Thursday, September 30, 2010

Month in Review

Well, I made it. Except for the day missed due to my visit to the ER, I blogged every day this month. I didn't post all the links on Twitter and FB, though, so just in case you only read my blog from those links, here's what I wrote:

1) September Love -- My pledge to blog every day and my first pitch to watch the video of my nephew Solo and donate to his school

2) Baby Love -- Talking about feeling Blueberry move and spending the day babysitting for our first foster baby, the lovely Baby F

3) Mocha Love -- A little love story about a dog and her boy

4) Dawn Love -- My first guest blogger wrote about her path to motherhood

5) Blog Love -- I shared some links to other blogs I love

6) Beach Love -- A little note to my unborn baby about the beach

7) Last Minute Love -- A teaser about an as-of-yet-unwritten blog about salt

8) Birthday Love -- Some thoughts about aging on my birthday

9) Not Feeling the Love -- I was feeling blue, so I counted some of my blessings

10) I'm sorry, Love -- Wherein I abandon using Love in every blog title

11) Remembering and Celebrating -- My 9/11 Memorial pictures

12) Cowboys Luv -- Why God loves the Cowboys (and His kids who love them, too)

13) Loving Solo -- Celebrating my nephew's birthday and another plug for his school's fundraiser

14) New Most Embarrassing Moment -- Probably the most read blog of the month and the reason I paid the ER a little visit!

15) Open Mic Night -- How I approach a planned change and asking readers to share how they do it

16) (untitled) -- Writer's block poetry

17) Self-Inflicted -- Why it's good for me to have discipline and goals

18) Church of Potatoes -- About the Sunday my church got dirty

19) About me -- 8 Q&As

20) A Night with Greg Mortenson -- Pretty self-explanatory, I think :-)

21) Perfume Ad -- Wherein I discover how creative my commenting readers are

22) What's in Your Drawers? -- A very serious topic facing kitchens everywhere

23) Doctor, Roses and Letters -- I decided on the living room, for now

24) My persistent widow story -- Peeing on a stick was the easy part -Part 1

25) Persistent Widow Story Pt 2 -- There was yelling and it got bloody

26) Thank You!! -- Report of my nephew reaching his fundraising goal for his school (with adorable pictures)

27) 10 Sentence Tuesday... It's baaack! -- Random thoughts to sum up the day

28) Book of Love -- What I do with Christmas/holiday cards

29) This one, duhuh!!

In case you worried that I wouldn't provide you any unique content today, thus wasting your click over, here's a product you probably must have. You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book of Love

All my Christmas/Holiday decorations are finally put away. That's right. On September 29.

You're probably thinking that I'm either 1) a big procrastinator or 2) a big Christmas lover. Yes on the first, not so much on the second.

But with holiday decorations now for sale in all the stores and musicians tweeting about the release dates of their Christmas albums, and even having to make some Christmas plans already, this is on my mind. I may do a separate blog later about how I feel about Christmas and why, but today I will tell you about something I love about Christmas.

Getting photos and cards from friends and family!

In this age of electronic everything, I treasure getting an envelope in the mail with a real photo of someone I love (or at least am mildly interested in). And there's no time I get more of these than the holidays. As you've seen from previous posts on the roses and letters, I tend to keep things people give or send me. Along with holiday photos (I don't keep just cards, only the photos), I keep baby announcements (with photos), wedding invitations (from people who send photos along with or after), and just recently (as a true sign of getting older), graduation announcements.

From the arrival of the first holiday card, usually from my friend Shannon in November, through mid-January, my refrigerator is decorated with the smiles, creativity and thoughtfulness of friends and family from all over the world.
I actually took this picture in January, when I intended to do this project and blog about it!

They are usually put away towards the end of January. By "put away" I mean organized and placed into a photo album. This year, though, they sat on a shelf in a growing pile until today.
One big pile of love

Organized by relationship or event

I started this album in 2005, the year we got married. It's full of stories now. The stories are mostly of families' changing dynamics, from the wedding invites to the baby announcements to the holiday pictures with one, two, then even three new faces added in these five years. For some, the narrative of the years shows heartache and redemption: one year a happy couple and their babies, the next the split-up couple and their kids separately, and maybe the next a new face in the happy couple with an extra kid or so. There are also the rare ones of single friends, celebrating the adventures of their unbound lives (I do not keep pictures of friends' animals only... eh hem, you know who you are).

I love flipping through this album from time to time, reading the stories in these faces. I remember days with some when the faces in their pictures were the substance of things only hoped for.
One of my favorite pages this year, my grad school girls' lovely girls! (and also a good reason for Blueberry to be a boy!)

I look at others and imagine what new faces will be added in the years to come, what other's answered prayers will look like.

Today, as I finally added almost an entire year of new entries, I used the last page in the album. And I got just a tiny bit excited about the holidays coming, which means, in part, the start of a new album! I want to run out and buy it right now, but it's raining and I'm still in my pajamas, so I probably won't until sometime mid-2011!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 Sentence Tuesday... It's Baaack!

1) I don't feel as satisfied after watching an hour of Glee as I used to.
2) Today was my last physical therapy appointment and I'm kindof going to miss it.
3) I was being treated for a sacroiliac (SI) joint (the joint between 1 and 2 below) injury.









4) We never figured out exactly what caused the injury, but the treatment was core strengthening exercises, which I now will continue to do on my own.
5) It's weird to be one of the "everyone is pregnant!"
6) I'm praying now more than ever for those I know who want to be pregnant.
7) If you're one of those, please let me know, so I can add you to my list.
8) My sister went to Mexico for a few days, and even though she lives in another state, I still missed her.
9) It's a good thing I don't live closer to a Container Store.
10) Besides cereal and Sonic, I've gotten the most comments on FB on a food-related status update about pho (Vietnamese noodle soup).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank You!!

It seems a little strange to ask people to care about a little boy they've most likely never met. But enough people listened and watched the video and cared and donated, so that my nephew, Solomon, raised more than his goal of $5,000 for his fundraiser on Saturday!!

The event was called Mini-Laps and the theme this year was "Down on the Farm." Each child at the school took a lap around a little track, while being cheered on by hundreds of friends and family.

Solomon was a scarecrow, because you can't have a farm without a scarecrow. He was so cute, though, if I was a bird, I'd probably go hang out with him anyway!!

Solo with his big brother Yasha

His adoring throngs

Thank you a thousand (five thousand even!) times over for clicking and supporting and sharing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Persistent Widow Story Pt 2

Now where were we? Oh yes, I was leaving the OBs office with script in hand, but disappointed that I had not known the lab's hours before and planning accordingly. 

The next day, Friday, I left work early again in order to make it to the lab before 4. And again got stuck in traffic and was cutting it very close and kicking myself for not leaving earlier. It was 3:57 when I pulled up and ran to the door. Which was locked. NOOO!!! I know it was before 4! My phone, the car and the radio had just confirmed the time, so I started banging on the door.

I knocked for 3 or 4 minutes and then heard some voices inside saying something like "who's crazy enough to be knocking this late?" That just made me knock even more, since they just confirmed they were in there. 

Finally, one lady came to the door to tell me they closed at 4. Here we go again! "I know you close at 4, but I was here before then and the door was already locked." "Our clock said it was 4, and we always close on time." "But I was here before 4 and I've been banging on the door for several minutes, the least you could have done is come out and let me know why you closed early."

And on we went, yelling at each other. Yes, I was yelling at two strangers who I was hoping would stick me with a needle. Maybe not the best strategy.

The ladies started telling me that one of them had a kid in the hospital and she had to get out of work on time to go see him, and the other lady had been late to get her kid from daycare so many times she owed them hundreds of dollars, which she didn't have because this job didn't pay very much. So of course, I felt really bad, because now it's like 4:15 and they're going to be even later.

I finally relent, "I'm sorry, it's just that we've been trying to get pregnant for 3 and a half years and we finally got a positive pregnancy test and now we just have to get this blood test so we can get the whole process started, and I had to leave work early and got stuck in traffic, but I don't want you to be any later, so I'll just go to the lab that's open tomorrow morning."

Something of that hit them the right way, and the argument changed. They were like "No! You don't want to go to the lab tomorrow, you have to get there like 2 hours early and the line is around the block and it's not in a good neighborhood, we'll go ahead and take you here." And I was like, "No! I don't want you to be late picking up your kids and I've been standing here like a jerk yelling at you and I'm already not going to get the results until next week, so I can wait another day." And on we went.

As you probably guessed, I relented again and came in and let them take my blood. At this point we're all being sweet to each other, but I said an extra prayer that they wouldn't spit in my sample before sending it off!

We got the results on Monday (positive of course), so it all had a happy ending. I learned that persistence pays off, that and playing the "we've been trying for 3 1/2 years" card! I hope this child will always know that even though Momma is a little crazy and probably always running late, I'm as stubborn as they come and that's partly why he or she is even here!



Saturday, September 25, 2010

My persistent widow story

Today John and I are going to Afghanistan.

Not the country so much as the play. It's an all-day marathon of plays based on the book The Great Game. We are excited about it, as both of us are drawn in our hearts to that region of the world.

Since I'll be there all day and getting back late, I thought I would tell you a little story about how I came to really find out I was pregnant.

This was back in May, I had taken the home pregnancy test (twice) on Thursday and needed the official, medical confirmation. I was on orders at the time, so I went to the hospital at Andrews, but the women's clinic there said all they could do for me was another HPT. I called my OB and they said I needed to go to a lab and get blood drawn, but in order to go to the lab, I needed to pick up a script from their office.

"What time do you close," I ask. "4:30," they say. I leave work early to go pick up the script. I get stuck in traffic. I'm 2 miles away with 5 minutes to go, and it's all stoplights. I call the OB again. "I'm super close, but stuck in traffic, can you wait for me?" "I'm leaving at 4:30." "I know, and I left work early, but I'm so close, can you please wait?" "I'll leave it here for you."

I pulled up to the office at like 5 after and run in to find the two doctors standing in the doorway talking. "We closed at 4:30," they said. "I know, but I just talked to the girl and she said she'd leave the script here." "Well, she already left." "I know, but I've been waiting for 3 and a half years to get pregnant and I finally got a positive pregancy test and we really want to tell our moms this weekend (Mother's Day), so I really want to get the blood work done soon." My doc, finally recognizing me (must have been the uniform that threw her off), walked to the reception desk and picked up a stack of notes to look for my name. I followed her and spotted my script, grabbed it, thanked her profusely and ran out.

I looked up the lab on my phone and they closed at 4. Grrr! That means we will have to wait until Monday for the results.

And you'll have to wait until tomorrow's blog to hear the rest of the story, since I'm out of time today! To be continued..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Doctor, Roses and Letters

Yes, it's random. So was today. And this week, come to think of it.

Today I went to my primary care physician to get my stitches taken out, which of course meant another round of people to whom I had to explain how I sat on a knife in my car. The good news is that I learned that my doctor is a family doctor, which means she sees babies and kids, so I don't have to find a pediatrician for Blueberry. (Unless there's a good reason I should have a pediatrician as opposed to a family doctor. Anyone, anyone?) I really like the idea of the same person seeing us every time, which is what I have with my OB now.

I also took care of a problem that has been bugging me for a long time. See, I've dried and kept roses that people have given me for years. Seriously, like since high school. And I've packed and moved these dried roses from place to place as I've grown up. For the past several years, they've been hanging out in a basket and moved from place to place in our house, but with stems poking out and leaves and petals falling off at every move, this just hasn't been a good way to preserve them.

Their last home on the floor in the corner in the spare room (future nursery)
 I was at my friend, Sarah's, house the other day and saw a vase full of dried rose buds and decided to steal that idea. Now the only decision is where to put my new decoration. Please vote:
Bathroom
Living room
Finally, another thing I've kept forever is almost every letter or I received from friends and family. My mom finally tired of my tattered collection of shoe boxes taking up space in her attic and sent them home with me when I was there for Christmas. They've been taking up space in my closet ever since.


So today, they all got new homes in plastic boxes and were labeled (until my label maker ran out of paper). It was interesting going through some of them and seeing who I was pen pals with. Honestly most of the oldest letters are from people I don't remember at all, but I feel like I should still keep them since I've kept them this long.

I do have a good collection from my BFF from 8th grade. She and I were only in the same state from 90-91, then her family moved and letters kept our friendship going. Many years later I was in her wedding and many years after that, she was in mine. And of course, now FB keeps us in touch, just like old times! I don't know if she kept my letters (did you, T?), but I always imagined we'd read them to each other when we were old ladies. Until then, they are nice and safe in their new home.


What did you do today? How do you store or display your collections of memorabilia (if you keep such things)? Where should I put my roses?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's in Your Drawers?

You know how when you're at a friend's house and you're helping them in the kitchen and if you haven't been there before, you kindof have to explore or ask where everything is? I kindof have a knack for figuring out where people put stuff, but I can be wrong from time to time. I still like to snoop explore and see what I can learn about my friends from how they organize (or don't) their kitchen.


Today I'm interested in yours. If you have a set of drawers, please share with the class what goes where. I don't want to know what's in every drawer in the kitchen, just if you have like a stack of them.


Mine go like this:
1st drawer: silverware
2nd drawer: storage goods (saran wrap, tin foil, wax paper, baggies)
3rd drawer:: overflow plastics and random stuff
4th drawer: oven mitts and kitchen towels


If you don't have a set of drawers or a kitchen, but still want to leave a comment, feel free to tell me anything you want.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Perfume Ad

So I'm sitting here at 10pm, watching TV and wondering what to blog about tonight. I'm thinking, I'm not going to get inspiration by watching TV. But I was wrong. I've always laughed at perfume and cologne ads because they are so random. If you're watching a commercial and 15 seconds in, you still have no idea what it's for, it's probably for perfume.

I thought, I could write a perfume ad. And then I thought, you could too!

Here's mine:

It's an echo deep inside. A desire, a dream, a promise, a reality. And for once in your life, there's nothing you can do. Hold your breath. Here it goes again.

Introducing Hiccups, a new fragrance by Blueberry 

Ok, your turn!

(PS - I asked John what I should blog about tonight and he said Blueberry and Mocha. The only thing I can think to say about Mocha is that I wish whatever school taught her that pitiful-my-world-is-ending look would have also taught her how to unload the dishwasher! That would be so much more useful!)

(But for real, I'd love to see what perfume ads you come up with. Please play!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Night with Greg Mortenson

Like anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook could miss it, John and I went to hear and meet Greg Mortenson tonight. He is the author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools and is the founder of the Central Asia Institute. If you haven't read these books, you really, really need to.



I don't want to tell you too much of his story, because these books are page turners and life changers. If you don't usually like non-fiction, they read like the best novel- full of action, romance, adventure, good overcoming evil and princesses being rescued.

I also can't sum up his almost two-hour talk, but if you've read the books, you've heard what he has to say. From my communicator's perspective, I learned a few things about the way he tells his story. 

He has one mission: to promote peace through education. That is in his every sentence, story and smile, and it is very effective. He may have started a foundation, built hundreds of schools, educated thousands of children (mostly girls) and been nominated for two Nobel peace prizes, but he above all, he communicates about his mission. In fact, you might notice that on the first image of Three Cups of Tea above, it says his mission was to "fight terrorism." He told us that he argued with the publishers that his mission was to "promote peace" and that's what the book should say. They told him it needed to include terrorism to be a best seller, so he relented. He made a deal, however, that if it didn't become a best-seller in the first year, they'd change it. It didn't sell well at all the first year, just about 20,000 copies. So they changed it when it published in paperback and it has been on the New York Times best seller list for three years (at #2 today). 

He will readily admit that he is not the greatest public speaker, but he is passionate and that is more than enough to captivate his audiences. I have heard much better speakers talk about things they care far less about (or have lived far less), and I'd pick his style any day!

I'll leave you with one other thought from his talk tonight. He asked the audience how many of us have asked our grandparents about their lives during the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. Not just listened to their stories, but actually sought to learn about their lives. He said that in audiences of students of all ages all over America, about 5-10% of the crowd will raise their hands. In contrast, almost 90-100% of students in Afghanistan can tell you their grandparents' stories. In all our progressive, modern-is-better thinking, we've lost or forgotten the honor and legacy-keeping of our elders. We can't appreciate what we have, and thus what we have to give, without that.

Here we are with Greg as he signs our copy of Stones into Schools.
(And yes, folks, the key to making the bump in the front look cute is to crop out the bump in the back!)


Monday, September 20, 2010

About me

Since I can't think of anything original tonight, and I plan to spend the next few hours watching the season premiers of my favorite and some new shows, this will have to suffice!

1. Where were you born?
Tulsa, OK

2. What is your idea of the perfect job/ If you could do anything, what would you choose?
This is a trick question, because no matter what I answer, I have to be held accountable to it. Like, why am I not doing it or pursuing it? Anyway, I would love to be a professor someday, most likely of communication. I applied once to get my PhD so I could pursue this, didn't get accepted, so I will try again when the time is right.

3. What is your favorite food?
Right now, I'm loving Pho, but usually my favorites involve chocolate or cheese.

4. If you had a day all to yourself, what would you do?
Well, I have most of my days to myself, so I would probably do what I already do. Sleep in, do a few light chores to feel productive, read a book, and make a complicated recipe that takes a long time with ingredients I already have bought (ok, that last one never happens, but I'd love that!)

5. What is your favorite restaurant?
Seasons 52. I've only been to the one in Orlando, but their website says they're opening one in Tyson's Corner next Spring. I'm a happy girl!!

6. What is your least favorite chore?
Vacuuming the stairs (we just have so many in our house!)

7. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Don't have one. Too many good movies out there.

8. What is your happiest childhood memory?
The times at Poppo and Grandma's house when my cousins were there and/or my siblings and I were getting along. (I'm pretty sure this is my mom's happiest memory of my childhood, too!) I miss them.

If you have a few moments and want to play along, go ahead and answer the same eight questions. You can put them in the comments, or if you have a blog, put them there and send me the link. I'd love to read more about you!

(Thanks HJ, I stole the questions from your blog!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Church of Potatoes

Today we had one of the most unique and beautiful church experiences in our lives. Instead of having a service in a building, we gave service in a field.

Church leadership took a cue from the summer youth program, where they go glean from a local farm to collect fresh produce for food kitchens that serve the needy, canceled the service and invited the whole congregation to go get our hands dirty.

Gleaning is the gathering of leftover crops after the primary reapers have done the harvesting. God commanded the Israelites to intentionally leave the crops on the edges of the field and not be incredibly thorough the first time through, so to provide food for the poor and needy (Lev 19:9-10, 23:22). Most people familiar with the Bible are familiar with Ruth's gleaning in Boaz's fields (apparently also a great way to meet a kind, wealthy spouse!).

So, today we met in a field in Freeland, Md., to glean as a congregation. Except we learned we weren't exactly going to glean. First Fruits Farm gives 100% of their produce away and relies on volunteers to harvest the crops. If you live in the area and are looking for an outreach project for your group or organization, I highly recommend you check them out. If you want to just go out as an individual or small group, they will help connect you with a larger group.

We followed a combine in a potato field, and in about 2 hours gathered more than 200 sacks, or 12-15,000 pounds. Trucks from Baltimore and DC shelters and missions immediately took the loads to serve their people. In the next few days, hundreds of people we will never meet (in this life) will enjoy fresh, hot meals with these spuds.

Looking around at our group of about 100 dirty kids and adults, you would've never guessed we were having church. It was an absolute joy for us, which is usually the case when we put obedience before comfort. Can I hear an Amen (and pass the potato bucket!)?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Self-Inflicted

Yes, yes, my "glute" is still sore from my self-inflicted laceration, but that's not what this is about.

(But thanks to everyone who suggested or voted on the alternative titles!)

I'm talking about this whole blog-a-day thing. My friend asked me why I decided to do it, like what is the big deal about blogging every day. I'm glad she asked, because then I had to answer for myself, too. And it helps me to remember on nights like this when I'd much rather stay curled up on the couch.

I need discipline. Even though I squirm and procrastinate my way around them, rules and boundaries help me function more like I'm designed to.  I can't ever be a writer if I don't write. And as small and silly as this blog is, it gives me a venue to write. I have to start somewhere, so here it is.

It's good for me to have goals, but even better to make them known. Then, I have accountability. I know nobody's gonna beat me up if I don't blog for a day, but I like the idea of giving my readers a little something to look forward to every day. So this works out to be win-win (at least in my mind I tell myself it's a win for my readers, because if nothing else, my mom, grandma and sister read it faithfully!)

Finally, being consistent with any talent or gifting serves to refine it. I find that when I let the blogging lapse, I lose my writing voice. The writer's block gets harder to overcome. It's the same with exercising, if you think about it. I remember having these muscles called abs, but seeing as how they haven't really been used in the past few months, they are getting harder and harder to find. Having a baby--the size of an eggplant now--hiding them doesn't help, but I don't want to have any excuses when it comes to writing (at least for now!).

Yes, I'm looking forward to the end of the month and accomplishing my goal and maybe taking a break for a few days. I'm also looking forward to a month more of community built with you all and hopefully a stronger sense of who I am or want to be as a writer.

Thanks, as always, for reading! Your thoughts about what helps you in terms of discipline or goals, or anything else you want to comment on are welcome.

(Oh, and happy 63rd birthday, Air Force! You're looking good!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

(untitled)

Blank screen.

Blinking curser.

Tired eyes.

Blank mind.

Waiting keyboard.

Waiting readers.

Waiting husband.

Early tomorrow.

Blog done.

Good night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Open Mic Night

I have a question for you, readers, because I'm always talking about me and I'd love to learn a little about you.

How do you prepare for a big event, say a big change in your life?

So many changes that happen in our lives we have little-to-no prep time for. But then, there are some that we actually have some degree of control over or foreknowledge of, so we can be (if we so choose) intentional about our approach.

For me, I'm in the midst of preparing for my first child. There are classes to take, books to read, stores at which to register, forums to join, stuff to buy, people to get advice from, people to ignore advice from, more books to read and more stuff to buy. Some of my fellow mama-to-bes are thriving in the preparation stage and diving into the research, and I love benefiting from their efforts.

Right now I'm more in planning to plan mode. I am not a long-range planner, but like to think about tomorrow or next week. I know everything will come together, even if it comes together at the last minute. Call it procrastination, but my pace is more crawl, walk, run. I'm reading through the books slowly, checking the forums every once in a while, signing up for classes, but I'm not in a rush. I know everything will get done, even if it's cutting it close. When I look back at other major 'controlled' changes in life, I had pretty much the same approach, and everything has worked out ok.

So, over to you. Maybe think back to starting college, a new job, getting married, having children, retiring, whatever it is. What is your approach? Does it change based on the event or season in your life?

I'm all ears. Or eyes. Whatever.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Most Embarrassing Moment

I start this with a big sigh. I'm rolling my eyes at myself for all the alternative titles I could've named this blog. I'll put them at the end and you can vote on them.

I'll start this the same way I started the story about Mocha getting hit by a car.

We're all ok.

And now, I will give you permission to laugh. I know I have and still am.

Five words sum up my late night and early morning.

Sat on knife in car.

That is what my dear husband wrote in the block on the form explaining why I was in the emergency room at Andrews Air Force Base at 1:30 a.m., getting stitches on my derriere.

How does one sit on a knife in a car? That is a very good question, and though I can answer it somewhat, it really is just a set up for a lifetime of jokes.

Here's what happened. My friend Mary dropped me off at my car after our cooking class last night. I was in a rush to get home because it was around 11:30 and I still needed to blog. I threw my purse and my bag containing my apron, the food we made, and oh yeah, my knives, in through the driver's seat and followed them in.

I immediately felt a little poke in my backside and realized the bag hadn't made it into the passenger seat, but was in fact still in the driver's seat. A quick check with my hand and I realized it wasn't a pen that had poked me, but something that was a bit sharper and able to draw some blood. Fortunately, Mary was waiting to make sure I got off ok, so I limped over to her car and with great embarrassment, asked her to check to see what was causing the bleeding. I'm very glad it was a deserted parking lot at that point and am hoping security footage doesn't show up on youtube any time soon!

She quickly insisted that an emergency room visit was in order, even though I was sure we could just use the first-aid kit in my glove box (we have another one in the trunk, thanks to my ever-ready-for-emergencies-husband, but the glove box was closer) to patch me up until I got home and could put a proper dressing on it. Fortunately (again) we were right across the street from the base and decided the ER there would be the best place to go.

Before we took off, I asked her to go grab my bag so I could see what the offending weapon was. There, protruding from the oh-so-protective cloth was about an inch of my recently sharpened and sanitized chef's knife. It had been in it's hardened case when I put it in the bag, but somehow-- in what I'm sure will be a delightful conversation with the manufacturer-- had popped the case open and become, well, armed.

Mary went into the ER to explain what happened, which the nurse and techs later told me could not be done with a straight face, and a crew of Airmen trying to look serious and concerned came out to the car with a wheelchair to get me. They all took very good care of me, even while every person who came in had to ask, "How did you sit on a knife?" At least I gave everyone something to laugh about amid their other, more serious cases.

I got to hear Blueberry's beautiful heartbeat for the second time in as many days (Monday was our 23-week check up) and within a few hours was cleaned up, stitched up, patched up and on my way home. Through it all, my wonderful, supportive husband just kept looking at me and shaking his head. Mary had said it could happen to anyone, but he and I both knew that this kind of thing pretty much just happens to me!

So, there's my story and I'm sticking to it. Oh! Ouch! I do have a point, though. Oh, ha ha! Butt seriously (I'm sorry, I can't stop!), I learned for myself that laughter is truly the best medicine and one that can (and should) be taken while pregnant!

Ok- here are the alternative titles I came up with. Any (PG-13 please) others?

Sat on Knife in Car
You know what's a real pain in the butt?
At least it's something to blog about, Pt 2
Friends don't let friends lacerate and drive
The end of my bikini modeling dreams

Monday, September 13, 2010

Loving Solo


I told you guys that September is a time for me to remember and celebrate. Today, I'm remembering three years ago and celebrating my hero's birthday.

The details are foggy, but I remember getting a call from someone (my sister, Martha?) to let me know that our newest nephew, Solomon Jordan, had arrived. Along with the other details conveyed when telling about a newborn, there was some very unexpected news. Solomon has Trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down Syndrome.

Every child that enters the world changes it in some way. September 13, 2007 changed our family in a very special way. Solomon led us into the world of Down Syndrome, and every day he leads people to a love and awareness of this world.

Never one to put too much stock in statistics, there is one I use liberally, and a Google search shows that others in medical journals and news articles use it as well.

90% of parents who receive a pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome choose to abort their unborn babies.

Parents and families of those who choose to give birth to and raise these amazing people are faced with the battle to educate the medical community and society about the needs and contributions of those in the DS spectrum. Many have voiced an urgent concern that the more pre-natal testing becomes prevalent, this trend of abortion will continue and grow, resulting in a smaller population with which to justify medical testing and developments of new treatments to improve the quality of life for those who are born.

Abortion breaks my heart, but this particular genetic genocide, comes so close to home. For me, I find it more fruitful to help in the education and awareness process, to try to address the demand (society's fear, ignorance) for these abortions, rather than to merely fight supply (laws, practitioners, clinics). The main way I do this is in supporting the organizations who take such good care of my nephew; namely the American Heart Association, the Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa and the Little Light House.

I've written about and linked to the Little Light House before, so you might remember that it is a non-profit school in Tulsa, OK for special-needs kids. They operate solely on donations, receive no federal funding, and is really a one-of-a-kind place for hundreds of families in Oklahoma. Solomon went on the waiting list to enter almost as soon as he was born and started classes there last fall.

It is nearly impossible to put into words the difference this school has made for Solo and our family. The families are not charged a dime for the education that is worth around $25-30,000 a year, but we are encouraged and motivated to help raise money to keep the school going.

So here is a birthday request on Solo's behalf. Would you consider donating $3, $13, $33 or more to his fundraiser? On Sept 25, he'll be participating in the Little Light House's Mini-Laps. Each child at this amazing school will make one lap around a mini-track with a huge crowd of supporters looking on, cheering every step. I didn't get to go last year and won't make it this year either, (which I'm super bummed about) but I've been told there are not many dry eyes in the crowd as each child, their teachers and families come around the track.

This year, I'm going to cheer with my bank account. Will you join me? As of this posting, he's reached 45% of his goal of $5,000. If enough people can make small (or large) donations, we can get him there on his birthday!

And just in case you didn't get a chance to watch this video yet, please watch it and share it, then go to the link and show Solo some love!



PS- for those of my creative-type friends, if you feel like donating one of your creations so I can do a give-away for Anna's Joy blog readers who donate to the Mini-Laps, let me know via e-mail! Thanks!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cowboys Luv

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Yesterday's wedding was wonderful. Bride beautiful. Cake delicious. Good times, good times.

Melody danced with her daddy to the most beautiful song I'd never heard, so if anyone is planning a wedding or just wants to cry thinking about their future daughter's wedding, go listen to Kendall Payne's, Daddy.

So on to today! We are getting ready to go to our first NFL game, which we are calling the Cowboys game. Most people here are calling it the Redskins game, but we know what's up!

That we are going is really an answer to prayer. Now, I know God has way bigger things to do and care about than professional football, but the way we got tickets just shows us how much He cares about His kids.

John had asked for tickets to this game for our anniversary, but they were just ridiculously over-priced, and we decided our money was better spent elsewhere. However, after we "gave it up," I secretly asked God to bless John with tickets to this game somehow.  It wasn't a big, need-lots-of-faith kindof prayer, just a small request to His daddy's heart.

About two weeks ago, I got a text from a friend saying since she was a season ticket holder, she could get a really great price and who was interested. Me me me!! (That's exactly what I texted back.) So we got two tickets for way under what just one was going for online, but that's not even the cool part.

After I told her that this was an answer to prayer, she said she had actually prayed who she should send the text to, and God told her us. We had never talked about football or even sports, so she wouldn't  have known this was one of our desires. So God used this to bless both of us, showing that He listens and cares and I'm pretty sure this is as close to proof that you can get that God is a Cowboys fan. :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering and Celebrating

Today, we remember.

I've been fortunate enough to visit each of the sites.
New York, 2003. This building is gone now, but the sentiment remains.

New York, 2006 (We were there also in 2009, but didn't get good pictures)
New York, 2006

Arlington, VA, 2009


Shanksville, PA 2009


Today, we also celebrate. We're going to the wedding of two of our friends, who both serve in the Armed Forces Reserves. What a great way to honor the service of the fallen and those who continue to serve.

We will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm sorry, Love

Dear Love,
I've been using you this month. I thought it would be cute if all my blog titles had something to do with love. But I owe you a big apology.

I know that you are so much bigger and more powerful than something I can ascribe to food or a month. You are such a necessary ingredient for life, at least for making life beautiful, and though you are definitely worth talking about, you deserve more than being a catch phrase to make my blogs match.

So here's what I'm gonna do. If the blogs I'm writing from here on out don't really speak of what I believe you are, I'm gonna use your cute cousin, Luv. Keepin' it in the family, but not so formal, you know? I hope that's ok.

Gratefully yours,
Anna

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not Feeling the Love

I'm only 9 days in and I'm already hitting a speed bump with my blogging. I can not think of a joyful, loving topic to write about today. I started one with a list of things (celebrities, fads, products) that I don't love. I've been stewing this one for a while, and now that I've written it, I'm not sure I'm going to publish it.

Part of me feels it's only fair to show you that side of me. But then I also know there's already so much negativity out there and I don't know that I need to add to it. Plus, some of the things I don't love are things that people I love really love or at least like a lot, and me not loving those things could come across like me not loving those people, and that's not true at all. So, I'll let that one stew a little bit longer.

I think it's just one of those days. A number of petty occurrences that in tomorrow's light won't matter much, but today just had me crashing after the sugar high of yesterday's birthday love (and cake).

I just have to decide. Decide to be thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. For example:
- A car that works great and is currently full of loaned baby stuff and remnants of a great weekend with great friends.
- Friends who pray for me and listen to the voice of God.
- Blueberry- Seriously, after all the years of praying and waiting, that there is this little person in me who is able to hear me and kick me should be enough to blow away any grey clouds that loom.

That's all for tonight. What helps you kick the blues to the curb?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birthday Love

Last year on this day, I told you about how I tried to stop celebrating my birthday several years ago. It was an unsuccessful attempt, because apparently birthdays are an unstoppable force that only Jehovah's Witnesses can escape (but I'm not willing to go quite that far!).

I don't have anything against birthdays in general, I just didn't want mine to be a big deal anymore. Facebook telling everyone that it's my birthday doesn't really help with that, but I've come to accept it.

This is my 33rd birthday, which means I'm starting my 34th year. That seems like a lot, between a half to a third of my life already, depending on how the journey goes. Of course I still feel like I have so much to learn and grow in, but there are some things I have come to appreciate about aging.

1) Credibility. I think, as a general rule, people take you more seriously when you're in your 30s than when you're in your 20s.

2) Comfort. I'm far more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been in my life. That is, with the exception of the discomfort of a stretching mid-section, but I'll take the cause for that (right now) any day! Sure, I still fight off insecurities, but I know more about what is important in life - what actually lasts - to worry about trying to be someone I'm not.

3) Compassion. For some people this is a gift that comes naturally. For me, it's something that I've grown more in as I've seen and experienced more of the world. I think it comes hand in hand with what I said above; as we grow more secure in our place in life, we can allow ourselves to think more about others.

I can think of many more things that start with C and other letters, too, but the main one on my mind is Cake, as in the one my amazing, wonderful husband baked for me (first time ever for him!) and is waiting upstairs.



What do you think are some gifts that come along with aging?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last Minute Love

Wow! Today was packed and flew by, so I'm doing a last-minute post to stay true to my blog-a-day commitment. 

I just got home from the cooking class I take every week, and have a bit of a deep thought I'll blog about in more depth later. For now, I'll give you the thought and Scripture, and if you have any thoughts on it, the floor is yours!



The thought has to do with salt, and how in almost every dish we learn how to make, this is the most important ingredient. Chef Patrice usually waits until right at the end to add most of the salt, because this is where the cook has the most control. He also never gives us a measurement for any dish, we just have to learn to season to taste.

That said, here is the Scripture:
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (NIV)

I look forward to exploring with you how these concepts go together and how they can be applied to our lives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beach Love


Dear Blueberry,

You won't remember this weekend, so let me just tell you about it. We went to the beach with some of our very best friends. We also saw some of Mommy's favorite people who knew me before I ever met your Daddy. I know, a long long time ago! They've been praying for you to come along almost as long as we have.
Aunt Ali with your "cousins" Tegan and Laci, and Uncle Nic
We love the beach and I think you will, too. Being at the beach gives you permission to do absolutely nothing for an entire day. Well, doing nothing isn't completely accurate. There are plenty of things to do. You can watch the water or go jump in it.


You can watch the wild life. In the sky or running to and from the waves.


You can eat way too much. You can build empires (and jump on them later).

(I don't know this kid, just thought he was cute)
or you can just sit and do, well, nothing.

This time, while we were splashing around in the water, you were doing your own water aerobics in my belly. I think you were having almost as much fun in there as I was feeling you flipping around! I promise to take you to the beach again, once you're on this side, and I'm sure you'll be the cutest babe on any beach anywhere.

Until then, I'll be content carrying you as close to me as I ever will.

All my love,
Mommy

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blog Love

So your favorite blogger (me, in case you wondered) is away at the beach for the weekend, but you really want to read some good blogs. What ever are you going to do?

Never fear! I got your back. I'll hook you up. Here are some of the blogs that have been challenging, encouraging or just making me laugh lately. Most are linked through the images except for the first one, which would not cooperate.

Laugh


My friend, Lacie, is hilarious and a great writer. You should be warned that she's really into The Jersey Shore, but other than that, her blog is one of the highlights of my days!

Encourage



My friend, Lindsey, lives in South Africa, for now. Just recently, she opened up about her journey in infertility land. I've loved reading as God works in her and her husband through this and can't wait to see what the next chapter for them is.


On the other end of the journey, is my internet friend, Stacey. I discovered her through the awesome guest blog she wrote for Stuff Christians Like and have been following her journey ever since. She is carrying her seventh baby, but will give birth to her first (in mere days!) after 9 years of recurrent loss and infertility! Many times what she writes about is exactly what I want to say.

Challenge



You may have seen this video or story as it made its way around the web. If not, watch it first.

 

Though I went to college with the Arnolds, and I remember them, I can't say I really know them. The surviving brother, Chad, started a blog and with raw honesty, is continuing to share the story that has touched thousands of lives.



I "met" Sara through my IRL friend Alece. She is an amazing writer and artist, who, though confined to her house due to a very rare disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, has chosen to spend her life in joy and service to God and others. She also plays Words With Friends with me from time to time, so that automatically makes her a winner!


Cooking (bonus section)


Sommer and I were great friends in high school and college. We went on two mission trips to India together. She's now a cooking instructor in Asheville, NC, and shares her culinary love and skillful writing with the world.



Mary is a dear friend who told me about the Culinary Skills 101 class we're currently taking together. She's been blogging about each of our lessons and making the recipes at home, so if you want to follow along with us (for free, no less!), follow her blog.

Well, that's all for now. I hope you've found something here you enjoy! 

Happy Labor Day Weekend!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dawn Love

My senior year at ORU, I had the honor of being a Resident Advisor (in Braxton, 3M, "Commissioned" at the time, if you care). Our dean of women was Dawn Hoskey. She would become one of the most influential people ever in my life and I still love her madly to this day.

Her niece, Jessica, was an RA in our dorm that year, and it worked out well for our dorm group that Dean Dawn also lived in an apartment in our dorm. I like to think our Braxton group was her favorite because we got to spend all sorts of quality time with her. That's probably why I'm such an awesome person today, because of all of Dawn's love and mothering of us.

Now that I'm 12 years out of ORU and life has changed dramatically for both of us, I have so enjoyed getting to know her as a friend. I think we're probably related somehow, too. She rides Harleys (she's the sales manager at Myers-Duren Harley in Tulsa, so if you need a bike, go see her!) and has a goddaughter at the same special school my nephew, Solo, goes to. And just recently, she became a foster mom.

(Dawn, with her goddaughter, Morgan)

I used to say that I wouldn't get married until Dean Dawn did. She was so awesome and I thought I could convince God to bring her a husband sooner if I offered to hold off on mine. Well, God doesn't work that way, fortunately (for me and John), and though His ways are a mystery, they are good. She doesn't blog, but sends out a monthly email called "Friday Evening Ponderings" to her favorite people. She agreed to let me use last week's as a blog post, making her my first guest blogger.

Enjoy!
----------------------------

This past Monday, I made my way to a shopping mall in pursuit of a special clothing purchase.  I don’t really care for clothes shopping these days, and quite frankly, I’d be perfectly happy to never step foot into the mall again.   But on this occasion, I was pretty excited to begin the hunt for a garment that would hold special meaning.
                  With Baby M in tow, I made my way through the likes of JC Penney, Dillards, and Macy’s.  Dress shopping is never easy for me, but I was determined to continue my search until I’d found what I wanted.   Sure enough, after several unsuccessful fittings of various dresses, I happened upon a two-piece suit that screamed my name.  The fit was perfect.  Thrilled with my find, I made my way to the check-out counter.  The sales associate rang up my purchase and as she placed a garment bag over the suit, she asked, “What’s the occasion?”
                  “A wedding," I replied.   And then, without giving it a second thought, I proudly announced, “Actually, I’m a first time Mother of the Bride!”
                  Mother of the Bride.   These are words I would never have imagined saying in reference to myself, yet, there they were.  A moment later, the impact of this realization caused my heart to swell with a form of happiness I’ve never known.
                  Now, before you think I’ve lost my marbles or that I’m suddenly revealing a hidden aspect of my life, let me explain.  My lovely niece, Jessica, will walk down the aisle one week from tonight.  While all of my nieces and nephews are near and dear to me, I hold a unique relationship with Jessica due to the way our lives have intertwined.   She has been very present in my life for her entire 31 years, and I in hers.   She lived with me two different times while attending ORU and has been subject to my “mothering” on many occasions.   There has never been, nor will there ever be a time, when I will not feel that she is, in fact, my child.  
                  So, when she became engaged and started to make wedding plans, she asked her “real” mother (my sister, Mary), if she would be o.k. with sharing the “Mother of the Bride” title with me.  Being the wonderful big sister that she is, Mary agreed.  And just like that, a hidden longing of my heart became a dream come true.
                  Many years ago, a young man named Anthony approached me during a chapel service at ORU.  He felt impressed to share a specific passage of scripture with me, and to encourage me with something he felt in his heart, which was a knowing that I would indeed be a mother one day.  At the time, I found hope in the words he spoke and even kept a written record of them in my Bible.  But as time marched on, and my dreams of marriage, children and family remained unfulfilled, I grew angry with God.  Actually, I became quite cynical and suspicious in regard to scripture.  While I remained fairly confident that the promises in the Bible could be valid, I simply concluded that they were not meant for me.  After years of waiting, it had become obvious that God wasn’t interested in granting me the desires of my heart.
                  Or so I thought.
                  The passage that Anthony shared with me on that day is found in Isaiah 54, verses 1-2:
“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song and shout for joy, you who were never in labor, because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.  Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”
                  As I walked out of the store on Monday, I caught a reflection of myself in a pane of glass.  In that refection, I saw a woman, who, with one hand, was pushing a stroller, which held a beautiful baby girl, and with the other hand, was holding her “Mother of the bride” suit.  Instantly, the memory of Anthony’s words from all those many years ago flooded my mind and heart.  At that moment, I not only realized who I am to Jessica and Baby M, but to the dozens and dozens of other children, both grown and young, who consider me as their mother.  And with that, came a piercing awareness that was undeniable and profound … God had not forgotten me.
  I AM a mother.  And though I am not mothering in the way I hoped I would, I am a mother, all the same.  I did not arrive at this place in accordance with my own plans.  The road I traveled to get here is not even close to the one I thought I’d take.  I could NEVER have calculated this journey, even if I were given a thousand years to do so.  I have children, not in the way I thought I would, but in the way God planned.  All along the way, God has been positioning my careers, my friends, and my encounters, causing them to line up with an extraordinary harmony that has made the seemingly impossible, possible.
When God says, “I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you … plans to give you hope and a future," He really does mean it.  It might not feel like it at times, but it doesn’t make it any less true. 
Tonight, I want to encourage you to sing out with joy … to enlarge the place of your dwelling and to not hold back on what you’ve been holding as the desire of your heart.  God hears you … He knows what you long for.  Do not grow faint, but trust that your life, like mine, will fall into order as it should. 

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  -  Proverbs 13.12

(found at alexandersmithdesign.net)

Thank you, Dawn. I love you!

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