Mar 31, 2008

"Kind of like a Texas Calzone."

Tonight was day one of our The Great Recipe Contest Challenge of 2008 brought to you by the makers of Vitametavegamin. I went to the grocery store this morning and bought all my goods for my week long recipe extravaganza. I spent, like, $1900 so these better be good.

Each night I will post what we just ate. I'll tell you how you can make it at your home. I'll even tell you if you want to make it at your house. I'll give my opinion, which I absolutely love doing under any circumstances. And so will the Attorney General, which you would normally have to pay for (on an hourly basis), and believe you me, if ever there was a man created to reign down judgment on even the simplest of things - it's this one.

Speaking of the Attorney General, before we get started I need to make a disclaimer: Please know that you who submitted recipes are in no way, shape, form or fashion going to win a Cadillac El Dorado. The AG wants me to make that quite clear. It sent shudders down his spine to think that I may have been
"fraudulent with my claims and in order to abstain from
liability under the agreeable terms of a non-negotiated contract
neither nor heretofore on paper and we must make sure that..."
I think I hear the smurfs singing on TV and I hate balloons and I forgot I bought ice cream today and should I make my hair blond for the summer........(yep, these are the thoughts running through my mind as he's talking like this.)

On with it!


Tonight we had Kristen's Chicken Pot Pie.
Talk about easy. (The Pot Pie, not Kristen.) Here are the only ingredients you will need:

Chicken (3 or 4 breasts; boiled until done and tender)
A can of mixed veggie's (I use Del Monte because they look fancier).
A can of Cream of Chicken Soup
A can of Cream of Potato Soup
And 2 pie crusts' (Frozen. Not homemade. Because people that do that make me sick.)
Seasoning (I used salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder)

Simply mix all together - season to taste - and pour into one pie crust. Mound it up really good in the middle and place 2nd pie crust on top. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.


I actually had to take mine out the last 20 minutes, wrap foil around the edges and put it back in to finish cooking. But that really isn't any trouble.

Also, this prepares a lot of food. So if you like leftovers or need lunch the next day, this is for you!


This is definitely going on our rotation. I mean, for Pete's sake - it had two pie crusts! I tell you what, that Kristen knows how to win a contest. You enter a recipe with two pie crusts and you're already in the running.

I thought it was easy, and I like anything that I have to put in the oven and in the time it takes to cook it I can clean what little bit of dishes it got messy. Of course the pie crust was a plus but I genuinally liked the taste.

The Attorney General liked it. He was a little thrown by the cream of potato soup in it, he wasn't used to it and so he kept mentioning that (I might have to leave it out next time for him - not for me). But overall he liked it. He was the one who said to add it to our rotation, so fancy that! He mentioned that it would take us eight days to eat it all and since I'm cooking every night this week we may have to throw a lot out. He said I should half it, but I think that would be hard to do. Then he took one last bite and muddled out something that sounded like, "mmm...taste's kind of like a Texas calzone." Who knows.

Now Remi was not supposed to take part in this contest, but considering she has never ever gotten out of her chair, played with her toys for 5 minutes, then crawled back up in it and asked for more, I felt I needed to add this to the vote. She loved it. And when she asked for more she said "crackers mama. crackers." She thought the pie crust was crackers. Like mother like daughter.

So the Attorney General, the true speaker of our house (get it??) renders it a:

3 (out of 5) gavel meal.

Mar 30, 2008

The Food Network, this ain't.

Alrighty folks. Grab your elastic waist pants and follow me.

I am leaving a post on Sunday - which I rarely ever do - to let you know what we have on the menu this upcoming week. (That was a play on words, did you get that?)

Thanks to those of you who sent in your favorite family recipe. You know I needed it to be easy, somewhat quick and family friendly. And boy did you ever help me out. The recipes you sent in are about to make their glorious internet display. But I need to clarify a few things first.

First of all...Poppy seed chicken is obviously an American favorite because I got four of them! The only fair thing to do, though, was to accept the first one I received. So whenever I make Poppy seed chicken it will be from the recipe of the first person I received it from. Now, if you sent it to me later than this sweet reader did, don't go gettin' your poppies all in a wad (again, a play on words). I'll figure something out. Some of you put more than one recipe in the email and so I may have to make one of those dishes and use that as your entry. But hey! All's fair in love and food, so don't worry, you'll still be up for the grand prize of the Cadillac El Dorado.

Secondly...The order I will be making the dishes in next week will be the order in which I received them. So if you came in late to the game then your recipe won't show up until closer to the end of the week or first of next week. The only exception to this rule is...the meatloaf. I did receive two different meatloaf options and they are both different, so I feel the need to try them both. However, asking the AG to try two different meatloafs one right after the other and render an opinion is asking a lot. I can't do that to him. Plus, that is alot of meat! And when his digestive system gets out of whack - well, we're all in for a world of hurt. So I have placed one meatloaf in the middle and one at the end just to throw him off. we're cooking with gasoline. (See what I'm doing? I'm choosing words that have to do with cooking, or eating, or gas stoves. Clever.)

And lastly...some of you sent me emails with more than one recipe. But let's be honest. I am doing the AG a favor here by cooking every single night for the next 12 or days. I cannot, and will not, cook that much ever again. So, I have had to narrow some of you down to just one entry. That doesn't mean I won't be using each and every one of your recipes over time. But it won't be the one that may or may not win you a Cadillac El Dorado. That's all I'm saying.

