Kitchen Sink Saturday, except it’s Thursday

Have I ever shared with you my love of Thursdays? They are my favorite day of the week. I’m not sure why, but I think it all started way back in 1981/1982, when I took Jazz dance classes every Thursday throughout 8th grade. Now, the Jazz classes themselves were not all that great. In fact, my dance instructor very well could have been Torquemada reincarnated. But I think a lot of dance instructors are, actually. No offense to dance instructors.

Don’t you love how people say “no offense” right after the most spectacularly offensive comments?

At any rate, the Jazz classes were fun simply because my best buddy was there. She made everything fun, even things like sodding lawns on 248 degree Oklahoma summer days, and walking home from Skateworld on -248 degree Oklahoma winter days. Best buddies are like that.

“Sodding” here means “laying sod”, as in “placing large pallets of itchy, dirt-covered sod upon the ground in order to make a lawn”. Lest there be any confusion.

It’s a sick world out there, after all.

To make things even more delightful, Thursday was FAME night. If I was really good, I would be allowed to stay at my buddy’s house AFTER Jazz class, and watch Fame. This meant I didn’t have to Indian Wrestle my older brother in order to decide whether Fame or Magnum would rule the television at our house that night.

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VS.

magnum

EQUALS

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VS

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I think my mom usually made us take turns, but we all know how THAT works when your older brother outweighs you, right? 

Truth be told, I kind of liked Magnum, but I liked Fame more. Bruno Martelli, specifically. His curly locks had me completely captivated, and trumped Magnum’s teeny tiny shorts and massive moustache. It was a kind of sickness.

At any rate, that’s where my love affair with Thursday began. And it has continued to this day. I believe that Thursday, being almost the weekend, has a sort of promise about it, hanging in the very air that surrounds it. Anticipation is a powerful thing, being in almost all cases better than the actual event.

SO. What does all this have to do with KSS being on Thursday?

1. Because I’m random that way.
B. Because I have lots of random things to say that could only be in the Kitchen Sink category
III. I’m leaving for the weekend and won’t be here Saturday.

I wanted to say a hearty thank you to all of you who contributed to the Parker Family Adoption Fund over the past few days. If you haven’t, you still have until Tuesday to enter to win the jewelry, and until Wednesday to enter to win the HOME letters. Please prayerfully consider what you might be able to do to help these sweet girls get a real chance at life.

I made vegan chocolate zucchini muffins this morning. They are awesome. I will give you the recipe if you ask for it (nicely). And for anyone who thinks chocolate and zucchini should not be put together, I have just one thing to say to you.

You’re dumb.

Have you ever heard of exploding head syndrome? I hadn’t, but I CAN say that I don’t care how “harmless” they claim it is, I would have a heart attack on top of a stroke if it ever happened to me, so, you know, harmless is as harmless does, is what I always say.

“Always” here meaning “today, for the first time”.

Okay, so I gotta clear the air. How many of you watched the videos of my sweet Cowboy X throwing a fit, poking his eye out, and drooling milk all over the floor? Show of hands, please? And how many of you thought “WOW, what a simply surperlative brat! Why is she letting him get away with that sort of deviant behavior!?” Come on, I know at least a few of you did. I know *I* would have thought so, once upon a time.

My answer to you is He’s my darling baby buggy bumper boo. Also, he’s not really a brat. It’s called Almost Two. And as a very wise woman once told me, never judge a family by its two year old. So there. In my younger days, I would have pulled out all my fingernails one by one before I ever let anyone see my child act in such a wayward way, much less post it on the internet for the world to see, with me cracking up in the background to boot.

Let’s just say I’ve lightened up since then. I’ve come to realize that children do indeed grow up and turn into brilliant adults even if they throw the occasional wall-eyed fit (on camera!) in their youth. Which makes me a more relaxed mother. Which makes life more fun, actually.

Here’s another picture of my baby, after drinking a green smoothie.

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So don’t you be hatin’. That’s the sweetest face ever.

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Speaking of sweet faces, here are some more:

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mommy love is a lot to handle sometimes

On that note, fare thee well, folks. I’m off to try to get something done before I implode with excitement over my impending travel plans.

I ain’t sayin’ where I’m going, but IKEA is definitely involved. Also best buddies. Excuse me while I breathe into this paper bag.

There’s No Place Like Home

I’ll make this short and sweet. I made these letters in honor of Kate and Charley and their two new daughters, Vivienne (new name Bethany) and Laura. They spell out HOME, which is where we want to get them VERY SOON! If you would like a chance to have them for your very own, simply donate $5 dollars to Kate and Charley’s adoption fund via the Chip In button below. Every $5 entry will garner your name in the hat.

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The letters are made out of paper mache and covered with just about the cutest scrapbook paper I’ve ever seen.

