Monday, March 31, 2008

Differing Views on Toilet Paper

This is a post that's been simmering in my mind for quite some time. I've noticed that people think very differently about toilet paper.

I have friends who hate buying it. They feel it's a waste of money. After all, all you do with it is wipe your rear. Thus, they buy the cheapest kind available. It offends their financial sensibilities to do any less. They also buy in bulk. And when I say bulk, I mean b-u-l-k. Like dozens of rolls at a time. And to have to buy more only causes annoyance that borders on anger.


I also have friends who carry a roll with them when they go places. They will only use one brand... a very expensive brand. Thick, soft, 2 or 3 ply. And God forbid it leave any residue. They carry toilet paper camping, to hotels, on outings, to other peoples' homes when they spend the night. They are deeply committed to their toilet paper. They feel that toilet paper and what we do with it is what separates us from the animals (that and the whole opposable thumb thing).

While I...

Am somewhere in the middle. Yes, we just use toilet paper to wipe our rear ends, but at the same time, we use it to wipe our rear ends. That's pretty high up on the things that I think are important scale. I refuse to use leaves or the Sears catalogue. There's no way I'm using anything that has to be washed. And if I must wipe, I want to be clean and comfortable. Thus, Scott tissue offends me. What's the point of it? I might as well go grab a leaf for all the good it does. But I'm not gonna spend big bucks for something that I'm gonna flush. So that leaves me somewhere in the middle.

Middle price
Middle softness
Middle comfort-level

Well, those are my thoughts on the subject. Oh, I almost forgot...

Toilet paper commercials. I don't like them. I know that I use toilet paper, and I don't like thinking about it. I'd really, really rather not think about other people using it. Or whether they're clean enough or chafed or the most disgusting commercial ever... does your toilet paper leave 'fuzzies'? Ugh. Blech. *shudder* La.La.La. Not listening to you....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Rest of the Trip, Finally!

Okay, rest of Day 2....

Brad and Mandi took us to eat at a place called Tijuana Flats. Oh my goodness gracious, that is some really, really good food. Tex Mex heaven. The kids ate so much they were sick for half the night. We ended up eating there the next night too.

After Tijuana Flats, they took us to Krispy Kreme. Can the night get any better? I think not.

I let each child pick a movie they wanted to watch with me. Maggie picked Phantom of the Opera, which we watched Tuesday night. Ty picked Return of the King, which we watched Wednesday night. I hate to say it, especially in front of KimHill, but not impressed with Phantom. It was too long. And I must say, get to the point already. Kim insists that I have to watch it again... with her. But I fear that if I still don't like it, she'll chain me to a chair and make me watch it 'til I like it. It scares me a little.

Wednesday morning, we got up early (9 am) and drove down to Hollywood. Hollywood is one of the most beautiful, fun places I've ever been. We had a marvelous time. Hollywood has a cool boardwalk. It's like beachfront road with no cars allowed. We rented cool recumbent bikes, ate pizza and enjoyed the view.

When we left Hollywood, we drove to Ft. Lauderdale to the theater and watched Horton Hears A Who. Great movie!!! We loved it.

Since it was Wednesday, Brad had to work. (He's a youth pastor) So, we surprised him at his church. It was fun to meet his kids. And to see him be a youth pastor. Most of his kids call him Pastor Brad. It makes me laugh every time.

Thursday, Brad took off work to spend the day with us. He drove us down to Miami, to the end (or is it the beginning?) of I-95. Strange. You're driving down the interstate, you go down a little rise and then, boom, you're in a neighborhood. It was crazy.

We drove down the strip at South Beach. Ty was especially grateful that we saw no naked people... I had warned them that it could happen. We cruised with the windows down, listening to the sounds. It was about 90 degrees that day. The sights and sounds of Miami were surreal. That place is huge. And the fashion lemmings are rampant. The girls tend to look the same: tall, tan, black clothes, tight hairbun, enormous sunglasses. Do they have any creative spark of their own? What would it take for them to feel the freedom to act on it?

After Miami, Brad took us... okay, Ty... to an exotic car lot. I'll post pictures later. There was a Rolls Royce there for the low, low price of 1/2 million dollars. I bought two.

Thursday was Brad and Mandi's 4th anniversary. Mandi had to work. Brad stopped at a florist shop and bought her flowers. So sweet. After, we walked to a small drainage canal and watched the wild iguanas. Yes, wild iguanas. There were almost 50 of them. I have video footage. I'll post that also. It was nuts.

Then it was time to head home. All good things must come to an end. And this trip was one of the most delightful times of my life. Maggie, Ty and I got to bond. I got to spend time with Brad, one of my most favorite people in the world. I got to know Mandi better and love her all the more for it. The weather spoiled me rotten. I've been discontent with Alabama weather ever since. I'm almost afraid to go back. It can't possibly be as wonderful the next time around. Right?
Don't hate me. I know that I've not blogged in a while. And totally left you hanging as far as the trip goes. I'll post pictures soon.

