Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yesterday, the screaming. Oy. It began in the morning and you can fill in the rest. All day long with the fevers, and the coughing, and the snot and the miserability. Tempers were short, and a lot of ugly things were said, like if you touch my game i will punch out your head and no you willnt punch out my head tobe you eeeeeeeeeeeeee (mutual choking sounds) and so on.

Then R2 started coughing and screeching, and then Brynn couldn't sleep because she couldn't breathe and so I held her and gave her nose drops, which elevated me to Public Enemy #1. Then, all night, the coughing and the snorting and gagging and crying.

Clearly, logically I needed to take these children to the doctor. I spent the morning wrangling them into clothes, and then back into those clothes, and brushing hair, maintaining my Public Enemy status. To the car, to the doctor.

We waited in the waiting room full of sick little kids, ALL of them appearing sicker than mine. My kids ran around and joked and talked to people and, in general, were not sick. It's a good thing the MOG and I enjoy sitting in waiting rooms for hours.

Once we finally got back to the room, through the decoy doc and on to the real doc, no one had a fever, or any other apparent sickness as they chatted with the doctor. We explained that they had, in fact, been ill, previously. Like, a couple hours ago. She believed us. She knows all about the miracle cure. Lucky for us, Toby did have gunk in his lungs and Brynn had an ear infection, so we were fairly legit. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A bevy of dancer-types have descended on us from heaven this week. Actually, they technically ascended on us from Texas, but the heaven/Texas parallels are many. Anyways. We arrived back in Kansas City yesterday around 3, and then TrEd trickled in between 6 and 8 pm. It's good to be home, and it's good to have friends around. Win!

The onething conference is this week. You can watch it for free on the webs at

Unfortunately, Toby is sick. He and his cousins passed around the virus pipe, metaphorically speaking. This is how it goes. If no kids are sick, they don't stick their hands in each other's mouths, or trade sippy cups, or spit in each other's faces, so much. They just play. But let one kid get a random bacteria or two, and they are RABID to share. So it goes.

Last night I gave him cough medicine and then he laid very still with a white face and panicked us, but when I shook him he woke up and then came downstairs and requested cookies for a couple of hours. I might have given him a couple, since I was glad I hadn't poisoned him with medicine, and it was his birthday.

So there you go, it's not interesting but it is a blog entry. You have to be able to take a few roughs with the smooth.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Today is Toby's 4th birthday. 4 years ago, when they put him in my arms, it was like a sharp ridge of light just broke through the grief and the fog of losing the twins, and of R2's birth and trials. I did not believe Toby was real until he was in my arms.

I have walked a fine line since that day, holding him as close as possible while trying to let him practice flying. As I write this, he is jumping from the hotel couch onto the bed, and then back.

I live in a perpetual state of terror that he is going to grow up all of the sudden and I will have missed something, a moment, or a day.

I was so aware yesterday that it was his last day of 3. We ate at Cici's and drove all day and I watched him with a lump in my throat.

Now he is 4, and 3 is over forever. It was such a good year. I know 4 will be, too, but even as I celebrate him growing and learning, I miss my 4 pound baby.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I know, I know. You deserve a blog. A real, honest to goodness humdinger of an upper of a blog post. But I've been a little busy, see? I have been having Christmas, and figuring out where in Texas to live in January, and then figuring that out some more, and eating a LOT of salsa, and so on. Also, I've been writing some fiction, but I might not share it with you because I am 3 pages into writing a real live NOVEL and thus will not be posting her on the interwebs. Also, I have a son named Toby, the boy of 1000 questions (a minute).

Also, I ate bacon candy. Shut up, because you can't knock it till you try it. I will not post a picture on here, because of the poop jokes it inspires, but trust me. Bacon dipped in chewy chocolate is a holy thing, and you need to get right with God.

Today, we started driving to Kansas City and made it to Huntsville before we were informed that the weather was making Oklahoma impassable, and since we had to be back here on the 1st anyway, leaving later than today makes it not practical. So we turned around and went back to my Mama's house, where I am to this day. So. There you go. And now, goodnight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I don't have much to say today. Today? maybe you're saying. How bout since THURSDAY? Good point. I had stuff to say then but we've been traveling and such and the internet is spotty out on the road. I'm currently using a pirated signal at my mom's house, which works the best when the people it belongs to are at work or something.

I've been thinking. Deep thoughts, about life and purpose and potential and death. I've also been writing. But today, I can't write about any of it.

I'm sick of death. I tried to write something today that could be light and funny, and I just don't have it. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today I had to ground my 3 year old from Google.

He figured out how to type things in there, in an attempt to find more violent and less educational games. This is not a battle I expected in this decade, but I'm up for it. I ended up removing the toolbar completely, to limit him to the 3 bookmarks I have on the bookmark bar. I don't expect it to work for long, he'll figure something out. He'll just maybe install a different browser, or something.

I fear I am raising a gamer. I planned on him being a rock star. Maybe a star athlete and rock star, with above average grades. Instead, he started teaching himself to read at 2 and mastered it by 3 1/2. He can't walk from one room to another without falling down, and he doesn't care for the outdoors. Oh, and his fashion is decidedly avant garde. When he was 5 pounds, I used to worry that someday he would chase women and drink someday. Now, I worry that he will hack the Pentagon's website or maybe start quoting Nietzsche. Or arguing the merits of socialism. He is brilliant and stubborn and awkward and charming. That's right. He is my dad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My childhood friend died today. We were part of a group of comrades from kindergarten until about 10th grade, when life changes, with boyfriends and adulthood sneaking in and pulling us apart.

