Nov 28, 2010

Whole Lotta Smokin' Goin' On.

The first "grill" that the AG and I ever had was a hibachi grill. My Pawpaw gave it to us because he had bought it for $60 in 1994 and had used the heck out of it, plus he was moving on to bigger and better pastures. So we took it. And you had thought we had never tasted grilled meat in our lives. We cooked everything on it. And considering it was a 18x12 - that was pretty remarkable. I think there were some nights when we had to decide between 2 hot dogs or 1 hot dog and 1/2 a chicken breast.

But then we, too, drove up on bigger, nicer, greener pastures.

Aaaah yes, the charcoal grill. Also known as the "How-do-pork-chops-sound-because-you-can-have-them-in-14 1/2-hours Grill." But we loved that thing. And we used it. And we would invite other young couples over for burgers at 6 and then we'd all sit down to eat at 11:30. It was awesome. And even though I was scared to light it and twice I walked around with out my eyebrows I was still thankful we had it. Until we saw this...

Did you hear those angels singing just now? They were singing because this is a gas grill. God's greatest gift to the busy parent. If I were to right a song about the gas grill it would go like this:

Gas grill

Gas grill

I adore

Because it takes 1 hour - NOT FOUR!

To grill my burger and cook my bird

I can't believe we ever used a Hibachi - MY WORD!

Gas grill

Gas grill

Never go away

Because you have an ignitor button on the side that I can operate.

(This is to be sung to Twinkle, Twinkle by the way.) And everything in our grilling world was going just fine. Until this...

What is that, you ask? Oh, I'll tell you what it is. Its a smoker. It cooks your meat. But where as with a Hibachi you had to decide between one wiener or two, with the smoker you have to decide between 15 pounds of beef or one 8 pound brisket, 4 whole chickens, two packages of sausage links, one package of pork chops and a pack of all beef hot dogs.

Where as with a charcoal grill you could sit outside with your friends and play cards for 12 hours, with the smoker you can sit outside with your friends but afterwards you will smell like you've been on Survivor. And lost.

With a gas grill I could start it. With a smoker I was too weak to even open the lid. Though the AG believes this has more to do with my lack of any and all upper body strength, but I think he's wrong.

So this Thanksgiving while others where making yams and cornbread dressing - we were making meat. Lots and lots of meat. I was waking up every two hours to my husbands alarm going off telling him to turn the meat. And I was waking up again to a man crawling in my bed who smelled like he had just rolled in from a Nascar tail-gating party.

And I spent Thanksgiving listening to joke after joke about my husbands meat. Because I have a very spiritual family and we're saintly like that.

And so I will admit, it was awesome, his 312 pounds of smoked beef brisket and links. It really was. And to be perfectly honest I'm not sure which I liked more - sneaking bites of brisket into the wee hours of the morning out of the fridge or sleeping with a heavy smoker. It was kind of like curling up next to Dean Martin. And that can't be all that bad, can it?

Nov 23, 2010

This Is The Closest I'm Getting to A Cruise For Christmas.

Ya know what stinks? I can’t even catch a glamorous disease.

I’ve tried everything I can to be glamorous. But it just isn’t happening for me. I thought I had hit my stride one particular night but when I look back on pictures I now realize that denim skirts were out, flats did me no favors and someone lied to me when they said “no, I can’t see your bump-it.”


So last Friday I took a little jaunt to the dermatologist. Because who can be glamorous when they have something growing on the side of their face? So I went to have a couple of sun-spots removed. Oh me and my afternoons in the sun. When will I learn?

Oh, and there was one other thing I was having looked at. Really its no big deal but if you must know, for some time now I have had a bump on the end of my nose. It isn’t terribly noticeable – but its noticeable. I like to think you have to have the vision of a 4 year old to notice it since she incessantly tells me, “Your nose is like the witch on Sleeping Beauty.” But come to find out other people saw it too. I know this because we were eating lunch out with friends the other day when my Granny grabbed my hand mid-bite and said, “That thing on your nose just keeps getting bigger and bigger doesn’t it?”

