Sunday, October 30, 2011



 Hello, friends! I’ve been at a women’s retreat this weekend with my Bible Study group, God’s Girls ministry.

Here are some of the people I was with, things I saw, did, and ate (and yes, I went Instragram crazy).

How blessed I am to belong to such a wonderful group of mothers, sisters, and daughters! How gracious He is to surround me on all sides with so much wisdom!

To all of my God's Girls: It was an honor and a privilege to serve you this weekend. My life is richer for having you all in it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting There

I need to blog.

Working is kicking my butt. I feel like every hour in the day is taken. I know "real" grown ups do it every day and manage just fine. It's just taking me some adjusting. I'll get there. Until then, please be patient with me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I have a shirt that I got in some skater store over a year ago. It reads:

“In all of this chaos, we have found safety.”

That struck me really hard, and I bought it on the spot. I wear it when I need reminding that I’m safe. That the chaos is just an outside force swirling around me, leaving me windblown but untouched.

That’s what my life has felt like lately. Pure chaos. A few job insecurities; two kids in school; one car gathering nothing but rust and leaves out on the street, and no money to fix it, leaving us scrambling between school and work schedules; me going back to work; getting sick, then Atleigh getting sick; our tiny house feeling tinier by the hour, as our kids get older; even little things like lost library books and piling up laundry, that, when combined with everything else, are enough to make me feel like someone is dangling me by one leg over the edge of sanity, about to drop me into a sea full of crazy. I’ve lain awake late every night, my mind going over and over and over the things I should have done, should NOT have done, bills that need to be paid and can’t be, chores that never, EVER get finished, on and on, ad nauseam.

I’m just... losing it. Cracking.

Where is my safety? Certainly not printed in hot pink onto a gray t-shirt. I feel caught up in a hurricane that is so, so much bigger than I can ever hope to control. And I know that to some, my problems are small. I know that. I’m not ungrateful.

Just overwhelmed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My family has been an Apple family for as long as I can remember. Our first Mac was a Performa 575. My dad bought it at Sam’s Club on a Wednesday afternoon, then when he got home, it was time to go to church. When we got back, my mom had set it all up and was playing Solitaire on it. Dad looked like someone had stolen his brand new puppy out from under the Christmas tree. Through the years, we upgraded as we could afford it, generally around tax refund time. We played Carmen San Diego, KidPix, Wacky Jacks, a wicked pinball game called Loony Labyrinth, and of course, Tetris. Back in the 90’s, Windows was definitely where it was at. We would groan whenever we found a game we particularly wanted, only to find out it was PC only. Ohh, how we would rage at the manufacturers... didn’t they know that Apples were way better? We snickered maliciously when we heard tales of computers “freezing up” and “crashing”, of multiple trips to repair shops.

At the age of 14, I started doing volunteer work at my church, which used all PCs. I felt outraged every time I had to close a window on the right hand side. What was with these people? When Jeremy and I got married and I moved out, I went 6 long years with cast-off PCs. For our 6th anniversary, Jeremy bought me a MacBook Pro. I felt like I had returned to my native heath. HERE I knew what I was doing. HERE were style and class. HERE was home.

When my family saw the news that Steve Jobs had passed away, there was a flurry of text messaging going on. My brother Ben called me from work to talk about it. We felt grieved, like we had lost a family member, an institution in our history. Maybe we overreacted, being total strangers... but it felt like the world paused and hung its head for a moment.

I talked to my brother Adam a little bit about it today. We were trying to pinpoint what the difference was, why we were so sad and felt so personally affected. This is the gist of what we ended up deciding: In general, Mac users are a different breed than PC users. And most of us are fiercely loyal because we’ve had to fight harder against the “mainstream”. A lot of us, my family included,  used Apples before they were popular or even convenient, and we’re proud of that. You feel an immediate kinship when you spot a fellow Apple user in a bookstore or coffee shop. To me, and probably more than just me, Steve Jobs and Apple represent real American spirit and creativity, and show us just what the underdog can accomplish.

