Saturday, October 29, 2005

Batting 1.000

In April of 2004, as I was chatting with my friend Julie, an image of my friend Ray kept flashing in my head. I thought they'd get along beautifully. Julie is a CPA... quiet, shy, private, reserved. Ray is the opposite of Julie... loud, crazy, hilarious, life-of-the-party. They each agreed to a blind date, as long as Darren and I double dated with them. So we arranged tickets to a Texas Rangers baseball game. On our way to meet Ray at the ballpark, I said to Julie, "When y'all get married, I get to be a bridesmaid." I thought she was going to slap me. :)

The game was interesting. It kept getting rain delayed. The ground crew dragged the big tarp out onto the field and we crowded under the stands with 1000s of other wet, sweaty specators waiting for the rain to stop. No sooner had the ground crew rolled the tarp back up and we'd dried off our seats with napkins than the skies opened up again and sent us running for the ramps leading down to the snack areas. Julie bought Ray the biggest Dr Pepper that The Ballpark at Arlington could offer. He knew then that it was love.

Finally, with the game delayed for so long, Darren and I decided to leave to go get our kids. Julie and Ray had been talking the whole night. I think they forgot that we were even there! So we asked Ray to take Julie home, and he eagerly agreed.

A year later, on the anniverary of their first date, Ray proposed, and Julie accepted. Today, at the wedding, the photo I took of them that afternoon on my front porch swing graced the Guest Book table.

I'm not usually a Matchmaker. Ray and Julie have joked that in the Matchmaking Game, I'm batting 1.000. :)

Today's wedding was beautiful. The minister opened the ceremony by telling the story of how they met, and while he told the story, I was watching Ray and Julie. They were grinning from ear to ear. Ray winked at me. I didn't notice until she was right in FRONT of me that the flower girl (Ray's daughter) had left the stage and walked down to where I was sitting. She stood in front of me with beautiful red roses, and placed them in my arms. I was so touched and surprised. I thanked her, gave her a big hug, and hardly heard what the minister said after that. I was just watching Kailey walk back up to stand at her Dad's side, and his other daughter Marissa standing at Julie's side, and thinking what a wonderful life they're gonna have.

To Ray and Julie, Kailey and Marissa...
Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever After!

Good Mom

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. It's a question I've never had a solid answer for. When I was younger, I thought I'd grow up and be a radio disc jockey. In fact, my first college major was RTVF. Then I realized that my real passion was writing, so I switched my major to English. But when people would ask, "Are you going to be a teacher?", I'd curl my lip and say, "NO WAY. I don't like kids." I thought it would be cool to be a photojournalist and work for National Geographic. But I never had any definite career plans.

Some of my friends knew exactly what they wanted to be. Brent would be an architect. Sherilyn always talked of being a nurse. Dale wanted to be an artist, and grew up to be founder and CEO of his own special effects studio. But me? I never had a clue. I only knew that I wanted to get out of my small Texas town and into the big world. I knew I wanted to be a career girl with money and lots of friends. I knew I didn't want to be a stay-at-home Mom.

This morning, I woke up and surprised the boys with Cookie Crisp cereal for breakfast, then set up their favorite game on the computer. They took turns playing, and while one played, the other snuggled with me under a big, comfy afghan on the couch. I spent the entire day snuggling and watchin Nickelodeon. I didn't even get dressed until it was time to pick Dani up from school, and neither did the boys.

When I recounted my day to Darren tonight, I said, "I don't even feel guilty for being lazy all day. THe boys loved it. I'm a good Mom."

"That's the kind of thing that will stick with them," he said. "And you ARE a good Mom!"

I gotta admit, I am.
I never thought I wanted to be a career Mom.
I never thought it would suit me.
Turns out, this is what I wanted to be all along, I just didn't know it yet.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Stacy's Gourmet Black Beans and Rice

per Bobbie's request...

Bwahahaha. Gourmet. I crack me up!

2 cans black beans (the Mexican brands are best if you can find them)
1 can seasoned diced tomatoes
boil-in-a-bag rice
Eckrich mesquite-smoked beef sausage

Slice the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
Throw it in a skillet and sear.
Toss the beans and tomatoes in and let it all simmer.

In another pan, cook your rice.
Drain it, and toss it in with the beans and tomatoes and sausage.

Garnish with sliced avocado and serve with cornbread from a package mix.

Are you impressed, or what? ;)

Pumpkin Patch

I love October. I love the first cold snap of fall, which always occurs in October. I love the aroma of apple cider wafting through my house, and the yummy smells of cold-weather meals like Taco Soup and Black Beans -n- Rice.

