Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Memories (Happy New Year, take two.)

1980-1(?): Got "fake drunk" with Josh.  We drank a bottle of sparkling cider and were convinced we were drunk.

1992-3: Went into debt for the first time... borrowed money from my mom to take my boyfriend out to eat for his birthday before a lock-in with his church youth group.

1999-2000: Was at Bub's with a holy host of others standin' around me.  Laho convinced some guy to spend his new year taking our picture.

2006-7: Rang in the new year with a 2 month old baby in the "Teen Room" at the RMH.  We'd already moved out of our apartment and were staying in the Weekend Manager's room until my tenure at the house was over.

2008-9: Watched some of my favorite ladies run their first ever 5K.  Was supposed to run with them.  Cried more than I care to admit.

2010-2011: Will be going to bed early to prepare for going to the Passion Conference in Atlanta with 15 people I like a lot.  Already overwhelmed at how God has gotten us this far... can't wait to see what's next.

And here's how the other New Years tie in to my next year:
-Dan and I will pay our only credit card in a few short weeks.  Bye, bye debt.
-I plan to be more intentional about some of those folks from Bub's in 2011.  It's really in my best interest.
-We're trying to figure out how to get reacquainted with the RMH in 2011.  Our whole family needs it.
-I've signed up to re-train to run my first 5K.  Training starts the week we get back from Disney.

And getting fake drunk?  Well, that's just a given that it will happen in 2011... E and I are opening a bottle of Fizzy Welch's in about one hour...

See you on the other side of ATL.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010- a recap.

4:36pm, sitting on the couch watching Snow White with E.

And that about sums up 2010.  It's been a year of Snow White... and some other things.

Where we've been:
-Asheville
-Wilmington
-Disney
-Kure Beach
-Sunset Beach
-Myrtle Beach
-Hilton Head
-Baptist Hospital
-Washington, DC

What we've gained:
-a tumor
-stepsisters
-weight
-clutter
-perspective

What we've lost:
-a tumor
-a stepmother
-patience
-it
-perspective

What we've learned:
-relationships are what matters most
-Elizabeth is who she is, not necessarily who I want her to be (and I usually like who she is)
-God gets us where we are by protecting us in years gone by
-we are selfish
-we are not as important as we think we should be
-we would not make it without our friends

What we've dropped the ball on:
-sending thank you notes
-sending prompt "other" notes
-most other things

What we're most thankful for:
-a relationship with Jesus that continues to be new and renew
-a child who did not come to us easily, but easily makes our life complete
-family who are friends and friends who are family







Happy New Year, Y'all....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mary vs. Martha (for discussion)

A bit of Bible background: Jesus went to visit some gals- Mary and Martha.  Mary "got it", and spent time sitting at the feet of Jesus and enjoying being with Him.  Martha, however, was more pre-occupied with making sure "stuff" was ready for Jesus' visit.  She wasted time she could have spent in the presence of God by cooking and cleaning.  More info?  Check the story out here or here.

*************
I live with a schizophrenic view of neatness.  I was raised in a home that was BEYOND clean and organized.  I tend to think that my cluttered-ness is a form of childhood rebellion.

On the flip side, I can't stand clutter.  (See above: raised in a home that was BEYOND clean and organized.)  I feel like I handle life better when everything is in it's place.  I have a love affair with my label maker and Rubbermaid bins that is often unhealthy.  No shopping experience brings me greater joy than stores like "The Container Store" or "Hold Your Own"... and when Oprah gave away new closet systems?  Sigh... a dream.

But in reality, I am a cluttered girl.  I am a hoarder of memories... I have boxes and boxes of pictures, old letters, and things from days gone by.  I have realized recently how silly some of my hoarding is and have purged loads- purses I won't use again, things I was saving for projects I honestly know I won't complete (that topic alone is a post for another day), shoes that aren't going to be worn, magazines I thought I would re-read... stuff like that.  But honestly?  I have a LOT of stuff.  As my heart has realigned in the last few years, my love of "things" has shifted- but I've still got a lot of them.

Herein lies the problem...  I have a lot of junk in my house... but I hate the junk.  I also let it pile up, but can't stand that it piles up, and I go on a bender cleaning.  And such benders put me in horrible moods in the moment (sometimes), but leave me with great moods when I'm done cleaning.  My friend Krista said today (while we were talking about this whole phenomenon) that maybe it's possible to have a Mary-Heart while I'm doing Martha-Activities... and honestly, y'all, I don't.  Sometimes in the moment of the routine (dishes, laundry) I can be in that zone... but when I tend to clutter that has gotten overwhelming, the Mary-Heart is gone.

So here is my question to you- how do you deal with mess?  How is your heart in the midst of it?  Do you like it?  Loathe it?

Fill me in people... I need your wisdom.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gifts

*No worries... this is not a blog post about how people should or should not "do" Christmas gifts.  There are loads of you who are likely still unwrapping the piles of gifts at your home.  There are also some of you have chosen to forgo traditional gifts and instead spent today making homemade soap and weaving baskets for the needy.  I am equally jealous of both traditions.*

Merry Christmas, Bloggitty Blog World.

Today has been for us, well, near perfect.  Many of you have felt the same way.  (Thanks to FB, I feel like I celebrated Christmas with many of you, too.)  The snow in NC set the stage for some magical Christmas moments.

This year, the Johnston family took a new spin on Christmas gifts.  Because of my love of all things gift-giving (like, seriously, I lurve giving and receiving gifts), we decided it was time to reign things in before they got out of control with Miss E.  While I am not disciplined enough to subscribe to the soap-making bent, I whole-heartedly understood my need to reel things in a bit.  We stole borrowed this idea from someone else, and it fit our family perfectly.  Each of us (E, Dan, and myself) received 4 gifts: Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, and Something to read.  Glory.  Shopping with a purpose?  A theme?  Bring it on.

The majority of gifts for E and Dan centered around our upcoming Disney trip (or their mutual love of all things Disney).  My gifts were, quite honestly, some of the most special- and thoughtful- that I've gotten.  The surprise gift (Dan and E both totally had me fooled on this!) was my first (and second, and third) piece(s) of art from Sam, The Dot Man.  Super.  Tears.  Perfect.

So, given that there were only 12 gifts to open amongst us (and Santa brought the 2 things E'd asked for), the frenzy of present opening in our house was over rather quickly.  It's amazing to me that when the last gift is opened my heart immediately reverts to how it did when I was E's age and realized the last gift had been opened... in full disclosure, I have a moment of sadness.

We inventoried our "loot", ate breakfast with my mom, then sadly told her goodbye as she headed west in hopes of beating the snow.  Before I even had a chance to feel sad with our quiet house... it happened.  My Christmas Gift began:

Peace.

Rest.

Joy.

Through the drama and the fun of the last few weeks, God knew I needed some rest.  And today, of all days, He gave me the gift of it.  We laid on the couch.  We watched movies.  We organized our purses... okay, that was just me.  We bathed our dogs.  We listened to a Snow White CD in E's room... multiple times.  We snacked.  We ate.  We laughed.  We kissed.  We hugged.

And that, my friends, was a gift.

I have always longed for a big family.... a house full at the holidays.  And, yes, over a period of time, we've had that full-house.  But today- on the day of my Lord's birth- He gave me what I needed rather than what I thought I wanted.  He gave me peace.  And with it I got rest.  And with that, I got joy.

My delightful daughter was the perfect picture of a child on Christmas today.  She wore her PJs all day and played with her toys 'til she could hardly play anymore.  My Christmas gift to you is to share with you some of her loveliness... butt crack and all.  In this scene, she was taking her new "Tangled" doll outside to play with her.  Well, that's what I thought was happening, which is why I asked her if she needed a coat.



