Friday, October 29, 2010


This morning while trying to fold laundry
the baby was out of sight
for a few minutes.

She began hollering.
I ran to the rescue.
She had climbed onto the kitchen table.

My last post makes this story even funnier.
This morning someone had left the maple syrup
in the middle of the table.
Of course that is Caroline's spot.
I assume she had climbed up to claim it back.

In her 16 month old mind
I guess she decided to take that syrup out.
Out of the bottle to be exact.

The table had a healthy layer of syrup
across it's whole surface.
And of course Caroline
had it all over herself too.
She was hollering because she didn't know
how to get out of the mess.
If she moved, she would stick in place.

I scooped her up and put her in the bathtub.
Clothes, shoes and all.
I'm experienced like that.

We got the job done.
Caroline was stick free.
The clothes were in the dirty laundry pile.
And the shoes were washed out.
The table was also scrubbed
to shine.

Now that Carline is down for a nap,
I've had a minute to reflect
on my relatively unproductive day.
About how this little incident
parallels my life right now.

I feel stuck in the middle
of a lot of sticky goo.
No matter where I choose to move to
or even if I choose to sit,
it's still not fun.
And I want to holler out for help.

I wish someone would scoop
me up and throw me in the bath.
And then clean up all the messes.

And then I remember that I am 37 years old
in three days.
And no longer 16 months old.

And I have to find my own way
out of messes.
Even if I don't like syrup
and would have never
spread it across my living space.

I need an
Aunt Jamima size miracle.
And I am sure that God will deliver.
Because I am his 16 month old
who cries out of help.
Even when I am 36 and 362 days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Baby Announcement

Caroline is gorgeous.
All my girls are gorgeous.

I think I may be done having children.
I am not sad.
If I had to be done at some point,
I am glad to make this sweet girl the baby in the family.

She is so perfect.
But I am not.
And I am tired.
And old.
And I am afraid if I have any more
they will be completely neglected.

Every time I turn around,
this baby is into something.
She climbs.
She climbs.
And climbs.
She thinks her spot in the family
is sitting in the exact center
of the kitchen table.
She will find a way to get there,
no matter how many chairs I overturn.
And no matter how many times
I tell her no.

She finds electronic gadgets
and tries to drop them as many times
as she can
before she is caught.
She has broken
2 cameras,
1 laptop,
and a remote control
is lost forever.
Probably in the garbage.

She is constantly dirty
because her mother is lackadaisical.
It's a good thing
that babies
with food on their faces
are so cute.

The girl will find
that is not to be found.

We have nailpolish on our wood floors.
We have markers on walls.
We have ripped homework.
We have chocolate stains.
And missing shoes.
And not a single chapstick
that hasn't been eaten.
When the fridge is open
and she is standing by
she goes straight for the tobasco.
Go figure.
She likes to suck the bottle.

I better not have any more children
or they may be taken away
by the authorities.

Oh how I love this child.
She is perfect.
Perfectly energetic.
She is a rambunctious dancer.
She loves to dance.
She loves to sing.
She loves to try and repeat
anything we tell her.

She calls everything and everyone
Because she has a picture of Jesus
above her changing table
and we practice his name
every change.
She can also say stinky ka ka
very well.

She hates bugs.
Freaks out at bugs.
She is a loud child.
She screams like nobody's business.

She loves our dog and cat.
She LOVES her sisters.
She loves books.
She will open any book she can find
and read it to you.
It's amazing how many books
are about Jesus.

She is strong.
She can throw a tantrum
that scares her father
who is 285 pounds.

She has the most amazing
attention to detail.
She is always watching
She thinks every cell phone
on the earth
belongs to her.
To do with as she pleases.
It's like she has a cell phone detector.
If she is in the same room,
the same house,
the same car,
or the same soccer field,
and you pull out a phone,
she will be there for the grab.

She always wants to play on the computer.
I really think she is trying to program.
No joke.
She has the mouse down.
And the keyboard.
She knows how to open and close windows.

Did I tell you that she is only
16 months old?

I love this child.
I love her
differently than my other kids.
I think it's because
she is the baby
in the family.
Or maybe it's because I am
almost 40.

Did I mention how
tired I am?
And old?

My Really Important Stuff

Even if you are fenced in

you can choose to be happy about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Infinite Love

Even if they don't seem loveable,
one of God's greatest miracles
is the love he has for each of us.

He even loves the
rich and famous.
(The Real Housewives
are a whole different kind of star)

I think that has got to be hard to do.
To love everyone.
To know them intimately.
To see their good
even when they often act bad.

The next time I hear about Lindsay Lohan going to rehab,
I am going to choose not to judge,
but to remember that God loves her.

