Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Aqua Velva

I've been having that problem where I worry that my hodge-podge of stuff for the new house may look a bit, well, hodge-podge. So I rounded a bunch of it up just to see how well everyone mingled. A group date, if you will.

Imagine my surprise in seeing that they are almost all aqua. And here I thought I was an equal-opportunity decorator.

Every time, I swear I'm gonna change.

Every time, I do not.

But what I can tell you is this: It's more stressful than it should be to pick lights for every room in the house.

And what I can also tell you is: There's going to be some ferocious hodge podge up in there. Here's why: I just don't love a nondescript light. AND...I kept all of my vintage fixtures from the old house and the older house. (Read: It's free and I'ma use it.)

Imagine these baskets upended, handles hacked off, lightbulb glowing.

Do you dig it? Can ya'll dig it? 

I'm not entirely sure where they will hang, but oh, they will hang. You'd better believe they'll hang.

Now, what are your sincerest thoughts on the following scenario: Silver pendant, galvanized sconce, painted chandelier (pictured above), white barn lights or orangey egg basket lights (not sure which it will be) all in one room?

I'm so for real.

 I get it, it might be wonky. But you know? It might just be so wonky, it's right.

For anyone who cares, that aqua lamp was scored at a thrift store in Dunlap Tennessee for One Dolla! Good gracious. And to think some people collect t-shirts.

Frame: $5 at the shop in town.

Chair: $7 at a recent flea.

Tool box: $30 at Green Oak Antiques in Rochester. (Splurgey, I know. Don't even go there.)

Chandy: $90 eight years ago on ebay and I have loved it every day since.

Lamp shade: Ikea, because it felt wrong to leave without buying something.

Bar Stool: TJ Maxx by way of Angie Pants.

Funny story that I keep forgetting to tell you: Before I went to meet Angie (whom I had never met before) to get the stool, my mom kept accidentally saying things like, "Oh that's right, today is the passing of the stool!" and "So, how was the passing of the stool?" Every single time we both busted up. This from the grandma who still can't bring herself to say "poop". (She used to say "BM" but we have eased her into "stinky" over the years.)

Also, why do you even come here? Surely not to read BM anecdotes.

But here's where things get interesting. Barn Light Electric is offering a $1,000.00 gift certificate to one lucky winner. Second place is $500. Third is $250.

I know, we all say we never win anything. But yowza, this sure would be a fine time for my luck to kick it into high gear.

To enter, all you have to do is:

1. Take a look around Barn Light Electric's incredible website, and choose your favorites.

2. Feature your picks on your personal blog.

3. At the bottom of the post, include directions for entering
so your followers can enter, too
(you can just copy and past the instructions below to make it easier!)

Here's what I would pick:

I would so throw this up in the hallway, just to add further confusion to the earlier kitchen/dining scenario I rolled out just a few lines up.

I see you in the kids' room, warehouse pendant.
(And yes, I did say "room". As in singular. But we'll save that story for another day.)
So, what would you pick? Might as well give it a shot. After all, someone's got to win.

How to Enter:
  1. Look around online at Barn Light Electric and pick lights you’d love to own
  2. Feature your lighting picks on your personal blog, and link to the lights if you can!
  3. Copy/Paste these rules at the bottom of your blog article so others can enter
  4. Once your personal article is up, you must email your blog link to be qualified to win. The contest ends Monday, July 2nd, 2012
  5. Don’t have a blog? Find out how you can enter by reading the Official Rules

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wired For Travel

Pioneer Woman tied for third place as my first blog crush. (She shares the crown with Meg Duerksen and Katie Stratton.) I will believe to my dying day that I alone chose the bar stools for The Lodge. All I know is, I sent a link to Sundance and the next thing I knew, there they were, all cozied up to the knotty pine. I don't hold it against her that she didn't thank me personally. She's a tough nut to begrudge. Plus, we have so much in common, not limited to: a love for real butter, a penchant for nicknaming people/places/things, and a Pastor Ryan.

(Does she still have Pastor Ryan? (We've grown apart a bit as of late.) (Love you forever, Ree!))

