Monthly Archives: August 2009

Blogging about Blogging

Some of you just can’t let me have my moment in the sun without photographic evidence. Sigh. I told you that I would show you pictures when I find the camera, for crying out loud! And yes, Tiffani, I know that my phone takes pictures, but the computer to whom the phone is related had to be moved along with the desk to accommodate the bed we needed for Granny’s stay this week. Yes, I’m a little testy because we still haven’t found the spoons and my cereal keeps leaking through the fork. I need my cereal experience to go well each morning in order for my day to function properly.

In other news, a friend from college posted some crazy blog number stats yesterday.  I feel like RainMan when anyone starts talking numbers above 500, but I do know those stats translate to a lot of words floating out there in cyberspace and a lot of people reading them.

Yeah, this whole blogging thing a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma for me. (It’s a little too early to be quoting Churchill, isn’t it?)  Every other week I resign from this blog. Many days I feel like my new friend (who I’ve actually met!) at New Every Morning.  I tell myself that this blog is just a place to process my thoughts and if anyone happens by, well, that’s just gravy. But any blogger who tells you he/she doesn’t notice how many comments a post gets will lie to you about other things, too. Blogging can easily bring out my inner junior high girl.  Every person needs and deserves to be heard. We all like to have our thoughts and feelings validated by others. We are hard-wired for relationships and we especially need for people to truly know us. One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotations says that  “friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.'”

I can also relate to a new friend in my computer whom I haven’t met yet.  I like it here with my friends on this blog. But this blog is only part of who I am and it can’t become the most important thing in my life. I’ve noticed that when my life outside my computer is a difficult place to be and I have less control over the story playing out around me, I’m tempted to spend even more time inside my computer where I get to write the story. That’s not always a bad thing. I can process thoughts here; I laugh here; I get encouragement and good advice here. But when I spend more time here to avoid dealing with my stuff out there, my priorities need to be realigned and refocused.

One of my favorite bloggers and I were aquaintances at our small college, but I didn’t really know much more about her than her name and that she married the really cute Beta that a lot of my friends and I admired from afar. Somewhere along the way we became Facebook friends and I started reading her blog. She was another person who encouraged me to start my own blog. Soon some of her blog friends became my blog friends. Her died was diagnosed with cancer in November, my dad in December. Our emails and blog comments became texts which turned into phone calls. We’ve talked about feelings that were foreign to us and that we didn’t even fully understand but that we held in common.

Sunday morning her dad died. Over the past few days I’ve watched old friends who had lost touch before blogging brought us back together and new friends who didn’t even know each other only months ago. Together these friends have formed a community across the country who are eager to support our friend with our prayers, love, encouragement, and even in tangible ways.  It’s really something to see and even more amazing to take part in this fellowship of friends.

I may never know who keeps visiting here from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, but I know the ones who are visiting from Washington, Oregon, California, North  and South Carolina, Texas, New York, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, and Lousiana, and maybe a few more states that I just forgot to mention.  You’re my Tweeps and the friends who live inside and outside my computer. Whatever you’re doing here, I’m glad you took the time to stop by for a few minutes.

The best conversations seem to happen in the comments after the posts, so I want to leave you with a question. Most of you read several blogs and many of you have blogs yourself. Bloggers: do you respond to commenters in the comment section or through email?  Blog readers: do you prefer to continue a conversation in the comments section or would you rather hear back from the blogger in an email? If I leave a comment in a blog, I never know if I should keep coming back to the comments to see if the blogger replies there. Or, if I respond to someone in the comments, I never know if he/she will be back to see it. Discuss amongst yourselves, please.

And if you lurk here and never comment, this would be a great day to say hi. How did you get here? What is it about a blog (not necessarily this one) that makes you want to come back again?


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Why Can’t We All Just Live in the Sunroom?!

Ladies and gentlemen (yes, plural gentlemen….I have two guy friends from high school who read my blog. Hey, Chris and Richard!), we have another finished room! By finished, I don’t mean that I actually have anything hanging on the walls in that room just yet, but it’s the closest thing to finished we’ve seen since the kids rooms were established over a week ago.

