Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bloggy Things I Do Not Know How to Do

1. Create a groovy template for my page. Or even know what to call the template.

2. Respond to people who comment. Do I respond on my page? Will they see it? Or do I e-mail and where do I get their address?

3. Add links. Maybe I knew once, but I forgot.

4. Take fantastic pictures of sub-fantastic food that I make.

5. Find new pictures for my page. The children are now in their mid-thirties and I still have baby pics up. I mean.

6. Make a button for my page.

7. Connect with readers outside my precious group of Facebook friends. (Hi! I love you guys!)

8. Go international. I just think that would be stellar.

9. To open up to the idea of advertisers on my page. I don't even know how that goes. (Ironic, after years in that business.)

10. Linky parties. I like the idea. Hate the name.

There are probably lots of things I don't know that I don't know how to do. But to list anymore would make me even less cool in the blogger world than I already have proven that I am.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Tale of Two (Pairs of) Boots Part II

I'm not really sure where to begin my second boot story. There is what recently happened and what has long happened and how the two met.

I guess I'll begin with the boots.

Being unemployed, for me (probably not for Mr. Wonderful), has been one of the richest experiences of my life. I have experienced material blessing and more spiritual lessons than I could ever recount.

It never ceases to amaze me how generous and thoughtful people are, and I pray I never loose the "wonderment" (to use a favorite phrase of a precious friend) that spurs me to replicate the attitude and actions I've been the recipient of again and again.

Now, if you read ATO2B Part I, you know that I had already been given one pair of fantastic boots.

I had received the "Skittles" and was enjoying them (i.e., wearing them with everything but far as you know). But if you know me very well, you know that I am a bit...what is the word?...ok, I'm obsessive.

This whole new world of clothing had been opened up to me by my dear college roommate, and through her generosity, my eyes were opened to all sorts of fashion options. And precious readers, boots are a tremendous option! I mean tall ones, short ones, cowboy, stilletto, leather, suede...the choices are endless! (I'm sure you already knew this.)

So another dear friend of mine caught wind that I liked a rather expensive boot brand and that would love to have black boots.

Now, again, I have a pair of fantastic boots already.

But she wanted to get me these boots.

"Absolutely not! That would be immoral."

She persisted.

"No. Thank you, you are precious, but no."

For sake of post length, I will spare you the details of the back-and-forth conversation and how the final shopping trip came about (and I hope you will not judge me for going on it.) Well, I agreed that I would go if I could contribute what was left of my Christmas money to these boots. She agreed and we were off.

Upon arriving at the boot store, I saw a pair of boots that looked really fabulous, and since my friend was not to the women's boots yet, I stole a peek at the price (with the salesman right at my shoulder) and knew that we would not be trying these boots on, no how, no way. And I said so to the salesman.

Well, we looked at lots of boots and tried them on and I began to try on different colors in the style I wanted (Cowgirl. And there is a entirely separate story about that too!). None of the black ones really suited me, because I am super particular when I know what I want.

I found some cocoa "suede" cowboy boots and said to my friend that these would be great and would really go with a lot, including black. (Plus, my Christmas money would all but cover them. Bonus!!) She responded that that was wonderful... "Now let's find some black ones."

Again, I will spare you the details of the back-and-forth and how it came to be and just say that I walked out of the store with the black cowboy boots that "we were not going to try on." And she was so happy.

After we had coffee, shared and cried, we each headed home.

As I drove home I was struck with another lesson from the boots.

(Here is what has long happened.)

My relationship with Christ and accepting of His gift of salvation has been a journey. Unlike some believers, I can't give you a date and time although I know there was a pivotal moment somewhere when I made the decision mine, but I won't go into all that here.

However, being obsessive, over the years I tend to think about things. A lot. And this journey caused me to question and worry from time to time. Not over whether or not God will do what He says He will do in regards to His grace and forgiveness. But I just wrestled with resting in it and the temptation to want to "do something to 'get it.'" (Which is another theological discussion entirely.)

Now, here is what happened on my ride home.

I began to wonder to myself, "Why would someone want to do this for me? This is just too extravagant a gift. I don't deserve her doing this. It is not right for me to take such generosity like this. It is selfish." I was overwhelmed.

I think you see where this is going.

And it hit me.

"That is the point!"

God's gift of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love is LAVISH! It is EXTRAVAGANT! It is UNDESERVED. Yet He delights, like my friend with the boots, in giving it to me. He knows I am choosing the most "expensive item" in His "store" and desiring it for myself even though I'm not able to pay for it and I'm not worthy of it. He WANTS me to take it and own it and not even begin to think of paying Him back. He delights in being extravagant! And it is ok to receive His grace. He knows we don't deserve it.


And like my friend told me, "I had someone do this for me years ago (purchase something extravagant) and years from now you will do this for someone else."

God has done so much for me throughout my life. It wouldn't be right if I didn't pass it on, and so many times I don't.

If you made it to this point in this very long post, I want to thank you for letting me share the goofy way that God speaks to my heart. I mean Yep.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Tale of Two (Pairs of) Boots Part I

My first story begins with a fantastic pair of high-heel, to-the-knee, tan leather, Nine West boots. They may have possibly changed my life forever.

Over the summer and early fall, I lost some weight. Enough that I NEEDED some new clothes for winter. After Mr. Wonderful's sudden lay-off, a new wardrobe wasn't really in the budget.

Enter my former college roommate, present dear friend and forever fashion fairy. Upon seeing said weight-loss, she offered me some of the clothes that she felt she no longer needed. I was quick to accept, since she has always been infinitely cooler than me and a fabulous dresser.

