Monthly Archives: June 2011

Dry

Dry.

Dry like the patch of  yard where my flowers used to grow.

Dry like the skin on my over-forty-year-old face.

Dry on the inside.

Like Ezekiel’s bones.

Lord, please send rain.

Not just a summer shower with flashy lightning and show-off thunder.

I need an all-night soaker.

Saturate me from my parched lips to the marrow of these dry bones.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

My Call is Important to Them and Will Be Answered in the Order It Was Received

I feel like my list of appointments that need to be made and phone calls that need to be returned is never empty. Periodically, Sus and I will challenge each other to attack our “Make The Call” lists on the same day. Sometimes it’s easier knowing someone else is suffering simultaneously. It’s not that making phone calls is necessarily difficult. I mean, it’s not like I have a rotary dial phone. (Remember those? I hated dialing numbers with 8’s and 9’s.) It’s just that I end up spending a lot of my phone call time on hold. Listening to the same eight measures of a song that’s not really a song over and over and over.

But being on hold can actually be fun because it gives me an excuse to do some guilt-free web surfing.

PINTEREST

My computer desktop is a mess. Before Pinterest, every time I saw a recipe I wanted to try or a cute craft idea I wanted to study later, I’d drag it to my desktop so I wouldn’t lose it. Every time I saw a post in my Google Reader that had something I wanted to find again, I’d star it. But finding anything after I’d seen it the first time was almost impossible.

Enter Pinterest. I first heard about this neat new website from Emily. Pinterest is like an online bulletin board. Actually, it’s like having online bulletin boards with your favorites neatly divided into categories. One of my favorite things to do on Pinterest is to “follow” other people’s boards and repin their cute ideas onto my boards. You can have boards for whatever you want to collect: cute hairstyles, recipes, craft ideas, home ideas, funny quotes. And you can name the boards whatever you want.

Today when I needed to make out my grocery list, I went to my “Looks Good Enough to Eat” board and wrote down what I would need to make a half dozen of the recipes I’ve been collecting. I used craft ideas from my “Make it So” board as my end-of-the-school-year teachers’ gifts.

Sorry for the quality or lack thereof of these cell phone pictures.

Now I actually look forward to being asked to hold for just a moment so that I can engage in my latest obsession with little to no guilt. In fact, I think I may make tackle my To Call list tomorrow!

What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re waiting?

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Feel Good Friday

I was working on a thinky post that I just can’t seem to publish. I’m going to let it marinate for awhile and see how I feel about it next week.

Instead, I decided to welcome the weekend with two videos that make me smile.

My cousin-friend Heather shared the first one with me:

The chorus is my favorite part. Especially when he’s “moving his hips like yeah.”

And the other one? Well, I just love the way he’s loving life at the bus stop.

Just makes me happy.

You know what else makes me happy? I’m grilling steaks and making homemade ice cream this weekend! We’re celebrating Father’s Day a weekend late because the father we celebrate around here had to go out of town last weekend.

I’m excited about the steak grilling because I’ve never grilled steaks before. We got a new grill for Memorial Day and I’ve been working on my grilling. I can’t decide if I should use a rub that someone gave us once upon a time or if I should try a marinade. According to Google, ribeye is a good cut for grilling so that’s what I’m planning to buy. Any of you have any steak grilling tips to share with me?

I’m excited about the ice cream because, well, it’s homemade ice cream. I’m using our tried and true family recipe, I just have to decide if I want to go vanilla or add a flavor. What’s your favorite homemade ice cream flavor?

I hope whatever you’re doing this weekend gives you ample opportunity to laugh and be with people you love.

Happy Weekend!

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Ten:Ten

Twice a day I pray for her.

Actually, I pray for her every time I think about her which is way more often than twice a day.

But I make it a point to stop and pray for her for every morning at 10:10 in the middle of  laundry, or the grocery store, or whatever busyness is taking place in my morning, and then I pray again at 10:10 at night, as I’m getting ready to call it quits for the day.

I set alarms on my phone to remind me to pray, but I usually end up turning them off just before they chime because my mind just seems to already know that it’s time.

I chose 10:10 because it reminds me of her verse.

John 10:10.

Last week I memorized The Message version because I was afraid maybe the one I’d always known had become too familiar. I needed to see it with fresh perspective so I could pray it for her and really understand what it was saying.

It says:

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

I pray.

Please, God, please, give her more and better life. Not only the “when we all get to Heaven” kind, but real and more and better life here, too.

Please, God, please, don’t let the chemo make her sick.