We set the kids’ rooms up first in the hopes that this would discourage them from pilfering through the boxes I was trying to unpack. I’m trying to get rid of some of the excess stuff we keep dragging from move to move. I have a few boxes of items that I would like to unload to some unsuspecting sucker offer to someone who would find a better use for them. Apparently, my children think that holding on to every Happy Meal toy they’ve ever received is vital to their survival. Whenever I step on one of those plastic pieces of trash I’m reminded of the chemicals in a box my kids have ingested over the last few years, so the newest sporting event around our home has been the Fast Food Junk Sneak. They sneak toys out of the Give Away boxes, I sneak them back to the boxes. Why don’t you just take the Give Away boxes to Goodwill, Whimz? Why, that would take the fun out of our days, Reader!

Anyway, I was trying to tell you that the sunroom is almost completely finished.  For some reason, the first time I saw that room, I knew that I wanted painter’s dropcloth curtains. I had seen them on several blogs like A Familiar Path and The Lettered Cottage.  I’ve since seen them several other places and for some reason I just knew that’s what I needed in our sunroom. It seemed like a perfect project for me because all you have to do is put up some rods and clip those babies to it. Right?

Not really. Those babies have to be hemmed…and ironed. Both of which require works that do not fall under any of my spiritual gifts.

This might be a good time to tell you I’m not gifted in the arts of the needle. Really, I’m not all that crafty. Not only am I not “skilled in or marked by underhandedness, deviousness, or deception,” but I have no inner Martha Stewart. When I took home ec in high school one of the football players in my class had to finish my shark pillow so that I wouldn’t fail. I love to cook and bake, but I’m not good at anything that requires any sewing. Remind me to tell you about the time I took the quilting class when I was pregnant. It’s a sad story.

Luckily, my mother-in-law is here this week.  Now that’s  a sentence you don’t hear women say everyday, but my mother-in-law has kept me from the crazy farm this week! This is the same Kentucky mother-in-law who gave us the 10 Similes a couple of months ago. In the spirit of truth, I need to tell you that she does not actually say #4 or #6. My husband was sure he’d heard her say those, but she informed us this week that in fact, she has not. The other night she did say that supper was so good she could push little chickens in the river so we’ll replace Cooter Brown with that one. I’ll have to listen closely to find a replacement for Julius Caesar.

Anyway, my mother-in-law is an excellent seamstress, so besides hemming the Princess Diva’s ballet skirt and school uniform and repairing the pants that one of the boys split during Sunday school (I’ve been asked not to say which boy did that), she also hemmed and ironed the dropcloths.  K hung the rods and the dropcloths and I must say, they are a thing of beauty. K and I put the rug down yesterday and finally another room looks like a place people would actually like to be.  I love it when a picture in my head matches the reality. Sometimes I get an idea and it just doesn’t turn out like I’d planned. This time everything came together like I’d hoped it would.

I would take a picture so that you could see for yourself, but I can’t find the camera. It must be with the still missing spoons.

As you can see, we still have work to do, so I’ll check back with you later.

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Ecclesiastes 3:4

Today…

Today’s a special day for my family. Friends and loved ones will gather together to celebrate my husband’s success.  We’ve been planning this day for quite some time, checking our lists to make sure that every detail is just right.  Loved ones have traveled great distances to be here to support us and to celebrate with us. We’ll eat good food and enjoy being together.  Today, people will stand and say nice things about my husband and we’ll all do everything we can to make sure he knows how much we love him.

Six hours away, my friend is gathering with her friends and loved ones to mourn her father’s death. They’re making lists to plan a goodbye event, checking to be sure that every detail is just right. In a few days, people will stand and say nice things about her dad.  Loved ones will travel great distances to be there to support her family and to grieve with them.  Friends are  already bringing in food that her family may eat but probably won’t taste.  We, her friends, will do everything we can to make sure she knows how much we love her and support her during this difficult time.

And even though it seems like the world should stop to rejoice with my family and mourn with hers, today people will go to work, to the grocery store, and to baseball games as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Neither of our days will  make even the local news tonight.

Prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude.

Prayers for peace and strength to endure difficult days.

Prayers will be offered to a Father Who loves both of us and will be with both of us today.

Today…

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That’s a Major Appliance! That’s Not a Name!