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They’ve had little accents decoupaged on them, and some of my own doodles to boot!

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Seriously. I think these are the cutest letters I’ve ever constructed. Each one is about 8 x 5 inches high, and about an inch thick. Perfectly happy to stand upon a shelf or just about anywhere you need a little bright cheeriness.

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Oh, the cuteness. Each letter has been hand-inked around the edges to give it a little extra pop. And each one has been covered with mod-podge for protection from wayward sticky fingers and sudden sneezes. I wouldn’t recommend submerging them, but you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth.

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I cannot even BEGIN to think of a more perfect quote than this one as it relates to adoption. How blessed we are, who have warmth of home and love of family to comfort us. How much the same is needed for so many sweet children around the world.

Each letter has painted sides that have then been sanded to give it a perfectly imperfect appearance. Because we all know perfection is way overrated.

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 This raffle will end in one week, on the 3rd of March. Winners will be chosen from each $5 contribution (donate more, get more chances to win)!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Ways to Help Two Sweet Girls

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Today for Top Ten Tuesday I’m outlining the top ten ways you can help bring two lovely Ukrainian girls home to their new family.

10. Make a straight-up donation to the Parker family adoption fund here via paypal.

9. Buy some coffee.

8. Send a check or money order to Reece’s Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. Please specify that your gift is for “Vivienne/Laura for the Parker Family”.

7. Bookmark or subscribe to Kate’s adoption blog so you can check in regularly and find out new ways to help!

6. Come back HERE tomorrow (here, as in, right here, my ownty-own blog, the one you’re currently staring at) to find another way to donate, and possibly win a great prize!

5. Buy something from my shop! I’m donating 50% of all my sales to the Parker family until their babies are home. OR, buy something from my friend Sarah’s shop! She’s donating 100% of her sales to the Parkers!

4. Remember that you CAN make a difference, no matter how small you think your gift might be. Remember Luke 21:1-3, and also John 6:9-13. God is pleased with even the smallest effort, and He is the King of Multiplication!

3. Pray for the Parker family. Pray for their adoption fund, but also pray that the Lord prepares Kate, Charley, and their 7 children for the arrival of their new sisters!

2. Pray for Vivienne and Laura. Pray for their health and safety, and for the quick slicing of governmental red tape and a facilitation of the adoption process!

1.  Purchase a chance to win this jewelry!

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This beautiful jewelry was handmade by my dear friend and soul sister, Sarah. It has been made ‘specially for this event! The jewelry is made from sterling silver and swarovski crystals in the colors of the sea. A stamped “Blessed” charm centers the bracelet and is a perfect reminder of our status as children of God.

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For just $5 you can purchase a chance to win the set (bracelet and earrings); ALL money will go directly to Kate and Charley’s adoption fund via Paypal. Just click the “chip-in” button to make your donation and then leave me a comment to tell me that you did so! If you donate $10, or $15, or so on, your entries into the giveaway will also multiply by the same 1:5 ratio.

I’m sorry I just tried to do math in front of you. You shouldn’t have had to see that.

 The winner will be picked from all contributors in one week, on the 2nd of March! And be sure to come back tomorrow to take part in another fun giveaway! 

(by way of explanation, the Chipin button takes you to a paypal site, which lists MY email beneath the fundraiser name. That is simply because I’m using my own Chip-in account for the fundraiser; Kate’s paypal account is the one all donations are going into, which is listed just below that! I thought that might look a little strange to some…)

Metaphor Monday: The Adoption Edition

MM

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as children by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

It’s a special Metaphor Monday here at One Thing. Today adoption is on my heart, specifically the impending adoption of two sweet girls from the Ukraine by my friends Kate and Charley.

What could be more exciting than the fact that two little girls are getting a whole new future? What could be more amazing than that a family a whole world away could open their hearts to two children whose lives were considered as good as dead upon birth? What staggers the imagination more than the thought that these girls will be welcomed as family members, encouraged to rise above their “limitations”, nurtured to health, and loved beyond all human reason?

Their own country doesn’t consider them special, but a burden. Their parents did not have the means to help them. They were facing institutionalization, which means something quite a bit more disturbing in most countries than we in America could fathom.

I firmly believe that adoption is near and dear to God’s heart. He is the Author of new beginnings, the Changer of destinies, and the Seeker of the lost. He delights in taking what the world calls useless…burdensome…abandoned and changing its name to beloved…favored…and Mine.

Kate and Charley have committed to their new daughters, Bethany Danielle and Laura Christine. The paperwork is underway. Travel plans are being made. You can visit their adoption blog and read about their progress towards the anticipated homecoming.

The organization that led Kate and Charley to their girls is Reece’s Rainbow. This is not an adoption agency, but a nonprofit organization that finds Down Syndrome orphans and spotlights their cases all on one website. They have, in the last two years, found adoptive families for over 200 children from 32 countries.

