Friday, June 30, 2006

Everyday Smiles

This morning, Squirto (aka Frodo) came pitter-pattering into our room at about 6. After my "Good morning, Squirto" hug/pull him into bed to see if he will accidentally fall back asleep so I can sneak another 30 minutes of sleep out of my night, I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep.

He played with my hair, he played with his stuffed R.J., he played with the sheets, he played with his fingers. Eventually he began to prod at my face. I think it was supposed to be gentle caresses. Wanting to scream from this drip torture, I opened my eyes pretty abruptly.

I was greeted by the most beautiful smile that extended all the way to the crinkles at the corners of his eyes. His whole countenance shined that I was awake to interact. I'm so thankful for the smiles of my children. I'm so thankful that I can still cause them.

Just by waking up.

Read more Everyday Tomatoes at Everyday Mommy.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Okay, I know this is shallow, but I've got to get it off my chest.

Back in my high school days, my friends plucked their eyebrows. Every now and then I would attempt it, not knowing what I was trying to accomplish and usually quit once I got a good one or two eyebrow hairs out. Let's face it. OUCH.

One time I mentioned this eyebrow plucking thing to a person who I would consider a fashion diva of our high school. I can't tell you who died and left her in charge of what was in (I think it was the fact that her mother let her shop with her credit card so she got whatever she wanted) but I must have thought I would appear cool to talk about eyebrows.

She said, "But Jamie, you have perfect eyebrows. Why would you worry about them?" Good enough for Diva, good enough for me. I never worried about my eyebrows again.

It just occurred to me that she might have been disparaging me and I missed it. I shall continue as if that wasn't the case.

Fast forward ten years. I've just had my third baby. I'm feeling ugly. I've gone to a friend for a simple haircut. After all, while in labor I lost a half a head of hair and the rest needs to be balanced out. "Friend" talks me into highlights...Just a few...Just to lighten things up.

Next thing I know this friend has offered to do a free eyebrow wax, "just to clean them up. Not super thin or anything."

I'm wondering what's wrong with my perfect eyebrows. I submit because when this friend starts nagging about something, she doesn't stop and it was free.

I walked out of there thinking I was something else. I pranced all over town with large red welts surrounding my brows.

And ever since, I've fretted about them. I've tried to maintain with the tweezers. I lost. So now I pluck stray hairs and wish for another free wax. I eye every woman my age and analyze their eyebrows. THEY ALL HAVE THESE CRAZY THIN LITTLE EYEBROWS.

I'm pretty sure they talk about my caterpillar eyebrows when I'm not there. They must at least think about it. When I had mine done I noticed everyone who hadn't. I wondered how I'd never noticed it before. And I hate how shallow it has made me that I think about it.

I wish Diva was still in charge.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thirteen Books I've Read This Month

Thirteen Things I've Read This Month

1. Coldwater Revival Pretty stinkin' good.

2.The Brand Medallion If you can make it to page 58, it is very interesting.

3. I Like Myself We've been reading it to Princess as she's gone through her hardships. We read it "I like you..." Fabulous for children who need an ego boost.

4. I Stink! And then there's the opposite where we have to read Eldest's name in...Kidding! All three kids love this book (And Mama does, too)

5. DragonKnight The first fantasy I finished, but guaranteed it wouldn't be the last.

6. Tree Ring Circus Look out Dr. Seuss! Fabulous!

7. Grandpa's Are For Finding Worms Peaceful, and a quick read.

8. The Prophet of Yonwood The first printing of this book is supposed to be 350,000. Man, I wish. And I just thought it was average and a little predictable.

9. Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten! For those obsessed about what their kid doesn't know in regard to his future classroom. I'd say we fare at knowing about 50% of the stuff in it.

10. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? So cute! Lyrical and sweet.

11. Duck for President One of my favorites.

12. When the Moon Smiled Such a rhythmic, wonderful bedtime story.

And, Drum Roll Please, my very favorite bedtime book of all...

13. Song of Night If I had to read this one every night for the rest of my life, I think it would be just fine.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Potty-Car, Bath-Van, Whatever

Today I am going to share my secret for potty training without going insane. Be wary, the ability to garage-sale is a necessity unless you have much spare moo-lah.

First, I have three identical potty chairs. I used to have four, but I gave one to my mother-in-law who had a crummy one (also given to her by me after I realized it was crummy but better than transporting mine every time we visited).

I keep one in the living room. Television is on and potty trainer is in the room? Potty-trainer is on potty. Period. No arguing. (Until they are somewhat trustworthy.)

I keep one in the bathroom. Duh. If the child is too little to climb up to the big potty I have to be in there to help. Thus they can never toilet themselves and don't try. And yes, my bathroom was teeny. It was worth it.