And then I am going to force myself
to realize that
he loves me too.

Even when I do the same stupid thing
for the millionth time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Little Red Hen

When she was younger,
Sophia's favorite book was
The Little Red Hen.

I think I have it memorized.
"Not I, said the pig.
Not I, said the fox.
Not I, said ....the other animal that I can't think of."

It's a good thing that I work so hard.
Because my memory stinks.

Duck, was it duck?

Man, I read that story at least a thousand times.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me #24

It doesn't matter
how many baby dolls
you have
as long as
you have fun
playing with them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Death Cannot Quench Nancy Boyer

I would like to share a sacred experience. I hope that I am not casting my pearls before swine. After reading this experience after I first posted it on facebook, one friend said that I had heard with my spiritual ears, (as it is referred to in the scriptures) and I agree. But, even though we are discouraged from sharing too sacred of experiences, I feel compelled to share this experience. Someday perhaps, when it is my time to go, it will provide some comfort for my loved ones.

Nancy Boyer and her husband, LeGrande, are permanent fixtures in my husband's life and through marriage became my extended family too. So, on hearing of Nancy's passing, last week, I was totally and completely overcome with despair. It was close to bedtime, and so I told myself that just as soon as I was ready for bed, I would kneel in prayer. I tried to keep focusing on the task at hand, but I kept getting this urgency to pray. I finally succumbed to the urgency I felt and made my knees hit the floor in prayer and supplication. I then had a very sacred experience. It was truly an out of body experience.

I had been bawling and when I knelt to pray I totally surrendered to the despair of losing Nancy. I love her so much. She was one of few people in this world that I felt took the time to truly understand me and love me. Nancy was a person who had a mighty ability to love. Everyone knew how much she cared about them. So, as I started talking to God about Nancy my bawling turned to incoherent sobs and shaking that got increasingly more violent. I tried spitting out my request for Nancy's husband, children, and grandchildren to be comforted, but I could not make the words sound out loud. I felt relief knowing that God could hear my silent prayer.

All of the sudden, out of the middle of nowhere this crazy conversation from a few years ago came flooding back to memory. A long forgotten conversation between Nancy and I made way for an awesome calm. As I was remembering, I came to the realization that my body was completely still and there was no longer even a trace of despair or crying. It was as if God himself placed his hand on my shoulders so that I could hear what needed to be heard. I was completely focused on this conversation from years ago that had occurred shortly after the passing of another friend.

I had confided in Nancy that I would often try to strike up a deal with my husband that if he died before me, he would find a way to send me a message that I was on the right path to join him. I am certain that I am on the right path, but I am also afraid of the unknown and it would be nice to have some reassurance of my place in the next world and that someone I know and love would be there to help me when the time came. I embarrassingly admitted to Nancy about my fear of death. Nancy had a way of getting all kinds of stuff out of people. (I think this is one of the reasons that I loved her so....we both revere honesty, the giving and receiving of it.) I knew she wouldn't laugh at my confession. In fact, looking back there was only one natural thing for Nancy to do. She said that sounded like a great idea and that when she died, if there was any way she could send me a message to know about the other side, she would like to play along.

As soon as my mind finished replaying the conversation, word for word, I knew in my heart that my good friend Nancy was somehow fulfilling her promise. It was not in any way that I had expected but it was so like Nancy to make sure she didn't leave anything unfinished. It was an absolutely amazing experience and will always be remembered by me as one of my most sacred. From complete shakes and loud bawling to total and complete stillness and peace, there was a reason for this remembrance of something that otherwise would have been completely forgotten.

I looked up, completely marveling, knowing somehow she was right there. By looking up, I felt like I was somehow acknowledging that I had received her message. It was as if I was saying, "NANCY, WE DID IT. You came through big time!" As soon as the whole minute passed for this experience from start to finish, I could literally hear Nancy's perfect robust laugh (one of my favorites in the world). Unlike the memory, it wasn't in my head that I heard the laugh, but I literally physically heard her laugh, as if she were right there. I then knew that her laugh was her way of telling me back, "ALICE, WE DID IT..the impossible." There really is a way to communicate through the veil.(Of course Nancy would be the one to deliver such a message - she was an accomplished and prolific genealogist, who I am sure experienced some of these moments of her own) I know Nancy came to me. I felt of her urgency in saying good-bye, as if she was rushing around to see everyone she knew one last time. But, somehow because of that promise to a scared young woman, I had gotten a special treatment. Another thing so like Nancy, to seek out the one who needed it most. I immediately felt the urgency of Nancy being ushered on to where she was going. Her laugh was such that her back was turning.