After the shot ended, she told me that was all she wanted to do... she just needed to take her doll outside because (she thought) it sings "now I see the sun"... and she wanted God to hear it.  (Hence, the raising to doll toward heaven.)

Joy to the world.  Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Exam Time

In college, my roommate and I had a GREAT diversion tactic.  When it was exam time, that was obviously the best time of the semester to rearrange our dorm furniture.  By the end of the Reading Day(s), our room was newly arranged and fairly clean.  Completely logical.  Who cares that instead of said-arranging and cleaning we should have been studying, right?

The last week of my life has felt that same "crunch" as exam time.  I hosted Book Club last week, prepared for a large Christmas Party, had the College Students over on Sunday night, spent a super fun day playing with my child yesterday, not to mention shopping and wrapping presents in the mix.  We are fortunate enough to host both sides of our family in the next 2 weeks for Christmas, so the house is in the midst of getting ready.  Oh, and that party we had?  When things weren't quite ready for guests to arrive, we did the appropriate Martha Stewart cleaning method of shoving stuff in the guest bedroom.  Now, we have the dilemma that people will be staying in that cluttered room in 48 hours.

This past week I've been fairly diligent with my time.  I've cleaned when I needed to, not because I'm that "on the ball", but because there was no other option.  I've stayed on top of food prep, keeping our main level clean, and kept up with what was important.

Today, it's a different story.

In two hours, I will head to Asheville for Mary's Celebration of Life.  Both she and my Daddy had decided they didn't want traditional funerals, nor did they want to do any sort of "visitation" at the funeral home.  Having participated in too many in their past where families were forced to publicly grieve with people they may or may not have been close to... well... it just wasn't "for them".  Now, six weeks later, there are those of us who have felt like "something" needed to be done.  There is no intention to go against Mary's wishes- yet we all need to celebrate her life in a way she would love... with a party.

As I've sorted through the pictures we'll share in a slide show, my heart hurts and is full all at the same time.  And while I now sit here blogging in my pajamas rather than getting ready to go, I feel a little like it's exam time.  I *should* be cleaning my house.  I *should* be putting away laundry.  I *should* be doing lots of things... according to my to-do list.

Looking back on college, maybe rearranging our dorm room wasn't as important as, oh, I don't know, studying for my exams.  But today, I've learned enough to realize that my to-do list is not as important as looking at those pictures... remembering those moments... enjoying looking at Mary's sweet smile.

For those of you who will be there today, you'll see all of the gems that we "borrowed" from her computer and photo stash.  But for the rest of you, here are some of the moments I'm enjoying this morning.

my Step-sister, Leigh, with her daughter Charlotte ("Charlie"), Mary's Mom, and Mary

Mary's Red Hat ladies... who also are some of Candler Elementary's best ladies

Mary in co-pilot status on her way to Hilton Head... 
not many of us are lucky enough to be flown to vacation!

in March of this year, giving "Bibby" a late Christmas present...
her very own Coach purse!  
(she needed a treat to be a big girl since Mommy was going to have surgery the next week)

E and Dadaw at their pond

Mary's FB perfect profile pic

Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Piercy
(Mary and her teaching partner, Sandy... we found LOADS of great shots of these two)

Stan's new girlfriend with the roses he sent to school

Mary's last trip to Charleston, Sept 2010

It's funny to think that a two and a half hour segment of time will be "enough" time to celebrate this lady's life.  We could gather for days and days and still think of more stories to share.  But, just like exams, the rest of the world continues to move at a pace that the rest of us are expected to keep up with.  My house will need to be cleaned and laundry will need to be put away.  But for today, it's all about Mary.

Tears, laughter, and all.

How I miss that lady.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wait... was that about me?

I have laughed lots over this season of blogging at comments many of you have made to me-
"I better answer my phone or you'll blog about me being a bad friend."
"I was going to tell you that, but I was worried you'd blog about me."
"If I tell you this, swear it won't go on your blog."

People... puh-lease.

This magical space on the interwebs is for me to get out my junk.  Not for me to rat you out for your junk, criticize you, or make fun of you publicly.  (Unless you are Wes, then it's fair to mock you in any forum possible.)  Yes, some of you spark the responses I give... when I'm hurt by your words or actions, though, it doesn't make me want to talk bad about you, it makes me want to figure out why I responded the way the I did.  I have said on multiple occasions this year that people's lack of attention to my needy self has caused me to realize I am just that- needy.  It's not always about you, people... it's about me.

One of the things I am learning is to not be passive aggressive in life.  This has been my language of choice (or by default) for seasons of my life: you wrong me, I'll sit and wait for you to figure out what you did wrong before I talk to you again.  You don't include me, fine... I won't include you either.  You hurt my feelings, I'll pout or ignore it completely rather than not confront it.

That, my friends, is crap.

It's wrong, it's juvenile, and it's wholly not holy.

While I am still working out the kinks in this, I am here to tell you this is not what this site is for.  I may choose to be passive in moments when it is appropriate... but my days of being passive aggressive are done.

So when you read something I wrote and wonder "is that about me?"... it may be.  But in all honesty and total disclosure... it's way more likely about me.

Carry on with your life, friends... and, again... Jenny?  Answer your phone or I'll write a full piece about you.  It will be titled "Why Jenny continues to hurt my feelings" or "Why am I still friends with Jenny?"  (I said I would be less passive aggressive... I never promised to be less sarcastic.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

This I know...

In college, my roommate pointed out that I broke my day down into segments.  When she asked "How was your day?", a 'normal' person would say "good" or "bad".  Not me.  I'd say "well, my morning kinda sucked, but lunch was fun, then the afternoon I was super sad, but I went to Franklin Street and ran into Eric Farmer, and that made is wonderful!"  Yep.  Not normal.  But it's kinda always been how I've seen things... in segments.

I'm feeling now like that was part of God's plan for getting me through this season in life.  While I'm generally a "glass half full" kind of girl, today I've been living in the "half empty" part.  I'm well aware that His mercy and grace is still abundant in my life.  But to be completely candid, this has been a hard day.

It's hard for me to grasp that Mary's only been gone one month... but yet this is the first of a lifetime of months without her.

It's hard for me to hear my Dad cry on the phone.

It's hard for me to clean my house when all I want to do is sit and smell one of the sweaters I brought home from her closet.

It's hard for me to want to talk about anything but... well... her.

This is not a cry for help.  This is not a cry for sympathy.  This is not a cry for anything other than... a cry.  While my heart hurts, I'm still surrounded with joy, love, and friendship.  My Birthday Bubble continues this week.  My Christmas Bubble started this past week and I'm super excited about all the events that are upcoming.  Seeing family and friends... having parties... wrapping presents?  Those are all segments I look forward to and long for.  Yet my heart hurts for my Dad, my family, for me.

On a good note, my sweet E has returned.  After a week of pure hell for her (and me), she's back.  Today was near perfect.  We started our day with the discovery of Fisbee- our Elf on a Shelf- which made her laugh hysterically before school.  He was sitting on top of our kitchen cabinets in a feed box from my grandparent's barn along with another one of our good buddies.


Her laughter is infectious.

E wanted to have a "sleep over" tonight on the floor in front of the fireplace.  From the looks of my sleepy eyes, you'll not be surprised that I fell asleep just after we laid down.  She then proceeded to cover me up with every blanket she could find and pretend to give me oxygen so that I could have a baby (Cinderella doll.)  (We just looked at all of her hospital pictures- complete with the boob picture- and she's all about having a baby.)


I put her to bed, came back downstairs, and she came down just a second later to tell me I'd forgotten to put lotion on her.  (She recently re-discovered the Johnson & Johnson Calming Baby Lotion and is a wee bit obsessed with it.)  She told me that I really needed to put lotion on her so she could be calm.  Anything for you, Baby Girl... especially when you have accessorized your pajamas.


