Monday, June 29, 2009

"In Your Footprints"

June 29, 2009

Luke and I decided to take one last walk on the beach together on our last day of vacation in Panama City, Florida. The sand was warm, the sun hot, and the water cool and clear. The only problem was jellyfish--and a LOT of 'em!

We carefully made our way along the shoreline, cautiously stepping around all the jellyfish that had washed up everywhere we looked. I noticed that Luke stayed behind me as I manuevered through the squishy/dangerous carnage. I asked Luke why he was hanging back behind me. He answered me with a sentence that stopped me dead in my tracks: "Mommy, I'm walking in your footprints."

It was a simple statement Luke made, but it took my breath anyway. He was stating an obvious fact, but the words gave me pause. Yes, my kids are walking in my footprints. I wondered though, is that always a good thing?

Sometimes my footprints take me right up to the heart of God, so near that he can "cover [me] with His feathers, and under His wings [I] will find refuge" (Psalms 91:4). Other times, my footprints probably take me places so far from God that I would be ashamed for my children to follow me there.

Where do your footprints show that you've been? Who's following along in your footprints? Are you standing on "Holy Ground," or are you struggling to get your footing on the shifting sands of our world? Wherever you find yourself, know that God is there with you, and somebody, somewhere is bound to be following you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tales from vacation

So, the blogging every day of vacation thing didn't work out...

Here are more random observations and reflections of the last few days:

--There is a bar on 231 South named "Midgets Lounge." That conjured up so many funny images for me like a tiny door, little barstools, and a micro-bouncer standing at the tiny door. I am easily entertained when I've been in the car a really long time.

--Things I've witnessed at the beach:
1. Emma throwing up. (First night here. Just some weird fluke. Glad that's done.)
2. If you are at an outdoor venue in a heat wave, you will watch ANYTHING that is presented indoors in the A/C. ANYTHING. Like a reptile show. Ewww.
3. Little boys are sneaky when they want to smuggle bread crumbs to feed the birds.
4. Pockets are not good places to transport bread crumbs.
5. Evil equation: The higher the need to use the restroom, the greater the frequency of speed bumps on the road to the condo. Also, the slowness of the elevator factors into this with the trouble with the key opening the door.
6. Little children should never sleep in a sleeping bag on top of a bed. They are slippery.
7. Tile floors are hard.
8. Shaving sunburned legs should be added to the list of banned military torture tactics.

--Luke gets the funniest quote of the week so far at the Brazilian Steakhouse last night: We ate at Casa de Fogo (Must be said dramatically--House of FIRE!) last night. They bring around lots of skewers of random mystery grilled meats (but not until they've tried to defeat your appetite with carb-loading at their salad bar/hot buffet. Jason refused to let them "win.") and you eat it and they bring more. At the end of the meal, Luke looks at Jason and says, "Daddy, your belly looks like you just ate a camel." Chances are, he probably did.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dateline--The First 24 hours--Tallahassee

June 20, 2009

Random musings from vacation

--They never put restrooms at good places for 6 year old boys. As a member of the group of “Great North American Bathroom Tour” participants, Luke’s sense of timing is BAD. Also, I would like to make a public apology to the guy that told us it was okay for Luke to go behind his produce stand. Watch your step, okay?

--Other people’s class reunions are not THAT fun. (Or, as an astute friend pointed out, neither is your own) We walked into Jason’s 20th High School reunion where we were blasted by 80s music and not enough air conditioning. Being that I’m not exactly the social butterfly, it was awkward for me, at best. Jason introduced me to lots of people that I couldn’t hear their name and they couldn’t hear a word I said. Then they turned up the music to +11, I think. I was amused greatly by the DUUUUDE that walked in out of the 100 degree heat with a motorcycle helmet and a leather jacket. He looked like he’d just walked out of the geeky YouTube rendition of “The Terminator” that had been filmed in his mom’s basement. Someone else showed up in a stretch Hummer limo, which probably would’ve been cooler if anyone had actually seen who got out of it. The posturing of high school never ends, apparently.

