Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An Impromptu Performance

The benefits of having creative children are many. Tonight, we were treated to a taste of fine art. After dinner, an impromptu performance of Swan Lake was announced. The costume was designed in a flash by the prima ballerina, Emma. Here is an explanation:
When the scarf is held thusly, it symbolizes the character Odile (played by the same ballerina who dances the part of Odette):

Conversely, when the scarf is draped in this manner, it symbolizes the appearance of Odette, the Swan Queen:

Here is the pose indicating the Cygnet, perhaps not an original character, but the history of Swan Lake is rather murky (sorry - that was a lame pun), so we may never be sure. Note the tiny, yet-forming wings toward the back of the swan and the sleepy pose:

DAILY BLISS: The fact that Drew, much as I would have been at his age, was hiding in a corner with his nose in a book throughout the performance. OH - and coming home to a roast in the crock pot. It's almost as good as not having to make dinner.

<3 Christy

New blogger Wednesday February 28, 2007

For those of you asking who in the world would be a new blogger on this site, it's me, Angie. I am part of Woman on the Edge by blood--I'm Becky's little sister. Well, I'm not little, just one year younger. I was inspired by Christy's blog yesterday on boredom. Lately I have felt the same way. All the interesting things in my life are about my kids or my sis or brother. My brother is being ordained on Sunday which is very exciting for him and means I get to make a pan of brownies for the reception afterwards--WHOO-HOO. My son just made honor roll in kindergarten and is about to start a new soccer season. And then there is my baby girl-Lavada. She is the ultimate 2 year old princess, always doing something cute. I attended a Beth Moore event Saturday which was great. As always after hearing her speak, I came away challenged in my spiritual walk.
I have figured out in the last few days that the "boredom" I have been suffering from is a real problem for me. I thought I just was unappreciated for all the tasks I do as a mom, wife, and daughter. That's not really it. I started a new Bible study on Daniel (also a Beth Moore study which I would highly reccommend). I am late entering the group so I have played catch-up...I did the first 5 weeks of the study in the last 3 days. I'm discovering that the more I seek God and His purpose for my life, the more my boredom is subsiding. Like Christy, I was feeling a need for more excitement or "drama" in my life. Let me tell you-I have found it!
I have found pure joy in the ideas that I am a vessel to be used by my God. I am about to tun 30 in just a few months and reflecting on my 20's alot. Boy, have they been eventful. When I look back from my view now, I feel like I am on the edge of coming into my own....finding my true purpose in Christ. I am finally able to see how He worked in my life even when I was completely ignoring Him. He still blessed my life when the way I disregarded Him must have been breaking His heart. I am so thankful He didn't give me what I deserved which at the very least was severe punishment, but He continues to display His grace in my life.
I think my 30's just might be the most exciting time of my life as I am resolving myself to persue my Lord like He has persued me. I am excited to see how He will use my past trials to further His kingdom and where He will take me when I allow Him to take the driver's seat. I am pretty sure I'm about to embark on an exciting ride!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Maybe I'm Just Bored

I started to try and think of exciting things that are going on in my life right now. I really wanted a good, blog-inspiring topic. So I started to make a mental list. Here it is:
A) My brother's band, Copeland, is on tour with one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot. Not that they're playing a show anywhere near here. But just the fact that I could get in to a show for free is cool. That sounded wrong. Copeland is one of my favorite bands too.
B) I made an appointment for Emma's first real haircut in a real salon with my awesome hair guy.
C) Andrew got an invitation in the mail from Duke University to join a club for smart kids!!
Then I realized that all the exciting stuff in my life right now is about somebody else. Maybe I'm feeling schlumpy because I'm bored. I'm not sure if I just made up that word, but it's pretty good.
Not that it's sucky to be me or anything. I'm just tired, as I expressed yesterday. I think I'll try and whip up some drama in my life. Hmmm. Maybe not drama. I don't have enough energy for that. I'll try to do something cool. No, that's never worked for me before. I guess I'll just wait it out.
In the meantime, here are some things that are very nice, but maybe not so exciting, for me right now:
A) Peppermint tea with a little Splenda
B) Fasting nighttime TV for Lent - it's unexpectedly relaxing
C) I'm totally stealing the next Harry Potter book from Andrew after he falls asleep!

DAILY BLISS: A thunderstorm this morning and an unexpected call from one of my bestest friends.