After arriving at her house and going through the clothes she was giving me, she walked me back to her closet and began rummaging through the floor and pulled out "The Boots" and handed them to me.

Now, I NEEDED some winter shoes. But I WANTED some sassy boots. See the difference?

I was beyond ecstatic. These aren't just boots. They are serious, women-stop-me-in-public-to-compliment-them boots. And she just handed them to me. Wow! (Another post is necessary to explain the level of generosity here in letting me use these!)

On to the point. When I got home, I was so excited about my treasures that I couldn't wait to try them all on. Well, Mr. Wonderful could care less, but Daddy's Girl is a true fashionista and was so excited about the clothes. But the first thing I tried on was "The Boots."

I ran into the den with my sundress and knee-high boots and posed, waiting for her response. "Wow! Mom!" She thought they were awesome.

But what was really awesome was being able to share with her, "Daddy's Girl, God ALWAYS provides what we NEED. But the neat thing is, sometimes, He gives us our WANTS too. Even more than we could even imagine!" (This entire jobless season has provided an abundance of teachable moments for all of us!)

Now, providing me with sassy boots is not the greatest thing God does for me by any stretch of the imagination. Similarly, when I give my children Skittles or some treat, it certainly is not the most important expression of love or nurturing I do for them. But it brings them great delight and I love them and I love to spoil them sometimes just because THEY ARE MINE AND ARE PRECIOUS.

You see the point?

At this time in our journey, God was saying to me, "You don't have to worry about what is going to happen during this period of uncertainty. I am showing you that I can take care of you and if I want you to have more than you ever imagined, you will. And if this is what I can do for your footwear, imagine what I can do in things that really matter."

How rich!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Your chance to sound off


It has been over a year since I really began blogging and A Woman, A Man and A Minivan is in desperate need of a face lift.

I am looking for input from you, the reader, since you are the one who has to look at it.

Suggestions on color scheme, style, graphics, tools, what to leave up and what to take down are all welcome. Maybe you think that the flavor of the blog isn't represented in the layout and design. Tell me. I'm pretty thick-skinned when it comes to this, so let'r rip.

Also, I'm interested on your thoughts on content. Are the blogs too long, too serious, too goofy? Are there things I'm not telling you that you want to know or are there things I'm telling you that you could care less about.

Would you like more post or fewer (that is a shameless grope for validation, I confess.)?

Do you like to hear about certain topics more than others?

I really want to know.

I can tell you that my design skills are minimal, so keep that in mind. But I am counting on your input to make this a blog worth keeping alive. And hey, if you think I need to pull the plug on it, you can say that too.

Queen Mother

It ain't no musical

The past three and a half months has been an amazingly complex "schooling" for me. One that is not even over yet.

From the moment I found out that Mr. Wonderful had no job, God began the process of teaching my heart and mind so many things. (Disclaimer: most of these lessons have not been absorbed yet for sure!)

I have been learning Who I believe in and that no matter what I feel or see, it is what He has said that is The Reality.

I have been learning that I hate Winter. Metaphorically, figuratively and literally. I love the holidays, but once they are over I would just like to skip on to Spring. I hate the greyness, the solitude, the coldness and the absence of any sign of growth and life. But Winter where God has me, in relationships, in Mr. Wonderful's employment and in the actual season we are in here in the South. And it is during this time that all the preparations for Spring (literally and figuratively) occur.

I have been learning how important hope is. How hope does not disappoint. And I cling to that.

I have been learning that I have very limited control in my life. It is basically relegated to the areas of my attitude and my actions. Nothing else. I run into nothing but frustration when I try to exert it in any other arena. And actually, the control I even try to exhibit within myself is fruitless without God's intervention.

I have been learning about generosity. Generosity from humans and from my Heavenly Father. Lavishness is a better word. It is really another post all in itself as there have been too many instances to list!

I have been learning where I am weak and where I excel.

I have been learning where my false hope and confidence have been placed.

I have been learning how very intrigued I am with the precious people of India and their culture.

I have been learning how much people like to share and how gratifying it is to share with others.

I have been learning how God, as He did with Job, never allows the enemy to take something that He does not have plans to replenish. And oh, how sweet it is when He does and how much more I appreciate it.

There is so much more, however I realize that this post is getting really long and most of you, like me, begin to shut down after the first 300-500 words. So I will conclude by saying, I am learning. Some of it is painful. Some of it is beautiful. But what an amazing curriculum discomfort is.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I always feel like somebody's watchin' me...

I have no idea who originally wrote this, but I'm pretty sure they are stalking me.

Thanks to the friend that forwarded it to me.

The italics are mine.

11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild. (There is no "allowing" to it. After two, they outnumber you plain and simple.)

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers. (Amen!)

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together. (Don't forget scrubbing out yucky yellow stains from sleepers and crib sheets at 2am. Oh who am I fooling? It got thrown in the sink and left till the next morning...night...whenever.)

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it. (Or favorite anything for that matter.)

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look? (Don't worry, all your upholstery will match.)

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.

Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. (Yes!)

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot. (Goldfish! Lots of goldfish! Raisins too! And DumDum sticks and wrappers.)

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler. (And the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard for the un-human screams that an infant will make as soon as you buckle them into the carseat until you take them out.)

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room. (There is NO having a conversation. There are 30 second spurts of verbage with another adult. You seriously forget how to string together more than a sentence and a half.)

This is all true. Life is never the same. Develop a sense of humor if you don't have one. You will need it. But of course, it is all worth it. Sigh.

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