She was always the beauty, with her black curls springing out like unsuppressed laughter, and her long fingernails, the envy of us all. Around 4th grade, she started wearing her hair in the tightest possible ponytails, smashing the curls down with gel and water, then wrestling it into her control and holding all together with a scrunchie that matched our garish green plaid uniforms. I would argue, fight for the freedom of that glorious hair, but nobody told Melissa what to do.

We linked arms and ran across playgrounds. We gathered in groups of awkward arms and legs, sprawling across pink blankets, eating popcorn in the middle of the night, and laughing. Oh, she laughed. Early on, it was ungainly, childish chuckles, coming from her middle and spilling out the wide smile she tried to hide. Later, it was more controlled with its metal boundaries and self-conscious awareness. But always, laughing.

We lost touch, changed paths. We found each other again in recent years, sharing the weight of years of gain and loss, and I reveled in seeing her smile break across the smudged screen of my computer. She was always the beauty.

I called you birdleg
You called me nerd

And life, and life, and life

Husbands and children
Love and loss
The threads of childhood always
Holding us tenuously together

Oh, beauty
I hope your hair is loose
Laugh loud, so we can hear you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've been trying for a while now to write about this abortion supercenter being built in Houston, and I don't have the words. Go to this site and read, and mobilize and BE there on January 17th and 18th.

We are getting ready to be in Texas for most of the month of January, preparing and praying for this march and holding meetings around the Houston area. Watch this video and get the burden. (the vid is kid-safe, there are no aborted babies or anything, just valuable info)

In related news, we are planning to rent an extended stay hotel or apartment for the month of January in the Woodlands or maybe Houston area. I know we have lots of people we could stay with, but with three kids and the intensity of the schedule, it will be easiest to be on our own. If you know of a good short-term housing deal, whether hotels or apartments (or how to find them), let me know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anonymous said...


Who is the sappiest Christian Fiction writer?-G

It’s a tricky question, dear reader. By “sappy” do you mean gushy, romantic and emotional, or do you mean corny and stretched plotlines? Either way, the answer is the same author, but I dare not offend my readers that might be fans of rhymes-with-Cori-Pick. Therefore, this author will remain cloaked in mystery.

Anonymous said...

How does one convince one's husband that piles of dirty laundry do not belong all over the house, in bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen!?!

The infamous Hildegard Bumenkrantz was known

to grab her husband, the more diminutive Gunther Bumenkrantz by the back of the neck and force his face repeatedly into such infractions, while repeating mild threats and explaining the best location for such items as ones coffee-stained pajama pants. While unconvential, this is a wildly successful method for the husband of smaller stature. For larger spouses, I recommend a taser gun.

misskerri said...

Dear Mrs. Intelligent Clothing - 

What is the best way to infect co-workers/family/friends w/ the Christmas Spirit so that holiday events and songs can be enjoyed without repercussions???

Again, a taser gun is a viable option. Ideally, it would be decorated in a cheery manner befitting the season. Then, for example, when you come in contact with a “Scrooge” lamenting the existence of the song “Christmas Shoes”, you could just lean in with a jolly expression and zap them heartily with your bedecked weapon. Over time, morale will improve dramatically.

Jennifer James said...

Dear Ms. Smartypants:

I am 21 weeks pregnant. Why do people talk to my belly before they talk to me? Why also do they touch it, like it's a good luck charm?

Is it possible that talking to your face is a little intimidating, with all that deep-seated hostility and rage emanating from your eyes? Contrast that to a helpless little alien-headed fetus, full of cheer and kindness. How likely are you to be tased by a fetus? Ask yourself that.

Elizabeth Kosorski said...

SP, At what age is it appropriate for children to begin playing with matches? Thanks for all your fantastic insight, I'm a huge fan!

My dear, dear snarky reader. I think that question really has to be decided by the toddlers themselves. Who am I to judge the fire-readiness of the average 2 or 3 year old? Let them explore their boundaries. What is the benefit of a standing house with repressed toddler souls inhabiting it?

Anonymous said...

What are your favorite fiction books? What do you recommend?

This is more of a question for your regular blogger, who, while being Ms. Smartypants in one regard, is entirely separate from Dame Smarty in others. Thus, we will leave this one for those don’t-have-anything-to-say days.

Anonymous said...

sp ~ 

why can't i sign into my old blog so i can switch it to the new set up?? am i just a techno geek or is blogger insane??? how can i do this?? I want to start posting blogs on my old blog because its SET UP and i like it alot but when i try to switch to the new google account it says it can't find my old blog!!!! ugh!!! please help me!!


This sounds like an intensely personal issue. I recommend a pedicure and a massage, followed by electro-shock therapy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Zero fiction today. Here's the deal. I started writing this story, and I loved the first couple of weeks, and then I started stalling. I don't know where it's going! I don't know what happens! I am lost, lost at sea and stuck. And the chapters are getting weaker and weaker. So. I will try to fix it, but right now it's all stretched and weird. So I am abandoning it for the time being and maybe inspiration will strike and I will write more.

That's what you get for being guinea pigs.

I have decided instead to resurrect the not-too-long-dead tradition of Ms. Smartypants!

Smartypants is your greatly helpful semi-annual advice and support columnist. Have a holiday question? Termites? Neuroses? MSP is your gal! Submit your interesting and amusing questions of a general nature today through Monday, and Dame Smart├ęPants will respond on Monday sometime, Lord willin.

For inspiration, you should read the SP archives. Seriesly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It snowed last night. I'm almost 2 years into my Kansas City residency now, and I am still all verklempt about snow. I just love it. I love to look at it, that is. From indoors, with the heater on and a fire in my wood-stove. And a book, a blanket, a couple of toddlers in footed pjs and a cuppa cocoa. Not so much the outdoors part, with the snow, and the cold, and the wetness.

