Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today I was meeting with some people and we were asked to share something we regret. I shared something but kept a few other things to myself. Including one thing I will now share with you. I didn’t want to mention it today because I’m still trying to get to know people here and the last thing I need is for them to think I’m a COMPLETELY HORRIBLE PERSON. Although quite a few people from church read my blog, so they’re going to find out anyway. Oh, well.
It was my freshman year of college and I was home on a break. The guy I had dated through much of high school had a new girlfriend. I thought she was sort of a skank, and she had called me at work and harassed me once. Plus she was dating my ex, and that’s a perfectly good reason not to like someone, right?

So one night, my friend and I were hanging out and we decided we should do something somewhat vindictive toward this person. Because I did not like her. Because she was a skank dating my ex. I feel like I should give this person a name for this story’s sake, but I don’t want to use her real name. I think I’ll go with BLARGH because I don’t know anyone named that and that way no one I know will get mad at me.

DISCLAIMER: The friend mentioned in this story was NOT my bff Carol. Carol is too sweet and good to ever dream up anything like what I’m about to describe. My accomplice in this story was a friend from high school with whom I’m no longer in contact. For this story, I think I’ll call her SMOOSH because I don’t know anyone named that, and…well, you know.

SMOOSH and I wanted to do something obnoxious to BLARGH, but nothing destructive. Nothing that would really get us in trouble. After poking around in SMOOSH’s kitchen, we came up with a giant, Sam’s-sized can of spinach. We opened it (we had to saw it open with a knife because we couldn’t find the can opener) drove over to BLARGH’s house and dumped the spinach all over the back of her car. Then SMOOSH and I decided we should split up and pretend we hadn’t seen each other all night. Because if someone knew we had been together, it might be easier for us to get implicated in this totally obnoxious and immature (but funny… I mean, come on) act. So SMOOSH dropped me off at home and she went to her house.

I hadn’t been home very long when I got a call from my ex. What the heck – I’ll use his real name. Jason was FUMING. He knew it was SMOOSH and I who were responsible. Did we really think we could get away with this? Didn’t I know this was vandalism? Didn’t I know BLARGH’s dad was a cop? I vehemently denied the whole thing, told Jason he was delusional and hung up.

Then I started to worry. I called SMOOSH and let her know Jason was on to us. We knew we had to come up with a way to make people think we had nothing to do with this. I told her I would come up with something and hung up. Then genius struck. I had the perfect idea. My parents weren’t home. I went into the kitchen, got an egg out of the refrigerator, went outside and threw it against the back window of my car. Then I went inside, got a snack and turned on the TV.

After a while, my parents came home. Somebody had egged my car, they said! You have GOT to be kidding. I ran outside and feigned surprise and shock. Who could have done this? I went back inside and called Jason. You will never believe this, I said. Someone egged my car. And was it HIM? HUH? WAS IT?

No, it wasn’t him! He swore he had nothing to do with it. Then he said, “You know, it sounds like someone knows we used to date and they’re just trying to mess with us by getting BLARGH’s car and your car.”

That makes sense, I told him. That must be it. We hung up and that is the last SMOOSH and I ever heard about the incident.

But you know what? Come to think of it, I don’t really regret what SMOOSH and I did that night. I still think it’s pretty funny, actually. Not sure what that says about me.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Free the "E"

During the ridiculous amount of time I’ve spent reading Stuff Christians Like, I’ve come across something I’ve wondered about for years. The blog’s author describes the fascination some churches have with adding an unnecessary (and incorrect, from a language perspective) letter “e” to the end of church names. You know, like Cross Pointe, Life Pointe, etc. (There’s also the phenomenon of church titles losing the space between words, such as LifePointe, but I’ll complain about that some other time.)

This superfluous “e” epidemic is not limited to churches. A neighborhood near us is called “Westpointe.” There’s also “Midtowne Little Rock,” one of my favorite places to shop.

So where did this come from? What does this extra vowel communicate that a word without it would not? Is it supposed to be convey a more upscale image? Do those of us living in Forest Cove and Sunset Meadows live in the slums because we do not live in Westpointe and therefore do not have the luxury of a completely unnecessary letter at the end of our neighborhoods’ names?

My first run-in with the superfluous “e” happened in college. I was writing for the campus newspaper, and every fall we reported who had been chosen to serve as grand marshals of the Homecoming parade. Except, according to the alumni office, they were not grand marshals. They were “grande marshalls.” Because I know all of you are as obsessed with language as I am, let’s painstakingly dissect this.

First of all, “grande” is not a fancy way to spell “grand.” It’s a Spanish word meaning “large.” It’s also a title of honor given to the highest class of Spanish nobility. Which has nothing to do with an alumni weekend at a small Christian college in the middle of Nowhere County, Texas.

Now for the other word. “Marshall” (with a double-l on the end) is someone’s name. As in Thurgood Marshall, who served as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1967-1991. The word “marshal” (with one “l”) has 12 definitions, one of which is an official charged with the arrangement or regulation of ceremonies, parades, etc.

So clearly, “grand marshal” was the correct and appropriate term. But here was the problem: the alumni office insisted on “grande marshall.” It was even embroidered on the purple sashes the grand marshals wore in the parade. At the same time, the newspaper adviser (also the head of the journalism department) insisted on “grand marshals.” So if I spelled it wrong to keep the alumni people happy, our adviser counted off for it as a spelling error. If I spelled it correctly to keep him happy, the alumni people got upset. So how did I handle this? I’ll tell you how. A few years later, after I had graduated and while Chad was in grad school, I got a job in that very same alumni office. One of the first things I did was spend $80 out of the Homecoming budget to have new sashes made with “Grand Marshal” embroidered on them. This, my friends, is the kind of extreme I will go to in order to preserve the English language.

