Saturday, February 28, 2009

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

I like weird things. I like movies that are scary. Unfortunately, since being pregnant with Ella, I have found that a lot of the scary movies made in the last ten years are just too disturbing for me. Things that never would have bothered me a mere three years ago are now too much for my taste.

There is a solution. Major networks offer websites with many of their shows, past and present, available online. (This is how Edwin and I watch Lost every week.) I recently discovered that I can watch Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone this way. They're weird, and even creepy at times, but not disturbing. They are much more likely to be silly than genuinely disturbing.

This is how I spent my evening last night while Edwin and DeLaynie were at Edwin's mom's house. I had a mini-marathon of weirdness. It was made more fun by the fact that it was late at night, and I was really sleepy. Nothing intensifies strange, old television quite like sleep deprivation. I went to sleep within a few minutes of closing the ol' laptop, and I didn't have any nightmares or trouble sleeping.

I think I've found a new plan with dealing with those cravings for the surreal. Call me lame. Call me silly. Call me immature. Just don't call me when I'm watching my shows. :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've Been Skyped!

A few long-distance friends compelled Edwin and me to get on Skype. It took us a while, for what reason, I do not know, to get signed up, but we had our first conference call last night. Six of us (well, five once Edwin went to bed) talked for about an hour and a half. It was fun... and free! One couple was in Texas, another in North Carolina, and there we were, having a conversation. It was such an odd experience, especially when trying to differentiate between speakers.

Video calls are reserved to two parties, so we couldn't see each other during the conference call. The nice thing about the video call is that you can see when you're boring the other person to death, when you've offended them, or when they are really enjoying the discussion. I've always felt a bit disadvantaged at understanding someone over the phone, which is why I don't talk on the phone much. I'm always fearful of hurting someone's feelings and not realizing it. The video component on Skype drastically improves my confidence in phone conversation.

It'a nice preview of my future overseas, getting connected to people I care about via this electronice contraption called a computer. You know, if I were someone else I might try to warn you of the impending takeover of the electronic devices that we believe are under our control. But I am me, and will therefore stay away from such crack-pot theories.

So I am now more connected with the universe, or something like that. How incredibly average am I?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Ella's new favorite meal is macaroni and cheese and peas. She does make it look extra-delicious, doesn't she? I'm glad that she's to the age where she can really self-feed most of the time. She can even use a spoon with a little bit of help! I know, I mentioned that already this week, but I'm so excited! I can put food on her tray and walk away. (I'm doing a happy dance. Maybe not physically, but my heart is totally getting down. You should see my heart's awesome moves.)

We kind of skipped over the spoon-fed phase. Not completely, of course, but I didn't feel much of a need to make sure she ate real baby food every meal... or every day. I've been giving her finger-food for a while, and she does very well with it. I've noticed that this is pretty normal for second kids. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Yea for development! Yea for finger foods! Yea for messy little girls covered in fake cheese!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Teenagers and Drugs

When I mentioned earlier that I was confused by big kids, I wasn't very accurate. I like teenagers. Edwin and I enjoy kids in middle and high schools. It's the elementary kids that throw me off. I can handle playing Ring Around The Rosy, and I can get into a game of laser tag or capture the flag. The in-betweeners, however, throw me for a loop.

Last night we were able to play with some of the kids in the church's youth ministry. It's the month of prayer (an annual emphasis) at First Baptist, a part of which includes in-home prayer meetings. Edwin and I were able to be a part of the one for the youth, thanks to a very generous Youth Dude. After the prayer time was concluded, we all had a chance to chat and play. It made me lonesome for the kids back in Kentucky.

There was one thing that was especially interesting. Edwin went to the doctor yesterday, and discovered that his respiratory system is out of service due to infection. The doctor put him on some prescription cough syrup. It's the hard stuff. It was obvious that the stuff had an affect on him. He was talking very slowly, and saying strange things. It's really a very good thing that he is such a genuinely good person, or else he might have said some questionable things. But he is that genuinely good, and what he said was weird, not immoral. He kept saying, "I wonder why I feel so weird. It's like I just downed an entire bottle of NyQuil." He went to take another dose, and after downing four teaspoons, realized that he was supposed to take 1 teaspoon four times a day (that would be every six hours, just in case you too are on such a medication), not 4 teaspoons every four hours. That man had taken 8 teaspoons in four hours!

I called poison control. Edwin didn't want me to, but I'd prefer to raise my children with his help, if possible. This was just too stupid of a reason for that dream to end. The poison control lady said that he'd taken the same dose as a drug addict, but that he'd be okay. He couldn't drive, and he would feel very, um, relaxed for a few hours, but he wasn't in danger. Whew!

Youth Dude made the oh-so-wise decision to be there when the kids' parents arrived. The last thing that any parent needs is to discover that their teenage child has been hanging out with a high missionary with only his wife to supervise all night. The kids seemed to enjoy Edwin's zoned-out behavior. So did the adults (that would be Youth Dude and me, if I can be considered an adult). That man will do anything to entertain!

Thanks to Youth Dude for allowing us to share in the fun, and for not being annoyed with us for contaminating him and the kids with whatever it is that has attacked Edwin's respiratory system (sorry, Youth Dude's Awesome Chick). Thanks to my parents for letting us use their house. Oh, and thanks to the teenagers for putting up with some boring (even when highly medicated) old fogies like ourselves.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dance Party!

