Wednesday, March 31, 2010

(not) The Preacher's Wife

**good news, I added a group shot of Chi Kappa to last week's post.

Last week I dug out some old journals to see if I could find the actual wording of the Chi Kappa pledge. I didn't find it, but in perusing through 6 or 7 journals I was struck by how often I wrote "I'm so depressed." Sometimes it was so sad and depressed, or maybe other slight variations, but almost every third sentence was "I'm so depressed" followed by the conclusion that I wasn't close enough to God, wasn't walking right, wasn't in God's will, etc. There are pages and pages filled up with these thoughts, followed by verses I wrote out; things I was trying so hard to hold on to and do, believe, something.

I went to BJ not knowing anyone or (in retrospect), anything. I didn't know what I was getting into. I thought it was just a sleep-over version of my former life. I was a rebel without trying because I didn't get the system. Then I spent several semesters desperately trying to fit in, to wear enough big white-collar shirts or ankle-length pleated skirts to be holy. And after all of that window dressing and verse-writing in my journal, a preacher boy boyfriend told me I was wearing too much eyeliner (it was the mid-90's and minimalist fashion was reaching a tentative finger into the overdressed world of conservative dress codes; thick black eyeliner was very cool just then). His exact (to my memory) words: "There are girls on this campus who you can tell just by looking at them that they love God."

Chew on that for awhile. Apparently that wasn't me.

(I have tried several times to upload a picture to illustrate my point but they are all uploading tiny and I'm not trying anymore tonight.)

And for that boy, I took "The Preacher's Wife" taught by none other than Beneth Jones herself. Beneth Jones as in wife of Dr. Bob Jones III. There was another woman teaching with her -a preacher's wife who said something that really helped me and has stayed with me over the years: when she was feeling like she wasn't saved, when satan was attacking her and lying to her, or she was doubting her salvation, she would just say "fine. Then I'll get saved now." This was amazing to me, there didn't have to be the drama and tears and aggravated soul-searching that I was getting from this preacher boy (who was out with an evangelistic team but that's another story); one day he was really cranky and finally burst out with "I'm doubting my salvation, OK?" I guess that meant he couldn't hold a polite conversation.

We did a project involving collecting bulletins and ladies' events flyers and stuff like that from churches. This was to build an idea file that we would use down the road when we were running women's ministries. or something. I actually think mine might still be at my parents' house. I'm seriously going to have to look the next time I'm there. Who knows what fantastic and possibly out dated ideas that accordion file will produce.

The other thing I remember about that class is sitting there with the girls who were actually dating preacher boys or maybe even engaged to one, wanting so much to be one of them, all of us in awe of Beneth. She was so tall, and put-together, and had such fine diction. She was our Jackie O. We wanted to be her.

I wasted a lot of credits in classes I didn't need. Sewing. Creative Writing. College Algebra. The Preacher's Wife (those are the ones I can think of now). I probably could have graduated on time if I had started with any sort of clue about prerequisites and required classes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wishin' and Hopin'


1. Dyson (or at least a better) vacuum

2. bunk bed for Sam's room

3. new camera

4. new sandals

5. a doll house for Kate

6. a new Bible for carrying to church (haven't found the exact one I want yet)

7. a kayak

8. adult bikes

9. treadmill or elliptical

10. a tummy tuck (the crunches are not working fast enough)

Next week, the top ten verses regarding contentment and thankfulness.

Kidding. Despite wanting all of these things, I know we are incredibly, abundantly, above-what-we-could-ask-or-think blessed. Jesus' words in Matthew 6: do not worry. Your Father cares for the birds and aren't you so much more valuable than them? (I know what you're thinking. Move that Bible to the top of the list and stop giving us paraphrases.) My life is not going to magically get better if I have a "great" vacuum, an expensive camera, or my 17-yr-old waistline back. My life is great right now and I am thankful for that.

Now. Head over to ohamanda and see what else has been top-tenned this week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Focus & Motivation

I have neither of these today. I keep thinking of things to do and then my mind wanders and I drift to something else. I have quite a few half-baked ideas rolling around in my mind and a house that for some strange reason will not clean itself.

I feel like, if I could focus, I could prioritize, and then if I could do that, the motivation to start on what can be started would come. But since I'm jumping at every passing breeze of thought, my frustration is growing that nothing is getting done.

I know that what I really need to do is kick it old school (just wanted to use that phrase): get a pen and paper and make a list. There are projects I want to do this week but don't want to start until later, things for the near future (weekend) that I want to do, things for the distant future (summer) that I'm excited about and want to start planning now, children to entertain/distract while I ponder all of these other activities, and regular everyday life to manage. Oh. and blogs to catch up on.

It just came to me. I'm going to pray that God helps me to use my time wisely and focus on what should be done. Then I'm going to break out that pen and paper.

If I don't get distracted first.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatbop* (Soup)

*Meatball, that is.

