Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peace Like a Liver

If you grew up in church, at some point you sang "I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river." Inevitably, you would always stand next to some kid who sang (at the top of their lungs of course) "I've got peace like a liver." In the naive, blissful days of my childhood...who knew that livers didn't conjure up images of peace? Liver, River, it didn't matter what the word was because I took my peace for granted. I always always had peace, until I didn't have it anymore. Most days in adult life are a roller coaster that twists and turns and dips and dives between emotional highs and lows. In times of change, I might experience ten different cycles from high to low to high in the course of one day, sometimes over the same subject. And I have learned that those non-peaceful moments (the livers) really really make the river moments sweeter. And for that I am thankful.

Monday, May 10, 2010


We are loved. Cheesy? Yes. But also true. We are all loved. Some of us by just one person and sometimes a whole lot of people love us. This weekend, at a memorial service, it struck me just how much this particular person was loved. I always wonder if the person that has moved on from this world knew just how much they were loved. I hope so. Because we all are. And I am thankful for love.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


To my admired classmate Scott...

You were witty, brilliant, competitive, driven, making a difference in the had an ease about you that let anyone know that you were a friend. I always admired you and thought about you from time to time. My thoughts included things like: my friend from high school, Scott, is doing cancer awesome is that? Scott- he was friends with everyone and made being smart look cool. Something very hard to do in high school...where being cool is all about the car you drive and the clothes that you wear and hanging with the popular crowd. He was cool in a very different that is lasting and one that changes people's lives.

I never told Scott any of this while he was alive...because we never want to tell people how we really feel about them because it makes us feel uncomfortable. Today, I am sad that Scott is no longer in this world. I am thankful for the bright light that he shone in all of our lives, I just wish that it was still shining. I am going to tell someone today exactly how I feel about them...

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I love a list... mental check-lists, written down check-list...tomato, tomato. (Haha. Just reading tomato, tomato and not hearing it just sounds like tomato.) I love the checking-off of a list. It is absolute bliss to have an impossible list of things to do, and actually be able to check everything off of the list. Yesterday, I needed to go through my large pile of garage sale stuff and organize and price every single piece because I am having a garage sale next weekend. Before I did that, however, I needed to mow my yard because the weeds were so high that I was afraid people might get lost en route to said garage sale. And then my Dad called and he needed me to help clean out a storage room that we rented. On top of all of this, I have put my taxes off until the last minute. Fortunately, a very nice man volunteered to help me with my taxes and I still had a few pieces of information to take to him. So, mow yard, check! organize and price garage sale, check! throw boxes away in garage, check! clean out storage room, check! finish taxes, check! write a design trends article, check! And on top of all of that, I fit in a movie with my mom, check! All those checks make me feel so good and I now have a license to fill the rest of my day irresponsibly with no worries. Today, I am thankful for lists, and of course, the checks!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Goals for Summer Fun

It is hot today...86 degrees. Which makes me think SUMMER! Summer is my favorite. I love it more than fall. The sun shines all the time, you can stay outside listening to frogs until 9:00 and it just seems like people are geared up for fun. I work a lot and I feel panicky if I don't get some legitimate work done everyday. If I'm not careful, I realize, this summer will pass just like all previous summers.....mostly working and aimlessly drifting during free time until I realize I didn't do anything I wanted to do. So, I have made a list of goals of things I want to do this summer -OR- a list of things to do to ensure summer fun. So here summer fun list:

1. Digging for diamonds at Murfreesboro State Park. This is the part of the summer I plan to strike it rich. But, if I don't, it still sounds like a good time. Just kickin it, digging in the dirt like I am 8 years old again in the dirt pile in front of the house.

2. Grilling, lots of grilling. And inviting friends over to eat said grilled food. I hope they like grilled eggplant :)

3. Grow a vegetable garden. Especially tomatoes and squash and mint. Hello mojito.

4. Caves. Visit at least one cave. I live close to many caves and have never been to one.

5. Garage Sale Saturday. I plan to pick one saturday and get up at six like the hardcore garage salers and scavenge for treasures. This just sounds fun.

6. Bake Bread.

7. Have fresh flowers weekly. I just like it.

8. Make gumbo (this possibly could have been someone else's idea but I put it on here anyway. I can share my summer fun with others!)

9. Eat Hubcap Burger. Somewhere in Arkansas there is a restaurant that sells burgers the size of a hubcap. I've always wanted to do it. Must find the place first.

10. Write. More.

11. Spa Girls Weekend!!!

12. Small Town Festivals. Like the Altus Grape (Wine) Festival and the Mountain View Folk Festival and maybe I'll finish out the summer at the Iowa State fair.

13. Fishing. I used to love to go just for the quiet. My Dad and I would go on Sunday and I would fish for like 10 minutes and then read a book the rest of the time. Fishing or reading, I think I'll do it.

