Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Well, the party was fun! We only had 63 instead of 66. Skye was sick and Eric and Pat stayed home with her. So, pretty much everyone we expected to come came. We had hoped the Boykins would be able to come but no such luck. Everyone missed them.

We had plenty of food. A party without food is unacceptable. We never ran out of anything. Afterward, Terri and I agreed that we must be getting better at party planning. We were all thankful for the beautiful weather. Evan built a wonderful bonfire. Thank you Evan and David. The kids played outside and got along well. The adults mingled and talked and ate and drank.

A lot of people dressed up from their favorite time period. I was a hippie, Kim was a fifties housewife, Terri was '80's, Boo was 70's. But the winners were Jon Carter, who was a 70's Bible salesman, and Melissa Epperson who was totally 80's. Here's a picture. I hate the quality of these pictures but Kim forgot her digital camera and I had no film for my camera. So once again I was stuck using my phone. I really wish the picture was better.


Jon's wife Betty was a very close second to Missy. Betty had on a red wig and black and leopard print dress from the 60's. I can't tell everyone's costume but believe me, they were all good.



Speaking of Betty's wig. Here's Laura wearing it. (Once again, bad picture quality. Sorry.) Laura was crackin me up. You should have seen Steve in it! He was hysterical.

We listened to music too. Dean Martin, Stevie Nicks, The Black Crowes, The Eagles, The Beatles, a 70's compilation and the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. We tried to cover as many eras as possible. Oh and don't forget the BeeGee's, but that was after most people had already left.

There was lots of dancing and silliness. My new friends Connie and Boo got to meet my best friend Amber. And come to find out they knew a lot of the same people. Cool. There were more people that I would have liked to invite but my house is just not big enough.

I hope all who came had fun. I know I sure did.

Friday, December 30, 2005


This is Molly. She is my slightly retarded, hippo dog. Amber called her a slug. She is sooo loving though. She loves to be petted and talked to. She smiles too. She also lays around the yard looking just like Snoopy: on her back, head bent back, ears flopped out. Funny, goofy dog! Posted by Picasa

It's Out Of Control

Okay. Here's the deal. Last year Kim and I threw a New Year's Eve Party. We invited ten families. Three people showed up. Not three families - three people! Needless to say, we were sorely disappointed.

So this year, we invited twenty families and sent out the invitations a week early to increase our chances. Long story made short, we have twenty-two families coming. Yes, you read correctly. We have more people coming than we invited. How? Word of mouth. Head count? 37 adults and 29 children. Thank goodness I have a 5,000 square foot home. Oh, wait! I don't!!!

Truly, I am not upset. A little freaked out maybe. A little afraid that people aren't going to enjoy themselves. But ya know? Now that I think about it... it's wonderful. We have had people call to say, "I knew you wouldn't mind, so I invited the ---." And other people call and ask if they could come. Wow! I love that. I love that people feel comfortable enough to do that. Because I really don't mind.

I love when people come over. My house is not perfect or even clean, but it is a home. "It looks lived in.", my best friend Amber says. Not too many years ago that would have made me feel insecure and inadequate. I took comments like that as a veiled insult. Today, it feels like what it is - a testament to the grace of God. I used to think that my house, my kids, my abilities - in other words, the things I did- were what brought glory to God. Now I realize that it's the Holy Spirit in me that brings glory to God. God doesn't care about my couch or my kitchen sink. He wants my heart. My motivations. It's hard to explain.

So now I say... Bring it on!!! Come on over. Roast marshmallows over the bonfire, listen to the music, eat lots of food, talk and laugh. I am priviledged that you can do all those things at my home. All 66 of you.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Random Thoughts Concerning Food

Today, I have just picked a topic out of the air. Now I will note all of my brilliant thoughts on the subject. Hang on tight, this could get messy.

1. Starbucks' Caramel Macchiato (can't spell it correctly) is my favorite coffee-type drink of all time.

2. Homemade tacos are so much better than anything you can buy. Why bother with Taco Bell?

3. Frozen green beans are ALWAYS nasty. No matter how you cook them.

4. Chris has eaten fish eyeballs in the jungles of Peru, but he will not eat mushrooms. Under any circumstances.

5. Terri's spagetti sauce and homemade icing are to die for. Not together of course. That would be nasty.

6. I don't understand people who have the desire to cook something that takes longer than thirty minutes to prepare. After 30 minutes, it's just not worth the effort.

