Simple Story

Several months ago, Mickey suggested I consider going back to school.  He thought I should look into the MFA in Creative Writing at UT (Tennessee.  I know, I don’t think it’s right either, but there are only 26 letters in the alphabet. I don’t live in Fricassee.  Well, now look at that.  Actually, some days I do.  I digress.).

I found out who I needed to speak to, got distracted, and never followed up.  The admissions process looked difficult.  In my opinion; difficult is stupid.  I’m SO old school, I think people should speak on the phone, learn cursive, have a favorite kind of pen, wear their pants pulled up, and I’m really uncomfortable with visible tattoos (I think it goes back to the State Fair when I was a kid. That said, I’ve been campaigning for a navel piercing. Mickey is in opposition.  Except, he wants to know how much it would cost.  But, you’ll never know if I get it.  Unless you follow me on Instagram.).

Really, really old school.

Time passed,  Mickey didn’t forget about it, but I did.

One of our daughters decided what she wants to do.  Doesn’t look to the right or to the left.  She’s decided to be a dental hygienist.  Period.  Shut up. Leave her alone.

The other daughter simply doesn’t know.  If you walked downstairs and asked her this minute, she would say she is going to be an interior designer.  If you had asked her last Saturday, she would have said phlebotomist.  On any Saturday in February, she would have said, cosmetologist.   There is an upward trend, yet, cosmetology has been her mainstay, as you can walk to an Aveda Institute from our house.  In January, however, she was exploring her options.

One day, we drove out to a little Bible college, tucked into the hills.  She was stoked.

I thought in the interest of research, we’d visit another Christian University nearby.  I couldn’t get any takers.  I knew we needed to go.  We kept getting mail from them.  Offers of free basketball tickets for the family, if the high school student takes a tour.

“We’ll take the day off school.”

*crickets chirping*

I grumbled and clicked over to their website to find a picture of a cute boy or a danish or something.

My hand slipped and I clicked Adult and Graduate Programs.

I shot them a quick e-mail.

They referred me to a departmental advisor.

She and I talked on the phone.

I told her my interest, but also my barriers.  It was way simpler than I thought.  When we got off the phone, I told her I would talk to my husband.

Okay, here’s the deal.  I probably shouldn’t say this, because then everyone will know, but a lot of times, I “talk to my husband about it” so I don’t have to move forward.  To Mickey, a decision is like buying a gun, there should be a 30 day waiting period.

I promptly called him to activate my 30 days.  I told him about the call.  Things were simpler…graduate assistant-ships…blah blah…

He said, “You need to do it.”

Right there.  Right then.

I went home and looked at the online application.  I sort of filled it out.  I had work to do, so I didn’t send because I was scared there were blanks I couldn’t answer.  I just navigated away.  It wouldn’t be a big deal to fill my name, address and phone number again.

The next day, I got an email from the office of Graduate admissions letting me know that my application had been received but that I had left a field blank.


At this point, let me take a break and tell you about a little side story.  We love to hit Plato’s Closet.  It’s a juniors and young men’s re-sale shop.  In January, we breezed through with some Christmas money.  I kept holding up this striped sweater.

“Hey! Y’all.  Someone get this sweater.  J. Crew.  Cool colors.”

Who do I think I am?

I tried on some skinnies from the $1 rack.  They were…size 2.  It was a triumph.  I got the freaking sweater.  Because, size 2.  That’s why.

So, back to my story, where I sneaked behind my own back and applied to grad school.

I went for my interview with departmental advisors.  I’ve never had so smooth an interview in my life.  There were high fives and cheering.  Someone told me there was a possibility I could….


I know what that means.

She said it quickly, but I got it.

Like a perch gets a worm.

I was hooked.  Through the eye.  As usual (usual for the perch.  Not me.).


In a couple of weeks, I received a call.  Not the one where I talked to the gal in admissions about everything under the sun for 45 minutes.  I love her.  Different call.  Department head asking which program I was interested in and the names are being changed, and was that okay, and look for a letter in a couple of weeks.

She and whomever was in the background were… Giggling.

Yes, America Jennifer and Carrie.  I received this in the mail:


Manicure Level: Lower Primate


And.  Even before the trip to the first college…


Selfie Level: Senior Citizen

A sweater in school colors.

Confirmation? The people who matter instantly affirmed the idea. The kids and my best friends are excited. Geeked.

Who hesitated?  Exactly whom you’d expect.  The ones who don’t love you enough to let you follow your path unless it’s the same as theirs.

