Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six Lifelong Friends

I decided to include some background info. on some of my "oldest" friends. I mean old in the best possible way as these are friends that I have had for over 25 years. We all met when we became cheerleaders together, and we have been through all kinds of ups and downs some of which will NEVER be divulged. Over the next few weeks, each friend will be featured in the Friendly Face post; but here is what you need to know right now. There are 6 of us Lifelong friends: Lorie (me), Cynthia, Leslie, Joey, Kelli, and Michelle. We even have our own blog called 6 Lifelong Friends that Leslie was so kind to set up for us, but it's a secret just for us. In fact it's such a secret, that none of us can figure out how to post or comment on it yet. Hopefully we can iron that out soon!! Let me give you a little brief background on each friend, not including me.
Let's start with Cynthia...she's my friend that I always make try on cute and sexy clothes, because she has a great body. I try not to get my picture made with her often (which is really hard, since we are both big HAMS), because I don't want to stand next to her great body in a picture. You might say...do a close up, but remember someone asked me if I was my baby girl's grandmother; so I don't think so. Cynthia is definitely a goofball as well. I've witnessed her fall down numerous times and say things that made absolutely no sense at all ("Does my scaring drive you?"). She is the one I would never ask to be completely honest with me about something like....does this make me look fat? She ain't gonna tell you YES, even if you can't zip it up and your rolls are hanging over. I think she was the most misjudged friend in high school, because people thought she was way wilder than she really was (all because she wore shoe boots). Cynthia was really mean to her baby brother when we were teenagers, but sometimes he deserved it. She is as devoted of a mother to my children as she is to her own. I know, without a doubt, she would take all 5 of my kids in her home and love them like her own if she ever had to.
Next on the list is Leslie. Leslie is definitely my most free spirited, laid back friend friend. She can't be bothered with schedules, and she flies by the seat of her pants most of the time. Leslie is my most creative friend as well, and that girl can cook. She is my friend that turns a difficult time into an opportunity to praise the Lord. She's a daredevil and isn't afraid to tell you YES, it does make you look fat. She is whimsical and does many things on a whim. She always likes a good get together and will have all of us and our 19 kids down to her place anytime. Leslie can sing all the words to about any song I know.
Joey...sweet little Joey. She is my most positive friend. Joey always has the words that make you feel like everything is going to be allright. I never hear her talk bad about someone either. Although she's a quiet person, I've known her to get down with her bad self from time to time (eye twenty/eye twenty vision). She has an appreciation and an insight for things that I would never even think about. Joey would NEVER tell me if something made me look fat. She might say something like well what do you think? Sweet - yes, positive - yes, kind - yes, GERMAPHOBE - yes (sorry Joey, but I had to make you sound not so perfect).
Kelli (see my friendly face post)...she's my cute as a bug friend with a big smiling face. She's my friend I've known the longest. Kelli is one that can always CRACK ME UP! She can turn about any horrifying situation into a funny experience. Kelli is very conservative but doesn't have a problem speaking up for something she believes in either. She is my most organized friend and has a plan in place. If I asked Kelli, does this make me look fat? She would change the subject and offer me something to eat.
Michelle is my friend who really is a grandmother, but I bet nobody ever asked her if she was a grandmother. Michelle is a hard worker who will give something 110%. She has a sweet soul and knows her limits well. She's not afraid to ask for help, and she is always so grateful to hear from me. Michelle is my friend who can't enunciate words correctly: nanchos (nachos), stupit (stupid). She can laugh at herself really easily as we often laugh at her as well. Michelle can whip up a prayer like noone I've ever heard (get ready to pray for at least 10 minutes). That girl can praise the Lord. Michelle earned a lot of my respect when she became a single mother at 18. I never even thought about the sacrifices she made until I became a mother at 30. Michelle would say something like....well your shoes are cute if I asked her if something made me look fat, or why? Do I look fat?.
In a nutshell that's them, my lifelong friends. They love me for who I am which can sometimes be a quite irritating person. We have all done things we regret and things we will never do again, but those times have made us stronger women and better friends. They are all exceptional mothers who are raising their children up to follow Jesus, and I'm humbled and honored to have them in my life.

In the picture above from left to right: Leslie, Michelle, Joey, Kelli, a big old pregnant me, and Cynthia in front (of course there is her little cute body next to my big old pregnant one). Why does that always happen?

