Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas 'Around the World' Dinner

This year, I'm hosting Christmas dinner. I had been trying to decide what kind of 'non-traditional' foods to serve for Christmas dinner (Mexican, Italian, sandwiches) when I had a genius idea.

Well, I think so, at least.

Why not create a feast of all different kinds of foods and traditions from around the world? Is that not genius?

Oh my gosh...My mind is whirling with ideas. I promise photos and recipes!

Any recipes or traditions you'd like to share that I can incorporate into this special dinner? Hurry!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weathering The Storm

I have been sick. Tis the season to not have time for that. And on top of being sick, I have been in the midst of a 'storm', grappling with depression. Tis the season for that, too. Sometimes the most joyful time of the year brings not-so-joyful moments. If you've been there, you understand. If not, you are lucky.

Overwhelmed and burned out by my growing to-do lists, I came down with a sore throat and earache. Nice. The combination of depression and illness is dangerous to the mind and body. And everyone around me. Gradually, over the past couple of weeks, I have felt the familiar distant rumbling of thunder. An occasional lightning strike. But nothing too severe. Until yesterday.

Sometimes, in the midst of the storm, I've needed to visit the doctor for a prescription for depression and anxiety. Sometimes all that I need is to release some of the pressure that's building inside of me. Expressing feelings that I can't always accurately convey isn't usually a smart thing to do during the storm, as it can produce more trouble. I wish I knew the answer, but I don't. My defense mechanism is usually withdrawal. Which let me tell you, doesn't make for very fun holidays. For me or anyone else.

Back to yesterday. On the way home from taking my son to school, I came across a cat who had JUST been hit by a car. It was horrifying and devastating. I was the crazy lady in the middle of the street sobbing as other cars just passed by, obviously not near as moved by this as I had been. At that moment, weeks of pressure were released. Previously unable to cry (a GREAT pressure release), only to withdraw, I released...that's for sure! Then I was able to express some of the things going on in my brain to my husband. (Bless his heart. There should be medals to honor such husbands.)

Last night we celebrated a birthday with a friend and I was able to laugh and enjoy myself. Today, although I still have a sore throat, my mind feels better and my spirit is lighter. And my to-do list seems do-able.

Someone else's storm's a brewing... This morning, in the school parking lot, a lady actually rolled down her window and screamed at me. Accusing me of not stopping at a stop sign in the parking lot (which I did stop at), she pointed her finger and screamed at me. In the school parking lot. Falsely accusing me. And honking at me. Meanwhile, I could hear her daughter screaming at her "Mom, stop it!" Two reasons her outburst didn't bother me: 1)I knew I had stopped at the stop sign. 2)Maybe she's in the midst of a storm. That could have been me yesterday. So I prayed for her. And I thanked God that my storm is passing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cross Wall Hanging

Look what I did! I originally found the idea here.

I modified the idea by putting a cross in the center instead of letters. This was so simple. And you could make it any size you want.

I used 1/2" thick MDF, cut into 18 x 18 square. They'll do this at the hardware store for you. The entire sheet was 2' x 4' so I got two large squares and some smaller, longer rectangles leftover that I can use for something else.

Sand the edges.
I painted the square, two coats, using craft acrylic black paint.

Mod podge a 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbooking paper to the center of the board. Do this by marking where the paper will go on the board with a pencil. Using a generous amount of Mod Podge and a foam brush, cover area of board where paper will go. Place paper onto board, being careful it's exactly where you want it to go. Smooth it out. Some Mod Podge may come out edges.Make sure all edges are firmly down. Put a coat of Mod Podge over the entire board including top of paper. Do this sort of quickly, as the Mod Podge starts drying quickly.

Don't panic. The Mod Podge dries clear. I used the matte finish. It also comes in gloss.

Place a picture hanger on the back. I painted a cross bought at JoAnn's and glued it to the center using Amazing Goop, which I also bought at JoAnn's.

See how easy that was?

Estimated cost for this project: $6
I already owned the paint, glue and Mod Podge. Those cost about $11 to buy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

To Write Love On Her Arms

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

I have no idea when it started, but I have had depression since at least my mid teens. If I were to go back and really delve into it, there may have been signs long before that. I wrote some about it here.

Today is TWLOHA (to write love on her arms) Day.

Here's what that means to me...

I have written the word LOVE on my arm today for myself, and grieve (just a little) about what could have/should have been while I was in the midst of the hell called depression. And I will thank God for healing.
I have written the word LOVE on my arm today for my mother. Although never publicly admitting to depression, I can look back and clearly see how she suffered.
I wrote the word LOVE on my daughter's arm this morning. And said to her, "Just know you are loved and you do matter." And I encouraged her to make a difference in some one's life today by doing the same.
I have written the word LOVE on my arm today for my sister, my friend Ronne, my blog pal Elaine, my brother, my sweet Granny, my McYaya girls, Angel, Tiffney, my mother-in-law, my Grandaddy, Mike, Linda, my uncles, Sherri, Heather, and sweet Jana. And for every man, woman, adult or child who secretly suffers from depression.

