Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Am I a Prude?

Yesterday, someone called me a prude.

Now I know it was meant as a joke, but sometimes things touch deeper than they should.

Ouch. That one, for some reason, really hurt. I was being labeled by someone who didn’t know or understand my thoughts, someone who obviously sees life differently than me. And I hate being called something I am not.

But if someone wants to tag me a prude because I choose to not read blatantly sexually explicit books, well okay then. But I call it selective reading rather than prudism. I find content in a book very affecting to the way I view life. Although I read a vast array of mostly fiction and some non-fiction, I veer away from novels, autobiographies and “real life” subjects that I easily can discern are full of inappropriate materials that in no way will uplift or expand my mind for the betterment of me.

If I am labeled priggish because my choice in music is not about making it with someone on the dance floor in front of everybody or about sleeping around with anyone available or about killing, raping, mutilating, or degrading anyone, then okay; I choose to select music that doesn't need to come with an advisory label. I view music as a form of poetry. I relish all sorts of music, groups, and artists, but I think I can appreciate someone’s artistry without having to listen to “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all you clothes” or “I’m #!%&* gonna &^%$! get !*%#@ you *#@%!” That’s just not my style.

If I appear humorless because I generally don’t find obscenely rude or graphic jokes funny, then I guess that person will have to think of me as being dry. But they would be incorrect. I poke fun at the best of things, find much humor about me and laugh almost daily at myself and life in general, because, really, laughter and a really good gag is the best medicine.

If I’m considered stuffy because I don’t enjoy movies that are all about sex, be it soft or hard, well all right. It is not that I am not comfortable with the human body. Trust me – I am. But I call it being protective of my sense of reality because, in my humble opinion, movies for the most part don’t show the realness of sex. Let me clarify that even further. They show much of the ecstasy, but rarely any of the messiness, the hardships, the consequences, the attachments that follow. They falsify and trivialize it over and over again.

If I’m branded a straight-laced girl because I chose to wait until after being married to make love to my husband, then that’s all right. But I do not see it as being naïve; I see it as making my virginity as a gift to be cherished by one man only. Although times were plenty when I wanted to “do it,” I reminded myself that to wait would be sweeter than the pleasure of the moment. There are no words that can wholly express how I felt giving myself to my husband, his knowing full well that no other person on earth would experience this moment with me. He understands that sex was not and still is not, in anyway, insignificant to me. It is fun and exciting, sure, but it always comes with an emotional security attached to it. And I don’t feel as if I “missed out” on anything by forgoing sex until after marriage. I have listened to a number of friends, male and female alike, who wished that they had waited, but they knew that they could never go back to that state. Plus, I never had to worry about unwanted pregnancies, STD or the emotional connection that comes with giving yourself so fully to someone else. All in all, I think I got the better outcome in the end.

If not watching TV, even going so far as to not have cable by choice (Egads!!!) makes me silly/naïve/impractical/ unrealistic in the eyes of others, then I can live with those terms. But remember that I have other things with which to fill my time while the name caller is watching TV; I have time well-spent with my kids, books to cultivate my mind, a husband who longs to be with me, and friends who value playtime, brownies and coffee as much as I do. The name caller usually only has a poorly played laugh track.

I tell my kids that words are just words and just because someone calls you something, it doesn't make it a fact.

For example, when my daughter was teased about being “weird”, I called her a redhead. She looked at me and said, “No I’m not.” And I showed her how just because somebody says something, it doesn't always mean it’s true.

I guess I will have to follow my own words of comfort. I am what I am and that’s all that I am. I'm not a prude; I am a Christian… and that’s all right by me. And if you really know Christians, we are anything but prudes!

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Monday, February 27, 2006

The End is Near!

Thank goodness… Basketball season is almost over for us.

But I have to admit, although I am not a great “sports mom,” I love the development that we’ve seen in the boy and the excitement he is showing in who he is turning out to be.

He loved running out of the tunnel when his name was called. He liked to do some crazy things while going out. One time he ran out of the tunnel, did a somersault and ran to the middle. He was so impressed with himself; he thought he was big stuff.

He went from not being able to dribble the ball – Seriously, it hit his foot every time he attempted to dribble. He spent more time chasing the ball than actually putting his hands on it. – to being able to make it down the court with the ball staying in its desired place. If you had seen what he was able to do before b-ball season began, you would be utterly astonished. You would think that this was not the same kid from January.

After several games, he finally started to see that he had a job to do on the team, other than just standing there or looking off into space or playing a game that only he knows.

Although he craved having the ball, he didn’t know what to do with it once he got it. Now he knows to dribble it down, look for an open player and toss it to them. Or occasionally, he actually took a shot at the basket. Not that he made it, mind you. But hey, there is always room for improvement in everything, right?

And he learned that when the other team has the ball, he needed to defend his goal. This little tidbit took a looooooooooooooong time to learn. But he knows now to put his hands out and try to steal the ball. On his last game, he just started going up to the person with the ball (whether it was his man or not) and taking it out of his hands. He’s turning into a b-ball bully! Yeah!

Mostly, I am amazed by the character development he has found. He loved memorizing the scriptures to say at every practice. He could recall them when something applied in his life over the past few months. He grew in his ability to listen longer and to grasp what others wanted him to do. He liked seeing his friends and being a part of the team. I watched him learn what to do with someone who was mean to him for no big reason, and how, now, because my son showed kindness and perseverance, that same boy will high five him during a play.