A Friendly Face - Kelli

As I stated in my previous post, I have so many people who have impacted my life for good and made it richer; and I want to share a little about them. So I am going to feature one person each week. I decided to start with my dear sweet and hysterical friend Kelli. I have known Kelli since Junior High School. and yes that is a looooong time. She is one year younger than I, but we bonded immediately when we met. My first impression of Kelli was that she was one of the happiest people I had ever seen - she smiles a lot, and I don't know that I had ever met someone that smiled as much as Kelli. She is cute as a bug, and she is also a ball of fire...more to come on that in a bit. She is also tough as nails. Shortly after we met, she suffered a compound fracture while playing soccer. You know the kind of broken bone, where your bone comes through the skin?? I never heard her once complain about the inconvenience or pain that accompanied that broken leg, huge cast and all. I remember going to see her in the hospital and thinking to myself...have mercy, that's BAD. She is very conservative, but she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes. Kelli is my hero for having a plan in life...she had her daughter's college paid for by the time she was in kindergarten (I think maybe even before), and she is one of the hardest workers I know. She spends her money and time wisely, and she is not afraid to ask your advice. She is not one to ask you for help, but with time and the struggles she has recently faced; she is getting much better about asking and accepting. I always look forward to seeing Kelli, no matter what the circumstance, and there have been a lot of difficult circumstances in her life lately. I have never been uncomfortable to be around her through anything. She is one the rocks in my life, and I could never ever give her the thanks that she deserves, and I hope she so humbly accepts.
Now for the good stuff: Let me start when we were younger. When we were in Jr. High and High School together, we were cheerleaders (yes I said it out loud, and I'm proud of it, sort of). Anyway we were cheerleaders, and for every single game, no matter what uniform we wore - Kelli wore these white plastic beads. You have to remember that this was in the 80's, so that sort of stuff was in style (I guess); although I would have never been caught dead in them. In every year book picture, I think even with her homecoming dress (she was a homecoming princess) she had on those stinkin' beads. She couldn't have looked any less cool or any less athletic wearing those white plastic beads, and YES cheerleading is a sport (at least we liked to think so). Kelli also was extremely conservative with her unmentionables. As cheerleaders, we shared rooms together during camp and changed in front of each other for practice, etc.; but I don't know if I have ever seen Kelli in her underwear. I just know, from what she has told me, that her undies are not the least bit "sexy". As a matter of fact, when she read my post about Pet Peeves, she e-mailed me and told me that her underwear do hang out the back of her pants; but it's because they are so HUGE. Kelli, Kelli, Kelli, will you ever learn? I, as a mother of 5 children, have often bathed with one of my kids when they were small. Kelli...not so much, I don't think she would be caught dead in a bath with anyone else EVER not even her daughter. Again back to the story... when I was a senior and she was a junior, we were having our annual cheerleader Christmas party where we drew someone's name to buy a gift for. You know where this is going....Well guess who I drew? Guess what I bought her? You got it, some really pretty (not sleezy) just pretty black panties and a black bra. It was mainly for a joke, but it was also because I thought she could use a little loosening up. Come on girl you're 17, and you're wearing granny panties? I think if that gift hadn't been from me, she might have gotten grounded; but her mama always liked me. I don't want to give you the wrong impression of Kelli, because she has impeccable taste (those beads are long gone); and she always looks great on the outside. Underneath, who knows?
Now for the Ball of Fire part...A couple of different things come to mind when I think about Kelli and our history together. One was the temper that that girl had which seems to have mellowed as we have gotten older. Again I am not the pot calling the kettle black, because I will admit that I too had a ferocious temper, which has sense mellowed tremendously. That's what motherhood will do for you. Anyway Kelli had a boyfriend, throughout much of our high school lives, who really set a spark in her (and not usually in a good way). I'm sure there were a lot of good, fun and sweet times shared between the two; but what I remember is the fighting....And did they fight. I'm talking fighting, with fists, not just words. I mean they had some fighting words as well, but help me Henry, these two could fight. I know that boys are never suppose to hit girls, but he and Kelli hit each other. Sometimes his might have been in self defense :-)! In fact after one altercation, she ended up with a broken nose. I remember it vividly....she came to a football game, all ready to cheer complete with white plastic beads, and a huge honkin' nose. She initially told us some made up story, but then she finally fessed up about the fight between her and her beau. Kelli could dish it out, and she could take it. Tough as nails. Now let's move on to another ball of fire story, and this one is literal. This past February, one of my sweet friends was turning 40; so we had some fun things planned throughout her birthday weekend. Let me give you a short bit of background here: there are 6 of us that have been there for each other through everything, and we are the LIFELONG FRIENDS...me, Kelli, Leslie, Joey, Cynthia and Michelle; so these would be the 6 to celebrate this big birthday together. There were several outings and meals, etc. planned to celebrate Joey turning 40. With all the outings planned, we were hoping that we could all share at least one outing with Joey for her birthday. It takes a lot of planning to get all 6 of us together for an entire weekend. Back to the story...the Sunday morning, of Joey's birthday weekend extravaganza, we had planned on meeting for brunch. As it turned out, Leslie, Joey, Kelli and I were the only ones who could meet that particular morning; so there we sat talking and enjoying each other. Secretly I had noticed that Kelli's hair looked a little different (not bad, just different): she had bangs. I hadn't seen her with bangs in a long time. As we were talking and discussing the holidays that had just passed, Kelli shared with us a horrifying yet hysterical tale. From here, I am going to let Kelli tell the story. Believe me when you read it, you will know that I could never have done it justice. These next words are hers, not mine.