It's everywhere, people. It cannot be denied. And writing the word LOVE on my arm may seem pointless to you, but for those who have been in the grips of depression, anxiety, addiction, self-injury or tinkered with the thought of suicide, they will understand the powerful statement that LOVE makes. It's about validation. Validation is KEY to healthy human existence and thriving.

I will step out of my comfort zone today and express LOVE to someone. I challenge you to do the same. And let's not limit ourselves to one day. Step out and step it up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Alma Mater and Buffalo and Chicken

Tonight is the football game between my alma mater (currently my daughter's school) and our rival. Go Rebs! Beat the Buffs! I'm headed to the pep rally to watch Mascot in a skit.

Also, we (the family) has entered (10 times) into a drawing (another fundraiser~geesh) to win a chance to attempt a field goal from the 10 yard line. The prize? Chick-fil-A for a year. Yee Haw!

Now, we should hit the gym and work out after The Captain gets off of work, however, we aren't going. Here's why: We need to be at the football game by 7pm for the Chick-fil-A drawing and possibility that one (or more) of us may 1) Make a total fool of ourselves in front of hundreds of people, and/or 2) Win Chick-fil-A for a year. I can't risk being sweaty for such an occasion.

We should go practice punting. Just in case.

It could happen, ya' know.

God talks. Am I listening?

Already, today has been a sucky day.

And right in the big middle of my pity party, God spoke to me. Well, not in a voice that I heard, but by showing me something.

Let's back up to 8:45 a.m.
I have a file folder full of animosity that I am not proud of. And when I say file folder, I mean that literally. Occasionally, I have to dig into this file folder and when I do, anger rears its ugly head. A phone call later, and I'm seething. I'm ashamed, but it's the truth.

Then a very strange thing happened. I found, in this file folder of animosity, a book. Why in the world is a book in this file? I couldn't imagine.

Until I turned it over and God spoke to me.

Max Lucado's Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear, The Promise of Psalm 23.

Oh. My. Gosh. This is no accident, people. No coincidence.

I'm going to do some reading. And some listening.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I don't eat meat. Radical, I know. Or so you'd think, judging by some of the reactions I get. Jaws drop and the questions begin. I also get plenty of lectures about why I NEED to eat meat. And how I can't possibly get enough protein. I'm amazed sometimes.

I don't classify myself as a vegetarian because I consume fish, dairy and sometimes eggs. I don't need a label, but according to Wikipedia I'd be a semi-vegetarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, or a pescetarian. Whatever. I just don't believe my body needs meat. So there you go.

I haven't eaten meat for close to a year now, in case you were wondering. Now, sometimes, I understand the beans I eat out at a restaurant may have been seasoned with pork. I don't care. I eat the beans, not the pork. And sometimes chicken broth may be used in a dish that I eat. I don't care. So I suppose, in a way, I consume meat. But I don't put morsels of meat in my mouth, chew them up and swallow them. Why all the details? Because you'd be surprised at the questions I get when I say, "I don't eat meat." "But what about...blah blah blah?"

WHY WHY WHY all the fuss about me not eating meat? I have no idea. In my family, I know of no vegetarians. I suppose they could be there, but in the closet for fear. Now that I'd understand.

Now, this post isn't actually about me not eating meat. I have a different lesson for you today, but I needed to give a little background first. This post is about not picking the meat out of the lasagna. What? Isn't that about you not eating meat, Amy? Nope. Stay with me.

Last week, arrangements were being made for a small family get-together. The main dish to be served was meat lasagna. The suggestion was made to me (but not by the hostess, because she had no idea that I didn't eat meat) that I 'just pick the meat out of the lasagna'. Really? Now here's the deal...I have NEVER made a fuss over not eating meat. If I'm at a gathering where meat is being served, I always find something to eat. Trust me, I never go hungry. And I never expect the host/hostess to make special accommodations for me. I go along. And I'm OK with that. (again, you may THINK I'm back to this being about me not eating meat, but I'm not) What I don't need is for someone to be embarassed FOR me that I don't eat meat. Or someone to feel the need to explain FOR me why I don't eat meat.

Here's what happened in my brain when I was told to 'just pick the meat out of the lasagna'. Deny yourself.

As if I should be ashamed and just play along so as not to hurt any one's feelings. Seriously. I have spent most of my life 'picking the meat out of the lasagna', so to speak. Now, I admit there are times that it is appropriate to just go along with something, as long as no harm is done. But generally speaking, there's no reason to deny myself, who I am, or what I believe in. I have come a long way, but there was a time when I was so lost and confused about who I was. I had no identity except what had been given to me by others. That is some kind of screwed up right there! But with the help of God and the amazing support of my loving husband, I have decided I have an identity. Of my own. I am NOT what other people label me or need for me to be. Occasionally I slip, as I did about the lasagna, when I actually considered graciously taking a serving of lasagna and scooting it around on my plate so that it looked like I at least ate some of it. Why in the world should I have to do that??? To please other people. But I regained my footing and decided NOT to deny myself. I arrived at the party with a cheese pizza (for myself, but also because my son doesn't eat lasagna). And when offered the delicious lasagna (I have no doubt it was delicious. In fact, I'm getting the recipe and I'll be making it sans meat.) I politely said, "No thank you. I don't eat meat." And helped myself to yummy salad, delicious garlic bread and cheese pizza.

