Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Soundtrack of your Life

Me and Mandisa get together every morning.  Well, her, Lecrae, Phillips, Craig, & Dean, Toby Mac, and a select few others.  I read a while back about how an author I follow made the "soundtrack to his life" in the time while he was trying to write a book and find success.  After reading this blog's ( http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/every-dream-needs-a-soundtrack/ ) comments, I decided to make my own soundtrack to a dream.  I listened to this just about every morning as I get ready for the day.  However, this morning I awoke to a harsh reality.

Someone, somehow, had erased all my playlists on my Iphone.  Quel horreur!  What was I to do?  Could I even take a shower or brush my teeth with my lovely Colgate toothpaste without my soundtrack to a dream?  I was a car with a flat tire in the middle of the night; I was an empty box of Diet Coke cans.  My Iphone laid there, silently mocking my deleted sense of direction in music form.  Not to be mocked by any inanimate object, I then did what any girl would do:  I made a new one.  I decided to leave every prior soundtrack song off, and to pick songs I hadn't listened to in some time. And, as I scrolled through the songs on my Iphone, I realized that there were several songs I actually really like that I had left off the first soundtrack to a dream.  And of course, the requisite bathroom dancing/singing ensued.

In my life-relection time, also known as brushing-my-teeth-time, I thought about how I was using just this one playlist to help me focus on my goals for the day.  If I can change my playlist, I can probably also evaluate how my current goal-seeking methods are working and if I need to change anything up in the arena as well.  What are my current goals?  Are they really what's most important and what I'm passionate about right now?  I have recently started helping a friend with the social media for his business and I love doing that.  I have our church's Girls Weekend coming up, which is one of my favorite activities with my middle school girls. 

So this is what it is:  Do you have a soundtrack for your dream?  Want to make one?  What would you include?  Whatver appeals to you most, I'm sure that Mandisa and I will approve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Christian Man List

It's tough to be single.  If you are seeking marriage, you can't really seek marriage, you have to seek out friends that could be marriageable.  Also, I'm not familiar with the idea that guys take a look at you and think, "wow, that is marriageable material!" I wrote the following in response to a blog post by the very wonderful and erudite Jon Acuff, whose blog at www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike is a daily source of entertainment for me. 

Having been single, married, and now divorced (but I pray for love for my ex on a regular basis), I feel like I am well-qualified to write on this topic.  And for all those SCL guideline-loving people, this can be titled THE CHRISTIAN MAN LIST.
Of course, this is written from the perspective of a woman desiring to marry.  So all those haters out there who instantly want to attack this like white on rice, it’s okay, it’s not talking about you.  Unless it is.
THE CHRISTIAN MAN LIST ( to determine how marriageable you are, and definitely not an exhaustive list)
Attends a traditional church +1
Owns a house or living space +5
Attends a small group  +2
Wears a denim jacket +3
Attends a small group where he is outnumbered by women 4:1  -4
Attends a cool contemporary church +1
Wears metrosexual V-necks on a regular basis (doesn’t really tell you too much, but is fun to put in here given the audience)
Holds a job +2
Holds a job that would support a household without a second income +5
Lives at home with Mom -2
Lives at home with Mom because she is an invalid and he cares for her 24/7  +10
Entire casual wardrobe is Dockers and polos +1
Owns his own chainsaw +3
Has used chainsaw more than once +5
Can fix most household appliances +20
Can afford to pay someone to fix most household appliances +10
Does a one-hand praise and worship move +3
Involved in a ministry in which he physically has to work  +5
Uses the “phone ministry” to pick up women -10
Can fix most household appliances +20
Tries to help the homeless guy near your church +4
Likes BBQ +1
Likes to be the grill master +3 (just because it’s cute)
Has his own fantasy football league -10
Texts you in the morning about his quiet time and asks about yours +15
Can often be seen counseling beautiful women, holding her hand as they pray -8
 There you go.  It is what it is.  Did I leave anything out?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Princess Bride Life

As shocking as it may seem, there are people in this world that have NEVER seen Princess Bride.  In fact, I discovered that my own daughter has not added this cinema verite to her own life experience. I mean, if someone were to mention ROUSes, how would she know that it was a reference to rodents of unusual size? Or if someone cries out, "INCONCEIVABLE!"  she would not get it! How about if I kill one of the Florida state animals (roach, mosquito, lizard, spider) and upon examining it, proclaim that it is just "mostly dead"?  Another personal favorite is "Love, True Love" delivered as only a sinus-impaired priest can do. 

