Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life is like a box of... softballs?

Last Monday night, Emma got her first hit in a softball game. I know to most parents of a 3rd grader, that's probably not that big of a deal, but since this is Emma's first year to play, it was especially special to us. She stepped up to the plate and hit the first pitch. I was so stunned, I forgot to take any pictures. Fortunately, her coach's daughter just happened to be playing with her dad's camera at that moment. She was testing the slow-mo feature. (Hum the "Rocky" theme or "Chariots of Fire" as you watch this.)

The really funny part happened right after the video stops at 12 seconds... Since Emma had never gotten a hit in a real game before, she didn't know that she was supposed to stop once the pitcher for the other team had the ball. After she tagged first, she kept trucking on to second, and motored on around to third. Meanwhile, I am having a total "Forrest Gump" know the one:
She was so proud of herself. We were elated for her. It was a much needed confidence boost. Go Gray Team!

(Unfortunately, our game tonight and our tournament this weekend has been canceled due to the uproar over fears of swine flu. It actually works well for me, in that I needed the extra time to finish up last minute details for the "Mothers & Others" luncheon, but I hate that she is missing out on playing time.)

Also on Monday, we FINALLY made it to Chuck E. Cheese. Unlike our last ill-fated trip, we actually set foot inside this time.

Luke's favorite game:

They had so much fun--so did I. I did, however, really feel like I needed to be hosed down by a decontamination unit by the time we left there.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An open letter...

This is an open letter to the driver and passengers of the trailer-hauling truck and its escort truck:
(Not actual photo. This trailer is new and looks like a professional job, as opposed to the Bubba operation I observed.)

Y'all are precious, really. Especially you, sir, with the mullet and the cigarette, hanging out the passenger side. You know who you are.

Whereas, I was terribly flattered (if not a little terrified) by your wolf-whistles, waves, cat-calls, and stares whilst traveling at 70 miles an hour down the interstate in Tupelo, Mississippi yesterday, I would much appreciate it if you would focus on the road. It was an ego boost to know that you thought I was "hot," especially on a bad hair day such as it was, but when I worry for my life and that of my children due to your swerving with HALF A MOBILE HOME all over the interstate, you have to understand that my pseudo-appreciation turns to horror.

Excuse me if I don't smile at you adoringly when I have to do some creative James Bond-like manuevers to avoid the shingles flying off the roof of said trailer. Don't be dismayed that I blew past you without a single wave of gratitude for your ogling--I just like living more than I like being hooted at by you.

No hard feelings, mmmkay?


Lianne (not my real name if you guys are reading this...)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This past week in pictures...

I know all of you have not noticed I hadn't posted in a week/sent out a team of searchers missed me terribly. Life has been hectic lately! Here is a summation of my life for the last week in pictures:
Monday/Tuesday: Softball and Tee ball:Wednesday--Emma's 3rd Grade Field Trip to see the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and eat at Outback Steakhouse:Emma sat between the boy who liked her last year and the one who likes her this year. I kept a CLOSE eye on her!The teachers made a big deal to instruct the kids on proper table manners. They especially focused on putting your napkin in your lap and using a knife and fork. Emma's such a rebel. (Note eating with hands and napkin and fork securely rolled up at her side. Manners, schnanners.)Thursday--Luke's Kindergarten Field Trip to Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo:

Peek-a-boo!"Mommy? Are you SURE they can't get out?"A giraffe's tongue feels like sandpaper. Who knew?Friday/Saturday--Table #1 for Women's Conference that I had to decorate:

Table #2 for Women's Conference that I had to decorate:Vanilla Wafer Cake (see the recipe here) I had to bake for Women's Conference:This week promises to be just as busy with another Women's event--mine--coming up on Saturday, as well as Field Day for both of the kids (on different days), plus 5 ballgames this week.

Somebody pray for me!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sometimes words aren't necessary...

We saw this on our way to church (not this location) tonight.

Distress call? Dare? Bold proclamation?

You decide.

(What's worse is that this church DID burn about 4 or 5 years ago.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

My new recipe blog!

Due to tons of two people demanding begrudgingly agreeing to pretend to read it, I have launched (doesn't that sound official?) my new recipe blog-- .  Please check it out.  I promise I won't be harboring ill will and giving you the internet stink eye upset if you don't follow it.  No, really.

The first post, as promised, is the recipe for my Sourdough Bread, including starter.  Let me know what you think! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Emma, Luke, and I went to Story Hour at our local library today. The guest speaker was a police officer and his beautiful German Shepard K-9 partner, Nurka. All the kids got police hats and badges, which the librarian personalized with the kids' names and choice of badge number.