Oh, and one more thing. To my sweet aunt, who sent me a recipe and asked specifically if she could win the prize because we're was a recipe for "dip".
I was looking for entrees.
Substantial things my family could eat on once every week or two.
Something I could freeze for them should I need leave town due to being in full-time ministry and all. (Oh hush, I hadn't thrown that in for a while and needed a little "self pick-me-up.")
Or something my housekeeper Alice could make in my stead, where I to pass.
I was talking Poppy seed chicken, brisket, chicken spaghetti and the like. Which brings us to the real problem that all of us in the family have recognized about you for years.
Dip is not a meal. It's really not.

So stay tuned everybody. What you are about to see will have everyone talking. We're talking water cooler discussion here, because the Attorney General thinks it would be wise to video me making the said dinner, then recording our thoughts, and posting them here. Which I have to admit might end up being a real hoot. What do you think? Should this be videoed and then posted? Or am I biting off more than I can chew? (Oh man, I didn't see that one coming, did you? I am amazing at this.)

So we'll see. Gotta give the people what they want, is all I'm saying.

Mar 28, 2008

Brooke White, Jesus and Me.

I'm perplexed.

Today, I was sitting in the rocking chairs out in front of the local Cracker Barrel with two precious friends. We got into a discussion that I have to say, has got me all bumfuzzled.

It began with our innocent talk about American Idol. Well, c'mon people, we had to discuss who got voted off. It's our right and our duty as Americans. The talk of who got voted off eventually turned to who didn't get voted off - or better yet, who should get voted off. And eventually that turned in to who we liked, who we didn't, who looked cute, who wore their clothes well, who had good posture, etc. You know? All of the important stuff.

Eventually our conversation turns to Brooke White who is very much in the running on our much loved show and one of my friends says that she "loves her."
"Why?" I ask. "Why do you love her?"
"Because she's so sweet."
"This is a singing competition. Who cares if she's sweet."
"I do. She just seems so sweet and genuine. And I really like her."

Hmmph. Sweetness. I think it is so overrated.

And so began a conversation between friends that has got me all hot and bothered. I mean it, I'm stumped. Here's the question I asked them...
"If someone were to describe you to someone who has never met you before, what words would they use?"
Would they say "oh, she's a real hoot!" or "she's very sensitive." Would they describe you as "talented" or "beautiful", "round" or "frumpy?"
What would they say?

I asked my friends this question about me. (And just for the record I tend to have the ridiculous habit of surrounding myself with friends who will only speak the brutal truth. I wish I could break this habit, and get more friends like Paula Abdul. I mean, who wouldn't like to have a friend who consistently told you "Well, I can honestly say this is the best you've ever looked"???)
They proceed to answer me using words like "hilarious", "trouble", "outgoing", "charismatic". But no where in the conversation was "sweet."
Nowhere. I know, because I waited for a really long time for them to say it. And eventually it just turned into awkward silence.

Nowhere were words like "gentle", "meek", "long suffering" or "kind" ever even mentioned.


And now I'm perplexed. So I'll ask you like I asked them..."if we strive every day of our lives to be more like Christ, to have His mind, His heart, then how come 'sweet' never showed up in my job description?"
I mean, honestly, when Jesus walked the earth do you think one of His disciples ever described Him by saying, "Well, He's a real hoot, I'll give Him that. And trouble - whooo, hooo, He is trouble waiting to happen. Always gettin' us in trouble and smooth talking His way out of it. He's the life of the party, but can really be a bit moody. But He sings great! And He can do a lot of different stuff with His hair."

No! I imagined they described Him as "precious; so sweet and kind. Easy to talk to and such a joy to be around. Can have a bit of a temper at times, but only when necessary. Otherwise really positive, sees the good in almost everyone. Plus, He really listens when you talk and always has time for you."

One of my friends even admitted that I "always pretend to be interested in what is being said." Pretend??? Pretend to be interested?
What is wrong with me?

All in all, this conversation has made me even more sure of the fact that we truly are constantly striving to be more like Him. It really is a race; one we are always running. We are never there. We have never "arrived." It is an every day battle to be more like Christ. To have His nature and His heart. To see others as He sees them. To love them like He loves them. To serve, as opposed to being served. To listen, as opposed to always talking. To lead by loving. To gain trust by being trustworthy. These things were part of His nature. They are very rarely a part of ours.

But ya know, if he had made us all like Brooke White, well, then it seems to me like the world would be a really boring place. We'd all have beautiful blond hair and sit sweetly at the piano and sing very fragile-like with a perfect smile on our face.

I'm sorry, but occasionally someone needs to bust out in a little Aretha.
And come to think of it - you rarely see her smile.

And so I say, that just like dr. pepper chapstick, Michael Bolton, and Aussie Sprunch Spray, sweetness is sooooo 1988.

And I have really got to find some new friends.

Mar 27, 2008

You Gotta Love Not Hate - Cuz Kelli's Turnin' 38.

Before we go any further I need to set the record straight on something. The story in yesterday's post? True. Completely and utterly, true. Be'lee dat.

Now, on with the important stuff.

This is Kelli. No, it's not the best picture in the world - as she'll be the first to tell you. But it's how I know Kelli to be, always in the middle of a sentence. In other words, always talking. Today Kelli is turning a year older. I dare not say her age as that is inappropriate to do to any woman (though you can figure out what it is if you look closely in the title.) I wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday and was unsure how to do it. But considering I have this forum where several thousand people tune in to what I have to say each and every day, then I thought it wise to take a second and do my bidding here. Let's just say that in blogland this is the equivalent of clapping "Happy Happy Birthday" in Spanish while Kelli wears a sombrero. So here goes...

