Friday, September 30, 2011

Hair Scare n Share: Contest / Link-up / Giveaway

Welcome to the Hair Scare n Share.
I've had all kinds of hair.

(The boy in the photos is my brother.
The tiny girl wearing stripes with me, just above, is my friend Stacey.
Check out her blog, sometime.)

I've had mullet-with-a-spike hair:

And mullet-with-a-perm hair:

(Top L: Carlena. Top R: My h.s. bestie Matthew. 
A blog post about him is forthcoming.
Bottom L: Cade. Doesn't Baby Charleigh look like him?
Bottom R: My girl Christy. I was pregnant with Clementine.)

I've had this hair:

And this hair,
which is very much like my hair right now, actually:

(Top L: My Cousin-sister Andrea. Top R. & Bottom L.: Cade)

I've had bob-with-a-bun hair.
This photo makes me laugh;
do I look like the Grinch, or what?

I've had hair with blonde streaks:

(That's Erin with me, above.)

I've had Lisa Rinna hair.
(I almost didn't include this photo because
to remember living the misery in my face
makes me want to cry.)

Above, with Cade.

I've had this hair *shudder*:

I've had this growing-out-from-there hair:

And, finally, I've had incredibly windblown hair:

Again, with Erin.

What about you?
Have you a fun hair photo
(or two, or fifty?) to share?

Put it/them in a blog post and link that specific post up, below, for a chance to win a bucket of Halloween candy, shipped.  Please use the Smooth Stones button (in the right-hand margin of my blog) to direct others back to this post.

The link-up will be open for one week and will end October 8. The winner will be announced on or before October 10.

Jim Dear will be the judge. The person whose photo makes him laugh hardest, wins. If link-ups intimidate you, e-mail normalgirl (at) hotmail (dot) com, and I'll help you. If you don't have a blog but want to participate, e-mail, and I'll help you. Continental U.S., please, unless you've been commenting/following prior to this post. Rated G, of course.

This contest ended at 12 AM,
 October 9, 2011 EST.

Is it naptime, yet?

Because my children woke up at the butt-crack of dawn,

and, since then,

Charleigh's made every effort to eat a millipede,

and Clementine's painted herself with chocolate pudding.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shape Poem

Don’t eat, He said,
of the tree of the
knowledge of good
and evil, lest you die.
But they ate its fruit,
 anyway, and God said dust to dust: no tree of life for you. We’ve
been laboring; fighting thorns and thistles; and making sad offerings
ever since: too much fruit of the ground, not enough fruit of the Spirit.
Apples don’t fall far
from trees, all of us
repeating sins of our
fathers, our only hope
 resting in the Apple of
the Father’s eye, Who
 wore thorns, suffered,
and died on a tree of
His own. Hung up,
  pulled down, buried. RISEN. Reaching down to lift us up: bunch after bunch of bad apples.

Santa in September


IF I told you: year-round, Santa and Mrs. Claus FedEx my packages more cheaply than I'm able to mail them via the good ol' post office, would you feel a tad jealous?

What if I told you that Santa sits and talks with my babies (who are on their very best behavior, of course) while I fill out the necessary form? I know you'd feel a smidgen jealous, then.

Just remember: jealousy is a sin. If you live 'round here, you have no excuse to be jealous. Nor have you a solid reason to, ever again, mail a package from the post office. Go get your Santa love on at Kathy's Kopies! (If you don't live here, what a great excuse to visit; right?!)

Ask Santa for a hug and a card that says he caught you being good. Up in these here parts, proof of good behavior makes grown-up folks want to break out in song: Falalalala...or, better yet, the Hallelujah Chorus. Because you can say whatever you like about Santa; in my humble opinion, if he inspires good behavior, Jesus done sent him.

Can I get an "amen?" Holla!

Clementine and Charleigh were decked out in halloween shirts, today. I explained to Santa: we meant no disrespect; it's just that halloween comes before Christmas, and all. Santa said he understood but noted: the baby hardly needs to wear orange with her bright, pumpkin-colored hair.

Clementine introduced Santa to Charleigh; explained that her brother Cade was in school; and told Santa we're praying, hard, for God to send a brother named Chip. Santa didn't indicate whether or not he'd be able to help fulfill that request. I'm thinking this Christmas is definitely a long shot.

Ho, ho, ho, anyway. Yo.

