Embracing the Shelley-ness

I’m turning 45 next week.  Found this blog post that I never posted dated June 12, 2012.  I wonder if it will post today’s date or 5 years ago?

on the brink of 40, it is time to embrace all things Shelley. here are a few things that come to mind:

1) being okay with being quiet.  today canon realized it was quiet, he said, “wait, something’s not right here, it’s too quiet…” and I responded, “I know! isn’t it great!” not sure if this started with me being an only child for 7 years or if it’s the fact that since I’ve had kids I gave up my right to be myself and have been trying to reclaim it for 13 years. it’s one of two.

2) being a gypsy or joining the circus. even though Mom said she’d sell me to gypsies I sort of wish she would’ve. after seeing the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and such I realize that part of me is a gypsy. moving quite a bit, changing schools, changing friends… I think I miss that. but that was so long ago. I digress.

3) being Southern. very much so. I understand what it means when someone asks “who are your people?” and realize my answer is of utmost importance. I know my manners precede my reputation and the fact that I say “yes ma’am” and “no sir” will right many wrongs. the southern-ness part of me deserves a post all in itself. some of that is lost in the culture now-a-days. I’m at fault with that to a degree – but when I think about it I realize being gracious, being sincere (even when you say, “bless your heart”), frying up REALLY good chicken (need to learn this, like, soon), knowing that you ALWAYS sit down to smoke a cigarette (never have smoked a day in my whole life but I know enough to know a real southern lady ALWAYS sits down to this), understanding that china patterns and silverware choices say a lot about southern woman… these are distinctions that set me apart from the rest of the women in United States. just like I wouldn’t understand what the women in the OC are really about, no one could possibly understand all this unless they were born and bred here.

4) being forgetful. number four is something I can’t remember right now.

5) being a little persistent. This used to have to do with making money, now this has everything to do with my kids. i.e.: repeating myself over and over to my children in hopes they will become socially graceful. sitting down at lunch recently with my 2 children made me realize just how southern I really am. all of a sudden it mattered more to me what they were about to do than if I had gluten on my plate. use your manners. PLEASE. nothing has left me more worried than the lack of my children using good southern manners. NAPKIN – in your lap. SILVERWARE – work outside to inside. DON’T SPILL YOUR (sweet) TEA. CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED (by far my biggest pet peeve, nothing says poor upbringing than smacking your way through a meal, or smacking your gum, but I digress…)

6) being appreciative. Hand-written thank you notes. Lord help me if this is a hoop to jump through on my way to heaven. b/c not just myself but my two off-spring will suffer these consequences. when I got married the only conversation I had with my mother for 6 weeks afterwards was, “did you write your thank you notes?” and God forbid I said no. The wrath of the mother-of-the bride was alive in well in 1995. so, just to be clear, if you are reading this please know I probably owe you a hand-written thank you note. I will get around to this. just be patient.

7) being persistent. see? refer to number 5. persistence is a virtue right? also, not talking with your mouth full is a virtue all in itself. DO NOT TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL. I mean, were you raised by wolves? or cavemen? do not do this. I could not do this growing up or I would not be here right now. don’t do it. ever.

8) being in love. I love romance. I love poetry. I love the man becoming the hero. luckily, I married one :) A hero, and a poet.

9) being good with wine.  Wine is good. Tequila is better.

10) achieving a goal. I hate it when I don’t hit one. I am very achievement oriented. goal-oriented? I think it is more of an achievement thing b/c it has to do with completing a task. which is whole ‘nother thing. as I’ve gotten older, I will distinctly not begin a task if I don’t think I can finish. this began when I became a mother. please understand that the accomplishment with my children has super-ceded anything I would’ve done for myself. so, achieving with them will ALWAYS be accomplished. it may or may not be successful but it will be a done deal. eventually I will bring this back around to myself, my goals and accomplishments but for right now it’s all about them. and that’s all I have to say about that. (bold font and italics added in 2017.)

11) being among the animals.  cats and dogs. lizards or gerbils. it’s all the same. except cats are WAY more expensive. for a number of reasons.