I cannot even tell you how I am left feeling about the significance of this experience to me. I have always feared death in a terrible way. But, I will never fear it again. Because I know that I am doing the right thing, as she surely told me so. And if anyone wants to question my belief in the next life, I will tell them that they are going to have to take it up with her. Because I think somehow she will find a way to sneak them a message too. And as Nancy's children will attest to, when Nancy is right, she is discussion allowed.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I just got done listening to
Taylor Swift's new song

her apology to
Taylor Lautner.

How could anyone
ever be mean to Taylor Lautner?
What a little hottie.

I am in a reflective mood right now.

And I am pondering

I think Taylor's song is brilliant.

I think about the times in my life
when I have hurt other people,
and I wish I could go back
and do it differently.

If I can't go back and do it differently,
I wish that I could
communicate my regret
and sorrow
more masterfully.

I also think about the times
when I have been hurt.
And how I wish everyone
were good
with giving
a sincere apology.

Why is it so hard to say sorry?
I do it all the time.

But, anyhow,
this song
got me thinking even deeper.

Taylor's lyrics
talk about how she can tell
that whoever she is singing to
is not loving with the same intensity
when she sees him the next time.
He is "holding back",
I think that's how she put it.
"That in the back of his mind
he has that night in December
playing on replay."

That is how I feel so often.
I don't want to be hurt.
So, I hold back,
The next time I am
given the opportunity to love.

When listening to this song,
I felt what seemed to be sincere regret
in the lyrics.
But, do people really change?
If I were on the receiving end
of the original hurt
would I be able to make myself trust again?
Trust that they really changed?

What about if the hurt is repeated,
Over and over again?

I like to think that I would trust.
That I would tell you it's o.k.
But what if you aren't trustworthy?
How can I tell that you've really changed?
And how can I make myself
trust someone
who repeatedly hurts me?

I can either stop being hurt,
which seems would require me
to love with less intensity.
Or the other person
could quit hurting me.
But is that even possible?
For a human
to never disappoint?

Isn't that what life is all about?
Learning to love
in spite of human flaws?
Learning to trust
the people who have
the most power to hurt?

I don't know.
All I do know is that
I wanna love with all my heart.
And I don't want to be hurt.
That's it.

And I'm not gonna stop
until I have the answers.

I know THE answer
Jesus Christ.

But, I hope I can
invite His power
into my life.
Every time
I want to love.
Especially when I have been hurt.

I have been reading a book
Dr's Henry Could and John Townsend

I was amazed at this quote
and it's relevance
to what I had already written.

Emotional distance is a temporary boundary to give your heart the space it needs to be safe; it is never a permanent way of living. People who have been in abusive relationships need to find a safe place to begin to "thaw out" emotionally. Sometimes in abusive marriages the abused spouse needs to keep emotional distance until the absusive partner begins to face his or her problems and become trustworthy.

You should not continue to set yourself up for hurt and disappointment. If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should wait until it is safe and until real patterns of change have been demonstrated before you go back. Many people are too quick to trust someone in the name of forgiveness and not make sure that the other is producing "fruit in keeping with repentance" (Luke 3:8) To continue to open yourself up emotionally to an abusive or addicted person without seeing true change is foolish. Forgive, but guard your heart until you see sustained change.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When we first moved to Knoxville,
seven years ago,
I would drive by this house often.

It was for sale.

One time during an open house
I went inside and dreamed of buying it,
and filling it with foster children.

There are about 12 spacious rooms
each with its own bathroom.

Filling the house with children
seemed the only alternative
when thinking of the
only other choices
I could figure:
Being occupied by
a small family with two children
or a bed and breakfast.

As I walked through the spacious kitchen,
I imagined a bunch of sets of little hands
pitching in at family meal time.

And as I left,
I pictured the porch swing.
I would have to install one.
But, there would be a swing.

Because that is how my daydream
always ends.

Me and LeGrand
sitting on the swing
watching our posterity
play on the lawn.

I love my husband.
He is the man of my dreams.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: Behind Every Good Man

Behind Every Good ManBehind Every Good Man by John Bytheway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Short and sweet book. Really, it will take you all of 20 minutes to read the whole thing.

What did I learn?
Besides the fact that I am not as good of a wife as I thought I was?

#1 And most important (which is really hard for wives to hear) You can't change your husband.

#2 Love your husband. Just the way he is, and you might inspire him to be better.

#3 Be grateful that your husband puts up with you.

#4 Your husband is really a lot better than you give him credit for.

#5 Don't criticize EVER. Unless he asks for it, and even then you have to deliver it in a way that seems complimentary.

