Thursday, December 21, 2006

What Child is this?

The Incarnation has always been a story of wonder, mystery, amazement to me. I've tried to imagine what it must have been like for all the people involved. The shepherds, Joseph, Mary's family, even Elizabeth. This year I find myself thinking more about Mary and wondering about all the details between the lines of the story in Luke that is so familiar and precious to me. And I find myself looking into the sleeping face of my newborn son and crying as I think of the Creator of the universe coming as a tiny, blood-covered infant, so suddenly dependent on his human parents for survival. His head lopsided from his journey through the birth canal. Every sense shocked at this entrance into air and humanity. His fists clenched, his lungs screaming as they learn to breathe. The King of Kings, wrapped in cloths, suckling at the breast of a young woman, sustained by her body as the milk flows into his stomach. He sighs and is full. She places him in the feeding trough, swaddled tightly, arms and legs bound. The Son of God, unable to hold up his head, his only means of communication a newborn's wailing. What a plunge, what a degradation. What foolishness! What a way to redeem a wayward, whoring people to Himself. My heart yearns to understand this God more. So I hold my baby so close, and I whisper to him of a King who came wrapped in flesh. I kiss my soft-skinned boy and think of another boy who came screaming into the world and was held in trembling hands, and was kissed by a woman as fumbling and frail as me. He chose our frailty. He stooped and took on the mantle of humanity. Bloody, gasping, time-locked humanity. The Word made flesh. God with us.

"Haste, haste, to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Jessie!!!!!

Let it be known this 13th day of December, year of our Lord 2006, that the Hodges have high speed internet and it is like a balm to my soul. Farewell dial-up! Rest in peace you destroyer of my time and patience! I feel like dancing.

Let it be known also (and more importantly) that this day marks the nativity of my dear friend forever, Jessie. She is a wonderful person who is now 28 years old. This upside down picture which is hilarious to me, is of us in Austin where we were frolicking in the Greenbelt (am I crazy or is that what it's called?). We have had so many adventures together, and most of my pictures for about 7 years of my life starting in 10th grade are of me and Jess doing something crazy, fun, or serious, like entering chickens at the fair. Borrowed chickens. In any case, I love you Jess, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Here are some of Jessie's best qualities:
1. wisdom
2. common sense/practicality
3. fun loving/sense of humor
4. soft hair
5. honesty
6. reliability
7. ability to stay up late talking when 9 months pregnant
8. ability to operate large blue motor vehicles
9. loving heart (this is why she's so honest)
10. organization/planning

This may sound like just a list but I can sit here and think of multiple ways these have exhibited themselves over the years, and I am smiling. The list is definitely not comprehensive.

In closing, I'd like to quote a song or two that I find appropriate for the occasion

"Jessie is a friend
She's always been a good friend of mine..."
(I took some license and changed the actual spelling of the name Jesse)

-Rick Springfield

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Jessie
Happy Birthday to you
and many more

"Jessie paint your picture
Bout how it's gonna be
By now I should know better
Your dreams are never free
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea
Cause Jessie, you can always
Sell any dream to me"
-can't remember artist

Friday, December 01, 2006

Big Sis

Ruthie loves her little brother. She is having some major adjustments as far as she and I are concerned, but she doesn't seem to hold it against Mac. She kisses him and touches his nose and covers him and bounces his bouncy seat and is an attentive sister. The hard part so far is when I'm nursing Mac and I can't attend to her every need. If anyone out there has advice for this transition from one to two feel free to pass it on! Especially these early days.

Mac is a good little boy, usually only crying when he's hungry or during his designated fussy time of the day. He loves looking around at black and white objects, or faces, and he responds to music and lights really well. ( I should take him to Vegas.) He wakes up about every three hours at night, and sleeps from feeding to feeding, which is wonderful to me. It is so sweet to hold my newborn son and think of what he will grow to be. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Little Mac is here!

November 14, 2006
2:02 pm
7 lbs. 6 oz.
22.5 inches
He is precious!

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Grandmother's pound cake

My grandmother was a good cook. She came from German stock and had some wonderful recipes that have become legendary in my family. She also lived near Philly, which produces some amazing recipes as well. Some of our favorites are her cheesecake, macaroni-and-cheese-and-tomatoes (made with extra-sharp white cheddar), sloppy joes, coffee cake, and the best pound cake in the world. Yesterday, in the midst of a pre-partem nesting baking urge, I pulled out the recipe, written in her handwriting, and fired up the hand-mixer. (I dreamed of a Kitchen-Aid mixer, lime green, but, hey, that is extravagant and my arm got a work out instead.) It was a cathartic experience as I measured and mixed and got flour everywhere. I baked my cake and even though I didn't cook it quite long enough, it is delicious. The top crust is what me and my dad always fight over. He tries to pick pieces off and I must protect it at all costs. Jay was the crust picker last night. So I made a semi-successful pound cake and tapped into my cooking heritage at the same time.

I miss my grandmother for many reasons, especially the more I've grown up and now that I have children and am more domesticated. We were never close, but the things I've learned about her since her death made me wish that I could now build a relationship with her. That I could have helped her heal and find a Savior. Not that it would be fact I think it would have been one of the hardest things I could ever try to do, but I wish I could at least try. Anyway, I think she'd be proud that I'm continuing with her recipes, and we could start from there.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This past Saturday my Community Group, some great friends. and my family got together to welcome our baby boy. There was great food, cake, and a gargantuan balloon that my daughter adopted as her very own. I am so thankful for the community to be found through my church, and I can't believe their generosity and how encouraging they are through all the things Jay and I have dealt with over the past couple years.

I wanted to post these pictures from the party. Here is Ruthie giving the sign for "more." She wanted another piece of candy and was being especially emphatic by using the sign I taught her before she could speak, and also using the word itself. She is too cute in her pig tails. I love them.

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Belly

My friend Jen posted a picture of me and my baby Mac belly on her blog. I can't remember how to do links so I'll just give you the site address. It's

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Phone rage

Today I spent a good chunk of my day on hold with two different companies, trying to get through to a customer service representative. I know much has been written on these automated systems and the enraging way they give you the run around. I overreact when I'm pregnant, so that could explain why I ended up crying after the first round with a company I'll call Hellsouth in order to try to protect them, or maybe protect myself. They are a telecommunications coumpany here in the South, as you might have guessed. We recently switched our phone service to them, and now I think we might get rid of our home phone entirely. We have cell phones, so why bother with an extra number? Maybe this attitude is my nesting instinct kicking in. As the baby's due date approaches, I find myself going crazy, wanting to throw things out, and clean things in final preparations for this child's landing. What makes it worse is that we are just now close to having the actual nursery ready ( I'll be 37 weeks tomorrow, which is considered full term). I wish I could show you before and after pics of the room, but my camera is still on vacation in New Jersey...

Which brings me to my second instance of phone rage today. I called the company I will call Damsung, which produces all sorts of technology, including digital cameras. I sent my camera for repair sometime in August ( I think) and I was calling to check on the little guy since, yes, I am anxious to have a camera with which to photograph my baby boy. Plus, I'm missing photo opportunities with my daughter all the time. So I called Damsung and they play me some lovely recordings and transfer me around the world in 80 seconds, and I end up telling the only human I can reach that the customer service department left me with an answering machine telling me that they will call me back during normal business hours. Hold on. The recording I listened to 40 times while on hold said clearly that normal business hours are Mon-Fri, 9-5, Eastern time. According to my calculations I called at approximately 3:20 central time, which would be 4:20 Eastern. Sooo...New Jersery operator lady informed me that normal business hours are 9-4:30. I found that to be unacceptable. But I was forced to accept this, and I could do nothing except leave a message encouraging them to change their recording. This time I didn't cry. I have become hardened. Pregnant lady won't cry again.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fall Haiku

the same heat-
now when I'm ready to crunch
in some leaves

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Baby Hodges 2

Here is the latest ultrasound picture of our little boy. You can see his face looking at you, his nose squished, and a little bit of his hand by his chin. My husband says these ultrasound pictures are like those magic eye pictures that you have to look at from a distance, squint, and hope you can see the hidden dinosaur or whatever. Maybe it's just a mother's gift, but I can always see just what the picture is. This one was taken on September 11, and I think he is a handsome little guy. During the ultrasound he opened his eyes, then he sucked in fluid through his mouth and blew it out of his nose. It looked like he was coughing, but the doctor said he was just breathing the fluid. It was really fun to watch. He is a very active little boy. He's kicking as I write this. I can't wait to meet him and find out just what he's like. It is so amazing to think of the life that is growing inside me. My belly looks like a basketball, and it is sort of lopsided, veering off to the right. I feel very large, like I felt when it was time to deliver my daughter, but I still have about 6 weeks left. I'll post a picture of the belly when I can. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do I look like I need a dog?