Please, God, please, give her the energy to be the wife and mom and sister and daughter and friend  she wants to be. And if she can’t, please, God, please, just fill in the gaps where she can’t be. Fill them with more of Yourself and let her know it’s okay if she just can’t because You can and will. You will, won’t you? Please, God, please.

I thank Him that Dad’s doctor, the one who became like family to us, actually specializes in her kind of cancer. I guess God had this planned all along and I wonder at the way he arranged things just so. I thank Him that her cancer wasn’t the “really bad one,” and that it wasn’t in her lymph nodes and that she has the best possible chance of coming through this completely well on the other side.

But getting to the other side is so stinkin’ tough.

And none of this seems fair.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder why God let the thief use cancer to try to steal, kill, and destroy us….again.

I am so sick and tired of cancer.

I should be there with her and I’m not. I should be with her when she goes to her chemo treatments. I should be cooking supper for her family. I should be taking her kids to Happy Hour at Sonic so she can have a few minutes to herself.

I should be doing for her all the stuff she did for me when we were going through all the bad.

I had no idea what to wear to my dad’s funeral. What do you wear when they bury your daddy? They don’t give a lot of good guidance on that kind of thing in the magazines. But she knew what to do. She always does when it comes to stuff like that. She shopped for me and brought over the perfect sweater set.  I could sit here and cry just thinking about it because I know how much love went into the purchase of that ivory sweater with the sassy, black scarf. That shopping trip was her act of service to me. Every time I look into my closet and see it hanging there, I don’t think about that I wore it on one of the saddest days of my life, I think about her and how much she loves me. She’s a sister I chose for myself.

I really should be there.

But I’m not. I’m a couple of states away and I just can’t be there right now.

She sent me a picture of her cute, new haircut last night.

It’s super fun and stylish and trendy like she is, but it’s shorter than I’ve ever known hers to be.

She said she figured she might as well try something bold “since it’s gonna come out anyways….”

And my heart fell down to my toes.

The thief comes to steal, all right.

Some may say “it’s just hair,” but when it’s your hair, it  hurts. And losing it reminds you again that your life has been turned upside down.

Please, God, please, make her life so full of you that somehow all of this will seem worth it? Someday?

If we can’t understand, will you at least make Yourself known to her in a way she’s never experienced so this time will be redeemed for her good and Your glory?

Please, God, please.

It’s almost 10:10.

Time to pray again.

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

If It’s from Chick-Fil-A, You Know It Has to Be Good!

Taken off of Google Images from a Chick-Fil-A in Texas’s website.

He’s a good kid, really. He still loves cuddling up to his mom to watch Phineas and Ferb and he’s not embarrassed to be caught hugging his dad. He takes his dishes to the sink after dinner, gets good grades, and usually remembers to say please and thank you. Yep, if I do say so myself, he really is a good kid.

The last few months have been tough, however.  I’ve learned he can go from sweet to surly in 0.13 seconds. He has perfected the art of eye rolling. Sometimes I think he would rather choke on his own tongue than say a kind word to his brother and sister. My friends who have kids older than mine nod their heads and say with empathy, “Sounds like you have a tweenager in the house.”

Really? Ten is tween-aged? I thought I had more time! I was not at all prepared for this stage! So, I’ve cried and cajoled, prayed and punished, looked up “surly, eye-rolling, back talker” in all of my parenting books….All to little avail. But last week I saw the first real glimmer of hope I’ve seen in a very long time.

Since this is the first summer in four years that we aren’t moving, I’ve arranged several camps for the kids. Last week they went to C3 Day Camp. I’d never heard of it, but a friend mentioned it to me and so I did a little research online and registered the kids to go.  C3 is sponsored by the WinShape Foundation, which was started by Truett  Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A. Everything I’ve known that was associated with the Cathy family has been done with excellence, including and especially the Chick-Fil-A IceDream cone, so I felt like this would be a good camp. I was impressed by all the different activities the kids could choose: archery, basketball, drama, digital photography,  and wacky science, to name a few.

Every day all three  kids came home excited to talk about what had happened at camp. I was glad they were having a good time, but I also noticed a real change in my tweenager.

When my answer was “no” to something he wanted to do, his response was, “Yes, ma’am” and he didn’t ask again. He looked for ways to help around the house. Instead of arguing and calls for mom to referee, I heard laughter coming from the living room each evening. I knew they were spending some time at camp each day learning how to live life the way Jesus did, but good grief, what were they saying that could cause such a noticeable transformation at my house, and most specifically from my tweenager?