We had the tortellini meatball soup again last night. And tonight. Last night I had to take Kate to the doctor and didn't eat not only until after 7 but also well after everyone else.

Tonight, no energy. No thawed food. Craig suggested the leftovers so that's what we had. Kate said, "Last night I had to go to doctor and didn't get meatbop soup," which was incredibly cute and insightful of her. She was really excited about it, but didn't eat much until I fed her a few bites.

Sam kept asking, "Did I like this last time? Did I like the meatballs? Did I like the carrots?" and we kept telling him "yes."

Since I had to look up the recipe on my own blog because I couldn't find the page I tore out of the magazine, I knew that he didn't like the meatballs way back then. We don't mind obfuscating the truth when it comes to his likes and dislikes; they change so often it's hard to know what he really likes or doesn't. I think he ate 4 bites.

Then we announced we were going to Target and after that, Cold Stone Creamery. Suddenly he was full. Until we got to Cold Stone Creamery and he ate . . . well, click on the link. Something very similar to what's pictured. Without whipped cream. I knew Craig had taken him there a few times on their "guy days" but hadn't actually ever witnessed the consumption of that. And, they were so cute discussing the combination of ice cream and mix-ins & how Sam had not had that exact combination before. Sweet Cream ice cream, M & Ms, kit kat. In the chocolate-dipped waffle cone bowl.

He let me have two bites.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Extremely Long Society Post

Well, I still have 4 more years of roommates to write about . . . yep, I did college on the 5-year plan. And dorm life. And profs & classes . . . but today I will tell you about the non-human love of my life,

Chi Kappa Delta.

BJU has societies. Not fraternities/sororities. Those are heathen, liberal, student-organized entities. Society at Bob Jones is run by the school (really wish I could do the cross-through . . .Liz? blog lesson, please. That word "run" should be controlled). Naturally this mattered not to me at the time. My mom was in Chi Kappa. My aunt and cousins were. They were all presidents of Chi Kappa. It was my destiny.

Oh, and those girls were cool. They had a tent set up (rush being 3 days at the end of the first week; at 5:30 AM the societies could race for the best/traditional spot) in their own little island of space in front of the art building. After I visited them, they sent me a handwritten (if I remember right) note inviting me to their rush party on Saturday night. This made me feel loved. Accepted. Wanted. Forget that they probably sent everyone that visited their tent the same note, they wanted me.

I briefly briefly briefly (about a nanosecond) considered joining my red-haired roommate's small, pathetic little society, the Angels, because it was small and pathetic and if they didn't get their numbers up they would be closed down. I went with Chi Kappa (they sent the note, remember? and there might have been candy involved). In later years I tried to re-create for new rushees what they did for me but my memories of other rushes are foggy. I can't believe this is because I didn't participate much, but maybe it is.

So. Friday night of rush, everyone has a big rush party (girls on their side and boys on theirs). Chi Kappa had little hot dogs on sticks and who knows what else. They had history and coolness on their side. On my roommate's advice, I cruised around to all the other rush parties for whatever goodies they were handing out.

In retrospect, the red-haired roommate (who was also the Prayer Captain, remember? That means she had demonstrated sufficient spirituality to be the leader of all us other reprobate heathens. *Side note: I was not an A[ssistant]PC until my [first] senior year. I know girls who were APCs second semester their freshman year. That's a lot of . . . turning other people in? or brownnosing? or I don't know what. Putting on a good show, it would seem to me. There's so much fakeness [in my mind] associated with the appearance- and rules-based system that was my experience at BJU. anyway . . .) might have thought that if I joined XKD I'd be heading straight down the road to perdition. One of Bob Jones Sr's College Shipwrecks (that link will only take you to the BJU campus store site's three books about Senior; that book might be out of print).

I have to digress here again (maybe on a editing read-through I can make this all make sense but there's the whole time issue thing. As in, not having enough): I found this blog, from a woman who went to BJU and taught there and then was basically forced out. I want her to be my new cyber BFF (sorry, Angie, I have enough bloggy love to go around). She says pretty much what I want to say and so much better; I think I would be remiss to not send you over there. She's an incredibly intelligent writer. I started with the "Ebenezers," which are her story of leaving fundamentalism. I think a lot of what she says mirrors my own journey since (physically) leaving that place: that God is Love and we live under Grace.

Anyway, back to my story of rush. Saturday of Rush, all the booths and tents had to come down. That night the freshmen all met in the FMA (Founder's Memorial Amphitorium; big space where all big things took place) and one by one a representative of each society would run out from backstage and if that was the society you were joining, you followed the runner. Then you ran to where that society met and were inducted.