Funny- when I was typing the title of this post I went dyslexic and it said " Do I look like I need a god?" That is what lots of people ask, I think. The truth is we all have a god, whether or not it's the True One. We all worship at some shrine.

So I think my neighborhood has enrolled me in the adopt-a-dog program. Some sort of scrubby dog has joined me on every walk I've taken lately. One brown mutty dog actually decided to stay all night and I will call it The-Let-me--get-a-license-to-carry-and-learn-how- to-shoot-night (sorry PETA). I am not normally violent towards poor stray animals. In fact there was an article in the paper this Sunday about a county near my own that is euthanizing a record number of strays due to a lack of adequate boarding, and I was upset at the numbers. I was also upset at the idiots who don't spay and neuter their pets, and the ones who don't take care of their animals or abandon them. But this Night as the dog took upon himself the duty of barking at every sound or movement in my carport, I decided that euthanasia has it's place. I am a pregnant, light sleeper, so it was a tough night. And my husband was out of town, else he could have unleashed the BB gun on poor Rover. (I didn't necessarily want to hurt him, I just wanted him to leave.) My other delirious minded idea was to put Benadryl in a chunk of meat and throw it to him. That would probably have worked, but again, I didn't want to risk killing him. Rover left the next morning and I haven't seen him since. I did have the fleeting idea that God sent the dog to protect me from some unknown harm that could have come to me that night, alone in my house with my 20 month old. Who can know his ways? I sure don't claim to. It was a happy idea. Just not at 3:30 in the morning.

Last week a dog with a white coat and two big brown spots followed me home. He slept in my flower bed until his owner came to get him that afternoon. She said he always runs away to my neighborhood. It must be every dog's dream. Today a black pit-bull looking dog followed me for part of my walk. I was able to shake him off. I'm learning to not greet the doggies in any way, and to occasionally say gruffly, "Go home, dog." My daughter does enjoy the doggies following us. It is good entertainment for her, as she often gets really squirmy by the time we make it home.

I love dogs, but I cringe at the thought of more responsibility. Dogs are wonderful and fun, but I will enjoy my friends' dogs and my parent's dogs and eat lots of hot-dogs, but no puppy for us for a while.

I have decided that one reason I haven't blogged for awhile is that I really rely on photos for my posts, and my camera is away getting fixed, so I feel thwarted. Plus my creativity has been somewhat absent. Here are some things that have been going on.

Where in the World is My Husband?
Jay is now an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He is in the reserves, which means he serves a weekend a month and two weeks a year, unless his unit is deployed. His duty station is the Port security unit in Gulfport, MS, and he just spent his first weekend there this past weekend. He returned from three weeks of Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination in Connecticut about a week ago. I'm very proud of him, and I'm so glad he is able to serve his country like he's wanted to for so long. I got to go to his graduation in Connecticut, and it was so different to see him with his head shaved and his uniform on, marching and saluting. Of course I've always loved men in uniform, so it is definitely a positive thing for me. The down side has been Jay's absence. My daughter has been very sad, asking where DaDa is throughout the day. I kept telling her he flew to Connecticut on an airplane, which she thought was exciting, but she still missed him alot. I kept thinking about those military wives, my mom beeing one of them, who didn't have their husbands for 6 months to a year at a time, and I cannot imagine how hard that would be.

Marine Corps 5-K, Downtown Pensacola, FL, September 16
It was interesting to walk a 5K, 32 weeks pregnant pushing a baby stroller beside a 34 week pregnant sister-in-law, also pushing a baby stroller. It was especially funny when the entire Marine Corps passed us, chanting and singing, carrying flags, run-marching in their PT gear. My sister-in-law and I finished in about 50 minutes, which isn't bad for two pregos.

The Weather Update
I'm a bit of a weather-fanatic. I like following the fronts and trends and watching the radar, and I love storms. It has been smokin' hot down here until this week. A front pushed through early this morning, and our first twinges of fall have arrived. We had a lovely storm to usher it in, and I enjoyed it snuggled up with a pregnant sleeper's best friend- her body pillow. I am getting ancy for fall, and I want to start planting mums and stuff, but I know I must wait. Fall is fickle for us down in the Southlands. It flirts and teases.

Sweet Child Of Mine
My baby girl is really a little girl now. She loves playing like she's my baby. She'll bring her silky blankie and I wrap her in it and hold her like a tiny baby and pretend to burp her and rock her. She giggles and thinks it is so much fun. Babies are one of of her favorite things these days. She zeros in on them in public places and tries to take care of them in their carriers. I think this must be a good thing as we look forward to the arrival of her baby brother in November. She lifts up my shirt and pats my belly, giving baby brother little kisses and sometimes just laying her head on him. Very sweet.

She is using lots of words and interested in everything that's going on. She is in to looking for the moon at night ( which reminds me that I think I need to write a children's book on the Lunar cycle to explain why the moon is not always out at night, and sometimes out during the day.) She also loves choo-choo trains, and wants to go outside to try to find the one that we hear in the distance alot of days.

Today we played with play-doh for the first time. I'm not sure if this is the time to start that or if this will be a mistake, but I think supervised play-doh play within boundaries will work. She really liked the texture of it and would pick it to pieces, talking to herself the whole time. It was one of those precious heart-grabber moments that you want to freeze-frame and remember forever. These are especially poignant as she reaches these tough toddler days. She is starting to really exert her will and test mine.

One funny thing is that she says "Da" for yes, which we all know is the Russian word for yes. One wonderful thing she knows is the question "Who made you?" which she answers, "God." (This is the first question in the Shorter Catechism.) It is a precious and fearful thing for me to teach my child about God. I know how much I look like I need a God, and I can see how much she needs one too.

So, I hope to post some pictures soon- of my daughter, my Coastie husband, my trip to Connecticut, my huge basketball belly, etc.

I'd also like to give a shout out to the Rotisserie chicken that I am feasting on this week. Thanks, pal.

Jen, it was good to eat lunch with you today. Three cheers for moms who can still maintain a certain degree of spontaneity in life! And for friends who like cheese dip!

I really like Condoleeza Rice. She has impressed me every time I see her interviewed or speaking publicly. She is tactful, intelligent and well-spoken.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The mossy oaks crowd around the beautiful admin building on the campus of the College of Charleston in sultry Charleston, South Carolina. My friend Lauren is back there this week, and I wanted to share this picture that I took when I visited her last spring. I'm wishing her a wonderful, challenging semester back in the halls of academia.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A dry and thirsty land where there is no water

It has been over a month since I wrote, which is sad, but true. It seems I have become super busy and super tired and therefore during my child's naptime I am either working or sleeping. Plus, we in Mobile have started returning to our normal summertime schedule of thunderstorms in the afternoon, which makes me want to take a nap or more specifically, not be on the the computer during the storm. Here are some things that have been going on lately at the Hodges house:

-Drought. We have been experiencing a severe drought, which means my lawn is dying and I have to water my flowers every day or every other day in order for them to survive. When I water, my 18 month old "helps" me, but ends up squishing the flowers with her little watering can, or sticking her hand in the flow from my hose, and getting soaking wet as the water drips down her arm.

It is either feast or famine on the Gulf Coast. Last year we had record rainfall due to multiple tropical storms and hurricanes hitting us directly or to the east or west of us. Now we're praying for a nice tropical depression to give us some relief!

