Monday, February 28, 2005


Last night at church was so great! I've seen umpteen baptisms in my lifetime, but I've never seen one more special than last night. Brittyn is a 16-yr-old in our youth group who you could describe as a "100th sheep." She's the one the Shepherd left the other 99 to find. He climbed mountains and crossed the darkest valleys and canyons to bring her home. Saturday at Soul Link she decided to give her life to Christ and Chad baptized her last night. We could have flooded the church building with tears of joy last night. I think we used up all the Kleenex in the building.

Brittyn reads this blog, and it would be cool if you guys could post a comment welcoming her to the family. Thank you, Brittyn -- for letting us love you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Can’t get enough of the cookies

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published February 23, 2005

Nine boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. That’s what we ended up with this year.

It has become our yearly tradition. Every January, my husband Chad and I have the same exact conversation. It’s usually at a restaurant following Sunday morning church services:

CHAD: Oh, don’t buy any Girl Scout Cookies because I bought four boxes from Kelly Bird this morning.

DEANA: Um ... I bought five boxes from Lauren Whitley this morning.

CHAD: Oh. Whoops.

And so it goes. Right now we’ve got two boxes of Caramel deLites and one box of Peanut Butter Patties in the pantry and four boxes of Thin Mints in the freezer. Two other boxes of Caramel deLites didn’t make it through the night. And we just got our cookies yesterday.

Which brings me to my problem with this annual inundation of cookies. Chad and I have no self-control whatsoever.

Oh, we act like we do. We give our kindergartener two or three cookies and say. “That’s all for today.” After she goes to bed, we can’t get into them fast enough. Sometimes we can’t wait until she goes to bed. That’s when we hide in the closet and eat them — attempting to muffle the crinkling cellophane under last season’s sweaters.

I really like the Thin Mints and the Peanut Butter Patties. But nothing, absolutely nothing, rocks my world like a Caramel deLite. Coconut, caramel, chocolate — it’s what makes life worth living. You can’t buy a cookie that’s anything like the Caramel deLite anywhere else, and every year I mournfully relish the last one — knowing I won’t taste anything so heavenly for another 10 months.

I could justify this gluttony by reminding myself that buying Girl Scout cookies contributes to a good cause. And that’s true. Girl Scouts have a 93-year history of building confidence and encouraging leadership skills in young girls, and I’m all about that.

But I guess I’m also all about stuffing myself so full of chocolate that I’ll either develop diabetes at a world-record rate or balloon to a size that would enable me to sell my car because I could just roll myself down the street.

This, my friends, is not a good cause.

Before I get too depressed, allow me to share my guidelines for consuming Girl Scout Cookies:

1. Never turn down a Girl Scout. She could be a high-ranking leader one day, and she’s got cookies to sell. Buy them.

2. Never, under any circumstances, should you read the nutritional information on the box. There are some things you just don’t need to know.

3. Don’t waste your time on the cookies that don’t have chocolate in them. I can respect the Shortbread cookies for being one of the oldest varieties of Girl Scout Cookies. But I don’t have to eat them.

4. If you observe Lent, do not give up chocolate. We live in a cruel world, and the fact is that Girl Scout cookies come in right smack dab in the middle of Lent. You’d either have to put them up until Easter or compromise your faith by tearing into a box of Thin Mints while no one is looking. Except for God.

My final piece of cookie advice: If the cookies are too tempting and cause you to lose all self-control, just eat all of them. Then they won’t be around to tempt you anymore. Which reminds me — I need to go make another dent in my supply. Just doing my part.

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

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I've Never Been to Me

In the spirit of ripping off other people's blogs, here's my list of "Nevers."