When we got to Chi Kappa's room, we were hushed and walked in to the girls holding candles and singing "Living for Jesus," XK's song. It was all very solemn and moving. When we were all in, we (the freshmen) had to say why were joining XK and then we took a vow:

  • to not let a cute member of the opposite sex go undated by me or my Chi Kappa sisters;

  • to not let my lipstick smudge, smear, or get on my teeth;

  • something about nude hose (probably not wearing them);

  • and probably something about wearing green and yellow (society colors) on Friday (society day)(which I did faithfully every Friday even when I student taught).

Then there was a skit of girls who had varieties of "disorders," from singing all the time, to cheering all the time, to assorted other crazy behaviors. I distincly remember Katey stainding up and (she was the cheer-osbsessed) saying/cheering "sit down Diana." The "therapist" (Jane, by the way, the most uber-classy girl you could ever hope to meet) figured out they all liked to sing and they broke into the theme song for my next 4.5 years:

Chi Kappa Dragons are the best
we know, we know, we know we know we know.
Or maybe it was :

Chi Kappa is the best
we all rate high we pass the test
we never quit we always try
our standard here is do or die
our girls are always on the top
they dive right in they never stop
We're Chi Kappa Delta
We're Number one!
Go Chi Kappa!

Yes. We were crazy. But my best friends, the lasting friends from that time, were all Dragons (I didn't mention? That was our mascot). It dominated my life at BJ (well, until CRC* but that's another story). We still think "Chi Kappa born, Chi Kappa bred, and when we die we'll be Chi Kappa dead." Hat/glove set in LL Bean in green with yellow trim? Buy it. Yellow and green sleeper for our babies? Buy it. I use the term "we" loosely. Maybe it's just me.

*Community Relations Council

Oh, and we ate the original dragon breath food, taco salad.

The year I was the runner for XK and I tied the flag around my shoulders like a cape and jumped off the front of the stage (usually only men's societies did this, but I was determined to break down gender barriers). Every year I was there we did some variation on the crazy group of people soothed by the arrival of a classy Chi Kappa woman and then breaking into song.

Societies met every Friday for society and also Sunday for Sunday school. They did sports together, and debate, and the question/answer competition I can't remember the name to now. They also organized outings, dating one semester and stag the other. I'll get more into that later, but suffice it to say that we Dragons were so cool and good-looking that guys would beg to matched with anyone in order to go to our outings.

I never did become president. The highest position I held (elections were held in the spring) was historian. Just another way I failed my mother. But I loved XK with every fiber of my being and even decorated my first apartment with the pilfered flag/cape.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

top ten books


Ten of my top favorite books:

1. Peace Like a River, Leif Enger: I was not expecting this to be so exquisite. I loved it; it caught me off guard, which made it that much more memorable.

2. A Separate Peace, John Knowles: I have always loved this book.

3. Beloved: my first Toni Morrison and it changed my fiction landscape.

4. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving: Another one that I didn't know what I was getting into and could hardly stop reading or breath I loved it so much. There was a perfectly awful movie adaptation that didn't even come close to doing this book justice.

5. Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton: The hills were beautiful beyond all singing of them. Someday you will speak Zulu in the dark. OK, I did the quotes from memory so they may not be exact but again, exquisite. It fueled my thirst for great writing.

6. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston. [My mother] said I would grow up a wife and a slave, but she taught me the song of the warrior woman.

7. Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott. I probably will lose my fundy cred for reading this, but c'mon. She puts her prayer requests (I don't think she calls them that; things she wants to ask God or wants God to do) in a box and then waits for operating instructions. How many times could I benefit from giving it to God and then carrying on until He shows me what to do next? And the "chosen and loved" part. Loved it.

8. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank. I remember picking up this book in a bookstore and this poem was on the first page. Which of course is one of the best poems ever and it's a villanelle. So, the book had to be fantastic for the author to have chosen that as the introduction/prologue (if it was on a shelf I'd just go get it and see if it's labeled in any way but all my books are [sadly] in boxes in the basement or Kate's room and my bookshelves repurposed for toys or crafts. Yes. This is a sadness in my life, that these books are not right here for me to look and and pick up at will. But they will. Someday. Be out of those boxes.) and it was. I would say, also, that this was my introduction to chick lit (not cheesy, throwaway, ridiculous stories with titles like "Beverly Hills Babes" or "Getting Married" but the idea of chick lit as smart, clever, interesting women navigating life with intellect and humor; that is what The Girls' Guide gave me. Plus I was single and had many failed relationships and had tried The Rules, so I felt close to the protagonist.

9. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson: This was a Pulitzer Prize winner and recommended by Craig's cousin, either of which alone would recommend a book; this one is unbelievably amazing. As was Home, and also Housekeeping. But Gilead started me on the path to those.

10. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro. Quietly moving & exquisite. Amazing. I couldn't find the movie on demand or . . . did I look anywhere else? I would like to see the movie with Anthony Hopkins. I picked it up at a used bookstore (so fun, those places) because someone had put it on their "top 15 books" list on facebook. I probably wouldn't have selected it otherwise, but am so glad I did.

