Jul 31, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

I first saw this 27 days ago when my dad sent it to me. (What my dad's doing on YouTube I still don't really know.)

I immediately wanted to post it for you all right then, but for some reason the time just didn't pan out...I'm sure I had other fabulous things to say. Wonderfully, hilarious, deep, analytical, fabulous things, I'm sure. Like talk about my bangs or my daughter or my ability to gain weight while I sleep.

Whatever it was I'm sure it was TOTALLY worth it.

But today I'm posting it. Because I LOVE it. And I want you to love it, too. (So if you don't - don't tell me.)

But just open your heart to it and I know it will mean something to you. And after you watch it, tell me which one was your favorite - which one meant the most to you - or stood out the most to you.

I have a favorite. And you might be surprised to know which one it is.

So enjoy! As my friend Julie said, "it is both brutally and beautifully honest."

As we all are.

Jul 30, 2008

The Foxhole. Part 3.

Today is the end of my Foxhole series. I mean, it's part 3, people. And if we've learned anything it's that NOTHING is ever as good if it has a 4th and 5th sequel. Does anyone even remember Mad Max 4: Fury Road?

Thought not.

And though the last couple of days have not been easy posts for me I felt them necessary to share with you all.

Today I feel is neither easy nor necessary - but will be done because I'm committed to blogging. Okay, that's a lie. It's because I'm a glutton for punishment.

When we blog we expose a side of ourselves that we get to choose. How wonderful, huh? How wonderful to wake up and think today I will neither bath nor put clothes on - but I will post a picture my husband took of me three weeks ago and no one will be the wiser.

Or, today I choose to expose my patient and "fruit of the spirit" side even though I just chewed my kids out for the 5th time and hung the phone up on my husband.

Or, here's one. Today I will choose to be funny although I'm hurting.

I will choose to make a joke even though I stood in the shower and cried.

I will choose to write about sippy cups and playdates, even though my husband just walked out the door. Again.

Any of these sound familiar?

Today I will choose to write about how angry we are allowed to get with a God who is bigger and better and wiser and greater than we can ever dream of being. Because I am angry. And fed-up. And I feel jilted. And left out.

No, those aren't examples. Those are for real. That is a pretty good explanation of how I really feel. I'm just sayin'. All pretense aside. Today I choose...to be real.

And real ain't always pretty.

I think my biggest fear after losing this pregnancy was what people would think. Can you believe that? I mean, did I learn nothing from EIGHTH GRADE??? Who cares what people think! But I really felt afraid that people would look at me from afar and think, "How much more can she take? Why doesn't' she just give up already? Why doesn't she just quit trying to get pregnant. By this point she's doing this to herself."

I didn't want to be the lady that walked in to the church and people peered at and rolled their eyes at and thought, "Silly fool. Give up. Move on."

But then I decided that if a person did that - they obviously have never held a child before.

Because to hold a child in your arms and know that their nose is your nose. Or that they have red hair like your grandmother. Or that their toes are long like their daddies. Well, if you've done that - then you know.

Am I right?

So who cares who laughs or mocks or scoffs or makes their comments. Let them. They are ignorant.

But me? I am real.

I'm just as real as Job who screamed into the heavens, "But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God." (Job 13:3).

I'm not saying I'm Job. Please don't compare my heartache to his. Besides I've never been one for comparing war wounds, I'm just saying that today in all my realness I long to get 5 minutes alone with Him. I long to ARGUE with Him. Hear His side. Have Him hear mine. Plead my case. And duke this thing out. Job said, "If only I new where to find him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments." (Job 23:3)

Not just for this pregnancy. No. But for the first one, that I waited five long years for.

Or for the second one. That was so devastating that it nearly took my marriage down with it.

Or for sweet Elisha. Who had my nose. And The AG's toes. Who cried when I held him and cooed when his daddy did. Oh yeah - give me a few minutes to argue that one.

Or for this baby, who I thought might be my God-given reward for, oh, I don't know, LIVING through the last one?!?

Oh yeah Big Guy, You and me, five minutes. Alone. Give me just five minutes to plead my case.

But what will five minutes do? Huh?
Honestly, what will pleading my case really do in light of a God who is wiser than I am?
Fairer than I'll ever be?
Full of justice and mercy, exceeding in love.
Do I really think I can outwit, outsmart, outlast?
No. I'm crazy to even try.

Look, I can't explain why this kind of thing happened. I don't know that I really need an explanation. I think I just want someone to argue with. And I know He can take it.

The last thing I am pretentious enough to think is that I can write a post on "why bad things happen to good people" and that it will be just the salve that anyone reading this blog might need. Please.

I don't know why things happen.
I don't know why things hurt.

I don't know why you lose your temper so easily with your kiddos.

Or why your husband walked out the door again.

I don't know why there was a lay-off at work.

I don't know why you're husband won't go to church with you.

Or how your going to pay for that bill that just came in the mail.

I don't know why I can't lose these last 50 pounds.

Or why Arrested Development wasn't renewed for another season.

I just know these things happen. All over the world. All of the time.

And, well, I know that when they do I have someone to turn to. And I want you to have someone too. Do you? (If not, would you please email me? We have so very much to talk about. Please don't be scared. I'm harmless.)

Even in all my anger and all my rage and all my heartache and all my disappointment. Still I go to the One that Psalm 56 says has, "...put my tears in a bottle." That is one mighty big bottle by this point, might I add.

But still I go.
Through every pregnancy - I go.
Through every ultrasound - I go.
Through every tear - I go.
Through every trial - I go.

Oh yeah. I'm angry. Don't get me wrong. I will be for a while.
But even as deep as my anger runs, my love for the Lord runs deeper. Much deeper.

And that, my lovelies, is about as real as it gets.

Jul 29, 2008

The Foxhole. Part 2.

You have to know that when I posted on Friday I did it under some intense emotions. I wanted to tell you all every single word the doctor had spoken to me and how they had made me wait forever on that cold metal table with everything taken off "from the waist down" and wrapped only in a sterile white sheet. I wanted to...

But I couldn't.