Fire Day, December 24, 2007, approximately 7:15am CST

Heater had gone out. My mom in kitchen cooking for Christmas Eve Dinner all bundled in a robe and blanket. Me, still in my robe going to save the day and get the fireplace going. I turn the gas all the way up. Didn’t know you were supposed to open flume or flu or flew (see, don’t even know what you call it). I sat Indian style right in front of the fireplace and attempted to ignite that big long lighter thingy. After about 20-30 clicks the lighter finally lit. Well, since some time had elapsed and gas had collected, the moment I reached for the fireplace, a gynormous fireball shot out and shot me across the room. I remember standing up and seeing my pink heart robe on fire and looked up and made eye contact with my mom in the kitchen. Not real sure how she did it, but she rounded the corner in no time and tackled me, landing right on top of me. Then she beat me out, well the fire I should say. Pretty sure I had a cracked rib. 2nd degree burns on my hands and just first degree burns on my face and neck. Melted my glasses and removed my eyelashes and eyebrows and gobs of stinking hair singed. I have the scars to prove it and my bangs are still making their way in. I have been doing a comb over for 9 months and 6 days. I hope to dawn my newly grown left bangs by Christmas this year.

I calmly made my way to the emergency room at Baylor Grapevine where they separated my glasses and hair from my skin – they had become one. I was then introduced to morphine. Let’s just say the holidays started picking up from there…..

I will never again light a fireplace or any gas type object. I have given my gas grill away and purchased a new Weber that uses charcoal.

Leslie, Joey and I all sat with our mouths hanging open as we listened; then I think someone said something like...that's not funny, but why do I feel like laughing? And we laughed. I just want you to know that we realized how serious this could have been, and how fortunate she was. Kelli has a way of turning even the most horrifying things into something to laugh about, and we laugh a lot when we are with her. I know I thanked God that day for sparing her.
Now I want to tell you some more serious stuff about her and how I see Kelli. As she reads this, I know she will be a little embarassed; because she is not self -righteous at all. She has a little bit of a hard time accepting any sort of compliment, accolades or prompts (did I sound cool saying prompts?) In the last couple of years, she has gone through a very tumultuous and really frightening divorce. Her ex, how can I say this nicely, wasn't playing with a full deck and did some unspeakable things. I will tell you, without one doubt in my mind, that she was not one bit to blame for this divorce. When he would throw a curve ball in the situation, she always maintained the utmost integrity and self dignity. Kelli can be really hard on herself, but this time she knew that she was not to blame; and she wasn't going to let it affect her self image. I know there were times, within this horrible time, that she probably doubted and wondered- What did I do wrong here? But in the end, she trusted herself and her instincts; and Thank God she did.
During the last 6 months, Kelli suffered the loss of both of her parents to illness. Her father passed away last spring very unexpectedly, and her mother lost her long battle with cancer just a few short weeks ago. Throughout these last several months, as her mother fought and had surgeries and treatments; she lived at Kelli's house. Kelli lives in her house with her sweet little daughter and works full time where she has to travel often. In the midst of her already busy life, reeling from this divorce, and losing her dad; she openly took her sick mother in to her home. Kelli has a brother, who was more than willing to let their mother come to stay with him, but her mama chose to stay with Kelli. She is one of the most devoted people I have ever met. Now I'm going to be very frank, because it's my blog; and I can. I hope this next part doesn't come off an insensitive, because that is not my intention. If you have ever cared for, much less lived with, someone who is being treated for very aggressive and painful cancer; they are not pleasant people most of the time. I know this from experience, and it can be so very stressful and just hard to handle. One afternoon after her mama had been told there was nothing else they could do for her and was not given much more time to live, I called Kelli to talk. We both realized how good (in a weird way) it was that I had already been through this. There are so many emotions you face at the looming death of a parent that I can't even begin to explain them all. The one that we both talked about, during this particular phone call, was the guilt that we felt for being annoyed with our parents. I can't even imagine, what a dying person would feel, honestly I can't even imagine the emotions involved; but I remember being so annoyed with my dad for being so darn cranky. I just wanted to say to him, "YOU ARE DYING, Do you want to spend your last few weeks being mean to everyone you love?"; but I never did. It was so hard, because you want it to be something different than it is. I also remember talking with Kelli about the excrutiating pain that goes with the types of cancer our parents had, and the choices that had to be made there: meds that provide relief from the pain but destroy any alertness, or other pain meds which don't alleviate the excrutiating pain but allow them to be more alert. It's not a fun choice... you can either attempt to talk with your loved one while they are yelling out in pain or watch them lay there in a coma like state while feeling no pain. We talked about the physical care involved, and how neither one of us felt like we were cut out for this and how hard it was. I shared with Kelli the pain that still lingers, but I wanted her to know she was doing the right thing by being there with her mother until the end. Although Kelli is tough as nails, she has such a soft heart; and I've cried many tears with her. She has a hard head with a soft heart, although I think that hard headedness may be softening. Kelli has such a gentle and generous spirit and loves children. In fact, she is a kid at heart and that makes me smile when I think about it. I am honored and blessed to know her and have her as a friendly face in my life.
I hope this tribute to my sweet friend doesn't sound like a eulogy, but I sort of think it does. Oh well....at least you will know what I will say at your funeral if you happen to leave this earth before me.
Kelli you are a wonderful role model for your daughter but also for your friends, co-workers and family. You are an exceptional woman, granny panties and all.
I forgot to add one thing....Kelli is tall, slender and beautiful! Oh and also tan (how was that Kelli?). Actually the slender and beautiful part is very accurate, tall and tan - use your imagination.