Yay me.

This is a reminder for myself and maybe a small morsel of encouragement for you. Don't deny yourself. Don't be ashamed of who you are, what you want or need. There's no reason to be ugly about it, just stand up for yourself.

And bring your own cheese pizza to the party.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I gave the dog a bath today. Yes, I'm blogging about bathing the dog. (This is my life, people. I heart it.)

I love my dogs. What I do not love is dirty, stinky, flea bags. Which is why my dogs had been banished to spend the days OUTSIDE.

Socks is getting old. So I figured the warm water would feel good on his joints. He does seem to be in great health and doesn't complain about his joints but whatever. I attribute that to his dang expensive dog food. I don't want to send him to the groomer because he his old and sometimes a little cranky. And quite frankly, I'm cheap. (Having our other dog, the standard poodle, Nera, groomed nearly sends me over the edge. Cha Ching. But we have tried taking that task on ourselves to no avail. Just tell me how much it costs. And DON'T put bows in her hair.)

Back to Socks. Bath. He enjoys it, but not for as long as it takes as I am obsessive about washing and rinsing, washing and rinsing, washing and rinsing. Poor little trooper. But he is squeaky clean now! And I surely did threaten him when he went outside. "Don't be rolling around in the dirt, or else you are back outside, mister. And don't be bragging either because I am not in the mood to bathe Ding Dong." (That's Nera's nickname. We refuse to feel guilty over it.)

The dog loves cheese. So he gets his favorite treat after his bath.

Begging for more.

The dog is still scratching...and sneezing. Ugh.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Of squishy guts and having guts...

Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster.

My day started with a crunch. I stepped on a bug. Not just any bug, but one of those big ol' water bugs. Thank you, Jesus, that I had on my slippers. I could still feel the nasty thing crunch under my foot though. And there were guts. That I had to clean up. Ack! Now, usually when there's a big bug issue, I use a shoe (never mine) and SMACK!...leaving the shoe and smashed, but possibly still alive nuclear sized bug exactly right there for the hubby to take care of when he gets home. But I couldn't leave this oozy mess so I handled it, like a big girl. Ack again. Definitely not good.

Next came garage sales. Score!
Definitely good.

Later in the day, as I'm numbing my brain on Facebook, I come across some posted comments which are not 'TO' me, but they are definitely meant for me. You know the kind...Passive-Aggressive at it's cowardly best. Seriously, the things people have the guts to say, but never in person. I spiraled. Quickly. I was pissed, there's no lying about it. Now, before you get on your high horse about not letting someone else's comments get to me, blah blah blah, I already beat you to it. Because as quickly as I was pissed about the comments, I was even more pissed at myself that I allowed this person to get to me. So then I'm bombarded with all kinds of emotions, some spanning the last 20 years with this very same person, and some as fresh as yesterday when I began doubting my abilities as a mother. It was like the flood gates opened and when the wave hit, it hit hard. Then I cried. I cry when I'm angry and that makes me mad.

In what seemed like an instant, my mind rushed with all of the reasons I'm a failure as a mother. Not a single positive thought could fight it's way through the muck. For three hours I tortured myself mentally. Playing over and over in my mind all of my shortcomings, questioning my motives. It is absolutely astonishing what my mind is capable of. Three hours. The air was sucked right out of me.
Definitely not good. husband came home from work. I waited until our son was in bed. "Now I know you will probably think this is so stupid, but it got me all worked up." I showed him what I had found. I griped. Cried. Griped. Cried some more. Arms flailed.
God bless my husband. He was so understanding. And for EVERY reason I had that I suck as a mom, he had reasons and proof that I did not. Over and over: (me) "But...", (him) "No,..." He also reminded me of this person's motives and history. I recalled 20 years worth of reasons I should never give any weight to what this person says. Hubby and I reflected on 17 years worth of reasons why I don't suck as a mom. And our kids are proof that we are capable, loving parents that must be doing something right. See, we pride ourselves on parenting 'differently'. Being different isn't always easy, but that's another blog for another day.

So what I learned from this experience: Trust myself. Trust myself. Trust myself. I am a good mom. Consider the source before I get all worked up over something. Don't let this experience go to waste...Use it for something good. And...One of my husband's super powers is his ability to single-handedly pull me out of a deep, dark pit.

Definitely good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Peace. Priceless.

I don't have a college degree from a fancy school. I don't receive a large paycheck each week. My 'corner' office is in a corner alright. I don't have letters, signifying what I studied in school, following my name. I don't have employees or a boss, so to speak. I have done countless hours of research, none of which will ever be published in a well-known paper for others to oogle over. I don't have some swinging social life. I don't have a big fancy house. I don't have an expensive car. I don't have a personal chef. I don't have a maid. I don't have a large retirement account. And I don't have society's idea of a perfect body.