Back to “pointe.” “Pointe” is not a fancy way to spell “point.” It’s a French word meaning “a position on the extreme tips of the toes.” If you’re a young girl taking ballet, around the 6th grade or so, you will begin learning “pointe,” which is how to dance in toe shoes. It’s very difficult and takes years of training. So that neighborhood near my house actually means “West Advanced Ballet Class.” Advanced dance training is hard work. It’s not a place I want to live. And “towne?” It means nothing whatsoever. No entry in my dictionary.

Unfortunately, I’m all too painfully aware that people will spell things the way they want to. But as for me and my house, we just say no to the extraneous “e.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stuff Christians Like

This has got to be my new favorite blog: Stuff Christians Like.

I might be soulmates with the guy who runs it. He even makes fun of Precious Moments and Willow Tree. I think I love him.

I might come up with my own list of stuff Christians like. Also watch for more posts in my "Clothes/Shoes That Changed My Life" series.

Here's Jenna helping me make French toast this morning. See that face? I wake up to that every day. It pretty much makes life worth living.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

My Favorite Shoes Ever

I try to be aware. I try to be “wide awake,” like Bono on U2’s The Unforgettable Fire album. I try to be conscientious of the world around me. I try to be as well-read as I have time to be. I know the world is a broken, hurting place.

But I have been known to have moments of profound vanity and shallowness.

That’s why this post is all about really cute shoes.

Gather around and let me tell you the story of my Favorite Shoes Ever.

It was spring of 2006. I was in the Baytown Wal-Mart getting our weekly load of groceries. I don’t know what compelled me to walk down the shoe aisle. I’m not a snob about that kind of thing; it’s just that Wal-Mart isn’t exactly known for having cute shoes.

Then I saw them. Did my eyes deceive me? Extensive beading, braided wedge heel, long ribbons that tie around the ankle… was this for real? There was only one pair, and when I looked more closely, this one pair was in my size. Were these shoes worth adding 20 bucks to our grocery bill for that week? You bet they were. I snagged them like they were the Holy Grail. Because really, they were. I’ve never seen anything else like them in the Wal-Mart shoe department. People are always surprised when I say where I got them, because no one else has ever seen anything like them at Wal-Mart, either. I’ve tried to find them online with no luck. I consider this event to be a shoe miracle.

I must admit they are quite uncomfortable and I can only wear them if I’m not going to be out long. But as all women know, that doesn’t matter. Because they are so cute.

I get compliments on them all the time. Just yesterday, Chad and I were having a lunch date and a group of waitresses (not one, but a GROUP) came by to check out my shoes. It’s kind of like being famous.

Now let’s behold the cuteness. A moment of silence, please.

O, Wal-Mart miracle shoes, shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more... cute.

Is it OK to love a pair of shoes this much? We sponsor a child in India through World Vision. Doesn’t that make it OK?

I know these shoes won’t last forever. I know one day they will completely fall apart. (I mean, come on, they’re from Wal-Mart.) When this dreaded day comes, they will get a tearful burial in the backyard. But I will never forget them. These are the shoes I will tell my grandkids about.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Church according to Jenna

We went to a new house church last night and boy, does Jenna know how to make a first impression. The kids were all playing Simon Says and when it was Jenna's turn, she said, "Simon Says... TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF!" Fortunately, adults intervened and everyone stayed fully clothed.

This is the same kid who flashed our old house church one night. One couple never came back. Not kidding.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Girls' Weekend

My bff Carol and I just had our super fun girls' weekend. She got here Thursday and left Sunday afternoon. We had SO much fun. After being "new" for almost three years in AR, it was so great to get to hang out with such a good friend that I've known for so long. (Notice how careful I was not to say OLD friend.) Carol and I met in the fall of 1989 (almost TWENTY years ago) during Welcome Week at ACU. I was 18 and she was 17. We were just kids! We were great friends that year, then roommates for two years, I found her a husband and we were each others' maids/matrons of honor. And we've managed to stay friends even though we haven't lived in the same town since 1993. (Maybe that's WHY we've managed to stay friends. ha ha)

Here we are as college sophomores in 1990.

Until last Thursday, Carol and I have only seen each other for a couple of hours in three years. In September 2005, my family evacuated to her house during Hurricane Rita. Despite the natural disaster that prompted our visit, we had a great time. (Even though both families got quite ill that week.)

Then we moved to AR, then Carol got pregnant with their third child and had some complications, then she had Katie, then the mother of her husband Patrick was diagnosed with cancer, and she passed away last November. I went to Texas for the funeral and Carol and I decided we should get together some time when something bad is NOT happening.

So she flew in Thursday and we ate out a lot, talked a lot, laughed a lot (Carol laughed so hard at Capriccio Grill that she had tears running down her face. And that was before we even got our drinks) and ate out some more. Saturday we shopped before going to stay at the Peabody. The next day we slept late, skipped church (oh yes, we did) and went to lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger. Then back to the airport and back to real life.

We had so much fun that we didn't really care that it rained the whole time she was here. When I got home, Chad said, "You two should do that once a year." I said, "Once a year? She's coming back next weekend!"

Not really. But that would be cool.

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