Woe is me, and all that jazz

You know how it is when you have so many things to do that you don’t know where to start? And so you don’t start at all? You just sit at your desk, staring into space and humming a mindless tune?

 

While entering this sweepstakes?

 

And this one?

 

And you wait for some sort of ass-kicking fairy to come along and motivate you into accomplishing your to-do list?

 

But you’re really tired from being up late at your eldest’s house, as she puked her guts out with a virulent stomach flu, and while you thoroughly enjoyed diddling your grandbaby so she could rest, you are desperately afraid that your whole family is preparing to be similarly assaulted?

 

And did I mention we’re about to head out of town, so that would be highly inconvenient?

 

Not that we’re going on vacation, mind you. Vacation would imply a measure of leisure. Vacation would mean only one thing to yours truly, and that is: Beach. Ocean. Waves. Surf. Repeat.

 

No, we’re going to house-sit for two very lovely people whilst they go on vacation. My parents. They are going to Wyoming to a family reunion and we are going to hold the fort, as they say, for a few weeks. My parents live on 160 acres in the Middle of the Middle of the Middle of Nowhere.

 

(the rationale is thus: Oklahoma is the Middle of Nowhere. My small town is the Middle of the Middle of Nowhere. Therefore, their very very small town is the Middle of the Middle of the Middle of Nowhere.) 

 

(With no dishwasher.)

 

(Or internet connection of any reliability.)

 

Not that it will be bereft of enjoyment, by any means. Some things on my to-do list while we are there:

  • Watch the sun rise
  • Breathe deeply
  • Lie in the grass
  • Watch the sun set

 

In between washing dishes by hand, that is.

 

If there ever IS anything between that.

 

I’m not sure there will be.

 

All this to say: I will be gone for a few weeks. Probably not back until after July 4th. So Happy Independence Day! And I will miss you. But hopefully when I return I’ll have lots of tales to share of catching fireflies and fishing and watching sunsets and not so much on the holding puke-bowls and doubling over with stomach cramps.

 

Assuming my fingers are not too wrinkly to type.

Cynicism: Weapon of Choice for Literary Cowards

Love Lightly

 

Love lightly…if you love at all
tread cautiously; avoid the fall
Why plunge when you can dabble, dip
and stay secure from fatal slip?

Hold tightly to your armored lance
don’t make the charge, do not advance
Attune yourself to any twinge
should passion push beyond the fringe

A heart in love lays raw, exposed,
susceptible to friend or foe
A glancing blow is quite enough
to warn against the stronger stuff.

Yet love is but a wily jade
and tests both moat and barricade
And steals in softly through the chink
to push you cruelly off the brink

Then laughs to see you flounder there
asphyxiating in your cares
And terrified of what may come
to those whose love you have succumbed

Much wiser, then, to stand apart
and leave the risk to stronger hearts
Remain aloof; your love your own

Safe on the shore

          and all alone.

Introducing: Top Ten Tuesdays

What is it about top-ten lists? No matter what they are about, I’m always forced to stop and read them, compare the answers, and subsequently compose my own list in my head. Anyone else do this? Or do I have some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to lists?

 

I used to be a lot more obsessive-compulsive, but having twelve kids pretty much beats that kind of stuff out of you. There’s not much point in obsessing over the proper folding of towels, for instance, when there are never any in the cupboard.

 

Anyway, to celebrate my love of the Top Ten List, I have decided to give it its own day in the week. I picked Tuesday because

  1. it starts with a T
  2. I don’t like to work too hard on Tuesday
  3. it starts with a T

 

So here we go; the first ever Top Ten Tuesday at One Thing! To celebrate, I made this little badge:

 

 

Yes, it’s another cephalopod. However, this time it’s a squid. A squid, you see, has eight legs and two feeder tentacles, which it uses to grasp its unfortunate prey and bring it into its razor-sharp, beak-like mouth. Bringing the total number of hangy-down-thingies to TEN, which means he’s the perfect fellow to ask to keep count of your top-ten list.

 

I’m hoping some of you will play along with me. Each week I’ll introduce a theme for the top-ten and you can feel free to borrow Mr. Squidly and post your own list. Just be sure to leave me a comment so I can come read along too! Maybe one of these days I’ll even figure out how to use the ubiquitous Mr. Linky…but for now, yeah…just leave a comment.

