January 28, 2011

make a note of it

I make blog notes. A LOT. The writer in me used to always carry a notebook in my purse, but now I just text myself or, preferably, use the "notes" application on my iPod. When I recall a cute story, or hear something humorous, or experience an epiphany (as my husband says, "epithany"), I jot them in my electronic journal, so I can share them with you at a later date.

Like the following:

I always sleep on my side with the sheet AND the blanket covering my ear - but NOT covering my nose. I like to BREATHE cool air, but it appears that I like to LISTEN to warm air.

I want to magnetize my nail polish and my key ring, so every time I reach into my purse, my keys automatically find ME. I know. Brilliant.

I suspect you would be the best parent EVER if you always treated every day with your kids as though it is the only day you will ever have to be their parent. Impossible to go wrong.

I am convinced the item my life is most lacking is a portable tip jar.

I experienced the literal definition of a "rude awakening" when Greg woke at 2 a.m. screaming, "STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!" and sucker-punching me in the kidneys.

I told my mom she really needed to get an email address, because I always have things to send her. When I suggested this, she looked at my dad and said, "Paul, I DO have an email, don't I? Isn't it nana.com?" Uh, sure mom. :)

I have a penchant for useless trivia, so upon writing the previous, I actually googled www.nana.com only to find it is the website for the Northwest Alaska Native Association.

I'm curious why it's Aldi's and Kroger's and Sam's and McDonald's but not Wal-Mart's or Burger King's or Taco Bell's or Target's?

Undoubtedly, my note-taking is vitally important, but there's a dilemma: I'm not a meticulous note taker . . . I'm more a "hit the high points" kinda gal. Key words are all I really require. See, I have such a good memory I only need a modicum of information to recall the specifics.

Back in October, when I attended the annual Saddle Boy Competition, I had an excess of free time to think. (It's either that or watch cowboys load horses in and out of a trailer while trying to avoid the manure piles . . . ) I made some notes that weekend. Scant notes. Tidbits, really. I then forgot about the notes. About an hour ago I rediscovered them, but baby, 47 has hit hard, and the days of short-term memory retention (and, for that matter, perky breasts) are so over. Now when I say I have such a good memory and only need a modicum of information to recall the specifics, what I REALLY mean is I USED to have such a good memory I only NEEDED a modicum of information to recall the specifics.

Still, I made the notes, so I feel obligated to blog the notes:

"Chuy interesting picture saturday nuclear bermuda ambulance pot pour medula not even a ponytail mike at hicks the statistics of someday scuba doo"

I'm sure they would have been informative/ insightful/ illuminating/ hysterical . . . if only I had a clue what they meant.

January 27, 2011


The pursuit to purge my house of 365 unnecessary items has commuted into something akin to Pandora's box . . . I began opening doors and drawers and a plethora of possessions began to find their way back into the world.

Two "mother of the bride" outfits from 2008. Why? Because the first one was hideous - great catalog appeal but not so much ACTUAL appeal. However, I was afraid I wouldn't find another one, and I figured hideous suit was better than birthday suit, and by the time I did find one I could live with, I'd had the hideous one for 10 weeks and it had since gone on sale and I felt bad about returning it.

So I didn't.
Three pairs of size 8 black shoes, (yes, children, one of them is the "stinky" pair) because I pretty much have only worn black shoes for the last six years, but once I bought my amazingly comfortable $69 pair of black leather Clarks last fall, the only other shoes I have a need for now are the red leather thigh-high boots in the back of my closet the amazingly comfortable $69 pair of BROWN leather Clarks.

One bed tray, you know, for breakfast in bed and such. I'm parting with it . . . WHY? Oh yeah, because I have never once in my entire life had breakfast in bed. Maybe someday when I have a reason to spend an entire day in bed, I will eat my strawberry pop-tart there. Maybe. Someday. But for now the bed tray goes bye-bye.

