Friday, April 27, 2012


I grew up on a culdesac.  In countless ways, I loved it, and it was a rather idyllic childhood.  I have a lot of really happy memories of playing in the street, tearing it up on my Big Wheel or roller skates.  If I sat down long enough, I could write a pretty interesting novel about all the characters who lived on my street, too.  I have been thinking about one in particular lately.  She was my next door neighbor, and she was a bully.

Somehow, I almost always thought of her as a friend.  I wanted to think the best about her, and I wanted to believe that she could change, and would want to... change.  I thought that maybe she didn't know any better.

But month after month, and then year after year, she teased and demeaned me.

When I was in grammar school, she made up nonsensical nicknames for me like Linda Pinda.  She stole things out of my room and claimed they were hers.  She teased me about my belly button for years, because she'd seen it while I was swinging from the bars, and she apparently didn't like the shape of it.  She said things like, "You are such a baby, your mom has to wipe your butt," and made sure the whole neighborhood could simultaneously antagonize me.  Her brother and a couple neighbor boys also joined in one day as she asked me the meanings of certain slang terms, and then ridiculed me for being so clueless.  

One day, she decided to pick up a handful of moist dirt and rubbed it in both of my eyes.  Then she claimed I had done it to myself.  As if.  My mom literally couldn't see the whites of my eyes, and I had to lie on the kitchen counter with my head in the sink, as she restored my vision with a water rinse.  Another day, I awakened to a note taped on the brick wall outside my window that said, "I HATE YOU."  It was ironic that she signed it with love.

As we got older her tactics changed a bit, as she found other ways to try and make me feel inferior.  It began with clothes.  She made sure that I knew that she had designer Guess, Jordache, and Sergio Valente jeans, but that mine were generic.  Her family had a posh motorhome with a safe, but mine didn't.  Her brother was cooler than mine because he drove a hot red Corvette, and her dad's reserve police rank supposedly outranked my dad.  She got more Christmas presents. It was always something.  I really didn't care about appearances or statuses or stuff, but it hurt nonetheless, because she was trying so hard to make me feel like such a zero.

During part of junior high and high school, we walked and rode to school together.  She allowed me to be some type of "secret" friend.  She would happily talk with me on the way, but on campus I was dead to her.  When I tried to say hi in the hallways, she would pretend I didn't exist.  She would have me meet her in certain locations after school so that she wouldn't be seen with me.  If I did happen to see her with a friend, she'd make sure that they knew I was her uncool neighbor, and that she had to walk home with me.

Toward the end of high school she invited me over to her house.  I assumed she wanted to show me her custom made desk, and I remember being very wary of her intentions, whatever they were.  I don't think I'd been in her room in years.  She asked me to sit down next to her desk.  And then she did something astonishing.  She told me that she knew she had been very mean to me for years, and that she was very sorry.  Would I forgive her?

It was so surreal.  I felt as though I was watching myself in an after-school special on ABC.  Shortly after the initial shock wore off, I assumed it was some sort of joke.  Maybe someone was hiding in the closet, or maybe she was recording me so that I would somehow sound stupid.  But it wasn't a joke, she was actually sincere.

I forgave her.  She thanked me.  I went home, more than a little confused.

It all made sense a bit later.  She had started going to youth group at a local church.  Jesus had invaded her life.  I went one night and saw her leading worship, and I was really happy for her.  There was joy on her face and praise on her lips.  She was exalting her Savior and was humbled in His sight.  Her new beliefs were backed up by sincere actions.  Jesus had made all the difference.

I haven't thought about my neighbor in a long time.  As I was processing through some things during the past weekend, I began to think about our relationship.  I got really angry.  I don't think I ever fully felt that as a kid.  It had just been my "normal."  It was good to express how angry and demeaned I felt.  And it is good to forgive her once again as my adult self.  I thank God that she was part of my life, and that she is a part of who I am.

I heard that she walked away from her faith years ago.  I don't know what is going on in her life now, but I pray that she would return to Jesus.  It was amazing to see Him in her.  I pray that He would invade her life once again and make all the difference.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yippee Skippy!!

I have been in denial for quite some time now. announced they would be closing on April 19th

I thought that at the last minute it wouldn't happen, but it did anyway.

So for the past 2 days I have been mourning the disappearance of my photo editing tool.

It is pathetic.  Completely pathetic.

Boo Hoo!!!

But this morning it all turned around.

I found PicMonkey

I am doing the happy dance.

Doesn't take much to please a monkey like me, does it?

