Archive for September, 2007

September 28, 2007

children are our future…

and the future looks pretty bright.  well….maybe.  since moving out of my parents house 10 years ago, i’ve had alot of chances to look back on the way i was raised.  i think my folks did a pretty darn good job and i plan to copy alot of thier methods with my kids.  because of this, i feel like i have a pretty good handle of what a “good kid” is.  i also taught school for 5 years, which is where i had the unfortunate chance of seeing what a “not-so-good kid” is.  most (not all) of the time, a “not-so-good” kid comes from a home with some “not-so-good” parents (or, sadly, parenT).  teaching definitely gave me examples of things NOT to do and the types of parent NOT to be. 

i just watched an episode of the new CBS show, Kid Nation.  i loved it!  granted, there are only 40 kids on the show (er-39…one went home last week), so it’s not a full picture of the entire population of the youth of today.  however, i have to say that i was pretty darn impressed with the kids on this show.  i know that there are hours and hours of footage that doesn’t make it into each episode, but the stuff they did show was great.  these kids cook (even butchered two chickens), clean, pump water, do laundry, and are quick to remind any slackers of what they’re supposed to be doing.  there was a prize challenge (similar to survivor) and the kids who came in first were yelling their lungs out for those who hadn’t finished yet.  the kids who didn’t finish were greeted with hugs and words of encouragement from the other teams. 

there is no spiritual aspect to the show, so i don’t know what the hearts of these kids are like, or what kind of families they come from, but if they’re the future, it looks like we’ll be in good hands when we’re old and gray.

September 22, 2007

a nose knows…

i was putting laundry away in harper’s dresser yesterday, and while in her sock drawer, i took out one of her new shoes and held it up by my face so i could see/remember what size they were.  while holding it close, i took a breath in and accidentally smelled it.  it smelled like a new shoe…actually, this may sound strange, but it smelled like a new Payless shoe, which is where the shoes came from.  and it smelled AWESOME!  it didn’t smell good necessarily because of the smell, but because of what my brain knew the smell was:  new shoes.  🙂  this got me thinking about smells and what they mean to me.  here’s a list of some other smells that make me happy:

home depot (reminds of trips there with my dad)

harper’s drool (i know it’s gross, but it is such a distinctive smell and it makes me feel lucky to be close enough to smell her wet skin)

ryan’s breath (i know that one’s a little wierd too, what can i say?)

gasoline

fresh cut grass

brownies in the oven (actually pretty much any food in the oven)

bath and body works cotton blossom

opie after a bath

harper after a bath (minus the drool)

paint (like the kind you paint the walls with)

cinnamon (i love those brooms they have in publix right now)

a christmas tree

white linen (worn by my grammy)

a new big box of crayons

chlorine (in the air…not so much on skin)

September 22, 2007

gratitude.

for the past 3 or 4 months, i’ve been reading Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner.  no, i’m not a really slow reader, and no, it’s not a really long book, but it takes me forever to get through a book since i don’t have a whole lot of time to myself to read.  i’m nearing the end (finally).  this morning i read half of a chapter and could so relate to it that i wanted to mention it here.  i seriously feel like my life has been one giant blessing….thus the title of this blog.  i have NO concept as to why the Lord has given/taught/loved me so much…  Winner summed it up for me:

 “I couldn’t believe what God had done for me, and I was grateful to my toenails….I was struck by the gaping gulch between perfect God and fallen me, and I was stunned with thankfulness that, though i was small and sinful, God, in His graciousness, saw fit to draw me near to Him anyway.”

THANK YOU, Lord.

September 19, 2007

little things mean alot.

so…what to write about this week…

should i chronicle the large number of times i’ve washed dishes this week?  explain in detail the way in which i cleaned opie’s head when he scratched himself bloody?  what about give my opinion about OJ’s predicament?

no, i think i will just post this:

pegboard

and explain that i’m basically STOKED about the new addition to my closet (i.e. the pegboard).  my jewelry had previously been stored on the top of a bookshelf in several cool little boxes and on some wooden hooks.  harper recently discovered that she’s tall enough to reach the top of the bookshelf.  so, no explanation needed as to why the jewelry needed a new, higher home.  as far as i’m concerned, the jewelry is in jewelry heaven.  it is organized, on display, high enough so little hands can’t reach it, and it will be worn more often because of these things (which is every piece of jewelry’s ultimate life purpose).  the whole project took about 30 minutes and cost me about $12.  can’t beat it!  (we put this thing up a week ago and i’m still SO excited every time i look at it…)

ps.  i’ve washed dishes 8 times since sunday.  i cleaned opie’s head with hot water and then sprayed it with lanacane.  OJ was set up (but of course he more than deserves whatever he gets…it’s about time his ego got him into some trouble).

