Thursday, March 27, 2008

IFB Survivor Syndrome

“Should we start a support group?”

This is what I asked my friend the other day. We’d started e-mailing about something completely mundane, and somehow the topic came up.

As you all know – surely, you MUST know by now – I was raised in a very conservative environment. Not necessarily by my parents, who were very balanced individuals. My conservative environment existed more in my school and church surroundings.

As you also must know, for the most part, I cast aside the extreme conservativeness, the legalism, after high school, and really took my time discovering what I believed and WHY while I was in college.

It wasn’t until I started reconnecting with people from my past, old friends, that I discovered I was not the only one who remembered the craziness of culottes, KJV-only baloney, and the weaker vessel schmessel. (okay, I made “schmessel” up)

Anyway, apparently, there are several of us (many of us, I hope) who managed to escape with our brains and Christianity intact. In fact, many of the kids who grew up like I did, emerged victorious over the oppressive legalism machine.


Not all of us however. There are many rebels, and many who are still lost in the maze of rules and regulations.

At church, I met a friend with a VERY similar upbringing, and ever since we discovered the bond, we’ve enjoyed remembering what it was like"back then." It’s sort of like surviving a natural disaster – looking back, a lot of memories take on a rosy glow, even though it was horrible during the actual experience.

Anyway, it was from her I learned the term “IFB” which (many of you will know) means Independent Fundamental Baptist. I’d never actually put the initials together before, since our church (the legalistic one) proclaimed to be an “Independent Fundamental Bible-Believin’ Baptist Church.”

I guess, IFBBBC, isn’t quite as catchy. Sounds like a European TV station.

Anyway, as sister IFB Survivors, we were able to relate on a deeper level, despite being raised in completely separate areas of the county. It’s sort of amazing to me. I feel like she went to school and church with me, and yet…she didn’t. But it’s like she was THERE experiencing all the things I did.

Anyway, one day we were e-mailing fast and furious to one another with one IFB-related quip after another, and I asked her, “Do we need to start an IFB Survivor Support Group? I mean, just imagine how many of us are out there!”

She responded honestly that a lot of the sarcasm and cynicism we two harbor about the bad ‘ol days would probably leave us very biased, negative, and probably not very Christ-like.

I admired her for being honest. But, I have to say, I’m (as you know) insatiably curious about how many of us “IFB Survivors” out there.

Some of you will say, “Well, I went to Christian school or a Baptist church, but I was actually pretty happy. How do I know if I am an IFB Survivor?”

Well, THIS is a problem! We’ve got to comprise a test to help IFB Survivors identify themselves.

This is where I need your help. What do you remember about growing up IFB?

If you need an example, Heidi has several earmarks of IFB Survivor Syndrome on her blog.

Bonus points to anyone who uses the words culottes, revival, movies, sleep skirts, or submission!

TV Free Thursday

The bunnies have acclimated quite well to the laundry room. Better than I expected, even.

Hannah is still trying to decide if she likes where the litter box is. At least, I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, since she’s obviously decided to try going just about every other place.


Peyton actually seems to like it quite well, which is unexpected. Usually, he’s the more rambunctious of the two and definitely the intrepid explorer. But the laundry room does get a great deal more natural sunlight than the master bedroom, and Peyton loves to sun himself, so I think he likes all the Vitamin D streaming through the window.

Hannah, however, is still pining for the old room. I can tell this by how she’s positioned her body like a furry door stop right behind the baby gate. I’ve almost stepped on her twice, just trying to retrieve laundry.

I was initially worried how the bunnies might react to the loud noises of the washer and dryer. Hannah especially balks at loud, unexpected noises. I did a trial run today, though, and it didn’t seem to affect them at all. In fact, they couldn’t have been LESS worried.

One huge benefit to the laundry room is the vinyl/tile flooring. Both bunnies love to spread out with their stomachs on the cool floor. I imagine if I was covered in fur I, too, would like the opportunity to lean up against something nice and cool.

As it is, I like my pillow ice cold when I go to bed.

After his initial zip-run, I thought Hector would be in heaven with both big rooms to himself. But somehow, he’s decided he likes his own space just fine, and has yet to (at least not that we’ve seen) venture back into the master bedroom.

Having the bedroom clear of bunnies allowed me to get a little cleaning done last night (yea!). I washed out the dirty, dusty light fixtures and attacked the mound (not a euphemism) of dust that had accumulated on the top of our headboard.

It was….disgusting. But knowing I only had to do a few things made it feel a lot more manageable, and I didn’t even get the inclination to cry (like I normally do when I clean.)

*Sigh* I do so hate to clean. Really, really hate it.

At least it’s easier when there is an end in sight.

Good news – absolutely nothing good on TV tonight. Yea! Brett’ll probably pop in a DVD, and I can clean to my heart’s content.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Men, Moving, and (Criminal) Minds

Okay, so I’m a typical wife in that I probably complain about my husband too much (when he is actually a pretty nice guy who loves me a heck of a lot).

Then, every so often, he goes and does something really sweet, and I’m back to square one trying to figure him out.

For instance, this morning, he woke me up with a five-minute back rub that was just heavenly, whispered “I love you” in my ear before leaving for work, and even turned the lights out so I could catch another hour of sleep.