Thirty sweaters. Mostly mine because, for heaven's sake, the men in my life wouldn't be caught dead wearing season-appropriate clothing. Much less anything that's not blue, brown or green.
A puzzle, a basket, a soap dispenser, three black & white ceramic balls that look gray from 5 feet away.

A large vase that matches absolutely nothing in my house.

An erector set from Kevin's younger years.

A sheet set from Kacey's younger years.

Four useless Italian soda glasses from The Old Spaghetti Factory.

Eleven nearly-full nail polishes - all in some shade of mauve because I am the most boring human being alive. Or rather, WAS the most boring human being alive. I currently have DEEP PURPLE toenails, so I've become a much more fascinating individual since the infamous, life-changing Christmas pedicure.

A dozen glass tiles I bought for the bathroom when my husband began remodeling it in 1995 . . . BEGAN being the operative word . . . "and that's all I got to say about that".

So far 120 items to Goodwill, one large box to the recycling bin, two sacks to the dump, and we are only 27 days into the year. According to the myth, when Pandora opened the forbidden box, all of the evils mankind had not previously known, escaped from the box. But, it is said, that at the very bottom of her box, she found HOPE.

At this point, I'm just hoping to find the closet floors.

*yes, I realize "perjury" is the correct spelling.

January 25, 2011

a baby blessing

It's still dark outside. And cold. At least here in Kentucky where two people I dearly love are boarding a small plane as this blog goes to post. Destination: Chicago . . . D.C. . . Rome . . . Ethiopia. They have checked four LARGE duffle bags, three of which are filled with donation items like diapers, baby wipes, soy formula, bottles and toys for an orphanage in Addis Ababa.

An orphanage where my darling friends, Mike and Sara, are going to meet their son.

Life happens to all of us . . . the blessings and the tragedies. For some, like this baby boy, these tragedies come all too early. And yet, it is in this unjust beginning where God brings hope, where He turns sorrow into joy, where He shows love.

Love. And that's the whole point. To find love. To know love. To be loved. It is . . . until you experience the one joy greater than being loved . . . and that is the joy of unconditionally loving someone else. Being loved is wonderful. But being able TO love is overwhelming . . . and heartbreaking . . . and selfless . . . and godly . . . and the reason for life.

This little boy, this beautiful little dark-skinned angel with huge round eyes, is about to have his mourning turned to dancing (quite literally, if you know Mike) and begin a lifetime experiencing what it's like to be loved unconditionally by two amazing parents.

Every child should be so blessed.

My Darlings,
I am so proud for you and so proud of you. You have met every step with faith, and I am a better person for having been part of your journey to this point. I love you like you were my own family. Be safe, be well.

January 22, 2011

it's not the end of the road

For the last 14 years, a print entitled, "End of the Alley" has hung in my house. I fell in love with this picture, I think because it reminds me of a print my mom had when I was growing up. Whatever the reason, I spent my birthday money on it back in the late 90's and hung it where it would get the most viewing: the wall behind the toilet.

Day 20 of this year's quest to get rid of one item a day led me to this picture. While I still love it dearly, it is woefully dated and needs to go. I took it off the wall behind the toilet and put it in the "January box".

A couple of days later my husband announced he was having urinary issues. "What's the problem?" I asked. "Well," he said, "for years I have been peeing at the 'End of the Alley' and now I don't know where I'm supposed to pee."

Today, as my son was celebrating his snow day by helping me pack up the January box, he too mourned the loss of the print that has hung in our bathroom since he was in Pull-Ups. "Don't you like it anymore? Cause I think it's kinda cool." And I admitted that I really do still like it, but the frame makes it look out of style. "Maybe I could reframe it and hang it in the bedroom."

"You COULD reframe it," he said, "but be careful hanging it in the bedroom. Dad may still try to pee at the 'End of the Alley'."

Good call, Kev. Good call.

January 19, 2011

blog header designs

Who has time to blog? Not me!
I am having WAY too much fun designing blog headers . . .

