Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oh, goodbye.


We moved. To here.

Your feed should still work, but if it doesn't here it is again!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In which I'm all "why can't we be friends?"

So, I've been seeing a lot of talk about politics lately. It's like there's been some kind of big event in America or something this week? Like, an election maybe? I don't know, I'm just a girl.

I've been a little fascinated with it, actually. In a "train wreck" fascination way, but fascination, just the same. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have ranged from uninhibited celebration complete with proverbial "in yo face"s, to passive aggressive jabs at the other side, to all-out aggressive rants toward the other side, to overly-dramatic "THE WORLD IS ENDING"s, to nervous, panicky "God is in controls" that convey more worry than actual confidence that He is.

It's an interesting thing, basically having insight into everyone's brains. Thanks, social media. But I wasn't going to blog about it, no sir. I can keep my mouth shut! Have self-control! Am adult!

And then I listened to this episode of This American Life, and it put me over the edge on the "I NEED TO BLOG ABOUT THIS FOR GOODNESS SAKE" scale. Because an entire act of the episode was devoted to the ways politics are interfering with friendships and families. Listen to it, and I hope you come away as horrified as I am.

People choose to end contact with those they love with because they are too petty to find a shred of something they have in common or try to see something from somebody else's view.


Because no politics - nay, NO ARGUMENTS AT ALL, are worth losing your relationships over. Seriously. They're just not. If you can't handle it, don't bring up politics. That's how I handle my parents all the time. It works, trust me.

And to be perfectly frank, if you feel strongly enough about something that you think you should trash a relationship over it, then you should really re-evaluate your priorities. We can coexist with very different opinions and beliefs, I promise.

The other day, the reading was in Galatians 5, and this passage stopped me dead in my tracks:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

I read it over and over. I highlighted it. I programmed a reminder into my phone to go off once a day.

Use your freedom to serve one another in love.

(That reminder is really irritating when it inevitably beeps in the middle of my being a jerk.)

I'm not really great at using my freedom to serve others. And when I do serve others, it's not always in love.

With my husband, it can be in "here's your damn dinner that you wouldn't get up and get yourself," or "I guess I'll do the dishes because YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO DO THEM," and at work, it can be "if you want to make stupid changes to my clearly awesome creative project then fine, it's your funeral," and with strangers it can be "I guess you're going to cut me off in traffic anyway so please, go ahead, you jerk-hole."

And that's not really service at all, is it? That's not even close to love.

So, I'm learning to use my freedom correctly.

Beware of destroying one another.

I have a feeling that using our freedom to serve one another in love would eliminate whatever problems we have with our loved ones' politics. I have a feeling we wouldn't be so quick to throw away relationships if we focused on loving our neighbors as ourselves. If we didn't use our freedoms to satisfy our sinful natures.

How are you using your freedom?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In which somebody doesn't get me

Traveling with Jack is... how shall I put this... a roller coaster of crazy.

This morning, we left for the airport about 15 minutes after he had wanted to leave, which incidentally was the exact time I had originally wanted to leave. If Jack had his way, we would be at THE GATE exactly 2 hours before BOARDING TIME, because like I said, roller coaster. Crazy.

(No, I did not sabotage the schedule.)

(Shut up, I didn't.)

There are a couple of stages to traveling with Jack, especially if it's a morning flight. First, there is exuberance upon waking. Because in Hornbuckle's world, IT IS A BRAND NEW DAY TRALALALALA! Remember the "Morning's here" guy on that one episode of Friends? Yeah, I married him.

This is the day that The Lord has made and HE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT AT ME.

Then, like a tornado suddenly changes direction and rips the roof of your house right off, Jack realizes that WE HAVE 10 MINUTES UNTIL WE HAVE TO LEAVE AND OMG WE ARE GOING TO MISS OUR PLANE AND ALSO PROBABLY DIE.

This leads to the "driving like a bat out of hell" stage, which is both uncharacteristic and terrifying of Jack. Also included in this stage is "REALLY"s and "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME"s every time traffic slows down a little bit, or if he happens to see, like, any other cars on the road at any time.

Once we reach the airport and he realizes that we aren't going to miss our plane (and subsequently DIE) after all, the "Morning's here" guy is back with a vengeance.

"Cheetles! We're going to Florida!"

"Cheetles! I want Starbucks!"

"Cheetles! Did you see the pictures of our hotel?"


This morning on the shuttle from our parking space to the airport, as Jack was bouncing off the walls and asking why I wasn't responding (CHEETLES!), I showed him the clock on my phone.

"It is still. Before. 8."

(In case you were wondering, that explanation does not shut him up.)

The airport itself brings out the "grumpy old man who hates people" stage in Jack. Which is funny, because Jack usually looooooves people and I'm the grumpy old man in the relationship.

The TSA agent is too rude.

The Starbucks barista is too loud.

The people waiting for their coffee are pushing in front of us even though we ordered first.

The guy over there is standing right in front of the TV and nobody else can see it now.

Fortunately, this leads to the making sarcastic comments stage, which is where Jack and I come back together as one and I remember why I fell in love with him.

Nothing will bring you together as a couple faster than making fun of others.

So as we were finally boarding the plane, we saw that the door on the other side of the entrance was also open, I guess so they could load food things on as people boarded.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The lady in front of us looked behind her and made a comment about how that was unusual, and I jokingly replied that I guess that we're supposed to just go all the way through and get on the little Sky Chefs trailer.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I was still laughing at my little joke when I saw the lady ACTUALLY START WALKING ALL THE WAY THROUGH to the trailer. She got almost inside before the flight attendant stopped her and pointed her in the right direction, which was, you know, toward the actual plane.

Jack and I looked at each other wide-eyed, stifling a laugh.

"Way to go, Mandy," he teased. "You almost put her on the food trailer."

"I thought she knew I was kidding!"

Apparently she didn't.

Maybe I should save my sarcasm for outside the secure areas.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Honor her for all that her hands have done.

My jeans are loose.

Which makes me afraid to wash them and find out that they're just stretched out.

Because, I mean, who washes their jeans all that often?

Everyone? Oh, me too, totally.

Jack and I have been doing this diet thing (which I am NOT a fan of because diets suck and make you feel deprived whereas a healthy lifestyle, while it may not end up giving you as dramatic results, will make you feel good all the time and you won't have that yo-yo thing going and blah blah blah), because he wanted to try it so I said I'd do it too.

(It's called the "Advocare 24 Day challenge" and it starts with a cleanse and eww, there is nothing redeeming about that word, and I'm in the "you shouldn't need supplements if you're eating real food in the first place" camp, so you can tell I'm SUPER-INTO THIS).

We're on day... I don't know. Something toward the end. And we have been cheating. For example, Rosa's opened nearby yesterday, and there is NO WAY I was going to wait a few days to have a Rosa's tortilla. No way, dude. Five years is long enough to wait after leaving my beloved College Station Rosa's.

But, I guess cutting out carbs, dairy, sugar, fried food, and red meat will do something for you, because like I said, my jeans are loose now. Which, along with the year-anniversary of her death, makes me think of my buddy Sara, because,

1) I may have to buy new jeans soon and she always picked out my jeans. ALWAYS. From her house. I texted (tweeted actually) her a picture of every single pair I tried on, butt and all, and she told me which pair to buy. She had a GIFT for choosing flattering jeans.