Lucky for me, school was totally cancelled. In celebration, I read until midnight. The problem is, Toby did not get the memo. He was in at 7:30, tapping on my head. "It's so BEAUTIFUL outside!" he says. "Ugh." I replied. He was relentless, and I ended up dressing him and Bean in 4000 layers and sending them out into 11 degree weather. That's abusive, maybe you're saying. Hey, lighten up. They considered it abusive to be inside. They surprised me and played out there for over 10 minutes. I say "played" loosely. Mostly they ate snow.

After a bit, they came in and had some cereal. R2 was mostly disgruntled that there was no school, and lobbied in his own way to watch Veggie Tales all day, which I let him do. Am in in line for Mother of the Year? Well, maybe not. But it was a very sweet and cozy day. So there you go. 9 degrees now. I am staying UP IN THE HOUSE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A debate has been raging on one of the message boards I belong to... well, raging is a vast overstatement. It is simmering. We don't really have so much raging over there, since it's a Christian message board. On this other board I belong to, debates rage all the time... and getting "flamed" is a way of life. So this is a much calmer sort of debate.

The topic is marriage... basically submission, traditional roles, etc. It's fascinating to hear how people's marriages work, the way they relate and manage day-to-day life, etc.

Richy and I got married when we were about 12, so we didn't have much independent life experience, and any habits we brought with us were childhood habits. We developed pretty traditional roles, in that he is responsible for providing for us, and he takes out the trash. Stuff like that. And I do the bulk of the childcare and household stuff, although I am not such the housekeeper and he frequently does cleaning sprees just because he can't take it anymore. In those instances, we swap roles and I sit on the couch while he slams cabinets and mutters under his breath.

But submission... this may surprise you, but I actually believe submission is right and Biblical. I also believe it can be abused. But in a healthy Christian marriage, with the man leading and loving his wife more than himself, and the wife submitting to his final decision... it just works. Nothing works right without a leader. I was raised a feminist. Falling in love hacked all my plans. :)

Actually, I was pretty independent years into our marriage. It took a lot of years and breaking down of pride and fear to begin to trust enough to need someone. That is a story for another day.

So tell me, who's the boss of you? Are you the boss? Does your husband wish he was? Or does it all work? Has it changed over time?

Monday, December 7, 2009

And if the dishtowel is made wet, how does it then serve its purpose? For the dishtowel is the drier of the hands, and of the large dishes, and of the counter therein.

But you, you wet the dishtowel, indeed, and you stick it in the sink with water and then wash the counters. This should not be so. Is not the sponge for washing, and is not the sponge located in a basket beneath the sink? Even, a large bag of new clean sponges? But you, you indeed deny the power of the sponge.

Then, when I come to load the dishwasher in due season, I
find wet dishtowels, indeed, multiple wet dishtowels, stained with coffee, soaked in dishwater and stuck behind the faucet. I then gather unto myself all the drippy cloths, and I fling them into the basement where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the washer and dryer.

When I return to the kitchen with slimy hands seasoned with coffee grounds, do I find there one dry towel with which to dry them after they have been purged with Palmolive? I do not. I find only a basket of sponges and one red placemat that remains.

Brethren, I urge you, for the love of God, use the sponges for washing. This is your right and acceptable service.

I will write to you soon, of the matter of the prodigal sippy cup, which is cast into the sink prior to being drunk, and while it is still filled with water or orange juice. And the voice of Brynn, weeping, for her cup is no more.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A month or two ago, I committed a crime. I drove my van without the proper registration. (see: owing Missouri property taxes and thus avoiding all routine vehicle paperwork) I was apprehended within walking distance of my favorite thrift store, and I probably coulda run for it, but I took my medicine like a good criminal.

This was my second ticket. The one before was in 2001, when I drove into an 18-wheeler. But enough about that. This one was for a whopping 38 dollars, which I had every intention of paying.

See, my dad lived on the edge. He considered most rules as suggestions, like speed limits, mandatory car insurance, and licenses for computer programs. He got speeding tickets on a semi-regular basis, and then he would pay them if he felt like it, or if there was a surplus of cash and it was a ticket Mama knew about. (disclaimer: Daddy was a pirate, but he loved Jesus)

Sometimes, Daddy went to jail. Sometimes, we'd bail him out. It was an unconventional way of paying court fines, but then nobody ever called Daddy conventional. Ever.

Anyway, this ticket was due while we were in Texas for Thanksgiving and I forgot about it. Therefore, when I got home and read the due date, I realized that I very well might be headed for the hoosegow, otherwise known as the Slammer. I purposed in my heart to pay the ticket, when I found a checkbook, and an envelope, and a stamp. That never happened.

Today, I drove to R2's doctors appointment with the Law hanging heavy on my conscience. I exceed the speed limit by 5-7 miles regularly, and obviously I drive with an expired registration, but never in all my days have I been actually arrestable.

On the way home, I saw a police van in front of me. Immediately, I broke out in a sweat. What should I do? I read once that police actually pay more attention to people who are super-cautious about the exact law, because that's suspicious. A guy driving a couple miles over, casually, looks more like he's got nothing to hide.

So I was in a quandary. Do I sip my drink casually and try to stay behind him, driving 5 miles under the speed limit, or do I act natural and pass him at 42 in a 40? I tried both, sweating all the while. Finally, he turned off and went to bust some other criminal soccer mom in a minivan, and I drove home and paid my ticket. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Now, I don't know if you've noticed, but traffic is down here on the ol' blog. Most days, I still get about the same number of readers, but then if I skip a day or two, the numbers drop way down, and the comments are not flowing so freely either. So, when I received not only a comment, but also an INQUIRY, I was greatly inspired. Here goes.