--Earplugs are a great investment for vacations with my family, but only if you remember to put them in... An anesthesiologist would’ve also come in handy. I am a light sleeper and always the last one to go to sleep, so being in a room full of violent/gurgly snoring (Jason), humming (Emma), flailing (Luke) sleepers is not the best set-up for sleep for me. I wandered around the room at 2:00 a.m. trying to find my earplugs in my luggage, knocking stuff over in the process. Of course, the chainsaw sleeping in the other bed was undisturbed. I am a ZOMBIE today!

--How do hotel housekeepers wash the coffee pot? This is what I think about at 3:00 in the morning. And why do they put the coffeemaker in the bathroom, just mere feet away from the toilet??? There are some sick people in this world, and the thought of what some fool might have done to the coffeemaker bothers me greatly.

--The End?--Jason’s parents moved from Tallahassee in 2003, so it’s not really “home” anymore for him. We had not been back here since Christmas 2002 so he had not had a chance to say goodbye to his old house or hometown. He took us to all the places he used to live, play tee ball, eat, and attend school. We even visited a country store from 1927. It was like going back in time. I felt a little sad for Jason because he wonders if we will ever go back to Tallahassee again. I wish the kids had been a little more impressed with his history and nostalgia, but they’re kids. All they can think about is the beach. In my mind, we are already there, instead of two hours away…and in the car AGAIN.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Are you a chameleon?

June 19, 2009
(This may be my women's ministry devotional for July. I haven't decided yet.)

I don't know why I even saw it. I was "working" (i.e., Facebooking, blogging, twittering, etc.) when it caught my eye. (Do you see it?)It probably thought it was undetectable.

It was. Almost.

Some slight movement it made grabbed my attention. As soon as I figured out what I was looking at, I grabbed the camera and took its picture through the window. I guess I made a little noise as I rattled the blinds to get a clear shot.

Next thing I knew, it was gone. There wasn't a trace of it having ever been there.

This is what I captured on film (same picture as before, just zoomed in...):Of course, you knew early on that I was talking about a chameleon. (The title alone gave that away.) What if I was talking about faith, though? Is your faith something that people readily see and identify, or does it blend in?

Sometimes the faith of others is as evident as their bowed heads in a crowded restaurant at mealtime. Sometimes it's murky, at best, when you see a person with a "Jesus fish" on the back of their car acting like Satan himself in traffic.

I want my faith to be obvious. I know it isn't always, but I don't want people to wonder if I'm a Christian or not. I really want to shout without the necessity of speaking that I love Jesus Christ and that He is the source of my joy. But, like the chameleon, my fear, my shyness, my whatever excuse occurs to me that day keeps me quiet. I certainly don't want people to have to really get close to figure out what they are looking at. I want everything about me to show that I am a Christian. I don't want to blend into this world we live in.

As Christians, we don't wear a specific style of dress or always have a certain symbol on our person that identifies us for who we are. It's our attitudes, our words, and our actions that speak on our behalf. In 1 John 3:18, John challenged Christians with this gentle edict, "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth." Jesus asked the same thing of us in Matthew 5: 16 by instructing us to "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Hiding our faith is completely counterproductive. God wants us to do good works in order to glorify Him. The only way to do that is to let our faith be as evident as the nose on our faces--just out there for all the world to see.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I won! I won!

Yes, me--the girl who NEVER wins anything! I won a really cool book called, "Historic Photos of Birmingham" from Rachel at Alabama Bloggers. If you are an Alabama Blogger, I hope you will check the site out. There's lots of cool posts about unique places to visit in Alabama. I've already made a lot of new friends there, too! (Even if you are unfortunate enough NOT to live in Alabama, check out the site--it's just that good!)