And last night, he helped me corral two resistant bunnies into their temporary home.

This was not the easy task you might think.

Peyton is clearly the leader of the two, and Hannah is the biblical version of a submissive wife in that where Peyton goes happily, so she goes. However, Peyton absolutely DID NOT WANT to move into the laundry room. I chased him around for 20 minutes before resorting to “the towel.”

With most rabbits, if they are not receptive to being picked up, you can completely cover them with a towel. It disorients them, and they stop moving, so you’re able to scoop them up. However, even completely covered in towel, Peyton squirmed like snake on fire.

Eventually, I got him out in the hallway and shut the bedroom door behind him. He was so mad and kept thumping his hind legs to let me know I was THE WORST BUNNY MOM IN THE WORLD.

Hannah was much more receptive to being picked up, and after only one false start, my gentle gray girl let me pick her up and deliver her to Peyton’s side in the hallway. The two of them immediately ran and hid under an end table, shooting me daggers with their eyes.

I’d worked hard in the early evening to make the laundry room a very cozy home for them, so I was feeling more than a little fed-up. They had two brand new “apartment” boxes, one “digger” hay box, comfy fleece blankets, and their security blankets (they love Brett’s old T-shirts). So, they SHOULD have been eager to explore, but as bunnies are wont to do, they never go where you want them to go.

Brett and I left them in the hallway for a while, and eventually they deigned to check out the laundry room. After a while they begrudgingly settled in. I popped the baby gate at the doorway and finally went to get dinner.

Stubborn little lagomorphs!

Hector, now having the run of both the bathroom (his normal space) and the big bedroom, had a fun time zip-racing around in circles.

We decided to let Peyton and Hannah get used to the laundry room last night and start cleaning the bedroom tonight. At which point, Hector goes back into the bathroom. But I saw no problem with his having the run of both rooms with the other two bunnies not in residence.

I had planned to clean last night, but getting the bunnies settled ended up being an all night job.

I was VERY grateful for Brett’s help. Peyton is very much a Daddy’s bunny and without Brett cajoling him into the laundry room, I would have torn my hair out.

Hannah voiced her displeasure at the new arrangement (and loss of space and familiarity) the only way she could - by peeing all over her blanket.

But this morning, they both cozied up for cheek rubs when I stepped in the laundry room to change their food and water. Hopefully, this bodes well.

The good thing about having them in the laundry room, if they decide to be messy, it’s so much easier to clean up on a vinyl floor, as opposed to the carpet.

So, we’ll see how it goes tonight with the bedroom cleaning.

I was encouraged however when I DID stop by the Flylady’s website and read “Your house didn’t get messy all in one day, so don’t expect to have it clean all in one day.”

One step at a time.

P.S. – I’m failing miserably on the TV front however! I did watch Big Brother 9 and the series finale of Jericho last night. And Criminal Minds is on tonight…I’m in trouble.

Now, I’m thinking with a TV in the bedroom, at least I can watch while I clean.

Yikes!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

House (and) Cleaning

So, I kicked off my “No More TV” night with…

part of a House episode and all of Medium (one of my absolutely favorite shows…because say what you will, I do believe we are all psychically linked).

Now, before you throw up your hands and roll your eyes, I will say I spent roughly two hours cleaning the laundry room from top to bottom. I even cleaned out the closet that hasn’t been touched since 2005! The whole room’s sparkly now!

House was actually an accident, since I was going to eat my grilled ham and cheese sandwich in the kitchen, but Brett wanted me to eat with him. I spent all the commercial breaks cleaning, and the next hour I worked like a crazy person. Then, I sat down, watched Medium, and kept cleaning during the breaks.

After Medium, I folded two loads of laundry, took a shower, and read until bed.

The reason I took a shower is because apparently, cleaning makes me not smell so good. I mean, it was only an HOUR, and I smelled like I’d been living in a Bosnian refugee camp for a week.

When Brett came to bed, I asked him to “check out the laundry room,” since I am all about the praise and affirmation. As usual, he did not disappoint! Brett is an excellent “praiser,” and he even noticed the clean closet.

“Hey, that’s where those buckets went! I KNEW I bought those!”

If you ever want to make me feel good, just praise me for something you KNOW it’s hard for me to do. His sweet words felt so good and rewarding; it was even better than finally having a clean room in my house.

I chose to start with the laundry room, since Peyton and Hannah will be moving in there for a couple of days. Normally, P&H sleep in our room, but “someone” (I’m not pointing any fingers…Hannah.) had a problem with diarrhea, and now our carpet is…ahhh...not looking so good.

I decided to move P&H into the laundry room for a couple of days while I tackle cleaning our bedroom from top to bottom.

Okay, so here’s the big admission, I, um, haven’t cleaned behind our dresser, or our headboard, um, since we moved in. And that was, oh, seven years ago.

Horton may hear a Who, but I think I have an undiscovered civilization behind my dresser.

Either way, with the bunnies out from underfoot, I’ll be able to attack the Dust Monster.

Brett has agreed to steam clean the carpet. He bought a machine for it at Sam’s Club gazillions of years ago, but I made him swear (I really did) on the box of the very expensive machine that if our carpet was every in need of steam cleaning (IF...oh, I was so young and na├»ve) that HE would be the one to do it.

