Top O' The..

..St. Patty's Day to ya!

[Late wishes are better than never wishes, right?]

In keeping with my gloriously unproductive Spring Break, we took Ty to decorate shamrock cookies at ye olde Chick-Fil-A [oh, how I love thee!] for family night - and some of us made sure we wore green so that no one pinched us. Ty was very specific about his hair ["like a leprechaun"] and his clothes ["I hafta wear GREEN!"] and I claimed exemption from the green rule - like I do every year - because, well, I have green eyes, and that's like an Irish free pass. I think. Plus, I already had my outfit picked out.




I've Got A {Spring} Fever!

Happy Spring Break, y'all!

The term 'break' is a little ironic, yes? After all, spring break means more schedule shuffling. And more errand running. And plans to 'catch up' on everything that has been put off until now. And for me, recovery from a minor surgical procedure last week.

But it's a lovely break since I have two very special visitors for the week!

Two of my precious nephews are here to visit for the week, so this Spring Break also means baking cookies. Every day. [Heeelloo, hips.] And playing at the park. And cuddling during those old black-and-white Popeye cartoons that Ty loves. And I am lovin' it, y'all! I fully intend to make the most of the little moments like these. Today was park day, and it was one of roughly two days of the year when the weather in SoTx is absolutely perfect. Here's a few snaps [from my camera phone, hence the ghetto fabulousness] of today's adventures.

Ty and I squint into the sun while sweet baby Ray chews on his overalls - and this is a good shot!
Here's my sweet little Ty. He was content to swing for hours. When I suggested that he slide or swing from the monkey bars, he said 'Actually, I'm okay just swinging here' and he was so cute about it that I totally believed him.

Ty and I. He was beautifully patient about the whole taking-pictures-at-the-park-when-we're-supposed-to-be-here-to-play thing.

Pushing sweet baby Ray on the baby swing. He wasn't convinced that swinging was such a great idea at first...
... And he kept acting very offended that I would push his seat. How dare I attempt to unsettle the king of cuteness from his throne?

Eventually, he got the hang of enjoying the ride, though!

...So what are your break plans? ;o)



'Ello, Luv!

I mentioned that I'd share details about the incredibly cool times to be had with my darling friends from New Zealand and Australia recently [and by recently, I mean in January] but sometimes [and by sometimes, I really mean sometimes] punctuality leaves me in it's dust.

Not anymore, y'all.

Two months later, I'm ON this.

So it was a well-spent few weeks with precious friends, and we laughed, cried, ate, sprayed each other with various hair products, shopped, and prayed together in large doses. I can't even begin to cover all of the fun in a blog post, but I'm all over a synopsis. Just for you. Good times.

Our [my sister and I] first visitors were Valerie and Amber, and they arrived in Texas on a cold, blustery Saturday.

That's Ambs, me, and Valerie. Since the gals were in transit, on their way to conference, our first visit was a whopping 24 hours. Not that we didn't rock the mini-trip, 'cause we so did. We packed in countless wrong turns [my gps is disturbingly unfamiliar with THE CAPITOL OF TEXAS], Texas Roadhouse overindulgence [much love for the hot rolls and cinnamon butter], and several hours at a questionable Greyhound bus station where Val and Ambs waited patiently for a bus driver who very nearly forgot to stop and pick them up.

We managed to occupy the time by making multiple wardrobe changes in the car, bringing mad business to the vending machines in the lobby, and snapping pictures like fiends. Here, some girl is ruining a perfectly lovely snap of Amber and Leah with my her giant forehead.

Tsk, tsk.

There might also have been some stalking involved...

...But I assure you, no one was harmed or frightened in the making of these photos. ;o)

While we waited, we also decided it would be a great idea to video ourselves singing. Never mind that Val and I both had sore throats and scratchy voices and that we were performing outdoors at 1:00am in a strange city. In the freezing cold. It's the memories that count, right?


Since vimeo is being all doofus-like and refusing to embed, you can click here to hear us in all of our head-cold glory, as long as you promise not to judge us for our many unflattering layers and tired scruffiness.

So.. despite dodgy bus drivers, we made it to our destinations, hoping that the day and night we'd spent together wouldn't be the end of our trip, because, really, is 24 hours fair? I think not. That's why we were ecstatic to be able to join Valerie and Amber, along with our sister Akua, in Louisiana.

We spent a few days there before embarking on The Road Trip back to Texas. [Please note the titling of this road trip. The thang was may-jah.] We got up close and personal with some truly incredible people, got to see what was happening behind the scenes of the super-awesome church we visited, and enjoyed teatime with Sister Vani, a lovely lady powerfully anointed by God.

[That's all of us, crowded so closely around poor Sis. V, you'd think we wanted to steal her away and bring her home with us or something. Which may or may not have been the case... I'm just sayin'.]

So The Road Trip back to Texas commenced with all five of us crammed into my Honda Accord. She's always seemed amazingly roomy, until 5 girls + 5 girls' worth of luggage proved how woefully inadequate storage space actually is. Thankfully, the girls didn't hold it against her, and after some serious luggage manipulation, we were on our way.

[Here's Akua, Amber, and Leah in the backseat. The photo fails to capture the suitcases they were sitting on and the bags of Very Important Items looping around their ankles at will, but you can imagine the nightmare fun they had with all of that.]

We made it back to Texas minus a nail or two, but wiser, stronger women.

We were able to see a few of the sights in Texas before the girls had to leave - including the awesomeness that was a motorcyclin' dude in a furry viking hat - and bond over baking and shopping and being girly. And may I say that I will NEVER be tired of any of the above - even the viking hat?


It was with sadness and many hugs [and possibly a sniffle or two] that we let the girls go home, because we seriously considered an elaborate kidnapping scheme. We tried to convince them to stay FOREVER - or take us with them - but you know how those things go. Legalities and visas and family and things. No matter - it may have been the first trip, but it definitely won't be the last.

...And there you have it! The story of how I got my new accent.

[Ok, ok, so I didn't really get to keep their cool accent. But I kept the memories, and those are always worth keeping.]

Much love, my Djibouti girls!


Photo Fun.... Um.. YEAH!

I've come to the sad conclusion that I will never be immortalized in paint by Andy Warhol, I will never grace the cover of Victoria Beckham's favorite magazine, no one is interested in chalking my likeness upon city sidewalks, and I already missed my opportunity to make the front page of the Annandale Advocate in March of 1985.

I know.

It's a tragedy that I had to face.

I can have fun sticking my nose into other people's pictures at Photofunia, though, and that's just as good.

Or better, because I don't have to wear sunglasses at night.

Poking around on their site has carried me through many a long, boring class period, though - I've 'funiad [because I feel like Photofunia and I are on nickname terms, even if said nickname makes me hungry for onion-flavored chips] myself, my longsuffering family members, and random pictures from Google, and it's still not old.

Because I'm way too easily amused/distracted truly convinced that the most entertaining endeavors in life only cost us time and love, of course.

Viva La 'Funia-ing!



God Is...

I heart this song right down to my toes.

I heart it so much, in fact, that despite the fact that it is basically a shoutin' song meant for high praises in the house of the Lord, it used to be my ringtone. Because I am that cool.

I was churchin' it up, yo!

Every time I hear this song, I think of St. Pete. Sweet mango peach tea and precious company. Good times and crazy times and God's provision, and the sounds of Smokie's mad riffs and heartfelt praises. Even if I nearly jumped out of my skin every time my phone rang.

Behold the goodness {and the awesome testimony} that is Smokie Norful's 'God Is Able'.


I'm Stylin'

My first job has to rank among the coolest jobs ever. No, seriously! I was an apprenticed interior designer from 14-17.


I told you it was that cool.

I got to develop my own sense of style, learn valuable skills {which might be more attributed to my momma, who has mad DIY skillz - if you need walls painted, ceilings spackled, flooring laid, or light fixtures replaced, you've got your gal}, and play with fabulous, one-of-a-kind decorations in clients' homes.

You can imagine the fun times. My mentor was a fabulous, one-of-a-kind lady that I will always remember with fondness.

So how excited was I to see that Whittaker Woman had posted a link to Sproost, an unbelievably awesome decor and design site?


I found out, through Sproost's handy-dandy personal style test, that I love the beach, live best in comfortable layouts and cozy furniture, that I'm a country girl, and that I shop on eBay.

...And now I'm suddenly feeling uncomfortably vulnerable and I wonder if Sproost somehow figured out that I secretly want to own a Slanket, too. {Be still, naysayers. ;o)}

So what's your style?



Fruit Turnover

So I might have been {somewhat} included in a conversation with two darling gals - best friends for decades, in fact - that might have pricked my heart.

I'm going to take my creative liberty right here and write a screenplay based on, y'know, fictional characters.

You know, to make it politically correct and everything.

Hypothetically speaking.

You can forward your letters of gratitude to my professor, who will be pleased to know that this screenwriting nonsense is paying off. Just don't tell him I'm not working on my rough draft.

And So She Speaks Hypothetically
Original Screenplay by Rachel
Copyright 2009
{Ok, not copyrighted, actually. But don't tell the internets!}

Girl A
Spoken in a southern drawl, using hand motions expressively
"You know, I just don't even think about the situation that happened. I'm just trusting in Jesus. Everything's going to be great!"

Girl B
Quieter speech, with a puzzled expression
"But.. You were so worried during the situation. Are you sure you're okay with it all?"

Girl A
Sharply, eyebrows drawn into a frown
"What?!? I was NOT worried. I am fine."

Girl B
Patting Girl A on the arm reassuringly
"Well, okay, but I really remember that you were upset about it..."

Girl A
Jerking arm away and crossing arms belligerently
"You just need to stop talking, NOW. You're about to make me really mad. Just stop. No, I AM FINE WITH IT. I. JUST. SAID. THAT."

"So how's your tea, ladies?"

Y'all, it's going to be a blockbuster hit someday.

No autographs, please.

Our little tea party has nothing to do with becoming famous and everything to do with our {y'know. Me, you, and the world. That's all of us, honey} perception of the fruits of the spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Gal. 5:22-23

Whether or not you believe in being a fruit-of-the-Spirit kind of person, you can't deny that people who are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, and generally good and caring are people who are well-liked. You know it's true. Those people are the ninjas of nice; everyone knows they're the greatest at it. And that's totally awesome. But what happens when everyone isn't around? When a stiletto breaks, when they're delayed unexpectedly by someone taking too long in the bathroom, when a monkey wrench is thrown into carefully-laid plans?

What fruits do the people who live closest to them see?

See, it's one thing to be nice to mere acquaintances. After all, they're the masses that Jesus wants us to be a bright and shiny lamp for. Bless their hearts. And it goes without saying that major cool points are earned when everyone knows you're nice.

And we do love us some cool points.

But it's a true test of character to gracefully, cheerfully endure a family squabble, losing the last piece of cheesecake because someone stole took it out of the 'fridge {again!} before you got home, or dealing with a longtime friend who questions the truth of your positive, I'm-holding-hands-with-Jesus outlook in front of others.

Do you really possess those fruits if they're only shared with people you're trying to impress?

I'm a work in progress. I know how easy it is to lose my cool with the people who see me every day. {I know, I know. Ninjas have their off days, too, right?} But my life was dramatically changed a few years ago when this simple thought took root in my heart. And again, when this conversation slapped me on the chin.

If you really want to make these attributes a part of your nature {and it's possible to change your attitude, believe it or not!}, start practicing on the people who love you unconditionally. They're the ones who deserve your kindness, your self-control, and your love - even more than the people you strive so diligently to impress.

After all, they love you in spite of your stanky self.

I can't claim to know your life. I don't know if you have a mean husband who leaves socks on the floor or tells you you're getting tubby or a crazy mother who thinks you're making the Worst Decision Ever or a wife who nags you about your socks.

But I can tell you that if you save all your bright and shiny positive characteristics for outsiders, your bright and shiny characteristics don't belong to you at all. It's as convincing as passing off a plastic banana to the real peel.

In other words, darlin', you've got some fruit that is going bad.

Disclaimer/Fine Print/Please-don't-get-nervous Notice
It's an illustration. I am not - in any way, form, or fashion - pointing fingers at any person. This post isn't about publicly embarrassing anyone. It's merely an example. Of a screenplay that is sure to be a blockbuster, naturally. Also, you are all welcome to tea with me anytime.

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Based on a work at alohilana.blogspot.com.