Monday, June 29, 2015

I Am Offended--GET OUT!!!!!

Wear it, tattoo it--whatever.

Well, it's finally happened.

Someone I know was walking in the local Wal-Mart and was asked to leave the store because his shirt design had a Rebel Flag on it and someone was offended by it. I don't care what you believe--this is America and it is my right to offend whoever I dadgum well want to offend so long as I don't infringe on their RIGHTS as Americans.

(Don't say 'dadgum'; it's offensive.)

How is it infringing on anyone's right to shop in the stupid Wal-Mart because of what someone else in the store happens to be wearing????

(Don't use the word 'stupid'; it's offensive.)
If you want to be gay, knock yourself out.
Here's the answer class: It doesn't infringe on anyone.

(Gay people better hope like heck that removing people who are wearing offensive clothing isn't a two-way street or they can't wear any pride gear into the Wal-Mart, because if half the populous in any given Wal-Mart has on camouflage, you are offending some folks. How'd you like to be asked to leave 'cause of that rainbow, eh? Not so much? That's what I thought.)

(Don't say 'heck'; it's offensive.)

Lots of things offend me. I now intend to tell you what they are publicly so you all can stop doing them. And if you don't stop, I'm going to find the manager and ask that you be removed from wherever you are so that I'm not offended anymore.

Dude on a plane was asked to get off because this image on his t-shirt was deemed offensive. Hello? Stupid person who didn't get the Princess Bride joke is OFFENDING ME BY BEING TOO STUPID TO RIDE BESIDE ME IN THE PLANE. GET OUT!!!!!

Like these things are offensive for instance: 

If you don't slap your screaming child right in the mouth when he/she is whining for something in the check out--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY BEING A CRAPPY PARENT!!! GET OUT!!!

(Don't say 'crappy'; it's offensive.)

If you are wearing white shoes after Labor Day---YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY HAVING ABSOLUTELY NO FASHION SENSE!!!! GET OUT!!!!

IF I can see any part of your undergarments through, beside, or under your actual clothing--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY BEING A COMPLETE SLEAZE!!!!!   GET OUT!!!!

If you have a tattoo that is of any kind of cartoon character--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME!!!! GET OUT!!!!! (Because you're sort of lame, dude.)

I am OFFENDED by these things, and you need to stop them immediately.

Slytherin are offended by this flag.
I am also offended by bad grammar, bad spelling, a general lack of common sense, people who don't wear deodorant, people who don't like Harry Potter, people who say they love the Lord and post foul-mouthed rants against people of any kind, jacked-up trucks (because they look ridiculous), hybrid cars (because they look ridiculous), beets, people who say they are "fixing to" do anything, people who say, "Well, I'm a Christian, we don't do that."


And I have yet another reason never to step into a Wal-Mart again. (Thank Goodness.)

If you want to be gay--GO BE GAY! (That's between you and God and has really nothing to do with me.)

If you want to tattoo the rebel flag on your face--GET THAT TATTOO! (You're an idiot, but whatever, this is America and it's your face--do what you'd like with it.)

(Don't say 'idiot'; it's offensive.)

If you want to be Muslim, Christian, Buddhist--BUDDY, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! 


Praise Jesus, Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol.  That is all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Please, God, Please

Well, here it is. The moment I've been dreading. The beginning of the end. We got one behind the wheel (Sister has been driving for six months now, and it still scares me to death.) And now, here are the Wonder Twins, on the road. I have three teen drivers. It's something, let me tell you.

Before I can get to the point of this blog, I'll give you a brief recap about my drivers. The real stuff will be at the end.  


Sister got her permit and learned to drive in the same car as her sisters a year earlier. Fun times. :-) I thought I'd have a heart attack that first time rolling in the car with her too. (I think that I am the common denominator here.)

She's a good driver.   We keep expecting her to play bumper cars, but so far, so good. I trust her to pay attention and focus more than anyone else in Johnsonville.

The Shorties have all learned to drive in Nana's whip. The 1998 Toyota Avalon has been worth every dime. Hey, the air is cold, the leather isn't cracked, the power windows all work, the sunroof opens, and it has a radio new enough to have an aux. cord. Don't be hatin'.

The grands bought her a car to roll around in. Super sweet! (And marginally cooler than the Green Machine.) Ahem.








Big E:

Unlike Sister, who had some prior experience, the Wonder Twins have never driven anywhere ever.

