Thursday, November 13, 2008

free at last

Yesterday, I had to restrain myself.

See, I was sitting on the bed/table thingy in the doctor's office, and when Doc looked at my x-ray, then felt up my foot, then said, "You're fractures healed beautifully. Your ligament is healing. You can drive....", it took everything I had in me not to jump down off the table and kiss him full on the lips. Thankfully, I'd already warned Darren that if I got released to walk and drive, I'd be hugging the good doctor. Darren warned me to behave myself. ahem.

I celebrated today by taking my good friend Mecca out to lunch. She's the one who rescued me from my melancholy last summer and forced a pedicure and Lili's lunch on me. She's the one who called on her way to Target however many times to see if I needed anything since she was going anyway...the one who walked down the street once a week and carried my dirty laundry home, then brought it back clean and folded the next day. The one who invites my boys over to play "because it helps her out". Oh yes, I love me some Mecca.

I wore a pair of cute shoes for the first time in 8 weeks, and I felt marvelous! Walking seems a little treacherous, though. It's weird to be aware of every single bone and muscle as I plant my foot with each step. My ankle feels weak, and by the end of the day, my calf and hamstrings are sore. This poor leg has a long way to go before it's normal again. Bring on the physical therapy!

But today, I'm thankful that I'm on my way to full recovery. I'm ready to walk. Heck, I'm ready to RUN!! Thank God for continued healing, and for friends like Mecca who are seeing me through the process. :)

O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
Psalm 30:2
(Is it wrong that the next verse cracks me up 'cause I'm totally taking it out of context?)
you spared me from going down into the pit.
Psalm 30:3
(Nah. It's not bad. My God - I'm sure of it - is a laughing God. :))

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

in my room

One month ago, my doctor told me to move my bedroom downstairs until my foot healed.
This past weekend while I was out of town, Darren moved us back upstairs to our own bedroom. WOO HOO!

Psssst. Hey neighbors! The show is over! I hope you got your money's worth! bwahahaha

Yep, it's true. For the past month, we've been camping out on a futon in the front room, in front of a big window with sheers for privacy, and a glass-paned front door. It's nice to be back upstairs in my own bed, under my ceiling fan, enjoying the ambience, and able to undress with the light on. And now, I don't have to worry about Mecca walking right into my bedroom! (Love you, Mec! We really WERE just taking a nap that afternoon, though I know you'll never believe it!)

It was good for me to be away, as the old adage proved true once again: absense makes the heart grow fonder. It MUST be true, because I awoke one morning to hear my roommates giggling about the dream I'd had that woke them all up. I wish I could remember it - it sounded quite delicious!!

When I arrived home Sunday night, Darren had a surprise for me. Not only had he moved everything back, he'd also cleaned up and... get this... lit candles! Our bedroom was flickering with romance and smelled heavenly. It made me realize how much I'd missed my bedroom. Everything is just as I left it - the Texas Monthly with Matthew McConnaughey still lies on the floor next to my side of the bed. I think I'll never move it. *sigh*. The stack of books I've yet to read have gathered dust on the side table. The pillow I was using to prop my foot up on as I slept is still shamless. And the walls are still sunny yellow during the day, and golden rich at night.

Today, I'm thankful to be back in my bedroom, thankful to be safely traversing the stairs, and thankful for romance. :)

Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!
Psalm 113: 1-3

Monday, November 10, 2008

where I've been and where I'll be

You thought I already got bored with the thankful challenge, didn't you? You're wrong! I've been away since early Thursday morning, enjoying the dawg outta myself with 49 of the funniest, kindest, most talented women I know. It was my 5th annual scrapbooking retreat, and BOY did I enjoy myself! So much so, in fact, that in a 90-hour period, I only scrapbooked 6 pages. Eek! But it was worth every penny and every minute just to spend time with friends. More on that later.

In other news, I started a new job!

Most of you think of Fortress as my church, and it is. But about 4 years ago, we reorganized and the after-school program became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Fortress Youth Development Center. Last year, I designed a website for us that details the various ministries under that umbrella.
I've been a long-time volunteer, working on various creative projects, designing brochures, helping make our grant-writing look snazzy, etc. For the past couple of months, I've been working on our first annual Dinner and Auction. We raised over $17,000 with that event! While I was working on it, Michael (Fortress' Executive Director) started talking to me about making what I do a paying job. I accepted immediately!

I'd been looking at having to get a job, anyway. The economy has already affected my scrapbook business; two of the jobs on my fall schedule had to cancel due to finances, even though they'd already paid a deposit. When you have to tighten your purse strings, payin' someone to scrapbook your vacations SHOULD be the first to go, ya know? (eta: I'll still be scrapbooking for my regular clients and for any new ones who come along as well.)