1. I've never mowed a lawn.
2. I've never owned a house that was built after 1952.
3. I've never been to California.
4. I never pledged a club in college.
5. I never understood guys/girls who only dated members of certain social clubs.
6. I never visited the Big Thicket even though I'm from Beaumont, TX.
7. I've never skied.
8. I've never seen "Schindler's List."
9. I've never seen "The Passion of the Christ"
10. I've never wanted to see "The Passion of the Christ"
11. I've never thought all Christians should see "The Passion of the Christ."
12. I've never had the slightest desire to own a pick-up truck.
13. I never finished writing thank-you notes from the birth of my second child.
14. I never finished writing thank-you notes from the birth of my first child.
15. I never finished writing thank-you notes from our wedding.
16. I've never been crazy about popcorn.
17. I've never given birth to a baby that didn't have blue eyes.
18. I've never held my second, third and fourth babies.
19. I've never read the sports page.
20. I've never seen an episode of NYPD Blue or any of the CSI shows.
21. I've never broken any of my wedding china or crystal.
22. I've never stopped in Sour Lake, TX.
23. I've never been to the silos in Abilene, TX.
24. I've never cleaned my oven. (I tried! Fumes got to me.)
25. I've never had jury duty.
26. I've never been ashamed of my C-section scars.
27. I've never gone without nail polish since about the 6th grade.
28. I've never had a marijuana brownie. Never understood the point, actually.
29. I never watch "Charlotte's Web" without getting choked up when Charlotte dies. ("Charlotte? CHARLOTTE!!")
30. I've never moved furniture to vacuum. (I mean the big, heavy stuff.)
31. I've never had more than four first cousins.
32. I've never had a brother-in-law.
33. I've never had a sister-in-law that is living.
34. I've never operated a weed-eater.
35. I've never had to change a tire.
36. I've never been attracted to guys with red hair.
37. I've never put my children to bed without singing to them.
38. I never got asked out in high school by someone who attended my school.
39. I never liked the movie "E.T."
40. I never stopped liking Chef-Boy-Ardee ravioli.
41. I never saw any aliens while I was living in Roswell, New Mexico.
42. I never eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese without ketchup on it.
43. I've never liked country music.
44. I never studied during my freshman year of college.
45. I've never had my daughters' ears pierced.
46. I never went to Oplin.
47. I've never thought spinach was gross.
48. I never got rid of my Star Wars action figures from second grade.
49. I've never thought hospital food was that bad.
50. I've never vacuumed the carpet in my closet.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Love songs: Some swoon, some fall flat

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published February 16, 2005

“Shootin’ at the walls of heartache! Bang! Bang!”

“Losing ground, I’m reaching for you! You! You!”

“Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, baby, please don’t go!"

Yep, those are actual lines from actual love songs. If these examples are any indication, there are some pretty lame love songs out there. This can make it difficult to find the love song that’s right for you.

So in the spirit of the recently-celebrated Valentine’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the best love songs of all time. With these five songs in your CD collection, you just can’t lose.

5. “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel. Best line: “She’s got a smile that heals me.” I’m yours, Billy!

4. “Your Song” by Elton John. This man has such a way with words that it’s easy to forgive him for forgetting the color of his lover’s eyes in the middle of the song. Besides, I had to include Elton in my list or Emily Griffin would never speak to me again.

3. “Turn Me On” by Norah Jones. You’ll also need to turn your AC up when this song comes on. Whew! It’s getting hot in here!

2. “Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones. Love this song. Love Norah. Guess you can tell.

1. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. The words are sheer poetry. Can you imagine being out on a dinner date and your spouse leans across the table to say, “In your eyes, I see the doorways of a thousand churches ... the resolution of all the fruitless searches.” Check, please!

I realize not everyone is so lucky in love. So, being the fair and balanced journalist that I am, I will devote the rest of this column to what I think are the worst love songs ever.

5. “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” by the Cutting Crew. You’re out with a guy and he keels over. How romantic is that? Does anyone really fantasize about ending an evening by dropping their date off at the morgue? On second thought, I did fantasize about that a few times. Oh, well. Next!