This is Big E ready to drive for the very first time EVER. She'd never even put the car in drive before or sat behind the wheel

E was quick to stomp that break and gas. She's a lefty, so learning to use that right foot in a fine motor skill activity has been some more exciting.

We made it back to the house in one piece. I really wasn't sure there a few times. We passed several church members. (I think Heedy almost fell out when he saw E behind the wheel. I also wish I had a photo of his face to put up on here.) She got so distracted waving at him she forgot to turn the vehicle and we sat in the road. Thank goodness we live in the country.



(Who was smart enough to know that photos would follow and kept a smile plastered on her face the entire time she was driving.) Seriously, she did great. A wee bit nervous but not as scared as Sissy. 

I love that they all have the same photo series--learning to drive the same car, practicing, happy faces when holding that precious piece of paper.
Now, Naynuh's situation is a little bit different than her sisters'. She likes to be at home and isn't itching to break free, so I have to actually talk her into the driving lessons. Like sometimes bribery has to be involved (we'll go to Sonic and get a shake if you drive there.) I'm not delusional enough to believe that this will last. Once she realizes she can go and do as she pleases if she masters this skill set, I think I will be nothing but a waving person in her rear view mirror.

So, I've been a person of prayer since my salvation, but probably more so since I gave birth to The Little Flower. She was a special situation, and God and I came to an understanding during that very difficult trial. Our understanding is this:

He is in charge, and I am obedient. 

Since that time eleven years ago, my prayer life has blossomed into something entirely other. Something bigger than before.

And now that I am putting three of my most precious people on the road driving motorized vehicles (probably the single most dangerous thing they will ever do), I have found myself in daily prayer about their safety.

See, we live next to a graveyard filled with all kinds of people. Most of them lived long, fruitful lives, but some of them...well, some of them died too early and tragically.  Several of the people buried literally yards from my house were killed in traffic incidents.

Next to my house are graves full of people who were in motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, car wrecks, four-wheeler accidents, drunk driving incidents...and the list goes on and on.

My husband is a chaplain for the sheriff's office. He goes on death notifications when tragedies occur.
  • He has seen what it looks like to be slung out of a car. 
  • He has seen what it looks like when people don't wear seatbelts. 
  • He has seen what it looks like when people drive too fast (which is everywhere in rural areas). 
  • He has seen what it looks like when new drivers over correct. 
  • He has seen countless drunk and high people injured and injuring innocent people in their wake.
He has to go to people's houses--people just like ours--and tell them that their child has died on the roadside in a wreck. We have some families like that in our church who have lost loved ones in car accidents.

It keeps me up at night.

So, I'm begging my children to understand why I want to know where they are going, who they are going with, and how long they will be gone.

I want them to understand that it is better to be late for curfew instead of speeding home.
I want them to know that I'll come anywhere, anytime without asking a single question to pick them up if they need me. The reason is irrelevant. I will come.

I want them to know that it is brave to tell someone driving when you are riding (including your siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents of friends) to slow down or you want out of the car.

I want them to know that if I ever see them or they are seen anywhere without a seat belt (front seat or back) on I will sell their vehicles without a single hesitation, and they can walk everywhere from now on.

I want them to know that speed kills, and it's not important enough to risk your life. Miss the movie. Miss the curfew. Miss the whatever--but please, please, I'm begging you, don't speed.

And if you love me, please never text or talk while driving or drive under the influence of anything mind altering.

There is nothing in the whole physical world more precious to me than you are. Nothing. So, please, don't drive distracted. Focus. Pay attention. Both hands on the wheel. And know that I am at home praying for you and for your safety to and from work and school and wherever you travel.

I love you. Be careful. The rest I'll leave up to God.

Monday, June 22, 2015

First Born; THIRD Permit

Naynuh, Lumpy, Friend

Driving Part Two: Naynuh gets her permit. 

This outing looked more like normal Johnson business than Big E's solo permit outing.

We took an entire posse (this means it looked like the clown car was unloading in the three ring circus center stage when we all piled out) to the DMV in Selma and partook in the right of passage otherwise known as: Getting the Driver's Permit. 
No. 1 Son, Friend, Naynuh, Lumpy, Sister, Goot

I went with Lump's mom, Lumpy, his little sister (Goot--again, I didn't make that one up either--that's her actual nickname proving that truth is always more interesting that fiction), Naynuh, Sister, The Number One Son, and another friend from church who was ready for her permit but didn't have transport.

