June 30, 2011

carried on my hip

When I was 8, I was playing out in the front yard with my little friend and she said to me, Guess how babies get into mommies tummies?
I squirmed around and said, Kissing?
She laughed like a perv and said, Blah, blah, blah. Blahbity, blah, blah.
I was horrified. I was sick.
THAT'S NOT TRUE, I bellowed.
Yes it is. My mom told me. So there. What's it even matter? She shrugged like, whatever.
THAT'S A SIN, I bellowed again.
Well then. All mommies and daddies are sinners. How could she be so nonchalant?
WE WERE ALL ADOPTED THEN! ALL SIX OF US!
Oh, Sunny Jane. Puh-leeze.
I really was sick. I kinda thought maybe what she said was true, and my little 8 year old mind was... wigging out.
So when her mom came and picked her up to go home, I crept into the house and went to Shelly.
Shelly was seventeen and basically like God in my eyes.
She also had frightfully permed hair and was busily spraying 5lbs of Rave hairspray on her big bangs when I came to tell her what was burdening my heart.
Shelly Belly... is what she said true? 
Shelly looked long and hard at her perm in the Home Interiors gold mirror with the gold lily climbing up the front of it.
She shook the can of Rave to see if there was any left.
There wasn't.
So she finally turned to me and said, It's true. But it's ok, Sunny Jane. It's the way God wants it to be. It's the way He made it.
I clung to the edge of the dresser and looked up into her big blue eyes and suddenly... it didn't matter anymore.
The tears cleared out of my eyes.
Because Shelly said it was ok, so it was.
She was my big sister, and I trusted her.

Sisters make circles of time, a completing of sentences and memories and laughter, the past curving into now and you both know how it all rolls.

A sister born friend, she turns all the inner worlds that won’t fit into words, into a deep knowing.

... swing her sister’s babe on her hip, a fluid extension of the love that flows through them both.

... hold the other end of line in enfolded prayer when her sister calls late, weeping over a heart that fell down a flight of love and shattered all silent.

... sisters, the shared childhood that never ends, the friendship that transcends. 

- Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

Dear Ann. I've been reading her stuff, and she took the words right outta my mouth.
Sisters are like that.
Friends may come and go. Spouses might wander and leave. But a sister is there for the duration.
Sisters have this fierce loyalty toward each other. This bonding of holding hands. A sister will cover you with her moma wings when you need her to.
My sisters have made my life sweeter. They're a blessing from God.
Sisters are God's way of saying, You'll always have someone on earth who is on your side.

Karen and Shelly. And ten pounds of Rave hairspray.

Me and Karen

Shelly n' me

Ah... Shelly's bangs were epic.

The bride and her sister

Karen, Jenny, and I

Abby of the blue, blue eyes.
And me, of the brown like poop eyes.

I've carried my sister's babies on my hip. I've felt that fluid extension of love flow from me to them.
I've called them, crying too hard to speak, and didn't need to tell them what was wrong. They knew without the words.
They've counted my grey hairs. And pulled them out if they were sticking up.
They've pulled me across the room by my ear. When I was a little brat.
They asked me to sleep by their bedroom door. Just in case there was an axe murderer, so he could get to me first.
They introduced me to Godiva chocolate. And created a demon.
We share clothes. We laugh at the babies. We text incessantly. We vent to each other. Cry on each other's shoulders.
We can't live without the other.

I've not only carried my sister's babies on my hip, my sisters have carried me on their hips.
Held tight, arms securely wrapped around me.
Sisters. Making things okay.

flying

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.  
Proverbs 29:25

That verse right there stopped me in my tracks one day.
It's one of those verses that floats around in my head, randomly popping up to help me out.
The first time I noticed it was earlier this year, when I was kinda afraid... afraid of man.
It wasn't the regular fear, the gut pulverizing, mind darkening fear, it was more of a worry I guess.
But the words that really popped out to me were bringeth a snare.
I wondered what exactly the snare was.
How can the fear of man bring a snare? What snare could the fear of man possibly bring on?
And God showed me this is the snare: Fear of man pushes the joy of God away. Without His joy... life is one big fat struggle.
Now when I read that verse, I see more than fear. I fill in the blank with worry, a critical spirit toward others, discontentment, frustration, anger.
Whatever it is that I'm feeling about man that isn't good, that's taking my focus off of God, it's a snare.
A snare that strips the joy of the Lord away from me and makes me forget His wonder.
 
The other day, I was reading A Holy Experience and came across this post the beauty of living in glass houses.
I loved it. It reminded me of my verse. It touched my heart and all that. Click on the link and read it for yourself.
Ann says,
The secret of joy is unwrapping what He can’t possibly keep secret — His love for you.
The secret of joy is focusing on Father — not fear.
The secret to joy is meditating on God’s care — not earth’s snares.

I love the part about unwrapping His love for me. Like a present on Christmas morning.
I love to think of His love for me.
I am His and He is mine so... so what to everything else?
Perfect love casteth out fear.

I don't really get why it's so easy to lose focus on Him when He's so big. He kinda takes up the whole picture with His bigness. But still, I have the tendency to look at man more often. Like man is some big deal or something.
It's not that I should be uncaring or wash my hands of man's antics, I just can't let the caring turn my eyes away from Him.
Fear can make me forget to fly, but His love -my joy- can lift me up on wings.


Are these wings good to go, Lord? Are they safe? Testing, testing... Maybe You could tie my wings to Yours? You know,  just in case I start to flap around.