I was so tired. And so spent. And so stinkin' mad.

My appt. was at 8:15 that morning and as is typical form for me I arrived 15 minutes late. Which they didn't seem bothered by. Thank goodness.

They took me back to the ultrasound room and explained that today's ultrasound would be to see just how far along I was and to see the heartbeat. The AG and I were immediately terrified and thrilled all at once. But first they had to ask me some questions.

Question #1: First date of last menstrual cycle? "Uhhh...okay, let me see, it would have been a couple days before we went to the beach with the Freeman's because Ronnie said something that totally made me so mad and I wanted to claw his eyes out but David just whispered in my ear, 'I think you need to take a Midol.' So yes, I think it was June 1."

Question #2: How many times have you been pregnant before? "Three."

Question #3: Does that include this time? "No. If you include this time that would be four."

Question #4: And how many babies do you have? "Uhhh...none."

Question #5: Okay, let's see you've had four pregnancies and no babies? "Yes, if you include this pregnancy I have had four total pregnancies. And if you are asking how many babies I left the hospital with and took home and stuck a sign in my front yard announcing? None."

Question #6: But what about her? (They look at Remi) "She's adopted."

Interject here the slight tilt of head, half frownie face and "sorry, hon" that accompanies most responses to the above mentioned questions. I hate half frownie faces. And I really hate the word "hon."

Which leads me to the part where we - UNFORTUNATELY - had the Remster with us in the office because we couldn't find anyone to keep her that morning and we felt like we had everything pretty much under control:
1. DVD player w/The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh loaded and ready to go? Check.
2. Apple Dippers? Check.
3. Sippy Cup? Check.
4. Princess Daisy Barbie? Check.

What could possibly happen in that room that would distract her from the veritable onslaught of spoiledness that we had prepared for her. HA! If we only knew.

52 minutes later the doctor walks in the room. 52 MINUTES LATER. Didn't anyone tell him we were stuck in there with a 2 year old? But you can't blame him, really. He's precious. And so you just have to let his lateness slide. He was probably helping an old woman cross the street or rescuing a kitten. I mean seriously, he's just that kind of guy.

When he walks in the room the first thing he says is, "Good morning Melissa, I'm sorry to keep you waiting but I am hoping you can show me some twins this morning. I am needing another set of twins to add to my list." And at that moment I really wanted to help him out. I really wanted to look at the screen and see two. I thought that would be just the piece of wonderful we needed.

And then, silence.

I hate that part. The part where they are doing the ultrasound and he's looking but not saying a word and the nurse is looking and not saying a word. And neither of them will look directly at you. And all you can hear in the room is silence except for Pooh saying, "I'm just a little black rain cloud, of course." A little black rain cloud.

"Okay, Melissa, what we see here is the sac. And what we see hear is the embryo."

My heart is beating fast. The AG is holding my hand so hard it is starting to hurt.

"Now what we see here is your pulse and so it seems to be distorting the picture just a little..."

Yeah, yeah, keep going.

"But what we don't see is a heartbeat."


"If there were a heartbeat we would see it beating largely right here. It would be huge and very evident and I see no sign of it."

And then it was over for me.

I know he said a lot more. A LOT MORE. I know his knowledgeable medical talk was salt and peppered with "I'm sorry." I do remember that. I remember the nurse walked out eventually. And I remember telling myself not to cry. But I remember laughing at myself for even suggesting I was that strong.

And then I remembered that as crappy as this was - I had been through worse. I had to pick out a coffin for pete's sake. I can do just about anything.

But I'm all talk. And so I cried.

And then he told us to go home. Take two weeks and come back and we'd look one more time and that maybe things would change. I asked him if he was being kind. He smiled at me. I knew that meant he was. He said that hopefully in two weeks, "nature would take its course." I knew what that meant - go home and wait.

Wait to lose what you'd waited for.
Wait to lose what you'd hoped for.
Wait to lose what you'd named.

We're supposed to go back in two weeks to see if things have changed. But there's no heartbeat - so I know he's just being kind.

Little black rain cloud, indeed.

And then, just before he went to leave I asked the question all of us who have walked that road have wanted to ask but dared not.

"Will you look just one more time?"


"Will you check just one more time? Just in case you missed something. Just in case you were wrong."

Of course I will, Melissa, I would be happy to. Just let me get my nurse in here.

She walks in and sees what we're doing and I tell her, "Don't make fun of me when I leave."


"Don't make fun of me for having you all do this again. Don't laugh at me for wanting to see something different. Okay? Promise you won't laugh at me."


And as I lay back on that cold, metal table tears are streaming down my face. I can't hide them. I tried and failed. Big deal. And as I suddenly realize how weak I am I decide to screw it. And I bawl. And suddenly, with Pooh still giggling in the background Remi crawls up beside me...

"Nooooo...don't cry mama. Don't cry mama. I'm fine mama. You're fine mama."

I know Remi.

"Don't cry mama. Okay?"

Okay, Remi.

And she lays her head on my cold, wet shoulder. And from her player in the corner I hear...

"So promise me Pooh that you will always remember, you're braver than you believe,and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
"I promise, Christopher Robin. I promise."

Jul 28, 2008

The Foxhole. Part I

What do I write?
What do I write?

Do I write about how much I appreciate all of their kind words and faith-filled prayers that were specifically for me?

Do I write about how absolutely precious my husband was to me this weekend?

Do I write and tell them exactly what my doctor said so that we're all on the same page?

Or do I tell them how really, really, really hacked off I am?

What do I write?
What do I write?

I'll be honest, if you're looking for "real" you have officially come to the right place. Cuz let me tell ya folks - it's about to get all rizzle up in hizzle.

I mean, what else am I supposed to do? Pretend like this isn't happening to me (AGAIN) and pretend like I'm not disappointed (AGAIN) and therefore pretend like everything is just going off without a hitch?

Uh, no.

