Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Freak Out

To the guy in the white truck in front me when I was driving to work this morning –

You know who you are, license plate number 13571 D!

You were talking on your HUGE cell phone the entire drive from Roscoe to Rockford. You consistently drove 10 miles under the speed limit and apparently thought it was jolly good fun to step on your brakes every three seconds. Of course, you would speed up every time some driver had the audacity to try and pass you and your freak show.

You were a menace on the road. You need to get over your zipper insecurity, or at least that’s what I HOPE you were checking when you looked down in your lap every other minute.

Get off your phone, keep your head up, and at the very least – drive the posted speed limit.

Or so help me if I see you again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Retail Therapy Thursday

First off, let me say thank you to everyone who has been praying for me. Your kindness and compassion mean more than you’ll even know. Today is a better day, and I have not yet hyperventilated or burst into tears (said the drama queen).

Moving on, I was shopping the 85% Off Sale at Bergner’s (I am a BIG fan of retail therapy) when I noticed there were no sheets on sale.

Sheets are one of those things I am loathe to buy, because they are so freaking expensive. It irritates me to no end that I can buy a $100 shirt for $18 on sale, and still the price of decent sheets hovers at $39.99 with no significant sale in sight.

By the way, 10% off is NOT a sale; it’s a break on sales tax.

And I mean, they’re just sheets, you know? Unless it’s 800-count solid gold threads being woven by newborn babies in New Zealand, they just shouldn’t be that expensive.

Anyway, the sheet incident made me think back to a conversation I had with my parents when I was growing up. I made some comment about someone who had “money” wouldn’t dress “like that.”

Mom and Dad pointed out people spend their money on different things. Some people put it into nice cars, some into beautifying their homes, and others into the mission field (I usually tuned out at the point where it started to be a spiritual lesson), and so on.

As I grew up, and even now, I see the truth in that observation. Even in myself.

I’d spend $40 on a pair of jean without blinking, but when it comes to sheets, I’m aghast at the cost. Brett would think nothing of dropping $50 over the course of the month on eating out, but when I propose spending the money on curtains, he looks at me like I’m drinking crazy juice.

In the meantime, I’d be content to drive a dependable old clunker to work, while a friend of mine nearly bankrupted herself to buy a convertible. Another friend took out a loan to buy a game system he really wanted.

And while not every purchase is that drastic, it got me thinking. Are there things that you hate to spend money on? Things that you probably need, but you hold off on buying because you want to buy other things with your money?

Mine are easy - sheets, shoes, and purses.

What are yours?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Heart Attack Wednesday

Last night, before I went to sleep, I had a little conversation with God.

I told Him if He wanted to take me home - via a nice, quick heart attack like He took my Dad – I would be okay with it.

Things have been bad at our house. Bad. Bad. Bad.

I’m not going to go into the details, because they are very personal and could get embarrassing. But trust me when I say, “Bad.” Okay?

Anyway, this morning, during devotions I asked God’s forgiveness for essentially asking Him to kill me in my sleep. I begged for grace from the throne.

I was already running late, as I rushed toward my car. I pressed the garage door opener and watched in stunned amazement as the door went up jerkily. Halfway up, the door stopped and little nuts and bolts just started popping off like jumping beans. The light fixture made a mighty CRACK and fell from the garage ceiling.

I just stared at the mess, before yelling, “Brett!”

My husband rose sleepily (middle of the night in his second-shift world) and attempted to fix the door. By the time the door was open enough for me to squeeze out of; I was already two hours late for work.

As I drove to work, I contemplated all the miseries that seem to be piling onto my life. I found myself sad and angry. Absent-minded, I flicked on my CD player. A second later, I realized it was the CD Gary’s daughter had given me for my birthday.

I’m not a fan of contemporary Christian music. And I definitely don’t listen to it in the car, so I was about to turn it off when I heard the familiar chorus of:

Here I am to worship
Here I am to fall down
Here I am to say that You’re my God

Suddenly, I asked myself, “Am I here to worship?” The answer, found in my heart and attitude, was a solid, “No.”