Dani starts college next fall, and even if she gets plenty of scholarship and loan money, I still think of Bill Cosby's advice: When you budget for college, you've got your tuition and board, then your incidentals, but don't forget your ASKidentals, 'cause that's the most expensive part. ha! Also, the boys are old enough now to be in Scouts and sports, and that costs money. And our poor house needs so much work. It was time for me to pitch in more anyway.

I worried about marketing myself, having been out of the workforce for 6 years, and with no degree. How blessed I am to get to work for a ministry I'm so passionate about, AND to be doing something that I'm really good at and that is so much fun. The job just fell in my lap, and I'm so, so grateful!

Here's what I'm doing, in case you're curious:

JOB TITLE: Director of Public Relations & Communications
DATE: November 2008
REPORTS TO: Executive Director


Strategic Planning

  • Assist in short- and long-range strategic planning activities to create and implement public relations goals and objectives.
  • Work closely with staff and leadership to assess both public relations needs and priorities.


  • Direct the production of printed publications; write materials for and direct the layout of informational materials
  • Initiate, develop, and maintain local media and public contacts for disseminating information; research and write news releases
  • Create and implement plan to recruit volunteers where needed
  • Communicate regularly with volunteers, donors and potential volunteers and donors to convey needs of the program and updates on progress through the following methods:
    Post weekly on Fortress blog; write and publish monthly E-newsletter; update website at least once a month; write, publish and mail quarterly newsletter
  • Establish and maintain local church relations as it pertains to communication


  • In-Kind Donations
    Create and implement a plan to secure needed items through in-kind donations, soliciting groups, churches, classes, families, etc. for donation drives/collections
  • Dinner and Auction Fundraiser
    Chair committee; Recruit committee members and volunteers; Design all marketing materials and market event throughout the year; Create and implement plan for displaying auction items
  • General Fundraising
    Help develop materials and resources for fundraising/development purposes;
    Be willing to reach out to sphere of influence and share funding needs and opportunities

Today, I'm thankful for a job that landed in my lap. I'm thankful that I'll get to keep working with people I love, doing work that I'm good at, and on projects that interest me. I'm thankful that it allows me to use my talents and skills to benefit a ministry that I'm passionate about, and that I'll be getting paid for work I'd likely be doing anyway! I'm thankful that Michael offered me the job and then convinced the Board that I was the best candidate for it. I'm thankful that I can help provide for our family in a tangible way, and still be home for the kids when they're not in school!I'm exceedingly grateful.
I'm happy. :)

I give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength
and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy,
appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry.
I Timothy 1:12 (Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hair Makeover

Aren't these cool? These are the colors I chose when I sidled up to the Color Bar at Magnolia Ave Salon this afternoon. I went in for my celebratory hair makeover - my reward for reaching my halfway mark! As of this week, I've lost 70 pounds! WHEEEE!

I went to a new salon because I wanted a new 'do by someone who wasn't afraid to let me be bold. I wanted someone edgy. I was told that Magnolia Ave was my answer, and I booked a consultation and appointment on blind faith.
After telling Richard that I wanted red lowlights and honey highlights, he gently told me that I was using '90s speak, and asked if I wanted to try something new. Uh, YAH. The method is called color blocking, and the technique he used is called "the sun". Basically, we put the darkest color - a red brown - all over. Then he took a mid-section layer around my crown and colored "sunbursts" in the honey. Finally, he topped it on the topmost layer with a color between the two. It gives me bold color and lots of movement, which is exactly what I wanted. :)

As for the haircut, it's not quite as drastic as I was hoping, but it's a good cut. He took 3" off the length, then layered it up in choppy chunks. I also cut my bangs back to chin-length and had him blend them into the back. Lots of play with this cut, and it's a cinch to style!

So... without further ado, here's the before:
And here's the after! (with Richard the Colorista)

Darren took this one a few minutes ago, 10 hours after the fact, all sweaty and gross and limp. But you get a better feel for the chunky color at this angle....

Today, I'm thankful that when I changed into the smock at the salon and realized that there was only one size (Fits All) to choose from, there was no need to panic. I fit! :)

Blessed be God— he heard me praying.
He proved he's on my side; I've thrown my lot in with him.
Now I'm jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
Psalm 28:5-7 (The Message)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Darren and me at Wendy's election party.

I don't generally discuss politics. Save for this entry (and now this one), I doubt I've ever mentioned politics on this blog. There are a few reasons for that. Number one, I'm not well-read enough to carry on intelligent conversation about policy or candidates. Often, I'm an emotional thinker rather than an analytical one, and that just doesn't bode well in political discussions and debates. And number two, I'm a terrible debater, so I just avoid them altogether. :)

The sad truth is, politics just has never really interested me. History classes were barely tolerable; in fact, the only thing that kept me awake during Mrs. S's class was guessing how much thigh she'd show while sitting at her desk, and then watching everyone wince and gag when the view became R-rated.