January 18, 2011

the man child

My baby boy is a man. Somewhere between giving birth to him on the bedroom floor in 1993 and sending him off to school this morning with a laptop, a guitar, a case of M&M’s and his car keys, he grew up.

And can I just say . . .

It was different with his sister. She was my first. It was critical to my maternal self-worth that she become independent early. Like somehow my "mom-value" increased when she learned, at the age of 4, that Carson City was the capital of Nevada and that, when doing laundry, you don’t wash darks with whites.

But not so baby boy. I don’t care if you think my son is brainy or talented (though he is), and I don’t care if he is ready to face the adult world (though he is that too - mostly). I just want him to let me cuddle him and scratch his back and be his mommy.

I miss when he ate peas with his fingers and his socks matched his tee shirts and he brought me Lego creations and said, “Mommy, LOOK!” and he thought girls had cooties and he couldn’t wait to spend the night at Nana & Papa’s house and he wore Lion King underwear and his birthday cakes were topped with gummy worms.


Happy birthday, man child.
I love you and I am so proud of you.

January 10, 2011

perhaps her heart was two sizes too small

Every one, it's assumed, likes Christmas a lot
But Steph, who felt scroogey, most certainly did not.
Oh, she loved all the sharing and wee balls of rum
And songs about drummers who rum-pa-pum-pum,
But she hated the shopping and wrapping and glitter
And taking the tree down alone made her bitter

It could be perhaps that her socks were too pinchy
Or the stuff in the utility room made her grinchy.
But whatever the reason, the socks or the junk,
She stood here in January, feeling the funk.
She snarled with a sneer, "I can take it no more -
This house is too full, the stuff has to go!"

Then she got an idea! An awful idea!
Why, Steph got a wonderful, awful idea!
She gathered some empty containers and sacks
And took down the lights and the ornament of Max.
She packed up the wrapping and shiny red balls
And rolled up the garland that decked out the halls.

"Now all I need are some boxes to fill.
I'll pack up my stuff, and I'll go to Goodwill"
She cleaned out the closets and shelves of the clutter
And emptied the fridge of the last Nutter Butter.
She boxed up a vase of coffee beans and a candle
And even got rid of the "R" on the mantle.

She slithered and slunk with a smile almost gruff
And cleared out the house of all excess stuff.
She got tired more than once, and thought she was through,
But she mustered the strength of ten women, plus two.
She kept working all day and into the night
When she heard a deep voice that gave her a fright.

She turned around fast and saw You-Know-Who
The little boy Kevin, who was no longer two.
He looked at his mom with gleaming blue eyes
And said, "Why are you cleaning and boxing up, WHY?"
And you know, that ol' Mom, was so tired and so sick,
Of working alone, that she schemed really quick.

"Get out the stepstool and climb really high,
Take down the tree topper, then be a good guy
And haul these to the dump and then when you can
Load the rest that's for charity, into the van."
Her jobs hushed the boy, then she patted his head
And said, "Thanks for helping!" and sent him to bed.

Now the chaos was vanishing from under her roof,
The odds and the ends were all going "POOF!"
She'd bah-humbugged throughout the whole holiday season
But please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
It just could have been that her socks were too pinchy.
Or maybe her heart had become mean and grinchy.
But the most likely reason for holiday gloom
Was all of the stuff in the utility room.

January 06, 2011

a sequins of events

After unwinding the glittery amber fishnet ribbon off the Christmas tree earlier this week, the ribbon that sparkled in the glow of the white holiday lights . . . I have to agree with Dimitri Martin. Glitter IS the Herpes of craft supplies. It has spread all over this house, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get rid of it.

Speaking of sparkly things, ever noticed how ebay sellers always describe a sequined sweater as "having sequence". Makes me laugh.

Ninja Princess is awesome. There is a little boy in Africa who is a step closer to being with his family today because of her generosity. Thanks.