12) I like to read. short, reader’s digest sized stories.

13) I LOVE history. I really do. should’ve majored in history. digressing…..

14) I love flower gardens. when I close my eyes and see my Eden it is full of flowers. not so much people. but flowers.

15) Favorite quote: in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” btw, she was schizophrenic in real-life. lawsy mercy.

16) I love a calendar. I love to write on it or these days, type and sync. maybe it’s an accomplishment thing (see number 10) but whatever the case, I have written in calendars for years and keep them as momentos.

2017 footnote:  this blog is like a calendar.  I do not remember writing this entry that wasn’t published in 2012.  but here it is.  so, yes, a blog is like a calendar but more of a momento.

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Around this time each year we get an abundance of magazines in the mailbox, many of which are just toys (just think the old Sears or JCPenney’s WishBook) and among the stack is the American Girl catalog. Evidently the recession has not been a problem for this company. This is by far the biggest compilation we’ve ever received and we’ve been receiving these for 12 years now. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Years ago, in my effort to master this motherhood thing, I found a way to entertain the kids during this insanely busy time of year. Giving them a marker and a Christmas catalog meant they were free to circle anything and everything their little hearts desired. And when the time came, we would write these circled items on the Santa list. You know, that letter that gets sent to the North Pole, usually on December 24th.

Back to the American Girl catalog. The big, beautiful spread of the most quality dolls and accessories available to anyone with a line of credit. So over-priced but so worth it because they actually LAST. I LOVE these toys. Could not WAIT until we would get our orders (usually on December 24th) so I could open them and play with them too. So fun setting these pretties out on Christmas Eve, to be discovered the next morning, as if by magic. Not to mention the many, many American Girl and Bitty Baby Christmas gifts over the years, that my mom would pick out for our “little girl”. The Just Like Me doll will forever be a miniature version of Melodi. Bitty Baby (who made a visit to the doll hospital and came back with an new head) is an heirloom. Felicity (retired btw) and Kaya will last into the next generation as will their clothes, the tea set, the horse, the tee pee… the list could go on. You can see where I’m going with this.

The American Girl catalog contains no circles this year. In fact, she has had her picture made with Santa for years now and I’m beginning to think we are going to have to create a bargaining tool for the pic this year.

Bitty Baby becomes an American Girl who circles everything in the catalog and then becomes the young lady who will be the successful woman who can buy things for her Bitty Baby. Yes. It’s a circle.

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The Not-So Grand Slam

I had to share this because I never thought I would have something in common with a world class tennis player.

Venus Williams and I both have Sjogren’s Syndrome; she was recently diagnosed and my heart goes out to her. I used to teach group exercise classes 5 or 6 times a week – okay, so it wasn’t professional tennis with enormou$ endor$ements. But I had 24 hours in a day and I did something for 23 of those until the summer of 2007. I went undiagnosed for a year and have to agree, the condition truly does suck the energy out of you, as Venus describes in this article.

Until you find a doctor who will work with you and help your quality of life it is a tough row to hoe. The good news is it is a manageable condition, although there is no cure. I take more medication than I would like and have drastically changed my diet and lifestyle in order to reduce inflammation. None-the-less, it helped me to see that even an incredibly physically fit person like Venus could become a fellow member of the Sjogren’s Club. I know she didn’t sign up for it and I certainly didn’t either. But we’re both in good company.

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Unexplainable Grace

It’s a charmed life
Innocence wild
Crayola skies for a thousand miles
It’s a good life in the happily ever after
Last page of a very last chapter
It’s the story of a charmed life

It’s a charmed life
Unexplainable grace
Stumbling, you fall right into place
It’s a childlike world and you can feel the magic
Far from the typically tragic
That’s the beauty of a charmed life

Who needs to know
When it all comes and where it all goes
Who needs to know just where
Fate will take you there

…that’s the beauty of a charmed life.

song sung by Leigh Nash, singer/songwriter and
lead vocalist for Sixpence None The Richer, whose name was inspired by CS Lewis and his book, Mere Christianity

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And it’s been 6 months….

since my last post.

As I sit here with coffee in one hand and reflections in the other I must admit I’m a little torn…only 6 more years of school for my oldest while we are just beginning the next “official”12 years for my youngest. Yes, when Melodi becomes valedictorian of her senior class Canon will be completing 6th grade and we’ll get to do this all over again! Except it will be through the eyes of my son which are incredibly different than my daughter’s.

Melodi’s transition to middle school was relatively easy – give that child a schedule and a set of rules and you’ve got an A+ student. Her definitions of success are most definitely her own. Mike says it’s because she memorized the “good marks and good grades” portion of the old phonics commercial, before she could even read or write. A poised, gifted and talented young lady, she’s all about good grades and being at the top of her class. A confident problem solver, an avid learner, with a laser beam type focus no matter what she is doing. I would suggest that these are innate traits, born into her, which blossomed through the right teachers, the right environment and her own brand of determination. Everyday it becomes clearer to me the kind of woman she will become. The one I wanted to be when I grew up.

Melodi already knew her definition of success by the time she was 6 years old. Canon’s will come later, and be in a different language. Let me try to explain.

The journey into academia has already been very different for Canon. A few weeks ago he told me he didn’t want to go to first grade. I asked him why. “Because there’s homework. No rest time. No playtime. More work!” I had to remind him that state law now demanded he go to the first grade, that if you include 4K and 2 trips down the 5K lane (due to his late August birthday), he had potentially had 3 years of kindergarten. And even if the most lax terms that was enough! He’s learning there are rules. But I’m not having to teach him how to break them. That is coming naturally – as it should. Boys don’t become men by following the rules. Boys must build a kind of confidence that challenges themselves and those around them. They must grow an appropriate sense of how and what to defend. They must develop a presence of themselves that is present even when they are not. He has already begun to define his brand of success, but it is a process. Canon puts a value on learning but a much bigger one on connecting with others, relating to them, expressing empathy and compassion that is not typical of a 6 year old. At bedtime he will say, “Let’s talk mom.” And I will say, “about what?” and his very sweet response is, “About anything! I just like this part of the day when I can talk to you!” And when I sit still and focus and give him my undivided attention all of a sudden there’s a spark of success! He may have aced something in school but at the end of the day it’s still all about establishing an emotional connection for Canon. I truly believe he will become a smart, confident man, defending what it is important to him and at the end of his grown-up work day he will be a loving and attentive husband and father, making his mark on this world. Just like his own dad! School will have everything to do with this. And at the same time it won’t.

I absolutely know one thing. They are going to be my grown adult kids much longer than they will remain my small young children. Kindergarten, middle school, high school, college… these are just stepping stones. I am going to enjoy the next 6-12 years! One thing is for sure, you don’t get ‘em back!



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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 29 and 30

Thankful for the mystery of the past and how it shaped the present.

Thankful for what the future holds.

Thankful for old friends and new ones.

Thankful for it all. Every last bit if it! And how God uses it all to become His great story!

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 26, 27 and 28

Before I delve into Christmas decorating I must decorate for the next official holiday.

The Southeastern Championship Football Game – THIS SATURDAY!

We are orange and blue around here. From the diplomas, to the Auburn Creed, to the paintings of Samford Hall and Toomer’s Corner – not to mention an amazing picture of the Flush, framed, signed by the artist and numbered, hung above our fireplace mantle…Mike bought my engagement ring on South College Street…in addition to my dad’s tuition towards his pharmacy degree from AU my parents paid 3 kids tuition to Auburn University…after December 6th we’ll go green and red. But until then, War Eagle ya’ll.

We’ve watched much football over the Thanksgiving holiday and I can say in all my 38 years I’ve never such. I’ve watched Auburn since I was an itty bitty girl and now, in the 21st century we are actually going to the SEC championship game. I say “we” because, it is, “we.” We’ll be there in just a few short days! Like, we have tickets. To the game. Can you tell I’m excited?!?

