Monday, August 17, 2009

“God, please don’t let me screw this up.”

This is not the blog I intended to write today, but I think this is too important to ignore.

Get the scene in your mind. It is Friday morning. I am sitting on the side of my bed thinking about the weekend that is facing me. It is possibly one of the busiest weekends that I have had in a long time. Today, besides my typical work day, I have to pay a speeding ticket that is going to take me twenty minutes out of my way, one direction. I will then have to rush home to be there before five to babysit one of the most precious little girls I know. No nap. Saturday, bright and early appointment at the beauty salon, take my daughter shoe shopping, trek thirty miles for a birthday party for one of my nieces, find a MoneyGram office, go visit my father. No nap. Sunday, church, trek those same thirty miles, take my daughter and two of my nieces back-to-school shopping, rush to my husband’s soccer game and relieve him of toddler duty. No nap. Can I just crawl back into bed and sleep the weekend away?

Yes it was busy. I paid the ticket at lunch and made it home in plenty of time to receive precious Piper. With the family in tow, we got shoes and made it to the birthday party (only thirty minutes late). We easily found a MoneyGram office and sauntered to my dad’s house for a nice visit (with an extra teenager, car is full) and headed home for a belated birthday party for said extra teenager that resulted in a facial – using the icing on the cake. We actually made it to church – on time! Shoved lunch down our throats and waited patiently (or not) for my other niece to be dropped off so we could start shopping. Soccer game was cancelled, so that last bit of tension went away.

The girls and I had a blast. I had my daughter, Hunter, 11 and two of my nieces, Alyssa, 15 and Micah, 12. All of them are goofy girls. And when I am relaxed, we all get silly and loud. This nice little shopping expedition took a little over five hours. It wouldn’t have taken so long but we had a nice little fashion show at Ross, where I was certain we were going to get kicked out when we couldn’t stop laughing as all three girls donned the “Pink Ladies” jackets, which they had to buy. Alyssa actually wore hers outside. Did I mention it is August… IN TEXAS? When every dollar was spent, and the goods and nieces were safely delivered to their home, Hunter and I headed back to ours.

It was close to eight o’clock at this point and our tummies were grumbling. I hit the first fast food joint I could find and started off home. Besides the radio, the only other noise was the rustling of my bag as I dug out French fries and Hunter wadding up her wrapping after swallowing her hamburger whole. Then Hunter spoke the sweetest words I think I will ever hear in my life.

“Mom, I want to accept Christ.”

This is it! I’ve been praying for this day to come for the past three years. Oh my goodness! What do I say? Should I pull over? Should I turn around and go to my dad’s house so we can talk? I have to seize this moment. I turned down the radio and said a quick prayer.

“God, please don’t let me screw this up.”

Yes, I realize it wasn’t the most eloquent prayer and maybe it was a little crass when speaking to the Lord Almighty; however, there was something a little more pressing that needed my attention. We began talking and I asked her why she wanted to do so. I knew why I wanted her to do so, but I needed to make sure that she was doing it for the right reasons.

Ok, I’ll be honest. I questioned her sincerity. There are certain things I do not allow her to do because I feel that her relationship with Christ isn’t strong enough. Certain movies and books that I don’t permit her to read because her faith isn’t strong enough and I feel that her beliefs will be swayed in a negative direction.

Hunter stated that she heard a woman’s testimony at church earlier that morning and it made her realize that a relationship with Christ will help her get through the tough times ahead. She said, “I am going through some stuff and I think it will be easier to go through if I do it with God.” She is starting middle school this year. That in and of itself is hard, but we moved 25 miles away this summer to a town where she has three friends, all of which attend different schools. She knows that things are about to get tough.

We began to discuss salvation. And right off the bat she asked me a question in which I did not have the answer. I called up a good friend of our family and asked if he would mind if we dropped in and told him why (I needed him to answer the “tough” questions!). At 9:45 my daughter prayed a prayer of salvation. With tears on my face I saw my daughter beaming. She was the happiest I’ve seen her. She said that she felt like a new person. Indeed, she was. We told her that since she prayed and ask Christ into her heart, her old life is gone. She is a new, clean person.

Her decision has also affected me. As proud as I am, I’ve been sharing the joyous news to everyone I see. Believers AND non-believers. I’ve actually even been able to witness. That is a great gift from God. I was witnessing to one friend and as I was speaking about what comes after you accept Christ, I realized that maybe I needed to reinforce that in my life… I’ll say it, I’m a slacker. It shows me what I need to do, and will do, to help my daughter in her walk with the Lord.

Yesterday was the happiest day of my life. I always thought the birth of my daughter and son were the happiest days in my life, but it pales in comparison. Nothing can compare to the day that your child is given eternal life.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Would Like To Thank the Writer’s For Going on Strike

Back in November 2007, the Writer’s Guild of America, East and the Writer’s Guild of America, West started what began a strike that lasted 100 days. Scripted shows had to shut down no later than December 19, a move that not only effected current shows but the 2008/2009 pilot season as well. No writers means no scripts. No scripts means no shows. No shows means… What else? Reality show jackpot!