#6 Men talk for information, women talk for interaction. Define your roles, needs, and communication styles and then remember them when interacting.

#7 Affirm affirm affirm and let him know you love following his lead. And make a big deal about everything that he does that you like and/or appreciate. Thank him specifically.

#8 Talk about your admiration for each other, especially in front of other people.

#9 Speak each others' love languages.

#10 Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is, treat him as he is the man you want him to become and he will become that man.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

God Ranch

This makes me think of brands on cattle.

Like we each have a signature on our butts.
Like cabbage patch dolls.

I have to say the thought of being branded
makes me want to stick with my own church.

Where we preach being
children of God.
No brand required.
Just DNA.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Book Review: Where Men Win Glory

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat TillmanWhere Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember hearing about Pat Tillman and his decision to join the army after September 11, 2001. I had no idea at the time that I was just another unassuming American being sold on a war by the US Government and the US media. I am glad that on a whim I picked this book off the new additions shelf a the library.

This book was absolutely fascinating in two ways. The first is obvious: Pat Tillman was a remarkable man. He was patriotic and tough. He was unmaterialistic, almost anti-materialistic, and that is why it wasn't a big deal for him to walk away from his NFL contract and sign up to be a soldier. He was loyal. He stayed with his same girlfriend through high school, college, and the rest of us his cut-short life. One of my favorite parts of Pat's story was how he gave up a 9 million dollar contract with another NFL team way before he went to war. He was loyal to the coaches and team that gave him his first chance at professional football in the 7th draft, and he wasn't even worried that he lost millions. But, I already told you that he wasn't materialistic. What a breathe of fresh air in today's stuff-saturated society.

Pat is a hero to me. He's an unlikely hero for me. He was agnostic and almost self centered. However he was smart and confident. In reading this book he wasn't portrayed as the selfless guy that I imagined him to be, but as a high risk junkie. I am not sure if I liked that. I know that just as this book made me non-trusting of the government and news networks, I am also now untrusting of the story teller. No one man can ever write enough to really let you know a man you never met. I will tell you this, after reading about Pat Tillman's life, I would have loved to be able to sit down with him and discuss ideas. He was a philosophy kind of guy...always testing ideas. This is why he is a hero to me. I like thinkers.

Interestingly, Pat never wanted to be paraded through the streets as the guy who believed in the war, and this is precisely the reason I chose to read his biography in the first place. In fact, Pat was disenchanted with the war. He joined to go and find Bin Laden and kill him, and Pat was pissed when his whole first tour turned into Bush's ulterior motives of defeating Sadam Hussein and Iraq. As a naive American, I never knew that warheads were made up by our government just to use the 9/11 opportunity to defeat a country we felt was a threat. But, Iraq was never a terrorist threat like the Taliban and Al Qaeda members harbored in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iraq just happened to be a convenient neighbor close enough to Bin Laden to rally Americans to attack. I finished this book, also pissed that I had been dooped into fighting the wrong war and upset that our government wasn't more successful at finding every last terrorist and wiping them into oblivion.

The second facet I loved about this book is that it was a living history lesson. It was a lesson to me about world events that I was never in touch with. I learned all kinds of stuff about the middle east and our foreign affairs with them; things I am ashamed I never took the time to know before. The way that the story was written as a go between of a fascinating soldier and a fact telling story was especially effective at keeping my attention. I would never just pick up a daunting tell all of middle eastern events, but mixed in with the story of Pat Tillman, made it all the more fascinating and relevant, for this ignorant US citizen who tries to keep US politics at bay.

Good read. It is recommended by me for all kinds of people: People who like world history, US Politics, the National Football League, the US Military, war histories, the Middle East, terrorist plots, or just plain old philosophy.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Sconan or Cott

I originally gave this post the title of
Scott and Conan Cruze Rock.
But, then I realized that maybe
I should have entitled it
Conan and Scott Cruze Rock.
How should I choose who to reference first?

I had a very humbling experience on Saturday.
Just when my husband needed it most,
another man showed up
with or without his phone.
Probably with.
(What is it with men and their gadgets?)
I'll show you my phone,
if you show me yours.

there were two men that showed up.
And they look identical.
Even though they aren't identical.
But, their hearts are identically huge.

And this woman cried
because she was so completely happy
that her husband
has two of the best friends
known to mankind.

They used to be referred to as
By my in-laws.
But, that was when they were 10.
I guess they thought
that Sconan sounded better than Cott.

I think that these two have
earned to be called
by their own
given names.

I love these men
and their wives
with all my heart.

And I am always amazed
at the wisdom of
my husband.

Even when choosing
lifelong best friends
at a very young age,
he keenly