You know how moma eagles dive down and catch their babies right before they crash, when they're learning to fly?

Yeah...

That's what I'll do for you, child of Mine. I'll catch you every time. Just keep those brown eyes on Mine. Take off flying, lovey.


And I do, and He does.

June 23, 2011

kid talk

There's a boy down in Boise. His name is Ben. He's fourteen and five foot eleven.
One of my all knowing nieces told me last week that all girls in their right mind have had a crush on Ben at some point. All girls. Because he's so cute and nice. And a hunk. And makes their hearts flutter.
This is Ben with Emma last summer.


Definitely a teenage hunk.
Apparently, Ben has grown into an even handsomer heartthrob since last summer.
Karen is in Boise with the girls right now, and Emma has decided to marry him.
He's nice to her. He swings her on the swings, and makes her laugh, and is a hunk and all that.


But, Emma realized suddenly, when I marry Ben, he'll be an old man!
But, Emma concluded reasonably, women are supposed to be less numbers than boys.
I love that she considers herself a woman. At age six.


Lily and Molly did something bad. I can't remember what, but they were doing it together.
So Grandma scolded them.
And Lil said accusingly, But Molly had the thought!
Which is probably true.

Gimme your cheesestick, Lil, or I'll punch you in the face.

What? I didn't do nuttin'.

Maybe if I smile nice, they won't notice I'm pinching Lil's finger.

Mik likes to wear shorts for teeball.
Because they show off my strong legs, Moma!
I like to wear shorts for the same reason.

Humans. I'll never understand them. This is shooting my dignity to pieces.

Joshua was watching a Genie Bra commercial the other night.
He turned to Shelly and said brilliantly, You need to get you one of those, Moma!
His moma let him know it was his bedtime. Now.


Joshua also said crossly, I don't like all those dark people.
At the dentist. In a roomful of "dark people". Very loud.
This created an awkward moment for his mother.
Then he asked how babies get into mommies tummies. Equally loud.
So Shelly told his father, he was taking Joshua out in public from now on.


Lucy calls suicide self murder.
Did he self murder himself?



I took the girls with me to hand out some brochures, door to door.
I gave them strict instructions not to put any brochures on any doors that said No Soliciting.
So Emma ran up to an elderly gentleman working in his garden and said uber brightly, Here! This is for you! It's for soliciting! You'll like it!
Then she asked me, I did a good job, huh? Right?


Kid talk is interesting.
Especially if the kids are ours.
Our kids are way more interesting than yours.
Except for when my friend Talia's baby girl colored all over the couch with pink marker, and Talia asked her three kids who did it, and the boys said Lyla Jane did it, but Lyla Jane somberly said the bird did it, and pointed to their pet parakeet locked securely in it's cage by the newly markered couch.

I love kid talk.

June 20, 2011

bob

Sometimes I really want to write about someone, but I'm afraid of offending or embarrassing them.
So today I hit upon the perfect solution: aliases, nom de plumes.
I love perfect solutions. They're perfect.

I know this guy... Bob.
I talk to him fairly often.
I always laugh.

Bob ran away from home once. On his bicycle. When he was 17. He didn't get far. His loving sister chased him down in the family station wagon and brought him home.
Also, a cop was driving by at the same time and stopped him . That helped convince him home was... advantageous to his health.

One time Bob got mad at his boss at Wendy's.
So he went outside and peed on the building.
But a cop was driving by at the same time so... that was not advantageous to his health.

One time Bob got mad at his boss at Taco Bell.
So he threw one of those mega tubs of mayo out the drive thru window.
Then he fled the scene of the crime thru the same window.
A cop was not driving by at that moment. Which is surprising.

One time Bob shoplifted from Walmart.
Wanna know what he took?
A chicken.
I asked him why he didn't take something more substantial- like a tv, or a pack of batteries, or even chocolate.
He said he was hungry and chicken sounded good.
That reasoning didn't cut it with the cop who happened to be driving by at that moment.

One time Bob heard his sisters were broke so he sent them a bunch of his hard earned money.
Saved their lives.

One time Bob heard his sister was feeling down so he drove 14 hours to go see her, knowing he would have to turn around and drive the 14 hours right back home the next day to be back in time for work.
He didn't care.
He loves her.

One time Bob had a bunch of his brother's tools in his car.
Then his car got impounded.
The tools were never seen again.

Bob used to sit on his sister's bed for hours every evening and make her laugh until she cried.

Bob used to always do the weed eating for his sister. So she didn't have to blink frantically.

Bob gets mad at his sister when she doesn't call him often enough.
He misses her.

One time Bob broke up with his girlfriend because she had blackheads. Maybe it's mean, but I die laughing everytime I think of that.

One time Bob quit a perfectly good job because they told him he couldn't leave on his lunch break.
I asked him why he would do that.
He said he hates eating soggy sandwiches.

Bob calls his sister 'lil shrub.

If someone is gonna run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and have to walk ten miles to the nearest payphone to call for help and get to the payphone only to realize he doesn't have any quarters, that someone will be Bob.
If someone is gonna decide to build an electric guitar in the shed out back and cut his hand on the table saw... 4 times... that someone will be Bob.
If someone is gonna be sick but can't make it to the bathroom in time and throws up on the floor instead, that someone will be Bob.

