Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Books - Day 31

Three books have come in the mail this week. One I requested from Bookmooch and the other two are review books for the Amazon Vine program. They are stacked on the end table. I am not reading them. It is a difficult temptation to resist.

HOW did Jesus not turn the stones into bread?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Currently During Lent

Current Book(s): Well, no actual books, but I did just "read" Hillbilly Gothic by Adrienne Martini, 3 Willows by Ann Brashares and Plan B by Anne Lamott, via audio book on my trip to and from Mom's. Currently, while I am at the gym, I have How To Raise Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Conner Browne on my iPod.

Current Playlist: Just audio books. The boys and I are listening to The Indian in the Cupboard in the van.

Current Shame Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Food. I am trying to be healthier, but I love food so much.

Current color(s): It is SPRING! I love Spring colors.

Current Fetish: Movies that I loved as a child or that I think my children will love now. We have started a weekly movie night, the boys and I, while Corey has class on Tuesdays. This week, we watched Holes.

Current Drink: Diet Pepsi. But, I had a REAL Pepsi yesterday. It tasted so good.

Current Food: Cesar salads from Newk's. I blame Mary for this.

Current Favorite Favorite: Memoir-esque writing/audio-books.

Current Wishlist: Dental work, A plane ticket to go see my older sister in LA, an armband case for my iTouch...

Current Needs: The aforementioned dental work

Current Triumph(s): Making it to day 26 without giving in and reading a book. Making it to the top 25 out of 300 or so entries in a poetry contest.

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: My ADHD brain, female hormones, the distance between friends.

Current Celebrity Crush: Still crushless.

Current Indulgence: Hot Tamales candy. Mary gave a box to the boys. Haydn doesn't like them and David can only eat one at a time, here and there, so I am sneaking them from the box myself.

Current Mood: Right this moment, I feel okay.

Current #1 Blessing: Corey, hands down. I do not deserve that wonderful man.

Current slang or saying: Today, I have been chanting - in my head - one of my life mottos: He has not let me down before, and He isn't about to start now.

Current Outfit: Still in white pants and a green tank, after a bike ride at the gym.

Current Excitement: I have gotten to pray over 2 baby bellies in the past month and I find out in a week who wins the poetry contest I entered.

Current Link: Mother Letter Project

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Books - Day 25

I am beyond fantasies to actually finding myself shaky at the thought of another 2 weeks sans books. Seriously. Not that I am quitting. I feel too guilty about even my reading fantasies to pick up a book before Easter. I did, however, walk into the church library today and FONDLE the books.

I praise God for the audio books I got to listen to on our long drives to and from South Carolina, but it is not the same. Thank you Anne Lamott, Ann Brashares and Adrienne Martini for making my trip not quite the third level of hell it can easily become (this is also partially due to 3 hours of hanging out with the beautiful Cheri, mid-drive). I have to say, of these books, Adrienne's Hillbilly Gothic was my favorite. (((TARA! READ THIS BOOK!))) It is her memoir of motherhood and madness in the hills of Appalachia. Sound familiar? I spent the whole book going, "YES! That's right! Me too!"

Still, what I want is a book. A hard-copy with real pages I can turn and turn back. I want to underline and highlight and read parts out loud to my hubby. I want to take the book to bed with me and fall asleep with a story in my head.

Ok, I am done whining and complaining. Just a couple of weeks to go. I made it this far.

*deep breathing*

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Most Beautiful Woman I Know

On Saturday, I saw the most beautiful woman in the world...

My Mother.

Now, actually, I saw Mom everyday last week and a few days the week before, but she was at her most beautiful on Saturday. We went to Ashley's baby shower. Mom's best friend from when I was little was there (Ashley's Mom) and I know Mom was excited to see her. Also, Mom took Ashley the baby quilt she made for her. I had been so proud of the Mommy Book I worked on for Ash, but the quilt stole the show.

This is as it should be.

My mom is simply amazing. She can take some scraps of fabric, a needle and thread and create art. There is no machine involved in my mother's work. She painstakingly stitches every little dot on every quilt she makes. You can click HERE to see a picture of Ashley with the quilt Mom made for her son, Caleb, who will be born in June. Growing up, my memories include Mom on the couch, a wash of fabric covering her lower half, the silver thimble glinting on her thumb, and a look of concentration on her face. I desperately wanted to be good at sewing. I was so proud of what she could do.

 Let's just say, I did not inherit that particular form of artistic ability.

On Saturday, after the gifts were opened, I sat down next to my Mama on the sofa, where she was talking to Ashley's mom and mother-in-law. The topic turned to her talent with a needle, and my mother lit up. It was like seeing the sun rise while standing right on the elusive horizon. Years and years dropped from my mother's face, and I saw - for just a moment - the face I am sure God sees when He looks at her. Sheer glory.

My mother is the most beautiful woman I know.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Things That Make Me Feel Old

1. Haydn will turn 7 on Sunday. SEVEN! Seriously?

2. I am teaching Sunday School in the church I grew up in tomorrow. The lesson is from Isaiah. I keep flashing to Jesus reading from Isaiah in His home temple. Except, ya know, I'm not exactly the Messiah.

3. I am going to a baby shower today for Ashley, a girl I have been friends with almost all of our lives. We met when I was 6 and she was 3 (over 20 years ago). She sang in my wedding and I wrote a poem for hers (though Hurricane Katrina grounded my flights and kept me from attending). We obsessed over NKOTB together and fought over who got to marry Zack from Saved by the Bell. I got to pray over her sweet baby belly, Thursday.

4. Weds morning, Rebecca and I sat on her front porch, watching my boys run and play. Her kids were in school. We talked about what all the people we have known for years are up to now and wondered what made us grow up when we had babies when so many others have not. We discussed husbands and jobs and pets and education for our children. Rebecca and I used to keep a notebook full of baby names we liked. Now, we have the babies for a few of those names.

5. Kimmi is graduating from USC on May 9th. She will be a teacher. Her little girl is two-and-a-half now. Evie looks just like Kimmi, in my opinion. She is beautiful like her Mommy. When I met Kimmi, in 8th grade, I idolized her. Here we are, 14 years later, still friends. This amazes me.

6. Last Sunday night, Kim Willis picked me up and we went out for Lebanese food. When Kim and I were first friends, it was her who took me to the church where I accepted Christ and was baptized. We have many different beliefs now and - thank goodness - have left the self-righteousness of teen years behind. Sunday was the first we saw each other in almost 10 years, after a "falling out" when I got married. God is a God of reconciliation. I am glad He is. It was good to see Kim.

This list could go on, I am sure, but I am going to go watch the boys play Wii and maybe take a walk.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Driving home from Kimmi's house, my mind kept playing over something we talked about - words. Things people say that stay with you, come back to haunt you. Sometimes people lie, but you can't stop hearing those words, even when you know they are not true. I had that overwhelming, "must-stop-to-write-right-this-minute" feeling, so I sat in the library parking lot, after dropping off some audio books, and scribbled this...

Sticks and stones
may break my bones
but words will hurt

Words will be tattoed
on my arm in indigo ink,
glinting bright
with pricked blood and skin.

Words will dangle
like a baby's mobile,
floating just
above my head.

Words will injure
again and again,
because you carved them
into my memory.

They leap up at me
from my gut,
though I dug a grave
to bury them.

They dance around
in bright clothes,
despite me scribbling over them
and breaking their legs.

Words are worse
than the end,
because over and over
they ruin new beginnings.

So sticks and stones
can break my bones,
but the words you say
can break all of me.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Books - Day 12 & 13

Yesterday was Day 12 without books. I was grumpy. I really really really really really really really wanted to curl up in bed with a good book and ignore my life for a while. I didn't though. I didn't even go to sleep. I made dinner. Corey and I played Boom Blox on the Wii. I lost... a lot. But it was fun anyhow.

Today is Day 13. It was a fun day. I was exhausted this morning, and I did lie back down for an hour after dropping Haydn off at school. I had a stressful dream that was like being in an action movie. I was being chased. Crazy stuff. But, once I took David to school, I drove to Rebecca's house, and we got started making cookies.

Our small group is studying Esther and this is the week when the Jewish Holy Day of Purim is celebrated. We made a traditional recipe that Beth Moore included in her Bible Study workbook. Haman's Ears cookies. The dough was yummy all by itself. We cut it into circles, added a dollop of preserves to the center of each circle and then folded them into triangles. Our first batch was iffy but we got better as we went along. However, we chose strawberry and raspberry preserves and, combining the bright red jelly with those curvy triangles made them look like uterus cookies. How... appetizing?

We divided the cookies up into bags and stapled a church business card to each ziplock baggie. Then, we each took half of the cookies to hand out as we ran afternoon errands. Bag #1 went to a teacher who helped Haydn into the van when I picked him up from school. Bags #2 and #3 went to people in Alltel, when I went in to pay our bill. Bag #4 was given to a man sitting in his car, in the parking lot, as we left Alltel.

We had one bag left and I offered to let Haydn take it into a gas station and hand it to a cashier. He was excited to do this. I didn't think to prep him with something to say to the lady as he handed her the bag. I let him walk in alone and feel like a big boy. When she asked him what the cookies were for, he remembered me explaining them in Alltel and said, "They're for Jewish Day."

Oh goodness.

We are having a party tonight, to watch One Night with the King and eat and drink and celebrate. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Felicities 3/6/09

It is time for Friday Felicities. I am in a good mood, too. I have a happy weekend ahead of me. If you want to join us in "counting our blessings" Nattie-style, drop in at Becky's Blog and add your name to the Mr. Linky. :)

Friday Felicities
  • Successful thrift store trips
  • Random errands with girlfriends
  • "Playing" Family Feud with my 4-year-old
  • The Tsunominees are...
  • Discussing name meanings at 5 AM with wonderful friends
Have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Books - ONE WEEK

Yesterday marked a full week without touching a single novel, without curling up on the couch with a book when there were 5 billion other things I should have been doing and without ignoring my kids in the carpool line because my book was more interesting. Amazingly, I am still in one piece. No nervous breakdowns and no trying to justify why I should be able to read for a little while "just this once." *sigh of relief*

Only, what? 33 days to go? Except, Sundays aren't counted in the 40, but I am not reading on those days either, so I guess this is longer than a 40 day fast. Do I get extra credit for that, God?

Wednesday is a bit of a crazy day, at the best of times, so not reading yesterday was helpful time-wise. I got a lot of image-searching done for Media Team. I hung out with Renee after our meeting, and we looked for movies and talked. I enjoyed that. I often turn down things like that and read instead. It never occurred to me how often until this past week. I will shy away from a social activity and stay home with my book instead. This is helpful sometimes, because it is certainly easier on our bank account if I spend the evening at home reading than if I go to a movie with a girlfriend. But I am actually making friends here, and building relationships takes time and effort. I am excited that, on Tuesday, Rebecca and I are getting together to bake our Purim cookies.

I read the Bible for a long time, yesterday, when I would normally have been reading a novel. In Disciple, we read about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob this week. Lots of thought about God's timing and provision, and how the stories in our scripture went from oral traditions to the written word. Trying to imagine fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, passing the tales down from generation to generation. Very fun.

I took my hubby lunch yesterday. I talked to friends. I folded some laundry. I read my Bible. I caught up on the Esther study. I sat in the quiet.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No Books - Day 6

I had a realization last night. My reasoning for giving up books for Lent had a lot more to do with Corey than I thought. I was wanting some recognition from him. He has complained about my reading for as long as I can remember. I think, stopping for Lent, I expected him to be amazed and thrilled and praise me daily. He doesn't. The fact that he doesn't is not the problem. The problem is me wanting him to. Earning my husband's compliments was not the purpose for this fast.

Our devotional for today, emailed from the church for Lent, is about turning back when you have gone down the wrong road. It is not progressive to continue in the way you are going if you are going the wrong way to begin with. So, taking a few steps back, I am going to try to recover my path toward Easter. I am giving up books for Lent so that I will have more time to focus on Bible Study, meditation and housework. NOT to gain my husband's approval.

Yesterday, I read some of the chapters for Disciple while waiting in carpool lines. I am not sure I like the Bible versions I have available on my iTouch app, though. I can get any version I want, if I connect to the Internet, but there is no wireless signal when I am sitting by Haydn's school. So I am using an app that has the Bible fully loaded onto the device. However, the translations it offers are all new to me. Actually, it has Greek. Seriously. If I read Greek, this would be an amazing feature.

I am ready for this week to be over with already. We leave for Brandon on Friday afternoon, and I am looking forward to seeing my girls. I always wish my life away like that, waiting for the next thing that is exciting.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Books - Day 5

Ah, well, I slept a lot yesterday. Easy to not read when you are asleep. The weekend drained me. That, and I kept thinking it was all a dream. So surreal. To go to Deb's memorial service last night, to sit in the sanctuary where I had sat WITH her only days earlier. Not even a week passed between sharing a pew for Ash Wednesday and trying to find a pew to sit in for saying goodbye.

The church was packed. Standing room only in the sanctuary with our giant fellowship hall open for overflow. We showed the service on screens in there and on TVs throughout the buildings. For three hours of visitation, the line never got shorter. And after the service, there were more people and more food and more visiting. I think Deb knew and was loved by everyone in Tupelo and then some. By the end of the evening, I had removed my uncomfortable high heels. Deb wouldn't have wanted me to suffer. Heck, Wes (her husband) had on blue jeans. I wanted to wear them too. That seemed the Debbie thing to do, but when your husband is in a suit and tie, you just can't get away with denim.

The youth choir sang, filling the choir loft with joyful music that would have made Deb happy. Corey spoke on "Why these things happen." Raigan spoke to the family from the point of view of a mother, what she would want to leave with them. That is when I boohoo-ed. Andy spoke on Deb's life, more, and on her volunteerism. Jimmy spoke on the community of Christ. Amazingly, it was a short service, even with 4 preachers. I was blessed to meet Debbie's mom, after the service. And Debbie's daughter. My heart is heaviest for her. I cannot imagine having my first child without my mama. When Haydn was born, Mom was 6 and a half hours away. I was a miserable wreck and Corey had to drive me to SC in the middle of the night for Mother's Day. I burned up the roads between Opelika, AL and Columbia, SC. I cannot fathom Mom being in HEAVEN. That is more than a day trip. And I was so depressed back then, I may have been tempted to go after her. So, it is Lynn I am praying for the hardest. I have a feeling she will be fine though. I mean, look who raised her, after all.

This entry has had pretty much nothing to do with books. I will say, somehow, I am still behind on my Esther study and my housework, despite not reading at all. My guess is that this is because I have felt like doing absolutely nothing but sleeping and mourning. Maybe the week will begin to look up, with some sense of closure coming after the memorial service.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No Books - Day 4

Well, Day 4 was the hardest yet. A wonderful woman, a woman who meant so much to so many, passed away suddenly, yesterday afternoon. She was doing what she did best, helping at church - working with the 6th and 7th graders. She slumped over into her husband's arms and never came back. The doctor said her heart "exploded." This doesn't surprise me. Debbie was so full of God. I cannot imagine she could fit all of that love inside her one human heart, no matter how big that heart was (and Debbie had a HUGE heart). She was too good for this world.

Please pray for her family. She left behind her husband (an amazing man in his own right), two grown sons and a daughter who is expecting her first child soon.

Corey was with the family all day, and I was home with the kids. You know what I wanted to do. I wanted to retreat. Comfort food and a good book are how I deal with grief. Instead, I kept the Internet up almost all day so I could chat with some of the teenagers and other church members. I spent hours catching up with an old friend. I hugged Haydn a lot. He and I talked about Jesus and Heaven.

I keep expecting this to UNhappen. You know what I mean? Someone will say, "No, not Debra PARTIN. It was Debra InsertLastNameHere, who was 97 years old and bedridden down at SuchAndSuch Nursing Home. This was all a huge misunderstanding." I know in my head this isn't going to happen, but my heart is a whole other story.

Quite honestly, none of it makes sense to any part of me. Much like Natalie being diagnosed with stomach cancer at 33, I cannot fathom Debbie's heart giving out at 46 with no history of such. I cannot adjust my thinking to a world where she is not. This morning, I expected to find her holding the door as I followed Haydn up to Sunday School. That is where I normally saw her each week. Half the time, I would stop there, as Haydn went on to class, and I would just talk to Debbie and Wes and whoever else happened along. Debbie could always make me laugh, and she always made me feel like I belonged right where I am. I adopt a mama (or 2 or 3) most places we move, and I felt sure Debbie was my Mama in Tupelo. Her home was so warm and open. She planned to teach me to crochet. I was hoping she could do that over Lent, when I was not spending all of my free time reading. She had even asked if she could keep my boys sometime, so that I could go on one of the youth trips with Corey. Not many people are willing to take on BOTH of my boys. It just didn't phase her.

Last night, when Corey got home and I finally turned off Facebook and settled into my husband's comfort, he played praise music while I lay on the floor and just thought about Debbie.

I miss her already. I would happily never read again, if we could have her back. I doubt she would stand for that though. She was bookish, like me. I actually have her copy of Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice. I kept forgetting to return it. Now, I think I will print my Debra poem for the front cover and keep that book forever.

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