I got thrown back into life as soon as I got home. As a matter of fact, I've spent a grand total of one day at home since I got back. I'm tired and just a touch annoyed. I would love to have a few days at home where I could read or blog or relax. Maybe next week. So, when I can grab a few more minutes, I'll blog. Until then....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 1 and Half of Day2

Good times. Good times.

I'm having way too much fun. It's a sin I'm sure. The only dull spot in my life right now is not having Chris and the other 2 kids. If they were here, life would be perfect.

Yesterday Maggie, Ty and I arrived in Pompano. We unpacked and went to the beach, which by the way, is very different from the gulf. Very shell-y. And brown. We watched the surfers, looked at the weird little blue things on the sand, dug holes and rode waves. Later we found out that the little blue things were Portuguese Man O War. Some were quite large.... and we were quite terrified when we found out what they were. We'd been in the water for at least an hour. No stings or 911 calls though. Thank the Lord.

We stayed a little longer and then went to Brad and Mandi's pool. Super fun. We ate pizza rolls and chips and salsa for dinner and then watched a couple of movies. Finding Neverland and Garfield. Wonderfully relaxing.

Today we went to the spot where the house that my Dad grew up used to be. That was cool to me. I've heard stories all my life and now I've been to the same spot. Although it was a bit like Blast From The Past. Very run-down and scary. I'm sure it must be sad for my Dad to see.

We also went for an airboat ride in The Everglades. Holy cow! That was fun. We broke down right next to a 12 foot long alligator. It just floated there and watched us while we waited for parts for our boat. Cool, huh? Once we got on the way, we broke down again. This time we had to switch boats in the middle of The Everglades. Very scary. But what an adventure! And a much better story to tell.

Well, Brad's whining, wanting to got to bed and I'm on his 'puter that he needs to put away. I'll try to post more tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hello From Florida

Well, we made it. Right now, I am in KimHill's parent's living room. Kim took the kids for a walk so that I can pack and get ready to head on down to Pompano Beach. I don't think she'll mind that I took 2 minutes to blog.

Kim's parents' home is beautiful. Very open floor plan. Very comfy. A little humid.

Mags, Ty and I will be leaving in about 30 minutes. I can't wait. We're going to have a blast. I'll try to keep you posted.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shave and a Haircut

I got a haircut today. I really like it. A guy named Jason, down at Janet's Barber Shop, cut it. He's really very good. Before he cut it, he straightened it. I've never seen my hair straight before. All 4 of my kids were standing around staring. Chris was chuckling. It was very strange. I looked like a completely different person.

It reminded me of a time when I was about 7 years old and watched my Dad shave his beard. It's the only time I remember him without a beard. I remember standing and watching, amazed. But I also remember not liking it at all. He didn't look like my Daddy. He grew it back immediately and has never shaved it again.

Isn't it strange how we grow accustomed to how people look, or even how people act, and it makes us uncomfortable for them to change? Or we just don't acknowledge that they have changed. People get stuck in a box, this is how they are... But no one stays the same. God is continually growing and changing us.

The place this the most evident is in my marriage. I can never get to the point where I know everything there is to know about my spouse. Because he is changing and growing. I am changing and growing. And we have to constantly be learning each other all over again.

I can't think of a time when complacency is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rally the Troups

Well, many of you have read Burt's blog and know a little about the plumbing issues at the church. What you may not know is how bad the situation really was. After working for four hours, Plumbing 911 had the gall to charge us $3100. After having to deal with this company, Scott finally told them to just leave. What they left was a mess. They left one pipe open.. so mud, dirt and rocks got in. This in turn clogged the line. This in turn caused the toilets and water fountains to not work. (this was the problem last Sunday) Now we have at least 3 toilets and 2 sinks that are broken.

What gripes me the most is how the owner handled the entire situation. He actually doesn't care. Burt got other estimates for the work Plumbing 911 did: the highest was $1000. When confronted with this, the owner actually verbalized that he did not care.

Why should this bother you?
1. It was our tithes that he stole.
2. If he'll do this to a church, what do you think he'll do to ordinary folks?
3. It was wrong.

What can you do about it?
Call Plumbing 911 at 699-2666. Let them know what you think. And then if you need a plumber, don't call Plumbing 911. Call someone who cares.

If you actually take the time to call, please leave me a comment.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Truth About Chris Sharp

Lest you think that he's perfect...