I kinda have this sneaking feeling that the whole nom de plume thing didn't work, and some of you guys know who Bob is, and maybe I didn't do a very good job of protecting his privacy, and now he's gonna be mad at me for telling everyone he shoplifted a chicken one time, but the chicken incident was so funny I couldn't leave it out.
Oh, what the heck.
Bob is my little brother.
I can't keep a secret.
And I really want to add photos to this post.
But I had really good intentions when I first started out writing this.

Bob does crazy things. Things I wouldn't do in a million years. Things I frown upon and yell at him for.
But it doesn't matter.
He's my laughter.
I love Bob to pieces. With all my heart. I heart Bob.

Me, Bob, and the dead neighbor.

Me, Bob, and my shiny forehead.

Me, Bob, and Daddy


June 19, 2011

daddy


1. He can never smile for pictures. He has to be pinched or tickled.
2. His favorite flavor is peach. As in peach Nehi.
3. He likes trucks. Fords.
4. He can't stand to be away from Moma.
5. He always read Louis L'Amour before bed. All Sacketts stand six foot three... in their socks.
6. He played with my hair to wake me up in the mornings.
7. He taught me to tell the difference between a Peterbilt and a Kenworth.
8. He always said my cooking was good. He lied, but I didn't mind.
9. He always called me Morning Glory. In the mornings.
10. He hugged us alot.

I love you, Daddy.
Just because I do.

Happy Father's Day!

June 18, 2011

girl talk

The girls are growing up.

*dislike*

They notice boys now.

Did you know that all the little girls at church thought T. was soooo very cute when he wore his hair all spiky that time? Be still their frantically beating hearts.

Did you know one little girl (who shall remain unnamed) stuffed her bra one time?
So did I. When I was twelve. With socks. I thought I looked so much more mature, sexy.  But there was always the worry that they would fall out and embarrass the crap outta me so I finally caved under stress and quit stuffing.

Did you know 12 yr old girls need to shave?
Now that I think about it, I had to start shaving when I was 11. My legs looked like I wrapped rugs around them. I looked like Esau.

Did you know one little girl ( who shall remain nameless) was sitting on the pew with one little boy (who shall also remain nameless), and she put her hand up on the back of the pew and so did he, at the same time, and their hands touched!!?? Purely by accident. Sparks flew like crazy.

One time, I fell down the stairs in front of the love of my life. I was twelve. He had dark, dreamy eyes. Then I went upstairs and tripped over the altar bench in front of God and everybody else. It was the single most embarrassing moment of my life.

Did you know one time two little boys had a fight over one little girl? (They shall all remain nameless. I'd like to name them, but if I did... all these guys would stop telling me their secrets. Then my life would be a whole lot less interesting.) It was a love triangle, and the one little guy had a picture of the beautiful lady in his Bible which caused the second little guy great amounts of distress. So they challenged each other to a duel, and it came to punching and kicking.

They have crushes, and talk about cell phones and make-up and when they can shave, and they wear bras, and they can babysit now.
Then they spend the night with me and tell me all this stuff. The behind-the-scenes-in-the-life-of-a-little-girl.
It makes me laugh and I love it, but it also makes my heart feel all squashy and sad. Too bad they can't always be little. Now I know how Bro. Carl Wright always felt when he would tell me he was going to put bricks on my head to keep me from growing up.

But there's one really great perk to them growing up: slave labor.
They do the dishes now. Not me. Hallelujah.

Church special: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Babysitter

Slave labor...

Cathryn. She's almost 14.
*sigh*



Prince Charming

Oh. my. goodness. Cutie patootie personified.




I love them.
I'll miss them when they're gone and grown-ups take their places.

June 14, 2011

layers

Onion layers.
God has 'em.
Thousands, millions, trillions, zillions, uncountable layers.
Layers that I get to peel back, little by little. Discovering more of Him.

God never gives me more than I can handle.
A trial, struggle, temptation, heartache, disappointment... never more than I can handle.
But once upon a time, I figured I had more than I could handle.
I let God know right away.

Hey, God? See my shoulders? Size extra small. Size petite. Size too little for this load. So go ahead... remove the weight. Thank you in advance.

Look at Me.

I totally would, except that this weight is keeping my head down. So this is the part where You take it away. Here I wait patiently.

Look at Me.

I can't, I snapped, angry. Flicking the sweat out of my eyes. Contemplating my wobbly, buckling knees.  I'm gonna need to see a chiropractor after this weight is taken off. I have the worst backache. Don't think I've ever felt anything so heavy as this, Lord. Lord? If you don't take it from me soon, I'll die. I'll curl up and expire.

Look at Me. Just try. Look at My eyes, you'll see Me looking back at you. This isn't as heavy as you think.

So I looked. And what I saw... love.
Love enough to drown in. Eyes looking at me like He couldn't look away. Drawing me so close. Mesmerizing. Unfathomable. Unsearchable. Stripping me of me.
I couldn't look away. I was amazed and reached out to touch His face.

The weight was still there at first.
But the longer I looked at Him, the lighter it got.
Until finally, it was gone.
And still I looked at Him, and He looked at me.

If you had looked at Me right away, you'd never have even felt that the weight was too heavy for you. I needed you to feel that weight for awhile though. I needed you to learn a lesson from it. It'll make you an oak tree instead of a piece of fluff.

Did You just call me a piece of fluff?

Yep.

Just looking at You gives me strength?

Yep.

So where'd the weight go?

Away. You won't see that weight again.