Truth be told I may lose a few of you. I may talk about this today and I may talk about this tomorrow and I may even talk about this again on Friday. And you may get so sick of hearing about it that you move on to another blog, with funnier titles and snappy crock-pot recipes. (Not that I'm being sarcastic, though. I'm not! Because there is nothing I love better than a snappy crock-pot recipe). But this is, well, this is what's on my heart.

My heart beats with this loss. To not talk of this hurt would be to not talk about Remi or the AG. They are my heartbeats - therefore they are in my conversation. Sorry, that's just how I roll.

When I posted my feelings on Friday I never - ever, ever - expected to hear from so many of you. I assumed you would read my post and then ever so quietly tiptoe to the ESCAPE button and pretend like you never stopped by. Hoped I would never hear you come in and then leave. But you didn't. You came in, you read, you got angry and sad just like me, you posted your feelings and only then did you hit ESCAPE with all the frustration that I felt! And I couldn't thank you more.

I was so afraid that someone would leave me a message saying something like, "Well, hey stupid! Why did you tell us all in the first place? That's your own dumb fault!" But then I realized that I wasn't fearing one of you would say that, but rather that I wouldn't stop saying it to myself.

That was the reason I felt embarrassed.
I had shared my heart.
My plans.
And neither of them panned out.
It's kind of like running for Class President. You want it, everyone knows you want it. Why else would you make all those stupid posters and have your mom come and help you hang 'em around the school? Your feelings are out there buddy, you're wearing them on your sleeve. You make your election promises for vending machines and no after school detention and pass out hundreds of buttons. But when the big day comes - you lose.

Man, those days really blow.

So yes, I was embarrassed. But around 3:15 yesterday afternoon I decided this, "Melissa - you can go through it alone or you can go through it with friends. You're choice." So, I thank you.

The Attorney General was especially precious this weekend. Which speaks volumes to me - when his heart is breaking just as much as mine is. If I'm not mistaken I wasn't the only one crying in that doctors office. I wasn't the only one who felt like they had been forgotten. I wasn't the only one who felt like this must be some cruel joke.

And yet here he was all weekend, serving me. I woke up Saturday morning to a freshly drawn bubble bath and a cold glass of chocolate milk sitting on the side. In the middle of my bath he brought in my laptop and sat it on the side of the tub.

Now, I must admit that at this point I assumed he was going to throw it in while screaming, "I can't take it anymore. I'm killing you off and ordering one of those Russian brides that don't speak English!" And even though in one sick aspect I wish that would have happened, he just pushed PLAY and had an episode of The Love Boat waiting and ready for me to watch. Ahhhhh...a bubble bath, chocolate milk and Captain Stubing. What could be better? (Is this too much information?)

Later that afternoon he whisked me away to the Marriott just down the road where we could "get away." He put us up in a beautiful room, took me to my favorite restaurant and a funny movie. And then we sat up in our hotel room bed till past midnight just talking. Sharing. We laughed and cried and got mad and then talked about Remi and then shared some more...and, well, that was without a doubt my favorite part.

He said something to me this weekend that I'll never forget. He took my hand and looked at me and said, "Welcome to the foxhole."

A "foxhole" as most of you know is defined as,

"a shallow pit dug by a soldier in combat for immediate refuge
against enemy fire."

Rarely would a soldier find himself alone in a foxhole, but instead encamped with a fellow soldier. Someone who would "have his back," if you will.
Bonds were made in the foxhole.
Friendships were cemented in the foxhole.
Men became brothers in the foxhole.

We've been in a foxhole or two...or three...or four...in our day.
I know what it looks like.
What it smells like.
I know how small and tight and cramped it is.
And what it feels like to be stuck inside, when the weight of the world is falling down around you.

And I cannot imagine being inside of it with a better man.

So Saturday night, as I fell asleep with his hand in mine, I whispered "Welcome to the foxhole, baby," to which he sweetly replied, "It stinks in here."

To be continued...

Jul 25, 2008


Well, I'm not floating.

In fact, I think I'm sinking.

I had an ultrasound this morning. He told me, "Melissa, there is no heartbeat."

Which is ironic since mine stopped beating at the exact same time.

If you'll excuse me I'd like to crawl into my bed now...and try to sleep through some heartache and embarrassment. Both of which I feel right at this moment.

Peace would be nice.

You Asked. Now You Shall Recieve.

Well let's get this show on the road, shall we?

Krazy Karla actually asked me, "Melissa, are you going to find out if you are having a boy or girl? And are you going to let us know?"

Karla, Karla, Karla...are you kidding me? OF COURSE we are going to find out if it is a boy or girl. For two reasons.
1. I'm nosy.
2. I'm cheap. And if it's a boy - then do you have any idea how much stuff I'm gonna need? If it's a boy, I plan on spending some major moola within minutes of my finding out.

And yes. I plan on letting y'all know. I have a feeling y'all are gonna be alot like my family. You'll track me down and drive me nuts until I give up all the information you so desire.

Which is fine. I'm totally used to it.

Electric Elizabeth emailed me with several questions one of which I will use today and the others I will save. Here goes..."Do you go #2 in public?"

Elizabeth, obviously you are new here.

Otherwise you would know my feelings toward a little known restaurant called P.F. Changs, a popular hotel chain known as The Marriott, and what my daughter refers to as the "Bounce House." So to answer your question...well, you read the following stories and then you tell me.

Oh, and then add: Costco, Publix, LifeWay Christian Bookstore, Marshall's, and my friend Teresa's house.

Some crazed lunatic from just down the road - who shall remain nameless - sent me this. "I got your Friday question. Who is your favorite pastor? You better give the right answer or you’ll be singing your solos from the shower and not the stage."

Apparently someone needs a little boost of self-confidence, no? But hey, that's okay - we all do from time to time. Though he need not worry. It's him. He's my favorite.

Yes, it's my SOUTHERN BAPTIST preacher.

And although I am not a SOUTHERN BAPTIST girl...
And although I do think there are some different ways he could at least try to wear his hair... And although I think he's getting to the age where a nice little pair of frames would make him look both distinguished AND hip...
And although I wish he would wear at least one pair of shoes that he paid full price for...
I sure do love him.