Friday was Family Fun Day at camp. Parents were invited to see what the kids had been doing at camp and then we were treated to lunch from Chick-Fil-A. As I followed the kids through the different activities they’d been involved with each day, I was impressed with the way the camp was organized and what the kids were learning, but I also saw what was probably a big factor in my son’s attitude adjustment.

The camp is staffed by college students from across the country and as I watched them interact with the kids and the parents and with each other, I couldn’t help but be impressed. They asked for and received respect from the kids, and in turn, they respected the kids and made each one feel important. I especially watched the college guys as they interacted with my son. These guys weren’t just passing time at their summer jobs, waiting for their next paychecks, they were actively and enthusiastically investing their lives into my son’s and into the other campers entrusted to their care. I stood behind one of the guys who was talking to a camper as we stood in line to get our Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. This young college man was crouched down to the camper’s level so he could look him in the eyes. He wasn’t speaking in that condescending manner that we grown-ups often use when we’re talking to kids. In fact, he wasn’t doing as much talking as he was listening….really listening. Every now and then the staffer would ask a thoughtful question that would give the camper an opportunity to tell him more.  I couldn’t help but look at him and pray that my boys would continue to grow into Godly young men like the ones I’d met that day.

My son is fast approaching an age where what his peers say will begin holding more and more weight with him and what grown-ups say may seem less important. Last week, that group of college guys who represent his idea of “cool dudes,” spent time with him and modeled what Godly young men look like. They had fun, played hard, laughed, yelled, and sweated together.  But those guys also took time to be Jesus with skin on in front of a bunch of kids who are learning what it means to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

I don’t know if one of the C3 teams is doing a camp near you, but if they are and you have school-aged kids, I highly recommend that you take a look. This was our first C3 experience, but we’re already planning to sign up to go again next year. Also, I was interested to learn about the WinShape Foundation and the different programs they have for everyone in the family.  No one from WinShape or C3 asked me to write this post. They don’t know me. In fact, I stole that picture from a Chick-fil-A restaurant’s website. I was going to say that I’m not affiliated in anyway with the Cathy family or Chick-Fil-A, but as many chicken nuggets and IceDream cones as my family has consumed, I’m not sure if that statement would be entirely truthful. It’s just that whenever I find a good thing, I like to share it. Unless we’re talking about my waffle fries, in which case you should just order your own.

Thank you WinShape Camps, Chick-Fil-A, Cathy family, and especially the C3 Red Team. C3 Camp Staff, this mom wishes she could hug each one of your necks, cook you  all supper, do your laundry, and send you off to your next camp with a care package of homemade goodies. Since I can’t, I hope you’ll accept my prayers that God will bless you and reward you greatly for giving of yourselves and making a difference in the lives of my kids.

*************************************************************************************************

I didn’t forget about the e-book contest. Stefanie? You’re the winner! In the morning, I’ll email you with instructions on how to claim your prize. Congratulations!

22 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky: An Interview With Marla Taviano, Christian Author and Speaker

My friend Marla had a baby last night.

Okay. So she didn’t actually give birth to a flesh-and-blood child, but she did release a bouncing, new e-book. I’ve never written a book, but I know when you pour out pieces of your very heart and soul and mind into a project it feels a little like you’ve given birth. Well, Marla’s new addition is called  The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky: Six Simple Steps to Great Sex With Your Wife. 

And now that I have your undivided attention…

Marla graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions about her book and I’ll post our conversation just as it happened:

WHIMZIE: So, Marla…is it okay if I call you Marla, or do you prefer Mrs. Taviano, e-book author?

MARLA: Please call me Marla Taviano, Christian Author and Speaker (the stupid tagline that comes up on my blog posts when they go to Facebook). Really, I’m not as pretentious as all that. Call me whatev, girl.