My thoughts on funerals

I started this blog the day that I attended a funeral of a wonderful sweet man (see previous post), and it made me realize how many people have impacted me. I was thinking a lot about funerals as his funeral approached, and I even told someone that I learn a lot from a funeral; therefore I usually always try to attend them. I had to plan two funerals, in a very short amount of time, over the last few years; and I rememer thinking as I planned....I don't want people to feel awful when they leave this funeral. I know there is grief that comes with death, believe me I know, but the funeral is a way to let that person shine for the joy, fun, love and good they brought while they were here on earth. I think you learn so much about the person, who has passed, that you may not have already known. You get the opportunity to rejoice in the life they had while on earth and rejoice the fact that they are in Heaven (hopefully). As I've gotten older and attended many more funerals and thought back, I don't think there has been one funeral where I had any doubts about the person's eternal life, and for that I am so very grateful. That would leave me very sad and unsure. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a funeral crasher; and I don't look forward to going to funerals. I have also been to many extremely sad sad funerals which is part of going to a funeral as well. N Payne and most of my friends know that I have my whole funeral planned out. I don't want someone to try to figure everything out, in a few days time while they are heartbroken (at least I hope they are heartbroken) at my passing. I do want a funeral, but I actually like to think of it as a celebration. I want it to be a joyous celebration with balloons, no casket (I'm going to be cremated), and lots of praise music and all glory given to GOD. There are many more specific details, but I won't bore you with them right now. When the day comes for my celebration, you will be all be invited; and don't worry I know where I'm going.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pet Peeves

I've been thinking a lot today. It was a quiet day at home, so I had a lot of time to think and post; hence my 3rd post today. Pet Peeves: oh here we go...I have a lot of very specific pet peeves, and I have tried to learn to be more tolerable over the years. I will admit that some things I just can't tolerate as of yet, and I will admit that many of these things I have done or still do myself. Here is the definition of Pet Peeves (noun): a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear. Those are exactly what I think of as a pet peeve, something that irritates me personally. A personal bugbear, I couldn't have said it better; because they are personal to the person they irritate. Many of these things I have never told to anyone, because I didn't want to offend or come off as being judgmental. Please know that I don't mean to be offensive or judgmental, and I am listing these all in fun. If I know you and you do anything on my list, please know that I still love you (even if you drive me crazy). Get ready for my list, it's a doozy:
WHITE DRESS SHOES - just plain wrong
Mouth Noises: smacking, slurping, gulping..not sound effects (I'm clarifying for Kelli) BTW: I love sound effects. Cal is the king of sound effects.
Long Lines

French Pedicure...This is because I can't stand feet, and it grosses me out to think about all the foot handling that goes on giving someone a french pedicure-ewwww.
Bad Breath
Having to wake a sleeping baby