By the way, I initially handed Luke the book and told him to hold it while I took his picture. He liked it so well, I couldn't get him to put it down! Jason and I looked at this book at Books-a-Million once upon a time. We both loved it and coveted it, but the price tag was a little off-putting, so we didn't buy it. I am so excited that we own it now! Thanks again, Rachel!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I have a crafty gene-finally!

June 16, 2009

I don't usually do these Mr. Linky post thingies, but Kimba at A Soft Place to Land gave me the opportunity to brag on some outside projects that I did. I do so few cool outside projects (other than the Squirrel Thwarter, tee hee..), that I had to show both of these off!

For Mother's Day 2005, my husband and kids gave me this great swing. (Those are my parents and my son sitting in it, sans the top.) I didn't love the fabric, but it was functional. This year, I noticed that the fabric was dry-rotting on the top and on the cushion, so I sewed a new top, cushion, and added pillows! ( I am NOT a seamstress. I can barely sew on a button!)
Also, my Daddy built a pergola for me this spring. He and I put down all the brick and concrete pavers. I've steadily been adding flowers and azalea bushes as the year progressed. I spent the first week in June pulling weeds and briars and then I spread pine straw for ground cover. I also sewed some matching pillows to go in the chairs out of left-over swing fabric scraps.
Once all this was "done up," we threw Luke's 6th birthday party in our backyard. Everyone enjoyed relaxing in the pergola!

A word to the wise, who also happen to be cheap...

June 15, 2009
Last week the kids and I watched two movies, "Up" and "Night at the Museum 2," both of which were quite good. I'm not going to rant here about what the popcorn and drinks cost me, but deep in your heart, YOU KNOW. It was ridiculous. We watched a matinee for one and were there on bargain night for the other, so we easily spent more on popcorn than we did for tickets. It's so wrong.

Well, this got me to thinking about a frugal friend I had back when we lived in Trussville. She had a son who was the same age as Emma, who I think was almost 2. We would go to the "Free Family Flicks" on Tuesday mornings. The only thing you would get charged for on Tuesdays was the concessions. Frugal friend decided that if she was going to get a bargain, she was REALLY going to get a bargain. So she smuggled in her own popcorn and drinks in her son's diaper bag.

I am, and always have been (except for one street sign "borrowing" event) a rules follower. I was not about to bring in outside food or drink--I mean, the sign on the door said not to! But, I let Frugal friend drag me down. She told me, "Don't buy popcorn and drinks today! I brought Capri Suns and popped some microwave popcorn at home and bagged it up in Ziploc bags."

I was hesitant, but agreed. We got to the theater and started watching "Finding Nemo." She pulls out the contraband concessions and hands them to me. Naturally, I hand them off to Emma. (After all, I WASN'T going to get caught with 'em!)

In a few moments, Emma is standing in her seat, whispering in my ear. "Mommy, the popcorn tastes funny." I said, "It's okay, baby. Eat it if you want to." I thought, "Good girl. She knows illegal popcorn when she tastes it."

Seeing that Emma had abandoned the popcorn, I decided to have just a little taste. I mean, Frugal friend had made it just for us... I sneaked some from the bag to my mouth. I crunched down as stealthily as I could, when I noticed something crucial:

Emma was right. It wasn't her guilty conscience that tainted the popcorn. It tasted funny. And not in a good way.

It took me a moment, but I recognized the taste. The popcorn tasted like new diapers smell--something of plastic and baby powder. Apparently, hot popcorn stored in Ziploc bags, placed in a diaper bag full of clean diapers BREATHES and absorbs. Nasty does not begin to describe the taste.

So, yeah, I will continue to pay full price for popcorn and drinks. It's totally worth it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Double-Header Blog

June 12, 2009

No, this is not a baseball reference, nor does it refer to that weird two-headed creature from Sesame Street.(How creepy are these guys, I ask you!? They always made me uncomfortable.)

It refers to the fact that today is a very special day. It must be special, seeing how I am UP at 6:00 a.m. That has more to do with the fact that Emma and I had a "sleepover" last night, meaning we painted nails, watched Paula Deen, and she slept in my bed with me. The child somehow vibrates in her sleep. (Note to self: Get her checked for restless leg syndrome. WHEW!)

