Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baby J!

So to pick up where I left off....

Despite a lot of walking, walking, and more walking, things stayed pretty much the same until the wee hours this morning when it was time to go to the hospital. I woke up to several text messages from my sister who has done a fabulous job today keeping me informed. I managed to go to Bible study, sing in worship ensemble, listen to the sermon, greet lots of visitors and old friends in town for the holiday, and have a family lunch in between all the ping-pong texts. I'm happy to announce the arrival of my great-nephew, Mason Judd, who was born probably about the time we pulled out of the church parking lot on our way to the deli. Isn't it amazing how miracles can take place just like that, right in the middle of an ordinary day?


(I wrote this Saturday afternoon, posted it, then took it down so as not to steal anyone's thunder....reposting it today.)

After receiving several different phone calls at various odd hours of the day and night the past few weeks, I finally got THE ONE that I was expecting each of those times this morning -- in the form of a text so as not to wake the entire family. It seems that during the night, as I tossed and turned for some reason I have yet to figure out, wishing to go to sleep, my niece was also awake 300 miles away timing contractions. Perhaps on some subconscious level I was having sympathy discomfort, because try as I might, I could not relax and drift off until sometime after 3:00 a.m. The text came as I poured myself some coffee, trying to jumpstart my groggy self. My sister and her husband were on their way and hoped to arrive before their much-awaited grandson. By my estimation, they completed the journey within the past hour or so and I have yet to receive an update! So as my family and I have dragged from the attic our Christmas tree and decorations, fussed with the lights, gave up on several strands and gone out to buy more, put them on the tree along with some shimmery golden ribbon, and put up about half the ornaments (while pausing every now and then to laugh at the movie Elf which provided the ambience for our Christmas decorating), part of my consciousness has been straining to hear the phone ring or the signal telling me I have a new text message. It's starting to wear me out! Getting lunch and eating together and now typing this new post has been somewhat of a distraction...but I am about to give in and call for an update myself. Maybe I should ask Santa for some patience for Christmas! ;-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Which are you?

I woke up grinning this morning, thinking of all those bleary-eyed treasure hunters who, since WAY before the crack of dawn, are madly pursuing their prized Black Friday deals, following their mapped-out strategies to the "T" and gleefully marking each bargain off their lists...while I snuggled in for another hour or two of blissful sleep in my warm, comfy bed. Don't get me wrong, I laugh with them, not AT them, feeling their accomplishment -- even enjoying hearing about the adventure from those friends of mine who join the chaotic masses -- but I've never, EVER traded a quiet, delicious morning of waking up slowly in a peaceful house the day after the Thanksgiving hustle-bustle for one standing outside shivering (or sweating, whichever the case may be), waiting for access to shop till I drop. It's just not my style. I like to save a buck as much as anyone, but I prefer to lose my sanity a little later in the season with the other procrastinators! The fact is, my little ones are now adults and although they are good at providing lists from which to choose a Christmas gift, they don't compose them until some time after the Thanksgiving break. So even if I craved the Black Friday experience, I'd have to do so blindly, guessing at what my family would like to have for Christmas, and THEN I'd end up having to take it all back for an exchange when the lists came rolling in. Not gonna happen! So as I sip my coffee this morning, this time with a dollop of whipped cream left over from yesterday's desserts, I smile and think of those who are braving the crowds and hopefully boosting our economy at the same time. Happy Shopping! Feel free to share your best buys with me and I promise to share in your joy! :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house....