Her Pastor Ryan has some tattoos, if I recall. Ours recently inked himself up as well. Hers likes to cook. So does ours. As Silas would say, "We twins with pastor Ryans!"

He picks on me as much as humanly possible and he, through much goading and peer pressure, is responsible for my launch into blogdom, way back in the days of my beloved xanga blog.

Ryan is currently taking part in Jeff Goins' 15 Day Writing Challenge and as such, he's sharing with us about the journey he finds himself on these days. (Hint: It may sound a bit familiar.)

Without further ado...

As a young child, we weren't the sort of family that did much traveling. Sure we went to grandma's, but she lived only two blocks over. There were the occasional summer trips to the amusement park, but it was my aunt and uncle arranging for me to tag along while mom and dad stayed home. Traveling just wasn't something my family did much of, for better or for worse. Strangely though, I feel  I've been wired to desire travel. I like to head off in search of new destinations. And while I don't always venture far, and sometimes get stressed traversing uncharted roadways, travel is something I enjoy. It's the thrill of discovering new places and new vistas that appeals to me. In large portion, this is likely why I enjoy geocaching so much, or treasuring hunting as our five-year-old refers to it. When you travel you run the risk of losing yourself in the pathways of the unknown and for me, that's the joy of the journey.

As of late, I've been on a journey. A personal journey of sorts. This journey I'm finding myself on is one that has stirred my soul, that has gripped my heart and is reforming me into something different--something new. It's fair to say this is a spiritual journey. This journey of mine is rewriting the way I think about and view life. It's causing me to learn a new language and posture as I witness the world around me. I'm becoming more and more certain each day that this is the sort of journey you don't go back on, rather you move through.

It wasn't all that long ago that I was a lot like everyone else. I wasn't much different from the friends I kept, or the people I engaged with. I was setting out to live my life well, and the goals of my life didn't venture me more past being content and comfortable. I had aspirations for nice things, and for safety for my family. I was content with the status quo of life around me and quite honestly, everything was good. Or at least that's what I thought.

The reality was, things weren't good. They were safe and they were comfortable yes, but this as I'd come to find out, wasn't good. Like the slow drip of a leaky faucet, my life had become more and more disenfranchised with the world I saw around me, and believed myself to be a part of. The thought that haunted me late at night was that there had to be more to life than what I currently saw and was experiencing. I knew in my spirit that this sense of uneasiness was more than just something to keep me awake at night. The unsettled feeling I was struggling to ignore, I knew was coming from God. 

While trying to push the restlessness of my spirit to the background, I finally gave in and I opened myself up to the possibility that maybe God was positioning me for something more. Like any good traveler is prone to do, I sought out direction. After all, if I was embarking on a new adventure, I figured I'd better pick up a traveling partner or two. What started off as coffee with a fellow adventurer, has lead to a three plus year journey of walking a path I can't seem to see more than five feet ahead on. Normally, this would cause me a fair amount of stress and strain. But I'm learning through this process to trust instead of fear or doubt. I'm learning to risk instead of play it safe. I'm learning to obey instead of do things my way. And for my efforts I'm finding myself on an adventure that is placing me and my family in the company of like-minded, like-hearted individuals who cheer and push me to keep pressing on. I'm discovering a new freshness to life that is far more concerned with my neighbor than with myself. I'm learning to love letting go of my wants, desires, and possession and instead give those things away to another who desperately needs them more than I do. I'm coming to more fully understand a broader definition of love and how to reveal that to people all around me. 

What I'm finding exciting in the midst of this adventure is that there are still far more blank pages than filled pages in my travelogue. Where will this journey take me? I haven't a clue. But this I know, I'm open. I'm wide open to go wherever and to whom ever God would so choose to put along the mile markers of my path. I'm a traveler and I have stories to tell and stories waiting to be written. And so do you.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Least

We all have certain things that we just won't say. I cringe when people talk about unpacking anything other than a suitcase. I find that pastors, in particular, really like to unpack things. They unpack topics and ideas and articles. Bleh. I don't know why. It bugs me. I'll never unpack something that doesn't roll through an airport. Cross my heart.

I'll never call you "Honey"  or "Hon" unless you are A) young enough to be my child or B) Cory Martin.