I watched my kids as the officer spoke. Emma was her usual reserved self, but I could tell she liked being that close to the dog. She slowly crept until she was sitting about two feet away from Nurka. I figured she wanted to pet her. Luke was enraptured by the whole experience. He kept putting on his police hat and nodding at what the officer said. He even reached down and proudly smoothed his sticker badge a few times. He was peering so closely at the officer. I couldn't help but be proud that he was so excited by the experience. After all, he comes from a long line of men who were in law enforcement (or lawbreakers, but that's another post for another day).

Everyone listened intently, enthralled by the officer's stories of Nurka's training and acts of bravery. She entertained the crowd by licking a one-year-old boy full-on in his face. (Eww.) Kids were raising their hands and asking excited questions about Nurka and what the Dutch commands meant that she responded to. I was surprised to see my normally shy and quiet son raise his hand and wave it quickly. I held my breath with anticipation of what he was going to ask about Nurka.I fully expected something along the lines of "How much does she weigh? What does she eat? Why does she smell like old socks? Does she poop a lot?" You know, typical five-year-old boy questions.

But, how soon I forget that this is Luke--Not your typical five-year-old boy.

Officer: "Yes, son, what's your question?"
Luke: "What's your badge number?"
Me: "**Snortgiggle**"
Officer: "607."
Luke: "Mine is 8." (Not coincidentally, also his tee ball number this year.)

I should have known that the thing Luke was most excited by and took away from the experience would be number related. That boy is math crazy! (Did I mention he's doing 3rd grade accelerated math as a Kindergartener? Yeah, that explains a lot.)

Have a blessed weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On The Road Again...

I was so proud of myself a couple of weeks ago. I was blogging nearly every day, laundry was done, the house was reasonably clean... Then, I got the car serviced last Wednesday and everything fell apart. Sorta. Mostly just the house and laundry, but the blogging totally stopped and all the driving started.
I had to drive to Tuscaloosa (70-ish miles each way) three times in the last week to get car stuff done. ($1600 worth of stuff for free, plus a free rental car--Thank you Tuscaloosa Toyota!!!) Here is a list of things I saw on my journeys that interested me:

1.Trailer with deck on roof--and a pool!
This defies explanation to me. It also reminds me of the "Winston County Duplexes" that we saw on the way to Nashville (not actual location of photo since I forgot to take a pic):
Two trailers shoved together under one roof! The South has style!

2. More Cowbell--This time on a vanity plate on a BMW. I know the picture is too blurry to read, but trust me, it's there. Behold, "COWBELL:"3. Jesus in a box--If you've ever driven Hwy 13/43 to Tuscaloosa, you've likely seen this life-sized statue of Jesus in a lighted plexiglass box with a roof. I would love to know the story of how that came about. I can just picture the conversation: Earline: "Bob, I've been thinking about what I'd like to put out in the yard."
Bob: "What? Azaleas? A birdbath?"
Earline: "Nope. Jesus in a box."
Bob: "A'ight. Sounds good."
I'm planning on including this in an upcoming devotional, just so you know.

4. "Stupid Barbie" graffiti spray painted on the wall of a house--I wish I had taken a pic. Look, whoever you are, Barbie is a surgeon, a vet, an astronaut, a teacher, an Olympic figure skater, a McDonald's employee (okay, you got me on that one...), and many other things-- . I don't think she's stupid, but golly, I bet she owes a lot of money on student loans. (Hence, the part-time McDonald's gig, I suppose.)

5. Unbelievably talented early 30's lady who was singing and dancing to Prince, Mandisa, A-ha, and Hall and Oates. She was having an especially good hair day, too. Oh wait, I think that may have been me... I really should have taken a picture of the good hair.

6. Man in big, giant, masculine Ford truck with monster tires and Zebra Print Windshield Wipers.
Dude! Dude? Really? I checked, and it wasn't Dora's cousin, Diego, out a on a safari adventure.Hopefully my daily travels have come to an end for a while. I am stuck with the adventures of laundry and vacuuming right now. I think you could plant a garden in my carpet right now. Ick!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hairs, errr, Heirs of God

We went to church tonight, where we were observing two of our most special Christian ordinances: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is always a special and meaningful time for me, but has become more so in the last year as my 8-year-old, Emma, has began taking it after her baptism last year.

We had already passed the bread plate and eaten it. It was now time for the pseudo-thimbles of grape juice to come around. I always get really nervous when we pass that tray. I am so afraid that I'm going to drop it. I now have to worry about Emma dropping it or Luke grabbing it as it goes by, but we had a successful pass through our row. Whew!I'm sitting there, being all reverent. I glance over at Emma and share a smile with her. I bow my head and think to myself, "Lord Jesus, thank You for what you did for my sins. Thank You for spilling your precious blood for me..."