WHIMZIE: First of all, do you remember just exactly how we became friends in the first place. I wanted to give the readers an idea of how I came to know you, but I honestly can’t remember whose blog connected us. JewelsInMyCrown Gretchen, maybe? Quick, want to play a quick game of Kevin Bacon to figure out how we’re connected?
MARLA: Oh, goodness. Why am I drawing a complete blank here?? I actually think I found Gretchen through you. But how in the world did I find you?? I think maybe it’s just your magnetism that drew me to you from across the internet. Or maybe I saw the name “Whimzie” somewhere and thought, “If that’s not the coolest name EVER, then I’m not Marla Taviano, Christian Author and Speaker.” I’ll do some sleuthing and get back to you.
WHIMZIE:  So, for my friends who may not have met you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become an author? Is this something you’ve always wanted to be when you grew up?
MARLA: I’m a wife (to Gabe, world’s best web designer and now e-book formatter), a mama to 3 girlies (Olivia–10, Ava–9 on Monday, Nina–5), lover of words and books and globes and missions and Scrabble letters (but not so much the actual game) and the color turquoise.Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I got sidetracked for a bit as a nursing major in college who switched to elementary education and taught school for three years before I quit to be a mom. But I’ve been writing since I was four, and it’s really my passion.
WHIMZIE:  You’ve written books about marriage and sex in the past, but those books seemed to be more like a conversation you’d have with your best girlfriends over coffee/ sweet tea/chai/Dr.Pepper/Coke. What in the world made you decide to tackle a book about sex for, gulp, men?  How did you have to adjust your writing style for a more male audience…or did you?  
MARLA: Chai latte please! Yum!! You know what? I said I’d never write a book for guys. Not because I was scared, but because most guys I know don’t read books. And then I got a bunch of e-mails from guys who’d read my book for wives on sex (Whimzie interrupts to say, “The book she’s referring to is Is That All He Thinks About) (despite clear instructions at the beginning of the book NOT to), asking, “When are you going to write one for us??” So I did.I really didn’t have to adjust my writing style at all. I’m not a very girly writer anyway. So I just tacked a “dude” on the end of a few sentences and called it a day.WHIMZIE: Why an E-book instead of a “real” book?
MARLA: Several reasons. One, this is a book for men (husbands) and it’s about s-e-x. I think the topic will encourage them to read it, but not necessarily encourage them to purchase it while other people are watching (other bookstore browsers, cashiers, their moms, etc.).
WHIMZIE: Good point.  So if the guys who read this book only take away one big idea, what do you hope they will learn/change/realize?
MARLA: There is hope. If you and your wife aren’t on the same page as far as sex goes, if you’ve been hurt by her rejection, if you desperately want her to want you like you want her, there’s hope. Lots of HOPE.
WHIMZIE: I know that you are using the proceeds from the sale of this book to fund your family’s upcoming trip to Cambodia. Some of the people reading this interview might not get why your family has such a burning passion for that country. Can you tell them in just a few sentences what Cambodia means to you?
MARLA:  How many is a few? 50? Gabe and I went to Cambodia last July and got to love on 22 beautiful orphans and visit some ministries that are involved in rescuing kiddos from sex trafficking. I sat on the floor of what used to be a child brothel and bawled my eyes out, thinking about these beautiful children being used every night for sex. I have three young daughters. I just tried to imagine how I’d feel if it were them. It was almost unbearable. I’ll do anything I can to help these children.We’re saving/earning money to go back as a family over Christmas break. We didn’t want to ask for money, because we wanted the girls to know what it means to sacrifice and work really, really hard for something. We’re up to $6000 (on our way to $12000) and hoping and praying the proceeds from the e-book get us the rest of the way there. Because, goodness, I’m tired of making and selling Scrabble magnets and washer necklaces.
WHIMZIE: So let us help. How can we get a copy of this e-book and….for the women in the audience, any suggestions for ways to get a copy to the men in our lives without seeming like we’re getting all up in their business?
MARLA: Go to http://husbandsgetlucky.com and you can click to buy it there for $4.99. You know, I don’t think it’ll take much convincing to get your husband to look at a book called The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky. What guy doesn’t want to get lucky??
WHIMZIE:  You’ve got me there. So what’s next for Marla Taviano, e-book author?
MARLA: First, I’m hoping to catch up on some sleep. Gabe and I have been up until 2am quite a few nights in a row trying to get this thing churned out. Whew.Then I’ve got big plans for another e-book–about our family’s trip to 52 Zoos in 52 Weeks.
WHIMZIE:  Anything I’ve forgotten that you want to add?
MARLA:  Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Whimzie! I love you, girl!
WHIMZIE: I love you, too friend!!
Not only was Marla sweet enough to take time in her sleep-deprived state to stop by for an interview, she has also generously allowed me to give one of a you a free copy of her hot off the….what do you call books on the Internet?….hot off the Web e-b00k. Here’s how to win:
1. Leave a comment. Any comment.
3. Write a Facebook post or status update linking to www.husbandsgetlucky.com.
4. Tweet a link to www.husbandsgetlucky.com using the hashtag #husbandsgetlucky.
You can get one entry per activity. For Pete’s sake, people, even if you don’t think you or your spouse need any help in this area, for less than you probably spent on your fast food lunch, you can help the Tavianos make a difference in the lives of people in another country. This book that encourages healthy sexual relationships the way  God intended can help girls who have been hurt by sex as it has been perverted by Satan. Of course, before you feel all smug about how “lucky” your spouse is feeling, you might want to check your answer with him/her to make sure you’re on the same page. Just a thought.
I’ll accept comments through the weekend and announce the winner some time on Monday, June 19, Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
I was going to say “Good Luck,” but if we read both of Marla’s books, I guess we’ll all be getting lucky. Sorry. I just couldn’t help myself.