And he does let me sing alot. But that's because I'm his favorite. I know that for a fact, because I tell him I am, all the time.


Kinky Kelley asks this, "I think that I recall you mentioning once that you flat iron Remi's hair. If I dreamed that up, then forget about it, but if it's so I'm wondering how often you iron it and do you think that it has at all damaged or permanently changed the texture of her hair. I want to flat iron my niece's hair but I'm afraid of scarring her for life. I mean, not really scarring her but that her hair will never curl again for the rest of her life."

Kelley, you did not dream that. It really happened. And honey, you should have seen her. She looked fabulous!

But it is not something I do very often at all. Mainly because she can't sit still that long. But she has kind of short hair so it doesn't take a whole long time to do it. If I had a child with waist length hair you couldn't pay me enough.

So I would say I've flat ironed it maybe 4 or 5 times. And heck no! That hasn't hurt it at all. I first thought when I put that hot flat iron to her hair, "Oh no! What if it burns it off and it falls out?" But then I just had to decide what was more important her hair falling off at the root or her looking good in her polka-dot dress. And I'm sorry, but the dress won.

I didn't wash her hair the next day. Just so I didn't have to blow dry it. Ya know, tryin' the whole "less is more" approach. Which I've never totally agreed with when it comes to hair.

But trust me, your niece will be totally fine. Just don't do it everyday. Unless fashion calls for it, of course, then all bets are off.

Okay - so there are our questions for this Friday. If your question wasn't listed, no worries, it may very well be up here next week. Or the week after that. Or in the year 2010. But either way - keep checkin' back.

Thank you all for sending in your questions. I love reading them and will get to each and every one of them. In the mean time, have a great weekend. Hire a babysitter and go see Batman - Heath Ledger ROCKED IT FOR 2 SOLID HOURS!! A-m-a-z-i-n-g is all I can say, my lovelies, amazing.

Happy Friday.

Jul 24, 2008

Couple Things.

Occasionally I will leave a post called "Couple Things" whenever I need to cover a couple different areas all at once. It doesn't happen often, so don't be scared. But nonetheless here we go...

1. Yes, I've been doing WATER AEROBICS. I feel the need to clarify this for the 25+ members of my family who emailed me yesterday to tell me both "how proud they were of me" and also to ask me "are you actually wearing a swimsuit in there? And is it one with good support?" To those loved ones I would like to say this:

Look, it's water aerobics, okay? It's not like it's Power Pilates with Helga the Drill Sargent. No need to be proud. I mean, for pete's sake, I'm the only one under 58 in the entire class. Yes, I wear a swimsuit and yes, it has good support.

Okay, that's a lie. It has almost no support. Which is why I have given myself two black eyes and a bloody nose. Oh, and before you get too proud - I skipped yesterday morning in order to go to Cracker Barrell with the AG. But he threatened me! He really did. He's just awful like that.

And yes. I had bacon.

2. Sarah and HappyMcFamily listen up!! You have a request. Now granted, I am a little bitter about this considering it is MY blog and MY posts and no one wants any of MY wisdom. But hey, I'll get over it. In the mean time a couple of my lovelies want a Beef Tips and Rice recipe from Miss Sarah. And HappyMcFamily they want to know how you do your meal lists (they also want to know what the heck FlyLady is...I have to admit, I'm a tad curious myself). So see that little "email me" button over to the right, just click on it, send me your info and I'll make sure they get it.

And who knows. If they're lucky maybe I'll just send them MY Beef tips and Rice recipe. Oh yeeeeaaahhh. Who wouldn't want that?

3. Tomorrow is Friday. Friday is my first Doctor's appt. Okay, peeps, it's time! I know that I will wake up Friday morning just sick to my stomach at how my morning appt. will go, so if you're opening up your morning with some prayer - why not send some "peace" my way?

I'd also like a good report from doctor and I'd like to float out the door. I've never floated before. I've heard lots about it, though. Sounds awesome.

So please pray for me and the Attorney General and of course, little Julio. Who has been nothing but nauseating and dizzying and extremely tiring.

This much I know, my lovelies, God is good. All the time. And all the time. God is good.

4. Heather W. informed me that Estelle Getty died. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. Well, okay, that's a lie. I can believe it. I think she was like 104. But still - this is Sophia. Sophia Petrillo. The character that is a part of my dearly beloved Golden Girls - of which I watch probably two or three A DAY! Every evening when I'm cooking dinner, that's what is playing on my TV.

I was so sad to hear she passed away. She was a very funny lady who provided me with a world of sarcastic comebacks. As if I needed any more.

And thanks to Ashley who informed me of the Lifetime TV Golden Girls marathon on July 25th from 12-5. I suggest we all watch it and then refer all next week to the great one-liners we hear. Although I know them all by heart. But still...nothing is better than a great one-liner.

Take for instance two days ago when I actually came across an old episode of Hart to Hart. Can you believe that? I watched every second of it. And loved the line when the police chief told Mr. Hart that he would "make a note" of his concern. And Mr. Hart said, "When you do - file it under H."

I mean, who else could get away with saying that? I tried to say it to the AG last night when he was complaining about a paper he had misplaced. I said, "Well next time you might try filing it under H." But he just looked at me and said, "Melissa, sometimes you really get on my nerves. And you have something between your teeth."

So thanks to Estelle Getty who at the age of 62 got her big break in a little show called The Golden Girls - and went on to win TWO Emmy awards. Proving that no matter how wrinkled we are or past our prime we are considered - it ain't over till it's over.

5. Don't forget that tomorrow is question and answer day. If you haven't turned in a question for me yet, why not? I am ball of wisdom and information that I know you are just aching to dive into. Plus I can do good hair.

6. In the ongoing debate of "Nature Versus Nurture" may I just show this video to those who fall on the side of Nature? Nay-tay-tay my friends. Nurture wins out every time. Trust me. She may not have my DNA but she has everything else.

Notice how she refuses to dance until begged (she gets that honest).
Or until she finally hears the applause on the television (She also gets that honest. That is actually a problem I am trying to deal with right now. It's serious.)
And how she takes a bow at the end. (I am a firm believer in "if you're gonna go to the trouble of doing it, at least take a bow at the end.")

*The Attorney General would like to put in a disclaimer that he neither dances this way nor does he weigh 300 pounds.

Personally, I think they're both adorable.

Jul 23, 2008

Wednesdays Never Work For Me.

So I am trying my hand at this whole "Blog Carnival" thing again. If you've been here very long you know the last one I did brought in like, 4 comments. Oh yeah. That's success no matter how you look at it.

So as you can see "Blog Carnivaling" did not work for me. I'm hoping to change that.

However, the title of the Blog Carnival from over at Rocks In My Dryer is called "Works for Me Wednesday." Which is rather unfortunate considering...well, nothing ever, ever, works for me.

Here are examples of things I've tried. And yet failed miserably at.

1. Losing weight. Discuss amongst yourselves.

2. Getting Remi to quit dukin' it out with the cute little blond girl in her Sunday School class.

3. I once tried to leave a "sexy" scavenger hunt around our house for the Attorney General. ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS FOLLOW THE CLUES!! But instead he just walked right onto our back porch where I was arrayed in all my glory and said, "What in the world are you doing?" (Though apparently I got this to work...eventually. Just look here.)

4. I tried to stay awake during Harry Potter. No. can. do.

5. I once tried to drive past Marble Slab Creamery. See #1.

6. My Beef-Tips and Rice. Somewhere the AG is still spitting something up.

7. I once tried to punish Remi by making her go all day without cartoons. I think we know who was really being punished here. Am I right?

8. I have a brand new Eliptical machine in my bonus room. 'Nuff said.

9. I have tried every single solitary game at every single solitary carnival/fair I've ever been too. And I've never won anything. Ever. (I take that back...I once won a cake in a cakewalk. This was embarrassing considering by the looks of me I should not be participating in said cakewalk.) Again, see #1.

10. I once tried out for cheerleader. That did not work out for me. Apparently when I jump I do not move. That was a problem for that stinkin' student body who did the voting.

Oh, people. That is just the short list. Just the itty bitty short list. I assure you. So why, then, am I doing a Blog Carnival on what works for me?

To show you that with a little positivity you can turn this thing around. See? I'm going to try. I'm not going to focus on the fact that this morning I went and did my water aerobics at 8:30 and then came home and ate my daughter's weight in BACON.
No, I'm not gonna hang out there. Cause what good will it do me?

And I'm not going to focus on the fact that within 20 minutes my sweet husband will walk in the door, my house is a wreck, I have boiled chicken and done absolutely nothing else with it, and I haven't put on make-up in 8 days. No, I'm going to focus on what I CAN DO. What WILL WORK for me!

I'm going to focus on the fact that within the next 20 minutes I can run like a bat out of heck around this house,
throw toys across a room and have them land in a toybox,
cut up a boiled chicken just to throw him off an make him think I have a plan,
sit Remi on the couch in her gown so that he thinks she's already been bathed,
turn on some worship music so that he thinks I'm in a good and peaceful mood,
and still have time to hop in the shower so he thinks I'm clean. Just for him.


And that, my friends, is what works for me.

What works for you? C'mon now. Momma needs some help here.

Jul 22, 2008

Lordy, Melissa's Tryin' To Sell Us Something, Again.

Several weeks ago I posted about a book I had just finished reading. Man, I really loved this book.

Now, keep in mind, I'm a reader. Which means, be it a Southern Living, Cormac McCarthy's latest or an evangelism track, I pretty much drag it to the bathroom with me and spend some quality time with it. I just love to read.

I realize not everyone is this way.

Which brings me to today.

"The Same Kind of Different As Me" really spoke to me. And when it did it said, "Hey Melissa, you don't have to be rich or famous or on the threshold of fame to make a difference. Just love. Just love people." And I responded to it.

And now I want you to do the same. So here's what I'm thinking...

I don't know how to do fancy Random Generator thingy's, and I don't have some administrative council that will take into account your comments and decide whose was the most authentic (though I am working on that - let it be known.) But I would love to pass this book along to YOU! Several times over the last few weeks I have thought of different ones of you that I wanted to pass it on to, but what if I did it and you hate to read? And then you were all, "Oh crap. I hate to read. Why did Melissa do this? Now I hate her. And I know she colors her hair. Who does she think she's fooling?"

But then I remembered y'all are reading my blog. So chances are - you read at least some.

So if you would like my copy of this book then just leave me a comment. I'll figure out some creative way to decide who gets it. Oh, it won't be fancy. But it will be funny. (I don't do fancy, I do funny.)

But here are the rules:

1. If the book comes to you then you have to TAKE CARE OF IT. Granted the pages are already torn and earmarked and one time I took it to the pool and maayyyy have dropped it. But nonetheless YOU must take care of it, because...

2. When you are done I want you to sign your name in the back of it. Right under mine. And then...

3. I want you to send it to someone else. Hopefully you will leave the same kind of ingenious post on your website that I'm doing here. Because let's be honest - it don't get no cleverer than this here posty. So it will be your turn to send it to someone and they, in turn, will sign there name and then they will send it on...

4. And before long there will be a slew of names in the back of that little book. But the important thing will not be what is written in the back of the book, but what is written on our heart. And hopefully all of us will be the better for having written it. And by signing our name we're saying we read it and it meant something to us...

5. And maybe, just maybe, we will have learned to love. Just love.
Cause just loving people is really one of the most important things of all, is it not? Otherwise The Greatest Commandment would not be referred to so much as The Greatest Commandment as it would be called The Great Piece of Advice That You Can Either Take or Chunk Don't Make No Nevermind.

Luke 10:26-28 says,
(26) "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" (27) He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (28) "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

So who wants to live? Really live.

Jul 21, 2008

Had I Only Known.

So Saturday the Attorney General came in from the mailbox and I had a package! I had a package! Do you know what that means???

It means that either the two shirts I ordered from off of eBay just arrived (yes, I do that.) Or my granny just mailed me another "care package" filled with cartoons she clipped from the paper, a coupon for Raid, half a block of cheese and some stamps. You have to love getting stuff from her in the mail.

But I was wrong. People, I was wrong.

I had received a gift from one of my new blogging buddies. My new friend from Lulaville had sent me a gift that she found for me to use during my pregnancy. Here is the book she sent me...

How great is that? "Lula" thought enough of me to send me a gift. Which tells me she either really wants me to have a faith-filled pregnancy, or she wants me to shut the heck up. I'm not sure which, but really, who cares...

I mean, had I known that starting a blog would get you gifts from perfect strangers I would have started one YEEEAARRRSSS ago.

Because I am not above accepting gifts from strangers. Or stalkers. And personally, I put Lulaville in both of those categories.

So Lula, Thank you. I appreciate your gift more than you know. I also appreciate you seeing that book and knowing that I needed it. I'm not sure which I like more - the book or your emails (that haunt me day and night.)

Love you and thanking God for your kindness, my friend.

If you would like for me to leave you a sweet message then please send your gifts to my home address.

Oh, I kid.

You don't have to send a gift. Maybe just some coupons for...oh, I don't know...chicken...that sounds nice right about now. Maybe some KFC coupons. Or the other half of that cheese block might be fitting.

Are you listening Granny?

Jul 18, 2008

Friday: You Asked. Now You Shall Receive.

Several months ago I started a grandiose tradition known as "You Asked. Now You Shall Receive" Friday. The premise was that you all would email me questions regarding my truly exciting life and I would answer them.

It's purpose was twofold:
1. To give you a sneak peek into my life. Because clearly, having a BLOG is not "sneak-peak" enough.
2. To make me feel like someone gives a heck about what kind of dryer sheets I use.

Neither of these things have really panned out.

Mainly because, like, three of y'all emailed me questions. And also because I forgot I had even started the tradition. Which I'm not exactly sure even constitutes a "tradition"...but I digress.

So it's Friday, and well, I'm taking full advantage of it. I had just enough questions to scrounge up some material for this week. But you know what that means? (Here we go listing again.) It means two things:

1. Next week there will be no Friday unless you all email me questions. Seriously, Friday's will be cancelled all over the world.
2. This week won't really be that good because let's be honest, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel on these questions.

*Note: Don't be offended if "bottom of the barrel" questions happen to be yours. I just realized how rude that sounded. I do apologize. I don't take it back mind you...but I do apologize.

Jenni asks: I'm curious ... I want to know how you picked Remi's name. And do you mind telling what her middle name is? I lovvvvvvvvvvve different names!

Sure, Jenni. My child's full name is REMI HOPE RADKE. That's right...I'm a Radke. NOT a Lee. (But don't get ahead of yourselves, that one's a comin'.) I named her Remi when my cousin, Meridith, found it on the internet and it sounded good with Radke. It has no special significance, no woman in the Bible was named Remi, and it doesn't belong to a third cousin twice removed who was a war veteran. I just liked it. It means "champagne." Isn't that corny?

Hope is the most special of the two names. I always loved the name Hope but felt it was a little "General Hospital" for a first name. But it was important to me to use it because of the all the power that little name holds. Hope. I needed it, and man, did she ever bring it. I still love it.

Anonymous said: Some may not know this, but I know your last name is Radke. Why Lee?

Well, here's the dealio. For years I have gone by the last name Lee. It's my maiden name and when I moved to Nashville I began doing studio work under the last name Lee and made a lot of connections with that name, and well, it stuck.

In fact, to be honest, only those I go to church with know me as Radke. Everyone I've worked with in this town have always known me as Melissa Lee. When I started my blog and I started traveling and speaking/singing at various churches I asked the AG what I should do...he suggested I stick with Lee. He said it was easier to remember, to pronounce and just rolled off the tongue better. And if he's a Radke and saying that, well, then who am I to disagree?

So Lee it is. It is actually very natural to me. In my heart I'm a Radke - because I'm the AG's and he's a Radke. But in my head and on paper I will always be Lee. So when they sign my big, fat checks, I would prefer they make it out to Melissa Lee. Actually they could make it out to Rosie O'Donnell and I would take it if it was a big, fat check.

Okay, that might be stretching it.

Hannah asked: Melissa, when you are home alone what is your biggest weakness?

Well, Hannah. Believe it or not - it's celery. I love celery. I love the crunch of it and what it does for my body and my health. I love how it makes me feel and ....oh, okay, I can't even finish that with a straight face.

Hannah, I know you are thinking I'm going to say something like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Blue Bell vanilla completely drowned in Hershey's syrup. But I'm not. Although I could.

It's naps. Hannah, I am a napper from waaaaay back. I always took naps. I never complained. I never cried. Heck, mom says I used to suggest them. And still to this day I enjoy turning the ceiling fan on high, spreading out a blanket across the bed and curling up in a fetal position, kind of nap. It's never a long one, only 3 or 4 hours...just kidding...but I still love them to this day.

Except when the AG home. He is a productive kind of guy (which I hate, loathe and despise) and sees them as a waste of time. Except on Sundays. Then you had best not ring our phones between 2 and 4. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

So there's our Friday edition. Wasn't that fun? Now you see a personal side of me that you wouldn't normally see any other time except right here on this blog, Monday through Thursday. See what a rarity that is?

But I need your help. If you have a question - and nothing is off limits - then email me. I would be happy to look your question over, pray about it, decide that it's too embarrassing to answer and pretend I lost it. So send away!!

Until then, remember, I like y'all. I really really like y'all. So have a wonderful weekend and a happy new year. (I'm just sayin' - in case I forget later.)

Jul 17, 2008

Dear Dad.

Hi Daddy!

Momma says you are out of town working. Is that really true? Because sometimes when I ask where you are momma says, "He's took a big airplane to go to work this morning..." but then other times when I ask she says, "...he's laid up in a 4 star hotel, ordering room service. For his job." But she says that party kinda funny...like when she calls me a "smarty pants."

So which is it? Are you working or are you acting fancy? I don't really like either of those things.

I prefer you come home and let me ride on your back. I think that is much more fun. Don't you?