That's when I saw something weird. There was something in my juice... Upon closer inspection, I saw that there was a hair floating in my juice! Immediately I began to panic and try to figure out how to handle the situation. As I saw it, I had three options:
  1. I could flag down an usher as they came back up the aisle. "Excuse me, waiter? Yes. There's a hair in my juice. I'm pretty sure it's not Jesus' hair." Yeah, that was not gonna work.
  2. I could just hold the cup and not drink the juice, but what would people sitting around me think about that? Too weird. My mom was already making eyes at me because I had a crazed look on my face. I thought about asking her to trade, but...
  3. I could try to drink around the hair. Hmm...tiny way to miss it. Nope.
I pondered my choices for a moment. I thought, "Lord, I know there's a scripture in the Bible for just about every situation we face on this Earth. Can You help me out with this one? I don't think there's anything in there for this one."

That's when it came to me. Matthew 18:9 says "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you." So I plucked!!! I am pretty sure God was laughing at me tonight as I was furiously fishing in my grape juice with my pinky fingernail. Success!

Friday, April 03, 2009

How Sweet It Is!

I have heard a lot of scripture read in my life.


After all, I grew up in church, I've been a Christian since I was 9, and I come from a long line of believers.

Tonight, I heard scripture in a way that has never sounded sweeter:Jason worked late tonight, so Emma volunteered to read to her brother. He wanted her to read about Adam and Eve. (p.s. Do you see the Spongebob Clock on the nightstand? Notice how it has a GIANT ROCK with the 10 Commandments glued on it sitting on top of it now. Spongebob doesn't pop up anymore, not that he's quit trying...)
It made my heart sing!

I am thinking about starting another blog for posting recipes and some how-to-crafty stuff. My first post on the new blog will likely be the one for Sourdough Bread with pictures and step-by-step instructions. What do y'all think? Would you read it (or at least pretend to) and leave me comments? Yes, I am needy. Quit judging! : )

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bread of Life

[This is my devotional that I wrote for my April Women's Ministry Newsletter. Is it cheating to use it for a post? : ) ]

I decided to make some sourdough bread today. I got my container of bread starter out of the refrigerator and was dismayed when I looked at the contents. It was a weird-smelling watery MESS! I really wondered if it was even usable. I quickly realized that I had forgotten to “feed” the starter the last time I had used it. Without new flour to feed on, the leaven—the yeast—dies, and the starter with it.

In case you aren’t a bread maker, I will give you a little lesson in kitchen science. The leaven in bread introduces air into the loaf. It permeates all the dough and changes it in form and appearance. Without leaven, the bread dough is heavy, flat, and cannot rise. Just the tiniest bit of yeast makes all the difference between light, airy bread and an inedible brick. Trust me on that one.

At the moment of our salvation, we are like the bread dough with yeast. We are "thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17) at the time we accept Christ as our Savior. But the process of transforming our lives does not stop there. We must “feed” our souls with the Word, with fellowship with like-minded believers, and with our personal relationship with the Lord.

Without leaven in our spiritual lives, we fall flat. We do not reap all the blessings that are possible because we’ve let the world get in the way of our relationship with Christ.

If we want to “rise” someday, we have to make sure we are feeding our souls with the right kind of starter, the one provided to us by the “Bread of Life.” (John 6:51)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Nashville Flashback

I remembered one more significant detail from our trip to Nashville. We stopped in at Shoney's again for breakfast. Lucky us, we just happened to get there right after two buses loaded with 300 teenagers stopped by. There was one booth (score!), but NO food. None. We had a great server, though. He would go to the back and grab yogurt and stuff for us while we waited 30 minutes or so for the swarming masses of teen angst and hormones to move away from the grits and biscuits.

After we finally got to eat, including Luke who had staged a no-Shoney's- food-protest two mornings previously, we got in line to pay and leave. (Fortunately, all the teenagers were on one bill. I was scared that we'd be there in time for dinner if we had to wait on all of them to pay. Who eats dinner at Shoney's, anyhow?)

I heard Luke ask Jason for some quarters. Jason asked him how many he needed. Luke told him he needed two. I looked around and saw the stuffed animal skill crane machine right behind us. 50 cents per play, it read. Figures! I said, "Luke, you don't need any more animals, come on..."

Luke didn't even look my way. He wiggled past me and did the most remarkable thing:

He put the quarters in one of those cardboard stand thingies that benefit research for the childhood leukemia and lymphoma society. I felt like such a heel!

Luke smiled up at me. Teary-eyed, I looked over at Jason. He was just as surprised as I was.

It feels good to see your kids want to do the right thing--especially when it was something I probably never considered doing myself.