There are a whole host of movies I saw as I grew up that have been lost to part of this current teen/young adult generation.  I realize that the gory showdowns between Rambo, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Predator, and Charles Bronson and whatever street ruffian he was involved with pale in comparison to what today's gamers face, but there are some classic cultural references a person must be acquainted with.  I mean, I want my child to know that when I say, "Whatcha lookin' at, punk?  You feelin' lucky?" I am not trying to instigate conflict but rather make a cultural reference to Clint Eastwood.  I did feel pride when I saw one of my daughter's friends post a picture on facebook of herself in her front yard, boom box held high, John Cusack-style.  So perhaps there is hope.

But in the same regard, do I need to familiarize myself with current cultural references?  Do I need to know why some teens snicker and laugh when I affirm what a woman has proclaimed, i.e., "That's what she said"? Errggh.  Some things I don't want to know!  But I do want to make sure I use the right combination of D and L when describing something on the down low....or is it low down?  I never get it right.

Even if I can't keep something on the DL or the LD, I am definitely going to show my children Princess Bride.  If I can find my VHS player.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wadin' in the Jesus pool

In the words of Meg Ryan, in one of my all-time favorite movies You've Got Mail, "Don't you love daisies? Daisies are the friendliest flower."  If there's a friendlier flower, I do not know of it.  And if you go to a grocery store in Jacksonville, you are likely to see bunches of daisies in colors that nature did not create.  One day I asked the florist how in the world is it that these flowers can be these beautiful if not unnatural colors. Her reply was that the omnipresent "they" stick the daisy stems in vats of color and, much like the 7th grade science project involving food coloring and celery, the dye makes its way up the stem and eventually shows itself on the bloom, making turquoise and hot pink and bright orange daisies.
Pretend, dear reader, that there are two plastic wading pools in life. One is the Jesus wading pool. When you stick your toe or foot or feet in here, it's because you are immersing yourself in God's Word and filling up your life with pursuing God. If you keep your feet in it long enough, it gets sucked up your stem and eventually shows on your petals, much like the daisies. But if you put your feet in the world's wading pool and fill your life with media and other life choices that reflect what this secular society has to offer, it still gets sucked your stem and shows up on your petals. So what do you want your petals to look like?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life Can Now Begin

I got an early birthday present today.  I don't consider myself hard to buy for, but I prefer to receive gifts that reflect that people have listened to me and know what I like.  (Likewise, I try to do the same for people I gift.)  But this was so thoughtful that I am starting my blog with it.  It's a Moleskine.  You might be saying, what?, as my friend Vann did on facebook.  It's a journal that records your thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc.  But the key is that pretty much every motivational speaker and writer has one and talks about it.  So I figure that I can now become QUEEN OF THE WORLD.  Or, at the very least, I can feel empowered to continue to write my book.

Sometimes I am in random places and see something that my quirky mind thinks would be an awesome blog post topic.  But if I don't write it down, it's gone, pretty much right after I tell myself, "This is such a great idea I could never forget it."  But now, with my Moleskine, which I pretty much intend to live with, will be the hunter and gatherer of those random thoughts. This is really great for all of you that read my blog, because now all the funny stuff that I see can get translated into blogdom.

This kind of reminds me of my 15th Christmas, circa 1983ish.  Take a trip back in time, if you will, to the days when Cyndi Lauper and Madonna were just beginning to shock people and most of my friends spent their time making their hair bigger.  I had declared to my parents that my life would be complete if only I could have an add-a-bead necklace, a simple gold chain with various sizes of gold beads.  Having one would be like having a really long neck, like the Burmese tribe whose girls put the rings around their necks and make it a status symbol.  Well, Christmas Day came and went, and I was the recipient of an add-a-bead necklace.  And I really loved it.  However, it did not make me the cool chick like I thought it would. 

So, to make a pointless blog a little more pointy, believing that an object will make you an amazing writer, a sick guitarist, or a cool fifteen year old is most likely flawed.  Take what you have and find ways to make it better.  And if you happen to write it down in a Moleskine, even better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's in a name? Food.

In the course of my day, I end up on the websites of a dozen different Baptist churches.  Usually I am trying to figure out what their most current mailing address is, which is normally not on the website.  Neither are emails.  But what I have noticed is that there are generally a few Baptist church stereotypes.  First, there's the Big Bubba Baptist Church.  These are usually located in rural areas, and the picture of the pastor shows that there may have been more than one (hundred) covered dish events in his lifetime.  The website may include the next knitting or quilting club meeting times and generally espouses conservative thinking and living.

