Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Fun

There was all kinds of fall fun happening around here this week. Last Friday I took the boys to the "Pumpkin Pie Patch." Thankfully, Garrett is humoring me and not correcting his brother when he refers to these big, orange, globes as punkin pies.
Don't be deceived by the fact that the dirt looks as though it is packed hard. It is, in actuality, horrendous mud which caked to our shoes, ended up in my eye and cost me $50 bucks at the optometrist's office. (Although, I love my optometrist because I was quoted a flat fee of $83 and more if he actually did anything. Well, he poked and prodded and flushed and examined and I was expecting it to be over $100. But he is a sweet, sweet man and only charged me fifty.)

Then there was carving. Matthew wanted a funny face with a lot of teeth.

Garrett wanted an elephant. That's why daddy does the pumpkin carving. Because mommy's artistic ability is limited to the stage (and at that she has very little).

This afternoon we trick-or-treated and then headed to our church Harvest Party. Garrett took his costume very seriously. He's a cop who means business.

Matthew worked hard to earn this costume. He had to show us that he could be good at school--and he has been. Yesterday, he got to wear it to school for his party. On the way home he asked me if I could please give him superpowers in his fingers like the real Spiderman. Um. Sadly, I could not. I explained that this was not something I had the ability to do. "But, please, Mommy? Can you please give me superpowers? I'll be good." In that moment, I really wish I had the strange capability to bestow superpowers. Although, if that were the case, I would have turned myself into Mary Poppins a long time ago.

My mom sent this creepy pizza cookie kit thing in the mail. And the boys had a blast decorating the sugar cookies with red frosting (which they were, at first, completely convinced was actually blood), sprinkles, and all manner of gross candy.

They loved this little project. The green things are "fingers" and were actually quite tasty. Everything else was a little disgusting. But they liked it because they are gross boys. There are no fairies here. Only guts and gore and snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

Happy Halloween everyone.


I finally (at least I think) figured out what was going on with my comments. In June I was upgraded to Disqus 2012 which, apparently, only supports the newest browsers. I disabled the 2012 program today and my mom was able to comment. So, if you have tried to comment but been unable, hopefully you can now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Whenever I go into a bookstore, it always takes me a second to remember that all the classics are strewn about in a "Literature & Fiction" section, intermingling with every day romance novels and dime a dozen murder mysteries. Today, Garrett and I were browsing Barnes & Noble while we waited for Matthew's preschool Halloween party to start. He looked at books in the kid section before discovering that he could shoot angry birds on the displayed Nooks. I wandered, first through the music section, then through the kid area, then up through the smorgasbord of fine literature mixed with, well, not so fine literature.

I used all my birthday money to buy a Nook and I've discovered that they sell a lot of the classics for very little. My long term Nook plan is to reread a lot of the books I haven't read in over ten years as well as some of the classics I was never required to read but really ought to.

I wandered through Bronte (both Charlotte and Emily but not Anne--nothing personal against Anne, she just wasn't represented in the store), Cather, Chopin, Dickens, Hemingway, and on. I made a mental note to ask for Barnes & Noble gift cards for Christmas so that I can read endlessly on my Nook. I reached Plath and was somewhat saddened to find that they only had The Bell Jar. I love The Bell Jar but it seemed strange that they had neither a collection of poetry nor Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams. I mean, who can pass up a title like Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams? I adore Sylvia Plath, oven suicide and all. 

Next to Plath was Poe and, aside from the obvious alphabetical order of things, this felt appropriate. I feel that, had they been contemporaries, they might have enjoyed one another's company. As I perused the shelves, my eyes naturally landed on the book directly next to Poe.

So first of all, I suppose that if I'd really thought about it, I would have realized that Snooki isn't her real name, that she has an actual name beyond something that should be dedicated to a poodle. I just hadn't thought about it. So, first of all, I thought it was a biography of Snooki by someone named Nicole Polizzi and that it really belonged over in the appropriate section. However, upon deeper investigation, I realized that it is, in fact, a novel of fiction written by Snooki and placed on a shelf next to the classic works of Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath.

Here's the synopsis.

It's a summer to remember . . . at the Jersey Shore. Giovanna "Gia" Spumanti and her cousin Isabella "Bella" Rizzoli are going to have the sexiest summer ever. While they couldn't be more different--pint-size Gia is a carefree, outspoken party girl and Bella is a tall, slender athlete who always holds her tongue--for the next month they're ready to pouf up their hair, put on their stilettos, and soak up all that Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has to offer: hot guidos, cool clubs, fried Oreos, and lots of tequila. So far, Gia's summer is on fire. Between nearly burning down their rented bungalow, inventing the popular "tan-tags" at the Tantastic Salon where she works, and rescuing a shark on the beach, she becomes a local celebrity overnight. Luckily, she meets the perfect guy to help her keep the flames under control. Firefighter Frank Rossi is exactly her type: big, tan, and Italian. But is he tough enough to handle Gia when things really heat up? Bella is more than ready for some fun in the sun. Finally free of her bonehead ex-boyfriend, she left home in Brooklyn with one goal in mind: hooking up with a sexy gorilla for a no-strings-attached summer fling. In no time, she lands a job leading "Beat Up the Beat" dance classes at a local gym, and is scooped up by Beemer-driving, preppy Bender Newberry. Only problem: Bella can't get her romantic and ripped boss Tony "Trouble" Troublino out of her head. He's relationship material. Suddenly, Bella's not sure "what "she wants. The cousins soon realize that for every friend they make on the boardwalk, there are also rivals, slummers, and frenemies who will do anything to ruin their summer--and try their relationship. Before July ends, the bonds of family and friendship will be stretched to the breaking point. Will the haters prevail, or will Gia and Bella find love at the Shore? For everyone who loves MTV's hit reality show, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's sweet, funny, and sexy novel perfectly captures the heat, the energy, the fun, "and "the drama of "Jersey Shore."

Apparently, they'll publish anything if it's penned by a reality television star. I mean, seriously, a sexy gorilla?  How about the fact that Tony "Trouble" Troublino is "relationship material?" I don't actually feel that anyone nicknamed Trouble is any more relationship material than someone nicknamed Snooki.

I'm not saying we can't have a book by Snooki but could it be in a section called Drivel Written by Women Famous Only for the Sheer Volume of Hook-Ups They've Had on the Shores of Jersey? And maybe put all the classics together in a section titled Actual Literature.

