October 31, 2012


And so it is this week that our temperatures are back up again, and not at all bothered by that nasty hurricane Sandy. Judy, however, has battened down the hatches at her apartment and swears that everything looks like it’s going to blow away. They even closed the turnpike beside her due to high winds. That one made Bryon and I laugh. I wonder what they call ‘high winds’ back east?  We have 60+ mph winds on a regular basis out here, and I promise you, we close nothing. Sure a few semis might lay over onto their sides once in a while, but that’s rare. High Wind Warning? HA.

Anyway, I certainly hope all of you are safe and sound with your peeps and pets and waiting out the aftermath of this terrible storm. I Facebooked BeckAY yesterday to let her know that I was praying for her safety. I miss that girl.

We carved pumpkins this week for Halloween. It almost didn’t happen, on account of our crazy ass jobs and my distaste for Halloween. However, in a burst of ‘we should do something the kids will remember forever’, we stopped at Mabel’s preschool and purchased 4 large pumpkins. My $30 went toward their missions trip and those large pumpkins went into my trunk. Bryon helped me pick them out while I balanced precariously between pumpkin-stacked pallets in the church parking lot. Of course, I chose to wear the 4” black patent peep toes that day. Anyway, the kids were super excited when we laid out the plans for the evening and began dissecting the gourds. Mabel and Hayley didn’t want to touch the innards, but finally were scooping away after some encouragement. At one point there was a food fight and Trevor and Andrew were laughing with pumpkin snot on their foreheads and Mabel had it in her hair. When I touched Hayley’s forehead with my pumpkin hand, she burst into tears and sobbed for 10 minutes.

We have a pee pot in our house. I’ve held it in long enough, and now I need to blog about it. Since May, our #3 has been peeing her pants. She’ll be 8 in a couple of weeks, so this is alarming. She’s been evaluated and it’s nothing physiological – i.e. no medical reason she should be wetting herself. She is making a choice to pee during the day, and pee she is. We know she’s dealing with some things right now, including moving twice this summer and two new teachers since school started, among other things. Also, it’s never easy to be a part of a blended family when your very most wish of all is for your own mommy and your own daddy to be married to each other instead. RIGHT. So, we’re praying for her, and reassuring her, and encouraging her to talk about her feelings. [I’m not taking this personally; I know she loves the beeswax out of me.] Could you join us please in prayer for her bladder and brain to begin to control themselves again? For her to talk this drama out so that she feels better? This mama (because I am the mama in our house) is worn out from worrying about our pee pot.

The time for a goose fence behind our home is over. Several years ago and far before I called this place mine, Bryon and our neighbor erected a safe but effective wire fence on the water’s edge. The Canadian geese here are, wow – there is a million of them, I swear. And they like to walk in the yard and eat and look all cute. And poop. So much poop that you slide on it in the summertime. Blech. So the wire goose fence kept them in the water and off the swingset. Except that it’s now time for the fence to come down so that the natural reeds and so forth can grow. It’s been a whopping 48 hours without the fence and the neighbor’s already texted us that he had over 100 geese in his backyard yesterday. Sigh.

A word to the wise: Boden clothing is adorable, but their sizing is NOT U.S. sizing. I placed an online order recently for a few fall items and found that their women’s sizing was at least one size off (size 10 shirt in the U.S. is probably 12/14 in the U.K.). Even Mabel cannot wear the 5/6. I had to keep the 7/8s for her. The arms are a bit long, but it’s nothing rolling can’t fix. Anyway, all but 2 shirts were returned and, Folks, that does not make me happy. Sadly this also means that I won’t be ordering Hayley anything from Boden for Christmas. Their children’s clothing tops out beneath her size. Boo to that!

I am simply in denial that it snowed as much as it snowed last week, and most certainly can’t believe that it is November tomorrow. In a week, we will mark the anniversary of the death of our colleague with a moment of silence. To have been here on that day, to have helped, and watched him meet Jesus was not something I ever thought would be stored into my memories. But somehow, I am grateful to have been a part of it.