Upon being surprised by something, I won't slap my knee and exclaim, "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" (Though I kind of love it when other people do.)

Similarly, you may foolishly choose to forgo the use of "swoony" to describe anything from a garden to a belt to a premature shifting of the seasons to kid art. Whatever, okay? It's your life. Choose to be unswoony if you must.

Up until a year ago, I prided myself in never, ever typing "LOL" on anything. For me, it will forever mean "Lots of Love". I just like it better that way. When something is funny, I've found that an old-fashioned "ha ha!" still works just fine. Sidenote: Cory recently found out that LMAO doesn't stand for "Lame-o". Now, I reserve my LOLs only for Haven, who uses the abbreviation almost like a period. She used to text me from the Fox Room, "I'm hungry LOL." or "I think Calvin's out of bed LOL." To Cory and I, it has become its own thing.  So sometimes he'll text me something like, "I'll meet you by the entrance in ten minutes LOL." It cracks our funky business way up.
Of course there's nothing wrong with saying these things. They're just not for me. They don't feel quite right.

Confession, I have always secretly struggled with referring to anyone as "the least of these". I'm sorry, Jesus. It bugs me. No matter who says it or how many tattoos they have, it sounds kinda uppity. I don't care for the us/them ring to it. It feels a bit caste-systemish. If I'm saying she's "the least", what does that make me? The much better? The slightly holier? The fancier? The cleaner? The luckier? What??

I could never shake the feeling that I was the least, even if no one else could see it. Even if they refused to believe me. 

I tip-toed this one around in my pocket, because churchy people right now really like talking about serving "the least of these". (I don't even like to type it.)

I never breathed a word about it out loud, though I did take it up with God a time or two. I felt like there must have been a better way, and who better to have cracked that code but the one who wrote it in the first place?

He never answered or maybe I just never heard his rebuttal. Until today. And naturally, His beautiful truth was carried straight to my faulty ears by a loud, emotional, Southern woman. You know the one.

This is how grave the gospel's challenge is: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40). It is as simple as it is radical. If every believer obeyed accordingly, I daresay we would become the answer to all that ails society.

These are the words by which we are sent, but wondrously, they are also the words by which we are saved. They are not simply a revelation of crisis and the call to active love; they are also an invitation to personal recognition. Each one of us, as it turns out, counts as the least...It is not that Jesus looks on us as helpless or powerful, poor or rich, weak or strong. We are loved because we are living images of God, made in His likeness and created for the heights of His glory and the depths of communion. Our very God took on our form for the love of humanity, privilege or poverty aside. In contrast to God's perfection, we are all the least, each and every one, identified entirely with a Savior who loves us recklessly.  (emphasis mine)

- Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

Maybe it's been made clear to all of you by now that I am officially enamored of all the Hatmakers, every one of them, even the ones who haven't written books. Yet. (Put me on the waiting list, Remy!)

But I'm telling you, man, they'll send your head to spinning then put it back on upside-down. The crazy part is - you'll like it upside-down. You'll realize that it was always meant to be that way. Sure, people will think you're a weirdo. And yes, an upside-down head does complicate the whole eating thing, but in the end, a heart seems to like it when someone comes along and helps decode the riddles.

Lots of Love,
The Official Least

ps - I also read this today in Interrupted, "We looked each other in the eyes, and we were the same. Fragile human who are patterned after Jesus..."   I have but one word for that: spooky. (Not to be confused with "swoony" LOL.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Summer Always Is

This is what we did last week, in the 93 degree heat. Is the world ready for soccer players as cute as these? They were such troopers. By the fourth day, Ruby would run over to me during water breaks and holler, "Mom, are we done now?" Poor baby girl. It was so blazing hot.

Every single day, after soccer camp, we shuffled quite begrudgingly off to the hospital for a blood draw. I have discovered anew that a chocolate shake from Rally's can go a long way toward redeeming a cruddy afternoon.

Also? I really liked having some alone time with my main squeeze, even if tourniquets were involved.

Truth be told, I've been feeling a little whiny lately about summer's ridiculous, incessant rush. 

I feel like we just haven't done enough of this.

Or this...