Apparently, God submitted my application and gave me a sweater.

Mickey didn’t forget.

Dream. Come. True.




A Little Lovin’ In the Oven or the Crock-Pot

What I had intended to write about yesterday was sex, but other more burning issues pre-empted that post.  Sorry.  You missed out.

Today, I am going to share a recipe.

This could have been prevented.

Previously, I shared a lasagna recipe that you could find online and add the after-market details to make into something special.

Today, I am sharing Creamy Chicken Breasts.  Some people call it Swiss Chicken.  Both those names are foreign to my home as we call this Lindsay Chicken for the very special woman who shared the recipe.








Arrange chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2″ baking dish.  Top with cheese.  Combine soup and wine in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Spoon sauce over chicken evenly and sprinkle with stuffing mix.  Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes.  Yield: 8 servings.

That’s the basic recipe off the page Lindsay gave me (she never made it that way either).  Here’s what you do to make this really,really something to roll around naked in special:








Another great feature of this recipe is that you can be done in the slow cooker.  Like so:

Don’t make fun of my crock-pot.

One of my daughters recently commented that she couldn’t wait to have a boyfriend to cook for.  (Okay, cutest thing,…ever.)

I know he’ll be enjoying some Lindsay Chicken.  Lucky devil.


Hashtag Heartbroken; Hashtag Stomachache

This morning, I encouraged my homeschoolers to skip class by piling them in the car and taking them outlet shopping and out for fast food fried chicken.

When I got home, there was a kitchen clean, dinner to cook, and someplace to be by a time I won’t make unless I am two people, so I took a nap.

And now, I’m blogging.

Sounds like I am a worthless bag of poo.  But it’s Spring and it’s freezing, and I have possibly one of the worst haircuts in the history of the cosmetology license. So.

Imma just do what I wanna do for a minute and get back to the kitchen.

I have something to get off my chest.

The young ladies of our acquaintance, which number in the dozens, seem to think it is darling to hashtag their statuses on social media with this:

#whitegirl  #whitegirlstatus

Doing something different, they may similarly express a:


These are, in fact, white girls; therefore any status they post is automatically that of a white girl.  Also significant, is that these young women may or may not be aware that black people go to Starbuck’s.

A one of these young women, has told others that she won’t attend classes at the branch of the local community college located a mile from here.  Because it isn’t a safe neighborhood.  It is the one closest to a government subsidized housing project. And yet, She loves to post her #ghettostatus.  Her instagram profile has previously read: “Black girl stuck in a white girl’s body”.

Last week at the Christian Homeschool Co-op, a young lady said, she was trying to ‘sound black in her solo (in choir) because she is’.

She isn’t.

I have spent the last (nearly) 8 years, trying to open a discussion of racism.  Then I would get tired and someone would come to me and ask to help them understand and my neck would be stiff and my heart hard and I would fail to speak well on that day.

Now what do I do?  Give up on homeschooling?  Give up on the church?

I’m tired of being the one to speak out on this topic. People are just going to tell me racism is only using the word black to describe a black person and that if they don’t do that they aren’t. And they think of Emma and Mercy as white.

They aren’t.  They are bi-racial.  (While we’re here, Barack Obama?  Also, bi-racial.  It matters.)  And bi-racial doesn’t mean an acceptable type of black person.

This issue is hardening my heart toward young people who need to have their eyes opened.  It is turning my stomach.  Not my heart to God.

I am broken.  I am not up to it.  I am angry and ashamed of my anger.  I am stifled.

We knew when we adopted them this day would come.  The push back of reality.

We knew when we moved back; we stood in front of a wall we couldn’t bring down.

Now I’m climbing it.

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

Red and yellow, black and white- they are precious in his sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Monday Momentum

I may have a problem with perfectionism.

Very rarely do I feel that I have done all I ought to have done or could have done in a day.  Probably a risk of the Homemaker/SAHM/Home Educator job.

Time isn’t compartmentalized enough.

I have a big blob of unscheduled time with little chunks of “starts at 6:30”, “Mom, I work from 2-6,” and “he’ll see the ophthalmologist at 1:00”  interspersed throughout the week.

That said, the weekend was wildly productive.  I can prove it with a backyard reclaimed from the second law of thermodynamics.

I never took physics, but the second law used to state that everything is moving from order into chaos.  They called this Entropy.

My husband is in denial that such a law exists.

Or possibly, loves to sit under the tree waiting for the apple to hit him on the head.