Naynuh did great and had that thing in hand in moments. So did the other two monkeys. It was easy peasy.

Waiting to be called back. We take up an entire hallway.
The entertainment is always in the comings and goings in Johnsonville. We had to wait just a few minutes to get in and did our little song and dance in the lobby. It was quite irritating entertaining for the other folks waiting.

Hanging in the lobby (Lump, Sister, No. 1 Son)
Got those papers
No, they aren't a couple, just enjoy harassing each other.
Notice said frog is pumping gas. It's in a gas station. Ahem
After the big test, we ate at a local place called The Barking Frog Cafe in Maplesville, Alabama. It's in a gas station. (Hey, don't knock it till you try it.) Their steaks and shrimp are kicking. The fried chicken was pretty righteous too. And if you happen to stop in, get the ribbon fries. (Just trust me on this one.)

But a restaurant in a gas station called The Barking Frog Cafe isn't even close to the weirdest thing happening in Maplesville. It's one of the more interesting places in the universe.

Their high school team is the Red Devils, and they once posted my favorite high school football sign of all time.

Satan is our homeboy.

Stephen King ain't got nothing on real life. Seriously--Devils vs. Holy Spirit. What the? I'm sorry, but I'm not rooting for the Devils over the Holy Spirit even if my own son was running the ball for Satan's team.

And who had the brilliant idea to put Satan as the mascot on the sign? It's on the "Welcome to Maplesville" sign as you drive into town. No joke--a cartoon Satan is on the sign.


So, in summary...
We went.
We laughed (too loudly).
We passed the test (handily). 
We ate good food (blissfully).
We drove (successfully).
We swam late afternoon (heavenly).
We are all spending the night (overwhelmingly).

In other words?

Typical Johnsonville Monday.

Eating lunch in the Frog.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Coming of Age Twinning

Wearing panties on our heads because we can.

As you know by now we have twins. Wonder Twins. E-Squared. The Dynamic Duo. Nayhuh and Big E. Well, they turned 15 last week.

This is where it gets weird.

They have a friend named Lumpy. (I didn't make up that nickname for the blog--that's his real life nick name.) He's in their class. He's one of the Number One Son's best friends and fishing buddy. Lumpy has been over at my house more than my kids some weeks. He has a toothbrush in the drawer. That kind of friend.

Naynuh and Big E--together
Like the twins, he's a late birthday boy, turning 15 in the summer. So, everyone in the 9th grade but these three have driving permits. In 4th grade the girls and Lump made a pact. They'd all go together on the same day and get their permits. All was going according to plan. The Wonder Twins voted to WAIT a whole WEEK after their birthday and get their permits with Lumpy on his birthday.

(Life Lesson: Friendship requires sacrifice.)

only one twin in the car at the DMV

But then, one of the twins had the opportunity to go to a last minute opening at summer camp, which begins the very day of the permit excursion.

The twins discussed this dilemma in shorthand for ten whole seconds and turned to me and said, "No big whoop. Big E will go Friday by herself before she leaves for camp and Naynuh will go Monday with Lumpy as planned."

Shocked, I asked, "But what about the twinning?"

For those of you without any knowledge of twins--Twinning is this: It is all of the things that you ALWAYS do together--milestones that make your relationship special because they occur at the same time:

  • Share a crib
  • Shots at the doctor's office
  • First teeth the same week
  • First day of kindergarten
  • First day of high school
  • Birthdays
You get the picture. Twinning is part of what makes the girls unique. Separate. Set apart. It's part of their identity.

Permits definitely fall into the Twinning thing.

I was advocating dumping Lumpy and going Friday to get the permits together. (He'll live.) Or Naynuh could get her permit with E and then just go with him Monday for moral support. Something like that.

only one twin getting that paper
But then Naynuh said this: "No way. We made a pact, Mom. Like a promise. E has this awesome opportunity to go to camp and she should go. She also shouldn't have to wait another week to get her permit. And we can't ask Lumpy to wait. And I can keep the pact. I can go with Lump and get my permit just like we planned on Monday. It wouldn't be right to make Lumpy wait another week because E has an opportunity. I'm going with Lump."

Big E nodded her head, standing beside her twin the whole time then added, "It's no big deal. We are still Twinning." Then they closed the deal with the fist bump.

Yes, yes you are. Both of you were modeling self-sacrifice, kindness, thinking of others before yourselves, wanting the best for your friend and for your sister, no one crying 'it's not fair' or 'why does she get to...'. I am more proud of you than you can possibly know.

And I hope you continue right on Twinning just like that.


P.S. As we pulled into the DMV this afternoon, Big E did waiver however. She said, "I wish Naynuh was here. We always do the big stuff together, and I hate this. I miss my sister." But she went in and did it anyway.

(Sometimes it's hard, but you still have to go forth and do good. Even if you have to go alone.)

So, the next blog will be Naynuh doing the same. :-) Twinning.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Why Are We So Hard on the Fairytale?

I had someone recently indicate they thought I had a perfect life. I nodded and smiled and secretly thought to myself...

You Have No Idea. I snort at your ridiculousness.

Life is messy. We usually show only the fun, glamorous, or romantic parts in public. We don't talk about the scary, ugly parts because we want everyone to believe we are fine, fine.

I had the fleeting thought that maybe it's disingenuous to only show the pretty side of things in public. As if.

Six months ago I wrote a blog about my husband and what romantic really should mean vs. what it's become in our culture. What I didn't write is that we've struggled as a couple. We've struggled to remain faithful. We've struggled to agree. We've struggled not to give up and move on. We've fought over child rearing, in-laws, living arrangements, people at work, people at church, intrusions on our marriage, how to cook, how to fold laundry, how to clean a bathroom. We've said hurtful things, done hurtful things, thought hateful things, fought in front of the kids, and been difficult on purpose.  

But we stayed even when it was ugly and uncomfortable.

Commitment is the gap between feelings and actions. You have to remain committed even when it's difficult. That's the hard part, because it's a decision NOT based on EMOTIONS but on commitment and promise.

See, every time I think it's enough already, I remember how it felt when my adult parents divorced and I say, "Nope. Get back on the roller coaster, strap yourself in, and keep riding. We ARE NOT going to do that to our children."

I also recall that when I stood on that altar and promised, I made vows to God not just to The Husband. I promised, and I want my word to be the truth. Once you remember your vow and promise, with time and patience the feelings you had in the beginning CAN return and it's not commitment anymore; it's love again.

It's a roller coaster of love for sure and there are as many bad days as good days. Maybe more.

The weird thing that no one tells you is that it's the BORING, AVERAGE days that are the most dangerous days. You begin believing the lie that you need more, deserve more, want more than you have, and you become discontent with the things you have been blessed with. (Hey, Eve to you.) It's the first lie Satan told--you deserve more than you have and God surely wants you to be happy. WRONG: God wants your commitment and obedience.

Everyone has the capacity of good and evil inside him. It boils down to this: making your life look like a fairytale on the outside is normal. We want people to see the best in us. But it's also normal for you to have all of those other things under your surface, swimming just out of reach. They shouldn't be shameful. They should be faced head on. They have to be dealt with and in a timely manner, because that's the nature of evil. If you let it take root in you, it will become you. Like kudzu. It will overtake anything in its path if given time and room to grow. You have to root it out daily.

I want my children to feed that good side and weed out the bad parts, just like they do on social media when they present the good parts. I want them to do it until it becomes their reality and is their truth.

So, I fully intend to keep on posting nothing but the glamorous parts of my life on social media, making fun of the stupid/crazy/silly/awful parts, because I want those to be the truthful parts. The real parts. I want the other things to be rooted up and out and not fed in any way. And that's why my fairy tale IS a fairy tale.

Because I choose daily to continue:

*rooting out evil and feeding the good parts

*keeping my commitments ever before me

*recalling the promises God made me and I've made others

*and remembering to forgive and get back on the ride.

Happy 15th Day of Birth, Wondertwins!

I used to think there were no words to express how much I love my Shorties, but as always, God wrote it best.

In the book of Romans, God is telling His people how nothing, nothing can ever separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ. It's exactly how I love my children.

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
   “For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


And I ever give thanks with my mouth, my body, my actions, my thoughts praising God the Father from whom all blessings flow!

Psalm 113

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,  the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,  his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
    the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
    on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.
First day of preschool

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


2014 birthday trip to the beach
2008 at the beach
2011 b'day
2010 bday
2010 New York City
Bday trip to the beach
2009 school year start

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.