So, I put a lot of effort into this post (on Sunday) and then realized I forgot one of my favorite books of all time: Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It was unbeliveable. The one person I found who had also read it claimed she didn't remember it. I almost keeled over, I was so anxious to discuss it with someone. Great story, great writing, great voice of the protagonist, great twist.

Now. Head over to ohamanda and check out other top tens of the week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good idea

As someone who frequently has a lot of good ideas, one of the best ideas I have had lately was to stay home by myself yesterday while Craig took the littles to Maine. They had a fantastic time cavorting in the sun* and I had a great time . . . cleaning.

I know, I'm a lunatic. The house (in my opinion) was disaster zone and I was feeling really overwhelmed and burned out (I know. My life is so easy it's ridiculous to think it's so hard that I need a day off, but as my therapist used to tell me, full-time caretaking is exhausting and draining) and just said I wasn't going.

Craig said he was "disappointed."

I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I refused (in my mind) to cave in and I am SO thankful that I didn't. I am so glad I stayed.

I listened to the silence.

I finished up the last two chapters in the book for Ladies' Bible Study.

I prayed that my day would be productive and relaxing.

I moved furniture and vacuumed under and behind what I moved, dusted the kids' rooms (that never happens), vacuumed the stairs, did laundry, cleaned bathrooms and humidifiers . . . just lots of little chores that were bugging me and not getting finished.

I took a walk in the beautiful weather.

I baked ribbon (more on that later).

I didn't turn on the TV until after 4 PM (only because I didn't know there was an NCIS marathon going on).

I didn't scrap until 6 PM.

It was exactly the day I wanted (well, I would have preferred to have the house clean at 9AM and have scrapped all day, but let's be realistic here); I was as busy and responsible as I could be and I had fun, too (what? you don't think baking ribbon is fun?)(I'm trying to link up a tutorial for you but it's not loading).

*by cavorting in the sun I mean Sam went for a tube ride in the small (50 ft from shore) area that wasn't covered with ice and Kate had a bathing suit on and played in the water. They came in smelling like summer - sunscreen and Ted's (no good link for Ted's, either). Craig said it was probably 75 degrees in the sun out front.

Yep, that's Katey Belle in Mousam Lake on March 20, 2010. And that differently colored stuff about 50 feet out? Ice. My mother-in-law took this picture. I can't wait to scrap it. I'll probably frame it, too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Last week, Kate (very helpfully) stuck a bunch of Craig's business cards into this vent. So he pulled the vent out of the floor and got the cards out. Then he noticed some things hanging out in the duct work so he reached in and pulled them out.

These three little guys, a play tape measure, a marker, lots of crushed up cereal (from her obsession with "cereal in a bag"), and pine needles from the Christmas tree.

The three guys went with a little fire truck thing. I had the fire truck and the fourth guy for a long time but I am pretty sure they have moved on, as I have a very low tolerance for toys with missing parts. If the parts don't turn up, the toy moves on.

He asked her why she put them in there and she said, very dramatically with borderline tears, as if admitting a huge failing, "because I wanted to help clean up and didn't know how."

Of course we were hoping for a random and magical appearance of the ipod touch. It has not been seen for many weeks now, despite looking in increasingly random places and frequently praying that God will reveal to us where to look to find it. Occasionally we'll try to catch Kate off guard and say, "where's the ipod?" but so far it hasn't worked to jog her memory (if she's even the one who lost/misplaced/stashed it).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

I would not mind a nice corned beef and cabbage (cooked that way but I won't eat cabbage) meal now and then, but Craig is not a fan. So for St. Patrick's Day (which, by the way, his paternal grandmother was from Ireland) I found an "Irish Lamb Stew" on and tried it.

It was fantastic. As soon as Sam heard what it was, he claimed he didn't like lamb. The last time we had lamb, it was marinated in a Greek-style marinade and grilled so I think that's why he said that. The char marks bothered him. So we told him to try it, it was made differently. He still didn't like it. Until we told him he could have a St. Patrick's Day cupcake if he ate it. He ate 3 bites. Then he ate 4 more. THEN, when I told him he needed to eat something more, "like 3 more pieces of meat, yogurt, or a banana," he chose meat. He missed the linguistic distinction of pieces as opposed to bites. But he ate about half of what I gave him and enjoyed his green-frosted treat.

Kate, meanwhile, was gobbling up the carrots. She was avoiding the lamb until I reminded her that she liked meat. I put a piece on her fork and the next time I looked over she had cleared her plate (of lamb, not potatoes) and I gave her more. She does like meat, and gobbles it up when she gets going on it, my funny girl.

Overall the mealtime battles are less, or, I should say, shifted from Sam refusing to eat (he still puts up a token protest) to Kate wandering around instead of eating. She also mimics his "I don't like this" but it's more like she's reading from a script than speaking from a place of actual conviction.