Just thought I'd share that I am pleasantly intoxicated by the heavenly smells wafting through my house right about now....warm pecan and apple pies cooling on the counter...mmmmmm. It's a crisp fall evening too, so thankfully we will have a somewhat nippy Thanksgiving day tomorrow to set a proper autumn-ish mood for the holiday. This is not always the case where we could just as easily have been 85 degrees with humidity hanging heavily in the air. It's kind of hard to dress the part when really the most sensible thing is shorts and flip flops! Tomorrow morning I'll finish the dressing, put together Paula Deen's Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding and bake the sweet potato souffle. The rest has been divvied up between two other households. I guess it goes without saying that we aren't exactly trying for a Weight Watcher's Thanksgiving! The food will be great, no doubt, and we'll all eat more than we should. But the best part, dished up in lavish portions, will be fun and laughter with loved ones we don't see nearly often enough. So I hope tomorrow doesn't rush past us like most days -- and I wish the same for you and yours. Enjoy. Savor. Not just the delicious feast, but whoever is around you enriching your life. Counting my blessings and hoping you are doing the same. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It was a surprise gone slightly awry since I wasn't home for it -- nevertheless! -- how exciting that our youngest made it home for Thanksgiving a whole day early! I was getting the last of my holiday groceries when he called to ask, "Where are you?" You know that weird in-limbo feeling you get when the gears are turning but it feels like they're in molasses? I got that as I asked him the same question. When he said, "At home", I knew he meant home home, not college apartment home. Of course, the happy homecoming with hugs all around and a some good dinner conversation was about the extent of it before the revolving front door went into full operation. He's here....he's he's here again with a friend in they're off to another friend's house....and so it begins! I'm so glad that I was already planning a two-hour vigil in front of the TV for the Dancing With The Stars finale so he didn't have to feel guilty about ditching us for his buddies! ;-)
These are the holidays, college student style. We're off to a good start!

Pageant Pig Update

Imagine my surprise last night when, at the first combined adult/kid, full run-through pageant rehearsal, I looked up to see little Applewood Smoked Bacon (have I mentioned his name before? It's Apple, for short) peacefully nestled in the arms of a young fella right up on stage with about a hundred other kids! The key word here is PEACEFULLY. Not squealing at a decibel level sure to cause permanent hearing damage. Not frantically wriggling with determination to gain his freedom. Just lying there calmly like he knew he was on display, the only detectable movement in his little piglet tail, wagging away as if he was a contented puppy. A contented puppy who has doubled in size since I last laid eyes on him two weeks ago! I haven't had the opportunity to ask his "mama" how this transformation has occurred (the change in his temperament, not the enormous growth spurt - that I can figure out on my own), but rest assured, I will. For now, I will just remain the proud bystander who played a miniscule part in this rising star's acclimation to humanity. Look out, Babe. Your competition is gaining on you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It's funny the wide variety of life stages there are amongst our friends who are our age. I have friends who have been grandparents for some time now, some who are having fun with late-in-life blessings, and some who are now traversing life in two stages at once. My husband and I happen to fall into the category of empty-nesters since our children have flown the coop and are away at college. Our oldest will soon finish up his masters degree, so he and his wife will likely be pulling up roots and landing somewhere new for him to settle into his career as a civil engineer. Grandparenthood may not be too far down the road for us, but I am totally content enjoying where we are today. I have one friend who amazes me with her intense desire for a grandchild as she's still bringing up the caboose of her four children -- somehow the blending of two roles in that way seems foreign to me, probably because it hasn't been in my experience of family. Whenever that stage presents itself, I'm sure I will be obnoxiously enthusiastic to anyone who will sit still long enough to hear all about it! But I've spent so many phases of life looking ahead to the next, all the while trying to talk myself into savoring the one I'm in, knowing that once it's gone, it's gone -- so I'm purposing to taste empty-nesterhood like I'd taste a fine wine or an exquisite smooth, dark chocolate. No guzzling or gulping. Just taking my time and living in the moment. They (whoever "they" are) say women turn introspective and more intuitive as they walk into and through the years of midlife. I think "they" are right. There's more time to think; there's less need to be in a rush, always moving forward, always thinking one step ahead. We tend to hear a lot about the negatives of growing older. Maybe slowing down a little scares us that we could be at the beginning of a rapid downhill slide! But pacing ourselves a little, just enough to take life a day at a time, even a season at a time, sounds pretty positive to me. As someone who's always been in somewhat of a hurry, I'm grateful to live in the moment as often as I can manage it! And even's totally a God thing. I'm asking Him to walk me through each day, each season, seeing life with His eyes. Sometimes I actually step aside enough to allow Him to show me. How about you? I'd love to hear your perspective on the stage of life where you find yourself today. Wishing you joy in the journey...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting my feet a little wetter...or: Won't You Be My Blogging Neighbor?