I'm teaching a class this quarter on discipline. Stephanie's Spiritual Discipline Class. Anybody else catch the oxy in this moron?

I am confessing that my tree is still up five days past the deadline. It IS undecorated at least. It stands here next to me as merely a light-giving presence, the warmth of which I am greatly enjoying, which is why I have violated my hard-and-fast New Year's Day rule, which I guess isn't so hard-and-fast after all. Although, if it isn't decorated, it's not really a CHRISTMAS tree, now is it? It's just a tree. A January tree. So maybe I haven't violated my rule after all. It could be a birthday tree for Kevin. I like it. I'll decorate it with Cinnamon Roll PopTarts and bottles of CheerWine and drape it with headphones and drizzle it with sarcastic comments. This is getting weird. Moving on.

You cannot lose weight by eating Panera's Macaroni and Cheese for lunch. Especially if you get the large. With the french bread. That's my health tip for today. Tomorrow I will let you know if that also holds true for dark chocolate cream cake.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home tonight and bought milk, eggs and bread. How cliche' is that?

I filled an entire donation box with ornaments, votives, tabletoppers, and wall art. There are 30 things in that box, but I have decided to count it as one thing - a single box of Christmas STUFF. So far I have also gotten rid of two sweaters, a cordless telephone, and a partridge in a pair of jeans. Five items down, 360 to go. It's not even going to be a challenge.

I just poured a half a glass of milk to drink before I go to bed . . . there is glitter in it. I am SO not kidding.

January 04, 2011

steph's stuff . . . or "bring your own box, part deux"

If a home is where your heart is, then a house is where your stuff is. And all my stuff is neatly organized within 1630 square feet of house. (With the exception of socks. I just don't see the point in neatly organizing socks. I roll pairs together and throw them in a drawer - minus the 8 pairs in the floor on my side of the bed, but that's a different blog altogether.)

When I first started thinking about getting rid of "a thing a day" this year, I was a wee bit concerned I might not be able to come up with 365 items, especially since I cleaned out all my closets AND emptied the attic last spring, and, lest you forget, I am NOT a "stuff" person.

But for somebody who is not a stuff person, I have a lot of stuff.

A LOT of stuff. My eight rooms are full of stuff. My closets are full of stuff. My drawers are full of stuff. My kitchen cabinets are full of stuff. My bookshelves are full of stuff. My utility room is REALLY full of stuff. I have storage boxes and Rubbermaid containers and canvas cubes to hold all my stuff. (In fact, I'm a little obsessed with storage boxes and Rubbermaid containers and canvas cubes, but that's a different blog altogether.)

Today I acquired 7 medium cardboard boxes to begin the 365 item collection, and I am downright excited about filling them with stuff, donating the stuff to Goodwill, and letting it all become somebody else's stuff. I don't want stuff. I don't want to clean the stuff. I don't want to store the stuff. And I sure don't want a bigger house to encompass the stuff. (I secretly dream of someday living in a 16' camper with very little stuff, but that's a different blog altogether.)

The stuff has got to go.

I don't need it.

". . . the only thing I need is *this*. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray . . . and this paddle game. The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need . . . and this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need . . . and these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball . . . and this lamp. That's all I need. And that's ALL I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one . . . oh, I need this . . . and that's all I need." - Steve Martin as "The Jerk"

January 03, 2011

don't think about the morrow . . . it's always a day away

My maiden name being "Morrow", my granddaddy used to quote this King James verse from Matthew 6 as a way to playfully tell my boyfriend to stop thinking about me so much: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." And though it became a running joke with the three of us, I don't think he quite hit at the heart of the meaning: "I tell you, don't worry about your life. Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? . . . Your Father knows every little thing you need, so put Him first, and don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Fine. Worry has never been a part of who I am anyway. When I was younger, I never dreamed life would not be all sunshine and roses. (What a blessing to have grown up in a family where I could feel that way.) As I got older, I trusted that my life, my relationships, my decisions - good and bad - were always in God's hands. But this last year, after He put me on my face, I became a worrier. Not about everything, but this nagging voice in my head keeps whispering, "What if God doesn't answer your prayers? What if the things you think you need aren't in His plan? What if you never feel happy EVER again?" Those of you who know me, KNOW I'm not a pessimist or a "poor pitiful me" kinda gal, and I know my life is not supposed to be about what makes ME happy, but let me tell you, when you are facedown on the floor, it's hard to keep that in perspective.