I keep one in the van. Yes, the van. ever been at your favorite park (which coincidentally doesn't have a bathroom) when toddler screams "potty!" Yeah. Don't knock it 'til you try it. I even have developed a reputation for the potty-van. But when my family goes on road trips and I get the thirty second warning, all I have to do is pull over. Who cares that the next rest stop is 20 miles down the road? House shopping? And one of my children had a mortal fear of the big toilets at church. Something about the split in the seat, the loud noise and the inability to keep dry pants dry even when we made it in time. I just ran said kid out to the van.

Hey, works for me!

Monday, June 26, 2006

At Another Crossroads

Does it seem like I am always whining about where to go from here? I certainly feel like I am. Some days I just think I am in the wringer, supposed to learn something, or know something, but I can't figure out what it is.

So if, for example, I've written a novel. And if, for example, someone I trust to tell me the absolute truth (read: published author who does not know me from Adam, has no reason to lie, and writes stuff I love) tells me that the first 20 pages of my book are great, fabulous, don't change a thing good and though can't promise that it will be my entry into fiction, thinks it will be, what do I do with this information? Especially if, say, I send the same 20 pages in to a contest where it is judged by three different people. One gives it high scores but red marks the whole thing. One gives it moderate scores and doesn't make a single mark on the manuscript, and one gives it excruciatingly low scores, red marks the whole thing, but the comments don't make a bit of sense and if the judge had used a dictionary ONCE would gain a while new perspective...even if said gained perspective wouldn't have changed the scores would have made the comments more appropriate at least.

And, let's say, seven (such a lowly number) rejections already grace said manuscript.

Would you perchance wonder if you were barking up the wrong tree?

Would you trust the first professional reader you had, or would you trust the rejections and contest judges?

What if you'd decided that your ms really was @*&^?

And no, I waited for the initial downer of not finaling in the contest to wear out before posing these questions. It was a good couple of months ago.

So I asked God if I should quit. I said basically, 'Give me a neon sign. because I don't want to quit if you want me to keep at it. But I certainly don't want to keep at it if you want me to quit."

So I get this awesome email from one of my crit partners about the calling to write and ignoring the calling is ignoring God.

Can you say neon?

Problem being, of course, that I didn't mean to write fiction, I meant to write a memoir but in the process got a fiction opening.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, gossip?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Great! Now I'm paranoid. Yesterday at the blogger thingie, kpjara told me all about these features whereby a blogger can find out who visits their blog and how long they stay.

I can only imagine the psychotic stalker some people probably think I am.

So now I'm in a sort of hysteria to visit a blog, speed read it and link away as quickly as possible. If a kid interrupts (I know,I shouldn't read blogs when my kiddos are awake. I do sometimes) I exit the screen. But what if I didn't finish reading? Do I go back? Do I wait until tomorrow? Do I sound like a freak?

You know, a life of blissful ignorance is sometimes best.

Although, I can almost feel the power. Visit a blog...that says virtually nothing...stay a whole back to them several times...mua-ha-ha-ha-ha! I have you, my precious.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Midwest Bloggers

Insane. I have to say it. And a little star-struck. For a person who gets elated if I have more than two comments on my posts (and I'm not one of the two) it can be a little intimidating to walk into a room to meet ROCKS IN MY DRIER, CHILIHEAD, AND EVERYDAYMOMMY! And, what, 25 other bloggers that live in my neck of the woods.

And the sweet looks of I-have-no-idea-what-your-blog-is-about-but-welcome-anyway were awfully nice. "So, Jamie, what is your blog?" ... "Oh."


Anyway, there were more people there than I met. A lot of blogs that I haven't seen. More that I'll try to get to. And I took no photos (no camera). But if you are interested in such information, bo to another one of those lovely ladies that I linked up to. I'm sure they'll put something up.

Good times to be had, my friends, good times.

Oh, and since I didn't know that you could keep track of the number of times I hit your blog, and how long I spent there, I feel the need to explain to anyone who comes wondering who in the heck visited their blog a bajillion times today, it was because I first was trying to find all the people I met today and I only know how to get to a couple sites so I had to keep going back and second, trying to get the links right. I have you bookmarked and therefore don't know the addy.

I'm not a sweaty guy in a t-shirt, after all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Everyday Cherries

I'm joining Jules in her Friday Everyday Things where we remember a simple thing that makes our life sweeter.

I know it isn't all about food, but for today, mine will be. For about a week I've quit shuddering at the cost of produce and just bought pretty much anything that grows that my children have asked for so "fresh" produce abounds (my parents with their garden are laughing right now). Today I munched on bing cherries that cost more than gold and I enjoyed every bite.

