September 18, 2012


Our church hosted our second annual ladies retreat last weekend.
Eet was fun.

We ate and sang and listened to Mrs. Bemis speak.
We made bottle cap magnets (I was in charge of the craft this year since I'm the craft queen and stuff.).
We played games.
We slept in cabins.
The cabins had bathrooms. Which I liked.
We froze in the morning and sweated in the afternoon.

And we got to know each other a little better. Which was my favorite part.

I can't decide if this is my favorite picture from the weekend...

Or if this is...

I love our church ladies. Each one is different.
All shapes and sizes and tastes and flavors. Different opinions and sense of humor and skills and talents.
But in spite of all the differences, there's unity.
There's one who cooks and the other who doesn't. But that's okay because the chef can make yummy stuff for the non-cook ( Like Karen and Moma do for me, man!).
There's the one who gets under the hood of her car and rebuilds the darn thing, and the other who wonders where exactly the hood of her car is (Not that I don't know where the hood of my car is. I found it one time when I was looking for it.).
There's the one who gardens, and the other who kills plants by looking at them.
There's the one who reads, and the other who thinks reading is a chore.
There's the one with kids, and the one without... aka, the babysitter...
There's the one who loves Star Wars, and the other weirdo who actually enjoyed The Notebook (shoot me in the head.).

But at the end of the day, all our church ladies have one thing in common that brings them together: Christ. And the love of Christ.
And these women have shown me what the love of Christ is thru the love they show to me themselves.
I used to wonder at the love and forgiveness of God, but one day God said, Look at your church family.
And so I looked at them, and I saw the reflection of God's love looking back at me.

These ladies have loved me, without fail, without conditions, and I wish I knew how to repay them for it.
But I figure I can't because it's too big a thing to repay.
But I can love them back.

So I love you, HBC women. You're the friends of my heart.


September 04, 2012

winner, winner, chili dinner

Sunday was pretty much the best day of my life.
On Sunday, I experienced the sweet thrill of poetic justice.
On Sunday, I won a prize.

First of all, let me say, I've never won squat. Except for that one time I won a Beautiful Baby Contest at my great-grandmother's nursing home.
Which is surprising and ironic considering this is what I looked like:

Maybe they liked my mosquito bites or something.

And since winning that shiny green trophy with the naked gold baby on top, I've never won anything else.
I tend to lose. Everything. Even when I'm playing Candy Land with Emma. And you can FORGET about me winning Boggle. The girls will have 200 points to my 23.
I'm The Biggest Loser.

But on Sunday... that all changed, man.

We had our first annual (church) chili cook-off. There was a sign up sheet and everything. And a prize. And a blue ribbon (which Tim made himself with his own bare hands.).
And a week or so ago, Tim announced from the pulpit that there was one slot left open, and who was going to be the last contestant to sign up?
So I raised my hand.
And Tim laughed. And said something about, this is painful.
And people made jokes about whether or not I was going to buy a can opener for my pot of Nalley's, and whether or not my chili would be Top Ramen flavored, and how was I going to make chili since it didn't call for peanut butter or jelly?
And I couldn't blame them for laughing since I'm a notorious non-cook. I laughed with them.
I joke about my cooking skills... well the lack of... just as much as anyone else.

Anyway, I made my chili and Moma took it to the cook-off for me since I had to work that afternoon and would be late.
And when they lined all the bowls of chili up in front of the judges, and the bowls had been tasted, and the judges had deliberated... they held up the winning bowl... and my name was written on the bottom of that bowl.
Everyone's jaws dropped. So I was told.
And then I got a flurry of congrats texts while I was working and my jaw dropped too.
So I raced to the cook-off the claim my prize, and wear my blue ribbon, and shake everyone's hands, and pass out my autograph, and get my picture taken, and to gloat.

I've been gloating ever since. I can't help it. I can't believe I won.
And seriously, isn't it poetic justice that after enduring all that mockery from everyone else, I won the cook-off anyway?
And it isn't even better that after making fun of me from the pulpit, Tim happened to be one of the judges who chose my bowl of chili over everyone else's and he didn't even know it was my chili because the bowls were unmarked and anonymous? Imagine his surprise.
I just wish I had been there for my greatest moment of victory, ever in my life.

I would share the recipe, but I've decided to keep it a secret.
That way I can have people over, and I'll serve them chili and I'll be like, This is my secret recipe, prize winning chili. You want my autograph?

 So, no more call me The Biggest Loser, but call me now from henceforth Winner, Winner.
Or just call me Sunny Jane. That works too.

Winner, Winner. Thank you very much.