Voila! So, in the past six years we’ve had bunnies, steam cleaning carpets has become second nature to my husband.

Best deal I ever made.

So, tonight, I’m starting anew – cleaning the bedroom from top (dust on the fan) to the bottom (the dirty carpet).

I will keep you updated on the Great Clean-Up of 2008!

I just remembered…there’s a TV in the bedroom. Uh-oh!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lazy Lagomorph

Am I the only one who wakes up and realizes I have not been taking charge of my own life?

I mean, not that I SHOULD take charge of my life…obviously, my life is the Lord’s, and He should take charge of it. What I mean is that – lately - I’ve been so apathetic (pathetic, too) I’ve not even opened up my heart to the Lord TO take charge of it.

I was deeply convicted the other day of my own laziness.

I have been doing the absolute minimum to get by lately. I take a shower, get dressed, feed the bunnies, and do the absolutely minimum in care and feeding of myself – laundry and dishes only, so much so – that our house has fallen into disarray.

Now, I know what you are thinking – probably what I thought originally. That Brett should be helping out and doing stuff around the house, too. And you’re right. He should.

But this conviction wasn’t about Brett. It was about me.

God was specifically convicting me to get off my well-padded seat. To go forth and do something.

I know how this happened. And not to drag my unsuspecting husband back into the fray, I think it did start with him. Once upon a time, I had energy and motivation to DO THINGS. I would start the day off with a song, work hard all day, get home and just keep going.

After a while, I noticed my husband dragged himself out of bed, went to work, came home, and sacked out on the couch for the rest of the night to watch TV. It used to annoy the crackers out of me. After years of him doing NOTHING after work, I decided to go on strike.

“That’ll show him,” I thought.

So, when we got home, we’d both sack out in our separate chairs and watch TV. When he’d make rumblings about what to have for dinner, I’d tell him I already had a bagel and cream cheese. I was SO not making his dinner. I mean, REALLY, we were both adults, and if we weren’t BOTH going to contribute, then he could just amble out and make his own sandwich.

Now, here’s about when I get fuzzy on what happened. Somewhere in all the “pretending,” somewhere in all the “on strike” business, I started to enjoy just relaxing at night after work.


I liked coming home and doing nothing.

Oh, the dust and the cobwebs bothered me, but not enough to be the ONLY ONE TO EVER DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT (sighed the martyr).

Oh, but…as He always does…the Lord brought me back down to earth.

I’m not responsible for my lazy husband.

I’m responsible for my lazy ME.

I’m the one who has to stand before the Lord of the Universe and explain why I chose to watch Big Brother 9 instead of cleaning when I was FULLY AWARE God’s will for the moment included cleaning – and taking care of the house He had given me, as a faithful steward.

I can’t imagine there would be a good excuse, and I’ve no doubt I’ll be on the floor babbling when that time comes.

However, the conviction was obvious. I prayed and asked the Lord specifically what I should do. It really wasn’t much of a puzzle, as I immediately knew the answer was to cut way down on the TV.

And, obviously, not to watch TV and eat at the same time (therefore getting drawn in and never getting up before bed).

So, I made a decision. I’m not going to watch TV this week. And I’m going to see what I can get done with all that time.

There are probably a lot of you out there who think, “Who has time for TV? I’m lucky to get to sit down.” And you’re right.

Sometimes, I think having children forces responsibility and time management in ways that those of us who don’t have children have to learn on our own. And it’s not easy.

Especially when you know you can get away with it.

I know it’s a small, tiny thing. But I’m asking for your prayer…since I know I’m going to need it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Snapshots of Hector!




Still More Bunny Symposium '08

Here is photo of Brett with Michelle Norton, Hannah and Hector's foster mom. We had one of her and I together, too, but it turned out blurry.

It was Michelle's first time "presenting" at a symposium. She was very nervous, but we thought she did a wonderful job. She gave a great demonstration of "enriching urban rabbit environments."

We learned what types of "toys" are good for bunnies - which ones are appropriate for "diggers," "chewers," and "explorers." She also gave several good example of affordable "homemade" toys.





Bunny Symposium '08 Continued

The featured speaker for the symposium was Dr. Susan Brown, founder of Midwest Exotic Animal Hospital (rabbits belong to a group of animals known as "exotics" - so no, it's not THAT kind of a "hospital.")

Other speakers included Joan Irwin, President of the Chicago House Rabbit Society, and Michelle Norton, Chicago House Rabbit Society Educator. Michelle is also our beloved Hannah and Hector's foster mom.

Now, of course, she is our very good friend and Chief Bunny Advisor!






Bunny Symposium '08

Brett and I attended a recent Bunny Symposium hosted by the Chicago House Rabbit Society. The symposium was held at the Oak Brook Public Library. Because it WAS a library, we didn't bring our bunnies. There was a nice crowd of bunny parents, with about 50 people in attendance.





As people arrived, everyone met the two "host" bunnies, Jackson and Bigfoot. We felt completely at home with the wacky and wonderful members of "our" rabbit group!







