Archives for December 2008

A Recap Of Sorts

Yesterday I started a long post (IMAGINE! A LONG, RAMBLING POST! FROM ME!) about how 2008 probably won’t go in the record books as my favorite year. I mean, it’s been an incredible year, but it’s also been an uncomfortable one. I feel like I’ve seen my selfishness and my sin through a magnifying glass, and there have been several times when I have thanked God for the refining and then asked Him if maybe it might not be time for a mountaintop. Just one. Just one little teeny mountaintop. Por favor.

I think God likes it when I use Spanish.

Anyway, the more I’ve thought about that post, the more I’ve realized that it pretty much reeked of whine. And I don’t like whine. So I’ve decided to turn my year-end (semi-) frown upside down and talk about some of the happy stuff of 2008. Because I like the happy stuff! Happy is good!

So. The happy highlights.

1) Uganda with Compassion International – Life-changing, heart-breaking and perspective-wrecking. It was all that and so much more. Marriage and mama stuff aside, it was the greatest experience of my life. The bloggers on our trip completely inspired me with their creativity, their hearts and their humor. I can’t express how deeply that week affected me, and how even now, almost a year later, it ripples. Every single day.

2) “God Speaking” by Ronnie Freeman – I bought this CD right before I left for Africa, and I listened to it almost non-stop on our flights. There’s this song called “The Other Side” that was playing when I landed in Chicago to meet the other bloggers, and it was one of the most moving moments of my whole life. I cried like a baby. And right now a song called “No Changing That” is playing on my iPod, and I’m all teary-eyed again. It’s one of those CDs where the lyrics hit me so hard that I could’ve sworn Ronnie Freeman had been reading my journal if, you know, we actually knew each other. I will love it for a lifetime.

3) Dave Barnes – He makes me laugh. And he writes a fine song. And he loves Africa. And Alex and I sang his song “A Lot Like Me” all summer long and we liked to break it down with some smooth dance moves when we’d get to the instrumental part. Good times.

4) Deeper Still Las Vegas – Unbelievably convicting and inspiring and moving. And a bit of a watershed moment for me. I’ve never been able to write about why it impacted me so much because I can’t really articulate it, but it changed the way I look at life in the Bible Belt. And as an added bonus, Melanie and I had an unexpected surprise in our hotel room.

5) The Monkey Alarm – Hands-down the hardest I laughed in 2008. Maybe even in this decade. Thanks for that, Shannon.

6) My podcast buddies – Melanie and Travis are like family to David and me, even if one of them whose name is not Melanie talks incessant Pathwords trash and makes fun of my accent since he’s from NORTH CAROLINA and all. I love them and their sweet families so much.

7) Carpool line phone calls with Daphne, Merritt, Emma Kate, and Melanie – It seems like at least a couple of times a week I get to carpool line super early. So instead of just sitting there, I call friends. I’ve had some mighty fine discussions / belly laughs / therapy sessions / vent-a-thons during those ten or fifteen minutes of wait time. Plus, Emma Kate has a knack for telling forty-two stories in ten minutes, so it works out beautifully. She has a gift, I tell you.

8) “The Office,” “30 Rock,” and “Saturday Night Live” – They made me laugh and clap my hands.

9) Compassion Gloria! Tour – David and I made a spur-of-the-moment trip to Nashville one Thursday night to see the Gloria! concert. So many sweet friends were there. The music was fabulous. It was HAPPY OVERLOAD for my relational personality. I smiled until my head hurt. And then we drove home.

10) Todd and Marti’s reception dance – I was totally, completely floored. So surprised. And I may have squealed.

11) The five year-old asleep down the hall – The little man has grown up so much this year. He is one of the funniest people I know. He wakes up happy. He loves school. He is loud as all get-out and prefers jumping to walking, but he still has such a tender, sweet heart. Last night he and his daddy were playing Wii, sitting side-by-side on an ottoman, and every few minutes he would reach up and pat his daddy’s back. Such a sweet memory.

12) People – From family to old friends to new friends, people have been the sweetest blessing of 2008. People I’ve known all my life and people I’ve known for just a little while. People at church and at work and at Bible study. People in Africa. People at conferences. People who sponsored kids through Compassion and donated mosquito nets and provided shoes for kids who don’t have them.

I feel like I was surrounded on all sides this year by people who are kind, generous and encouraging.

Thanks for that.

Happy 2009, y’all.


This post by Antique Mommy left me wistful and teary-eyed.

And it reminded me that while these days we’re living in might be tinged with bittersweet, they are still very, very good.

Before I Commit To Tonight’s “Project Runway” Marathon…

…I wanted to share a few things.

1. Last call for people who are interested in being Praise Baby bloggers. You’ll write a couple of posts for the PB blog, get some free music as a thank you, and enjoy lifelong peace and happiness if you participate. Except I can’t really guarantee that last thing. Email me tonight if you’re interested. I’m sending out details tomorrow.

2. If you’re not reading Veronica‘s Twelve Days of Christmas series, you’re missing out on some inspiring bloggy goodness. The series starts right here. And her post for the second day of Christmas? It’ll preach.

3. I don’t really have a third thing. But two things seemed sort of lame. So now I’m rambling.

So. How are y’all?