I've also been reading about the superfoods (of which dark chocolate is one) so I've tried to eat more of those. I grabbed a dark chocolate and popped it in my mouth. Before I had the chance to swallow I was practically gagging. It was so sweet and rich. After my light sweet snacks of fresh fruit all week it was just too much.

So while I might be thankful for chocolate in January, today I'm thankful for cherries. And for the wonderful people who pick them, package them and ship them to my store.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mama Bear

Don't tangle with my kids. The only person allowed to do that is me and I'm well acquainted with the guilt bug that follows so I try to do it as little as possible.

But, man, the she bear has come out a lot this week. I have cried for my baby girl a lot in the last three days.

I just remember the pain of being the butt of a joke, even when I didn't know what the joke was.
I remember the pain of being laughed at by an adult, but not knowing why.
I remember the pain of exclusion.
I remember the pain of isolation.
I remember the pain of not feeling important.
I remember the pain when a "friend" suddenly turned on me.
I remember the pain of not being good enough.
I remember the pain of not having the right look.
I remember the pain. Just the pain. And I want to shelter her from it for as long as possible. But I think we are about to the limit of what I can do. I will just do my best and give it to God.

And pray, pray, pray, pray, pray.

Currently reading:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Life Doesn't Like Plans

I'm not a very good friend. I know that and I want to get that out of the way before I begin because I know this can come back on the fact that I'm not a good friend.

So what do you say do I say this?...the people who are supposed to be your friends lay out their perfect plan. First we will do this, then we will do this and then this and X, Y, Z. I am one of the oldest in my group of friends. That has changed in the last few years. I used to be the youngin (we married so young that our peers were five to ten years older than us) with the big plans. But now I'm on the other side and I know that life doesn't necessarily go according to plan.

As I told my hubby last week when he asked how a particular meeting had gone, "I want to know the truth!! You can't handle the truth!!!" (Name that movie). They ask, but don't want to hear the answer. Of course life will go according to plan.

I know they see me as the disillusioned older lady who would do so much better if she would just read the marriage/parenting books. (I did, back when I knew all the answers.) So I'm wondering if we wouldn't all be better off if I would just take a hike.

But I'm also wondering if I should stick around, because someone needs to be there to catch and hold them tight when it all falls apart. I pray it doesn't, but lets face it. Life doesn't usually like our plans.

That Was Fast

Well, (pfft) so much for that. It took less than 12 hours for Ethiopia to be slammed against the rocks. God is still saying "wait" so there ya have it.

Anyone know of an available newborn?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Well, I Did It.

I sent for the application to adopt from Ethiopia. I'm nervous. I'm so comfortable with domestic adoption. But frankly, domestic has changed in the six years we've been out of it and I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable there either.

Who is ever comfortable adding to their family?

I've never met an expectant mother that sleeps well, is full of energy and doesn't have trouble with her new weight. I certainly wasn't comfortable walking down an unfamiliar hospital hallway when we went to meet our eldest's birthmother.

But I'm feeling pretty comfortable in this particular life stage. Kids are all potty trained. All have had the chickenpox. All talking. All know when Mommy's had enough. (Okay, they are still learning that. ) And I wonder, do I rest on my laurels?

But I know that God gave me a vision for my family and we aren't quite there. I'm not certain that Ethiopia is the way for us to go, but I'm looking for the green light.

As my sister told / asked me the other day, "So when I'm at a place that I think this is enough...Is that where Faith comes in to carry me through?"

Boy, life is an interesting ride.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Princess!

Five years ago I had been in labor for twenty-four hours, some ten of it in transition and approximately six hours at a nine and a half. I was bleeding. (Not a lot of was a lot of amniotic fluid tinged with a little blood which made it look like a lot to me. I tell you that so you don't think my mid-wife was irresponsible, because she isn't.)I thought the baby was bleeding and that they were lying to me to just so I wouldn't give up and die. I was sure I was going to die and the only thing that kept me going was a strong little heartbeat in my abdomen that the midwife insisted was there. I kept chanting "anything for the baby, anything for the baby" interspersed with "Jesus, Help me!!!" and "I WANT TO PUSH!!!" (Which was my problem to begin with...pushing too soon. My fault, not the midwife's.)

About an hour later my sister knelt beside me and whispered in my ear that she'd just had a call from her husband (who'd been praying), that everything was going to be fine, he'd be surprised if it wasn't a girl and that the name given was Anne Marie (which means Grace and Bitterness).

I didn't mention that I expected a boy.

Well, I hollered, "I want to push!" one more time before my midwife said, "Okay." Seriously? She hadn't let me push for hours but I didn't make her tell me twice (well, actually I did).

I delivered a baby at the foot of my bed. My midwife said, "You have a baby."

"What kind of baby?" I asked.

"Don't tell her." I heard my sister say.