<3 Christy

Monday, February 26, 2007

Not So Productive

Well, Becky, I must say that I am impressed with your accomplishments today! I also have days like that - you feel like you can conquer anything if you can tackle your to-do list!
But today was not one of those days. The biggest thing I accomlished was finishing a Harry Potter book. Oh - and I made dinner. But Chris did the dishes and two loads of laundry.
In the spirit of being real, I will confess that I have really not felt like accomplishing much. Not even blogging - that requires introspection or at least a thought process - and I don't feel like doing that either. So there.
I guess I'm just snowed under during the week with the mundane tasks of living and the weekends are spent making up for the stuff I didn't get done while living during the week - namely grocery shopping. That takes a huge chunk of time. By the time I got out of the Super Wal-Mart (yes, it's cheaper but every time I leave that store, I vow to never return), I am sapped and irritable. I'm not doing a good job of managing my time, maybe. Or maybe I'm still trying to be a stay-at-home mom and get my kids to all the birthday parties and extra-curricular activities they have always attended, make a homemade hot dinner and clean....well, I have been able to let go of the cleaning. The DH does most of that. He's invaluable, really. He seems to not even mind switching laundry. Funny how he seems to always start a load when I'm in the shower, though....
Anyway, I know I can't have it all, but that homemaker stuff is the stuff I like to do. I hate giving up stuff I like to do in order to fulfill obligations. Maybe that's why I'm having trouble getting things done. My body has rebelled and is digging in its heels as I am trying to get it moving. Every little thing seems like such a huge expenditure of time and energy. Ugh!
Have no fear, though. I know this is temporary. I go through this phase now and again. I have to listen to my body's voice, take some time to rest up, and I'll do the dishes when I'm rested and happy.

DAILY BLISS: Well....reading a Harry Potter book. But mostly that's fun because I'm reading it with my son. We have our own little book club going on and it's so great to talk about the story with him!

<3 Christy

Happy Monday

I'm SO glad to be back into routine! I had no idea how much it helps me to be on a shedule of some kind. Last week, the Mardi Gras days meant kids out of school, husband off of work, and me out of routine. Now, it's Monday and I'm back with a vengeance. I'm feeling very productive today, having already done 30 minutes on my exercise bike, showered, dressed, fed my kids and dressed the little one, made 2 lunches,dropped off everyone at school, written a newsletter, answered some emails, folded a load of laundry AND put it away, made my bed, cleaned up the bathroom, and listened to a very helpful podcast for work at home moms where I gained tips for maximizing my marketing budget. OH! And I sent my man out the door with a smile and a "have a good day" wish!

By tonight, I will have made lunch, unloaded the dishwasher, done another load of laundry, made about 20 phone calls, mailed off a package, picked up kids, done homework, made supper, remembered my medicine, loaded the dishwasher, bathed 2 kids, prayed with kids, started the dishwasher and appeared in my bedroom ready to um... unmake the bed.

Now, I must tell you that most days I fall far short of all this accomplishment. And now that my body isn't as healthy as normal, I have to squeeze in a little rest time. But looking back over that list, it feels MIGHTY good to be a woman, and downright awesome to wind up the day knowing I did what I needed to do. So today's a happy monday. Happy to be alive, and happy to be female.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Mad Ravings

Wanna know what pisses me off? (I'm sure you don't, but I'm sure I'm gonna tell you anyway.) Being a ministers wife. Now, don't get me wrong. It's not the ministry I can't stand, and it's certainly not the minister. (He's actually a pretty sexy guy :) Here's the problem: Watching someone I love more than life live every day in a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. Imagine having a couple hundred people feel they have the right to tell you how, when, where, and what to do on your job. Maybe this could work if they were clones, but unfortunately they don't agree very often. This means you have a few hundred DIFFERENT opinions about your job performance. You pray too long, and someone doesn't like it. You skip the prayer and someone doesn't like it.

Know what pisses me off even more? That I get dragged into this kind of distraction. Why do I let this get to me? Who and what are we working for? Certainly, our goal has never been to achieve the perfect prayer-time duration. People pleasing is not even on the radar. No! It's to point to someone GREATER.... JESUS!!! There's nothing I'd rather do than be who I am, where I am right now. Some days it just feels like swimmin upstream, with a few piranhas nippin' at our toes.

Bottom line is this... It hurts to love when you don't get love back. I can't help being reminded that this was the story of my Jesus' life. He knew too well what it felt like to love people who didn't return that love. Whether they didn't want to or just weren't capable, either way He got the short end of the stick. What other response is there to this, other than "Ok, Lord, I'll do it too!" Especially considering the fact that when He lay down His life for me, I was still one of those people who didn't love Him back.

I love Jesus because He first loved me. He was the One willing to be first... to love though it cost Him everything. THIS is why I love Him. THIS is why His way is the only way for me, and yes, THIS is why I chose the ministry and why I let it consume my entire life. It has nothing to do with whether I get loved back or not. It has everything to do with letting myself be overtaken by Someone who DOES love me, more than I can imagine.

OK, so thanks for "listening." I believe I've "talked" myself right back into being completely ok with this after all. And given you a little glimpse into my twisted world to boot! So now you know... in case you ever doubted, that I'm SORELY inadequate to do what God has called me to do. I'm just not that nice. But, I suppose if He IS love, then Christ in me can love whomever needs love...regardless of the rate of return. I wouldn't have it any other way.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Big Bad Truck

My car was in the shop today, so I drove my mom's truck to work. It's big and black and bad. It has black leather seats and happy, white, circle gauges rimmed with silver. It's luxurious. But mostly, it looks awesome. So, I furtively peeled the handicap tag off the rearview mirror, making sure nobody around might think I was the one with health issues, dropped off the kids, and popped some punk rock into the CD player (an amenity which I do not have in my car). Once I managed to find my sunglasses and put them on (also black), I was pretty sure I looked like a badass. I knew all those boys were looking at me. I caught a few of them. Nothing makes your day like being reminded you still have something worth looking at (sorry about that preposition, but in some circles that is completely appropriate).
All of this prideful behavior went on for maybe 15 minutes, which may not seem like long to you, but try it sometime. Try feeling like you're a hottie for 15 minutes straight. It's not easy.
Then I remembered.
I remembered what mom had wanted for her birthday. I remembered what we had just given her. A vanity plate for the front of her big, truck. It says "Grandma's Monster Truck" on it (my brothers and I thought that would be pretty funny at the time) and it is adorned with an airbrushed monster truck. Very Polk County.
Now I knew why all those boys were really looking at me.
Oh well.