I just haven't had enough opportunities to set up a make-shift kitchen on my plastic folding table in the carpeted dining room.

Back in May, I dreamed of swimming 'til our toes puckered and crafts on the rainy days. Turns out, it doesn't rain anymore in these parts and we're too dang busy to swim.

It can make a hormonal girl get a little weepy, if she lets it.

The good news is, we camped with friends all weekend. Calvin didn't leave the lake for something like 17 hours straight. Ruby perfected several moves on the "gymnastics swing". Silas threw sand at other kids. Cory and I stuffed our faces. I avoided the port-a-potty as if it was the plague itself.

A fun time was had by all!

So that's what I'm focusing on tonight. Yes, the summer is going way too fast. Yes, my expectations are, as usual, too high. Yes, there have been some wrenches thrown about.

The grass is crispy brown, but the sky is so blue, baby. The barns and the clouds and the haphazard hay, it still stops me in my tracks. The peanut butter sheet cake is prolific. The berries are ready.

Summer is still summer, even when she's misbehaving a little.

I'll take her any way I can get her.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Caring

I have people who love me and they do the most startling things, like bring me jelly jars of home-grown raspberries tied with a sprig of lavender.

They leave organic lollipops and McD's coupons on our doorstep, the modern-day sacrifices of the small fry set.

They watch my kids and make sure I have salsa on my birthday.

They dole out covert prescription drugs when it just has to be done.

They loan me books and give me paint that's too bright for them. They take me out on dates. They listen to all of the open shelving options and thoughtfully weigh in.

They care for me.

I read these verses more than a month ago, via Barefoot Church, and not a single day has passed since that they have not clouded me over a bit.
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
  Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals 
  I hate with all my being.
  They have become a burden to me;
  I am weary of bearing them.

When you spread out your hands in prayer,
  I hide my eyes from you;
  even when you offer many prayers,
  I am not listening. (Isaiah 1:13d-15)

Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sights;
  stop doing wrong.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
  plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-17)

Is it possible that God covers his ears when we pray if we are not doing the work that is most important to Him? Back when I was even more clueless than I am now, did He hide His eyes from me? Was my religious church attendance a burden to Him?

It seems impossible.
I'm not saying that for affect and there's really no "but..." lingering in my throat.

It seems impossible that this stuff matters so much to Him.

I was never taught that what God expected most from me was to defend the oppressed. I didn't even think I knew the oppressed. The oppressed were in Cuba or maybe Detroit.

These verses about caring for the poor and afflicted, I guess I knew they were in there somewhere, but I was trained to see them figuratively, since that's the only option that isn't a life-wrecker. They weren't relevant today, to me. They were for those blasted Israelites.

If you told me it applied to my own sweaty self on June 21st, wearing my favorite skirt and cursing my hair, I would have said No, you're taking it out of context. It's not for me. Or maybe, Yep. God wants us to care for the poor. I do care about them. Those poor Poors. I feel so bad. Thank God I'm not one of them. (But for the grace of God go I! )The end.

I thought caring for them meant caring about them, and of course I did. Who's heartless enough to not care about poor people? I mean, poverty is pretty sad, right?

This caring about required little more than an occasional thought, hazy at the edges, empty in the middle. It was never a "Bring them into your home and give them hot food and drive them all over Timbuktu and don't ask questions" sort of caring.

Over the past couple of weeks, Cory and I have been privileged to see God work in some of the lives around us. To be an active part of His work is nothing short of drop-down humbling. It has been entirely unexpected and the sort of thing that breaks me out in full-body goosebumps - even on my cheeks. I'll be honest, the timing hasn't been the best.

These are strangers. Only, they're not.

Maybe that's the biggest part of God whipping our rears into gear - He's fixing our eyes so they see these "strangers" as our very own. It's not about trying to fix them or swoop in and save them. It's not about "what if they're taking advantage?". It's about caring for them in a tangible way, using our own human arms, our dirty, oil-burning cars, the wrinkled dollars in our purse. It's packing grapes into tupperware and allowing the most hectic week in the history of the world to get even dicier.