Here are some photos of Bigfoot, one of our "host" bunnies for the event. Bigfoot is a helicopter lop. What is a helicopter lop? It's a lop-eared bunny with one ear up and one ear down! He's so adorable! Really sweet-tempered. Currently being fostered - and is available for adoption (if he'd been a girl, we might have thought about it, since we are currently looking for a gal-Friday for Hector, our bachelor!)



Here are some photos of Jackson, our other "host" bunny! He's a Dalmatian-colored up-eared bunny. Also, very sweet. He is currently being fostered as special-needs, since he has an eye-infection. But after that clears up - also available for adoption!

Rekindled Affection


When I was a kid, I fell hopelessly in love with a boy.

A boy and his tiger.

That’s right. The object of my affection was the mischievous Calvin and his lovable stuffed tiger, Hobbes

Over the years, I managed to collect a hodgepodge of Calvin and Hobbes books. Last week, I found my C&H collection neatly organized in a bedside cabinet. I must have lovingly organized the collection when we moved in seven years ago, since I’ve not (apparently) even opened the cabinet since then.

I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed the first book and have been steadily working my way through ever since.

I’d forgotten how wonderful the comic is. It’s the little things that make it excellent - Calvin’s obsession with dinosaurs and time travel, his love/hate relationship with the little girl who lives across the street, and his conviction that his parents are out to make him as boring as they are.

Calvin’s the kind of little boy you’d hate to parent but love to watch.

Artist Sam Watterson chose to fade into obscurity after his uber-successful Calvin & Hobbes collection was finished. He once said he’d said everything he wanted to say with the completion of Calvin & Hobbes.

There are those, however, who believe Watterson is the secret artist behind the now-successful comic strip Zits. There are those who believe “Jeremy” is really a grown-up “Calvin.”

I hope this isn’t true. For me, Calvin, frozen in time and ageless at six years old, is perfect just the way he is.

Who’s Your Daddy, Spring?

I calleth to the Lord, and He heareth my call.

“The hot heart of spring has not conquered us yet!” The Wintress Warrior yells in earnest.

Beautiful, bright, blinding snow fell from the heavens this morning, as winter roared boldly back into Illinois.

Six to twelve inches of blessed coolness are predicted by tonight.

Hallelujah!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Throwing a Thursday Tantrum


I’m back in the swing of things again today.

Not that I’m swinging by any means. My back is not quite that limber.

Thanks for the sympathy and the good advice. Perhaps the best advice is the Vicodin, Alice. (You have any I could borrow?)

Some random thoughts today:

~ It’s the first day of spring, and it’s already too hot for me. I sweated all my make-up off while I was doing my hair this morning. Fall can’t come soon enough.

~Why doesn’t someone invent a self-cleaning toilet?

~ One of the greatest consequences of the fall? Dust. I’ll bet a perfect, unfallen world would be free of dust. I remember hearing once; dust is “little pieces of you that died in the night.” Yep. And I hate it.

~ I am having a fat day. Why hasn’t someone invented a skinny pill? I feel all bloated, hot, and lazy…wait, am I turning into a man?

I’m sorry for the attitude. It’s just been once of those days where I long for my bed and a good solid week to stay in it.
See what spring does to me?

Just wait til summer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Psycho (somatic)

My back had been causing me some difficulty lately. Just little twinges of pain here and there. For a while it was just occasionally, but for the past two days, it’s been pretty constant.

The thing about back pain is that - until you have it - you don’t realize how much you take a healthy back for granted. Case in point, you don’t realize how much a sneeze can hurt until you sneeze with a sore back.

I felt like someone punched their way through my back, ripped out my spinal column, and used it tame rebellious tigers into submission.

My back pain was there for the past two days, but it was livable. However, last night something really strange happened.

I went to bed with a slightly sore back, figuring rest would help.

I had a very vivid dream.


I was riding in a car with a strange woman with dark hair. As we were riding on the highway, she turned to me with a sympathetic look and said, “It just can’t be helped. There’s nothing we can do. Just hope for the best.”

I felt this crushing sense of impending doom.

Looking out the windshield, I saw a long silver-colored concrete tube, about 4 feet high, in the middle of the road ahead of us. The woman pushed the gas pedal to the floor, hurling us toward the tube.

The car smashed into the tube, and we were vaulted high into the air.

Everything suddenly went into slow motion.


I could see the car turn over and felt my seatbelt tighten around my midsection. Suddenly, I found myself in the grip of fear as I looked at the other woman. She smiled sadly at me, and somehow I knew she wanted to die.

The sad smile was for me - because maybe I didn’t want to die, too.

As the car landed with a sickening thud on its top, I felt a rush of pain through my whole body and sat straight up in bed.

My back was vibrating with pain.

Even now, I’m not sure if my dream was corresponding with my back pain in the real world, or if my dream somehow actually invaded my physical reality.

Either way, I hurt. And badly.

I called in sick to work today and have been moving around the house like an old woman. I did find that if I rest for several hours, I’m able to move better.

I’m not sure if this is my body’s way of telling me I need to slow down, or not. But for now, I’m taking it one step (and one sneeze) at a time.

Why can’t I dream about winning the lottery? Huh?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Make Mine Chocolate

Since Alice is taking care of Holy Week on her blog, I shall attempt to address another, much less spiritual, aspect of Easter - the giving of animals as Easter gifts.

Each year, unwanted, former Easter rabbits fill local rabbit rescues and humane societies. The goal of the “Make Mine Chocolate!™” campaign is to break the cycle of acquisition and relinquishment by educating the public about the responsibilities involved in keeping a companion rabbit before a rabbit is brought home.

If you or someone you know are considering purchasing or rescuing a rabbit to keep as a pet, check out the Interactive Bun feature of the Make Mine Chocolate website.

Please join me in encouraging everyone you know to “Make Mine Chocolate” when it comes to bunnies during this Easter season!

P.S. - Here’s an excellent article from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Irvin discouraging the practice of giving animals as Easter presents.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Scottish Rebellion

Well, I’m not going to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

When I was a little girl, my dad told me stories about when he was a little boy. His mother made him wear orange to school on St. Patrick’s Day since, “We’re proud Scots!” Poor dad came home black-and-blue with bruises from all the pinching.

Still, he enjoyed telling me, “We’re proud Scots!”

Not that I have anything against the Irish.

After all, you can’t be quite as taken with Colin Farrell as I am and not like the Irish. And I love an Irish accent. It’s a good thing there weren’t any Irish guys after me at Moody, or I might be posting this from the Emerald Isle!

Instead, since this week begins Holy Week, I’d like to direct you to Alice’s amazing post on her fascination with Easter.

I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fu-Manchu

This is just a warning for all those people who will be seeing Brett and me in the next few days.

This morning, my fashion-forward (and normally sane) husband shaved his mustache into a Fu-Manchu.

I, of course, took the high road of any submissive, supportive wife.

I said, “What did you do to your face? You look like a cheesy used-car salesman out of 1972.”

Considering what I was actually thinking, it was the kindest thing I could have said.

My husband said, “You don’t like it?”

I said, “Were you trying to look like a cheesy used-car salesman out of 1972?”

Pointed look from Roy, Used Car Salesman.

I said, “Remember how when we first started dating, and you wore that bandanna tied around your head, and I laughed so hard I cried? Then after you took it off, your roommate thanked me?”

Roy - still giving me the evil eye.

I went on, “Remember after we started dating, I asked you to cut your long hair and shave your Grizzly Adams beard? Remember how your Mom called me, even though she didn’t know me, to thank me?”

“Well, I like it,” said Roy stroking the ‘chu and making my stomach queasy. “Besides, how would you like it if I made fun of how you looked?”

“Babe, I don’t mean to pull rank here, but if one of us knows fashion and trends it’s me, not you, Mr.-Stuck-In-The-80’s.” I said. “Remember how you tried to talk me into wearing hats at our wedding. Hats!”

(He did in fact try to get me to ask my bridesmaids to wear big, floppy hats – which was apparently all the rage in the 80’s when his brother got married. I have never let him forget this.)

“Fine! I’m going to get my hair cut today, and I’ll just ask the stylist if she thinks it looks stupid,” Brett said, storming out of our bedroom.

“As opposed to your WIFE?” I yelled down the stairs.

Now, I love our stylists. They are wonderful people. But they are also fond of pink hair, mohawks, body piercing, and canvas-size tattoos. I’m afraid Brett will leave Cost-Cutters believing his new Fu-Manchu is the height of hirsute fashion.

Though presumably not a pink Mohawk.

Oh dear, NOT a pink Mohawk!

Roy has not yet shaved it off. He thinks it looks cool.

It will go a long way to discourage this travesty if you’ll all join with me in calling him Roy, or at least ask if he knows a nice place to buy a used car.

Trust me, after you see it, you’ll thank me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

False Advertising

Strictly, strictly, strictly female post.

Absolutely female.

Last chance to turn back…

And here we go…


I am guilty of false advertising.

I recently went to Lane Bryant in search of a new bra. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have a very weird bra size. I have a large strap size and a small cup size. My girls have been the same size, since oh, about sixth grade.

The good thing is that I don’t gain or lose weight in that part of my body. The bad thing is that I don’t gain or lose weight in that part of my body.

I think that if I have to be overweight, I should at least be well endowed.

But that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been stuck with my weird little cup size on my not-proportioned body.

Really, I didn’t think about it all that much, because there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’m sure not having surgery, you know?

Anyway, when I was shopping at LB, I found a really nice bra…of course it was in my strap size but not my little ‘ol cup size. The closest bra was an entire cup size larger.

Well, I needed a bra. So I tried it on, and it seemed like it fit fine. I paid for it and went home.

The next day I put it on and then pulled my business top over it – and all of a sudden I was proportional! I looked down into my cleavage to see my peaches snuggled in a wide expanse of cantaloupe-sized space. The bra has a form shape to it, so no one but me knew that cleavage wasn’t really all me.

I was a little embarrassed, since all I really did was buy a bra in the wrong size.

At work, about four people stopped me and asked if I’d cut my hair or something, because, “something’s different about you today.”

Oh, dear. It’s noticeable.

I looked at myself in the mirror at work and saw that my fakery did indeed make me look nicer. I looked completely balanced and supported on top.

Later that night, Brett said, “You look great, babe!” He couldn’t keep his hands off me. I was, like, “Hmm…somebody’s going to be disappointed.”

Today, I stopped a Panera to pick up some bagels for work. This guy I see there ALL THE TIME asked if he could buy me coffee!

Now, I’d like to think he’s been pining after me for a long time and just now worked up the courage to ask me, but I think it was...the new bra! He’s never even looked my way before today.

Embarrassing! And before you ask, I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring, because I lost it (again) (yes, again, and I’ll thank you to stop laughing.)

I turned him down, of course (because ring or no ring, I’m still married, and if he only noticed me for my bra then he’s a sexist anyway).

Later, I went to a meeting where the sales guy stared at my chest for half an hour.

For a woman who’s wanted to be well-endowed for a good portion of her life, I was getting an idea of what real well-endowed women go through every day. At least back when I was a B-cup, men looked at my face (well, when they looked at all).

There are some things I’ve had to get used to, however. So far, I’ve dropped a hot roller (ouch) into my new bra, four pieces of popcorn, and (to my co-worker’s howling delight) my cell phone. While it was ringing.

Uh-huh.

But, you know what? I’m keeping it! After all, it’s cheaper than surgery!

A New Family Member!

My Cousin Dave and his wife Cari welcomed a brand new baby boy this morning!

I don’t have all the details yet, but our new relative’s name is Dawson Bruce. I believe Dawson means “Son of David” (so that’s appropriate), and I’m assuming Bruce is after my Uncle Bruce, Dave’s dad.

Best wishes and congratulations to Dave, Cari, proud grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (and second cousins, in my case)!

Welcome Dawson!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back Blogging about Bullies

For those of you who get my newly published/updated posts via e-mail, I would like to apologize for the glut of new e-mails you are about to receive!

I recently made two decisions. The first was to publish The Bully Chronicles as a link list on my right sidebar. The second was to edit those links, so that the names were different.

I only just discovered some of my former classmates occasionally read my blog. When I first started my blog, I thought only a handful of people would ever read it. Now that I KNOW some people from my past read my blog, I don’t want to run the risk of embarrassment for anyone.

You will notice I did not change a particular name.

I know I’ve said this before, but writing The Bully Chronicles was one of the best things about starting my own blog. I was able to sit down and really express those horrible experiences. Once I was finished, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

I’m glad I went on to cheerier things, but the torment I suffered at the hands of my childhood bullies shaped me and defined me in a way I’d never been able to express previously.

My story was out. It was out in the only way I could SHOUT to the world, “This really happened to me!” It felt good, and I finally felt vindicated! This is why I decided to publish the link list.

Again, I apologize for the oncoming sludge of newly updated posts (to change the names of the guilty), and promise this is a one-time thing!

Thanks so much for understanding!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Light, Salt, and Bubbles

Both of my parents worked outside the home in non-Christian environments. I learned a great deal from watching my parents contend with non-believers in the workplace. I chronicled a little bit of my observation in my poem to my mother upon her retirement.

Today, Mom has posted an excellent blog entry on how we believers should be light and salt out in the world and not cluster into our own little Christian bubbles. I hope you’ll check it out!

I was very proud of Mom’s observations, and as always, proud to call her as my mom. I agree with her 100% and not JUST BECAUSE I’m her daughter, but because I’ve experienced this first-hand.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Husbanding 101

Does it go without saying that men should have to go through a basic course before becoming husbands?

Well, if it doesn’t, I’m saying it.

Despite growing up with two sisters and having one of the world’s sweetest women as his mother, my husband has yet to learn some basics of Communicating with the Woman in Your Life.

Also known as The Top Ten Things You Should Never Say (Even If They Might Be True…Especially If They Might Be True).

This realization happened during a recent trip to the mall. I told Brett I NEEDED new clothes. Now, I tell him this often, but apparently there’s a tone I use when I really mean it.

So, off we went on a soon-to-be-fated drive to the mall.

I was happy, bubbling over with cheeriness, at the prospect of new clothes. I daresay shopping for clothes is one of my favorite things. I joyfully over-shared - naming the new items I planned to pick up – career pants, business tops, suit coat, casual tops, and a pair of jeans.

Then, the ball dropped.


My loving, body-image-accepting husband asked, “Why are you getting new jeans? Are the old ones too tight?”

Silence.

Pointed silence.

“Hon? Hon? Is something wrong? Why are you crying? Don’t roll down the window, it’s 20 degrees out there! Did you just try to open the door? I haven’t parked yet! Hon? What’s the matter?”

Then, of course, the glass shattered.

“WHAT’S THE MATTER?! ARE MY JEANS TOO TIGHT?! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY? YOU THINK MY JEANS ARE TOO TIGHT?”

My husband then succeeded in looking completely confused. “I, um, just meant sometimes my jeans shrink in the wash. You know, over time. I thought, maybe, um, yours did too.”

Silence.

“WELL, MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE MARRIED THAT SKINNY LITTLE TWIRP YOU ALMOST WENT OUT WITH INSTEAD OF ME. I’M SURE HER JEANS AREN’T TOO TIGHT. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE – BRAD PITT?

“Babe. I really think you’re blowing this out of proportion. I didn’t mean anything by it. I only asked because I thought your old jeans were fine, and maybe you don’t really need a new pair.”

“So, why’d you ask if they were tight?”

“I don’t know. I just wondered. Really. You’re beautiful.” (head miserably cradled in hands)


By the way, “You’re beautiful” is a lovely sentiment, but if you know it’s being used as bail money, it’s not so appealing.

I, of course, pulled the martyr card.

“I don’t want to go shopping anymore.”

“C’mon babe, we drove all the way out here. Let’s just go inside.”

“No. Everything will probably be too tight anyway.”

“Sweetheart, I really didn’t mean anything by it. Please go in the store with me. People are starting to look at us.”

“You really should have married someone else if you wanted an anorexic wife. Do you want me to be anorexic for you? Would that make you happy? Fine. I’ll just stop eating. Hope the life insurance money will keep you warm at night and pick up all your dirty laundry.”

“I don’t want you to be anorexic. I love you. You are a beautiful, real woman. “

“You’re not attracted to me.”

“YES, I AM.”

“Hmm…maybe I could just go inside and look around.”

“Okay, good! Afterwards, we can have lunch.”

“Oh, I’m not eating anything. My jeans will probably pop right off.”

HONEY.”

To help him make up for stuffing those giant size-16 feet in his mouth, I allowed him to help me choose several new outfits. After much more pleading, I was also persuaded to go for lunch, where I allowed myself to be talked out of ordering “just a salad.”

The ride home was much more cordial, as I was high on new-clothes-euphoria, and Brett was thrilled not to be facing a night on the couch.

When I got home, I carefully cut the tags off my clothes. I put all the new business outfits in my closet, and then unfolded my brand new jeans. I popped open the button and slid them on, checking out my very real curves in the mirror.

You see, I love my new jeans.

Mainly because, unlike my old ones, they aren’t too tight.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

If The Only Drawback Is No Moonshine…

I’ve gone to hundreds of Ladies Banquets over the years. It’s a right of passage for young women growing up in conservative churches.

I have lunched with the best of them.

I’ve lunched in hats, high heels, and dressed like Laura Ingalls. I’ve seen more than one church basement festooned in ribbon themes, pearl themes, and garden themes. I’ve viewed every possible skit on motherhood.


I’ve been in numerous fashion shows and even once wore a dress completely made out of Slinky toys as a play on a “Spring Dress.” I’ve heard funny speakers, serious teachers, and watched Proverbs 31 be dissected within an inch of its life.

My point is…I’ve been banqueted.

With that said, it is my absolute pleasure to invite you to a different type of shindig (Do not tell anyone from church I called it a shindig. There will be NO moonshine, jug playing, or square dancing. At least, I don’t think so – more’s the pity).

It is actually a Women’s Conference put on by Morning Star Baptist Church. I am being a little biased here when I say it is THE best group of wonderful, warm, and welcoming people you shall ever meet. (See, I SHOULD say it is ONE of the best…but it’s my bias, and I’ll thank you to let me keep it!)

Last year’s conference was a DREAM. And if you can keep a fussbudget like me happy, then you are surely doing an exceptional job – because, let’s face it, I’m a wee bit picky.

The conference is far from typical in many ways. First, let’s tackle the heart of the matter. The food. What? Why? What did you think I was going to say?

The food is phenomenal – tasty treats tricked-out as far as the eye can see (Don’t tell anyone I said the treats were tricked-out, either. I don’t want anyone to think it’s a bad thing.)

What I enjoy the most, however, is the wonderful laid-back, informal feel of the event. There are interesting discussion topics, ones pertinent to my life, plus main-event speakers who are down to earth, interesting, and invested in my spiritual growth.

If you live in the Chicago/Rockford area, this is a conference NOT to be missed. Plus, we could hang out together – maybe even get some square dancing or jug playing in (I’m trying to lay off the moonshine).

And the best news is…you don’t have to dress like Laura Ingalls!

Smuggling Babies

Well, I switched deodorants, and I’m not at all sure I made the right decision.

When I was in elementary school (you read that right), I discovered I had all sorts of problems other kids didn’t seem to have. For one thing, my feet smelled awful. Secondly, I knew I needed deodorant before anyone else. I was never sure if these problems stemmed from being an overweight child, or if I am just from a smelly family.

Either way, Mom and I tried all sorts of foot powder before settling on Gold Bond. If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s fun shopping for foot powder with your mom when you’re eight – it’s not.

Actually, I’m not so sure that would be fun at any age.

I still remember sprinkling a thin layer of Gold Bond into my shoes and praying to God the teacher wouldn’t ask us to take off our shoes. Once or twice, the teacher DID ask, and my classmates were treated to a fluffy white plume of powder with my every step.

How I managed to dodge a humiliating nickname I’ll never know.

The search for deodorant was even harder. We tried every brand – and STILL I managed to soak through just about every garment in my second-grade wardrobe.

I grew up convinced my DNA held extra sweat glands.

We tried Secret (psst..it didn’t work), Sure (didn’t dare raise my hand), and Degree (turning the heat up just made me sweat more). In a last ditch effort, we tried Lady Mitchum (Slogan: So effective you could skip a day!).

Success! Although I didn’t dare skip a day, Lady Mitchum worked. My wardrobe was saved, and I was finally able to worry exclusively about my feet.

The smelly feet problem eventually went away, little by little over the years, and today I’m as normal as the next girl when it comes to feet.

Out of abject gratefulness, I’ve never strayed from using Lady Mitchum deodorant, Spring Glade scent. But, the other day during a trip to Wal-Mart, I couldn’t find Spring Glade scent, so I had to go with Lady Mitchum, Powder Fresh scent.

Powder Fresh sounds nice, doesn’t it? Sort of like a sweet-smelling baby fresh from a bath? Well that’s EXACTLY what it smells like. And it’s not pleasant.

I mean, clean-smelling babies are pleasant, of course, but when there are no babies, a powder scent is disorienting. Every time I lift my arms, I think, “Who left a baby in here?” Then, I realize it’s me, and quickly clamp those arms to my side.

Every time I reach for something, it smells like I’m trying to smuggle babies out under my arms.

The other day, someone in my office remarked how, “It’s starting to smell like a nursery in here. Do you smell it?”

I, of course, lied. “No. I think it smells like spring. A spring glade, in fact.”

I walked quickly back to my office, leaving my co-worker sniffing the air and asking other people if they’d accidentally brought in a diaper bag.

How embarrassing.

And because I’m cheap, and the deodorant is brand-new, I’ve got another month until I can make an excuse to go buy a new scent.

I’m starting to think that maybe I should go back to using Gold Bond – if it works on feet, why not?!

Thank You

I want to thank you all for your kind comments yesterday. It was an emotionally hard day for me, but it was made easier by your thoughtful words!

Time does begin to heal the wound of losing someone you loved with all your heart, but there is always an empty space where their influence, love, and care used to be. I know the pain lessens with time, but I’m glad for the pain, in a way, since it reminds me of many joyful memories of the man God graciously chose to be my dad.

Big group hug!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

In Memory

I’m sure there are many Christians who die in their sleep and meet Jesus while wearing their pajamas.

But I wonder how many people meet Him wearing pajamas, holding a bowl of chocolate ice cream, fresh from the middle of a Law & Order episode.

I like to think that distinction is my father’s alone. (I also like to believe he found out how that episode ended.)

Though, I’ve no doubt the sight of our Lord’s face was his all consuming thought at that moment.

It seems impossible to believe Monday will mark exactly nine years since my father’s death. It’s hard to think I’ve made it almost a decade without the man who lovingly guided my childhood, instilled my self-confidence, and gave me the gift of a godly heritage.

I remember getting the phone call at college, the hurried rush to the hospital, and the quiet of the room where my father’s earthly body lay still and lifeless.

I was barely out of my teens then. I can’t help looking back and thinking if Dad had lived just one more year, he would have witnessed my graduation from college, the life-long dream he prayed for and sacrificed to achieve. He would have rejoiced at my engagement and proudly walked me down the aisle at my wedding.

I miss him every day, and yet I can’t begrudge a moment of the perfect life he now enjoys in heaven with the only Father who ever loved him unconditionally.

I remember the day I got saved. An evangelist had come to Memorial Baptist Church, and we children were sent to the children’s hour taught by the evangelist’s wife.

Mrs. Gilmore told the story of Christ’s miraculous birth, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and the way to salvation. As I listened, she said something that piqued my five-year-old curiosity.

“Boys and girls, God sent His only Son to die on a cross for you. He loved you so much, even more than your mom or dad, that He sacrificed His perfect Son, so you can put your trust in Him. When you do, you’ll want to live for Him, and someday join Him in heaven.”

When I heard that God loved me even more than my mom and dad, I was speechless. Mainly, because I knew that my parents loved me more than ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD.

My parents had prayed and prayed for my birth for 11 years. I was aware they fully believed my birth was a bona fide miracle.

I had no doubt my parents loved me. They showed me in a million different ways every day. We read books together, played together, and I always felt safe, comforted, and happy.

I had little trouble accepting the concept of a heavenly Father loving and giving unconditionally, since I’d already witnessed that unconditional love from my earthly father.

And perhaps, that is the greatest compliment I can pay him.

I prayed to accept the Lord as my Savior that day, and my parents rejoiced with me, as I raced up and down the church aisles shouting, “I’m saved! I’m saved!”

I miss my dad every day.

I smile wistfully when I see Whoppers, plastic wrap, or Neapolitan ice cream. I remember hundreds of little jokes and good natured teasing. I remember bed time stories, prayers with my parents, and Dad ending every conversation with, “Now don’t forget your daddy loves you!”

I remember hugs, kisses, and peppermint candy. Star Trek and X Files. And, of course, Law & Order.

But most of all what I remember is the man. He didn’t write any books. He never attained fame or fortune. There are no buildings named after him or statues that bear his likeness.

But at his funeral, hundreds of everyday, ordinary people stood in line to pay their respects to a man who cared. A man who loved. A genuine man who lived his life in honesty, sincerity, and the pursuit of bringing glory to His Lord and Savior.

I remember him as God’s gift to me. My father.

My greatest comfort is that I will see him again. Not as my father, but as my brother in Christ. I wait eagerly for that day.

Robert Lawrence Trotter
June 1, 1945 – March 3, 1999


I love you, Dad. And I promise I won’t forget.