September 13, 2007

double stuf.

i wrote a post several weeks ago about my weakness for twinkies and how i don’t buy them because they disappear VERY quickly and its embarrassing (not to mention unhealthy). 

well……..

it happened again, but this time it was double stuf oreos.  i went to the store last night (less than 24 hours ago).  i just ate the last oreo.  granted, ryan ate a few last night and my sister was over today and ate some, but STILL…  it’s pretty pitiful that i can’t keep a package of quality sweets in my cupboard for more than 2 days.  in all honesty, the forementioned package of oreos never even made it into the cupboard. 

i blame it on the new “easy open pull tab” on the top of the package.  ugh.

September 12, 2007

to write love on her arms.

this is an excerpt from a blog i just found on the “To Write Love on Her Arms” myspace page.  i love it and wanted to share it with whoever would find it on my blog…

I want to close with two stories that have hit me really hard in the last few weeks…“Laughter is the evidence of freedom.” Bono says that. It’s one of my favorite quotes. If that’s true, then we would assume that a guy like Owen Wilson is certainly free. We always see him laughing. He is always making us laugh. Like a lot of you, I was shocked by the news of Owen Wilson’s suicide attempt.

And in the same week, Mother Theresa was on the cover of Time Magazine. For those of you who don’t know, Mother Theresa is remembered throughout the world as one of the greatest people ever to live. Her service, generosity, humility and leadership in working with the poor and dying in Calcutta, India is known throughout the world. Within the Church, she is known as one of the greatest examples of the Christian life. In short, her life was undeniable.

This cover suggested something different: “The Secret Life of Mother Theresa” it said in bold type, “Her Secret Agony” the headline inside. The article spoke to a 50-year near-silent struggle, and painted a different picture. Mother Theresa in pain. Mother Theresa feeling far from God. I suppose the story was meant to shock. It debated faith and doubt…

I finished the story with a smile. “Wow, she was human after all. She was one of us. She was broken. She was real.” That was my response.

And in the same moment, Owen Wilson is on the cover of People, that word “secret” there again. “The Secret Pain of Owen Wilson”. And again, a different picture. Heartache. Addiction. Pain. But what about all the millions in the bank? What about all the fame and all the fans, all the people who love him? Surely, he could find another girl… There’s plenty of fish in the sea, right?

Or maybe life is really really hard. For pretty much everyone. And suddenly, Owen Wilson is one of us. A human being. A real person with real problems. Questions. Struggles. A person in need.

This could probably be it’s own essay, which it wasn’t meant to… I guess I just want to say that I find hope in this possibility that we all have a lot more in common than we might guess at first glance. These are people that our culture, people everywhere, place on pedestals. And yet these are people who could not escape the human condition. Broken people, people in need of hope.

Life is hard. Owen Wilson isn’t always laughing. Mother Theresa wasn’t always walking the streets of Calcutta feeling like a million bucks. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is this: We are very much the same. We are people in need. Life is hard for most of us most of the time. Our fragile hearts break. We all have a story, and in every story, in every life, there is so much going on below the surface. And perhaps there are moments where you pray, but God feels far away. Does He care? Does anyone care? Is there hope for us?

I say yes. We say yes.

I have been learning a lot about community. I believe it’s the idea that people need other people, that we need people who know us. We need relationships and places where we can be honest. We will face complex problems, complex questions, that require complex answers. It is certainly easier to stay silent, to skip this whole conversation. That’s what most people do. We don’t like dirty laundry. We prefer to wear our cleanest shirt. But we have to face our broken stuff. We have to do our laundry. We have to learn to heal, to let go, to grow. We were meant to live.

The process might be uncomfortable. It probably will. For some, it’s a phone call to a hotline, or a counseling office. “I’d like to make an appointment”, “I need to talk to someone” or maybe it’s simply sitting down with your parents, or a friend, or a teacher, for a conversation that’s long-overdue. Is there someone you trust? Is there someone who knows you? I hope so. I know I need that. I think we all need that.

A friend sent me a really difficult email a few days ago. When I read the subject, I knew what it was about. I was so freaked out that I didn’t read it for two days. I just let it sit in my inbox and I worried about it. I was afraid to face it.

And finally, I opened it. And it was painful. Some really hard truths. The kind that steal your sleep. But it was his last words that hit me the hardest: “Hope is not a myth”, he said. And that is the thing that has stayed with me, that possibility that this thing we talk about, it is true. And if something is true, it is certain. We can reach for it. Lean on it. Run to it. Hope is not a myth.