CrystalD asked:
"Let me ask you something. Growing up decorating the tree was ALL ABOUT the kids! My parents loved to watch us decorate it in our little imperfect ways. and that tradition has been passed on to my family. We decorate as a family. BUT... i was recently talking to some ladies who might possibly we reading this cause they only stalk your blog and don't comment ;0) They were saying how there mom always decorated the tree. and it was never even a thought that the kids would dare touch it.She said she remembers just standing in awe at this beautiful tree her mother created! soooo just curious... is this a JESSICA tree? Or a family tree?"

Good question, CrystalD! I was raised in a house where we all participated (we being Daddy and the kids, whichever kids were small enough or non-social enough or back in the house post-divorce or job loss). Daddy had a lassez-faire method for decorating trees. He'd start with purchasing the largest tree available on the market. Most of our houses had 10 ft ceilings, so 8 feet tall would be the very minimum, and if he could find one that poked the roof or bent over a little, even better.

Then, he would get massive strands of multicolored lights, the kind that had 7 different blinking patterns, and he'd lay those on thick. Then, some garland. Like, red and silver garland all the way up. Then, ornaments. We had all kinds of ornaments, mostly clay ones we made ourselves- I remember a big Santa head, and a Mickey Mouse, and a blue kinda oval with Peace On Earth painted on it... and then a couple classy ones Mama snuck in while nobody was looking.

Every 5 years or so, Mama would try to stage a mutiny and have a classy tree, but it never worked out. So, yeah, the clay ornaments and then various balls and Santas and angels, etc. Then, to finish off the Vegas tree, we'd dig deep into the silver tinsel and cover all surfaces. He wanted us to use a light hand with the tinsel, and by that I mean no clumps, just general all over domination and tinsel coverage. And a star on top, even if we had to duct-tape it.

Then, he might grab a glass of eggnog and a chunk of Sharp cheddar cheese and just sit back and enjoy the show.

I loved Daddy's trees. I mean, we did all participate. And if one of us had wanted to stick a GI Joe or a fruitcake or something in the branches, he would have been cool with that. As long as we did it before the tinsel.

I tried to keep up the traditions for years in my house, and it was pretty easy while we were youth pastors. One year, we had a Ninja Turtle theme on the tree. We didn't actually authorize it, and I am not positive where they came from. But there you go. After Daddy died, I felt an obligation to keep the color and the excitement in Christmas. After a couple of years, the urgency of doing it his way started to fade, and I realized I kinda liked white lights, and some matching ornaments, and a couple years more to accept that I wasn't crazy about tinsel. (May he not be reading this from heaven) I didn't get crazy like, all white and silver ornaments and china and such... just kinda like, okay, jewel tones, or something like that.

That was a long explanation to get to this one point. I do have an idea in mind for what the final product should look like, and this is the first year that any little people have even tried to help. So I let them, with a little direction. For example.... "Now, we can't hang all the ornaments on that one branch... maybe we could put one over here? No? Okay."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When I last left you, 35 seconds ago, I had made glancing reference to a plan to buy a Christmas tree. Now, I don't know if you're new to this blog, but I am a cheery Christmas elf, and I would start celebrating in September, except years ago, I was restrained by force. Put the phone down, I was actually only restrained by a request, because I am so submissive like that. Anyways, the MOG requested strongly that I not play Christmas songs prior to December the 1st. That worked for a couple of years, until KSBJ started playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Then I could be all like, "What? I'm just listening to the radio... are they playing Sleigh Ride? Over and over and over again? Huh. Go figure."

Anyways, what I am getting at here is that my husband, while a big BIG fan of Christ, is not so much about Christmas. Or any holiday, really. So you take one cheery Christmas in September-celebrating elf and one Scrooge less celebratory figure, and its a bit of a struggle to get the ol' Christmas S. up and running.

I get decent participation on December 24th and 25th. The rest of the time I have to keep the harping up at a steady pace to get the tree decorated and a strand of lights here and there.

This year, I have a co-conspirator in Toby. He is stoked about Christmas music, and lights, and snowmen and pretty things and is well on his way to being my decorating partner for the next 18 years or so, until some female comes along and steals him from his mother who gave birth to him. Toby is helping to inspire the MOG and by next year I expect Bean to be fully on board and then we will finally get an 8 foot inflatable snowman. For now, I will wait until Himself comes home from his meeting and then I will decorate the tree while he stands around and recommends a different method.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The thing about going on trips is, somehow we always come home to a house with no clean clothes and all the groceries are gone. It's not like anyone is eating the food or wearing the clothes. I mean, Liz comes over here, but all she eats is oatmeal and ginger beer, and she has her own clothes. So, it's a puzzlement.

Anyways, typically the first day back in KC I go to Walmart, that Imperialist paradise. I have to work it a little, to try to shop with a minimum of childrens. The amount of time and effort involved in shopping is directly proportional to the amount of people riding on and around my basket. Anyways, I got to go solo yesterday during naptime, and I went down basically every aisle, because I could and there was no little genius type crossing items off my list and griping about me going off-list and no little other person exclaiming about see THE BALLOON MOM SEE THE BALLOON I NEED THAT BALLOON IS THAT A BIRD MOM I WANN GED OUT MOM I NEED HODE THE CORN MOM.

I got lots of what we need, primarily frozen pizza, peanut butter and bread. And bread, and bread and bread. After a leisurely hour.5, I arrived at the register, loaded the conveyor belt, attempted to engage the surly cashier, and after another YEAR of waiting, I reach for the trusty wallet. Oh, right. The wallet that's at my house. FAIL FAIL FAIL.