How do you edit your photos?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


WIWW #25

pleated poppy

It's getting nice and warm around here.  
I think I'll have to put the boots away if this keeps up!
 Dress: via Goodwill, brand new with tags

I wasn't too sure about this dress.  It's got an empire waistline.
Is is just me, or do empire waistlines remind you a little bit of maternity wear?
I'm choosing to think of it as a Jane Austen thing... Regency gowns are all the rage, right?

 Blouse: ??; Shorts & Scarf: Marshalls; Shoes: Naturalizers

When I was looking at this scarf at the store, there was a woman standing next to me.
It was like she came out of nowhere.
That's a really pretty scarf, she said, checking it out.
I'm thinking she wanted me to put it down, cause she stared and lingered... but I didn't.
That is the end of that story.

Sweater & Top: Marshalls; Gap jeans via Goodwill; Sandals: Nine West Outlet Clearance

About 10 years ago, I had the best sweater coat ever.  It was grey and super cozy.
It was also wool... and I put it in the washing machine.  Bad idea.
The sweater then went to live with my much shorter friend.
Although I can never replace that sweet sweater, this one makes me kind of giddy.
It's like a cape, and I get to be a super hero.
I have already been told twice that my sweater is hanging out my car door, almost dragging on the ground.
How do these super heroes manage their capes anyway?

Monday, April 16, 2012


Recently, my eldest decided he was old enough to give Lord of the Rings a try, much to the delight of his memorabilia-collecting parents, who know the story backwards and forwards.  And let me tell you, he really got it.  We are able to speak to him in LOTR metaphors now.  We say things like... which character was not a good steward?  He will answer correctly with Denethor, and then we get to have a whole conversation on what makes Denethor a bad steward, and what a good steward looks like.  I'm in nerd heaven right now!!

Spoiler Alert (just in case you haven't seen it... you should):  At the end of the trilogy, there is a big coronation scene.  I always prepare myself for it, and then I always cry.  In fact, I'm starting to cry just thinking about it right now.  (Waving my hands in front on my eyes.)  Aragorn has returned victoriously from great battles against the evil of Middle Earth, and he takes on his role as king of Gondor.  He doesn't know it, but his love, the elvish Arwen, is waiting for him among his loyal subjects.  She is wearing a lovely green dress, and holding a banner up for him.  On the banner is a symbol for the tree of Gondor.

She is essentially saying
I am for you!
I am yours!

And then, as Josh describes it, he eats her face off and everyone cheers.  
Translation: Aragorn passionately kisses the love he believed he would never see again.

On Saturday, the boys and I got to make some banners for our man.  Patrick has been training for a triathlon for the past year.  He has dropped 30 pounds, gotten himself in tremendous physical shape through exercise and diet, and his blood pressure is in a super healthy range now.  But more than that, this was something he always wanted to do, and it was so great to watch him working toward his goal and all the little successes along the way. We are so proud of him and this big accomplishment. 

It was so amazing to stand at the finish line watching him run across it.  
The kids held their banners high, cheering him on.

We love you!!
We are for you!!
We are so proud of you!!

I love you!! 
I will always be for you!!
I think you are amazing!!

Our banner over you is love!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Treasures from the Sea

I have always been fascinated by shells and other sea creatures.  

I have collected them since I was a little girl.  

I think they are each so beautiful and unique.
They represent something that was once living, but has left a lovely work of art in its passing.

Do you enjoy collecting anything?

(A little fact:  The top shell once belonged to my grandmother.  I have a whole collection of these that she sometimes used to use for little side dishes on a dinner plate!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

How Does She Do It?

A few weeks ago, I watched a movie called I Don't Know How She Does It with Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, and Pierce Brosnan.  Have you seen it?  I hadn't even heard of it coming out in the theaters.

Anyway, it's about a wife/mother/career woman that's trying to do it all or have it all... or both.  It's a comedy of sorts, so the characters are a bit exaggerated, making it easy to start judging the different characters based on their life choices.  There were Martha Stewart kinds of moms, moms trying to run in the rat race, PTA moms, single women who didn't want to be moms, and on it goes.  Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Kate is trying desperately to climb the corporate ladder while simultaneously juggling her relationship with her husband, as well as her children's school activities and birthday parties.

By the middle of the movie, things begin to unravel pretty badly in Kate's life.  There are just too many balls to keep up in the air, and her relationship with her husband really begins to suffer.  She just can't do it all and keep everyone happy, including herself.