No, today is special for two wonderful reasons.

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend.

A little backstory: Jason and I met right after I had graduated college in 1997. I decided to try out a nearby church, Dawson Baptist, in Homewood. My first visit to the Sunday school class ended with me being invited by this nice-looking guy in a gray suit to come eat Jambalaya at a Sunday school class party at his house that night. I remember thinking “WHO IS this guy?” Turns out, this guy was an answer to a prayer my Daddy had been praying. So, I married this nice guy in the suit two years later on June 12, 1999. He wore a different suit that day. God was all in this. He brought Jason into my life at precisely the right moment. He hasn't stopped blessing us yet!

Jason, I love you! Thank you for 10 of the best years of my life!


Six years ago today, our little family of three...

...became a family of four, with the addition of this little man:

On June 12, 2003, we welcomed Luke Andrew into our family.

Luke was born on my anniversary at 4:56 p.m. on a Thursday. He weighed in at a whopping NINE POUNDS AND ONE OUNCE! (Say it with me Mamas, "OUCH!" No joke.)

Luke, you are an incredible child. You changed my life even before you were born. You are a divine gift from God that I praise Him for every day. You are the smartest, funniest, happiest little boy I've ever known. I consider it an honor that you are my son. I am so proud of you and so happy to be your Mommy. Happy 6th Birthday, Little Man!Anniversaries aren't the same now as they were before 2003. We traded in romantic candlelight dinners for Chuck E. Cheese and birthday cake candles, but I wouldn't change a thing. Today is one of my most favorite days of the whole year.

(Not to mention, Jason is coming home from a Mission Trip today! Yea!!!!! We've missed you, Daddy!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Drought is OVER

June 10, 2009
I've been in something of a blogging slump lately. It's not that I don't have anything to blog about--boy, do I! But, my time and energy to sit down and put thought into my blog just hasn't been there due to the amount of activities going on!

I apologize in advance, but this post is going to be pretty picture-heavy. I am going to let the photos do most of the talking for me.

We had Luke's 6th birthday party at our house last Saturday, June 6. We rented a really fun inflatable obstacle course.
It was super fun for the kiddos. Not so much for Daddy and Mommy. We are old, decrepit, and stiff.

We had a pirate birthday party, complete with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom on the cake. (Yes, I did lick the icing off them. It was a surreal experience. Their picture was also on the party cups. I figure that's about as close as I'll ever get to putting my lips on Johnny Depp. I hear he probably tastes of nicotine, so it's just as well that I never kiss him. Sigh.)
We started this action-packed week with swim lessons:Followed by a trip to Tupelo, Mississippi to see "Night at the Museum 2"Luke told me on the way there that 2,000,000 people live in Mississippi, but the number seemed to be going down pretty quickly, "because we are meeting so many cars going to Alabama. They must like Alabama better." I like his logic.

On Tuesday morning, we went to summer reading program where we learned all about milking cows--especially this one, Lucille. I had lived my whole life without actually seeing the milking process. I think I would have preferred to keep it that way. Just like hamburger meat, bacon, and chicken nuggets (well, sorta), I know where it comes from. I don't need to see the process. It made me nauseous. So they gave us ice cream. I had to pass.

We hit the road to Fayette later. On the way there, I got behind a truck with weird Gothic/Baroque letters that said something I couldn't really read. I sped up and tailgated a little to make it out. It looked something like this, only with loop-ier letters.I swear to you, I thought it said "Mama Fried," which of course, led me to think about Paula Deen (and my mom):which ALWAYS makes me think about me and Jamie Deen (swoon):I digress...

Then, we headed to swim lessons again.Afterwards, we decided to check out the splash pad at the Guthrie J. Smith Park in Fayette.It was really awesome, save for the strange people who were playing fully clothed. In BLUE JEANS. NOT SHORTS, JEANS. Ahem. And the teenage girls who were wearing white t-shirts, black shorts, and bras. Gross. Really Gross.