14. John Prine concert.

15. Baseball. Arkansas Travelers. But not in August. too hot!

16. Pedicures!

I'm officially excited about summer now. It feels good to dream. I'm thankful for the possibility of summer fun. I'll have to let you know how it goes! What's on your summer fun list?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today I am thankful for resilience....the ability to recover from adversity...the amazing phenomenon that this too shall pass. No one is safe from bad things happening. This has been illustrated quite clearly to me this week. Sometimes we are hurt by others and sometimes we hurt ourselves. Nevertheless, at the time, it seems like things are never going to be ok again. We cannot imagine, with the tools that we have at that moment, how we will move on. But we will. We always do.

There are some famous people that come to mind...Jackie Kennedy, Dana Reeves, Elizabeth Edwards, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus (to name a few) who have shown resilience... but it is the people that I know personally that have undergone their fair share of pain and have come out on the other side normal that give me hope... Kie who lost her precious baby this week, all the many people I know who have been through divorce, the person in my small group, my friend who lost her husband, the person that is worried that their business is in trouble, the precious girls that find themselves living in an orphanage in Guatemala, Jesus, and me. I have been through what I consider a fair amount of personal crisis over the past couple of years. Maybe you have too.

And what I know now is that our lives won't be the same after crisis...they will be better. Hard to imagine at the time of the pain. At the moment of the pain, we don't have the tools to deal with whatever crisis we are experiencing...we pick up those tools along the way. Those tools are picked up from a good friend that has some advice, from some stupid mistakes we figure out the wrong way to go, from a book we read, from love shown over a good lunch with someone who loves you, from our relationship with God, from the little millimeter our hearts expand after some time.

All of the crappy yucky things that have ever happened to me and me hope. Because I (and everyone else) have always managed to come out on the other side not just the same, but stronger. Yay resilience...thank God that we don't end up on a heap on the floor with ruined lives every time something bad happens to us...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beauty and Peace

Monjas Guatemala is my favorite place in the whole world. Its better than any beach vacation I have ever been on (and that was my previous favorite place in the whole world). Shadow of His Wings Orphanage houses 74 boys and girls (mostly girls) that have been rescued from either abuse, neglect or extreme poverty. It is a beautiful testament of God's love and how that love restores souls because these kids are...happy. And kind...and giving...and loving. Its amazing to step out of the car when you first arrive and have kids running to greet you and hug you and kiss you on the cheek...and just love you. Roberto is the newest addition to the group. He is actually eight but is the size of a two year old because of severe malnutrition. He and his sister actually lived locked in a room above a bar. The people that owned the bar would throw some leftover scraps their way every once in a while...definitely not every day. And he has scars all over his body from burns. I had heard his story before I arrived and expected to find a shy downtrodden child but what I found was quite the opposite. Roberto ran right up to me and gave me a big smile and stuck out his hand (he likes to shake hands). And then he hugged me (the first of many hugs he would give out that weekend). Beautiful.

I stayed at the Hotel Lopez which is $7 a day. I don't think I need to explain what kind of niceness of room you can get for $7 a day. One morning while I was waiting to leave to go to the home, I stepped out of my room (didn't want to hang around in there for too long) and there was a boy out on the sidewalk that ran over to hug me (He was actually the cleaning lady's son which made me feel a tad better about the room). He couldn't talk because he has something wrong with his mouth, but he could color. And so we sat on the sidewalk and colored and ate Goldfish crackers. Peaceful.

And then there's my girl Vivian. I first met her two months ago when I visited the home with my church. She found me sitting on a bench taking pictures of everyone else and SOMETHING just clicked. We don't speak the same language so we can't talk, but I feel like I know everything about her. We cry when we see each other and I think about her all of the time. And now I get to be her sponsor which means I get to write her and she can write me. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our relationship...but in the meantime I feel...blessed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Top 3

I'm in a relatively good mood today and it feels like there is a lot to be thankful here top 3.

1. I got a lovely fortune in my fortune cookie today. It said: The one waiting for you when you get home will be your friend for life. Here's to you Jack...thanks for all of the days where you wait faithfully at home and are happy to see me even when I've forgotten to let you out or buy you new bones.

2. I have unreasonable expectations about life. My childhood was good and I was an only child so I got my way a lot. Really...that's not how life goes. I have come to terms with all of it EXCEPT I like everyday to be exhiliratingly brilliant. That's not how life goes either. I don't like to waste time because there is a lot I want to do with my life. But today, something clicked and I am actually okay that some days are just days. Some days are even bad. But some days are just ok...and that is ok. There is a lot of peace in that moment. And I have a lot of peace today.

3. The weather! How boring is that :) But, after several really cold weeks, 50 feels like a heat wave. And the sun is out, which always makes me feel like singing. Spring must be just around the corner. I might even feel like exercising.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Weird Websites

Title: Uh oh...are you still going to make me some dinner?
Yesterday, on an internet adventure, I found a random website that I'm sure was started as one of those late night jokes that seemed like a really good idea at the time. And I think it is hilarious. I don't know what it is about it that makes it funny...but IT JUST IS. Go ahead...look through the pictures and tell me you can get all the way through the end without cracking a little smile :) So, of course, I thought it would be fun to make one myself.