Dani, who at 17 can't be heard yet, is quite the little pundit. She knows what she thinks and she thinks analytically. She can hold her own on any political subject. For fun, she reads books about the Holocaust and the 1960s; tonight, she started reading this. Me, I even snoozed through the week we played RISK in Mrs. S's class, which everyone else thought was the best week of the whole semester.

So - I don't generally talk politics. And I won't start now, except to say that today, it was a privilege to cast my ballot. My vote didn't make much of a difference here in red Texas - I mean, we're still a red state - but nonetheless, I cast it, and that alone is enough. I feel invigorated and optimistic about the future, and I'll always be proud that I participated in this historic election.

Today, I'm thankful for the privilege of casting my vote.
I agonized over my decision, riding the fence, feeling overwhelmingly one way, then sliding toward the other side. Ultimately, this morning as I looked down and saw the candidates' names in black and white, I was thankful for clarity.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
Phillipians 4:6

Monday, November 03, 2008


(A month of thanks, day 2)

me, Nikki and Kristi - the past Sunday at Fortress

Five years ago, I stepped through the doors of Fortress Church for the first time, having no clue that it was about to change my life, literally. Because of Fortress, Darren and I decided to stay here in Fort Worth instead of chasing dreams of New England. We laid down roots (finally) and commited our resources and lives to the very worthy ministries under Fortress's umbrella. In so many ways, our involvement with Fortress has blessed and enriched us.

For the first year, I kept wondering WHY I felt so strongly about being there. See, Fortress exists to serve the kids who live in the urban jungle of Fort Worth. KIDS. I make no secret about the fact that I'm not a kid person. I love my own kids more than my own life, and I love my neices and nephews and my friends' kids - but mostly only 'cause I love my friends. I never enjoyed babysitting as a teenager. I've just never been a kid person. And so I kept asking myself, "Why are you HERE? What is your purpose?"

For several years, I'd been praying for a best friend - one who didn't belittle my faith, one who was on the same road of life I was on, one who could give as well as take. One day, it finally dawned on me. I was at Fortress because that's where the answer to my prayer was! Not only had I found the best friend I'd longed for, I'd found them in PLURAL!

I'll blog about them this month, in more detail. But today, I feel especially thankful for Nikki. When I walked through those doors that crisp November morning in 2003, she was a senior in high school. I never dreamed back then that in a few years, she'd be one of my nearest and dearest friends, that she'd take to calling me her ABFF (adult best friend forever), or that I'd cherish her as I do. She encourages me by noticing my accomplishments and remarking on them. She's always ready with a squeezy hug. She laughs at my lame jokes and makes a bazillion lame jokes of her own. She's a total goofball, and I love it!

One night several months ago, she was behind the wheel and stopped in the middle of the road, calling a Chinese Fire Drill. Cara, Kristi and I - because we're the mature ones - jumped out of the Suburban and started running around the back of the vehicle. Nikki gunned it and went roaring down the road, leaving us in her dust to fend for ourselves in an area of town well-known for prostitution. I could've been furious, but as soon as we caught up to the car, which Nikki had pulled over into the turn lane, her riotous laughter completely erased my ire.

I love this girl, and thank God for her everyday. I heart you, CBFF! (college best friend forever)
"I thank my God everytime I remember you."
Philippians 1:3

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Month of Thanks

My cyberfriend Sherry issued a challenge for the month of November, and I'm IN, baby!

I have so much to be thankful for. Today, I'm especially thankful that even though I've been unable to work out aerobically for the last 7 weeks, I've managed to lose weight! I slipped into a new size of jeans today - one I've never worn! When I got pregnant with Dani, I was a 12-14. After nine months, I'd gained 40 pounds and was only wearing stretched out elastic stuff. I continued to gain weight after the pregnancy, and when I finally bought my first pair of post-baby jeans, they were 20s.

Today, I wore a pair of 16s.

There's no reason that *I* should be credited with the continued weight loss. About two weeks ago, I re-invited God to be a part of this journey with me. I'd let myself become complacent about my healthy eating, and hadn't made an effort to work out at all. When I relinquished control and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I actually FELT like working out, and got pretty creative about going about it. I got serious about eating right again. And I lost weight. And a pants size.

All because God is in control. I'm thankful that He's real, and that He doesn't hesitate to prove it to me over and over again!

Give thanks to God—he is good and his love never quits.
I Chronicles 16:34 (The Message)