7. I also don't understand people who pay $100 for a meal. It's just going to come out the other in end in a few hours.

8. It seems wrong somehow to cook Hamburger Helper in a $200 Calphalon pan.

9. If there is ever a shortage of concrete, we could just use day old grits. They harden to about the same degree.

10. French food. One question... Why? bleck!

11. As anyone who knows me personally can attest, I cannot eat meat off the bone. It makes me gag. I think it stems from a deeply disturbing event from my childhood. My Great Grandfather took me into the yard with him when he chopped a chicken's head off. It ran around for several minutes with blood spurting out of it's neck. I've never eaten chicken on the bone since.

12. As a senior in high school, I was required to read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I've not eaten sausage since.

13. I have a really bad habit of buying bananas and forgetting about them. They stay on top of the refrigerator until they're black and shriveled. Kim says that I mummify them. My Dad-in-law came over one day and asked "How long until you think they're finally ripe?" HaHa Very funny.

14. I go a little crazy when planning the food for a party. I end up with way too much. A web site that I read said that for a small gathering, you should serve 2 salty and 2 sweet. Huh? What is that? In my opinion, 4 or maybe even 5 of each. Is that overboard you think?

So there. Completely unimportant and unrelated information. This is probably the most useless post I've ever written. (G, no comments. I can hear them swirlin' around.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Word About Pastor G

I have a confession to make. Steve Morgan (aka Pastor G) makes me laugh so hard. I know he's reading this but I have to admit it. He is one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes he's mean and cruel. Often he has a weird smell about him... okay not really, I made the smell thing up. But he can be mean only in a really funny way.

He has done studies on delegation and still has no earthly idea what it means. He procrastinates, which drives the people around him nuts. He is slightly compulsive and a little high-strung. But overall, he's a trip. He preaches some really great sermons. Even Chris can stay awake for them. ;o) He does have his "preacher voice" though. I think he thinks it makes him sound smarter.

He married way out of his league, to Laura. And strangely, she thinks he's all that and a bag of chips. Oh well, to each his own.

But seriously, I remember when he never even came to church and now he's our assistant (or is it associate?) pastor. Amazing what the love of Christ can do. He's really smart. A great conversationalist. And a good friend. Steve, I'll say it once and never again, I'm glad you're on staff.

And if you'd ever write your first post, I'll honor you with a link on my page.

Which reminds me.... Leslie, Laura, Amber, Kim and Terri - you have one week to post or I remove your link. Ahhhh, I love power!

Clarity

Have you ever had to go somewhere, into a situation, that made you so uncomfortable that you went a little crazy? Some of you really confident people, like my husband, will have no idea what I'm talking about. Read on and learn.

Sometime in the recent past (that's all the info you need), I was required to go into just such a situation. In retrospect, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. I have a very healthy imagination. But, anyway, like I was saying, I was required to go be with people that make me really uncomfortable. They say they like me but when I'm with them, they ignore me completely. And if they're not ignoring me, they're making comments that... well, we won't go there. Suffice it to say, whenever I'm around them I feel like a dorky idiot that has nothing to say that's worth listening to. I don't like feeling that way. Which is why I avoid these people.

So what have we learned so far? I'm insecure, cowardly and avoid confrontation like the plague.

The day of this intended meeting I was a basketcase. I will try to explain it more coherently. When I am with my friends, I am completely myself. I laugh, tell jokes, interact, listen fairly well, and hopefully make people comfortable. I don't mind talking to strangers. My Mother used to say I could talk to a stump if I could get it to stand still. I am usually relaxed. But put me in this particular situation and I lose myself completely. I know that I am expected to be a certain person but I'm not that person anymore. I feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole. And because I want to please people, I try really hard to be who they want me to be. So, in short, my natural instinct tells me to change who I am to please someone else. But the strong inner self tells me to forget them and their opinions and just be me.

Problem one, my inner self is a very relational person. I can't interact with people who ignore me. Problem two, I want all people to like me. I want to change myself into someone they'll like. Problem three, it can't be done. I spent the day feeling like a prisoner of war in my own body. I was "conflicted". I was making myself crazy trying to figure out how to be me and not care what others think.

My sweet, beautiful husband put it all in perspective for me. He said "Just remember, God says you're beautiful and so do I. And that's all that really counts."

That completely changed the whole situation. I realized that I was so wrapped up in me that I had forgotten Christ. I had lost all spiritual perspective. It was all about me. It was all about how they make me feel and how should I respond and how I didn't want to be hurt. I had to ask myself the big, real questions. Who am I? The daughter of the Most High. What am I? completely loved, completely forgiven and completely righteous. What else matters? Nothing.