It's these small motions, extended not because we feel sorry or guilty, not because we're trying to earn something that was never for sale. It's because she's me. They're us. We're them. So they need something that we have, and we're starting to care. That is only God. Only, ever God. He's taking a sledge-hammer to all our big ideas and we're finding Him there in the dust.

Our prayer started out something like, "Make us care more". Now, we pray that in a year, we'll look back at these words I wrote and laugh at how we were only nibbling on the crust.

Today, we pray that the grapes and the cake, the four-dollar gasoline and the prayers will pile up until all there is to see is God, and his big, fat love for them.

Maybe He'll fix their eyes along the way and when they look back at us, they'll see themselves. They'll see that they weren't created to be charity cases. They're beat-up travelers, just like us. They're small and powerless on their own.

They were created, just like me and you, to give a rip about the things that make their Creator pound His fists and scream like a maniac.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Cory and I saw Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Saturday for my birthday. Can I just tell you that I positively love going to the movies? Watching movies at home? Not so much. But if I could go every week, I would. There's something so deeply restful and comforting about falling into another world for a couple of hours. I am a total sucker for the previews, too.

I'm not a movie snob by any means, but I tend to reserve most of my love for dramas. Give me a bucket of quirk - extra butter (Lars and the Real Girl). I like sad movies (Million Dollar Baby) and sometimes even weird, darkish movies (Things We Lost in the Fire). I appreciate a good romantic comedy (The Switch) or some suspense (The Town). Give me a dreamy coming-of-age movie with plenty of food mixed in and I'll give you my heart forever. (Secret Life of Bees).

I like off-the-beaten path movies. I'm begging to be transported to a place I've never been. I'm also thrilled to go back; to a time, a place, a feeling, a moment. 

Some might find Marigold Hotel a tad slow-moving. Hogwash, I say! It was perfect. I eased into a slice of life cut so exquisitely, it could have been real. That's the magic of the movies - when they make you believe that it's all mostly possible. That's what makes me cry. Maybe there is an exquisite hotel in another world devoted to the happiness of "the elderly and the beautiful". And, you know, maybe some grumpy, wounded dude like Kevin Costner really did die a tragic death at sea after realizing that he has finally found his one true love. (I cried until I nearly puked at this one, all alone in a matinee with lots of old people - old and beautiful, that is.)

So, you get it. I heart the movies. Well, most of them. I almost categorically refuse to watch action movies (i.e. anything with "awesome special effects" or "crazy car chases"), science fiction of any kind (with the notable exception of The Time Traveler's Wife), animated movies (worst mom ever), or horror flicks.

If you're anything like me, you will dig Marigold Hotel. It's so worth it just for the India parts, which is basically all of it.

What are some of your favorite movies? Title and genre, por favor.

ps - Thanks so much for all the birthday gifts that are still pouring in! :) We survived Day 2 mostly intact, save 3 needle pokes which were generously rewarded with three new Beanie Babies: a blue jay (for the bravest boy I know), a tree frog (carefully chosen for Silas) and a black poodle (for our favorite curly girl). My people can't get enough of Beanie Babies. Calvin was scandalized to see that Rocket the blue jay was born in 1997 and is, therefore, much too old to be his "child". We have since amended Calvin's age to 36 (like Mommy) and all is well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

For Calvin (and his Mama)

Several months back I was hunkered down on the couch, reading one of Sarah's hand-me-down Glamour mags like I am known to do. For the second time ever, I found something of real significance. (This was the first thing.)

Hidden among many heaving cleavages, a needle in the voluminous hairdos, was this article, about a woman fighting for her life, desperately in need of a bone marrow match.

I don't know what was in the air that night, but before I trashed the trashy mag, I tore out Krissy's story with big plans to sign up for the national bone marrow registry. Glamour magazine said it was free and easy, and they should know.

Two months later, I found Krissy at the bottom of a pile and finally did something about it. I went here and filled out the form.

After the kit arrived, it took all of five minutes to read the instructions, swab my cheek a few times, seal it all back up, and mail it back in a paid-postage envelope.

Just like that, I'm on the registry.

It felt strangely good.

Two weeks later, we made a pit-stop at Cincinnati Children's Hospital en route to Tennessee.

