Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Tonight I will sleep in my own bed

and I'll crawl between the covers without sweet hugs.

Tonight I will brush my teeth with an unsticky, unshared toothbrush

and there will be no little helper to instruct me on correct procedure!

Tonight I will make use of my bathroom...facilities without awkward maneuvers around step stools and potty seats that belong to sweet little girls 

but where's the encouragement from the peanut gallery?

Tonight I will very likely consume a fountain Pepsi with extra ice

and there will be no cracker or doughnut remnants floating at the top

(How Boring!)

Tonight my kitchen will be oh-so-tidy

with nary a sippy cup or sticky high chair tray in sight. 

Tonight my tired self will stretch out and sleep the sleep of the all-by-myself

Alas, no sleepy toddler will be joining me with milk and puppy

Tonight will be quiet, and peaceful, and likely refreshing.

Tonight there will be no stinky diapers, no tantrums, no hair-yanking (love ya Owo!), and no mess-making. 

Just sleep, and quiet, and order.


I miss them already.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well, it's official. 

Now that there are two grandchildren and still only one me it is a near certainty that when they are around there will be little in the way of bloggy contribution.

There is entirely too much swinging

and sliding

and swimming

and snuggling

and paci-finding

and puppy tending to do.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Tale of a Table

Alternately titled "Anything he can do, We can do better!"

Since I've been wanting a table for my back porch for what seems like a long time, my family decided they would give me one for Mother's Day.  (They love me and are thoughtful like that.)  In the nature of things never being as simple as they should be, we set out to find a table.  Now I won't go into how completely paralyzed I am when faced with such crucial decisions, but suffice it to say I looked at a lot of tables.   I finally settled on one that was at Big Lots.  I know, right? I almost never go there, but they were having a sale and I thought it was really pretty, so the decision was made. 

Of course they were out of them, so I had to wait until they got mine in.  By that time there wasn't a child-of-mine in sight, so I headed out to pick it up by myself...and it was then, in the 142-degree heat, that Nice Big-Lots-Guy and I realized it wouldn't fit into the car.  Good ole Larry saved the day with his truck, and he even unloaded it onto my porch.  I assured him that I would have my guys put it together for me that next weekend. 

Unfortunately for the aforementioned plans, we ended up at Kari's, and the whole Memorial Day weekend passed without said assembly.

A few days later I found that box that was holding the key to all my summer happiness just hanging around mocking me.  MOCKING ME.  So I pulled out my miscellaneous basket of tools and set out to do it myself.   I saw EASY ASSEMBLY printed all over the box, so I was feeling quite confident.

I got it out of the box and marveled over the enclosed miscellany of screws and bolts and whatnot.   And then I came to the terrible realization that there were no directions.  No. Directions.  Just a pile of things I could not identify, much less use in a competent manner.

Now I'm not gonna lie.  I said some unkind things about Big Lots.  A lot of unkind things.  There may have been Facebook postings and perhaps a tweet or six.  After maligning the good name of all-things-Big-Lots I got tired and shelved the whole project for a different day, perhaps a day when I was less dying of heat and also less cranky.

A couple of days later Sheri came by because I made spaghetti and like to share, and after we ate we decided to take a look at it.  We ascribe to the school of thought that two heads are practically always better than one, so we settled down to do some serious figuring-out.

And figure-it-out we did. 

We pulled out the miscellany of screws and bolts and whatnot,

looked this way and that,

stood on our heads a couple of times...

and finally decided we were ready to proceed. 

And as is so typical of life in general, just as we had things all figured out, that's when it happened...


I found the directions.

That's right.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I was completely and even 100% wrong in all my blaming, and criticizing and yes, even a bit of mocking of The Big Lots. 

The instructions were tucked in a corner behind some cardboard and I missed them. 

Because that is far too often the way I roll.

Nonetheless, I choose not to belabor the fact that I was quite the goober and instead would like to point out this one undeniable fact.