Meanwhile I am crawling up onto the bed where there are pillows waiting. I try to lift the baby to see the gender, but have no energy left to lift the little eight pound body. Finally someone helped me. "Oh! It's a Princess!"

"A what?" I heard my mom ask.

"A girl, mom, her name is Princess," answered my sister.

A girl. I was in awe for more than a week. Some days I'm still in awe. My God saw to it to miraculously save my daughter from miscarriage AND He gave me a girl.

Princess girl, you are truly a miracle child. I love you, Your Cuteness.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day

Here's to the man who taught me to hang rain guttering, and gave me a raise every time I mastered putting in a screw with fewer stops of the drill (buzz, buzz, buuuuzzzzzzz). I know it must have driven you crazy.

Here's to the man who taught me to stop on a dime--literally.

Here's to the man who taught his girls to shingle. My guy friends call me for roofing advice.

Here's to the man who figured out that if he puree's onions, I will eat the soup. Unfortunately, it didn't work with bell peppers (bleh!).

Here's to the man who had to drag his daughters along to the coffee shop. Why we wanted to go, I'll never know. I'm just thankful he didn't smoke with all his buddies. I shudder to think what my lungs would look like if I had to breathe that air all the time.

Here's to my model gardener. I can't grow a tomato, but he keeps me stocked.

Here's to the man who took a risk, sold his business and moved, just for me. It is tough to start over in a new place with a new job at 48, but he did it. For me. (Mom gets kudos for this also. We women like stability.)

I will always be grateful.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Week of the Strangely Good

Both Hubs and I were down tonight. No particular reason. I imagine the week has grown long like it tends to do and we are tired like we tend to get. While he picked up the living room, I tried to make myself load the dishwasher. I glanced in at him where I saw him sitting and staring at nothing and said, "It's been a week of ups and downs, hasn't it?" (That was me, trying to draw him out. Looking for some levity.)

"I'd say mostly ups," he said.

He's right. It seems a lot of things clicked into place this week. Sunday I wasn't sure we had enough money to pay a tithe (I knew we didn't have enough, but I wasn't sure if this check would bounce or if the mortgage check would later in the week). Monday (as God has a tendency to do) we "found" enough money to live on for a month. The story is long and complex, and I won't go into it this week, but I'll tell you that we found it in our bank account so don't fret that some kid dropped his milk money, K? Everything is legal, but I'm telling you, tithe.

Monday I also was offered another writing job. And for a name you would recognize if you only exist, but don't participate, in America. You might not like them, but you'll know them. I was floored. What looked like a case of someone buying an article that I would never be able to claim publishing credit (because it has been almost 2 years and not seen print) became what looks like a change of personnel who found me. And liked me. Which is nice since I like them. I felt greatly honored.

Hubs had some great meetings this week, and even though we were paid such a pittance this month, there is still hope that these companies just might get off the ground.

So, yes. Mostly ups. It is unfortunate that we had to have a down day in the midst of an up week. I guess it is the nature of life. We are swinging for the fences. Strikes have to happen sometimes. Even Micky Mantle didn't hit over the back wall every day.

I just finished this tonight and can't decide what I thought about it. After Lois Lowry's The Giver and Messenger, these doomsday YA books have a lot to live up to.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My Flowerbeds. E-Gad!

Thirteen Things about my flowerbeds

1. They are currently full of Asiatic Lilies
2. Mostly yellow
3. A few are orange.
4. I know I planted Stargazers
5. I could have sworn there were more daylilies.
6. Because Asiatic fall over as soon as they bloom
7. I know I planted Orientals also.
8. Don't they look different from Asiatic?
9. No wonder they were on clearance last year.
10. Calla Lilies are only pretty in a bouquet.
11. Otherwise they lay over in the dirt.
12. I think rose bushes are on clearance at Home Depot.
13. I wonder when they close?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Not So Into Fantasy--Or Is She?

I know I've mentioned before that I don't read much fantasy. Okay, I have to admit I have never finished a fantasy book--until tonight. Yes, I've read much of the Chronicles of Narnia while reading to my kids at night. But sadly, Princess isn't into them as much as Elder and Frodo, and she is usually my nighttime responsibility. So, my chronicles are limited to nights when Daddy is away.

I love the movies, by the way.

It is because I am one of those readers that needs no description. Say apartment, don't tell me about the apartment, because it will always be my husbands apartment from sophomore year, no more, no less. So if you dump me into a world where nothing is anything that I could possible imagine I have trouble. (See why I enjoy the movies? Now I know what they mean by furry two foot high creatures who talk.)

But, I just finished DragonKnight by Donita K. Paul and it was really good. It took me a while--I had to keep referencing the map--but I finally got myself accustomed to the world and tore through it once I did. This book kept me turning page after page long after I should have surrendered to the call of the pillow. My heavy eyelids can attest to that.