A second later, I was singing along softly and praying in the car. I was, once again, asking for God’s grace to cover me, for Him to shed His love on me. My mind’s eye saw my petty problems melt. I saw the money we owed disintegrate into nothingness, the car turned into scrap, and everything else whirled away.

I was small, down of my knees in front of the King of the Universe, praising Him, thanking Him for the grace, and asking for more.

Through the tears, I felt a jolt of joy surge through my bones as I looked up. The car in front of me had a discreet little window sticker that simply said, “Know Him.”

And in that moment, I was so glad I do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Surprise Sneak Peek!

As you may know, my family and friends threw me a surprise 30th birthday party this past Saturday. As the amazing planner and host of said-party, Mom has blogged the occasion and posted a slide show of the event on her blog. I’m planning to do my own post later, but I wanted to encourage you to check out her post for some great behind-the-scene photos!

Also, I had to comment on this photo. The pink balloon string hanging down makes it look like I’m taking a breathalyzer test before blowing out my candles. Rest assured, it wasn’t THAT type of party! My post on this fabulous party coming soon!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The A’s Have It!

When I was growing up, I was the only Ann-Marie I knew.

Some people liked to call me Anne Murray, after the singer (thank you, my dorky Junior High Youth Pastor, for pointing that out when I joined the youth group). Other people misspelled my name as Emery.

It wasn’t until I was done with college and working in the world that I started to meet other Ann-Marie’s. Sometimes, they were Ann Marie, Annamarie, or AnnMarie. I’ve even met a perfect match here in Rockford who spells her name just like mine, hyphen and all.

What’s been interesting is that almost ALL of the Ann-Marie’s (and variations) work in communications. These women are novelists, journalists, or specialists in public relations, advertising, or marketing – just like me.

It’s funny what a name says about you.

I’ve always wondered if it’s just a coincidence. I don’t think it is.

Either way, I was reading my e-mail and found a message from an Ann Marie Dori, PETA’s Coordinator of Caring Consumer Projects.

Somehow, it wasn’t all that strange to see this woman - who was doing her best to make sure monsters weren’t testing mascara on rabbits - was also named Ann Marie.

In situations like this, I’m very proud of my name and the other women who bear it!

Monday Meltdown

Okay, so I’ll be blogging about positive, life-affirming things….later. For now, allow me to tell you about my Monday so far…

This morning, I couldn’t stop sweating. Just getting ready, my hair got slicked down with sweat, and my make-up nearly melted off.

I was running late ALREADY, when I realized I couldn’t find my keys. I started to get frustrated (as those of you who know me well will recognize). I stomped around the house, yelling and screaming about how much I HATE summer, sweating, and stupid things like losing my keys.

My husband even got up (in the middle of the night for his second-shift schedule) and helped me look, using words like, “Calm down.” “Stop yelling.” “Relax!” That last one was pretty much a command. I’m a hyperactive monster when I’m frustrated.

Eventually, I found my keys. In the front door. Where they had been hanging for over 24 HOURS. So then, of course, I had to endure a ten minute lecture from my sleepy husband about how irresponsible it was to leave keys in the door, and how we could have been murdered in our beds. Of course, he talked to me like I was a nine year old child.

Which went over about as well as you think it did.

I raced out of the house, and sighed in relief to be in my ice cold air-conditioned office. Then, I banged my funny bone on my desk and managed to knock over my desk fan.

At this point, I announced to my entire office that if anyone had any nuclear material, they should steer clear of me, since I was pretty sure I’d set it off.

Thankfully, one of my co-workers had the foresight to bring in deluxe chocolate doughnuts, which just about got me back to an even playing field for a Monday.

Stay tuned. And keep an eye on your keys.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The End of an Era

Well, here we are. Thirty lessons I’ve learned in my thirty years on this earth. I cannot stress too much how these lessons apply to ME. They may not apply to you, but I thought I’d share them with you anyway.

In no particular order…

1. Spandex underwear is a must.
2. Never wear dress clothes without nylons. Or with flip-flops (gasp!).
3. Never leave the house without lipstick.
4. You never know how much someone means to you until they’re gone.
5. The price you pay and the haircut you receive are not always equal.

6. Investing in good make-up is always worth it.
7. Buy classic black, and you’ll never go out of style.
8. The unconditional love of a pet can make any situation better.
9. You can’t change anyone. Only God can.
10. When you can’t handle it, admit it. Usually it means God wants you to stop trying to handle it.
11. When you’re not happy, fake a smile. Unconsciously, it makes you feel happier.
12. People take priority over things.
13. Styles change; class never does.
14. Everyone should be fat at least once in their lives.
15. Treat others like you would like to be treated, but don’t expect them to.
16. Marriage is essentially two selfish people trying to pretend they’re not. (I stole this from Paul Reiser’s book Couplehood. I read it years ago, and it’s proven itself true time and time again.)
17. If chocolate is the enemy, kill it with kindness.
18. It’s not about us; it’s about Him. (This was my dad’s personal motto.)
19. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the best books don’t even have covers. It’s the story that counts.
20. It’s okay to have grilled cheese for breakfast.
21. Don’t learn a new skill unless you want people asking you to do it for the rest of your life.
22. One lie always forces another somewhere down the line.
23. Be consciously grateful for one new thing every day.
24. Embrace what makes you unique.
25. Be transparent. People would rather see the real you than a big phony show.
26. True friends make time for one another.
27. A little drama goes a long way.
28. View every situation as you might on your deathbed. It never seems quite as bad that way.
29. High heeled shoes are rarely worth it.
30. Tomorrow is your second chance.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


My cousin Candice, me, and my Aunt Venita pose at my Aunt Linda's Farewell Lunch (before she went back to France). We were demonstrating how the V-Neck top works best with all body shapes. Of course, with beauties like us, really, anything works (as you can plainly see).

Monday, August 04, 2008

Annual Birthday Wish List

Last year, I planned to have a big Girl’s Night Party for my 29th birthday. I was going to call it 29 and Holding, rent a banquet room, and invite all the females in my family and my girlfriends.

It didn’t happen. I can’t remember now what prevented it – if it was too much money, or I ran out of time, or whatever.

My preference for birthdays is surprise parties. I, myself, have thrown several surprise parties for friends and families. I love it! But, of course, they say opposites attract, which means my friends/family are the kind of people who don’t throw surprise parties, at least not for me.

And I’m okay with that.

I’m a romantic at heart, which means (my opposite) Brett is about as romantic as a shoe tree at Christmas.

I love going out - attending parties, plays, movies and just being in a crowd. Which means…(my opposite) dearest friends enjoy staying home, making popcorn, and watching a video with an intimate group of friends.

And, that’s of course WHY I love them – for being who they are – and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

With that obligatory niceness out of the way… here, MY FRIENDS, is what you’ve been waiting for – my Annual Birthday Wish List!

I’ll be turning ththirt….THIRTY on August 20. Happy shopping!

Gift Cards (in order of preference):
Lane Bryant
Kerasotes Movie Bucks
Hobby Lobby

Beading Supplies:
Beadalon Flexible Beading Wire (49 Strand, Size Small)

Bath Salts
Body Poufs
Candles (especially tea lights)
Big Sexy Hair Products (hairspray, shampoo, conditioner)
Body Wash (any sensitive skin variety)

Ferrero Rocher
Peanut M&M’s
Starbursts (any kind)
5th Avenue Candy Bar
Starburst Jelly Beans (any kind)

Hershey’s Kisses (Truffle variety)
Chocolate Covered Peanuts (any kind)
Chocolate Covered Caramels (any kind)

Taco Bell
Olive Garden

(Some people might call this shameless, but I call it "being transparent." And really, aren't you grateful to have some guidance?) :-)