We didn't need them silly directions anyway OR the aforementioned sons, or even the laughing-from-his-own-yard neighbor.

I'll have you know that Sheri and I got that little table up in no time flat an hour or three all by ourselves, while having all manner of fun laughing at ourselves. 

Of course just as we finished the neighbor-man who had been gauging our progress from his backyard offered his help.

No thankya nice-neighbor-man...we can do it ourselves :)


Happy Friday Y'all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

M.V.P. - That's Me

PreScript (is that a word?):  I wrote the following last night.  I'm tardy in my attempted daily posting because of the fact of NO INTERNET and also NO TV WHATSOEVER.  It was just like Little House on the Prairie except I didn't have Pa to answer my questions and entertain me with a story.  I suppose for this reason I awakened this morning with a severe, debilitating case of BAD MOOD.  My thinking is maybe I'll feel better if I tell the whole worldwideweb.  I have always heard that misery, in fact, loves company.  I'll let you know if it works.

PostScript to the Above PreScript (is that a word?):  It has also just this minute come to my attention that Blogger is having issues.  I KNOW, right??  I can hardly believe it myself.  In light of this information I shall cease banging my head against the wall and present the following without all the superb and happy pictures of us frolicking at the pool. 

Imagine a wide shot of adorable children of varying ages frolicking in the pool, here.

Get ready for some random!

1.  Jumping repeatedly  in an awkward manner off the diving board and then swimming to the side of the pool, followed by hauling myself out of said pool is actually quite…exhausting.  Two trips in the aforementioned loop and I was already out of breath and about 52% week-kneed.  (Is that a word?)   You might be impressed to know that I persevered and lost count of how many times I jumped, swam, and then hauled.   Nonetheless, I am quite sure it was at least twice as many as a whole lot.

Picture a tight shot of adorable children frolicking with a beach ball, here.

2.  Spending time with a few of my people and a couple of MY GIRLS always takes me to my happy place.  Just watching the girls chit-chatting with each other being all cute and grown up makes me feel all warm and nostalgic and mushy inside.  Sitting poolside on the First Day of Summer with these friends while noshing on pizza and fruit and broccoli noodle-y salad and chocolate eclair is nearly too much of the HAPPY. 

There would have been a photo of adorable children enjoying some pizza and fruit
while hamming it up for the camera right here.

3.  Spending time with a few of my people and a couple of MY GIRLS makes me miss my other people and my very own, birthed-'em-myself girls ACUTELY.   And by acutely I mean suddenly and in an intense way.  No kidding, I wanted to hug a few necks that weren't there.. BADLY.   (I so wanted to type BAD right there for emphasis but I can't in good conscience make such a blatant grammatical error.  Those wacky adverbs  do love their Y's.)  Either way, those Necks I mentioned?  Well, I think you know who you are.  And I love ya.

Insert photo of three smiling friends of my daughters and also daughters of my friends, here.

4.  Bethany made this broccoli noodle-y salad dish that I'm still thinking about tonight.  It was really good.

I had planned to include my favorite photo of the day, a small little girl and a beach ball, in this spot.  (Trust me, it was good!)

5.  Cox has let me down, Folks.  Just because we quite literally had a four-hour storm full of all manner of thunderclaps and lightening bolts is no excuse.  I got in about a measly 20 minutes of hard labor and the power and cable starts coming and going.  Mere minutes later all connections are GONE.  (Gone like a freight train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the civil war – Bang Bang!) 

Sorry – I got distracted.  You can take the girl out of Tennessee but you can't take the country out of the girl. 

Imagine photographic evidence of the crazy insane, wanna-hide-in-the-closet downpour
outside my window - here.

ANYHOO,  I spent the rest of my Tuesday that had started out with such PROMISE chatting it up with the lovely yet clueless Laura from Cox Communications trying to figure out what to tell my boss, and futilely turning on the TV – alternating with opening my laptop – hoping all would be corrected since the 3 minutes prior.  Alas, it wasn't to be, and now I have lost a day.  AND couldn't continue my In Plain Sight marathon. AND was stressed AND did not sleep...quite unlike the type of night off one might actually, you know, want. 
Also at this rate I may seriously never, ever buy groceries again.