But let me tell you what I DO have:
Wisdom and knowledge that only being a mother and wife can bring. Hugs and kisses each night before bedtime from the most amazing kids EVER and the most perfect husband. My office is a cherished old wooden vanity once owned by my grandparents, overlooking MY backyard. The letters M-O-M and W-I-F-E are all I need to make me feel special. (The 'no employees or boss' kids and hubby may disagree with me on that one.) But I do have well-balanced children that I am extremely proud of and a handsome husband that I adore. I have a healthy family, thanks to my research on ways to keep our bodies healthy. I have a comfortable and stable family who spends quality time the supper table, vacationing, going to church, etc. I have a home filled with love and memories and treasures that have no monetary value, but are priceless to me. I drive a big ol' Suburban that will hold 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs and all the crap you need to go on vacation. I AM the personal chef. It is my pleasure to prepare nutritious food (and sometimes the not-so-nutritious-but-just-because-we-love-it-food)to my grateful family. I have a well lived-in home (this is code for "it isn't always clutter-free"). I have the promise that the things I treasure most, my husband and children, will forever be mine. You can bank on that. And my body...well, it's perfect for my husband (wink).

I don't need anything else.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why Math At The Supper Table Is A Choking Hazard

Why math at the supper table is a choking hazard.

OK...Y'all know I LOVE to shop. And what I love even more than the actual purchasing of stuff is finding a good deal. The thrill of the hunt. I'm cheap (feel free to sugar coat this by using words such as 'frugal, thrifty' whatever makes you more comfortable, I've got no problem with 'cheap'). One of my favorite stores to shop is Kohl's. With a coupon. And a promise of Kohl's Cash (free money, baby). I get all giddy inside when the Kohl's ad comes in the mail and I get to peel the sticker back to see what my savings are going to be. Sometimes the angels sing, sometimes they just hum.

So last week, I end up with a 30% coupon (which is the max amount and the angels sang) AND Kohl's is offering Kohl's Cash (for each X amount of dollars you spend, you receive Kohl's cash). Cha-Ching! (These two things together...I have died and gone to Heaven!) Basically they are paying me to shop. (Just let me have my moment, people)

Tuesday brings shopping. Wednesday brings shopping.

Suppertime Wednesday brings math, and choking.

The family is sitting down to supper, chatting about our day. There's some teasing from the Captain about my shopping. "What did I buy you?" he asks. "This and that, and this...and that." Then I proudly proclaim, "I have $60 in Kohl's cash to spend! This is FREE stuff. I actually get to go to the store and choose $60 worth of stuff and it cost me $0. ZERO DOLLARS!" I am giddy when laughter. Mascot, "Kohl's Cash?" Sk8ter, "Yeah, like for every $100 dollars you spend, you get $10 in Kohl's cash." Invisible numbers start flying. Eyes widen.

GASP! the supper table is NOT a good thing. Suddenly everyone is adding, multiplying and chewing, all at the same time. I glance at the Captain. He has done the math, and never flinches (he is GOOD that way). Mascot is in shock over the numbers. I am almost choking, trying to quickly correct Sk8ter's mistake. "It's $10 for every $50 spent, not for every $100. AND they gave me an extra $10 in Kohl's Cash. So really, it's not that much. I...."

The Captain laughs, as he is such a good sport. And continues to enjoy his home cooked meal on the NEW stainless steel cookware while admiring my NEW necklace and NEW shirt and thinking about how he wants to take me out while wearing my NEW hot black boots.

(See how I made my shopping all about him? I am GOOD that way!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"The Lord carries me in the palm of his hand." ~Robby

I met this gentleman while walking across the Waco Suspension Bridge. Jake and I were checking out the scenery and taking some photos (because that's what I'm doing most of the time) when he passed by, using a cane, and said in a quiet voice, "I don't get along very fast, but I get along." To which I replied, "You are doing a fine job of getting along."
He turned back towards me. That's when I met Robby. I extended my hand to shake his, told him my name and asked his. Robby. Simply Robby. He assured me that anyone around the streets of Waco would know who I was speaking of if I mentioned the name Robby. In our 20 minute conversation, these are things I learned about Robby.

He is a Marine. He is one of 9 children, 4 brothers and 4 sisters. One of his brothers is in the Air Force, another in the Navy. He doesn't know where the rest of his siblings are. He attends Church Under the Bridge. His grandfather lived to be 115 years old. When the grandfather was 113 years old, he married an 18 year old and that's what kept him alive the last two years. (We shared a chuckle) When he was 4 years old, he was sent to the Methodist Children's Home. He lived there until he was 17. Robby is a convicted felon; aggravated assault. Says he should have killed the man, but in having to answer to The Man (pointing toward Heaven), he knew it was against the Commandments. Robby can quote the Ten Commandments. He fell off of a rope bridge over the Brazos River and had to have a steel rod put in his back. Robby is homeless. While in Vietnam, one of his hips was blown out and he had to have it replaced. He has friends, true friends, all over, including Tennessee. He has steel plates in his face and one in his head. If he had lots of money, he'd give it to the Methodist Children's Home. He never wants to hurt anybody, but said "Sometimes you gotta do..." Robby had to fight in the Home and on the streets. He is friendly with the police officers and park workers in that area. They respect him. He could write a book, but there are things he could never put in writing, so his story will die with him. Robby is a survivor.

These are some of the things I learned about Robby. He wanted to talk and I wanted to listen. In all honesty, I could have sat down on that bridge and listened to Robby for a very long time.