Here is the page that makes me cry. So many precious faces. So many whose futures are hopeless unless someone intervenes. I want to gather them all up, every single one. Obviously I can’t. But I can do something.

On the blog there is a quote that blows me away every time I read it. It convicts me to rise up out of my apathetic daze and motivates me to act. It’s proverbs 24:12:

Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts & keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us accountable to act.

Not everyone is called to adopt (although it is my personal opinion that more would be called if they only had the courage to ask the Lord honestly, lol). But we are all called to help the case of the widow and orphan (James 1:27), in whatever way we can. This week I hope to present a couple of ways that just about anyone can participate in.

(For instance, if you love coffee, or know someone who does, how about buying a bag here, where $5 of every purchase will go towards Kate and Charley’s adoption expenses?)

Bethany and Laura may never completely understand what Kate and Charley have saved them from, what it cost, nor just how drastically their futures were altered all because of courage, and faith, and LOVE.

In the same way, we as Christians cannot fully comprehend just what we have been saved from or for until the day we meet our Abba God face to face and we enter into the future forever with Him. Nor can we fathom the price He paid to lift us from our hopeless state.

For now, we have a chance to work hand in hand with Him in setting the lonely in families (ps. 68:6), and help bring Bethany and Laura home. I am honored and humbled to be a part of that process.

Kitchen Sink Saturday

Toby and Gabriel had their hair cut on the same day a few months ago. As Toby’s hair grows, it gets longer, but maintains a semblance of domesticity. Gabriel’s hair, on the other hand, goes completely feral on the top of his head.

Exhibit A (Toby):

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Exhibit B (Gabriel):

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I blame this on the fact that Toby, while sporting exactly three (3) cowlicks on the back of his head, somehow manages to grow his hair down, while Gabriel’s hair all grows straight forward. Forward. Who does that? It looks like his hair is trying to consume his face.

Things to do: get little boy hair cuts before Gabriel morphs into Cousin It.

I was up until 1am last night reading the second of the Percy Jackson/Olympians series. My fourth daughter received the books last summer for her birthday, and I was not at all surprised to see them being made into movies. The premise is that the Greek gods are all still alive and well and living on Mt. Olympus, which happens to be on floor 600 of the Empire State Building. The entrance to Hades, conversely, is in Los Angeles. That made me giggle.

The books are pretty interesting; many Greek myths are incorporated (minus the lewd elements, which are mostly alluded to in PG terms) quite seamlessly, which impresses me. I can see where trying to explain the back-story to each god and goddess could make the books pretty boggy, but so far I’ve been impressed by the fact that they aren’t.

Similarities to a certain young wizard and his incomparable story are rife, and constant. But no matter; for most folks who are still sad that the aforementioned story came to an end, seeing it repackaged is not necessarily a bad thing, if one doesn’t expect too much of it. Which is pretty much where I am on the spectrum.

In other news, I’ve been busy putting things in my Etsy shop! Here is a sampling:

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So. I’ve been having fun!

How about you all? Do any of you have an Etsy shop of your own? Or a favorite? Pretty please to leave the link in my comments?

TGIF

It’s Friday! And that’s reason enough to share with you these two videos of my Cowboy X. He’ll be two in just two months, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

Enjoy! And please do not notice the part where my baby almost pokes his eye clean out with an IKEA treat-cone-thingy leftover from Valentine’s Day, mkay? Thanks. Also, if you have a severe aversion to slobber/drool/things that cascade out of toddler’s mouths, you might wanna skip the first one. Although it is quite amusing.

There She Is

She never planned to be a beauty queen. It started out as a lark of an idea planted by a sister-in-law, and took flight from there. After all, why not? She was talented and pretty and, most importantly, just bored enough.

It was the summer of 1962 in East Texas, and the air was thick with cicada song and perfumed body powder. She was nineteen years old and competing against eleven other girls for the coveted title. The winner would go on to compete in either the Miss Texas or Miss Arkansas pageant and from there…who knows but that the Miss America crown might rest upon her pretty head?

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Dresses were bought, or borrowed. Portraits were taken. Lessons in how to walk, how to stand, and how to smile were practiced. A piano piece was rehearsed for the talent segment.

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Would it be enough? After all, mere beauty was not all the judges were looking for, was it? Was it enough to have one tired classical piano piece for her talent presentation? What if there was a baton twirler in the mix? The heart failed even to think of it.

But no. She must add a little something. What was she good at? Really, really good at? The answer came swiftly: making people laugh. Quickly, with input from the aforementioned sister-in-law, they brainstormed a comedy act that began with much mugging, culminated with the classical piece played straight, and ended with the heroine falling off the piano bench with a resounding crash.