K.......KIND. Kelli is kind. She really is. She would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. (Although you would have to be sure you wanted to wear rhinestones, the color black and something off of the rack at Chico's.) But here's an example of her kindness; on more than one occasion I use the ol' "I forgot my wallet at home trick" and by george, Kelli falls for it every time. Either that or she's just kind enough to treat me to Saxby's, Chik-fil-A, candy at Walgreens and Stonepuppies. I am not using the word "kind" because it's an easy out with the letter K, the woman is actually kind. Besides, she certainly ain't kinky.

E.......EASY. Whoa there, let me explain. Kelli is one of the easiest friends I've ever had. When she's moody, she let's you know. When she's happy, she talks your head off. You don't have to guess with Kelli; no games - it's not her style. You can invite her over at a moment's notice even when your house is a wreck - she don't care. Once she came over and I was so mortified at how my house looked she vacuumed it for me. She is low maintenance. And if you've ever spent a few years with one of the most high maintenance individuals ever known to mankind (as some of us have) then you know that a low maintenance friend is a welcome and wonderful thing. She's easy, easy like Sunday morning.

L.......LAUGHTER. Wanna know one of my very favorite things about Kelli? When she laughs she throws her head all the way back. She really does. And you know she's having a great time when she does that. It makes you want to do it, too.

L.......LOYAL. Future friends of Kelli, listen up! If she loves you - she loves you alllllll the way. Whatever baggage you come with, whatever hang-ups you have, whatever flaws have flawed you, she loves you all the way. And when she decides to circle the wagons, to link arms and protect you - then you can believe no one is getting in. No one. Thank God for that.

I.......Irrepressible. The woman is a bulldog. And trust me, you want her in your corner. Give her an idea, she'll run with it. Tell her your problem, she'll pray till it's gone. Make her laugh, she'll laugh till she cries. Make her mad, spend the day inside your home. The woman is irrepressible. And just to be totally honest - this personality trait can go either way depending on what kind of mood your in.

We love you Kelli. Have a great birthday.
See you tomorrow night for your girls night out.
Until then...

Mar 26, 2008

The Last Time I Talked To My Mother...

Wow! A "how-do-you-do" and "Thank you" to all of you who are emailing me your recipes. Keep it up! Please! The Attorney General is absolutely thrilled at the prospect that I have to cook all of these for him. If that's the case he better go to the back of his closet and pull out that pair of pants with the elastic waste, is all I'm sayin'.

In fact, just to let all of you know, so that I won't get 97 recipes that I have to cook (because let's be honest, Chili's is counting on me to keep them in business) I will be cutting off the recipe challenge on Friday. That's right! You have just a couple more days to send me your best recipe. And you could win the special prize...I'm not saying what it is (mainly because I haven't bought it yet) but I would never buy anything for you that I wouldn't want myself. Therefore be gone! with anything else from Bath & Body Works or a set of Tennessee Titans coasters. We'll have none of that - I promise you.

Now, let's get on with it.

Gather all your chil'rens around the radio. Turn up the volume and sit back and relax, for now
begins another chapter in.......cue music: dum,dum,dum......

"The Last Time I Talked To My Mother."

*Herein lies a disclaimer to all of you who are easily offended. Wait for tomorrow's post. It may not be quite as offensive as what you are about it read. Don't say you were not warned.

So my mom is a wonderful woman. She really is, I probably don't say that enough. So I'll say it again, she really is a wonderful woman. She is a great communicator. Oh heavens yes! These very posts would not be possible were it not for her great skills at communicating. In fact, within her skills as a communicator lies her skill for preaching (or we can call it "teaching" for those Southern Baptists who may be reading).

Mom has great knowledge of scripture. She knows the Word, is a studier of the Word and a wonderful and charismatic communicator of the Word. Which is why she is asked to speak all over the place. To know her is to love her. And to hear her speak is to want to hear more from her....thus her invitation to come and speak at a place very rarely occupied by women teachers, The Death Row Unit of an unspecified State Penitentiary.

Cue music: dum, dum, dum.

Mom was asked to come and speak there before a gathering of men several months back. It's one thing for someone to be allowed on to this unit. It's another thing for it to be a woman. It really was an honor for my mom. And I was very proud of her, I must say. She studied hard and pulled no punches with them. She brought the Word and felt like the night was a success. She left there feeling good about it. And she should have, because only a week later she received another call to come back. The men loved her. She seemed like a "mother" to them; most people feel that way about her, you would too. She excitedly accepted and went back once more.

The men seemed more familiar this time. She saw several of the the same ones as before and even a few new faces for her to get to know . Several of them asked to help her lead in the music and she brought them on stage to sing with her. She spoke again, shared some laughs, hugged some necks, and was on her way.

A week goes by and she is invited again. This is great! Mom enjoys it, the men enjoy it - it's all good. arrives early to set up, the men file into the room, they begin with a little music, some "Blessed Assurance" a little "Shout to the Lord" or something along those lines, she walks to the stage, opens her Bible and without blinking an eye places her hand to her forehead as if she is looking for someone and utters the word most feared...

"Where is Willie this week? Anybody seen Willie? I didn't see him in here last week either. Anybody know where in the world he is?"


I'll let you stew on this for a moment.

My mom, ladies and gentlemen. My mom.

Mar 24, 2008

I actually bought Turkey a can. Help me.

