Monday, January 31, 2005


OK -- I don't want to mention names here because I don't want to embarrass anybody but there is someone who is sort of newish around here but not really. In fact, it seems like she's been here forever. She was over at our house tonight -- just hanging out and eating my chili -- and she is just so much fun to be around. I wish she could have stayed longer. I really think I might just love her to pieces. I thank God for bringing her into our lives -- and for the really cool way he did it.

Oh -- she LIKED my cooking!

And she didn't make fun of my wedding pictures!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Not Amused!

Today is Julia's 100th day of school. They sent a note home the other day asking for kindergarteners to wear 100 things on their clothing. It could be stickers, ribbons, etc. Julia had early release yesterday, which is good because it took all afternoon to go through her room to find things to put on her clothes. I let her pick it all out and she ended up with a pile of stickers, random pieces of paper and HUGE gift bows she has saved from presents. So this morning was crazy as I was trying to get all 100 things onto her body. Whose idea was this? What about the poor single working moms out there having to get several kids ready? This did not put me in a good mood!

So I drop Julia off -- she can barely move for all the stuff, and she's got two giant bows taped to each shoulder. I get back home, and the kindergartener across the street is getting into her car. She is one of Julia's friends so I was talking to her. She had 100 little buttons neatly sewn on the front of her sweatshirt. She looked really cute -- and my own child looks like a Hallmark store explosion. Plus she's got a $10 Sears coupon taped to her backside. I'm exhausted! And it's only 8:21 a.m.!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Children's Birthdays Last Longer and Longer

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 26, 2005

Remember when kids’ birthdays only lasted one day?

When I was a kid, I woke up on my birthday, friends came over, I blew out candles, opened my presents and went to bed. The next day, life was back to normal.

I’m not sure how we got to this point, but my daughter just had her sixth birthday, and it was more like Hanukkah — a 12-day festival with relatives, food and parties.

Well, it wasn’t quite 12 days, but the celebrating seemed to go on and on. First there was her actual birthday. She got stuff. She got cake. The next day, more stuff came in the mail. The day after that, more stuff. The day after that was her party, which meant a trip to Moody Gardens and more stuff.

I guess turning 6 is more work than it used to be.

But we have to admit that we got off easy this year. Julia, our party queen, opted to invite one friend to Moody Gardens instead of throwing a big bash at our church as we’ve done in years past.

It was a nice break. We didn’t have to send out a jillion invitations. We didn’t have to worry about some kid sustaining brain damage from a blow to the cranium with the pinata stick. I didn’t have to fill a bunch of goodie bags with candy designed to keep children up all night, which in turn would result in their parents’ refusal to speak to me for several weeks afterward.

We did have a quiet party at home when Julia turned 2, but that was the year I made a red Elmo cake and the next morning I nearly passed out from horror at the sight of her jammies and sheets soaked with a red substance that I thought was blood. Turns out Elmo’s red coconut fur didn’t agree with Julia’s little tummy. I haven’t made any birthday cakes since, and everyone seems grateful.

In a way, though, I like the big parties. Planning them serves as a distraction from the reality that my child is doing the unthinkable and actually growing up.

We moms really stress over this. Oh sure, we smile as our children blow out their candles, but inside we’re thinking, “In 10 years, she’ll be DRIVING!” Then we go home and study our C-section scars in the mirror, not because we worry that they are unsightly but because we marvel at how our kids were once small enough to fit through them. We want our kids to grow and succeed, but part of us will always want our babies back.

Next year, we’ll be back to big bashes because Julia wants a bowling alley party. I sort of enjoy bowling now, especially since having a child gives me the excuse to put up those thingies in the gutters so I’ll never bowl a gutter ball. So it should be fun.

But before that, we’re adding another birthday tradition to the family schedule. Jenna will celebrate her first birthday on Aug. 26. And 27th, 28th, 29th...

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Drowning in Blessings

Too much of a good thing. I guess that's what my problem is. I have a wonderful husband (more on that later), two beautiful kids, a great church home, a roof over my head. And lately it's all been getting to me. I don't know if this is normal or not, but sometimes I get so stressed and overwhelmed by everything going on that I feel it physically. This invisible weight just sort of settles into my bones. It's very strange. It's been happening again lately. Julia's been home sick, Jenna is ever-demanding, the house is completely out of my control, church-related stuff could drain all my energy if I let it, and there are people at church who are hurting with big, big stuff. Chad says I take on other people's problems too much. The wreck with the Highland kids really got to me, for a number of reasons. I witnessed the Copes lose a child ten years ago and the thought of them coming literally within inches of losing another one just sort of shut me down for a few days. And it happened in a Suburban -- I'm hauling teens around in my Suburban all the time. And there are people from my own church who need so much of the things I have in ridiculous amounts of abundance: a peaceful home life, a happy marriage, etc.