DAILY BLISS: Grande decaf Starbucks coffee with cinnamon dolce syrup. Oh, yes.

<3 Christy

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Rest of the Story

As promised, I will try to wrap up the tales of my Wisconsin adventure tonight. This will be long too. After this, I will try to go back to normal-sized blogging. The other side of the post I wrote last night is the circus of misadventure that befell the entire family throughout this past week. There was, to begin with, the difficulty of arranging a date and time for the funeral. Several of us were traveling to get there, and it was quite an effort to coordinate with limited flights (for us) and great-grandkids' birthdays and such. Joe and I nearly missed our flight and our connector flight on the way up. The airline actually gave away Joe's seat just before we got to the gate to board the last flight. Then, as I said, a horrendous stomach flu began to tear through the family. It landed my uncle in the emergency room on the morning of the funeral. His wife, who was the Coordinator of the Entire Event, was too sick to make it to the service. Just before the funeral began, the other uncle rounded up his son (my cousin - got it all straight so far?) and deadpanned, "C'mon Brad. We're gonna toss your uncle in the trunk. You're in charge of holding the i.v. over his head." The funny thing is, the sick uncle is small enough to fit in nearly any trunk I've ever seen. He arrived in sweat pants and looked like he belonged next to Grandma.
Like I said, we managed to take some photos of places we used to visit when we were kids. Here's a photo of me and Paul Bunyan. The restaurant is closed in the winter. You can see that my face is extremely swollen from tears. But I managed to look as Paul Bunyan-y as possible for this un-missable photo op. The appearance of this photo in a public venue should demonstrate that I have very little pride left at this stage in life.

The return trip was a nightmare. Little tiny Wausau airport let us know that our flight to Detroit was delayed. We would miss the flight from Detroit to Tampa. They gave Joe and me a hotel room (Jon is on tour and flew back to Portland), a couple of meal vouchers and a shuttle ride to the hotel. The meal vouchers were supposed to be good in the hotel restaurant. The hotel didn't have a restaurant. They had also mistaken me and my brother for a couple. I told them that it didn't matter if it WAS king-sized, I hadn't slept in the same bed with him since he was five. He wet the bed that time. I wasn't about to give him another chance.
Since we had gotten a shuttle ride to the hotel, we had to walk in the ten-degree weather to the nearest restaurant. Needless to say, much beer was consumed.
Did I mention that we found out upon arriving at the hotel that the airport shuttle didn't run at 4 AM? That's when we had to leave for our rescheduled flight. They made special arrangements for us. I think they were just having pity.
We walked into the airport and I told Joe that I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. Sure enough, our flight had been cancelled. Fortunately, they had another plane coming that would get us to Minneapolis (our new point of connection) in time to make it on a plane to Tampa.
At this point, we went through security. They thought I was going to hijack the plane with a .25-ounce tin of Burt's Bees lip balm. After searching my purse gruffly, the security lady told me (in a Wisconsin accent as thick as her middle section) that she'd let me have it just this once. Did I mention I'd already thrown away four other cosmetic items that I thought were possibly not okay? I'd made it through Tampa just fine....hmmmm....
The man on the other side of the table yelled at me to make sure I picked up my purse on the public side of the security table. I don't know why he yelled at me. Everybody in security and everybody in line already knew that I didn't have any sharp objects in my purse. They also knew that the flashlight on my key chain was not, in fact, an explosive device. It was tested in full view.
We got to Minneapolis, slid into our seats, got our nice hot beverage (we had gotten first-class tickets for this leg of the flight - thanks Mom!), and were promptly told to de-plane. The airline had mis-assigned the planes. The one we were on was apparently headed to San Juan.
So, we got all the San Juan folks loaded on our plane, and the Tampa folks all got on the right plane, and we sat....for a long time. The baggage loading system had broken down. After an hour of tinkering, they decided to load the luggage manually. At this point, I was pretty sure I was not going to make it home alive.
I could just see Grandma in a heavenly rocking chair, with her arm thrown over the side (clutching a tissue - she would perpetually be folding and smoothing a tissue and always had one in her hand), her head tossed back in raucous laughter. She would have thought this was a great story.
I did, in fact, make it home. When I started to unpack, I found a note that my bag had been inspected. I know this happens at random, but I'm pretty sure the good folks in Wausau called up the Minneapolis crew and told them to check me out.