I, on the other hand adore Newton’s first law, so that when I have the ability to get started, I keep going until I get hit with the schedule, hunger and/or thirst or the limit of what can be done on that task with the resources at hand.

By show of hands, Who has ever had that moment when you are bringing your little portion of the creation under your authority, and realize you’ve just run, face first, into the need for a Lowe’s lumber yard run.  THAT IS CATEGORICALLY NOT HAPPENING WITHOUT A SHOWER.  Which means stopping, and then it will be lunch time, and by the time you do those three things there will not be time to work on the project before you have to stop and make dinner.

That’s all I’m saying.

I walked out the house on Saturday morning, without a word.  With only a rake and my phone.  Soon after the rest of the family finished their waffles, they joined me.  We attacked this city lot like zombies on a preschool play yard.

When the last tool was put away, Type A said,”Now, I wouldn’t be embarrassed for my friends to see it.”


When we got home late Saturday evening, we hung out and shot baskets in the backyard.  Never ever happened before.

Such a burden was lifted, that even though my body is still screaming, my head is clear, and I’ve already gotten more done today than all of last week in terms of paperwork and business.

That was written about 9:30 this morning.  It’s after 7:00, now.  The momentum has lasted throughout today, with errands and laundry.  I’m enjoying the Monday night mom time per schedule.

This is highly unusual for me.

Highly.  Unusual.

It’s a lotta grace.

For you are not under law but under grace….





Saturday Squeeze

Thought I might just squeeze in a little something before time to start the weekend dysfunction chore list.


1) Give the dogs a bath.  Worst pet related task.

IMG_4153filthy beasts

2) Give the husband a haircut.  (After paying good money for him to get assaulted by licensed professionals, I’m back on the job.)

3) Pick up dog doo in the backyard. I can delegate this.

4) Rake.  All the autumn leaves?  Never touched.  Not one time.  Not by anyone. They’re getting gross. Today is the day.

5) Wrangle children.  When there is work on, it’s like trying to give a cat a bath.  You can make them participate, but not without bloodshed.

That should about kill it for Saturday.  Before I explode onto the list; by myself because the guys have the March Madness Elusiveness Syndrome…I thought I’d flick a little randomness on you.


1) Instagram was worth the wait. A picture is worth 1000 words.  You know how I love 1000 words.  It forces me to look for the beauty in my life.

2) It’s time to start thinking about next year’s homeschool.  Which makes me panic about this year’s finish up.  Be glad you are not my child.  If you are having a bad day, you could always think, “My mom isn’t about to drop the hammer on me.”

3) Next year’s subjects.  Should be their senior year. A couple of moms at last night’s mandatory co-op meeting were trying to talk me into making the girls take a fifth year of high school.  Why?  I found myself walking away, shouting (Yes.  Shouting), “They need to GROW UP!!!”

4) Mickey fixed the dryer last Saturday.  I’d been trying to do the hanging up to dry thing for about three weeks.  It saves money, the environment, and something else.  Man alive, is it a lot of work.  I am so grateful for that dryer.


5) It seems young girls can survive on air and a crush.

6) It seems that little boys can survive on basketball and a lot of food.  When the grubby little dirt ball is not in front of the TV, he is outside with a sad, worn out basketball.  The good basketball won’t hold air, and the cheap one has a hernia where the valve is.  He has begun looking at my food before he finishes his own and asking if I think I’m gonna eat all that.

He’s 9.

7) If volleyball doesn’t start soon, Volleyball Girl is going to self-destruct and take the house down.  Every time there’s a volleyball reference, she glows.


8) We are not getting a puppy.  Or a kitty.  That is all.

9) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  It’s hair removal season.  There are five razors in the shower; three women live here. I’m pretty sure someone broke in the house and groomed a poodle in that shower last week.   I left the plumber a voicemail.

10) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  The sap is rising and something is blossoming.  Even it something is too fragile to be touched yet, it’s so heartwrenchingly gorgeous you could stand still in one place and just watch it grow all day.  Don’t miss it.

Crocus at UT Gardens

Crocus at UT Gardens


This is where it would be really cool if I had a blog thing with Benedryl.




Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.


The Lenten Fast.


I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without


There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.


Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.


~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~







The Child God Gave You

The offspring (can you call your adopted children, offspring?) were trying to look busier than their siblings, so I wouldn’t hand them a task.   I was distracted by the unanswerable questions that 16 year-old girls ask. If I answered straight up, they’d see my responsibility to minister to those I’m in relationship with. I get enough of that from Jesus, as it is.