Okay people, this is serious.
Ya wanna hear something really sad and pathetic?
So I go head to the grocery store today to buy groceries. Cuz it's Monday. And that's what I do.
My plan was to make a menu for the week, go and buy the necessary ingredients and then NOT ask to eat out one time over the next five days. (We'll see.)

I noticed that when I asked the AG what he would like to eat this week he said to me, "Chicken and Rice is fine. Or chili. Or spaghetti."

Can you believe that??

Oh. Have I not told you why this is a big problem?

Because those are the only three things I make. That's it.
Chicken and Rice.
(Except for my all-time favorite dinner...chili cheese dogs. Go ahead, let it out.)

Sometimes I add a little zest to our lives by throwing in some chicken-n-dumplings or stir-fry. But that's if I'm feeling especially frisky.

So today, at 5:05PM I found myself walking down the aisle of the SuperTarget looking at the backs of cans. I was looking at the CANS, people! I was looking for the Rotel to give me some ideas. The Cream of Chicken soup. The back of the Lipton Onion Soup box.

This is embarrassing.

How did this happen?? I came from a mother who was like McGuyver in the kitchen. Give her a bag of tortilla chips, 2 slices of cheese, one drumstick, some pimentos and 30 minutes and she could have you sitting down to a feast.

What happened to me? The truth is, I'm a good cook. I really am. You give me a recipe and I can cook the fire out of it. In fact, one of my husbands friends (who shall remain nameless, because his wife doesn't know this) once asked me to cook for him should anything happen to his wife. (But between you and me, she weighs like 90 pounds soaking wet so I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot of things that we enjoy 'round here.)

My problem is that I have completely run out of ideas. Sure I can fry chicken. I have a cast iron skillet the size of my head. (And have you seen the size of my head?) But who can fry chicken every night of the week? I'm not Paula, ya'll.

So if you have any ideas for me, send them on. I did a recipe exchange once and 25 people sent me back Lasagna. And just so you know...I'd rather eat my fist than eat Lasagna.

So what are your "tried and true" recipes? That little treasure that you make for your family once every couple of weeks or so? I want it! Send it on!

And here's the deal. Each recipe will be tested. Seriously. By me and the Attorney General.
And whichever one we decide we want to add to our bi-weekly rotation gets a little somethin' somethin'. So email me so that I have your email address ( or leave a comment where I can reach you, whichever. But I got a prize here with your name on it. And it's not one of those stupid prizes. Like a keychain or a suncatcher.
It's real.
I do things right.
I'm from the South.

And you don't have to pay for shipping.
The AG will.
His stomach is rumbling just thinking about it.

Mar 22, 2008

Good Friday. Great Saturday. Blessed Sunday.

Friday was good. Literally.

The Attorney General and I headed out with our little monkey to the zoo. There was beautiful weather and ice cream and laughter. There was awe and wonder as monkeys swung from branches, lions yawned and billy goats sunbathed. She loved every minute of it. And I loved spending the day with them. Later, the AG took me to a movie and bought me an ICEE!! (I'm easy to please) The three of us ended the day curled up on the couch flipping channels. Why is it that when you do absolutely nothing with the people you love the absolute most it's the absolute best?

Saturday started off with daddy taking Remi on a pancake date and letting mommy sleep in and order things off of the 24 hour infomercial channel. Soon it was filled with Easter eggs and Easter egg hunting. Remi has never gone to an Easter egg hunt before - but she handled it like a veteran. There was nothing, or no one, gonna come between her and the brightly colored thing that may or may not be holding something sweet and gummy inside of it. Fortunately for Dr. Robinette (our family dentist) every egg held something inside of it that she has all but trembled over. (And may I just send a personal "shout out" to whoever decided to fill their eggs with Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Thank you and God bless.) After she played hard with Gracie and fell out for her nap - I mowed the yard. I repeat, I mowed the yard. And why did I mow the yard? And why did I take her to an Easter Egg hunt all by my lonesome? So the AG could attend a race. A NASCAR race. That's right, he went off with some buddies (because he is precious and adorable and deserves a day where he has to do nothing but eat hot dogs and watch cars go 'round and 'round.) Therefore, I handled things on the homefront. What can I say? I am woman - hear me roar.
We are ending the day with some grilling and a movie. And by 8:15 tonight our house will be nice and quiet. I will be alone on the couch with the AG and all will be right with the world again. And as I think back on my day I will remember it being beautiful and memorable. And I will feel blessed.

But Sunday is a comin'!!
My favorite Sunday of the whole year.
I love the Lord every day of the year. But I regretfully admit that I don't appreciate Him every day of the year. I forget. I forget what He did. Why He did it. That it was ME He did it for. But on this Sunday, this Easter Sunday, I am reminded. And when I think of it I am most assuredly humbled. And I repent of my self-centeredness, my disrespect and lack of appreciation. And so tomorrow as I sing "Jesus your name is power, breath and living water, such a marvelous mystery" I will sing it out with every last breath that I can muster. And as I close my eyes and think about His name, about His goodness and love, about His power, about His death and resurrection, I will cry. And I will be reminded that no day - however wonderful - would be possible without the sacrifice He made. And I will bow in wonder at the thought of the words...

"Why do you seek the living among the dead?
He is not here.
He has risen."

Mar 20, 2008

I'm Drowning.

The posts are coming few and far between these days, because I'll just be honest, I am in waaaaaay over my head. I am now in my 27th year of Graduate School (or so it feels) and I still have not gotten that dern degree. Things were going along, slowly but surely, and then I signed up for Systematic Theology. Or as I call it, "The Unexplained Things That God Only Knows and Never Wants to Reveal To Us."