Auburn had the National Championship. In 1957. That, was like, in the last century.

So, this comes as a huge moment, as a life-long fan, as ONE woman who only applied to only ONE school for college (in 1989) and has ONE degree (1994) from that ONE school… well, it’s three days of thankful and I can tell you I’m thankful for much but I’m most definitely thankful for the celebration, fanfare and excitement that will be found at this ONE game.

I know…it’s football…but…I was born in Auburn/Opelika! It can’t be helped! It’s ridiculous I know. It’s an Auburn thing. It runs deep. It’s a connection to the past, the future and the present. It’s a big freakin’ deal and I’m thankful! Glory, glory to ole Auburn! A-U-B-U-R-N!!!

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 25

What a great Thanksgiving day! So grateful for all the (gluten free!!!!) food and all the thoughtful hands who prepared it. So blessed to enjoy family game time (Apples to Apples) and to have lots of laughter and joy (special thanks to the Bill Dance fishing bloopers DVD, a new family tradition maybe?!?!)

The memories I have of today will be tucked into a special place in my heart. My mind will remember today, just like it remembered Thanksgiving of days gone by when I woke up this morning. And with a spirit of thankfulness I’m still remembering those good thoughts as I go to bed tonight.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 24

In no particular order: today I’m thankful for hair spray (some things will never change!), the Vince Guaraldi Trio (puts the Merry in Christmas to me!), and for friends who can just drop in anytime for a visit, even though they know I might be in the middle of CHAOS (aka – can’t have anyone over syndrome – HA!).

Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 22 and 23

Very thankful the antibiotic I got yesterday and the fact acute bronchitis is becoming a distant memory. Also very thankful for this handy-dandy iPhone device which seems to do it all, including keeping me on the right roads on a quick trip to Tuscaloosa. Thankful for the box fans we brought up from the basement since the funky hot, cold, muggy, weather has seemed to cause quite a heat wave in our house. But overall I’m grateful for today in so many, many ways. Thank you God for seeing to my every need today!

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 21

So thankful for an entire week of Thanksgiving holidays! I don’t remember ever having the whole week off but this year ’tis true…I will enjoy seeing our kids a little bit more this week, coming up with some things to do in the Alabama sunshine and just being grateful for every moment that I see their smiling faces :)

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 19 and 20

Thankful for my home, a place where the ones I love the most live, play and eat (sometimes they sleep).

When we moved here, right after 9/11 in 2001, I remember telling God this is another tool in my toolbox to do his work. I remember feeling almost guilty, so many had lost so much at that time and here I was with a 2 year old baby girl, a husband and a new home. For whatever reason He chose this for me, just like that awful event in America’s history, to become a part of his great story.

My new house was to be a place to be about his business, recognizing that this might be the only “church” some people might ever see. Thank you God, for giving me a culturally-relevant place to do your kingdom work.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 17 and 18

“A legacy of life, a legacy of hope, the story of all the things that matter most…”

I am thankful for the legacy that has become part of God’s great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 16

Thank you Lord, for the village it is taking to raise my children… this week in particular. You know who you are ;)

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 15

I am thankful today for eating lunch at school with Canon. I am thankful that when he saw me he gave me a huge smile and wanted me to hold his hand all the way to the lunchroom. I am most thankful that when he got in the car today he said, “thanks for coming to eat lunch with me today. I love you mom.”

Thank you God for my boy and for creating him to be part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 14

As I listen to my oldest child tell the stories of her first youth group retreat, I remember fondly my days at VHBC. A member of their youth group from 7th grade until 12th grade, I have many good memories of many trips, many friends and a genuine appreciation for those folks who poured into my life at that time. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, chaperons and dear friends contributed in a such a positive way into the person God was shaping up to become a wife, a mom, a contributing member of society.