 

This week’s subject is:

The Top Ten Coolest Things I’ve Ever Seen

 

(in no particular order)

 

1. The View of Lysefjord from Prekestolen, Norway.

Sure, I had to crawl on my belly to the edge by increments, but it was worth it.

 

 

2. The Louvre. More precisely, everything in it.

There is something magical about viewing a painting by a person long dead, and standing close enough to it to see the individual brush strokes. I saw the Mona Lisa here, in the 80s. She was smaller than I expected. When I was there they had not yet constructed the glass pyramid, for which I am grateful…I think it is a blight.

 

a beautiful castle…and a triangular scab…

At least some people know better…

3. The view of the earth from the window of a plane.

Some things so completely defy all logic that they never get old.

 

I can see my house from here…I wish…!

4. An octopus in the Caribbean Sea.

My Beloved and I named him Puddleglum, and thought he was pretty much the most awesome thing about our trip.

 

 

5. Green Sea Turtles in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii.

It’s not often you get to swim with an endangered critter, and we were definitely more excited to see them than the reverse, but still…

 

(not my photo…lifted here…)

 

 

6. The ocean. Any ocean.

I was four when I saw the sea for the first time, and you could say it left an indelible impression, even though it was only Corpus Christi. When we lived in Massachusettes for a (very) brief stint, I could see the Atlantic from the bathroom window, in the winter, if I leaned out and turned my head just so.

 

It was the best part of living there.

 

I wish I knew how to quit you!….wait…no I don’t…

 

7. Birth.

Sure, it’s messy, and a little bit terrifying, but it’s 100% cool.  Like flying in an airplane, it defies all kinds of logic.

 

8. Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Even its name is cool: Stratford-Upon-Avon. I think we should adopt the same custom here and live in places like Tulsa-Upon-Prairie and Witchita-Upon-Not-Much-But-A-Dusty-Patch.

 

 

On second thought, never mind.

 

9. Little Shop Of Horrors, performed in The Comedy Theatre in London.

As a teen, I was seriously impressed by the size of the monster plant by the end of the show…and when tentacles dropped down onto the audience from the ceiling during the grand finale, impressed had given way to unmitigated awe.

 

10. This.

You have to watch until at least 1:22…but it will blow your mind…

 

 

Got ten cool things? Leave me a link!

Metaphor Monday

 

My metaphor today is actually not mine at all. Today I have a confession to make:

 

I only just a few months ago understood The Velveteen Rabbit.

 

I know, I know, you’re laughing at me, aren’t you? But it might have something to do with the fact that I had not actually read The Velveteen Rabbit as an adult until a few months ago. I had read it many long years ago when I was a kid, and at that time it read more like a documentary, because duh! Every one of my stuffed animals was definitely real and came alive at night, no question.

 

However, the other day I came across a beautiful hardback version of the tale at the bookstore (used) and realized my gross error in parenting; my children had never even heard of it!

 

At home, I sniffled a little as I began to read. Then I shed a tear. Then started blubbering like an idiot.

 

What a story, my friends.

 

What a beautiful multi-layered metaphor. It is my opinion that the very best children’s books do not smack the child upside the head with the moral, or use the children’s-book platform to write a book that is really meant for adults (!) Because that’s just plain annoying.

 

TVR manages to walk that line just perfectly. I encourage everybody to have a copy of this book on hand. My middle children loved it, by the way, but I haven’t even attempted to read it to the littlest as of this moment. I know they’ll just wonder why Mommy is honking into a tissue every few pages.

 

I struggle, in life, with letting myself be vulnerable. I put up a lot of protective barriers between myself and, you know, things that hurt. I am afraid to lay it all on the line. I know the Lord has been working on me in this area with scriptures like True love casts out fear and all that jazz, but He really socked it to me through this little book.

 

Here’s a little excerpt of probably the most famous conversation in the book, between the Velveteen Rabbit and the wise old Skin Horse in the nursery cupboard:

 

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

 

 

Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

 

 

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

 

 

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

 

 

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, andyour eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

 

 

HONK!! *SNORT!!*

 

Excuse me while I compose myself.

 

I want to be real. I don’t want to demand careful handling. I want those sharp edges to be worn off by that Love that isn’t afraid to be hurt. Can I stop being afraid of breaking long enough to let that happen?

 

 

As always, if you have a metaphor to share, leave me a comment along with a link to your site so I can come and read and celebrate your cleverness!

The **Winners** Post!

Tarantara! Tarantara!

 

That’s my attempt at a trumpet noise. As taken from The Pirates of Penzance, if you must know. Mmmm…Kevin Kline……………………………..

 

Hm? Oh! Sorry! Got a little distracted there…

 

Okay, so I hope everybody had fun this week with my giveaways; I had a lot of fun doing them, and I dearly hope that you will all pop back over to Jody’s and Becca’s regularly to see what new things they have and p’raps give them a little biz!

 

And now, the winnah’s (you’re all winners in my…okay, so you know the drill…) AFTER removing any and all family members’ names (AH-HEM!!! Sorry, fambly, but no)…

 

The $20 gift certificate to Jody’s shop: Comment NUMBER TWO, my dear friend Joanne! W00t, Joanne! I’m so excited for you!

 

The Webkinz Pelican, though I will never look at him in the same light since seeing that disturbing youtube video: Comment NUMBER EIGHT, Katie! I hope you enjoy him (keep him away from any other birds, would you? I won’t be held responsible for their fates otherwise).

 

The artwork by yours truly: Comment NUMBER NINE, DeeDee! Congratulations, DeeDee! May it grace the walls of your home and bring much pleasure to your eyes.

 

Strange how low the numbers are today, isn’t it? Random.org is truly…random sometimes…

 

Okay, so the final giveaway, Becca’s wonderful necklaces: Comment NUMBER ELEVEN, Carrie! W00t! W00t! I thought about splitting them up into two giveaways, but in the end I decided to do just one winner, and that way she can keep one and give one to a friend!

 

Or, you know…not.

 

Which would be my personal choice. Just sayin’.

 

Okay, so that’s it. Thank you again to everybody who played along and checked out websites and drooled right along with me. For all those whose names were not picked, here’s a picture of George Clooney as you’ve never seen him before:

 

 

Just to make you smile.

Grand Finale Giveaway!

Without further ado, let me hasten to announce the final and fabulous conclusion to my Giveaway Week.

 

I know I have mentioned my dear little Sister-In-Law, Becca, a time or two in the past. She is one of those irritating enviable people who seem to be able to do just about anything crafty.

 

She sewed Rose’s wedding dress.

 

(I cannot believe I don’t have a picture on-hand of the BACK of said dress…it is a beautiful, lace-up job)

 

 

She baked Rose’s wedding cake.

 

 

 

 

And then, ten months later, she made Rose’s adorable baby shower invitations.

 

(click to see full-size)

 

As you might have guessed, if you happen to have the phenomenal good fortune to be related to Becca, you would find there is very little she can’t and won’t do for you, many times going above and beyond all reasonable expectation.

 

For years we have exclaimed over Becca’s prodigious talent and pondered the ramifications of her sharing it with the world. Although we’d like to be selfish and keep all she has to offer for our ownty-own, she went and spoiled all that.

 

She started a business. Complete with website.

 

So now you, too, can enjoy all the wealth of talent that is Becca! Do you need something sewn or knitted or fabricated or imagined or baked or stamped or crafted for you?

 

She’s your gal.

 

IF you have the staggering good fortune to live in her area (Dallas/Ft. Worth), then you could ask her to bake you a cake for a special occasion. Her cakes–take it from me–not only look absolutely lovely, but taste divine as well.

 

If you do not live in the DFW area, despair not! She has much more to offer than just cakes. Check out her website, Pish Posh, and see for yourself. Perhaps you would like some unique Christmas stockings for the family? Or a darling little dolly bed set?

 

One of my absolute favorite items that Becca can craft is the soldered glass charm. She made this one just for me a while back, and I love it beyond all reason.

 

 

 

Right now, due to an unfortunate happenstance with her harddrive, her inventory of pre-made designs has been lost. However, if you have an idea for something you would like, shoot her an email and I KNOW she can accomodate. If you have a favorite photo to incorporate, or a scripture or saying, let her take it and run with it.

 

And that brings us to this giveaway. Becca has agreed to create a lovely beachy charm necklace for the winner! I requested something involving shells, and she has an incredible product that I can’t wait to see.

 

And why am I waiting (and waiting…and waiting…waiting with anxious, bated breath) to see it?

 

The weather.

 

Yes.

 

Becca happens to live in the very area in DFW that has been experiencing a power-outage since last night. Which means she cannot log on. Which means she cannot email me a picture of the charm.

 

Although this is unorthodox, I’m going to go ahead and start the bidding festivities because I KNOW YOU TRUST ME when I tell you the charm necklace is going to be the bomb.  And I promise to post a picture of it just as SOON as I have it in my grubby little computery hands.

 

SO. Head on over to Pish-Posh, come back and tell me one thing that you’d like to clutch to your bosom and cover with kisses, and you’ll be entered to win. AND just for enduring the cloak and dagger routine, we’re going to let the winner have a set of beautiful beachy cards to boot.

 

UPDATED TO ADD LONG-AWAITED PICTURES!

 

Did I tell you it would be worth the wait, friends?

 

Did I PROMISE GREATNESS???

 

Yes. Yes, I did.

 

And can I just say that even though I KNEW it would be great; even though I am ACCUSTOMED to Becca blowing my socks off; even though I was ANTICIPATING nothing less than perfection, I WAS STILL MAD WITH DELIGHT WHEN I SAW WHAT SHE HAD WROUGHT?

 
(the fronts)

 

(the backs)

 

I shrieked, my friends. I shrieked. And then I hugged myself with pleasure and ran around in tight circles, cackling with glee. Are they not sublime? Heavenly? Yes, that is indeed a pinch of actual beach sand contained within the tiny square, by the way. Sand from Gulf Shores, Alabama, I believe.

 

I hope you love them as much as I do. If you don’t I’ll just keep them, yessiree. No problemo what.so.ever.

 

But if you have not yet left a comment after visiting Becca’s site, I would advise you to do so right this minute. This contest will close at midnight tonight, along with the previous three!

 

Winners for ALL the giveaways will be selected Saturday morning via Random.org, and posted without further histrionics!

Technical Difficulties

Due to certain acts of God lately, today’s grand-finale giveaway will be slightly delayed. For anyone just now tuning in, be sure to enter the last three giveaway posts by leaving me a comment, and I’ll probably be picking winners on Saturday rather than Friday.

 

Be SURE to check back in later today, when the fabulously fantastic final giveaway will commence…I don’t want to reveal too much, but suffice to say it involves my delightfully talented SIL Becca.

 

Meanwhile, enjoy this little interview with my 3 year old, Toby, in which he looks every bit like trailer trash and talks about his home state.

 

Please excuse the shrieks of my 16 year old son in the background, playing a video game. As Pioneer Woman is fond of saying, I’m just keeping it real…

 

Wednesday Giveaway…

Some of you might remember how I entered this photo in a photo contest about summer last year…

 

 

I didn’t win. I don’t actually remember where I entered it, either; anyone? Anyone? Bueller? It was some Mom site. That’s very helpful and specific, I know. But anyway, I didn’t win, but I still think the photo rocks.

 

Every time I looked at the photo, I thought of the scripture about sprouting wings and flying away, and so one day I ordered it in an extra-large size, got out my canvas, and tried to replicate what I was seeing in my mind’s eye.

 

It turned out something like this:

 

 

Amazing what you can do with paint, marker, mod-podge, and a printer. It’s not actually crooked, by the way. That’s just my own inability to properly align something in my camera viewfinder. It’s actually straight, and about 14″ x 18″.

 

I happen to love it. I hope at least a few of you guys do, too, because I’m giving it away today. Rest assured I’m ordering another print in order to make myself another one, oh yessiree, but this one’s up for grabs. Just leave a comment with your info. And check back on Friday! That’s when I’ll pick the winners for the week.

Day Two Giveaway…

I am not fond of Tuesdays. They annoy me. Not the beginning, not the end, not the middle…nothing. It is my opinion that we could have done without Tuesday altogether and been none the worse for wear because of it. Shorter week, no problem.

 

Think of all the twice-a-week problems that would be solved by eliminating Tuesday! I mean, really! As it stands, we have to pick two days that are three days apart on one side and two days apart on the other. I try to shop twice a week, but it’s a real pain in the arse to always be compensating for that one bit where there’s an extra day. Eliminate Tuesday, and you have a nice clean split.

 

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

 

However. Today  you definitely should be glad it’s Tuesday. Because Tuesday has a little something extra today. Tuesday has this:

 

 

Tuesday just got a whole lot cuter, friends.

 

Yes, in honor of my enduring love for all things beachy, I am giving away Mr. Webkinz Pelican. I mentioned about a year ago that The Webkinz, They Were Taking Over, and I can assure you that at the time, I had no idea.

 

Like Abraham’s descendants, the Webkinz in my house rival the stars in the sky in number. I honestly have not tried to count them lately, but given that six of my children own a collection, it’s a little scary.

 

and I may have one or two six myself.

 

I can’t help it. When they began to come out with underwater pets, it was over for me. Each one came with an underwater room. It’s positively therapeutic to go visit them in their shimmery watery havens!

 

look at the reflection! it’s so soothing!

 

Mr. Pelican does not come with an underwater room (he’d need a helmet for that), but he does have a treetop room option, which is Pretty Nifty, I think.

 

I can see my house from here!

 

Mr. Pelican is honestly a lot cuter than real pelicans, which I discovered just the other day, are capable of doing this.

 

But I’m going to give one of you Mr. Pelican today, simply for leaving me a comment saying that you do indeed wish to receive him, with the solemn promise that in Webkinz World, pelicans are not allowed to devour their winged brethren.

 

Because that would be just plain disturbing.

Giveaway Week Begins!

Happy Monday, everbody! Yes, I know, normally those words would not go together very well, but today they do! And why is that? Because today kicks off my four-day-crazy-generous-who-is-this-fantastic-person-known-as-One-Thing-giveaway week! And today I have something amazing to share with you.

 

Today is the day that I am proclaiming to the world (okay, so it’s just my little corner of it) just how fabulous my friend Jody is.

 

My friend Jody is a seamstress extraordinaire. I regularly pop over to her blog to see what she’s up to and drool liberal quantities of saliva all over my keyboard just looking at her quilts. Not to mention her shriekingly cute baby boy.

 

It’s quite the cleanup afterwards, but I can’t help myself. I am so NOT a seamstress myself, and I just admire someone who can create beauty with her sewing machine instead of using it as a giant paperweight/doorstop as I do. I bought this quilt for Cowboy X last year, and it still makes my heart do a happy dance every time I look at it.

 

Heart-happy-dances can be a little disturbing when you’re not prepared for them, but it’s best not to panic when they occur.

 

Now, Jody does not only make quilts, heaven’s no! She also makes things like this

 

 

and this

 

 

and this

 

 

Not to mention these adorable onesies

 

 

 

 

I know the applique is fabulous, but I love this one. My first three babies were girls, yet people continually asked me “how old is HE” whenever I went out with them, no matter how pink-bedecked they were. When my first boy came along, I thought the gender-confusion woes were over. Nope. First time out: “how old is SHE?”!!!

 

This onesie would have saved that unfortunate soul’s life.

 

Jody’s shop is a treat to visit. I think I should be thanked profusely just for introducing you to her. However, because she is a sweet and generous individual as well as being talented (really, where do these people get off?), she is giving you the opportunity to win a $20 gift certificate to her Because I’m Me Etsy shop  AND free shipping!

 

Given that MOST of her items are less than $20, this means FREE JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. Or a sizeable hunk out of the cost of one of her much-coveted-by-me quilts.

 

Dang. I wish I could enter.

 

You know the drill: pop over there, peruse her merch, and come back over here and leave a comment telling me what made your heart do a happy dance (be sure to leave contact info should you be Tha Winnah).

 

I’ll pick a name via the random number generator  on Friday!

 

And have a happy Monday (seems a lot more likely now, doesn’t it?)!