John Hughes died? Why didn’t any of you call to tell me? The only reason I even know about it now is that this morning I read posts about his passing from a few of my favorite bloggers. I used to read the newspaper and watch the nightly news. Then I started reading the headlines on my internet home page. Now I find out about current events from my blogs. It’s too early in the morning to spend much time mulling what that says about me so let’s keep moving, shall we?

Melanie from This Ain’t New York asked us to tell her our favorite John Hughes movie. Even though I’m not usually good at committing to a favorite, this question was easy. I LOVE Pretty in Pink. Like I said on Melanie’s blog, if I had a quarter for every time I’ve watched that movie…I’d have a lot of quarters. My friend Jennifer and I used to quote scenes from that movie incessantly, to the chagrin of our other friends. In fact, I still say “I’m off like a dirty shirt” from time to time.

What don’t I love about that movie? I love Andie’s clothes and her car.  I love the soundtrack. I love Iona. I want to hang out at the record store with the gang and discuss albums. I especially love Blane McDonnagh. I had a serious Andrew McCarthy crush that has lasted for many years now.  Goodness, I thought he was mighty pretty.

But something interesting has recently come to light. In the 80s when I was watching Pretty in Pink with my girlfriends and dreaming of Mr. Right, I just knew that Blane was the one for Andie. Sure, I felt sorry for the Duck, but Blane was the obvious best choice. Now, many years and life experiences later, I think maybe she should have chosen Duckie. His lines are the ones that immediately come to mind when I’m reminiscing about this movie. He makes me laugh and that will carry you a lot further in life and love than cute lips.

I’ve had a similar heart change about Gone with the Wind. The first time I saw it, I wanted to be Ms. Melanie, because I thought Scarlett was just plain mean. And I actually may have had a bigger crush on Ashley Wilkes than I did on Rhett Butler. When I watch that movie now, I really want Ashley and Melanie to grow up and be somebody, I admire Scarlett O’Hara”s spunk, and Rhett gives me goosebumps every time he looks at Scarlett.

Time has a funny way of changing your mind about things, doesn’t it? Do you have any movies that you see differently now than you did the first time you saw them? If that requires too much deep contemplation, you could always share your favorite line from Pretty in Pink. Twenty-three years later, my love for quoting that movie is one thing that hasn’t changed!

Happy Friday! I’m off like a dirty shirt!

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Hello, My Name is Whimzie…

…and I’ve been treated for depression. It’s part of my family history.  Depression is certainly no friend of mine, but God has used those dark times to teach me about Himself and to draw me deeper into a relationship with him.

Shaun Groves is not a personal friend of mine. I’ve downloaded his music on iTunes but I really didn’t know anything more about him. I started reading his blog when he led a group of bloggers on a trip to India sponsored by  Compassion International.  I like the way he writes, but like the authors of most of the blogs I read, he has no idea who I am. I haven’t read enough of his writings to even know if we agree or disagree on many matters of theology. I don’t know if he has a favorite baseball team or even how old his children are. Yet as I’ve read Shaun’s blog over the last couple of weeks, I feel like he’s become a personal friend.

A few weeks ago, Shaun started a series of posts about how he recently experienced a time of severe, clinical depression.  Unless you’ve “been there,” depression can be hard to describe to someone who’s never experienced it. Shaun has chronicled his experience so well that when I read his descriptions I’m almost overwhelmed by two simultaneous events: First, my heart cries out in recognition, “Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like!” I can’t wait to read ahead, because to know someone else has felt the same is like a validation of my own experience somehow. But second, I don’t want to read ahead because I can remember in vivid detail what it feels like to be where he was. I not only read his words, I can actually feel them.

These posts were timely for me, because depression has been knocking on my door lately. My life has given it the perfect setup: plenty of stressors, not enough sleep, disappointment over changed plans, loss of control over many areas in my life (Ultimately I know God is in control, but lately I haven’t even had the opportunity to pray that God would show me the right decisions because the decisions have been made for me.), chaos in my physical world in the form of a move…even good events can have stress attached to them. Since I’ve struggled with depression before, I’m more in tune to cues that I might be headed toward a bad time. I’ve seen this storm brewing for awhile now. Shaun’s words have been an encouragement to me.  They’ve also been like a lighthouse warning me not to sail too close to those rocks again. Today’s post especially made it clear to me that no matter how busy and hectic the next few days are going to be, the wisest thing I could do is to pull away from the noise and spend some quiet time listening to only what my Savior has to say.