So wherever you are tonight, wherever this finds you… You are not alone. We are all a people in need. But there is so much hope. And hope is not a myth.

Peace to you tonight.
jamie

September 12, 2007

Chanda: Part 2.

last weekend was our 5th anniversary.

soon after the last of us graduated from PBA and we had gone our pseudo-seperate ways, we decided that we all needed to have a weekend to reconnect and just hang out.  the weekend we decided on was labor day.  we met in jacksonville (at sari’s parents’ house).  we talked, laughed, and realized how great it was just to all be in the same room again.  heather had moved to california not long before, so she couldn’t make it.  there was definitely something missing, but the 5 of us that were there had a fantastic time.  we knew we had to do it again.

last weekend we rented a condo on the beach and had our 5th annual chanda weekend.  over the past few years, it has become sacred.  all of our families and/or spouses know that we’re never free for labor day.  labor day IS chanda weekend.  this year i was approached about shooting a wedding on the saturday of labor day.  i really needed the experience and wanted the money, but i had to seriously consider if i should ask about changing the date.  i was scared…i didn’t want them to doubt my loyalties.  when i finally sent an e-mail, the girls were fine about it, but it really made me think about (and be thankful for) the sacredness of the weekend.  i think that is so cool!  i love telling people that i have a specific girls’ weekend every year…i’m proud that we make such an effort and that we “sacrifice” a holiday weekend to spend with each other.

only two of us see each other regularly (a-pizzle), so there’s definitely the potential for awkwardness once we find ourselves all in the same room.  but there’s not.  i think that’s one thing i definitely appreciate about the type of bond we have.  i can see us 20 years down the road, only talking through random e-mails (probably forwards) and christmas cards, yet reconnecting seamlessly when we meet face-to-face.  there aren’t many people i can say that about.  these girls have seen me at my worst (lesbian haircut, practically cussing at my infant) and my best (my wedding, singing in the shower).  we don’t talk every day.  we don’t talk every week.  we no longer call each other when something goes wrong (although it’s almost guaranteed that a “pray for me” e-mail will go out).  we don’t even really call each other just to talk…sad, but true.  life is busy for all of us, we all have different sets of friends, but we also all have a special place in our hearts for our Chanda girls. 

about 3 1/2 years ago, amy’s parents bought a condo in ponce inlet, fl.  it’s on the water, just south of daytona beach.  several of the owners in the building will rent their places out by the night or weekend for $100 a night.  it’s a steal.  so, we’ve rented the same condo for the past three years.  it’s tacky as all get-out, but there is a couch big enough for all of us, so that cancels out any possible “bad taste blues”.

traditional Chanda weekend activities include (but are not limited to): laying out at the pool and beach, watching trash on TV, great conversation, eating crap (and fruit), flashing each other, walks on the beach, and more great conversation.  since we don’t talk or see each other that often, there’s always alot to talk about.  sometimes we get into semi-heated discussions about current events or things we disagree on, but there are never any harsh words or bad attitudes.  we throw as many private jokes out as possible, but i think alot of us have forgotten alot of them because we can’t use them with anyone else.  🙂

the end of the weekend is always sad.  everyone gets ready to go and packs up usually all at the same time, but i never really realize things are coming to a close until we hug goodbye.  by the time we’re driving away, my heart is heavy.  it’s wierd because there’s nothing i would change about the weekend, and i know that if we’d stayed much longer and continued the same activities (laying out, being lazy on the couch), boredome would soon creep in.  so, it’s not that i want it to last longer or that i feel like i didn’t get enough quality time…it’s just that it’s hard to watch the renewed connection once again go into hibernation.  this year heather got to come (for the first time), and it was great to know that she’s still our bubbly, caring “braggis”, but i think we were all wondering when she’ll be able to come again.

i praise god for all the works he’s done seperately in all of our lives, and i am so thankful that he’s given us this bond.  who would’ve thought that such strong friendships could’ve been formed by conversation centered around a bedroom chandalier (or maybe it had a little to do with sharing a train sleeper car the size of a refrigerator box)?

can’t wait ’til next year, girls!!  love you!

chanda

September 11, 2007

chanda: part 1.

it all started with a light fixture.    