Another type of Baptist church is the I'm-A-Baptist-Church-But-The-Word-Baptist-Is-Not-In-My-Name.  Strangely enough,  however, you will likely find one or a combination of the words Life Journey Point Fellowship Pointe Cross North Way.  These have cool websites with lots of graphic-y splashes of color describing the next Bible study.  Oh, and don't try to find "Sunday School" because this is referred to as a "life group."  It may or may not meet on Sunday.  Shocking, I know.

 The last of my stereotypes is a Big Bubba Comes to the City, which is a structurally traditional Baptist church that has decided that you can't meet the needs of the current generation with what was hot and happenin' in the 70's.  These churches may also have a cool website.  But there is a link between all of these, and that is food.  A covered dish here, a cool java hut there, but you pretty much can't swing a cat without hitting food in a Baptist church.  (Not that anyone would try to hit food by swinging a cat.  That would be sooooo unsanitary.  Plus tongs work so much better. To pick up food, that is.)  Don't get me wrong, you will find some great food at church.  But as much as these stereotypes think they are different, they're pretty much the same. 

What is the best thing about your church? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

the Beginning of the End

Well, now that we have all successfully made it past the supposed end of the world, again, I would like to propose what could be an exciting proposition for all concerned.  I will now be posting daily to this crazy little thing called my blog, and you, all four of you, should check in daily to see whassup and what's down with this life as I see it through through the life of a single mom with three teens and a whole bunch of great friends. Today, I'd just like to give a little shout-out to my awesome friend Brenda, who I have actually only known for a total of five months, but when you camp counselor-together, that propels you into the "I've known you my whole life" category.  Not only is she the most chill person I know (and I thought I was fairly chill), but she has all these talents that she is completely humble about.  Everything that I pin on Pinterest that is a watercolor anything, I know that she will pin it as well.  In fact, I can predict what she is going to pin as far as art is concerned.  As we prepared to camp-counselor together, we decided to get tote bags for our girls.  Brenda mentioned painting something on them, and I thought, sure maybe "Camp 2011" or something else completely original like that.  Brenda does her art thang, and it turns out to be this flowery mosaic with the "be" attitudes and this insanely cute felt flower and an adorbs ribbon tie.  Needless to say, I am overcome with WOW and Ms. Chill 2011 said, "oh, so you like it?"  and I can only respond, very eruditely, if I may say, with "Chyeahhh!"  There 's something about a friend that accepts you with all your quirky parts and your funny parts and the edges that are still getting worn smooth.  I am super thankful for Brenda.

What about your very good friend do you appreciate the most? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Laundry Physics

Every now and then I have an idea that makes me think, hmm, I oughta write a blog post about that.  And then I write it down in the Notes on my Iphone and look at it again in a few months.  But I feel so strongly about the following words that I am compelled to write this blog post NOW.
There is a separate set of physics that govern laundry.  Now, I know that students of physics, two of which exist in my house as teenagers, will say that an object in motion stays in motion (as evidenced by the activity of my 71-year old mother) and that an object at rest stays at rest (as evidenced by the activity, or lack thereof, of my 74-year old father).  And I know that there’s something about molecules that keeps my Diet coke from running over the sides of my glass if I over-pour just a little too much.

Hey guys - this is a cami.
But one thing that I know for sure is that laundry has its own set of physics.  The only reason I know that this exists is that somehow, someway, the tiniest cami strap wraps itself not only around the center turny-thing (that’s for you laymen) but around every button and piece of clothing that has twisted itself into a mess during the course of being washed.  Back in the times of what some call Ancient Macedonia, Midas tied this crazy knot that nobody could undo and somebody started calling it a Gordian knot (I’m thinking that “the really hard knot to undo” was a close second.)  This cami, also like some threads that come loose, was a total and complete Gordian knot.   Needless to say, I was working at high frustration levels to get this undone and get this laundry into the dryer, where I desperately hoped it would not repeat its crazy physics rule.
I think I recognize one of my socks!
But I also offer the worldwide and yet to be solved problem:  What happens to the other sock in the dryer?  I can only assume that something like a law of physics can come up with an answer.  Also to be considered:  How can a red item you’ve washed several times ALL OF A SUDDEN decide to release its dye?  Was it monitoring your thoughts and knew exactly when you would trust it not to make everything pink?  This sounds much bigger than something that can be explained with mere science.  So don’t say you haven’t been warned.  And if the Nobel people are looking for a truly deserving recipient, they should be looking for the guy that finds the other socks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten Items or Less