And twice, cupping his hand, Robby said, "The Lord carries me in the palm of his hand."

He bid us farewell and instructed me to "Get that boy something to eat and something cold to drink."

It was my pleasure to meet Robby. And I'm sure it was no accident.


Friday, September 4, 2009

If I Only Had A Brain...

If I only had a brain...

Oh my goodness. All this talk about the Obama speech being aired at school or not is wearing me out. Here's my take on it.

His speech is supposed to be about staying in school and the importance of education. Who can argue with that? I would not be opposed to my children watching such a speech, even it it was made by a President whom I did not vote for. I also believe parents have the right to not allow their children to watch the speech at school. I did not vote for Obama and I do not agree with some of his ideas. However, he IS our president and I have taught my children to respect him, even if they don't agree with him. I have done a well enough job as a parent teaching my children that they have brains of their own and are able to be exposed to many different points of view and come to their own conclusions. I don't dictate my children's opinions/political views. People (kids) need to be exposed to different views, otherwise it's like parents are trying to shield their kids from the real world, which includes MANY different opinions/views.

(What I would be opposed to is if the speech had a political agenda. That would be highly inappropriate to show at school.)

I didn't even know I had a brain of my own, or my own opinions or beliefs until I was well into my adulthood...Way too far into my adulthood. I am proud that I am teaching my children that they are individuals with their own opinions. It's my job to lead them in the right direction, which is the direction I believe to be right. If/when they ever choose to not have the same opinions as me, because I know it will happen with some issues, I will love them anyway. And I will tell them I disagree, but I will not shame them for it.

I also raise my children to not generalize when it comes to political parties. No ONE political party screwed this country up. No ONE person is to blame for the economical mess this country is in. And for anyone to point fingers at an entire political party is ridiculous. There are buffoons on all sides. We've all seen prominent figures from both parties behave disgustingly.

I teach my children to take the information given, investigate it for themselves, and then draw their own conclusions. They are not obligated to my opinions or anyone else's opinions.

I am raising my children in a home where Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins. As long as they stick to that, they will be fine.

(OK, after re-re-reading this I acknowledge that I have repeated myself on some points. I'm too tired to care and fix it.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Day of Firsts and Lasts

Today is the first day of school. Mascot, Sk8ter and I enjoyed breakfast at Chick-fil-A with our circle of friends to celebrate.

I ALWAYS take pictures of my kids on the first day of school. Each of them by themselves, then together. This is the last year I will be able to take a picture of them together since Mascot is a senior in high school.

This is the first year since 1997 that I have not walked a kid into school on the first day. Sk8ter started Middle School, and although I would have been happy to walk my baby in, it's just not cool to do that. Bad for a boy's image. I can respect that. I did have the pleasure of driving Sk8ter and three friends to middle school though.

This is the first year I haven't driven my daughter to school on the first day. She rode with a friend. Wow...I'm really growing up!

I am the only mom in my group of friends who no longer has kids in elementary school. This is the bond that brought us together, and for that I am so thankful. Our boys are in middle school together, but the daily social interaction between me and my friends will be limited now. This makes me a little sad, but not sad enough to hang out at the elementary. Let me just tell you, I'm glad those days are over. It was fun and all, but...

This is also the first year I haven't made my 'Things to do after school starts' list. Seriously, why bother?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thin Mint Blizzard...At Any Cost (Well, Almost)

Hubby is stuck working late because people are crooks. (I appreciate the job security though) Daughter is out with friends. Son and I are home. I have a brilliant idea. THIN MINT BLIZZARD! I HAS been almost a week since we had one. And it IS the flavor of the month at Dairy Queen (for a limited time only). So off we go. It's a little bit of a drive from our house to this Dairy Queen. It's a nice enough DQ, compared to some of the crappy ones I've been to.

There's a handful of people, sitting, enjoying DQ treats. One couple in line in front of us...taking FOR-EV-ER. Move along people...we are on a mission. Come to find out, Man Customer is trying to sell movies (DVDs) to the cashier. Seriously? This cannot be good. "Oh yes, they are in the case. Good quality." Oh geez.

(Now, there's some history here. Crime and 'wrong doings' seem to happen ALL around us, especially when hubby is around. I am naturally suspicious of EVERYONE, so I'm always on the lookout, although I never have to look very far for bad guys.)

OK...back to our mission. THIN MINT BLIZZARDS! When lo and behold, what do I spot on the wall behind the "Employees Only Beyond This Point" point? Taped on the wall, a sign reads (my words, because I can't remember exactly, but you'll get the point) "Reward offered to employees for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robbery suspects in the (city) Dairy Queen."

What. The. Heck. My son and I are standing in THAT Dairy Queen. For real. How badly do I want this THIN MINT BLIZZARD? Pretty dang bad! We held our ground. Now I was WAY suspicious of all the comings and goings in the DQ. On high alert. I didn't let on to my son, though...I'm super good that way.

We finally place our order, 2 small THIN MINT BLIZZARDS with EXTRA thin mints, thankyouverymuch. I'm taking mental notes...people, cars, license plates. Just in case. I sit with my back to the wall, so I can see everything that goes on.