Even during the last week when she was a pain, she had some precious moments.  One day she told me she wished she lived in Asheville so that she would have known Nanny as long as I'd had a chance to.  Me too, Baby Girl, me too.

I don't imagine the days will get easier for a while.  Things like Elizabeth Edward's death set me back in ways I can't even describe.  And I don't expect them to get easier.  Shoot, I don't even know that I want them to completely... the hurt in my heart causes me to remember Mary's laugh and to continue to fall into the arms of Jesus.  So in moments like this, I will cry when I cry and laugh when I laugh.  I will continue to break my days and weeks up into segments.  In the good, God is there.  In the bad, He's there with even fiercer love.

And in moments like these when I don't know what emotion is next, this I know:

It is well with my soul.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Dinner Conversation Ever

Tonight we enjoyed a fully logical conversation with our four year old about which college she should attend---

Me: Well... it depends on what you want to do when you grow up, really.
E: I want to be a Mommy.
Dan: Then go to Carolina.  They make the best Mommies there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm going to throw up now.

Warning... this post is not for the faint at heart.

I have vivid memories of embarrassing moments in life.  6th grade, tripping in front of the boy who would later be my first kiss.  7th grade, falling in front of the entire 7th grade UP a set of bleachers.  College, well, just college.  (Seriously... were group dates a good idea?  And why did I cut my own bangs that time?)

Then tonight... the mother (ha) of all embarrassing moments.

Earlier tonight I was going through some CDs looking for some Christmas music for a friend.  In my attempt to be all things organized in 2011, I found some photo CDs in the midst of music CDs.  Not only did I have to move them, I had to look at them, right?

I got sucked into over an hour of old memories... baby showers, E's first days, tailgates from long ago, old college retreats.  So, the logical thing to do was share these old memories with Facebook... and tag people.

Thanks to FB's new photo loading deal, several would load at a time, then magically on my end, they would be there.  Who knows how it looks in FB Land during the upload.  And, you know, given how I was searching through CDs as they were uploading... well... it took me a while to go back and forth between the CDs and Facebook.

On one of these "brief" moments... I saw it.

Seriously.

My boob.

Seriously.

On Facebook.

Seriously.

In a moment that would make Jesus and my Momma blush, I hit delete on that picture then immediately IM'd my BFF "bleep! bleep! bleep! my boob was just on Facebook!!!!"

Yep.

Apparently, when I thought I was uploading picture number 246 of my Dad meeting Elizabeth, I was actually uploading 146 of... me... nursing for the first time... in the hospital.

(I just threw up a little in my mouth reliving the moment when I discovered this had hit the mainstream.)

Obviously, the first question would LOGICALLY be, why would one have a picture of said-boob when no one EVER should see such a thing.  Best I can remember, Dan took non-stop pictures that first 24 hours.  Later, when my screen saver would randomly show things I didn't remember ever being taken and I questioned him on it, I *think* he said some bull-crap along the lines of "It's natural" or "One day Elizabeth will enjoy seeing this."

What he did not say was "Someday you'll accidentally upload this to Facebook and will relive every moment of horror in your life all rolled into one as you realize that someone, somewhere saw your boob.  On Facebook."

While I agree with him that it's natural and all that junk... it was NOT. MEANT. TO. EVER. BE. SEEN.

So, to the unknowing person(s) who saw more of me than was bargained for, I recommend going to your living room, picking up your Christmas tree, putting just the tip of it in your fireplace, then taking that flaming tree and shoving it straight in your eye.  Gouge out that image... just as I try to burn this day out of my memory, too.

Let it be known that there is NO irony in this happening on the day that I professed love for Facebook.

Let it be known that there is NO irony in this happening after I mocked a college student last summer for accidentally showing her goods to us on the river.

Let it be known that my life is officially over.

It was so much easier falling up the bleachers.

a stalking I will go...

None of you who know me will be surprised that I am a professional stalker... in Facebook-land and real life, too.  And, as my buddy Martin pointed out last night... it's totally what the invention of Google was all about, right?

So here is the question of the day: what is the line between stalking and... ummm... getting to know someone?

I'll explain...

I have a new friend.  At this point, she's only my friend on Facebook.  Well, that's not totally true... our girls have dance together.  Anyone who has daughters/children in any sort of extra-curricular activities knows the joy of "Dance Moms" (read: Preschool Moms, Church Moms, whatever.)  If you aren't in the inner loop, then while your child is enjoying that activity, you sit... cleaning out your purse, sending texts, reading a book.

Some days, that's heaven.

Some days, that's lonely.

E has been at her dance studio "full-time" since August.  There's one mom I know in there from a previous Kindermusik experience.  When she's there, we chat.  It's nice.  One other mom I've thoroughly enjoyed talking to, but quite honestly, I don't even know her name.  The Kindermusik Mom knows another mom there, and the three of us have chatted in the past about books, church, and church books.

Then last Saturday while we were at "Tangled", I saw "other mom" leaving the theater with her kids... and I didn't even know how to address her.  "Hi, Dance Mom who I've talked to about books!"  Yeah, no... so I didn't say anything.

Until Tuesday.

Tuesday, once sweet E was in her precious pink outfit (without shoes, because we'd left them in Dan's car), I went up to that mom and said "This is ridiculous.  I saw you on Saturday and didn't even know your name.  My name's Becky.  What's yours?"

Yep.  Just like that.  Just like any normal person should have done months ago.

Then, because my new friend had a name easy to find on FB (me: hmmm... I'll just check and see if she's on here)... now we are Facebook friends.  Shocking, I know.  But my friend request to her said "Please be my friend on here so I can know someone at Dance."  (The other 2 moms I talk to there aren't on FB.  I've asked.)

New Friend, if you are reading this, don't worry.  Now that we are friends, I will not attack your precious hour of time without your little one.  I will not sit beside you each week and make you tell me all the fun things you've been doing.  But, I will like knowing you by name.

And, people, let's be honest... I won't have to interrupt your precious time... because I will know all the fun things you've been doing... because I'm a professional stalker.

Therein lies the question: is reading someone's wall truly stalking?  That's the whole point of Facebook, right? It's a public forum to post what you want people to know about you, right?

Don't hear me say I read everyone's page... I'll be honest, I don't have time for that.  I read my News Feed.  If you post fun pictures, sometimes I see them.  If you send me a message, I read it.  And sometimes, when I have a moment, that leads me to go to your page and see what you've been doing.  Then I'm all "I didn't know you know her!" or "I have always wanted to eat there... was it good?" or "Who knew you were from the mountains!"... and then a beautiful virtual relationship is born.

But is that not the point?

So help me process this, friends... when is it stalking and when is it using FB for what it was intended- the sharing of social information?

All of this to say that this morning while I should be polishing up my Ice Breaker for MOMS at church, I've been "stalking" my New Friend's page.  Who knew she just ran a 5K?  Amazing.  And, she had Chicken Pie for dinner.  Lord, help me, I love Facebook....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Birthday Bubble

(Seriously, Wes... the next, like, 3 posts will be about my birthday.  Deal with it.)

Yesterday I had the unexpected good fortune of a perfect day.

Recently I let my brain wander to the "When did I have a 'normal' week?" category and came up with "The beginning of October."  Quickly intent on starting a "wow, my life is overwhelming" Pity Party, I went the other direction.  I decided to claim it for what it was... a-typical... and move on.

Later, I realized that if anyone has met me in to 2010 year, they must think I am one giant train wreck.  A (random) tumor that leaves me debilitated for months from March-May... then a fall season of grieving and death... wow, this girl comes with some junk.  (And "new" friends?  I am a giant train wreck.  Just usually, the issues are only major because I make them so.  This year, however, the issues have been legit... and large.)  I started claiming in that moment that I am looking forward to New Years Day, when the promise of a new year- and some new "normalcy"- brightens my mood.

Then, in the midst of planning for that "future", God does what He so often does... He redeems my "present".  With just a shift of my attitude and the entrance of The Birthday Bubble, 2010 seems like it may end in the positive.

My gal pal, Leigh, introduced me to the magic of The Birthday Bubble back in 2002.  Before that, I'd just celebrated my birthday a wee bit before the 7th and a wee bit after, calling it all "My Birthday".  Once Leigh showed me the glorious spirit that comes with owning all of those wee bits and encompassing them in a segment of time known as "The Birthday Bubble"- thus making each moment in said Bubble exciting and not just a tag-on- a new beautiful tradition was born.

It was fitting that this, my 35th Birthday Bubble, was christened by none other than Leigh herself.  After our family's Christmas tradition of getting out all of our decorations then ordering Chinese Take-out, Leigh came to pick me up for a girl date.  A few hours of conversation and a couple of chocolate covered cherry martinis later... The Bubble had begun.

Yesterday would have been one for the books, Bubble or no Bubble.  But the beauty that it occurred IN The Bubble makes it even more festive.

Dan had a meeting in Raleigh, so Miss E and I were taking on the duty of finishing our decorating.  She woke me up BRIGHT and early ("Mommy, do you want to see the sunrise?!?!") ready to put ornaments on the tree.  As we were decorating (read: Mommy was doing the "boring" parts), we (read: E) watched a Playhouse Disney Christmas DVD... only to look outside and see massive snowflakes.  Seriously?  Snow while decorating your tree?  Unbelievable.  After the Disney DVD went off, I immediately introduced E to Buddy the Elf as she watched a super fun Christmas selection I hadn't seen in far too long.

We took a break from decorating and went outside to play in the snow.  Buddy had inspired us to throw snowballs, after all.  We came in, took baths to get warm, then cuddled up back on the couch to watch Rudolph... certain that Dan (read: Captain Cautious) would not want to go out later for our previously arranged evening plans.

Was I in for a shock when he got home and said "Come on girls!  Let's go!!"

We went to see Tangled (super. just super) and then, thanks to the kindness of dear friends, enjoyed dinner at the Village Tavern.  Complete with Birthday Ice Cream and an amazing server who sent me home with a new salad- since mine came dressed and would be soggy, therefore not good for leftovers.

Seriously.

Perfection.

Christmas decorations and movies... Snow... Snowball fights... Warm baths... 3-D movies... Yummy dinner... what's a girl gotta do to live like this all the time?

Oh, right... I remember... not expect it all time.  And just enjoy it when it happens.  Especially when it happens in The Birthday Bubble.

(My fave "bubble" pic... even if it's non-birthday.
Thanks, Elise, for capturing it.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I don't have a single original idea.

To stick with the theme that Wes loves, let's talk about my birthday.

I've mentioned before that my best birthday gifts back in 2001 were when my friends wrote me letters about how fabulous I am.  (Or, at least in my mind, that's what I read.)

Well, last April, I discovered something magical that happened in one of my favorite Kindergartener's rooms.  For my first trip out post-surgery, my gal pal took me with her to her daughter's school party.  There, a magical Kindergarten teacher (who now is in my Book Club!  woot for Book Club!) celebrated each child's birthday by having everyone in the class draw a picture and write a blurb about what they would give the birthday child if they could give them anything.  Said-teacher put all of the birthday "wishes" together in a book to give to the child.  Brilliant!!

Recently, one of my blogger pals invited me to her Virtual Birthday Party.  If I accepted the invitation (which y'all know I did), I had to tell her what guest I was bringing with me and what gift I was giving her.  All virtually.  Now, she is cooler than I am and is going to Photoshop all of her guests having a kickin' time at her party.  Again... brilliant.

So I'm going to jump on the Fake Party/Gift Bandwagon.  Comment below and tell me a.What you'd love to give me, b.Who you are bringing with you, and c.What fabulous thing the 2 of us are going to do together in my next year of life.  I will, as a result, a.Not write you a thank you note but b.Write a super blog post about all of my attendees to my Fake-Party, what gift I received, and what super plans I have with all of you for the next year.

I'm giddy just thinking about it.  This is going to be rawesome.


(Please RSVP for my Fake Party by December 7.  A day that will live in infamy.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

non-average Monday makes Tuesday oh-so-special.

Morning= super.  productive.  peaceful.  Except for that whole "I feel like crap" business.

Noon= rapid decline.  Feeling worse.

1:30= Dr. says to be there at 2:30.  Call Lindsey, who, btw, rocks my world, and she comes to keep my girl.  I rush to the doctor.

2:30= walk in with just enough time to fill out paperwork and grab People's 25 Sexiest Men Alive issue.
(Unfortunately, Doctor is prompt enough that I get seen quickly and don't get to finish the issue. She told me to not even think about taking it.)

Leave doctor's office, head to bank, then to get meds.

In the middle of the busiest road around, my car begins to emit massive amounts of smoke.

Massive.


Amounts.


Of.


Smoke.

I make a U-turn (not in the middle of the road, Debbie... I pulled into a parking lot and turned around) and went 2 businesses down to go to the car mechanic we go to.  "Perfect" timing.

(Lots of burst hoses, new thermostat, and $450+ and we'll have a functioning car back!  Yay.)

So now, I sit... feeling like crap... overwhelmed with life... and frustrated with most of the stuff on our to-do-list and  our to-pay-for list.

Super.

Where was that easy way of seeing things from yesterday?

Only thing keeping me going... Glee is on in one hour.  Thank God for that little ray of sunshine.  And don't judge me for that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

not your average Monday...

So, to the best of my knowledge, my Dad said he "might" come on Monday... but that he'd let me know.

This was how today played out:

6:40- wake up, let the dogs out
6:50- work on dishes from dinner last night that I hadn't finished
7:10- play on FB
7:20- E wakes up, wants to play with dogs
7:30- shower, get self ready while E plays with dogs
8:00- get E ready, pack lunch
8:20- get ready to leave, then Abby's Flying Fairy School comes on, so I agree to wait a bit, which makes us on the verge of being late
8:21- justify waiting, because Mom calls and I can talk to her while E watches AFFS
8:26- now late, rush out door, fasten E in carseat
8:27- phone rings... it's Daddy... he's about 2 exits from W-S.  Super... because I have a DR's appointment at 8:45... and I'm 100% sure he won't want to go with me to said-appointment.
8:30- drop E at friend's house who will take her to school
8:35- drive quickly to DR's appointment
8:50- arrive at appointment late, because that's the way the morning played out... I blame Abby Cadabby.
**Doctor's Appointment- fairly typical- except I do burst into tears when she asks "So how have you been lately?"  Yep... that's all it takes.  We talk about Mary, then she asks if I've had any new health concerns this year.  I say no.  Then I remember... "Oh wait!  Yeah, I did have a 6 cm. tumor on my kidney in March.  Want to see the scar?"**
9:30ish- drive as fast as I can to meet Daddy at the church where he is waiting on me
9:30-10:00- introduce him around church, proud of him for the moment he uses the word "butt" because he realized he was in church
10:00-12:00- run errands with Daddy: Costco, Target, Verizon, bank, go pick up carseat
12:00-1:00- lunch with Daddy
1:00- pick up E at school
1:00-1:45 play with Alphie, E, and Dadaw
1:45- Daddy/Dadaw leaves, and my heart is full

Now, other than the dishes that got done first thing this morning, I haven't gotten jack done today.  And, believe me, I have TONS to do.

But you know what?  I've had the best day.

Over the last month I've realized how unimportant even my important "things to do" are.  Far more important is spending time with the people I love the most in life... and today was a beautiful example of that.  So even though I was a bit surprised that Daddy arrived when he did, who cares.  What a freeing way to live- to live in the moment and enjoy the people around you.