I’m not going to pretend I knew what demands the writers were making or whether or not they were being sensible. I don’t have a clue what was going on except that my shows seemed to be on replay (i.e. reruns). I’m going to throw a theory out into the universe; it may or may not have merit. I will say that had they not gone on strike, half of the reality shows that we have on television right now probably would not exist.


No NeNe, no Big Papa, no John and Kate. And what about Khloe, Kim, Kourntey, etc., etc., etc? Sure, some of these shows were on television prior to the writer’s strike (Real World anyone?), but I know that I wasn’t watching any of them. Why would I want to watch people that I don’t know live their spoiled, abundant lives when we have perfectly good drama, suspense, comedy and story lines on well scripted shows? And then it stopped. America scrambled for something to put on the boob tube.

The strike ended in February 2008, but it seems as though primetime television has yet to bounce back. It appears that there are some new shows starting this Fall season, but I have to ask myself… "Am I willing to replace a perfectly good reality show on my DVR for a scripted show?" If I look on my to-do list for my DVR, I see mostly reality shows. There is One Life to Live, General Hospital, Law and Order SVU, but then the rest are reality shows: The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I also record New York and New Jersey), Bridezillas, The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Then there was Confessions of a Teen Idol, Sober House, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Project Runway, Rock of Love, Wife Swap. The list could just go on and on. Why are we so fixated on reality TV?

Thought #1 – We can relate. We all have some sort of dysfunction in our lives and these characters put the fun in dysfunctional. These REALITY shows are a REALITY check that everyone can be screwed up. Whether it is the affluent Housewives in their respective cities, or the pampered self-proclaimed princess brat that throws a flower arrangement to the ground because it wasn’t "blingy" enough and it didn’t reach her goal of showing everyone how much money she had (Shout out, Valerie Neito), it shows us that our families and lives could be a lot worse. After 60 minutes of entertainment we might just be able to turn off the tube and say, "Wow, my family isn’t as bad." Or as in the Bridezilla episode I referenced, I gave my then-fiancée a quick "see, it could be worse" smile of reassurance.

Thought #2 – We, as viewers, are simply nosey and voyeuristic. We love to know what happens behind closed doors. And with all access cameras set up behind the proverbial and literal door, our curiosity is satisfied. Don’t try to deny it. Look how many people pass by a traffic accident and stretch and strain to get a glimpse of some sort of blood or gore. It is just a fact of life. These shows give us an opportunity to see the drama play out right before our eyes:

  • The Jon and Kate break up – how will they adjust?

  • Sheree Whitfield didn’t get her "seven-figure lump sum" - we get to see her move out of her mansion and start supporting herself.

  • Kourtney Kardashian is pregnant – how will she handle the aches and pains, physically and emotionally, of impending motherhood?

  • Danielle Staub – when did you get hair extensions?

  • NeNe Leakes – who’s your daddy?

We can find all the answers to these questions just by turning on the TV. Now, as I get ready to watch this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I hear that Kim is going to get her wig ripped off), I leave you with some of my favorite reality TV quotes:

"I like making my own money! I find that an aphrodisiac."
- Ramona Singer, The Real Housewives of New York

"They released me early because I was a threat to the prison. "
- Khloe Kardashian, Keeping Up With the Kardashians

"I get a chance to meet 25 amazing women, and I know one of them is going to be my wife."
- Jason Mesnick, The Bachelor

"It's not bad to wear a promise ring because not everybody - guy or girl - wants to be a slut."
- Jordin Sparks, American Idol

"I want, like, four. Maybe I'll adopt 10. I want to have my own orphanage like Mother Teresa."
- Heidi Montag, The Hills

"Your people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. A poker player! That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling, trash."
- Joan Rivers, The Celebrity Apprentice

P.S. Please be aware that not all of the details in this blog may be 100% factual. As a very wise female who is not a girl, yet not quite a woman pointed out, "This is a blog not a research paper!"

Comfort Outranks Beauty

We’ve all heard that saying, “beauty is pain”. As women, we learn this lesson rather early in life. Although our mothers and sisters may not necessarily sit us down and outright say it, we learn the lesson nonetheless. There is the first time that we nick ourselves shaving our legs because we are in a hurry and the skirt will just look awful with stubble. And let’s not forget the attempts at getting that perfect spiral curl set in our hair that leads to a nice hickey looking burn on our necks. These are accidents as we aim for smoother legs and trendy hair and we learn ways to avoid them as we get more experienced with tools of beauty and become older. Once we get older, the “beauty pain” becomes worse. It becomes consciously inflicted pain. It is no longer an oopsie pain, but an on purpose pain. We know it hurts. We know it stings. We know how much better we will look once the pain (and bleeding) subsides. We pay professionals a nice little sum every month to wax, pluck, tweeze, laser, stick and prick (acupuncture you perverts), all in the name of beauty. Two words: Bikini Wax.