That is where my confidence lies. That is where my sense of self comes from. I am beautiful because God says I am. No one elses opinion of me has any value. And armed with that reality, I experienced a moment of clarity. I walked into the situation with love and peace. I had fun. I saw them with the eyes of Christ. I felt bad for them when I saw their striving for acceptance based on possesions. I spoke with confidence and hopefully, without defensiveness.

When I left, my head didn't hurt. I never felt like crying. And I was humbled by how completely and utterly I had forgotten the Cross. One of my favorite verses of Scripture is in 2 Timothy 2:13. It says " If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." He was faithful to me when I had forgotten him. He loves me with a love I cannot even imagine. He doesn't grow disgusted with my strivings. He meets me in that place and whispers my name. And when I finally hear him, my spirit grows quiet and relaxed in the presence of such love. Oh for more moments of clarity like that.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Too Much Food!

Aahhh!!!! I had lost five pounds and I think I gained every pound back today. Ugh. I feel sick. I did great at breakfast. Only a very small amount and healthy stuff at that. But lunch... it was an ugly sight. They had corn casserole, green bean casserole, hashbrown casserole, dressing, brownies, yams... I ate way too much. I tore into it like a monkey on a cupcake. Now I have to repent and walk two miles tomorrow. Why do I do that? I mean, I feel gross and disgusting. I mean, do I even have self-control?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Music

What is it about music that is so involving? Music has the ability to reach the very deepest parts of who I am. If the music is sad, I 'm depressed for days. If it is happy, I smile for days. If it is uplifting, I worship for days. Music can make me cry and laugh and feel.

I hate to cry. I fight it as hard as I can. Not knowingly, but somewhere inside me, I fight it. Sort of like throwing up. I try to think about anything else. I'll watch a movie, read a book, play on the computer, etc. Since I know this about myself, I am very careful. I make myself feel my deepest feelings. I make myself dwell on them and think them through. And if I need to cry, I put on sad music. Works everytime. Why?

And there are certain songs that make me feel like a teenager again. "Walkin' On Sunshine" is one of them. There's a Stevie Nicks song that does it too. What's the name..... I can't remember. "Maybe I'm just thinkin that the rooms are all on fire......" that one. I hear them and I want to dance and sing at the top of my lungs. Why?

But my favorite is our music in church. When I hear Stokes, Connie and Adam sing and play - it does something to me. I literally feel my spirit lifted up. It's like my insides are struggling to get out and fly away to heaven. In those moments, I feel God. I'm not saying that a relationship with God is all about feeling, cause it's not. I know that he is with me all the time, but when I am worshiping, my spirit jumps and sings to him. I feel connected to him. He is there. I remember a verse that says, "He inhabits the praises of his people." (found it... Ps. 22:3 KJV) He is the only thing worthy of praise. He is our praise. Okay, bear with me a second.

I think that God created music to connect directly to our spirits. It was created as a means to worship him. And we were created to glorify God. So in those moments, I am doing and being exactly who I was created to be. And the only good I have in me is because of Him. Because of my union with Christ. So, when I hear Stokes, Connie and Adam worshiping God, my spirit and the Holy Spirit living within me have intimate communion as together we worship the Father. And in those moments, I have a glimpse... a taste of heaven. A brief flash of God's beauty. No wonder my soul wells up within me.

Oh, I love him. He is so cool and so much deeper than I could ever imagine. And even if I could imagine it, no words would ever adequately express it. That's what the spirit is for, to worship without words. To be still and know he is God.

I wonder if Connie, Stokes, Adam, Amber and Jawan and the rest even know how their gifts affect the people around them. God has truly priviledged them with the ability to lead others to himself. Hmmm.... Neat.... Amazing..... Inadequate words. I know.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Come See The Violence Inherent In The System


Yesterday, the kids and I went to Kim's for the day. Kim and I were inside, looking at the grocery store sale papers. The kids were outside, playing football, basketball, sword fighting, and playing Star Wars. It was a good and perfect day.

And then the tranquility was shattered.

Ellas came running in screaming "Gracie knocked Ty's teeth out! He's bleeding!"

My hope was a busted lip. I didn't panic cause we have blood fairly frequently at our home, between Ellas' clumsiness and Ty's nosebleeds. I dropped my sale paper and ran for the yard. And there was Ty, bleeding profusely from the mouth and holding part of a tooth. "Please let it be a baby tooth!" I prayed. Nope.