<3 Christy

Marty Graw


If there's one thing I love about this town, it's that we take any and every excuse to celebrate. I know there is some historical significance to the parades, the beads, the colors... However, the fact is that it's mostly... well... just for fun!!! It's a brightly colored reminder that in life... sometimes you do stuff just for fun!!!

So, whether or not you'll be catching any beads or eating any king cake or shouting at glittery people on parade floats, find some time to enjoy yourself. Just for the fun of it. We have been created with the capacity to experience joy, pleasure, and well... just plain fun. When you throw back your head and laugh, you are reflecting the image of a God who also has the capacity to enjoy!! Matter of fact, He suggests in scripture that He enjoys me and you quite a bit!!

Happy Mardi Gras, my friends!!!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Going Home

Well, I am back from the frigid northwoods now, and wanted to catch up with you. The tidal wave of life has already swept me back out to sea and I'm starting to forget the last week.
I'm warning you now. This will be long.
I was very nervous about going north. I even caught myself straining through the dark plane window at the grid of lights that was Minneapolis from the air. For some reason, I was desperately trying to recognize anything I could. I spent my childhood just north of there. I'm from there....aren't I? The pilot said it was six degrees on the ground. My family was going to laugh at my hobo winter clothes. I patched together what I could with such short notice out of my own closet and my mom's.
The thing is, I don't really know these people. They're my family and all, but I haven't seen most of them but four times since we moved south. What if they see me as an outsider? What if - and this is worse - they see me as a Southerner? I may as well be from a different country.
Maybe what I was looking for out the window was a sense of connection. I felt like I needed to prove that I belonged there too. Maybe then I would feel entitled to the same measure of grief as those who lived there right next to Gram.
I called Dad during our layover and he told me a nasty stomach flu was ripping through the family. It started the night of the venison feed. Yup. I said venison feed. I asked if that might be the problem. Of course, it wasn't. My cousins and uncles all know how to handle their hunting trophies. Plus, only one person had gotten sick that night. It had spread to the rest. Great.
By the time we landed in tiny Wausau, it was two degrees. Brr. My stretch chinos and jean jacket were not really doing much for me at that point. I crashed in the hotel somewhere around two the next morning. I found out that my brothers both snore.
The rest of the trip felt like wading through knee-deep mud. I was really in a fog of tears, surrounded by people who had also been crying for five days straight. They're all emotional people too. Even the ones with beards. Especially the ones with beards and no head-hair. The men are too. Just kidding.
I got to help set up the church with my other girl cousins. There are only three girls, including myself. Bucklews don't make a lot of girls. I was there when they brought Grandma in. It took my breath away to see her lying there and looking like she would jump right up and say, "Well, hi Chris!" like she always did. But she didn't.
I rushed back to the hotel to get dressed. I had grabbed my most appropriate funeral attire - a black velvet dress and pearls - without remembering the culture in Woodruff. I had to stop at Wal-Mart for pantyhose and closed-toed shoes because I was freezing. The clerk thought I was a teacher. I don't know why - maybe it was the lipstick or the jacket with a fur collar. Nobody else was wearing anything like those items. Or a velvet dress, really. As a matter of fact, one guy at the funeral was wearing fleece camouflage overalls. He had just come in from ice fishing and still had fish parts on his clothes. That's okay there, though.
It's a strange thing to walk into a church full of people and see your genetic makeup smeared around the room on other peoples' bodies. They all grew up with each other, and maybe they're used to it, but it was surprising to me. They got my jokes, too. Maybe a sense of humor is genetic. Or maybe it's just because I get mine from my dad and he got it from them.
At any rate, the service was nice. A little reserved for my taste, but my dad spiced it up by taking up the open microphone offered by the pastor. Nobody held it together after that. I'm really proud of him for standing up and speaking what was on his heart and remembering his mom in a way that few of us could have articulated. He talked about the big picture. I'll leave it at that.
Then we said goodbye, and ate ham sandwiches and three-bean salad in the church basement, all underneath the concerned eyes of the ladies' guild or whatever the Methodists call it. They were so sweet.
I made my youngest brother drive me around so I could take pictures of places I remembered. The picture above is of grandparents' house. They sold it probably ten or fifteen years ago, but my dad grew up there, and I have so many memories there. That house, to me, is home.
I'll save the stories of my return-trip adventure for tomorrow or something. It seems disrespectful to add that to this post, and you'll see why. But, as we walked back into the tiny airport, I turned around, looked at the snow, and felt like I was closing the door and leaving my home. My cousin Amy remarked about how little Joe (the youngest brother) probably remembered about the area, since he was only five when we left. But she looked at me proudly and said, "but it's still in your blood a little bit." I think she's right.

<3 Christy

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Alright, Girl. I'm takin' it.