Fail fail fail. Even now, it frustrates me. I had to drive back to my house and do some serious convincing to get the MOG and the wee ones in the van for a 2 part errand which involved a)paying for my melted groceries and b)procuring a Christmas tree. More about that "later".

So, then we get back to Walmart and I realize I have forgotten my wallet, again. For which I am mocked unmercifully by the SAME person who stored my wallet in a random backpack while "cleaning". That same person forgets their wallet MOST days, but had luckily for us, remembered it and went in, with no small fuss, and paid for the groceries. Sheesh.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Story archives here. You have to scroll down to the bottom for the beginning if you want to read in order.

Now, if you think about it, me and Jimmy was doomed from the start. Grandma woulda said somethin about water seekin it’s own level or some such, and what she woulda meant by that is that my mama and my daddy were two of the most rotten sorry excuses for human beings ever to walk the earth. At least, that’s what me and Jimmy come up with.

Grandma had a lot of sayings, about apples and trees and chickens roosting and bad seeds and such. Eventually, I guess Mama decided she was nuts and had her put up in the Happy Valley Retirement Home for the Aged. She died real quick, and then Mama stepped out for her Coke. It’s been years now. Still can’t work up a taste for Coke.

Anyways, Jimmy has had his share of troubles. He runs into the law every couple weeks, usually about fightin, or drinkin, or drivin without a license, or driving without inspection or registration or insurance and a busted taillight, drunk. One time he got arrested for havin coffee with a woman, although I don’t think I ever got the whole story on that one.

So, all that to say that I wasn’t too surprised when the yard filled up with police cars and Jimmy come runnin in like a greased pig. I was a little startled, since I had been in deep thought about my no-good daddy dyin and what am I supposed to do about it, but not particularly surprised. I stepped out onto the porch with my hands lifted up just a little, not so much like I’m guilty but more along the lines of I ain’t got my gun.

“We don’t wanna talk to you, Jenny. Get your brother out here.”

“Now, Deputy White, what’s this about? Y’all gonna scare my baby with all them sirens. ”

Deputy White turned around and told the boys to shut off their sirens. They all looked pretty disappointed, but they done it.

“And y’all put them guns away. I got a LITTLE baby in this house. Oughta be ashamed.”

Deputy White looked a little bit sick, but he nodded back at the boys to put down their guns. The boys carried on a little, and that weasely little James Lee Cole waved his at me a little before he put it back, but they all put them away.

“Now, Officer. What’s Jimmy done?” I asked, real sweet-like. Way I figured it, Jimmy should be fallin out the upstairs bedroom window right about now. Sure enough, that weaselly little James Lee Cole heard the crash and took off runnin.

I didn’t bother telling him, but he didn’t need to run. Every time Jimmy falls out that window he just lays there moaning till somebody carries him off. Not worth the bullet…

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am safely nestled in the womb of the second largest state in the Union. Actually, let's face it. Nobody counts Alaska. I mean, it's a state, and Sarah Palin is great, but you can't really count a state that's all like frozen and mooses and stuff. Texas is full of people and therefore, bigger. I digress. Anyway, the point is, I am home in Texas for Thanksgiving, and determining which taco joint I will hit like Ike first.

On Friday, I had two teeth yanked violently out of my head for $250. That is a racket if I ever saw one. I took the laughing gas, and composed blogs in my head while he shot me up with Novocaine not one but FOUR times before I stopped feeling. My eye socket was numb till bedtime. Getting high is no good, by the way. I do NOT recommend it. Although, if a guy is going to be digging around in your mouth with pliers while talking about Tears for Fears, it's probably a good idea. It was rough. I want to forget.

Saturday we did a mondo Thanksgiving feast and you might be disappointed to learn that I totally bailed on the turkey but our friend Andrew saved the day and the bird and ROCKED it. All of the food was awesome, all of the people were awesome, and then fire and marshmallows and awesome and I am done here, done. Because it's TACO TIME!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I have to cook a turkey. Not right now. Well, basically right now but I'll get to that. The deal is, we are having a Thanksgiving party/lunch here on Saturday afternoon, for various peoples and friends and such. So I, being the hostess, am all like, "Hey! No problem! I'll cook a turkey!"

I was thinking I would buy a turkey, and then I would open the oven and put it in and let it cook for hours and hours, and then it would be done and I would be Martha Stewart.

Then, I went onto the Google and found out there is stuff inside the turkey. Guts, y'all. and a NECK. Inside the turkey. And GUTS. Shooooot. So I was all like, ewwww.. and then I started reading about how you have to have a special refrigerated wing of your house with a temperature technician in a hazmat suit and if you get off by a degree or two, you could wipe out an entire internship at IHOP and possibly face prison time.

THEN, a "friend" posts a video for me to watch about the best way to cook the turkey, and it's all like, thaw it like this for DAYS but between these temps and then soak it in a bucket of brine for 6 to 8 hours and everyone who doesn't do this, their turkeys suck. They are dry and overcooked and they suck. And deep down inside, I know that that is true. Turkey sucks. I've talked about it for years. Maybe that's why. Maybe no one soaks it for a day in salt water.

After that soaking, then you rinse it and pat it dry. I don't even TOUCH raw meat, and here I am giving this one a baby bath. Then you put some stuff inside, like sprigs of rosemary. Sprigs of rosemary. I like to eat CORN DOGS.

So after you put some random twigs and such inside the bird, you make a little foil helmet for the white meat, and then you cook it for a while, and then you put the helmet on it and then cook it some more, and temperature is the key. How do you think our wealthy white forefathers killed off the Native Americans? Undercooked turkey, that's how.

I'll let you know how it goes. Or, you might hear about it on the news.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some months ago, I went to the free dental clinic. You might remember the story. Actually, I went twice, but I don't think I blogged about the second time. Anyways, at the first visit they told me I probably needed a root canal but Obama only wants to fix one thing at a time so I would have to come back for that. They scheduled me for March something or other and then I was on tour so I asked for a reschedule and they said I would go on a "waiting list". Envision a skeleton sitting by the phone. A skeleton with no teeth. Something like that was the plan.

I went to plan B: ignore the cavity. It's a brilliant strategy, but it only works for so long. So then the tooth, she breaks. There's no pain, necessarily, just a sharp edge and then my tooth guts up there in my gums. So for months now I have been scheming how to get this taken care of and then today I just was done. I woke up and called a dentist. A regular, non-free, non-welfare dentist. And I went in the SAME day and had a very very quick x-ray. I put it on my "Faith Card" aka Visa...

Sure enough though, the tooth is infected. No wonder I've been having all manner of sinus pain and headaches and such. Sheesh. So I have to take an antibiotic for a couple of days and then get it pulled Friday.

"You don't look nervous, " he says. "You don't look like a nervous patient."
"The only thing that makes me nervous is pain." I told him. He promised to thoroughly numb me, although he said with the tooth being so close to my ears I am going to hear a lot of crackling and popping when he extracts it. "I'll bring my earbuds!" I say, a little nervously.
"You're still gonna hear it" says Dr. Doom.

Nuts. Still, my strategy is to get this thing out ASAP so I can focus on EATING next week.

Sigh. Sigh, sigh sigh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Over the last week or several days, we have been experiencing a real move of God here at IHOP. I won't try to define it, because I wouldn't do a very good job. You should just go over to the website and watch some archives and testimonies or to Randy Bohlender's blog and read this. To put it simply, we are being greatly refreshed and healed.

In other news, Brynn has established her position as Boss of the House in the last 2 weeks. She was bossy before, but now she reigns. "You don't DO that, Mom," she tells me sternly. "You don't say no to me." and so on. It would be far easier to set her straight if she was not cute.

But she is cute. SO cute. She is tiny, the size of an 18 monther, and she has a tiny little voice and tiny little fingernails pointing at you as she demands that you give her an apple, or put her beanie baby inside her purse, or whatever. And all of the sudden you realize that you are giving her the purple bowl because she demanded it and it's too late because you are sucked into a pit of adorableness and you have no choice.

Very, very soon here, I will reestablish my authority around here. I will look down on her upturned face with her rosebud lips pouting and her beautiful blue eyes filled with tears and I will say, sternly, "Okay. But this is the LAST time."

Friday, November 13, 2009

We led worship at a baby's funeral today. Lydia had trisomy 18, and she was only expected to live for a few days, but she lived for 3 months. My heart was broken again as we sang. I wrote this poem years ago, and it says want I want to say, all over again.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


from a liquid room
eyes shut, body curled
I saw You
warm, surrounding

I saw You
sun-dappled days
grass and swingsets and books
embracing, accepting

I saw You
brave and scared
strong and safe

I saw You
strings and percussion
big yet close

from a dark room
eyes shut, body curled
I saw You
fierce and unprotective

I saw You
angry but hoping
wild and unsafe

I see You
warm and surrounding
embracing, accepting
strong and safe
big yet close
fierce and unprotective
wild and unsafe

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All right, I'll post something. In fact, I would have anyway, because I like writing stuff. But a good empty threat now and again won't hurt you.

Did you know that every time I make universal statements like that, I think of how it could hurt you or whatever? There's a skeptic inside my brain. You probably want more examples. Okay. Like, let's say I say, "The worst thing that could happen is we waste 5 bucks." but inside my head I'm thinking, it would be much worse to be impaled on something, or spontaneously combust. How's that for an example?

The point is, you can't rule out an empty threat from harming you. There are just no guarantees in this life.

Last night the MOG and I went out to celebrate both of our birthdays, since we were on tour during the actual birth-days this year. We ate Chinese food and entertained the waiter, and then we walked over to Barnes and Noble to buy ourselves gifts from ourselves. I wanted a new Lisa Samson book, but they would have had to order it, and I'm not about delayed gratification.

I ended up in my second bookstore haunt, which is the books about writing. I'm more of a reader about writing than a writer. I stood there looking at them all, and getting pretty frustrated with myself. In the end, I bought The Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel and some hot chocolate. One step closer to reading about how to write!

Worst case scenario, I am eaten by wolves prior to writing my novel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oh, what's that? I owe you a blog? Well, maybe you owe me some comments! See, see how it's gonna be? All right then. Fine.

So, back to Friday. We drove to San Antonio from Dallas, and did our thing, which involved massive amounts of barbecue and then setting up and such. I did my duties and then stood by the door like some kinda puppy in the window. Finally, the convoy with my children arrived and I went and seized them and got a little choked up with no actual waterworks. It was such a relief to have them near me again.

Saturday we drove back to KC with JM and Andrew and our kids. For 15 hours. In a minivan. Richy, Jessica, Andrew, JM, R2, Toby, Brynn, guitar, suitcases, pillows, blankets, etc. Basically, we brought everything but legroom. For 15 hours. It was fun.
It's good to be back in KC, with my house and my bed and my babies. I might even be inspired to write some fiction in here, if I get some kind of sign that someone is reading this...

Today I went up to the Junior High to meet teachers and do Richy's IEP. That's right, I said Junior High. As in I will be putting my kid who still wears diapers in JUNIOR HIGH. Cue nervous. It was a good meeting. I really like his teacher for next year, even though it seems like he will need way more independence than he has now just to make it in there. That's part of their goals though, eventually. To prepare him for more independence, to transition to adulthood. I think this would be easier for me to process if he were bigger than a 5 year old.

The goals they made last year were fairly lofty, but I didn't argue because shoot, why not shoot for the stars? Anyway, this year the goals are more like, be able to identify numbers 1 through 5, learn how to sort by color, etc. Pretty low but very realistic.

Now, that's it. That's all I have to say and I'm tired now. Comment and inspire me to inspire you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I feel the need to explain, right up front, that the shirtless picture of the boys in the post below was a joke. No one would dare ride in such condition in our van, ever. They would develop frostbite and die. Charisma Mag would report "Up and coming worship band holds the faith after tragic loss of multiple team members to hypothermia" as well as the editorial about "Damned: could it have been judgment for all the dam jokes?"

Anyways, that disclaimer aside, I set my face to yesterday. We did a youth service, which was an hour, start to finish. After 10 years of this kinda thing, we are able to adapt the service to pretty much any model, even though sometimes You Are Holy by itself takes the better part of an hour. We did 30ish minutes of worship and then we lined up to give prophetic words. If you aren't really all up into the prophetic and whatnot, basically we pray for people, encouraging things. Sometimes God tells us stuff about people, and we pray encouraging things about what God told us, and usually it's right on. It's a faith-stretcher for us, and great for them.

So last night we did some of that, and then we prayed for healing. If you don't roll with all this, then hey! maybe you should. So far I talked about God reading your mail in a good way and then healing your injuries... does that sound like a bad thing? ;) Anyways, a lot of kids got healed. 15 or so said they were completely healed, most of sports injuries, ankles, ACL tears, one jammed/broken femur. Healing is my favorite. I would love to see people healed every day of my life.

After that, we did an acoustic lo-fi service for their college group, and then hit Fridays... I heart food.

In other news: Today is Richy and Rob's birthday! 32 years old... somewhere in this year, Richy and I will have spent half our lives together.

In other, other news, Hannah has a boyfriend. You're gonna love him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I am riding in a van. It’s what I’ve been doing for 2 weeks, and will be doing for another week. I sit in the back left corner in a pile of blankets, generally. Occasionally I am thrown out by a tall person needing to sleep or by Richy claiming the good corner and putting me over to the right, which is sunnier.

My row tends to be a little personalized. It’s not something I do on purpose. I just sit in my corner, and I get my Bible out, and then I set it over here. Then I put on some makeup and some earrings, and I put my “bling box” on the floor by my feet. Type a blog, set my laptop over here. And so on. By the time somebody else wants to sit back here, it’s like a snakeskin lounge with a disco ball.

Last night we were in Tucumcari, New Mexico, at a cowboy church. It was a relief to let our accents out for a run. I haven’t been doing a lot of recapping the services, since we’ve been running into more hosts that read this blog… :)

Every service is beautiful. We’ve never had a dud. God meets people and lives are changed, every night. It’s the best job in the world hands down, well, next to motherhood, that is.

Today we drive 8 or 9 hours to Fort Worth, where we will probably do our second fastest setup in the world of the history and then play tonight. Matt and Nate’s families will be meeting us there and traveling with for the next 3 events. I have to wait till Friday afternoon for my munchkins. All hail Viking Granny who has almost completed 3 weeks of solo parenting my children!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To call it a rock would be an understatement, a mountain an exaggeration. It was a giant rock hill, with a natural arch. Worn smooth by water and time, it presented a challenge that our van full of adventurers could not deny. They demanded Nate pull over, and had the van doors open before we stopped rolling. I climbed out too, because 10 hours a day inside a van is sufficient for me. We stood across the road from Wilson’s Arch, its dusty red paths and angles cutting into a cloudless sky.

I went, because they went, and because we are at the end of an era, which is the beginning of an era, but still, an end. I was a part when it began, and I want to be with my covenant friends when they finish this chapter.

I scrambled behind the pack, trying to keep up, smaller rocks and boulders falling down the path behind me. I tried not to think of myself following those rocks down and breaking my crown. About halfway up, I got tired. 6000 feet elevation is hard on the lungs, and everything else. I sat on a sunny rock and watched the team go up to the top.

At that moment, I didn’t think I could go any further. But there they stood, victorious, overlooking the valleys and the hills and the thick black stripes of highway crisscrossing it all. Their voices rang out across the miles.

I didn’t want to climb the hill. Even more, I did not want to be left behind, and to miss what they were seeing, and most importantly, to see it with them. I came a little higher. The team spotted me and started calling encouragement. Richy was a little worried I would fall, telling me to stay still and not risk it.

I stood on the slope, out of breath and emotionally moved.I am tired of waiting while others take the risks. I am tired of sitting peacefully on a sunny rock while my team strain muscles and test the limits of their endurance, and make it.

I am not broken anymore. So, I climbed the hill.

I climbed the hill, and I stood at the top.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Driving to New Mexico today. We'll make it to Gallup tonight and then the rest of the way to Tucumcari tomorrow. I miss my kids. Luckily, there's some rowdies up in here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

I mentioned the other day that I might get nauseated. The context was, if I eat Hot Fries, then I will feel sick. Fact.

Still, I used the word nauseated and thus inspired the is she pregnant commentary. I am not, although I told everyone I was last week so I wouldn't have to carry guitars. No one believed me. Skeptics.

Anyways, I'm not. Don't ever plan to be again, in fact. I plan to adopt babies. Babies and babies and babies. I haven't figured out how to take them on the road yet, however.

But maybe you are saying, "Hey! What about Jenny and Hank Jr?" If so, I am sorry. To both of my story-fans. The thing is, I have to be in a certain mind to write Jenny stuff and I'm not in that mindset out here. So there you go.

Today we are in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have yet to see a vanfull of wives. Tomorrow we drive 45 minutes or so to Park City, where we will be all weekend. It is beautiful and very, very cold. (to a Texan, anyway)

Currently, we are soundchecking and then half of us are going to a thrift store to buy jackets and such and half of us are getting free massages. Nice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ideally for you, my lurking blog readers, I would update daily. Sometimes that ain’t possible due to our host homes being, in general, FOUR HUNDRED MILES away from a wireless signal. Last night we slept in a guest house across from a vineyard in Madera, CA.

Before that, we played for a youth group in Fresno. Then today we went to a high school and talked to a Christian club. I love teenagers. I wish I could tell them that now is not forever, and it will get easier and it will get harder, but it’s just 4 years! But I don’t tell them that, because I am NOT OLD.

You don’t really ever get to stop being a youth pastor. You can be a retired youth pastor, or a reluctant youth pastor, but if you love kids, it keeps coming back.

I am really inspired to write these days. I am having lots of deep and potentially profound thoughts, but not so much the time to write them down. Also, I don’t want this to become Debbie Downer’s Flotsam and Jetsom.

Tomorrow, we drive 12 hours to Sandy, UT. Maybe I will write some stuff then. Or, I will eat Hot Fries, get nauseated, try to take a nap but get my head bounced so fiercely by the back tires or shocks or whatever that I will give up on that so I will read my Bible and listen to Kim Walker for an hour or two and then I will eat some other crappy questionable food item and then read a chapter or two of a novel and then discuss immigration or the potential nationality of the Antichrist, and then we might discuss that one time that Daniel fell off the stage or what have you. Then, I will fight off the MOGs advances and eat some more and then pray for a while and then maybe, MAYBE we will be there and what have I written? Jack Squat, that’s what.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

He sits in a plastic lawn chair on the Santa Monica Pier with an acoustic guitar. His matted blond and white hair is pulled into a ponytail which falls haphazardly over his army jacket.

Spread out behind him is the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, sunlight shattering across the ripples. The sky is a heartbreaking clear blue, divided by masts of boats and seagulls rising and falling. He doesn’t see it. He stares into a wooden staircase, where an old black man sits on the landing wearing a bright blue pinstripe suit and yellowed dress socks- he gives the impression of having sat there, on that step, for years.

If they have sat there, year after year, one singing and one listening, they give no clear sign of recognition, no bond but the bond of the refugee. One sings sad songs, songs about Vietnam in a clear and classic voice, and all the tourists are sobered as they pass. The other waits, old dress shoes hanging loosely over the weathered plank bleachers. Nothing is coming, and nothing will change. They wait.

The singer strums and pours out his blood as the Asian tourist holds his camcorder and observes from a 4 foot radius. A dollar bill is dropped in his guitar case. He sings about saying goodbye to his brother while a teenager and her boyfriend pass, hands in each other’s pockets, carefree and in love. He doesn’t see them. He sees the steps, and the pain, and the dollars.

We sit on the faded blue bench in the hot sun and listen, our backs to the singer. His harmonica weeps and then he sings about knocking on heaven’s door. Everything is quiet but the clarity of his voice and the harmonica reminding us that we, all of us, are in need.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The previous sections to this story are over on the sidebar under the label "Telenova"

I’d been thinking about it for weeks. No question, my father was dying. And there ain’t no question he was a bad man. Whatever inheritance he had waiting on me was probably some kinda rotten ol mobile home and a mound of debts and some ol mangy dog that wasn’t worth the bullet.

Still, like Hank Jr. and Jimmy been sayin over and over, he IS my dad, and I should be loyal and go on over and see him, just to honor a dyin man’s wish. Hank Jr. is pretty concerned about how I would live with myself if I let that old reprobate die without so much as a how’re you… maybe he’s right. It’s the sweetest thing, Hank Jr. worryin about me. Too bad he’s a skunk of a man.

It’s times like this I wish I had a mama to ask questions. I did ask my mama, back in 2nd grade, about a boy I liked. She said she figured I was old enough to make my own decisions. I don’t recall ever askin her for advice after that.

Somehow though, I had a thought to watch her show today, see if maybe it give me some ideas for what to do with my ol man.

First off, she had woke up from her coma, but she was in some kinda secret identity or something. She was all dressed up like a schoolteacher with some big glasses and her shirt all buttoned up. I tell you what, I almost didn’t recognize her without her bosoms. She was arguing with a different angry man than usual, and whoo boy, he was givin her what-for. Now, I don’t speak much Spanish but it might have had something to do with a chicken.

Then, just when I was getting into it, mama’s former angry guy is in a bedroom with a real creaky old man, yelling and lifting up his hand like he was gonna slap him and the old man was too weak to argue, and then the old fella remembers my mama looking just about the same old age as she is now except she was obviously a teenager because she had two pigtails and bows in her hair and such. And she’s just crying and carryin on and slammin doors and then this music starts and she looks up and everything gets real blurry and she hugs the old man and then we were back in the room with the angry man and the old fella is layin there lookin real weak and such.

I was getting pretty interested in the whole story line when Jimmy come busting through the door screaming about pigs. I thought maybe some pigs was chasing him till 4 police cars pulled up in the yard and then those officers was yelling about surroundin the house and what not . Dadgum idiot. I tell you what.

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