(Speaking of holidays, are you getting your photos together for the Hair Scare n Share? Oct. 1, Baby!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Self: Moving from -Ish to -Less

I could do more for others than I do. Easily. But I'll be honest: for the most part, I don't feel convicted that I need to do more. I say "for the most part" because I've felt led, lately, to sponsor a child; I'm hoping that's in my family's near future.

Words like "extreme" and "radical" scare me, when it comes to the Great Commission, or living out the Gospel, in general. I'm not interested in speaking out against those more zealous than I (provided they are truly helping--not harming--others), but I'm not interested in joining them, either.

I am where I am, and I hear the wordless whisperings of God. I feel His palms pressing against the walls of my heart. I've got Him; He's got me; and no one's quitting anybody. We've places to go, together: the Lord and I. And we're not in a particular hurry.

Having said that, I'd like to share with you some things I've found possible over the past five or so years:
  • E-mailing or writing words of encouragement or prayer from my desk, at work. I did try to be considerate toward my employer and use "break time" for this. Sometimes I was asked to relieve someone at the front desk or in the library, and I felt comfortable e-mailing or writing, then, too.
  • Praying for others while caring for a baby in the middle of the night, or driving. This practice goes a long way toward helping me remain calm and avoid frustration.
  • Praying with others over the phone. This felt awkward, at first, but it's ministry I can pull off at home, in my penguin pajamas.
  • Writing prayers for others, from home (again, often in my pjs), on paper and via e-mail, facebook, and the comment boxes on blogs. I try not to write: "I'll pray for you," preferring, instead, to write out prayers.
  • Preparing and delivering meals to others. I'm not going to lie: this has intimidated, here and there, with the little ones. But, honestly? I’ve watched God hush and lull my babies so I could accomplish His purposes. The great thing about this ministry is that I can take the children with me.
  • Preparing and providing unleavened bread for the Lord’s supper, at my church.
  • Visiting adult homes. I've tried four different ones, with the children. My favorite--and the one to which I return, over and over--is very small (6 residents, currently) and very clean. My babies minister as much or more to the residents as I.
  • Taking our friends from the adult home on field trips. One friend is extremely agile and can go most anywhere with the children and me. I need helpers to take the others but very rarely have a hard time finding them.
  • Making hospital and home visits. I've done this very infrequently since the babies have been born, but there've been times that I've known the Lord was calling me to go. I'm blessed to have a husband who will do anything he can to support me on these occasions. Generally, he waits in the minivan with the children while I visit.
  • Spending time and/or praying in person with those who need a friend and don’t mind sharing my company with my children.
  • Making my home available for Bible studies.
  • Teaching (classes, conferences) and singing within the church, if childcare is available. You'll notice from the list above: for the most part, I avoid ministry that requires me to leave my children behind. Having said that, I think it's healthy for the children and me to take little breaks from one another, sometimes!
  • Sharing my faith in person and over the Internet.
As I review the above list, I guess what excites me most is that I can tell you, honestly: I used to say things like: "I've lost myself," or, "I can't find myself." And I don't say those things, anymore, because I don't feel that way, anymore. It's been in giving myself away that I've found myself.

And, please: hear me! I'm no saint! I've done and said things, in my lifetime, that repulse me in the remembering. I'm a self-centered, selfish person! 

In fact (and this is my favorite, dirty little secret), I am absolutely self-centered and selfish enough to give, in part, because the more I give, the more I get. And I'm not talking about from the people to whom I give. I'm talking about from He who has His nail-scarred palms pressed against the walls of my heart.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Under His Wings

courtesy of photobucket

I was trying to decide what to share on this rainy Heritage of Faith Friday, when I remembered this story, published originally on myspace on November 29, 2007:

Recently, I stopped for gas in my quiet, small county. I was on my way home from work, and it was late: probably around 11:30 PM. The gas station was closed and dark, but the pumps were lit. I am a fairly fearless person (unless mice or rats are involved), and it wasn't the first time I'd pumped gas in the middle of the night, with no one else near.

But, as I started pumping gas, I sensed that something was wrong. I kept pumping, anyway; I even went around to the passenger side of my truck and scooped out some trash. I became increasingly frightened for no apparent reason, and I heard a voice in my head saying, "Get out NOW." I was so shaken that I slammed the dispenser-thing into its place, jumped into my truck without grabbing my receipt, and locked the doors. My gas tank was only about half full. I almost ALWAYS fill my tank.