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

What I Learned on My Vacation from the Blog

AKA How to Kill A Blog Using Everyday Life Things You Have Around the House

*Tap, tap, tap.* Is this thing on? Hello? Is anyone still there?

I never actively planned to go into semi-retirement from the blog community. I guess the short story is life got busy and I was tired of hearing my own words. A busy week turned into a few busier weeks and before I had crossed off another thing on my To Do list, four months had passed and I hadn’t written a single post.  And you know what, although it  was touch and go for a little while back in May, the world did not end.

It’s too soon to write the obligatory back-to-school essay on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation,” but it’s a perfect time to tell you what I learned while I took a little break from my life inside the computer.

1. Moderation is not my forte.

I remember the year my brother got a Game Boy for Christmas. When he finally gave me a turn to play with it, I played Tetris for four hours in a row. When I closed my eyes, all I could see were those little shapes falling and even now, just thinking about it, I can hear the theme music. I have a tendency to lean toward extremes and without limits, I can become very unbalanced very quickly.

 At times, my computer life has taken on a life on its own. When I don’t set boundaries, the computer can become a big black hole that sucks the life and time right out of me.  A big part of being a grownup is learning to tell yourself no. Sometimes I need to even say no to good things if they are a hindrance to even better things, like time with my family or time to take care of other responsibilities.

2.  I don’t always have to follow “the rules.”

It’s hard for a first-born rule follower like myself not to do what I am “supposed” to do. I know what I should do to have a good blog. I’ve read articles on how often you should post, how long your posts should be, how to interact with readers, etc. But this blog is not my day job. Like I said a few minutes ago, the world kept going even when I didn’t post every day.  Other people’s blogs didn’t die when I stopped reading or leaving comments.

3. Sometimes being “present in the present” means I have to unplug for awhile.

During the time my dad was sick and since he died, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be an active participant in my own life. A couple of nights ago, we were having a little family time together and in the midst of our conversation we realized that we may only have eight more summers together as a family before my oldest goes away to college. And even those years aren’t guaranteed.  In order to be intentional with that time, I have to be available..

4. That said, I’ve also missed my friends who live in my computer.

I’m not sorry that I’ve taken time away, but I have missed the connection I’ve always felt here with you all. Some of you are friends I’ve never had the opportunity to meet in person, but you are still very dear to me. Some of you are real-life friends who live far away and this blog has made you feel closer. I’ve missed you all. I don’t like not knowing what’s been going on with all of you and I haven’t had much of a chance to read all of your blogs to find out your latest happenings.

5. I’ve also missed having a place to put all my words.

Just because I haven’t been posting here on ye olde blogge doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing. I write every day of my life…. in my head. But the stuff that doesn’t get out of my head never seems to leave my brain. It just bounces around until it starts bumping into other thoughts and, well, it’s very crowded up there when I don’t put the words for the thoughts in a safe place. When I used to blog regularly, I found that writing out my thoughts sometimes helped me give order to them. My thoughts haven’t been very orderly lately.

For awhile I wondered if it was dangerous to keep spouting off thought and ideas in black and white as if I knew what I was talking about. In the past I’ve read some of my blog posts that were written from a place of raw emotion and I’ve wondered if maybe I should have let some of them cook a little longer. Or maybe left some things unsaid. But I also love the conversation that evolved from many of those raw thoughts. So many of you have helped me fill in some of the blanks and changed my question marks to exclamation points or even just an ellipsis… (I do love a good ellipsis.)

So I think I’ll be back here more often than I have been. I don’t think I’ll post every day, but I’ll just make up my own blog rules as I go.

One of the reasons I came out of semi-retirement this week, is that I have the opportunity to interview my author friend Marla Taviano (one of my friends who lives in my computer) about a project she’s been working on this summer. Come back on Thursday and there may be something in it for you!

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized