Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Life Lessons from a Double Wide: Christmas Trees don't really need stands

Some of you may recall the Double Wide series here on the blog. It was the beginning of the Autry Adventure. We lived in a double wide trailer for the first four years of our marriage and I learned some valuable lessons during that time.

Well, every year at Christmas I can't help but think back to our first Christmas together as a married couple in our trailer. I'm sure it was similiar to the first Christmas in the manger. Well, you know except for the birth of our savior and all. It was a sweet, simple Christmas full of recycled gifts and Christmas trees.

It all began when I was getting my hair cut and colored. I mentioned to the girl that was cutting my hair that Jamie and I did not have a Christmas tree. Now, why it didn't occur to me to just go get a real one, I'll never know. We had always had artificial trees growing up, I wasn't even aware that people still had real trees. Anyway (that is my most used phrase on the blog)...she told me that her and her husband had an artificial tree that they were not using and going to give away. So I quickly took her up on that offer. I could not pass up a free tree.

She did mention that it didn't have a stand, but I thought that was a minor detail.

So we got the tree and came home to put it up. We didn't exactly have a lot of extra cash floating around during that time. There was no extra money for christmas tree stands or groceries for that matter. We decided to do what the Autry family is best known for, we would improvise (or rig, as I like to say).

Jamie found an old paint can and we put the tree down in that. We stuffed grocery bags all around the bottom of it to hold it in place. Then we placed the paint can in a big box. We stuffed clothes and shoes around the paint can to hold that in place. And wallah....the tree was standing.

But then we had a problem....

When we went to put the ornaments and lights on, the tree started falling forward. With each addition of ornament the farther over it would fall. We both stood there, looking at the tree, trying to figure out what we should do. Then Jamie came up with an idea.

He went and found a nail and a shoestring. He hammered the nail into the wall behind the tree and tied the shoestring around the tree and around that nail. It made it stand perfectly up straight. We no longer had to worry about the tree falling over. It was a Christmas miracle. Jamie and I stood back and looked at the tree after it was all up and decorated and we both started to cry. It wasn't much, but it was ours. Paint can, shoestring and all.

Presents were another issue all together that year. It was the first time that we were on our own for Christmas. Our parents were past the stage of just putting our name on their gift. We had to really buy people stuff. So we did what anyone else would do in that situation, we gave away stuff we didn't use.

I remember that we had received some binoculars at a dirty santa gift exchange earlier in the season. We thought that those would be a perfect gift for Jamie's dad. It worked great until he asked us where we got them. He thought he would exchange them for something that he needed. We told him that we couldn't remember and didn't keep the receipt.

I don't remember what I got Jamie that year, but I'll never forget what he gave me. I got a curling iron and a blue shirt. I don't know if I've told you about this before, but I can not hide my expressions on my face. You can usually tell what I am thinking by my face (good or bad). So when I opened up that shirt, I think Jamie could probably tell it wasn't my favorite thing I got that year. He asked if I liked it and I said yes. He said, "I'm sorry that it is not a lot, but it's really all I could afford." My eyes got all teary and I told him I loved it and would keep it forever. I think I actually wore it once too. But I'll never, ever get rid of it.

The next year we were able to purchase a new Christmas tree (stand and all). But, I'll never forget that first Christmas. What we cared about was that we were together. It didn't matter how much or how little we had. We were thankful that we had a roof over our head and a place that had heat. Even if it was infested with mice and mold and we had bad water. Or that our Christmas tree had to be held up by a shoestring and a paint can.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I know, I know....I'm a big 'ol slacker

So, I haven't been great at updating the blog the past month or two. I really apologize about that. I know that the four of you who actually read this blog just haven't been the same without it. I can feel your pain. I don't know what I would do if I wasn't around myself for a month. I am highly entertaining. And humble.

I thought about making a list of things that have happened since our last encounter. I won't write any more poems, but don't you worry....one of those might appear again someday.
So here we go...all the events in the life of the Autry's since last time-

1. Jamie made it home safely and we were very happy about it. I will leave it at that.

2. Loop De Lou has been swamped with Christmas orders. People need their paper. And they need it by Christmas. So, I have been working like a real person at a regular job. I almost worked 40 hours last week. Watch out. Move over Donald Trump...I'm making my way into corporate America.

3. We had Thanksgiving with Jamie's family and I got to bring hot food. I also made my first ever pie. Before then I had been a pie virgin. But I made a mean apple pear crumble pie. It was a hit. And I also made the sweet potato casserole which qualifies me in the Autry household as a "real" woman. Betty Crocker really doesn't hold a candle.

4. I went home to Clarksville and two great events happened there. First, I got to see all of my friends from high school at our annual Christmas party. It is always fun to get together with friends from high school. Its always like "Oh, my goodness...guess what I heard..." and "Oh, girl...do you know who I saw the other day...". Then we listened to the spice girls and reminaced (i really wish it would underline and automatically correct my spelling) about every boy and every girl, all the people of the world and remembered that we do need to spice up our lives after all.
Then an even greater event occured. Jamie and I were the recipiants (need spell check again here) of a new washer and dryer. Well, new to us. It was like Christmas. We came home hooked those babies up and I can't quit washing clothes. Last week every towel in the house was clean. That hasn't happened since April. It was an exciting time in our lives. I have to resist the urge to hug them on occassion.

5. We went on a little trip. Not the acid kind. But to Nashville. We went to see Nickel Creek and their Farewell for now tour. It was ahhh mazing. Jill and William (Jamie's sister and her husband) accompanied us. It was our goal on the trip to convince Jill and William that we are the most fun couple they know. By the end we made them say it.
They left the day after the concert and Jamie and I stayed one more night. You see, ever since we have been married, I have been telling Jamie how much I would love to visit the Opryland hotel at Christmas. I wanted to see all the lights, to walk hand and hand through the mezzanine, sip on coffee, and stop at the little cafe and have dessert. This was going to be the year. We were staying right across the street ('cause you know the actual Opryland hotel ain't cheap). Anyway, it was all planned. Then thanks to Burger King and their crappy chicken sandwich, Jamie came down with a case of the 'ol food poisoning. We made it to the hotel only to pay $17 in parking walk inside for a few minutes and then leave so Jamie could go back to the hotel and spend some time alone with the porcelain (i really can't spell) throne. Thanks a lot BK, see if I ever prefer your fries again in a taste test.

6. Tim Tebow won the Heisman (I really should have put this as number 1). For those of you who don't know, he is the sophomore quarterback for the Florida Gators. He's gotten just a little bit of press this year.

7. I learned that I love apple cider. Which shouldn't surprise me. I am always game for a hot cup of anything.

8. We made our first ever advent tree. I use the term tree loosly here. It's really just a branch. I have pictures and a really good story about retreiving the brance that I may save for another day. Just trust me when I say it's got Autry written all over it.

I guess that get's us all caught up. We are finally nearing the end of our Christmas rush at Loop De Lou and I think I will have all next week off. Hopefully I can be more faithful to the blog! Stay tuned for another installment of Life Lessons from a Double Wide. You have to hear about our first Christmas there. It's truly heartwarming.....

Friday, November 9, 2007

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn't think of a good way to title this post to show the excitement that I am currently feeling. I hope the exlamation points can convey the emotion. If not, maybe this smiley emoticon will help :0)

That's happiness right there.

So, I guess by now you are wondering why I am, in fact, so excited. Well I will tell you in a short poem.

I've been all alone for 9 long weeks
No one to talk to or kiss my cheeks.

I've been mad, and sad and cried a little
I've been forced into making up riddles

I've had some fun hangin with the dog
And even watching our pet frog

But sooner or later those things get old
And I need somewhere to put my feet when they're cold

But no longer by myself will I roam
Jamie is finally on his way home!!!!!!!!

Sorry, you had to endure that bad poem. I just thought I would change things up on the blog a little. I'm almost for certain that some literary people somehwere will get a hold of this masterpiece and have it published in 11th grade english books everywhere. It's really only a matter of time.

But as you can see, I am very happy that Jamie is coming home. He is leaving Arkansas tomorrow and coming home for good. I am happy for a lot of reasons, but I must say that my feet do really get cold at night and I have truly missed placing them on his bare legs. I'm sure he has missed that also. His wife is a perfect bundle of pure sweetness.

I'm off to prepare the house for the husband. We don't want him coming home to a mountain of dirty towels.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is it really almost November?

I really can't believe how time flies. I know that it is sort of cliche and people always talk about it (much like the weather), but I really can't believe it's the end of October. I don't know why I've been thinking so much about time lately. Maybe because I feel like I don't have much of it.

God has really been speaking to me lately about making time. I do spend time with him, but I often don't make enough time for others. It's hard to balance things that have to be done with things that we would like to do. I have always desired balance. I want to balance work with home life, I want to balance quiet time with spending time with others. But I realized (thanks in part to Jean Stockdale.....a little shout out) that balance should not be my goal. My lifes breath should be about God and what is pleasing to him. The funny part is, I know this. Intellectually I know that my life should be pleasing to him. My heart desires for my life to be pleasing to him. But my view has been so skewed. I have been working to be pleasing to him. I have been trying to find balance because I think that is what a "good Christian woman, wife, friend" should do. And I thought that if I could just find balance, then I would be on my way to living a good Christian life.

I was wanting balance to make my life easier. It had little to do with God and a lot to do with me.

And I tell you, that this new idea has really just blown me away. It's ok to not have balance....what? Who ever knew?

It's ok that I don't have any clean towels because I spent 2 hours writing a friend a letter during some free time. It's ok that my floors are dirty because I have spent extra time visiting with friends.

And here's the big kicker.....I don't feel one bit of anxiety or guilt over those things. I don't feel like I have let my husband down because when he came home there wasn't a clean towel in the house. I don't. Before, I would have thought that I was just a terrible wife for allowing all the towels to get dirty. I was putting too much emphasis on my abilities. I was being so prideful. My priorities were way off and I didn't even know it. I thought I was being pleasing to the Lord, when in fact I was more worried about pleasing myself by checking things off my to do list.

I know the mundane tasks of life still have to be done. I really do need to wash my towels. They are a little bit out of control (but to my defense our washer is broken). But how much have I missed because my focus has not been on the eternal? My eyes have not been fixed solely on Jesus. And I didn't even realize it!

I confessed to a friend the other day that "I just don't have it together". And I don't. Outwardly. But God has been doing a mighty work inside. He is teaching me to see things from an eternal perspective. He is teaching me to see the things that I need to do and to see the things that I don't. He is teaching me to think through things from a completely different perspective and most of all, I am learning how to seek him in every area of my life.

It really is almost November, and time is flying. I don't want to miss another minute by being bogged down with things I deem important. I want to be guided, in all things, by the One who gave me this life and is the very source of life.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Accept....seems simple enough

For those of you who know me, know that Jamie has been gone for five weeks working on a baseball field in northwest Arkansas (6 hours away). He got to come home to visit this past weekend. But he returned yesterday to Arkansas and is now beginning his 6th week away from home.

Sometimes, I can find myself getting discouraged. I miss him so much and just get tired of being by myself. Well, I have Menne....but after a while of her not talking back to me, it just seems weird to continue talking to her. Anyway-I feel like I have been handeling the whole situation farely well. I have moments where I give into my emotions and get mad at his job for taking him away. But for the most part I am dealing.

I knew that this weekend would be a challenge though. I have seen him (I have traveled to AR twice), but it was the first time to have him home in five weeks. It was how it is supposed to be. It really feels like there is a piece missing when he is not here. It feels less like a home. So this weekend, the pieces were made whole again. But then he had to go back. I was fine when he left. It wasn't until I was pulling in the driveway after SaLT group that I really began to get upset. Our house was back to being incomplete again. And well, that just makes me sad.

As I was thinking about all of these things this morning, I began to give into self pity. She is an old friend of mine. I can find much comfort in residing there. I began thinking to myself that I wish things could just be easy for us for once. I started thinking about all the things that have been difficult. About how the week Jamie left my car broke down. About how our washing machine doesn't work properly and now, as of last week, the dryer is not working either. About how we have been trying to have a baby for three years and that hasn't happened. About how my husband is in a job that takes him away from home for weeks at a time and how hard that is. I was thinking that I just wanted a break already.

And then God revealed a little nugget of truth to me...

"You must accept whatever situation the Lord has put you in, and continue on as you were when God first called you..." (1 Corinthians 7:17).

Just accept it. Our situation is what it is. I do not need to over dramatize it, I don't need to feel sorry for myself. God is in complete control of our lives. He has us in each situation for a purpose. His purpose is far greater than anything I could ever imagine for myself. So in acceptance is peace and that leads to joy. Joy in God's sovereignty no matter what circumstances I find myself in.

I know this truth. I regularly have to remind myself of it. But it is just what I needed to read on this Monday morning as I'm starting a new week without Jamie here. And I think it's just what he needs to read as he starts his Monday morning away from home.

It is easy for us to accept good things from the Lord, but it is much more difficult to accept tough situations. We want to figure out how to fix them. Acceptance in our culture is not "acceptable". We are taught to always strive for a better life situation. Work harder, have more, seek the latest medical treatments, don't sit still, don't accept anything less than the best. But is this the message of Christ?

I know that there is a lot of suffering all over the world and that what I'm going through may sound trivial to some, but I am convinced that no matter the scale of our trials, we are called to the same thing. Acceptance. Denying ourselves and our desires and wants (no matter if those desires are good....babies, health, etc..) and resting in our situation that the Lord has us in. Relying on Him to show up and reveal his truths to us. That's what it's about. By accepting and not "bucking" our situation, we are bringing much glory to God. Outsiders can look to us and have no other explanation for how we handle things than Christ himself.

God, please remind me of this everyday, in every situation. I want to accept whatever flows from your hand.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I have searched high and low and now I have my prize!

I have been in search for something for several years now. It is what I like to call the "perfect transitional shoes". What the perfect transitional shoes are to me are shoes that I can wear in the fall and spring that are:
1. Not boots
2. Not flip flops
3. closed toe, but not dressy
4. something I can wear with jeans or capris
5. not expensive

So you see, I'm not really picky at all. I have no idea why it has taken me years to find that perfect shoe.

Well, I am pleased to announce to the world that I found them. It was a scenario that was quit like something out of an old western movie. Somewhat of a showdown one might say. I was gracefully walking down the shoe aisle at T.J. Maxx when I spotted this cute little blonde girl carrying "the perfect transitional shoes". I watched out of the corner of my eye as she carried them down the aisle and to the full length mirror. Oh, I tried to look like I was looking at other shoes, but I was honed in on the ones she had in her hand.

I watched as she tried them on with her jeans. They were perfect. Casual and comfy, sporty and cute. Fall or Spring appropriate. They were the perfect transitional shoes. If only I had seen them first.

I hung on to a nuggett of hope that maybe, just maybe, she would walk over and set them back down on the shelf. I watched her as she walked up and down the aisles carrying MY shoes in her hands. I followed her (from a distance of course) and I noticed her stop. She picked up another pair of shoes to go try on. Well, when she did this, she sat the perfect transitional shoes down. I, being ever so graceful and full of humility, walked over and picked them up. She glanced at me slightly and I smiled and then I turned and made my way to the big mirror. I could feel her staring at me as I walked down the aisle of victory. I was giving myself an imaginary high five in my head.

I headed to the mirror and slipped on the perfect pair of transitional shoes. Just as I had imagined all these years. They were indeed perfect. And they were the perfect fit. And they were only $16.99!!!! I held on to these treasures and I wasn't letting go. I carried them in my arms throughout the rest of my T.J. Maxx journey. I wouldn't make the same mistake as blonde girl.

Sorry cute, little blonde girl. Once you sit something back on the shelf, it is fair game for anyone.

I feel certain that God sent me these little gifts of shoe delight because of the loss of my flip flops earlier this year. Rest their soles.

Behold the perect transitional shoes....


These are so me! I love them and I would be lying just a little if I said it didn't make my whole trip to Arkansas worth it (other than seeing my loving husband of course).

Monday, October 1, 2007

Maybe I told a little lie...

So, I was going to start a new segment on the blog. I had thought about it for two weeks after talking to my friend Angie. I was going to do a "Manageable Meals on Monday" sort of thing where I would write out easy meals that the average person could make. Because really, if I'm making it....it can't be hard. It came about after a conversation we had about her needing some simple recipes that she is not intimidated by. And well, I have lots of those because I don't make anything that requires a lot of effort or ingredients that I've never heard of and can't buy at "the wal-marts".

That was the plan. And I was going to start it today. But here it is 9:15 and I just don't have the energy. So once again, I apologize for my lack of bloggingness (I could have just made up that word.)

In all seriousness, I am having a hard time right now keeping the once a week commitment. I have lots of things I want to write about (important things like my NEW shoes!), but can't seem to find the time to sit down and do it. Jamie has been gone for going on four weeks now. He is working on a big job in northwest Arksansas. So my time has been spent traveling back and forth from here to there and trying to keep up with Loop De Lou. It's been a little trying, so the blog has fallen to probably number 97 on the priority list. Because I'm a little bit dramatic and want to make you think I have 100 things to do. (When in reality it's more like seven.)

So there it is. My failure to follow through on Manageable Meals on Monday. Really, it's better to bail out now before you even knew what you were missing. And I assure you, you would have been missing some mighty fine mediocre meals.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sorry...

Sorry to all of my loyal blog readers. I have not had much blog worthy material lately or much time to sit and blog. But I will be back, one of these days. I am going to start a segment to the blog on Mondays. More to come on that later. Check back next Monday for the launch.

Hopefully between now and then I can put words into sentences and write some more life changing material. (Obviously I use the phrase "life changing" very loosly) (Because I'm sure tons of you have been greatly affected by my love of the Florida gators).

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The anticipation is just too much


Does anyone know what today is?

It is only the game that Jamie and I look forward too all the year long. It is the match up between the Florida Gators (cough...national champions) and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Have no doubt that I am all clad in my orange and blue anxiously awaiting the game that begins in exactly 2 hours and 20 minutes. I am cautious to talk a lot of "trash" because as I general rule I like to save the trash talking until a W is achieved. So stay tuned.

Some have asked the orgins of the Gator love and I feel the need to explain this since we do live in Tennessee after all....

It all began when I was no less than 2 years old and realized my fathers love for all things Alabama football and hate for all things Volunteers. Growing up Bear Bryant was somewhere between my fathers love for my mother and his love for God. I was bread (not sure if this is the proper spelling, but you get the point) to dislike anything that had to do with TN football.

As I grew into a young woman and met the love of my life, I realized that in all honesty I was a little bit indifferent to the whole world of college football. I knew that I didn't like TN, but really didn't understand why boys wasted their Saturdays watching College Game Day.

Jamie has always been a big Florida fan. His aunt and cousin both graduated from Gainesville. He feels like that is a good enough connection (and I must say I now agree).

Needless to say that when we started dating I tried to act interested in the Gators just to seem acceptable to Jamie (obviously at that time I was fully confident in my own abilities to woo him). But after we married and I knew that I pretty much had him, I actually started to enjoy watching the gators.

Now, it is a full blown love affair. As I woke up this morning with my first thought being about the big game today, it did cross my mind that maybe it has gone too far. I am currently in Arkansas visiting Jamie as he is working on one of his jobs. I can't say for sure that I came to visit him solely for the purpose that I missed him. It might have had something to do with watching the game together with a fellow gator fan (that I happen to be madly in love with).

And I might be telling a lie if I said that I was ok with the fact that I left my old gator shirt at home. The one I was wearing when the Gators won the SEC championship, the one I was wearing when they became the national champions in both football and basketball. I, instead, purchased a new shirt, not considering that the fate of the Florida Gator football program rest on the shoulders of MY old blue shirt. I really don't know what I was thinking.

Hopefully my new orange shirt and my gator flip flops will hold the same power. We will see my friends. I am really fighting the urge not to "live" blog the entire game.

GO GATORS!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What does matter?

"For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns." -Philippians 1:10

So what does really matter?

Christ. (period!). This is what our lives business needs to be about DAILY (hourly, minute by minute). We must submit our thoughts, actions, words every minute to God's authority "so that we may live pure and blameless lives".

We stay so busy in our day to day lives. We rush from one thing to another, making sure all our I's are dotted and T's are crossed. We think this is what a good Christian would do. But we have taken the word of God and squashed it! We make it fit into our daily schedules, maybe spending 20 minutes reading His word, but then not applying the principles to our every thought and every decision and every action. In turn we squash the power of God himself and his ability to be Lord over our lives... all because we are too busy with our own schedules.

I realized this yesterday in my own life. Yes, I am spending time in God's word each and every day. I come away from my quiet time with a "feel good" kind of feeling. I made a list of things that are pleasing to the Lord and things that aren't pleasing to the Lord. On the list of things that aren't was anger. I had just finished by quiet time and walked out the door only to have a muddy dog jump up on my clean shorts. My reaction......anger at the dog for getting me dirty.

Most people would tell me I was justified in getting angry at the dog, but was I? Really, all it was was an inconvenience to me that he got me dirty. So in reality, it doesn't really matter. "Understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives...".

May we realize our sin and how wretched we are. On our own we are nothing and can do nothing of lasting importance. We need God to save us from our pit of despair. We need God daily, hourly, minute by minute. Not just when he fits into our schedules. May we take the word of God and uplift it to the absolute authority in our lives, so that we don't squash the power of God, but rejoice in it and the things that he is working out in us!

May I not view the word of God as a guidebook on how to live a better life or how to be a good wife. But that I can see it as the powerful tool that it is and to realize that it's pages are filled with the words of the soveriegn GOD. How grateful we need to be the God chose to communicate with us (wretched sinners) through this book. May we not squash it's power! May we realize "what really matters".

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Football explained by a 3 year old

On Saturday, we had some friends and their kids come over for dinner. After dinner the boys retired to the living room to watch football, while Ellen and me sat on the front porch. Annalise, their 3 year old daughter, was going back and forth. She couldn't decide which company she prefered.

After she came out to the porch, I asked her if she knew who was winning the game. This was her response...

"The boys that are falling down are not winning, and the boys that are not falling down are winning."

I'm so glad that I got that clarity.

And I must tell you that I am super excited that football season has begun. We are big Florida Gator fans in my house. I printed out the schedule weeks ago to display on the fridge. We couldn't wait until the game opener last Saturday. We were not disappointed with the Gators performance.

I need to make sure I tell Urban Myer (Gator head football coach), to make sure his boys don't fall down as much and that way they will be sure to win!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Just In

I saw this in the sky the other day...




Reports are unconfirmed, but it is rumored to have been a rain cloud. The effidence is not 100% clear because no actual precipitation was documented. We have not seen the likings of such in several weeks, so the jury is still out on what a said "rain" cloud would acutally look like.


Due to lack of liquid falling from the sky and skyrocketing temperatures, my plant life is not sustaining very well. It is causing my flowers to look like this...





and this...





Despite numerous amounts of revitalizing efforts on my part.


And here is a lovely picture of my yard. We are sure to win the "best yard of the month" award. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope to see a picture of this lush green yard in the "Friendship Times" next week.




Try not to covet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My youth is a distant memory...

I know that I am moving into another phase of life. The reason I know this for sure is because I got very excited over a new cleaning product today. Actually two new products. Well, one is more like a tool.

1. Scrubbing Bubbles flushable wipes for the bathroom
2. A new toilet brush.

Obviously my life is full of fun and very exciting things. But the wipes are just so great, you just wipe and flush. Wallah. It's like some kind of magic. And the toilet brush, well it's not so much the brush that I'm excited about, it's more of the carrying case thingy. I just pick up the handle and it is easily transportable. That makes me happy.

There's really not a point here. Other than I realized as I was wiping down my toilet, how truly excited I was about these new products, and well....that just sort of summed up the fact that I'm not the same person I used to be. Gone are the days of youthfull care free moments. I am cleaning toilets and am in awe of the tools I am using. When did this happen?

Monday, August 27, 2007

So what is righteousness?

I have been reading a book called "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas. I can't begin to tell you how great this book is. The tagline on the cover says... "what if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy." This is the basic core of the book, how God uses marriage (and relationships in general) to call us away from ourselves and towards himself.

There is a chapter called "Sacred History: building the spiritual discipline of perseverance". It talks about how true holiness can be learned through perseverance instead of giving up when things get tough. I wanted to quote a paragraph the Gary writes because it REALLY, REALLY stuck out to me:

"Righteousness-true holiness- is seen over time in our persistence. It is relatively easy to "flirt" with righteousness - being occasionally courteous to other drivers (if you happen to be in a good mood), helping someone in need by opening the door for them (if you have the time), throwing a few extra bucks into the offering plate (as long as you won't miss them). But this behavior is in reality superficial righteousness.
The righteousness that God seeks is persistent righteousness, a commitment to continue making the right decision even when, perhaps hourly, you feel pulled in the opposite direction. Holiness is far more than an inclination toward occasional acts of kindess and charity. It is a commitment to persistent surrender before God."

I think so often we are self-righteous. We may have an inclination to do occasional acts of kindess and charity and somehow see that as good enough because it makes us feel better about ourselves. But true righteousness is an attitude of persistence. Constantly laying down ourselves before the feet of God. Persistenly seeking his ways and not our own. So wether we are faced with difficult decisions in marriage, or just our attitudes when someone cuts us off when driving, our response should always be surrender. Not clinging to our own self-righteousness and demanding our way, but releasing (even hourly) our attitudes and selfishness to clothe ourselves in humility and surrender to God's holy ways.

I think so often we read these things and feel convicted, but don't practically know how to apply these principles. What does "persistent surrender before God" look like? It's easy for me to surrender when we have a big decision to make in our marriage. It's easy for me to surrender my desire for a child (although not so easy at first!). What is difficult is my attitude when the trash needs to be taken out and isn't. What is difficult is my attitude when Jamie gets home later than he said because I think he needs to be home earlier. What is difficult is waiting in line for 30 minutes, when I think there should be other lines open.

I hope that I can be persistent in pursuing righteousness, and not "flirt" occasionally with acts of righteousness and charity. I pray that God reminds me of my attitudes in everyday situations. Because really, if we can't get it when we are driving our cars, how can we really get it when faced with lifes bigger challenges?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Intelligence at it's finest hour

Do you ever have those days? You know, the kind of days when you wake up, the birds are chirping, the air is clear, the sun is shining, and you just feel smart. You can look back throughout your life and remember days that were truly remarkable. Maybe you did something terrific like run a marathon, or just got all the things done on your "to do" list. Maybe you aced a test or that light bulb over your head started working and you discovered something great.

Well, today was one of those days for me. I did something that was by far one of the most intelligent things I have done to date. And believe me when I tell you....there have been many my friends. There have been many.

I got a load of dirty laundry. Put it in the basket. I started the washer. I put in the detergent. I sprinkled in the oxy clean. I closed the lid. I went about my business. Two hours later, I discovered that basket of dirty laundry. I discovered that the washing machine had gone through an entire cycle with nothing in there but water, All, and oxy clean. And people say discoveries are for smart people. What do they know?

It's just my way of conserving water and helping out the enviroment. It's really the least I can do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's hard to think of anything to say when it is 106 degrees

It would be quit the understatement to say it was hot. That small word doesn't even begin to describe what it is like outside. I feel like you can actually feel the air as you wave your arms in front of you. Like you are parting it. Much like the Red Sea. Except, you know, without Moses and all the Isrealites and the miracle. But other than that, I think it's the same.

In all honesty though, people keep talking about how hot it is and I can say that I haven't really noticed. Just because the only time I am in the heat is from: house to car, car to work, work to car, car to house.

I did step out to water my flowers today. They aren't doing so hot. Or they are very hot as it may be.

But the reason for today's post doesn't really have all that much to do with the heat. Well, that is what originally got me thinking about it, but today I want to write about sweet Jamie.

Jamie gets up at 5:00 every morning. He goes to work, where he works outside in the hot sun all day long. And by all day, I really literally mean all day. He generally gets home at 8:00 on an early night and 10:00 on a late night.

Can you only imagine if that was me? He would never hear the end of it. I would be complaining all the way to ten buck two. (By the way, does anyone actually know where that is?)

But not Jamie. He never says one word about being hot. He never complains about how much work he is doing. I can see it in his eyes when he comes in, but he never, ever, says a word. He comes home every night with a smile on his face, ready to see me, not one time mentioning the scortching temperatures. I really could be learning a lot from him. I have had a yucky sinus infection the past two days and can't seem to talk about much else. I like pitty. What can I say?

I am reminded often about how genuine Jamie is. I am floored by his sensitivity, his good heart, and his love for life in general. He is such an amazing person and I feel so honored that God thought I deserved him. Because I realize often, that I don't. I get to see that sincere heart day in and day out and so often I take it for granted.

And if you think I am writing this just so Jamie can read it (although I might forward it to him...not a bad idea now that I think about it) you would be wrong because he doesn't read the blog. Heck, he just jumped on the who email bandwaggon a few months ago. I just was thinking about how grateful I am to have a husband like him. And how grateful I am for my air conditioner (random I know, but totally true).

Monday, August 13, 2007

This is very important.....

I have posted before that I write another blog. It's just as enlightening as this one. Life changing stuff. Anyway, it is for my stationery business, LoopDeLou. Well you just need to head on over there today if you want to .....

GET FREE STUFF (*with a purchase of course).

www.loopdelou.com

But the trick is you have to read the blog.

And to you who already get free stuff, oh you know who you are....this offer doesn't apply to you. Unless you want to start paying for your LoopDeLou, in which case you can participate.

Ok, this doesn't count for my post this week, I just wanted to let all of my hundreds of readers know about the bloggity blog give away.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It was a sad, sad, day

Something terrible happened this week.

I am not going to write about how I started a diet this week and have had cake every day since. I am not going to write about how much I love the dewrinkle cycle on my dyer. No. This post carries with it a hurt. A hurt that is felt deep down within my sole. Yes, I mean SOLE.

My flops have lost their flip.


Let us pause for a moment of silence.


It all started two years ago. I was working as a program director at the YMCA. It was the end of summer day camp and I was cleaning off the Lost and Found table. And there before my eyes was a pair of brown Old Navy flip flops. Now, I had been to Old Navy a few weeks before to make a flip flop purchase. But, sadly, they were out of brown. So, you can only imagine my exitement as I gazed upon the lost pair of flippity goodness. It's like heaven opened up and a light shined down and landed on those shoes. I think I even heard angles singing "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Halle -Luh-Jah". I am pretty convinced that we were destined to meet.


I examined them and secretly tried them on. It was a perfect fit. I couldn't believe it. That day was a very special day. We formed a bond that has been going strong for the last two summers. Don't judge me for stealing them off the lost and found. They would have gone into the trash and we just couldn't have that happen. They were a perfectly good pair of shoes. No matter that they only cost three dollars and had been worn by some sweaty kid.

I have to impress upon you the importance of these shoes. This last week, when on vacation, they were the only pair of shoes I wore all week. I wear them every day. EVERY DAY PEOPLE. They are conformed to my feet. They are the perfect picture of flip flop delight.

Now what do I do? They are gone.

I was standing outside of Starbucks on Monday night after a fun birthday party. I was standing with my friends just chatting away. When all of the sudden I heard a "pop". I ever so slowly looked down at my shoe, hoping that what I thought had happened....didn't. But, I was ever so wrong. Here is a picture. God rest her sole.



The really sad part is that I have to throw one perfectly good flip flop away. All of my summer wardrobe choices are lost without the compliment of these brown shoes.

I know what you're thinking. "Why don't you just go and buy another pair". Well, I will tell you. It just won't be the same. I don't think I can ever bond with another pair in the way that I did with these. I bought some black ones earlier this year and I have only worn them once. I felt a since of unfaithfullness.


Dear favorite brown flops-

I will miss you dear friends. I don't know what I will do without you. We have been through so much together. You have traveled with me to many shores and we have seen lots of things. You were there when I stepped off the plane in Guatemala. You helped me travel upon many a dirt road. You were there when I celebrated two anniversaries. You are my companions at work each and every day. You were there along the sandy beaches of Florida. You were there through it all.

You have had a small rock stuck in your heel for about a year now. I didn't remove it because I thought that it gave you some character. I took the rock out on Saturday and I think your response was to snap. I am so sorry if I caused you any hurt.
May peace be with you brown flops. God rest your sole. God rest your sole.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Soaking up the Sun

Hey to all of my bloggity friends. All two of you. I just wanted to let you know that I'm on vacation this week. Whoo. Hoo. A real life vacation. There is a beach and sand and everything. The sun has even been out shining away. Which means that I will be out trying to improve my appearance by getting one of those tan thingys. Or burn thingys, whichever happens first.

But actually, I have made a commitment to the sunscreen this time around. Normally when I go to the beach, I think I can handle the sun. I laugh in the face of that blazing ball of fire and all of it's scorching rays. The first day out I oil up with my SPF 4 tanning oil. Which never really works out for me. I end up a little sizzled. Now those youthfull days are over. Today I lathered SPF 15 all over and then topped that off with some SPF 30 spray. I think I'm good to go. No burns yet. I can't speak the same for some of the people I am with though. They thought forgoing the sunscreen would be a good idea. It indeed turned out not to be. Can anyone say lobster? (I won't mention any names, but his name starts with a Ron and ends in a nie).

I just wanted to let you know that there would be the absolute same amount of blogging activity going on around here that there normally is. Once a week. This post counts for that I think.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Song lyrics are not my specialty

I know some people have been blessed with certain gifts. Some people can sing, some can dance, some can cook, some can lead, some can write. I'm not real sure what my gift is, but I am certain of what it is not.

I am one of those people who unkowingly make up lyrics to songs.

Garth Brooks (he's a country music singer if you've never heard of him) came out with a little song called "I'm Shamless". This song was popular around the time I was 12 years old.

Now at 12, I had very serious things on my mind. Things like, "Does Steven know that I am in love with him" and "Maybe mom will let me finally have a telephone in my room". One of the most important things on my mind was the upcoming monumentous occassion of shaving my legs for the first time. My mom told me that I couldn't shave until I was 13. So throughout my 12th year on this planet, shaving was number 1 on the "all the things I can do when I'm 13 list".

When I heard Garth's song for the first time, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I would sing along with it to the top of my lungs. I thought it was great that he would write a song about such a great event that was about to happen in my own life. He wrote a song about shaving.

"I'm Shaaaviiiin" is what I would sing and what I was convinced the song said.

Later, I realized those weren't really the lyrics. But at the time they made perfect sense to me. Now, at 26, I'm not really sure why anyone would write a song about shaving or why I looked forward to it so much.

There was another song when I was in high school. I can't remember who sang it, but one of the lines said "running around with your cheetah". I mean, I thought it was the coolest thing that someone would write a song about having a cheetah. I didn't know anyone with a cheetah as a pet. But sure would like to meet the person that song was about. Later, I realized the actual words were "running around with your cheap talk." Not as cool to me.

I think that I like my versions better. They make for way more interesting songs. We need some quality musicians to write songs about shaving and cheetahs. Maybe a song about shaving a cheetah. Now those would be some fine lyrics right there.

Oh, and by the way...BOOMAMA wrote about Loop De Lou on her blog today. I think we're famous.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Does God want us to be healthy and happy and prosperous?

This is a question that has plaqued me over the past several months. Now, I don't want to go into talking about our infertility and all the thousands of questions that has brought up. That would show my great lack of faith and I'm not ready to be that transparent on the blog! I'll save that for my small group of friends. But this idea of health and happiness, well it just doesn't make much sense to me.

I am often faced directly with questions about this. I don't want to go into specifics, but there are a few people in my life who believe that a part of faith is believing that what you ask for will happen. I do not argue this point. I do believe that is what faith is, "the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen." But here is where my questions lie.

I know that faith is believing that what you ask for is going to happen. But I also believe in the absolute soverienty of God. I believe that God can and will heal people if it is done for his glory. I also believe that God reveals himself through sickness. It is an absolute lie to say that God's will is for all of his children to be healed. What about Paul?

Paul prayed three times that the thorn in his flesh be removed. It was not. Because God revealed to him that through his weakness Christ was shown. "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9). So when we demand things from God, whether it be healing or a change in circumstances, I believe that sometimes we are missing out on what we can learn through our weakness.

It bothers me that millions of Americans hold strongly to the belief that God desires for us to be happy, healthy, and prosperous. I do not dare say that God does not want his children to be happy....but what I do say is that the source of that happiness doesn't come in ways that modern day culture would suggest. Quit the opposite I'm sure.

It bothers me, but it doesn't surprise me. Most of us don't want to be challanged. We don't want things to come along and mess up our perfect little utopias that we have created for ourselves. So we don't dig deeper. We don't pursue true Godliness. Because if we are completly honest with ourselves, we don't want to live as Jesus did. We don't want to spend our time with sinners, beggers, the sick and the desolate. We are plaqued by our comfort.

So does God want us to be happy, healthy, and prosperous? My answer to this question is yes, he does. But those words take on a dramatically different meaning when looked at through the lens of Christ. He does want us to be happy....absolutely content in any circumstances we are in becuase we know he is in control. To quote John Piper "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him."

He does want us to be healthy. We should be good stewards of our bodies and our gifts, but we all know that we are going to die. Disease happens, sickness happens. We live in a fallen world. Our bodies and our healthiness will not be all it is supposed to be this side of heaven. So in the end he has promised us new bodies. Spirtual bodies, without disease and sickness. But those things are to come after this life.

I also believe that he does want us to be prosperous. Not so much with wealth, but prosperous in the things of the spirit. Wealthy with generosity, self control, humility, etc... If we have all of these things, we realize the need for financial gain is of little importance. And once again, we will not recieve our rewards this side of heaven. All Christ has promised us is himself.

So through sickness, disease, infertility, poverty, war, and all kinds of hurt...the response should be submissiveness to what God is trying to accomplish in our lives for his glory. Maybe we will be healed, and if so that is great. Then we know we have witnessed a miracle. But maybe we won't. And that is ok to.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lifes Not Always PopTarts and Roses

As many of you know, Jamie and I have been through a major challenge in the last year. We have been trying to conceive a baby for about three years now. And by trying to conceive (ttc), you all really know what that means. It's been way fun for Jamie, not so much for me at times.

The word we are looking for here is "anyway"....

Last November we decided it was time to visit the doctor and see if we could get this whole thing figured out. I will spare you all the wonderful details. And believe me when I tell you that they are indeed, wonderful.

We started testing in November and this went through January. All during the holiday season, we sure were merry. Not to mention that during this time my in-laws moved out of their house that they had inhabitated for the last 35 years. Can't you just imagine all of the merriment and cheer that those months held for us??

After our last major appointment we were riding in the car to go get some dinner at Cracker Barrell (because that's what we do here in the South after major life changing news....we eat). On the way he informed me that the Dr. told him that we have less than a 5% chance of conceiving a child on our own.

Now, one would think at this point I would have gotten very upset and been all dramatic like, throwing my hands up in the air screaming "Why Me!". But to tell you the truth I reacted very, very differently than I would have ever imagined.

I looked at Jamie, shrugged my shoulders and said, "Well you know, Life's not always poptars and roses." And then I'm sure I said something very profound like, so "Are you going to get an extra portion of fried okra at Cracker Barrell?".

Not that the news wasn't big or important to me, because it very much was. But I think that I had prepared myself for that moment for a few months, so when it actually came it wasn't as monumentous as I pictured it.

After I said the life changing statement "Life's not always poptarts and roses", Jamie just looked at me and busted out laughing. I feel like I am blessed with the gift of comedic relief. But the really funny part is that I wasn't trying to be funny. I really do like poptarts and roses.

So you are probably wondering if there is a point. And I'm not sure I can answer that. But what I was interested in was seeing what other phrases comparing life to that we could come up with. Here are two I thought of:

"Life's not always Butterflies and Pancakes"

"Life's not always Squash casserole and Pansies"

I'm not real sure what the connection is with food and nature (or words that start with "p"). But somehow I think it makes good comparisons. What about you?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Junk Food Was Overflowing and Laughter Didn't Cease!

I did something this weekend that I haven't done in probably ten years. I had a sleep over.

Five of my friends from high school drove all the way to my house out in the middle of nowhere and we had an all girl slumber party. We are 26 and married, but that didn't stop us. No ma'am it didn't.

I started preparing for the monumentous occassion on Thursday with the preperation of all things sugar and carb filled. I made fruit dip (cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip), puppy chow (peanut butter, powdered sugar, chocolate), and salsa. I bought cinnamon rolls, muffins, and fruit for breakfast and the fridge was abounding with sugary, high fat carbonation. It was marvelous.
The first three girls arrived Friday afternoon and we sat in the kitchen and caught up with one another. It was all like, "Guess who's getting married" and "I heard Julie is pregnant" and "Did you know that Marla is building a new house?" and "You'll never guess who I saw the other day and guess what color her hair was."

Then we decided we were hungery and lucky for us I had purchased the ultimate sleepover dinner. Pizza. We had pizza and drank coca cola to our hearts content. It was wonderful.

Then my friend Leah busted out some kind of new card game. You have to spell words with the letters on the cards. You go through 13 rounds and each time you get more and more cards. I thought surely I would dominate at this game because I am good with words. But what I'm not so good at is spelling. So that proved to be mainly the most important. It was the five card round and I was SO SO proud of myself because I was about to lay down the best word and get lots of points. I layed down my cards with a "look at me" kind of laugh and discarded with a slap of the hand. The three girls looked at me and said...."Uh, you spell mantel with a T". I had put down M A N E L. Needless to say, I didn't win that game. But what do they know.

The other two friends arrived later that night and we quickly got them all caught up on the evenings activities. We stayed up until 2:30 in the morning. I haven't had that much fun since watching Monica and Chandler bring home their babies. Have I said how fantastic it was??

Well you just wait right there because it gets even better.

We all got up on Saturday morning and got ready. Which was a littly trying seeing as to how I only have one shower that is finished. Six girls + one shower = a long time getting everyone out the door. But luckily we have grown out of the stage of Rave hairspray and teasing our crown. It didn't take near as long as I thought.

We decided to do what any girl would want to do after a sleepover. We went shopping. We pulled into the parking lot of the Kirklands in Jackson and our small minds could not wrap around the treasure that awaited us there.

A HUGE TENT SALE. Jesus was smiling down on us that day my friends.

My friend Leah started saying as we pulled up, "This is bad, this is really, really not good." My friends in the other car were screaming, dancing, and jumping up and down. It really was fantastic (have I said that yet?)

We had lunch at the Olive Garden and shopped some more. We ended the day with a movie and dinner. We had such a terrific time. I am so thankful that I have "old" friends from school who are willing to drive to spend the weekend with me. We do have a special relationship and I am so grateful for all of them!

I laughed a lot and it was a great, terrific, wonderful, glorious, and any other adjective that is fitting, time!!!

front L-R: me, Amber, Adrienne, Brittney
back L-R: LesLee and Leah

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Serious Side

A friend of mine sent this to me today and it made me think. I think this is a very touching video and very emotional, but for me it's not truth. It truly makes my heart ache for all of the thousands of couples who struggle with infertility and don't know Jesus as their Lord. Not that this makes the journey perfect or that by being a Christian I am promised that all of my desires will be fufilled, but because I know at the end of the day, no matter how upset and emotional I might get about our situation.....my HOPE and my trust is in Christ. He is my provider, healer, friend. He holds the key to my fertility. In HIM I place all trust. I can firmly stand and know that He is in control of my life. My ultimate satisfaction is NOT found in conceiving a child, but in Christ alone.

I am so thankful to Him for carrying us through this time.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I don't think I'll be starting a mowing business anytime soon

Jamie has a crazy schedule in the summer. He works for a company that installs athletic fields. He loves his job and we are very thankful for the job because it was an answer to a lot of prayers.

Anyway....

He is absent from our house for most of the daytime hours. When he gets in he is always very tired. So needless to say the last thing he needs is a nagging wife saying, "You know we could house an entire community of mice in our yard and you would never know it because they would be shaded by all the enormous blades of grass." Translated to him: mow the yard now.

Being the wife that I am, I decided that I would take this small chore from his hands. It might be important to add that we have three acres of yard to mow. Not an easy feat mind you. So I head up to my in-laws house (they live up the hill) and asked if Bob (my father in law) could teach me how to mow on his mower. It turned out to be very easy to operate the machine, lucky for me.

Now, this was on a Saturday. Dear Jamie happened to be at home, but I, of course, had him working through a list of five or seventeen other things. So mowing the yard was on my agenda and I wanted to make sure he saw every minute of it so he would know my ultimate sacrifice for him.

I came riding down the hill on the mower. Jamie thought it would be a good idea to for him "get me started". So he made the first few rounds to mark my path. Then he handed the raines over to me.

Now, I might need to preface this by telling you that we have big crevases (and I'm not real sure how to spell crevases) in our yard. We live at the bottom of a hill and we just built our house last year. So the grass hasn't been around too long. There is a lot of washing going on. Which just added a load full of fun to the mowing experience.

So I hop on the mower. Jamie decided it might be a good idea to watch me the first go around just to make sure I got it right. I started out, really thinking highly of myself for taking on such a manly chore. I turned the first turn, good job so far. I was keeping everything in line. The lines down the yard were looking spectacular if I do say so myself.

Then....I saw the ditch.

I was faced with a dilema. It actually crossed my mind that I could "jump" it. On a mower.

I didn't want to mess up the perfect lines after all. So I made the decision to keep on trucking (or mowing) right over that little ditch. The mower didn't make it.

I sat there with the front two tires of the mower in the ditch. I didn't know what to do, so instead of you know, turning the key off. I just stood up. Because that is what makes the mower quit going. It did make the engine cut off, but it kept making this horrible sound. Good thing for me that Jamie was still outside watching the whole event unfold. Because I'm sure that my safety was the first thing on his mind and not at all how much he was going to make fun of me.

He came to my side, turned the mower completley off and pushed it out of the ditch. Then he looked at me and said, "What were you doing?". I replied "Mowing". He said, "Did ya not see the ditch?".

"Yes, I saw it."

"Then why didn't you go around it?"

"Well, I didn't want to mess up the lines."

Perfectly good explanation in my mind. He warned me that next time I should go around. I told him not to worry because there probably wouldn't be a next time.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Marcie Moment number 126

This is a conversation between my and my very good friend Allie.

me: (after being out at the pool) "I got really pink today"

Allie: "You did. But it will turn into tan. You tan easily don't you?"

me: "Yes, well except for when I burn"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

There's a First Time for Everything

Yesterday I did two things that I have never done before.

When I tell you what those things are, it will not seem very glamorous. There won't be applause. I won't win any kind of award. But, they are things that finally make this whole wife and adult business come full circle for me. Be prepared for these small triumphs. For they are truly monumentous occassions.

1. I dropped two shirts off at the dry cleaners.

Now, I know that this may appear like a small feat, but I assure you, it is not. As a general rule, I like to avoid clothes that are "Dry Clean Only". Actually reading those words will cause me to put a shirt back faster than you can say "wow that looks great". Don't even temp me with perfect material and flattering fits. If it's dry clean only, this girl ain't purchasing it.

But, with my trip to New York and all the shopping that it entailed before hand, I had to bite the bullet and purchase clothes that would require trips to the cleaners. I caved. But what was I supposed to do? Cotton t-shirts and jean capris just weren't acceptable attire for the Big Apple.

So I feel like with dropping those shirts off, I have officially arrived into adult life. Welcome me. Here I am. The lady had to walk me through the process and even asked "Is this your first time here". Yes ma'am it is, please handle with care.

2. I sewed a pair of Jamie's shorts that had a tear in them.

I used a real sewing machine and fixed something that had been broken. This, my friends, has never occured before. I have been taking sewing lessons from my friend Hannah for a couple of months. So, sweet Jamie had full confidence in me that I could sew the crotch of his shorts up. I feel like an actual Proverbs 31 woman. My name should have been Martha. Never mind the fact that I sewed a little bit of the short legs together. They still worked though, he is wearing them this very day. Adolescents = 0 Adult Live = 1.

I'm growing up so fast y'all.

Friday, June 1, 2007

I am in Despertate Need of Help

I have a huge dilema. It is a problem that I am 100% convinced that women across America face. And probably if you are a man reading this blog, you should stop now.

Bathing suit season. Do I really need to say more?

I will say that I am forever indebted to the person that decided bathing suit skirts were cool again. That does make the problem slightly better. Skirts for bathing suits are like salsa for tostido chips. Once we've experienced them together, we're really not sure how they could ever be seperated.

But here is my problem....

Do they even make bathing suit tops that don't plunge down in the front? I have a serious problem finding a top that works. All of the ones I have tried on, and just trust me when I say that has been MANY, look like I'm trying to gain employment at H**ters. It's like trying to shove a volleyball into a change purse. It just doesn't work. Going up a size or twelve doesn't help either.

So here is my question....

Why do they make bathing suit tops like this? Do the bathing suit manufactures not realize that most of us don't like being seen in public with our girls hanging out? I am in serious need of help here. I don't have a huge swim suit budget and I need a swim suit that I can actually wear in front of people.

Does anyone know if this even exists? Or would it be like finding a unicorn?

Help!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spring Forth

I tried planting some flowers last fall. It didn't work out so well.



We call this pot the "Planter of Death".

I bought some ferns during the warm spell that we had in March. I jumped the gun. Those sadly didn't make it either. But I must say, I'm not so sure it was because of the weather. I think it might be me.


I do not have pictures of the ferns. I am saving you from that awful image.

I think that plants and I do not go well together. And this makes me sad. I want so badly to grow things. I don't have a problem planting them. I have a problem with the whole watering part. Sometimes I forget. For like weeks. Then they die. Good thing Jamie takes care of the dogs. Sometimes I wonder if I really am ready to be a mother.

Anyway, I decided to give it another shot. I went to Lowe's and got all stocked up. When I walked into the house with the plants, Jamie just hung his head. He actually started apologizing to them. He told them that he was sorry that they had to be bought by me. So much for a supportive husband. Just for that, I think I might stop washing his socks.

Jamie says that I have a "black thumb". But I beg to differ. I think I can pull it off this time. I even bought a watering can.



These are my plants I bought. They have not yet realized their fate. Poor guys.



These are my materials. Notice the Miracle Grow. Because Lord knows, it will take a miracle for them to grow.




There are two pots like this one. They have not been given a name yet. Hopefully it won't have anything to do with "death" in the title.




And finally, this is the "Planter of Death", but she has sprung forth new life. I'm just hoping that life actually stays alive.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I have been unfaithful to you oh blog

Dear Blog-

I am writing this to let you know that I have been unfaithful. I wanted you to hear it from me first. I have been secrectly writing for another blog. I bow my head in shame.

I hope to keep this relationship going with you. I love being able to visit you once a week. But I will totally understand if you wish to end it.

If you wish to see the blog that has taken me away from you. Please visit www.loopdelou.com and click on the blog button.

I assure you I can make it work for the both of you.

Yours Truly-
Marcie

Thursday, May 17, 2007

So much to do, so little time

Since most of you who read this blog are my friends, you know that I am getting ready to leave for New York tomorrow. Well, actually I am leaving this evening, but my plane doesn't leave until early tomorrow morning. Anyway, I am going to New York for the National Stationery Show for LoopDeLou, my stationery business. Whoo. Hoo.

I am very excited. So excited, in fact, that I had to make a "to do" list for the day, to make sure I got all of my business taken care of. Now, when you read the word "business" that might imply very important matters. I assure you, that is not the case. I scribbled down my list last night. This is what it says:

-pack
-clean out my car
-wash hair
-go to the bank
-dinner with Chad and Holly

Yes friends. I had to put "wash hair" on my to do list. Because really, you never know when I might forget to do this act. It only happens each and every time I get in the shower. But today just might be the day I forget, so I had to write it down.

Y'all I really think I'm losing it. Sniffing soap and reminding myself to wash my hair all in one week. I think my "plane" is leaving in more than one sense.

Wish us luck in New York! I'm sure I will need it if I'm having to remind myself to wash my hair.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I admit it, I made a mistake

So, I know that I am breaking my "blogging" rule by posting this on Tuesday. I'm livin' on the edge ya'll. But something happened to me last night at the dreaded Wal-Mart and I just had to share it with the world.

I woke up with a splitting headache this morning. I think that I might know why....

I must preface this story by telling you that my husband sometimes has "girl" like tendencies. And I promise I mean that in the nicest way. But he loves smelly body wash in the shower. When we first got married and I still had nice lotions from Bath and Body works, he would always use that too. Now, we buy Jergens. It doesn't quite have the same effect.

Anyway....

Being the nice wife that I am (haha), I try to keep us stocked up on his favorite body wash. He loves the Shea Butter scent. And his absolute favorite is the Softsoap brand that is "ultra rich shea butter" with little beads of smelly goodness. I'll pause while you say ooohhh, aaahhh.

But, here is the problem with that. It's nice and all, but it costs $3.50 and it lasts about 2 weeks. Now, some of you are probably thinking, well that's not too bad. But when there is the equate brand that costs just $1.50, it makes my stomach turn just a little to pick up the more expensive one. And I like to buy two at a time, because we all know about my utter disdain for Wal-Mart. So the less I have to go the happier I am.

I promise there is a point. It's coming.

So last night, I was at "the Wal-Marts" and I was in the soap aisle. I decided that I would try to be a smarter consumer and come to a peaceful solution with the soap. I would sniff all the "shea butter" body wash and try to find one that had the same smell with a cheaper price tag. I found one brand and it is "shea butter with oatmeal" and it was 2 whole dollars cheaper. So I wanted to find another brand to bring home to present to Jamie. That way he could decide which one he liked better. Then that one would be the champion and I could buy that from now on and we would live in shea butter body wash heaven at a cheaper price. Life is exciting people.

So I was moving along the soap aisle, minding my own business, sniffing all the soap.

Then it happened.

I opened up one bottle and sniffed and squeezed it at the same time. I made the ultimate body wash sniffing mistake. White soap squirted all over my nose and up it.

At this exact moment a man and his wife turned the corner to see my face adorned with shea butter creamy wash. He looked at me and said "I know you just didn't do that". Yes, mister. I did.

He laughed as he walked away, and said "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."

Thanks mister, but you don't have to worry about it, because I will post it on my blog for the world to read.

Thank you very much.

Now, I have this splitting headache to deal with because I snorted soap last night. This should be a lesson to all you kids.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Void Has Been Filled

There has been a spot in my heart that has been vacant for quite awhile. I have been searching for that perfect something that would fill it. Well, I must announce to the world, that I have found my perfect something.

Target is now my brand new BFF.

She (i gave Target a gender) is wonderful. Really, who needs a human BFF when Target is so readily available. She displays endless amounts of clothes for me to try on. She beckons me with her beautiful shoes. She listens when I tell her "I'm not really sure if these jeans make my butt look too big". She is never judgmental.

And the best thing about her, she has great sales. I purchased THE BEST JEANS ever. They are everything I have ever looked for in a jean. They are the perfect combination of stretch and denim which makes them very comfortable. And that just makes my heart sing. And I can't even tell you what I payed for them because I try not to make people covet.

Target is where all of my bedding has come from. I spent many hours with her post wedding due to the fact that I received 9 irons, 2 toaster ovens, and some random items that I never registered for.

She is truly one in a million. She totally understood when I got married and gained ten pounds. She was there to offer clothing that was still oh so adorable, even in a size larger. She understood that my mom no longer could buy my clothes, so she offered hers to me at oh so great prices.

Tuesday as I strolled the aisles of her store, I realized, that this relationship was truly meant to be. Thank you Target. I love you. You have filled that special place in my heart. I shall never be the same.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Little Blogging Business

I have decided that I am officially only going to post once a week. Unless there are weeks when I post twice. And if those weeks ever occur, then that means something amazing is happening at the Autry house. We have hired a maid. So unless God himself drops a maid down into my humble abode, then blogging will be limited to once a week.

Because I realize that I have an internet addiction. Hi, my name is Marcie, and I'm an internetaholic. I check my email 12 times a day. It's a problem.

I am officially declaring Thursdays as "Blog Post" day. Check your 2008 calenders, it should be listed on each Thursday of every month. So you can check back on Thursdays to catch up with the Autry's. I'm sure all of you will be counting down the days.

In all honesty, we are very busy at LoopDeLou headquarters. With making our national debut in two short weeks, there isn't much time for blogging about the really important things in life like wal-mart and yard sales.

Not that you loyal blog readers will notice much of a difference, because I have been posting once a week since, you know, March. I just wanted to make it official. If I post a picture of swans (or geese) then you will have to look at them for a whole week. (Sorry Mark!)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

In a Perfect World

So, I don't think I have posted before on my utter hate for grocery shopping and all things Wal-Mart. I know that I shouldn't put hate out there, but let's face it, it is totally the truth. When I left my full time job to work part time and stay at home more, I realized that there was a whole new facet to this wife business. Taking care of the house, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping....I had never realized how involved this was. But, I was willing to take it on and dove in head first. And then, that lasted about a week. Because we all know that I am all about things not being an inconvenience to me.

So it has taken, you know, two years for me to balance it all out. I realized that in order for me to work part time and keep an organized house and a happy husband, it is much better for me to have a schedule and make lots of lists. Because I am nothing without my lists (and just as a side note, I do have very cute notepads which make the list writing all the more enjoyable). So you would think that in these two years grocery shopping would have found a comfortable place in my heart right alongside the laundry and cleaning and cooking. But, it most definitely has not.

I am trying to figure out why I hate this act. I have thrown around reasons and tried to make sense of the madness. One of the conclusions I have come to is this:

I have an unwanted dependence on Wal-Mart.

I mean, really, where else can I go to get chicken breasts, crackers, paper plates, deodorant, a dvd, a card for my mother, a bedspread, an oilchange, and a fan? And what about those prices? Nothing compares (a little shout out to Shenade O'Connor). But here is the thing, EACH and EVERY time I go to "the Wal-Marts" I come out completely frustrated. And as a typical rule, I like to avoid situations that make my face twitch. So, this is the conclusion that I have come to, I don't like grocery shopping because Sam Waldon had a great idea to include everything you would ever need into one huge store. And if it's everything I would ever need, it's everything tens of millions of people would ever need, which means all those people are in the same store as me all standing in the two lanes to check out. I mean, why have the other lanes if only two are going to be open?

So, I thought of a solution.

How great would it be if I could go online and buy all of my groceries and then have them delivered to my front door? This, my friends, would be heaven. But then as I thought about this perfect grocery shopping situation, it dawned on me, this is the exact reason that people in other countries hate us. Because we don't like being inconvenienced. So with all of that said, I realize my need to not be inconvenienced, but I so would grocery shop online if it was available. This is the land of opportunity. One of you three readers should really consider this profession of an online grocery store and delivery. I would be the first customer NO DOUBT about it!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Truly a Marcie Moment

"Jamie, your face got red today. Was that from being out in the sun?"

I really need to start thinking before I talk. Seriously.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Yard Sale Kind

Ok, so today I discovered that there are a breed of people that I had not previously known about or had experience with.

The yard sale kind.

I, happen to love a good yard sale. But what I consider a good sale is one that begins at 10:00 on a Saturday and has pottery barn items marked down to a dollar. Now, I have never actually been to one of these, but if you know of one, then please share.

Anyway...

Our church is having a yard sale to benefit our churches mission team to Albania. My friends, Mark and Hannah (check out Mark's blog), and I have had just loads of fun sorting through people's junk....sorry, I meant belongings. There were glass vases, used puzzles, used curling irons, used sheets, books and more books, vhs tapes, and some items that I'm just not sure what they were, but I am sure they were used.

Now, to a normal breed, these items might appear to not have much value. But, to the yard saler it's like a little bit of heaven opened up and plopped down on the plastic tables right in front of them.

I have never known that these people existed. I had heard stories, and had been promised that they would show, but didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes today. Hannah and I arrived at the sale at 7:00 a.m. (yes, it was a stretch for me to be there) and we were greeted by six shoppers. AT 7:00 AM.

I can't tell you the last time I got excited about anything at 7:00 AM nonetheless excited about other peoples stuff!

This one couple pretty much cleaned us out. I would be lying if I told you they didn't look like the Clampits driving away in their loaded down truck.

Now, I am not knocking this breed of people. I greatly appreciate their love for items found in other peoples attics and garages. I find it amazing that people can find a use for an old humidifier that doesn't work. Since I live in TN, I will no doubt see the humidifier used as a potting device in the front yard of a trailer. And believe me, I know about trailers.

I shall be the first to say that my mother in law is an avid shopper of the yards. I actually have a dresser in my guest room that was bought for $15 at a sale by her. So I show much love to this breed. Thanks for supporting families across America with your willingness to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday and dig through people's unwanted belongings. We salute you American yard sale shopper. We salute you.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Stop looking at me Swan"



The other day, Jamie called me to our back window. He said "Look what we have in our pond!"

I responded "How pretty! We have swans!"

Jamie looked at me and grinned "Babe, those are geese."

I feel like it was an honest mistake. Who says that swans couldn't land in our pond in the middle of west TN. I think it could totally happen.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

"Holy Leisure"

"Holy Leisure"

It refers to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves. With our tendency to define people in terms of what they produce, we would do well to cultivate "holy leisure". And if we expect to succeed in the contemplative way, we must pursue "holy leisure" with a determination that is ruthless to our datebooks.

-
Richard J. Foster
Celebration of Discipline
in his chapter on Meditation

How far from this do you think we are in modern Christian culture? Why is this even important?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Madness Has Come to a Victorious End

The hype. The excitement. It has all come to an end. The blue and orange are once again the college basketball champions.

As many of you know, the basketball tournament has been a big deal at our house this year. Jamie and I are big Gator fans. We were there, in Atlanta, when the Gators were victorious over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC championship in football. We were sitting on our couch with our "Gator Get Up" on as they slaughtered Ohio State in the BCS National championship in football. And we have been there every step of the way on this road to greatness in the NCAA basketball tournament. It is all just to much.

Jamie and I couldn't be together last night as the Gators won their second straight championship. But the Gator spirit united us over the miles. At one point in the game I actually raised both of my arms up in the air (like the "touchdown" call in football) and hollered "It's good". This was after Lee Humphreys sank a terrific three pointer. At another point in the game, I stood up from my cozy position on the couch, clapped my hands together very rapidly and shouted "Come on Boys!". I think it is quite possible that they heard me through the television screen because they went on to V-I-C-T-O-R-Y (can't help it, it's the cheerleader inside of me) over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I am just so proud. It's all just too much. It is the first time in history that one school has held both titles in football and basketball in the same year. It's also the first time in history that the same starting five players won two national titles in a row. That's what the Gators are all about, making history.

And I must add, that I was victorious in my picks. I didn't enter Jamie's office pool, but I would have walked away the proud owner of $40. Jamie, luckily, had good picks too so he won the office pool, so really I still got $40.

March has been chalked full of basketball madness. It has all come to an end. It is a glorious, victorious end with the Florida Gators reigning in as back to back National Champions. It truly is great to be a Florida Gator.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

What is it with men and details?

Ok. So let me preface this by saying that I have a wonderful husband. He is sweet, compassionate, loving, tender, and let's not forget....he's a hottie. With all of that said, I must proceed to what he is not.

Detail oriented.

Jamie's boss asked him to go on a men's weekend retreat. His boss graciously offered to pay for Jamie's entire trip, which was very nice. So Jamie agreed to go.

He comes home and tells me about the retreat. Here is our conversation.

Me: "Oh, that sounds like fun, where is it?"

Jamie: "I don't know, but I think in North Carolina"

Me: "Well, what are you going to be doing?"

Jamie: "I don't know, but I think playing golf and fishing"

Me: "How fun! Where are you going to be staying"

Jamie: "I don't know."

Me: "Oh ok. But you might want to find some of these things out before you leave."

Jamie: "Ok."

Now we are going to fast forward to when Jamie is packing and getting ready to leave. It is 10:30 the night before he is leaving.....

Jamie: (getting all of his clothes together, brings in two towels to pack)

Me: "Why are you taking towels?"

Jamie: "I think we have to, it's a community bath house or something like that."

Me: "Well, do you think you have to take bedding also, since you think it is a cabin?"

Jamie: "I don't know.....I didn't even think about that."

Me: "Well, we might want to find that out before you leaving in the morning!"

Sure enough. He did have to pack his bedding. It continues....

While he is on the road he calls....

Jamie: "Hey babe. What's going on?"

Me: "Not much. Where are you?"

Jamie: "Chatanooga"

Me: "Chatanooga!!! Why are you in Chatanooga? That's not on the way to North Carolina!!"

Jamie: "Oh, I think we are going to Georgia."

Sometimes I wonder about that man.......

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wife of the year?

So this past weekend we had an adventure at our house.

One of the puppies came up missing. Jamie woke up in the middle of the night to find Maggie (momma dog) barking. He went out to check on her and found that one of the little ones was gone. So he searched around our house at 3:00 in the morning in nothing but his boxers and a t-shirt. I, of course, was oblivious to all of this. Because at 3:00 in the morning it would take a small explosion next to my head to wake me.

Saturday morning we wake up and J. tells me of the nights adventures. So we go out to check on the dogs and discover that there is another one missing. We now have seven instead of nine. We didn't really know what to do and I must say that we were a little worried about adopting, you know, a baby when we can't keep up with puppies.

We finally saw Maggie coming out of this little patch of brush and trees next to our house. So, we followed her back in. Sure enough....she had moved one of the puppies. But one was still missing. So J. went back in the brush and found this old hollowed out stump. In order to get back to this area you have to first get on your knees and then crawl on your belly. Now, we all know that I am not going to do this, so of course my 6 foot 2 husband takes on the job. He crawls under there and rescues the little guy.

When we brought the lost puppy back to the dog house, Maggie WAS NOT happy. As soon as J. set him down, Maggie picked him back up and carried him back to the hole. So we decide, that we might as well help her move all of them. So we carried each puppy back into the hallowed out crawl space.

Now, Jamie has a little bit of a problem with his knees. Sometimes one of them tends to "fall out of place". Sounds lovely I know. So as he was putting the last puppy in, he went to turn and his knee fell out of place. Great. Now what am I supposed to do? We are in the middle of the woods, with a rotweiller (yeah, I don't know how to spell that) and her now 8 puppies. Did I mention that J. is 6 foot 2 and lets just say a little over 250 pounds?

Seriously, all I could think was "I'm going to have to take him to the hospital and I haven't even brushed my teeth."

If there was such an award as the "Compassionate Wife Award", I feel like I should totally be nominated.

So I went into the house and got a bottle of water and Tylenol. After all, if Tylenol can't fix it then what else will? The whole time I was walking back into the house, I was fuming. My thoughts "I told him to go to the Doctor about this knee 4 months ago and he wined because he doesn't want to have surgery. Serves him right". My fellow friends....Jamie is so lucky to have me for a wife.

I went back into the woods bearing these gifts to find Jamie very pale and nauseas. He was in a lot of pain. So what do I do? Stand there and look at him of course.

Finally, he got his knee to pop back into place. The sound was something I would rather not hear again. But after he got it "fixed" he was fine. He was able to get up and walk himself out of the woods. Which was quite a relief to me.

I went and got him an ice pack and after he had laid down, you know like 5 minutes after this had happened, I proceeded to tell him that "If you don't go to the Doctor about this knee, I am going to be very upset". This should make anyone want to go to the Dr. I mean, who wanteth the wrath of Marcie? Needless to say that is not what sweet J. needed to hear. Once again...wife of the year right here in the flesh.

Jamie recovered quickly and now is back to normal. We did, however, send the puppies to their rightful owner. We came home from church on Sunday and there was another one missing. Now there are seven puppies total. We called Maggie's owner and he came and got all of them. I was a little sad, but I know this is the best thing for them and obviously Jamie too.

Just so we all know, when faced with high pressure, painful situations with my husband. I will think of myself. everytime. Anyone care to nominate me for wife of the year?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It is quit possible that it has gone too far.....

For those of you who don't know, my in-laws live right next door to us. It has been an adventure! We love them dearly and are excited to share things with them. I especially like to share my mother-in-laws food. Well, I guess I don't really share that, just eat it.

So a little while ago I was out sweeping the front porch off, trying to find any excuse to be outside enjoying this wonderful weather. My father-in-law came down with a huge plate of food for Maggie (the momma dog with the nine puppies who took residence in our dog house). Well, as he was leaving he said...

"Why don't ya'll come up for dinner tonight....we are having Mama Sue and Papaw over also (Jamie's grandparents)."

me: "Sure, we'd love to"

father-in-law: "We maybe can play cards afterwards"

me: "Well, that sounds like fun.....but we can't stay too long because the basketball tournaments are on tonight."

Yes...that actually came out of my mouth. What happened to me that I would rather sit and watch a basketball game than throw down on a mean game of Rook? I have lost my mind. I tell you whose fault this is....it's Jamie's. He had to go and bring me that bracket home. Now...all I can think about it winning.

A little side note- I was a cheerleader in high school and college...and couldn't tell you until three weeks ago what an offensive foul was. Seriously people, it has gone too far.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On a Serious Note....


I have been thinking a lot lately (scary I know) about simplicity and solitude. My question has been "Is it really possibly to have a simple life and to find moments of silence and solitude in this crazy hustle and bustle world?"

Now, this question does go deeper. What is the point of desiring simplicity? Should we desire a simple life just because it is simple? Should we even desire it at all? What if that is "just not our personality"?

What are the practical applications of a "simple life"? What do we do when we are desiring solitude but we have demands that must be met?

These are all questions I have been pondering for the last week. I feel that my life has been a little hectic. I have been just floating through my days, busying myself with things that aren't of lasting importance. Now, I realize that the mundane tasks of our lives have to be done. I guess what I am really asking is why does the world disagree with simplicity and solitude? Even in Christian circles? Isn't this what we should be desiring?

Any thoughts or practical applications?

Add: The picture at the top is from our last trip to Guatemala. It always reminds me that I need to slow down and really think about my life and how I am living it. The Guatemalan life style is so simple. I really desire that. (Not to be Guatemalan, but the lifestyle!) So that is the reason for the picture.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I am Winning!

Ok, so I realized that it's been a week since I last posted. I am sorry. Here is what has been happening in my life this week......

My friend had an almost ten pound baby. Not by C-Section. God bless her. She is, what my husband called, "a stud".

I had a yucky sinus infection. Coughing, sneezing, and snot galore made me a sight to see. Lucky Jamie. Still blowing my nose hourly. Thank the Lord for Tylenol P.M. It really has been my best friend this week. If non animate objects can be your friend that is. I feel that they can and I totally think drugs that make me sleepy qualify.

We still have nine puppies that we are taking care of. We went from 2 dogs to 12. No my adding is not wrong, we are taking care of the momma dog also. Just an hour ago we got them all out of the dog house for the first time. The are so cute and already getting so big!

Jamie, bless his little heart, is working in our bathroom. We moved into our house last August. Our master bathroom has yet to be tiled. So with a little nudging (or nagging) from me, he has begun the project. Tile is being laid as we speak (or as I type). Hallelujah.

The biggest news in the Autry house currently though is that I AM WINNING. Now, if you don't know me, I am a little bit competitive. I don't know how I acquired this trait considering I was not involved in sports in High School or college. But give me a board game and I will throw down. Victory or death is my motto on a game of Cranium, or any other game for that matter. So Jamie came home and the guys at his work all filled out brackets for the NCAA basketball tournaments going on. I talked him into bringing me one home. This was his first mistake. I filled out my brackets with no research, no previous knowledge of what teams should be picked. But, I am blowing them all out of the water. As of right now I am leading by four points. That means four picks. I just wanted all of the blogging world to know (or all 5 people who read my blog), that I AM WINNING. Thank you very much.