6.  But do not despair, I still view the day to be a complete success with personal historical significance because for the first time in my life I was declared MVP of…something.

I was MVP of the backyard pool!

Also I scored a solid 10 on my diving board entry which was more of an awkward jump because I'm not so much a diver.  However, the very same child who bestowed upon me my MVP status told me that the 10 was surely a pity score by my friend and in all actuality should have been no higher than a 4.

My final photo would have been right here, sweet Mary Hannah, and she's a cutie.

I suspect MVP was short for the only old(ish) lady willing to get her hair wet.

Whatever.   I will SO take it.

Happy Wednesday!

p.s.  Thanks for all the FUN Mary Hannah :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wonder in the Repetition

Ya know what I love?

I love that my days can look just alike and yet be completely different. About 17 hours into a Monday that resembles a few zillion I've already experienced, I realize this day is utterly unique and unlike any of my previous Mondays.

I love that.

I love chatting about morning sickness with my girl. When I was "expecting" her 24 years ago I was miserably miserable, and now we're discussing alternatives to saltines when you're a cutie who detests saltines. My prior discomfort can possibly be a source of information and encouragement for her (hmmm....lesson somewhere in there?) all these years later.

I love that.

I love the breezy warm breeze flowing through my windows, strong enough that the blinds are doing that thwack, thwack, thwack sound against the frames.   Of June in Virginia, I am a fan.

I love that.

You know that intense concentration a baby has when focusing on something that fascinates him?   Yeah. I think that is awesome.

What I also think is awesome is the way practically everything is completely fascinating and worthy of intense concentration when you are an intelligent six-month-old.

Oh how I love that.

And how about that refreshing refreshment you feel when that cool water hits you as you shower after baking outside for an hour or three?

Yup. Love it.

When I'm willing to slow down  even just a little bit, and pay attention, I'm amazed at all the things in my life, many seemingly mundane, that I love and would be loathe to lose.  

He fills my every day with repetition and wonder, and quite often they are the very same thing.

And I love that.

I love Him!

(A Thousand Gifts #583-589)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Well I Did It, Folks

Update:  So thanks Phil and Michelle for leaving me very helpful comments, but I proceeded to tinker and promptly lost 'em.  Just thought you should know I didn't delete you on purpose.  I do appreciate your kind efforts on my behalf!      I hate technology.  Technology is not my friend.

I got tired to death of all the google-commenting aggravation, so I have installed the latest of my bloggy experiments for your continued consternation pleasure.

A lovely little platform called Disqus.

I've seen it on other blogs and really enjoyed it because it can be so much more conversational.  I (and YOU) can reply directly to the comments left, which I feel fosters, and encourages, yay even nurtures that lovely feeling of community that we value so highly here at A-B Inc.

I've tested it on my page, using each of the options, and best I can tell you have all manner of choices in ways to "log in."  You can use your Google account (if Google didn't stomp on your feelings and leave you un-sign-in-able), your Twitter handle, or even your Facebook connection if you so choose.

If you prefer to remain less...connected, feel free to leave me a fake name and I think that will likely work as well.

However, I am very sorry and also completely powerless to do anything about the odd gravatar (cartoon-y picture) that accompanies the more...disconnected sign-ins.

I choose not to dwell on the creepiness of all this "click-a-button-and-they-know-who-you-are" stuff and am instead pretending it is still 1971 when I could run all over the neighborhood until dark and then proceed to eat the dinner that I didn't have to cook for myself.

I digress.

I'm just gonna say it.  You would make me happy if you could try to leave me a comment so we can test it out and I can work on any "kinks" in the system.

I strongly dislike kinks in the system.

Thank you, as always, for your kind support.