At BJU, you didn't get to choose roommates. You could request one person to be in your room, prayer group (group of 4 or sometimes 3 rooms that met for prayer group at 10:30 PM), hall, or (I think) dorm. One person for one of those places, not one person for each. You got new roommates every year. You could only live off-campus if you had family to live with or were 23.

There were 5 bunks in each room - a double bunk and a triple bunk. Most rooms had 4 roomies. Sometimes you got lucky and had 3. My sophomore year there was a room down the hall that had two so I requested to move into that room from my 4-person room - full of MORNING PEOPLE who listened to the RADIO before light bell (6:15 AM). I will get into that more later.

My freshman year I requested to be in a prayer group with a girl (Tania Bonczak) who had been in a room I'd visited the year before. She had a serious boyfriend back at home. Down the hall lived Katey Brown, who eventually moved into Tania's room and became on the best friends ever (I talked about her before. Her room was awful for some reason, a point of conflict being plants that attracted bugs. Katey would put them outside and the roommate would bring them back in. Katey pured bleach in them, one of the funniest things I could imagine to do to a roommate). The other girl in that room was the freshman sister of my roommate, who was a senior. They both had read hair. The freshman sister was grouchy a lot of the time and said she didn't like Katey because Katey was too happy all the time.

But enough about that room. The senior roommate in my room, the sister with the red hair, had a list of things she prayed for, one of them being a car. She had very specific things listed about this car, one of them being that it not be red. I remember thinking, NOT RED? How can you want a car to be NOT RED? Isn't red the best color? Like, for a MIATA, maybe (which I thought was the best car ever, at that point)? It amazed me that she was so specific; there were several more criteria. Now I think that that was a wise way to pray for what you want and that God provides in ways we can't imagine. But then, I thought she was crazy. She was also praying about going to Germany after graduation. I don't know where she ended up.

Paulette Menteer was a sophomore. Menteer couldn't be a real name, I thought. My sister and I made up that exact name when we played office or school. Paulette went to high school on Okinawa; her father was in the military. She had a friend named Jewel. I thought she was calling her "Jule," like, short for Julie, until I saw Jewel on her letter jacket. This was 1992, so even if Jewel was on the music scene, we didn't know it. Or I didn't. I listened to the Lemonheads and the Cure and stuff like that. I had a mix tape hidden under my mattress that I'd pull out occasionally when the room was empty and I missed home/high school.

Yes, that would have been a major demerit offense.

Our fourth roommate was Alison Currie, from North Carolina. She had dark hair and was a little, um, not clean. Once when she was home on cuts (or something), we (prompted by Stacy [red hair; I jut remembered her name]) washed her sheets.

There were three closets. I shared with Paulette because I was the last one to arrive. This made no sense to me as I had the most clothes. I always traveled to school and back with a lot of stuff, clothes and back issues of Vogue and memorablilia and sample-size Clinique products and what have you. A black-pleated skirt from high school that "didn't check" (wasn't long enough as in didn't cover my knees) that I kept just in case some situation would call for it.

Across the hall was a fun room who put on a "haunted house" for Halloween. It was funny and fun, but this was before I figured out that the end of October is for celebrating Founder's Day (Dr. Bob Sr's birthday) and NOT Halloween.

Stacy was the prayer captain (PC), which means she was "in charge" of our room. Every room had an assistant prayer captain (APC) and one of those would be the prayer captain, running the prayer groups each night (from 10:30 - 10:45). We always prayed at the end, after a short devotional, and were supposed to kneel. Almost everyone to a woman kneeled with her forehead on the floor and bum in the air. Hands folded under the face, sort of. Until there was a lice problem and then we were told not to share clothes or put our heads on the floor.

I'll have to get into the prayer group thing more in a dorm life post. I should make a list of ideas instead of flying off the cuff each week. What do you want to hear about?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not Me! Monday

It was not me who woke up Sunday morning, with rain pouring down outside the window, and decided to let Craig sleep in because our senior pastor was not going to be preaching this morning.

I was not the one who was more than happy to let Craig paint the dresser we moved into Kate's room, even though it was my idea to do it.

It is not me me who has jelly beans hidden in the cabinet because I like them (what is it about the promise of spring and craving jelly beans?) but don't want my children to eat them.

It was not me who confiscated the remote from Craig last night and switched from Rocky III to Sex and the City. A passive-aggressive channel-switching battle did not ensue.

And it certainly is not me who is sitting here stuggling for funny, creative, or semi-interesting not me's when there's so much housework to get to . . .

Now, since you have nothing else to do, head over to MckMama to see what else has not been going on . . . or check out her posts on her Kenya trip. Happy Monday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Random Fryday Thoughts

Or maybe it should be fried-day. Because my brain is fried. I am putting a lot of stock in the stop-and-glo wake up light that's coming today. At least UPS said it would and they are usually right. I would link it up for you but I am too tired so just google it if you're curious. Or wait a few days and I'll have a picture. It's supposed to help Kate stay in her room by turning green when she's allowed to come down, thus stopping the increasingly-early burrowing that is taking place in our bed each morning. I know she's going to get bigger, and not do it, and possibly hate me and all I have ever done, but man. 5:20 is early to have a little person wiggling all over the place, waking us up.