The chapters are short so it is far too easy to read "just one more."

Oh, and the wisdom. I love it. Keep in mind this is fantasy, so God isn't, but Wulder, the creator, is.

"'Taste now and imagine. For this pleasure is as a grain of salt to what I have prepared for you who follow Me.'"

"Beyond what we see, our fire enlightens or destroys."

"Wulder appreciates diverse sizes, shapes and colors in is creation. And if He does, then who are we to pass judgment based on such criteria?"

"There comes a time when words lost their ability to accomplish change and just became noises in the air."

"She breathed in, remembering the promise Wulder had made in His Tomes that this world spun towards an end of His design. And she breathed out, purposely shedding the demand in her soul that everything be made right. Right now, this very instant."

Isn't it marvelous?

Now, DragonKnight is apparently the third in a series and it is certainly a very good book on its own merit, but I intend to get my hands on the first two books. There is much about this land that I want to know. And my son loves it.

Since I figured it out and all.

Sharon Hinck Blog Tour

I had the privilege to read "The Secret Life of Becky Miller" a while back and wrote my thoughts here. It hit me at a weird time where I couldn't help but think "this woman is supposed to be a caricature and I'm worse than she is." So anyway, what I got out of it was more spiritual than, say, what most people got out: laughs.

Anyway, I asked author Sharon Hinck some silly questions about Becky that I don't think she'll mind that I share and there are a few at the end that have more info for ya.

And, okay, my cut and paste did something nasty with the paragraphs and my kids really, really want me, so I'm gonna leave it. Forgive me?

Why does she love Sundays? Sunday is about the most stressful day of the week for a Christian mother!

Yes, Sunday mornings are insane sometimes, but our family does "mellow Sundays" and so I love the long relaxing afternoons...and since I love them, I decided Becky Miller loved them, too.

What's up with fantasizing that she's on a deserted island WITH HER KIDS?

I must be totally weird. But I always thought Swiss Family Robinson had great appeal. No field trip forms from the school, no schedules of rehearsals for youth group plays, no vaccination forms, no school registrations to fill out.... No fighting over a computer games... Just kids fetching and carrying water and coconuts and building fires on the beach.

Becky escapes the pressure to be the Marvelous Mom and Wonderful Wife
through her vivid daydreams everything from fighting pirates to being an
Olympic gymnast. Which was your favorite to write, and why?

I loved writing those daydreams. The variety of scenarios was great fun. My
favorite episodes were definitely the secret agent scenes. Probably because
my career goal throughout grade school was to be a spy.

Becky goes through a lot of struggles. Her husband is laid off from his
job, her son needs a surgery they can't afford, she loses her volunteer
position at her church, her sister flaunts her successful career in Becky's
face, and other challenges face her that I don't want to give away. How do
these struggles affect her faith life?

At first, Becky works even harder to figure out God's plan and fix
everything in her own power. As she describes it, she's addicted to the
attempt of analyzing God's reasons for allowing each trial in her life.
Eventually she runs out of answers and comes to a deeper place of trust and
surrender in her life. She begins to see that God's grace is sufficient, and
even made perfect in our weakness.

One of the central themes in The Secret Life of Becky Miller is that she
is so busy trying to do Something Big for God that she can't see how her
ordinary life is making a difference. What are some of the reasons Christian
women today put this kind of pressure on themselves?

We live in a hyper-success-driven culture. Women try to measure up to crazy
unrealistic models of doing it all and doing it perfectly. We're also very
number obsessed and measure success by income, or degrees, or amount of
activities. We lose sight of God's upside-down measuring system‹how a cup of
cold water given in love is a precious act of ministry in God's eyes, and
how a widow's mite is treasured by Him.

What makes me sad is that as Christians we have God's grace available, but
we often drive ourselves and even ADD the pressure to save the world and
achieve spiritual greatness (however we define that) to our agenda. Becky
defines that as Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, or an award-winning Christian
singer. In her mind, anything less falls short.

How real is Becky Miller? How much is based on your own life, or the
lives of women you know?

Becky has a life of her own, but I have great empathy for her struggles. Her
qualities were definitely formed from the life experiences of my mom's Bible
study small group, and my own. I think some of those challenges are
universal. I love when a reader tells me that I must have had a hidden
camera in her home, because Becky's story is exactly like hers. I think most
women have a little of Becky Miller in them.

What do you hope readers will take away from spending a few hours in the
pages of The Secret Life of Becky Miller?

I hope readers will giggle as they recognize things about themselves in
Becky. I hope readers will get a glimpse of how their life looks from God's
loving perspective and push aside the other measuring rods we use to beat up
on ourselves.