2) She struggled with the way she felt about her own "jeans size" and body image (though obviously she traded in her jeans for PJ pants after she got sick) her whole life. Her favorite photo of herself was one in which you couldn't really see her face.

I have been thinking about that lately, especially with the diet thing and Sara's anniversary date. I use an app called "My Fitness Pal" and have a few friends on there who are SUPER HARD CORE about their dieting and training (Hi Lori!). Which, more power to them, seriously. I use the app to remind myself to think before stuffing ALL THE THINGS in my mouth and to make sure that the calories I choose are worth it, but many people use it differently.

Occasionally, however, I see people updating their status to chastise themselves for eating a cupcake, or going over their calorie goal for the DAY, or something similar. And I always think "I don't want to live like that."

I don't want to live feeling guilty about having eaten way too much of the most ridiculously amazing red velvet cake in the world at Bonnie Ruth's, because it probably also meant that I was laughing with my husband.

I don't want to live being a slave to workouts, because it might mean that I'll have to turn down an invite to go out for a drink (water, obvs) with the girls after work.

I don't want to live only seeing the flaws in pictures of myself.

I don't want to live unable to believe my husband when tells me that I'm sexy.

I don't want to live dreading a day at the beach because it means I will have to wear a swimming suit.

These are all things that we fight all the time (especially us girls, I think), and I'm not always secure or confident about everything, but the more I fall in love with my friends and my God and my LIFE, the more I realize that the way you look is not what makes you matter to them.

(I think Proverbs 31 mentioned that, maybe?)

Sara spent most of her younger years worried about how she looked and how skinny she was. And like anyone, she never completely lost her body image insecurities.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

But we have lived without her for a year now, and people have sure had a lot to say about her beauty during that time. And, though I could never convince her of this (did you SEE those beautiful heart-shaped lips and gorgeous green eyes full of life?), she really was beautiful on the outside.

They have had a lot to say about the other beautiful stuff, too.

Her perseverance.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Her faith.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

Her attitude.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Her love. Her warmth. Her lovely singing voice. Her sense of humor. Her laugh (and subsequent snort).

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Her kindness. My goodness, her kindness.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Funny. I haven't heard a single person say a word about her jeans size.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Things discussed on a Crawford family vacation

How far Cassandra could throw the baby

Who is the smartest spouse in each couple

How much force it would take to break off someone else's finger

Who, of the other six, we would kill if we had to choose


The fact that we shouldn't discuss politics

Whether Easy Cheese is real food (It is NOT.)

Whether Easy Cheese is delicious (It is only kind of)

When Jack and Mandy are finally going to have a baby too (Answers: "when we decide between a baby or another karate school," "when we are ready," "never," "why do that when we can take this one," and "none of your damn business.")

(The last one is definitely the most applicable no matter who is asking.)

How much Shane and Cassandra would sell us their baby for

(Turns out we can't afford that one.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heart-shaped sabatoge

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My high school boyfriend-at-the-time and my mom gleefully spreading the seeds around the corner of the backyard. He pointed at the lattice we had mounted to the side of our house.

"It'll just climb right up the lattice," he told her. "We have them at my house too. They're super-easy to grow."

When the morning glory ivy started coming in, climbing and twisting itself up the lattice, covering the small backyard wall in heart-shaped leaves and deep purple flowers, my mom and I were delighted. He was right! They did indeed climb!

And they were heart-shaped! And my favorite color! How sweet was he to plant these in my backyard for me? It was a reminder of him every time I saw them.

But I'm starting to remember it differently.

Because it's a decade later now. The lattice is gone, and I own the house with another man. (You know, that one I married?)


They're not pretty anymore either, no. They find anything and everything they can get their slimy little ivy tentacles on (Fences! Bricks! Other plants! DirecTV cables! The dog, if she sits there long enough!), clinging and wrapping and hanging on for dear life. Which I don't even think they need to worry about because I'M PRETTY SURE THEY HAVE SOME KIND OF DEAL WITH SATAN INVOLVING ETERNAL LIFE IN MY BACKYARD.

I'm racking my brain through that memory, trying to recall a scheming look across the high school boyfriend's face as he tossed the SEEDS OF DOOM around, some indication that he was psychically aware that he and I would eventually break up and I would marry someone else and be STUCK WITH THESE MORNING GLORIES FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

(Apparently his psychic powers overlooked the part where our breakup was quite amicable.)

No, this was no act of love. The heart-shaped flowers were a cover for the SABOTAGE and EVIL that he was unleashing on Future Mandy, who now spends several hours every few months cutting and pulling and spraying and shrieking every 6.5 minutes when imaginary geckos run up her leg and CURSING THESE #$%&*^ HEART-SHAPED LEAVES that have a root system ending in the backyard of some very nice Chinese family, I'm sure.

So, he was right. They are super-easy to grow.

What he didn't tell us, however, was that they are definitely not super-easy to break up with.

Well-played, ex-boyfriend. Well-played.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Some wisdom from the weekend

  • The best things in life may be free, but the free Kindle books in life definitely the worst.
  • If the lady with whom you have a makeup appointment looks like a circus clown, she will probably make you look like a circus clown too.
  • If not a circus clown, definitely like somebody who has been punched in the face.
  • When it comes to real food, what looks healthy may not be healthy. What seems unhealthy may actually be healthy. Ingredient lists, ingredient lists, ingredient lists!
  • Never book flights with stops. Nonstop American Airlines flights only. Otherwise you will get stranded in Indiana overnight when your first flight is delayed thereby making you miss your connection. (But at least you'll get to see your buddy that way!)
  • If you can't find a knife, you can use a hammerfist.
  • Sometimes letting a four-year-old unroll an entire roll of paper towels, one square at a time, to "clean" the floor (and also her knee for some reason), is totally worth the 99 cents and the wastefulness.
  • You can still lock yourself in a bathroom, even if there are no doorknobs on the door.
  • When you find yourself locked in your friends' bathroom in the middle of the night, on the complete opposite side of the house from where they are asleep, you will realize that you wish you had brought your phone with you into the bathroom.
  • To recap: take your phone with you into the bathroom.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You can't Photoshop moments like this

Everyone does it, I think. Especially us women-folk.

The first reaction to a photo that you're in.

My hair is weird. I look so tired. My butt looks huge. My face is all broken out.

I have been going through Ellyn's wedding pictures because Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging) left me copies of them before we parted. (She did a beautiful job, by the way). 

 I asked Amie to send a picture that I knew Ron took of me, CandyEllyn, and Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging). After Sara died, the four of us and Alece started a GroupMe group so chat so as to stop Twitter-bombing everyone's feeds. We are basically in constant communication, texting throughout the day and night with probably the most random and ridiculous assortment of conversations you could possibly imagine.

These are some of my very favorite people. And they all live so far away.

So although Alece and Sara couldn't be there, this is the closest to "the whole group" we had ever had in one place. I don't remember many other times where I felt as giddy, as happy, as fulfilled, as right, as when all four of us were in the same room together. So when Amie sent the photo this morning, I got all the warm fuzzies I had when it was taken.

Three of my favorite people in the world. And I actually got to be in the same room with them for a little while.

Of course, as soon as Amie posted it, Candy said "Man, I look well traveled." And then Amie said "I look squished. I should have turned." I immediately told them to shut up and then posted a passive-aggressive tweet about them, because that's how I roll.

(Side note: as I was writing this very blog post, Ellyn complained about herself in another photo. I swear, these people.)