Instead of reading more words from my jumbled thoughts, your time would probably best be spent reading Shaun’s series of posts about his depression. If you want, we can come back and talk about this again some time soon. I’ve linked to Shaun’s posts below. He has one more post (Part 9) that had not been posted when I published this entry so you’ll have to check back with Shaun’s blog to read the conclusion of this series.

Beggar’s  Fortune, Part 1

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 2

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 3

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 4

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 5

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 6

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 7

Beggar’s Fortune, Part 8

It seems like a lot to read, but I promise it will be worth your while. I appreciate Shaun’s bravery and transparency in sharing such a personal and painful part of his life with us.

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Now Enriched With Even More Randomness

My brain is all over the place right now. I have to trick it into turning off so I can go to sleep. I hope it doesn’t read this and learn my secret, but when I’m lying in bed with racing thoughts  (I don’t mean thoughts about NASCAR racing necessarily, but just thoughts that  change very rapidly to other thoughts that pile on top of the preceding ones creating a NASCAResque pile-up in my head), I try to distract my brain by counting to 100. Whenever a thought tries to wedge in between the numbers, I mentally count louder. You have volume control in your brain, right? For especially persistent thoughts, I count to ten in other languages.

Anyway, since my brain is all over the place, apparently this blog will be too. I  want to tell you about something God taught me last week in the middle of all the chaos, but it appears that I haven’t actually learned the lesson yet. I had an opportunity to demonstrate what I’ve learned this week and I failed miserably. Sometimes I don’t know why God doesn’t just wad me up and start all over. I’m glad His patience exceeds mine. This week I’ve noticed that He’s speaking more slowly and using smaller words. He’s also had my blogger friends write three, nay, four posts expressing the lesson He’s trying to teach me. Yes, even the blogosphere is all about me and God causes blog writers to write posts specifically with me in mind. Self-absorbed blog writer much? We’ll talk about it later when I’ve had more time to study what I’m learning….and get over myself.

I made a new blog friend this summer. Her name is Deb and her blog is called “He gave me a dream…” She ends every post and email and comment with “Sweet dreams.” I just love that. It’s like when Charlie Gibson*  says, “I hope you had a good day” at the end of every nightly newscast. I really believe that he means it and he’s talking specifically to me. I love that Charlie. And I love Deb! She’s writes beautifully. She has amazing insight and I usually leave her blog with a head full of things that I can’t wait to discuss with God. I loved this post about fruit, although it made me very hungry. This post was a very timely one for me (and actually fits with the lesson God’s been teaching me. Maybe this post isn’t so random after all! Oh, who am I kidding?) Anyway, Deb gave me a sweet and undeserved award yesterday and I wanted to tell her thank you, so, thank you, Deb! I hope you’re having sweet dreams, too!

I’ve also learned how to pull my friend Melody out of Lurky Land.  She hasn’t blogged for awhile or left any comments here so I was thinking I needed to send out a search party. Nope. All I had to do was offer a quarter to the first person who recognized the opening quotation from yesterday’s post. (Grammar Girl says that “quote” is a verb and “quotation” is a noun, so it’s really not correct to say you heard a particularly inspiring “quote.” You actually heard a particularly inspiring “quotation.” I’ve alerted all the “Quotable Quotes” websites I could find and I’m sure they’ll be changing their titles accordingly.) I may have met someone who is more competitive than I. I should have known this when she refused to even guess what was in my envelope because I didn’t offer a prize. (Competitve or mercenary? I’ll let you decide.) Well, Melody, you were the winner of the “Guess Where This Came From” contest. The quotATION was from an old SNL skit where Tom Hanks was playing the part of an Aerosmith roadie testing the mikes.  It is a fun word to say. Try it. “Sibilance.” Some of you didn’t say it aloud. Do it now. We’ll wait right here until you do. Some of you need to try something fun every once in awhile.  Feel free to add “sibilance” to your Fun Word List. What? You don’t have one? Sigh. I don’t know what to do with you.

Back to Melody. She’s a friend from way back in the day. She’s on my list of Top Ten Smartest People I Know. It’s not a competition, Melody, so quit trying to secure your place in the Top Three! She also taught me this song:

Way up in the sky the little birds fly.