Apparently, "Electric Boogie" is a kids' song. I'm not sure who made that determination, but it was on the cable company's kids' music station. It was between some song by the Cheetah Girls and "What Are You Gonna Do?" by Raven-Symone. Here I was expecting "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and "Baby Beluga." I think that the new standard for kids' music is simply that the artists are affiliated with Disney in some way.

I was trying to get DeLaynie and Ella to dance on video. I thought that you fine people might enjoy it, but they refused to cooperate. Once I turned the camera off, Ella was more than happy to get down with her adorable self. Her signature moves are bouncing on her knees and tapping the toes of one foot on the floor with one arm above her head. It's a move similar to that of a ballerina.

DeLaynie's favorite thing about school is singing and dancing. She has always enjoyed music, and you can teach her almost anything if it's put into the form of a song. That could make for some interesting songs when we get into potty training...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Party at Gigi and Big D's!

The girls and I are at my parent's house for the day. We also spent the night last night. Edwin and I didn't have a fight. If we had, Mom wouldn't let us in the door until we worked it out. Okay, she may let me leave the kids, but I would never make it in. We're here because the house that the church has very graciously allowed us to live in is having a little bit of work done on it, and I knew that the girls would get under foot. Plus, it gave Edwin a chance to get some uninterrupted sleep. It's worked out well for everyone, I believe.

The day has been a fun one with all of the amenities of the grandparents' place. I don't buy oatmeal because I find it completely disgusting. Ella likes it, though, so she had some this morning, courtesy of Gigi. She ate it almost completely unassisted with a spoon! Oh, the pride, not to mention the freedom. I just put the bowl and spoon in front of her and walked away to let her go to it. I wish I had a picture, but I didn't bring my camera, and mom's wasn't charged. It was messy, gooey fun!

We've played outside, gone for a nice, short walk (hey, you try pushing a double stroller up-hill on gravel!), and played with the special toys that live here. Oh, and then there's Noggin (a preschooler's television dream come true). It's been an enjoyable day. Now I just have to try to clean the house before Mom gets home...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hip Ornament

We are entering the very predictable, and oh-so-annoying phase of separation anxiety with Ella. She has been more clingy than normal for a few weeks now. That's really saying something for her, because she is incredibly cuddly in her normal state.

DeLaynie was a daddy's girl from birth. When she hit the separation anxiety stage, she suddenly cared when I left her in the nursery or we left her with a sitter. Because she had never cared if I was around or not, it was a little enjoyable to see it bother her that I was leaving. She still liked Edwin more, but at least I was felt relatively important to her.

Ella likes me. She always has. I think it has to do with her passionate love of food. Since I was the almost-exclusive provider of food for the first eight months, she got to be pretty fond of me. Now she's just plain annoying about it. When I took her to the church nursery last Sunday night, her feet literally touched the floor, and she broke into a pathetic, crying blob of a baby. She calmed down quickly, once she realized that there was no hope of Mommy's return. She does fine as long as she knows I'm gone, but if I'm anywhere close, she's pretty pitiful.

I went upstairs to do laundry last night, leaving her with Daddy, and she crawled to the gate that keeps our room off-limits, and just stood there, crying. I didn't see it, but Edwin said that it was a thoroughly pathetic sight.

I never understood why other moms seemed so annoyed about it when their children hit this phase. I felt useful when DeLaynie was going through it. Ella, however, is a totally different story. Now I get it. Sometimes, you just want the balanced feeling of baby-free hips. I guess I'll get that pleasure when we get to missionary training, and then I'll miss the baby-laden life, I'm sure.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Have You Asked?

Why is it that we all assume that we aren't meant to do missions (or other paid ministry, for that matter)? We expect God to come down on a glowing cloud and announce, in a loud, clear voice, "You need to go to the southeast coast of Belize and teach small children about Me using music and funny voices." It doesn't take much faith to obey that. I was looking for a similar experience when we first considered missions, but I don't think that God uses those methods all too often.

Maybe I should tell you how we were "called" to go overseas. When I was seventeen, I realized that the man that God had planned for me was going to be a minister. I'd fought such a calling my whole life, so I wasn't thrilled at first. It grew on me over time, though. I love being a minister's wife now, and I couldn't imagine any other life.

A little over a year ago, Edwin and I realized that God was working on us. We knew that He had another job for us to do. We were very happy where we were in Kentucky. We loved our church (and we still love them, despite the distance), and there wasn't an issue in the church that caused us to leave (just to make sure that is perfectly clear). We just knew that we had a job to do elsewhere.

We'd always figured that after Kentucky, we would move closer to home. We started looking for jobs in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida (I was cheering for Florida). We saw various jobs, and Edwin applied to some of them, but nothing "felt right". I'm not big on feelings. I don't trust them, but we are spiritual beings, and this feeling had to do with our spirits and the Spirit of God. It was a spiritual discomfort that kept us looking.

Edwin told me after a few weeks that he really wanted to leave the Bible Belt. I wasn't totally thrilled. I was really looking forward to being closer to my family, but Edwin is my primary family, along with the girls. I found some jobs in places like Las Vegas and the NorthWest. Nothing came of them.

Then Edwin asked me about missions. I wasn't convinced, but out of a desire to see my husband's calling fulfilled, along with my own, I agreed to begin the process, still unsure of what God was doing. I filled out the application out of submission. I don't mean gritting my teeth submission, and I don't mean that I was angry or bitter about it. I did it because I trust my husband's judgement, and I just didn't know what God wanted yet.

