Archive for March, 2009

Friendliness Is Next To Godliness

Today I was told by a friend of mine that he reads my blog. I was excited, because I’m sure there are not many guys who want to read about my kids or delve into the randomness of my brain. My husband is the rare brave soul who survives that on a daily basis, bless him. 

I said to my friend, “You should leave a comment!” To which he replied, “I’ll keep my comments to myself. It’s all silliness.”

Me? Silly? The very idea.

But now I’m paranoid. I feel the need to be very serious. 

Or not. 

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A long time ago, way back when I was a kid at some point, this guy came into our family live center at church. My dad was the Minister of Recreation, therefore I spent many of my adolescent hours in this funhouse of Christ-centered activity. He asked one of the kids there (he didn’t know me, or he’d have asked me, I’m sure) where Mr. Coon was. He said, “You know, Mr. Coon, So-and-so’s (the youth minister) best friend?”

The kid replied, “Mr. Coon don’t have a best friend. Mr. Coon is EVERYBODY’S friend!” 

Why I remember that, I’ll never know. 

But it apparently made an impression on me. My dad is everybody’s friend. He and my mom are best buds, and he has a few close guys that he talks to when needed, but for the most part, he makes everyone he meets feel like they are instant buds. 

I want to be like that. 

I have a strong desire to make people feel welcomed, especially at church. I’ve been in so many situations where I felt like the weirdo that nobody wanted to sit with, so I have made it my goal to make everyone I meet feel like they are valued and appreciated. 

I’m not good at it yet, but I’m trying. 

I hate to see anyone alone. If they like being alone, that’s great. That’s something I don’t do well, so I’m impressed with anyone who can hang out by themselves and have fun. I don’t think I’m very entertaining when I’m all by myself. But the alone I’m talking about is someone who wants to fit in, but for some reason hasn’t found their niche yet. 

I think introductions are crucial at church. It does not take much, if any, effort to approach someone you don’t know and say “Hey! My name is ________. I haven’t met you yet!” Then throw in a “I’m so glad you’re here!” and voila!, instant welcome. 

We had a blast tonight at a fellowship for the young married couples at our church. The kids went nuts on the inflatables, and the parents hung out and ate great food. I wouldn’t have changed a minute of it, except that maybe next time, we should do something that involves mixing up classes so that we have to get to know new people. I go to a large church, with so many really great folks, and it seems a little sad to me that we don’t expand our circles to include any other people than the ones we already know well. Nobody in particular is bad about this, it’s just comfortable to hang with our friends, and that’s great. I just think we miss out on a huge blessing by not getting to know the body of Christ that we’re supposed to be living life with. It’s not a snobby or exclusive thing, I just think it is not recognized as a need. 

Or maybe I’m just weird. I’m good with that. 

I hope to always be that person who will speak and be friendly to whomever crosses my path. I hope God uses me to maybe help someone feel welcome in a new environment. I hope that others will do the same and that young families in our community will not see our church as a bunch of groups that come together in the sanctuary and sit in their assigned seats, but as one body. While we choose our classes based on where we fit best, we are all part of a whole, and there is a bigger picture and purpose to be considered. 

The downside for me in all this is that having really close friends is harder. Because I want to get to know so many people, I find myself not knowing many people really well. However, God has really worked it out for me to have some great friendships that are deepening every week and seem to be building on things that matter so much to me. Trust, acceptance, laughter, prayer. Those things seem to be transcending the boundaries of groups or classes and helping me to realize that it’s not who I sit by in church but who really takes the time to know me and what I’m all about. 

I had an epiphany tonight. I realized that in my relationships with others, this is what I’m about: 
If you expect me to be what you want me to be, you will be disappointed. If you expect me to be exactly who I am, and you’re okay with that, then you’ll be satisfied with who that is, and we can build on that. My goal needs to be to treat others the way I want to be treated, which is to be accepted exactly like me, without expectations.

Isn’t that completely simple and brilliant? Yeah, why didn’t I pick that up when I was 13?

Michael’s putting up his commentary, which means bedtime for Bonzo.  

Here’s to a week of friendliness. But since I’m home with Paiz all day, maybe I will teach her to talk so she can be a friend, too.

March 30, 2009 at 4:41 am 1 comment

What Do You Mean, “Fine”?!

I love clothes. I can’t buy everything I like, or we’d have to add a closet onto the house. I wouldn’t buy everything I like, because that would take the fun out of shopping. I love going in a store and looking at everything. I love fabrics, hemlines, embellishments, prints, shapes and textures. 

I should have been a buyer. Not a designer, I have no original ideas, but I’d love to buy for a store. 

When I was in high school, my friends and I went to the Metrocenter on weekend nights and filled a bride’s dressing room in Gayfers. We would try on every formal in the store, in every color, length, and fabric known to man. I could do that for hours. When I got engaged, mom and I went the day after Christmas to find my dress. I LOVED trying wedding dresses on. I bought the third or fourth one I tried on and bought it with no alterations or anything needed. I was ecstatic, but a little sad that the process went so fast for me. 

I love the deciding process of what to wear. I love trying on and walking around, seeing how clothes hang and move. 

I like wearing things that “only Anne would wear”. I don’t do this as much anymore. I don’t go to as many events or have as many nights out as I did in college or high school. I remember in college, I wore casual dresses with Timberland hiking boots every day. One day, I ran into a friend with a similar outfit on. She told me, “When I got dressed this morning, my roommate told me I looked like you!” I thought that was funny, but I was also flattered that I had a signature look (we’re not discussing whether it was a good look or not…it was signature, that’s all that matters!)

Nowadays, I have to combine cute with comfort. I can’t wear shoes that hurt. I won’t wear anything that has to be cleaned, and not much that has to be ironed. That limits the wardrobe a good bit. 

Not to mention the limits of the pocketbook. I won’t even go there. 

A few weekends ago, I shopped all day with my mom. It was an awesome day, and we did really well. I’m learning that buying the best quality that I can afford (I won’t buy it if I can’t pay for it completely at that moment) pays off in the end. Instead of a bunch of tshirts from Target that will stretch and fade and look awful in a month, I spend a little more and go to the sale rack at Banana Republic and get a nicer tshirt that will last me for years. More bang for your buck, that’s what I say.

I go cheap on my trends. I love, love, love the maxi dress trend. I’m tall, so I am allowed to love it. I love it because if I haven’t shaved and have to go somewhere and look kind of nice, I have a solution. I love the hippy-ish, flowy look. I would go all out and wear a headband, but I know I’d be laughed at. I found a maxi dress at TJMaxx for $17 on that great day ‘o shopping and I’m so excited about wearing it soon. 

Another trend I’m crazy about is the scarf. There are so many reasons this works for me. 1. They add color to a neutral shirt and jeans. 2. No necklace to get broken or choke me. 3. Multiple ways to wear them. 4. When it’s cold, they work as a shawl. 5. They’re pretty cheap, I got a solid hot pink one at Walmart for $5. 6. People notice them, and it’s slightly out of the ordinary, without being weird. You wear a scarf  these days and get instant style points. Oh, and the best one: 7. When I wear my long scarf, it hangs in the front of my shirt, hiding my baby pudge belly that will not go away unless I exercise. Since I won’t exercise, I’ll just wear a scarf. I’m a genius. 

So today, I get dressed and asked my oldest girl how I looked. Now this is the same girl who just two nights ago made me a poster saying how much she loved her mom. She told Michael, “I love mommy because she has pretty clothes and pretty makeup and I love her jewelry.” I have always thought the same thing about my own mom, so it makes my day that my girl likes my style. 

I walk in the den and ask her what she thinks. She said, “I like the pink scarf. The shirt and pants are okay.” I had on a charcoal gray tshirt and jeans. I’m with her, they’re okay. The scarf did help. 

But then I asked about the shoes. I had on pewter colored dressy flip flops with a big old sparkly rhinestone thing in the middle. I knew she’d love them. She said, “the shoes are fine.” Then turned back to the tv. 

If I had wanted “fine”, I’d have asked any of my male relatives. Or old boyfriends. 

What on earth did “fine” mean? From a four year old? The same four year old who likes wearing mismatched socks?

I guess when it comes to signature style, she thinks I’m quite the dud.

March 28, 2009 at 2:37 am 1 comment

A Little Chubby!

I haven’t posted a video in a while. Partly because I haven’t been making videos, and partly because I can’t figure out the easiest way to do it on the Mac. 

But I did this the old fashioned way, which was actually still quite easy, and just had to share.

March 26, 2009 at 3:15 am 1 comment

We Will Have to Park Out Back

A few weeks ago, my brother’s family got a new van. It’s really nice, and just right for their family of 5. They had gotten crowded in the Blazer, and so they expanded to an Uplander. Sharon has loved it, and the kids have so much space. 

Today, my mom got a Nissan Armada. For the first time in my life, she got just what she wanted. My parents have always been very frugal and bought what fit the budget. They both work so hard and have really saved for this, and I am so happy for my mom. I rode in it tonight and the thing is huge. The Bose speakers are amazing. There is a compartment for everything, even her purse (which is always big!)

So when we all get together, my family is going to have to park the Dodge minivan in the cul-de-sac, or around back. 

I should at least wash the van, then maybe they’ll let me squeeze in the driveway, as long as I don’t park in the front. 

And just in case you haven’t seen anything cute today:

100_6367

There. Hope that helps. 

Good night from hooptyville.

March 26, 2009 at 2:55 am Leave a comment

As Everyone Cries

Right now in my house, Paisley is hollering. She’s in her bed, just yelling her head off. I’m not going in there. She knows it’s nighttime. 

Aidan is crying because Michael told him that he could watch the end of Star Wars Episode 3, which he’s been trying to do for weeks now, but with our schedule, there is no time for movies. By the time they could watch it, he really should go to bed, or he won’t get up in the morning and everyone is late. 

Molly’s in our bed, hopefully falling asleep, but most likely she’ll sneak in here to see who’s dancing on Dancing With The Stars. That girl loves some reality television. 

_____________________

This morning, I went to wake Molly up (it was 7:30!) and with her eyes closed she said, “I could do almost ANYTHING! If I just had 4 arms!”

I think that a lot.

_____________________

Paisley won’t talk. I can’t get over how she manages to run our household with so few words. 

Today she plundered through my mountain of clean clothes, and pulled out item by item and told me whose it was. She pulled out boxers and said, “Dada!” She pulled out a shirt and said “Wawa!” (That’s Molly, can’t you tell?) She pulled out pajamas and said, “Bubba!” (That would be Aidan). She pulled out an undergarment and said, “Mama!” 

She was 4 for 4. She will not converse, but she knows what we’re wearing. 

_____________________

Tomorrow night is a Pampered Chef party at Michael’s boss’s house. There will be several men in attendance. Are men big spenders on the cooking stuff? I plan on showing as many gadgets as possible. But I’m a little nervous. Men like good food. It would awful if I burned something. 

_____________________

Michael has a conference in Atlanta next month. I found out today that I get to go! I have this really cool aunt who is sweet (and brave!) enough to keep the rascals so I can go with him. He’ll be busy from 8 to 5, but as I discovered last summer in Nashville, I’m really good at sitting by the pool with a book. 

_____________________

So this is it for us today. I’m putting myself to sleep typing this, so I don’t blame you if you quit reading 3 paragraphs ago. 

And I think I could win a writing contest? As my smartypants daughter says, “Whatever!”

March 24, 2009 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

She Speaks. Who Speaks? Me, Speak?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I want to DO. 

But then I always stop myself and say, “Self, you DO a lot right now. Why would you want to do anything else?” So then I put my thoughts aside and move on to my next chore and responsibility. 

But there’s still something missing. 

I have made it abundantly clear that I love being with my kids. They wear me out, but I can’t imagine letting anyone else spend the majority of the day with them. I know I feel this way because it’s always been this way. I stopped working a month before Aidan was born, and I’ve never gone back. God has just placed it in my heart that it’s just not the right time to go into the “real world”. 

Another factor is my degree. I have an English degree. I loved getting it. After spending multiple semesters trying out 6 other majors, this one worked for me. But as far as the job market goes, there’s just not that much out there for a girl like me. If I was trained to be a nurse, I’d go be a nurse. If I was trained to be a real estate agent, I’d go sell houses. But I’m not trained to be anything other than who I am right now, and that’s a wife and mama. 

I just don’t fit the job description for stay at home mama. I mean, I stay at home, but that drives me nuts. So we go run errands, but then when I get home, I realize that nothing has been done while I’ve been out. Cloning myself isn’t an option, so I’ve come to a level of acceptance that I just won’t have a sparkly palace to call home. I have a nice house that is hygenic and safe. We don’t eat home cooked meals every night. I do the short order cook thing and fix what the folks I love will eat. It’s not the textbook way of doing things, but it’s my way, and I own it. 

But you see, there’s this thing. I love to write. I had no idea how much I liked it, because my last writing experience was in college when I never learned MLA and could never get footnotes exactly right. But nowadays, writing can take on many different forms. Blogging has allowed me to express myself and be who I am through this little wordpress page, and I don’t have to worry about proper format or technique. Now, grammar and spelling rules still apply (I adhere to the spelling, not so much on the grammar and punctuation, sorry). 