In short, the boy is growing up. And even though I am sad to watch my baby take those steps, I really like the person he is turning out to be – a terrific kid who likes himself.

And that is reason to celebrate!


Friday, February 24, 2006


We found out this week that my daughter’s school is about to introduce reproduction.

(Every time I say it, I have the clip from Grease 2 enter my head, where they are singing: Re-Pro-Duc-Tion. All the kids are dancing around the classroom, singing about the biology, human physiology, and, ummm, the making out.

Oh come off it, you know you saw it too when you were young! And even though it was a completely plot-less, mindless dance-a-thon about making it with anyone and I would never watch or recommend it to anyone – even the people I don’t like, it had some really memorable songs. Score Tonight, Who’s That Guy?, and We’ll Be Together to name a few. And Cool Rider was so… well, cool! Michelle Pfieffer was singing about the man of her dreams, dancing around the back of an empty stage, perching on a ladder, and looking great in her black clothes and, of course, a pink jacket.

A coooool rider, a coooool rider.
If he's cool enough,He can burn me through and through.
Whhoa ohhhh If it takes forever,Then I'll wait forever.
No ordinary boy,No ordinary boy is gonna do.
I want a rider that's cool.

Chalk it up to being 13 and very impressionable and having a fabulous memory when it comes to words in a song. Just ask Mr. Right… he can attest to this freakness of nature within me.)

Anyway… Back to what I really wanted to write about... school’s reproduction presentation.

They had a parents’ night for those who had 4th and 5th graders so that the school could talk about what would be discussed with the kids, how it was going to happen, and review the movies that the classes will be viewing.

Can I just state how surprising it is to me that parents aren’t concerned about what their kids will be seeing in class? Out of a 150 kids, only about 25 adults showed up, and some of them were married to each other. I’d say only about 14 families were represented... out of 150! A shocker for me. I just can’t see letting your kids go through school and never questioning or viewing what your child sees or hears.

But then again, I have to remember that I am part of the small percentile of parents who actually feel that it is my responsibility to raise my kids, not the school’s or my church’s or Hollywood’s or the television shows’ or the neighbor’s next door. That is so sad.

I found the meeting helpful. The nurse discussed how they two sexes will be separate, they’ll have a talk that most of them will not want to hear, they’ll watch a movie about their body, and then they’ll ask if there are any questions, and no one will raise their hands because no one will want to talk about it. They mostly want to get outside for recess. I think she nailed it on the head.

We reviewed the material and I watched the movie they will be showing the girls. I think I learned a thing or two myself…

Also, I think, “Is it really that time already?”

At the end of last summer, I had the discussion with my daughter about periods, about how boys differ from girls and how babies are made. She seemed reluctant to hear any of it at first, but then she was inquisitive and then she wanted to know if she could have a popsicle.

Like mother, like daughter. I’m pretty sure I was the same way at nine. Heck, I can be the same way now. Only now instead of the popsicle, I want chocolate chip cookie dough.


DisneyWorld in Kansas!

I've got my own Goofy!

They won't buy it that we have one at home now. The kids still want to go to DisneyWorld...

Mr. Right hates this picture! But I think, "Look mom, no teeth!"


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tooth Fairy Revisited

This is before.

This is after.

Can you see the difference?

Yes, I know he is adorable in both pictures, but there is a huge, gaping difference between the two.

Yep, he lost a front tooth! (And the other one will be gone before too long because it is starting to loosen as well.)

Last night before dinner, the boy showed us the wiggly tooth. You know, where it bends back and forth and you think you’re going to be sick to your stomach because a person should not have to see that right before eating…

We grabbed the camera to catch his last smile prior to the loose tooth.

After dinner while he was playing a game, he started to play with the loose tooth, but it was gone. He came arunnin’ (as we used to say in Tennessee). He was so excited about it. It’s not his first lost tooth, but it was still exciting!

Oh, no! Would the tooth fairy still bring something if he didn’t have the tooth? (The answer was an emphatic yes; he found two whole dollars under his pillow this morning… I think the tooth fairy went a little overboard, but at least the tooth fairy remembered to leave something this time, unlike the time when the boy lost his very first tooth.


Boy lost first tooth and goes to bed very excited. Mom is lying on couch when boy wakes up. Boy snuggles with Mom. Boy jumps up and says, “The tooth fairy!” Mom’s eyes get as big as pancake and remembers something was forgotten. Boy cries his little eyes out that the tooth fairy didn’t come. Mom tells boy that it must have been a very busy night for her and being
that it is only 6 AM, maybe the tooth fairy hasn’t made all her rounds yet.

Mr. Right, hearing this conversation, goes in the room to “check” the pillow. Mom, after consoling boy, suggests he check again periodically to see if he indeed was forgotten and states emphatically that if the tooth fairy doesn't leave anything by 7 AM, then Mom will hunt her down and have a word or two with the tooth fairy. Boy, quits crying (at least has subsided quite a bit), checks under pillow, laughs with glee, and comes out of bedroom, sniffling and smiling, showing the dollar that was under the pillow, left by the tooth fairy while he was in the living room.

Good old tooth fairy… she is usually so dependable!

Back to present time.

So the boy was excited this morning. Two dollars! (Better Off Dead flashes through my head when I think of it. I want my two dollars!) He is one rich man.

It’s good to see his smile, with or without his teeth.