Trust me...that THIN MINT BLIZZARD was worth the risk! We finished our green, creamy, with extra thin mints, heaven in a cup, and got the heck out of Dodge! No robbers in sight!

Get Up. You Didn't Hurt Anything But Your Pride!

With grace and excellent form.....I slipped and (mostly) fell in a public place today. Imagine if you will, me looking so much like I was 'catching a wave'...arms out, one foot out front, the other knee on the floor. It was a '10' for sure. You may giggle. I did.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cold Turkey

(Or more appropriately, 'Lukewarm Turkey')

Last night I drank the last Carbonated Diet Beverage in the frig, in the house.

I have decided to quit filling my body, all day-every day, with those chemicals. I mean, that can't be good for me...right? And the reason it's 'lukewarm' turkey instead of 'cold' turkey...I will allow myself a Carbonated Diet Beverage when dining out. I'm OK with that.

Meanwhile, I have a lovely (and HUGE) pink mug full of good-for-me water which my body will be in shock after consuming. "Where are the chemicals?" my body will no doubt start asking me. But I hope it asks nicely and quietly.


(2 1/2 hours Post-Publishing) My body is asking, not yet screaming, for the chemicals. I have a slight headache and I'm assuming that's the issue. sigh.

(24 hours without a Carbonated Diet Beverage) Yee Haw! I think the headache earlier may have been from not eating.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Life Preserver In The River Of Denial

Living In Denial

I have no idea WHEN it happened, but at some point in my life, or perhaps it was gradual, I decided it was OK to deny myself. Deny my desires, happiness, pleasures, dreams, and most importantly, my NEEDS.

You know that basic question that everyone asks and everyone has an answer to, "What did/do you want to be when you grow up?" I have no answer for that. I do not have any memory of wanting to be a doctor, a teacher or an astronaut, a vet, princess or a wife and mommy, like so many other little girls do. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps I was never asked about my desires, had no one to foster them, or maybe I really didn't have any 'dreams'. I just don't understand how that's possible.

I have no memories of playing dress-up or make believe. I didn't live in a fantasy world like so many little girls do. There is photographic proof that I owned baby dolls, but my mother has always told me I never liked to play with them. There are no videos from my childhood showing me dancing around, whirling and twirling like a ballerina, or singing into a pretend microphone.

I don't know why. But what I do know is that to this very day, my being is wrapped in reality and sealed with facts. It is still very difficult for me to 'pretend.' (I am often envious of children playing make-believe) I have difficulty visualizing. I need to see it done to believe it could really exist. Deny possibilities. Bank on for-sure (which is NEVER for-sure, so imagine how that went for me)

I have distinct memories of wonderful times spent with my Granny and Grandaddy (biological father's parents), but must have known on some level that these times were fraught with tension for the adults involved (bad feelings between my mother and the ex-in-laws). So I never talked about how much fun I had being with Granny and Grandaddy. Deny pleasure. Or be a betrayer.

My basic needs are few. But I believe my MOST basic need is the security of unconditional love. Parents are the biggest influence (good or bad) when it comes to unconditional love and what that means to a child. (side note: I know that parents love their children unconditionally, but a child needs to FEEL that. All the time.) I can't honestly say I remember feeling this insecurity as a young child. I'm guessing I must have. I distinctly lived it during my tween, teen and adult life. It's quite sad and still makes me cry. (note: At this VERY moment, I am denying my own feelings. This is a huge struggle to admit these things. Fear, guilt and that damn feeling of conditional love have me questioning revealing these truths. My truths. Is what I'm doing betrayal?)

These things, and more are what prompted the title to this writing. Living in denial. Denying myself. Denying the truth. The truth as I know it.

I have spent most of my life and wasted way too much energy hiding what I want, enjoy and need. Why? Because I didn't believe I deserved any of it. How can a human being thrive in such a tormented mental state? It ain't easy and it ain't fun.

When I was a teenager,  I was told that depression was a sin because I was only thinking about myself. I was told to go pray for myself and my behavior. Really? I was devastated by this. Not only was I disappointing my mother, but I was also disappointing God. Now, we weren't really a church-going family, so I didn't have a clear understanding of God, so I believed my mother. When I was 28 years old, I was diagnosed with depression. And put on medication. Are you freakin' kidding me? There's an answer to this hell in my brain. Why did I torture myself by not getting help for so long? Because I did not know my sinful depression was actually a chemical imbalance in my brain. For somewhere around 13 years I thought it was my fault. I was labeled as selfish, and I believed it. "Suck it up, get over yourself. Quit feeling sorry for yourself." This was my (not healthy) self talk. During this time, I did not allow myself many good things. It actually took great effort to make myself miserable. How screwed up is that? It would have been much easier to enjoy life's good times. But I didn't deserve that.

(You cannot imagine the guilt I feel already for this. The reason I keep going is for the freedom I hope it will bring.)

