it out for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, greeting, warning or 

"Hey, female iguana, you are kind of cute."

Who knows what was happening in the mind of that iguana on that particular day and that particular rock.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool.

They fly off with the iguanas!!

I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and how APPALLED I would've been if we'd actually WITNESSED the iguana snatching when he glazed over a bit and said,

"That would've been awesome!"

After doing some research, I found out that the doohickey under the iguanas neck is actually called a dewlap.

Males puff out their dewlap for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, warning or just a,

"Hey, how you doin'?" 

to any females nearby.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool area.


I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and emotionally expressing HOW APPALLED I'd be if we'd actually witnessed an iguana snatching when Monte glazed over a bit and said, 

"That would've been AWESOME!"

I blame Planet Earth 2.