He took my hand from His face and held it in His own, How about going for a walk?

Ok.

You can still look at Me... I'll watch where your feet go.

Ok.

So we walked, and as we walked I looked at Him and He watched where my feet went, keeping them safe. Keeping the steps of them straight.
And then, I caught a glimpse of a familiar weight... on His back now. Carried for me.

So THAT'S where it went!
I've found another one of Your layers, I said, happily.

ten

1)  Lily calls me Sun.
Not Sunny. Sun.
And not even just Sun, but HEY, SUN!!!! I love you!
I'm a huge fan of her calling me that.
I call her Lil. Sun n' Lil.
She's my baby.

2)  Molly is not my baby.
She cries when Karen leaves her with me.
I tell her to shut up.
Disclaimer: I tell her to shut up in a very kind and patient tone of voice.
Disclaimer 2: It doesn't work.

3)  Lily got her ears pierced a couple weeks ago.
It was a reward...
She pooped on the potty three times in a row.

4)  Lily didn't cry when her ears were pierced.
She's only three.
Very brave, my baby.

5)  I cried when I got my ears pierced.
My moma took me.
I was 21.

6)  Lily saw a mountain the other day.
Jesus was on it.
I didn't happen to see Him, but Lil did.
She told me.
Sun! I see a mountain! And Jesus! I like Jesus! And I like God! ♫ Jesus loves me this I know... ♪

7) Lil is a ray of sunshine.
She likes everything.
Or loves it.
Or thinks it's really cool.
For instance, she really likes forks. They're really cool.
Look! It holds my food! Sun! Did you see? It's really cool!
She says cool like coo-wall.

8)  Sun! I pooped! Did you see? It's really cool!

9)  Sun! I hafta kiss you! So my sparkle lip gloss will get on you! It's really cool!

10)  Lil, I think you're really cool.
And I like you.
And I love you more.

Bravery in the flesh...

Her has chubber cheeks.

June 12, 2011

diary of a wimpy girl

I'm a wimp and a fraidy cat.
I admit it without shame.

I listen to other girls talk about how they wrestle big German Shepherds down to the ground, and I remember the time a snarling little wiener dog had me sitting up on the kitchen island, terrified, clutching an ink pen in my hand for self defense while he ran in circles around me, barking his head off.

Or I hear them say, When I was out chopping wood...
Chopping wood? I'm not a big fan of axes.
In Love Comes Softly, Clark pretty much chops off his foot with an axe. That's what happens. You think you're just gonna go out and chop some wood, but you end up chopping foot instead.

I'm afraid of going to the bathroom at church, and getting my skirt stuck up somewhere, and walking out of the bathroom, and everyone seeing... you know... everything. And me blushing, and everyone reminding me of that time you got your skirt stuck up places... hahahaha for the rest of my life.
So I always go pee at home, before I leave for church.

I'm afraid of Forrest.
The red-headed, Nazi giant who was in my speech class a couple years ago and stared at me the entire class like he wanted to kidnap me and sacrifice me to the devil. Every single class. Creeped me out. And I saw him at Walmart not too long ago, on the chip aisle. So I grabbed a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and held it in front of my face, and stood really, really still, hoping to blend in with the other chips until he was gone.
Then I ran.

I'm afraid of weed eaters. I use them when I have to, but I don't like it. They make me blink frantically.
I'm worried I might accidentally weed eat my leg, and get gangrene, and end up an amputee in an homeless shelter.
Eating in a soup kitchen.
All because of a stupid weed eater.

I'm afraid of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
And Alice in Wonderland.
And The Wizard of Oz.
And all other disturbing movies that have little scary looking short people in them and give me nightmares.

I'm afraid of waterbeds.
1. I could drown.
2. I watched Nightmare on Elm Street when I was a little girl and have never forgotten the look on that guy's face when Freddy Krueger jumped out of the waterbed and slashed him to bits.

I'm afraid of people with two hearts.
I've never met one in real life, but when I was a little girl one of my aunts made me watch some horror movie about a guy who was a scientific experiment, and he had two hearts. He also killed everybody he ran into. He also got shot like fifty million times but still lived. He was the unkillable serial killer. He jumped out at people from behind walls. He was super strong and one time, some people pushed him down into a well and were hugging each other, all relieved to be alive, when all the sudden, Two Heart Dude jumped out of the well and killed them.
I cried the entire movie and kept looking over my shoulder at the black night outside of the sliding glass door, thinking about how Two Heart Killer could shatter that glass door with a single tap of his pinky.
And ultimately kill me slowly.
My aunt was sadistic. You know who you are, Aunt.

I'm afraid of going to the mall, getting back into my car, and having my Achilles tendon slashed by a serial killer hiding under my car.
There was a guy who did that to a bunch of women in Houston when I was a little girl. Makes my Achilles tendon quiver just thinking about it.
I always look under my car before I get too close to it.
Just in case.

I'm not afraid of the dark.
Unless I'm coming in Karen's house late one night, and everyone's asleep in bed, and I'm being very, very quiet so I don't wake them, and I don't turn on the lights, and then Tim jumps out at me from beside the refrigerator and yells real loud in my ear, and then I scream bloody murder and literally pee my pants.
I don't have fight or flight instincts.
I have stand-there-and-pee-my-pants instincts.