Just as I settled into my seat and locked the doors, a Jeep-looking vehicle appeared in front of the station. The driver slowed and pulled off the shoulder of the road and just sat there with his lights on, looking at me. I can only describe the energy coming from his direction as malevolent. I was very shaken. I started my truck, pulled out of the station, and drove away without further incident. The other vehicle did not follow.

Who knows what would have happened had I not been safely locked in my truck when the other vehicle appeared...

I can think of another time, too, in the late 90's, that I'm sure I was rescued in listening to the still, small voice. But I'll save that story for another day.

Offering up thanks to the One under whose wings I am tucked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oct. 1 Contest / Link-up / Giveaway: Get Ready!

I love halloween. At the risk of sounding like a bad Christian, I think Halloween more fun than Christmas. It's not about death vs. birth or anything like that. Of course NOTHING (especially a pagan anything) compares to Baby Jesus.

Please don't judge me.

I just really love costumes, trick-or-treat, candy (Hello!), pumpkin carvings, hay rides, etc.

People travel from far away to celebrate Halloween with me.

I have a 9-year gap between children just so I can trick-or-treat with them over 2+ decades. (Just kidding about that, but I do love that it worked out that way!)

So. I'll be hosting my first contest / link-up / giveaway during the first week of October. It will be called the Hair Scare n Share. What I need you to do is start digging through your photos to find the ones in which your hair looks scariest. Starting Oct. 1, you'll have the opportunity to link up (here, at Smooth Stones) your scary hair photos.

If link-ups intimidate you, e-mail me (normalgirl at hotmail dot com), and I'll help you. If you don't have a blog but want to participate, e-mail me, and I'll help you.

Jim Dear will be the judge. The person whose photo makes him laugh hardest, wins. We'll ship you a bucket of candy (and not leftover trick-or-treat candy from last year, either)! Continental U.S., please, unless you're Emily or Julia or someone who's been commenting/following prior to this post. (I'll gladly ship a bucket of candy to the ends of the earth for a faithful friend.)

Get ready for some laughs! Get to digging in that photo drawer! And spread the news! October 1st, ok?

Scary Clementine Hair

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Mile of the Way

I moved the carseats to the third row and--at the car wash--vacuumed the wilted french fries and crushed-up Fruit Loops from the second, where the carseats had been. Clementine grimaced and covered her ears, but she's eaten and played since then, and now she's singing, alternately, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Pop! Goes the Weasel."

I'm not shy about Luther's blindness, anymore, so I encourage Clementine: "Luther can't see you, Honey; sing louder so he can hear you," and I proceed to tell Luther about the girls' hair and outfits, and how Clementine's brown as a berry from our summer, lakeside.

"Does Clementine like to color?" he asks. I tell him she does, and he says, "I'm gonna give you some money, Christmastime, to buy her a coloring book and crayons."

Charleigh shrieks in protest from the third row. Grace giggles, and Luther says: "She wants to make sure we know she's back there. Does she color, too?"

"No," I tell him. "She eats crayons."

I look at Joyce in the rear-view mirror and ask: "Hey, you remember the time when Clementine was a baby and she screamed her head off on the way to the Gospel Chicken House with Mac and Iris?" Joyce nods, and I tell the others: "Iris was super agitated, and I finally pulled off the side of the road and got Clementine out of her seat: rode her in my lap the rest of the way there. We were on some back country road and really close, anyway, at that point. But thank goodness we didn't get pulled over.

"Mac was completely calm about all of it," I add. Luther nods.

"Mac told me one time that, in Russia, 'vodka' means water," Luther says, "But I don't know if it's true or not."

"The speaker, today, was interesting in his talk about mission work in Russia, huh?"

"Yeah, but I got real sleepy at the end," Luther confesses.

"Wait 'til we feed you Thanksgiving dinner," I say. "Tryptophan."

Grace sings behind us with a warble, and I think of Mrs. Which from A Wrinkle in Time. I don't know the hymn and strain to both make out the words and commit them to memory.

Soon enough, we're back, and they pile out well as they can. I've learned a lot about Luther, today, because he's graduated to front seat what with Iris's and Mac's flying to Jesus. He pauses just beside the van and thanks me for taking them, but I'm the one should be saying thanks.