Folks I am in over my head on this one. And with each passing day I am getting closer and closer to just calling my father-in-law and asking him to take my tests and write my papers for me. But I hear in Seminary that's a bad thing. Whatever.

It's 10:51 PM on Thursday night and I'm still studying. Here's a little excerpt of what I just read before my eyes rolled back in my head and I started trying to swallow my tongue...

The term predestination is also frequently used in this discussion. In this textbook, and in Reformed theology generally, predestination is a broader term and includes the two aspects of election (for believers) and reprobation (for unbelievers). However, the term double predestination is not a helpful term because it gives the impression that both election and reprobation are carried out in the same way by God and have no essential differences between them, which is certainly not true. Therefore the term double predestination is not generally used by Reformed theologians, though it is sometimes used to refer to Reformed teaching by those who criticize it.
Somebody, please!
Dad called me the other day and could tell I was upset. So he says...
Dad: What's wrong with you?
Me: I just finished taking a test which I am positive I failed.
Dad: There's no way.
Me: What do you mean?
Dad: I mean there's no way you could have failed. You're way too smart. Besides you have your dad's luck. Which has always been good. So there's no way you failed.
Uuuhh, Dad? I made a 62.
Apparently the only thing I have of yours is your nose.

Mar 18, 2008

Yours Truly.

Dear Attorney General,

Have I told you lately how much I love you?
And have I told you how much I miss you when you're gone?
And have I told you I accidentally went to Target and bought some stuff?

But really, I do miss you. I want you to come home soon. There is no way that what you are doing out of town is more important than what you could be doing in town. I mean, seriously, Remi and I set up a tent in the living room today. Did you do that in Dallas? Doubtful. We had so much fun and she wants you to come play in it with her so bad. And who can blame her because you are wonderful and fun and who the heck doesn't love to be around you? And who doesn't love to go to Target? Did I mention that I did that?

But seriously, when are you coming home? I know you are in Tulsa today and I know you are tired and are sick of eating out. Well, have I got some good news for you because I just happen to go to Target today and get some stuff that I can cook for you when you get home this weekend. So that's a good thing, right? A home cooked meal??? That's a rarity, huh? But it doesn't have to be now that we have a SuperTarget right down the street. Thank God for Target, eh?

Didn't we have a good time at the beach last week? I am so glad we took tons of pictures so that we can savor those moments forever. Precious, precious moments. Of me and you and the love that we share for one another. Of course, what good are pictures without frames? Well, to answer that question - "NO GOOD." Soooooo I bought us some frames today. At Target. I went there. Have I said that yet?

Remember a couple of days ago when you said, "Melissa, what is going on with your hair?" Well, you didn't say that as much as I said it, but no one has to ask that question any more since I found out Target carries the Big Sexy Hair line of products. Lucky for me, right? No. Lucky for you, too. Because I don't want you to be embarrassed when you go out with me, so in all actuality I bought those products for you. Sure, they go on my hair - but they are for you.

Well, I guess I better get back to playing in the tent with the Remster. Remember the days of our youth when we would spread blankets out across chairs in our living room? Those were swell, huh? Of course nowadays that is unnecessary because Target carries little pop-up tents in all sorts of bright colors and so I just grabbed one of those. What? I didn't mention that before? Oh...well, this is awkward.

I will let you go now. Remember that I love you. And that I miss you terribly. I will be waiting right here, at the home we have made together - with outstretched arms - for you when you arrive home. Just for you. My love. (But if I'm not here when you get home it's because I had to make a quick deposit in the bank for a few things that accidentally ended up in my cart.)

All my love. Yours forever. In sickness and in health. For richer for...uh, you get the gist.

Mar 17, 2008

"There is a battle going on for the heart of our daughters."

If I'm right - and goodness knows, I might not be - then I think there is not one single girlfriend that I have that has only boys. Everyone I can think of (with the exception of sweet Ang) has a girl.

Rhonda does.
And Kellie.
And Julie.
And Nicolle.
And April and Kerri.
Kristen has Finley.
Lisa has Samantha.
Kenda has Gracie and Ella.
Kate has Molly and Tera has Grace and Sarah.
Lisa has Bailey.
And Teresa has my favorite teenager ever, Coco.
Although I do love Kimberley's, Olivia.
And my mom has little sister. Sweet little sister.
And now I get to be a part of this wonderful club, because now I have Remi.

And although I am not there yet - fighting over what they want to wear, how they want to style their hair, what music they want to listen to, what clique they want desperately to be a part of - I am watching. I am learning. And just so you all know, I am most definitely taking notes. Because...(I'm whispering now, so lean in close)...I'm scared.

I heard a mother say today...
"I am going to fight. As long as I have breath then I am going to fight this war. Because there is a battle going on for the heart of our daughters."
And I thought for a moment about my daughters heart and what fills it.
Let's see, there's Pooh, he's definitely one of the good guys.
There's candy. Nothing chocolate, though. Preferably hard and brightly colored.
There's her grandparents. Four people who make her head spin when she sees them.
There's her best friend, Mally. Whom she loves more than life.
There's me - her comfort.
And there's her daddy. The first true love of her life.
And that's all her little heart can hold right now.

But soon she'll grow. And so will her heart. And it will hold more. And so it will be open to more. And that's where the battle will begin.

I heard about this book today. I read an excerpt from it and encourage you to do so, too. It's "The Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God's Gift of Purity." Certainly she's too young for it now. But she won't always be. Someday we'll read it together and she'll understand it. And hopefully it will settle in her heart. And she'll understand how precious she is.

Just like Taylor and Molly, Mally and Finley. Just like Julia and Katie and Lexie, Avery, Gracie and Victoria. So very precious.

And I hope, like her mom, that she lands her first irst kiss on the same man she marries.
And that he, like that kiss, is the most precious thing to ever fill her heart.

Mar 15, 2008

Boyz to Men said it best. As usual.

Well, here we are, it's "the end of the road" for our Myrtle Beach week. I hate to see it end. And not just because I don't want to go back to a world of bills, grocery lists, or dusting. But because we had a really great time. We made some memories this week with Remi getting to see the "big water" for the first time. And getting her picture made with a real, live monkey hanging on her ('nother story for another time).

But alas the real world awaits. My dogs want to see their daddy. "Maxi no-no" (as her name is now called) probably misses us but will certainly never let on. And of course I miss my house and my bed.
But I'll miss Nonie and Poppie. And of course, Remi's best friend, my little sister.
I'll miss taking half an hour to decide where to eat.
I'll miss fighting over who gets the last pecan praline.
I'll miss my dad fussing for an entire week that mom and I spent too much money on groceries and insisting that we "got took."
I'll miss laughing at David continually having to lather himself in SPF 50 because he broils like a lobster.
I'll miss Remi seeing the water with awe and wonder.
And I'll miss sleeping in. Because Poppie "likes" getting up with her. Oh yeah, that one will hurt.

Well, here's to a great week. Here's the the Big Water. And here's to Boyz to Men - who have been reading my mind since 1992. It's the end of the road, folks.

Mar 13, 2008

The Monkey Mat

Once, when I was in elementary school and my mom and dad had to go to a parent teacher conference my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Harrison, told my parents, "she certainly is creative. Really creative. She'll either make a million dollars in some line of work - be it music or entertainment or art. Or she'll do nails." one ever really understood that remark but to this day I have both a love of money and of mani/pedi's. But I digress.

One thing no one pegged me for - ever - was a creative parent. Of course, one thing no one pegged me for - ever - was a parent, at all. I think everyone just assumed that I would forgo the whole "childbearing years" and spend my time journaling and reading US magazine. Boy, did I fool all of those naysayers. There's more to me than meets the eye. And I'm starting to get the hang of this parenting thing. (Someone, please, knock on wood. Immediatly.)

Having all that said.......drumroll please.....introducing the Monkey Mat.

This little mat is for little people who decide they are going to act like monkeys. And this mat doesn't just stay at the Radke ranch. No way, sir. It travels. For instance, this week it went to the beach. Even monkeys like the water.

So here's what you do.
When someone picks up a coffee cup and you tell them to put it down and they look at you like you have 6 heads, and do it anyway - they're being a Monkey. To the Monkey Mat they go.
Or when somone decides that being done with breakfast means throwing their plate down, well, that sounds like a Monkey to me.
Or let's say you've said "don't touch daddy's glasses" to the point that it sounds like a last name. Kind of like "Remi Hope Dontouchdaddysglasses" and they do it anyway. Monkey Mat.

But be warned. Even monkeys make sad faces. And you put a monkey on a Monkey mat and you can expect to see one. And of course, monkeys have friends...and poppies. So somtimes a monkey will be sitting on their mat and one of their friends....or poppies, will come along and think, "If I sit by this monkey on this mat then it will make everything better." And usually they're right.

So that's a Monkey Mat. And it works. And if it doesn't...well, stay tuned for next weeks edition of The Spanking Spoon.

Mar 12, 2008

Remi and the Big Water.

What a day. This was my kind of day. At some point during the day one of us would say, "let's just stay a few more days, please?" Even the Attorney General - and he's pretty certain commerce stops when stands up from behind his desk.
We started out on the beach this morning. I may have walked more than I have in the last 8 months. Maybe not, but it felt like it.

Remi loves the "big water" - we can't understand much else, but that much we know. The big water and her? They're tight. She loves it and it loves her. Knocking her to her and feet and yet she keeps right at it.

I took a picture of a chicken walking by. Oh, wait, those are my mom's legs. Yikes.

We then grilled hamburgers and jumped in for a little more pool time (forgoing that whole "wait 30 minutes" sham). And last but not least, mom and I went for a spa massage and a pedicure. We had to have our massages done in the same room - because mom had never had a massage and was unsure how the whole thing worked, so she wanted me with her. Inevitably we begin to laugh and couldn't' stop. I'm not sure but considering we shared a room with candles and sitar music, considering we disrobed together and considering we snickered at everything that happened - I'm pretty sure they thought we were on our honeymoon.

After the massage we got our pedicures - but not even that was the best part. My pedicurist was named Rashida - you might want to remember her name and pray for her. Her heart is breaking (though you would never tell it by the beautiful smile she wore on her face) over a situation with her child. And who winds up in her seat?? Yours truly. And if anyone knows about a breaking heart...well, God knows what He's doing - let's just leave it at that. I told her I would be praying for her if that was okay and asked about her beliefs. She has been a Muslim for years and said she prayed five times a day right there in the very room I was in. I knew this was no time to tell her I would pray - this was time to put feet on it. So I did. I asked her permission to pray over her, explained why I believe in the laying on of hands on her - and together we prayed. I prayed to MY God. I prayed His power and strength, His peace and miracle working power. And afterwards I told her how wonderful He was. And how we could believe Him.
And she cried. And I cried, too.

And suddenly the greatest day got even better.

Mar 11, 2008

If you hold a shell up to your ears you can hear the Beach Boys.

Well, we're day 3 into our big vacationion (yep, I spelled that right if you watch King of Queens.) And we've done some really great things. Okay, I mean we've seen some really great things. Okay, I'm lying, we've eaten at some really great places. There I said it.
Actually mom and dad have taken little sister to the Nascar racetrack where they are all two (yes, I said "all two" - one of them is probably sniffing out a nearby shopping center) are driving their heads off at 110 mph. Where on this side of the island the Attorney General is snoring at 110 mph.
Taking a nap here is nothing like taking it at home. You open up the patio door here and see the beach, smell the beach, listen to the beach. You open it up to at home and well, let's just say my dogs often bring me little "gifts" and leave them at my door. "Gifts" that you see, "gifts" that you smell, "gifts" that you wish could live again and walk again . . . but I digress.

So here is what I woke up to this morning. Not bad work if you can get it, huh??

Of course, I personally like this view. And if your wondering where everyone is, well, so are we. But we are fiiiinnnnneeeee with it.

Actually I took these pictures at 8AM this morning. Yep, 8Am. It's our vacation and Remi still gets up early. What's up with that? Doesn't she know? So when I took these pictures only like 3 people were out walking and they were like, over 80.

Later we went to eat at Drunken Jack's. Little sister thought the name was cool - thus the reason for our stop. But everything was fried (and I think you know my thoughts on that...see Somethings Goin Down at the Marriott) so I feasted on some green beans. But sinfully gave in to 46 hushpuppies. Hush. Puppies.

My mom is a joy to have on this trip. At least housekeeping thinks she is. When they tried (which is their job, let's point that out) to change her sheets she told them "not to worry about it." When they tried to make her bed she told me, "Why? I'm just gonna crawl right back in it later, girlfriend." (Yes, I said girlfriend. Embarrassing). When they tried to take out the trash she took the bag from their cart and did it herself. Now, we find this all a bit amusing since when she wants a cappuccino each morning my dad brings it to her. And when she wants her hair fixed - it's yours truly to the rescue. When she needs to run down to the bookstore her son-in-law takes her. And yesterday when she tried to lift a finger little sister had to do it for her. Of course I am able to blog this because she is looking over my shoulder rolling her eyes and calling me a liar. "I do not do that Melissa - you do that." Now, that's not true. I never take the trash out. Ever.

Not sure what's on tap tonight (there's a nod to Drunken Jack's, matey). So stay tuned.

Mar 10, 2008

We're Painting This Town Red.

Well, we're here. And Myrtle Beach will never be the same.

We have been in this town since Saturday at 4PM.

We have eaten 22 times. Once, on the way to a rib restaurant we actually stopped and bought fudge. We then proceeded to eat the fudge while waiting to be seated at the restaurant. Someone step right up and tell me that's normal??

We went and bought groceries for the condo we are staying in has a fully equipped kitchen. We bought groceries for one week...$262. Somebody, please.

I will tell you that where we are staying is top-notch and beautiful. It really is, so stay tuned cuz I'm posting pictures, whether you want to see them or not.

Oh, and stay tuned for the Monkey Mat. Just stay tuned. Totally worth it.

Mar 7, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter. And One Day Until.

Well, here's living proof that in the Nature vs. Nurture debate - Nurture wins, every time. She is her mother's daughter. All the way. And I couldn't be prouder. (And thank goodness it's me she takes after or you'd have caught her reading Fortune 500 or Billboard Magazine. yawn.)

Oh, and mom and dad, just so you know...I know her 2nd birthday is coming up but she has decided that instead of a tricycle or anything to climb on outside - she would prefer a subscription to People Magazine. Her words, not mine.

Mar 6, 2008

I'm Raising a Redneck Woman. Jeepers Peepers. And Two Days Until.

So I am now creating my posts every night before I go to bed so that the couple thousand who read my blog can enjoy it every morning over their hot coffee and Danish. Or bowl of chili (which is what I had this morning.) Which also means that by day's end I usually have more than enough to write about, vent about, you name it.

Today was no exception.
Let's see. Where do I begin?

Ah yes, my child is a heathen. Or as her Wednesday night teachers call her "a scrapper." And just so we're all on the same page, "scrapper" is another word for "bully." I go to pick her up from her Wednesday night class at church only to find that she's taken out 3 kids, spent some time in the "time-out" chair, knocked a boy over the head with her sippy cup, and well, I'm embarrassed so I'll stop here. I know what everyone is thinking so I'll go ahead and say it out loud. I figure people must think that "since the Radke's waited so long for this baby girl she is probably the most spoiled thing on the planet." But people, this not be so. Not even a little so.
We've done the stand in the corner thing. She picks her nose.
We've placed her in her bed, alone, as a time out spot. She sees no problem with this.
We carry spanking spoons in my purse, her diaper bag, the car, any jacket pocket that is empty and one sits on the middle coffee table at our home. She cries for 3 seconds and then asks me to turn on the "T.D."
I'm runnin' out of options people!
She's actually a good kid. A really smart kid. And full of personality. I see her as Jesus does and we both think she just has a certain, redneck charm.

So a friend of mine drives by my house today to leave a book for me in my mailbox. I went to get my mail around 7pm tonight and was surprised to see it in there. And as I'm thumbing through the book I can't help but think to myself, "I wonder what time Christine drove by today...hmmmm...wonder if she could see through my windows?"
Because if she could see through my windows, here is what she saw.

7am: Plopped down in front of the Today show.
9am: Can't find anything for breakfast so I eat last night's leftover chili. Spill half of it down my nightgown. Watch the Golden Girls.
9:30am: Chase Remi with spanking spoon. Part 1.
11:15am: Play chase with Remi around the kitchen table. Circle the kitchen table 14 times. Count it as today's exercise.
12:45pm: Tell Remi it's nap time. Chase Remi with spanking spoon. Part 2.
1:30pm: Pace back and forth while on the phone. With dad. With April. With Kelli. With David. With mom. With David again. Still in nightgown.
3:15pm: Finally have a moment to shower my dirty self.
3:18pm: Hear someone yelling "maaaaammmmmaaaa" at the top of their lungs. Walk back in front of windows, nightgown still glued to my dirty self.
4:00pm: Sit Remi in front of "Pooh" while I turn on the shower. "Yes, you will sit right there while I take a shower." Chase Remi with spanking spoon. Part 3.
4:45pm: Walk casually back and forth, back and forth, back and forth right in front of my windows...Remi is watching "Pooh," my flat-iron is heating up, make myself a tall glass of tea and all seems well with the world. Let's hope Christine is not putting book in mailbox at this moment. Cuz...yep...that'll make you put some clothes on.

Mar 5, 2008

Three Days Until.

I'm getting excited. Really excited.

This weekend David and I leave for the beach. And boy, do we deserve it. (I will not post the reasons why we deserve it as they are too painful, and don't make for very exciting print.) But we do. And we are going to savor all seven days of it.

And Remi. Sweet, little, fussy, stinker, now-taking-her-diaper-off-in-the-middle-of-the-night, Remi. She will be seeing the beach for the very first time. Oh yes, it will be too cold to step into (although the pool is heated. Praise Him). But she'll love the sand. And the sounds. And the "oooohhhhhh, mama, birds." (Feel free to fill in the blank with anything. Absolutely anything.)

And maybe we'll even take some of those pictures that apparently you are supposed to take if you are in your mid-thirties, have small children, and vote Republican; where we all wear white and sit in the sand or walk out into the water holding hands. Seriously, isn't it now mandatory to show your license, your voter registration card, and your family beach shot when you go to vote? Of course, the Attorney General has nixed this idea completely and says we'll have to drug him and prop him up, but hey, I've seen Weekend at Bernie's, so I know it can be done.

Oh, and the best part? Annette & Gene are coming! That's right, blog friends, my mom and dad are coming. So that right there should fill up every single post for the next three weeks. I figure I will have much to say and to report after 7 days in a condo with them. It's little sister's Spring Break week and this is what she wants to do - go away with all of us. So we gladly obliged. (Well, I gladly obliged; whereas, the AG has reported that he is still taking his Treo and laptop. I suppose this is in case the entire Christian Music Industry collapses during the one week he has decided to take off and he is called in to help restore it.)

So, I'll be heading in to town for those last minute necessities at ye ole' Target, of course. Still needing to pick up swim diapers, Bullfrog SPF 50 (for Rem, not me. I still fly in the face of that whole SPF conspiracy), and some kind of beach bag that is big enough to hold stone tablets yet allows me to look cool even when filled with a sippy cup, half a banana, a Glamour magazine and 14 gummy worms.

Did I mention the pool was heated? Wasn't sure. If not...the pool is heated.

Mar 3, 2008

The Last Time I Talked to My Mother...

Aahhhh...hang on blog readers. Hang on.
We are now embarking on a new chapter in the Stretch Marks blog
that I will be calling,
"The Last Time I Talked To My Mother."
From now on, when you see it pop up you have one of two options:
(1) Read it slowly letting it soak in.
(2) Or turn away - fast.
Although I will admit, it's kind of like an accident
that you can't help but look at.
So, here we go. This is from a conversation we had
on Sunday night at 6:15pm.

Me: Hey mom, whatchadoin?
Mom: I'm not doin' it.
Me: What does that even mean?
Mom: It means I'm not doin' it. I'm not doin' anything. What are you doin' and where's my baby?
Me: I'm on my way to church and...
Mom: Are you taking that baby to church again? She is probably so tired. Did she even get a nap?
Me: Yes, she got a nap. And then I took her for a walk.
Mom: Did you put a coat on her? You never even bother to put a coat on her.
Me: I didn't need to, it's 70 degrees outside.
Mom: No, it's not. It's storming. And cold.
Me: Mom - you live in Texas.
Mom: So why are you going up to the church so late at night?
Me: I have worship practice.
Mom: FOR WHAT? (she seems completely put out by this but I have no idea why.)
Me: For Wednesday night...but what does it matter?
Mom: Oh brother. So guess who I ran into yesterday?
Me: Who?
Mom: *Lydia Fair.
Me: Really?
Mom: And guess what she told me?
Me: What?
Mom: That ugly daughter of hers - *Misty Fair - she got married. The ugly one? Can you believe that?
Me: Really?
Mom: Yes! Yuck. I tell you what, gettin' a daughter that ugly married off will make a mother run a mile. You know that? Make you run a mile you're so happy.
.......long pause..........
Me: Mom, you know I'm gonna have to blog this.
Mom: That's fine. Just don't tell 'em who you're talking to.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And the ugly.

Mar 1, 2008

My sentiments exactly.

"End of the line. Nothing to do, and no hope of things getting better.
Sounds like Saturday night at my house."

- Eeyore