They nurse took 26 tubes of blood and the doctor looked us right in the eye like he was talking about dinner plans or Snookie and told us Calvin's condition is "escalating". His disease is "progressing". The options that once seemed like a miracle are now losing steam. Treatment options are more limited.

Then the cannonball: He'd like to have Calvin typed for a potential bone marrow transplant.

Do you know much about bone marrow transplants? I didn't use to, so I started reading up. And now I wish I hadn't. It's scary business. Like, cry-in-the-dark scary.

But what's even scarier is that the docs are already pessimistic about finding a donor for Calvin, due to the fact that he has no known biological siblings and he's Asian.

Today I left the house today at 9 a.m. not to return until 9 p.m. (just like I did Friday and will do again tomorrow, though this is beside the point).

I have no photos to commemorate the day, but I'm happy to paint a word picture of yours truly: flat hair, greasy chin, sweaty pits, ho-hum attire, sunglasses.

What can I say? 36 isn't looking too hot from here.

It's my birthday, and it wasn't one for the record books, if I'm being honest.

There were silver linings to be found, like extra time with dear friends, Mediterranean pepper salad, buzz-cuts for all the boys. Some of those who love me best wished me unending happiness and salsa, and I'm happy to report that yes, there was salsa today. Praise God for salsa and I'm not even playing.

What may have tipped the scales from "good birthday" to "what birthday?" is the fact that I spent three hours at the doctor with Mr. Lee. We will go every day for the next five days while they take a closer look at what his bone marrow is doing, how its behaving.

I have a really hard time squaring a sweaty boy who spent his morning at soccer camp with the one who is told hours later that almost all of his neutrophils have come up missing.

I much prefer living in la-la land where I give him medicine twice a day and watch for fevers. I freaking hate being reminded that my kid is sick.

Of course, he was a champ today. He didn't flinch for his blood draw, didn't wince for the shot. He spent the 45 minute drive home telling me in great detail that when he grows up, he plans to be a doctor in the National Guard/missionary. "And when we're all done on the battlefield for the day, I'll go out a build a well for all the soldiers and the poor people." He requested care packages of band-aids, "maybe a little gauze", "lots of jugs of water or other liquids that I can drink", "your special homemade spaghetti" (aka noodles with Prego sauce), batteries, books "for when I need to relax or during break time" and a knife, "if Daddy goes to Cabelas or something".

He's hoping to be stationed in North Korea, but India would suffice.

This child? He's already changing the world, at least from where I sit.

So if you have the urge to wish me a happy birthday, sign up for a kit instead.

We are praying it doesn't come to this, but we want options if it does.

Do it for me and for Krissy and Calvin and this little guy. It's so super easy. It would be the best birthday gift this old girl could hope for.

Officially Pushing Forty,

PS - For those of you who know us live and in the flesh, we are doing our best to not focus on all of these "what ifs" with Calvin. He's loosely aware of the possibility, but he's mostly blissfully ignorant, and we'd like it to stay that way for a while. We beg for your prayers and will keep you updated!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What to do When A Big Kid Lands on Your Doorstep/Heart

I have always been mostly terrified of teenagers. I mean, I liked them enough. I thought they were fascinating and funny. People say they're hopped up on pretense and image, but I was never quite so sure. I saw more. I just saw it from afar, because, you know, the whole terrified thing.

I never knew what to say to them, how to act. Being around a new teenager brought out the awkward in me like a bad perm. You may as well have clipped a retainer to my teeth and dabbed some "flesh" toned Oxy on my zits. I felt insecure and dorky. I was sure they all wanted to run away from me and not be my friend.

Then my husband took a job at an alternative high school and I thought, Good for him. He can build relationships with a few kids who need him, bless his heart.

And then one of them moved in to our home. And another one moved into our heart. And another. And they brought friends.

So at this point, it's a little crowded up in here, in my heart. It's full. In a mostly-good way.

Sometimes, people ask me what it's like. Sometimes, they tell me I'm a fool and I'm putting my family at risk. Every once in a while, I can tell that they want a big kid of their own. Well, there's plenty to go around. When you find yours, be warned that they travel in packs. Just know that you'll soon be taking kids you've never met to the Chinese buffet and buying them tacos to-go.