I am *sure*, because I learn things so easily, that this novel idea will stick.  I'm sure I will put my to-do list on hold when I need to, right?

(You're welcome to call my bluff when it's appropriate.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Besties.

Yesterday, Elizabeth told me she had more best friends than I do.

I beg to differ.

At the end of her "list", she started naming babysitters, baby sisters, and mommas of her friends.  While I might say she was stretching it, she may have, um, learned that from me.

She may just have learned that loads of different people can be your "best" friend.

I talked before about the differences I see in my "best friends".  In elementary school, I was BFFs with whoever was in my class.  In middle school, it was a lot based on classes as well, but we had a little more flexibility.  Then high school, and everyone was fair game.  College?  Piece of cake.  Here's my problem: I keep picking up new best friends and not letting any of the old ones go.  (Dan always jokes that I don't let anyone leave my life.  Bag my groceries at Food Lion?  I'll send you a Christmas card..)

Tonight, in fact, 2 of my best friends called me out on Facebook when I posted that I was making dinner for 4 of my best friends... saying that they'd not been invited.  Confusing, isn't it?

The friends- my besties- who I celebrated tonight are unique.  I referenced them in the Community post before.  These are the ladies who I share my life with.  We decided 2 years ago to meet weekly for Bible study, accountability, and fellowship.  We have been together through major and minor life ordeals: ambulance calls, trips to nudie beaches, whatever.  We've celebrated 2 years of birthdays together- each one of us getting our own special day to feel, well, special.  We've gone out for fondue, attempted to get tattoos, had pretend-spa activities, gone to musicals... 10 separate events of fun, fun, fun.

This year, however, we've decided to reign in the Birthday Wagon.  We started a new tradition... one which I would gladly share with any of my other besties.  We decided rather than spend lots of time, energy, and money to celebrate each one of us- which, let's be honest, we all deserve given that we are spectacular- we would spend time blessing each other.

And that's what we did.

We started the year of birthdays with Lesley's, which was back in October, but the last month has been so nutso for me that we've been unable to get together until now.  We had a yummy dinner complete with some of Les's favorite foods.  Then, we each went around and "blessed" Lesley by telling her what it is about her we love and respect.  Well, in theory we did that.  What actually happened was we had Laurie read what we'd written, but it worked anyway.  We were present as Lesley was praised for they way she is an amazing mother, an amazing pray-er, an amazing friend... wait... strike that.  We were present as God was praised for the way He has made Lesley.  It was a beautiful thing, and we are all blessed to know her.

In addition to that, we laughed at old videos, told stories from our Thanksgivings, laughed about turkeys, loved on my new dog, and enjoyed being together.

What a beautiful thing.

As I was preparing what I was going to "say" about Lesley, I told Dan that I hope one day to be the kind of person that someone would be able to say those same things about me.   That's when I realized that I guess my Mom was right: "You're known by the company you keep."  Which makes me thankful for these 4 besties, and all the rest of the BFFs I've picked up along the way.



By the company I keep, I'd say I'm doing just fine.

Hopefully one day all of their your super qualities will rub off on me.  Hopefully one day I will become the amazing person that many of you are.  For now, I'll enjoy time with you- be it in person playing Bunko, playing with our children, praying, or having coffee- or virtually via FB and email.  I'll see the good things in you and hope to become cool like you.  Or,  I'll just enjoy your coolness... because it's a blessing to know you.

Want to be my new best friend?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a stream of thankfulness

(stolen from my friend over at leclaw.blogspot.com)

Elizabeth's Thankfulness
T- tree
H- hug
A- Alphie
N- (k)nufflebunny
K- Kate
S- snake (because that's what God made, so we're thankful for it.)
G- God
I- ice cream
V- veterinarian
I- ice
N- nose
G- Grover

Becky's Thankfulness
T- time with family
H- happy hour
A- apple cider
N- new pens
K- Kindermusik
S- students
G- gift closet
I- iTunes
V- vino
I- invitations
N- new puppies
G- "good girl" (what E keeps saying to Alphie)

** Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.**

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Girl

Since the last posts have been heavy-ish, it's time to whip out some good ol' E stories to lighten the mood.

(yesterday, on our way to church)
E: Momma, are you thinking about Nanny?
me: Not right now, why... are you?
E: Yes.  I'm thinking that she's probably having a snack.
me: What do you think she's having?
E: She's probably having a sandwich with Jesus.
(upon retelling this story later to Dan, he, too, said he envisions heaven this way.  complete with sandwiches.)

(today, on the way home from school, with friend- Nate- in the backseat)
Nate: I dropped it! (some noodle thing he had)
E: It's okay, Nathan...
Nate: Is God down there? (in the hole where the noodle thing fell.)
E: Yep.  He's everywhere.  But you can't really see Him.
Nate: Why not?
E: Because He's that big.
(pause)
Nate: I'm taller than God.
E: Maybe... but probably not.

(most every day)
E: Daddy/Mommy... are you going to read me a Bed-Night Story?
**
E: I have sugar bumps!  (Shiver bumps.)
**
E: I'm so tired... I can't wait to fall wide asleep.

How I love this girl.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So how'd that work out for you? (again)

Wowsers... you post a little entry about people letting you down and you'd think I'd blamed everyone I know for killing my cat.  Except I don't have a cat.  Here's how all of this went down.

People tended to do one of three things:
1. Immediately rush to tell me they were sorry they'd let me down.  (Because, of course, it was them.)

2. Immediately rush to tell me they were sure it wasn't about them, but they were sorry anyway.

3. Send sweet comforting words, which were coming on their own time-table, not mine, and were well received.

If you have to ask... I liked 2 and 3 the best.  1 just made me laugh a lot.  Several of my favorite responses went like this:

"I'm not vain enough to think you were writing about me... but if you were, I'm truly sorry."  (And for that, friend, I love you.  I love your honesty, your sensitivity, and your own way to care for me.)

"I've realized that you love people so differently than I do... and that even though it's not how I 'do things', that I need to get over myself and do something."  (Seriously, so genuine... so heartfelt... so above and beyond... and I appreciate it.)

"I'm gonna answer the phone every time you call... 'cause if I don't, you'll blog about me."  (Dern right, heifer.)

"I'm scared of you."  (quoted: John Williams.  And he is.  I'm going to write an entire blog entry on him later.  Because I make him shake in his boots.)

Again, people, my last entry was not a finger pointing at you, it was a finger wagging at me.  I'm using my blog to share with you what I'm learning... not what you need to learn.  Got that?

Good.

Right now, I'm learning these things:
1. When I spend lots of time with my Daddy, I talk like him.  Accent, mannerisms, and all.

2. I'm loving reconnecting with old friends.

3. I'm loving connecting with ones I haven't lost connection with, too.

4. I love that I live 14 houses down from some of the best friends I've ever had... and that their family can pop in for dinner at a moment's notice.

5. I love laughing with girlfriends at church... even when we get busted doing it.

6. I love that 3 MOMS sessions from now, I'll be teaching.  Gotta work on that.

7. I love ice breakers.

8. I'm enjoying having a "new" cell phone... that was previously loved well.

9. I'm reading a great book right now, and will likely finish it in the next couple of hours.

10. Most of all, I'm loving Anne Rudert for sending me this.

And that's what I'm learning.  Now, what about you?  (And, for sure, if you put something vague?  I'll jump to the conclusion it's about me.  KIDDING... zeesh.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prove Your Love-- Confessions of a Hypocrite, Volume Two

I've had ample opportunities lately to do some soul searching.  In the quiet moments when my heart gets heavy, I've tried to let God speak to me about what He wants me to "do" with this hurt.

And right now I think He's telling me to get over myself.