Razor stubble on my legs when I'm trying to sleep - can't stand it
Folks who don't RSVP

Strapless bras
Underwear that intentionally sticks out of a girl's pants (I don't think anyone I know does this, we're probably too mature which is a nice way to say "too old" - hee hee)
Eating off my plate, especially without asking ( Ask me for a bite, you're probably guaranteed to receive one. Stick your fork in my food, you might get a fork in your hand).
Walking across the street when there's a red hand that says "DON'T WALK"
Cutting in the carpool lane - IR-RI-TA-TING!!!!
Talking more than listening

Bad punctuation....I did use to correct my sweet husband's notes he left me; but I don't do that anymore. If you double check my punctuation on this blog, I know you will find many mistakes especially when using quotation marks.

The following are pet peeves that I just haven't been able to make myself tolerate as of yet. and you may get a kick in the bum if you do these around me. I hate to admit this.....but I have done some of these myself, AND then I am completely irritated at myself when I realize it.
Talking down to someone
Being mean on purpose

Being awakened in the middle of the night and not by a newborn baby
Being wasteful

So if you are ever standing by me in a long and crowded line, and you're wearing white dress shoes with french manicured toes peeking out while smacking your gum and wearing a thong hanging out of the back of your jeans all the while digging through your very unorganized purse with your long artificial nails for a cigarette and explaining to me how much money you make and how stupid your boss is while completely ignoring the person in line in front of you who is coughing while you blow smoke in his face; please know that I won't say a word to you about these pet peeves - but I may ever so discreetly move to a new place in line. These are MY issues, and I am trying to deal with them....really I am. LOVE YOU ALL FRIENDS!!!

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say....

I've been thinking about things that people randomly say without really thinking it through first...I know they don't mean to cause intentional embarassment or harm, BUT oftentimes their words do just that.
My Top Five Would Be....
1. Don't worry he won't go to kindergarten in diapers (about my son). And yes he did go to kindergarten in diapers.
2. When are you due? (to a few different friends of mine). And no they were not pregnant.
3. Are you planning on having anymore children? (to someone who has been trying to conceive for a very long time)
4. Is this your granddaughter? (to me). And no she's my sweet little baby girl that just turned two. Help Me Henry, does anyone know a good wrinkle cream?
5. What have you been doing all day? (to a stay home mom). And no my husband has NEVER said that to me, although there have been many a day when I'm sure he was wondering. Thanks N Payne, you're a good man.


As I was sitting in kindermusik with my little Elliot this morning, I was watching her dimply round cheeks smile and her eyes watch with great curiosity, as we sang and danced with her teacher. I watched her bare little feet and her little painted toenails wiggle and jiggle. I started to think about little treasures, and how much I love them. These are a few....

Baby feet (now anyone who knows me knows that I CANNOT stand feet, but baby feet are different)
Cool breezes with the sun shining
The smell of something baking in the oven
Really good shoes
Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks served all year long
N Payne carrying my very frou frou diaper bag surrounded by 4 little princesses and 1 little prince.
Lifelong friends (ones I've known forever and ones I have just made in the last few years)
A nice hot bath
Clean sheets right out of the dryer that smell of lavender
Date Days
Bible Study
Playing outside
Chanel No. 5
Painting my girls' toenails
Listening to Cal sing when he doesn't know I'm listening
Watching Elli run....so flippin cute
Sitting on my big ole' front porch
A song that brings me to my knees
Good neighbors
Grilling Out
Little chubby fists clutching fresh picked flowers
Living in America
My grandmother's Bible and little wooden pew set

I'm sure I'll add to this list as life goes on.

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Evening With A Younger Man or Maybe a Few....