-Broken bones. My little Ruthie fractured her arm two weeks ago while we were visiting my in-laws. She was riding a very unthreatening little rocking horse, and fell off into a pile of pillows. This seemed to be an ok thing- the pillows cushioned her fall. But she cried and cried so we thought she must have landed wrong and maybe sprained her wrist. When I took her to the doctor on Monday morning, the doctor felt her arm and said, yes, it is broken. The ulna and the radius. I was really shocked. You just never know- she's fallen from greater heights and on hardwood floors and bounced right back. So little Ruth has a hot pink cast from her knuckles to just above her elbow. It is very pitiful.

She plays well in spite of the cast, but gets frustrated sometimes and pats it derisively. We tell her it is going to help her arm get better, and, isn't it so pretty? She is sort of convinced and returns to her play. We go Monday to get a smaller cast, we hope. My camera is broken, but I will try to post a picture of the cast soon.

-I am now 24 weeks pregnant, and doing well. I'm not too huge, and I've had a pretty good energy level. Little Boy Hodges is sitting lower than Ruthie did, so I haven't had as much indigestion as with that pregnancy. I've eaten a lot of pickles this time too. I love pickles in general, especially Claussen's kosher dills, but I desire them greatly of late.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Awww, junk

Today I took inventory of my junk drawer. It is always a good thing to do every once in a while for organizational reasons. You discover some things that don't deserve to be in the “junk” category, plus things you have been looking for and couldn't locate. Like my husband's wisdom tooth. Man, I've been wondering where that was. Now I know. You can also locate things which can be sold on ebay, like pieces of toast resembling the virgin Mary, or my husband's wisdom tooth, which may be a world record winner in the ginormous category. Anyway, this is a very long list. But I know at least one friend who likes lists (you know who you are Ms. Tiny-notepad-friend-whose-first-name-rhymes with-Mennifer). Really this was a very interesting project. I find some of these contents to be hilarious. I will try to give explanation when needed...Here goes:

Junk Drawer Inventory, Year of our Lord 2006
State of Alabama, 2nd Drawer to Left of Sink

1. Pet nurser (we found a passel of kittens in our attic a couple of times)
2. Syringe (4) these are the non drug user types used for administering medication to babies or animals
3. Tube of Amazing Goop(TM or whatever) this has not been used successfully yet
4. Gerber daisy seeds
5. Scotch tape- it says it's magic
6. Instructions for meat thermometer
7. Pink training chopsticks for babies-these are so neato. They were sent from my friend (Hi Friend with rhyming name!) who lives in S.Korea. They have little plastic loops so the child can learn where to place their fingers. And they're joined at the top. Very cute.
8. Dirt from the Field of Dreams- I kid you not. My lifelong friend Meri brought this back for me many many years ago from the actual Field of Dreams in Kansas. At least I think it's in Kansas. But this dirt is in a little plastic capsule, and it is from left field. The label also says “The Ameskamps” who I assume are the owners of the farm whose field became a place where dreams came true. I have always felt proud to have this dirt. Even though I don't like Kevin Costner. I do like James Earl Jones. He is in two of my favorite baseball movies (FoD and Sandlot). I also like The Natural.
9. My husband's wisdom tooth. It is contained in a tiny yellow box with the words “smile power” on it. I think a box made for containing your teeth that have been extracted should not say “smile power” on it. Aren't you losing your smile power with every tooth that comes home in a box? In any case, this tooth is creepy and astounding to me. When Jay first brought it home I was appalled and amazed. This monstrosity came out of my dear husband's mouth. It is a classic tooth with all four roots, like the ones you see with faces on little yellow “ smile power” boxes. This tooth mysteriously became a Christmas ornament one year. It was tied on with a little piece of twine.
10. Knob to junk drawer
11. Extra keys
12. Scripture memory cards-(5)-these should clearly not be in this drawer. It does symbolize my past efforts at Scripture memorization, but these were the ones I actually succeeded in memorizing.
13. Broken mini rainbow slinky
14. Batteries
15. Utility knife
16.Extra buttons- various
17. Cuff link
18. Alphabetic magnets- I bought these for my daughter a while ago, and was ticked off when I got them home and it said what almost every toy says: Not intended for children under three years of age, small parts, choking hazard. I guess when kids turn three they can't choke anymore.
19. Shot gun shells (4)- 12 gauge
20. Terracotta bird. I was sad when he fell off my little bird bath. Then I was sad when his tail broke off. One day I might use No. 3 on this little guy.
21. Millions of twisty ties
22.Cell phone car charger- for undetermined cell phone
23.Packaging tape, clear
24. Screw drivers (2)-Phillips head
25.Needle nosed pliers
26. Tiny metal beads, various shapes
27. Men's silver ring (FOR SALE) This was a gift rejected by my dear husband. He said it is huge. Maybe we'll use it for a baby bracelet.
28. Sewing kit
29.Bendy straws in wrappers (5)-these are sanitary
30. Alabaster swan- this was brought back by Jay from Egypt as a gift for my friend Jessie, it just hasn't made it to her yet (4 years or something and counting). I won't keep it, Jess, because I have one too. You might like it, I think it's nice.
31. Glittery red cat-eye sunglasses- purchased in CA, sort of crusty looking now. Does anyone know how to de-glitter something?
32.Mini mag lite- doesn't work. My dear husband just confessed that he tried to pull a Macgyver and fix it with tin foil, but it didn't work.
33. Car visor sunglasses holder
34. Wendy's spoon (good condition, still in wrapper FOR SALE)
35.Baby advice cards- this is one of those, ooh they have cute borders, I might cut them and use them one day. Right.
36. Rubber bands
37. Water proof safety matches
38. Campmor (TM) zipper pulls
39. Hardware for daughter's pink car
40.Travel toothpick case- this is very nice. It dispenses these pretty toothpicks that are sort of carved in the middle. I want to give this to my dad who is never without a toothpick.
41.Extra automatic car unlocker thing
42. Fan button for 1984 Mercedes 300 Turbo Diesel. This was my car, Big Rig Jr. He is now retired to my parent's estate in Milton, Florida. Ahhh...sun, a swimming pool, a garage, and a new drive train! This button, by the way, is the one that would fly off when you hit the button beside it. Very fun. I have a very soft spot in my heart for this car. There are two similar Mercedes diesels in my neighborhood and when I hear them lumbering my way from a block or two away I sigh, and place my hand over the soft spot in my heart. I always thought this car would be great for the show "Pimp my Ride." Not just great, it would be awesome!
43.Our insurance agent's business card. No offense to him that his card found its way to this drawer- he is a great agent.
44. Knobs for unknown items
45.Hardware for unknown items
46. Chap Stick brand chapstick (2 tubes) one is SPF 30. I've been looking for that one. Chap Stick is my preferred brand. What a creative name for this product!
47. Trivets (for hot pots) these have been relocated as part of the Junk Drawer Relocation program. They've been released back into their natural habitat.
48. Repair patch for inflatable baby pool
49. Lovely pewter ice scoop. Also relocated per JDRP.
50. Christmas fridge poetry magnets
51. Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer tube. Appears to be some sort of liquid Kryptonite.
52. Mercedes Benz wrench. Also needs to be reunited with Big Rig Jr.
53. Cookie Duster stencil -only Martha Stewart would send me such a thing.
54. Phone line splitter-makes your one phone jack able to hold two phone cords! 55.Meat tenderizer-Relocated per JDRP.
56. Straw and top for undetermined water bottle.
57.Chip Clip
58.Allen Wrench- I always liked these because my brother's name is Alan.
59. Putty knife- I always liked these because my sister's name is Putty. (not really)
60.Foam earplugs
61.Bottle opener key chain from Alamo Rent a Car. I think this dates back to those fun "free stuff" fairs in college.
62. Battery compartment cover for undetermined battery compartment.
63. 16 cents-one dime, one nickel and one penny
64. Adhesive magnet strip
65. Chandelier candle cover. These make it look like your fake candle is real.
66.Cable ties. My husband loves these. He organizes our extraneous cords with these so they don't run amuck near the outlets. It is one of his many talents.
67. Old Navy credit card- I guess a junk drawer is a good place for a credit card. My husband would like me to say to you that he refuses to carry this card and that I signed up for it one day to get a discount.
68. Extra thread for blue shirt
69. Outlet protector
70. Nails
71. Fire extinguisher clip. I hope it will work without this.
72. Super glue, almost gone
And that is all, folks. Wow. I've worked up an appetite.