Let me give my full disclaimer now: the following words are for me, not necessarily for you.  
If you fall into one of these "categories", cool.  Whatever.  
Deal with it as you need to, and move on. 
 More likely than not, it's not for you to deal with... it's for me.

Ahem.

You might remember from this post that I confessed that I am a needy friend.  I have an air of "expecting" people to respond a certain way... to call at a certain time... to love me a certain way.  A lot of those responses came from true and honest beginnings: over the years, I have been the recipient of people caring for me in the way I desire to be cared for.  But what has happened is that I've transferred those feelings of gratitude for that love to feelings of entitlement.

And you know what's happened?  I've been disappointed.

The last 2 weeks were a glaring example of this.  People have come out of the woodwork to love on me about Mary's illness and then later her death.  For this I am grateful.  Yet at the same time, I can honestly acknowledge that when certain people didn't come out of the woodwork, I was hurt.  Really?  Because it's about keeping score?

Here's a perfect example: it just so happened that one of my besties, Christy, was heading to Asheville on Tuesday.  I was trying to juggle who had E when and how I was going to get her to Asheville on Tuesday.  Perfect solution.  When I talked to Christy (who stayed on speed dial last week... well, let's be honest... all weeks) and she said those magic words "what do you need me to do?" I said "bring Elizabeth home."  Not only did she immediately say yes, but she changed her schedule around so that she could make it more convenient for Dan and could be the easiest for E, too.  After delivering E to my mom's house on Tuesday (when she told me that E sang "Rah Rah Carolina-lina" for waaay too long for a State Fan's liking), she said those magic words again... "what else do you need me to do?"  The next night, Wednesday, I enlisted her services again.  She and her sister arrived at Mom's house with cookie dough and a bottle of Shiraz to cry and laugh with me in the darkest hour.

If I ended the story there, you might think I live a warm, fuzzy Sweet Valley High kind of life with long-lasting friendships.  Which I do.  When I allow myself to accept the love that is offered to me.

Instead, in the dark moments, my head gets clouded with the "Why haven't I heard from ___?"  or "I'm surprised ___ hasn't offered to help."  Really?  REALLY?  Because I am that important?

Dan and I have had lots of great conversations about how easily I get my feelings hurt and it all boils down to this:  I will continue to get my feelings hurt when I allow people to fill my needs.  Only when I rely on God, and not others, will I be truly satisfied.  And you'd think I'd have mastered this by now- because it's been my biggest stumbling block since, oh, I don't know, 1987.

Apparently I'm going to continue to hurt from it until I internalize it.

So to those of you who called, texted, sent cards, flowers, meals, kept E, prayed for us, posted on my wall, commented on the obituary?  Thank you.  You truly do speak my love language.  I've felt wrapped in His love through your physical acts of grace.  And those of you who haven't?  Please don't rush out now and do it... that'd just make us both feel awkward.  You know, like the year I got someone's Christmas card in January only after they received mine?  Really?  Like we both didn't know you weren't going to send me one.  Anyway, those of you who are now questioning if how you responded was enough?  It was.  And whether my heart can get over itself long enough to fully say thank you is my issue, not yours.

I was encouraged this morning to "Be strong and not give up."  I'm working on it, I promise.  In the mean time, I feel certain I'll have the occasional pity party again.  And I feel certain that some of you will be invited.  And some of you will be expected to know to show up even if you weren't given an invitation at all.  That's how I operate in my own strength.  Apparently I need Someone Else's.  I'm not going to give up on this one yet.

For now, I'll leave the need to have someone "Prove Your Love" to Taylor Dayne.



She's got better hair, anyway.
*****************************

Further disclaimer?  Often times when I post a "This is Why I Suck" kind of post, lots of you run to my rescue and try to convince me, through your comments, reasons why I don't.  While I appreciate that, there is no need to defend my selfishness today.  Yes, I know that the loss of a loved one is a time I should be surrounded by love.  I think most of us would agree with that.  So, on one hand, I know that I have lived a kind-of-okay expectation with my friends.  However, my confession to you is that my heart is often uglier than it appears, and there is no need to pat my back for that. :)  Thanks... this is why you don't suck.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Modern Family

December 8, 1990- My Daddy and Mary got married.  Mary became my Non-Evil Step Mother... and brought with her to my life two "Step Sisters": Leslie and Leigh.

One of the things that always cracked me up about Mary was that she always referred to her girls by full name- in the beginning she always said "Leslie Piercy" and "Leigh Piercy", and then later referred to them by their married names.  Really, Mary?  Because I thought you were talking about other Leslies and Leighs?  It was almost as if she assumed I didn't know them.

Oh, wait... I didn't.

Well, that's not totally true.  We'd all grown up at the same church, but since we had an (at that time) age difference, they were out of the youth group before I ever got in it.  And while their names were well known at my high school, we never were there at the same time.  When Daddy and Mary got married, I was the baby in the family.  Both Leslie and Leigh were already out of high school and not living at home.  Chris (my brother) was still there, but it wasn't long before he left for NC State.  So I was the only one around 28715 to be part of their marriage from the perspective of a kid with newly remarried parents.  I would see Leigh and Leslie occasionally when I was at Daddy and Mary's house, but not much.

When I got to college, Leslie married Bob, and I came home for that wedding.  When Leigh married Mike, I'm guessing I was too busy living my very important life to be there, but I remember hearing all about it.

Then, when my trips home became less regular (remember: very important life going on), the girls were always so gracious to give me "alone" time with Daddy and Mary when we were there.  By this point they were both living near them, so they had more regular "access" to them, and allowed me to have more un-interrupted time while I was around.  Over the years we only overlapped occasionally... I can only remember one "family" dinner in all the 20 years they were married.

I knew them by word only, yet I still feel like I knew them.  Mary (and Daddy, for that matter) never stopped talking about what was going on in their lives, and then later when you threw children in the mix, I grew to "know" them even more.

I remember sometime over the last 2 years being at Daddy and Mary's house and Leslie dropped by to show them something Maddy (her daughter) had written for school.  We hung out briefly, and in that moment I remember thinking "it's a shame we don't know each other... I think we would really get along."

You know what?  I was right.

I had the extreme honor of spending the last week of Mary's life not only with her, but with her beautiful daughters... my Step Sisters... too.  We "holed up" (how's that for a good mountain term?) in Mary's room at The Solace Center and, well, got to become family.  After all these years.  We told stories, we laughed, we cried, we prayed, we shared scripture, and we loved.  We learned, together, how each of us benefited from the marriage of our parents.  We talked about our current lives as well as our past.  We told funny stories about our children.  We told funnier stories about our parents.  We celebrated successes (Bob became an Iron Man last weekend!  All hail King Bob!)  We celebrated birthdays.  We talked about people we shared in common.  And we talked about the days to come... and what our worlds would look like... without the physical presence of Mary in our daily lives.

I cannot begin to imagine what that world will be like.  Even now as I write this, it's hard to see the screen for the flood of tears that emerges when I try.  My heart continues to ache for my Daddy, for the girls, for our children... but it does rejoice for Mary.  I know that now as she is healthy in heaven (and can hear clearly!) she will be laughing and loving at the feet of Jesus.  If she was cognizant at all in her last days, I know she left this earth with a full heart hearing all her girls laughing and telling stories.  And while I don't know what the next few days, months, years will hold... I know that as we figure out this new life, I won't be alone.

I will have the love and support of my Step Sisters.

While I don't have a pic of the girls to share with you, 
I can't help but show off this lovely picture of Daddy and Mary on my wedding day.

Mary Waldrup
March 29, 1945- November 10, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I am so important, you will want to read this. Volume 2.

