Nobody Here but us Chickens

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Honestly, the highlight of my Halloween probably falls around 8:30 or 9:00 pm.  You know, that special time when you wave the kids back from the door, frantically shushing as you crawl in stealth mode towards your curtains and pull them closed from your position laying on the floor underneath the windowsill as your husband runs through the house making sure that every light is turned off and there are no visible signs of life.

That’s what we call closing time:)

Then we roll right into today… November 1st, the day when breakfast is coffee and Kit Kats and it’s time for some good…ish housekeeping;)


Preparing a Place

Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….

That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,

Hhmmm…Image result for thinking starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…

Image result for you're so square baby i don't care memeIt’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it.  I just remember the mind body connection:  If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.

… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in,
Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.

I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .

Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.

After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out.  It's not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I'll take it.
After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out. It’s not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ll take it.

With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.

No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.

img_6991 img_5350
I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.

Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio.  I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)

Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.


Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.

Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.

The Trash Man Cometh

This day has an official highlight.

Not since my children were much younger, has the coming of the trash truck brought such excitement!

The kids spotted a truck in the neighborhood just after noon and their hopes soared.  With no pickup for over a week, trash has officially become a situation.

Thank you, overflowing trashcan…

L & K Services, the secret wizards behind making our gross trash magically gone, recently got bought out by Waste Management, who probably would like to do the same, but lack a crucial element,

 the garbage guys.

Now, we’re living in the prequel to Wall-E!

Strolling down the tree lined streets of our beloved neighborhood has taken on a whole new dimension.  To start with, there’s the special aroma which emanates from the piling trash.  If it was a perfume, it might be called Meat Diaper and I’m not sure that it could, or should, ever be replicated.

I think the combination of allowing the bags to marinate in the summer heat for an extended time frame, followed by raccoons ripping so many of the bags open, so that the bouquet can be enjoyed by all, at the very peak of ripeness, is the special secret.

Yep, trash folks, we are ready for you!IMG_0300.JPG


The kids had bubbles and party horns, but lost faith in the final hours of waiting, so in the end our trash men were only greeted by the colorful sidewalk chalk that we left behind.

IMG_0302no more triple dip

6x03 Standee

no more snowman (okay, that one was on Malcolm in the Middle… Hal vs. The Trash Man… no???)

Goodbye independently moving trash bags, cluster flies, trash strewn streets and sticky mystery ooze.

Hello … sanitizing the trash/recycle bins before they go back in the garage, yowza!

Thank You Homes Association Board, for the hard work that happens behind the scenes and Thank You Wonderful Garbage People everywhere!  We’ll see if we can’t produce a little less refuse in the future to help lighten the load.



Midnight Sprite

A child’s skinny frame, emerges from the darkness, silhouetted in moonlight. The words that follow: I got hot and vomited in my bed, plus over the side… a lot on the hardwoods… and some other stuff.

Rock, Paper, Scissors? Forget it, two man job, the highlight of which, definitely standing on the front lawn, shaking the chunks out of kid’s bedding.

Just appreciating the opportunity to be conscience, when I wouldn’t be, and outside on a perfect night (vomit aside), breathing deeply (through your mouth).

Thinking the magical, hazy thoughts that seem crisp and brilliant before the sun comes up, but become the l.o.l. parts of your dream journal.

I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say mmm, that’s what people say mm

But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my body and it’s gonna be alright

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off


Happy to be Stuck with You

Hub just turned 40, it’s pretty exciting!  A group of Hub’s college roommates came together to celebrate this milestone with him and a birthday buddy.

There was a  table covered with photos, some of Hub and Birthday Buddy’s 20th birthday party, some of college friends backpacking together or dressed crazy for one theme party or another.

It’s a bit surreal to think that my babies are closer in age to me, in those pictures, than I am.

I felt a little bit, “you may find yourself, behind the wheel of a large automobile…”

“And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?”