Plus, when you are gone momma acts really funny. Like, this morning she went to her water aerobics class and said she felt good because she had worked out.

But then when we went to Food Lion the only thing she bought was Double Stuff Oreo's.

When it was time for my nap she was looking for me all over the house and she found me hiding in the pantry with the Cheetos. She said, "Remi! What did I say? I said NO MORE CHEETOS. We don't just eat chips whenever we want. They are a TREAT!"

But then when I woke up from my nap I came downstairs and she had fallen asleep on the couch with the bag on her chest.

She got on to me and told me "NO MORE MAX and RUBY! NO MORE T.V."

But then she watched three episodes of those old golden ladies, back to back.

Hey daddy, what'supwiththat?

I like it better when you're here. She cleans up the kitchen and washes my clothes. Today when we couldnt' find anything clean to wear she said, "It's okay baby, put it on. Who have we got to impress?"

But then cried when nothing in her closet fit her.

I think she's losing her mind. Don't you wanna come home now?

Probably not.

Oh, and then she got mad at me because I didn't want to play outside, because CLEARLY I have nothing to play with in my backyard.

But daddy, I was HOT! Really hot. And she should understand because when she opened the door to let me in she said, "Remi, get in here. It's so hot my hair is fallin'. My hair is fallin'." And daddy, I'm not so sure it was falling or she just had forgotten to wash it.

Would you please come home and check on her? She misses you real bad. I know this because tonight when we were saying our prayers she prayed for you. She said, "And God bless Daddy in Amarillo, in his big, fancy hotel room with all the room service and pay-per-view a man could want. God bless his stinkin' little heart."

See? She adores you.

And I do too dad. Come home soon.

Your Remster

Jul 16, 2008

Big Girls Don't Cry. Big Momma's Do.

When we brought Remi home from the hospital we didn't have anything in the realm of furniture. At. All.

It just seemed to happen so fast with her. We were called about adopting her. And then before you know it she was here. And then even quicker we were pulling out of the hospital giggling like kids and saying, "Do they know we're driving off with this baby? And we have noooo idea what we're doing?"

So when we brought her home we had to act - fast!

First priority. Get a bed.

Second priority. Take out a loan for bed.

Third priority. Figure out what to do since loan was denied.

Adoption ain't cheap. So if you're fortunate enough to adopt, then look, you might not be able to afford a bed and well, the kids' just gotta live with that. It's all about choices.

Thankfully, our friend Candie came through for us and GAVE US - FOR FREE - CUZ I LIKE ME SOME FREE - a bed that she had out in her garage. She washed it up real nice and pretty and before you knew it - it was as good as new.

Oh, there were a few quirks.

I mean, most beds raise and lower in four or five levels. Right? Not ours. It goes from the height of "look my baby is an infant and can only lay here and coo and I don't have to worry about them jumping out" to "look my child is now 12 and is pretty much laying on the ground but thankfully these bars are all around her head so at least she can't break free."

I'm not lying. When Remi was about 12 months old I would just have to lower her as much as I could into the bed and then let her fall the rest of the way. Because the bed was that low and my arms are that short. (I get it honest, my mom's arms are ridiculously short. Seriously, she looks just like Elton John. I kid you not.)

Until now.

Two nights ago Remi got a big-girl bed. Well, as "big girl" as it can be with Pooh and Tigger and Cookie and Elmo all laid up in it.

But big to her.

And too big to me.

It hurt my heart a little bit. I have to be honest.

To watch her pull the covers up over herself (just yesterday it was my job to keep her warm).

And to prop her head up on her new pillow (just yesterday it was my job to hold her head).

To walk out the door and hear her say, "Don't close the door mama...I scared," (just yesterday she couldn't say a word. Just yesterday she didn't know fear.)

But now that's changed. This morning she woke me up not by yelling from her crib, "maaaammaaaaa...where ahhhhh youuu???" But by walking in my room and touching me on the arm and saying, "Good mohning mama."

And tonight, as I tucked her in and said her prayers she looked up at me with eyes that I swear look like her daddies and said,
"Mama, don't close door? 'Kay?
"Okay, Remi."
"But mama, you get out now."
(Gulp) "Okay, Remi."

2 seconds later.

"What Remi?"
"I need Pooh bear!!!!"

Oh, thank God. She's not grown yet.

Jul 15, 2008

Miracle's Little Helpers.

To those of you who will leave me little comments that you are praying for me...thank you, so much. Every time I open up a comment and it says, "I prayed for you today," I wonder why I wasn't blogging years ago!

My doctor's office called me on Friday, just as we were arriving in North Carolina, to give me the results from my bloodwork. As soon as I heard that nurses voice on the other end of the phone my heart dropped. Before I even knew what her words to me would be - my heart sunk.

I am so used to bad news.

But God is faithful and ALL IS WELL!!! (Actually, even if my numbers were terrible I STILL know that God is faithful. Can I get a whoop whoop?) The nurse said that my numbers are perfect in every way, that I am very pregnant and everything looks good.

NO ONE - not any one at any time - has ever used the words "looks good" and "your pregnancy" in the same sentence. So that tasted mighty sweet.

Oh, AND I threw up my breakfast Friday morning!!! Isn't that exciting? That's never happened before. I've never experienced morning sickness. Good, ole, morning sickness. It was so wonderful. Hopefully I'll do it again real soon.

Ya know, I was thinking this weekend...my Pawpaw passed away last year. July 25th will be one year exactly. My paw was a big man. Literally and figuratively. He was what some might refer to as "The Big Cheese." He knew everyone and everyone knew him. At any given moment you could catch him driving his tractor, singing bass or eating catfish. His life generally revolved around those three things. And my Granny, of course. His world revolved around her.

I tell you this because two years ago when Elisha was born and then passed away, my Pawpaw took it very hard. Very hard. He was in bad health and had been for quite some time and I just remember him praying that he would live long enough to "hold that boy" in his arms. I hate he never got the chance to do that. I hated it something awful.

And I remember how he laid his hands on me and prayed for me.
He touched my pregnant belly and prayed for healing.
He touched my heart and prayed for peace.

And when Elisha died I know something in my Pawpaw died as well. He hurt so badly for the AG and I.

This weekend as I was driving home from North Caroline my mind went to Pawpaw and I wondered what he was doing. Who he was visiting with. What he was seeing.

And I knew the answer.

See, no one can explain heaven perfectly - because who of us has been there?
But this much I know.
It is real.
It is a real place.
With real people.
Who really believe.

Just like Pawpaw.

And Elisha.

And I imagine the two of them have certainly bonded by this time and are enjoying each other's company. And it makes me wonder to what extent Pawpaw had to do with this exciting, surprise we now have in our lives. I don't put it past him at all to ask for this favor and to have it granted to him. He was just that kind of man.

Now, don't go telling my Theology teachers on me. I don't know if what I'm saying is exact. I don't know if we can make requests in heaven and have them granted. But I know that what happens there is unlike anything we can imagine here. And so I like to think, in my simple and finite mind, that my grandfather, who loved me dearly, asked a special favor on my behalf.

Because someone has certainly been looking out for me.

So for tonight I imagine my Pawpaw holding my boy. Laughing. Talking. Sneaking catfish when no one's looking. And watching the joy on my face that comes from knowing what has happened inside of me is a miracle. An unexpected, unbelievable, miracle.

And knowing full well they had a little something to do with it.

Jul 14, 2008

Well At Least There Will Be Mansions In Heaven.

So this weekend the Attorney General and I ended up in North Carolina. Well, I say “ended up” as if it was spontaneous and romantic and all.

It wasn’t.

It was an event we had committed to sing for a church leadership retreat with the praise and worship group from our church. Well, let’s be honest. By “we” I mean “I”.

The AG had committed only to stand with a microphone in his hand and grin like a Cheshire cat the entire service. Which he did. Famously . Because I don’t know if you’ve ever actually seen the Attorney General, but he looks guilty at all times.

Criminal Defense might not be his strong suit. He would be the only attorney to lean across the table and giggle, “You did it, didn’t you? You totally did it, dude. Just tell me.”

North Carolina is beautiful. I had never been before. The AG wanted to tour the Biltmore House because he is allllllllll about history and I am alllllllllllll not about it. But my girlfriend went to tour it the afternoon before us and said the air was out. So I think you all know where I stood on the issue.

Yes, the AG was disappointed, but not anymore so than the time I made him tour Pearl Harbor by himself while I laid by the pool and ordered onion rings and cherry Cokes.

As the AG said to me upon his return, “Well, Melissa. Life is full of choices. I choose to be an American.”

I probably didn’t mention that the retreat facility we were staying at was a lot like a camp. Yeah, I probably didn’t mention it because someone conveniently forgot to mention it to me.

The AG said it wasn’t bad if you were used to Minimum Security Facilities.

No, the beds weren’t great. And yes, the d├ęcor looked like it was straight off the set of the Perry Mason show. But the real problem? NO TELEVISION. Those stinkin' Baptists.

I ask you, how am I supposed to go and minister and get all spiritual and “high and lifted up” if I can’t wake up to Matt and Meridith, take a nap to Dr. Phil, and fall asleep to Conan? Life stops making sense. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. One day I completely forgot to brush my teeth because I always do that when the Showcase Showdown is on, and well, it wasn’t!!

But we’re home now. Safe and sound. I am about to fall sound asleep in a bed that was built with a normal height of 5 feet in mind. So that should be nice.

All in all though it was a very informative weekend. In fact, here are some things I learned:

If your food enters or exits on a conveyor belt… I’m out.

Apparently the Baptists don’t like it when you walk to the ice machine in your nightgown.

If your room is so small that you can use the bathroom while brushing your child’s hair and helping your husband pick out what slacks to wear…might be time to cash in some of those Marriott points.

Oh, and if your pastor calls you back up on stage at the end of the service for one more song – make sure you’re down the street eating at the Mexican food restaurant with your friends. Because nothing says “commitment” like strolling back in with salsa down the front of your shirt.

Jul 11, 2008

Pictures and Mental Pictures.

Okay, you have to admit....that is one cute kid.

So Stephanie Davis is one of those photographers who takes pictures BETTER than the ones you imagined in your head.

Ya know, like I get there and I say, "Hey, Steph. Let's take a picture of Remi standing still and smiling." And then Stephanie will say something like, "Well, Melissa. Standing and smiling is a little old school, so let's try something more creative." And she will!

Thank God I'm not taking pictures or everyone would look like they were in an Olan Mills church directory picture. We would all be wearing denim and there would always be a huge potted plant in the corner.

She posted some more of Remi on her blog and I swear, I don't know when she took them. She is taking pictures when you don't even realize it. Once I thought I saw her looking in her purse and talking on her cell, but she was taking pictures with her knees the entire time.

Okay, so that's a blatant lie. But it helps add some mystique' to her. If you live in or near Dallas and have yet to hire her. Why not?

I went and had blood drawn this morning so my doctor could see how my "levels" were. That has nothing to do with how cute Remi is, but I just figured ya'll would want to know. I KNOW they will come back fine. Y'all done went and got me all charged up! And full of faith. I'll keep you posted, though.

And lastly, on this busy Friday, let me leave you with this mental picture...

Yesterday I am scurrying around the house picking up the exact same toys I had picked up only minutes earlier. Remi is sitting, spellbound, on the couch watching Max and Ruby. (Don't even get me started on those two.)

Since I'm busy working around the house I had made myself a little more comfortable in a loose fitting t-shirt and, well, let's just say no, uhhhhh, BRA. Okay. There, I said it.

Hey! It was hot. And no one else was there. And I was cleaning. And yes, my momma raised me better. Can we move on?

So as Remi sits spellbound I bend over right in front of her to pick up McDonald's Happy Meal toy #37. And apparently I bent over DIRECTLY in front of her because all I see are her two huge eyes looking straight down my shirt and I hear,

"Ohhhhh. My. Goodness."

Happy Friday, y'all.