I love the metal pumkins on my front stoop and the candles inside them that I light each evening at dusk. I love the fall wreath on my front door.

I love that the mornings are cool and the nights are crisp. I love that I can sit in the hottub without breaking a sweat. I love walking out the back door and smelling wood-burning fireplaces in the neighborhood.

I love the squirrels that scamper around my yard, shaking pecans down on my head. I love that it doesn't matter anymore that my van doesn't have an air conditioner.

I love putting an extra blanket on the bed and falling asleep beneath the heaviness of covers.

I love pumpkin hunting and picking out sweaters and corduroy pants for my boys. I love the cool blue Texas sky that always seems brighter in the fall.

I love October.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Real Friends...

... talk about intimate, embarrassing details without being embarrassed.

... give pedicures to friends with hooves for feet.

... go to the grocery store at midnight when a premenstrual friend is craving chocolate and doesn't want to go alone.

... don't get mad when you tell them that Krispy Kreme is open 'til midnight, and will be serving Hot Fresh Now, only to drive across town and discover that they close at 10 on Sundays.

... text message each other with reminders to "Renew your license today!" and "Did you remember to take your pill?"

... research what "fistula" means and spend time in prayer that it doesn't happen. (It didn't. YAY!)

... tell their friends when they screw up.

... don't get mad when a real friend tells them they screwed up.

... give each other nicknames.

... love and respect each other even when they're polar opposites.

... take pictures of your kids when you can't be there to do it yourself.

... want the best for you, even when it's not the best for them.

... clean and paint and pack each others' houses without hesitation.

... make you go out for coffee when you don't want to and make you glad you went.

... send emails that say, "It's snowing in Wyoming."

... pray for you even when you didn't ask them to.

... tell you when you have pepper in your teeth.

... have each others' back.

... laugh when you laugh and hurt when you hurt.

... aren't bound by distance or faith or status

... let you be real.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

School Morning Conversations

Mommy: "Wakey Up time! It's time for school!"
Ian: "(growl) HMFH! You ALWAYS SAY THAT! (crying)"
(poor boy is just like me. A grump in the morning.)

Ian: "I wanna watch Jetix."
Mommy: "It doesn't come on in the mornings."
(We have this exchange EVERY STINKIN' MORNING)

Aidan: Can I wear long sleeves today?
Mommy: Yes. It's cold outside.
Aidan: Can I wear long sleeve pants too?
Mommy: Yes.
Aidan: WOO HOO!! Thanks Mommy!
(He begs to wear long sleeves every day of the year. Thank goodness cold weather has finally arrived. He'll be happy for months.)

Aidan: Mommy, when I grow up, I want to make commercials. Like Kristopher's Daddy does.
Mommy: Ok. You can do that.
Aidan: That'll be for my job. But for fun, I wanna be a window cleaner and go up high on those thangs and clean the buildings.
Mommy: For FUN? Ok.
Aidan: I also wanna build stuff for fun. Like houses.
Mommy: You can start by remodeling my kitchen.
Aidan: What, Mommy?
Mommy: Nevermind.

Aidan: I need to call Daddy.
Mommy: Why?
Aidan: I have to tell him something important.
Mommy: What do you need to tell him?
Aidan: I love you. That's what I need to tell him.


Mommy: Find your shoes.
Boys: I don't know where they are.
Mommy: If you'd put them in your CLOSET where they GO, you'd ALWAYS know where they are!
Boys: Hmpf.

Mommy: Where are your shoes?

Mommy: If you find your shoes RIGHT NOW, we'll go to the donut store on the way to school. Look in the Game Room.
Aidan: I want a sprinkle donut! I'll go get my shoes!
Ian: I want a chocolate donut. But first, I wanna watch Jetix for one little minute.
Mommy: No Jetix. Find your shoes and get them on.

Ian: Mom, do you have your seatbelt on?
Mommy: Yes, thank you Seatbelt Police.

Aidan: There's Daddy's building. I need your cell phone.
Ian: Yah. We need to call Daddy 'cause we see his building.

Mommy: Aidan! STOP! Wait for me before you cross that street! Ian, pick up the pace-o, you pokey little puppy.
Ian: I'm NOT! POKEY! I'm just slow.

Ian: Mom, did you look both ways? I didn't see you look both ways!
Mommy: Ian. I looked both ways.
Ian: Well, I didn't see you. You haffa be safe and look both ways.
Mommy: You should be a cop when you grow up.
Ian: Well. I just wanna be Spiderman.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

For Sue

I don't really have anything to
Talk about tonight, but
Since I'm trying to make this blogging thing

A habit again, I'm forcing myself to
Log on and write anyway.
Little things. It's all about those, right?