I decided to check out Greek yogurt for the first time this week. The bus was late, okay? Anyway, I bought a few Fage and a few Oikos to test them both out. While I love the way the Fage package is made, allowing the topping to store separate from the yogurt, the Oikos are my favorite. Far yummier. And there you have that. Because I know you were dying to know what I thought of Greek yogurt as much as I was dying to blog those thoughts and keep them forever.

I am not happy that Christina is sleeping with her Mayo boss. Her husband needs her in Seattle and it’s just… well, it’s wrong, plain and simple. Come on, Christina, get it together! Get on a plane and get back to Seattle Grace and make it right with Owen! [Sorry, Grey’s reference and subsequent frustration.]

Trevor’s football team played their last playoff game last weekend in the university dome. They won!!!  They placed within the top ten teams in the entire state and we are so very proud of Trevor’s talent and teamwork this year. I need to download the 200+ photos that I shot during so that Nana can see #33 rock it out. Next year begins the real work: football camps, eating right, and keeping up his strength in preparation for the school’s 7th grade team. He is stoked to be a Titan!

October 30, 2012

On Venus Fly Traps

One night last week my feelings were in a wonk.

If I’m keeping it real on the blog, then I need to tell you people that I have been struggling with how to deal with Bryon’s ex-wife a bit. [I think that's only natural for remarried people - but there is no instruction manual.] In general, I understand that she is entitled to her own way of doing things and I respect the fact that she gave birth to my stepdaughter. 

But I have certain expectations of behavior that I’m not ashamed to hold people to - and yes, I do so knowing that not everyone will honor the same behaviors that I do. I am very naive and end up very disappointed sometimes. In general, I expect people to be honest, ethical, considerate, and respectful. When we haven't been treated that way, my feelings are beyond hurt and my hide beyond chapped. 

The fact that Bryon takes the high road and (mostly) ignores it is a testament to his faith and his strength of character. But not me. Peeps, I am weak. I struggle like crazy and take it all personally. I pray for my relationship with her on a daily basis. This hits me right in the heart. I have been nothing but kind, but I wish I could lock her in a closet full of venus fly traps some days. There, I said it. I'm not proud of it, either. And if she’s reading this, well… she’s probably guessed this by now. Maybe one day, things will improve. 

Regardless, I will keep on loving her daughter. I will keep on parenting her the same as I do my own, full of Jesus and moral lessons and discipline and encouragement. Even if it is not appreciated. Even if it hurts my feelings to do it - because Hayley is worth all of me.  

So I was in a wonk because of this. I’m telling you why because, Peeps, it was a big wonk. And I try to keep it real on the blog.

I sat at dinner with pinkish eyes and all quiet. Bryon KNEW my heart needed him because of the quiet. When I am quiet, it’s an omen. A very, very bad sign.

After the dishes were done and the kids put to bed, he reached for my hand. He led me to the love seat and sat me down beside him. Then he curled himself around me and breathed on my neck. My heartbeat slowed down and some tears fell out, but mostly, I was okay again. He flung his leg over me and then started touching my fingers.

One by one, he drew the length of each of the fingers on my left hand. “You have the longest fingers I have ever seen. How can you not palm a basketball?”

Not the most romantic compliment I've heard from him, but that’s not really what I was thinking anyway. I loved that he stopped everything he was doing to check on me. To tune into what I was needing and to study me. To not be mad at me for having hurt feelings about something he cannot control. He gently picked up my hand and held it in his. He compared each of his knuckles to mine, one by one. His hands are so big and strong that they dwarf mine overall. However, he was right: my fingers are longer than his. Then he laid his head on my shoulder, kissed my neck and nuzzled some more.

Some more tears fell out. Dang it.

And then he traced my ear. He slowly wrapped the baby hairs around my ear and pushed my hair out of the way. He traced the top, and then felt his own ear to compare. He smiled a small smile. And then he traced the back of my ear and felt his own again. “And you have the smallest ears,” he said.

He was studying me on that night. Right there, loving on me on the love seat. Captivated by me.

It wasn't a lot; it wasn't grandiose. It was EVERYTHING I needed on that night. It put me back together to watch him studying me. It reminded me so much of when we were brand new - gosh, almost 3 years ago now.  I reminded me why I loved him and why I knew how much he loved me. And suddenly it didn’t matter that his ex-wife didn’t agree with how we run our family or that she should get a venus fly trap for Christmas. He is the dad in our house and I am the mom. Of all 4 of our children. We are solid and strong in the Lord.

And that matters more than ex people.

October 26, 2012

Our Petite Elite

[hot pink and orange outfit is the Moo]

We love our gymnastics studio. It’s massive and run by amazing people. There are recreational classes available on one side of the gym and advanced training on the other. There are dozens of rec classes that match all levels of talent, for toddlers through adults. The studio does skill testing every couple of months so that the kids are constantly having fun and learning new things. Once they accomplish all of the skills available in one class, they advance to the next one.

Hayley’s Advanced 1 class has 40 items to achieve. Since her last evaluation she has learned 5 new moves and only has a few left until she can move up to the next class. We are so proud of her!

Mabel’s Big Dipper class has 26 items to achieve. Since her last evaluation she has earned the remainder of her moves and was graduated from the Big Dipper class. In addition, she was invited to leave the recreational program and join the advanced gymnastics program, called Petite Elite. This means she showed a different sort of talent than the girls there for fun and socialization; she showed some hardcore gymnast talent.  

Petite Elite has girls of all ages who show remarkable skill, strength, and attitude. These are the girls who learn it all and compete on the beam, bars, vaults, and in floor routines. In order to be invited into Petite Elite, she had to show a list of skills, including a perfect handstand, bridge, splits, linear cartwheel, chin up on the bar - held in plank for 30 seconds, backroll to pike position, and stand on her toes for 30 seconds without so much as a squiggle – and she nailed every stinking thing. By the spring, she will probably be flipping through the house, end on end, MaryLou Retton style. We are so proud of the Moo Moo and cannot wait to see where this sport leads her!

I have no expectation of Mabel competing in the Olympics, but if she loves it and continues having fun, I’m thrilled for her. That’s what it’s all about. And boy oh boy, is she ever excited!

October 24, 2012


[Kiki does not approve of playing the patient. In case you're curious.]

Last Saturday I dropped Moo off at gymnastics, kissed her and pinched her bahookey, and then rushed to the tanning place. It’s this thing I do on Saturdays, called ALONE TIME. It only lasts about 40 minutes and turns out, that’s about all the alone time this mama needs really. So, first I tan in the bed [yes, I know, I know] and then I spray tan. There is a radio in all of the beds, which I always turn onto KLOVE just to pipe some Jesus into the place all loud and preachy-like. But on Saturday as I undressed completely to lie down in the bed, I noticed that one of my favorite songs [you may have heard me talk about it: Ho Hey!] was blasting throughout the place. Well. I had to get my dance on right there in my private tanning room. I turned it up and did the running man and crazy, flailing bluegrass hands. Naked. And then I kicked when should have… not, and I kicked the damn tanning bed and collapsed in pain on the floor. Naked with a throbbing right ring toe. Only to me, Peeps. This shit only happens to me.

A dozen of our work friends are heading to Ethiopia and Uganda next week to see their sponsored children. I’m praying for their safe travels, security while within these countries, and for the Lord to take hold of their tongues while they are there. May they share the good news! Bryon and I wanted so badly to go when the program started years ago, but circumstances surrounding the vacation time requirement and other work politics have deemed it the wrong choice for our family right now. Hopefully the program will still be strong in a few years when the timing can shake out.

I did not sew this weekend. I did paint, though the project was not a success. I set out to paint a large, pink heart above our bed, all wonky-like on purpose. Unfortunately, it looked better on Pinterest than it did on the wall in my bedroom. It just wasn’t doing it for me, so I painted over it. In two hours it looked like I hadn’t done a thing and I went back to feeling a little useless. Meh. I have a few other ideas on what we can put over our headboard, but I need time to brew on them.

I did clean the house this weekend. That felt good. When I was done and had lit my Autumn Wreath Yankee candle, I flipped on the tube and found… all of my DVRd programs had been erased. That did not feel good. Apparently we forgot to reset Swamp People and it recorded all 20 episodes of a swamp-athon, which erased all of my movies, favorite Grey’s episodes, and the Modern Family I hadn’t watched yet.

Oh, Weather. I do not like you this week, no I do not. Please could you either pick to be warm for a while longer (such as almost 80 multiple times last week) or just make the jump to cooler (such as 40 degrees the rest of this week)?  My nasal cavities cannot stand the up-downing anymore. The radio weatherman said that there would be snow flurries tonight and I’m not sure what I think about that. On the one hand: SNOW. Oh hello, Lover.  On the other, I would prefer the kids not wear winter coats and traipse through 12” to trick-or-treat next week. But, we will see.

Our next date night has been scheduled. Dinner at our favorite place, followed by live music by our favorite band. They played at our wedding reception and maybe, just maybe, they might remember us and take a request. Definitely, Into The Mystic.

The boys went to a counseling appointment this week. They seem to really like the gal (she’s a child psychologist, but they like to call her ‘counselor’ instead because they are tween boys, yo) and she is GREAT with both of them. And so Mabel and I waited in the waiting room while each of them spilled out their guts or talked about school or whatever. She met with me briefly afterward and confirmed what we had suspected: everyone is GREAT. Well… excellent. Nobody is harboring hatred or resentment, nobody is unhappy either. The boys are happy, adjusted, and feel comfortable and loved in our home. Well, okay then. They’ll see her again when they ask to. That’s the thing about a great counselor; they are always there sort of waiting in the wings to chat about things.

Speaking of great, I would like to tell you all that my man-child is changing. He is growing and loving and oh my. He stops my heart. Trevor Allen has really grown into a wonderful, wonderful young man. This spring we noticed his attitude change and mature. It was never poor, but he really put forth effort into helping at home, he was more respectful with his words, and was much more considerate before leaving for the summer. Unfortunately, during this summer, Trev’s behavior took a dip. When he returned, he brought back some anger and disrespect with him. We knew he just needed some time to work things out in his heart. It only took a few weeks, a visit with a counselor, and just… surrounding him with love and friends and everyday life, and Trevor was back. In a big, blonde, smiley way. I know that going back and forth between divorced parents is hard for every child and that it can cause a variety of behavioral adjustment issues. However, it has become incredibly clear that this child is … HAPPY. He is really, really happy. He gets great grades, he has great friends who are good influences. He loves playing football and reading, and has found the right niche with his stepdad to bond about all sorts of things. He is NOT angry or disrespectful like he was over the summer and there have been zero angry outbursts. He’s earned privileges for his behavior, too, so he’s seeing the reward. He holds mom, hugs dad, and is generally fun to be around. He is helpful around the house (sometimes without being asked – what the heck is that?!), WANTS to help with Mabel and Hayley, and is even being nicer to Andrew. God’s got ahold of this boy’s heart and I am just in love with him. I’m so, so proud – maybe he’s been listening to me all along. Our love has seeped into his skull and he knows he’s safe and loved and taken care of. Hope you all will pardon me loving on him so hard today, but I just had to brag.

A neighbor of Bryon’s who is now a neighbor of ours texted me the other day, looking for some advice on Jesus. Seems she’s interested in seeking him out. I gave her some song recommendations, reminded her that He made her exactly the way she is, loves her despite herself, and died for her freedom. She’s been touching base now for a few days, taking a nibble at a time. Friends, would you pray that the Spirit continues to use me and everything else that it can to reach her heart for Jesus? Glory!

October 23, 2012

Jedi Training: Hunting Pheasant

I was able to take a few photos before my boys left in the morning, just hours before the season opened at noon. Thankfully The Boys sent me more throughout the weekend.

Hunting is something you do in Da Plains, I mean, if you're up for it. It's a rite of passage for all young boys, a tradition passed along by dads and their friends. We teach them to respect the animals and to thank God for provision. We also teach respect for the process and those firearms. All of their friends "went hunting" on opening day, too. New boots, camo gear, GEEKED UP for this segment of Jedi training.

Now, should you be as curious as I was about the whole entire process, allow me to share the checkpoints that I rolled through in my brains before consenting to the hunting weekend. I can tell you the following:

Neither of our boys are old enough to formally hunt in this state until they are 12. Therefore, what you see is field target practice only. Clay pigeons, milk jugs, targets. They need practice time to finish the required hunter's safety training before next year anyway. The real hunting was only observed by Frick and Frack. They shouted, "up bird!", carried the dead pheasant bodies, and helped Uncle Shannon clean their guts out.

Both boys practiced with the BB gun that was sent to them by Shoes last year, as well as a small shotgun and rifle.

The outing took place on private property, where nobody was in danger of being picked off by Rodrigo, the Hunter from Delaware, and everyone stayed together. No wandering. No horsing around. Also included were lessons on watching out for snakes, skunks, and cornstalks in the face.

16 pheasants were harmed over the course of the weekend, but I did not clean or eat any of them.

I did, however, make a roast chicken dinner to celebrate the arrival home from their adventure Into The Wild. They came home dirty, exhausted, and deliriously happy.

So on we go with the first hunting weekend:

[photos courtesy of Naser and Pejsa]

And finally, should you wish to observe little Roo's first kickback head bounce, I give you this. Please try to ignore the Jed guffaws afterwards, and Andrew's grin that was bigger than his face. WAY cooler than he expected. Amen.

Just you wait until you see how Mabel and I celebrated girls' weekend!

October 22, 2012

When I Got My Hairs Did

Ah yes. Much, much better.

I did ask my stylist (new stylist; this is visit #2) to go 1/2 shade darker than last month with the all-over color, but this is not as dark as it was last winter. When comparing photos, wow - I really didn't realize how dark it was then. Yowza. I love this much more. It's a bit richer-looking.
So there you are. Or I am. Or whatever.

October 19, 2012

How About Weddennessday on Friday, No?

Oh my, Peeps. I have a new favorite. A new, big, holy crapola favorite: The Lumineers. It’s a band – and they describe themselves as bluegrass, alternative, rock, punk, and singer/songwriter in genre. Their song “Ho Hey” got my attention on CMT last weekend (they are played EVERYwhere) and a quick review of iTunes stocked up my work playlist with about 4 more of their songs. Holy geez, they are AH-SOME. I would love nothing more than to pull up a quilt on a grassy hill, with my cowboy boots draped across husband’s knees and a cold beer in my hand. This band deserves a live performance in front of a barn with twinkly lights swinging from the lightposts, bluegrass style. Mmm..hmm.

Dad is taking the boys for a Snickers-eatin’, cervelat sandwich-makin’, corn-traipsin’ trip this weekend. They are geeked up, geared out, and we’ve stocked up everything in orange. They may or may not come back with vittles and stories to tell their children. And I may or may not have to sharpen up my ‘how to unzip a rabbit’ skills upon their return. Gulp. Kidding – I can totally handle it.

Since the boys will be off yonder, Mabes and I are going to have the weekend to ourselves. We’re going to have sushi lunch and go pick out some new earrings after gymnastics on Saturday. Also on tap: thrifting, kitty cat ears, Say Yes To The Dress, and a trip to Target. We girls know how to party it up.

Hayley will be with her mother, partying it up with Justin Bieber. Oy.

Twice this week it has been nearly 80 degrees. Just beautiful outside. Tomorrow, it will be 48 with 40mph winds. That is yet another example of life in Da Plains, my friends. Husband and I slept in a knot last night and awoke together around 5 because the house was shaking from wind.

I have a bone to pick today, regarding parents who treat their children like friends instead of like parents. I feel we are here to light the way and raise them up right, including discipline and consequences for ill behavior and rewards for good. We aren’t here to pacify them, be afraid of hurting their little feelings, or for doing their bidding all the time. We are not their chauffeurs, their servants, or their free ride. We believe they must put work in to respect the home they live in and the people working to raise them; this is what builds respect. Perhaps pacifying children was born from a culture of divorce, where parents are afraid of losing their children all the time and so relent on any and everything their child asks for. That puts the kid in charge of the parent. Even the little things like adult movies, swearing, staying up late, or “no rules” can lead to very, very big problems when these little people grow into adults. We must remain consistent and hold our children to the same standard God holds us to. That is not to say that mistakes can’t be made, or that treats shouldn’t be had sometimes – of course! But I don't think we should make excuses for it. If we say something to our children, we have a responsibility to see it through. Every single time. And, husbands – can I just say, back up your wives. If they lay down the law you have two choices: disagree in private and come up with a better solution together, or shut up and back her up. Wives, same thing – back up your husbands. If he sets a rule, you must reinforce it, too. See it through. Disagree in private, otherwise children have the upper hand in the home and your marriage will stand on popsicle sticks. That might work for some of you and if it does, I'm thrilled for you. But that is NOT okay for moi and it chaps my hide to see this. This concludes this total overshare of my opinion, however since this is my big, fat blog I figure I'm safe. Ahem. That is all.

This morning, husband awoke with a poke. Ahem*. I mean, he had a wild hair. When I came out of the bathroom, he was standing in the hallway with his old jeans, a soft flannel shirt, and his camo stocking cap on. Lookin’ like he was ready to go rustle me up a pheasant or 3. My belly did a whirl. Mostly because he’s letting his beard grow, too. All Phil Robertson-like [don’t tell me you don’t know who that is] and stuff. My belly did another whirl. He is so yummy, my husband. Good Lord, I love the hairy camo combo. Dakota Jedi right there, yo.

I can’t wait to thrift this weekend. Moo and I are going to hit the aisles and dig. I want to find some vintage blouses, granny sweaters, and scarves. Trevor needs jeans again. I swear that child has grown another inch since school started.

The breakdown of clothes sizes in our home stands thusly (HEY, SHOES - HERE IS THE CLOTHES SIZING YOU REQUEST EACH CHRISTMAS, YO):
Trevor, size 14 in tops and bottoms  (mostly green)
Andrew, size 12 in tops and bottoms (mostly camo)
Hayley, size 12/14 in tops and bottoms (mostly glittery or neon)
Mabel, size 6 in tops and 5/6 in bottoms (pink. duh.)

I’d love to say I am going to sew this weekend, too. I don’t know, maybe I’ll finally pull something out and stick a needle in it. I sorely need to. I feel the inspiration coming back. Or, I might paint the kitchen while they are gone. That would be fun.

I saw something yesterday that I want to stick with me forever. It was a small, but significant something. A little saying: “Lord, help me to empty myself of my wants and needs, so that I may be filled up by You instead.”  You could also say it like this: “Lord, help me to think of YOU more often than I think of me.”  Poignant, no?

October 16, 2012

Ho Hey... Enjoy

If you haven't already heard this before, close your eyes and let it make your toes bounce.

I like to imagine sitting on a grassy patch with my homeslice, on a quilt, and holding a bottle of ice cold Michelob Golden Light...  light strands hanging above and this band, all bluegrassy and kick ass, rocking it out down front.

Oh yes.

October 15, 2012

Inspired By...

Over the past few weeks I've found dozens of inspiring ideas on Etsy and on my favorite blogs. They're all Pinned for sources, in case your heart flutters as much as mine.

Seriously, I need to get crankin'.

*ETA this awesome baby:

October 10, 2012


Do you notice the hard K?  You text a friend that you can’t make it for the BBQ, or that you’ll be late picking up your pumpkins and they text you back “ K “ and... that’s it? Not “ok” but just “ K. “ It’s ominous, People. Bryon and I noticed this years ago, when a friend began ending every text string with a hard K. The friend was upset and the tone he sent in those emails was chilly. In the time since (from time to time, not like we’re big assholes or anything) we’ve noticed it over and over. It must be a universal thing?

It’s not like we’re assholes or anything. Ha. Made myself laugh out loud at that one.