You preached it all, though. You have this wonderful way of turning out your thoughts onto paper. I tend to internalize the whole thing. I understand it, but don't always communicate it quite right! Ha!
One of the reasons that Chris and I "do church" a little differently than most is that we wanted to seek out God on our own. I wasn't finding Him where I was...just a long line of experts, waiting to tell me how to do it. I'm not saying that there isn't value in the teachings of an expert - not at all! I'm just saying that I felt God call me to find Him instead. And it's really risky. Especially in front of the rest of my Christian friends.
But I want more than fire insurance, so to speak. I want more than the scriptural principles that will keep me out of hell. Jesus promised me an abundant life, and I'm out to find it! I am absolutely captivated (and have been long before reading this book...) by the notion of living out my part in God's Big Story. And nobody can write that part for me.
Before I sound too rebellious or undo some of your fabulous preaching (cuz grrrl, you can preach! you were ON it just then!), I will leave my own controversial thoughts for another, more coherent day.
I am quite worn out from packing for the trip to Wisconsin. I am really glad that I have the opportunity to go up for my Grandma's funeral. That has meant days of arranging for the needs of my children and husband, though, figuring out my own travel and rounding up the bits and pieces that will keep me warm. They're going to laugh at my patchwork hobo get-ups, but....sigh....I never was really a fashionista anyway.
The unfortunate bonus here is that my mom is having major surgery in Miami (the only doctor in the state that will touch her complicated procedure) this week as well. She has held up very well, considering that her husband and children will be on the complete opposite end of the country. Her mom is going and some dear family friends will meet her down there, and my dad will go from Wisconsin to Miami to get her on Friday night. Are you dizzy yet? Anyway, I started to hear the stress in her voice last night, and am having a hard time dealing with leaving her. She's a survivor, though. She's never needed me to make it through something, so I'm sure she'll be fine this time....but it's still makes me a little uneasy.
So, I bid you adieu and trek off to wild Woodruff, Wisconsin. I'm getting frostbite just thinking of it.

DAILY BLISS: My honey saw my stress and took us out to dinner. We didn't really have any money for that today, but the fact that he took on some of my chores (i.e., dinner and supervising homework) made all the difference in the world to me.

<3 Christy

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grrrl, you know I'll run with that!

Thanks, Christy! I love the quote from Dr. Crabb's book. I think I've spent most of my life watching people tell their stories with His resources instead of telling His story with their lives. It's the way I was trained to approach church. There was a definite "recipe" of how the Christian life was done. Unfortunately, a missing ingredient of deep reliance upon God made it difficult to achieve the finished product. I've spent most of my life trying to "do" the Christian life with its rules and regs, and I'm just now learning how to be an "imitator of God."

It's easy to follow a prescribed keep up appearances. MUCH easier than surrendering your entire life to be taken over by Christ. It's much more comfortable to stare at the story, memorize the story, even repeat the story than it is to let yourself BE the story. That takes Christ-following to a whole new level!!

What else could Paul have meant when he said, "I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings" except a total abandon of self and structure. He wanted to BE the story, in all its resurrection power AND all its deep sufferings.

ME TOO!!! No more trying to cook up a half-baked "recipe" of my own. That approach just doesn't do the trick when compared to the experience of letting Christ take over and live FOR me. That's why the cross wasn't the end! Yes, He died for me, but He isn't still dead! He rose again to LIVE FOR ME... to give me the amazing privilege of going way past a set of rules and into intense interaction with Him. THAT's why the veil RIPPED OPEN!!

I haven't read Dr. Crabb's entire book, but that small portion speaks volumes to me. The story isn't mine, it's God's. He's the author. I'm just the pages and ink. But in order to let Him tell His story with my life, I have to stretch past things I can understand and logically explain. I gotta put down my own pen, so to speak. And you know what? I was runnin' out of ink anyway...

Back to you, Christy!


I'm reading "The Silence of Adam" by Dr. Larry Crabb and I just read something that I love:
"The single most important truth about people is the truth that is most easily ignored: that we bear the image of God. As image-bearers, we are called to tell his story with our lives, not to tell our stories with his resources."
He's talking about what he calls "recipe theology" and "transcendent theology" - the temptation to use scripture as a five-step-plan toward self-improvement over getting to know the One we were designed to resemble, so that we know what direction to take in becoming who we were created to be...and accepting the risks of making mistakes while we're at it.

Becky? Wanna take it and run with it?