So when I read Proverbs 3, and it says, When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
... it's the shall keep thy foot from being taken part that I like the best.
Because I don't want my foot to be taken.
Not by a weiner dog, or a weed eater, or creepers under my bed, or the Wicked Witch of the West, or the Achilles tendon guy under my car.
So it's nice to have that assurance that God will keep my foot safely.

... but I still don't like to hang my feet off the edge of the bed at night.
Just in case.

June 11, 2011

knit together

I used to have this Sunday School teacher who made us sing I Come To The Garden Alone every Sunday morning. I didn't mind it the first 10 times we sang it, but after that... I despised that song and still do to this day. Makes me clench my jaw every time I hear it.
But she had some other really great ideas.
She made really cool award charts. Big clear stars that hung down from the ceiling and each point of the star was for a different thing: Bible reading, prayer, memory verse, attendance, and bringing a friend. Sometimes when she wasn't looking, I added star stickers to my star so I'd be ahead of everyone else. But my teacher figured that one out since the bring-a-friend point was all filled up with star stickers and I'd never once brought a friend. I hadn't thought of that when I put the stickers on. I wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack.
One thing I always remember is how she recited, Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
She asked me one time what unity meant, and I stuck my fingers all entwined, tight together and said, Unity is like this. Stuck together.
She gave me a gold star for that answer, and I thought I was basically the smartest person ever.

Tim was talking about unity in church the other night, and he read a few verses that really stuck out to me.


That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
Colossians 2:2

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:14

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psalm 133:1


It made me think: Unity starts in my own heart.
That one verse says, put on charity. Me put on charity.
Unity needs the whole crowd to make it happen, but it starts with my heart first. If we each have charity in our hearts toward each other, then the knitting together just... happens. It can't help it.
Charity makes you gracious of other people's faults. Having charity makes you kinda think, Who cares if so and so is so dang sensitive that you have to walk on eggshells anytime you're around them. Who cares if that person never listens to a word you say to them. Who cares if that person has a voice that grates on my nerves. Who cares if they dress like that. Who cares if she's tackless. Who cares if he's a chauvinist. Who cares?
Because charity is kind, charity loves deeper, and love covers a multitude of sins.
Charity's the glue that holds unity together. It's the knit together in love part.

I'm blessed.
I have a church that's knit together.
Unified, pretty much content with each other. I'm not saying it's perfect, and there's never any problems amongst the members, but the problems are small and the unity is stronger.
It's a bunch of people who are diverse, but not disconnected. People who like each other in spite of differences. People who close ranks around each other instead of backbiting and gossiping. People who look and act completely different from each other, but who can still sit around a table at Bible study and laugh together. People who support their local pastor. People who are loyal to each other.
It's good.
And it's pleasant.
And it means alot to me to know that that is the kind of church I get to walk into three times a week.
Those are the kind of people I cheer for during the softball game.

The local pastor, making a difference in softball...

We won both games last night.
 I cheered real loud and was very encouraging, which is most likely why the team did so well.

So when I wear these socks, it really helps my varicose veins...







Those are the people I laugh with at Bible study.
Those are the kids who ask me for candy.










Those are the people I passed out tracts and candy with for the parade last week.
Those are the people I love.




Cool float, huh?
Celebrating 400 Years of the World's Best Seller.

Candy passer outers

No one can refuse a Chick tract from a kid. We know how to take advantage of this...

I mean, we really know how to take advantage of this.



When Bro. Knox was here, he said one of the best ways to get unity in a church was to serve God together.
Go pass out tracts, go on missions trips, visitation, VBS, Sunday School, church services, preacher's meetings, clean-up/work days. Whatever it is that needs done for God, do it together.

And I have a church that does it together.
A knit together church.
Closely, tightly stuck together just like my fingers in Sunday School all those years ago.

Thanks, HBC, you guys bless my heart.

June 10, 2011

mik

Mikenzie.
She's my niece.
Jenny and Jason's girl.
She has one speed: full throttle.
One volume setting: loud.
One view of life: enjoy it.
She cracks me up.
Her last visit here, she told Lily that if she (Lily) didn't sit down in her carseat, then she would fly forward, her head would smash, blood would go everywhere, and the creepy crawlies would come get on her.
Then she paused for dramatic effect.
Lily didn't listen to her, but hey, at least Mik tried.

I thought these pictures of Mik were too good to keep to myself.
They really show her off.


Tee ball, waiting for some action. Impatiently.


Look at that face! Can this moment get any better? It cannot.

June 09, 2011

i forget

I'm forgetful. And absent minded. And accident prone. And I have slow reflexes.
I'm one of those put-my-purse-in-the-freezer kind of people.
I have to take precautions.
I can't just lay things wherever. I can't procrastinate (Let me rephrase that. I can procrastinate, I do procrastinate, but the consequences are always disastrous).  I have to write lists and put them either on the front door or on my steering wheel where I can see them at all times. It doesn't do me any good to write a list and put it in my purse, I'll forget it's there. Post-it notes have saved my life a few times. I write reminders to myself on my hands and arms, in permanent marker. I put reminders in my phone and keep it in my pocket at all times so the little alarms will go off and remind of what I'm doing during the day. I have a calender that I write everything in and check every morning and night.
But even with all that, I still forget things.
I walk into Walmart and forget why I'm there so I leave empty handed and wake up at 3:00 AM thinking, Wax strips! My eyebrows are a unibrow!
I have to be careful to throw away all lists when I'm done with them.
Otherwise, I'll be in Tidyman's Grocery, rummaging around in my purse for my list, find the list, buy the milk, Lucky Charms, Top Ramen, and Chips Ahoy written on said list, go home, and realize I already have milk, Lucky Charms, Top Ramen, and Chips Ahoy. Because that was three days ago's list, and I already bought all that stuff. Three days ago. But I comfort myself with the knowledge that if my apartment building should ever be put under siege by terrorists, I would have plenty of Chips Ahoy to see me through it.