This morning, Mabel had a shoe-tying lesson from daddy. She got new tennies last weekend to keep the cold out and they have laces. It’s a fine time to learn; girlfriend will be in kindergarten next year. Shoe-tying is something that is practiced at preschool as well, but it’s time for us to take matters into our own hands. She is #4. That means #s 1, 2, and 3 are finished and out the door before she’s even got the new hot pink and gray kicks on her feeties. Oh sure, they go back in and help her if we ask, but usually she’s left to sit at the bottom of the steps struggling. No mas. So. Lessons are on like donkey kong.

Also this morning, I was at work early and met with two engineers over some complex material I am purchasing for their project. Both in their 30’s, one a new father, and the other a forever bachelor. I walked in and stood in their doorway, and they both smiled at me. Not in a polite way, but in a sneering way. The new father took the liberty of pointing out my jeans, blue dress, red heels, and camo jacket as if it were a costume instead of workwear. He asked me if I got dressed in the dark. The idiot bachelor laughed along because that's what you do when you haven't secured a wife by the time you're almost 40. I simply smiled and reminded them that it was boring to look like everyone else, and walked away.

I keep the volume low when I listen to my iPod at my desk. Unfortunately, whenever ‘Super Trooper’ comes on (ABBA, People) my feet do a dance. I can’t help it. And then I close my eyes and imagine I’m dancing and singing in my living room with the kids, who ADORE Mama Mia. And that most definitely includes Trevor. [Please, God, give him the guts to audition for just. one. musical. Just one! Because then the bug will bite him! Ahem. Amen.]

Is anyone surprised that I was a musical theater junkie in high school? Yeah, I thought not. Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, West Side Story, and Phantom of the Opera to be specific. Wasn’t anything better than the spotlight in my face and the choir beside me, let me tell ya. Zero nerves. Le Sigh. Go ahead and say it, WHO GAVE THAT WOMAN AN AMP?

I have two littles who seem a bit interested in musical theater, too: Trevor and Hayley. Hayley is scared out of her gourd to perform in public, so I don’t see this going anywhere but our living room, but Trevor is an entirely different story. He has the confidence and the charisma, but he’s nervous about the stigmas associated with male performers. I have explained to him that our theater director enlisted the help of our entire high school football team for our productions, and their participation packed the freaking house! Everyone wanted to see the macho football players come and sing it out to ‘Greased Lightning.’ We’ll see what happens as he grows up, but I have my fingers crossed.  

This is week two of Suave Dry Shampoo and I am still in love with it. So, so in love. Really. In addition to doing its job, it also mixes beautifully with the leave-in conditioner I’m using (Kerastase) and effectively ‘holds’ whatever it is that I do with my hair. For days. DAYS, People. So, if I straighten my hair on Monday, it’s still stick straight (and soft, and smooth, and looking clean) on Thursday. Very touchable. Say I washed on Monday and curled my hair. I would apply the dry shampoo that night before bed at the roots and massage like ca-razy. Those waves would still be there on Thursday. I’m telling you, this shit is the bomb. DA BOMB.

Yo, a brand new season of Duck Dynasty starts this week in case you were waiting on me to tell you to set your DVR. My brother-in-law texted my husband to make sure we were ready. Between this, American Hoggers, and Swamp People, I feel tremendously connected with the hunting sort. As in, I might try me some shootin’ this year. I was dang good with a .22 before (yes, please look impressed). That one time when I wore heels to shoot, remember? Right.

I have a hair appointment coming up. I am very hopeful. The gal will be using the exact same formulation of all-over Wella color that she did several weeks ago. I’m going to freshen up because the lighter blonde strands are finally showing through faded color.

Grey’s Anatomy… sigh. So, so good. The vanilla cappuccino I splurged on this morning was not.

October 9, 2012

These Boots

Some boots are bugging my husband.

His dad wore work boots, which he remembers watching Larry lace all the way up before heading out to work as a power lineman. He was fond of those boots and they commanded respect. Bryon looked up to those boots.

