Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas

It has been a while since I've posted anything, because I haven't felt like I had much to say. Today, on the day that we celebrate our Lord's birth, I am feeling particularly blessed. In all my life, I have never had a "real" white Christmas. That is, snow (enough to REALLY play in) on Christmas day in the town that I live in. We've done plenty of ski trips at Christmas, so I have seen snow on Christmas day, just not like this.

And we weren't supposed to be here. We made plans to go to Temple to visit my family briefly, then a quick stop at Chad's parents' house on our way back north. It was going to be a brutal trip-14 hours of driving for a visit shorter than 24 hours. Ouch. But it is my nephew's first Christmas, the pastor at my home church's final Christmas, and my best friends are in town. We heard the weather reports of terrible storms headed this way, but being from Texas, refused to believe them. After all, when in Texas does it actually snow when its supposed to? So we made our plans. Chad got to leave work 2 hours early yesterday because the roads were starting to get a little bad, and we were afraid that if we didn't get on the road, we weren't going to.

About 1:15 we headed out of town. It was sleeting, but the roads weren't too treachorous yet. We had discussed all the "what ifs," so we felt somewhat prepared. If we got too far down the road to turn around, we'd get a hotel, or if we felt okay driving to Chad's parents' (just north of Dallas), we'd stay there. Otherwise, we'd just keep on trucking. Even reports of highway shut downs in Western OK and TX didn't stop us.

Here's where I pause for a little background. For those of you who don't know, I DO NOT drive on ice. Period. The first summer that we lived in AK, on our way back in Oct, we hit some bad weather. I was driving, and like most other Texans I know, had no experience driving on that stuff. Long story short, I was going too fast, fishtailed, then spun, then rolled our Jeep. We were fine, even the Jeep was okay enough to drive the rest of the way to Texas (and then back to AK the next year). However, that little adventure scared me to the point that I am probably a worse driver on ice now.

So. All this means that while I was very anxious to see my family and friends, I was not anxious to brave the ice. Chad was driving, and for the first 30 or so miles, the roads weren't too bad, and there weren't too many accidents. Then, approximately 40 miles from home, we watched as a car on the northbound side of the highway spun out of control into the median. At that point, I decided it was time to turn around. We stopped to check on the family in the other vehicle (they were fine, just shaken up) and headed home. This 80 mile round trip took us about 3 hours. At the rate we were going, we wouldn't have made it to Temple until it was time to leave again.

I cried a little while I told my mom our decision, then again when I talked to my dad. Today, I am at complete peace with it. I have had a very relaxing day with my little family, the first Christmas of its kind. We have gotten to watch Hailey really play in the snow for the first time, and I will be fixing my first holiday meal (cornish game hens, mashed potatoes, and green beans).

This is possibly the best Christmas I've ever had, even though we had few presents to unwrap (we unwrapped them on Tuesday b/c we thought we would be in TX and didn't want to cart presents all that way), didn't get to go to church (the church closed due to weather), and I am missing a rare opportunity to visit with an old friend in Temple. My family is here with me, we're warm and safe, and God blessed us with that accident yesterday (no one was hurt, so I can be thankful, right?); that was what let us know we weren't meant to go to Temple.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. -John 1:14

Woohoo!! Yea Jesus!! I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas, and have a blessed new year!! Bring on 2010!!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Is it wrong to WANT to be thankful for something that I do not have yet? I graduated from HS in 1996. I spent 2 years at a JC in my hometown. I then transferred to TWU, my alma mater. It took me until 2004 to graduate. Not because I couldn't "hack it" at a "real" school, simply because I had NO idea what I wanted to do. So I changed my major. Again, and again, and again. (Repeat 2 more times.) Finally, I graduated with a BA in English. Which is great and all, but no one really cares about a BA in English, unless they need a paper written. In which case, I'm in great demand.

I worked for a couple of years after I graduated as a waitress. By choice, because we were traveling. I don't regret it. I finally got a "real" job. Which, to be honest, I hated. Turns out that the only job I could get in DFW was in a call center. NOT my thing.

In Tulsa, I can't even get that. So I applied to the alternative certification teacher program. After I changed my major to English, everyone asked me if I wanted to teach. The answer? No, emphatically, no, every time. If I wanted to teach, I would have majored in education. So I got approved to the program, and here we are. The first of several tests (Oklahoma is not as desperate for teachers as TX was) is in January, and I'm not even sure that I'm that interested in taking the test.

