Monday, May 29, 2006


I borrowed this idea from Edgy Mama - a list of inspirations (in no particular order)

Mom, Papa, my kids, tennis, Jane Austen, most anything British or Australian, Shania Twain, reggae music, Candace Robb, Lorelai Gilmore, Jesus, dark chocolate covered almonds, Jelly Bellies, meditteranean blue, forest green, Carolina Blue sky, Appalachian mountains, Green Day, Brother Cadfael, Ashley, Sydney Bristow, stars-sun-moon, Mexican food, Sangria, friends, Dixie Chicks, the ocean, adoption stories, having a clean house, sporty 5 speeds, impressionism, pretty little bound journals, bath salts, sunflowers, tulips, and travel

Sunday, May 28, 2006

taking the bad with the good

Things that have gone wrong in recent days -
*shuttles to and from airport to remote midwestern campus being delayed and broken down
*being stuck first evening in hallway basement for 1 1/2 hours due to tornado warning with smelly, travel worn people, some of whom wanted to start having a big praise God worship service
*starting the trip with a hurt back
*making it worse with bad fall, which also sprained left ankle and really bruised and scraped right knee
*supposed to have private room, and when mix up ensues - being verbally assaulted by stranger who was my roommate for 20 minutes
*staying in the worst dorm rooms ever
*having one large shower room with four shower heads and divided by moldy shower curtains
*not having flip flops to prevent athlete's foot
*wearing my contacts in the shower and seeing the overhead vent which has not been cleaned since 1954
*only having the very short hours of the dining hall for food sustenance - coffee shop on campus is closed for the summer (even with over 250 guests at a conference - most of whom are addicted-to-caffeine college students)
*having tiny frozen mixed vegetables (you know - the peas, square carrots, corn and an occasional lima bean) at every single meal but breakfast
*having "scalloped" potatoes - sliced and cooked potatoes with cheez whiz over them
*having the meat selection of a corn dog or chicken nuggets (none of us are 8 years old)
*not having any store of any kind whatsoever within walking distance
*the complete unavailabity of Diet Coke - Pepsi must own the whole area

But alas, I did find some people with transportation, and yesterday afternoon was able to get to the theater (the one in town) to see Hugh Jackman in X3. Makes up for all the bad...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

who's your daddy?

I'm heading to a national college student conference this weekend. I'll be teaching a workshop on "Finding God in Pop Culture." It is my belief that God is everywhere, and we can especially find God in the pervasive culture which surrounds us.

So yesterday I was finding out more about movies (and I love movies anyway). The Cannes film festival has been in the news, and I was pleased to hear that Brad Pitt (starring in one of the movie premieres there) sent a letter stating that he would not be there, because he and Angelina were expecting the new addition to their family any day now. Now, the circumstances of those two getting together were terribly fishy (and I really don't want to know the details) and I don't condone starting a relationship with another person when you are still married. Yet, I find it commendable that Brad is putting his family first. Quite a change from another A-list movie star who has obnoxiously proclaimed how much he loves his partner and how excited he was about his baby - so much so that he was traveling around the world doing promo for MI-3 days before baby Suri came and then was in Germany when she was 4 days old, doing more promo. Actions speak louder than words, buddy. If my Hubby took off like that when baby was 4 days old - the locks would have been changed when he returned home.

So even in the midst of movie stars and craziness, there is a message about priorities and family. Easy to see God at work there.

Friday, May 19, 2006

kids don't make you happy?

I was listening to an interview on the radio this morning - some Harvard psychologist who has written a new book about happiness. He talked about the misconception about children making someone happy. Research shows that happiness plummets when children are born. It starts to rise again as the kids get older, and then plummets again when adolescence comes. Once the empty nest arrives, happiness gets back to pre-kid levels. My friend Katalina said something about this a few weeks ago, and I thought it was odd when she said it. Aren't my kids the best thing in my life?

But today - it made more sense. Monday and Tuesday I was anxiously awaiting Sonny Boy leaving for his week-long spring trip on Thursday morning. Most of our conversations for days had consisted of him loudly singing, "I GOT SOME BEANS IN MY POCKET! YO-DE-A, YO-DE-A. I'M A G. I'M A G!"

But then as soon as the boy hugged and kissed me good-bye Thursday morning, I missed him and can only think fondly of how happy he makes me.

Ah, the human paradox...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

can't hide from mother nature

Since becoming pregnant with Sonny Boy close to 12 years ago - I have tried to feed my family as best I can. I try to be economical, and also to provide the best nutrition. My kids have tried many foods that most adults either have never tried or do not wish to try. Soy, tofu, all sorts of veggie meats, exotic fruits and vegetables and grains - these are staples in our household. I even enjoy watching TLC's new show, Honey we're killing the kids, because it makes me feel good about trying to provide my family with good food and a healthy lifestyle. (don't we love to compare ourselves to others and feel smug about how great we think we are ?)