This morning I took a few moments to read through some of the "how-to" information on to see how I could enhance my blogging experience -- with all of 14 days under my belt! I didn't do much research before embarking on this new venture. I have to say that this site could be aptly nicknamed Blogging for Dummies - even I have been able to figure most of it out by myself, amazingly! So part of what I learned was that I should move my list of followers up higher on the sidebar so that it's one of the first things readers will see, and also that I should beg shamelessly for my readers to sign up to follow my blog. Hmmmm....I tried the first suggestion and hated the way it looked. I like my layout the way it is, which is not surprising, considering I've rearranged my living room furniture ONCE in ten years. So now I'm on to the shamelessly begging part: Please, oh please, OH PLEASE PLEASE follow my blog!

That did not feel right either.

The way I see it, if someone is interested in my musings, he/she will be back. If not, no amount of begging is going to make someone I probably have never met boost my writer's ego ;-). To be truthful, this is an outlet that is satisfying to me even if my words sit here all by themselves, with only their author for company. It IS fun to interact with the rest of the blogging world, I admit. So if you are so inclined, feel free to follow! I am just getting the hang of following myself, but I am learning, and I just may follow you back. For sure, leave your comments; I love getting them. And that is all I have to say about that! ;-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

(Guilty) Pleasures

Normally I chastise myself for getting sidetracked from the ever-important to-do list, especially when it's something basically non-productive that's sucking me in. Not today. For some reason, my finger-wagging, frowning inner taskmaster is surprisingly absent. Or maybe I'm just experiencing some success at totally blocking her out for a change. At any rate, today, so far, has been a day of guilty pleasures, minus the guilt. The rainclouds obscuring the sun allowed me to slumber much later than usual without the beaming wake-up call I'm accustomed to. The weather somehow makes it seem that the world is taking a it's okay for me to dally at the computer, sit and ponder everything and nothing, fix myself a delicious (and healthy) batch of protein pancakes, have that second cup of coffee, and half-listen to a bunch of gabby women on TV solving the problems of the world as I dally some more, still in my pj's. All without shame. This is a phenomenon that doesn't happen often, so I felt it blog-worthy. Yay for days off work and rainy mornings!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Looking backward

So last night was a typical Christmas pageant practice -- lots of shuffling around, starting over, overdramatizing just to crack each other up, trying to remember to sing while also trying to remember our choreography, and just the general hijinks that are part of the pageant rehearsal experience. This time, though, instead of hanging around shooting the breeze for awhile or playing with the piglet (who has mysteriously been a no-show since the mad church pig chase....see previous post), we were corralled into the conference center to do our part in a video being prepared for church Sunday morning. I was asked the following questions: Can you share a special Thanksgiving memory? What are you thankful for? White or dark meat? That last question was the easiest to verbalize, for sure. (Dark meat, for those of you who wonder...I'm a leg woman! LOL) Of course, I did come up with an answer for the others, but I'm not the best at thinking on my feet, especially with a video camera staring me in the face and the goofy expressions of my entertaining new music minister distracting me. I awoke this morning with several answers which would have been so much better, naturally -- I mean, come on, I have ALOT of Thanksgiving memories to sift through by now, and mentally flipping through those files takes some time! Participating in the video, although it was mostly against my will and I wish I'd had more time to ponder my answers, did serve a purpose for me personally. It got my gears turning in a different direction. The holidays can get so crazy with all the planning that has to take place to pull them off! My mind, as usual, has been focused on such things as: When are we getting together with this side of the family? What about that side of the family? Do we do traditional turkey dinner or something different? What part of the meal am I going to provide? Who is coming into town? Where will they be staying? Which day should I get my cleaning done? What's the best strategy for getting IN and OUT of the grocery store in record time? This kind of thinking, although necessary, can just zap all the sweet anticipation out of any holiday family gathering! Can I get an "amen" from all you women out there? So to pause for a moment amidst all the list-making and mental somersaults to let my mind drift to Thanksgivings past has been therapeutic for me. Some memories have drifted up from my subconscious that have delighted me and made me smile. Some have had me shaking my head and laughing at something I thought I would always remember as disastrous. Others are bittersweet and bring with them a pang of homesickness, of longing for simpler times, of missing loved ones who no longer grace our lives with their presence. Don't get me wrong, I'm still planning -- just with one ear tuned to the heartbeat of holidays past, and with the expectancy of even more to treasure when all is said and done. How about you?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opening my eyes