And I hope Becky's adventures help us realize that it's not about us doing
Big Things for God. God can do amazing things through our flawed and
ordinary lives and the little daily choices we make. Each of our lives has
tremendous value to God not for what we accomplish but because He loves

Monday, June 12, 2006

ABCs of Me--I got tagged!

Wren tagged me with this meme.

Accent: Who me? I have a ya'll that slips in every now and then, but if the news anchors talk like me I figure I have no accent.
Best personality trait: I hear I have a good sense of humor, but everyone thinks they do and few really do.
Chore I hate: Cleaning the shower.
Dad's name: Lynn
Essential make-up/skin care products: Eyeliner.
Favorite perfume/cologne: soap
Gold or silver?: Silver.
Hometown: Not telling, but I call it "the 'boro."
Interesting fact: I have no desire to own a dog or cat...ever.
Job title: Mom but I'm working on the title "Freelance Writer"
Kids: Three.
Living arrangements: Husband, kids and fish.
Mom's birthplace: Missouori
Number of apples eaten in the last week: None. But I may have had a couple slices.
Overnight hospital stays: None.
Phobia: Public speaking. Finals.
Question you ask yourself a lot: Am I good enough?
Religion: Christian
Siblings: 2 sisters.
Time I wake up: Around 7:15 AM.
Unnatural hair color: Only once, never again. Orange doesn't look good on me.
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Green peppers.
Worst habit: Talking too much and too opinionatedly.
X-rays?: Only dental.
Yummy food I make: Chocolate Cheesecake.
Zaniest trait: My adherence to homebirth.

I tag Julie C.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

100 Things!

1. Ack! This is post 102. I totally missed it.
2. I married my high school sweetheart.
3. Ten years ago.
4. Our sophomore year in college.
5. I finished.
6. And even began grad school
7. I dropped out
8. Because I decided I knew all I really wanted to know about e. coli.
9. Sometime I wonder if I should have stayed in.
10. I'd be Dr. Somebody now if I had.
11. And probably fighting for tenure at some second rate institution.
12. Without kids.
13. But instead I have three wonderful munchkins.
14. One is adopted.
15. After three years of infertility
16. and at least two miscarriages
17. But I was miraculously healed when Eldest was three weeks old.
18. At a Joyce Meyer women's conference.
19. I was bleeding when I went in
20 and not when I came out.
21. Princess was born nine months later.
22. At home.
23. After 25 hours of labor.
24. Yes, I wanted drugs.
25. But was very glad I stayed home once it was over.
26. My midwife was out of town.
27. I met her back-up after hour 8 of labor.
28. I had a doula
29. I am a doula.
30. I told her everything at every phase
31. I was wrong.
32. But when your contractions are two minutes apart you should be beyond a three!
33. Weaned Princess at fourteen months.
34. Frodo was born nine months later.
35. At home.
36. On the back porch.
37. Under water.
38. I delivered him.
39. Midwife was in town, but had a bad angle
40. It was the single coolest thing I have ever done.
41. I wanted to name him Moses ("I have drawn him from the water")
42. My husband nixed it even though he pushed for Moses for Eldest.
43. I get post-partum depression.
44. Don't want to get pregnant again.
45. Would love to adopt again.
46. Would prefer brown-toned female.
47. I was a tomboy.
48. Princess isn't. I think it is my fault.
49. I found my inner pink at about age 30.
50. I prefer my inner pink to my outer grunge.
51. I have two sisters.
52. No brothers. Poor Dad.
53. I always had a complex. Biggest sis: homecoming Queen; Middle sis: Valedictorian
54. I wasn't on both counts.
55. I lived in an all girls dorm.
56. I have no friends from my dorm days.
57. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! (Kaaaaay-yoooooooou!)
58. Graduated top of that class.
59. In Microbiology.
60. After three major changes.
61. And backing out of nursing school at the last minute.
62. Sometimes I wonder about that decision too.
63. Of course then I'd be tempted to go back to work.
64. As it is now, even on the bad days, I couldn't afford the daycare, so there is no question.
65. I really always meant to be an at-home mom.
66. Slash taxi driver.
67. My favorite vacation involves St. John USVI.
68. I'd like to spend a week there someday.
69. I hope my next long vacation involves picking up a baby.
70. And Africa.
71. But I'd settle for the states.
72. My husband has started more than ten companies.
73. If you think that doesn't say anything about me, you are dead wrong.
74. I am NOT living in my dream home.
75. My refridgerator has two different handles.
76. We pulled it out of the garage where the previous occupants left it with a vending machine.
77. On the other hand I do have my dream stove with double oven.
78. I can bake bread.
79. But I usually buy it.
80. I make a killer chocolate cheesecake.
81. And pretty good friend chicken.
82. I wish I had a garden.
83. Can't get anything to grow in my shady/clay yard.
84. I have ten full bookcases.
85. I don't have cable.
86. I was a cheerleader
87. In a town where the athletes were the cool chicks.
88. I did marry the captain of the football team.
89. He must have seen past my nerdiness.
90. I was raised in church.
91. And made several decisions for the Lord as I grew in maturity.
92. Still growing (I hope).
93. I like a wide variety of genres for books and movies
94. My all time favorite book is probably "Gone With the Wind."
95. All time favorite movie is probably "Pride and Prejudice."
96. But I sure like "Sphere" (book) and "Notting Hill" (movie).
97. I have a yellow sink.
98. I have completed a novel.
99. That has been rejected A LOT.
100. But I'll go down swinging.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Entrepreneurial Marriage