Monday, October 29, 2012


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

It doesn't matter how hard I try, I cannot remember the details of that day, a decade ago. It's peculiar, the way distance blurs the edges of a vivid memory until it is almost unrecognizable. If I close my eyes and focus long enough on sitting perfectly still, I can begin to feel the prickly fingers of the attack. It came quickly, not unlike the way I feel when I'm trapped in a small space, but wholly different because I was standing outside. Still, no amount of remembrance can help me place what had happened just before. Suddenly, I simply came unglued. All air caught wildly in my chest as it bucked against my thundering heart. Sucking in more before I'd released the previous gulp, I moved irrationally through a vibrant autumn afternoon. The sun broke through cloud cover and stung my eyes. Squinting, gasping, and tingling, I had the abrupt and curiously coherent thought that I was in the grips of a panic attack or, possibly, a total breakdown. Despite the transparent revelation, I could not control the persistent drumming in my ears or the numbness that was enveloping my body. Putting one foot in front of the other in automatic response proved easy enough and, in a moment of clarity, I knew that I could not--would not--do this on the main campus thoroughfare, but controlling my body had become nearly impossible. I turned, took several steps in the wrong direction, spun around, and turned again, hearing only the thump, thump of the snare, feeling only the tingly nothingness of nerves, and tasting only a warm metallic tang with a tongue that was abruptly too big for my mouth. I thought, in those few moments, that I would die right there in front of my college cafeteria if I didn't swiftly remember how to exhale.

I cannot recall where I tried to go but I know I was breathing again before I got there. Departing as quickly as it had assaulted, I was left shaking, emotional, desperate. I didn't know why it had shattered so furiously upon me, I just knew that I needed to explain this, to make sense of it. If I didn't speak it to someone, I was terrified that I'd find myself on all fours creeping around my room, focusing only on the oddly patterned yellow wallpaper.

But where, on a small Christian campus, was I to go with the newsflash that the thought of marrying my fiance had just caused an epic breakdown? Who did I tell about the streaming tears I'd shed on I-15 the previous day as I considered my future? What words would ever explain the sick twist I felt at my core when I thought about forever? What would I say? However would I say it?

In the dreary mist of a late afternoon marine layer, I found my friend. Someone I knew would go to the grave with the secret if I chose never to whisper it. We climbed the sharp, wooden steps to our theatre's musty dressing room and, with chairs facing one another, I tried to explain. Shaking, I started and stopped, unsure of how to word the severity of the situation. It was an admission that I built up so greatly she was certain I was about to tell her I was pregnant. That was, in fact, impossible and though she was good friends with both of us, she received the news calmly, rationally and with great care. She was probably relieved that I wasn't actually carrying his child. "I don't know what to do," I released. The room appeared to change dimensions around me as my eyes blurred.

Ten years on the flip side the decision doesn't seem enormously monumental. There has been a great deal of living in these passing of seasons--some of it more excruciating than the overwhelming throb that was left swelling in my chest when the attack subsided. Then, though, at 21, the choice seemed insurmountably impossible. Looking back, from this perch of early thirties, there was only one, achingly obvious, choice. Break the heart. Destroy the friendships we equally shared. Confound the professors who cared deeply about the both of us. Worry not about the anger and hurt it would bring to those forced to choose a side. And, essentially, pay no mind to the man crushed under the weight of the conclusion.

There were reasons, justifications, evidences and pieces of information that I would, in those first tender months, site to inquiring minds. Defensively, to the acquaintances who thought I'd never truly cared. Anguished, to the professor who described, in detail, the remains of the bloody heart I'd rendered useless. Apologetically, to the friends caught awkwardly between. I realize now that the explanations were irrelevant. This is not the person God has for me; I am not the person He has for him.

Then, in the wake of an onslaught of tears and irregular breathing, I'd nested on the single question. How do I know if this is who God has for me? The man had asked. The woman had said yes. The florist was booked. The dress was purchased. The lives were tangled. How then, does one decide to erase it all? How does one begin the process of untwisting herself from his arms?

The next day I found myself emancipated from classroom to hallway. As students buzzed around me, climbing steps on their way to another course, I began to feel it again, the oppression of choice. Heart crashed, head pounded. Images of a contented future rattled in my mind and were quickly replaced with visions of desolation. The two opposing pictures volleyed for space and I picked up the phone in the hallway. I have no idea who I was planning to call. Him? My parents? My friend? In the openness of a common passage all of these possibilities seem unlikely but then, I clearly wasn't firing on all cylinders.

I felt the labored breathing and I knew I couldn't break down outside again, in the middle of my whole world. By now, the hallway had emptied. I was alone with only the calm, cold walls. I leaned against the concrete, placed the phone back on its hook. Pulled it up. Set it down. And then I sunk slowly to the floor, alone, with my head between my knees. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Slowly, with the rhythm intended for breathing. I willed myself not to panic. Lifting a finger to my cradled face, I swept a tear from my cheek and stood, still staring at the ground.

"Are you alright?" asked the voice. I looked up feeling, suddenly, all imaginable horror. One person was left in this building. One person who had still to load up materials while the rest of us exited. One professor. A woman I'd only been introduced to a handful of times before taking a class from her that semester. A woman I did not know well. But I will maintain, for the rest of my life, that God orchestrated that meeting. I would never have stayed like that in the hallway if I thought a professor would happen upon me. I might have left a moment before. She might have turned left instead of right.

Flushing red, I wiped a remaining tear. Desperately, I wish that I could remember every word that God spoke through her that day--and the next. They filled me with peace and life and clarity. I told her only that I found myself needing to make a decision. I did not speak to what the choice was. A gentle smile curled kindness and her eyes filled with compassion. I was aware that she somehow knew exactly what we were dancing around. In a conversation of long moments, I recall only that she said, "This is not an easy decision. Allow yourself to think about it."

That was the trouble. I banished it from my mind when it crept in. Even after naming it in the quietness of a backstage, I found my heart angry with denial. A wedding, what a party. A fiance, what sanctuary. A lifetime, what confusion. Expel the analysis. Come what may. C'est la vie.

Think about it...

Truer words could not have been spoken.

That day I thought about it. I talked about it. I shared it with my roommate, who, whether or not she was, did not seem surprised. I spoke it to my parents. And, most importantly, I told him. That is certainly not something I wanted to do until I was absolutely sure that I was critically contemplating our future.