Now I do. Through the application process, interviews, and presentations, God has not only brought a desire into my heart, He has brought a burden. I yearn, yes yearn, to go overseas. I long to fulfill this calling. It may not have started with some mystical voice or gut-feeling, but it is absolutely clear. Edwin and I are following the path laid for us by our King. And I can't wait!

So, have you asked what God wants you to do? If I'd assumed that I knew what God was doing, I would have been living in disobedience. I'm so glad that God uses things like husbands, yearnings, and closed doors to speak to His people. It couldn't hurt to ask if God wants you to go overseas to take the Gospel. The worst that could happen is He says, "No", or maybe it's, "Yes," that you're afraid of.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


We've had a tiring week. Edwin, Ella, and I have been fighting a stomach bug, because teething simply wasn't making Ella miserable enough. There have been lots and lots of diapers meet their doom in our humble abode this week. We've had lots of those diapers. By those diapers, I mean the ones that leave in their wake a path of destruction that requires forty-five minutes, a bath, a load of laundry, and a trip to the garbage can outside in order to rectify, and even then you are haunted by the sights and smells of the past.

DeLaynie has been left unaffected, as normal. I've said that she could lick a petrie dish and stay healthy, and that's about true. I think that it has something to do with the fact that we let her scoot just about anywhere. The people at Lifeway in Elizabethtown knew her pretty well. Edwin would let her get down and scoot around the circular path on the carpeted floor. I didn't go with him most of the time, hoping that the employees wouldn't think that I condoned such behavior. I know that has nothing to do with her healthy state, actually, but I'd really like to take credit for it. Oh well! If I don't want to be blamed for the faults that have nothing to do with the quality of parenting she receives, I better not take credit for the positive qualities that have nothing to do with the parenting she receives.

We're all feeling better, and I had an actual meal for lunch today (my favorite, Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad from McDonald's!). I have high hopes for that meal, like digestion. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Time Has Come...

I have put this post off for a long time. I have debated it and questioned it long enough. I have been afraid for too long. I have to come clean. If I hurt the feelings of the people I care about, so be it.

There are too many people who do not understand which there/their/they're to use and which to/too/two to use. It's an epidemic at this point. There are six different words represented here, and each deserves its fair shake. Let's go over each one.

There- referring to a place, or used ambiguously to refer to a situation.
  • The fish tanks are over there.
  • There are ten fish tanks currently available.
  • There is a sale on small fish tanks tomorrow.
  • There is no way out of this situation.
  • We need to put the fish tank over there.
  • We'll have to move the t.v. from there to there so we can put the fish tank over there.

Their- used to describe possession.

  • That is their house right over there.
  • Their porch light is on.
  • Their dog is a mean one.

They're- a contraction that puts they and are into one word.

  • They're away for the weekend.
  • They're never able to get away.
  • They're so tired from all of the hard work that they put in at the office.

Let's move on the to the to/too/two situation that also plagues our country.

To- can be used a number of ways. It is normally a preposition, and is often used to describe direction or denote the purpose of something. It can also be used to show possession or association.

  • I am going to the store.
  • I have to take out the trash.
  • Where's the lid to this sippy cup?
  • I love to dance.
  • I have to get some juice for DeLaynie.
  • What do you want to do for dinner?

Too- means "also" or can be used to describe an excess of something.

  • Will you take your brother too?
  • There are too many children who do not receive proper discipline.
  • There is too little time to get everything done.
  • I forgot to tell you that we need toilet paper too.
  • Are you coming too?

Two- is a number. 2.

  • I have two children.
  • Two is the number between one and three.
  • Four divided by two equals two.

I hope that by working together, we can combat the lack of understanding plaguing this country. Remember, every word is special, designed with the purpose of communicating a wonderful message. Every word has a meaning, and every meaning deserves a word.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm Hoping For A Girl

No, I'm not having a baby, thank you very much. I'm hoping that one of the children that I've already had will eventually realize that she is a girl. DeLaynie, as you saw yesterday, loves dirt. She also loves cars, pirate ships, and tools. Her favorite thing at the church is the tool bench in one of the other class rooms. Whenever I go to pick her up, she heads straight into the room with the tool bench.

I had pink and lavendar hopes for Ella. I kept her as frilly as I am capable. (I, myself, am anti-lace and not too fond of pink.) I've tried to force bows, but they never stay in too long since she loves ripping headbands off her head, and she doesn't have enough hair to hold in a clippy. I encourage girly toys, like dolls. She'll chew on anything, so she at least bites on the heads of her dolls. I got her the girliest push-walker this world has so far seen.

Today I made my big mistake. I brought down a toy car, the kind that you put the chunky little people in. Or, my brother did about fifteen years ago. I don't think that they make those any more. It clicks as you push it. Ella loves it. Forget dolls, pink walkers, or anything else. She loves that Little Tykes car.

If it wasn't for DeLaynie's constant desire to nurture and love on anything and everything, I would be thoroughly concerned. Ella still has hope, though I may need to smuggle the car back upstairs, forcing her to play with something pink.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day!

We spent today, President's Day, with my mom's parents, aka: Granny and Pa. We trekked to Dothan to see my very sweet grandparents, who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year. Wow! That's staying power! Here are a few pictures from our trip.

So, I lied! This picture is from Saturday in our den, but Ella's actually wearing a bow in her hair, so I really had to post it. I'm sure that you understand.

Pa and Ella. Obviously, they find each other mutually humorous.

Just about the only thing that Ella and DeLaynie did together today was ride the wagon, an experience that DeLaynie was oh-so-stingy about sharing.
Ella was excited about getting to play outside. It was a lovely day.
I think Ella will be a linebacker. Mommy's so proud. As a little factoid, this may be the oldest football thrown by a cheerleader into the stands at a Dothan High School football game. I played with it when I was little, as did my Uncle Marty, I do believe. The year of its birth? 1967. That's right: '67. They really don't make things like they used to. If they did, the entire planet would be covered in cheap footballs from various high school homecomings.

Ella looks up to her Gigi, literally and figuratively.

Granny blew bubbles.

DeLaynie chased bubbles. Look at that form. Arm straight out, legs extended. That is excellent bubble chasing if ever I saw it.

One of DeLaynie's favorite activities of the day, however, was playing in the dirt.

Check out those hands. Covered in dirt! Happy children can usually be described that way.

Obviously, Delaynie got good and dirty, 'cause she sure looks happy here.

We had a fun day with the great-grandparents of Dothan. Granny is a regular reader of this blog. For a long time, she was one of a handful of folks who read it. She's the same Granny who joined Facebook just to keep up with her grand- and great grandchildren. Thanks for a wonderful bank and post office holiday, Granny and Pa!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My First Valentine's Day With Edwin

As a short trip down Memory Lane, I thought I'd share a little about my first Valentine's Day with Edwin. He and I had been dating for about two weeks. We were already pretty giddy. I had believed that he was the one from the first conversation, which lasted a couple of hours. We'd emailed quite a bit under the rouse of "youth pastor and youth volunteer." He was a youth pastor, and I was a youth volunteer, but I don't think it's typical for a youth pastor to send five (personal, not group) emails a week to a youth volunteer, and I'm sure that most youth volunteers don't get all lightheaded at the sight of the youth pastor's name in the inbox.

Edwin gave me a commentary on Isaiah the day before Valentine's Day. The next day he gave me a Valentine's bag that he had made at work as a special education assistant, which I still have. He had filled it with my favorite candy in the world: Hershey's Cookies N' Cream bars. There was also a note. He drew pictures on the bag of things that were special to us, like a duck. He and I would go to the pond that was in his neighborhood and feed the ducks while we chatted. He also drew hints about what we were going to do that night.

It was a surprise. He had carefully thought it out. Like our first date, we would spend the evening in Pensacola. We liked having the drive from Mobile to Pensacola because it gave us lots of time to talk. He didn't tell me what we were doing until we pulled into the parking lot. We were going to see a minor league hockey game! I really liked hockey, but I had never seen a live game. (As a sidenote: I was shocked at how little time the puck spent on the ice. That thing was flying everywhere. There were lots more fights than in NHL hockey, too.)

It was fun. We got to chat, which is the benefit of not seeing a movie for a date. I enjoyed watching the game, and I loved getting to know this wonderful guy a little better. I was thoroughly hooked by the time we left the arena.

We wanted some food, but it was late, so we ended our date in the McDonald's parking lot. (Only the drive-thru was open.) We sat in the car, eating and listening to the Phillips, Craig, and Dean and Caedmon's Call cds I'd gotten him for Valentine's Day. It was a fun evening.

Six years, two diplomas, three cities, and two kids later, we're still spending Valentine's Day together. What are we going to do to celebrate? We're going to watch some t.v. shows we never get to see via the internet and eat Pizza Hut pasta while the girls are being lovingly cared for by my wonderful parents. We're going to talk. We're going to remember how well God took the two of us and turned us into a family. It's going to be another fun evening!

Friday, February 13, 2009

V-Day Party Results

I'm sure that you're all wondering about how well that party went at DeLaynie's school yesterday. I don't know about the party itself because it was in the middle of Ella's nap time. I wasn't about to interrupt her first really good nap in a week to peek in on a class party, even though I really wanted to.

What I do know is that she tremendously enjoyed the goodie bags. I thought that I was doing well to include a sheet of stickers with each Valentine, but about half of the kids sent goodie bags. I might have been more upset at this realization if the experience hadn't been shared by a friend of mine in Texas. She has just placed her daughter in mother's day out, and didn't realize that this was the standard practice. We both agree that there should be a fact sheet for new mommies to such programs that includes the unmentioned norms.

Here are a couple of pictures of DeLaynie, enjoying the treats from her goodie bags.

In these pictures, you may notice that she is wearing three heart necklaces, a heart bracelet, and enjoying two suckers simultaneously. Yep, she had fun. She also received a coupon for a Krispy Kreme doughnut, but she doesn't like doughnuts, unfortunately. I guess that I'll just have to put that one to good use. ;)

After the party, we put in a little play time, allowing me to get a few pictures of Ella, this time without marker all over her.
I'm not sure how she endured crawling along the cement. I took off her shoes because I didn't want the leather to ruin from the friction against the sidewalk. I couldn't think of a way to remove her knees for the same purpose. Her knees were very red, but she didn't seem to mind. She just kept crawling along.
So, I think yesterday was a success. Everyone had a good time, except for Ella's knees, but they don't get a say.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Everyone Loves a Lemming!

You know, the little creatures that will follow their leader right off a cliff? They're great, and pretty cute too. They just follow right along. And you should too. Toward the bottom of the right bar over there -------> (see it?) there's a pitifully short list of people who follow this blog. I don't have any giveaways to bribe you with. I wish I did. If anyone deserves a little something, it's the people who endure reading my thoughts on a regular basis. But alas, I have nothing. Still, it would make me happy to see more people on that list. Plus, everyone will think that you are too cool for words because you follow along the life of a nut like me. Just a little peer pressure to make you feel reminiscent of high school. :)

Vicarious V-Day

Today is the day that DeLaynie's preschool celebrates Valentine's Day. I spent an insane amount of time searching for Valentines yesterday. I kept debating between the really inexpensive ones that come with 32 in a box (some were 27), the much more expensive (and way cuter) ones that come 8 to a pack, and DeLaynie and I sitting down to make our own.

Making them was the most expensive option, and I wasn't convinced that DeLaynie would enjoy it. The boxed ones were all themed, and I couldn't find any that were gender-neutral. I didn't want to give the boys butterfly tattoos. DeLaynie wasn't with me to make the choice. They didn't have any of her favorite characters anyway, since she is currently obsessed with old(er) movies, like Robin Hood. I'm a little surprised that they didn't have any Toy Story ones, though. I moved past the character ones into the 8-packs. After about an hour of searching, I finally found a couple of eight-packs that weren't as expensive as the others, and they were pretty cute.

I know, I know. There is no way that DeLaynie cares that much about which Valentines cards she gives out. It occurred to me as I was wading through the sea of commercialism referred to as the seasonal aisle, that this would be the only opportunity I would have to go through this little dance for a while. Nicaragua may or may not celebrate Valentine's Day, but I'm pretty sure that they don't celebrate the same way that we do. I remember all of the Valentine's Days that I celebrated in school. I remember getting so excited about giving out the little cards, and coming home to go through them one by one. And I got all sentimental, which is saying something for me.

DeLaynie did "sign" each card. I wasn't going to put her name down on something that was completely about me. I really hope that she has had a fun day at school, and that the celebration was as much fun for her as preparing the cards was for me. But I kinda doubt it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Slightly Less Wordy Wednesday

I had by post written this morning, but I didn't really like it. There was nothing wrong with it, but I just didn't care much for it either way. Ella came to the rescue this morning. I had changed her diaper, but I didn't put her day clothes on quite yet because I didn't want them to get messy before we even had a chance to leave the house. She was chasing DeLaynie around, and they had taken a break in DeLaynie's room. I was still in the den, working on my non-post for the day. Then I heard nothing...

I went into DeLaynie's room and found this:

After making sure that she hadn't been making out with a Smurf, I found that DeLaynie's markers were still in her tent from when I was trying to keep her in one place long enough to listen to her therapy cd by letting her color in her tent. Ella believed that the blue marker was food. It's hard to believe that she likes eating so much, I know. Oops! I probably should've moved those to a higher place, huh?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mommy Moments: Sweeter Than Chocolate

I've said before that DeLaynie is going through a very nurturing phase. Last night and the night before she has slept with a penguin, her favorite doll, and a teddy bear. Last night, I believe, also included a beanie baby of which she is fond. It's quite the zoo.

One of her favorite things to do is put things to bed. One day I walked into the church nursery, and the workers pointed to a crib and said, "She put the babies to bed." There were two dolls in there, on their faces. Apparently, we still need to work on safe sleep positions. Dad (her Big D)checks in on her while she's at school, and last week he saw her under a table, singing to, rocking, and kissing a baby doll.

Yesterday I was letting her play in our room. There's a baby gate to the door because it has a drop-off, and Ella will crawl right onto that little head of hers. I don't let her play in our room often, but a certain little baby is sick, and being awfully high maintenance. I figured that it would keep her pretty well entertained while I was comforting Ella in the kitchen. I was dealing with aforementioned high maintenance baby when I heard DeLaynie. She was singing softly. Then I heard her say, "Night-night. I wuv ou. Jesus wuvs ou more," and give the teddy bear, who was apparently thoroughly exhausted, a big ol' kiss. This little speech is DeLaynie's night-night speech. We say it before every nap and every night at bedtime.

Now, I know that she doesn't understand the significance of what she's saying, but I know that what we tell her at bedtime is becoming a part of her sweet, little consciousness. Between diaper changes, wiping noses, and feeding small people who never seem to want what I've made for them, it's a little ray of sunshine that makes it a little easier to keep on keeping on. Thanks, God!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Robin Hood Analyzed, Possibly Beyond All Recognition

DeLaynie has added a new movie to the obsession list. It was the first dvd that Edwin ever bought. Robin Hood (the one with a fox as Robin Hood) is spinning itself silly in the dvd player these days, along with Toy Story. This has led me to debating the question: "Is Robin Hood really a good guy?"

Edwin and I both love Robin Hood as a character, and as a story. The BBC has an hour-long show, also called Robin Hood, that we love. We've watched it on dvd via NetFlix. It's clever, dramatic, and humorous. And clean, too. We love cheering for the so very cool Robin of Loxley as he battles the Sheriff (who is the main bad guy on the show, as opposed to Prince John). In fact, I've been checking the BBC website on an almost daily basis to see when the season premier will occur, and if it will be on the net.

But, are Robin Hood's actions justified? Edwin, who is normally an idealist all the way, asserted that it was necessary to steal in order to survive in a country with such a corrupt government. I disagreed, citing such verses Matthew 22:21 ("Give to Caesar what is Caesar's") and Romans 13:1-2 ("All authority comes from God"). Edwin relented. By way of reminder, these verses were written during a time when a very, very corrupt government was in place. (They were brutally killing Christians at the time.) No wiggle room there. So Robin Hood is a sinner.
(Edit: "Mama of the Peas" makes a good point in regard to the situation of sinner-heroes (see comments). This is not to say that there are any heroes who are free from sin, except Jesus Christ. Any movie or television hero is also a sinner. The specific problem here is that the act of heroism in itself is a sin.)

The fact is, we love cheering for a bad guy. If we didn't, Ocean's 11 (12 and 13, too) wouldn't have done very well. I love it too. I love it when a move or show is able to make me feel justified in cheering for the semi-bad guy to conquer. They're sneaky in how they do it, too. The way to make someone feel that the sin is completely acceptable is to make the person who would normally be the good guy into the worse guy. Robin Hood may be wrong, but Prince John is wronger. (I know that's incorrect; I'm going for drama here, people.) It's a winning formula.

I'm not preaching against Robin Hood, or Ocean and his co-conspirators. It's more important that we prevent this idea that the ends justify the means from seeping into our way of thinking. I'm going to keep on cheering for the sinner-hero, but I'm going to be aware that that is what he is. Spin on, Robin. Spin on!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Big Kids

I realized last night that I don't know what to do with a school aged, or even older preschool aged, child. I try to make jokes. They aren't funny. Kids don't laugh. I get flashbacks to high school days. I am forced to deal with an internal struggle between my inner nerd and the cool person I long to be. I think that the kid I'm dealing with gets confused by the silence that fills the air as I think through this. Not pretty.

We were able to "play" with some fun peeps here in Tallassee. They have three boys, and the only one who seemed to care for me at all was the youngest, who turned four yesterday. It's odd, because ten years ago I had no problem dealing with a wide span of ages. Now I'm completely confused. I fight the urge to play peek-a-boo, knowing that probably isn't the best game for a ten year old boy. I'm also not totally sure about how to deal with boys. I kept wondering, "Is this going to offend him? Does decorating cookies constitute a girly activity?"

The evening was thoroughly enjoyable, though, despite my inability to understand children who are older than my own. We were able to be with adults, an experience that I have missed more than I realized. Edwin is a little bitter about a play I made in the card game, though he denies it. (Don't worry; no bets were cast.) Granted, he did come in last, so he has a right to a little bit of resentment. DeLaynie had fun too. She loves older kids, and she loves boys. It was a perfect playgroup as far as she was concerned. In fact, I think that she does better with older kids than her mommy. It's my guess that I'll figure out how to deal with older children as my children get older. Either that, or DeLaynie and Ella are going to get really tired of peek-a-boo by the time they're sixteen.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Down-Scale Fixes for Up-Scale Livin'

I thought that some of you might could use some around-the-house tips. I'm just like Martha Stewart. No, really. Except for the whole prison thing, Martha and I are like two peas in a pod. These are a couple of homie ideas that have been ever-so-useful to me lately.
  • Need to something off-white when all you have is white? I had this problem with a bow. DeLaynie was wearing a cream colored shirt and a cream colored pair of tights. It was out to be a very cute little outfit, but I didn't have a cream colored bow. Then, it came to me. I could use tea! So I steeped a nice, hot cup of soothing tea... with a bow. It worked great! (I thought that this was a pretty original idea until my mom said that this was how she made a boat-load of Native American costumes last Thanksgiving for school. Apparently, I'm not as innovative as I thought. Oh well!)

  • Hem fall out? Well, you know what they say. Everything can be fixed with duct tape! I didn't have any brown thread, or I would've just sewn the hem in. This worked great too.

  • Finally, I have a bad tendency to get bleach marks all over me any time I'm in the same room with the stuff. This isn't original at all, but you can always use a permanent marker. (I've also used good ol' Crayola markers for one-night fixes on colored clothing.) I know, you can still see the little mark, but it's about the size of a dime, and not nearly as obvious in real life as in the picture. It works well enough for the classy company of WalMart. ;)

I hope that these little ideas help you live that high-falootin' lifestyle we all dream of.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recruiting Season

My dad is very good at thinking up ways to dress up traditional ideas and make them into something new. His latest idea was a church-wide recruiting season, during which the members of the church were encouraged to act as recruiters. There were three types of recruits: Sunday School (about half of lost people who are enrolled into a weekly Bible Study group are saved within a year), church membership, and salvation.

The methodology was taken straight from football recruiting season. He actually called the secretary for the recruiting department at the University of Alabama to get an idea of what it looks like. There were in-home visits (as in, visitation, but way cooler), on-campus visits (open house of the church), and recruiting packets that gave information about the different ministries of the church and included a survey of what the "recruit" could bring to the table so they understood that church membership comes with certain expectations. (And all recruits have plenty to offer.) The tag line was "We consider you a five-star recruit!" Obviously, Jesus can make a five-star recruit out of anyone.

Last night concluded recruiting season with a signing day celebration at church. There was an actual signing ceremony, during which 11 people signed a "letter of intent" to join the church. Some came by a move of letter, and others came by profession of faith. It was a great chance for people to join the church without having to walk the magic carpet in front of everyone, an act that was never recorded in the Bible.

After the signing ceremony, we had a church-wide celebration. Church-themed songs, praise music, and a sermon about the importance of the true Church rounded out recruiting season well. Edwin and I especially enjoyed last night's sermon on church membership. I wish that I had a recording of it, or at least of the section on how laziness is "just plain unfittin'" (Mammy, from Gone With The Wind) for church members. My favorite line was "We should be insulted when people try to beg us to do certain jobs in the church by telling us how easy they are. We should be asking, 'Don't you have anything harder?!'"

It may sound like a publicity stunt, and it might have been just that if it hadn't been done correctly, but the way that this church carried out was not about publicity. It was about speaking the language of real people. It was about recognizing that people matter to God, and that He wants to do great things through us and in us. Not only was it a fun thing to watch, I think that it had a true impact on the lives of the participants.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cliff's Notes on Hannah: Part 2

Today is the day, my friends, to discover the top 5 most important things about me. I know, I know. The excitement is simply too much to be contained. We must hurry and discover the secrets of the universe, or at least of a tiny speck therein.

5. I'm a pastor's daughter. Most of you probably already know this. It's not a secret. Still, it is an absolutely essential part of who I am. It is just as important to recognize the somewhat obvious fact that comes alongside, that I am a pastor's wife's daughter. I was trained for 19 years before joining the fine ranks of minister's wives. That isn't to say that I don't forget some of the lessons that I learned along the way, but without that experience the life that I now lead would be infinitely harder. My parents were always very, very good about making sure that their expectations of morality were based on the fact that we were a Christian family, not a minister's family. I was expected to live a godly life because of who Jesus is, not who my dad is. This is a lesson that I am working hard to use as I parent my girls, which leads to number 4.

4. My parenting style is slow and steady. I'm not interested in molding my children into the personality type that I'm looking for, or the intellectual type that I want. I am fine with messes born from a spurt of creativity, or curiosity. (I do expect them to help clean it up, though.) What I'm looking to do is help my girls develop into the people that God designed them to become. I will discipline my girls. (We have begun incorporating actual discipline into the life of Ella, which isn't fun at all.) I expect them to act a certain way, like sinners. The idea is to teach them that they need Jesus, discipline them for unbiblical behavior to teach them that sin has consequences, forgive them, love unconditionally, and teach them of the forgiveness and grace that God extends through the life and death of His Son. I don't want them to behave out of fear of punishment, though that's as good as we'll get for a while. I want them to long for righteousness out of an understanding of the love of God and His desire for the sanctification of His people.

3. I love to read, and I love to write. It's hard to read with kiddos all over me. It's really much easier to watch t.v. while giving a kid a bottle or chasing a naked toddler to put her diaper on. I still prefer a good book when the opportunity prevents itself. I like weird stuff (you know, sci-fi and old kids' books), and I adore fiction. I find myself completely envolped in a book, which is why I write book reviews whenever I'm finished with a book. I also love to write, and I dream of making a career out of it eventually. That is why this blog was born. That, and the fact that my dad thought that I should. I once won some sort of contest at school in the fifth grade for a story that I wrote called "The Sad Clown" about a clown that goes psycho, if I recall correctly. I also won a trip to Los Angelas for writing a 50-word essay. I'm not totally sure that 50 words truly consitute an essay, but I didn't complain. I got to go to L.A. Neither of these works were the pinnacle of all literary success, though. I'm hoping that the greatest days of my authordom still lie ahead.

2. Marriage is my favorite hobby. I prefer hanging out with Edwin to hanging out with anyone else. If I'm going to hang out with a group of girls, which I enjoy, I prefer to do it when Edwin's at work in order to preserve our time together. I do enjoy an occasional day with other women while Edwin cares for the girls, but most of the time, I want to enjoy his day off with him. I find it odd when I hear people talking about how they really think married couples should feel free to live two separate lives. I had a female professor talk about how the secret to a successful marriage is to feel free to do your own thing. Huh? I enjoy my marriage. I love hanging out with my husband. He's the only person on the planet that I can be totally honest with, the only person that I can be completely vulnerable to. Hanging out with him isn't work. It's good, plain fun! That isn't to say that having a healthy marriage doesn't require some work, but hanging out doesn't require more effort. It brings us closer together so that we have less work to do.

1. Jesus trumps all. This isn't really about me. It's about the Christian life. I'm still learning what this looks like in certain situations. What I know is that God gave everything for me, including His Son. Until I was a parent, I couldn't understand this concept fully. Now I know, at least partially, what a sacrifice that is. I will follow Him. I don't know what His plan for me is, and I don't know how pleasant it will be. What I do know is who it is I am following. Because He is good, because He loves me enough to die for me, I will do what He says. Let's get one thing straight: I will fail at this, as I have done more times than I can comprehend. But He will forgive me every time. He will make something out of this mess of a person. When my faith fails, His grace prevails. (I don't generally do rhymes, but what the hey!)