I'm a rule follower, which is not a bad thing. But one reason I'm such a rule follower is that I grew up in fear of breaking the rules. Of course now I ask myself, "And what horrible thing would have happened to you if you broke the rules? Just a little." There was no physical punishment for me. I never got a spanking in my whole life. My punishment was emotional. (feeling like a betrayer)

(I have to clear something up. Emotions and words are rushing through my mind so quickly, I can hardly concentrate. This writing is random and probably mostly out of order. But I cannot allow my perfectionism to distract me. In years past, I would have spent hours organizing my thoughts in perfect order, using politically correct explanations of my feelings and emotions - which is DENYING them. And being very careful so as not to hurt any one's feelings should they read this. Obviously, I am not a professional writer. Don't judge me by these ramblings. Or do...I don't care.)

OK...What was I talking about? And where was I going with it?

Good grief.

(post publishing note: After publishing this, I realized that I sound so miserable, when that is not the case at all. My life now is about no longer denying myself. I'll write about that, but tonight, I'm just so tired.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh, my aching head

So it's after 2am and while it's not unusual for me to still be awake, I am really screwed tonight. I had to take migraine medicine about 7pm which knocks me out. I slept until after 10pm, waking with a dull 'regular' headache. So here I am, napped, with no sleep in my near future.

I really should keep some kind of headache log. Today I'm pretty sure it came on because I didn't eat enough. By the time I did eat, it was too late. A nagging, but able-to-still-function headache turned into a full-blown migraine. At that point, there is no fighting it. I take the chemicals required and crawl into dark, quiet bed. Waiting. Some years ago, at the mercy of hellish migraines, I invented my own chemical concoction to relieve the pain. Against the advice of my 'physicians assistant'. Idiot. Well, what do you know...Now there's an actual prescription medication which I should receive a royalty for! Anyway, when I crawled into bed at 7pm, and lay there waiting for the medication to kick in or me to pass out, I realize I hadn't taken half of my concoction. Crap. In no way could I drag my heavy hurting head out of bed to the medicine cabinet. Crap. So I laid there and let the tears fall. Tears from the pain, and tears for my friend who has just suffered a devastating loss. Crying is no good for a migraine, by the way.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the blog, but it makes me happy so I included it

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Psychologically Genetic

Now, I completely understand that this is probably not a real scientific or medical term. Forget about trying to prove to me why it can't be possible. I get that. But the phrase makes sense to me...and really, in MY blog, that's all that matters.

Follow me here:
I have an older brother. He is an alcoholic. His biological father was an alcoholic. My brother only lived with his biological father for a couple of years, maybe three. There is alcoholism in our mother's family; her brother and father. Although we did not grow up in a home of alcoholism, we were occasionally exposed to the behavior.

I believe alcoholism, or the tendency for it, is hereditary. I understand that children of alcoholics are pre-disposed to the disease. All of that makes sense to me.

But here are my questions:

*If someone came from alcoholism, but didn't know it (maybe they were adopted), and was raised in a home without alcoholism, what are that odds that they would become an alcoholic?
*If someone KNOWS they come from a history of alcoholism, are the odds more in favor of them becoming an alcoholic, even if they weren't exposed to it on a regular basis? And if the odds are higher, wouldn't that be psychologically genetic? "I come from an alcoholic, so I must be doomed to be one."
*What's the difference between the children, from the same parents, who become alcoholics and those that don't? How is my mother not an alcoholic, but her brother was? How is my biological father not an alcoholic, but both of his brothers are?
*I understand that someone can become an alcoholic because of psycological reasons. What are the odds that someone who didn't come from alcoholism becomes an alcoholic?

The statistics don't matter, in the big picture, because I still believe that no matter what genes we have, alcoholic or not, we are each still responsible for our own behavior. And it drives me crazy when alcoholism is used as a crutch and an excuse for stupid behavior.
There, I said it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blueberries and Golden Sunrises...

This was the next to the last weekend for blueberry picking at Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom, Texas. That cinched it...we are going blueberry picking! In years past, we have bought pounds of fresh blueberries straight from the farm, but had never picked them ourselves. We LOVE fresh blueberries so I decided this would be a great adventure.

Now, I have been known to come up with some GREAT plans that begin in the wee hours of the morning, only to decide when the early morning alarm goes off, that it wasn't such a great idea. "Never mind...We'll go later." This time was different. You see, 'Watch a beautiful sunrise' is #32 on my 40 by 40 list. The blueberry fields open at 7a.m. And it's DANG hot here during the day. So here's my plan: We get up really early, around 4:20 a.m. (for those of you who don't know me, I don't usually see 4:30 a.m. unless I've been up all night), we'll be on the other side of Dallas when the sun rises (#32 complete with photo op), blueberry picking around 7:00 a.m when they open, and done before it gets too freakin' hot. (I don't DO hot!) What a great plan! I got everything prepared last night so all I had to do was drag...err, I mean float, out of bed at 4:20, wake the boys, get dressed and hit the road. Yee Haw!


My son has my wit. When I woke that little sweetie up at 4:30 and gently told him it's time to go pick blueberries, he asked "Can't we just by them at Sam's?" That's my boy!
My husband is such a good sport. He just goes along with all my cockamamie plans and never complains. We hit the road just after 5:00 a.m. He drives so I can put on my makeup...that's VERY important when blueberry picking. Psh

Sure enough, we are out of the cities when the sun starts to rise. Absolutely amazing! Hubby pulls over on the side of the highway so I can take pictures, twice.
#32 ~ Watch an amazing sunrise. Done. And thank you God for that pleasure.