* * * * *

The other day I asked the bagger at the grocery store to please put all my refrigerated items together as that was all I was going to have time to put away (the weather was beautiful and we were going to go to the park). Sam did not want to go, so we didn't, and THANK GOD because there was no rhyme or reason to how the stuff was bagged. I would have had perishables on the floor for 2 hours since the yogurt was in with the cereal, but since I was home it all got put away in a timely fashion. I was so annoyed I called the store and complained.

* * * * *

Apparently one night of kids' choice resets my children's brains to the default mode of thinking that complaining about what's for dinner will get them a bowl of cereal.

"I don't like this!"
"I"m not hungry!"
I had to physically put Kate back in her chair many times the other night before she'd eat. Only twice last night. Sam is a little better and even ate chicken (I know, gasp) a few nights ago.
* * * * *
I wish I had the energy to cook a full meal every night, like my Mom did, but I get so tired. Or distracted. Or unmotivated/depressed. I don't know how she did it. Take-out or eating out was so not an option. My dad will even say now, "there's nothing at a restaurant that's as good as what we can make at home." It goes without saying that they're eating at the wrong restaurants; but also, there's something wrong with his taste buds or his mind/mouth connection or something.
* * * * *
I don't know why the spacing looks one way when I'm typing and another when I preview/post. Know that this was obsessively spaced when I wrote it but blogger is not working with me here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I didn't have a choice.

I didn't have a choice to go to Bob Jones. I remember very clearly thinking I had a choice, and even announced this ("I'm going because I want to, but if I wanted to go somewhere else, I would") to a person (visiting missionary/speaker) eating lunch at our house one Sunday when I was a senior in high school, much to the embarrassment of my mother who rebuked me later. To my confusion. And chagrin. Because if I really did want to go somewhere else, and presented my case in a focused and clear way, they would have let me. Right?

I don't even remember writing an essay; the selection process couldn't be that selective.

I spent a lot of time the first year or two trying to figure out where else I could spend a semester, to experience a "real" school. I didn't want to be away from BJ in the fall, because of soccer and rush; or was it the spring for some other reason? Of course I never even brought it up to my parents because let's be serious, it wasn't a possibility.

I always thought that kids should spend at least one semester away from home because for me it helped me grow up so much. Doing my own laundry. Figuring out my own schedule.

That idea makes me laugh so hard now, because in so many ways I was immature. I lived in a dorm where they told us when to go to bed and when to get up. What to wear when, where to go when (demerits for not going to class), who to talk to and when, when to eat, etc.

My grandmother lived in Greenville. She was in her late 70's, I think, and showing signs of Alzheimer's. My uncle and aunt lived on the BJ campus and taught/worked there. My mom and uncle had someone live with my grandmother and care for her. It occurred to me a few months ago (15 years after the fact, here), that I could have lived with her. I could have cared for her. I could have learned how to cook and clean and caretake and be responsible. Maybe I was too immature. Whether the immaturity was what kept my parents from giving me responsibility or the lack of responsibility is what kept me from maturing, it's hard to say. But I do think that had I been put in position of responsibility, I would have (cultural catchphrase) stepped up to the plate.

I do have some great memories from BJ. For what it was, the people I knew and the friends I made, I have some good memories. Stay tuned for some of those.

Way-Back Disclaimer

What I say about BJU was true at the time I was there, or true from my perspective. I hear there are big changes going on, like, no hose all the time, or unchaperoned dating, or students allowed on facebook. These are all clearly heretical to the way I experienced BJ. I'm pretty appalled,when I decide to expend emotion on it, and angry, too, about the angst and drama I went through with things that would be changed 10 or 15 years later. Because it was a stupid rule to begin with (I was going to launch into some exegesis of cultural ideas/tradition vs. Scriptural standards but I'll settle for a dismissive cliche).

Since I started this post, I heard that students don't have to attend all 4 daily Bible Conference meetings. This is a week of no classes and all services; other schools have Spring Break, BJ has Bible Conference. It was the only time of year that we could go on the grass and it was a big thing to have a picnic on the grass. I had one my whole 4 years there, I think. It was kind of a couple thing, to have picnics on the grass, and I was never in a couple at the right time. Oh, there was anther one; Christa and I planned one but we had it inside the gym lobby because of cold wind, or something.

Weird. Weird the things I remember, weird the things I did. Can't wait to hear more, can you?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Favorite Movies (in no particular order, again - as if I have time to figure that out!)