It feels good to know that both the young and the insane can see it.

So when I go to the derma (yeah, I call it that. Glamorous, no?) on Friday I am astounded to find out that..

1. That thing on my nose can be remedied and
2. Those aren’t sun spots. They are barnacles.

Barnacles, people! I have barnacles. Lest you forget barnacles are something that grow on the side of ships. (Insert weight jokes here. Though trust me, I’ve heard them all…..from my family!) But yep, I have them. Barnacles. Oh no, they couldn’t be sun-spots from the days I spent lounging at the pool in the summer. Oh no, they couldn’t be from my trip to Hawaii circa 2002. Heck no, they aren’t from the hours I spent riding around in a convertible when I was, well, never. They are barnacles.

And I have them.

They are also hereditary – or so they tell me. Though both of my parents have assured me a barnacle has never grown on them nor will it ever. Leaving me to wonder both: why me, Lord? and where did I come from?

As my doctor finished sawing away and scraping off and bandaging up she applied the bandages to the three different spots on my face with the order, “Do not remove these band-aids for at least three days.”

I would like to state for the record that I was leaving her office to have a reunion with my college girlfriends. That’s right. I would be spending the weekend with college girlfriends and bandages. And barnacles. Does it get any fancier that me? They didn’t know what to congratulate me on when they saw me: my recent weight gain or my facial scarring.

It was a good weekend, though. The bandages are finally removed and there is just a little scabbing thus far. One of my friends saw me at church and commented, “What happened to your nose?” I reminded her of the bump that had always been there but she swore she’d never seen it, to which my mother replied, “You’d never seen that thing? What are you blind? Oh, and Melissa, turn your face and show her your barnacles. She says they’re hereditary but I’ve never had any.”

Do you think I came from gypsies? God, I hope so.

Nov 10, 2010

The Seen and Unseen.

I write some real nonsense on this blog. I think we can all agree on that.

I write about my hair and my kids. I write about Mexican food and my inability to digest certain things at certain times. But sometimes, and its not very often, I write about the heavy. The real. The serious. Today is one of those.

I was watching Toy Story 3 the other night and after it was over The AG and I watched how they made it on some of the DVD bonus scenes. Scene after scene, movement after movement they draw and they draw and they draw. How tiring it must be to place every little finger, every little smirk, every little slouch, but still they do it - and suddenly a cowboy comes alive! A space ranger is born! And we revel in the joy that they painstakingly worked at.

I'll get back to Toy Story in a moment.

Let me begin by saying that I am not one fueled by fear. I don't live each moment afraid of the next. I don't fear tomorrow and I don't believe something is waiting for me under my bed. Though I have had seasons of this, fear has certainly has not been the thorn in my flesh as it were. But this morning, early, something gripped me. Something strange to me. Something uneasy. I wrestled with it for a while, then I laid it down and continued making sippy cups and lunches. Later in the morning, in the car on the way to school, it gripped me again. I wondered what it could be and then, because I'm dumb and it took me a while, I thought duh I'll take it to the one who knows.

So I began to pray.

And within seconds I had my answer.

(Side note: He doesn't always work in seconds. Boy, don't I know. So really thank Him on the days in which He does. It might prompt Him to do more timely work in the future. Though I doubt it.)

What I had been wrestling with was not fear. It was the Spirit.

Some time ago, almost 30 years now, I gave my life to the Lord and when I did His Spirit became alive in me. But it has taken most of those years to fully understand the role the Holy Spirit can play in our lives, as believers, if we would just let Him. I know now that the Holy Spirit is a friend to me, a guide, a counselor, a wisdom giver, a directive, a help. I know now that when I feel the Spirit inside of me begin to whisper that it would do me much good to stop. And listen. And obey.

And so this morning as I drove from school to school dropping off kids and wishing for a Starbucks I stopped. And listened. And that is when I heard...