But honestly, I get it. The first thing I looked for in the photos of me was the infamous arm/boob fat that comes along with strapless dresses.

I'm not going to lie, I will probably Photoshop my arm a little bit at some point.

(Now that your wedding is over, Ellyn, I can tell you that I hate wearing strapless dresses, which is a testament to how much I love you to have worn that bridesmaid dress.)

I have spent the last 10 months, and will probably spend the rest of my life, kicking myself for not having jumped in the car and driven 12 hours to Iowa, even if I had to do it alone instead of with the two sickies. If I had a picture of myself sitting next to Sara on her bed instead of next to her on a Skype screen? I don't care how crappy I looked; I would cherish it. 

The fact that I have a photo of three of my favorite people in the same room is important to me. Of COURSE I can find my flaws in every one of these photos, but the moment wins over the flaws.

After all, you can Photoshop your flaws out, but you certainly can't Photoshop the moments in.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Every time you're hurt there's one who has it worse around

I live in a world where I have the kinds of friends I can say anything to without feeling the least bit awkward about it. Because they already know all my secrets.

I live in a world where I can fly across the country and expect to enter my friend's house feeling completely comfortable together - no adaptation time necessary.

And I live in a world where somebody is waiting for me to come back home to him.

I live in a world where my toes are turquoise and my job is flexible and Dr. Horrible is always available on Netflix and my dog is obedient and I am loved.

It doesn't matter what else goes on in my world; there is ALWAYS more good than bad.

Being with these people always reminds me of that.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A cheery Independence Day post about sin and homosexuality

I have friends who keep me in line when I'm not doing what I should be. Friends who call me on my crap and don't allow me to choose sin without speaking up, without being hard on me.

I appreciate friends like that. I'm visiting a friend like that now, actually.

Christians need other Christians to point out sin. No doubt about that.

However, there's a big difference between calling out sin in someone you have a close relationship with, and calling out sin in a stranger.

Maybe because it's Independence Day and I'm oh-so-patriotic (see also: my toes are painted red, white and blue), I have been thinking about just how nasty we are to each other here in the good old U.S. of A. I wonder whether, when the founding fathers set up this democratic system of ours, they envisioned just about every single political discussion escalating into vile, hateful "shouting matches" on Facebook or in the comment sections of blogs. I wonder if they envisioned our options coming down to two choices - one extreme or the other, in which discussions and attempts at gaining understanding from one another are utterly futile. I wonder if they envisioned the idea of freedom of religion being ignored when it wasn't convenient for one group or another.

I wonder if they envisioned people accusing others of sin (religion) as a means to keep them in their place (in government).

(Speck, meet log.)

From a Christian perspective, wait, no, I'm sorry, a Biblical perspective (there seems to be a difference), there is so much wrong with this attitude. And yet "Christians" are the ones charging after groups who behave outside their belief systems in an effort to keep them down.

Does the Bible say that performing homosexual acts is a sin? Absolutely. Then again, so is premarital sex, gluttony, stealing (that includes music, guys), not submitting to your husband, idol worship (iPhone, anyone?), lying, having a tattoo, coveting... Do I need to go on?

What we seem to forget here is that is that it's not always our place to point out sin. Just because I am that person for somebody does not mean I am that person for everybody. Know what IS always our place? Serving and loving others, regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles, or choices.

That sounds a lot like some guy I know... Oh yeah, Jesus. Didn't he spend a lot more time with sinners than he did with legalistic Pharisees? And, uh, didn't he have kind of a big problem with said legalism?

When it comes down to it, I am confident that one sin is not worse than another. We're all sinners. Fall short of the glory of God. You know the drill.

So the next time we are fighting over our supposed American "rights," let's remember that we don't deserve the right to anything. That is a distinctly American idea and honestly it's made us entitled, spoiled, dissatisfied, tantrum-throwing children.

What we deserve is death. Separation from our Father because we haven't earned a thing.

We don't have a right to anything we're given.

And that includes the right to judge the things that God is in charge of.


I chose not to discuss my ideal solution to the "gay marriage problem," because Andrew March explains it perfectly here, if you're interested.. As you've probably gathered, government mixed with religion just doesn't float my boat.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If mentioning tortilla presses makes good blog posts, this one is great.

It seems that living life has been getting in the way of documenting it, though I can't quite pinpoint what to document at the moment. I mean, we've been traveling every single weekend forever and ever amen, but who doesn't do that?

(To recap, January was Colorado, February was Houston, March was Vegas, April was Colorado again and College Station, May was San Antonio, June was Colorado AGAIN and Little Rock, July (tomorrow!) is Indiana, August is San Fransisco, and October is Orlando.)

(I am SO NOT complaining about that. I love traveling, and could not be more glad to be fully taking advantage of this time in our lives in which freedom exceeds responsibility (see also: CHILDLESS!) It's just, that's what going on with us right now.)

A few weekends ago, in yet another hotel, Jack looked at me and mused "I wonder what our house is like on Saturdays."

Fortunately, most of these trips are so much fun, and though most are taekwondo (read: work!) related, it's still really nice for Jack and I to get away together. We tend not to have any "normal" time together anymore. He is always working, whether from home or work, and if he's working, I'm probably working too.

So I've probably missed documenting little things, or maybe little things haven't been happening because we're not together all the time. As always, an efficient means of catching up on all the inane things I usually blog about is, you guessed it - bullet point post!

  • I'd like to start this bullet-point post by saying that the new Train CD is fantastic. You should probably buy it immediately.

  • And while you're buying things immediately, also buy this, this, and this

  • Jack won second in the world in weapons last weekend at World Championships (he actually tied for first and lost the tie-breaker), and then at the new season's competition he won second in forms, second in forms, and third in combat weapons sparring. 

  • You know, the usual, right? Everybody's husband is a big winner, right? Right? (Well, mine is.)

  • In case you're not familiar with combat weapons sparring, picture, if you will, two competitors holding big padded sticks, and then using said sticks to BEAT THE EVER LIVING CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER.

  • Jack finds it really, really fun. As evidenced by the fact that he is usually smiling during the entire match.

  • Fun fact: in that video I just linked to after randomly searching for a combat weapons competition on YouTube, one of the judges is one of Jack's best friends. We call our guest room "TJ's room," because he stays with us every time he comes into town, and also he never, ever throws up, no matter how much he drinks, which means that he and I get along very, very well.

  • I stumbled upon this blog about real food, and that plus my friend Candy convinced me to try it. Real food. No preservatives. No boxed stuff. Basically everything from scratch. It sounds like a lot of work, and I guess on some level it is, but I feel like the benefits outweigh the work. Plus if you plan ahead it really isn't different than normal cooking. And fresh food? Um, lots better. I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns and tortillas, plus granola and all kinds of other good stuff this week. There's nothing like fresh-from-the-oven bread. 

  • I also got a tortilla press! Haven't tried it yet but I am very, very excited.

  • It's the small things. (See also, my life is kind of small.)

  • Jack, upon hearing the news that I would be cutting out processed foods/white flour/refined sugar from my cooking (for the most part - I'm still having some trouble getting rid of all refined sugar in sweet baking), was VERY UNHAPPY.

  • Jack, upon eating this week's meals, was VERY HAPPY. Or at least, very happy in relation to how much he thought he was going to hate it.

  • I lost a grey striped tank top, a turquoise cardi, some black shorts, and a pair of blue underpants. That's nearly a whole outfit! I mean, sheesh. 