Today, I am thankful for weird genuis websites that give me a good laugh!
ps. A really nice friend gave me a juicer yesterday so stay tuned for some GOOD juice posts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cupcakes, Flowers and Pickled Okra

Today was a fun Valentines Day before the Valentines Day. Lisa brought cupcakes with the cutest heart doilies on them. Normally I hate hearts and I hate doilies, but somehow the combination of the heart and the doilie is a winner. My parents sent me flowers...lovely! And my friend Danny brought me pickled okra. Yum (but random)! It made for the most eclectic Valentines Day yet..and it beats the socks off any old romantic Valentines Day. Thanks guys!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New hair day and Dog dreams

Today is the day I get to get my hair cut (and colored...but shhh don't tell anybody). I always look forward to this day for a couple of reasons: 1. I am so shaggy by the time I actually get to Shannon's chair its just sad (exhibit a: I actually let someone I didn't know cut my hair two weeks ago it was so bad and Shannon couldn't get me in sooner) 2. I rather enjoy the scalp massage that comes along with the shampooing 3. I love to talk to Shannon and I don't mind paying her to be my friend for a couple of hours (haha) 4. When else am I going to have time to catch up on my celebrity gossip magazine reading?

On a different dogs have dreams? Discuss. (Did you just have a flashback from SNL and Coffee Talk because I just did.) My Jack woke up in the middle of the night and woke me up because he was frantically pacing on the bed. Then he laid down horizontally on the pillows and stuck his nose up under my cheek. He was breathing really hard and just seemed unsettled, so of course I started petting him. That seemed to calm him down and then he let out a big sigh and moved back down to the bottom of the bed. He's such a big baby, but I this is unusual behavior even for him. I don't know what scared him but best I can come up with is a nightmare. Maybe he dreamed they stopped selling WagginTrain bones at the grocery. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed the unexpected snuggle.

Today I am thankful for dog dreams that get me unexpected snuggles in the night and I am thankful that in a couple of hours I am going to look like a brand new person...I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My dad and crab legs

I love watching my dad eat crablegs. For him, it should be a sport...he loves it that much. Maybe that's where I get my love of food...hmmmm..... You should know that this man is unemotional. Doesn't get overly mad about things. Doesn't get overly excited about things. Except. Crablegs. Lucky for him (but unlucky for Browns) it is all-you-can-eat-crableg month. For $18 you can have a whole plate of crableg goodness plus butter...and catfish (but who would want to fill up on catfish?). We went last night and I watched him delve into his crableg sport with joy. Like any good sportsman, he has a system. Nothing but crablegs on the plate, other things like shrimp in a seperate bowl, seperate dish for melted butter, crableg cracker in one hand, small crableg fork in close proximity, napkins distributed around the plate (to gather the butter drippings) and a HUGE stack of napkins. Much like chip and dip, there is an exact science to getting the napkin to crableg ratio even. Too many napkins left, must get another plate of crablegs (you have to have some respect for the environment!). The only hazard to his sport is the napkin lint. When you use the napkin too much and get too much juice on it, it kinda shreds. And it leaves peices on your face. But that's ok, because that's when you know you've really enjoyed your sport. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. Today I am thankful for my dad and crab legs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Being ok

I'm behind in blogging...or I'm ahead in being one of the worst bloggers ever contest...depends on how you look at it. Its just been so hard lately to find anything to be thankful for (except food and I felt I had already exhausted the number of times per week that I could be thankful for a food item). I guess I was kind of in a funk, but now I'm ok. And I'm back to being thankful!

Most of the reason I have been in a funk and something I have battled all of my life is other's opinions of me. I let other's judgemental words affect how I feel about myself...the careless, angry, harsh words seep in and stew until somewhere in my brain something clicks and (here's the ludicrous part) I actually believe them. I do believe there is a time and a place to take constuctive criticism because we cannot always see ourselves in an accurate light, but I ALWAYS take them. After taking all of these opinions in year after year, I was starting to feel a bit crazy...especially because most opinions that come from multiple others contain conflicting information (you're great, but thoughtless, no you're thoughtful, but selfish, giving, but too quiet, too opinionated, but maybe you could be just a little less opinionated in case a,b or c, too fun, not fun enough). Most people who are were giving these opinions are not even people who really care about me. I got to a place that I didn't even know who I was supposed to be day to day.

But lately, because of many prayers, kind words from a couple of friends and a few extinuating circumstances, I know that I am ok in spite of these opinions. I am immune to all of this information. Lets face it, others are always going to be judgemental and say harsh things. Someone told me lately that I can't feel bad about myself for something that someone else is doing. I pledge to only feel bad about myself when I know that I am doing something that doesn't fit within my moral boundaries or when I know that I have hurt someone because I was careless. That's all...otherwise I think that I have turned into a pretty great person. Today I am thankful that I am ok and that the sun shines in my life again. I am happy.