<3 Christy

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Betty Jane

I lost my grandma today. She’s been sick for a long time, but when a life ends, it’s still shocking, whether you knew it was coming or not. I’m not qualified to write elegantly about death and heaven and the passing of generations…and so many people have done it so much better than I ever could. But I want to write about my grandma.
We never lived in the same town. My dad was The One That Left, and I think that for a long time, my mom was The One That Took Bill Away. But we visited often – especially in the summer. My family moved around a lot, but my grandparents’ house was always the same. In some ways, their home was my stability as a child. The attic had been finished and converted into a sleeping area with beds near all the windows. There was a secret cubby up there where Gram kept the toys. That raggedy Mrs. Beasley doll was always waiting for me in the cubby. When we would go to sleep up in the attic, we could hear the ticks and chimes of the clock that was just down the stairs in the living room. I made my husband buy a real, wind-up clock to keep by my bed last year because that ticking sound will always be soothing to me. When we woke up on Saturdays at her house, the heavenly smell of white-bread toast, bacon and coffee was calling us down to the table. I have that toaster now – it sits on my kitchen counter. We never got white bread OR bacon at our house! Or Twinkies. Grandma always had a box of Twinkies to share with us.
The basement at her house was also a place of wonders. There was an entire wall of shelves filled with back issues of National Geographic. In that corner, between the shelves and the bed (I think there was a bed…), I decided I would become an archaeologist. That didn’t work out, but I do still love old stuff. Grandma had a dresser drawer in the basement filled with girl stuff - little tiny Avon lipstick samples, and perfume-sample towelettes in foil packages, and beautiful rings that she never wore…at least, I thought they were beautiful.
Gram always had Juicy Fruit gum in her purse, too. Sugar gum was another no-no in our organic, whole-grain house. She would give us a piece if we were there for church. And after church, she would have a roast waiting in the crock pot.
Not that she was Suzie Homemaker. She was a working woman. She came from a coal mining family – the wrong side of the tracks, my dad says. She was spunky, full of life and fun, and covered with freckles. I loved the freckles on her arms. I have quite a few of them myself.
Aside from freckles, the most noticeable trait I inherited from her was a preternatural love of shoes. She told me once about a pair of red ones that she saw in a store window when she was small. She pointed them out to her aunt and wanted them so badly because she was sure they would make her run faster. Her aunt sent them for Christmas. I still believe that nothing bad can happen to you if you’re wearing red shoes!
She also had an acerbic wit. No one was safe from her not-so-gentle teasing. But that’s okay, because she could take it too. Usually.
She was the only one of my relatives that routinely shortened my name to “Chris.” That really got under my mom’s skin when I was little. Lots of the Bucklews call me “Chris” still, but it was Gram that started it.
Our family moved to the entirely opposite end of the country when I was ten. Grandma and Grandpa started to come for long visits then. They usually came around Christmas and stayed until it got too “sultry.” That’s what Grandma used to say when the Florida humidity started to kick back in sometime in March. By then, she was wearing her summer uniform of colorful, sleeveless, button-up shirts. But she and Grandpa were usually here for the strawberry season. We would go with them to this roadside-fruit-stand-turned-tourist-attraction for a gigantic strawberry shortcake before they would go back north. She loved the strawberry cookies that you could buy there. I think we sent her some last year.
She loved my husband when she met him – long before he was my husband. He was a Midwestern white-bread-and-Twinkies guy. In a small way, it was sort of like he was bringing me back home. She called him by his college nickname since then – even though we are far past college now.
My deepest connection with her didn’t come until later in my life, though. In my second pregnancy, we got the news that my husband and I had an rare blood/immune system issue. It works a lot like the Rh factor, which she dealt with in her own pregnancies and deliveries. She shared with me her own stories of loss and pain and her own near-death experience. She really understood that phase of my life like no one else could. From that point on, she had a special connection with my daughter, and even remembered Emma far longer than I expected her too as Alzheimer’s began to call her away.
It’s funny what little things the mind will call up in order to remind you of connection when you are separated by so much distance. This is really just a collection of small things. I have cousins that spent much more of their lives with her. But this is the part of her that is mine.
The wind chimes on my porch are singing softly in the breeze tonight. I chimed every one of them at the store to make sure I got the ones that sounded like Grandma’s. Hers used to hang in her back yard. I think that may be why I love my wind chimes so much. They have taken on a whole new meaning to me tonight.
Bye, Gram. I love you.

<3 Christy

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Here's Becky's List

Ok, Christy! Here's my list:

1) I have a thing... about napkins. After I eat, I usually find the napkin clutched tightly in my hand about an hour later. When I get fast food, I save the napkins. I just FEEL better knowing there are lots of them around.

2) I also have a thing about hard candy. I can't eat it nor do I let my children eat it. Toothpicks and tootsie rolls and now and laters also fall in this category. If I want to eat a starlight mint, I bust it into pieces first so that it isn't windpipe-sized!

3) Sometimes I make my letter "s" in print and sometimes in cursive, and sometimes both ways in the same word. This happens subconsciously and is just as much of a surprise to me when the letter comes out on the page.

4) I LOVE the group ALABAMA. They are LEGENDARY. I also (sorry Christy) love Barry Manilow. Copa Cabana got me hooked. (Her name was Lola... she was a show girl) Who can help but dance a little? In Lola's honor.

5) I must have Dr. Pepper with Taco Bell food, regular Coke with McDonalds, sweet tea with Barbecue, peach tea with Olive Garden food, coffee with chocolate mousse cake, Wild Cherry Pepsi with Applebees, a bag of Cheddar cheese and pretzel COMBOS when I'm traveling, and Water with lime at real mexican restaurants. With the exception of the sweet tea, I usually have these things only at the particular time or place listed. I also like onions in rings but not often actually on a sandwich.

6) I can type quickly without looking, but cannot tell you the order of the keyboard keys, nor can I picture them in my mind. My fingers simply move on their own with no explanation. I do not understand this.

I also really enjoy being weird and wear my weirdnesses proudly. I think the weird list could go on and on, as a celebration of uniqueness. This is fun!

A List

My work-friend Julianna had this thing on her blog - a friend asked her to post six weird things about herself. And I thought it'd be fun to do it too. Here's my six:

1) I buy a lot of tea. I don't know why I do this because I like coffee a lot more.
Every once in a while, the stockpile gets ridiculous and my Scottish heritage gets the better of me and I start drinking it. All at once. So it doesn't go to waste.

2) I have crushes on meteorologists. Especially the NBC guy here. This has always been the case for me - from the time I was old enough to have a crush. Forget the dirty talk....tell me about the approaching cold front!

3) I like - scratch that - LOVE Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. I have Tijuana Taxi on vinyl. I tell myself that the kids love to dance to it, but it's really all me.

4) I talk to animals. And not just dogs. Sometimes I even do voice-overs for animals in public. It's sort of like Mystery Science Theater...only with squirrels and pigeons.

5) I don't get what the big deal ever was about Tom Petty. Or Barry Manilow. Or Neil Diamond. Or Red Hot Chili Peppers. My list of hated music is almost as long as my list of adored music.

6) I like old cars. My dream car? An old, old truck with a wooden bed. It's sky blue. And I can use it to pick up junk on the side of the road. Which I guess is another weird thing about me....but I'm already at number six.

The truth is, I'm pretty comfortable with being weird. I always have been a little off-kilter. But I'm also pretty open about it. I had a really hard time thinking of weird things about myself that I haven't already mentioned in the past right here.
So, now it's your turn. Becky, please post six weird things about yourself! And anybody else that it in the comments! I just want to know. Because another weird thing about me is I like to know those kinds of things about people. Did anybody see the movie Amelie? I love that the narrator mentions all the little things the characters like and don't like when they are introduced! LOVE IT!

DAILY BLISS: Shopping for Valentine stuff. Emma wants to make her own this year. Not with a kit, and not with any of my ideas. Only her creativity will go with these. I also really enjoyed that Andrew didn't really care what Valentines he got, as long as he was passing out cool candy to his friends.

<3 Christy

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Uh... I can SEE you!!

I saw two really funny things this morning as I was driving. Turning left at a traffic light, I crossed paths with a guy in a big black truck...a tough guy truck. Guy is stopped at the stoplight, and decided to take a moment to lean over and plant a kiss on his DOG. The hound was riding shotgun in the truck and his owner leans over and gives him a kiss at a traffic light. I promise, I laughed out loud, and in my usual habit of speaking to other drivers who share the road with me (I don't care that they can't hear.) I said "Dude... you did NOT just kiss your dog!!" Didn't he know people can SEE through the windshield?

About a block later, I stopped behind another driver. The 8:00am traffic was heavy and this guy was obviously in a hurry. The car in front of him happened to be...uh...obeying the law and stopped at a stop sign. This made hurry man REALLY mad. His arms were flailing and he was pitching a "hissy fit" as my mama would say. I giggled from behind him and gave him the advice: "Dude... you are gonna have a heart attack. You need to chill out!" Didn't he know people can SEE through the windshield?

In traffic, I often see people doing stuff they would never (I hope) do in public, as if no one can see nose picking. These people remind me of a truth. PEOPLE CAN SEE ME! Funny how sometimes I go about life displaying any old behavior that I please at the moment. I forget that there is usually someone who's looking. Not that I really owe anyone explanation for what they might think is negative behavior, but I do hope that encounters with me are pleasant, even inspiring. I want to be sure I'm letting Christ live through me, that a glance at my face reflects a glimmer of His light. Guess I just don't want to get caught kissing a dog or picking my nose when I should be shining Christ. So, my funny friends gave me some food for thought this morning. Thanks, guys!


It's 4:30am and I'm sleepy but SO excited!! Our website is here! I'm TOO happy to have it up and running! Now, it just needs articles to fill it in!!

I have high hopes for this site, that it'll become a place of inspiration for a lot of women... men too, if they dare!

Check it out at

OK, I really should crawl back in bed and steal one more hour of rest. I just had to "tell" somebody!!!



Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Little Rusty

I tried to play the piano today. Let's just say it's nothing like riding a bike. You can really forget how to do it.
I used to be really good. In my freshman year of college, I did Chopin's Revolutionary Etude for my recital. That's a really hard one. It created a buzz. But, I knew I'd never be the best - creating a buzz at the crappy local college doesn't even put you in the League of Mediocres anywhere else - and didn't want to spend my young adulthood striving for it...blah, blah, blah....
Suffice it to say that I quit. I've played the piano since then, though. I've been a worship leader for several years in various churches. But worship music is soooo different from classical music. I don't mean to be condescending, but it's a lot easier. Your fingers don't have to do nearly as much work. A couple of years ago, I got really brave and started taking lessons again from the top professor in town. He's amazing! He said that I had an incredible, raw talent. That felt great! But, I have kids and didn't want to waste my mothering years trying to master the piano....blah, blah, blah....
Every few months or six I pull out my books and give it a go. It's always disappointing. Today, however, was devastating. I really couldn't even pull off one of Bach's two-part inventions, which I pretty much mastered in junior high. I tried really hard, but my left hand felt especially heavy. I still know enough to be a good critic, and I detected all sorts of unevenness in finger pressure that never had been there before.
The perfection demanded by Baroque music was just too much. I turned instead to Beethoven. Using the pedal as a crutch and slowing down some parts (which sounds a lot like being expressive) can get you through and make it sound decent if nobody knows any better. But I know better. It sounded nicer than the Bach and made my little girl dance, but it wouldn't even have qualified me to have a conversation with real musicians.
I have always told myself that I'd try again once my kids were grown. Maybe I'll invest the time and money to seriously study it again when I have the time and money to invest. The last year or so has brought some real doubt about whether that plan will ever work. Oh well.
It's not that some life-long dream has been crushed or anything like that. I've discovered as I've grown that it seems music was a skill I had learned, and maybe not so much a natural talent. It doesn't change life as I know it to realize this. Maybe that's why I always had the sense that I'd fall into the mediocre category if I'd pursued music as a career.
But still, it'd be nice to whip out a fugue now and again - just to impress the neighbors. That's why I sat down at the piano today. Remember how I said I was trying to master a few good habits again? I need the discpline. But, a fugue can't just be "whipped out."
I'm tempted here to make an analogy about spiritual discipline. I thought about that while I was muddling through one of those two-part inventions, but I don't want to come across as cheesy. I just think that walking with Christ also requires discipline. You can't just "whip out" an authentic relationship.

DAILY BLISS: Making heart-shaped biscuits for church breakfast this morning. Served 'em up with fresh, Plant City strawberries! Yummy!

<3 Christy

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I was feeling a little melancholy last night. Well, more like on the verge of a lot of melancholy. I can usually tell when it's about to happen, and I make preparations. I did the dishes, grabbed my little iPod and found some mood-changing music (this time it was something to make me feel tough....dont' laugh....), put on my purple polka dot pajamas and headed for my porch. It was dark and chilly and rainy. Perfect.
I heard sirens in the distance. Then they got closer. But they stopped and I was busy being whatever I felt like being at that moment. More sirens. Hmmm. It was a busy night, I supposed. We don't live too far from a bar or two, and on a Friday night, you hear things.
Then I heard a really loud boom. I took my ear buds out and looked around. It sounded like one of the boys (Drew had a buddy over for an Xbox "sleep"over) had picked up the sofa, climbed up on top of the cabinets and dropped it. Or a gunshot. That was a scarier, if more plausible, thought. But no one was screaming or running on my street or anywhere nearby, so I uneasily put in my ear buds again.
More sirens.
I decided to go inside. As I did, a man walked up on my porch. I hope that sentence scared you as much as the event scared me. The good news is that it was my husband. Only, I didn't know this at first. He had been in the backyard investigating the happenings. There was a house on fire two streets over. You could see the flames from our back yard he told me with urgency. He was going to "check it out." Which is guy talk for, "This is a terrible thing, but it's way too cool for me to miss out on!"
So he ran down the street and I ran to the back yard, and saw the smoke and sparks and embers. I caught my breath and cried. That pulled me right out of my selfish little melancholy.
I called the boys outside and we held hands and prayed for the family and for the firemen. They went back inside and I just stayed in the back yard and watched the embers disappear, the smoke turn to black, the smoke turn to gray....eventually to white. It mixed in with the fast-moving film of clouds floating across the face of the moon. Chris came home eventually. He concluded that the explosion was probably electrical. I concluded it may have been the top floor of the house collapsing. Whatever.
I live in a neighborhood of old, wood-frame homes. That could have easily been mine. Last week was Fire Safety Week at the kids' school. I kinda fibbed a little bit about how often we practice fire drills and how intact our fire escape plan is on all the forms I had to fill out. I think I'm going to make good on those empty promises now.

<3 Christy

Thursday, February 01, 2007


It's time for next year's school registration again. I got my letter in the mail from the kids' school today, and it laid out next year's financial junk. It's pretty depressing. I could buy a Kia for what this is going to cost. Or isn't going to cost. Tuition has gone up again (not excessively, but enough). I'm not sure if we can swing it. I have been really committed to this school - it's so wonderful. There are so many opportunities for the kids to be involved in various extra-curricular things, and the academics are really strong....I digress.
In a seemingly unrelated instance (but give me a minute), my mom asked me the other day how I was "feeling" about work. I told her, much to my surprise that I wasn't "feeling" much of anything, which is pretty impressive for such an accomplished feeler. It dawned on me that I had shut my feeler off in this instance. That's a frightening ability to have, I think. I like things that are organic and spontaneous - things that just happen. Feelings are also supposed to just happen in my ideal world (people in school used to ask me what color the sky was in my world - it's that different from the real one!). So, to be able to shut off feelings - well, I just don't want to get TOO good at it.
Here's where the heaving sigh comes in - do you mean that I have shut off my feelings about working, and now my kids might not even be able to go to the school I am working for them to attend? Sigh. I have to work regardless of what school they go to, but that is a detail with which I will not be concerned right now (yes, I know....but this is not a logical post - this is an emotional one!).
Anyway, maybe I didn't do such a great job of shutting off my feeler. There is a gutteral scream about to burst out of me....excuse me while I go close the windows. I do not want the neighbor's chickens to be alarmed and start making disapproving noises at me.

DAILY BLISS: The smell of coffee as my husband gets it ready for tomorrow morning, while the wind is hitting my face through my open window. Right now.

<3 Christy