And just for fun, here's a sample of what happened to me yesterday:

- Julia came home sick.
- Our street is under construction and we can't drive on it right now, meaning I had to park at the end of our street and walk to our house in cold temps with a baby and a sick kindergartener and all the stuff that goes with each.
- The receptionist at the doctor's office asked if I knew we owed $371 for Jenna's last two appointments. (Umm, no, I didn't.)
- The drunk driver who rear-ended Julia and me a year-and-a-half ago left a rambling, somewhat incoherent message on our answering maching about how he really wants to get his driver's license back and could he set up a payment plan? What??!!!
- We learned that someone we care about is in a desperate, seemingly hopeless situation.

But here's the happy ending. I got home last night, completely drained and that weight-in-my-bones feeling about to knock me over, to find that my husband had cleaned the house, done more laundry than I had been able to do in weeks, laid out my jammies and house shoes on the bed, and written out some verses on humility for a class I am supposed to teach this weekend at Girls Reflecting Glory that I haven't been able to work on yet. So I hugged him and said, "Did I really think you were a dork for a whole year? Did I really pray that you would fall in love with someone else so you would leave me alone?" (That's a reference to when we were dating, or trying to date -- Carol Partin knows all about it!)

So today was much better, in part because I didn't leave the house at all -- lessening the chances of something bad happening. And because of Chad, I was home all day in a mostly clean house. So I guess what I have to say to those of you who aren't married yet... life is really impossible at times. Make sure you marry someone who doesn't just love you, but will cherish and honor you and put you above himself.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Happy Bir...Oh, I Can't Do This

Wednesday was my oldest child's birthday. She turned six. It really freaks me out that she's so old. In fact, I don't really feel up to blogging about it just yet. So read the post below this one, which is my column from Wednesday. It has nothing whatsoever to do with children's birthdays and the depression that often accompanies them. Oh, hey, Michelle -- we had a big cake in the annex for Julia after church Wed. night -- wish you could have been there!

An Unpaved Suburban Life

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 19, 2005

Some nights, after the kids are in bed, my husband and I sit around and talk about the good old days. Like way back when we had a paved road in front of our house.

Yes, we had a paved road once. We used to drive down our street and swing right into our driveway without giving it a second thought.

Then it happened. The machines came. They tore up our road and, in its place, left a long and winding mud puddle.

I realize the workers out there will eventually pour a nice, smooth concrete road. The lucky folks on the north end of our street (that would make it “North North Burnet Drive”) have been enjoying their new street for a couple of months now.

I know ours will be finished soon. The problem is that we have to live here until then.

I’ve used this time to master the technique of driving in the mud without getting stuck. And I’ve become a pro at it, if I may say so myself.

Coming down the finished part of North Burnet, I speed up so that I hit the mud doing about 35. With a lot of prayer and a little steering wheel maneuvering, I can slide and skid my way right into my driveway. No easy feat in a 10-year-old Suburban.

Getting out is even more daring. After making sure no one is coming, I put the car in reverse, burn rubber out of the driveway, slam it into drive (before the tires sink too far into the mud) and punch it out of there like I just stole something.

So far, my strategies have worked. But I still keep my cell phone with me in case I have to call my daughter’s school to tell them she will be there as soon as someone pushes us out.

More than once, workers have told us early in the morning that we cannot drive our vehicles on the road that day — either because they are pouring lime, or they are digging a two-foot-deep trench, or some such.

So we have to move our cars down to the end of the street. On those days, it has been easier for me to stay home while my husband walks/drives our kindergartner to school.

Being trapped in my house, I’ve been forced to watch more TV, and those medication commercials are unavoidable now. You know, those commercials where smiling people warn about “sexual side effects.” Just what is a sexual side effect? Does this mean the drugs will make you pregnant?

Because that’s a sexual side effect if I ever saw one.

Then there’s the noise. All day long, giant machines go back and forth in the mud. Sometimes they are digging up the mud. Sometimes they are smoothing it back down. All I know is whatever they’re doing causes a horrendous racket. Ever try to put a baby down for a nap while all the windows in the house are rattling?

We Lakewooders tend to be patient people. We waited patiently for Spur 330. We wait patiently for the train on Baker Road. We drive patiently for 10 minutes to the nearest grocery store. So we can survive driving on mud roads for a while. When all this is finished, though, I will have

never been so happy to see a slab of concrete in my life.

Until then, if you see a white Suburban coming down North Burnet, you might want to get out of the way.

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is

Monday, January 17, 2005


Please pray for the members of our former church home, Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. A Suburban carrying junior high students from the Metroplex to Abilene flipped Sunday afternoon, killing one and injuring seven. Here is the article from the Abilene newspaper:

A Suburban carrying a group of Highland Church of Christ youths overturned Sunday afternoon on Interstate 20 east of Baird, killing one child and injuring several others.

Brody Bourland, 10, of Abilene, was declared dead at the scene, according to the Department of Public Safety in Abilene. The other seven occupants of the vehicle, all from Abilene, were injured and taken to various hospitals.

The group was returning from a church retreat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

According to the DPS, the accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. as the group was heading west on I-20 about 1.5 miles west of Putnam in Callahan County. They were in a 2004 GMC Suburban, driven by Julie Folwell, 49, of Abilene.

The Suburban apparently drifted into the center median, then overcorrected to the right, causing the vehicle to skid sideways before rolling over onto its top, a DPS spokeswoman said. Each occupant of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt, she said.

The DPS reported that two of the children were flown by helicopter to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. They are Jon Westin Bennett and Austin Lemmons, both 11. Bennett was listed in stable condition with two broken legs, and Lemmons was listed in serious condition with internal injuries but said to be doing well.

The remaining occupants of the vehicle were taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. They are Chris Cope, 12; Beth Johnston, 14; Amara Childers, 14; Chris Perkins, 12; and Folwell, the DPS reported.

Chris Cope was later transferred to Cook Children's Medical Center, where he was in stable condition Sunday night, said Stormy Higgins, a church member.

Folwell had a broken vertebra and was transferred from Hendrick to Covenant Health System in Lubbock, Higgins said. A Hendrick spokeswoman said Folwell was in stable condition Sunday night before being transferred.

Perkins and Johnston were later released from Hendrick, and Childers underwent surgery for a bone fracture, the hospital spokeswoman said.

The accident remains under investigation.

On Sunday evening, the church held a vigil, attended by about 500 people, and provided counseling for affected people, such as church youth traveling in a second Suburban who witnessed the accident, Higgins said.

Higgins, an Abilene city councilman, described the vigil as ''overwhelmingly emotional,'' adding that ''this is not what (church members) got up this morning expecting.''

Counseling was provided by Jackie Halstead, a church member who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She said it was amazing to hear the children of the church pray about it during counseling.

''There's a lot of tears, and I'm sure there will be some nightmares,'' she said.

She and other counselors will hold several more sessions this week to help those affected, she said.

Brody Bourland was a student at Franklin Middle School. Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.

He is survived by his parents, Brett and Jennifer Bourland, and brothers Taylor Hill, 17, and Brock Bourland, 7.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Good to the Last Dropping

In response to a coffee discussion going on over at Mike Cope's blog, I am posting a newspaper column I wrote on the subject last April.

By Deana Nall

Coffee. One of the great mysteries of life.

It tastes gross, has no nutritional value and 110 million Americans must have at least a cup of it every day.

At least I understand the rage over Starbucks. If I can pay someone five bucks to dump so much stuff in my coffee that it doesn't taste like coffee anymore, I'll drink it.

But when it comes to a cup of black Colombian, I'd rather drink a Tab -- which everyone knows is the most disgusting soft drink ever.

Like many non-coffee drinkers, I am married to a coffee drinker. He got hooked on it in graduate school. For Chad's birthday a couple of years ago, I got him signed up for Gevalia, which is "gourmet" coffee you can make in your own kitchen.

Excuse me, I mean "kaffe." Gevalia coffee is spelled this way because it is a "Product of Sweden." Not only that, Gevalia "kaffe" is made "By Appointment to His Majesty the King of Sweden."

You know who the king of Sweden is? Neither do I. I think they're making it up.
Because we receive this "kaffe" in the mail every few months (from Clifton, New Jersey, by the way), and because only one person in our house drinks it, we have quite an impressive stash of it in our pantry. This is why some of you receive boxes of Gevalia from us every Christmas.

But there is a new coffee craze, and it's threatening to demote Gevalia to the level of "Taster's Choice."

"Kopi Luwak" is produced in Indonesia and sells for $300 a pound. Yes, that's $300! Starbucks suddenly looks cheap, doesn't it?

The reason Kopi Luwak is so pricey is because only 500 pounds of it can be produced each year.

Why is this? I"ll tell you. But you must finish your breakfast and coffee before reading any further. This is very important.

All done? Here's how it works: Indonesia is the home to a wild creature called the civet cat. These animals eat ripe coffee cherries, and their stomach enzymes give the coffee cherries a unique flavor, as I can only imagine.

Here's the fun part. I could get into a whole lot of biological terminology, but I'll just say the cats let nature take its course. Basically, some poor soul harvests the newly-flavored coffee beans from the cats' poop.

The coffee is then shipped to places like the US, where Kopi Luwak (which I guess means "cat poop" in Indonesian) investors know coffee-addicted adults, always in search of the ultimate coffee experience, will pay big bucks for it.

And all the Kopi Luwak people in Indonesia have to do is make sure the cats keep eating and pooping. That poor soul who has to dig through cat poop? He's getting extremely rich.

What I want to know is, why can't we do the same thing over here? Think of the lucrative business opportunities available in the excrement of the typical housecat.

All you need is a combination litter box/coffee maker, and you won't even have to do anything. Just feed Mr. Whiskers some coffee beans at night, get up the next morning and enjoy your coffee. You could sell it to your friends for a few hundred bucks a pound, and eventually buy that Hummer you've been wanting.

I think someone needs to let the King of Sweden know about this.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gadgets Make for Interesting Kitchen Time

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 12, 2005

To avoid writing about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston this week, I’ve decided to write about cooking.

Although cooking was the bane of my existence during the early years of our marriage, I’ve come to terms with spending time in the kitchen every day. And I’ve actually begun liking it.

I know what happened. I had children. Of course I love them and everything, but after dealing with little people all day, I’m ready to hand them off to their father and head to the kitchen for some culinary therapy. It’s amazing what stress relief a few kitchen appliances can provide. I get to chop things. I get to crush things. I get to tenderize things. And if I’m lucky, I get to use my electric knife.

The electric knife was one of those wedding presents that I didn’t think was really for me. I mean, it’s practically a power tool, right? I figured it was for my husband to use on the turkey at Thanksgiving and that was about it. But one day I needed to slice up a loaf of French bread, so I decided to fire up the knife to see what it could do. And I was amazed. What power! What speed! I could have sliced all the bread in France in one afternoon.

My kitchen adventures were not over. Next I discovered my slow cooker. This was another gadget from which I kept my distance at first. I didn’t understand the concept. I had grown up in the age of microwave ovens. I remember when they were so big that they were more like shiny, black walk-in closets. Isn’t the point to cook stuff faster? Why would you want to cook something all day?

So when I got five Crock Pots at my bridal shower, I returned four and put the remaining one on top of the refrigerator with the juicer and the rice steamer. (Note to young brides: Buy the juice. And you don’t need a device designed by NASA that takes up half your kitchen counter to steam rice. You can do it on your stovetop.)

The slow cooker sat up there for a long time. Then about nine or so years into our marriage, I plugged it in, put some food in it, put the top on and left the house for the day. When I came back, dinner was ready. I’ve been hooked ever since.

The slow cooker has been especially useful since my oldest child has started school. Now I have more time in the evenings to listen to the knowledge she is reaping in kindergarten, such as “Emily told me she tasted her dog once. She said it was gross.”

I can only imagine.

Of course, slow cookers are not fail-proof. I still remember the wail from the kitchen the day we returned home from church and my mom discovered she had neglected to plug in the Crock Pot that contained the Sunday roast. Because a big hunk of dead cow did not seem appealing, we went out for lunch that day. Mom had a complete recovery eventually.

But you can stick a fork in Brad and Jennifer because it looks like they’re done. I’m sure they had a glamorous life together, what with red carpets and all, but maybe they needed to spend more time in the kitchen.

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is

Friday, January 07, 2005

Messy Headaches and Fat Pink Babies

I'm rather anguished about some things today that I can't blog about. So I'll just leave you guessing. And me anguishing. It has to do with the whole thing about ministry being messy. You could say I'm neck-deep. Ministers' wives aren't allowed the usual vices for dealing with this kind of thing so the other day I ate a truckload of chocolate. Then I got a two-day headache. Something else over which to anguish, but different than what I was orginally anguishing over. I guess that's what vices provide. A sick, but welcome, distraction. Oh, I'm all about giving it to God, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stay calm about it. People who really know me know I'm a little high-strung. But to the glory of God, of course.

On a much happier note, I took Jenna for her four-month check-up today. She's fat and pink and happy. She's also 27 inches long. The doc said she has never even seen a six-month-old that's that long, let alone a four-month-old. And she's just over 14 pounds. And did I mention happy? She even smiled between her shots. Later at home, she's sitting in her exersaucer and quite audibly fills up her diaper -- without taking her eyes off the TV screen. That's one thing I love about babies. Even when nature is calling -- screaming, even -- they don't forget what's really important. Today, "Arthur" was more important.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Don’t Worry, They’ll Stop Crying One Day

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 05, 2005

“So how is the baby sleeping now?” As the parents of a 4-month-old, we get asked this question a lot.

We obsess over this because households containing little ones tend to be a little chaotic. In fact, the word “chaos” comes from the Latin word meaning “I have small children.” So we pray for moments of calm and order, and it would be nice if they happened in the middle of the night. Babies, unfortunately, are born without the knowledge that nighttime is when one is supposed to sleep. So we parents long for our infants to reach that nirvana that is known as “Sleeping Through the Night.”

Generally you’ll get one of two responses when you share the fact that sleeping at night is not a priority for your baby. One is “Oh, our little angel was sleeping through the night when she was just a week old. We sure got lucky!” The other one is “Our child is almost 19 and hasn’t slept through the night yet!”

Neither is very encouraging.

Our own sweet Jenna, who has ocean-blue eyes, pink cherub cheeks (on both ends) and a smile that completely melts our hearts, had us pulling out our hair for the first three months. Then it happened! She started sleeping seven or so hours in a row. We had made it! But I’m afraid she has regressed. We’re back to getting up with her at least once a night. Maybe she’s insecure. Maybe she just enjoys our company. I don’t know. I’m too tired to figure it out.

But I would like to offer what expertise I have gained in a handy guide I’ll call “Sleep and Your Infant” or “You Know It’s Bad When Both You and Your Baby Are Crying at 2 a.m.”

First, you could try learning to live without sleep. But be warned: You will start doing things like looking around the house for your child’s pacifier for 20 minutes before realizing it’s been in your hand the whole time. Not a good way to function.

So you may have to resort to something all parents dread. It’s called “Letting Them Cry it Out,” and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Here’s how it works: When your baby wakes up and starts crying, don’t do anything. The idea is to let her learn how to get back to sleep independently. Think happy thoughts. Try not to watch the clock. When it’s been so long that you think your child’s lungs are going to rupture, burst out of bed and run into her room. Discover that her diaper is quite toxic. Get her cleaned up, fed and back into bed. She will resume crying immediately.

Go back to bed, feeling awful that your child was crying for a legitimate reason and you forced her to lie in her own excrement for a ridiculous amount of time. Get used to being consumed by guilt. As a parent, it’s your lot in life.

After a while, your baby will get quiet. She has either fallen asleep or climbed out the window to go live with another family. I like to check to make sure it isn’t the latter. Now you can go to sleep. And hang in there — that’s the most important thing. As my mother always says (and this also applies if your child should ever swallow something weird like a quarter or some cat food), “This, too, shall pass.”

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is

Santa Pig

The other night I was reading to Julia. It was an "Oliver and Amanda" book. Oliver and Amanda are pigs. In this particular book, it is Christmas and Oliver and Amanda's dad dressed up as Santa Claus on Christmas morning. I thought a pig in a Santa suit was funny so I started making jokes about "Santa Pig" and "Santa Hog" and "Sausage Claus" and "Jolly Old Saint Jimmy Dean." Julia laughed for a while and then was ready to keep reading but I was still laughing hysterically at all my pig jokes. So Julia said "Mommy, you've got to get a hold of yourself."

Ships Happen

One of the things I really love about living here is that sometimes, when it's very early in the morning and quiet, we can hear ships blowing their horns in the Houston Ship Channel. Having been a resident of Abilene, TX, for eight years, I never dreamed I could be lying in bed and hear a ship go by. And at our church, one way we get the kids calmed down if they're upset in the nursery is to take them over to the window and show them the ships. How cool is that?! In Abilene it was more like, "See the mesquite tree? Wow! God made that mesquite tree!" The kids always seemed rather unimpressed.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Toys Need More Than Instructions

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published December 29, 2004

Dear Santa,

You must be relieved that your work is done and you can take it easy for another year. You deserve it, big guy. But as much as I appreciate you and all you stand for, I would like to lodge one complaint.

My head hurts.

No, I’m not hung over from anything. It’s the toys you brought my children. They are getting more and more difficult to figure out. I’ve been pining for Christmases past, when Julia, our oldest, was a preschooler and Christmas toys didn’t get much more complicated than a Teletubbie that proclaimed “Big hug” when you punched its stomach.

To give you an idea of how much things have changed, my husband spent yesterday afternoon trying to decipher the instructions to Julia’s “Mall Madness” board game. By the time he got it set up, he was ready for a nap. And he has a master’s degree. In fact, we’ve learned that our combined 14 years of higher education amount to jack squat when it comes to assembling and using our 5-year-old’s toys.

We must not be doing something right with her S’mores maker, because the marshmallows have been coming out medium rare. On her “Zoo Tycoon” computer game, in which you are supposed to create and manage your own zoo, lions keep escaping from their cages and chasing down terrified tourists.

And I’m not even sure David Copperfield could figure out Julia’s magic trick set. I made one of her baby sister’s socks disappear, and I still don’t know where it is.

Baby toys are no different. You left Jenna a Fisher-Price Kick and Whirl Carnival. It flashes lights, makes a lot of racket and lures our 4-month-old into a glassy-eyed stupor. We’re not complaining about that. It’s the miniature hardware store that came with it. By the time we got it assembled, my husband’s tool box appeared to have exploded all over our living room.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. We are truly grateful for everything. But let me share a line from the “Secret Instructions” to Julia’s magic tricks: “Take a newspaper and glue together the bottom and sides of two pages to make a secret compartment, with the opening at the top.”

I’ve gone through so many newspapers trying to glue them just right that I’m going to need a second subscription. My child will be signing up for AARP by the time I get this figured out.

I realize that children no longer ask for Raggedy Anns or building blocks or other toys that don’t require batteries, warranties or instructions that have been loosely translated into English from Swahili. So here is my solution. Why not offer Continuing Education classes for parents on toy assembly and usage? I know that right now, I could go for a detailed lecture titled “Yes, You Can Dress a Polly Pocket!”

Just something to think about. By the way, thank you for the Sony TV/weather/FM/AM/CD under-the-cabinet kitchen clock radio you brought me. My husband installed it in about three minutes.


Deana Nall

Auld Acquaintance

What is an auld acquaintance? Do I have any? If so, was I supposed to send them Christmas cards?

This was the first year that I really started thinking Christmas isn't fun anymore. We were just so insanely busy. And two days before Christmas I was at the doctor getting diagnosed with mastitis for the second time (ask your wives) and then in the doctor's office parking lot I got into a fender bender with an angry, cigarette-smoking, cell-phone screaming, beach-cabin dwelling woman. "I hate Christmas," I decided. "I'd rather it were April 29, Sept. 3 or some other nondescript time of year."

Then... all the planets must have lined up or something because it snowed in Houston on Christmas Eve. Do you understand what I'm saying? IT SNOWED IN HOUSTON! ON CHRISTMAS EVE! I told Julia to remember this because it may not happen again in her lifetime. I had been praying so much for the family of my friend Jennifer, who died in July. I like to think the snow was just for them.

So then I was fantasizing that the smoking, screaming beach woman and I worked things out. That she apologized for calling me a bad mom and we ended up joking and having a wonderful time together. That we became very close friends. And when people asked how we met, we'd laugh and say, "Would you believe we collided at a parking lot intersection two days before Christmas in 2004? Isn't it great how God works?" The newspaper would do a human interest story on friendship with an unlikely beginning. We would be a community symbol of peace.

But no. Her paint is on my bumper and she's sitting in her beach cabin, smoking and hating me. Oh, well. Deck the halls.