Then, somebody did something awesome.

I’d like to give credit, but time passed.  I wouldn’t be able to remember 15 years of pop music if I made brain space for things like who did this one thing. The fact is, whoever did, whatever it was, is lost in the mists of time, but it stopped me in my tracks.

“It all boils down to loving the child God gave you.”

About 10 years ago, Robyn, told me to, “Enjoy your kids.”

I ignored her, because I was more concerned with fitting them into my idea of “what life should look like”, than who they were designed to be.

Today. I can’t not enjoy them.

My vision for homeschooling?  I had to let that go.

We’re dreadfully undisciplined. We don’t invite our germaphobe friends here. It’s like the zoo. I don’t give them all organic foods. We fight. They talk back. They have bad habits that need to be broken; they call them sociological imperatives. Their table manners and their conversation make me want to lay down in a darkened room and remain until God takes me home.


Maybe we’re making up for lost time.

Maybe we did the rebellion thing when they were acting like mental patients as 10, 11, and 12 year-olds. One shares, as part of her Christian testimony, that her behavior toward me was deliberately destructive before she believed.

Maybe I’m an utter failure.

A long time ago, I told a counselor about my relationship with my dad, “He loves me, but he’s like that Eagles’ song, ‘Desperado’.  He just doesn’t always express himself.”

He looked at me for a long second and said, “You are telling me about your relationship with the picture in your head of who your dad is.”  He was saying, you have to deal with the dad God gave you.

I have to deal with the kids God gave me.

There was a moment last year that put every thought I had under the microscope:  :

“Why am I wasting time on this?”

“Is this important enough to dedicate the energy to?”

“I am holding on too tight.”

“It’s okay for her to pout, as long as she does the task.”

“Is that the worst thing that can happen?”

Those thoughts drove to the heart of living for my mental picture of the perfect child, the incredible mother, the ideal public image.

Of course, I’m back to majoring on the minors– Who didn’t put the freaking toilet paper on the holder?  Whose cups are all these in the living room?  Why can’t we follow the towel guidelines?

Back to saddling up and riding behinds.

Back to deciding if it’s a cross to bear or a broom to ride.

Enjoying them when they need their butts kicked.  It’s a complex art.

Someone has to do it.

Loving the kids God gave me.

Making up for lost time.











The Fibromyalgia File: One Year Update

A glance at the calendar reminds me of the upcoming one year anniversary of a disaster– my own pharmaceutical train wreck, complete with panic attacks and withdrawals bells and whistles.

It’s not funny to be diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Not funny, at all.

What’s less funny, is when the drugs that work for “most people” nearly kill you.



Where to go next?

Acupuncture.  Purposely allowing someone to put needles in your face.  hands. toes.  I think this every time I go.  And by that, I mean, I went in for my sixth visit in July and was pain-free until December.  I didn’t get back in until the second week of January, and I’ve been in once more since then.  It’s about time to go back.

The winter is the worst.  It’s a veritable kaleidoscope of symptoms.  This year, I can point to the cause and keep walking.

Saturday, I worked in the yard. Since then, I’ve paid the piper.  In all fairness, I’m not 30 years-old anymore.  I’ve also been in the chair all winter.

I did a lot of exercise last summer.  Which didn’t come to a screeching halt, but tapered off gradually.  I didn’t notice a difference.  Like the doctor insisted it would.  But then, she also told me to keep on taking the meds when I had every side effect on the “Notify Your Doctor Immediately” list.

Yes, I read the patient information sheet when I get a prescription.

No, your doctor really doesn’t want you to do that.

I digress.

One year in?

My life is better.

When I hurt, I can laugh at the pain and say, “It’s Fibro.  It isn’t anything.”

When I can’t sleep, I just get up until I can relax again.  I can stop feeling desperate.  “It’s Fibro.  This is what we do.”  Usually, I can drop back off again for an hour or so.  Typically, I’m up at 3:48 (yes, that exact).  Maybe I’ll drop off again or maybe not.

The insomnia may account for what they call Fibro fog or dyscognition.  That links to a nice tidy definition. It basically means: I might be able to think if I could only think.  This is probably the most irritating to me because I don’t realize it’s getting me until I’m got.

The accompanying depression? It is a diagnostic criteria for Fibromyalgia, but that’s just too freaking bad.  I am unmerciful to it.  Which sounds weird, I know, but things are different now.  Depression is a lie. I walk right in and attack it like it’s an intruder trying to get to my kids.  Because it is.  And I fight dirty.