I am leaving in a few hours to go home to be with Mary and Daddy... Mary has been admitted to the Hospice Care center in Asheville.  The last week has been an emotional roller coaster.  So, to distract my brain before I head out, I thought I'd give you a distraction, too....  (Why on earth do you people continue to read this crap?)

Ahem...

1. I changed my passwords recently to my "big" accounts, and now I can't remember what they are.  So I change them again.  And then can't remember what they are.  (Vicious cycle, repeat repeat.)

2. I sent someone an email today about being able to kiss Jon Stewart flat-footed, because he's so short.  Three things about this you should realize: a. I know how tall he is, b. I may or may not have thought through what kissing him would entail, c.my husband is not super tall, so I kinda stand flat-footed to kiss him, too.

3. I love the smell, look, and feel of a clean house.  Sadly, mine doesn't make it there often enough.

4. I read, on average, one book a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  That's why it's called "average".

5. I did better at math than verbal on my SAT.  Weird, huh?

6. One of my best gifts ever was in 2001 when, for my birthday, people wrote me letters about our friendship.  I'm thinking about asking for that again.  You have 33 days, people... get to writing.

7. My BFF from high school and I are going to be together on Saturday night.  Watch out, we might roll your yard.

8. Speaking of... my mom drove me to the house for the first yard I ever rolled.  Along with some friends.  On a morning, on the way to school.

9. In addition to Jon Stewart, right now I am in love with a 2 month old baby boy named Will.  I almost kidnapped him last night, then again today.

10. I get fired up when I hear that people underpay babysitters.  (Friend keeping Elizabeth tomorrow afternoon?  This does not apply to you. :)  Thanks!)

11. I am horrible about getting books then not reading them.  This does not apply to fiction.  This is only "real" books that make me "think".   I blame the Book Table at Windy Gap for starting this bad habit.

12. I am having a Christmas Party this year complete with a Wind Quintet.  And I am not joking.

13. I pulled out my 2002-2003 calendar this week and have been reading it like it's a novel.  I can tell you when I went to Chili's with Heather, when I had my "first date" with Laurie, when I went to Lucky 32 with Carrie and Brian, and when I passed out and spent the morning in the ER.

14. I keep all my old calendars.  (Need a good read?  I'll gladly let you check one out.)

15. I love office supplies.

16. I hate coconut.

17. I don't use the phrase "LOL" but I actually do it a lot when reading things.

18. I do, however, use that dern smiley face a lot. :)  And it kinda gets on my nerves. :)

19. When I get attached to college students and they leave college ministry, I mourn.

20. I hate cancer.

Stay tuned, people... there's always more to come.  (Seriously... why do you keep reading this?  I am a waste of your time.)

(But thanks.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Whine, Wine, and Weigh... Success!

Okay, Viral Friends...

My fun post about needing people to commit to getting healthy with me... WORKED!  Tonight I enjoyed pumpkin dip, spiced apple cider, wine, and good company.  There were 8 of us tonight... and as I just created the FB Group for us, it looks like we could potentially have 17 people!

Here's the deal:  We are committing to weigh in every other week (together... we can do more weighing separate from that) and support each other in our desires to be healthy.  Everyone's goals were different- they ranged from losing 20 pounds-- to "getting my mind right"-- to strengthening will power-- to exercising 3 days a week.  What a joy to share REAL life with these women!  (I handed out sheets to help you journal foods... let me know if you'd like copies!)

If you are interested in joining us, let me know and I'll add you to our "private" FB Group.  Right now, we're getting to know each other and posting what our goals are.  We are going to check back in 2 weeks, see how it's going, and decide if we want to include some sort of incentive.

One of the goals someone stated was "Get healthy so we can be old"... when you Google that, you find this lady (among others.)  So I leave you with our new mascot.  Let me know if you want to hang out with us- in person or virtually.

To Air is Human



I had a conversation with someone recently about how so many people we know (or vaguely know) seem to spend a lot of time "Putting on Airs".  It's amazing how we want people to think certain things about us, whether they are true or not....

This made me think of a conversation that my college roommate and I used to have about wondering what people were really thinking.  My roomie said she wished we all had signs across our foreheads that told everyone else what was really going on in our minds.  I said I was glad that we didn't.  Hee hee...

So, for a Monday afternoon activity, put your "Airs" aside and comment about what's really going on in your sweet little head.  Tell us who you really are... when all the masks are off.

I'll start:
I'm a Momma who questions her parenting constantly, then feels comfortable with her decisions, then gets jacked up again.  I love my husband tons and love my marriage more.  I want you to like me, and I want to make you laugh.  I am constantly "behind" and often disorganized.  But overall, I think I'm a good time.

Your turn....

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Non-Evil Step-Mother

My Step-Mother has always referred to herself as my "Evil Step-Mother"... but she's really not evil.  I promise.

My Dad married my brother's kindergarten teacher.  That's not as taboo as it sounds... Chris had Mary as a teacher in '77 or so, and Mary didn't marry my Daddy until 1990.  I grew up knowing Mary... er, Mrs. Piercy.  She was the teacher that you had sign your yearbook even if you didn't have her as a teacher.  She always signed on the yearbook entry... but she put a smiley face in the palm.  She lost part of her hearing as a child and became fluent in sign language.  She started a sign language ministry at our church (yes, I grew up at the same church that she attended) and even later taught our youth group to sign "Love In Any Language."  I've kind of just always known her.


She let me learn how to drive in her Thunderbird... she would lean the seat back and let me drive the whole way to Waynesville for my first job.

She's taken up a million different hobbies in the last 20 years that she's been my Step-Mom.  She's antiqued, knitted, beaded, sewed, clogged... I can't even begin to keep straight all of the "things" she's done.  In each of them she's included us- she's made me whatever the craft of the day was or bought me treats from her eBay addiction.

Most importantly, she's loved my Dad.  Those of you who know him know what a hard job this is. :)  She's helped him quit smoking, cut back on drinking, and behave in public.  She said to him once "I made it 40 some years without you, I can do it again."  And she meant it, so he straightened up.

In 1990, right when they got engaged, she told me "I'm not looking to be your mom.  You've got a good one of those.  I'm going to be your Dad's wife, and I'd like to be your friend.  Let's figure out how to do this together."  And she stuck to her word.

It's been awkward to have a Step-Mother.  In fact, for years, I referred to her as "My Dad's Wife".  This was meant as no disrespect to Mary, but more out of care for my mom.  I didn't want to give Mary a similar title to Mom and have Mom think I was somehow replacing her prime spot in my life.  But thanks to Mary's gentle way of "making things work", she gradually became a Step-Mother to me... never stepping into Mom's role, but creating one of her own.


7 years ago, Mary got diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had skipped mammograms for several years and found "something" on one that turned out to be cancer.  I got that phone call while I was at Happy Hour at Village Tavern with Dan and some of my girl friends.  Over the years, her diagnosis has gotten better and worse.  The cancer has spread to other spots in her body, and then the cancer has seemed to shrink.  Good phone calls and bad phone calls.  After one bad phone call, I started this blog.

At Supper Club a few months ago, I got another phone call.  Daddy said "This is it, Doodle.  Mary is dying."

Just before Bunko in September, I got another phone call.  He told me they were stopping treatment and that they were going to call in Hospice.

And today I got another phone call.  While I was at the pool here at the beach.  Daddy told me that it appears to be the "bitter" end.  "Bitter" for us, because I cannot imagine a life without Mary.  In the weeks to come (it appears that we only have weeks left, a month at most), I will try to spend as much time as possible with this woman who has been a part of my life for... well... my whole life.  She entered it as Mrs. Piercy and now is a whole 'nother role altogether.

But this is not a "bitter" moment for Mary.  In fact, when the doctor told them that there wasn't much more they could do, Mary turned to Daddy and said, "I'm ready for this.  Are you?"  She told me years ago when things looked bleak that she has the best spot in this mess.  Then she told me worst case: she dies... and gets to be with Jesus.  Best case: she lives... and gets to spend more time with us... before being with Jesus.  I'd say she does have the best spot, for sure.