It was for the safety of one of my children. One of my children needed to be - MUST BE - prayed for right then and right there. Pray, Melissa. Pray for safety. Pray for Mercy. Pray that right wins over wrong. Pray that light beats darkness. Pray that enemies are defeated and justice wins. Pray that strangers are ineffective and friends are near. Pray that your children are surrounded by the cautious and the guarded. Pray!

And so, without question, I began to pray. And I prayed hard. I also delivered that child to their teacher, kissed them nice and soft and whispered in their ear my undying love for them and that I would see them later this afternoon. They told me they loved me back. And I went back out to my car to finish my work. This job of prayer. This job of motherhood.

And after I prayed for their health and their mind, their innocence and their safety, after I prayed for them to be on guard and wise as serpents, after I prayed against strangers and unseen dangers, after I prayed for their teachers and their friends and their ability to make wise decisions, after I did all that......I thanked the Spirit. For doing what it does best; coming alongside and helping us to pray in ways that we, ourselves, might never think about. I thanked the Spirit for being for my children what I could not be: eyes, ears, mouthpieces, guidance, wisdom.

And then I thought of Woody. And Buzz. And I thought about how my desire is not to be the tool in His hands, as much as it is to be the product from that tool. I thought about how the Lord uses the Spirit to mold me, make me, sometimes even break me, in order to build me, stand me up, help me see, help me smirk, help me listen, help me pray, help me fight. And though it must get tiresome at Pixar it never gets tiresome to the Lord to draw me - frame by frame, slouch by slouch into what He wants me to be. And I am thankful today for that.

I need Him. I need Him more every single day of my life. As do my children. And today, as I rest in knowing that my children have been covered in prayer and surrounded by angels I don't stop praying. Because I'm a mother and I'll never stop. But I also don't fear. For I have friend who has given to me a gift.

1 Corinthians 2:12 (New International Version)
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

And I accept it. To infinity! And beyond!

Nov 8, 2010

Same Song. Second Verse.

Isn't this just the way it always is?

Hi. My name is Minnie Mouse, but you can call me Super Girl. Well, actually you can call me "I'm-Minnie-Mouse-But-I-wanted-To-Be-Super-Girl-But-My-Momma-Said-No." I actually didn't say "no." What I did say was, "Why didn't you tell me you wanted to be Super Girl before I spent four days in front of eBay and $400 on a Minnie Mouse outfit?" To which she replied, "Because I just found out about her."

So there she was. Halloween night. I could have escaped from Alcatraz with less effort and in less time than it took for me to dress that child. By the time she was all finished I had sweated off three pounds of my Snookie make-up!!

Oh, and look! Here she is exactly 12 minutes after arriving outside for the party. No one had gotten there yet and she is upset that no one is there to see her and take her picture. I know the feeling. I know I'm a proud momma but I think she's cute. I will admit, however, she lost some of her Disney-esque appeal when I overheard her tell a little boy who cut in front of her in line, "Don't make me take my ears off!"

This is Rocco. He's Mickey Mouse. Did you know Mickey Mouse pinches if he doesn't get his way. Yeah, he does.

This is an outfit that I bid on for a solid week on eBay. I shouted Hallelujahs the day I beat out five other momma's who wanted to dress their little tike in a Disney outfit but didn't want to pay Disney prices. IN YOUR FACE OTHER MOMMA'S!!

No, In MY face.

Because here is Mickey exactly 9 1/2 minutes after the costume had been put on him. He cried until either I had to remove it or make like my Snookie character and drink myself into oblivion. I decided to remove it, but not without thinking of those other poor mothers who missed their chance to outbid me. I knew that they were somewhere that night sipping some sweet tea while their little one ran around in a $12 Target costume that they had no trouble parting with the next day. Not me, that outfit still hangs in the bedroom and every once in a while you'll hear me say, "Anyone want to dress up for $15 a minute? That's how much mommy paid!"

So far there have been no takers.