I'm generally a neat freak who tries to keep clutter to a bare minimum. I can't think straight with too many stacks of papers needing attention or laundry lying around waiting to be dealt with. It seems there is some cosmic connection between a cluttered space and a cluttered mind, in my case. However, please note that I said neat, which is not to be confused with clean. I can ignore a little dirt and dust longer than I can the clutter. Maybe that's because clearing the clutter somehow automatically makes things feel cleaner...I don't know. So this past weekend was a bit of an anomaly for me in that I noticed for the first time in weeks that our shower was in need of attention. Our shower doesn't get cluttered, and since we remodeled our bathrooms a few years ago, it is less of a dark cave and more of a glassy, breathable space; so it seems to stay sparkly for days on end until I notice, with dismay, that it has suddenly, it seems, turned into a mildew farm. There is an obvious reason for this. While showering, my mind is usually occupied with planning the day ahead, reviewing Zumba choreography, mentally singing through my praise music for that week's worship service (okay, sometimes it's not just mental singing), thinking through my grocery list, or some such thing which occupies my mind enough that I am oblivious to the state of my surrounding until it is growing fuzzy stuff at an alarming rate. So I set out to remedy this situation this Saturday, armed with bleach water and lime stain remover. I discovered more than I bargained for as I moved the shampoo, conditioner, razor, and shower gels out of the built-in tile shelf. I started to feel light-headed and wasn't sure if it was from the fumes I was creating with the cleaners or from trying to hold my breath as I held a hand towel over my face, but regardless, I was feeling bad enough to call my husband who was having lunch with some golf buddies after their morning game. I warned him that he might find me in the back yard passed out on the patio furniture if things didn't improve quickly! Thankfully, I was still conscious when he got home a few minutes later, and was able to complete my mission and admire the results not too long after that. Sometime during this episode, I was struck with the thought that neglecting the shower too long was similar to what spiritual neglect can do to a believer. (Most people probably think about this while weeding their gardens, a much less disgusting analogy, but I ignore those even more than I ignore my shower, so we won't go there.) While I was multitasking in the shower all this time, getting physically clean and mentally conquering many a mountainous to-do list, the mildew was creeping in, making a stealth attack. By the time I actually gave a conscious thought or look to what was happening, it had taken over and was making great strides behind my back, so to speak ;-). Only until I moved things around and really inspected my surroundings did I find the worst infiltration. I became overwhelmed with the chore, in more ways than one. When we live our lives on autopilot, running from one task to the next, we lose sight of the little things taking root in our character while we aren't looking. As much as I desire to live a conscious, examined life, and as much as I've tried to teach this to my own children and to other people's children as a youth worker in my church, I can still become so distracted by life that I neglect to allow myself the time to look inward, to listen to the Spirit within me, to apply the cleansing Word of God, to watch for spiritual mildew setting in. I think I will never look at my shower-scouring job the same again and I am thankful for the object lesson whispered to my soul that day.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting -- Psalm 139:23-24.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Full circle

It happens every time, it seems. A band comes out with hit song loved by millions and it's overplayed on the airwaves, resulting in a bad after-taste of sorts given enough passage of time. There is one song, though, that has been around for over seven years and can still be heard on a daily basis which has yet to succumb to that category for me, and I got to hear it live last night -- "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe.

It was February 23, 2002, and I'd gotten into my car to leave the hospital on the day that my Daddy breathed his last on this earth. My Mama, my sisters, and I had circled around him, and though he was not really conscious, we had hoped to ease his pain of letting go by somehow joyously walking him through that portal to eternity with his Lord. He'd suffered a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease and we'd grieved his passing from us long before this day, so our sorrow was mixed with a sense of relief for both him and for us. "I Can Only Imagine" had begun to play in the instant that I turned the ignition. At the time, the song was still fairly new and it seemed to be God's gift of love to me, helping me to keep my focus on my Daddy's freedom from physical and mental bondage rather than my own sadness. Sure, I cried a bucket of tears, but they were healing tears. Now each time I hear the familiar introduction, I embrace the feeling I had on that day, and I picture my Daddy, and now my Mama, too, in Heaven. And as for the question the song asks...I believe my Daddy knelt before the Lord, just as he did every time he prayed. My Mom? I think she danced. :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And look! It doubles as a vertical scrapbook!