One of my least favorite things to do is visit my local Walmart.  I used to go later at night, around 9 or 10 o’clock, to beat the crowds, but what I then found was that with fewer shoppers, there are fewer cashiers.  Which brings me to the crux of this blog post: theoretically, the lane clearly marked as “10 items or less” or, in the case of Walmart, additionally, “20 items or less,” would lead most shoppers to believe that going through this lane would put them in the company of like-minded shoppers that had escaped the Walmart maelstrom with less than 10 items (a feat within itself).  However, apparently the idea of having 10 items or less is a very fluid idea for some; I think that having multiples of ten is enough for them to think, “It’ll be okay, people won’t mind.”
Except that I do mind.  As much as I don’t want to, when I see someone that I can visually tell has more than ten items, I mentally count every blip of the register to see how badly that shopper has transgressed the ten item limit.  I want to not care, I want to just unconditionally love this egregious shopper.  I guess I do—but I want them to recognize that they have been a jerk to those of us with two things.  So here is my solution:  Instead of 10 items or less, make it 2lbs or less!  There could be a little pre-staging area that you would lay your things down on a conveyor belt; 2 lbs or less gets shuffled off to the express lane, more to the regular lanes!  So basically you have to follow your stuff on a giant conveyor belt.


Note: Not actual conveyor belt at Walmart.  Lines are much longer than they appear.
Or, since Wal-mart offers so many different services, how about flash-tattooing people who go through the line with too many items?  Kind of like a scarlet A. 


Note: not actual tattoo suggested
Then people everywhere would know if they were dealing with a ten item or less transgressor.  Okay, harsh.  And as much as I would like to punish people that have too many things in the ten-item or less, I can’t help but think about how I am constantly taking too many things in God’s ten-item or less…not really, but I keep sinning and most of the time doing the things that I wrestle with the most. Pride. Control. Disobedience.  I am a repeat offender in each of those sins.  So, even if I am behind a non-English speaking couple with four orders of ten items each and they are trying to use foreign currency, I smile, sing the Patience song, and am so thankful that God forgives me every time I am prideful, a control freak, and disobedient. 
Note:  Not actual couple encountered in Walmart.





Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Risk

Wow. I am typing this into my IPhone as I digest Taco Bell before I head off to church. I am at 20% power, so I will have to do this quickly, rather than write it in a Word document and cut and paste it into my blog. But I have found myself living on the edge, in my own special way, a lot lately.(guilty admission: I just came out to my car to plug my phone into the car charger.) anyway, the point is that things have not been going my way lately. Things that I thought were a sure thing are now completely different.and at the same time I keep hearing that God calls us to do things we can do only on His power, which really messes with my desire for control.

Philippians 4:6 tells me to chill out, God has it totally under control. He's got this."prayer abd supplication with thanksgiving" are the words He wants to hear out of my mouth.so what if I do something crazy and totally trust God? And pray for everything, rather than trying to figure out how to do it on my own? That would mean I have to take a risk. And feel unsafe. But it's a perceived unsafe because I am actually okay. Wow. Scary thought.
However, with the events of the last few months, I think I would rather trust someone who knows the end, rather than me, who can't see past today.
God, I want to trust you. Please take me your way, but can you please show me as much of the way as I can see and not lose sight of who you are? I know you like to work with me on a last-minute basis, do please be mysecurity and my Jehovah-Jireh. I think you need to bring me my kinsman-redeemer, so I thank you for bringing that into my life. You are so good and I'm sorry my mind is so finite that I can't grasp you who ate in your entirety. Help me to follow.

If you have ever had thoughts like this, let me encourage you to take a risk. In the most sure thing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bike Lanes Are Your Friend

There are many things I love about my city.  It’s a big-yet-small town, which some love and some hate.  (Don’t listen to the haters.  They can’t afford to move to a true metropolitan area and they are taking it out on the rest of us, all the while enjoying low housing costs.)  But that’s not what this blog is about.
The city of Jacksonville has taken it upon itself to build and provide bike lanes and bike paths on many, many streets in our fair city.  I respect that and, in fact, have researched laws applying to bicyclists so much that I know I must have at least a three-foot space between me and a bicyclist when passing said bicyclist.  Which leads me to my problem, my what’s- stuck- in- my- craw, my big beef with bicycles. 
USE A BIKE LANE.  Enough already.  Even though there is a wide and smoothly paved bike path on a back road that I frequently travel, bicyclists travel in the street.  What? What is that?  Same pavement, different place.  Do bicyclists think that cars won’t take them seriously if they ride in the bike path?  Big news, bicycle people.  I don’t like you and I wish you would ride on the bike path so I don’t have to worry if you are going to accidentally veer in front of my car and get hit, which makes me look like the bad guy.  So being taken seriously is the LEAST of your problems.  That aerodynamic helmet that comes to a point behind your head?  Hahahahahahaha You make me laugh.  I’m not even going to the place to talk about lycra shorts with the padding to protect your posterior.
Since you got me started on this, let me further say that packs of bicyclists riding more than two astride are ILLEGAL in Florida.  But the worst part is that no policeman is going to stop a pack of bicyclists who are riding four and five wide.  It’s basically the honor system for bike laws.  And there is little honor among bicyclists!  Do you people wonder why you are not commonly liked by cars? 
Maybe if I were a bicyclist I would see this differently.  Maybe if I were a bicyclist I would be super patient and wait generously for packs of bikes traveling 10 mph less than the posted speed limit.  I’d wave and say encouraging things.  And then I would wake up.  (Insert laughter here)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mom Stuff