On the road to Blueberry Hill, we come across a cow in the road. No worries though...She was only checking the mail.

We finally reach Blueberry Hill and we are the first ones there! We picked blueberries and a handfull of blackberries (that's all that was left) until it got too hot outside.

The folks at Blueberry Hill Farms were genuinely kind and very helpful. We shopped around the country store and made our delightful purchases...Somewhere around 16 pounds of blueberries, Cherry-Blueberry Preserves and a fresh-from-the-oven blueberry muffin. Blueberry goodness!

And that ends our blueberry and sunrise adventure. It was a great experience for us. And I can say, "Our hands are the only hands that have touched these blueberries." (this makes total sense to those of you who know me)

P.S. We did take detours on the way home, but that's another blog for another day. I LOVE detours!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Favorite Creature of Habit

My Granny's parents came from "The Old Country"...Poland. She was raised very strict Catholic. Granny remained faithful to the Catholic religion until she died. I'm not Catholic, so I don't understand all of the beliefs and 'rules', for lack of a better term. At some point, Catholics were allowed to have meat on Fridays during Lent (again, please forgive me as I don't know the ins-and-outs). Granny stuck to the rules...Fish on Friday. At Mass every weekend, she covered her head. Creature of habit.

Granny wasn't always easy to get along with. Very set in her ways. When she and I would go out to lunch or dinner, we went to the same handful of restaurants. At each restaurant she had a specific dish she ordered. That's it...No chance she was going to change her mind. There were two things that could set Granny off during dining out. 1) God forbid the restaurant STOP serving Granny's favorite dish. What in the world would she order now? That's the end of visiting that restaurant. 2) Bennigan's Reuben Sandwich was ALWAYS served on light rye bread. No matter how many times we visited Bennigan's, Granny never failed to ask if it was served on dark rye. And then complained, during the entire meal, about how it should be served on dark rye. God bless her. Creature of habit.

I do not like iced tea (yes, I'm REALLY from the south). And I've never like tomatoes. Ever. Dear Granny would ask me, "You don't like tea? Have you ever tried it? What about with sugar?" "Why don't you like tomatoes? When did you stop liking tomatoes?"
"Granny, I've never liked tea and I've never liked tomatoes."
"Do you eat ketchup or spaghetti sauce?"
"Yes, Granny. I also love salsa. But I've never like tomatoes."
"Well, that just doesn't make sense."
(In my mind..."It also doesn't make sense why we keep having this same conversation.")
"I love you, Granny."
"I love you, too, Amy Jo."

The year I was born, Granny and Grandaddy bought 4 lots in Granbury. Two of them on the water, side by side. And two of them in two separate neighborhoods, not on the water. The two side by side lots (strategically placed) were to eventually belong to me and my father, Joe (another blog for another day). For 13 years, my brother and I spent some of the best times of our childhood on Granbury Lake with Granny and Grandaddy. The time (limited...but that's another blog) we spent with them was pure Heaven! And it was always the same. Grandaddy would pick Brother and I up from home, drive us to Buddies grocery store where Granny worked as a checker. (I remember being so impressed that Granny could remember the prices on all of the produce.) Once he was done 'showing us off' to Granny's friends, we went to their house to wait for Granny, then we would all head down to the lake. We always had green grapes to eat in the car. As we crested the hill into Granbury, it was a race to see who could call "Comanche Peak" first. (Comanche Peak is a 'mountain' where the Comanche Indians lived and watched for invaders...or something like that...don't quote me on that ) Breakfast at the lake was Granny's homemade pancakes. After breakfast we went for a boat ride, while our food settled, so that we could go swimming in the neighborhood pool. (Can't swim for an hour after you eat, ya' know!) After the swim came lunch. Ham, pea salad (my comfort food), and cantaloupe. Always. After lunch came a small rest and another swim. Supper was hamburgers on those big Kaiser rolls. We'd fish while letting the food settle, then a night swim in the pool. Noxzema on the sunburn. Next day...breakfast, fishing, swim, lunch, boat ride, Noxzema, then headed home. Always stopping at Dairy Queen a few blocks from home. Pure Heaven. Creatures of habit.

Looking back, I giggle at the photos Granny took. I have years of my life, chronicled in pictures...always in the same pose, in the same places.

I wasn't old enough to understand why, but these routines of time with Granny and Grandaddy were comforting when I was a child. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew exactly what was expected of me. There was no wondering. go back to such a time.

Granny. My favorite creature of habit. Comfortable.

This is a picture of me, Granny and my daughter. I've posted this particular photo for two reasons.
1) It's too hot in my garage to hunt older pictures of me and Granny. This one was handy.
2) I wanted to show you my favorite "hair don't". It was the early 90's. Don't judge me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Holy crap. A me.

Everybody's doing it. I'm just a little slow on the uptake for blogging. I love reading other people's blogs and have thought about it many times but talked myself out of it. Who in the world would care about what I have to say?

Here goes nothing...