It's a boy!

Friday we found out we're having a baby boy! My husband and I are very excited, as well as our 17 month old who is looking forward to being a big sister. Our little boy is definitely cute and wiggly. It took a while to find out what he is because he was moving around so much. This picture is a profile of little James _____ Hodges. So now we're almost halfway through the pregnancy, and we can start on the new nursery. Keep praying for a healthy mom and healthy baby. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Coming soon to a blog near you

Here are some ideas I have for upcoming posts. I wanted to put them here so I can remember to do them. I don't know about other women who have experienced two pregnancies or more, but I am blaming my lack of brain power lately, as well as lack of general inspiration to the state of my body. My precious child growing inside is monopolizing my brain power and creativity. I am ok with that- he/she is welcome to whatever I can offer. Which includes at this moment a delicious root beer float. I love how the root beer dissolves the ice cream into a sort of perforated consistency.

Coming soon (I hope)
The contents of my junk drawer
-this will require extensive research, but I think it will be worth it

Twilight through the cracks of the shades in the nursery
-this is a sentimental one

(Maybe) The restroom on the Austrian/Czech border
Sorry, Amanda!

And, a collection of limericks!
(not really)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Taylor and Toilet Paper

The Triumph of Turnip Greens
I caught the last hour of American Idol last night, and I am so glad that Taylor Hicks won the whole shabang. The show was a ridiculous parade of outdated and garish performers such as Dionne Warwick, Prince, and even Burt Bacharach (not sure how to spell that). One of my favorite moments was the shot of David Hasselhoff after it was announced that Taylor had won. Mr. Hasselhoff had tears in his eyes. What a guy! He really really cared! But seriously, I was very happy that the Soul Patrol came through for Taylor- he really is a great performer. Down here in south Alabama people are crazy about him. The local news channels play his performances and I've seen billboards and store marquees that proudly support Alabama's newest favorite son. My favorite reference to Taylor on a sign so far was on a church marquee: “ We're on a soul patrol, How's yours?” That is hilarious. Way to capitalize on pop culture, whatever church that was. Church marquees in the south...fodder a-plenty for another day's post.

Using the Facilities
My next subject is that of public restrooms. I guess I've spent a lot of time in them lately because my bladder is in overdrive thanks to the wee infant ever growing inside me. It has made me think about all the restrooms I've taken advantage of, all over the world, from Italy to Kazakhstan to the local BP. I would like to expound on some of the worst trials to be found in some of these potty places. The origin of many trials is the little roll of toilet paper you hope to find sitting beside you.

The Elusive TP
Of course if there is no toilet paper, or if you find that you need more than is available, this can be a major source of consternation. In this situation you can only hope that the friendly bathroom goer in the next stall will hand you some from her roll. There is a Seinfeld episode where Elaine tries to get the lady next to her to hand her some, and the lady flatly refuses. It is a brilliantly shot piece – all you see are the two ladies' shoes and Elaine's hand gesturing frantically under the stall as she tries to convince the lady to share. Very tastefully done. An example of non-tastefully done would be the scene with Ben Stiller in the mostly stupid movie Along Came Polly. He ran out of toilet paper in Polly's bathroom after eating spicy food and the results were not pretty.

The Stingy Roll
This is one of the worst. You reach for the roll hopefully and begin the rolling process, hoping for a nice handful of the one-cell-thick TP that most ladies' rooms offer, when you find that you are utterly rejected. Your rolling is rebuffed and you end up with one or two squares. Staring at your hand in unbelief, you try again. Twenty or thirty minutes later, you have enough for the successful conclusion of your “business.” For whatever reason, I suppose to save money on tp, the proprietor of the business whose restroom it is has installed a roll that only releases a certain amount of tp at a time. It should be against the law. And it's not like it keeps you from using the normal amount of toilet paper, it just takes three times as long to get it off the roll.

The Roll that Won't Roll
The Roll that Won't Roll is one of the most severe tests of the human will. It is similar to the Stingy Roll, but more time consuming and therefore, more frustrating. This is the roll that for some reason does not roll, either because it was poorly manufactured, broken or incorrectly installed. Another explanation is that the toilet paper roll inserted is too big for the holder, allowing no room for rolling. You give it a try, and end up with a mere fragment of toilet paper. Not even a square. Maybe a strip pulled from one side, but more likely, a piece the size of a quarter. So you have to forcibly turn the roll while gently, ever so gently, applying a gentle pulling with your other hand. This is a delicate process requiring nerves of steel and a high level of dexterity. Required time for accumulating a sufficient amount of precious toilet paper: 30-40 minutes.

The Runaway Roll
The Runaway Roll can be a nightmare. Again you reach for the roll. As you pull on the toilet paper the cover of its' monster-sized container flies off and the roll, which is the size of a truck tire plummets to the floor and begins to roll and unroll, heading toward the nearest exit. This is when the fight or flight instinct kicks in for you. (The roll's similar instincts have already been exhibited.) You scramble to grab the roll before it's out of reach. If you happen to get a hold of it, the purification process must begin. This means ridding the roll of the parts that touched the probably not sanitary restroom floor. In some restrooms this is hopeless. In others, you might have a fighting chance. However, if you don't get a hold of the runaway roll, once again you find yourself at the mercy of the other restroom goers. If it's a one seater, you're going to have to go into survival mode.

The Stringy TP
This species of TP can be as frustrating as the Stingy Roll. Interesting, because the only difference is the letter “R” found in Stringy. This is probably due to the fact that when I face the Stringy TP I shout derisively to the TP gods, “ this is ridiculous!” This type of tp is usually the truck tire variety, which is more narrow than a normal roll. When you pull the exposed tail to gather a handful, it curls up into a string like consistency, necessitating the pulling of massive quantities in order to achieve enough surface area to finish your “ business.”

TP that is not TP
Entries in this category usually occur overseas, in distant locales where the food and water wreak havoc with your usually placid digestive system. Places such as Kazakhstan, a lovely country located in central Asia. We were told to pack our own toilet paper. This came in handy in our living quarters, and out in public those small pocket packs of Kleenex were lifesavers. Literally. Usually what you would find in these “squatty potties” as they are called, would be a) nothing b) some sort of recycled paper you could buy for pocket change or c)newspaper. I don't think I need to go into detail about the brutal effects of using newspaper when concluding your “business.” I prefer other ways of recycling newspapers. But, desperate times call for desperate measures.

TP that is not TP that you have to pay for
This was mentioned in the above paragraph. Across the lovely continent of Europe, and in Kazakhstan, I gratefully (in most cases) purchased many squares of brown, scratchy paper that served as toilet paper.
Writing this has called to memory some excellent tales of foreign restrooms. Maybe I will share them in part two of Using the Facilities. Stay on the edge of your seats. And I'm referring of course to your non-toilet seats.

Other Restroom Hazards
The Sliding Toilet Seat- Danger, Danger, Aviso! Achtung!

The Door That Won't Stay Locked or Shut- Requiring a lack of modesty or a long arm

The Toilet That Won't Flush- a good idea would be to always carry a small sign reading OUT OF ORDER and some tape so you can warn people that the toilet you just used will not flush...and what's with those sensor activated toilets? They toy with me.