Tonight was an epochal evening for me.  Tonight was the night that I actually ironed on young daughter's stars.  You see, young daughter plays rec basketball in a Christian feel-good league where we play fair, be sweet, and have a "positive circle of encouragement" or something like that.  Every week, every player gets a star for coming to practice and a star (one of five colors) that indicates her strongest skill that week.  Ideally, every parent takes these stars home and irons them on the team t-shirt.  At the end of the season, the players ideally have practice stars for every practice and stars for each game.  However, I am usually better at losing the stars than ironing them on.  This is the sixth year we have played in this league.  Six years.  And I am finally getting good at keeping up with the stars. 

This reminds me of other mom stuff that we bullet-proof moms are supposed to do, but yet I kind of find myself not liking those moms that do all the mom stuff for a brief millisecond.  Moms that make homemade Rice Krispy treats for after-practice snacks.  Or hand-smock dresses and jumpers for young children.  Or those moms that get towels monongrammed with the children's names so that they will know which is theirs in the bathroom.  Yes, I know people that do these things.  But I will tell you that one of these moms, despite her executive-husband, perfect, hand-smocked life, ended up burning out and leaving her whole family.  Yikes! 

My version of mom stuff involves box brownies made at 10 pm because I forgot about the bake sale the next day, but it also involves cheering the kids on at every game they play.  More late-night "oh yeahs" that involve laundry needed for the next day, and proudly spending the afternoon making a Romeo costume that helps get an A in a Shakespeare monologue.  Not remembering much between 1995 and 1997 due to sleep deprivation, but staying up gladly when a teenager actually wants to talk about things that matter (or not).  Yeah, my mom stuff, I think, is about the things that matter for life. (But I'm still pretty proud about the stars.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Un-Resolutions


Although I am fairly convinced that resolutions need a complete new makeover, I have made a few, the usual.   Eat better, exercise more, love more, forgive more, stop texting and driving (not that I do.)  If you ask me, people sometimes use resolutions to set themselves up for failure, but that is a completely different blog.  I am proposing Un-Resolutions.

The older I get, the more I realize that there are certain things that I just am not doing anymore.  Like for instance, as much as my kids may want me to, I am not getting in a cold pool or a cold ocean unless I want to.  I have already served my time with young kids in a pool whose temperature rivals that of most Icees.  Not doing it.  So in the spirit of Un-Resolutions, I propose the following:I refuse to eat at restaurants whose food I know is overpriced and poorly prepared…not naming any names, Castle of Italian Food….
When people are overtly stupid and their driving affects the progress of ten or more cars, I am going to break the laws of Southern hospitality and I am going to honk at them.
I am going to walk the gauntlet of supermarket check out aisles without feeling like I need to buy a candy bar.
When in a conversation that has awkwardly, painfully and obviously run its course and needs to end, I am going to choose to end it, rather than perpetuate the pain. The alternative would be to continue the obligatory small talk/listening cues.
I completely reject the idea that I need to use a dating website to find my “perfect” man.  Given my history of sometimes poor choices, I am going to let friends and family help me out.
I am going to stop pretending I am open to trying ethnic foods.  I’m not.  Don’t ask. 
Although confrontation is not really in my skill set, I am going to start telling people more of what it is.  In a nice way, of course.  If possible.
Since I do not have a child whose given name is Facebook, I am going to spend more time in actual conversation that does not involve IM.
Pursuing a master’s degree has been in the back of my mind for some time and I know what I would like to study.  Through prayer, I have decided to go ahead and start.  So I guess the un-resolution would be to stop sitting on my butt and get going on what I think God has next for me.

So what are your un-resolutions?  Please comment.

Love you, Terri