My refrigerator is messier on the outside than it is on the inside. I have a hard time weeding out old photos and old news, so what happens is the new stuff gets magnetized along with the old stuff, and pretty soon it's a big random mess of faces and stories of people I love...which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's especially crazy around May and June when all the graduation announcements come flooding in; I've had the same senior photos up for so long that some of the kids still being displayed have graduated college! So if you were to study my refrigerator right now, among the pictures, thank-yous, and invitations, you would find a postcard from Paris. Yes, THAT Paris, NOT the one in Texas. It's been up there for several weeks now and I imagine it there it will stay for months to come. To me it symbolizes timeless old friendships that are alive in our pasts in spite of seeming neglect. It came to me as a consequence of this wondrous age of the internet, of facebook, of this world of technology that I was dragged into kicking and screaming, but have now grown to embrace (no snide comments from my kids, please). Teri is a friend from our family-growing, Tate Springs Baptist Church-going, living-in-Arlington days. We were part of a circle of friends in our twenties, young marrieds having babies and get-togethers, in the same Bible study on Sunday mornings. Teri, her husband Scott, and their children moved away before we did, if memory serves me correctly, and we'd lost touch over the years. That has all changed with the advent of facebook. I have enjoyed getting back in touch with Teri and reading her blog, "Girl Meets Paris". She, in fact, is partly responsible for the blog you are reading now. I love reading how a trip to Paris changed her perspective on life, and she has reawakened a long-cherished desire in me to "meet Italy" and see how that affects MY perspective (more about that later). The postcard is actually my prize for entering her blog contest -- a souvenir for me of Teri and Scott's most recent trip to France. I love seeing it hanging there on my fridge every day, reminding me of precious days gone by and of beautiful days to come, and the blessing of a friendship revived. Love you, Teri!

Monday, November 9, 2009

If you give a pig a granola bar....

I'm pretty sure that when I chunked a Kashi "Tasty Little Chewy" in my purse a week or two ago, I never dreamed I'd use it to catch a runaway baby pot-bellied pig loose in the worship center after pageant practice. But this was one clever little runt and he managed to evade a handful of adults and one child for quite some time. His "mama" lamented that if only she'd brought his food....and...well...voila! Never underestimate the power of being prepared to nibble at all times. I have to back up a little and say that Lindsay (my friend and blogging tutor) and I have become quite attached to the little oinker, and as of tonight, he returned our affections, much to our delight, as he stepped out of his kennel of his own accord (well, okay, we may have coerced him a little with his blankie, but it WAS of his own free will) to nuzzle our pant legs and chew on our fingers. That was when Lindsay and I decided to see just how attached he is to us by walking away from him and seeing if he would follow. He followed all right, but soon decided to enjoy his newfound freedom, and the mad church pig chase was on. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time and I realize now that THAT should have been the subject of my video! I know...I day he'll be a big ol fat snotty snouted, drooly side of bacon, but right now he is the cutest little thing!  See for yourself!

An occupational hazard of the best kind

I happen to love my two dental offices where I practice my profession, but this morning was sheer torture for me. Not because of the miserable migraine that has persistently reared its ugly head for the past four days. Not because of a particularly difficult patient load. Not because I ran behind schedule -- that would do it, all right, but not today. Why then, you ask? Because today's pick of the radio stations has played one Zumba song after another, sometimes even back to back! Hips Don't Lie...Smooth...I Gotta Feeling....Boom Boom Pow (I use the edited version of course!)...and the best/worst of all...Say Hey (I Love You). Don't get me wrong, a little mental Zumba never hurt anyone, but can you imagine the angst of holding sharp dental instruments in someone's mouth, concentrating on the removal of a tenacious calculus deposit in a location of difficult accessibility, when without warning, your favorite samba song starts to play? Or imagine being in the middle of a detailed educational explanation of the progression of periodontal disease, when, Heaven forbid, Shakira all but belly dances into the room? Torture, I tell you. I had to fight the urge to throw down my suction tip and water syringe and run to the sterilization room across the hall to just DO IT. But please, oh please, don't anyone touch that dial! ;-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

You gotta start somewhere....

Writer's block on the very first blog post just can't be a good sign, so I am thinking of this entry the same way the owner of a brand-spanking-new car would think of that inevitable first "ding" -- just getting it over with so I can relax and get to the business of putting some miles on this baby -- minus the road map. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. ;-)