I’m in official post-holiday overload, completely aware of the fact that I have lots of funny tales to tell, but now that we’re down to a house-o-three again, I’m mostly just tempted to sit in front of the television and change the channel until I run across some sort of series marathon (FINGERS CROSSED FOR “TOP CHEF”), at which point I’ll ask my hubby to bring me three diet Cokes and Rotel dip and a blanket and then I’ll sit right here and watch TV and drink diet Coke and eat cheese until I fall into some sort of reality television stupor.

I know. My goal-setting is inspiring, isn’t it?

You’ll be happy to know that my Pathwords obsession hasn’t diminished during the holidays, even though I didn’t get to play very much and have made approximately zero progress with my score. I’m starting to feel like something is wrong with me, what with my friends sailing past me in the rankings, yet I continue to trash talk with great enthusiasm and pray that at some point in my life I will know the joy of beating one particular friend’s high score in the strong name of Jesus, amen.

We made pizzas on Christmas Day just like we planned, and while I think I need to keep working on the dough part (I thought it was sort of bland-tasting, though the texture was great), it was a great change-o-pace from the usual Christmas fare. Martha even liked it, which is quite a feat considering that she never eats pizza because she has said for years that she thinks it tastes like perfume.

We’re not exactly sure how she knows what perfume tastes like. But we trust that when she’s ready to tell us the back story, she will.

Anyway, she thought the homemade pizza was “wonderful! just wonderful! it’s perfectly wonderful!,” and my daddy was grateful that he didn’t have to eat turkey, and Mama was glad that she wasn’t the one cooking, so it worked out beautifully for all on hand. Friday night I used the leftover marinara to make chicken parmesan, and SWEET MERCY IN HEAVEN it was good. We had the best homemade cheesecake in the universe for dessert (hubby actually makes it, and it is forty two different kinds of divine), but I made the critical error of drinking a big mug of coffee with the cheesecake and as a result slept for a solid three hours Friday night.

As you can imagine, I was DEEPLY rested when I dragged myself out of bed Saturday morning.

The fellas went to lunch and a movie Saturday while the girls spent a little of their Christmas money. I was delighted to find a new stainless steel Dutch oven on sale at Macy’s for $19.99, not to mention a cute sweater at the Steinmarts that was about 60% off. Then we ate some blackeyed peas, cornbread and cheese grits for supper, watched a movie with about fourteen different plot lines (“Eagle Eye”), and apparently had a contest to see who could fall asleep first (Sister’s hubby won, but Mama was a close second).

So now we’re just going to try to ease back into normal. I need to work on some blog stuff tomorrow and get all the Christmas decorations put away. I also need to run about sixteen miles and would like to lose forty pounds before the new year because I am, as ever, all about some realistic fitness goals.

Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas.

And if you see happen to see that there’s a “Top Chef” marathon on Bravo, please email me immediately, oh thank you.


This past weekend my nephews and my little man made (and by “made,” I mean “assembled from a pre-fabricated kit”) a gingerbread house.

Or, I should say: my nephews and I made a gingerbread house. The five year-old just screamed and laughed a lot.

It was clear about five minutes into the deal that we had us a Hoopty Gingerbread House on our hands, because the left wall caved in. Then the roof started to separate and fall off to the side, and then the icing, MY WORD, THE ICING, WHY WON’T IT MIND?

But just look at these sweet faces:


They made me want to finish the silly thing.

Sort of.

Because here’s something you may not have known about me: any exceedingly detailed task, like filling in a gingerbread tree by USING ICING TO ADHERE LITTLE BITTY PIECES OF CANDY TO THE SURFACE OF SAID TREE, FOR INSTANCE, makes me want to throw all the candy on the floor and smash it with a sledgehammer and then blow up all the tiny candy residue with a stick or nine of dynamite.

So I picked my battles. Candy on the roof in an abstract pattern. No piping the icing in a design because I’d prefer to avoid a pre-Christmas nervous breakdown.


Really, a gingerbread house would be so much more fun if you could paint it. With Magic Markers. And if doodles counted as decorations.

Make it merry, y’all.

And So On And So Forth And Etc.

A few random things I’ve been meaning to tell you:

1. 50,000 Shoes in 50 Days – only seven days left to get in on the action, and this would be such a cool thing to do with your kids. I love the idea of giving your kids ten minutes to run around the house and find five dollars in change – then gathering all the young’uns around the computer and showing them how spare change can provide two pairs of shoes for children in need. I’d say that’s a mighty fine lesson.

2. A couple of months ago I asked if any of you might be interested in blogging for the new Praise Baby blog. And then about 70 people emailed me, and then my computer died. Many of the original volunteers emailed me again once my computer was up and running, but if you haven’t emailed me and you’re still interested in writing a couple of posts for Praise Baby, let me know (aye, and quickly). The PB blog is going to be up and running at the first of the year, and I’m about to start working on a posting schedule. And yes, there is free music involved.

3. I have a post up over at AllAccess about how a cake made me all teary-eyed.

4. Thank y’all so much for all your great suggestions for our Christmas Day pizza. I’m making marinara tomorrow, and we’re going to make pizza crust from scratch – even though I may rue the day I decided from-scratch crust was a good idea.


But in the interest in MAKING SWEET MEMORIES, I’m going all in.

5. I haven’t forgotten about Daily Linky Interwebby Awesomeness. But I am taking a little linky-hiatus until after Christmas. In case you were wondering. Which you probably weren’t.

But still.