I want a job. That much I know is true. I love my daughter. And I want another child. I like making dinner. But to be honest, I would give up making dinner to have a job. Mostly at this point because I don't know anyone here. But also because I'm not sure that "stay at home mom" is the job that is meant for me.

Someone mentioned nursing to me the other day. And I was intrigued. *Small* grades, not so great....I might be able to get into an LVN program. Maybe. And then move on to an RN program. But still, I'm not sure......

So. Is it wrong to pray and pray and pray and hope for God to FINALLY let me know what I am called to do???? And be thankful for it before it even happens???? (And will all of you, all 7 of you who read this, please pray that I can hear it when He lets me know????)

By the way, I AM thankful for the things that I have, such as a beautiful daughter, a wonderful husband, an amazing family, and terrific friends. I'm just struggling with this particular issue....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Just some pics....

I just learned how to do this (and I feel like a moron for having to figure it out), so here are some pics from the last month or so.

New cousins!!! (She's not really sure what she thinks of him.)

The happy new family
In Katie and Ben's hospital room, getting into things.

With Daddy at the pumpkin patch. Probably the best shot of the day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The 4 Enemies of Integrity*

1. Self Interest: things we want
2. Self-deception: A refusal to see things clearly
3. Self-righteousness: an end justifies the means attitude
4. Self-preservation: by any means necessary.

*Must give credit, my friend Danae posted this on her facebook. She found it in the Anchorage Daily News. I thought it was good enough to repeat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Hailey and I recently went to Temple to visit my family and meet my new nephew Ben. While we were there, my parents had some red grapes in the house. Because they're SO easy and portable, I took grapes with me everywhere while we were there. As a result, I now have a grape addict on my hands. She calls them "bapes."

Since grapes are in season, we have now gone through two bags of them. We got back last Thursday. Tonight I was getting her dinner ready, and as usual, I got some grapes out. I did a poor job of picking the bag today because there are lots of small, shrivelly grapes. As I picked through the "bad" ones, it occurred to me that maybe we're like grapes. Maybe sometimes God thinks He might not have picked the best bag. I know sometimes I'm a shrivelly grape.

So I ate one. It wasn't the best grape I ever had. It was a little mushy, but the flavor was still good. I won't say I won't check the bag more carefully next time, or seek out the ones that are firmer, but I'll definitely keep this bag of grapes in mind the next time I feel the need to say something mean about a stranger. Or talk about a friend behind their back. Or even just go to sleep instead of saying "Thanks" to God for not throwing me out when I'm not the firmest grape in the bunch.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In honor of Ben...and new mommies everywhere

In honor of my nephew Ben, who will be born sometime this week, I have some tips for new mommies. I do not claim to be an expert, I'm only 20 months into this mommy thing. I do think that I have learned some things, though.

1. Dogs are just that. Dogs. They might be people now, but as soon as that little bundle of joy comes into your life, they become what they are. Dogs.

2. Disgust for poop is a learned behavior. As the parent of a toddler who plays in her poop, eats her poop, and smears her poop all over her bed, I know this to be true. Somehow you don't come out of the womb knowing that poop is gross. Take heart though-poop art doesn't happen to everyone.

3. On that note, it is a good idea to get crib sheets that are white. Clorox is your friend.

4. You don't know the meaning of high maintenance. Your child will teach you, though.

5. Potatoes are not the perfect food. My child will only eat them french fried. What kind of kid doesn't like mashed potatoes?

6. Being a stay at home mommy is hard. Much harder than I ever thought. And exhausting.

7. Sometimes when your child injures him/herself, you will laugh. And cry because it is so awful that you're laughing. (I don't mean big injuries, of course, just little ones like when they're throwing a fit and hit their head on the bed.)

8. Sidewalk chalk will not stain clothes. Those "washable" bathtub markers, however, will stain skin.

9. Petsmart. It's a free zoo.

10. I'd like to say something mushy and insightful for number 10, but my kid just woke up.

Good luck to the new mommies, and if I can figure out how to do it, I'll post pics of Ben when he gets here. (Friday at the latest for those who are wondering.)

Friday, October 2, 2009


After all the excitement of Hailey learning to take her pj's off yesterday, and catching her eating her own poop (yeah, you read that right, it's not a typo) this morning, I have's time to give potty training a try again.

So. Any tips?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I just want to know, why didn't I listen when I was warned about toddlers??? And how come no one told me the terrible two's don't start at two?

That's all.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Lord said to Noah....

It's raining. A lot. Which makes me think of Noah. I know that one afternoon of rain is nothing compared to what my family and friends have been experiencing in Texas for the last couple of weeks, or what folks in the southeast are getting right now. But my ceiling is leaking, so I'm feeling under a deluge.

Twice since yesterday morning the story of Noah has been brought up. The church we're attending in Tulsa is a Methodist church, and they pass out Bibles to the 3rd graders in order to encourage Bible learning. Yesterday was the Sunday that those were passed out, and the woman in charge of the kids' program gave a little speech. Her coworker (a teacher) mentioned in class that she thought she was going to have to build an ark to get to work because of the rain. Half of her students didn't get it. How sad is that? This is a Biblical story that is referenced constantly, at least in my world. How is it possible that these students were not aware of who Noah is, or why, in a torrential downpour, their teacher would need an ark to get to work?

The second time Noah was mentioned was today. I was watching a DVRed episode of Psych, and at the very beginning the two main characters are shown as children, discussing the story of Noah with their priest. Sean, the lead guy, has some very serious doubts about the reality of this story. He does make some interesting points, like why DIDN'T the lions eat the zebras? And how did koala bears get to the middle east, where the ark was built?

What a world we live in where children don't know this basic story. I know at least two songs about it. And unlike a lot of things about the Bible, I have not ever questioned Noah. Truly. I won't lie, I've had my doubts about some of this "stuff," even though I was raised with it (maybe because I was raised with it, who knows). But even with all the stuff about Noah that doesn't make sense to the logical side of my brain, it never occurred to me to wonder why the predators didn't eat the prey.

The scariest thing to me is that while God promised He would never do this to His people again, how many of us aren't His people? This world is a sinful place. There are storied every day about murder, rape, child abuse, acts of terror, genocide, et cetera. How much worse could it have been in Noah's day? I know that there will come a time when God will take His people outta here. I shudder to think how very bad it will be for those who are left behind....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Humdrum days in OK

Not much to talk about today.....I just feel like I haven't updated this in a while. Things are pretty much the same where Chad's job and the restaurant are concerned. Hailey and I are doing well. We haven't gotten any bad news lately, so that's a plus.

I do get to go down to Dallas for a couple of days next week, although I'm not really going to get to see many people. It will be nice to see some friends though!

That about covers it for today....maybe I'll be more interesting next time!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

good news bad news

I finally have something to report on our lives, rather than just my spiritual journey. Seven weeks ago, I sent in an application (and a boatload of other paperwork) to try to get certified to teach through alternative means, rather than attending a university. Because I have a degree in English, some states are desperate enough for teachers that they will allow someone with a bachelor's to skip the coursework required through an education program and simply take the tests to be certified to teach. I started this process in Texas (although I only applied), and of course got no further once we moved.

The paperwork for Oklahoma was more involved (you can apply online in TX), indicating less need (to me), so I had some trepidations about applying, particularly since we have had our shortage of good news in the last few months. Yesterday I tried repeatedly to call the number listed on my paperwork in the hopes of finding out something, anything. I was informed to allow up to six weeks, and I had worked out that it had been seven, so I braced myself for a "no" and called. I was unable to get through, and decided to get online and research some post baccalaureate coursework to get myself certified the old fashioned way. OU (I know, ick) Tulsa had what looked like the right program, so I printed the application and filled it out, hoping that my negativity would pay off when I made the call to the state department of ed again today.

Now, I know that the answer was already there, and that regardless of what I filled out, God had chosen a path for me. Sometimes it helps ease my mind to be superstitious, even though I know who is REALLY in control here. So today I called, and my negativity (okay, prayer) paid off. I have been admitted to the program!!! I will still have to complete some coursework, but not until after I have passed the tests (thereby saving on tuition if I do not pass), and I will be able to begin teaching once the coursework is completed. They also allow up to 3 years to complete the work, also allowing a break on the old wallet.

This was a huge relief, and I immediately began calling people to let them know before I posted my good news on facebook (some people deserve to hear it in person, after all). However, my excitement and relief were short lived, because while Chad was on his lunch break at 3, he called (as he does everyday) with bad news. His uncle Rodney, who has stepped in to oversee things while the trust is settled, sat him down today and advised him that it looks like the family will have no choice but to sell the restaurant once all the financials are straightened out. This means that in all likelihood he will have no job once they sell the place, and that even if he does, it will not be one that will support us without blowing through our savings.

Now, I will admit, I spent a large part of this afternoon angry-at myself and Chad for deciding to move up here, at his late uncle for suggesting it, at God for not just letting me have MY good news and my day. I cried, I complained to my mom and dad, I posted a kind of grumpy update on facebook, and I cooked a ton of food (fortunately, it is freezeable). Even at this hour, I don't feel at peace with things, but I do feel better. My mom is in Alabama for a visit, but she has offered to come up and visit after she gets home. She suggested that I call my dad and have him come get Hailey and I and take us out to AL, but I think that perhaps Chad will want/need us here on his three day weekend. When I suggested that we would not be able to afford for me to take the tests I just found out I need to take, she said she would pay for them (although some sort of financial aid might be possible).

After all this, I still don't understand why I couldn't have my one day of excitement over a piece of good news, but I'm going to stop trying to figure that out and instead concentrate on prayerfully considering what is going to happen next for our family. I know that God wants us to be happy, and I am grateful that He has provided us with a roof over our heads, food to eat, and a beautiful, intelligent daughter. Perhaps this was His way of reminding me again that this life is not mine to control, and that it is His will, not mine, to be done. Please keep our family in your prayers as we go through this time of transition.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I say it a lot. "I'll keep you in my prayers." "I'll be praying for you." My home church has a prayer list for joys, concerns, and other prayer worthy occasions.

Here's the thing, though: I'm not really sure how to keep up a prayer list. I try to remember everyone in my daily prayers, and of course in church or personal reflection. But I know I miss some. So my question is, how do you keep your prayer list? Do you keep an actual written list? Save Sunday's bulletin and add names to it as the week goes on? Or do you just carry the list in your head and your heart, and trust that even if you don't mention those folks by name that God knows what is written there?

Because in my heart of hearts, I know that God knows all, sees all, IS all, but I sometimes have the feeling that the people I have promised to pray for are somehow cheated because I failed to mention them by name. Or that I'm somehow less of a person because I can't remember the 32 people I promised to pray for. And admittedly, while I know that they need them, I never remember to mention our country's leaders, or our troops overseas (or at home).

So I guess I'm just taking a do you keep your prayer list?

P.S. Going through some transitional, spiritual growth (I hope) stuff.....and honestly, the changes happening in our lives right now are so overwhelming that I'm not ready to deal with them publicly-so I apologize if some of you are tired of the incessant, public, faith walk.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Raccoons on the roof

In our old apartment in Dallas, we lived near the dumpster. Not close enough to smell it, but close enough to hear the trash truck beep as it backed up to lift the sucker. Also close enough to worry that our parked cars were going to get hit by said truck. Oddly enough, living near that dumpster provided us with a small measure of enjoyment.

The apartment complex was bordered on one side by a small creek, and was in a relatively low traffic area. Put those two together, and you get critters. One such critter? Raccoons. And since we didn't have to clean up the mess they made around the dumpster, we had a great time watching them. And, I'll admit, we occasionally gave them leftovers we didn't want. (Not really moldy ones, ones from restaurants that we had just visited.) And since the management of our apartment complex was two ladies who didn't like us and were not very nice, we also thrilled at the thought of them having to pick up the trash. Ok, not very Christian behavior, but there it is.

So when we moved to Tulsa, we were a little sad at losing our little furry friends. We actually watched one hoist another into the dumpster. The guy who went in? He threw food out for his buddy. Such teamwork from wild animals is a little astounding. And then again, not so astonishing after all. Chad and I have been reading about the Creation for our Bible study, and having reread that age old story, maybe it isn't such a shock after all that those little bandits were looking out for each other.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. Chad and I were sitting on the couch, watching TV like we do every night. Being on the second floor, our apartment has skylights in the sunroom (really, not as swanky as I make it sound). I heard a scratching noise coming from that direction, and wondered if one of those horror movie monsters was coming for me. (Chad makes me watch those, and I despise them.) He didn't hear it, so I figured it was my imagination, until a few moments later when it happened again. This time we both heard it, and investigated. It took a little work, but we quickly found the source of the noise-raccoons playing on our skylights. Now we hear them several times a week.

It seems that God will provide you with ANYTHING. Even raccoons.

P.S. It might not be a coincidence that this apartment is also not far from the dumpster, and also backs up to a creek.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I have been meaning to talk about this for a few days, but with all that has been going on, I've had to just keep chewing on it.

THe other night when Chad got home from work, I watched him trying to unlock the door. To watch, one would have thought he was drunk, or else had no idea what he was doing. He couldn't fit the key in the lock, he was bent way over like he couldn't see to get the key in the lock, and he kept bobbing and weaving. I finally decided to go over and unlock the door, and just as I did, he got it open. He came rushing in, and right in front of him was this THING. It was huge, buzzing, flying, and suddenly, it was on ME. I had no idea what it was, so I just slapped the thing away and squealed.

I stunned it to the ground, and upon closer inspection, realized it was a cicada (aka locust). Growing up, I have heard these critters all summer, seen their exoskeletons on trees (even collected them as a child), but rarely have I seen one living. And I have never been attacked by one. Chad claims that there were two, and that the other one was the one that was dive bombing him as he tried to unlock the door, apparently in order to distract the other guy. Sadly, he came to an early demise at the sole of Chad's shoe.

Funny story, then when we went to bed I started thinking about locusts. Specifically, plagues of locusts. My biblical knowledge is not what I would like it to be, but I do know that there were 7 plagues on Pharoah before he let the Israelites go. Some were frogs, boils, water to blood, and locusts. I can't remember the rest at the moment. Let me say, I like frogs. Probably not by the thousands, but they're pretty cool in my book. I have a friend who had ONE boil not too long ago, and she was in terrible pain from it, so I don't think I'd like those. Water to blood, ew. That's all I need to say.

I never really thought about the locust plague til the other night, and I have to say, I think that would be pretty nasty. Those things are sticky like june bugs, only 5 times as big. Enough of them flying around fast enough, they could leave bruises. And I shudder to think about what they could do tangled up in hair like mine. Ergh. And back when Pharoah was refusing to release the Israelites, they wore those long robes. Can you imagine the jumping around that must have ensued from those giant flying bugs getting up your skirt???? Might be quite comical to see, not so fun to experience.

I guess I am just trying to make my readers think about the plagues. Put your self in the Egyptians' sandals for a moment. And then do everything that you can to please God. He might just decide to do it again. (Read Revelation, He's promised that He will....)

I got an award!

Thanks, Stacey, for my first blogging award!! I feel so honored. Pretty sure I am incapable of figuring out how to post the little pic, so I'll just roll right on through.

I have to post 7 personality traits of myself.

1. I hardly ever stress out. I mean it. I'm not very good at the "Let go, Let God" thing, but I don't hang on to stuff. I don't see any reason to stress out over things I have no control over. That DOESN'T mean I don't talk about them.

2. I have some very wierd OCD traits. No hand washing or lock turning for me. Nope, I'm OCD about books. Which ones I need to read ( I have a book bucket list), and what order they're in on my book shelf. Until Hailey got ahold of the bookshelf, they were in order by genre and author. Also, I judge books by their covers, literally. The pretty books are all grouped together regardless of genre or author.

3. I am learning that I really love to cook. Ever since I've been off work, I've been cooking most of our meals. And I actually enjoy it.

4. I love to gossip. Can't help it. I'm trying to learn not to be nasty about it, but I really really love to gossip. And hear about other people's drama.

5. I am a rule follower. Chad hates it. I can't help it.

6. I am a terrible housekeeper. My house is only marginally clean, laundry is never put away. (Please don't eat off my floors.)

7. Finally, like my cousin Stacey, I am trying to learn to lean on God. Like I said in #1, I don't "Let go, Let God" well. Prayer is something that I am really working on doing. A lot. So pray for me.

I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but I'm new to this and not sure how to do it, so I'm just going to post and leave it at that.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Recently, some major changes have started occurring in our lives. We don't know yet if they will be bad, good, or otherwise, but there they are all the same. Six months ago we made the decision to move to Tulsa so that Chad could take a job working for his uncle's restaurant. His uncle was planning on opening a second location, and wanted Chad to manage it.

Shortly after moving from Dallas to Tulsa, Garry became ill. He recieved a lung transplant in Aug 08, and had had few problems since. Unfortunately, our arrival seemed to "trigger" some infections, et cetera. (We didn't cause them, didn't mean to imply that.) At any rate, it was one thing after another, lots of treatments, trips to San Antonio (his transplant hospital), a stint (sp?), and finally he collapsed in his home. At that point, he called some friends who are firemen, who loaded him into an ambulance and carried him to a local hospital. He was in the hospital for about 2 weeks (really, I don't remember exactly how long it was), and finally he and his family made the decision to take him off of the meds/oxygen, et cetera. He was not ever on life support, but there were some treatments that were keeping him alive.

Last Monday, he passed away. I had plans to visit family in Texas for my sister-in-law's baby shower, Chad had to work the rest of the week, and the funeral/burial was in Hamilton (small town an hour from Temple) on the same day, at the same time, as the funeral. I chose to attend the funeral with Chad rather than the shower (admittedly, the more fun option), and spent a day with Chad's family (most of whom I don't know well).

With the funeral over, we are all left with the uncertainty of what will happen next. At the risk of sounding crude, I am not going to go into any detail, except to ask that those of you who read this please pray for our family that God will send us in the right direction. When I was in Temple this weekend, I attended my home church with my parents, and Thomas preached on the Holy Spirit. Please pray that we will be able to step aside from ourselves and let the Holy Spirit take over. Let the Spirit guide us in the direction that God has chosen for us. I know that He has chosen a path for us, it may or may not keep us here, but no matter what, God WILL provide.

In closing, go God!!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I feel so guilty about this blog. As I said before, I am horrible at correspondence. I told a friend who lives in Israel that I'd write to her, simply because we like written correspondence. That was in April. Last week, I finally sent her a letter. So this blog has become one more thing.

My life isn't busy. I went from commuting/working 11 hours a day in Dallas (at a job I hated, mind you), to being a stay at home mom. We could certainly use the income from me having a job, but my life is definitely less...routine. And yet I feel guilt. My house is a mess, perpetually, although not the kind of mess it was in Dallas. In Dallas, it was a(n) "I work all day and when I get home all I want to do is play with my kiddo." kind of mess. Here, my kitchen (which I actually use) is infinitely cleaner, while my living room is not. I did manage to unpack everything when we moved here, which I have not done in quite some time.

So I started this blog to keep me entertained, possibly entertain some other people, and keep up with family and friends. Now I feel guilty when I don't post, or when I do but its not entertaining. I don't know why I feel the need to entertain you people. (Kidding.) I don't want it to be a forum for complaint, or a means to tell you every time Hailey burps. Nor do I need to be a stand up comic. Also, not a diary. I'd make some rules for myself, but I'm pretty sure I'd just break them. Although I did make the rule not to use smiley faces and to limit my elipses (that's the ... for you non-English geeks), and I think I've done okay there.

Thanks for listening to me complain. Next time, my neuroses about books (seriously, I have some issues). Or maybe not. Stay tunes!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

ARGH and not so argh...

I am horrible at correspondence. Some of you know that. HORRIBLE. Which means that I can guarantee (and have already proven thus far) that I will be bad at blogging, which is really just a means of mass correspondence. My biggest roadblock is not knowing what to write. I feel like I have to entertain, and quite frankly, my life doesn't seem all that entertaining. Some people don't find it amusing to read a 16 page blog about how my daughter smeared poop in her bed yet again. I apologize for my lack of entertainment ability (and vocabulary, apparently), and also for the fact that I will have to revert to stories of poop art.

Everytime I talk to one of my friends, they ask me what's new. "Nothing. Nothing is new." is usually my response. Not entirely true, though. Since moving to Tulsa, Chad and I have hit more rough patches than we know what to do with, thanks to the level of stress in our new life here. He is working sometimes as much as 65 hours a week, although not lately, and until recently, I had no income. I did recently start getting unemployment, so we do have a little more income. With our fights have come an unexpected blessing. In fighting, we have learned to be more tolerant of the little annoying things, and we have learned to communicate better in order to avoid those nasty blow ups. I have a really bad tendency to tell what I'll call "mistruths" in order to keep out of trouble, and I think that I have gotten better about not doing that.

Thanks to financial burdens and a deep desire to make friends in our new place, we have put more effort into finding a church home than ever before, as previously noted. I'm not going to lie, part of my motivation for finding a church is that I know that there I will also find friends. Not my only motivation, but it is certainly there. And good news! We think we may have found a church home. Go to if you want to check it out. It is a mega church. Chapel, 2 story sanctuary, additional worship space for a contemporary service, HUGE children's area, a bunch of classroom learning options, and about a million members (not really, but it certainly seems like it on Sunday morning when you're looking for a parking space). I grew up in a smallish town, in a small church, and this church is soo big. But, the message last Sunday was great, the music was great, and as luck (ok, definitely God) would have it, there is an intensive 34-week Bible study starting in a couple of weeks. What do you know...Chad and I have both always wanted to really study the Bible. Our orientation was on Tuesday, and we start the actual class on the 11th. Please pray for good study habits!

And of course, the final thing that is ALWAYS new is that Hailey is growing and learning every day. I am so proud to take her places, she is well behaved, she's smart, and let's face it, I'm a little vain-she's also very pretty. She repeats everything we say, knows who mommy and daddy are, and she's starting to run (sometimes I long for those days of lugging her around in a carrier, I'll admit it). Parenthood is hard, and being a stay at home mom is even harder. I am so grateful that this opportunity has been provided for me to stay at home and be a bigger part of her development, but I gotta say it, its tough sometimes. (Not just the cooking and cleaning, either!)

Anyway, so that's it...not terribly entertaining, but as we say around here, "that's the poop!" (Ok, no one says that, but I bet you chuckled!!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Its potty time!

Just a quick note, for those of you who did not receive a text or see it on my facebook page, Hailey went pee pee in the potty yesterday. For the very first time. She is 17 months old, and this was a total fluke. I think that I just caught her at the right time. We tried going every 20 minutes today and sitting on the potty (we just got her a training potty), to no avail. In fact, I sat her on the big potty this afternoon before her bath and she did nothing. And then promptly peed in the bathtub. Oh, well. We'll keep at it, naturally....just wanted to give a quick update on our latest milestone!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Accidental Moments

I talked in my first blog about our search for a church home. I want to elaborate on that a little bit. The first thing that I would like to do is explain a little bit about my faith journey up to this point.

I grew up in a fairly small town, in a fairly small church. I was baptised as an infant at my grandparents' church in Ft Worth, and around the time I was 3, my mom found the place that would become my church home-Grace Presbyterian Church. After my sister was born, my mom quit work and became VERY involved in our church life. My closest friends (aside from Erin and Stacie) were church friends. By the time I was in sixth grade, it seemed that my faith was absolutely cemented in place. Our youth group actually won an award from an organization in town for service, and I was one of the kids selected to miss school (woohoo!) to go accept the award on our behalf. In seventh grade, I and a couple of my girlfriends joined the church choir. I babysat church memebers' children, worked in the church nursery (back in the days before you were required to know CPR and stuff...). Needless to say, church was a HUGE part of my life.

High school hit, and with it, I got much busier and didn't have much time for church. It didn't help that the youth leader we'd had while I was in junior high left for another church, and we'd had a string of unsuccessful youth leaders. Some weren't cut out for the job, others just weren't cut out for us. We were a group of kids who had literally known each other all of our lives, and acted more like siblings than like church friends. Very few kids came into or left our group, mostly because of the town we lived in. It probably wasn't an easy dynamic for a strange adult to walk into. By the time I turned 16, my mom sort of left the decision up to me whether to attend Sunday services or not. And of course, I mostly chose not.

I graduated from high school, still probably more involved in church than a lot of kids, but not as involved as I had been. Our youth group had wanted for many years to go on some sort of trip. We had a groupd of parents who didn't want to send us on a ski trip, despite many years of trying, and we finally hit on a mission trip. We weren't ready to head off to a foreign country, besides, there is plenty of mission work to be done here in the US. So off to Alabama we went. Having family in AL, I had been there plenty of times and knew what to expect. Hot, humid, pretty much the same as TX. The trip was fun, and I do think that I got some spiritual food out of it, but I don't think it was until the trip to Colorado (also a state where we have family-the joke was that the McLoud kids had family everywhere) that the mission trip finally really made an impact. I had gone off to college by then, lived in the dorms, joined a sorority, and not even attempted to find a church home in my new town.

Needless to say, by the time that I got to this trip (not sure if it was #2 or 3), I was carrying some unnecessary burdens. Its TOUGH to be a sinner and not give it up to someone else.....That year, something touched me, and I learned to let go. For then. I still don't do it well. I kind of don't think that anyone does. Not only do I hang onto the sins, I hang on to all of my burdens-financial, parental, et cetera....

Fast forward several years, I met my future husband, still lived in the same town, and still hadn't found a church. For one thing, the church I grew up in was (is) really hard to let go of. Its taken a long time for me to realize that I am not likely to find another church like it, and that the best I can do is find a church that provides me with what I need to survive in a world that seems to be more and more of a mess each day. That, and I need to find a church that will provide Hailey with the kind of Christian experience that she needs. I hope that we will find a place that will nurture her as Grace nurtured me and my siblings.

So in the 17 months since Hailey was born, we have been much more active in searching for a church. We found a church that worked for both of us in Dallas, then we moved. To Tulsa. There have been several churches that seem like they are almost a match since we moved here, but unfortunately since we moved at the end of the school year, we caught Easter, then Memorial day, then VBS, 4th of July, Senior Sundays (not in that order)-in short, there have been a lot of Sundays that were not "normal" Sundays, meaning we did not get to hear a regular sermon. So we keep trying. And keep praying. And ask our friends and family to do the same.

Finally, as this has gone on WAAAAY longer than I intended to, I want to get to the title of this. I believe that there are "accidental moments" in our lives that seem to be inconvenient until later. I had one of those today, and I feel like I need to share it. Hailey and I went to meet Chad for lunch and ended up at a restaurant that was farther away than we usually travel during his hour lunch break. He was fretting on the way back that he was going to be late. En route, we passed a fire truck going the opposite direction. Not that unusual, there is a fire station right by the restaurant that he words for. After we dropped him off, Hailey and I got on the highway, and before I traveled a mile saw brake lights. There was an accident on the highway. No one seemed to be badly injured, but a car had rolled across the entire width of the highway-all 4 lanes. There was debris scattered across the road, and only one lane was getting through as a result. The accident was extremely recent, because the back up was only about 5 cars deep (trust me, I know-I used to drive 635 in Dallas every day).

The moral of the story is this-sometimes God says to all of us, "Hey!! I'm here!! Pay attention!!!" I know that only one paragraph of this blog was about such an incident, but I felt like I needed to share the rest too. There is NO such thing as a coincidence, only divine interventions. PAY ATTENTION....He may be talking to you.

Thank you, God, for watching over me and my little angel today and keeping us out of harm's way. Please let this experience be a lesson for someone else who may be struggling to find You as I have struggled over the years to keep You in my sight. In YOUR name, Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This is all new to me....

Ok, so a lot of my friends have blogs. I read them and am entertained by them, sometimes more than others. Some of them are inspiring. And of course, I aspire to be one of those entertaining, inspiring bloggers that people want to subscribe to and read every time I update it. In truth, I suspect that I will blog for a while and then slowly drift away from the habit. So bear with me. I'm trying.

My mother saw a "Dr. Phil" episode where some stay at home mom starting blogging just for herself and it turned into a business. A very successful business, to the point that her husband had to quit his job. I don't expect that for myself. (Although admittedly, it would be nice.) As I explained to my mom, I am simply not that kind of writer. Research on someone else's work is more my style. I'm not being pessimistic, that's simply how it is.

In this blog, I think that I want to write about things that interest me. People that interest me. And I think I will work at trying to share a little bit of myself and my life as well. Who knows, maybe I am inspiring....

So here goes nothing. For those of you who don't know, I am a stay at home mom, living in Tulsa, OK. Recently transplanted from Dallas (where I lived for 10 years), I am adjusting both to life as a SAHM, and life in a new town. Chad and I are finally seriously pursuing a church home, which so far has a been a frustrating, enlightening, and strangely liberating process. More on that later. I have been hunting for a job for the last 5 months, and have had almost no bites. Apparently moving during a recession was NOT the best plan, at least not without lining up a job first. Too late now!! Before we moved, I was working in a call center, at a job that paid the bills, but wasn't really something I enjoyed. In Tulsa, that job looks better and better everyday. I have to remind myself that everything looks better in hindsight. My plan was that I was going to seek an alternative teaching certificate. I have a BA in English, teaching seemed like a pretty good plan, and Texas is desperate for teachers. Obviously, seeking certification for Texas while living in Oklahoma was not the best plan, so last week I sent out my application to be alternatively certified in Oklahoma. Now we spend the next 6 weeks praying. In the meantime, if you're reading this and you know anyone who's hiring in Tulsa, let me know!!!

On to more exciting things, Chad and I have a 17 month old daughter (hence the SAHM part...), Hailey. She is a blessing, a joy, a terror, a short, everything and more that I could have hoped for in a child. Even the pain and terror part. Today I sneezed-she said, "Bless you." Watching her grow and learn, especially in this last 5 months, has been nothing short of amazing. To those of you who don't believe there is a God, I think that you should watch your own beautiful child grow and learn from an infant totally dependent upon you, to a person who is learning to do more and more for herself every day.

On that note, I am going to say goodbye for now. Please don't hold my run-on sentences and English degree against me....its enough that I will try to write this blog without a single smiley face. Not even one. I'm going to try to make my words smile for me. Thanks for reading, more on the hunt for a church home next time...