This movie made me think of that Proverbs 31 woman who is so often revered.  She is the Super Woman of the Bible, I suppose, and sometimes she makes me just want to throw my hands up.  The thing is, she is not necessarily an actual woman.  She is more of a composite or description of godly character traits in a woman/wife/mother.  Someone to be inspired by.  A wise friend of mine once said that you can be the Proverbs 31 woman (in God's strength, of course), but not necessarily all at the same time.  Doesn't that provide a sense of relief?  These attributes and endeavors can be developed over a lifetime... in seasons, some overlapping and some not.

Personally, it comforts me to know that I don't have to do it all and be all of these things right at this very moment or even by next year.  I am in a season of my life which actually prevents me from being even half of what the Proverbs 31 woman is.

I suppose I am writing all this simply to encourage women whether they are single, married, moms, single-moms, or a combination of any of the above to support one another.  None of us is Super Woman.  We are all trying to do the best we can to make good choices for ourselves, our careers, our marriages, and our families.  Instead of comparing ourselves to each other... "I don't want to be 'that' kind of woman," or "she just seems to have everything so together," we need to get each others' backs, don't we?  We need to make an effort to understand one another and the reasons we make the choices we do.  We need to pray for one another, encourage one another, and build one another up daily in love.  Then we can help each other to make wise choices and support one another without passing judgments based on stereotypes or only seeing part of the picture. 

If we could do it all and have it all at once, we'd essentially be God! 

Isn't it a relief not to have to be God?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thinking Ahead

I wish I could see into the future, he mused.

Why is that? I replied.

Then, I would know who my wife is going to be, he smiled.


 I'm already praying for her... my son's future bride.

I pray that she loves Jesus, or comes to love Him soon if she doesn't know Him yet.

I pray that she will be kind and that beauty will radiate from her heart.

I pray that God will help her to make wise choices and that He will heal her hurts.

I pray that she has a servant's heart and is willing to give freely.

I pray that she loves little children.

I pray that she will glorify God and bless others with her gifts and talents.

I pray that she is able to cultivate an attitude of respect in the midst of a rebellious world.

I pray that she is patient and values her purity. 

I pray that she is slow to become angry and quick to forgive.

I pray that she will be my son's very best friend and his life-saving companion.

I pray that she will love my son even more than I do.


I also pray that I will be a good mother-in-law.

I pray that I will be loving and accepting... to see her as my own daughter.

I pray that she would feel comfortable calling me "Mom."

I pray that I will know when to offer gentle wisdom and when to step aside.

I pray that I will be encouraging and trustworthy.

I pray that I would delight in the person God created her to be.

 I pray that she will feel safe and welcome in my presence.

I pray that we will be able to laugh and know joy together.

I pray that we will be able to cry together, too.


I pray that someday, 
I will be able to let go of my cherished son, 
 into her loving arms.

And to know that God has arranged it all.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Man Year

Joshua, my eldest, turned twelve on Friday.
Where has the time gone??

Patrick and I had talked previously about how we wanted to do something special when Josh turned thirteen. Some type of initiation into manhood... kind of like a Bar Mitzvah, and a party, and the men he knows the best speaking blessings and encouragement into his life. We wanted there to be a point in his life where he could begin stepping forward and transitioning into manhood while he was still in our home.

As his 12th birthday was approaching, I got to thinking. Why just have a single night when we could have an entire man year? What if we had him learn about a godly man trait every month? What if he could do some kind of physical feat with it? I started talking to God about this and a bunch of traits came to mind, so I wrote them down.

Patrick came home from work, and I asked him what he thought of doing a whole "Man Year." Well, he started thinking and praying about it, and then he woke up one day at four in the morning and started mapping out a man year on a spreadsheet. He is very good with organizing and spreadsheets and coming up with awesome ideas.

The ideas were starting to fly. Patrick thought of some books he wanted to incorporate and trips they would take together. Mostly, his greatest hope for Josh is that he will grow in his love for Jesus and follow in His godly man footsteps. We started getting excited about what God would accomplish in Joshua's life in this year.

We asked Josh what he thought of the idea.
He said something like... Man Year?? Ya!!!

So Man Year is a go!! Patrick ordered Josh a Manbinder, which is made out of manly leather and has Joshua's initials and Mark 12:28-31 inscribed on it.

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Patrick also wrote out a beautiful, heartfelt introduction and printed it out on some official manly parchment-looking paper.

Month one of Man Year has officially begun!

 Month one ~ Stewardship
Month two ~ Repentance 

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