The Attack Faucet- hello water pressure, goodbye dry clothes

The Tricky Paper Towel Dispenser- carefully now, don't let it get your fingers

Anyway, it's a wonder we're all still alive and sane. So keep your Kleenex packs and OUT OF ORDER signs handy and happy restrooming. ( I would personally prefer mushrooming.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Three in A Tub

Last week was hot in these parts. My sister-in-law brought over a pool and our babies had the most fun splashing around. On the left is the little girl I keep two days a week, middle is my sweetie, and on the right is my nephew. The bottom picture is my little splashy girl. I had a lady in a gas station ask what my daughter's sign was, which I guess is Acquarius and she said, Oh she likes water, huh? Must be nice to be able to qualify and explain everything so easily. Anyhoo-it was a fun afternoon, even though my child got her first three ant bites ever. That means she's officially a southern girl. Loves grits, loves fried okra, has been bitten by fire ants. That's all that's required. Posted by Picasa

I dream of dishwashers

I used to like doing dishes. I found it therapeutic-you are cleaning something that is dirty and you can immediately see the results and be satisfied. Now I find that I long for a dishwasher. The appliance, that is. A little box with a door that opens, revealing racks where you can stick your dirty dishes. Then you put soap in a little cubby hole, shut the door, turn a dial, and listen as the friendly box swishes the water and soap around, washing your dishes. Remarkable. Miraculous. When I get one I will name it and take very good care of it, always.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary last week. Our 4th anniversary. We stayed home and kept twin 10 month old girls who were not very happy for us, not even when we told them it was our anniversary! Jay and I were a good team, and I was proud of his baby skills, and patience (mostly) with the little girls. On Saturday we used the money we made to go out to eat and see a movie, both of which we hadn't done in a long long time. It was almost surreal to me. Jay opening the door for me. Standing at the box office. Sitting and whispering in the dark as the movie started. It's funny how you get used to doing or not doing certain things. We used to go out all the time. Now we are learning how to be responsible adults living on one income with a baby, and one on the way. Very sobering. And yet we are so blessed. I look back at all the Ebeneezers in my life and I am stilled and quieted.

I shaved last night with a new blade on my Venus razor. I find that I can shave and shave and shave on one blade, and lose all track of how long I've been shaving with that blade. It's like I am slowly desensitized to the increasing dullness of my razor, until I shave and just accept that the results are shaved legs, exactly what shaved legs should feel like. Then one day I razor is dull as goose poop (a very interesting simile that I have heard my whole life and I greatly enjoy it). And my dull razor is giving me razor burn, tearing up my legs and leaving me prickly like no razor named Venus should. So I switch blades, lather up my cactus legs and go at it. The results are astounding. Now these are shaved legs, my friend. The whole situation makes me think about settling, about getting used to mediocrity and how it can sneak up on you. Fight for excellence! Demand truth! Demand to be sharpened and challenged! Don't walk around with prickly nicked legs! No es bueno!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I posted something that I had started several weeks ago and it posted under March 30. That is annoying. I don't have time to figure out how to fix it so go below wedding stories and you'll see it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wedding Stories Cont.

Here is story numero uno from the wedding.
The Pies and the Keys

It was a lovely evening in early March. The eve of a wedding, the night before the blessed event. There was a chill in the air and the azaleas feared a frost. The bride was late to the rehearsal, blame it on the pies. Key lime pies. Coconut creme pies. Lots of them. They were stowed in various vehicles in the church parking lot. Time was running out for them. They needed to be on ice and they needed it quickly. There were two coolers and some ice in various other vehicles in the church parking lot. What was to be done? They asked me. Probably not the best person to deal with a problem of this magnitude. So I did what any bridesmaid would do, I delegated. Unsuspecting young friends Nathan and Hannah sat complacently in the back of the church, not knowing what I was about to ask of them as I ran down the side aisle to confront them. A mission. A harrowing mission that would call forth all their powers of strategizing and all their mental fortitude. I handed them five sets of keys. Set one was for a white Isuzu Rodeo, set two a black Pathfinder, set three a green Honda Accord, set four a beige minivan, and set five an Audi convertible. I told them-go find the pies-search every seat, every trunk. Find the ice. Find the two coolers. And hurry up. The pies are melting. They laughed with a nervous expression on their faces, but they were up to the challenge. With keys jingling, they set out, and I resumed my post as a bridesmaid. Time crept by. Key lime pie. They wouldn't fit in the coolers. So a big silver freezer bag saved the day.

Why Weddings are for Weepy Women
This one is obvious. Weddings are emotional events. Therefore, emotional people love weddings, and I daresay most emotional people tend to be women. Rehearsal dinners are emotional too, but there is a certain expectation of great memories being retold and baby pictures being shown, and a gathering of generations. These are emotional, and also good. It is a time to reflect, rejoice and look to the future as two lives merge. So I am not ashamed to say I cried at the rehearsal dinner. I've never seen such cute grandfathers.

24 Dead Goldfish and a Flourishing Orchid
This story is one of those "you had to be there" stories. Which is sad because I laughed so hard I was literally crying/laughing uncontrollably (ironic how emotions get intertwined at times). This type of laughter is soul cleansing. And it only happens every once in a while. And no one ever laughs like the two or three people who were "there." So I will just say that Cary and I were driving around downtown Mobile, waiting for our third car occupant to rejoin us when we saw a not so friendly group of men walking our way. We instantly felt vulnerable, and me especially since I had a bucket in my lap containing 24 goldfish. They were sloshing around, oblivious to the danger. Not only this, but I had a lovely orchid, (Thaleanopsis I think) brilliantly purple and blooming it's heart out, on the floorboard at my feet. It was like a botanical garden, only in my side of the Audi convertible, which really isn't equipped for any type of botanical endeavor. So as I feared for my life, realizing my vulnerability and lack of ability to make a speedy escape, Cary and I were struck by the bizarre humor of the situation. And here is the headline we drafted for the Mobile Press Register, as the tears rolled down: Former Lapel Pin Winner Found Dead in Downtown Mobile-
body surrounded by 24 dead goldfish and a flourishing orchid-
foul play is suspected

Things I Don't Normally Do That I Do Do When I'm Pregnant

I have been long absent from this keyboard. It is because I am pregnant. I am experiencing my first trimester illness and it brings me down pretty hard. Right now I'm preheating the oven for my 16th mini meal of the day. Fish sticks. Gross, but it is one of the foods I can tolerate. I only buy fish sticks when I'm pregnant. Here are some other trends of the condition:

* Drive down the road with a huge bag of Lime Tostitos on my lap (consuming them as I drive)
* Sleep like one dead, at 8:00 in the evening
* Snap at my husband ( I know it's no excuse, but really I'm not a snappy person)
* Cry at the sight of little old men in plaid polyester pants
* Eat alot of food, frequently. Literally my life is dictated by my stomach.
* Long for Thai soup (Tom Kuh Gai I think it's called)
*Cry over longed for Thai Soup- quote: "I just love it so much. I can't explain it." (while tears are running down my face)
*Throw up two times a day
*Feel like I'm going to throw up all day every day

This is not a pity party, just a little insight into the crazy world of my pregnancies. We are praying for a safe and healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. Pray with us! Due date is November 11.

This summer would be the time for my 10 year high school reunion. "Ten years" sounds unbelievable to me! Am I that old? I was thinking about trying to organize a reunion with all 5 students in my graduating class. No I did not leave off two zeros. I can proudly say I was number 3 in my class. Anyhoo, our reunion would be more of an intimate or awkward dinner get-together than a major reunion. What I would do is try to get in contact with the class above and below us, that way we'd avoid some of the awkwardness. (What do you think Jess?No.2 in our class-way to go Jess!) Speaking of our school, a small Christian academy-there was a current teacher from ACA on Wheel of Fortune last week! Wow! She won some big bucks. And she gave a shout out to all the students at Aletheia Christian Academy! I shed a tear.

Now I will go eat my yummy fish sticks. They are not processed, but cut from whole filets. Quality.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bows and Airplanes and Belly Buttons

Here are some recent picture of my 14 month old sweetie. She loves reading, rummaging through my tupperware and playing at the park. The top picture shows her first "big girl" pajamas. She likes them because she can constantly check the status of her belly-button. She also likes to find mine and her dad's. It is one of her favorite things. She has also recently become mesmerized by airplanes and helicopters that fly over the house. When she hears one, even if we're inside, she'll say "oooh!" and point upward and try to see where it is. This morning she heard one and we ran outside to see it. It turned out to be a US Coast Guard Jayhawk and it kept circling and passing right over our house for about 30 minutes. This was so exciting for Ruth. She waved at it and tried to keep it in her sight as it flew around. Last night at dinner she was flying her macaroni around and making airplane swooshing noises. Maybe we have a future pilot on our hands. She gets it from her Papa Mac who was a Navy pilot, and her Great Grandfather Pop Pop who was a Navy flight mechanic (who she never got to meet.)