Because my love for them has helped me make important decisions: which church, which vehicle. But, beyond that, it's changed me. Pried the shell of my heart open like a little nut. Made me less afraid of what's coming, with its bad eyes and bad legs, bad mind, sickness, and bodily stench.

My friends have taught me: their hearts don't shrink or shrivel or shirk with age and disease. Their hearts just keep right on growing...blossoming, even. With me, in- and alongside.

Joyce, Cade, Noah, and Abi at the Science Museum
Clementine and Joyce at the Zoo
Mac with the Titus Children
I didn't take this photo of Mac. Pretty sure Pastor David took it.
I did take the sunset pic and do some photo editing.
Clementine, Alice (Caregiver), Iris
Charleigh and Luther
Zaida, Joyce, Iris, Tabitha (My Son's Stepmom)


On In Around button

Also sharing with Heather's Extraordinary Ordinary community for "Just Write"...

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I'm on fire.

I've so much to write. I should write, right now, a list. So I won't forget.

(Because--as I've shared very recently--I can make five store visits in one day and still manage to forget plastic cups.)

But first, this: the Starbucks pumpkin-spice something or other seems to have dried out of my point-and-click. And thank goodness, because I turned a corner, today, and drove up on this:

What an unexpected wonder.

I felt such a thrill, seeing this gaggle of Canadian Geese at what appears to be a staging area for their migration. So many geese. Perhaps they will soon take flight. But, for now?

All eyes are on this guy (gal?):

Truly. All eyes.

And I found myself wondering: who are you, white goose, that you are so respected? The look-alike Canadian Geese could shun you, but, instead, they accept you. More than that, they follow you. Why?

The white goose brings this to mind:

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (I Peter 5:2-3, NIV).

And I want it. I want to stand out white like the goose. I refer not to skin color (although my lake tan fades, and I will be Edward-Cullen white soon enough); I could care less about that. I mean blameless, pure.

When others rest their eyes on me, I want them to see Jesus. I want to be a good example.

Time passes. Seasons change. Geese, people travel. Lord help me make the most of what moments I'm given.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spontaneous Costuming & Other Laughs

I got home, yesterday, around naptime.

I'd just made, that morning!, two trips to Target and one trip to Martin's, and, sadly, I'd forgotten--three times--to buy hamburger buns. Not to mention birthday candles, juice boxes, napkins, plastic silverware and cups, pickles, and hotdogs. Yes, I know. Doesn't seem possible.

Totally possible.

My mom had made curtains for the play room, and I'd bought two curtain rods instead of four. My house was a mess, and I was expecting twenty-five people for a dinner of (bunless?) hamburgers.

So I did the responsible thing: I took a nap.

Later, after Jim and Cade came home, I made a mad dash to Food Lion and the Family Dollar. Where I forgot plastic cups for the fourth and fifth times in one day. I still haven't hung the second set of curtains.

Jim's birthday party was amazing, anyway!

I'd called Rachel and told her about my five, plastic-cup brain farts and latest camera disaster, so she showed up with plastic cups. And her camera.

Other friends brought enough deviled eggs to feed a small army (Hold on a second: I just remembered what I'm having for breakfast!), also baked beans, broccoli salad, and potato chips.

I still have no idea how this happened, but there were sliced tomatoes and onions for the burgers. I don't think they came from my refrigerator. Who brought them? Who sliced them? How did they end up in my green Tupperware?

The birthday boy, I think, grilled up the burgers, himself. He didn't mind. I could tell: he was touched that so many incredible people had shown up just for him.

Ok, and let me be clear. This was a birthday party. Not a costume party. Not even a costume, birthday party! And yet:

Batman came, for cake.

So did...Mullet Princess?

And who are these strange, big-haired people?

There was also someone in a police-officer costume. Only it wasn't a costume. And I would say more about that, but it's so much more fun to leave you wondering.

This little boy--we call him Tractor Man, or Yak--brought a big ol' pot of love and dumped it on my living room carpet.

He's quite the attention stealer. No one minds. Also, he loves cake.

He goes overboard with it, sometimes, and it slows his roll.

So...when everyone left? My log cabin was cleaner than it had been for a month! Riddle you that, Batman.

And--even though I totally forgot to offer anyone ice cream to go with the birthday cake--my beloved, the birthday boy, was beaming.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The end.

(Thank you, Rachel Huff, for the photographs, and--more importantly--for your deep and abiding love for us.)

For more laughs, visit Deidra and friends at Jumping Tandum.