chandalier  i decided soon after the turn of the millenium that i wanted to spend the first half of my senior year in college in london, england.  as PBA called it, “the london semester”.  a few of my friends and i all decided at the same time that we wanted to go, and the best part was that we all wanted to go together.  after a summer of trying to save as much money as possible (without spending it all on money belts, specialty cosmetic bags, and “let’s go europe” books), september rolled around and we were on our way.  there were 20 of us, plus a professor and his wife.  we divided into flats (apartments), and the flats divided into rooms. 

that first week is a big blur, but this is what i do remember:  in my room there were 4 of us.  there were 4 beds (covered with the most random bedspreads i’ve ever seen…one with whales, another with flowers, etc.), some other pieces of furniture (a nightstand and 2 wardrobe-type pieces), and a CHANDALIER.  it was the first thing everyone noticed when they walked in the room.  it wasn’t fancy, but it was a chandalier.  in a bedroom.  the first few days/nights we were in london, we were all VERY silly.  i think it was a mix of severe jet-lag, a 5 hour time difference, and pretty much just being giddy because we were actually going to be getting college credit to live in a cool foreign city.  one night, my 3 roommates and i were lying in bed and for some reason i’m glad i can’t remember now, the chandalier became the topic of some really stupid jokes.  i don’t remember what was said (except something about the chandalier incorporated into the national anthem?), but after about 30 mintues of lying in the dark, making chandalier jokes, and laughing until we cried, i think we all knew that the “chanda” would be a major accessory to our london memories. 

during this semester of “school”, we had fridays off and a week break in october.  we all knew we’d be taking many side trips…who could live in london for 3 months and not take advantage of cheap airfare and just being so stinkin’ close to all the places you’d grown up seeing on TV and in books?  my 3 roommates and 2 friends across the hall (TWO people in a room the same size as ours, which had FOUR), decided pretty early on that the 6 of us would do most of our traveling together.  when we had meetings to plan our trips, we’d meet in our room, under the “chanda”.  after a few weeks, we started randomly decorating the chanda and talking about the chanda to the kids in the other flats.  we would talk about a chandalier and we would use feminine pronouns when we did it.  “you should see the chanda today, SHE looks so pretty.”  it’s wierd, i know, but it was funny at the time.  we beat the chanda horse for 3 months. 

somehow, the group of 6 travelers became known as “Chanda”.  i really can’t remember how we started calling ourselves that.  what i do remember is how we bonded as a group.  there’s something about exploring scotland or riding in a venetian gondola with someone that will solidify a friendship for life.  we prayed together if someone was having a hard time, and we sat in “class” together in our pajamas (notice the quotation marks around “class”), but i don’t think that’s where most of the bonding occured.  some of my memories of that semester include amazing seats at “the lion king” and lying on a blanket eating cookies in hyde park, both of those were with my chanda girls. 

 one night in rome, we ate at a sidewalk cafe.  the food was absolutely amazing (pasta and pizza, of course).  halfway through our meal, a girl started singing opera on the sidewalk for tips!!  she was around the corner, but the acoustics between the buildings, bouncing off the cobblestone street were incredible.  the 6 of us looked at each other and didn’t really even know what to say.  it was incredible.  to this day, that meal is probably the coolest of my life.  i think we visited 10 countries together.  we rode in planes, trains, buses, and subways.  we slept in some sketchy hostels, but the gross ones made the nice ones seem even nicer.  when we found a nice one, we would sit around in our underwear and spend most of the night writing postcards and making stupid jokes (half of which were probably about our precious chanda).  when we were somewhere gross (M&J place in rome was absolutely disgusting), we would make jokes about it, figure out ways to make it work (“let’s use our t-shirts for towels” or “here, borrow my shower shoes”), and be glad we were all in it together.

when the semester was at it’s end (and we had all earned straight A’s!!), we were excited to go home, but i think most of us were very sad to leave what had become our home.  we knew when we returned to school, things would be very different.  during second semester, i lived with two of my london girls (who had also been my girls for 3 years before that).  we had fun and, i think, got the most out of that last semester, but it didn’t come close to what we’d had in the fall.  i don’t know that we thought alot about the future of our friendships while we were trying to decide what to do with our lives after graduation, but if we did think about it, i don’t think we could imagine what the lord had in store.   

September 6, 2007

life and times of harper.

new in the life of harper (16 months, 1 week, 4 days)…

-she signs “please” when asked

-can make the sounds for a plane, a panther, and any part of a song that says “yeah yeah yeah”

-says her own name (sort-of…it’s more like “poh-poh”)

-still loves her buddy Opie

-can use a fork pretty well and tries to use a spoon (although she needs alot of practice)

-down to one nap

-getting better at the playground (i don’t have a heart-attack every 5 seconds anymore)