So, that's part of my goal for this year. Try to let it go. Stop listening to the scared little voice in my head. Leave it in His hands.

Oh, and just for the record, I have NO IDEA HOW I'm going to do this. I'm open to advice.

January 02, 2011

I don't plan to come out of the closet anytime soon

A couple of years ago as I was walking gracefully through a parking lot, I stepped on the hem of my apparently-too-long pants, tripped and fell flat on my hands and knees. Hard. I rolled over and sat there, nearly in tears, rubbing my skinned palms and wondering how in the world I could manage to bloody both knees and not even rip my pants, when Mike reached his hand down to help me up. "Aren't you glad I was here?" he asked. "NO!!!" I reacted. "I would much rather sit here alone on the ground in pain than have you see me clumsy and humiliated!"

God used 2010 to get my attention in much the same way. He didn't whisper in the wind or sing over me in my sleep. No, He tucked the hem of my pants under my very comfortable Clark loafers (metaphorically, of course), and let me trip and fall flat on my face. And, unable to pull myself up, I am sitting here still. The worst part of being flat on your face is that it hurts, and you can't see what's in front of you except the floor, and I don't like not knowing what's in front of me. I mean I REALLY don't like not knowing what's in front of me. But He is letting me see my life from a different perspective and He is giving me the prospect of renewed hope . . . maybe not now, but Someday.

When you are facedown on the floor there is no pretending you've got it all together. Being on your face is humbling . . . and incredibly lonely . . . and frankly, there's not much to do down here but be patient and pray. A lot. I think that has been the point. He is causing me to wait on Him (even when all I can see is the floor) and to TRUST that He will provide what I need in His time.

My Matthew 6 verses for today:
"When you pray, go into your closet and close the door . . . don't do it for show. Don't be like those who only pretend to be holy. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him."

I have a lengthy prayer list I have been praying through every day for two months already, but I'm committed to continue praying for the entire list every day through 2011. Last year I would have found this tedious . . . this year it feels like a privilege. But don't expect to see me praying . . . I'll be doing so in my closet.

January 01, 2011

where my heart is

Instead of a resolution for 2011, I've decided to claim Matthew 6 as my chapter for the year. Why? Because I think it encompasses most of my spiritual strengths. And, as many of us know, our greatest strengths are almost always our greatest weaknesses as well.

I'm starting today with the part that reads,
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I already know where my heart is. My heart is in the same place it has been for as long as I can remember. But sometimes the "treasure" part gets out of whack.

Today I asked my five best girlfriends what they saw as my greatest gift. Not surprising to me, four of the five listed generosity in some form. I say "not surprising" because I like to bless others with what God has given me. It makes me feel good. The weakness to this is that sometimes I think I deserve my treasure too . . . I think I deserve to be blessed with what I want. (And I do believe with all my heart that He wants to bless me with the things that are good for me . . . but I HAVE to learn patience and wait for His timing.)

That being said, as part of the "waiting" process, I have decided to clear out the clutter in my life. For one, I have WAY more stuff than I need. And I am not a "stuff" person. So beginning today, I plan to give away one thing every day. And, since it's not a leap year, that means by December 31, my house will have 365 fewer items in it than it has now.

I plan to blog about Matthew 6 for the next few days, so if you're looking for a chuckle, you probably won't find it here. However, if you're looking for free stuff, you might. :)

And just so you know, it's BYOB . . . Bring Your Own Box.