  • If you see them, please text me.

  • How do I lose clothes so often? I am not nearly slutty enough to lose this many articles of clothing this often.

  • We are FINALLY getting landscaping! The landscaper already drew a pretty pretty picture of everything they're going to plant and I am SO DARN EXCITED that we will no longer be the white-trash house in the neighborhood. They'll put it in in the next week or two.

  • Sadly, no sunflowers in the plans. But I suppose that's okay. I do get hydrangeas and roses and crepe myrtles and all kinds of other pretty stuff.

  • They did already put in a sprinkler system though! Maybe I'll kill less plants now. Fingers crossed.

  • I'm leaving for the airport in less than 14 hours and still haven't finished my laundry or started packing. So, I guess I should do that. I also still have to hem my bridesmaid dress tonight. Yeah. Haven't done that quite yet. 

  • Don't tell Ellyn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't complain about the way God answers your prayers

This song came on Pandora today. I absolutely love this version. Carrie is insane with the talent. And I caught myself thinking "man, I wish I could sing like that so I could make that kind of impact."

And immediately I heard it.

Instead of wishing you could do things you can't to serve Me, why aren't you using the talents I gave you in the first place to do it?

I'm not, and never will be a singer. It's something I wish I could do but that's quite a pipe dream considering the last time I was singing to myself while I was cleaning my brother's house, his dogs started doing this. I wish I were joking. They totally did that.

In his book "Blue Like Jazz," Don Miller imagines a conversation with Moses had he been one of the "golden calf" worshipers. In this conversation, Moses says this to Don:

"Your problem is not that God is not fulfilling, your problem is that you are spoiled," he writes. "Don't complain about the way God answers your prayers."


Because the truth is, God is fulfilling. He has provided me more than a few resources and talents that I take for granted every day. Am I using my writing, my cooking, my computer skills, my audio and video editing skills to serve Him? Am I using my money and my time and the extra space in my house for it?

Not much, no.

Instead of wishing you could do things you can't to serve Me, why aren't you using the talents I gave you in the first place to do it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A trip versus a vacation

My view on a trip:

My view on a vacation:

See ya later, suckas!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm in love with a super-villain

It's my work-from-home day.

Jack wakes up this morning, only slightly more wound-up than usual, chattering away as I drag myself to the dining room table and try to focus on the squiggly lines that make up my audio files. He leaves for a few minutes, then brings back Starbucks drinks for both of us.

He really doesn't need the caffeine though.

Usually when he's in this kind of a mood, I don't respond to much of what he's saying, because I've found that he doesn't actually need me to complete these conversations of his. If there's no answer, he simply keeps talking. And talking. And talking. And talking. And then singing a little. And then talking some more.

When I finally say "what's up with you," he begins singing the song from Kenan Thompson's SNL skit, "What up with that." And then he stops abruptly.

I gotta stop singing, Cheetles. My fro is about to pop out.

When I say "I don't know what to do with you," he raises both arms and sings "Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel" in an exaggerated falsetto. And that triggers a six-minute monologue about how he used to play that in church for midnight mass.

You know that song, Cheetles? It's the song we sing at Christmas! And I used to play it on my trumpet for Midnight Mass. Remember how I played at Midnight Mass? I would play and I would be the only music. No other music. Just me. That's kind of nerve-wracking, Cheetles. But it's okay. Because I'm awesoommmmmeeeee. Remember the song, Cheetles? It goes "Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmaaaaanuel, hm hm hm hm hm hm hm hm hm hmmmmmm."

And then he looks around the empty room and whispers like he has a big secret that's just between us.

That's the part where I don't know the lyrics.

It's like he gets extra words while he sleeps that he must use in the first two hours that he's awake.

At one point, he emergs from the hallway, puts his arms and legs out in a running position, freezes, and makes a sound-effect.


Then he unfreezes and walks casually across the room. Just as he's about to reach the kitchen on the other side, he looks over at me, then points at the trail behind him where he had just walked.

"See, that's all just a blur," he explains matter-of-factly as he continues his walk out of the room, and I realize what he was doing: he was being a super-hero, like the Flash or Superman, who had super-speed.

And maybe the super-speed was imagined, but I'm pretty sure that Jack does actually have super-morning-personness.

It's a shame only villains have that super-power.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Five Stages of #BikeMS

You know the five stages of grief? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance?

I've decided that there are five stages of BikeMS too. And they're kind of similar. For example, this blog post occurred to me while I was in the denial stage of BikeMS, which I basically live in most of the year. Let me explain.

Denial (mid-May through September and also all the time)

I know, I know. Same as grief, right? Well, that's because when you know you're going to have to go through a trauma, you don't want to believe it can happen. This sets in mid-May, several weeks after the euphoria and pain of the last BikeMS's ride has passed and about the time you realize that you're going to have to do it all over again next year.

Except, no you won't. Because you're in denial. Maybe next year I just won't ride! I've done it eight years already; I don't need to. Yep! That's what I decided! Never doing it again! Phew! That's a load off my mind.

Except, then there's the next step.

Coercion (September through October)

This is a sneaky one. The staff at the MS Society and captains of the BikeMS teams may seem really sweet, amazing, and wonderful, but really, THEY ARE CULT LEADERS.

Just one sip of blue Poweraid, they whisper. Don't you remember how amazing the blue Poweraid is? Because it is. It is SO AMAZING. And you get all the blue Poweraid you want if you just ride again. We even have a discounted registration today only! Fifteeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnn dollars! Fifffteeeeeennnnn!!!!

(That last part was done in a ghost voice in my head, and for some reason I'm thinking of that Winnie the Pooh episode with the flood and the Heffalumps and Woozles where they're all creepy, you know the one?)

Anyway, you sign up. Because they are all wizards who lead you unknowingly to the next step.

Unbridled excitement (October-December)

This feeling is I how I imagine people end up with more than one child even after experiencing childbirth.

Remember how very very tiny she used to be? What a wonderful time that was? Don't you want to do that again?

The NMSS staff have planted this feeling in your head with their dark, dark magic (and their pep rally-like end-of-the-year awards banquet), and now all you can remember is HOW VERY VERY MUCH FUN YOU HAD LAST YEAR and HOW MUCH YOU ARE HELPING PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE DISEASE!


Panic (January through April)


Feelings of dread and panic will intensify as the ride gets closer, especially when you realize that you are going to have to get on a bike you have barely touched in months and ride it 155 miles (this method of training not recommended).

During this time, it is expected that you will slip back into the denial stage many, many times.

Euphoria and pain (Weekend of the ride + any time you get a donation)

Ahhh, the actual event. There's nothing like it. People are cheering, upbeat music is playing, and the cult leaders announce your team through the big loud speakers. A drumline plays an upbeat rhythm as you slowly turn onto the Tollway in a sea of 3,000 other bikers, most of whom will be passing you "ON YOUR LEFT!" within seconds.

There's really nothing like that feeling.

But then the next feeling comes - PAIN. Your legs, your back, your arms, your feet, your crotch. OH MY COW, YOUR CROTCH.


And then you see the lady parked on the side of the road in her wheelchair, holding up a sign that says "Thanks for riding for me."

And you'll smile and wave at her and pedal on, thinking about the thousands of dollars you raised to get her the medicine she needs and to help find a cure for her disease.