I woke up the other morning, fixed my hair carefully, and applied my make-up equally carefully.
Painted my fingernails. Put my Bible in my purse. Decided to wear my white eyelet dress (This is the white eyelet dress I bought to wear for my friend Heather's wedding because I thought, It's Heather. She won't care if I wear white to her wedding, and the first thing Heather said to me at her wedding reception was, Why are you wearing white to my wedding? And everybody was like, Who's the tacky girl wearing all white to your wedding, Heather?) and Kelly green wedge sandals. Started to walk out the door and head to church... and happened to glance at the clock on the microwave as I left.
I did a double take.
6:45 AM?
Why was I up so early?
Church didn't start until 10:45...
Oh.
Then I remembered that it was Wednesday, and I was supposed to be at work in 15 minutes.
So I ran quick and pulled on work jeans and a sweatshirt, and managed to only be 3 minutes late for work.

Then...
Because I'm forgetful...
The guy I was working for had written a list of everything he wanted done in the gardens and greenhouse.
It was a fancy, typewritten list.
It said MEMORANDUM in big, fat, bold letters across the top.
I'm always grateful when they write a list. A list means I won't have to ask what I'm supposed to be doing... fifty million times... over and over. Or have to write it on my arm. Or on a post-it note stuck to my forehead.
So I folded the list and stuck it in my back pocket where I could get to it easily, anytime I got confused... I wonder if I was supposed to fertilize the lilac tree, or prune it? I think he said prune it, but maybe not. I'll just prune it since I've already asked him about it twice. No wait... if I prune it now, it won't bloom next year, then the Gardening Club will frown at him, then he'll frown at me, then I'll get fired, then I'll be broke, then I won't be able to buy food and water. I see a downward spiral here.
Then, after awhile, I ran down to Sonic for lunch.
I got a cheeseburger and an M&M blast.
Then I ran into the bathroom because I needed to go pee.
But I forgot that the list was in my back pocket...
So when I stood up...

My list fell into the toilet.

I would've grabbed it as it fell, but my non-existing reflexes kicked in and I just stared at it, frozen in place.
Panic. Time to panic. Time to freak out. Time to say, What the heck! Why me, God???
What was written on that list???
What did it tell me to do next???
I. can't. remember.
Prune the lilac tree? Fertilize the lilac tree? Clip the roses? Fish emulsion? Put the peppers in the planters? Put the tomatoes in the other planter? Find the back sprinkler line? Yank out the pineapple mint? Slit my own throat? Hang myself? Admit to the homeowner that his fancy list was floating in the Sonic toilet?
Maybe I could just grab it out...
Nevermind. I don't have the guts. Nor gloves, nor tongs. Nor hand sanitizer.
So I just watched mournfully as it flushed downward.

Then I went back to work.
And happily remembered everything I was supposed to do. I was so on top of this. Who needed a list?
I let Mr. M. know I was done and about to leave...
Good, good! So did you find the B-1 for the Japanese maple? That should give it a boost! My wife loves that maple.
What was he talking about??? I don't remember anything about B-1. I put fish emulsion on the Japanese maple.
I scratched my head and looked at the ground, Think. Think, Sunny Jane.
Well. Actually. You know how I said I was done and leaving? What I meant was I'm ALMOST done and ABOUT to leave. After I do the B-1, of course.

Then I had to ask...

So... where did you say you store the B-1?

June 03, 2011

busyness

I'm kinda tired... but a really, really good tired. The same kind of tired I feel after I've eaten a whole bunch of Godiva all at once and can't move afterwards. Satisfied with chocolate stuck in my teeth.
Because I've been busy... really, really busy, and I like being busy.
I'm busy all day, and then I fall into bed exhausted. Satisfied with my day.
Sidenote: Satisfied is such a satisfying word. I like it.
But I haven't had time to write much... which I don't like because then all the stuff I want to write piles up in my head until I feel like busting and I think, Oh, I'll write that tonight, but then when tonight rolls around I'm falling into bed, exhausted.

So here's what I've been busy with:

I sliced my big toe open on a rosebush, and it bled all over the place. That thorn was like a razorblade. The king of thorns. The thorn that beats all other thorn's butts.
I'm not exactly pain tolerant so I curled into the fetal position and cried and sucked my big toe. And I text Karen all about the blood and gore. And then I put a princess bandaid on it to make me feel better.
Here's the thing, I can only use princess bandaids. I tried buying Dora, Hello Kitty, Spiderman, or even Lightning McQueen, but I couldn't do it. I reached for the princess bandaids every time. I don't use the Snow White or Cinderella ones though. I hate Snow White. She always has that insipid look on her face, and she took an apple from a bag lady with dirty fingernails and ate it without even washing it. Serves her right to fall asleep forever. I might would've taken the apple, just to be polite, but then I would've put it straight into the garbage disposal were its unsanitary self belonged. Hello, Snow White. Germs are very real. And Cinderella is a spineless wimp. She should've punched her stepmother in the face and set the house on fire and taken all the family money and fled to France. But instead, she walks around singing to the birds like an idiot.
I accidentally pulled out a Snow White bandaid the other night and didn't want to waste it, so I wore it, but then all through church that night, I got mad at Snow White every time I looked down at my big toe.