Thirteen Things about being married to an entrepreneur

1. It makes you one by default
2. Because if you aren't supportive, you're supporting
3. You better live below your means
4. Because you never know when your means won't be.
5. You can't hate your spouse's boss.
6. Days off whenever you need them
7. But never when you want them
8. Like July 4, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Christmas Day, Sunday
9. No health insurance
10. But you may pay quite a sum into a share program
11. You will hear about little else
12. When thing are good, they are really, really good
13. And when they are bad, they are horrid.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pucker and Burn

As promised, heeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrssssss Susan May Warren!

They called it “Pucker and Burn.” And right then, I should have figured out that something bad awaited us. But no, I let twelve teenage girls concoct a drink out of three or four different soda flavors, coffee, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. Perhaps I was counting on the fact that they’d take one sip and curl their noses and laugh.

I never expected my eleven year old boy, in an act of MANLINESS to down the entire thing (just to make the girls giggle…oh, the silly things boys do.) Twelve hours later, he is writhing in pain, and we are on our way to the emergency room.

Now, I have to interject here that I’d seen the writhing in pain look before. Six years ago my eldest son had such a look that resulted in an appendectomy. The big difference was…while Son #2 was treated in a clean sterile, up-to-date ER, Son #1….

It’s 6am, and my ten year old has been on the sofa, in great pain for twenty four hours. Being a doctor extraordinaire (not, but I’m a mom, so I have my Mom Doc/MD), I’ve determined that we need to go to the emergency room. Only problem is, we’re not sure where it is. You see, we’re in Russia. And they don’t do emergency services. The ambulances are old made-over station wagons without medical supplies. It’s a well-known fact that if you call an ambulance…you may disappear for-ev-er. So, I get on the phone and call the only friend I know who has medical connections and track down a hospital in the south side of the city. Loading up my son into our van, my husband and I trek down to hospital. We do speak Russian, but sorry, no one ever included “Appendix” on my word list, so I’m reduce to pantomiming pain and body parts to a tall doctor wearing what looks like a pastry hat on his head. He sorta raises one eyebrow and gestures us to follow him. Down the hall and up three flights of stairs. Son In Incredible Pain is groaning until my hubby sweeps him into his arms.

We enter an office. In the corner, locked to the wall is an ultrasound machine. They put David in a rickety wooden chair and ultrasound him. “Da,” Pastry Man says, and does the appendix pantomime. Then he does a scary gesture that I can only assume means surgery.

Hmm, let me think about this…Go under the knife in a Russian hospital, or hope for a flight out in a day or two….

I send my beloved son off on a rickety gurney that creaks as it rolls. David comes out of surgery, groggy and sore, half his body painted orange. The nurse arrives with a needle, and before I can take her down, pops my son in the bum. I’ve never seen someone come out of anesthesia so quickly. Poor fella hits the roof, yanked out of his dreams. And thus, the suffering begins.
There is hardly a mother born who doesn’t feel every one of those shots or endure the searing pain of the incision as she watches her child struggle to sit up, walk, or use the bathroom. Russian hospitals aren’t for the weak at heart. They make David The Trooper get up that day, and lest he have to limp to the potty in agony, I scrounge up a sawed-off plastic Pepsi bottle. (No, no bedpans). His mattress is the size of a Russian blini and I spend the first night hovering over his bed with a shoe, whacking roaches.

The worst are the shots—penicillin every four hours in a backside cheek. The nurse switches sides after the third day. They’re running out of space.

I stay round the clock for two days and nights until he felt comfortable enough for me to leave. And, while he slept, what do I do? Pray. Read the bible and other wonderful books, meditated on the awesome protection of God in our lives.

This memory is fresh and even brings a smile as I help Son #2 into a wheelchair. He’s sent to a room while they fill him with painkillers and fluids for a CT scan. He watches Ice Age. I doze in a chair. Midnight passes before we decide it’s not an appendix attack. But it’s given me a chance to go back in time, reflect on our crazy moments and be thankful for the lessons.