You'll cross that finish line seeing so many more like her, so many people from whom this disease has stolen so much. So many people so thankful that you're willing to fight for them. To shamelessly beg for donations for them. To get on a bike despite every natural desire in your body (and your crotch). You'll look into their faces, and into the face of your mom, who can still walk because of the medicine that the cult leaders' organization helped create.

And you'll remember how it's all worth it.


That's what I'm doing this weekend - what are you doing? Can you help make all of this worth my dread and pain and denial by making a donation to the MS Society on my behalf? You can do that (and see why I ride) here!

Friday, April 20, 2012

But it was the rat that carried the cane

Jack was in rare form when he got up yesterday morning.

Well, not really "rare." As I have mentioned before, Jack is both a morning and night person, a true freak of nature.

So, yesterday morning, he was in "hyper-as-normal" form, chattering and skittering about as I was staring at the eyeliner pencil in my hand, trying to remember exactly what it was used for.

When he went to put on his polo shirt, he stuck just his face through the hole and let the collar form a frame around it.

"I'm a turtle!" he proclaimed, excitedly. "But I'm hiding in my shell!"

I smiled and nodded, humoring him, but didn't say much back, because it was before 9am and nobody should be expected to interact coherently before 9am.

Slowly, Jack pulled his head through the hole in his shirt. Leaving it draped around his neck, he turned his head back and forth in exaggerated slow-motion, mimicking the head movements of a turtle.

I laughed at him a little, always willing to reward commitment to a joke, and suddenly Jack snapped his had back toward me and stared, wide-eyed.

"What?" I asked.

"I just realized!" he replied, excitedly. "I'm an actual NINJA TURTLE!"

Seven nice things he did lately

I like to order my meat in bulk from Zaycon foods, because it's fresh, reasonably priced, and I always have some in my freezer. I had ordered a 40-pound case of ground beef, which comes in four 10-pound tubes that need to be packaged nicely into one-pound freezer bags. The night before it was to arrive, my sister-in-law went into labor and my mom and I left town. Not only did Jack pick up the meat for me, but he also split up and packaged ALL OF IT, which usually takes me about four hours.

Something in the toilet flushie tank thing wasn't working right in our bathroom, so Jack got new parts for it and fixed it himself... Didn't even have to call a plumber. I think he may be some sort of wizard.

While shopping a few weekends ago, Jack saw me admiring some clothes and gave me $100 to pick out a few pieces that I wanted.

He found and hired a financial advisor, who tells Jack all kinds of boring things about our money that I don't have to be involved in of I don't want to because he takes care of everything.

He also hired somebody to mow our lawn every week, and now it always looks awesome.

He also saved money until we could afford to have somebody come out to see about fixing our foundation, and when it didn't need fixed (!!!!), he started the process of getting landscaping put in with that money instead. (!!!!!!!!!!!)

He ordered and sold taekwondo t-shirts at his school, with 100% of the profits benefitting my BikeMS ride. And donated another $500 from the school on top of that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Evolution of a nickname

"Cletus" - This came from the Eddie Murphy version of "The Nutty Professor" where Eddie says "C'mon, Cletus!" Jack used to yell that at me in a silly voice when he was trying to get me out the door sometimes. This transitioned to everyday conversation, which led to...

"Cletus Nicole" - Nicole is my middle name

"Cletus Hole" - My brother said "Cletus Nicole" sounded like "Cletus Hole" and Jack loved it.

"Cheetles" - No idea why.

"Big Cheetles" - Because he calls Maggie "Little Cheetles." This one is not my favorite.

"Cheetle Hole" - See also: "Cletus Hole."

"Cheeto" - He insists this is the Spanish word for "Cheetles." He often says "Me amo, Cheeto" in an exaggerated southern accent.

"Cheeto Hole" - See also: "Cletus Hole" and "Cheetle Hole."

"Tito" - No idea why.

"Shittles" - Because it was like "Cheetles" and it made him laugh and laugh



Unrelated to Cletus:

"My little sausage." - One time he said "I love you so much," and I said "Did you just call me a little sausage?" That stuck.

So, "sweetheart" and "darling" and "pumpkin" aren't really his thing, I guess.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Devin Jett Crawford

He was born April 6, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.

After my sister-in-law was in the hospital for 60 hours and in the "super-ouch" kind of (MED-FREE) labor for 20.

(She is a rock star. Fo REAL.)

He was 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

And he's ridiculously...




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vegas and peanut butter, I guess.

  • Every time my dad opens a jar of peanut butter, he smells it. Because he really, really likes the smell of peanut butter.

  • Sometimes he opens peanut butter for the express purpose of smelling it.

  • That didn't have much to do with anything except that I was opening a jar of peanut butter today to spread it on celery and I smelled it. 

  • Yep. Still smells like peanut butter.

  • My mom used to spread peanut butter on Saltine crackers and put them in chicken noodle soup.

  • I know, I know, it sounds disgusting. But it's awesome. Just try it. I dare you.

  • No, seriously. It's good.

  • I was going to actually write about something other than peanut butter today.

  • Vegas! We went to Vegas!

  • We went for a takewondo tournament. Jack won first in forms and second in weapons in the Master's division. 

  • He is annoyingly good.

  • Vegas is kind of gross.

  • I know, I know. A lot of people like Vegas. But I had reasons for not liking it.

  • It was Spring Break week. Therefore, a lot of drunk college kids. A LOT of them.

  • I didn't even like drunk college kids when I was in college.

  • And Jack got us a hotel suite. It had a little living room and everything. And the bathroom was the size of our living room at home. 


  • I just wanted to stay in the aforementioned hotel suite at all times and read my book and look at the pretty, pretty view. Because I am super-cool like that.

  • (I am not super-cool. Like, at all.)

  • But he didn't let me stay inside the room! He wanted me to, like, LEAVE and stuff! And walk down the strip and look at things and eat at restaurants and things!

  • WHY would you ever want to do that?

  • What a weirdo.

  • During one such discussion about me not wanting to ever leave any room ever, I asked him if he wished he didn't have such a lame wife. He said "yeah, kind of."

  • At least it's just "kind of."

  • We also went to see Jersey Boys in Vegas. Oh my cow. So good. Definitely worth leaving the hotel suite for.

  • So, I got the tablet so that I could get a Kindle app so I could read my Kindle books on something bigger than my phone. And the Jack packed approximately 84 paper books in his carry on because he makes poor decisions.

  • And then they made me turn off my tablet during takeoff, so obviously I stole the paper book that he was about to read.

  • And darn it, it's really good. So now I am, once again, a slave to a paper book.


  • I'm sorry, trees, it's not your fault. In fact, I guess you're on my side on this one.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I didn't know

I didn't know a lot of things when I said "yes," Hornbuckle.

I didn't even know when I said "I do" exactly four years ago today.

I didn't know that you would fold all the towels, because you do it better than I do (and you have The Crazy.)

I didn't know that I would be the one catching the snakes for you. (And you probably didn't know just how many geckos you'd have to catch for me.)

I didn't know what kind of power I would be handing you, to take care of me, to protect me, and even to hurt me sometimes.

I didn't know that you would somehow end up calling me "Cheetles" all the time.

I didn't know for sure that you would get everything you had ever dreamed of. That you would have 300+ of your own students who call you "Master Hornbuckle," and how exhilarating watching all of that unfold for you would be.

I didn't know how much my leaving towels on the counter after cleaning the kitchen would bother you. I didn't know how much your leaving your closet door open all the time would bother me.