The other two pictures are at the park. If you noticed the bow in Ruth's hair, you should know that it is the one and only time I've been able to trick her into wearing it. She likes when I put it in her hair, but only so she can immediately find it, pull it out, and talk to it while examining it.
She is into everything- so interested in everything around her. It is so wonderful to share in all her explorations and teach her what to call things and how they work. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Jen and Brandon McShea!

Love Posted by Picasa

A weekend full of stories

This past weekend my friend Jen was married on a beautiful day- the kind of day every bride dreams of and keeps praying for. I was honored to be a bridesmaid, and I had a great time at every part of the wedding weekend. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, which was a luau complete with a roasted pig with grapes in his eyes. It was an emotional time where friends and family stood up to congratulate the couple and tell the bride/groom how blessed she/he is to be marrying the wonderful man/woman who is his/her groom/bride.

I wanted to stand up and say something but I would have cried, and I'm not a good public speaker anyway, so I decided to pass. I did think of all the memories I have with Jen, how we were "friends by default" at first, but then we became true friends and have remained so for many years. We've spent two summers together, one at the beach, the other in Kazakhstan. We've traveled to Europe together and sipped coffee in the old cafes and walked the cobblestone streets of Prague and Budapest. We've watched plenty of girl movies and shopped alot, as all girl friends should. We used to email from our workplaces about how bored we were, how we hated working, how we longed for Friday...and do you want to go to lunch? We've met consistently to share what's really going on in our lives, and also to study the Scriptures. We've been roommates twice- once in a little house on Pillichody Drive, where we laughed and cried together many nights. The other was the last five months after she sold her house and needed somewhere to live until she got married. She has been a faithful friend to me, even when I had a baby and was not myself for many months. I love Jen, and I am so happy for her.

Here are some of the stories I'd like to tell from this weekend:

The Pies and the Keymasters
24 Dead Goldfish and a Flourishing Orchid
The Ceremony-The Beautiful Bride and the Adoring Groom
How My Feet Died
The Reception-Too much fun is a good thing
Why Weddings are for Weepy Women
The Case of the Two Missing Ferns

I'll try to get these done in a timely manner. I've been catching up on sleep after the whirlwind weekend. And getting my house back in order. Huge thankyous to my mom, who kept my daughter while Jay and I were doing wedding things. We couldn't have done it without her. Thanks Nonni! (I don't think she really minded spending a whole weekend with her grandbaby.)

The weather down here is bewitching, enchanting in its loveliness. The azaleas are building to a glorious crescendo, while the trees are beginning to send forth tiny green shoots. The grass is greening and the sun is beckoning all new life to emerge.

Today my little girl fell and busted her lip while we were in a store. Bloodbath at Bed Bath & Beyond (Blood Bath & Beyond?). It was her first official busted lip. The lady at the checkout thought I was bleeding because it was all over me. Maybe I need to carry an extra shirt everywhere I go. Or I could invent fabric that instantly changes to the color of a spill or stain. It could be called "Cotton Chameleon." That would be a big money maker. But sort of gross if you think about some stains. So maybe it needs to be fabric that can instantly assimilate stains into the color of the shirt. Whatever. I guess for now I need a Tide to Go stick. My friend Cary told me I needed one twice this weekend. Ok Cary. You're so right.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My recent post was very long. And heavy. Now I will write something of short duration and perhaps lightheartedness.

Today it is 80 degrees. Hot. I actually prefer it to be cooler on this, the second day of March. This is craziness.

I was thinking this week that the words "revelry" and "reverie" are a mere letter away from each other when pronounced. They are both things that I enjoy greatly. Mardi Gras just wrapped up here in Mobile, the birthplace of the festival. I don't enjoy Mardi Gras. I find it a tasteless and mostly pointless celebration by people who aren't even Catholics, which is who it is supposed to be for. The idea is to party like heck because, oh no, Ash Wednesday will come and then 40 days of giving something up until Easter. That is certainly some sort of hypocrisy. I love fun and revelry, but not with the idea of living it up "while you can," and then live a pleasing life that might make God forget all your excesses of pleasure during Mardi Gras. Hoping that our good will outweigh our bad is a fruitless hope. That's why we have grace. I like this quote by Nobel Peace Prize nominee/uber-musician Bono:

"You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics--in physical laws--every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "As you reap, so will you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.
In Conversation with Michka Assayas

The whole idea, though, is to try to not do stupid stuff (Romans 6). Because you realize the price of grace was a cross.

Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
Grace, it's the name for a girl
It's also a thought that could change the world
And when she walks on the street you can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything
Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma, karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work you can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark no longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace finds goodness in everything

(from U2's album All that You Can't Leave Behind)

Speaking of u2, I recently made a list of my favorite songs of all time. Making lists makes me feel organized. When I told Jay this, he laughed at me. Not with me so much as at me. So I will post an unflattering photo of him someday. I know that feeling is not being, but sometimes it can help you become. So there. So here are some of my favorite songs of all time, in no particular order. (this could be a Time-Life cd collection on TBS)

1. November Rain Guns N Roses
2. Closer to Fine Indigo Girls
3. Galileo Indigo Girls
4. Language or the Kiss Indigo Girls
5. Angel Aerosmith
6. Bobby McGee Janis Joplin
7. Sunrays and Saturdays Vertical Horizon
8. With or Without You U2
9. Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For U2
10. Beautiful Day U2
11. One U2
12. Drive The Cars
13. Time After Time Cyndi Lauper
14. Night Swimming REM
15. Satellite Dave Matthews
16. Ramble On Led Zeppelin
17. Babylon David Gray
18. Round Here Counting Crows

These are songs I can't get over. I turn them up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Forbid them not

In America we enjoy freedom of worship. We can worship whomever or whatever we want, and no one is supposed to infringe on that right. People of every religion, and those of every denomination within the Christian sector have different philosophies of worship. You'll find charismatic, liturgical, evangelism-focused, humanistic, liberal, conservative and whatever other flavors you could ever wish to find in churches all over the country. I have been a part of many different denominations over my lifetime: PCA (Presbyterian Church in America), PCUSA (the other Presbyterian), Baptist, Nondenominational, even a Messianic Jewish Congregation (Jews who believe Christ to be the Messiah). As I have grown older I have come to agree and disagree with certain policies or styles of various church denominations. One such policy that I strongly disagree with concerns a certain church on the Gulf Coast. This church has begun to enforce a policy that denies the youngest in the congregation the right to worship in the main service.
This week I heard firsthand from a member of this church (I will not mention the name of the church, or it's denomination) that they are forcing families with children to place their children in the nursery, and if the parents refuse, they are not allowed to enter the sanctuary. It applies to children six and younger. To accommodate those who don't want their children in the nursery, they have created a “family room” where the whole family can sit and watch the worship service on a television screen. The pastor has made it clear that he does not want children in the service because they are distracting to everyone else.

When I heard this, my first reaction was disgust, anger and disbelief. To say that children are not free to worship with their families, that they are an inconvenient distraction is horrible and heartless. To deny the parents the right to have their children worship with them and teach them how to behave in a service, how to sing the great hymns, recite the creeds, receive communion, and eventually digest and discuss the sermon is a travesty and, dare I say it, dictatorial.

I believe the pastor assumes several things about children that are incorrect and disturbing. I also think he is misunderstanding, or (I hope) forgetting one of the main theological thrusts of the whole Bible.

First, I think he assumes that they are going to misbehave and distract other worshippers. I have been in churches where a baby was crying uncontrollably, and I thought to myself, “why don't they take their child to the lobby?” The church in question does have a cry room where parents can take unruly children and still listen to the sermon. The bulletin at this church states that children should be taken out of the service if they are causing a disturbance. So yes, parents should be considerate enough to take their crying babies to the cry room or the lobby, which most of them are careful to do.

To assume that young children cannot sit through a sermon is wrong. To be super sensitive to every coo or babble is something the individual needs to get over. I have personally been more distracted by adults continually hacking and blowing their noses in a sermon than a baby making a noise, or a child asking his mom for a piece of gum.

The second assumption this church/pastor is making is that young children will receive no benefits from the worship service, but that they are better served in a Sunday school class or a nursery. I think this is a misconception. Children are smarter than we sometimes think. Babies are constantly processing and learning. They love music, lights, new faces, new sounds and new words. In the American church I believe we compartmentalize age groups and try to say that only a curriculum based on the person's level of comprehension and learning will impact them. That is why we see Baby Bibles with pictures, Teen Study Bibles, Women's Study Bibles (pink ones of course), and Young Adult Groups, Singles Groups, Senior Adults, etc. I understand the concept behind them, but I think teens are capable of studying from a plain old Bible with cross-references and a concordance, just as an elderly person can be taught in a class with a single adult and even a teenager. Young children can participate and glean from an “adult” service. They have the ability to worship with their families and sit quietly through a sermon. The content can impact them in ways we may not realize at the time, but that will become obvious as the child grows and can outwardly show how much he or she has absorbed from the worship service.

The compartmentalization I mentioned previously is one reason why I was never “challenged” in a youth group or Sunday school class. I had grown up in church and had a lot of knowledge that I was eager to add to and go further and deeper. It is ironic to me as I write this because I remember sitting in a “college” Sunday school class when I was a junior in high school. (This happens to be the same church I have been speaking about.) It was a great study that I was enjoying, learning from, and contributing to, but I was asked to go to the high school class because I was not in college. Generations are no longer learning from one another, they are being taught from age-appropriate curriculum with fun activities in “children's church,” or “ youth group.” I'm not saying there is not a benefit to this type of instruction, I just think it is not more effective or beneficial than the actual worship service.

The pastor at this Gulf Coast church, by his exclusion of children, has already alienated many of his congregation. He is robbing his congregation of the richness of a multi-generational service. He is denying the very children that Jesus spoke to so lovingly in Mark 10 verses 13-16. I am going to quote this entire section because it is precious and because it speaks of the priority children were to Jesus during his ministry.

“And they were bringing children* to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” ESV

*In Matthew chapter 18, a parallel passage, verse 15 says “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them...

This incident speaks volumes and speaks it powerfully. Jesus was indignant that the disciples were trying to keep the children from him. I really don't think they had nurseries when Jesus was teaching the massive crowds in the hillsides of Galilee and the surrounding areas. I'm sure babies were crying, and children were tugging on their mom's skirts to ask them questions. The early church speaks of entire families coming to faith together, and we can safely assume that young children were included in these families. I am not saying that I am anti-nursery, in fact I think nurseries are important and useful in a church setting. I am against forcing parents to place their children in the nursery. This policy has some disturbing issues behind it, and that is what I am trying to address.

This brings me to one last thing; something I think the pastor is missing- a covenantal view of the family. Acts 2:39 says “For the promise is for you and for your children..” To believe the promise leads to a deeper integration in a congregation. I am not a scholar, or a theologian (which I restate in order to clarify that I am not trying to claim superior Bible knowledge over anyone), but I believe in God and his promises, that the covenant includes children, and that they can and should worship in a congregation of believers. The best example of the application of this is a church I visited in St. Louis with one of my friends. The service included children of all ages, and my friend told me that hardly anyone uses the nursery. I sat with my 6 month old daughter in my lap, she sat with her 2 ½ year old, and we worshipped together. There were baby noises all around, but it was a beautiful sound and a wonderful example of the worshipping church.
I also want to say that it was not easy to sit with my child in my lap the whole time, and to sing out of a hymnal while holding her (I think it would become easier and easier -it's all about what you are used to/committed to). It is easier to take her to the nursery. But this is the problem. I am used to taking the easy way out. Americans are always looking for the easy solution, the easy 30-minute meal, the easy way to lose weight or get in shape. And the easy way is not always the best, most effective, most beneficial way. In fact, it is usually not the best. I want to do what is absolutely best for my daughter in every area of her life. This means sacrifice on my part, and enduring things that are not comfortable or easy (i.e. breastfeeding, but that is a totally different discussion).

I am not trying to say that the pastor and church I am questioning is denying children the right to learn about Jesus, or be taught the Scriptures. I am saying that they are devaluing their children, and denying them the opportunity of corporate worship and all the richness and learning that is available in a worship service.

*Today as I was finishing up this article, I spoke to my “source” and was informed that the policy was changed- it is no longer mandatory. This is good news. I think the pastor was getting a lot of flak from his disgruntled congregation. I can only hope he sees the errors in his view of children, and attempts to welcome babies and little children in the worship service consistently and effectively.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Squirrels gone wild

Hi. I haven't been a big blogger lately, I must confess. I 've been thinking about things, though, so it will all come out here in the next few days. Here are some things that are going on:

1. T-ball is back in the park right slap across from my house. It is fun to see the little guys out there swinging away and tumbling around in the grass. Or running with their big gloves straight out in front of them and tripping and falling.

2. Today it is summer in the city. The temperature is above 70. Like they say on McDonald's commercials, DA DA DA DA DA I'm loving it.

3. Yesterday I scraped up dead vomited mole entrails off of the driveway. Thanks Wally.

4. The other day at the gas pump (our price here is $2.13 a gallon) I set the pump on automatic and was talking to my baby in her car seat. The pump shut-off at exactly $29.29. Weird.

5. My baby girl is now a walker. She loves walking around and around the house, usually carrying a toy in each hand. I never thought about it before, but when you only crawl you can't carry things, except in your mouth. So think how novel it would be to be able to carry things around the house and also give them to your parents.

6. Squirrels gone wild- i.e. the squirrels are everywhere I look and they're crazy. They chase each other in spirals around the trees in my yard and they're consuming all the birdseed in my feeder. I see them doing mating dances too. There is one squirrel who eats his body weight in my birdseed every morning. I call him Notch because he has a notch in his left ear. It's the exact size of a BB. Hmmmm... I wonder how that happened?

7. Yesterday I played a big part in making my daughter a beautiful dress for the upcoming wedding of my friend Jen. It was challenging, as I'm not a perfectionist, and I think perfectionists make the best seamstresses. But it is so much cheaper to make dresses than to buy them! I hope this is a step in the direction of me honing my sewing skills. (I've got skills.)

8. Last night Jay and I were watching the Olympics and we saw a hilarious commercial. It was a man going up on the roof to "clean out the gutters." He actually had a cooler, a chair, and some Bud Light. He looks over and sees his neighbor " repositioning the satellite" with his cooler and chair. Another neighbor pops up, but he is actually trying to repair a leak. He falls through the ceiling, behind where his wife is sitting on the couch. He stands up and says, "I'm ok" when his toolbox falls through and knocks him out. We laughed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure
-Twelfth Night

(I made Jay do this. It was completely staged. Three cheers for romance! This was clearly a "kissing spot" so what else was there to be done?)

Happy Late Valentines Day which is a day I reject because it is sort of ridiculous in it's greeting card and floral and stuffed animal mania. I do love love though, and I will celebrate it any day. Like today. The 15th. Posted by Picasa

True plain hearts

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we lov'd? were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
What ever dies, was not mixt equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

The Good Morrow
-John Donne

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rummage is a fun word to say, Part Deux

What you see before you is my latest acquisition. I am so excited about these rusty old chairs that I found in a trash pile around the corner the other day. One is stationary and the other is a rocker. They would probably cost around 50 dollars a piece in an antique store. I'm going to sand them, treat them with anti-rust stuff, and paint them. You might scoff, turn up your nose, exclaim with derision- nice pieces of junk! But I stand firm in my conviction that these chairs are full of potential and they are just sitting there waiting to be sat upon on a sultry summer evening- waiting for the tiki torches to be lit and the lemonade to be poured. So I raise my spring! to the struggling azalea seen on the right! to the scrawny neighborhood cat seen in the distant background! to new life for old chairs! Here Here! Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 03, 2006

 Posted by Picasa
 Posted by Picasa
 Posted by Picasa
 Posted by Picasa

M I crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback humpback I

Last weekend my family- (me, Jay, Ruthie; my mom Dion, my dad Al; my brother Alan, his wife, Cheryl and their baby Annabelle) went to visit my mom's brother, Duffee, his wife Alatha, and all my cousins-Hayley, Shelley and Lang, all of whom are married, the former two having children, in Meridian, Mississippi. (That was a major run-on sentence. For you, Mr. Jones.) Meridian is where my mom grew up, met my dad, who was stationed at the Navy base there, and where my grandmother, Nanny, lived and died. Meridian is a place of fond memories for me. It was the place that never changed as I moved from town to town, growing up in a Navy family. It was "the South" to me for so many years- a steamy hot mosquito buzzing place with red dirt and people who spoke "Southern."

It was Nanny's house on the lot by the creek, the room across the porch, the green rocker, the dogwood in bloom. It was Nanny running out to greet us, waving her arms and laughing with excitement. I wrote my name in crayon in the wash house, beside my mom's name where she wrote in in 1960-something. I learned to love corn bread baked in a skillet, and sleeping in the back bedroom listening to the drone of the window-unit air conditioner. I learned to hate poison-ivy, the bane of the creekside ramblers.

My brother and I would bring our bicycles and tour the city with our cousin Lang. We'd ride around the corner to Shumate's service station and get IBC root beers and drink them on the curb. We'd pedal over to the Monkey Tree- which was actually two or three massive trees with the biggest wisteria vine I've ever seen growing up the middle and entertwining them in a million serpentine arms. It was the best climbing, and a wonder to look upon.

Meridian was walks up the Canyon Road after dinner in the steamy dusk with the lightning bugs coming out to shine. It was stories of my mother's childhood and my parent's first date. It was sitting on the cement couch and laughing our heads off, or dancing to Lawrence Welk with my crazy Nanny. It was 39th Avenue, Sno-Cones, Highland Park-the one with the carousel. My brother unearthing an old quarter beneath the towering oak that my uncle had planted when he was a boy. Meridian was the plaintive cry of the train coming down the tracks , it was sitting outside in lawn chairs until the bugs drove us inside.

It was good to be back there again. My aunt's hospitality and cooking are unmatched. My cousins' children are precious, and my uncle plays Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. They live in a charming green house with a purple door. It sits up on a lush, ivy-covered hill studded with tall pines and one budding Japanese magnolia. The fire was lit and we sat and talked, and laughed and recalled things from the not so distant past. I didn't go by to see Nanny's house. My cousin said it was sad to see. I think I want to always see it as it was, so I guess I won't ever drive down 39th Avenue again. But I promise you it is in my mind's eye, clearer than most of the things I can remember. And Nanny and her love are always there waiting, with a pot of homemade vegetable soup warm on the stove.


One place we did go visit was Booker's Antiques in Whynot, Mississippi (for real, Whynot, Mississippi). It's a short drive from Meridian and we used to go with Nanny to seek out treasures of all sorts. The last time I was there was probably 8 or 10 years ago, and I remember buying a teacup from Czechoslovakia and an old volume of Shakespeare. Booker's has changed greatly. The place is so full of stuff that you have to turn sideways to get through at several points. You can find anything and everything in there- beautiful pieces of furniture, not so beautiful pieces of furniture, china platters, pitchers, teacups, an iron eagle, stained glass, hurricane lamp chimneys, records, newspapers, dolls, shutters, a stuffed toucan, radios, bottles, paintings, rusted iron embellishments and on and on. It is frightening in its outrageous quantity. But also interesting. I will put some pictures that I took inside to show the beauty that I found despite the scariness. (I suffer through dial-up and can't post pictures together, I have to do them one at a time, until some hero in a black mask rescues me and shows me how to function better with my limitations. So bear with me.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Harbingers of Spring

It doesn't matter what the groundhog says, what do we see popping up in our city-tiny paperwhites pushing up through the soil. I take joy in these little signs of the coming season. I took this while driving, pardon the quality. Posted by Picasa
I spotted this lovely Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) last week. It is one of my favorite flowering trees. Today the temperature is in the 70s and I'm loving it. We had a wonderful thunderstorm early this morning. I love sleeping to the sound of rain. Do January showers bring February flowers? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


My article on New Orleans as a chocolate city was published this past Saturday in the Mobile Press Register, my city's newspaper. It won a special designation as a Blue Ribbon letter. I am very excited, especially since I get a lapel pin.


I have been tagged by my friend Jess. She mentioned the word meme which I had never heard.

Four Jobs I've Had
1.Hotel housekeeping(Panama City Beach, FL), you want I fluff your pillow?
2.English teacher(Prague)
3.Landscaper/Lawn maintenance(Navarre, Pensacola, FL) One word. Hot.
4.Sales Rep at a Jockey outlet store(Fort Walton Beach, FL) Thongs anyone?

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
1.Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn's first major role, alongside Gregory Peck)
2.Gladiator (He was a soldier of Rome. Honor him)
3.You've Got Mail (F-O-X)
4.Pride and Prejudice (A&E version with Colin Firth)
5.Say Anything (Lloyd, Lloyd all null and void)

Four Magazines I Enjoy
1.Martha Stewart Living (Martha is amazing. Slightly annoying, but amazing)
2.Real Simple. (This magazine is full of helpful info, and fun quotes)
3.Parents (This is self-explanatory)
4.National Geographic Adventure (makes me want to wander the earth like Cain)

Four Places I've Lived
1.Prague, Czech Republic
2.Almaty, Kazakhstan (boy I could go for a hot cup of chai right now)
3.Navarre, Florida (real estate is out of control there now)
4.Whidbey Island, Washington (my earlist childhood memories, ferries, rocky beaches)

Four TV Shows I Watch Regularly
1.24 (new season) Jack Bauer is my hero.
2.24 (old seasons on DVD) I hate Nina.
3.Jeopardy (how old is Alex?)
4.Dirty Jobs (on the Discovery channel), my husband's favorite

Four Places I've Been On Vacation
1.Vernazza, Florence, Venice: Italy
2.Krakow, Poland
3.Barcelona, Montserrat, Cadaques, Costa Brava:Spain
4.North Cascades in Washington State

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1.Jessie's blog, I love it!
3.Cara's blog, my friend and roommate in Praha! Long live Ebel cafe and Tram #18!
4.junkmail for blankets

Four Books I Could Read Over and Over
1.Lord of the Rings
2.To Kill a Mockingbird
3.A Severe Mercy (by Sheldon Vanauken)
4.Chosen by God (RC Sproul) I can't seem to finish it so I read it over and over
5.Narnia(The Chronic-(what?) cles of Narnia) True Dat! Double True!

Four Favorite Foods
1.Butch burger at Butch Cassidy's (Mobile, AL)
2.Pecan and Romano crusted chicken with lemon buerre blanc, and lovely bread dipped in oil and vinegar from The Bakery Cafe (Mobile, AL)
3.Fried shrimp from Banana Docks Cafe (Mobile, AL)
4.Authentic(I believe my Dad, grew up outside Philly) Philly cheesesteak from Philly's (Pensacola, FL)
(I'm now salivating)
5.Ice Cream

Four Places I'd Like To Be Right Now
1.Visiting Jessie in St.Louis
2.Prague, city of my heart
3.Hiking to Schreiber's Meadow, slopes of Mt.Baker (WA)
4.La Playa (anywhere...Mediterranean, Malibu, Fiji)

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging
2.I'm a loser
3.I'm a loser
4.I'm a loser
(I applied these extras to my other categories)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My orchids remind me of a warm safe place where as a child I'd hide

Sometimes I like to hide behind my orchids. Posted by Picasa

An orchid by any other name...

Here is my orchid plant with its profusion of blooms. Posted by Picasa


This is one of the blooms on my orchid plant. I wanted to share it because it is so beautiful and intricate. The veins in the petals, the shading, the symmetry. It is wonderful to have this jungle plant blooming in my bedroom. Posted by Picasa