Now you know more about me than you ever wanted to. Do with it what you will. I hope that it changed your life. (Can you say, "Vain hope,"?)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


What's this? A second post in a single day? Well, yes, dear reader. I decided that some things are worth waiting for, and some things are too good to wait. This is the latter. I've mentioned previously that I am a fan of Phil Vischer, the originator of VeggieTales, who continues to write the good episodes and record voices for the Christian video series. He began a new company shortly after the bankruptcy of Big Idea, called Jellyfish Labs. A good while ago, apparently in 2008 sometime, Phil and his company created something called JellyTelly. (I know, I know. It's absolutely unacceptable for someone who claims to be a Phil fan to be so late in such a discovery. I apologize for my mistake.) Everyday they post a new webisode of Christian shorts. When you go to the site, check out the "Grown Ups" page where Phil explains the theory behind JellyTelly. If you would like to become slightly obsessive about Phil for yourself, check out his aptly named site, Phil Vischer.

Cliff's Notes on Hannah: Part 1

There's this thing going around Facebook where people are supposed to list "25 Random Things" about themselves. I gave in, actually posting 26, but it was apparently unread or really boring. I only got one comment, and it was from my brother, correcting a typo.

In the same vein, I thought it would be fun to have a top ten list of things you should know about me in order to understand me. A sort of Cliff's Notes to getting to know me, if you will (but only if you will). It'll be a two-parter so you don't get too sick of me in one day. We'll take it count-down style.

10. I used to be pretty musical. I played French Horn in middle and high school. I was relatively good, but certainly not great. I sang in a group at the University of Mobile called Witness my freshman year. We would go to different churches and the ensemble (of which I was a member) would sing, the drama team would put on skits and human videos, and a worship leader would, well, lead worship. It was great! Since then, I haven't done much of anything musically. I don't think I could play a French horn now to save my life. Let's hope it never comes to that.

9. I've just started to learn to cook in the last couple of years. The earliest part of our marriage was very, very busy. I had a semi-part time job and school, and Edwin had school, a full-time job, and a part time youth pastor job. When we moved to Hodgenville, things slowed down a little, but I was pregnant. I got nauseous pretty easily. It was just before my second pregnancy that I finally decided to learn to cook. I'm not gourmet, that's for sure, but I certainly can cook more than I have ever been able to before. It's a process that is greatly complicated by the fact that Edwin and DeLaynie are insanely picky eaters (she has an excuse; he's just stubborn). I'm trying to find some things that everyone likes, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

8. I'm an anti-socialist in recovery. I'm not talking about the political stance. I'm referring to the fact that I was an entirely unsocial person, but I think that I've improved, at least some. Being in Hodgenville, in a small church, really helped. B. Wal helped immensely. She has no awkward sensors. Apparently, awkwardness is similar to Tinkerbell, in that if you don't believe in it, it goes away. Since B. Wal refused to feel awkward, I was never able to either. I greatly appreciate that about her. Now that we're here, in my old home town where I never really made many friends my own age, I am feeling pretty desperate for some time with other couples, or women. I would be more than happy to put up with awkward for a few minutes of conversation. Crazy, huh?

7. I used to be a perfectionist, but not anymore. Growing up, I desperately wanted to be perfect. Then there came a time when I gave up on it altogether. Now I have a hard time knowing how much to expect out of myself and others. It's a tricky balance, this desire for excellence. I think that the timing works out pretty well, though. I couldn't be a perfectionist and survive with my girls. I still hope to attain some sort of order and, in a sense, perfection, at some point. For now, long live craziness!

6. I knew that I was going to be a minister's wife a year before I met my husband. I had fought it my whole life. I never wanted to be a pastor's wife, and I certainly did not want my children to be preacher's kids. I blamed this title for the difficulties of my life, incorrectly. Let's face it, young pastors, who are usually raising very young children, just don't make much for their level of education. That annoyed me. Plus, I always figured that I'd be a highly successful career woman, though I never knew in what field. Then, when I was seventeen, inexplicably, I was sure of a certain change that God had been doing over time. I realized something. I wanted to be a minister's wife. I was shocked by this revelation, but I am very grateful for such a calling. (And Middle Creek cared for us and our kiddos very well.)

It should be noted that this list is about my personal history and personality. If you want to know more about what's going on in my world right now, you should look under "Important Posts" in the column at the right. Tomorrow, I wrap this one up. I know that you'll be on the edge of your seats, waiting to hear more about me, but you'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2009


For those of you who live under an actual rock, last night was the Super Bowl. It was a good game, but like many people, I'm just as interested in the commercials as the game.

The SoBe commercial was just as weird as ever, but it is always fun to see football players in tutus. The Coke Zero ad was easily my favorite. It was a play off the classic Coca-Cola "grab a Coke and a... smile," Super Bowl commercial.

There were several commercials that offended my taste, most notably the GoDaddy ads. I was not happy that my innocent little girls, who were doing nothing but trying to enjoy a grand display of athleticism alongside their family, were spoon-fed propaganda that would lead them to believe that their value is based on their proportions. It wasn't just distasteful, it was disgusting.

If you think that NBC's choice to allow the commercial goes back to an "anything for a buck" attitude, allow me to correct you. There was one commercial that was simply too offensive. NBC said that it went too far, so they did not allow it, even though the sponsors were able to pay the price. Out of a desire to ensure the 1st Ammendment rights of all groups, I have chosen to show this commercial here.

Yep, that was simply too political for television. It is so annoying when your opposition is so clearly correct, and you are so clearly incorrect. So amidst the singing of "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner", there was censorship, not out of a desire to protect children from offensive, or even dangerous, messages, but simply to prevent a way of thinking that contradicts the belief system of the media outlet. I'll leave the commentary to you.