Now I am not a food nazi - I let them have treats here and there. They will occasionally have a soft drink or a chocolate chip pancake or a sucker. (I know I am a hypocrite - if anyone takes away my daily Diet Coke - it's death. But I did give up all soft drinks the whole time I was pregnant and nursing!)

Now Hubby is getting older - 51 at last count. He's in great shape (particularly for his age), but it's important to watch what he eats. One thing I stay away oftentimes (due to expense and high sugar content and lack of nutrition) are those breakfast cereals. I always keep homemade granola, and if we buy some cereals, I try to go to a health food store or get the less sugary ones. I could care about breakfast foods - but those sugary, kids cereals don't need to be in our house.

Sunday morning (for Mother's Day), Hubby wanted to make breakfast. I would have been happy to make a usual yogurt or half an English muffin - but since he wanted to do it, I told him french toast. He said we were out of syrup (I always make syrup and apparently it had been all used up without my knowledge). Hubby went to the store to buy syrup that morning. Later that day, I was looking in the pantry and I noticed that one of the empty plastic cereal containers now had cereal in it (beside the homemade granola container). I looked. It was full. I opened the top of the container and immediately knew - Frosted Flakes. I looked in the kitchen recycling bin - fairly full - and no Frosted Flakes box.

He knew I wouldn't like it. Not only had the man snuck them into the house, he had immediately taken the box to the outside recycling bin - hoping not to be caught.

When I confronted him with this info, he only grinned. Good thing he has someone to watch out for him.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm a good mom

Well, the Mercedes SUV is back with its rightful owner. It sure was fun driving it - but now I am back to either the '95 Windstar or (my preference and the car which has my name listed as owner) the '91 Nissan Sentra. I love driving my little 5 speed, even though its outward appearance is really starting to look rather sad. The paint job is chipping, and we are getting a new underliner soon. And we are missing one hubcap. But it's a good car.

I have two bumper stickers (which I have had for some time). One says, "God bless the people of every nation." I got this one soon after 9/11. The other sticker says , "God is not a Republican or a Democrat." Got that one during the last Presidential election. Oh - I do have a small sticker on the window that says "Duke Divinity School."

This morning Sonny Boy and I were tooling around in the Nissan - buying some new skater boy shoes and checking out the locally owned skate shop (interesting place, I assure you - reminds me of some of the shops in downtown Asheville). After our purchase, the owner of the skate shop gave Sonny Boy some free stickers - like he needs more. One was a bumper sticker that proudly proclaimed, "I'd rather be Skateboarding!"

I let him add it to the bumper stickers on my beloved Nissan. Happy Mother's Day to me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

dependence - not a bad thing

For 11 and 1/2 years, I had the luxury of having my parents live close to us (17 miles away, to be exact). Dad was retired and Mom retired during that period. The free time was crucial - because their main jobs became Child Care Provider for Grandchildren. For years, I wondered how all my friends were able to pull it together without free grandparent care and assistance any time they needed it. Some paid babysitters fairly often, but many also had friends who helped out. Inspite of frequent Free Grandparent Care, there were times we still needed help and I relied on wonderful friends. But those times weren't too often, and we were able to reciprocate.

So now we are out of the Free Grandparent Care zone. Two and a half hours is a little much for things like, "Can you pick up the kids today?" or "Hubby and I want to go see a movie tonight" or "He's driving me crazy! Please take him off my hands for a couple days!" I am obtaining insight into how many people in our very mobile society pull it all together. Since moving here, we very quickly started depending on others to help out. When I had my surgery last fall, thank goodness we had friends who kept the kids for a couple nights. (Mom and Dad were coming down, but Dad ended up in the hospital with far more serious issues than plantar fasciattis.) Thank goodness for carpooling. Thank goodness for friends who gladly switch off childcare - because who can afford to pay babysitters all the time? And thank goodness for people who will help out at the last minute, because Hubby forgot to look at the calendar and didn't know he would be gone while I had a Board meeting.

And we are now in our second week of the '95 Windstar being in the shop - new transmission (yea). Flexible as my job is, we can't always do without a car for Hubby. Last week, some friends loaned us their extra car - a really nice double-cab Ford 150. This week, Hubby is tooling around in a Mercedes SUV. (And we didn't even ask to borrow either one of these cars - our friends just volunteered.) It kinda freaks me out to see a nice car in our driveway. The van certainly looks better than my '91 Nissan. (And I'm not even thinking about gas mileage - Hubby's not driving very much.)

Southerners seem to always be dependent upon the kindness of strangers (pardon the split infinitive, but blame Tennessee for that). Thank goodness we can especially be dependent upon the kindness of friends - no matter how new they are.