4. Anything by Air Supply, especially “Every Woman in the World to Me.” Ladies, if a guy says you’re every woman in the world to him, that includes his mother. And his grandmother. And every nun on the planet. And Queen Elizabeth. You don’t want to keep going down this road. It only gets creepier.

3. “Crazy for You” by Madonna. I hate this one only because my eighth-grade boyfriend and I were couple-skating to it at the roller rink one night when he fell on his face right in the middle of the song. I managed to keep rolling — right out of his life.

2. “U Stink But I Love U” by Billy and the Boingers. Fans of the 1980s comic strip “Bloom County” will remember this endearing tune.

1. “I Used to Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses. This song is about a girl who got on her boyfriend’s nerves so he killed her and buried her in his backyard. “And I can still hear her complain!” sings Axl Rose. Girls, if your guy ever dedicates this song to you, don’t walk away. RUN!

As for my column on love songs, in the words of songwriter Lisa Loeb, “It’s over! It’s over! It’s over! It’s over! It’s over! It’s over! It’s over! It’s over!”

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

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Sick Day

Hey, turns out the higher-ups at the bank here are not happy with my column making fun of their name change! I heard I got brought up and discussed in a meeting. I tend to think that if you write for a newspaper and you don't tick someone off every once in a while, you're not doing your job. So I'm quite pleased.

Chad is home sick today so the two of us have been home all day with Jenna doing nothing. I think Jenna is even bored with us. Chad has become hooked on my Sims game, and he spent all day trying to get one of his Sims a girlfriend. That's OK -- he spent a whole year trying to make me his girlfriend! Ha ha...

I was in the kitchen listening to an Eagles CD when "The Best of My Love" came on. I thought, "This has to be one of the greatest make-out songs of all time." Of course it begs the question, "Who gets the rest of your love?" Which would ruin the romantic mood. But anyway, I'd like to hear from anyone out there what your favorite make-out song is. I also have to throw in "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak.

Just 6 Years Old Trying to Save the World

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published February 09, 2005

“Mommy, can you put something in the newspaper for me?”

When my 6-year-old asked me this the other day, I knew it had to be important. She doesn’t usually pay much attention to what I write. She used to get a kick out of seeing my picture in the paper every Wednesday, but even that excitement wore off some time ago.

So if Julia cares about my column, something’s up. And it wasn’t too hard for me to figure it out.

Six years ago, when I was holding my sweet little baby girl in the hospital (and enjoying a delicious morphine high), I had no clue that I was staring into the eyes of an activist.

Since then, I’ve learned that my child is out to save the world. She wants a home for every stray animal. She wants every mean person to learn to be nice. And more than anything, she wants to personally save every type of threatened or endangered animal — especially marine mammals.

I admire Julia’s compassion and enthusiasm. But I find it somewhat exhausting.

Our little environmentalist started a “Save the Animals” club at school and signed up everyone in her class. She wants us to build a clubhouse in the backyard so the club can meet there every week. She wants to take all the club members to Moody Gardens and Sea World to see some of the kinds of animals they are trying to save.

So far, the club has prayed on the school playground for some ants who were displaced after a recent rain.

You read that correctly. My daughter prays for ants.

Club activities are not limited to school. The other day at church, Julia went around signing up just about everybody there for her club. And now, through my column, Julia wants to get the whole community involved.

Again, I love that my child cares about animals so much that, given the chance, she would jump into a Greenpeace raft and position herself between a harpoon and a blue whale. When I was her age, I was passionate about making sure my Garanimals matched, and that was about it.

But I’m tired. I have a 5-month-old baby who believes 4:15 a.m. is a great time for the day to begin. I fight a constant battle with my house, including a pile of dirty clothes we have named “Mt. Laundry” that won’t get smaller — no matter how much of it I wash. I’m a minister’s wife with never-ending responsibilities at church. I just don’t have the time or energy to operate the Sierra Club out of my home.