I guess it started with meeting my husband,

I was a freshman in college, when I met Hub.Image result for Chris O'Donnell

We were involved in the same campus ministry and I ended up moving into a house a couple doors down from him the next year.  We both had tons of roomies,  Hub had already dated about a quarter of mine.  When we started hanging out a lot, I decided that a D.T.R. was a good idea, you know, the conversation where you Define The Relationship:

IMG_6051that way, things are not awkward at all.


We were good friends, and I was still looking for excitement and romance.  Like a lot of nineteen year old girls, I overlooked cute guys down the street who were dependable, nice guys and continued to search out the kind of guy who just maybe… becomes Darth Vader in the next movie….  or is a vampire, perfect!

At some point I ran across a list of ideal husband traits that I’d jotted in the back of a journal.  I love making lists like that and, in a surprising turn of events, Hub matched everything that I’d written… to a tee.  I took another look at Hub and realized that I was happier spending time with him than I was pursuing actual interesting boys!

After going back to the helpful reading material in our house…


I knew just what to do, old-school stalking.  Just know where they’ll be and pop out of the bushes, make sure to look really nice and act cool.  I must have nailed it, because… eventually, I wore him down.

Now we have about 15 years of married life in the rear-view of that large automobile.  Saying yes was one of the best decisions that I ever made.  It’s not always a Christian Romance Novel, but it’s pretty great!

Happy Birthday Hub!  Thanks for being so awesome!

Thanksgiving Peeps

Since November is the season of thankfulness,                                                                 I’ve tried to give that some thought lately.

Of course, I’m thankful for all the normal stuff; Jesus, my kids, hub, yogurt and so forth. I’m sure my food related list alone could go on for days. And then there’s books and favorite shows… plus all the traditional, Thansgivingy stuff like the cornucopia, pre-Black Friday carb loading… pretty much everything, except cinnamon brooms.

One thing that’s always close to the top of my list, but tied with coffee, is my besties, my homies and all of my Be Fri…es.

I feel blessed and lucky to have the friends that I do.

I have original besties, some of which I picked up in or before kindergarten and still managed to hang on to through high school graduation. These people know my family.                                                                                                                           They know that this poster…  

used to hang in my room, that it was covering a Michael W. Smith poster,             and that that was probably a lateral move in cheesiness.

I have college besties, that are also dear and special folks… I know that those friendships sharpened me, even though a lot of what I remember just makes me laugh… like the time I gave one of my college besties a big hug, not expecting our ponytails to then be hooked together, or when I tossed a grape to a bestie who assured me that she could catch it in her mouth… which led to a Heimlich maneuver, grape launch worthy of a sitcom, at least on the Disney channel.

Now, I even have grown up besties; my church ladies, neighborhood mamas and PTA peeps encourage me daily.   They bring a joy to my journey that I couldn’t get by without.

and let’s see, best for last, 2 besties who share 1/2 my dna, but don’t have wide hips or poor math skills,                                                                                                     my awesome brothers!

I’m sure that if you’re an only child reading this, you probably could list a whole lotta reasons that being an only is the coolest.  I wouldn’t know. I have two older brothers, and I kind of dig coming in third in that lineup.


I’m sure that I’m a lot more thankful for my brothers now that I’m a grown up… and we all have dishwashers, and don’t live together, than I was as a kid… early in my writing career, when I penned the woeful tale of Beccarella and the Evil Non-Step Brothers, an unpublished short story that was very well received  by the other children in my third grade class on read aloud day.

My brothers might have called the window seats and made me ride on the hump in the back of our buick… mostly always, maybe buried my Cabbage Patch Kid up to its little head, so that it did look like she was growing in the garden, and possibly put my ceiling fan on high, shut it off at the wall and loaded the blades with My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake mini figurines.            Whose didn’t?!

I think I learned to hold my own pretty well, and it turns out that I didn’t mind being pigeon holed into always being Daisy Duke or Princess Leia.  I might not have gotten to always choose which channel we watched, like I would have if I’d been an only, but I got two lifelong besties, who could give me a kidney, if I ever needed it…

… and I did get the big room!