You'll forgo reality tv and book-writing and (gasp) blogging because your free time will be spent driving kids around and playing board games until midnight.

Here's something else you should know: The girls might huddle around the computer before bedtime and search the local police department website. They keep tabs on who was arrested. They giggle a bit too gleefully at some of the mug shots. They know those mugs. They punched her lights out. They dated him.

These big kids, they will wreck you. They won't always be as grateful as you hope. They'll storm upstairs or outside or somewhere when you tell them the truth about certain things. They'll smoke behind your garage. They'll tell you lies.

They'll stretch out on the couch and make you laugh when you're trying to read. They'll eat nasty food. They'll teach you things you never wanted to know about a life you couldn't possibly have imagined.

They'll find the loosest seam of your heart and they'll yank that thread.

They'll exhaust you, exasperate you. They'll crack you up so bad.

They'll go home. Go to jail. Go missing for months on end. They'll avoid your calls. They'll defriend you.

You'll tell yourself you're done, then wonder where they're sitting when the moon lifts higher.

You'll worry every single day about them and pray that they come back. You'll try to ease yourself into the reality that they might never be back, but it won't work. You won't accept it.

You'll have a first row seat to many of their failures and you'll know for sure that there are many more left under wraps. But you'll think about seeing them the next time and you just won't give a rip about the mistakes. You want them back, that's all. You want them safe under your roof. You want to feed them peanut butter cake and heat them a bowl of soup.

Eventually, that day shows up like a rainbow in January. It's never when you expect. There they are, like they never left. They need you now. Who knows why. Who cares.

You laugh at their jokes because they're stinking funny. You find something to be proud of and you say it out loud - I'm proud of you. They'll tell you to never, ever say "fo sho", but you'll believe to your core that they secretly love it when you do. You'll learn the street names for drugs (they'll swear they don't do them). You'll learn a tiny bit about the complicated codes they live and love by.

You'll feel like your very own Mom when they return. This is what it must feel like to have everyone home. This is that happiness.

They'll leave then, because they say they have things to do even when they don't. So you'll wind your way back around the track, again, again, again. You'll hate being there, in that place where they're just out there somewhere, doing who knows what.

Your heart will break a second time, a tenth.

It won't matter. You love them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Zakka Attacka

Zakka, a Japanese term, has been "loosely translated to mean 'miscellaneous goods', 'many things', or 'sundries', but it has grown to mean a style that embodies a kind of simple charm and uniqueness -- something handmade that is useful yet pleasing.

Back when I first became pals with Jess, I would refer to her as "my artist friend". She is an artist to her core. She's always wowing me with her craftiness then dismissing my raves like it ain't no thang.

She recently left a vintage fruit crate of hand-made goodness in my mud room and I'd never hoard the swoonery, so let's party it up, Zakka-style.

Each item featured is one-of-a-kind and can be purchased by emailing Jess at

She accepts payment via Paypal, check, money order or, if you are local, you can pick your item up from me and pay cash.

Zakka box sale ends Monday, June 18th, so don't tarry, fine lassies!

**Jess is giving away 2 super secret collage key rings. To enter, tell us in the comments who your favorite artist is or what your favorite work of art is.**

Collage key ring - $6.50 each

(I bought one of these collage key chains months ago and it's my very favorite.)

Stenciled key ring - $5.00 each

Yo-yo barrettes - $6.00 per pair

Set of 4 linen napkin rings - $12.00

Quilted collage coasters - $10.00 for a set of 4

Size 6 toddler slippers - $20.00

Vintage fabric pillow - $12.00

Insulated lunch tote - $28.00

Wristlet - $14.00

Fine Vintage sampler - $10.00

Up-cycled erasers - $8.00
(I bought one of these at a craft fair not realizing it was hers. It is perfect.)

Set of 2 Farmgirl notecards (same design) - $4.25

Pack of 4 Trillium notecards - $7.00

Yo-yo posies - $3.25 each

Crocheted headband - $14.00 each

Go here to like the Jessica Flores Design facebook page.

Email Jess at to purchase and for shipping info. And don't forget to enter the key ring give-away!