One year in?

Things are different.

Life didn’t stop just because I got a diagnosis.  This probably isn’t a revelation for other people.

Fibro had to submit to the budget, schedule and order of priority.

They say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”*

Fibromyalgia specifically doesn’t kill you and fights to make you weaker.

I am less sick today because the diagnosis made me turn and face the right enemy.

I am not stronger today because I fought the fibro.

I am stronger because my fight against that unseen enemy trained me for the battle of a lifetime against other unseen enemies.

I’m not afraid of much anymore.

Not afraid of much at all.






*They said it before Kelly Clarkson.  I had to rename a chili recipe because of her.








The Neglected Path

I always struggled to keep a consistent schedule on the blog.  A post routinely took a couple of hours to put together.  Usually.  Not today.  Blah. Blah. Blah.

I wrote to have an adult conversation.  I wrote to get it off my chest.  I wrote to practice.  Something.  I never could organize my thoughts well.  Which turned out not to be my fault.

Many, many times, I wrote to figure out what exactly I was thinking.

To run the truth to ground.  To put a bit finer point on it.

Once I figured out what ‘it’ was.

The path to the blog was well-worn.

Now, it’s overgrown.  Choked with weeds.

Everyday life, my source of ideas, took a turn.  What we dealt with wasn’t entirely mine to share.  What was mine, I didn’t want to look at for one more second than was necessary to work through it.

The truths I discovered felt as though they were for me alone.  Which is never the case, but that’s how it felt.

I didn’t feel like writing. There were just some hard things.  The world has enough of that.

So I more or less just quit.

There was a bit of a burst at the new year.  But then everyone got the flu at the same freaking time.

Then the weather.

GAH.  The weather.

The tide has turned.  There are good stories to tell.  Love to share.  Teens to poke fun at.  Fun to be had.  Even incriminating photos.

Today, I’m out with my lucky machete.  Taking a hack at the path.

Be there soon.








You Don’t Have to Change Your Mind

This is different, but at least it will be unpopular.

You don’t have to change your mind.

Instead of shifting your attention from one thing to another like a raccoon with a hatful of shiny objects:


That’s right. I said it.

Instead of committing your life to something because the cool kids ‘like’ its page on Flackbook; why not sit quietly sometimes and think about important ideas? Have a conversation about something besides carnal pleasures.  [Don’t get mad because I used the word ‘carnal‘ properly.  The word means “related to the needs of the physical, temporal; rather than the spiritual”.]

You know what I mean…

“I need a latte.”  The hell heck you do.  Have a cup of strong, black Folger’s.

“Your HAIR! What are you using on it?”  Shampoo.

“Have you seen the new [shirtless hairless effeminate male pin-up] movie?”  Why?  So we can argue about whether, evil or soft-smooth-hands-that-have-never-done-a-day’s-work are more attractive?

“I LOVE [fried chicken sandwiches].  They are AMAZING!”  They are poison.  Whether the founder attends church or not.

“Should I get [another] tattoo?”  No, start chain smoking.  Dumbass.

Put down the game controller.

And the freaking phone.

Your mind is starving to death.  If you think [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] is amazing, your life is too darn small.  If you are amazed by that, it’s because so few really great things have crossed your consciousness.  Amazing isn’t a synonym for pleasant.

You don’t need to be obsessed with something.

All the time.

It’s okay to be interested in a variety of things.

You don’t have to be “passionate about something” or “have a passion for” it.

You can just do your thing.

Read good books.  Eat what’s served.  Go interesting places.  Have hobbies.  Try new things.  Like them or don’t.

Do your best in high school.

If your parents are letting you pick your path, find some post-secondary training of some kind.

Get a job.  Don’t be idle.  There is honor in work.  Whether it is the paycheck kind or the building the family blessing kind.

You can do any kind of work.  You don’t have to get famous for it.

It’s only bacon.  Bring it home.

I think you should work just a little bit more than you play.  Believe me or don’t, but if you haven’t worn yourself out with work, you will not enjoy the play as much as you would if you did.

Just live.

The passion of Christ, refers to his journey to the cross to be poured out as an offering for us.  His commitment to do what His Father desired.

Are you ready for that definition of passion?

Good.  Because Jesus, too, did a regular job, hung out with his family, attended worship regularly, and obeyed the law of the land.  He’d never heard of [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] or [fried chicken sandwiches].

The passion will find you.  Though it will not know where to look, if you are always running from one silly, trivial, shiny thing to another.








%d bloggers like this: