Sunday, September 30, 2007

Best Friends

We just got back from this year's Best Friends Retreat at Camp Tahkodah. I drove up with Julia and Jenna on Saturday and didn't get to participate in much of the retreat activities, but it seemed to go really well. The guest speaker was our friend Tquan, and it was great to see him again.

Speaking of best friends, we have lost Jenna's. "Bunny" has been a member of our family almost as long as Jenna has. He was a gift to her from her Great-Aunt Wanda and her Great-Mamaw a few months after her birth. Jenna hasn't slept a night without Bunny since she was about nine months old. That's Bunny resting on Jenna's chest in this picture from about six months ago:

This morning at camp, Chad had packed our stuff up and Jenna had apparently removed Bunny from her backpack because I remember Julia saying that Bunny was sitting on a chair in the next room, which is the camp infirmary. That was the very last time I thought of Bunny until we were on our way home. I called Chad, who was in Searcy by this time in another vehicle. He drove back to camp and Bunny was nowhere to be found. Once we got home, I called three other adults who had been staying and/or working near the infirmary, but none of them had seen Bunny. Chad finally made it to our church and didn't find Bunny in any of the stuff other church members had brought back from camp. I couldn't reach anyone who works at the camp so I left a message.

Through a little internet research, I learned that Bunny probably came from JC Penney. The two I called here don't carry them anymore, but I did find another Bunny on Ebay.If the other Penney's in Little Rock and the camp staff don't turn anything up, we may be sneaking the Ebay bunny into our home and passing him off as the old one.

When Jenna asked for Bunny tonight, we told her he was going to stay at camp for a few more days and that she could go pick another animal from her room to sleep with tonight. She smiled and said,"OK!" and ran to her room and picked out a pink bear. Then Chad put her to bed while Julia and I prayed for God to please, please, please bring Bunny back to us. I realize Jenna is taking this better than I am. But I guess that since he had become special to her, he had become special to me, too.

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Monday, September 24, 2007


Goal for today: to get 1,500 words into the computer so I won't have to stay up half the night to make this deadline, like I had to stay up half of last night to make another deadline. After tonight, I have a break until another assignment shows up in my inbox.

I'm working on a story about El Paso, and I just saw that the city's slogan is "El Paso: You Have No Idea." Is that weird to anyone else?

I know I keep blogging about Jenna, but she's really on a roll lately. Yesterday in church, I had given her some change to put in the collection plate. When the plate went by, she put the money in but then decided she wanted it back as the plate was passed away from her. I said, "No, we're giving it to God."

She perked up.

"God's coming here? To Bible kwass?" (That's what she calls church.)

I said, "God's always here. He's with us all the time."

She sat up and started looking frantically around the room. I know she was looking for an actual physical person, so I tapped her chest and said, "God lives in your heart."

Her eyes got big and she grabbed the bottom of her dress and yanked it up, exposing her pull-up, tummy and chest for the church to see. After looking down at her tummy for a second, she looked up at me and smiled a smile that said, "I have no idea what you're talking about, but what the heck -- I'll go along with it."

So I've probably confused her forever about God. But in a cute way.


Here's a great article from Newsweek about an agnostic who decided to spend a year following every single law in the Bible. He even got to stone an adulterer!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Adventures with Jenna

Lately, Jenna and I have been going outside about noon, spreading out a blanket in the front yard and looking at clouds and jet vapor trails. She loves this and has been asking to do it every day. While we were outside today, she put her arm around me and said, "Mommy, we are best friends."

That was the calm part of the day, which was about to come to a sudden end. After the cloud-watching, we were getting ready to leave to take lunch to Julia. I opened the door leading out to the garage and pushed the button to raise the garage door. Then I thought I hadn't locked the front door, so I went back to check while Jenna ran out into the garage. On my way back to the garage after checking the front door, I heard Jenna scream her "I'm truly, legitimately in trouble" scream. I ran to the garage and found Jenna hanging by her hands from the bottom of the garage door, which, by this time, was all the way to the top of the garage. I had visions of her letting go and falling to the concrete floor, so I ran at her yelling, "Don't let go! Don't let go!" Thankfully she didn't, and I got her down and checked to make sure her hands and fingers were OK. She was very shaken up (me, too) and after she calmed down a bit we had a talk about how we should never, ever touch the garage door while it is moving. She said, still crying, "OK! OK!"

Then I recounted the story to Julia and her friends at lunch and of course, they thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard -- especially when Jenna kept saying, "I went up, up, up!"

I don't think it's funny yet. But I probably will someday.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

More online fun

If you happened to be listening to Radio Disney about 5:15 p.m. CST yesterday, and you heard a girl call in and then yell, "Mom, I got through! I got through!", that was Julia. We were sitting in front of Little Caesar's waiting on youth group pizza and dying of excitement because she was on the radio.

Anyway, my brother Brian is great at finding silly stuff to do online. Here are some things he inspired me to create:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hannah Panic

Hannah Montana tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today. It's predicted to sell out within 15 minutes. Julia's friend's mom and I have a plan: She and I will both simultaneously attempt to buy tickets online and on the phone. Julia and her friend will be on our cell phones to report progress back and forth. We'll each buy four tickets in case it doesn't work out for one of us. If we end up with eight tickets, we'll sell the four extra. (We've seen them going online for $1,500. Not that we're into ticket scalping or anything.)

Wish us luck!

UPDATE: We got 'em! I got four tickets at 10:02 and the whole show sold out by 10:09. My friend wasn't able to get any (doing the same phone/online thing I was doing), so I'm glad we were both trying. So now Julia, her friend, her friend's mom and I have a date with Hannah on Dec. 1! Pump up the party, baby!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Randomness

Okay...OKAY!! Kelly tagged me to write about eight random characteristics, so I did. Enjoy.

1) When football is on TV on a Sunday afternoon and I'm not watching the game, the sound of it really, really bugs me.

2) I didn't start drinking coffee until I was 35 years old -- when we moved to Arkansas. I guess Arkansas just makes me sleepy or something. I always have coffee after breakfast -- never with it -- and always in the same "Princess" coffee mug my Baytown friend Paige gave me. Although I'm starting to shake things up a bit by occasionally using the Starbucks mug my Baytown friend Margaret gave me. And my coffee always has to have something yummy in it like International Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie, not something lame and boring like cream and sugar.

3) I've put notes in my 3rd-grader's lunch since her first day of kindergarten and I'm always worried that if I were to forget one day, she would be sad. Even though she mentioned the other day that she would like me to stop writing the notes before she's in high school.

4) I live with an almost constant fear of being in a car accident. It could be because Chad's sister and my high school boyfriend were killed in car accidents. Whatever the case, the fear has worsened over the years.

5) When we're on a road trip and driving past a field full of cows, I can instantly spot the one that's pooping. Even out of 200 or so. Even weirder: Julia has inherited this ability.

6) When I see grocery carts on the side of the road that have rolled away from their respective stores and have no way of getting back, I feel a little sad for them.

7) When I'm in the car and anything by Chicago, Journey, ZZ Top or Huey Lewis comes on the radio, I change the station so fast that I'm probably going to sprain a finger one of these days.

8) When I'm pregnant, I have X-rated dreams that are also very funny but I wouldn't feel comfortable telling any of you about them.


Good Enough

I, like a lot of folks who remember the early years of MTV, pretty much lost faith in music videos a long time ago. It's just hard to find something quality that doesn't flaunt sexuality in some way.

Not that I watch a lot of MTV. Just "The Hills." And "Cribs." And "Made" and "Engaged and Underage." And "My Super Sweet 16." OK, I watch a lot of MTV. (You got a problem with that? HUH?)

It really should be required viewing for youth ministry workers, anyway.

Having said all that, I saw a video that I can say is beautifully done. It's "Good Enough" by Evanescence, Little Rock's very own hometown band. Amy Lee's otherworldly vocals paired with some pretty neat-o special effects -- check it out!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

That Day

Here's my post from a year ago today:

As a rule, I never had the TV on in the mornings except for PBS, and I never played the radio in the car while I was taking Julia (age 2) to preschool. So it wasn’t until I dropped her off and got back in the car and turned the radio on that I knew what was going on. This was about 9:30. We were supposed to have two elders and their wives over that night, and we had only been in our house a few months and didn’t have curtains in the bathroom yet. I hated to think of the elders or the wives using the bathroom within full view of our neighbors, so I had planned to go to the store to buy curtains. Rattled and trying to take in the news, I still went to K-mart and got the curtains. The lady at the checkout seemed pretty cheerful. “Does she know?” I wondered. “Should I tell her we’re under attack?” I said nothing and left. Those curtains hung in that bathroom for five years until we moved out a month ago. It’s funny what makes you remember, and I always remembered when I looked at those curtains.

My mom called later that day pleading with me to get Julia from school and come to her house. She was concerned because our neighborhood was situated between Exxon’s largest North American refinery and the Houston Ship Channel. But getting to my parents’ house would mean driving through Houston. “I’m not driving through any major cities right now,” I told her.

The mother of a woman Chad taught with at Baytown Christian Academy was on the plane that hit the first tower. (I interviewed Chad’s co-worker for a one-year-anniversary newspaper feature.) Another Baytown resident was touring NYC and was supposed to have been in the WTC that morning, but she overslept in her hotel. The crash of the first plane woke her up.

For the one-year anniv., I also interviewed leaders at the Baytown mosque. It was five Muslim men and me around a table. I was terrified at first. But it soon became clear that they were hurting, too. After that, it grieved me to hear people — especially at my own church — bad-mouthing our local Muslims. The attacks hurt all of us, plus the Muslims had to live under suspicion and with hate-filled glares.

Julia was just two at the time of the attacks, and we always guarded her from anything Sept. 11-related — probably too much. The first time I really talked to her about it was this morning, because I knew she’d probably be hearing about it at school. She argued with me at first. She said the Titanic was the worst thing that had ever happened to our country. “But that was an accident,” I told her. “The terrorist attacks were on purpose.” The hurt returned again as I saw the understanding fill her sweet face. She just said, in her quiet, little voice, “Oh.”


Thursday, September 06, 2007

How to say my name

Yesterday I walked in late to the first day of my Bible study (because of the torrential rain God bestowed upon Central Arkansas that day) and a very friendly woman said, "This is Dee Anna Nail, everyone!" To which everyone replied "Hi, Dee Anna!"

The problem is that my name is not Dee Anna Nail. It's pronounced "Deena Nahl." (Think "Dean" and an "uh" and "mall" with an "n.") In that weird moment in which a roomful of people were greeting me by a name that is not mine, I froze. I know now that I should have cleared it up right then, but instead I just said "hi" and sat down. Now I don't know how to let this group of people -- who I'll be seeing every Wednesday for the next eight months -- know what my real name is.

Then today. I'm sitting in the waiting room for my yearly grope session...I mean check-up... when a nurse walks into the waiting room and calls "Dee Anna Hall?"

I sat for a second, looking around to see if an actual Dee Anna Hall was going to stand up. She didn't, and the nurse called the name again. I cleared my throat and said, "If you mean Deana Nall, that's me." She looked very confused and went over to the receptionist desk where she found that my name had been entered into the system wrong. We got it all cleared up and then walked to an exam room where the same nurse said, "I'll be right back, Dee Ann."

I give up, people. Just call me whatever you want.

To add to the fun, the doctor was going over all the paperwork I had filled out and said, "Ummm... you believe you are severely depressed?" I said, "No -- did I put that?" He showed me where I had circled "yes." I had actually been trying to circle "yes" to the question directly above it, which was "Are you generally happy with your life?" I kept saying, "No, really, I'm fine." He was smiling and nodding with a look in his eye that told me he was thinking "Yeah, right."

One more thought. Have any of you ever seen a women's clinic NOT decorated with hideous, jumbo-print floral wallpaper? Just wondering.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

New Improved Blog Roll

Here's a joke Julia told me the other day:

Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?

A: It was dead.

She told me at lunch and I laughed so hard I nearly choked on my Boca.

I finally updated my blog roll today. I added Michelle (who had quit blogging, but she's BACK!), Leecy (my best friend from elementary school who I stalked, I mean, found, on Myspace) and some others I have been meaning to add forever.

I also got rid of my "What I'm Reading" section because I never update it and it looks like I spend months reading the same book.

Oh...guess who's coming to Little Rock Dec. 1?

Yep, Hannah Montana. With the Jonas Brothers. Merry early Christmas to Julia!

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