So here’s where I’m going with all this- no, I did not intend to make it a shameless Mac plug, it just evolved into that- Steve Jobs once said:

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

Boy, did he ever. A baby given up at birth, a college drop out, shouldered out of the company he helped create, only to return and reinvent it... Look at the ding he made. All because of a vision. A passion. He inspired new ideas, forged a new path, rewrote history and changed life as we know it. He didn’t let obstacles stop him, he let them make him stronger.

“Your time on this earth is limited. Don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.”

So. What are my visions? What are my passions? Where is my ding? What type of ding can I make on my world? And what type of ding can YOU make on yours?

For more of Steve's quotes, visit this website. I was inspired by quite a few.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Close Call

Before anyone worries, everything is fine. No accidents, no injuries, no bad news. But we had a huge family scare today. Atleigh’s blankie got left at Target. Now, this might not seem like a huge deal to some (probably those of you who’ve never had kids), but in the Box House... this is a catastrophe on par with Armageddon. You just don’t even know.

My sister and Atleigh ran into Target to get a few things today, while I waited in the car. Blankie, or “Geehee” as Atleigh calls it, goes with her everywhere. EVERY.WHERE. Somehow, today, she managed to lay it down or drop it without noticing (which is rare... it’s like an extra limb to her). We didn’t notice it was gone until we were a half an hour down the road, driving through the HRBT (my fellow Tidewater...ers... know what I mean). There were a few moments of frantic searching, involving Amber practically climbing over the front seat to search the floor. By this time, Atleigh, being the junkie that she is, is starting to whimper for Geehee. And I’ve got the steering wheel in a white knuckled grip, my blood pressure steadily rising, and my stomach getting progressively sicker, saying, “Oh God, oh God, ohGodohGodohGod....” Atleigh’s had this blanket since she was born. Literally, since the day she was born. We couldn’t even turn around to search for it because we had to meet Jeremy somewhere. Amber called Target, trying to explain the situation, detailing the places that she’d been in the store with Atleigh.  Geehee was nowhere to be found. None of the employees had found it, and no one had turned it into to lost and found. They told us, “We’ll check for it when we do clean up tonight at 11pm.” Well, by then, it would be too late.

I had a meltdown. A full on, wailing, fist pounding meltdown, going 60 miles an hour down I-64. Atleigh is melting down, Amber is melting down, Chloe’s in the back telling everyone it will be okay, in a soothing voice. I had my head down on the steering wheel, sobbing and driving. When we finally met up with Jeremy, he and Ashton wore funereal faces, speaking in hushed voices. Ashton crawled into the car next to Atleigh, patting her hair and whispering consoling words. It was awful.

I know, to some people, that this seems extreme. It probably is (and it's easy for me to say that after the fact). I won’t deny that there is a major streak of drama queen in our family. But if you knew Atleigh... you would realize the trauma this would cause. When I say she’s a junkie, I mean it in every sense of the word. She holds the blankie to her nose when she breathes. She wraps it around her shoulders when she walks. She absolutely cannot sleep without it. She cries when it’s in the dryer. She’s Linus Van Pelt on crack.

Well, I thought that was it. The years before me stretched out, void and meaningless. We would always remember The Lost Geehee. Life would never be the same.

Then, I thought of my friend Missy. I knew, that if anyone could find Geehee in Target, Missy could. I knew she wouldn’t give up until she’d found it. I called her in hysterics, begging her to “do me the most enormous favor the world has ever known”... short of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, maybe. Missy tried to calm me down, assuring me she would find it, and everything would be okay. It was probably another 20 or 30 minutes after that before I heard from her... She’d found it!!! In the shoe department: and nearly clobbered an innocent bystander in her hurry to get it. When she called me and told me, I burst into tears again. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. When I told Amber, she just laid her head on my shoulder, and we held each other and cried like someone had come back from the dead.

I’ve just reread this, and laughed quietly to myself. It sounds funny now. But if you think I’m exaggerating the gravity of the situation, you’re wrong. This is exactly how it happened. Our lives were ruined and saved within one hour.  Amber was condemned and redeemed in that same hour. And Atleigh went through a brief detox and is now more addicted than ever. Tonight, our life is good, and we will sleep peacefully.

Atleigh, after a long day of separation from
her beloved Geehee.