Tonight after he ate his supper, I gave him the very last brownie. Deep sacrifice for me. We're listening to music, talking about existentialism, when he turns around and... you might want to sit down... throws the crusty part of the brownie in the garbage! The garbage! In a rather distressed tone I ask him, "What the heck are you doing? You don't throw a perfectly good chocolatey brownie in the trash!" He looked somewhat surprised and maybe a little scared and apologized, trying to justify himself on the basis of the brownie being a little hard around the edges. So?!? I mean, honestly, can this relationship survive when we are that different? "Hard around the edges".... phffff.

Friday Night Food and A Quote

Last night was, in my opinion, the best Friday night of the year. Very relaxed. No one was seeking entertainment. (I am not opposed to entertainment, but it is nice to just be sometimes.) It was very quiet, with lots of sharing. All five of us just ... communed. It was more than talk, it was more than that. I felt very connected. Very nourished. Very much a part of a whole.

I think that was why it felt very unreal when Brody fell and almost bit through his chin. Kim stayed at my house with the other kids while I took Brody to his Daddy at work. I love that, by the way. I love being able to take him to Chris. I walked in the ER, waited 10 minutes, Chris came in, looked at him and sent me home with instructions to glue it shut. (It wasn't in or too close to his mouth.) The wait in the ER would have been about three hours. I was there 15 minutes. I came home, cleaned it, glued it and was done. Today, you can barely tell.

But it was weird driving to the hospital on the heels of such a lovely evening. I can't describe it. It was just like it shouldn't have happened. And the way it happened, all calm and quiet and relaxed... strange. Brody cried but everything else seemed very calm.

I have no deep spiritual application. Other than that all things happen according to God's plan and calm is how it should be.

Subject change:

I have to be very careful about the things I pursue. One of the best ways of being careful is to think of my husband. Would it cause a hardship for him? Would it show him love? Would it honor him? Would it create hurt feelings? These are things that I ask myself because Chris is very generous and unselfish. He doesn't mind keeping the kids for me to go buy groceries by myself. He'll even keep other people's kids as well if I ask him. He serves me in a hundred ways. Sometimes it's as simple as getting my glasses out of the car for me. I could easily take advantage of him and hurt him.

I'll tell you men this: serving your wife is the most spiritual thing you can do for her. When he serves me, I feel loved and cherished and in return, I respect him even more. It produces in me a desire to do him good. It makes it easier to submit and follow him. It causes me to want to serve him.

I know that some of you don't know Chris. I say lots of nice things about him, I know. But I don't want you to think that he's easily manipulated or weak. Those of you who do know him know that he's very strong in character. If he feels the need to tell me 'no', he will and he won't back down. He even sent me to my room once. (I needed it.)

I asked him last night if I could go to Miami to visit my cousin for 5 days. I could tell it didn't make him happy but, as he saw no real reason why not, he said yes. He just wants me to be happy. He just loves me. It reminded me of Ephesians 5:25. "Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives." - The Message

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Chalk Drawings and Separation Anxiety

There is a scene from Mary Poppins that comes to my mind today. It is the scene in which the children and Mary Poppins come across Bert as he is doing chalk drawings on the sidewalk. They jump into their favorite scene: a country road that has fair over the hill. They ride a carousel and then the horses jump off. They ride the painted horses in a fox hunt and then a derby race. It's like a dream come true... and then the rain comes. And their beautiful day simply... washes away.

Sometimes, when I am not remembering the loving sovereignty of God, that's what my life feels like. I have lived a fairy tale life to a certain extent: been at the same church for half my life, am known by the family at this church, and have been surrounded by spiritual peers with whom I connect with on a deep level. And now it seems to be changing.

I can see the smudges of the chalk of this life beginning to run around the edges. I hear the rain in the distance. Things will change. And I must grab hold of the only hand that is in control. He will hold onto me, comfort me in my sadness and lead me into another adventure. He will surely do good and not evil. He will hold me up. I am reminded of Isaiah 41:10: "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."

Sometimes my insides shake a little as the fear and panic claws at me. But what have I to fear? Will He let me down? Will this be the time that He withholds good things from me? Will I be led somewhere and dropped off? I cannot believe that is possible.

I think that the smudges I see are the washing away of my illusion of reality. The reality where I honestly believe that I can only be happy when I am safe. Or that I can find true fulfillment outside of my Creator/Groom/Father. He who knows me better than I know myself, who gave Himself for me, who fashioned me for Himself, how can I run to anything else?

I wish that I could grasp His love for me. Because I know that then I would never have a glimmer of fear. Like little Marly, a baby friend of mine, who honestly believes that she will expire if her Momma is not holding her. She wants to see her Momma, sleep in her Momma's arms, be held at all times. She has no fear... as long as she is in her mother's embrace.

I want to be like her. I want to be desperate for my Father's arms. I want to be constantly looking for his eyes. I want to trust Him that implicitly.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Notice my links? They are now alphabetized. It's just easier that way.