- - and Happy Weekending!

BTW - I'm just checking, but did you hear that I'm going to be a Naynay again??  Yippee!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Home

Today's topic is Home and I'm diving right in because I do love me some home :)


A homebody is what I am.

I love even the word home.  For probably all my life I haven't desired many things more than children who love and honor God and warm, loving, happy home. 

We had a bit of a detour some years back from the original specs I had drawn up for this home to look like, but that was okay.  God was here and He helped us color in all the lines, and He filled us and our four walls with more warm, loving, and happy than I could have dreamed up for myself.

For several years I have worked at home.  In high school I home-schooled the girls.  I drive my friends nuts because even now that I live alone I can stay inside these walls for many days without opening a car door. 

What can I say?  Home is my Happy Place.

Seriously y'all.  I am a girl who places a high value on this place where I make my bed and eat my peanut butter. 

But if "home is where the heart is," then I am quite the wanderer. 

I have found home to be an outdated little dorm room in  upstate New York...and down in the Carolinas. 

I've had summer homes in the heat of the Dominican Republic... and in a certain beloved church camp.

My home for several weeks was on an abandoned beach in Phuket...and I even put a few temporary roots in African soil.

My home has cried in school hallways,  prayed at church altars, stood up for the Name of Jesus, stumbled and rallied...kept and shared secrets. 

These days my mail comes to these walls with a floor that I usually walk alone, but I would say my real home is across town growing that sweet baby of her very own...and two hours winding through all the green and the trees, teaching and  learning and growing her own home.

That's right, y'all.

A homebody I am...and will always be.


Happy Friday!

p.s.  I am sorry and embarrassed and chagrined to report that I spent approximately 9 or 11 minutes on this 5-minute assignment.  I blame it on my passion for the subject matter.  My abject apologies to Lisa-Jo for being a big, fat cheater.  HA.  I'll do better next week ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Baby!

My sweet, sweet baby girl is having a baby!

And quite honestly I can't think of a single other word
to articulate all my HAPPY :)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name.

We are now at the halfway point of my 2011 Scripture memory commitment!

But y'all I'm just keeping it real here when I confess to you that I am struggling in the whole learning-a-new-memory-verse-twice-a-month venture.  I'm kinda/sorta hanging in there, but for the last few weeks I've felt like the whole project is gaining some kind of odd momentum and I'm rapidly losing control.  May I just say, Yikes!

That being said, I have no intention of quitting.  I'm choosing my verses carefully so they reflect things God is teaching me.  And I'm going to focus very...intentionally...and specifically each day on reviewing them and see if I can regain some footing of a steadier nature.

If you prayed for me over these next couple of weeks I'm quite sure you wouldn't be wasting your time - and I surely would appreciate it :)

Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name.

I so want to have an undivided heart... 

And in the completely-off-topic department, Kari and I took her little charges to the playground today and I'm telling you there is no better therapy in all the world than exchanging messy hugs, sticky kisses, and sweet I-love-you's with tiny people. 

And listening to them singing Jesus' name over and again is perhaps the sweetest music to be found.

I'm just sayin'.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011


In the last 48 hours or so I may or may not have...

bought a floppy hat

prepared to return the floppy hat


hugged five people at The Target

made a chicken noodle casserole

forgot to go by Advance for coolant for the car

neglected to get to Lowe's for my tomato plants and herb-y goodness

baked approximately 200 pounds (or maybe 5 - who can be really sure?) 
of baked beans

partied in the backyard

consumed a snicker's bar for breakfast

discovered my grill had died as people arrived ready to eat

visited with old friends in the sunshine

remembered how much I miss those friends who live all the way across town


decided I'm pitiful that I don't take better care of my friends

heard a crash(!) upstairs only to discover an entire shelving unit in the closet had busted free from the wall, bringing everything in its wake down.