But no matter how many teeth he has, this is always his reaction to eating his vegetables!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No Pain, No Loss

I love the reaction I get when I people that I have high cholesterol.

Almost every single person utters some variance of these words:

“You have high cholesterol? But you’re so thin! I thought it was…” At this moment they look around to make sure the coast is clear, hunker down and whisper in a loud stage voice, “just for fat people.”

This one statement is a misnomer for the cholesterol. It really doesn't matter what size you are. You could be 80 or 380 lbs. Okay, so I am sure that weight, amount of exercise and diet do play a part in this problem, but a lot of it comes from your genetic makeup.

Yes, it is something else for which you can blame your parents.

So very short? Blame your mom.

Need glasses? Dad’s fault.

High cholesterol? Joint contribution, equally guilty.

So there is no getting around this diagnosis for me. I’ve got it good. But fortunately for me, it is only my bad cholesterol (LDL) that is warbling on the line. The other ones (triglycerides and HDL) are at the right levels, not willing to ride the rollercoaster. For which I am grateful.

So because I refuse to get on the medicine for cholesterol because of all the side effects like muscle aches, abnormal liver function, allergic reactions, heartburn, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation and decreased sexual desire to name a few (come on, I’ve enough problems as it is.
I don’t want to invite any of those symptoms willingly!), I am trying to control it by diet and exercise.

Exercise I’ve started… now to the other part. (The part that reminds me that I have no self-control.)

This week marks the beginning of the South Beach Diet. Not so much for weight (although my pants are too snug), but for health benefits.

There is only one problem with this situation:

Why is it that the moment you tell me I can’t have something – that becomes the very moment I want nothing else.

No bread for me – now all I can think about is sinking my teeth into some crispy outside, soft inside sour dough loaf or a heavily iced cinnamon roll. Heck, even a crouton would do.

No carrots, corn or potatoes – What I wouldn’t give for some creamy mashed potatoes and carrots and dip or a hot, buttery corn on the cob.

No rice, pasta or starchy foods – that rules out Chinese and Italian meals – my favorites!

Brussels sprouts and collar greens – I don’t even like them! But I want them… because I can’t have them.

And why is it that I eat the same type and amount of meal that happens to be on the SBD and I am still hungry at the end of the meal? It’s just crazy because I know I have enough food in me, but my stomach won’t listen. It thinks it is on the brink of starvation.

I’m telling you, I’m just not a diet person. I can make it the two weeks. I can.

Okay... After rereading what I just wrote, I am giving myself a big slap to the forehead! I am such a whiner! Enough complaining for me. I am going to go eat a fabulous salad and remind myself that at least I have food to eat and no serious illness that puts me on the brink of death. (Thank you God for all my blessings and forgive me for being such a spoiled brat.)

Sorry for the gripe-fest… I feel better now. I’m glad I got that off my chest; however, that is the one place that I don’t really want to lose anything. Oh, the irony of it all.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Déjà Vu

Now if this isn’t the weirdest coincident…

So Friday, I basically told you that I cherish February 17th because it marked the day that I came to believe in miracles. Someone that I truly loved proposed on that day many years ago… that is first part of the miracle – someone would want to marry the likes of me. For the rest, just read the previous blog.

Now this blog is all my thoughts, not Mr. Right’s. Hence the name “Shalee’s Thoughts”. He can get his own blog if he wants to say something. (I told you that I’m pretty selfish. You should see me when I get a dessert I’ve been craving. BACK OFF!)


At 4:35 PM that afternoon, after not hearing from Mr. Right even once that day, which is a bit unusual for our routine, I get a call from him.

“Hey, Sha. I’ve only got a minute to talk. Will you be going by home after you pick up the boy from YCare (after school care)?” Mr. Right questions.

“Yep. I’ve got to sprint him into the house to change for the basketball game and pick up the girl, too. If we really hurry, I might be able to get him there in time for the game.” I say all this in one breath because it is late on a Friday and I am trying to finish everything so that I can run out the door.

“Oh, okay. Ummm, do you think you can get all dressed up for a date-date too?”

“A real date? No kids?!?”


Now don’t get me wrong. I love date-dates. Where you get to go out and finish a thought immediately, rather than start a thought, tell someone to chew with his mouth closed, answer a wild question about the migration of geese, take someone to the bathroom and then finish the original thought. I love getting dressed up, dropping the kids off at a sitter’s, enjoying a glass of wine with dinner and talking and laughing with the man I married opposite me.

But to get ready in three minutes flat kind of puts some pressure on me. I’ve worked all day (and no doubt look like it!). I have to hustle just to get the kids to the game on time and get ready.

It’s a good thing that I strive under a challenge.

“I’ll be the one looking good and ready for a hot time on the town!” I reply.

Now in all the running, acquiring kids, telling them to get dressed and finding basketball shoes, I was able to pull off finding an ensemble for the evening, recreating some sort of on-the-town face and my hair actually cooperated by looking good the first time through its transformation. Not bad in 4.7 minutes time! I’m sure that is some kind of world record; I’ll contact Guinness sometime and see if I could get my name in the book of world records…

I got the boy to the game and the girl ran the time clock. (By the way, the boy has actually learned to focus on the game. Well, mostly… At least he has quit rolling around on the floor when he doesn't have the ball. Another blog…)

Me? I sat there in a black “date” dress, with a beaded/sequined wrap and heels, yelling and cheering the boy on in the game. I was trying not to jump around (like I normally do) because I was not going to tempt the hair gods by needing to do fix it again. Most of the moms, who were in jeans and sweatshirts, kept glancing my way, trying to figure out why someone would get so dressed up for a game and sit there yelling like a coach, throwing my hands up and rolling my eyes and smiling at the kids. Let me just say that it is not the first, nor will it be the last, time that people have stared at me. I’m used to it by now.

Anyway, in the last few minutes of the game, Mr. Right showed up all decked out. Suit and tie and a huge smile.

Be still my beating heart.

When the game was over, we all piled into the car and headed over to the sitter’s. Now I was in the dark as to who was watching the kids, where we were going and when we would be back. Remember I didn’t plan any of this evening. Mr. Right did it all. He handled every last detail.

After dropping off the kids at a friend’s house, we hustled over to Ted’s Montana Grill. He had made reservations for us. (I didn’t even know they took reservations!) We were seated quickly, much to the chagrin of other patrons who had been waiting longer than we had. We had a nice quiet booth

I ordered a white wine and fresh cedar planked salmon with asparagus. Such a change from a quarter-pounder with cheese or pizza. A real adult meal. Wow!

Mr. Right requested a big steak with onion rings and parmesan creamed spinach and a wedge salad. I don’t know where he was going to put it all.

He then started to talk about what a special day it was. “Today marks a special anniversary. I proposed to you 14 years ago.” I swear I didn’t talk to him about how I felt about the day. I even asked if he read my blog that day. He said no. This was all him.

He recollected being excited about proposing to me. How he had to call everywhere to find roses (3 days after Valentine’s Day… everyone was out). He detailed our dinner, what I wore, where we were and what all followed. (We sat and watched Some Kind of Wonderful and then at the last minute, we invited his folks out for dessert. We were hoping that they would see the ring and figure it out on their own. They did… eventually. I mean how many times can you wave your left glittering hand in front of somebody’s face?!)

I absolutely love that he remembered all those things. (I thought only girls did that.) So maybe it’s not just me with a good memory in this marriage... I am so going to dread writing that. I am sure that is going to bit me in the butt sometime soon…

After dinner, we stopped at beanology for coffee and a chocolate muffin to die for! We just sat and chatted and laughed and dreamed of crazy stuff, as if we hadn’t just had a great meal together an hour earlier, doing the same thing.

After picking up the kids and hitting the hay – hey it doesn't take much wine to conk me out, you would think that our long extended weekend would be all lovey-dovey.

But alas, it was not to be… I went right back to griping, acting like he was the biggest dope known to man. (He wasn’t… It turns out that I am. I did say sorry.) Another one of those Do Over moments...

See, that is why I believe in miracles. He hasn’t left me and, believe me, there are times when he should.

I’m hoping that I’ll grow out of this some time. Or just grow up and keep the good kid part of me around.

Maybe there’s medicine for people like me… wouldn’t really help me because I wouldn’t want to take it. (Yeah, I’m one of those people.) Or better yet, maybe there is a really good bottle of wine. Now that I would take.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Today marks the day that Mr. Right proposed to me – 14 years ago.

Now I know that it may not be a big deal to you. Some of you are thinking, “So what? That’s not the day that matters. It’s the day that he did marry you that counts.”

Here, dear reader, is where I must disagree with you.

For you see, this very day is that day that I discovered that there is such a thing as miracles.

Some look for the face of Mary, mother of God, in puddles; others look for the lost Ark. Me? I look for the impossible.

I did not think it possible to find a man who was gutsy enough to want to bind himself to me for all eternity, to boldly brave daily life with me – including the ideas and odd thoughts that would surely follow if he chose to marry me, to link himself to someone so self-centered, stubborn and outgoing, to yoke himself to a woman who still had so much to learn in the area of love, to want to bear children with me and hope against hope that they would be like his side of the union.

I needed a man with nerves of steel, a heart full of unconditional love, a spirit of unending forgiveness, a strong stomach, patience as large as the ocean, and the greatest sense of humor this side of heaven. Oh, and he had to be a great kisser, too.

There is a saying that I love: “When you pray for potatoes, have a hoe in your hand.”

God created and gave me exactly what I requested… and then some!

Not only did I get the man that I detailed above, he turned out to be incredibly handsome – on the inside and the out. His heart is as pure as gold; his faith in God is unwavering. He also is a great helpmate – with creating a better me and with keeping the house. Did you know there are men out there who will do the dishes and the laundry – without your asking? Amazing! And he loves to cook with me, whether it means dinner or dessert. Let me tell you, we make a mean pie duo.

He is completely romantic, too! He loves finding ways to make me smile, be it flowers just because, a secretly planned birthday surprise or bringing me coffee when he wakes me in the morning. He’s got the kissing part down to a T and the other stuff is out of this world! (Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge. Say no more. Say no more.) I am one blessed and happy woman.

Mr. Right should win a Father of the Year award because he loves being with the family. He plays with each of the kids, mentors how to be a great companion, shows displays of affection not only to me, but to each of them. He loves them unconditionally and disciplines them as needed.

He has his faults; don’t read that he is perfect, for he is not. Oh, boy is he not! For example, he has a habit of telling untruths. Like the time he told me that I was the most beautiful creation that God ever made. Or when he stated that there could be no better mate for him. He’s just a flat out liar at times. And there are times when he doesn't do what I’ve requested. One anniversary we agreed to not do expensive gifts. I held to my end and got him a nice shirt, on sale even. What did he get me? Diamond earrings! Don’t even get me started on his lack of standing up for what he wants. He is often letting someone else have their way. Sheesh… the nerve of some people. But I choose to overlook these faults and bear with him as I am sure he does with me on a daily basis.

Mr. Right is a man of his word. And this, my friend, is where February 17th comes in play as a very important day. He gave me his word to marry me. Once he did that, I knew I had him. For it meant that he wouldn’t leave me standing at the altar. He would go through with it for no other reason than he promised to do so. He says he went through with it because he could not be with anyone else and that he loves me more than life itself, but you know now that he is a blatant liar. Judge for yourself.

Hey, whatever the reason works for me. I figure I get the better end of the deal no matter how you look at it. I got the miracle.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Clear As Mud

Did you konw taht we rlelay can usentadnrd gberibsih?

"The pmaonhneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deons’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are - the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg! Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."

Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt. All tsohe A's for ntinhog! (Dno't tlel my kdis.)

Waht I ralley need is for tihs to tfanresr to my cvroesnaaoitl slklis... at lseat oehrts bneig albe to floolw me wehn I jmup anuord in my tghouths. Tnhik of all the conacmimituon eorrrs taht wluod be celaerd up if taht culod hpeapn! Mr. Rhigt wluod nveer hvae an escuxe for musidnnsiratndeg me aaign...

If you can raed tihs mkae a cnmemot on the bolg. It wolud be petrty naet to haer ohetrs oinponis!

PS... I tllotay aimdt taht I slote tihs ieda form the bkaycrad sreies.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Do Overs

Do you remember when, as a kid, you would play a game with your friends and something would go askew and someone would yell “Do over!” and then you would start all over? No one made a fuss. Everyone just started over and had a good time doing it.

That’s what I want as a grown up. I want an unlimited supply of do overs.

I could use them at work.

I could use them with friends

I could use them with my children.

I could use them almost daily in my marriage. There are so many times that I want to wipe a memory from Mr. Right’s mind and recreate it where the scenario is so much different from the one we’ve lived.

Said some harsh words? “Do over!” Instantly, the words disappear and you replace them with kindness.

Behaved in some atrocious manner? “Do over!” Immediately live that part of your life with grace and elegance.

Made some huge mistake that leaves your mate crying with grief and pain? “Do over!” Shazam – Wipe away all sorrow and leave little kisses in their stead.

Too bad we often choose to leave the do overs behind in childhood. Think of how much easier life would be if we had hearts like children, allowing everyone do overs until we got it right.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sense and Sensibility

I am so blessed to have a man who loves really good chick flicks as much as I do. Plus he doesn't make fun of me when I inevitably cry over the pains or trials of one character or the joy and happiness of another.

Now that is love.

One of the most romantic movies that I love to watch a couple of times a year is Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, a magnificent adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic, even if lesser known, book. It’s a beautiful story full of endearing characters, believable plots and twists, heartache, and most importantly – a happy ending.

And deep down, we all want our own happy endings.

Who doesn't want to find true love, to burn with it as Marianne, one of the lead characters says to her mother when discussing Elinor (her sister) and her choice of romance.

Mrs. Dashwood: Why so grave? You disapprove her choice?

Marianne: By no means. Edward is very amiable.

Mrs. Dashwood: Amiable? But?

Marianne: There is something wanting. He's too sedate. His reading last night...

Mrs. Dashwood: Elinor has not your feelings. His reserve suits her.

Marianne: Can he love her? Can the soul be really be satisfied with such polite affections? To love is to burn - to be on fire, like Juliet or Guinevere or Heloise...

Mrs. Dashwood: They made rather pathetic ends, dear.

Marianne: Pathetic? To die for love? How can you say so? What could be more glorious?

Mrs. Dashwood: I think that would be taking your romantic sensibilities a little far.

To die for love?

It seems so extreme, but I get her drift. I willingly would sacrifice myself for Mr. Right or my children. That is the ultimate example of love, not to mention a daily practice for any parent.

Do you not go without something needed for the benefit of your child? Have you never given up sleep to comfort a sick one? Have you never given your kid the choicest part of something just to see the smile that would follow? Did you not read a story “one more time” even though you were sick to death of it just to have your baby snuggle up to you a little longer?

These are all acts of sacrifices that occur without thought or struggle because you love them.

I hope you shall watch this sweet, simple, yet detailed, love of life story. You will find yourself laughing at its easy humor, crying at the bravery of a young woman’s heart and sighing at the hope of love within each person’s being. You will be rooting for goodness and plainly despising those with better opinions of themselves than they ought to have.

One of the most divine, choice parts in the film is the rendering of this William Shakespeare’s sonnet (116), used not once, but twice, each time conveying love in a different light.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no, it is an ever-fixe`d mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

May your Valentine’s Day and each day that follows be full of this same love, either from others or from within yourself.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Wife's _________ Has A Funny Little Thing On It.

This weekend we went to a Valentine’s Party for Adults Only.

So no, it didn't mean what you just thought. Get your mind out of the gutter!

By Adults Only, it meant "Don’t even think about bringing your kids. Leave the offspring at home, let others hold a conversation without kids interrupting every other sentence, and have a date for goodness sakes! "

We had desserts and coffee, some good mingling and, for the pièce-de-résistance, we played “The Newlywed Game.” You know, that game that use to be on TV ages ago with host Bob Eubanks, newly-married couples answered questions to find out how well the husband and wife knew each other. Only in our cases we were the Not-So-Newlywed Couples because most of us had been married at least 10 years.

One thing I learned about the game, Mr. Right and I still don’t know everything about each other… and neither do the other couples. Oh, and when you answer a question correctly, it is fun to kiss your spouse. When someone doesn't answer correctly, the arguing after the question is more entertaining than a correct answer!

The women were sent away and the guys had to answer some questions. (Each of those were worth 5 points each.)
  • If the President was coming to dinner, what dish would she fix?
  • If your husband passed away, what would be the first thing of his that you’d get rid of?
  • Of these four choices, which one would your husband absolutely not do: A) tattoo B) hair plugs C) body piercing or D) face lift?

I got one right. I would fix roulade for the President. Although I don’t like the leather chairs, I would definitely get rid of the mammoth workout center in the basement first, and it was a toss up between the face lift and the hair plugs. I guessed the wrong one.

Then the guys had to leave and we were given some fun questions. (10 points each)

  • Who would your husband say is the better catch- you or him?

(All but one couple got this one right. The wife said the husband would say it was him because he was so cocky, but every husband who knew how to earn brownie points picked the wife. It was fun to watch that discussion!)

  • If you were to name a reality show after your marriage it would be called what: A) American Idol B) Survivor C) Fear Factor or D) Punk’d?

(Mr. Right guessed correctly – Survivor, but I had to admit, Fear Factor was in the running!)

  • What would you say is your husband’s most unusual habit?

(That’s such an open ended question!!! Does that mean weird, annoying or bad? And really, I had such a hard time thinking of one. Needless to say, we didn’t win this one. Mr. Right said his sleep talking/sleep walking – his reactions to allergies; I put that he can’t remember words to songs, but he could give you the tune of the songs instead. But what I really should have picked now that I think about it is the fact that I will tell him something, and sometime later he will ask a question requesting the very information I already gave him. The man has got to listen to me! Ummm, but that’s for another blog…) Let me just say that we all learned some things about some men that we really didn’t need to know…

  • For the Bonus Question (25 points), Name the closest street that intersects your house's street.

It is amazing how many people can’t name the streets around their house. But Mr. Right knew.

Believe it or not, Mr. Right and I squeaked into the finals with 50 point. I’m not sure this was a good thing because the next questions were hard! The slates were wiped clean and we tried it again.

Husband’s questions that the wives had to answer: (5 points again)

  • Which answer will your wife say describes herself: “I am smarter than I look or I look smarter than I am?”

(He got it right. I picked the first one.)

  • What is your wife’s all time favorite TV show?

(Right again… Moonlighting. It was so goofy! I loved the Taming of the Shrew one - "Atomic Shakespeare".)

  • My wife’s ______ has a funny little thing on it.

(No way I could answer that one… too many to choose from! Do I choose my face for the makeup under my eyes, my tummy for the C-section scar, my shirt for the food surely to have fallen on it? He said arm for my Orion’s belt freckles, but really it’s on my leg. My daughter said I should have said my blog. That made me feel really good!)

We had some toughies on the Wives round. (10 points again)

  • What would your husband say is his dream job?

(I got it right… If he had his dithers, he would be a missionary… The guy to answer next asked, “Now how am I supposed to answer after that? No matter what I say, I’ll look bad!”)

  • What song would your husband say would describe your first date: A) Sea of Love, B) Maneater, C) Our Lips Are Sealed or D) Cold as Ice?

(We each picked A since at the end of our date, Mr. Right said these words, “Well, when you know, you know.” I didn’t know as soon as he did, but it was a great date none the less!)

  • How many basins would your husband say are in your house?

(Most of the husband didn’t even know what a basin was let alone how many are in the house! I put five; Mr. Right guessed five. We got it right, but we were both wrong – there are 6 altogether. Lucky break!)

  • For the bonus question (25 points): How much would your husband say was your first month’s rent after you were married?

(We were blessed by my parents-in-awe, they let us live in their unoccupied house for a few years without a rent payment.)

When the points were tallied, we had won the game! We had won a nice gift certificate to a restaurant. You know what that means…

Another Adults Only night, but this time it will be just the two of us. And our own list of questions for each other…

Maybe a few “Whoopee” questions thrown in for fun…


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Did you know that it's Beautiful Women Month?

Neither did I until received an email telling me so. And since it came from the internet, it must be true, right? But should it be limited to the female class?

I think not.

So let me declare to all my readers that you are BEAUTIFUL! (If you are a male insert HANDSOME! I am not a feminist on this topic. Actually, I'm not a feminist on most topics, but that is another blog...)

The email came with a perceptive poem written by the endearing Audrey Hepburn, a woman who most people equate with classic grace and style. I actually agree with the words, so I am totally going to steal them and place them here. Doesn't matter your sex; the words are universally non-exclusive and timeless.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

That about sums up what it takes to be happy – to be beautiful from the inside out. Try it today and see how quickly others will place you on their Top 10 Most Beautiful List. And remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Doesn't matter what clothes you wear, if you're debonair, your type of hair, your size derrière, if you’re easy to scare, walk in a lair, if you stare, if you kiss a square, if you have weight to spare, if you sit in a chair, if you eat a pear, if you haven't a care or if you have flair… You are beautiful because God made you… And He has never made a mistake.

(Can you tell that we have been working on rhyming with our youngest?)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Good News!

Mr. Right was offered a job! He is thoroughly excited about it, even if he is starting at an entry level… again.

No matter. And I mean that in all sincerity!

He feels that it will help him learn so much more about his industry, and he is happy to be providing for his family. He is definitely the type of person who longs to be useful, active and learning. He just wouldn’t make it as a kept man…

I am thrilled that he is still in an area that interests him and it is a job that will allow us to actually see him, unlike his previous employment. He so longs to be happy in a stable position. Since we’ve moved to Kansas, the poor man has had 9 different jobs in 5 years. And all that time, he has kept his faith that God will provide.

And God proved him right whether it was through financial help from friends or family or an anonymous gift from someone at church or a warm welcome and meal at a friend’s house. He showered so many blessings on us, they would be impossible to count. And the prayers and hugs and encouragements were so incredibly inspiring to us that it just didn’t occur to us that God didn’t have a plan.

So praise be to God for another answered prayer. And praise be to those who have helped us in anyway. You have earned another jewel in your crown.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I think I can...

Exercise Update: I’m still running. Not everyday, but pretty consistently. I’ve gone from a 15 minute mile to a 12. Not by any means outstanding, but at least I’m lessening the time rather than increasing it.

I can tell that I am not as young as I used to be.

My knees feel like they want to cry. My hips are angry at so much movement. My heart is going a mile a minute. And my lungs are threatening to collapse while going around the neighborhood.

And my mind is the worst complainer.

  • “What do you think you’re doing? You’re not 25 anymore!”
  • “Isn’t it too cold to go out there? Wouldn’t you rather stay in and cozy down to nice book?”
  • “You’re killing yourself out there!”
  • “All that work isn’t going to help you much.”
  • “If you run this late, you won’t sleep as well tonight.”
  • “Stay home and eat cookies!”

So far I have been able to resist the comments, especially the cookie one. I hope to continue doing so until this running thing becomes a habit.

Only 15 more times to go before that should happen. Hopefully by that time it will change from chore to personal challenge.

I think I can… I think I can… (chocolate chip cookies…) Stop that!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Don't Worry, Be Happy

A couple of weeks back, Mr. Right lost his job through no irresponsibility on his part. It boiled down to the fact that the regional VP in this area just didn’t like Mr. Right. Perhaps after commending Mr. Right’s great character, superior work ethics and personal people skills, the RVP felt threatened by Mr. Right’s place in the company. Yep, Mr. Right got canned the day after the RVP said all those things to him during an evaluation. I’m telling you… The world is a strange place. But God is in it.

We have since discovered that Mr. Right’s immediate manager and the area manager went to bat for him, trying to talk the RVP out of his decision. But it was all for naught.

Because God has other plans.

It’s kind of like when God hardened Pharoah’s heart toward the Israelites ten times before letting Pharoah give permission of their departure. God’s power and glory were seen at that time. Perhaps that is the same purpose He has with us.

I’ve asked for prayers for peace through this transition.

Here is an example of God’s answer so far.

When a co-worker recently asked how things are going with Mr. Right, I had to stop and think about to what she was referring. After a few seconds of searching, I realized she meant the job search. Duh…

But that is the peace that God has given us. I don’t worry about it. I pray about it, but then I leave it on the throne where it belongs.

And God has given me many reminders of late about letting God have it.

One of my resolutions this year, made prior to Mr. Right losing his employment, was to strive to have a 3-demensional relationship with my Father. To look for ways that He is present, answering prayer and conversing with me. To allow a two-way connection to take place with Him, not just me asking for stuff as I’ve wrongly been in the habit of doing lately, but seeking His direction for me and sharing with God all my worries, sins and joys.

Perhaps I should have asked for this relationship without Mr. Right losing his job, but I didn’t think of it at the time. No matter – for God has a plan.

It’s amazing what you can find if you will only seek.

Over the past month, God has talked to me plenty over the same issue: The Lord will fight for you.

He has guided me to Exodus 14. This passage talks about the Israelites getting frantic because the entire Egyptian army was coming to annihilate them. God moved His angel and his pillar of cloud in between the army and the Israelites. (vs 13 & 14) Then Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

And God was faithful to His word. They all were delivered to safety while every last one of the Egyptians died.

And in II Chronicles 20 when great armies were coming against Jehoshaphat and Judah, Jehoshaphat offered a prayer to God indicating that they were in no position to win the battle, but with God, they could prevail. (vs 12b) “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Then God answered them by saying He was with them, and His replies was this (a couple of times): (vs 15-17) “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

And get this: Jehoshaphat and Judah did all that was asked, and on top of obeying, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him… on the way to the battle.

Their exact words of praise? “Give thanks for the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

And the Lord was faithful to His word. The Israelites never lifted a finger and the armies coming against them were destroyed.

In Matthew 6, I’ve read about Jesus instructing us not to worry. Point blank: Don’t worry. God knows what you need and He is faithful. Can’t get any clearer than that.

I know I'm dense at times. But even I am getting it.

When you think about that, it’s a powerful reason to not worry about anything. For if the Lord has promised me that He will protect me, then I really can’t help by fretting. What a relief that I don’t have that burden to carry…

So I am a songbird of late; I find myself singing praises to God. I’ve got a reason to have such a wonderful joy in my heart.

I’ve not a care in the world.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

This Sunday will be the last day of football for a while. This is a major bummer to a girl like me. No more plays to watch, no more football marathons that last from when we get home from church to when we go to Lifegroup, no more teams to cheer on from this Sunday on…

What am I supposed to do with my Sundays now?

Clean house? Yeah, right…

Play with the kids? Okay, I could do that…

There’s always the ever-popular Naptime. Ahhh… pure bliss…

I remember hating Sundays after church. Nothing but really old movies or golf (yawn) on TV, friends out at their grandparents for Sunday family get-togethers, my brother found any excuse to stay away from me and my parents always took a nap. Never failed. I swore right then and there at age 7 that I would never do that to my kids.

Okay, so I’ve had to eat my words since then. Boy, was I a big liarhead for that one!

Now I understand what my parents really meant when they told me to go find something to do… They meant that if I wanted to see my next birthday, I would vamoose long enough to let then regain some of the time lost in the week due to all the work load, school load, parenting, church activities, housework, and activities in which we kids were involved. Just let them have an hour of uninterrupted time.

I get it now. That’s why I threaten my kids with the same intensity that my parents used on me.

Now I lie down and hope that I get to sleep. Since I don’t sleep well in the first place, it usually means that I will be able to relax for a while. Usually what happens is that Mr. Right zonks out and I lie there long enough to make sure he is asleep, and I read. At least I get to catch up on my book obsession.

After an hour the kids come creeping into the room to see if we are awake, with such a look of hope on their faces. Since I remember that time of wanting to be with someone, I usually get up to be with them, whether it is to help them focus on activities they can do together or by themselves or to play some sort of game with them.

Maybe I can break the cycle of boring Sunday afternoons after all. At least until next football season.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Around (Again)

“Mom, where’s that 70’s music?” inquired my daughter.

70’s music? I don’t have any of that unless it is on some compilation that John gave me. And even then I usually skip over it, unless it is really good. (Sorry John.)

“What music are you talking about?” I ask.

“You know, that old music you were listening to last night.” She actually means it – old music…

I was listening to the Immaculate Collection by Madonna. That’s old? That can’t be old. If that’s old, then I’m old.

Then I thought about it. Some of that music is 20 years old… Where has the time gone? I remember when Holiday, Lucky Star and Borderline were No. 1 hits. I remember waking up to Crazy for You (from Vision Quest - a forgettable movie) on the radio clock alarm at exactly 6 AM because that song began with an alarm going off. It is still one of my favorite songs. Smoky, romantic, dreamy…

Material Girl set Madonna on her road to fame. The video was impressive, sparkly and downright fun.

Into the Groove, Cherish, True Blue, and Vogue were highly remembered songs whether it was because you dance your heart out or sing some really cool lyrics.

That isn’t old music. It’s just downright good.

It must stand the test of time because I put it on for the kids and when the music started, they were dancing like fools. They were begging me to join in too. So I did. When Material Girl played, they decided to dance like robots.

Wasn’t that happening when I was in high school too?

I guess what comes around, goes around in more ways than one.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tuesdays with Debbie

I love Tuesday nights. It is the night when I get to sit with my girlfriend Debbie and just yap about anything and everything.

The funny thing is that Debbie and I are extremely different – and yet the same.

I met Debbie when I was working at B & N. She was the Head Cashier, and I was a little peon, slaving away at whatever hours they gave me. She was this quiet, unobtrusive, sweet girl (you can see why I said we were different as can be), a recently graduate and transplant from NY. She was still settling into the non-exciting life of Kansas, adjusting to the flatness and calmness of the Midwest.

I was not from the same felt as her. I was almost 8 years her senior, married with kids and full of life experience and, well – not wisdom, but something like that. Maybe it’s being full of examples of what not to do when someone was confronted with the same situation. I was forthright, outspoken and I laughed – a lot.

I think I scared her when she met me. She was often looking at me with eyes as big as pancakes because of some outrageous, forward, openly honest thing I declared out loud.
She once asked me how I could speak so frankly. I looked at her with bewilderment, wondering how one could not.

It was a perfect match of yin and yang from that moment forward.

I love learning from her, getting her views on work, life, church, books, movies, and everything else in between. She is a great teacher of patience, kindness and virtue. Plus, she makes really good cookies.

I don’t know if she learns anything as useful from me, except reviews on books - movies, what joy can come from sharing a bowl of cookie dough, what it takes to raise kids, and that speaking the truth gets you a whole lot further a whole lot faster than if you wait for someone to read your mind. And she has had an opportunity to laugh, even if it is at my expense. I can live with that.

I am sad because I know this time of pure enjoyment is coming to an end. She will most likely be moving to NY to be with her man. As pleased as I am for her in that adventure and future happiness, I know it will leave me with a void, for I know that my Tuesdays will be lacking in mirth and delight as they are filled now.

And who else will listen to my advice and not roll her eyes at me? Yep, I am missing her already.

So before she leaves me high and dry, let me just say this:

Here’s to Debbie, my gab buddy. Thanks for all your time, laughter and friendship. I shall miss our weekly therapy. You will always hold a dear, cherished place in my heart.

Tuesdays just won’t be the same without you.

And when you come back to visit, your place of honor on the couch will be waiting, just for you, along with the cookie dough, of course.