The revelation to him was the catalyst that started the outward turmoil, the fallout lasting, in some instances, for years. But strangely, the confession gave me an overwhelming inner peace as though I was caught in the center while the storm raged on. I spent the next day and a half discussing and praying and crying. I sat on my balcony, staring into the sparkling blue of the ocean, sun streaming down and warming my skin while my heart silently fractured within. I paced between my bedroom and the kitchen and back again, tears flowing in exhaustion through the phone line. He promised joy and I longed to believe. But more details pricked the nerves and swayed my resolve in the bitter wind that swept from the coast. Tumbling over one another the reasons raced, with alarming speed, to the end of my mind. There, in a bizarre moment of transparency, was the single thought that I did not want to break this man but that I would not decide my future based on his heart.

Next day dawned. I spent the morning vacillating between crushing pain and numbness. I went to class but learned nothing. Suddenly, education paled in comparison to the weight of life. Sitting, as professors lectured on, I evaluated every mildewed corner of my relationship. I trudged, with heavy feet, toward the cafe. I'd arranged to meet my roommate there, where she had a class with the same professor. I needed to exchange gratitude for care.

Again, I want to know the details of that conversation but am left with strikingly few. I know I thanked her for her perception and advice. I'm aware that at some point she spoke the words that eventually led me to here, ten years later. "You have already decided what you are going to do. You need only to give yourself permission to do it." My world spun with this realization, this declaration, this truth.

I knew.

Delaying the inevitable wasn't going to change the state of my heart. I knew and failing to take action was crippling, blinding, suffocating. Fear held  me captive and the enemy spoke taunting lies into my ear but God was there, ushering me toward the rest of my life. "Take good care of her," the professor told my roommate.

"I will," my friend answered.

That is all I remember of the tender words spoken but I remain ever grateful for the kindness shown me by a woman who knew little of my present, less of my past and none of my future. When, in utter brokenness, I didn't know which direction to turn, He put wisdom in my path. I am not entirely sure what literature she taught me that semester, a vague idea and an affinity for Elizabeth Barrett Browning are all I am left with. But she poured life truth into me and nothing is what it would have been. All has been gained.

On Halloween day I met my fiance in a parking lot at the water's edge and told him I couldn't do it. He wasn't the one God had chosen. I wasn't the one for him. Someday, when he stared into the face of his bride, he would be glad for this broken heart. Someday, when he listened long to the laugh of his new child, he would appreciate my conclusion.

The aftermath was devastating and ugly. It was suddenly clear that I had known for a very long time that I couldn't marry him. The knowledge was locked in a deep recess of my mind and I existed as though this truth was not reality. Once I granted consent to twist that rusty key and unlock the secret, it was finished. The letting go had happened slowly, over the course of a season or two. Mourning was hard and heavy but it was quick, like the tearing of a bandage. For him, though, it was acute, slow and festering so that even years later I was told stories by friends, conversations that made my heart hurt. He couldn't let go when, for me, it had been as easy (and as inconceivably difficult) as giving myself permission to pry my fingers loose.

God validated my decision swiftly. A good friend turned boyfriend turned fiance turned husband each tumbling on the heels of the prior with great speed. My husband's is a story of waiting many years for a wife. The opposite of my chronicle. I am convinced that God prepared my heart to move quickly because of how long my husband's had been still and steady. I know because, as I drove away from that parking lot on Halloween, I promised to spend the foreseeable future alone. If I know anything it's that God has a way of shaking our expectations.

A decade has passed. I know very little of what became of him but, because of social media, I know of his wife and have seen pictures of his wedding day. I knew him well enough to recognize the authenticity of his smile. I know of his two tiny sons, beautiful children, their existence hinged, however slightly, on my decision.

Two people who spent time together, who thought, at one point, that a joined future was part of God's plan were nothing more than two people meant for other things. I curl into the familiar curve of my husband's arm and sigh contentment into the space above our bed. My boys whisper together in the room across the hall. My heart spills joy. You have already decided what you are going to do. You need only to give yourself permission to do it. Permission to find this man. Permission to hold these children. Permission to live this life.

This is the gift given to me that excruciating week ten years ago; a week where I narrowly avoided losing myself completely. This is the future that I could not see as I gasped for breath in the center of my college campus. This is the life I didn't know as I wiped away hot tears in a hallway. This is life. This is it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The State of My Sleep

My bed is never my own.

99 percent of the time, my husband is in it with me and it is good. After all, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife...and they shall share one bed. Unless, of course, they're characters on television shows before the 1970's. Which we are not.

When my husband is out of town, my children delight in the fact that they get to share my bed with me because daddy won't be occupying his spot. I've never asked but I don't think this is the case when I'm gone. Garrett doesn't even ask anymore. When he found out his father would be gone he hissed through a gap where his tooth used to be, "Yessss! I get to sleep with mommy!"

He says the word sleep and it is so misleading. Garrett roams the bed at night as though it's undiscovered frontier. At one point, he tossed his entire body up into the air and landed atop mine without waking for even a moment. He throws all the covers off in one demonstrative, subconscious act just to snuggle into me and pull furiously at my pajamas for warmth.

I am going to tell any girlfriend he ever has that if she finds herself falling in love with him, if she considers marriage, if she finds herself writing her first name and our last name, she needs to think long and hard about whether or not she is willing to sacrifice sleep for the rest of her life. Still, while I lie awake waiting for the next swooping leg to crash into my shin, I watch him and think about how he will never know the joy he brings me. I consider the way his mouth curves down when his face is completely relaxed and it looks exactly the way it did the very first time I ever laid eyes on him. I smooth his soft blondish hair and wonder if I will survive losing him to life. Then he flips his body, whacks me in the gut, opens his eyes and glares at me as though I did something to disturb his otherwise perfect slumber. My bed looks like a category five hurricane hit it last night.

Tonight I get his brother, because, as I said, my bed is never my own. Garrett will go to his room and travel the four corners of his own bed while he sleeps. Matthew will spend his night trying to steal my slumber. Although, last night, he did it from across the hall anyway. At three in the morning, during a moment when I'd actually managed to fall asleep with the restless wanderer, I awoke to strange whispers. First, I thought Garrett was talking in his sleep (Dear Future Daughter-in-Law, He totally does that too!) but I realized the sound was coming from Matthew's room.

I'd made the mistake of letting him take a glow in the dark sword my parents sent for Halloween to bed with him. In the blackened hours of early morning, he was sitting up in his bed performing battle maneuvers with the air. "What are you doing?" I asked through a croaky voice.

"Oh, hi mommy. I am pwaying sword fight. But my sword wost its handow. Can you find the handow for me?" Well, I found that handow at 3:00 am, reattached it, sent that little bugger to the bathroom, put the sword on the dresser and told him to GO BACK TO SLEEP. Rolling my eyes, I tucked him in and kissed his head.

"Goodnight. I love you."

" I wuhv you," he replied in his sweet preschool voice and promptly exhaled an enormous yawn.

When I dreamed of babies, I didn't necessarily think beyond the toddler years. I knew they'd take my sleep when they were newborns but I failed to realize that I'd lose sleep when they grew up because of the joy they get from snuggling me when their daddy is gone. I didn't foresee night time sword fights. I didn't think about how many nights I'd stay awake wondering if I was doing it all wrong and contemplating how quickly the time will come when they won't want to cuddle into me anymore.

Friday, October 26, 2012


As my husband headed away to his retreat, I headed to what Matthew refers to as, "The Pumpkin Pie Patch." Thanks to the snow and sleet and general merriment of obnoxious weather, the Pumpkin Pie Patch was horribly muddy. I stood in its dirt parking lot for several minutes trying to remove the layers of cake-like mud that were encasing the soles of our shoes when we were finished. Still, they were covered so we all drove home barefoot. When we got here I resumed my job of banging the ever loving life out of all three pairs.

When I got to mine, which were, by far, the worst, I was really getting a workout. Thud! The contact reverberated through my wrists and up into my forearms. Thud! This went on for quite some time and then, suddenly, THUD!

I saw the object flying toward my eye. I tried to get it closed in time, really I did. Never before did I think that shoe banging was the type of thing that required safety goggles. Clearly, I was misinformed about the versatility of plastic glasses. I felt a rather searing pain at the same time that my youngest son walked into the still open car door and began to sob. Clutching my eye I glanced in his direction, "I'm sorry, bud. I can't help you, something is stuck in my eye." I rushed to the nearest bathroom. 

A rather largish pebble was lodged in the corner of my eye, nasal side, as though suspended in a hammock. I tried to pull it out. I tried to blink it out. If I moved my eye in the slightest of directions, it began to drift toward the iris and pupil. After several painful minutes, I managed to get it out. For a few blissful moments, I felt no pain. I took the stairs quickly and removed my contact lens before flushing my eye with saline. When I'd finished cleaning it out, I blinked several times. It began to feel irritated.

I tried to ignore it for awhile but an uncomfortable pain was simply not going away and it was going on 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I decided to head to the eye doctor.

He put all manner of liquid into my eye and stared at it from all directions. A swab removed dirt particles and he was hopeful that's all that was causing the pain. I'm not quite as optimistic since it still hurts. He sent me home with some eye lubricant antibiotic and told me to come see him tomorrow morning if it hurts worse.

But seriously. This parenting gig, who knew that a trip to the pumpkin patch could end with a pebble lodged in the eye? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I haven't been home, really home, in eight months.

And by home I mean San Diego and by "really home" I mean that I am not forgetting that I spent a day there before we left for Hawaii and a day there before we came home to Utah. Yes, Utah is where my home is. It's where my church family is. It's where a lot of people I love are. It's where my life is. San Diego, though, is in my veins, sharing space with the blood that pumps through and keeps me alive.

I am actually homesick and I haven't been homesick in a good, long while. The weird thing is, I'm not really homesick for the sleepy cow town I grew up in. I'm sick for the beaches and the weather and the green grass of my college campus and lunch with my mom and dinner with old friends.

These freezing temperatures in October aren't helping.

This isn't a complaining, Dear Utah, I'm mad you kind of thing. I've come to realize that snow in October is always going to surprise me even when I fully expect it. It's just a, Dear San Diego, I really, madly, deeply, truly, long for your warm weather kind of thing.

And good Mexican food. I mean, who doesn't long for good Mexican food from time to time?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something's Missing

When The Rock Star was roughly 8 months old, give or take, his first little tooth popped in. I'm not completely sure of the time frame because his baby book is trapped in the bedroom with a resting Little Buddy and I can't be expected to remember these things off the tip top of my head. I know how much he weighed at birth, his length, and the exact minute he was born so I think I can be forgiven the specific date that his first, pearly white tooth stuck up awkwardly through his perfect pink gums.

A mouthful followed.

Now, six years into his life, they're falling out.

His tooth was barely loose for months. The kind of loose where you wiggle it and you think, "Is it moving? I think it's moving. Troy, is his tooth moving? Is it loose? I think it's loose. What do you think? Well, maybe it's not. Maybe it's just my imagination. Do you think it's loose?" Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that it had that grayish look to it, the color that reminds you that everything dies, eventually. Even those adorable, tiny teeth that spring up in the mouth of your child will die, twinge slightly gray, and fall out.

We started wiggling that sucker like mad and reliving our own glory days of teeth gone by.

I once lost a tooth that wasn't even loose in a bite of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while having a discussion about losing teeth with a friend of mine. And that is the truest story I've ever told. One minute I was talking about her loose tooth and the next minute I reached into my mouth and pulled out a molar.

After days of wiggling the remaining life out of Garrett's tooth, he was finally getting pretty miserable. It hurt to brush his teeth. It hurt to bite into even the softest of foods. He was ready for it to be gone. So last night he asked his daddy to yank it out.

We weren't entirely sure it was ready. We could pull it forward almost 90 degrees but we couldn't push it backward at all. Still, the boy remained convinced. Troy tied a piece of dental floss around it.
And then, before even I knew it was about to happen, he pulled his arm up with quicker speed than I've ever seen him move. It was like some kind of award winning Jiu Jitsu move. A look of extreme horror and panic flashed across The Rock Star's face as he simultaneously let out a howl. I heard the tooth hit the wall behind me and, mid scream, the kid managed to suppress the noise and ask immediately, "Is it out? Is it gone?"

If the blood pouring from his mouth was any indicator then, yeah, it was out.
I retrieved the tooth while Troy ushered him quickly to the bathroom, pulled his shirt up over his head, and let the blood pour into the sink. Garrett swished with mouthfuls of water, laughing and repeating, "I want to see the hole." The entire time this was going on, the three-year-old was crying.

He'd climbed up on the counter next to his brother and tears were sliding down his face as he said, "You killed my brother. Why'd you kill my brother? My brother is bloody murdered. Don't do that again!"

Within minutes the gaping hole stopped bleeding and Garrett was able to assure his brother that he is still alive and well.

Matthew turned, once sure his brother would pull through, locked eyes with me and said, "Don't ever do that to me. Ever. I want all my teeth forever." Good thing he still has a few years, eh?

As he fingered it, that slippery little tooth fell out of Troy's hand, hit the floor and bounced. We spent a good five minutes searching for it. My heart hit crisis levels as I thought about never seeing that itty bitty thing again and vacuuming it up with a wad of dust and hair. My husband assured me that he wouldn't stop looking until he found it. My brother once lost my sister-in-law's wedding ring in the sand as he took pictures of it. This was kind of like that. Except, you know, a dead baby tooth and not, actually, an expensive ring. As I contemplated the fact that I would be the mother who sucked her kid's first tooth up into the vacuum mistaking it for a pebble, it dawned on me to open the hall closet door. When I did, there sat that glorious tooth. I probably felt as happy as my brother did when he found that wedding ring. It was pretty close to the same kind of thing.

The tooth fairy--the one that Garrett doesn't believe in anymore--delivered money late last night and he, obsessed with vending machines, used it immediately to purchase a Butterfinger.

Before he crawled into bed, he got a distressed look on his face. "Oh no!" he said. "I forgot to write the tooth fairy a letter telling her that I would like to keep this tooth since it's my first one!"

"Uh, buddy, I think she knows," I responded slowly.

"Oh yeah!" he replied and climbed up the ladder. Still, this morning, he wanted to wait until I awoke to see what the tooth fairy had left him. Then, before running out of the room he yelled, "Thanks Mom, for the money!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Year Round

People told me that I would start liking this year round thing when my kid went off track.

Not so.

We were finally getting in the swing of things. I was finally used to getting up in cold dark before dawn so that my kid was out the door on time. He was finally getting used to having school every day.

And then he went off track.

I can already see him struggling slightly with his reading. Where he was remembering all the weird rules before, he's now needing to be reminded. He doesn't want to do it as much either because of the, "But I'm off track!"

I'm glad we're going out of town in a week because I think we'd all go a little crazy if we didn't have somewhere to go.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It Isn't Black & White

"Matthew, why are you black?"

"He was born that way," Matthew's brother interjects while he says nothing.

"But why?" the tiny friend asks, curious.

"He was born that way!" his brother says more forcefully.

"But why were you born black?" the boy asks again. His mother enters the room, thinking she may soon need to get involved.

Matthew is quiet, letting his brother do the talking.

"He's just black," his brother answers again, for him. Later, when the conversation was relayed to me, I found this surprising. Garrett doesn't ever refer to his brother as black.

Finally, the boy yells, "I'm not black! I'm brown!"

"Mom," the friend says, "is Matt black?"

"Matthew," the mom begins, "What color are you?"

"I'm brown!" Matthew informs.

"There you go," says the mother. "He's brown."

I am not ready for this. I wish it wasn't already beginning to happen. I know this boy and his family. I know that there was nothing racially charged about his line of questioning. He simply wondered. But in his curiosity, Matthew was questioned. Why are you black? As though it is strangely different. As though maybe it is not quite as "normal" as peach skin. A small part of my heart broke for my son.

Last night, while he was suspended in a fractured world between sleep and awake, I whispered to him. "You are beautiful. Your skin is the most delicious chocolate because God made you that way. I love you. You are wonderful. God made you the perfect color." And I hope that some of it soaked into his subconscious. I hope that as he grows, when he is made to feel less than, he knows that in our family he is more than. More than enough. More than what we prayed for. More than what we waited for.

"And look at the shades it comes in--the shades of your colorful skin! Your coffee and cream skin, your warm cocoa dream skin...Your chocolate chip, double dip sundae supreme skin! Your marshmallow treat skin, your spun sugar sweet skin...your cherry topped, candy dropped, frosting complete skin. Your pumpkin pie slice skin, your caramel corn nice skin; your toffee wrapped, ginger snapped, cinnamon spice skin! Your butterscotch gold skin, your lemon tart bold skin; your mountain high apple pie, cookie dough rolled skin! Now, look once again at your skin...And the skin all people live in...And like flowers in the fields that make wonderful views, when we stand side-by-side in our wonderful hues...We all make a beauty, so wonderfully true. We are special and different and just the same, too!" --Michael Tyler The Skin You Live In

Thursday, October 18, 2012


So I was six years old when I just came right out and asked my mom where babies come from. I don't remember how it all went down but I'm sure it involved a very determined little girl who wouldn't take the stork for an answer. My own son is six and don't think it hasn't crossed my mind that someday soon he's going to shock me (Think: The Great Tooth Fairy Revelation over chili dogs) with, "Where do babies come from? No, really? How do they get there? Seriously. Mom, mom, mom, mom tell me now! Tell me how God gets the baby in there."

And in my case it seems that God got the baby in there with a great deal of miracle work but that's only going to pacify him for so long.

Suffice it to say, I am not ready to talk to my six-year-old boy about sex. So let's hope our conversation last night doesn't turn into a quest for knowledge.

Because last night we were going over the 10 commandments. I got to number seven. You know the one. The rule about not committing adultery.

"What's adultery?" he asked.

Great. Thrilling. One simply cannot adequately explain adultery without first explaining sex and he's six and I'm not ready! And, technically, he wasn't even asking. He just wanted to know what the heck a big, weird word meant.

I thought for a couple of quick seconds and then replied, "Adultery is when someone sleeps with a person they aren't married to." He cocked his head to side and narrowed his eyes because, clearly, that was super confusing. "I mean, I can't sleep with another man. I can only sleep with daddy. And daddy can't sleep with another woman. He can only sleep with mommy. Otherwise we're breaking God's law and it makes Him really unhappy."

He nodded as if he kind of understood.

"So, I can only get in bed with daddy. Would it be okay if I crawled into bed with Mr. J----?" (Name omitted to protect the innocent man I'd just seen. The man I am definitely not participating in any extracurricular activities with.)

Garrett screwed up his face and yelled, "NO! That would not be okay!"

So we dodged a bullet last night. And my child is slightly misinformed about the definition of adultery. Ah well. It is what it is.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Tooth Fairy

At the table last night, my son--the one who is probably just a few days shy of losing his first tooth--declared that the tooth fairy is just your mom. Later, in the safety of my bedroom, I pushed to find out who had told him this revelation. He insisted that no one told him but that he decided it must be true because he doesn't believe in fairies.

"Fairies," he declared, "are just in girly movies with a lot of glitter."

We've never said a word one way or the other about the Easter bunny or leprechauns or any other mythical creature except, of course, Santa Claus and Tahoe Tessie because regaling my vacationing children with stories about giant lake monsters is so darn fun. And so, too, is Santa.

And darn it, I want one more year of Santa.

"So tell me, are you the tooth fairy?" was one of the lines interjected into our very long conversation. And, truth be told, none of my children have ever lost a tooth so technically I have never been the tooth fairy. However, we always said that, when asked, we were not going to blatantly lie to the faces of our children. I came clean about the fairy.

"What do you think about the Easter bunny?" I asked him.

"Seriously? A giant bunny with a sack. I don't think so."

"How about leprechauns?" I continued.

"Mom," he looked at me like I'd simultaneously sprouted horns and developed giant blue spots on my skin. "No."

"Elves?" I asked, thinking that if he didn't believe in leprechauns he probably didn't believe in elves and Santa was soon to be out the door as well.

"Well those things are sure real because they come to our house every year!" he said, his eyes dancing with Christmas delight.

And then, before we broke up our little meeting, I threatened him within an inch of his life should he ever tell his brother or a single one of his friends. Because, seriously, I don't want to be the parent of that kid.

"Now, can you go get daddy for me?" I asked him because the version you're getting is abbreviated and the whole conversation was really hysterical.

"Are you going to talk to him about the tooth fairy?" he questioned.

Since that would more or less be the topic of our conversation I told him that I was.

His eyes widened into huge gray-green saucers. "Daddy doesn't know?" 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Learning With Matthew

The Little Buddy can correctly identify all 26 letters if I say them aloud and ask him to point. If I point at them and ask him their names, he knows 18 of them. He knows most of the sounds they make.

And he knows roughly three colors.

Three whole colors! Two and a half really. It's weird. We're working on it. And I'm going insane. He's got brown and blue down. Sometimes he gets red. The other day we drove into the elementary school parking lot and he yelled, "A red car!" And sure enough it was. Unfortunately he doesn't always get red. He very rarely gets yellow but will often say, "It's like a banana!" We know he isn't color blind because when we show him something in a certain color and ask him to go find something in that same color, he almost never fails. He just has a mental block with their names.

Almost any time I try to actually sit down with him and work on colors, he starts crying. I have no idea what sort of trauma has occurred in his life to make him so terribly upset about colors. Yet, the same kid, will jump for joy when I pull out the alphabet chart and squeal, "I get to wern my wettahs?"

He can say neither his l's nor his r's and so I repeatedly ask him what my name is. "Whoa-wee!" he says.

The Rock Star has a friend over and just a minute ago the other boy asked, "Is that your guitar, Matthew?" to which Matthew replied, "No. It's my oooh-ka-way-way."

Yeah. He knows the difference between a guitar and a ukulele but figuring the difference between green and red will reduce him to immediate tears. Obviously.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Record Numbers

"Women are watching the NFL in record numbers now," said the announcer on the game a few minutes ago.


Is it, like, a fad?

Because I've been watching the NFL since I was twelve. That's right. My husband is one lucky dude. Seriously. I probably definitely watch more NFL than he does.

This afternoon, when Seattle came back, looked at Tom Brady and the Patriots, and told them to have a nice flight back to the east coast, I went upstairs and asked my husband if I could have a diamond necklace.

"What?" he asked, perplexed.

"I just thought that maybe you'd be inclined to give me whatever I asked for right now. It was worth a try."

I watch football for football's sake but maybe, just maybe, these record setting women know that if they're familiar with how a certain game went, they might improve their marriages.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sign Up Sheets

Many weeks ago, our church started advertising for the annual golf scramble. It was announced from the pulpit, a sign up sheet was placed in the foyer, and people began to discuss their swings. The Rock Star wants to be all grown up in the worst of ways. He hears mention of a men's breakfast and he's begging his daddy to take him. He hears Dessert Social and he's already planning what we'll bring. He heard Golf Scramble and, suddenly, he saw himself on the PGA Tour. Later that day, he walked up to me holding the sign up sheet. He'd written his name on it and was excited to show me that, since he'd signed up, he was definitely, without a shadow of doubt, going golfing with his daddy.

Can you see it there? On line five?

There are just certain things we can't say no to. Unfortunately, Garrett's big, begging, eyes are one of them. (Within reason, of course.) So Troy set about finding some kid clubs that our boy could use and, on the day that he went to the course to make sure everything was ready for their group, he took Garrett along.

And found out that you have to be eight to golf there.

Then there was wailing and the most horrible gnashing of teeth. The worst kind of devastation descended upon our six-year-old. We somehow managed to get him past his time of grief and, last Sunday, he had the opportunity to sign another sheet.

This one was for people willing to bring food to the adult hospitality room during our annual Harvest Party. "Look, Mom!" he said as he approached me holding the sign up sheet in his hands. "I signed up for something else since I couldn't go golfing."

Unsure of what he'd gotten himself us into, I took the clipboard from him. "Garrett!" I admonished. "You aren't allowed to sign up for anything else without asking me first."

"Why? What is that?"

"It's for bringing food to the harvest party," I said.

"Oh! Cool! What am I bringing?" he asked.

"COCKTAIL WEENIES!" I said in a lecturing tone (although it should be said that there was a hysterical outburst in the back of my throat that I only barely managed to swallow down).

He tilted his head to the side. "What the heck is a cocktail weenie?"


And then I had visions of us trick-or-treating while carrying around a crockpot full of mini hot dogs. Needless to say, his name was whited out and a female who has a good thirty years on Garrett signed up in his place.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Afternoon With a Gaggle of Boys

I'm watching my friend's boys for the afternoon and remembering that, if my oldest and her oldest were twins, these four kids could all be mine. And they would be raised by relatives while Troy and I enjoyed our stay at the local mental institution.


And yet, oh so fun.

We made a fort out of a sheet.

We made Halloween sugar cookies.

And now they've been playing outside for over an hour.

Giggling. Screaming. Generally experiencing merriment.

I walked past the open sliding glass door, saw my oldest and her oldest sitting in the red wagon and paused as I listened to the following conversation.

W gets out of the wagon and Garrett yells, "No! That's all water! You're drowning!"

W doesn't skip so much as a half a beat before he replies, "No I'm not. I'm Jesus."

"OH!" Garrett says quickly. "So, I guess that makes me Peter."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Five on Wednesday

1. God bless Costco precooked chicken. One of them feeds my family of four for three nights. Two night of straight chicken eating and a third night of chicken enchiladas or chef salad with chicken or taco soup.

2. Someone asked me the other day, "Where did you adopt your boys from?" It was actually a really refreshing question. Because I've always wondered why most people assume Garrett is biological just because he's Caucasian. And, yeah, sure, the kid looks exactly like me but most people--and all their extended family members plus their mailman--think he's a spitting image of his father who usually isn't with me when adoption questions come up.When I answered, "Well, Garrett is biological and Matthew was born in California," the response was a somewhat surprised, "Oh! Okay." Again, it was just nice that someone realized that just because Garrett is Caucasian doesn't mean he came from my body. Even though, in this case, he did.

3. I started watching that new show Revolution. I have a very strong feeling that I will waste five years of my life on it and then throw something at my television during the finale. Much like I did with Lost. That being said, I have to know why the lights turned off!

4. I really like autumn in Utah. Except for the fact that it's just a pretty transition into winter. And I don't like winter in Utah. December in Utah is fine. But the long, cold months of January, February, March, April and part of May can just fall right off the calendar for all I care. So basically, what I'm saying is that seven months out of the year I'm pretty happy with the weather patterns. I guess it could be worse.

5. I'm trying to buy my kids one fun thing at the grocery store when we go. This is difficult because GOODNESS have you seen the price of food these days? But I don't want my boys to grow up and say things like, "If only my mom had bought us cookies every once in a blue moon." I say no so often. Take today, for example. They wanted canned strawberries. They wanted cheese shaped like Mickey Mouse. They wanted donuts. I said no to all of those. But I bought them Little Debbie Fall cakes. They were pretty excited. One of them pumped his fist, howled, "Yes!" and then followed it up with, "I love you, Mom."

Last week I bought them each a packet of Kool-Aid. My husband informed me that Kool-Aid was a staple for him growing up and that I was probably going to be responsible for my kids growing up maladjusted because I'd never made it. (Just kidding. He totally didn't say that.) We had it as a rare treat but I do remember enjoying it. So I let them each pick a packet. It was the first time, in Garrett's six years of life and Matthew's three, that I'd ever bought Kool-Aid. So I got home, completely under the impression that I added that little packet to some water and called it a fun drink. Then I read the directions.

AND OH MY GOSH DO YOU ALL KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TO ADD AN ENTIRE CUP OF SUGAR TO THAT CRAP? I truly did not know this. So I added way more water than it called for because I do not need those boys hopped up on that much sugar, believe me. And then I had a slight panic attack that I was completely polluting their systems. I mean, their bodies are TEMPLES for crying out loud. But I shook it off and was met with two perfect smiles when that drink hit those tongues.

Although, thankfully, a week later, most of that Kool-Aid is still sitting in the fridge. They simply don't ask for it. And for that there is much rejoicing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Does anyone else ever grow weary of shaving your legs? Brushing your teeth? Washing your hair? Do not get me wrong, I don't want to go around blowing putrid breath on people. I don't want to have hairy man legs. I don't want greasy, unwashed hair. I'm not depressed or otherwise apathetic toward life in general. But sometimes, I stick that toothpaste on that brush and I think, "I just did this."

And I'm weird about my teeth because I live in perpetual anxiety that "today will be the day I get a cavity!" Being cavity free through 30 years of life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Truly. At my last dentist appointment I found out that I have not one but two incipient lesions. They were marked on my virtual tooth chart and I saw them, two darkened teeth, staring at me. I almost hyperventilated and burst into tears right then and there. But the dentist came in and told me my teeth looked great.


The hygienist stepped in. "Oh those. Those are incipient lesions. Basically they're cavities but they don't need to be filled yet and as long as you keep brushing and flossing like you do, we won't need to do anything."

But she'd lost me at the basically they're cavities part.

So what? Now I'm only a filling free kid? Because I'd prided myself for 30 years on being a cavity free kid.  And I tell you what, the moment those incipient lesions turn into bonafide, raging, decaying cavities is the moment that dentist's office doesn't know what hit them. Because try as I might I am sure that I'm going to lose it. I'm going to dissolve into a puddle of tears as I bid goodbye to my filling free mouth. Guys, I am seriously weird about my teeth.

And terrified of Novocaine. Flat out, down right, terrified. And I got an epidural.

That's right. I had a needle plunged deep into my spine and barely blinked but the thought of one pricking my gums is the worst kind of Halloween horror I can imagine.

So there's the inevitable downward spiral my pride will take upon no longer having perfect teeth followed by the sheer and utter terror of needles being stuck into my mouth. And I'm living on borrowed time because the incipient lesions are actively living in my mouth! Living if I invited them. Living there as if all those years of obsessive brushing didn't matter after all.

As I said before, it's not that I want to stop bathing or brushing my teeth--I mean, heck, my teeth time now involves even more obsessive brushing than it did before, even more furious flossing, and a more attentive Listerine rinse--it's just that I sometimes tire of the routine. It doesn't really matter anyway because, eventually, those incipient lesions are going to TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

But then I remember things like, oh, biblical times, for example, when people traipsed through the desert in bare feet and bathed only every so often. When meals consisted of lamb and onions and leeks and garlic and, occasionally, locusts and there is no mention anywhere of toothpaste.

Then I gladly hop up and do the teeth routine.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I think I got a little too much of my dad's genes. He being the one who once scared my brother so perfectly that the kid threw up in the hallway.

But let me back up.

We were all playing a game where we turned off all the lights in the house and then we had to find each other. Or something. The rules have faded into the deep recesses of my memory. What I do remember is that my dad took the screen off of his bedroom window and sneaked into the backyard and then back in through another part of the house. We knew we had him cornered in one end of the house so, when he grabbed my brother from behind, the kid had no chance. So terrified was he that, upon initial contact from my dad, Jon vomited all over the carpet.

I love to scare my kids.

I'm pretty sure this is never going to win me any mother of the year awards. I'm also pretty sure it means that my nurture genes are devastatingly flawed.

All I have to do now is let out one, small, crackly moan and my boys will yell, "Mommy's a monster!" and promptly run away. One or both of them will eventually get brave and come looking for me. Their momentary absence will, however, give me plenty of time to hide myself away into some nook or cranny somewhere and give me the perfect opportunity to grab one of them as they creep anxiously around the house. 

A look of panic flashes across their little faces for a split second before they dissolve into giggles.

Thankfully, to date, I've never made either boy toss his cookies.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Pies & Pajamas

It's not National Pajama Day. I know because I looked it up after we saw not one but two people wearing pajamas in McDonald's. At 1:15 in the afternoon. The first was a kid who was, clearly, wearing not one but two kinds of pajamas. He began by putting on a thin cotton, long sleeve shirt and matching pants. He then paired this with Scooby-Doo jammies of the short sleeve variety. I pondered this child--who I'd say was about five--for quite some time before asking my husband, "Is he wearing two pairs of pajamas?" Troy then watched him for about ten seconds before replying, "Yes. Yes he is."

Then, when we were leaving McDonald's, I noticed a full grown young woman standing at the counter wearing flannel pants with some kind of bedtime print and a soft cotton tee. Her outfit came complete with slippers.

This led me to ask, as we exited the building, if it was National Pajama Day. So I looked it up. Nope. National Pajama Day is November 6. Do you think people maybe got confused?

But then I was in Walmart and I saw a cart with two boys inside. Both of them were wearing pants complete with belts but were lacking shirts. I quickly scanned the cart wondering if they had discarded their top wear. This in and of itself would have been slightly weird but there were no shirts in sight. So, apparently, this was a, "Grab your pants, we're going to Walmart," kind of moment.

"What about our shirts?"

"What about them? We have to go. NOW. Walmart doesn't wait for shirts!"

So, apparently, it's just National Dress Strange and Go Out In Public Day and I didn't get the memo.

In other news, my three-year-old is cuter than your three-year-old. No, I know what you're thinking. It's just because he's mine. Right? I'm biased. Right?


Because watch this.

He always calls pumpkins "Pumpkin Pies" and it's the cutest thing. Of ever. They're in all the stores now and when he sees them he squeals, "Look, Mom! Pumpkin pies!" The other day we were driving past a pumpkin patch. "Mommy! A bunch of pumpkin pies!"

And if that doesn't win him cutest three-year-old of all time then the voting is clearly skewed.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shower Math

I have mighty revelations in the shower.

It's weird.

But there's nothing much to do in their but think.

Because my hands and arms know the routine. They've been doing it for decades. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Position leg. Shave. Repeat.

And so I think.

What should come to me the other night in the shower but a simple math equation.

My six-year-old is one third of way raised.

Oh sure, I know that I'll never stop being his mom and he'll always be my baby but in two thirds time he won't have (and I use have here as though I'm fooling myself into thinking I have some major influence over that independent child) to listen to me or take my advice. In two thirds time he'll be a man.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Women's Retreat Chicken

Our retreat was really an incredible time of fellowship and worship. I was concerned that 38 women sharing five toilets and four showers would be a problem but it really seemed to work out fine. Our only adversity came in the form of dinner when, apparently, Satan decided to send his minions to occupy the oven (an appropriate place for them, really).

My friend, Joyce, who was heading up the kitchen duty for the weekend, wrote out the dinner recipe and passed it out at Bible study in case we wanted to try the meal at our own homes. It's way too wonderful to keep all to myself. We quadrupled the recipes for our big gang. Which didn't actually end up making any difference.

Women's Retreat Chicken
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half or in chunks
8 slices swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cups Pepperidge Farm stuffing or dressing
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Start with 38 hungry people and a broken oven. Preheat the oven to 350. This won't actually work, but pretend. Put the chicken in an ungreased baking pan, preferably a metal one so that when the oven doesn't work, you won't be able to microwave the dish and eat on time. Place the swiss cheese on top of the chicken. Mix soup with wine (I know, I know, this is a Baptist church, but do you realize that the vanilla flavoring that in in our cakes, brownies, frostings, cookies and pies that we are so fond of is 41% alcohol?) Besides, the alcohol evaporates as the dish bakes (or burns as the case may be). Pour the soup mix over the chicken & cheese. Sprinkle the stuffing on top. Drizzle the melted butter over top of the stuffing. Put the pan in the oven. Pray. Pray hard. If you don't happen to have a broken oven on hand, bake for one hour. If you have the broken variety, stand by anxiously for about 2 hours whilst the top of the dish burns absolutely black and the chicken remains raw. If it works, enjoy! If not, break out the ham sandwiches! Bless the Lord for providing for you! Open the windows and doors to let the smoke out and as many flies as possible in.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: One hour, in theory
Serves: Lots

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Miss Rosa

Garrett: Mom, did I ever have a teacher named Miss Rosa?

Me: No.

Garrett: Why?

Me: I don't know. You've just never had a Miss Rosa before.

Garrett: Not even in preschool?

Me: No. Why? Did you think you did?

Garrett: Yes.

Me: You had a Miss Star.

Garrett: Oh. Yeah. That's close. I must have just gotten mixed up.

Um. Okay.

Apply Here

I'm praying for a female acoustic guitar player with a strong voice to join our church and lead worship at our retreats. While we're on the subject of a faith based wishlist, I'm also praying for a rich benefactor who will give liberally to the church, but so far God just keeps revealing that the current body needs to give more. Go figure. Also on the list is the request that a good, godly, Christian family will move into the vacant house next door, be searching for a church, come to ours, like it and stay. Yes. I pray for specific things like that. Go big or go home.

But back to the female acoustic guitar player.

We don't have one.

So at our retreats, we worship to album songs. I usually stand up in front and sing along and I typically invite someone else to stand up there with me. The problem is, I look like a complete and total dweeb.

So I guess my request is actually for a female acoustic guitar player who does not look like a total dweeb when she worships.

I want to be Jill McCloghry or Brooke Fraser or Amy Grant in my next life. If, you know, I believed in reincarnation and if, in said reincarnated life, I could come back as people who already exist. It's complicated theology.

I never raised my hands up like that before. I was a good little Baptist girl who kept her arms firmly at her sides. And then, one day, I felt one arm creeping up. God is all around me. In me, even, but suddenly I wanted to stretch my body as close to Heaven as I could. To reach Christ. To touch His face. To hold that nail scarred hand. To brush my fingertips across His tunic and be healed.

But I think this is a situation where what is felt on the inside is not necessarily translated to what one looks like on the outside. Because, apparently, while I was worshiping the Lord, I thought I needed to hold my scarf down for fear that it might grow wings and fly away. And, also, I think I look a little more like I'm in pain and a little less like I'm in love.

So I'm taking applications for next year's worship leader, is what I'm saying.

But we did have a fantastic time with 38 women crammed into tight living quarters, praising our Savior.