After all, I could write about eating in the
Backyard tonight, sitting on our newish
Outdoor furniture, enjoying an autumn breeze
Under the pecan trees.
Then again, I could write about

Scrapbooking, and how I've finally gotten out from
Under the dry spell I was experiencing. I'm
Enjoying working again!

And then there's the
New vocabulary word I've learned.
Darren says I'm pulchritudinous.

Sounds rather ugly, doesn't it? I
Had to look it up.
Expected good mail today, but didn't

Know it was gonna be a whole, brand new
Nichole Nordeman CD. I've been jammin'!
Only a few people will understand
Why the song "Real to Me" gives me
Shivers and chills but warms me at the same time.

I took the boys to the museum
Today. They loved the Robots exhibit.

Stacy Needs

I totally stole this idea from another blogger. I hadn't planned on actually BLOGGING it, but I thought the search might be fun, so I tried it. By the end, I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face, I was turning blue, and the floorboards were creaking from my bouncing.

Here's what you do. Google "[your name] needs" (without the brackets, obviously. These are the first ten entries that Google gave me.

I think Stacy needs to kick-up her voice, and work harder at it.
Hmmm. I think the people at Fortress would be more likely to say, "Stacy needs to quit kicking up her voice and pretending to be Aretha Frankin."

Stacy needs to either get some charisma and step into the ring at least once or get the F out!
Dude. I'm out, I'm out!

Stacy needs no boob job, a woman doesn't need breasts the
size of navy floatation devices to be beautiful and sexy.

I must say, I wholeheartedly agree. And I'm about to pee my pants, and this isn't even the FUNNIEST one yet.

Stacy Needs Our Help!
Are you Flylady? Then come on over. I'll put your overachieving hindquarters to work!

Stacy needs some toning, and said Simon needs to put some extra scoops on this one.
Did someone say extra scoops? I'll take Brownie Fudge Nut and Butter Brickle, thanks.

Stacy needs sex, and she needs it fast, and that's all her little brain can comprehend.
Ok. This is where the tears started rolling. And HEY! Who's the weirdo who's been Peeping Tomming my house???

Stacy needs a bit and bridle for that horse mouth of hers.
THIS is the one that made me turn blue. I swear, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't get a breath in.

Stacy needs a Hard Drive.
No, actually. Stacy just needs to start backing up the hard drive she has! .....oh. OH. HARD drive? Hard DRIVE? Yah. Stacy could use one of those.

Stacy needs to face herself, rather than constantly blame others for hers and Bob's troubles.
Hey now. I don't have any troubles with my Bobs.

Stacy needs some thoughts on what to do with small roulette wheels and what can fifth graders do if they are in charge of one room.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Scorch Marks

A couple of months ago, I started noticing a burning smell periodically. Sometimes I'd be here in the family room, sitting at the computer, but I ruled the computer out as the source of the smell. It seemed strongest in my scraproom, but I couldn't locate the source there, either. It was very faint, but my Bionic Nose picked up on it every time.

Finally one day, I realized where it was coming from: the light fixture in my scrap room! I told Darren, but since he'd never smelled it, he mostly blew me off.

One night, several friends were in my scrap room cutting Sizzix letters, and they smelled it too. I yelled for Darren to come downstairs and take a whiff. He smelled it, and got up on a chair to investigate. One of the metal decorative thingies that contains the wire to one of the light bulbs was hot to the touch. He determined that that one wire was overheating, but he wasn't concerned about it causing a fire. In fact, he told me to keep using the light. I refused. I'm scared to death of the old wiring in this house as it is, and.....WAIT! I forgot to tell you the dream that I had a few nights before!

I dreamed that my house was on fire. I awoke to flames in my bedroom doorway, so Darren and I escaped out the second story window in our birthday suits. Then, as if being naked wasn't bad enough, we had to shimmy back UP to the second floor in the front of the house, to rescue the kids from their bedrooms. Once they were safe, I ran into the house, and straight to my scraproom to save - not my own photos and albums, but - the albums and photos belonging to my clients. (Which disturbs me. Wouldn't a normal person retrieve their own photos???) But my scraproom was engulfed in flames. Everything was a total loss. Then I woke up.

So, I refused to use the light. Finally, the day came when Darren headed to Home Depot to buy a new fixture. He took the old one down. And that's when he stopped cold. The wires inside the ceiling were burned through. There are scorch marks inside the ceiling. This will require the skills of a certified electrician.


I'm considering this fixture:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Describe me in one word

A friend of mine emailed me a couple of weeks ago...
"Describe me in one word...ONE WORD ONLY! Be honest!"

I emailed her back immediately with my word: misunderstood. We had a good conversation about that afterward. I mentioned that I should ask the question on my blog, but I was afraid people would think it was a shameless plea for compliments. She said that she'd been afraid to ask the question because people might really be HONEST. I can identify with that, too.

Here is it weeks later, and I'm finally brave enough to do this. Describe me in one word. Be honest. You can be anonymous if you want to, and you can email me if you don't want the whole world to know what you're thinking. But give me honest feedback. I'm ready!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Looks Good

Cholesterol - 195
LDL - 104
HDL - 34 (goal <30)
Triglycerides - not gonna tell you, but the doctor's note on my lab postcard should clue you in: "watch oils in the diet. O/W, lab looks good."

Hmph. I rarely eat fried food. (Darren and I NEVER cook it, but I'll admit to ordering Chicken Crispers more times than not when we go to Chili's.) I don't snack on chips. I don't cook with butter. So I'm not sure how to lessen the oils in my diet.


I bought new shoes tonight, banking on the fact that I'll get paid tomorrow or the next day. Cara, you'll probably hate these, too. ;)


I talked to Bobbie (my sis) last night, and it was so sweet. I miss her!


Spent today painting Kristi's kitchen in Dallas. Somehow, even the most mundane chores are fun when you're laughing and talking about intimate, TMI-type things with good girlfriends.


Took Dani shopping tonight "just because". My goal is to be the kind of Mom I always wished I had. And so, we bought her a hip new outfit, complete with jewelry and new boots. She looks SO GOOD! Then we came home and dyed her hair red again. Here's hoping my paycheck comes through in the next day or two! ***biting nails***. But oh my goodness, it was fun to take her shopping when she least expected it. I love that girl!


Life. It just looks good. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2005


The Princess Bride, The Three Amigos, The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Top Gun, Steel Magnolias, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Good Will Hunting

Ghirardelli brownies, chips and queso, loaded baked potatoes, falafel, chicken salad on 7-grain with fresh fruit and a side of poppy seed dressing from The Lunch Box, Mike's Pastry cannoli, Chili's Grilled Caribbean Salad, stuffed (with crab) shrimp, shrimp brochette, sweet potato souffle, my own lasagna

I paid my own way in college, but had to quit when I got pregnant and married. I still want to go back and get my degree in English. I speak just enough French to make French people laugh at me when I try to communicate with them. I'm scared of water that I can't see into, but I'm not afraid of water, no matter how deep, as long as it's clear. I wish I could sing, I mean REALLY sing. I'm an emotional eater. I go to sleep at night thinking about my way-in-the-future kitchen remodel. I sing John Denver songs in the shower. Every morning, as soon as wake up, I sit on the toilet, open the shutters, and look out the window into the backyard. I hate to go to bed. It takes me a couple of hours to really wake up in the mornings.

Sherilyn, Kristi, Cara, Melissa, Elaine, Nancy, Sue, Gayla, Denise

Being fat. The fear that people will assume I'm lazy and undisciplined when they first meet me. Cooking, unless it's for a dinner party. Other people's kids, unless it's people I love. Those big nasty "Water Bug" roaches. Bird poop on my car. Liars. Taking medicine.

Take my medicine. Check my email. Make strawberry chocolate milk for the boys. Love on Ashlie kitty. Pick up Dani from school. Snuggle with Darren. Brush my teeth.

Mom's Gumbo, Taco Soup, Darren's grilled cheese sandwiches, McDonald's fries, sweet strawberries, Clementines.

The Ragamuffin Gospel, For Whom The Bell Tolls, the book of Romans, The Life of Pi, Bird by Bird

My melon colored t-shirt, new fat jeans, black cami, Merrell sport sandals

Canon Digital Rebel, anything but my dilapidated old van to drive (but not another van), a kitchen remodel

Math. Arguing effectively.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Princess Bride

Darren and I have been huge fans of this well-written and superbly-acted comedy since it hit the big screen in 1987. We'd always owned it on VHS, and when we got our first DVD player, it was the first DVD that we bought. We quote it often. Yesterday, some friends and I found ourselves randomly quoting lines from it and laughing. So you'll understand my delight upon stumbling across this fun little quiz this afternoon. I'm Valerie - "The chocolate coating makes it go down easier." How appropriate for me! lol

Which Princess Bride Character Are You?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The List

Kids dream big.

Take Aidan, for instance. He loves to draw. He goes through crayon and paper like Pacman goes through blinkies. Today, I saved a thousand trees by teaching him how to use ArtPad. Now he can draw to his heart's content, and the only paper waste that happens is when I give in to "Please Mom, can I print this one? Please? PLEASE? I really like this, really REALLY, the most!" His drawings are full of dreams... he scribbles tree houses that he wants his Daddy to build and mountains that he wants to see. Best of all, he draws me SKINNY! The kid's an artistic genius and a world-class dreamer.

Ian's still too young to really DREAM about things, unless you consider the fact that he thinks he's Spiderman. No, really. He does. Except when thinks he's the Blue Ranger. ("He has cool moves, that's why I wannna be the BLUE Ranger.") Both boys have an imaginary friend named Keno. He moved in with us as soon as we bought this house. He lives under the train table, and everytime we go in the car, he comes along. The boys always buckle the middle seat belt for Keno. For some reason, he never comes along when we take the van... only when we take the car. See, Keno's too cool to be seen in the van. ;)

Dani is a dreamer extraordinaire. She's already applying for college scholarships. She doesn't just want to go to college. She wants to go to college where she WANTS to go to college. She knows that means she'll have to 1) have the grades to get in, and 2) be able to pay for it. She's set on being a teacher/writer. But that may change. There was a time when she wanted to be a spy, a la Harriet the Spy. Then she wanted to be an Inventor. She used to fill the corners of her room with empty toilet paper rolls, used foil, empty newspaper bags, twisties, and all kinds of other TRASH. She'd go into mourning whenever I'd clean it all out. She had PLANS for all that crap. She had DREAMS. She still does. It makes me happy to hear her imagination soar with possibility.

Somewhere between teendom and adulthood, we forget how to dream. We get bogged down in the day to day. That's why I have a list of "things to do before I die". I don't want to forget what I dreamed of when I was 26. Or 32. Or yesterday. I want to be reminded, and I want to KEEP dreaming. I cross things off periodically, and I even add to the list once in a while.

Some old entries that I've yet to cross off:
Wear a size 10 again
go hot air ballooning
Grow an herb garden

Some things I've crossed off:
Make a living scrapbooking
go white water rafting
buy an old house and renovate it (in progress)

Most recent entries:
Travel to Mbale, Uganda to visit Phillip and Laura
Own a Canon digital Rebel
Spend Christmas in Colorado with my siblings

I wanna see myself skinny, in the mountains, driving a bright yellow VW bug, taking pictures (with my new Canon) of my siblings and their families in front of a big fire, with Christmas lights glistening in the snow outside. I want to dream like a kid. I want to dream big.

Monday, October 10, 2005


I wrote the following article in February, 2003.

I’m obsessed with HGTV lately. I watch it all the time, making mental notes of remodeling projects that strike my fancy and decorating schemes that catch my eye. I dream of building a new house that looks like an old one. I imagine cobblestone walkways leading to an arched wooden doorway, English Ivy trailing up and over the eaves, and iron lampposts lighting the way. Inside, I picture cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, Spanish tile floors with colorful rugs, granite countertops, a stone fireplace, lots of natural light and French Doors that open out on an expansive deck and sparkling pool. I want details: crown moldings and custom cabinetry, leaded glass and beveled mirrors. I want a grand space that feels intimate.

In our Sunday morning Ladies’ Class last week, we talked about finding intimacy with God. Mary found it sitting at the feet of Jesus. While Martha scurried around making sure the flowers were fresh and the napkins matched the dinnerware, Mary listened. While Martha sewed interesting accent buttons on her tab curtains and embroidered initials on the hand towels, Mary worshiped. While Martha went to great lengths to ensure her home was perfect for Jesus, Mary understood that it already was.

I am Martha. I want so badly for everything to be perfect before I sit down to enjoy my company. Before I invite God for dinner, I want to make sure I have spot-free glasses and plates that aren’t chipped. I’ll need to sweep the cobwebs from the corners and fill in the cracks in the bathroom walls. I should pick up the mail I dropped in the entry hall and stuff all the dirty laundry back in the hamper.

But God doesn’t want to come for dinner. He wants to come and live. He doesn’t need a vacation home or a weekend cottage. He doesn’t desire a grand home with cobblestone paths and granite countertops. He only desires my heart….complete with the ugly words I dropped in the entry hall and the secret sins piled in the corner. He is the Master Remodeler, and he wants to fill the cracks and level the foundation. He wants to make his space - my heart - warm and inviting. He wants to make it Home.

"Welcome to this heart of mine I've buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I've made inside of me Come decorate
Lord, open up the creaking door And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls And occupy the empty halls
Until the man I am has faded No more doors are barricaded

Take a seat, pull up a chair Forgive me for the disrepair
And the souvenirs from floor to ceiling Gathered on my search for meaning
Every closet's filled with clutter Messes yet to be discovered
I'm overwhelmed, I understand I can't make this place all that You can
I took the space that You placed in me Redecorated in shades of greed
And I made sure every door stayed locked Every window blocked, and still You knocked...

Come inside this heart of mine - It's not my own - Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it All Your own - Welcome home."

Welcome Home by Shaun Groves from Invitation to Eavesdrop, copyright 2000

Funny to look back on my dreams. Only two and a half years ago, I never EVER thought that so soon, I'd be living in my dream house. I don't have the granite countertops or the stone fireplace, or really ANY of what I described above, but somehow, the dream was found anyway, when this house became mine. I've made it home. I love it. We ALL love it.

And yet, I still struggle with the theme of this article. My heart. If you can picture your soul as being a home... with a kitchen, a family room, bedrooms.... which rooms do you allow God into? Which do you lock him out of?

Lately, I've been living in the attic of my soul. It's been dark and stifling. I heard the helicopters overhead, but they didn't see me. I glimpsed slices of blue sky through the cracks in the roof, but it was out of reach. Nothing could get in, and nothing could get out. It took someone who heard my cries.... someone who came with a pick axe, and then went and returned with a backhoe... to get me out. And even when there was a gaping hole in my roof, when the attic was filled with air and light, even then, I wasn't sure I wanted to be rescued. Intellectually, I knew it made me sense for me to climb out. Emotionally, I wasn't equipped. It took someone reaching in and HAULING me out of there. It took an amazing rescue. It took someone who loves me more than I love myself.

We forget that people hide in the attics of their soul. Get out your axe. Who's waiting for YOU to come?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Trout Fishing in America

Busy day today. We left at 10:00 for a rare treat... breakfast before church at the neighborhood donut shop. After church, lunch. After lunch, JaM (children's service for the neighborhood kids at Fortress). After JaM, we went downtown for LibraryFest. What fun!

The theme (sponsored by Burlington Northern Railroad) was transportation. The boys were in heaven. We enjoyed storytime, puppets, an actual real train simulator (which the boys were in awe of, because it was very similar to their MicroSoft Train "Simmy-yator" game that they love to play, only this one had REAL levers and buttons and stuff). There were clowns, crafts, of all, a new library card for Dani. She checked out John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, with plans to read it and then enter a scholarship essay contest worth $2500. :)

But the very VERY best of all was seeing Trout Fishing in America perform. I've wanted to see them for a very long time, and didn't even know they were playing until I got there today. Serendipity. :) We laughed and sang along with the ones we knew, and the boys especially loved Simon Says.

For your reading pleasure, one of my favorite TFinA songs:

"Pico de Gallo"
written by Emily Kaitz & Marilyn Cain

Pico de gallo, you oughta give it a try-o
Even if you're from Ohio, it'll get you by-o.
Don't get it in your eye-o unless you want to cry-o
So come on, don't be shy-o, eat some pico de gallo!

It's got jalapenos, I reckon y'all have seen those.
They're kinda hot for gringos and probably flamingos.
Just add some tomatillos, onions and cilantro,
Lime juice and tomato, you got pico de gallo!

It was Cinco de Mayo, and I was down on the bayou
With my good friend Venus de Milo,
We were watchin' Hawaii Five-O
She wanted some French fry-o's, or maybe apple pie-o
And I said why, oh, why-o? We got pico de gallo!

Pico de gallo, you oughta give it a try-o
Even if you're from Ontari-i-o, it'll get you by-o.
Don't get it in your eye-o unless you want to cry-o
So come on, don't be shy-o, eat some pico de gallo!
So come on, don't be shy-o, eat some pico de gallo!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Home Sweet Home

When I picked the boys up at Mother's Day Out today, Ian was wrestling with a boy easily twice his size. And Ian was winning, spread eagle across the boy's back, pummeling the 7-year old with his fists while the boy tried to squirm away. I was proud. I stood and watched from the door until Ian the Terminator saw me. Then he jumped up and ran towards me with his arms outstretched. I bent down to receive the hug, scooped him up into my arms and just as I started to smother him with kisses, he continued the pummeling...on ME! Little punk.

Later, at home, Aidan was so excited to show me the picture he drew today. He draws everyday. Sometimes for HOURS at a time. His favorite toys are no longer Thomas trains. These days, he loves paper and crayons. He's been experimenting past oval-bodied people with abnormally long appendages. Lately, he's been drawing trees and suns (always with smiley faces) and birds. Today, he drew our house. I think I'll frame it and hang it on the wall.

Dani was the star of Show and Tell today. Both boys took pictures of their Sissy to share with their class. Does a Mom's heart good, ya know?

Right now, as I type, Darren and Dani are in the front room playing guitar together. A minute ago, they were singing at the piano. There's laughter spilling down the stairs from the boys' room, which is supposed to be awash with slumber. But I'm not complainin'. Not this night.

They say that a happy home is an earlier heaven. 'Tis true, 'tis true. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


God is who He says He is.

God can do what He says He can do.

I am who God says I am.

I believe God.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I've been in a bad way.
A deep funk.

Most days, I can claw my way out of it and be okay.

For the past 3, it's like I've been clawing with bloody stubs. I've made no progress out of the pit. It's been dark and scary where I've been living.


This isn't new to me. I know... some of you are shaking your heads, trying to refocus your eyes on what you're reading. "Stacy?? Depressed? No." It's true, though. All my adult life, I've battled this demon called Depression. I've treated it several times... just enough to get over the hump and until I'm on an upward climb again. My Mother lives with it but doesn't treat it. HER Mother treated it off and on; her manic depressiveness caused a great deal of hurt to her children and everyone else around her. I refuse to be like either one of them. I WILL treat mine.


The problem with me is, it takes me too long to recognize the signs. I'll live with them for a long time, handling them as they come up, expertly hiding the symptoms for months on end. I don't want the world to know. I don't want ME to admit that I'm hurting. There's no REASON I should hurt. There's no reason that this rage should well up in me like it does. There's no reason that it takes every ounce of can-do to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. I have a perfect life. I really do. I feel huge guilt for being depressed. Makes no sense, I know. I. AM. NOT. DEPRESSED.


And yet, I am.

And that r e a l l y pisses me off.

Last week, I finally broke and decided to do something about it. The first step was admitting the problem. The second step was taking medicine for another problem I've been in denial about. I hoped that the Synthroid, which should regulate my thyroid, would also regulate my seratonin. Who knows, right? It's all hormones. I should mention here that the Thyroid Disease is also a gift from my Mom and Grandma. They both fought with synthetic thyroid all their lives. My Mom still fights it. She's been on the medicine for almost 30 years, and still can't regulate her thyroid. She has Hashimoto's Disease, and the worst case of Grave's Disease that most have ever seen. I wonder. What HAS all this fake thyroid done for her besides give her grief and send her back for blood work every few months? I do not want to start that cycle. And yet, I don't want to be sick, either.


So I started taking the Synthroid last Tuesday. My last night of normal sleep was Thursday. Since then, I've only had a cumulative 12 hours of sleep. I toss and turn in the dark, making up tunes to the background rythym of the ceiling fan.... counting the headlights that dance across my ceiling from the street below... before finally giving up and coming downstairs. I surf the net, but don't have the mental energy to respond to emails or to post on the message boards I love. So I lie down and watch MTV and VH1, surfing between them to avoid the hip hop crap that makes me so cranky... hoping the music will eventually lull me to sleep.

I wonder if the Synthroid is causing the insomnia. I wonder if the Synthroid has sent my depression spiraling out of control. Or is it the acknowledged FACT of the depression that gave it freedom to expose its ugliness?


When it gets really bad, I avoid people. I don't answer my phone. I hide from the mailman, just in case he wants to make small talk on the front porch. I don't make eye contact with anyone, especially when they ask, "How are you?"

"I'm okay," I lie.

I pretend to have headaches so I can go to bed.

I get really angry really fast over really stupid things.

I resist hugs, kisses and kindnesses.

Last night, against my will but not having the strength to protest (because they were trying to help), I went out with Cara and Kristi. When the waiters began singing Happy Birthday at the table next to ours, I almost came undone. They were loud and off-key and obnoxious and it went on forEVER. Then the tears welled up in my eyes. TEARS! Over a stupid SONG that a few months ago, I'd have joined IN with.


Nothing pisses me off more than crying. It's funny, really. I cry really easily over stuff that has nothing to do with me. Movies? Books? Sermons? SONGS? Oh yah. I cry. But when it's personal, I'll sooner turn purple and pass out in my soup before I'll shed a tear. And when I MUST... when the tears can hide no more, I'll only cry in secret. In the shower with the water at full blast... on the street with my legs at a full run... in the car with the radio blaring at full volume. Then I dry it up and return to life. Pissed. I hate to cry.


Which is why tonight was so very, very strange. I needed to go to Walmart for life's most basic necessities... cat litter and toilet paper, both of which we were completlety out of. Plus, I needed to get the kids out of the house, cause Darren's Monday Night Football/Bible Study group was meeting at our house. It took every last ounce of mental energy in me to find my bra, put it on, gather my checkbook and keys, and get us out the door. As we left, Dale was coming in. "Oh crap," I heard myself say, when I realized I'd have to speak to him. I met his hug from the side, mumbled "I'm okay" when he asked how I was, and made a beeline for the door. I didn't want anyone to see the tears that were already spilling. Mostly, 'cause I wouldn't be able to explain them. I had no idea why they came.


Twenty minutes later, I was in the cat litter aisle. I just stared at it. My chin was quivering. Dani watched me, then looked at the cat litter, then looked back at me. Poor thing. She had no idea what to do. But she guessed right. She grabbed the cat litter and put it in the cart.

Two aisles over, I grabbed bath soap and dropped it in the cart. Then I looked for toilet paper. Up and down the aisles... and back. Couldn't find it. My cries were audible now... stifled bursts of breath, caught just before they exploded into sobs. And the tears were hot on my cheeks... not just balanced on my lower lids anymore. Now they were freely flowing. The boys watched me, their eyes like saucers. Dani stood a safe distance away, a look of terror and confusion and "What the heck" on her face.

Then the clasp gave way. The little mechanism that keeps the sobs at bay collapsed under the pressure, and there in the middle of Walmart, leaning against a display of Lever 2000 Pure Rain and Aloe Vera, I mumbled, "I can't find the toilet paper," and the sobs erupted. Big, ugly, air-gasping sobs. Tears dripping from my nose sobs. Snot running down my face sobs. It was an ugly cry. The boys, bless their hearts, didn't move a muscle. Shoppers gingerly went about their business around me. Dani came from behind and rested her hand on my shoulder, which made me cry harder. She'd never seen such a thing, and I knew it was probably scaring the living CRAP out of her. Yet, she acted with such grace and maturity, and even in my whacked out state, I was proud of her.


Within minutes, I was fine. I was able to finish our shopping and was even able to hold a normal conversation with Dani. I thought it was odd, how calm I felt, and how suddenly it had happened. Later, at home, I told the story to Darren. He said quietly, "We were praying for you. At that same time... not long after you left... before we started our Bible Study.... we prayed for you."

At first, I wanted to be offended. Why had he told them? IS nothing sacred?? All of the Monday night shoppers at Walmart had to see me in The Funk, but at least none of them KNEW me. WHY had he shared it with people I love? WHY?

"What'd you pray for?" I asked.

"Actually, I didn't," he answered. "Dale did. I asked if we could pray for you, but Dale did the actual praying. And he just asked for release. That you could be released of whatever's got a hold of you."


Ah. Release. Yes, that's what it was.
I didn't know it then, but those hot tears and ugly sobs were the release of months and months of bottled up anguish and fear. I felt so calm afterward, because I was FREE of it.

Sweet, sweet release.


Has this made you uncomfortable? I'm sorry, and yet in a selfish way, I am not.

In my very first blog, I wrote that I wanted you guys to hold me accountable. I was talking about my writing. But now, I'm saying it again. I want you to hold me accountable. I know the name of this demon that plagues me: Depression. And I know the weapons I have at my disposal with which to defeat it. I just have to be willing to go into battle. I need you to remind me to get out there. For I have been called to fight.


I have no idea who reads this these days. When I started it, it was for a few close friends. Seven days ago, Liz added a counter for me, and as I write this, it's up over 700. Who knows... maybe those 750 are Cara checking and rechecking 100 times a day! But maybe there really are that many of you out there. If you're reading this and don't know me, know that the girl you just got to know isn't the Real Me. And for those of you who know the Real Me and are shocked that you don't see her here... just know this. I'm here. In all my nakedness, with my raw wounds exposed, in a funk even I don't understand... I'm still here. I promise.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


I like peanut butter and jelly as much as the next guy. Well, not as much as DARREN likes it. That dude could live on peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese and Cap'n Crunch for the rest of his life and not get bored.

But I have to draw the line at ice cream.

Yep - Blue Bell's newest flavor, in your grocer's freezer as we speak (well, at least in MY grocer's freezer).

Peanut Butter and Jelly ice cream. Blech.