Aside from the freedom I find in blogging, I also find it one of the most spiritually therapeutic things I do, both in reading and writing. I wish I had hours upon hours to spend reading the posts of others who are living life to God’s glory. I laugh and cry with people I will probably never meet. I think it’s an awesome, positive way to use the internet to build bridges between people who are willing to put their experiences, both good and bad, out there for others to share with them. I have always been excessively transparent, so writing about my ups and downs comes very natural to me. I always love it when I receive comments affirming that I’m not the only one who struggles. There is a connection between bloggers that is similar to dorm life. You put everything out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Those that read are like the friends on your hall that laugh and cry alongside you, and love you despite your many weaknesses. 

So I’ve been praying. I’ve been asking my Father, who I know cares about every little thing, to show me ways that I can use my love for writing to glorify Him and encourage others. I’ve been praying for opportunities to write about things that are on my heart. I pray that maybe those words are being used to make another unconventional stay at home mama feel a little more okay with her world. 

However, I am a dreamer. I am the girl who wrote out acceptance speeches for her Female Vocalist of the Year CMA when I was a teenager. I always want what I have to be more than what it is. I have been praying about making my little blog more than what it is. I think God gives me stuff from time to time to share that may be what others need to hear. I know my kids and their antics make people smile, even if it’s just my mom and dad. But I’d love to learn how to get better at this and take it “to the next level”, whatever that is! 

There is so much I don’t know about blogging. I want to know if it’s worth it to run ads. Can you make money by blogging? I want to know if I need to join a network. What do networks do? I want to know if I should get a wordpress.org site, rather than using the free wordpress.com site. What are the differences and how can I learn the technical ins and outs? So many questions, and not enough time to email the people I know to get answers. 

There is a conference in July called She Speaks. It’s sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries. They deal with topics such as blogging, writing, speaking, and so forth. I have heard of it, but today I spent a little time looking over some of the details. I think this might be exactly what I need. A place to go to find answers to my questions and maybe start to realize what God has in store for me through this desire He’s given me. 

I know you’re wondering, “Sooooo, why in the world are you telling us this? Show a picture of Paisley or something to make it worth our while!” 

There’s a scholarship contest going on right now for the conference. I am submitting a post about why I want to go to the conference. If mine gets picked, I will get to go to the conference for free. So pray for me, please. Pray that if this is what I’m supposed to be doing, that God will show me better ways to do it. Please pray that if going to this conference is the right idea for me, then it will happen, contest or not. Thanks, buds. You guys have been so encouraging. 

Father, I’m yours. Thanks for the awesome blessings you’ve entrusted me with. Thanks for giving me the love for my kids and the desire to be with them. Thanks also for giving me the desire to serve you creatively. I pray that you use me, and use the words for you, and you alone. I am a worthless piece of junk without you in my life, and I’m so grateful that I won’t know life without you. Use me, God. Take me wherever you want me to go. I want to be all over your plan for me. -Amen

March 21, 2009 at 5:04 am 2 comments

One of My Best Dates

When I was in Junior High, my papaw took me to see Randy Travis. Alan Jackson opened for him at the Coliseum. That was one of my favorite dates ever. Tonight, he is the mentor for the American Idol contestants. I love Randy Travis. “Deeper Than The Holler” was the first country song that I ever loved. That song and his twangy voice helped me learn to love country music so much.

Country night is my favorite night on this show. I will try to write about each singer, but I don’t have Tivo, so I may miss one or two. I don’t care if I see any more Idol after this, but country night is worth sitting on the couch for two hours. And it’s not just the singing, but also the fact that Simon hates country night, so his comments are always noteworthy. 

The first guy: I forgot his name. That is my least fave Garth song ever. It’s crude, and hard to sing. Couldn’t get the words. He looked unprofessional to me. 

Allison with the pink hair: I love this song. And she sounds great. She’s 16? Seriously? She’s giving it her own edge, but with that voice, how could she not? She will never be accused of copying anybody. Maybe needs a bit more breath control, but what do I know?

I know I’m the fourteen millionth person to say this, but: PLEASE STOP, PAULA.

Kris Allen:  “To Make You Feel My Love”, oh my goodness, college memories all over the place here. This was the song from that movie with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. I don’t care how he sang it just now, I remember watching the two of them slow dance on the movie screen and my 18 year old hormones jumping all around. And Simon just said “Terrific”. I’m so excited. And didn’t I read today that he’s a worship leader somewhere? And let’s just all give thanks that he shaved that scruff. 

None of that had anything to do with music. 

Old Navy commercial. See those cute dresses? Yeah, I was in the store this weekend. They are cute on the tv, and online, but I didn’t see one dress that looked like it would hold up after 2 washings. I’d love to be proven wrong here, but I’m not taking at $25 chance on one of those. 

Lil Rounds: I’m not a huge fan of the big, showy Martina McBride songs. Let’s see…I agree that slowing it down is working. Lil Rounds is so pretty. She’s singing it great, without screaming. You’re a great singer if you can sing Martina without screaming. That was almost effortless. Good for her. She’s standing up for her song choice. Go girl. 

Is it me, or is Randy Jackson just filler? Does he say anything truly helpful? I would love a Simon and Kara judges table. 

Adam Lambert: Call me narrow minded. I can handle it. I can’t handle this arrangement. Points to him for making it his own, but he is not singing country. Which says to me that he can adapt songs to his style, but he can’t adapt himself to the song. So that makes him as narrow as me, huh? I think so. Thank you, Simon. I think the guy lost a TON of country fans votes. I agree with “indulgent rubbish”. 

I think Paula has a post it note in front of her that says, “just use the word AMAZING and everything will be okay.”

So Michael just raised a question: Is it better to do like Lil, and try to sing something you’re not necessarily good at? Or like Adam, and stick to the one thing you can do? 

Scott MacIntyre: I like this Martina song. He is so endearing to me. So far, so great. I like this a lot. Maybe he should mix it up a little, but I think he is doing great where he is. 

Alexis Grace: I love Randy’s comment, “she’s someone who understands what telling the story is about”. That’s a huge compliment, hope she knows that. The judges want angst. Don’t they create enough of their own? 

Danny Gokey: Randy Travis made him nervous. That’s cute. I’d be the same way. I’d probably throw up. Love his glasses. Not certain about the white jacket, but hey…I love this guy. That was some incredible singing. And he didn’t yell like Carrie Underwood can sometime do. I want him to win. 

Kara’s dress is odd. Paula said “Brilliant” and not “Amazing”. Way to stretch it. Simon just called out the white jacket. He handled that great. 

Anoop: I always want to follow his name with “Doggy Dogg”. I heard this song in the car today. It gets to me. Hmmm…good job? Maybe? Not sure, I have to let that sink in. His voice is beautiful. He interpreted it well. I liked it, yep, I did. Simon: “Zero to hero”. That’s huge, huge, huge. I can’t believe he sang “Beat It” just last week. 

I want to put duct tape on Randy Jackson’s mouth. I can’t handle his lingo. 

During that commercial break, Paisley was screaming. I went up there, and she had a mega-stinky diaper. I brought her downstairs to change her. Let’s just say that if there was an American Pooper competition, she’d win hands down. I love my life. 

Megan Joy: I like her voice. I think she’s quirky. But many people have made a great living on being quirky. I love her copper eyeshadow. And I’m always a fan of the maxi dress. She did a great job taking on Patsy Cline, I think. Much better than her cawing at the end of last week’s “Rockin’ Robin” disaster. She has the flu? My heavens, go drink you some tea, sweetie, and get in bed. 

When Simon scratches his nose, he uses his middle finger. Is that his message to America? 

Those responsibilityproject.com commercials from Liberty Mutual? Best I’ve seen in a while. 

Matt Giraud: I think he could be the dark horse contestant. He’s not a hugely hyped guy, but he’s got a cool voice, and if he keeps up the originality, I think he’ll go further than I thought he’d go. Why is Paula dancing to this song? She is way too flirty with him. Gross. Okay…did Simon just pretty much say what I just said? Thank you very much. Me and the Brit, we’re one mind. 

Hardly. 

My picks for in trouble? the first guy, Adam, Alexis, and I hope not, but maybe Lil. Did she connect with that song? And now that I’m watching Scott’s replay…I liked it, but did it make me want to vote? Not sure. 

I want Danny to sing that song again, and again. 

If you read all this blather, then bless your heart. I know nothing. I just like country music, and I’ll never get to do what they’re doing, so I’ll just sit here and write about it. 

BRAD PAISLEY TOMORROW NIGHT. Did you get that? I’m hoping one day he’ll google himself and find out that I’m the girl who grabbed his leg in New Orleans. Not that he noticed someone grabbing his leg. And it really wasn’t his leg, just his jeans, because I was afraid he’d kick me. 

Now I have to go find out who was voted off Dancing With the Stars and The Biggest Loser. I tell myself we don’t need Tivo…

March 18, 2009 at 2:03 am 3 comments

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