I'm not sure what the next several weeks will entail.  But I do know that I am thankful for every single day that I've been able to call Mary the title of my Non-Evil Step-Mother.
 Whatever that "title" means....

(Sidenote?  I sent Mary a text while we were at Disney World of my picture with Cinderella's Evil Step-Mother.  She said "That can't be your Step-Mother!  That hag has hair!")

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Whine, Wine, and Weigh

Okay... here's my huge-o split personality blog post of the year.

First of all, let me tell you that we have eaten some AMAZING food this trip.  We have had our standard vaca restaurants over the last 29(ish) years we've been vacationing here.  We've added some, gotten rid of some, and gone to some of the same standards year after year.  This year, we've shaken things up.  Thanks to Trip Advisor, we found this gem where we ate on the first night:

 Appetizer extraordinaire: fried green tomatoes and homemade pickles
 Ridiculously good shrimp and grits.
Oh, and they have Cornhole which E played while we were waiting for our food...

Day two: Bluffton Seafood and Arts Festival.  Holy goodness.
We wandered past a Gullah booth and I got a cup of shrimp and grits (best I've EVER had... and yes, I'd just had some the night before) and collard greens.  Simply amazing.

Monday, we ate at Salty Dog.  I don't have pictures of my (eat-it-every-year-even-though-it's-no-longer-on-the-menu) Buffalo Shrimp... but let's just say that there's a reason I order the same thing each year.  

Tuesday was my mom's birthday, and thanks to the new friend I made at the playground in this post, we got cupcakes from Sweet Carolina.  Yum.  Mom chose to eat at Frankie Bones.  More yum.

Yesterday, thanks to a Facebook suggestion, we went to Roast Fish and Cornbread.  HOLY COW.  Tasty goodness.  (Sadly, no pictures, though...)

Today, we took our annual pilgrimage to Paula Deen's "The Lady and Sons" in Savannah.  Gluttony at it's best.  (I mainly took these pictures to harass my cousin Keith.  He was jealous of my day.)




 (I'm leaving Dan for the collards and limas, btw)
 E sporting some Gooey Butter Oreo Cake...

Now, I haven't mentioned all the walking we've been doing.  I don't have pics of the healthy things we've eaten, and we have.  But I also don't have pics of our other HHI treat: fudge.  (My mom loves it, and this is the one place we tend to eat enough for the next 11 months of fudge-less life.)

I need elastic waist pants just reading this.  Oh, wait... I've got them on.

Which brings me back to the heart of the matter.  Remember this post?  I do.  In fact, today I've already deleted 3 pictures we took today in Savannah because my face looks too much like that girl.  Ugh.

You ready to do something with me about it?

After many comments to me about that post, I'm ready to get going... with you (locally and via the internet) if you are ready to join me.

This Monday (post-vaca start up!), if you are in town, join me at my house for some Wine, Whine, and Weigh.  (Don't know where I live?  Well, I'm not going to post it here.  Email me.  I'll get you there.)  7:30pm.  I've got a game plan, and I'd love you to join me.  Let me know if you'll make it and I'll be sure to have enough wine (and moral support) for you.  

And, don't have enough to read online these days?  Check out these responses to a recent post on fatties.  Just love it.

http://www.jennsylvania.com/jennsylvania/2010/10/ive-got-your-counterpoint-right-here-marie-claire.html

http://thepolymathchronicles.blogspot.com/2010/10/marie-claire-you-are-dead-to-me.html

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, our alma mater... love thee we do...

Tonight, my mom and I went to see "You Again"... the super silly movie about high school rivalries.  Cute, fun, mindless.

Did I mention that I am at Hilton Head?  And have I told you that this is where I came for Senior Week with my high school BFFs?

Yep.

In the movie, like most high school movies, someone talks about how those 4 years were hell for them and how they were dying to get out.  Here's my big "secret": I loved high school.  Like, loved it with a big fat Sharpie red heart around it on my Trapper Keeper.  Those of you who went to school with me might remember... it was super fun .  I had amazing friends, was involved in 900 clubs, had the perfect (well, 2 perfect) church experience(s), dated some great guys, and all around just enjoyed it.  I was one of the "good kids" (truthfully) and didn't have a drink until coming here... to this very spot... Senior Week in high school.  Sitting a few hundred feet away from where I am right now, a boy named Josh asked me if I'd like a drink.  I said "no".  Then I thought about it... and said "maybe".  The maybe turned into a "yes" and I chose a path that I would walk for the next year.

I lost a lot of my identity in those next 13 months... I teeter-tottered between who I really was and who I thought I should be to be "Fun Becky".

Let's go back just a little further than high school- Middle School SUCKED.  I hated it.  HATED it.  And, yes, even now as I'm teaching Elizabeth that we don't use the word "hate"... it totally applies here.  Sixth grade I entered Middle School not knowing anything about cliques.  At my Elementary School just months before, the only cliques we had were the smelly kids and the non-smelly kids on the bus.  (One more sidenote?  Even now, God is calling me to hang with the smelly kids... so while I was unable to see it then, I should have chosen my seat on the bus differently.  But I'd get there eventually...)  So I walked in, unknowingly, to Enka Middle and began the precarious role of a girl who wanted to fit in.  I remember my first day of school coming home and saying to my mom, "I need a curling iron... I'm not sure why, but I just know that I do."  I began to curl my bangs (seriously... why?), I began to think more about where my clothes came from, and I began to blow off the people who would not "help" my social ladder climb.

I. was. miserable.

It was so much work... and it was not me.

Eighth grade, Mrs. Wagner pulled me aside and told me what she saw in me that I had to offer to the world and gave me the courage to "do" Student Council.  (That decision alone made such a huge difference in my life... including leading me to my future husband... but that is a post for another day.)  At this point in my school career, I made a decision to rest my tense shoulders and quit living for other people, but to just be... me.

Know what?  It worked.

High school was a good time... and I enjoyed (most) every moment of it.

Then, Summer of 94 hit, and that decision to once again live for other people... had I not learned?  The beginning of college for me was like a repeat of Middle School.  I wasn't comfortable in my own skin.  I began searching out who I "should" be... not who I really was.  I constantly compared myself to other people- how they looked, their GPAs, their boyfriends... and I became, once again, not satisfied with who I was.

Through a series of events, I reclaimed my identity... and while it gets tweaked with time, I feel like I can truly say now: "What you see is what you get."  I claim my awkwardness, my ridiculous mistakes, and my (in the words of Renee') actions that make the nuns blush.

But after seeing movies like tonight I wonder this: whose life did I jack up in high school?  Was there someone I made feel "small" because of my words or actions?  Was I part of the reason that someone else was dying to get out of EHS?  If so, I am sorry.  I am deeply and honestly sorry.  While I can (in all 16-years-later-humility) say that I did run with the popular kids... I pray that I wasn't like the stereotypes I see in movies.  I never saw us that way in the early 90s, and I'm hopeful that my (sketchy) memory isn't failing me here.  But if I did leave a nasty impression on your high school experience... I am so, so sorry.

Tomorrow, I'll sit at the very pool we sat at in 1994 thinking we were tough stuff and so grown up... and I'll see sweet Elizabeth swimming there... and now, I'll say extra prayers for her future.  I'll not just be praying that someone won't make her a Screwdriver on her Senior Week trip.  (Who are we kidding?  She won't be going!  Or, she'll have her Mom, Aunt Misty, and Aunt Christy tagging along...)  What I'll pray for her is that as she stumbles through adolescence she will be kind.  She will be genuine.  And she will be HERSELF... and be cool with that.  It's so much easier that way.