While down in their nest, the little birds rest.

With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right,

The little birds sleep all through the night.

Shhh….

They’re sleeping.

THE BRIGHT SUN COMES UP!

The moon goes away.

“Good morning, good morning!” the little birds say!

The farmer comes out with shotgun in hand.

BOOM, BOOM!

BOOM, BOOM!

“No birds on my land!”

With a stub on the left,

And a stub on the right….

Good times. Good memories. You can imagine the mental condition our former student pastor is in now. I’m also sure Deb is so happy that she chose this week to link to my blog.

So, Melody, send me your mailing address and I’ll send you your prize. I’ll mail you a quarter.  (Honestly, Melody?! You sold your comment for a quarter?) I’d link to her blog but I didn’t get permission and wouldn’t want to crash her site when my millions of readers come for a visit . She has a beautiful little girl. I haven’t actually met her yet, but I’m hoping to do so in the very near future. (Hint. Hint. Time for a road trip, friend! I’ll give you your quarter in person even!)

Okay. I hate to, but I have to go. I still haven’t found the spoons.  Or the iron. My house is so out-of-control that I can send myself into panic attacks just by walking from room to room. I have to leave my phone on the charger and stay away from the computer today except in cases of emergency. I’m too easily distracted and fifteen minutes here easily turns into an hour and a half.  So I need to go. You hang up first. No, you hang up. Are you still there? I can hear you breathing.

Instead of randomness, I think this plague is enriched with just plain silliness. I’ll blame it on the move. That’s what I’m blaming everything on these days.

In the words of the great CPQ, have a nice day.

*Edited from earlier posting. Thanks, Tiffani!

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Testing 1, 2, 3, Check, Sibilance*

*I’ll give a quarter to the first commenter who knows where I got that quote.

Can you hear me now? Guess where I am? In my own home!!  Check me out, I am wired!

And tired.

(And apparently channeling Dr. Seuss.)

Yet, I look around and wonder what in the world I have been doing because this place still looks like Ray the Mover had a box virus and regurgitated boxes all over this house. I don’t know where most of this stuff is going to live. I mainly shuffle stacks from place to place.

Let’s see, I want to put these towels in this closet, but wait! That’s where all the humidifiers and medicine and first aid stuff is. Let me move all the medicine stuff to this little cabinet. Oh, I stuck the bath toys in there. I can move those to….Yeah. You get the picture. Plus, I was telling my Tweeps this morning that I really need adult supervision while I’m working. I get distracted and spend way too much time doing unimportant things….like arranging my spices in alphabetical order. Really, Whimz? You still haven’t found the spoons or the iron. Is condiment organization really your top priority today? But if you need to borrow my paprika, I can find it in record fast time! CPQ and I were discussing this yesterday. I don’t even want someone here to help me, necessarily (although no reasonable offer will be refused).  Like she said, I’d be happy to have a friend sit on the edge of the bed to talk to me while I sort through boxes in my room.

Speaking of boxes, they aren’t going to unpack themselves so my inner mom says I have to go now. (At least I don’t think the boxes will self-unpack; maybe I should leave them for awhile and see what happens…FOCUS, girl, focus!) And did I mention my mother-in-law is coming for a visit on Thursday? Yeah, I hate to do it, but I need to run. I’ve been trying to keep up with what you all have been saying while I’ve been away. I haven’t had a time to tackle my email inbox just yet or to talk back to some of my favorite blog friends on their blogs, but I’m hoping to catch up a little bit at a time. It’s just nice to be plugged back into the neighborhood!

P.S. We didn’t get the Schnoodles. We visited them on Sunday and then Sunday night we received a phone call from Ray the Mover’s friends saying that they would be at our new home at 9 a.m. the next day (!!) which was a little unsettling since we weren’t expecting them until Wednesday and I had a hairapy appointment scheduled for Monday at 9:30ish to take care of my trailer trash roots. You don’t mess with a girl’s hairapy appointment and live to tell about it. Anyway,  it’s a long story, but, with all the chaos of the move and company coming, we’ve had to put the idea of adding a dog to the family on hold just for now. I know. They were cute, but they don’t allow dogs on the psych floor which is where we thought I was headed last week. Don’t worry. We’ll find our dog.

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