And now my very important husband has his own work boots, which he laces up every morning before heading out to work as the manager of three departments at our plant and kneel on the floor to assist his techs. I am fond of those boots. Despite how they pull and hang on his tired legs, all heavy and steel-toed, those boots keep him safe and walking. They lay at the bottom of our steps and threaten to trip me to death every single morning, but I’d never move them. They are my husband, worn strong, safe, and protecting.

There is a song by Eric Church called ‘These Boots.’ That song got Bryon’s attention in a way that made him start thinking, just so that the next song could usher in and set up camp in his soul, ‘Sinners Like Me.’

You see, my husband is a strong but complicated man. He has a past and experiences of his childhood that are sitting him, stirring up a pot of mess just now. Part of the grief process, I think. It’s only been a few years that Larry’s been in Heaven.   

From time to time Bryon will pull something out and stop for a breath, having seen the ghost of his father in a picture, or heard his voice in a song. [This is something I know well; my own father has been gone almost 16 years.] Over this past weekend, Larry happened to be in a box that was sitting on a shelf in our garage. It was the box of hunting supplies, packed up years ago by who-knows-who, and full of shells and bullets and gently-worn orange vests. It needed to come down to be audited before the season begins later this month.

Bryon brought the box inside and sat it on the kitchen island. It was dusty and smelled magnificent. Inside of that box was a scope that his father used when hunting deer, metal clasps for hanging pheasant, and an orange hunting hat. Possibly the ugliest hat that either of us had ever seen, my husband reached that sucker out of the box, pulled the ear flaps down, and put it on his head. And then he gave me the look that says he needs a moment for the ghost to pass. His eyes welled up and I turned my attention to a map of the Black Hills National Forest, circa 1980. This was definitely Larry’s hunting box. Having never met my father-in-law, I truly appreciate these small glimpses of his past, of the things that made my husband the man I love.

He picked up the coil of brown leather belt that was nestled beside those bullet boxes and raised it to his face, just to see if any smell of his father remained. The belt was curved and worn, just like Bryon's.

After he removed the orange hat and replaced the coiled belt, he moved a half dozen boxes of shells from the left side of the cardboard box to the right and smirked. He reached down and unearthed a history then: a black hardcover Bible. Turns out Larry and Jesus were in that box. The Bible was a gift from Bryon’s Lutheran confirmation in 1981 and he swears he hasn’t seen it in more than 30 years. He has no idea how it came to be tucked away in the hunting box or who put it there. We thumbed through the pages and that delicious ‘old book smell’ connected me to my husband in a way I hadn’t been before; I could see him as a child, reading scriptures.

Bryon’s been in and out of that hunting box every season for who-knows-how-many years and never noticed the Bible before. More than that, he’s unpacked and repacked it in its entirety while looking for a certain something and never touched that Bible. There is no justifiable explanation other than God Himself wanted Bryon to find it there, just… patiently waiting for him.

I smiled.

I love me some Jesus. I love how, despite the crazy business of life, despite the drama or the heartache or the uncertainty that belongs to every human, JESUS CHRIST IS ALWAYS THERE. He was there, in that box, just waiting for my husband to be ready to see Him in a new way. Could have just as easily been you or me, all caught up in our own selfish worries and needs, digging around somewhere where we think Christ can’t see us and then BOOM. He appears to remind us that He died for us, forgives every little stupid thing we’ve done, and releases us from the burdens done to us by others. Christ never leaves. He never leaves!

Bryon smiled at me as it all washed over him.

And so now the Bible is nibbling on him. The memory, the wonderment of its existence, how it came to be in a place it never was before. For days now, that black hardcover Bible has spent its nights under my husband’s pillow, as if some osmosis will bring the memories back faster. I think that's precious and strong at the same time. Wow.

Just like Grandma’s statue of Jesus and her note to her grandson years before he’d need it, I strongly believe that this Bible was left as a message for my husband from his Heavenly Father:

Don’t ever give up hope or happiness. Believe in yourself and your worth to God. Keep your focus on HIM and He will help lead you to lead others. Have hope and everything will fall into place.

And Dear B: Thanks for making me part of your testimony!