talked to both of my daughters and hugged the neck of my baby  :)

refused to wear jeans even once

did my job

repeated myself regarding the oh-so-refreshing breeze on Sunday afternoon at least 28 or 17 times

had my pool date rained out due to another ridiculous storm

celebrated Ryan

ate a Big Mac...and promptly confessed on Twitter

took a short, little, tiny-brief Sunday afternoon nap

drove to Kroger four times, made one trip to Food Lion, and enjoyed one visit with Target...and am yet grocery-less

decided I dislike the new swimsuit I just purchased as I was wearing it, thus rendering it un-returnable


limped and complained through all of the above because my aggravating back decided it was time to be bratty and spaz out

enjoyed the effects of flexeril on my back-ish misbehavior

missed the babies (always)

Thanked my dear Father above at least a zillion times (give or take) for blessing me with a lovely life full of all kinds of the ridiculous and sublime.

I wonder what this day will bring?

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Backwards

So I almost skipped today's post altogether because I was away all day having a good bit of SOME FUN, and then I came straight home, diving headlong into SOME WORK, and I'm tired.

Also for whatever reason this week's prompt seemed hard.

I don't like hard.

I avoid hard whenever possible.

But then I saw something that cracked me up and I thought something along the lines of Hey that kinda reminds me of these week's FMF topic.  And there you have it.  Some fatigue-riddled inspiration in the nature of...something or other. 

So without any further adieu, I share this week's Five-Minute Friday offering, as many words as I can squeeze into 300 seconds on a verylate Friday night.  And then I'm outta here.  Because, you know, my bed is calling my name & all.

On a little healthy backtracking


As has been the case many times in the last few weeks, we had a humdinger of an electrical storm this afternoon.  The heavens opened up in a crazy  way and thoroughly soaked everything below, and that was kind've ok, but I was not a fan of all the thundering and lightening and thundering going on.

Once the thunder cracked so loudly and the lightening was so close I may or may not have yelped a little bit as I snatched the headphones out of my ears, and flung them across the room.

Anyway, as I watched the storm raging outside my window I saw these three little teenage girls strolling up my street in their cut-off shorts and bikini tops.  They were tiny and cute and tiny, and I'm pretty sure they knew they were tiny and cute and tiny, but all I could think was what in the world are those goofy girls doing out in the  middle of a thunderstorm???  My only guess is that they wanted to...well, get wet.

So right after I flung my headphones across the room I see those same three adolescents flying down the street back from whence they had come.  HA!  That lightening had put some appropriate caution in their little heads and suddenly they forgot how tiny and cute they were and just wanted to get home!

That whole scene tickled me about three different ways and I hopped up and watched them run all the way home.  Silly girls.

Of course then I got to thinking about how often I saunter along some ill-conceived path doing something foolhardy only to hoof it back home just as quick as I can with all sense of pride and decorum out the window, so to speak, as I dive headfirst back through my own "front door." 

And I can only hope that I don't have a giggling audience witnessing my own personal foolishness.


Happy Weekending!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Something in the Way of a Recipe

This, dear peeps, is my favorite summer salad for two-and-a-half summers in a row. 

 I never, ever get tired of it.


It is ridiculously easy to throw together and tastes better the longer it sits.  It is cool and refreshing, and shockingly filling.

And it is chock-full of yummy things that are good for me.

Do people still say things like chock-full?


I kinda merged a couple of different recipes and now consider it one of my greatest successes.  It doesn't have a pretty or clever name, so I just call it my Summer bean salad - or sometimes I go crazy and go with Summer corn salad.

Sometimes I'm clever, clever I am.

I don't like to be bossy, but I think you should give it a try :)

Renee's Summer Bean/Corn Salad

Two cups of frozen corn
One can of kidney or black beans
One small bell pepper, diced.
One-half red onion, diced.
One tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
Two tablespoons of peanut oil.
Two tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Throw everything in a bowl and mix well.  It's ok to eat right away but will of course will be even better after all the flavors get married and hang out for a couple of hours.


Happy Wednesday!