I got told by one person that she couldn't go poop. And another that she had the runs. And another told me things that I can't repeat, such was the grossness.
I think I must have one of those faces or something. A face that you feel comfortable saying the most personal things to because people say those things to me all the time, and then my active imagination is left with a mental image, and then my sensitive stomach is goes into orbit, and then I gag, and then I say, Please don't say anymore, but then they say, Hang on just one more thing, and the one more thing is usually grosser than the first thing. And then I have nightmares. Then I pray. This is why my relationship with God is constantly improving.


I went shopping with Karen and my friend, Jaime. Guess what I discovered? Old Navy had a really cute sun dress on sale for seven bucks so I bought it. And Down East had a really cute shirt on sale that goes perfectly with my favorite skirt that I bought when I was eighteen and have never had anything to wear with. So I bought that too. I hate shopping, but I love being with friends, and I love being able to finally wear my favorite skirt that I've been looking wistfully at for the last nine years, hanging in my closet.


I had to say goodbye to a very dear friend, and I didn't like it at all.
I wanted to make her stay with me, but she's really been looking forward to moving back to Orange County to be with all of her family so I felt selfish to ask her not to go.
But I still thought it.

This is my friend...
and me...
and my shiny forehead...
and my really cute shirt that I just bought on sale at Down East...


Her name is Gloria. I think Gloria is so appropriate for her because she's glorious. Glorious Gloria.
When I first met her, I thought, She's so beautiful!
My next thought was that her eyes smiled before the rest of her face and I liked that. It made me feel at home with her.
She blows me kisses, and knows when I'm upset, and listens to my problems, and loves me in spite of myself.
She's a truly lovely, lovely person, and I'll miss not seeing her around. I'll miss talking with her. I'll miss her kindness. I'll miss her hug when I walk in her front door. I'll miss the way she does everything so perfectly... like how she irons her sheets and labels everything in her fridge. I'll miss her smiling eyes.
I'll miss her.
Very much.


I cooked lunch for Gloria's last day. Kinda. I made ham and cheese sandwiches. By the time I got done cutting up tomato and pickles, it was starting to feel like cooking.
But for dessert!
I made this key lime cake...

Picture stolen from The Lettered Cottage.

I love The Lettered Cottage.
Everything they do is wonderful and perfect.
My cake didn't look like theirs. I'll never win any prizes for frosting cakes...

Gloria gave me that cake stand. It has strawberries on it.
Excuse me while I go cry.

But it tasted scrump-diddly-uptious.
Seriously. I don't care for cake, but this cake... heaven help me.
If you want the recipe click here.
I used pineapple orange juice... because it's what I had.
And I used regular limes... because I couldn't find key limes.
And I used butter instead of margarine... because I think margarine is gross.
And I used four cups of confectioners sugar instead of "the rest of the box"... because mine didn't come in a box, it came in a bag.
I was happy to eat this cake. And happy to cut it up in big chunks to share with some of my friends.


There are three things that I love, yea four which I cannot live without... that I was created for... that satisfy my deep, inner soul... that God Himself must've picked out for me to love and crave and be crazy about.

1. Gardening.
I've decided my new life's ambition is to have a greenhouse someday. A little one would be fine. I've been doing the gardening for this couple up at The Highlands, and they have a little greenhouse attached to the side of their house. I spend alot of time in there. I love it. I want it to be mine. I hate vegetables, but I could grow them for other people. I'd be fine with that so long as I could spend time in the greenhouse everyday. There's something about that greenhouse that makes me feel like God is close by. The smell of dirt and plants living together... the sight of all those delicate plants growing... the little walkways... the very black soil... the fuzzy moss on the stones... being in the warmth while the cold rain pours outside.
All of that speaks to me. Satisfies.
Yesterday, I harvested some of their stuff.

Spinach
I've been eating spinach salad since Thomas told me it contains magnesium, and I have a magnesium deficiency that causes tics all over the place.
But I hate spinach, and I feel like a martyr every time I eat it.
Thanks alot, Thomas.

Oregano and tarragon

Thyme

Later on, we'll pick apples, cherries, strawberries, peppers, plums, sea berries, tomatoes, garlic...
And alot more. It's like a hobby farm up there. They have everything you could imagine, and they give me the overflow. But since oregano and tarragon aren't microwavable and involve cooking, I gave it to Karen.

2. Writing.
Duh.

3. Teaching elementary age children.
I've started teaching Leah her history. Monday was our first day. We're working through the summer so the classes will be accelerated, but it's so fun. I get to go through the books, and make slide shows to go along with the lesson, and tell her all about Attila the Hun, and take walks to the river while we discuss whatever she's learning, and smack her over the head if she acts out, and have her spend the night with me, and make her unload the dishwasher.
Sidenote: If you'd like me to homeschool your kids, I only charge an arm and a leg. Unless you're my sister, then I'm free.
Next year, I'll have all four of the older girls. We'll be learning astronomy. I'm so excited. Astronomy fascinates me and I've tried teaching it to myself but it's pretty much over my head. But I figure I should be able to get 4th grade astronomy since I'm not smarter than a 5th grader.