1. Breakfast at Tiffany's

2. Charade

3. Romeo + Juliet

4. Clueless

5. Confessions of a Shopaholic

6. The Sound of Music

7. The Departed

8. Cars (I admit it, I actually like it)

9. Forrest Gump

10. Henry V

Random. I'm sure if I tried harder I would think of other ones, better ones. Now head over to Oh Amanda to find other top-10 lists.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting out the door

This morning was a tough morning for getting out the door to church. I wanted to get back in bed and Craig was having trouble getting going. He has been the one to tell me get up, we're going to church, which I am so thankful for (he doesn't say it in a bossy, do what I say way, but in a motivating way).

I got something invisible in my eye (Craig checked three times) that no amount of rubbing or blinking or rinsing or poking seemed to be able to get out. Just typing about it now makes me feel it again. I kept getting dressed, alternating outfit components with eye rubbing. And then it was gone.

Then Kate had a fit about her outfit and it took two of us to get it on her. Then she tried to take her tights off and refused to wear her shoes.

Then she got cinnamon roll icing on my pants.

We got in the car and made it on time.

I think satan tries to keep us home. That these things are just roadblocks that we can either overcome by persevering or we can give up and crawl back in bed. I think God honored my effort to get dressed and go, even though my hair didn't get washed and my eye was bugging me, by making my eye stop hurting.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I was having such a nice afternoon . . .

I love to shop. And since some of Sam's pants were pretty worn, I got the go-ahead from Craig to go shopping. This means that in addition to perusing the toddler and boy pants (he's kind of a 5T but also moving into the boy sizes), I can look at all the other goodies in Old Navy. And then, should they not have acceptable khakis, I can head to The Children's Place and Gymboree. Which I'll probably head to anyway, since I had coupons for those places.

Note: the fashions at Old Navy and my coupon use both could have their own post so I'll just mention them in passing for now.

After taking Sam to school, Kate and I headed to Old Navy. After we paid, we spent some time watching a spider on the floor until someone stepped on it and it curled up dead. Then we headed to the mall.

We didn't really have enough time to finish quick and get back for Kate to rest, so we just took our time looking at things, using up the time until we had to meet Sam's bus. Kate wanted to go into Sephora (I love that place. I haven't stepped foot in one in years but it's such a happy place) and I let her play with the makeup. Then she wanted lipstick in Origins.

Then we went to Starbucks, where I noticed my wallet was gone when I went to buy her a chocolate milk.

Oh. Wallet's gone. Weird.

But I had the card I'd paid with at ON so whew, I could shop the mall. And my coupons were there in my purse, so I must have just rummaged my purse in the car and left the wallet on the seat.

I dragged Kate to The Children's Place and had no luck (I digress here, but why are their "pretty t's" for girls either tie-dyed or covered with rhinestones? Usually I can't get out of there for under $50 but yesterday, nada).

After riding the clear elevator up and down a few times, we headed to Gymboree. Kate ran around crazy and almost shoplifted sunglasses while I rummaged the clearance racks (another digression, but I have given up looking at full-priced things, esp. there; the prices are outrageous). Socks were 99 cents! and a dress for my niece! I love shopping, have I mentioned?

Another stop at the candy store to look (as I had no cash), the pet store (Kate picked out a chi-a-poo [chihuahua and poodle mix] that she wanted), and the rides (we had to mooch a ride in the bus because I had no money. No wallet, remember?), we went to the car. And my wallet wasn't there.

I went back to ON, parked in the fire lane, and went in to ask for the wallet. They didn't have it but would take my name & number and call if it turned up.

I got home, called the bank, and found out my other card had been used for over $700 worth of items at grocery stores and Rite Aid. ugh.

I must have left it on one side of the register at ON when I went to swipe the card to pay. Which is why I had that card and not the wallet.

The officer at the Nashua PD was very nice, but since the card was only used once in Nashua, he could only follow up on the theft and that one fraudulent use of the card. I'm supposed to make reports in the other two towns the card was used in. They only used the card 4 times, but the mall is right on the town/state line (Nashua, NH and Tyngsboro, MA) and not too far from where they did the most damage, Hudson, NH.

I can tell you, if I stole a credit card (and so wouldn't, I've seen enough cop shows to know that they can cue up the security footage for when a certain card was used and ID the suspect; but on a side note, ON doesn't have security cameras) I would not head to Market Basket or Rite Aid. Ann Taylor, maybe, or Nordstrom. I guess I just don't have a criminal mind, since Nordstrom is a 30 minute drive and I think part of the deal is to spend money fast before the card is cancelled. Just the kind of tidbit I like to tuck away should I ever need it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Way-back Wednesday

I grew up in a very conservative family, going to Christian school and a Bible church. And yet, for all our fundamental conservatism, the dress code for how long our shorts had to be (at summer camp, youth group, stuff like that) was fingertip length. That is, if you stand up, let your arms hang down to your sides, where your fingertips are are how long your shorts had to be.

Seriously? I would not wear shorts that short now. We're talking about what, a 3-inch inseam?