Today is one of our favorite friend's birthdays. His name is Eli, and he is turning 6. Eli will melt your heart, because he is as sweet as pie served al a mode. He and my princess Drew became instant friends the day they met. Although she is 1 1/2 years older than Eli, they have a wonderful friendship. Drew thinks Eli is a sweet and gentle boy which is how she describes her brother, Cal, as well. Eli thinks Drew is fabulous, and he absolutely adores her. He has even told his mama that he LOVES Drew. For his birthday, he is taking 2 other little boys (who are not yet 6) and my Drew (the older woman) out to dinner and bowling. I think that is the perfect celebration birthday for this sweet little boy. So today promptly at 4:30, we heard a gentle knock at the door. All 4 "big" kids peerd out the window and excitedly said "it's Eli". I opened the door and there he stood, with big bright eyes; and looking as handome as ever. He immediately said with an excitement that only a child can have...."Today is my birthday".... as if he was telling me something I didn't already know. As I walked Drew and Eli to the car, his mama (Kara) met me and explained how he had wanted to come to the door all by himself to retrieve his "girl" as he affectionately refers to her. When Drew was returned home, many hours later, Eli's mama told me that she didn't want to come home; and he didn't want her to come home - so they brought her home last. Kara also told me how sweet they were and how they would, every now and again, just grab each others' hands and hold hands. Yes they have an affection for each other, but truly they have a loving friendship that I hope will last for a lifetime.
We vacationed with Eli and his family (and another wonderful family) this past summer in Gulf Shores Alabama. Above you will see this picture of Eli and Drew together that is so sweet, it simply takes my breath away. When Kara saw it, she said that has to go in a frame and maybe someday we will use it at their wedding (now our secret is out). You see Kara and I half jokingly/half seriously have betrothed these two into holy matrimony. Yes I know they are only 6 (just turned today) and 7, but it doesn't hurt to make wishes. His mama hopes that Eli will find a sweet girl like Drew to be his wife, and I hope that Drew will find a sweet boy like Eli to be her husband. You never know.....they could end up as bride and groom 20 years from now. After all, I married a younger man and look how great that turned out.


I'm a people watcher, and I find myself watching people everywhere I go. I usually just do a glance here or there unless I'm actually sitting down somewhere and able to take in my surroundings, and then I really study the people around me. This often happens when I'm on a date with N Payne, because I'm not consumed with watching my own children. I notice all sorts of things about folks around me but mainly I notice their expressions which in turn leads to eavesdropping. Yes I'm an eavesdropper. It started sort of unintentionally and still is for the most part, but if we are sitting near someone; and I can hear their conversation - then I listen. The first time I realized that I was eavesdropping was a long time ago before N Payne and I had babies. We were out to dinner enjoying a lovely meal, and while driving there we had heard that we were under a tornado watch/warning (I can never get those 2 straight). We didn't think much of it, because that happens often in Texas; and it usually results in an abundance of rain. So what better place to be when it's raining than enjoying a meal with your love. As we were eating, I could hear the rain hitting the roof of the restaurant extremely loud and hard; so I thought hmmmm maybe there's more to this than just rain. I started looking around the restaurant to see if anyone else was noticing this, N Payne always sort of brushes off my anxieties and nerves; so I hadn't even mentioned it to him YET. All of the sudden the lady next to us caught my attention. I could hear her on the phone talking, and I looked at her face. Her face was full of angst and concern, so then I LISTENED. She wasn't talking on the phone but waiting for someone to answer it. She was actually talking to the man she was with, I'm assuming it was her husband. She couldn't reach the babysitter; and she knew the kids would be scared in the storm. She was very upset as she continued to dial and wait for an answer. She kept reiterating to her husband that she was concerned about this storm and the fact that she couldn't reach the babysitter. By this time I was equally concerned for this family whom I never had or never would meet. I leaned over to N Payne and said something like do you hear what's going on over there? They can't reach their babysitter, and their kids are terrified of storms. He looked at me ever so puzzled, and asked what in the world I was talking about; so I told him again with my look and sound of concern. He looked at me with a startled look and a little bit of a confused look and said something like...are you listening to their conversation? I realized in a sort of surprised way that YES I am listening to their conversation, and I am worried about these children and worried for this mother. I was a little annoyed at N Payne for pointing out that I was eavesdropping and not being near as concerned as I about this family. The lady and gentleman left shortly thereafter, so I never knew what happened. Hence I became an official and self proclaimed eavesdropper (is that a word?). We ended up having quite a hail storm that night with a lot of damage done, and I always hoped those kids were not too frightened. As I've gotten older, I continue to eavesdrop; and it's sort of a joke with N Payne now. He's never surprised when I say something like....did you hear that those folks (over at the next table) are getting married? Isn't that fabulous? He usually just smiles and chuckles at me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My take on Birthdays