I didn't know how much you would need me.

I didn't know how much I would need you.

I didn't know how often I would be sitting at our school on Sunday afternoons and weeknights at 8 p.m. after having worked at my own job all day.

I didn't know how little I would be dealing with our finances because you just, take care of all of it. All the time.

I didn't know how much we would laugh. Or how many pieces of cake we would eat together at Bonnie Ruth's. Or how good it would feel to stay cuddled up in a warm bed with you and Maggie for "just five more minutes" in the morning.

I didn't know how beautifully orchestrated our story would be.

And the best part is, I don't know what the rest of our years will look like, either.

It's good to be learning all that with you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some things I did so far this week

  • Accompanied Jack to the Dallas Aquarium, where I insisted on singing "I love the fishes 'cause they're so delicious" approximately elevendy-billion times on the way there/while walking through because IF HE DOESN'T THINK IT'S FUNNY THE FIRST TIME, JUST KEEP TRYING, HE'LL GET THE HILARIOUS JOKE EVENTUALLY.

  • Saw a teeny, tiny monkey at said aquarium.

  • Really, really liked the teeny tiny monkey but was torn about liking said monkey, because my moral compass told me that aquariums were for fishes, not for monkeys.

  • Also, saw some birds. And flamingos. And a cheetah. And I was like, WHAT IS THIS PLACE?

  • But then penguins and sharks and a manatee and turtles. So then I was okay.

  • And also saw like, a thousand million people because we forgot it was Spring Break week.

  • Comforted/got pinned under the crazy dog during the crazy storm while she was all "WHY AREN'T YOU MAKING THIS STOP? DON'T YOU KNOW IT'S LOUD!?"

  • Googled the directions between my friends' photography business's mailing address (Covington, Kentucky) and the location they say they serve (Cincinnati, Ohio) to see how far it was, cause they're in different states and all.

  • It's 9 minutes.

  • Decided that living on a state line would BLOW MY MIND. We were in Kentucky! And now we're in Ohio! Kentucky! Ohio! Kentucky! Ohio!

  • Also, Googled the distance between Ellyn's house and theirs to see if I had time to get them to take some pictures of me and Jack sometime when I go visit her because OH MAH COW they take such amazing pictures.

  • Also, looked at every single one of their Project 365 photos.

  • Vowed to take better Project 365 photos.

  • Realized that you should probably put down the cell phone camera and pick up the DSLR every so often if you want to make that happen.

  • Ate a Girl Scout cookie.

  • Or, like, a few.

  • Told Jack I was going to make homemade pizza one day for dinner probably more than a week ago because I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME COOK FROM SCRATCH.

  • Finally got around to making the Pioneer Woman pizza dough with my ridiculously pretty Kitchen Aid and my ridiculously pretty new Pioneer Woman cookbook (yay, birthdays) last night.

  • Put said pizza dough in the fridge.

  • Asked Jack if he could eat leftovers instead that night.

  • Vowed to make homemade pizza with said pizza dough sometime in the future at some point maybe.

  • Pinned both this post and this post because they are awesome in different ways.

  • Just Googled the distance between Dallas and the Oklahoma state line to see how close they are.

  • It's 52 minutes. So, not mind-blowing. Also, nobody wants to go to Oklahoma. Ever.

  • (Unless Ree invites you over. Obvs. Then you can make pizza dough and take really good Project 365 pictures with her.)

  • This post has come full-circle. Nothing more to see here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There is no cohesive way to title this post.

You know how you ask somebody how they're doing, and they're like "I'm SO BUSY." Or, even worse, when they say "I'm tired."

I find that irritating. Everybody's busy. Everybody's tired. It's called "life."

But, you know, if you were wondering why I never blog anymore, OH MAH COW I AM SO BUSY.

See what I did there? Annoying, wasn't it?

But, true, nonetheless. So, I present to you, bullet-point post. Yay!

  • I turned 26 on Sunday. I'm supa-old now. For my birthday, I asked for BikeMS donations and I'm linking to that once again because I am intensely shameless.

  • What I did not ask for but TOTALLY GOT was the Kitchen Aid mixer that I tweeted about a while back. Just showed up at my door a few days later with the note "Happy beautiful appliance birthday, mofo." That kind of super-sentimental note can only come from my brother and sister-in-law. I texted him that he spent too much money and he texted back "I Grandma Barbara'd your ass!" Haha. So true. So true.

  • I made banana chocolate chip muffins and I think the Kitchen Aid and I are going to be VERY HAPPY TOGETHER.

  • I have been working from home twice a week. It is so ridiculously awesome. I'm a very big fan of the "roll out of bed, walk to dining room, start editing" thing. A very big fan indeed. Plus, I'm at least 50% more productive at home on account of not having friends to play with here.

  • I miss my workie friends. But it's still not worth putting on real pants to go to work and see them on my work from home days.

  • Jack has started running. He's all "I want to be in shape, and healthy." What a weirdo. And you know how the only thing worse than running is listening people talk about running? He and I used to agree on this! What is happening!? Who is this man??

  • However, he runs on the mornings that I work from home, so I have been enjoying watching the show. He gets up, gets into his running clothes, spends about 20 minutes telling me he doesn't want to run, plays on the computer, and then sings the Rocky theme song for a little while, then finally leaves. It is quite a process.

  • The first day he came back from his run, he collapsed on the floor and sang the Rocky theme song. Now he asks that I have it cued up on my computer for when he comes back so he can do the Rocky "arms up in the air prancing around" thing when he gets home.

  • I took a video of it Tuesday. He would not like me sharing that here. But he probably wouldn't like that I'm telling you any of this anyway.

  • No really, I'm not posting it here.

  • (He's so darn cute though.)

  • My nephew, Devin, arrives in about 3 weeks. This is SUCH A BEST CASE SCENARIO. My mom gets her grandbaby, I get to play with and spoil one, and I do zero pushing to make it happen. SCORE. Yay, Cassandra!

  • The other day at dinner, Jack and I started listing off all the trips we have scheduled, and I realized why people are always like "You travel ALL THE TIME!" March is Vegas. April is Colorado. May Jack has Little Rock. June we have Little Rock again. July I have Indiana. August we have San Fransisco. October we have Orlando. Holy wow.

  • Five out of seven of those trips are takewondo-related.

  • The school is going well. People ask me that sometimes - "how's the school going?" And I'm like "THERE ARE SO MANY STUDENTS." Because there are. Which is supremely awesome, especially since every one of them are super-nice and amazing. We currently have the largest ATA school in Texas. I mean, woah.

  • So, uh, BikeMS is happening in less than 2 months. I don't want to talk about it.

  • Speaking of BikeMS, I was scheduling my hotel room for that weekend, so I logged on to Jack's Marriott account to get his Marriott number, and I saw his upcoming scheduled hotels - one for this weekend. That I didn't know about. That coincides with my previous weekend's birthday and the next weekend's anniversary (4 years, yo!). So, I plan on acting very, very surprised when he tells me to pack a bag this weekend and whisks me away for a relaxing birthaversary celebration. Surprise!!

  • Mah husband rocks.

  • I'm sorry you had to read that last bullet point. And the eleventh one too. That one was gross too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In which we are cheap labor

Did you ever wonder what it would look like if Jack and I had a fight, sat on a bench for a while, and then Jack bribed me into liking him again with a cup of coffee?