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(the little black dress didn’t hurt, either…)

The big night arrived. The local Jaycees decked out the college stage in keeping with their “Carribean Holiday” theme, and under the swaying crepe-paper palm trees, the talent was measured, the questions were asked, and the points were tallied.

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It was enough, and more. Though the competition was heavy, according to one newspaper report, the title was secured when the question was asked “How would you make conversation with Mrs. Kennedy if she was reluctant to begin?” Her snappy answer sealed the deal*.

The crown was bestowed, amidst wild applause. The former gave way to the latter, and the latter was never more surprised.

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She went on to the Miss Arkansas pageant, and should have won but for some unforseen pettiness involving just exactly which side of her border-straddling town she called home.

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She was awarded second-runner up, and was glad to be done with it, truth be told. Double-sided tape inside the bathing suit and vaseline on the teeth was getting old fast.

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The photo album is crackly with age, and the photos and clippings are faded by the years. Telegrams (telegrams!) are handled like artifacts uncovered from a long-ago age, as indeed they are. It is an old story, and one recounted with a smile and a shrug by its heroine, so irrelevant has been its impact upon the greater tale of her life.

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Yet, her children and grandchildren love to hear it. The glimpse into the girl this Mom and Nana once was is tantalizing. The newspaper clippings tell of a luncheon where each girl was auctioned off to the highest bidder (for the honor of having lunch together) in order to raise money for some unspecified charitable cause. Did such a time really exist?

It might as well be a million years ago for all the strangeness it presents. Yet here is the woman herself, the one who wore the crown upon her head, standing before us. She confirms that more than calendar pages have passed into oblivion in the intervening time. We look at the pictures and laugh and admire and wonder.

I know that all children think their mommies are beautiful. Most will insist that their mommy is THE most beautiful mommy in the world. I said the same thing in my childhood. The only difference is, I was right.

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And I still am.

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*(the response? “Discuss her children. Every mother is eager to talk about her offspring, and I’m sure she’s heard far too much talk about her famous husband.”)

Top Ten Tuesday: The Sensible Edition

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A couple of weeks ago I bought this mug at a Hallmark store because it made me laugh:

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When drinking my morning coffee, I reach for it first. It’s my favorite. And in its honor, I give you:

Top Ten Things That Don’t Make Sense to Me

10. Science

9. Math

8. Finances

7. How a toddler who lives on dust specks and yoghurt can consistently produce bowel movements the size of Haystack Rock

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it’s just disturbing, is what it is…

6. How men get better looking as they age, and women…notsomuch

5. LOST

4. How someone like Toby Mac can produce a song as truly horrible as track 4 on his new album. And how seemingly sensible people can say it’s great

3. The fact that my own sister won’t read my blog

2. Caffeine being legal

1. How two completely average people can produce offspring that surpass all established norms for beauty, while stunning people…well…you know.

wanna play? link it up in the comments, baby!

Metaphor Monday: Loving the Dragon

MM

Everybody’s met him. He’s irresistable. Beautiful. Tantalizing. Riveting. Compelling. Mysterious. Desireable. You want more of him. You think you need him. You put your arms around him.

And then he eats you.

Years ago I read Frank Peretti’s The Oath, a book in which sin is portrayed as a dragon, and the image stuck. The way Peretti described the hero’s feeling towards the beast was inspired. From a distance, the dragon was easily seen as a sinister monster that must be killed in order to be free of it. It was obvious that it was up to no good.

Yet, as the stalwart hero approached to drive the spear in, the perception changed. The closer he got, the more beautiful the dragon appeared. The hero’s heart grew tender towards it, wavering in his determination to be done with it. Closer still, and he began to really like it, even love it, to the point of feeling a fierce protectiveness towards it, absolutely certain that it would not do him harm after all.

It comes back to me over and over again…do I hate my sin? Do I really want to be done with it? Do I really believe that it will destroy me? Or do I think I can play with it, coddle it…tame it, clean it up, make it okay?

Is there sin lurking in the corners of your heart? Are you defending it because you have been defined by it for so long that you are afraid you won’t recognize yourself without it? Maybe you think it makes you an interesting, well-rounded person. It makes you feel alive when you feed it.

The trouble is, it’s never satisfied. The cute little lizard you brought home is growing. It cries out to be fed, and when you do, it grows healthy and strong. It tells you all kinds of lies that make you feel beautiful, powerful, exciting…fill in the blank. You think you control it, but all the while its claws are piercing your soul, until you believe that if you pull it out you will suffer a fatal hemorrhage.

It’s killing you. Sure as you are reading these words, it will be the death of you. Stop coddling it. Confess it, and let Jesus remove the talons and staunch the flow. He is the original Dragonslayer, no matter how big and ugly the serpent is.

Got a metaphor for me? Leave me a comment, or a link!