Help Me Henry....it seems as though the upcoming weekend is a birthday party frenzy. I will admit that one of the parties, occuring this weekend, is for my 2 youngest princesses. In addition to theirs, we have 3 other parties. I actually really enjoy birthday parties, and my childrens' birthdays are some of my favorite celebrations or holidays. After all heir lives are worth celebrating. The party we are hosting is a royal garden party (honoring my 2 youngest) which will be held at our church in the gym and on the playground. We have invited a lot of family and friends, and it will be a very fun time. We have a few activities planned, that my Addi princess will be overseeing (she loves that sort of thing), and then just a lot of running around and playing going on. There will be a host of sweet treats served....after all it is a birthday party, so what's a little sugar overdose. I am not normally a fan of party favors. In fact I really don't like them, and I rarely give guests a party favor. I personally think it's a waste of money. One of my friends gives me a hard time, because I have been known to "regift" party favors in the past. Yes it's true, and I am proudly guilty of doing that. We have a drawer full of party favor stuff that we have received, and I will often get it out and offer it to the guests who have come to our party. You may say cheap, I say frugal and not wasteful. After all, we aren't playing with all those little balls, yo-yos, trinkets, etc.; so we might as well let someone else enjoy them.
We have what is called The Payne Family Tradition which was started when our 11 year old turned 6. The tradition starts at each child's 6th birthday, and it is as follows: the child may still enjoy a birthday celebration with family and friends, but there will be no presents given. The birthday child may choose if they would like to have guests bring a monetary donation, a toy donation or whatever sort of donation; and then they get to choose where the donations end up. It has been a great opportunity for the kids to serve and give back. It was my husband's idea originally, because I just couldn't stand the thought of another toy coming into our house. The kids have plenty of toys, etc.; and I already knew by the time my eldest princess was 5 that she was part of the "Messy Team" (see previous posts) which would mean I would constantly be picking up after her or nagging her to pick up even more STUFF. N Payne, my husband, suggested that we ask guests to bring donations; and she could determine where the money went. It has worked out so very well and as the buttercups have gotten older, they really look forward to planning on what and where the donations will go. In fact this past year, my eldest spent part of her birthday volunteering at GRACE which is our local Good Will. I want my children to have a serving heart and know that one of our purposes in life is to serve others in the name of Jesus! A serving attitude and heart is an important attribute to have! My 2 princesses (B-Nut and Elli-Ooo) that are celebrating Saturday haven't officially made it to The Payne Family Tradition as one is turning 5 and one is turning 2. If you know me, you know I am sort of neurotic about keeping things the same for all 5 buttercups, so we must wait until their 6th birthdays; because that's how we have done it for the 3 siblings before them. I also thought 6 would be a more appropriate age for them to grasp on to the fact that there will be NO presents this year or that YES YOU WILL BE GIVING THOSE GIFTS AWAY. My eldest princess, Addi Jo, has always had a serving heart; and she in turn had no problem when we implemented this tradition at the ripe old age of 6. My now 7 year old princess (Drewby) was another story....when Addi Jo informed her (right before her 6th birthday) that she would not be receiving presents; she said very loudly and in an extremely surprised and irritated tone "WHAT?". We then explained the tradition to her, and although she was very disgruntled and thought she was going to be really disappointed about the NO present aspect; she quickly realized how good it felt to give her donations away. Her heart was softened immediately. She has since realized how important it is to serve others. I do want you to know, because I've had several people ask me .... you mean they don't get ANY presents for their birthday? Yes they receive presents from their grandmothers and cousins and each other if they so choose to spend their own money on a gift. I think it's very sweet when they want to buy each other a gift, so I don't discourage it. However they don't receive gifts from their guests, and if a grand party is the plan; then they don't receive a gift from their parents. We just figure the party is gift enough. The best part of The Payne Family Tradition to the children is that they get to eat whatever they want for breakfast on their actual birthday, and they get to choose what's for dinner that same evening. While they are eating breakfast, we break out the birthday table runner; and the little plate that actually sings Happy Birthday. I love looking at those sleepy little grinning faces as we are all singing and eating some sort of very unhealthy breakfast at wee hours in the morning, those are some of my favorite pictures as well. There is also a part of the tradition that the children don't even know about as of yet. As a matter of fact, I don't know if their daddy knows about it either. It's one of my favorite parts of the tradition...I started a birthday journal for each buttercup, and on their birthday; I write them a letter explaining what a gift they were to me on the day of their birth and why I love to celebrate the day they came into my life and made me a Queen. I could never ever thank God enough for making me a Queen 5 times over!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are we poor?