And then there are the garments… Waist cinchers. Underwire. SpanxÒ. Oh the myriad of products out there to help us lose the appearance of an inch or two. Last, but not least, there are the shoes. Ah, the shoes. More specifically, heels… There is the kitten heel, the flat heel, the wedge, the chunky heel, the cone heel, the Pompadour heel and most let’s not forget, the stiletto heel. If you look way back in history you will see that both men and women wore high heels. Besides a fashion statement, women wear heels to make them appear taller. Men wore them to signify opulence and authority. Do you think Napoleon wore heels? I’ll have to Google that. Heels have been around for centuries, which means achy sore feet have also been around for centuries. Women are willing to suffer through the pain that a trendy shoe inflicts all in the name of fashion and beauty.

I have a nice size shoe collection, my husband can attest to this. I would say that I most likely have 30+ pairs of shoes in my closet. Now keep in mind, I only have one pair of feet. (That’s a shout out to my dear husband that stated this obvious point while asking me why I need so many pairs of shoes). I look at my vast collection of shoes and can tell you what outfit each pair of shoes can be worn with. I refuse to tell you; however, the last time I wore certain pairs of shoes and conversely certain outfits. The number of times a pair of shoes has been worn is distinctly related to the comfort level of said shoe. I can tell you that my bluish-purple heels with black patent trim have been worn less than a handful of times regardless of how much I love the long sleeve purple swirl wrap dress that is complemented perfectly with these shoes. I can tell you that the reason I’ve only worn the shoes so few times is that the back of the shoe rubs a nice little blister by the end of the day. And my black satin shoes with silver trim? Yes, the buckle digs into my ankle quite nicely, thank you very much. And then there are my versatile blue strappy sandals that look great with skirts, pants and jeans; however, my pinky toe suffocates by the tightness of the strap. Did I know all of this prior to handing over my credit card to the store clerk and brought these treasures home with me to live for eternity?

Well, yeah! But I was willing to sacrifice my comfort for the sake of fashion.

I said all of that to say this. I turned thirty last year, which is supposed to be some milestone birthday for women. It’s supposed to be the “all downhill from here” birthday for us females. I had a few moments of “gasp” when that big day got closer and closer, but for the most part I feel I handled it quite well. In two weeks my numerical age will increase by one. I will be IN my thirties. To top it all off, I’ve been shopping for orthopedic shoes. At first, when my physical therapist insisted that I get them, I resisted with everything in my being. They are ugly. There is no way I have any outfits to go with these practical and practically ugly shoes. They are not cost effective and will never wear them after all of this plantar fasciitis hoopla is corrected. Those thoughts quickly began to disappear like skywriting in the clouds. With each painful limp, I began to think that investing in my comfort was not such a bad idea.

I initially encountered my purchase like I did any other shoes. I was going for style. After a couple of hours in these shoes, I realized that the trendy Mary Jane style was hurting the top of my foot and I would not be able to just suffer through the pain. As I was in the store exchanging my “cute” ugly shoes for “ugly” ugly shoes, I thought about the verses that our pastor touched upon this Sunday morning. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” A beauty survey commissioned by the British beauty brand
Nephria found women spend almost three years of their life getting ready to leave the house, according to Marie Claire magazine. And that doesn’t even include the time we spend shopping for the “perfect” outfit, make up, and time at the beauty and nail salons. Where are the statistics that show how much time we spend on our inner beauty?

That’s a different subject, and maybe blog, altogether. What I have learned in my old age is that comfort has now become way more important to me than beauty, style and trends. Practicality has a bigger emphasis on my buying decisions than admiration of the product. Don’t believe me? Look at the horrendous boats that I call shoes. And I’ll let you in on another little secret… I’m actually eyeing another pair of orthopedic shoes that aren’t even that cute either.

Friday, August 7, 2009


My daughter has been super busy and in high demand all Summer long. Last night, she came home - for good.

I was so excited all day that she was coming home. I have missed her terrible. She has spent roughly two weeks with me all Summer. So, the transitions that she is to make have been delayed until now. I had prepared my self for the worst when she finally came home... You see, she is in that "tween-ager" stage. The mind of a child, and attitude of a teen. I was expecting the "I hate my life." speeches and the rolling eyes when I welcomed her home. I was pleasantly surprised.

When she walked in the door, she immediately gave me a hug. She squeezed me almost as tightly as I squeezed her. She told me how happy she was to be home. I was so happy to hear it. I continued to hear her say it for the following three hours. And it never got old. Each time she said it with such excitement that it made my heart smile. Regardless of the adventures and gifts she had experienced during these past months, she still was happy to be home. Home with her stuffy old mom and bratty little brother. Even the bald guy that took her away from her comfort zone because he had the audacity to marry her mother.

We sat and talked about the events of her Summer as I painted her nails. Then she told me that she was happy that we moved, because she hasn't seen me happier. She discussed her fears that caused her to rebel against the move. She said that she knows that we won't be moving again because she sees how happy I am. It made me proud to hear her talk so candidly with me.

I cherished these moments because I knew that as school starts and rules are enforced, it would not be long before I heard the "I hates" once more... I hate my life, I hate you, I hate school, etc. It also reminded me that I need to grasp and not let go the moments that we can share as mother-daughter instead of enemies.