The good news is, as I explained to Julia, that groups already exist with the resources to save endangered animals. A good one is the World Wildlife Fund. They’ve been working to protect hundreds of endangered species around the world since 1961. The organization’s Web site,, lists several ways you can help.

I’m sure there’s work to be done on the local level, too. I don’t know if the Baytown Nature Center takes 6-year-old volunteers, but I’m going to find out.

I’m really proud of Julia and her club. The truth is that the world could use more kids who pray for ants. Because kids who pray for ants grow up to pray for the impoverished, the elderly, the AIDS-ridden, the homeless — the “ants” of our society that some people wish would just disappear.

Who knows — Julia and her friends just might save the world one day. At least their little corner of it.

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

Monday, February 07, 2005


Today Julia comes home from kindergarten and says "Emily said Blaine's brother had sex with a girl."

Yikes! Was I talking about sex in kindergarten? Or first or second or third grade? No!!! I told Julia to tell Emily (Emily and Blaine are not the kids' real names) "I don't want to hear that" and to walk away the next time she starts talking about it.

On a good note, I went to Julia's ARD meeting today and learned that although she needs speech therapy, she's brilliant. But I knew that.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Bank Didn't Need Another Name Change

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published February 02, 2005

To: Scott McLean, president, Southwest Bank of Texas

Dear Mr. McLean,

I’ve only lived in Baytown for four-and-a-half years, and I’ve already banked at Citizens Bank and Trust, Southwest Bank of Texas and, beginning March 7, I understand that I’ll be banking at Amegy Bank.

I’ve never changed banks. The bank keeps changing names.

The first name change resulted from a merger that ended the 80-year Baytown tradition of Citizens Bank. The most recent name change came about for several reasons, not the least of which is because someone in your company decided the bank’s name should reflect the company’s “dynamism.”

I had a few reactions when I learned about this. First, I had to look up “dynamism” in the dictionary to make sure it is an actual word. It sounds like an intestinal disorder. But Webster says it means “a theory that all phenomena can be explained as manifestations of force.” It’s also a “dynamic or expansionist quality.”

Next, I tried looking up “Amegy.” I didn’t find it. I did, however, find “amebic dysentery,” which, interestingly enough, is an intestinal disorder. Here’s what you had to say about the origins of the new bank name: “Amegy is a coined word that reflects the ‘energy’ of the people of ‘America.’”

I didn’t need to look up the word “coined.” I know it means “made up.”

I also understand that Amegy will be launching a series of high-energy (there’s that word again) radio and television commercials to help with the transition.

Since when did “energy” become such a crucial element in banking? I’ve never heard anyone say, “I switched banks because my old one just didn’t have enough energy.” The only energy I need, as far as my banking is concerned, is enough to get me out of bed and into the bank drive-through with my husband’s paycheck every Monday morning.

English is a fine language. Was there really no existing word suitable for your financial institution? Personally, I’m not looking for energy in a bank. You know what I like in a bank? I like the free popcorn on Fridays in the lobby. So why not “Free Popcorn Bank?” I’d also like a bank that doesn’t send back little pieces of paper at the drive-through trying to get me to sign up a friend for a checking account. Isn’t that your bank’s job? How about “The We-Won’t-Trash-Up-Your-Car-With-Little-Pieces-of-Paper Bank?”

If I seem a little cranky, the news of your bank’s name change came out the same day I read the results of a Swedish study on kissing. It seems that during a typical French kiss, more than 40,000 parasites and 250 types of bacteria are exchanged. I figure that in 11 years of marriage, my husband and I have exchanged close to 200 million parasites. I’m in a deep state of gross-out right now, and it’s made me a little testy.

The good news is that your bank’s new name has inspired me. I’d like to change my own name to reflect qualities for which I’d like to be known.

From now on, I’d like to be known as “Smute.”

“Smute” is a coined word that reflects how smart and cute I am. Please address all correspondence accordingly.



Baytown, Texas

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