I have a new chick lit book just out (my first one!) – a zany story about a missionary who goes to Russia for a year to escape her life…only to find that God has a better one waiting. Yes, Everything’s Coming up Josey is fiction, but it’s filled with enough true stories that it feels like my story. Sweet memories of my mistakes and God’s grace. Of going under the spiritual knife. And coming out stronger. I hope that you pick it up, that you laugh out loud, and that it encourages you to trust God for every Pucker and Burn moment in your life.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Susan May Warren and Josey

Last weekend I forsook sleep in exchange for the sheer joy of reading a book cover to cover. Susan May Warren's Everything's Coming Up Josey was an absolute delight and well worth the next day crankies (don't ask my kids--they were gone). Who needs to go to Russia? Susan transports you straight there. I especially enjoyed seeing it through an admittedly shallow young American female perspective. Some of us are just a little intimidated by subway systems and it's O-K.

One of my favorite lines of the book is when Josey is talking to her best friend about the fact that she is stuck at a less than glamorous job, her ex-boyfriend just married her sister and the guy she's had a secret crush on forever has just announced that he is engaged to someone else. She says, "You know what I dream of? I want to matter. To make a difference. I want someone to love me so much, they would cross the world just to spend one hour with me. I want to leave a trail of wow behind me. I don't believe in cosmic purpose, but I do wonder if God has a plan, or if He's still waiting to see if I'm worth the trouble."

Don't we all?

Run out and buy this book, and tomorrow check back because Susan May Warren is guest blogging for me and I'm sure she'd like for you to stop by.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Tess!

A very happy birthday to Tess who identifies herself with a coffee mug. I'd send you a card if I could, but cyber wishes are the best I can do.

Here's to coffee together in the hereafter.

Mail Obsession

I have an unhealthy obsession with mail. All morning I wonder if the mail has come and all afternoon I wonder, "have I have gotten the mail." (And I usually remember that I did.) When I come home from being out I check my mailbox, excited to see what the postman has left me. If I've been gone for a weekend, I can almost not contain my excitement that I get to get mail on a Sunday.

Something is wrong with me.

It is as if the mailbox holds a gift, because well, you just never know. This weekend I had several credit card offers, a magazine or two for Hubby, something from a mail-order flower group, an invitation to enter Princess in a pageant, a wedding invitation, a bridal shower invitation, and a baby shower invitation. I consider that a bust. You'd think that would be good mail, wouldn't you? No bills. Something with my name hand-written on the envelope. Could be worse.

But a couple of weeks ago I got two different cards in the mail. Yes it was near my anniversary, but it was all about me....and Hubby, but he doesn't race me to the box usually. Very nice. I must write to my grandmother more frequently, she always writes back.

Of course lately it really has been Christmas when I get to the box. Buried underneath the credit card offers and bills and real-estate solicitations and Dell sales books and nonsense, every so often, there is a padded manilla envelope with a treasure inside. Someone sent me their treasure, their written word, and they value my opinion (which they hope is good, of course) enough that they want me to read it and talk about it here. Or they hope that YOU value my opinion enough at least.

What was once a hope for the random, pre-addressed thank you note from my latest shower has now become almost a legitimate passion. Sometimes the box holds the goods.

One of my recent mailbox finds I'll talk about soon:

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Frodo's Mother

AKA the frazzled lady in the corner.

My little son no longer answers to his given name. No, he is Frodo, the Ring-Bear. I did not say ring bearer for good reason. That is because he isn't ring-bearer, he is Ring-Bear. But he answers to Frodo, Lord of the Rings, Keeper of the Rings, and Ring-Bear.

Is that how you spell Frodo?

By the way, he is dashing in a Tux. I, on the other hand, was done by Friday about noon...with a good twenty-nine hours to go of "on."

Ever try to keep a three-year-old (just barely) in line, pottied, fed, entertained, smiling, hydrated, unrumpled, and not stabbed with the bouttonniere pin while you yourself also must smile, make nice, and not cry? I haven't really slept in three days. I lie down and wedding music pulsates through my mind. Worry cascades over me as I try to figure out how to be at the necessary places at the correct times with a well rested kiddo, all the equipment and look like I should be attending a wedding as well, even though the wedding is one hour and seven minutes from the place that I am staying which is two hours and forty-five minutes from my home.

But Frodo had the hots for the flower girl so he maintained his composure most of the time. Wheresoever she goest, he follows.

They were adorable.

And I don't really think 3-yr-olds get the hots, but he sure liked his "new friend." Too bad we may never see her again.

Capstone of my day: Frodo marches up the aisle, stands in the proper location, is pointed off stage to me at the appropriate time and he announces that he must potty. LOL! We made it back for the kiss, but not much else.

Finally home. I hope I can sleep tonight.

Precious little reading time this weekend. Read this to Hubby in the car. Neat follow up to her The Giver that I read last month.