The other day my 4 year old princess declared to me the following statement, "We are poor!" I asked her what made her think we were poor, and she said; "Well we have to clean all the time!" Now we do live on quite a tight budget, but we are far from poor! We are able to take care of our basic needs, but we do often do without some wants. Let me give you a little background info. on this particular princess in my life...she is enamored with all things princessy: tiaras, gowns, jewels, etc. All the things that a disney princess might have. She is also completey in character when watching a disney princess movie. This particular day she had watched Cinderella (a lot of cleaning going on in that movie), and she had been talking with her sister about Annie (as in Little Orphan Annie again a lot of cleaning going on in that movie) which all my princesses absolutely love to watch and act out. This is also one of my "sloppy" princesses (see my previous posts), so cleaning is not her forte by any means. I thought her statement was quite humorous but proceeded to tell her (with as serious face as I could muster) that wealthy people clean too, some may pay someone else to do it for them; but they still keep their homes and things clean. It goes back to just taking care of your things and respecting and being grateful for the things you have. One of the most important things to me is teaching my children to be grateful for what they have even if they don't get everything they want. I don't have any doubt that this princess will build her budget around paying someone else to clean her house when she is on her own.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lazy can be good...

Today was a lazy day around the house for me. That doesn't happen too often, as a matter of fact, I don't know when the last time there was an opportunity for me to be lazy around my house. Now if you came into my house on any given day, you might think I was lazy all the time. Having my 2 sloppy children (see previous post), my not so neat husband (I love you honey), my 2 neat children and my baby just causes constant chaos. What I mean by chaos is things tend to get unorganized, and it wears me out. Nobody can find their shin guards or their lunchbox or their car keys (who could that be). Believe it or not, there is a place for everything in our house; but everything doesn't always end up in its place. Even the neat children have toys and STUFF which end up somewhere else (except for Cal -he always knows where his stuff is). Never mind the fact, that I am always trying to go through and unclutter something, so there may be a pile of something that ends up sitting there for days; because I haven't had a chance to go through it yet. Anyway back to the lazy day, I did do a few chores: washed my slipcovers on our 3 sofas, put away some laundry, got some groceries; BUT I actually sat down and watched one full episode of Clean House and then laid down for about 45 minutes and caught a little cat nap. The best part is that while my baby was napping, the other kiddos were playing and getting along; so my hubby came and laid down with me. It was nice to snuggle up with my hubby in the middle of the day for 45 mintues until of course my snoring drove him away - what can I say, I was tired! It was nice to be lazy.... who knows when that day will come again?!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Six Flags or no Six Flags

The children are hoping and hoping and hoping that we get to go to Six Flags today (secretly I'm hoping we get to go too), BUT it's all dependent on if they can get their playroom and rooms picked up. Does anyone else have sloppy children? Let me put it another way....do you have one or two children that are such messy children that you can't even tell that you have children that are not messy? I have 5 children, 4 princesses and the lone little prince. Two of my princesses are SLOBS! Yes I mean complete and total SLOBS! One of my princesses just turned 2, so she hasn't been designated as part of the messy team or the non messy team yet. However she does seem to be leaning toward the non messy team - YEA! At least once per week we have to "pick up" because it will get completey out of control if we don't. And let me tell you out of control it has gotten many a time in the past. Fortunately they are starting to realize that picking up is just part of taking care of your things and your home, and it makes their mama so very happy; so they are getting much better about doing it without whining the entire time. Three of them just came downstairs to tell me "We're All Done, It's Clean As A Whistle" after they had been up there for all of about 10 minutes...picked up or not picked up? What do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remembering a sweet sweet person

Today was Mr. Lonnie's funeral. Lonnie was the building superintendant at our church and had been there for over 20 years. I had known him for 11 years. As we sat through the service today, part traditional Methodist and part Black Gospel, we all nodded in agreement when Pastor Ken quoted scripture from Nehemiah that seemed to sum up Lonnie in a nutshell....The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength. That simple but profound scripture summed up Lonnie. He brought joy to everyone he met, and he never met a stranger - he said so himself, he was joyful in all he did. Pastor Ken said today was a good day for tears, it means that we will miss the joy that Lonnie brought, and we will. As I watched Lonnie's family enter the sanctuary, a large family that filled up 7 pews, I knew their grief; for I too have lost close loved ones. I listened intently to each song that was sung and each word that was spoken in memory of this sweet man, and the emotion of loneliness washed over me. Although Lonnie hadn't been able to work at the church for quite a while, it never really hit me until today that I would be lonely without him there making silly jokes and giving me a hard time about one thing or another. I know the loneliness will pass as time goes on, but I think for now I won't be the only one who is lonely.

Thinking Out Loud

September 18, 2008

I enjoy journaling. I usually journal in a notebook in my own handwriting with the intent that someday my children will read my journals and treasure that they have copies of their mama's handwriting. I mainly journal about my buttercups and their daddy whom I adore, but from time to time I am called to write about something or someone else. I always go to my journal when I really want to remember something or an emotion has been stirred up. Sometimes that is not caused by my children but by something else....