Our skirts could only be 2 inches above the ground when we were kneeling. Even our hockey kilts. (I guess my Christian school was a little more conservative than my church?)

I went to Bob Jones University for college (I am quite flattered, nowadays, when someone learns this about me and gushes, "you don't seem like a person who went there") where the dress code was more strict: no pants outside the dorm except for sports on back campus; hose* on at all times (except with said pants); bow in the hair (OK, not really, but my friends and I obsessively wore them as if it was a requirement).

*hose being nylons or tights. Panty hose, as it were.

I didn't realize how non-conservative our short length was in high school until I worked at a Christian summer camp and their rule was knee-length. A good 10 years later, longer shorts came in style, too late for me to avoid buying boys' shorts and wearing them low on my hips in a droopy, sloppy, and ill-fitting style.

One of my clearest memories of working at that camp was one morning, trying to get a jr high camper into "appropriate" clothing: another counselor and I were taking turns insisting she follow the rules and put on longer shorts (or something, a shirt with sleeves, who knows now) and it seemed that our inflexibility was just going to drive her away from knowing God at all, so finally I went into her room and said, "God doesn't care what we wear when we come to Him, but since you're here we have dress code rules and we need you to follow them." And that was the end of it. That seemed to be what she needed to hear.

When I said those words, I was just beginning to understand that indeed, God does not care what we wear when we come to him. I had spent so many years dressed up all the time and trying so hard to fit someone else's (various institutions') standards for what would appear holy. There was lots of God's judgement and not much grace.

(I don't want this to be a complete criticism of the people and places of my growing-up years; I think a lot of my issues with legalism, rules, outward appearances, etc., come from my immaturity at the time, but I wasn't going to get into that today.)

These days I've been known to wear pants to church. Somedays that's all that fits. We spent a lot of years not really going at all, and then one day the thought came to me, "God wants me in church wearing whatever than not in chruch at all. Clothes shouldn't keep me from Him." Still working on accepting that freely-given grace.

If you feel like this is a bunch of random thoughts strung together with a few weak connecting words, I feel the same way. but remember, this is going to be a series.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

My friend Melissa does these top ten Tuesdays so I thought I'd try one out. You can join in, too by going here.

My Top Ten Restaurants (I told you this was coming) - in no particular order because that would take me too long to try to sort out.:

1. Bugaboo Creek - we live near it and the kids like it.
2. Windows on the Water (Kpt, ME) - we ate there the night we got engaged. It's gone now.
3. Red Robin - Craig likes the Whiskey River Burger and I like the milkshakes. We don't live near one so when we're visiting my parents we try to eat there several times.
4. 56 Union - on Nantucket. Fabulous Brunch. If we're going to Nantucket, let's go to Fog Island, too.
5. The Common Man - another one near us; fantastic food and formerly fantastic brunch but they don't have the Sunday brunch anymore.
6. Ted's - fried seafood near the lake. Opens this weekend for the season!
7. Federal Jack's (Kpt, ME) - the place we went to make up for Windows on the Water being gone. Now it's a summer tradition to go out there without the children.
8. Giorgio's - another one we actually live near and go to without children.
9. 12 Pine (Peterborough, NH) - chicken burritos. 'Nuff said.
10. Del Rossi's (Dublin, NH) - yum.

I only listed places I've been to more than once or I would have included 2 Amys in Washington DC. Well, I don't know if it's in Washington exactly but it's nearby.

Now I'm hungry.

Monday, March 1, 2010

dinner fail, dinner success

Saturday I was in no mood to care that there was a diminishing amount of food in the kitchen. Add to that being "on call" for picking up Craig's grandmother from the hospital, with no definite time frame PLUS the drama of waiting for a tsunami to hit Hawaii (thankfully it did not, and thanks to CNN [or MSNBC} and we got to watch nothing happen live), and it got to be 5:15 and there was no dinner in sight. For anyone.

Fortunately, I am married to one of the most laid back and loving men on the planet, who called Bugaboo Creek to get our name on the "call-ahead seating" list. We headed over and proceeded to WAIT for 40 minutes. Just after I gave the host an earful (actually I was very polite and soft-spoken about it; the host really has nothing to do with how fast people eat) about how we were frustrated because we did call-ahead and here we were waiting, our pager went off and we ate.

I began thinking about how Bugaboo Creek is one of our favorite places to eat and then started thinking of all the exceptions to that. 56 Union, The Common Man, Windows on the Water, Federal Jack's . . . I could smell a "top 10" coming on so be on the lookout for that.

Last night we tried Cheeseburger Soup. Guy Fieri (you know, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) had some that looked fantastic so after a quick internet search turned up nothing similar, we invented our own based on what we could remember. It was incredible. So yummy. I may even share when I have the energy. The children did not eat it.

I'm thinking of a series of posts about my time at BJU. Should I call them Flashback Friday or Way-back Wednesday? Or something more clever?