Well, wonder no more.

Most of it was acting. Except the part where Jack could buy back my affection for $4 if I was mad at him. I don't need much in life, but I do need Starbucks.

It was eerily similar to this hilarious clip from "Happy Endings," but without all the references to getting naked, because, you know, I was with work friends:

(If you don't have a lot of time, skip to 1:16)

Monday, February 20, 2012


I love hearing him move around the house.

I sit on the couch reading my book and hear sounds from another room, and I don't have to ask what he's doing to know.

He listens to my Pandora account on his phone while he gets ready because he doesn't know how to set up his own. He runs a slow stream of warm water in the kitchen sink as he does the dishes, scrubbing every one completely clean before loading them into the dishwasher. When he blows his nose, I know he has folded toilet paper into a perfect little square first. He clicks his mouse over and over as he sits in his chair because he is playing a silly computer game from which he earns "badges," aka, clip art on a website, a reward that is strangely motivating for this 32-year-old. He takes the laundry out of the dryer after it plays its little song because he and I both know that he folds towels much better than I do. When he balances the checkbook, he crumples up the receipts into little balls and throws them on the living room floor in a pile, which he will pick up later and take to the trash.

Every sound he makes in this house is a reminder that I know him.

And most of the sounds he makes in this house are a reminder that he is taking care of me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I am not good at typing on a tablet and other tales

I am taking a break from cleaning to blog from my new tablet. Jack surprised me with it yesterday, and it's all kinds of fancy. It's a Droid OS, which I'm really liking but it's taking me forever to type because I don't really know where things are on this platform. Oh well, no time like the present to learn, I guess.

Speaking of learning, Jack is currently ripping a CD semi-by-himself for the first time. I am walking him through it from across the room but I feel that this is a really important "teach a man to fish" moment. Mostly because I do not want to get up from the couch. Next, I'm going to make him sync his own iPhone. Seriously, this is actually something he has never done on his own before. And the fact that I feeling ridiculously smug about my having not lost it on him yet after answering about a hundred questions about how to install iTunes is a true testimant to just how incredibly, incredibly, incredibly impatient and douchey that I usually am. It's a really good thing I'm not a teacher.

So, the cleaning. Earlier this evening I was going to tweet how I love it when my OCD friend Brittany comes into town because my house gets really, really clean. And then I thought maybe people would think that I was making her clean my house.

But I don't make her clean my house. That would be really mean, actually, since anything unsanitary or that she perceives as unsanitary really freaks her out. I learned a few quirks of her OCD when I rudely insisted that I stay in her room for the rest of the trip at my brother's house after a mouse attacked me in my bed (I would link to that post about the mouse but I do not know how in the Blogger tablet app. I am lost, here [Oh, look, here it is!]). I didn't realize just how much any dirt, any dirt at all, freaked her out until then.

So, obviously, my house gets really clean before she visits. Ain't nothin' like somebody to notice every flaw to turn you into Martha Stewart. I actually kind of like the challenge... I like to think that someday, maybe I'll get my house so immaculate that Brittany will, at least for a second, consider going barefoot in her bedroom. It's a tall order, and it will probably never happen, but a girl can dream.

In other news, it was my friend Joel's last day at work today. This is a terribly depressing blog topic as he is one of my very favorite people in the whole world and I will likely not be seeing him any more ever since he lives far away. So, just forget I said anything about that. We don't need to talk about it.

I completely realize that this has been quite a boring blog post, but since its main purpose was for me to try typing something longer than a GroupMe message on the tablet and avoiding cleaning (You thought my purpose was to write interesting, witty posts that would entertain you? Well I am not your clown. Move along now. Nothing to see here.) , I think I have accomplished my purpose here.

Check, and check.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I will be the first to admit it: I freaking LOVE Valentine's Day.

In fact, I'm kind of offended when people don't.



Anyway, I don't love Valentine's Day in an "I have a Valentine" kind of way. (I mean, I know. I have a Valentine. We've been together for 9 years. That isn't about rubbing it in or whatever. It's just a given.) But we don't do things for Valentine's Day. No gifts. No dinners. Nothing special.

No, I love Valentine's Day in an "elementary school" way. Remember when everybody put little paper valentines with cartoon animals on them that said things like "You're beary special!" and "Will you BEE my valentine?" in the homemade "mail box" taped on the front of your desk? And the awesome kids taped candy to said paper valentine.

Those were GOOD DAYS.

Also good days? These.

Because I scribbled "Love, your Valentine until 2087"* once on a note to Jack once, probably about eight years ago or so. And so far? That was a fantastic choice.

Because even though Jack and I usually do nothing, nothing at all, nothing ever for Valentine's day? I woke up to this this morning:

He cooked.


There aren't adequate words to describe to you how much he does not cook. Cooking? Not his thang.

But somehow, I was late for work because I was eating bacon (that I did not cook!) in bed with a boy and a dog.

It's going to be a good 75 more years with this Valentine.


*After 2087? I have full license to get a new Valentine. Especially since he'll be 109 years old at that point. I mean, come on. I'll still be a hot 102.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We went skiing and things!

Oh hey, I still have a blog! Look at that!

Jack and I went to Colorado. My brother and sister-in-law live there now. And my nephew, if you're a believer in that whole "life begins at conception" thing.

And Colorado has mountains! And those mountains have snow on them! And apparently, people like to strap big long pieces of wood to their feet and slide down said snow-covered mountains as a form of recreation.

In other words, we went skiing and things!

The last time I went skiing was in high school, so I was pleasantly surprised that I could balance on skis at all at this point, but I didn't really fall much. I did have a moment at the end of the day when I got on a slope with my brother that I had no business on and basically thought I was going to die. If I thought I could have crawled down that hill, I probably would have done it. I was a super-star, is what I'm saying!

And Jack?

Well, he had never skied before. My brother was a fantastic instructor (and I was really glad he was the one doing the teaching because Jack and I don't communicate terribly well when I'm trying to teach him things [see also: I am a terrible, impatient teacher to anybody on any subject]), but Jack had some trouble, uh, staying upright.

He fell a lot. A LOT.

Shane and I watched warily as Jack would ski about six feet and fall over as he was trying to turn. Then he would push himself back up, ski another six feet, and disappear into another cloud of snow.

It was quite a sight. And some wives (not me of course) of the kind of husbands who are naturally SO DANG GOOD AT EVERYTHING ELSE THEY DO might enjoy seeing such a spectacle from said husbands for a change.

Not me though, obviously. I am supportive.

We got a little concerned that Jack would never want to ski again, though. Especially when, at one point, he nearly crashed into a tree, then tried to hit the tree with his ski pole out of frustration and then just laid down in the deep snow instead of trying to get back up.

But he came off the ski slopes like he comes off the golf course - after having been throughout pissed off all day long, exclaiming "that was fun!" and "we should do that again sometime!"

And aside from some very sore muscles the next day and a bout of altitude sickness, I would have to agree.

We should do that again sometime.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A work-related text message conversation

For the record, I still won.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So much

There is so much to be thankful for.

Like friends who text out of the blue.

"Just thinking of you," they might say. "Praying for you. Believing for really good things for your marriage and your life. Proud of you. Lots of love."

And you think it another time even though you have thought it a thousand times that day.

There is so much to be thankful for.

And jobs where you have the freedom to organize everything you feel like organizing and take on projects that let you be both nerdy and creative. You get to feel smart and needed and yeah, even loved, because you work with a really great group of people and not everybody gets to say that.

And it will make you think.

There is so much to be thankful for.

Like husbands who help you cook and make you laugh so hard when you drop a bunch of cucumbers on the floor, because GOOD RIDDANCE, cucumbers! Those were gross anyway!

And you will argue that cucumbers are good and you like them quite a bit and as a result, somehow you get compared to Satan because cucumbers are actually evil, I guess?

And then he'll kiss you like he means it and, just like he always does, follow that kiss with a boyish smile and the phrase "that was a good one."

And you'll say "I knew you were going to say that!"

And one more time, you'll think about it again and know it's true.

There is so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So proud.

Oh, Jessica. You are such a rock star. I'll live my life, and yeah, I'm SURE you'll be busy living yours now!

"Ain't my friend" will be released on iTunes this week.

Here's the original viral video in case you missed it:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sometimes and always and oozing

Sometimes my friend loses her wallet.

And she freaks out and calls me and asks if it's on her desk but it's not, and it's not under it either or around it or in the drawers or anything.

So I go walking around outside where she thinks she lost it that afternoon.

And it's not there.

So I go inside a restaurant nearby on a whim (even though it's such a long shot because my friend didn't even go in there today), and I ask whether anybody possibly turned in a wallet.

And somebody had. All the credit cards and cash were there and everything.

Sometimes there is good in this world. And sometimes it's really nice to remember that.

And sometimes you get "kidnapped" by a sweet friend when you go to your karate school.

Or, at least, I do.

And she takes me to her house and makes me coffee and tells me her story and asks about mine, and as I listen I think "holy wow, this woman is incredible what with her raising her fantastic kids and volunteering with amazing organizations and just oozing with Christ's love."

Okay, I did not think the word "oozing." Now that I type the word "oozing," I am rethinking it. It's not a pretty word, "oozing." But if you're going to "ooze" anything, it might as well be Christ's love.

And sometimes I get sidetracked while I'm blogging and start to talk about the word "oozing," because it's 1 a.m. and I don't remember what I was trying to get at here.

Oozing. Oozing. Oozing.

Sometimes you forget the way you met your husband until somebody asks, and then all at once you remember that this story can sound weird if you tell it wrong, so you tread lightly.

Wait, that's me. I do that.

And sometimes I say "she loves you" when Jack and I are sitting in a room together.

And sometimes, he responds "he loves you too."

No, not sometimes.


He always responds "he loves you too."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A list of good things

  • Welp. My house is a mess. And that wouldn't belong on my "list of good things" except that the reason it's a mess is because there has been much relaxing and Jack and Mandy together-time and not a lot of cleaning time around here lately. We have The Happy.

  • I feel like I should clarify that that "Jack and Mandy together-time" I just wrote about in the previous bullet point wasn't supposed to sound dirty. Because, you know, if it was dirty, I wouldn't be writing about it on this here blog. Yeah. Moving on.

  • I slept until after noon today and yesterday. These are the kinds of things that make me really, really, really glad not to have kids right now.

  • And the reason I slept until after noon? Eric and Laura Baesel. They told us to watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix, because we never watched it while it was on. And oh jeez, I'm watching a show about football (!) and I just. can't. stop. And so we stay up all night watching "just one more episode." DARN YOU, BAESELS. Darn you.

  • Did you guys know that "The Guild" is on streaming Netflix now? Nerdy score!

  • I rode a bike yesterday. Seriously, can somebody just cure MS so I don't have to wear spandex anymore? At least the weather is beautiful, and my awesome neighbor helped me change my tube before the ride (I have been doing this ride for...uh... seven years now, I think? And I still don't know how to change a tube on my own. I mean, sheesh.)

  • Uh, THIS happened to my friend because she is brave and amazing and I can't even stand how excited I am for her:

    If you are as enchanted by this amazing girl as I always am, you can download that song for free here and "like" her music Facebook page here. I can't wait to see what God does with this video in her life. I'm so proud of you, Jess!!

  • We are going to Vegas for our anniversary in March! Wait. Back up. We are going to Vegas for a tournament! On our anniversary! But hey, I'll take it. Vegas isn't my very favorite place but they do have shows (Jersey Boys, here I come!) and fancy hotels and great food. So, happy anniversary to us!

  • Speaking of travel, we're also going skiing with my brother in Colorado this month. Jack has never skiied before so I fully expect the opportunity to laugh at him when he falls a lot. Because I am a loving and supporting wife and also I just hope I get it on video so you guys can see it too.

  • T-minus 3 months until my nephew arrives. Can I get a "SQUEEEEEEE?"

  • To answer your question, I picked the red dress. Wow, that was delayed, right?

  • We are moving offices at work this month. It will mean less space and sharing an office rather than having one to myself (how spoiled have I been anyway, my goodness), but it also saves the ministry lots of money and could mean that we'll be able to work from home more often, so I'm in. Plus, I work with quite a fantastic group and if we're all smushed a little closer together? That's probably okay. Also! The new place has ovens! OVENS! Freshly baked cookies. ANY TIME WE WANT.

  • I need to go clean my house now so that the next list of good things I write can include that.


Sunday, January 1, 2012


It's the new year!

Good riddance, 2011.

I'm completely aware that the fact that it is now a new year changes nothing about anything that happened in 2011, but still. Good riddance.

(It wasn't all bad. In fact, there were pretty great things about it.)

(At some point I'll write a year in review post. I have to finish journaling Project 365 first.)

(I'm working on July right now.)


Anyway, as most new year sermons normally go, this morning our pastor discussed new year's resolutions and goals.

I don't generally make new year's resolutions. I think because it's popular to do so, and I find any such activity silly.

Fastest thing to make me stop doing something? Make it trendy.

But today the pastor was talking about how we should have a new year's resolution to maintain better relationships with one another, "instead of just the relationships you keep up on Facebook and Twitter and things like that." FACE-TO-FACE IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE A FRIEND, YOU SEE.


I hear this so. very. often. Especially from pastors.

At what point will the Church learn that technology is not the enemy, and even if it was, it's not going away any time soon?

At what point with the Church start preaching that we should use social media for God's glory instead of fighting against it?

At what point will the Church learn that technology can add value to relationships??

I don't care how much theological training you have - you will never, ever convince me that technology is the enemy. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is. Those who think it is are ignorant, or are using it incorrectly.

My friend Eric told me that on his Friday night date with his lovely wife, Laura, they spent their time drinking wine and "iPadding" together, reading articles and generally relaxing.

I laughed and told him that Jack and I had done pretty much the same - sitting at a restaurant playing Words with Friends back and forth on our iPhones.

Neither couple was using technology to escape one another; we were using it as a tool for interaction.

Technology can add value to relationships.

I would not be nearly as close friends with several people if it weren't for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. And actually, I wouldn't be friends with those people at all had it not been for the technology we have been blessed with, considering they're spread out from Iowa to New York City.

There are people who know all my secrets who I haven't seen face-to-face in years, or even ever. There are people who pray for me and care for me and love me from thousands of miles away, and vice versa.

These relationships are not superficial, fake, or shallow. In fact, they are some of the most intimate friendships I've ever known.

And they are maintained because of technology.

If we don't use the tools we are given in the time in which we live, we are being poor stewards.

Technology can add value to relationships.

Technology can be used for the glory of God.

I wonder how long it will be until the Church finally learns how to embrace this.