4. Eating chocolate.
Duh.


I had to tell Lily to stop eating the fuzz out of her shoes and to eat her yogurt instead.
She looked at me like, What? I always do this.
And I thought about how much I love that. Such a little silly thing, but it personifies what a baby is all about. They get into the toilet and the trash and eat the fuzz outta their shoes. They wake up just as you lay down to sleep, they climb up on the table and get into the dinner, they open the front door and head straight for the street when you're not looking. They give slobbery kisses, and tight hugs, and look at you like you're the only one in the world for them.
They have chubby legs that I like to squeeze.
And the other day, when Lily saw a jet plane with the white pollution streaming out from behind it far away up in the sky, she thought it was a shooting star and couldn't be convinced otherwise.
A shooting star! A shooting star! she shrieked, excited out of her mind.

Beautiful Lily


I've been getting English movies from the library. Sometimes they're dumb, but I found this one series that I really like, Midsummer Murders. They're murder stories, but without being scary... unlike the Zodiac Killer which I made the mistake of getting and watching in the dark by myself. And then I was pretty much crying in terror and trying to figure out how I could get from my bed to the light switch without touching the floor because they never actually caught the Zodiac Killer and what if he was under my bed waiting to grab my ankles? You'd be amazed by how far I can jump when I'm scared. I leapt to the light switch in one big jump, flicked on the light, and was suddenly braver. And then I threatened the Zodiac Killer with my high heel which was the only weapon I could find handy. And I lived to tell the story.


We had a church picnic for Memorial Day on Sunday. When I first walked into church on Sunday, I noticed the new flowers up at the pulpit. My first thought was, kinda small arrangement... pretty but inadequate. Then Tim asked the lady who had brought them to tell everyone what the flowers represented and I wanted to crawl under the pew in shame for even thinking the words small and inadequate. The two blue carnations were for her two sons that she'd lost in service to their country, the two yellow roses were for two grandfathers that had served, and the two red roses were for her's and her husband's fathers that had also served. She said it all very matter-of-factly. But when I looked at those two blue carnations, I thought about how she must feel when she looked at those flowers, and it put a lump in my throat to think about those two boys that she'd hugged and kissed on, but had lost. And I felt grateful to all those that have died for us, for their country. Grateful to those that are still serving.
Then we had our picnic...
(These picture are stolen from three different cameras. Thank you Karen, Rachel, and Aaron. I'm sorry for stealing... not really.)

Dan's head is shiny. Just pointing that out.




Is this not one of the cutest babies you've ever seen? I think he's adorable.
He's bigger than his mama.




Sandcastles in the volley ball court...


My favorite picture of the day.
 I love how her hair is blowing in the wind:)




Never run from a marine...







They got like three feet of air in this shot...


My other favorite picture of the day.
Her hair is like cotton candy.


The pastor, Tim, and the sound guy, Thomas.
So anyway, Pastor... I think your earpiece looks really cool when you're preaching.


Adam, the griller. Our lives depended upon Adam this day.
He was all that was standing between us and starvation.


My favorite part of the park.
You could be having a bad day, but a few minutes on the swings can make it all better.


Then we went shopping, went home, ate pizza, and watched Nascar.
Tim and Jake might like Nascar, but I'm bored by the 4th lap. And by the forty thousandth lap, I'm ready to shoot the tv. But I cheered for the M&M car because I like M&M's, and Karen rooted for the UPS car because they have cute delivery guys (or at least they say they do, but that's a lie), and Jaime went outside because her baby needed her out there.And then I switched to the CAT car because I like bulldozers. And then I fell asleep.
I have no idea who won. Nor do I care. Shoot me in the head the next time we're watching Nascar.


We had a church meeting with Bro. James Knox last week. It was alot much for me to wrap my mind around. He spoke on the humanity of Christ, and all that he said was so simple... but really hard to grasp.  But at the same time, it. was. so. good. How Christ came down to earth, what He had to go through as a man, how He can better understand and intercede for us, how we always think of God as so big but seldom do we think of God as a small man learning to walk and hold a fork. It gave me a whole new picture of Christ in my head.
If you'd like to listen to the messages, click here.
They're really good.


Sometimes, I get freaked out. I wasn't born calm. I was born freaking out over whatever freaks me out.
Sometimes, something will happen, and I'll fling myself over whatever piece of furniture is closest and ask God why this is happening and will He please shoot me in the head or maybe strike me with lightning? And God will try to tell me what's going on, but I'm too freaked out to listen. Too freaked out to trust Him.
Sometimes it's so easy to trust God. I can think of alot of things I trust God with. But then I can think of a couple things that I don't trust Him at all with. Things that I try taking care of myself. Things that I fret over for whatever reason. And in the last couple weeks, God has picked me up off of whatever piece of furniture I'm dramatically draped over, taken my shoulders in His hands, looked me in my eyeballs, and said, Shut up. Listen. I've got it. Why can't you see that? I'm standing right here in front of you. Listen to the words coming out of My mouth. You're My child, My darling, why would you think this one thing would slip out of My grasp? And then I thought, Why DO I do that? Why do I act like God might not cover all the bases? Why do I act as if He can't handle every single thing? And I don't know why, but I do know this: God has been taking the time to perform miracles in my life, taking the time to show me just how much He holds in His hands, taking the time to make me safe, taking the time to give me peace of mind. Just taking time out for me. And it makes the sun shine when it's raining outside.


I think that's all, folks.
Busy and satisfied.
Amen and the end.