Gracie had smacked Ty in the mouth with a plastic pirate sword and broke his two bottom, permanent teeth in half, horizontally. Plus, she busted his lip pretty bad. I loaded Ty up and took off for Dr. Koplon's. Once there, Ty had to undergo root canals on both his broken teeth. He has temporary fillings in right now. But we go back Monday for something more permanent.

Gracie is deeply sorrowful and Ty is deeply sore. Pray for both of them. Poor kids.

My sweet little boy. I went in to wake him from his nap and found him like this. Such a sweet pose.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Who Wants A King?

These are several thoughts that I know are connected. I'm still trying to figure out how. So this is more me puzzling things out. Not making a statement of sure belief.

What is a king? What does he do? What is his purpose? Why did the Israelites beg for one?

A king is a 'sovereign', one who rules over a people. A king, a good king, makes laws, resolves conflicts, extends justice, protects and defends his people, provides for his people, leads his people into battle, and demands respect and submission.

When he leaves the castle, runners go before him calling out, "Here comes the King. Bow before the King." Why? So that people can come stare? No. So that no one will be caught unaware. For to ignore the King would be a punishable offence. And it was a priviledge to serve him and give him honor.

Why do people want a king? I guess for one, it feels safe. The other nations judge you by how strong your leader is. Plus, we tend to be headless chickens. We need someone to unite us and give us purpose. We all have different ideas and need a king to make the big decisions. We want someone to be in charge of us. *side note- just like our kids want to know boundaries, so do we.*

We don't elect kings either. It is a monarchy - not a democracy. Some people may not like him or respect him or even acknowledge him as king - but that doesn't change the fact that he is the king. The king rules over all his people, even the ones who disregard him. And those same people benefit from his wisdom. If he makes a treaty with a neighboring country, all of his people reap the positive results. Loyal or disloyal.

So why does scripture call the baby Jesus the king? Did the shepherds and wise men come to a baby shower? Did they come just to see an exceptional infant? The answer is a resounding NO!

Christ was born as King. He was in the beginning. By his very essence were all things created. They were created by him and for him. He was king over all creation from the beginning of time. And when he came, he came on a royal mission. It was not to teach tolerance or moral law. He came to fulfill the very law that he created. To satisfy in himself the justice that he required.

Did he ask permission? Does a king ever need the permission of his people to act? To say that he needs our permission is to say that he is not sovereign. Who wants a weak king? Not me.

How does this change my view of Christmas? Or, better yet, does it change my views at all?

Well, for Chris and I, it does change things a bit. He's not just a baby with a vision. Or a nebulous heavenly party. Gifts take on a new meaning. They aren't things we do for each other to make us happy. They are the means that our King uses to meet our needs. He will provide for his people. Receiving a gift is a worshipful experience. Giving a gift is to be used as a vessel to meet someone else's need.

To see Christ as King is different from his being Messiah or provider or Savior. As King, he embodies all of those attributes and more. If I see him as King, then I am awed and ready to worship when I revel in his love for me. It is so much bigger than I'd ever thought before.

Well, I could go on and on. But I won't. Today anyway. I have lots of other disconnected pieces to pull in before I feel like this is a cohesive thought. I hope you aren't too confused. And I hope that it caused something to jump in your spirit as you read. That's what happened to me when Chris first told me. Think about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gracie

Some of you know my daughter Gracie. She is 5 years old, has blonde curly hair and big blue eyes. She is the prettiest child I've ever seen. She has little rosebud lips and a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. She was born pretty. She really was.

She started talking very early. By the time she was 14 months she could communicate really well. And that's when the trouble started. At first, it was a little squirmish here and there but before long, it became an all out assault. Then a war. She was the most strong-willed child I have ever seen. Once she made up her mind about something and sunk her teeth in it she was like a badger. (To get a badger to turn loose once it gets a hold on something you have to break it's jaw.) And everything was a fight. Breakfast, sippy cups, naps, potty training,books- you name it.

But the worst of it was bedtime. She would not just stay in the bed. Ask my Dad, he lived here for some of it. For two years straight, she got three spankings a night to get her to give up and stay in bed. I would cry, she would cry, Maggie would cry. We had a mantra: Me- "Gracie, what are you doing?" Gracie- " Fighting you." Me- "Who's going to win?" Gracie- "You are." Me- "And what's going to happen to you?" Gracie- "I'm gonna get a spankin." Me- "Then quit fighting me. I don't want to give you a swat." Three times every night, for three years. She fought me. Made Maggie and Ty miserable. Pestered the snot out of Brody. And I would pray every night and day that God would help me be kind and calm and that Gracie would learn that I was the boss and that Mommy always wins.

It was a long 3 years. One day, about nine months ago, she was throwing a fit and we replayed the mantra listed above. And she took a deep breath, looked at me and said "OK." And that was the end. Later she said, "Mommy, I gave up." It finally clicked that I was in charge. And she has been a different child since.

The only problem is that people got used to her being "the hard one." She had burned her bridges, so to speak. Her brother and sister avoided her. No one ever invited her to spend the night. She didn't get the affection she longed for. In a way, she had done it to herself. But she was 3. And now, she is acutely aware of every time someone says go away or you're so annoying. She came to me the other day in tears and said, "Mommy, I don't mean to annoy people." My heart broke for her.

She is my special girl. We have a bond that goes deep. You see, Gracie is me. I was just like her at that age. And I remember being told those same things or "Please, can't you just be quiet for five minutes?" or being ignored because I talked so much.

I talked to Bren about this problem tonight. And if you'll look at his blog, you'll see that he took extra time with her tonight. The other kids wouldn't let her play so Bren went and got her and let her pick out car pictures for his blog. He talked to her and gave her advice. They colored pictures. She talked about him all the way home. She told her Daddy about him. She prayed for him. You see, he showed love to her. He saw her, not as the bratty 3 year old she used to be, but as the bright 5 year old she has become.

Sometimes, I think we let people get stuck in our minds as being who they were ten years ago or two years ago. We don't let them grow and change. We think we know them but really we know who they used to be. Thank goodness I'm not who I was ten years ago. Are you?

It's an amazing thing to take a fresh look at someone you take for granted. You never know who you'll discover.

Monday, December 12, 2005

NARNIA !!!!!

Chris and I took all the kids to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe today. Words cannot express how much I loved this movie. The best way I can describe it is to say : It is as powerful as The Lord of The Rings and as moving as The Passion Of The Christ to me. I cried and laughed and cheered. The symbolism moved me. To know that Christ sees me the way Aslan saw Edmund and to see the power and love ..... breathtaking.

It was getting to experience a story that I've known most of my life. My Mom read some of the Chronicles of Narnia to Kim and I when we were little. Kim and I were in different bedrooms. So, Mother would sit in the hallway between our rooms and read it out loud. I remember being able to see it all happening in my mind. And the movie absolutely did the book justice.

I'm sure that they could have done a few things here and there differently. But overall it was perfect. Some may disagree, which is fine. But to me, it was magnificent!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Merry "Christmas"?

There is a big controversy brewing about Christmas. I saw a self-described atheist on the news last week talking about how "the pagans are taking back their holiday and if the Christians don't like it, they need to get over it!" Meaning that Christmas will now be only about Santa and giving and good feelings. No Jesus, no wise men, nothing.

So basically, we offend people with our "religious" talk and we should be quiet. Apparently, they can tolerate many things except our freedom of speech and religion. So what do we do? Try not to offend anyone? Try to be extra offensive?

In cases like these, I find it hard to hear God's voice. I want to tell these people to SHUT UP! That we, as believers, have had enough of their bullying and they need to get ready for a fight. But on the other hand, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood..." I feel a measure of compassion for the ones who cringe at the name of Christ.

All I know to do, is worship Christ as best I can and love as He has loved me. What will that look like? I'm not sure, but I am sure that He'll show me one situation at a time. My focus should never be the atheists and bullies of the world. It should always be on Christ, the one who seeks out the atheists and pagans for his own.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sweet Memories

Today has been anticlimactic. But not in a bad way. We have spent weeks getting ready for the party last night. It went really well. Lots of people came and ate and laughed and talked. Chris shared the Gospel. I'm not sure how it was received, but that's not important. God will draw them.

So, today I'm running the dishwasher, paying bills and sitting around in my pj's. The kids wanted to watch old home videos. So, we watched the video of Brody's birth and the benefit concert we had after Dad's wreck. We watched old birthday parties and the family reunion of Bill's family. I love video cameras. It makes the past seem so close.

I saw my Mom hold Brody for the first time. And, to my knowledge, that's the only picture I have of her holding him. It was sweet and excrutiating at the same time. I cried pretty hard. I hadn't seen that one before. Dad was the one in the delivery room filming. Chris got to deliver Brody and we got the sweet prayer that Dr. Mac prayed afterward. It was wonderful to see all that again.

And almost as bittersweet was the benefit. I got to hear my friends Amber and Jawan sing again. It was sorta sad to me. I mean, these are the friends that I used to hear sing almost every week. Once, I came home and Amber was in my house practicing for her recital because Frank was asleep at home. It was pretty cool. Amber was always singing or humming. And my joke with Jawan is that her voice is what my voice sounds like in my head. For some reason when it leaves my mouth, it loses something. I miss my friends. They live in different states now. But I still love them and they love me. I hope.

So, today was a lazy day. Watching videos and eating leftovers from the party. Seeing how little my kids were when Brody was born. Lovely day.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Quick Thought About Theraflu

The new Theraflu commercials irritate me. In one, a guy (who looks like a troll) gets on a bus. And where does he sit? Next to the youngest person on the bus! HE HAS THE FLU! Sure Theraflu might get rid of your symptoms (and you no longer looklike a troll) but YOU STILL HAVE THE FLU!

In the other commercial, the guy drinks his medicine and then leaves his infected coffee cup right next to the coffee pot! HEELLLOOOO?!?!?! You have the flu, go home and quit infecting everyone around you!

Good grief.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Girl Trip

WARNING* Amber and Angela, read at your own risk.

Well, I'm back from my trip. (Obviously) And boy was it fun! Kim, Terri and I went down to Destin on Wednesday morning. We had to stop a few times for Terri the Tiny Tank Carden but we still made it in 5 hours. It was sunny and warm and beautiful the whole time we were there.

A friend of Chris' from work let us stay in her condo for practically nothing. It was really nice. Two bedroom, two bath, full kitchen, DVD player and cable. We had all the plans of going out to eat, staying out late, etc. But I must admit - we are old. We went out to eat at a place we thought would be great. Ended up - not so much. I ordered a frozen Irish coffee which tasted like hair spray with whipped cream on top. By the second sip, my tongue was numb. Needless to say, that drink was not finished. Yuck! How can people like whiskey? And the food was decent, but I don't pay that much money for "decent". My french onion soup had funny looking cheese. It was honeycombed - very uncool.

After eating, we went to Krispie Kreme and succeeded in completely confusing the foreign speaking cashier. We were retarded. If we wanted to, Kim and I could be really effective short-change artists. While we were there, we were ogled by an unwashed, smelly man. Lovely.

And then, we really partied. We went to Target and bought nail polish and coffee. WHOO! We are wild. We confused the Starbucks cashier too.

The next day we slept late and shopped at the outlet mall. Man, we got some really good deals. I'm serious. Nice backpacks for $1, sweaters for $3, cd's for $7. Lots o' stuff! I love getting good deals. Gap pricing was disappointing though. The book store was sooo great. Lots of stuff for school.

Terri and I walked down to the beach. It was weird standing there in sweatshirts and still being cold. We had climbed a wooden fence to save ourselves a really long walk to the access. Which was fine. But on the way back, Oh my Goodness, I climbed it just fine. But Terri's shirt hung on something and she started falling. It was like time stood still. I could hear her nails clawing the wood trying to stop herself. But it was to no avail. She fell flat on her butt. I was standing there, honestly thinking that she wasn't going to actually hit the ground. Three times, it looked like she was about to right herself. I was such a bad friend. I could not quit laughing. Terri was laughing too. I think that's why she kept losing her balance.

We came back and watched The Village by M. Night Shamaylan. Love that movie! If you haven't seen it, you should. No cursing. No ugly scenes. It's suspenseful and .... just cool! Anyway, we watched movies and laughed and read books and laughed and discussed books and laughed and ate and laughed. You get the idea.

You know, it doesn't really matter what we do, we always have fun. It was restful and encouraging. And during that brief time, it sort of hit me. There are a lot of women who don't have the friendships that I do. Many don't see the need for it. Many don't think they have the time for it. Others are just plain scared of it.

But having my "Sister Chics" is priceless to me. They love me no matter what and I them. Just tonight they came up and helped me clean to get ready for a party. They love my kids and participate in my life. They e-mail me or IM me and offer bits of their heart that soothe my spirit. They call just to complain. They listen when I call to complain and somehow we always end up remembering God's providence. And then we laugh.

I wish all of you reading this could come on our next girl trip. You'd have a great time, I know it.