This was one of the other gross parts:
A bunch of kids stopped up the drains with plastic bags, their BODIES, and other various junk to make a pool. Creative, yes. Sanitary, no. My inner germaphobe began to have a seizure when this large group of kids began "motorboating" in the newly-formed pool.

I distracted myself by looking at this car:
You gotta love the mag wheels on Grandma's ride.

Tuesday night, we saw the Disney movie, "Up." I am not ashamed to say I cried a little, and not just for what we paid for popcorn. It's a good movie.

So, that's been a little part of my week. What's new with you? Seen any good movies lately? How about a Mawmaw-mobile with big wheels?

There WILL be more posts this week. I have a special one for Friday that I wouldn't miss for anything!

Y'all come back, ya hear?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dazed and Terrified

June 2, 2009

Last night I was sitting at my laptop thinking, "Wow, since the kids have gotten out of school, I really haven't had many topics or much time to blog." No sooner than that thought crossed my mind, I heard a lot of frantic scuffling upstairs.

"It's a... It's a..."

"What is it, Daddy?"

"Go to your rooms, run!"

I thought about just letting this one play out without my intervention, but decided it was probably worth investigating, if only to see if it was a blog-able moment.

I shouted up, "What is it?" To which Jason (in a shaky voice) replied, "It's a mouse! I think it's dead. I don't know what to do with it. Maybe we should get a box..."

In totally un-Lianne-like fashion, I grabbed the broom and dustpan on a stick (not to be confused with the Jalapeno on a stick--I love that guy!), and said, "I'm coming up. Where is it?" I warily trudged up the steps as Jason answered, "It's right there, on the stairs! I'm freaking out!"

I spied the mouse, curled up next to one of the risers, totally motionless. A few moments later, I spied Jason, who was also standing motionless some 10 feet away from the presumably dead rodent, as if it had the plague or a semi-automatic handgun.With all due caution, I approached the critter. His eyes were open, yet he was completely still. I said in a hushed voice, "I think he's dead." I eased the dustpan open and slowly edged it towards the tiny beast. The thought went through my head that he should probably be belly-up with the dramatic rigor mortis setting in...



Without looking to see if Jason was still breathing, I mumbled, "Um, yeah, he's alive, REALLY alive."

I suppose that he may have gotten in to the poison that our pest control guy put out earlier this spring to take care of the weird scratching noises we had heard in the attic. More than anything, the little guy appeared to be dazed or drunk.I threw caution to the wind. I POKED it with the broom bristles.
(Dramatic re-enaction:)
It wrapped its tail a little tighter around itself, but didn't move from its hidey-hole in plain sight. I carefully made the dustpan look like a friendly little on-ramp. Then, I shepherded the thing forward with my magic broom:
No, not that magic broom and mouse... Anyhow, it strolled right into that dustpan like it was the most natural thing it had ever done. Jason let out a big sigh. I had not yet started breathing again. (That only started back about 90 minutes later, give or take an hour.)

With crazed, bulging eyes, I looked at Jason and asked through clenched teeth, "What.Do.I.Do.With.IT.NOW???"

He says in utter seriousness, "I don't know...Flush it?"

(The thought had crossed my mind, but I couldn't do it in good conscience.)

I jokingly suggested, "I could put it in a bag and you could stomp on it."

Without waiting for Jason's color to come back, I started down the stairs and out the front door, all the while holding the dustpan closed with the broom. I don't think I blinked once. As I opened the door, Jason, still upstairs and not even attempting to come down, asks "Do you need some help?" I whimpered in reply and stepped outside.

I went down the driveway, down the street, and to the cul-de-sac farthest from any houses, but under a streetlight so I could see. I unceremoniously dumped the little freeloader and mentally shook my fist at it. It looked up at me expectantly, as if it knew something bad was coming.


I poked it with my broom.

It ran the other direction, hopefully never to be seen again.