One of the fun memories I have from youth group is playing a game called “Sardines” in the church, long after “normal” church activities had ended for the night. For some reason or another, a group of us would be left waiting on rides or avoiding homework (a typical Sunday night dilemma for sure) and we’d turn our downtime into a game. Someone would hide, it was always completely pitch black and most of the time in the sanctuary. When you found the person, you stayed with them, until everyone was smashed up like sardines against each other, trying to be quiet in an effort not to be found… the last person looking for the group lost! A most fun time-waster for sure.

It was always fun, sometimes serious, sometimes not ;)

I made my best friends in youth group. I got married at that church. Some of the people who reached out to me this time last year when my Dad died were those very people, I appreciate that more than anyone could ever know. The space it would require to really express my gratitude is just not enough on this one weblog page. Thank you Heavenly Father, for giving me my church youth group experience and allowing all of us to be part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 13

So thankful for my Facebook and the friends I’ve had a chance to reconnect with as grown ups! My life is so much richer b/c of them. Being invited to see the Auburn homecoming game last Saturday and the Styx concert this weekend = awesome! Being blessed by generous friends = priceless!

Thank you God, for bringing me these friends and for helping each us help each other as part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 11 and 12

Today I am thankful for I-65 south which is taking me out of town with my man.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 9 and 10

It is that time of year of again, where we see the stars and stripes hanging proudly, banks and post offices are closed and kids get a day off from school in the middle of the week. It is Veteran’s Day and one of my most heartfelt “government holidays”. I always get teary-eyed when I see our fellow Americans in uniform and realize what they have truly done for me and my country. Wow.

The 11th day of November has become somewhat bigger than what I remember of it when I was younger. Here lately we’ve had school assemblies, church services and various other tributes that happen in honor of our veterans, much more so than I remember as a child. Or maybe I just notice it more now. Now the sacrifices and the freedoms I enjoy daily have become my life, my liberty and the pursuit of my own happiness. Other Americans, and their service and dedication to our country, have enabled me to have this blog, cast my right to vote last week and go to church where I wanted to go to church this past Sunday where I wanted to go. It is with a grateful heart and true American spirit that I honor those who protect my children, my home and my dreams with their lives.

Thank you God for allowing the United States to be part of your great story and for placing me, at such a time as this, to be a citizen of this great nation.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 8

My extended family has been blessed by four feet this year – we welcomed Nathaniel Hiller Smith on August 27th, 2010 and most recently Patrick Inman Moore on November 8th, 2010. Nathan is my nephew and is the star of my sister’s blog, www.grinningandbearingit.blogspot.com, where you can see and celebrate all-things Nathan! Stacey does an excellent job chronicling his many “firsts” – it’s like reading a virtual baby book! Patrick Inman Moore is my second cousin, the kids third cousin and the son of my first cousin, Hamilton. He’s brand new, only a day old, so no blog yet. He is two months early and we are all amazed that he is already here and doing very well. What a blessing!

Thanks be to God for bringing life to Stacey and Ash, and to Hamilton and Chris, through their sons, Nathan Hiller and Patrick Inman. Thank you for showing us the mystery of life through birth, especially in the months of August and November this very year. Thank you God for allowing the sheer coincidence of new babies and the joy they bring to be a be part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 7

Very thankful for being a part of such a generous church, which celebrated our 2 year anniversary just yesterday. Lots of good teaching, good relationships and maturity and growth are what I’m most thankful for – but we sure know how to have fun too! As a celebration and outreach we had a huge party last night. Part of the festivities included lots of food and prizes, such as iron bowl tix, SEC championship tix and a brand new-in-the-box PS3! CANON WON THE PLAYSTATION 3!!!
I have no idea really what it is or what it can do but we now have one :)

Thank you Lord, that you brought us to a church, filled with life and a generous spirit and for making a2 church part of your great story!

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 5 and 6

continuing a concerted effort towards a spirit of thankfulness…

I am grateful for a real place called Heaven. As a professing Christian, believing that only in and through Christ Jesus, I have an invitation stamped with grace to enter in God’s presence. That this salvation is not about good works and that all my sins, past, present and future were taken on by Jesus as he became the propitiation for me – appeasing the wrath of an offended God and reconciling me to Him, by death on a cross.

I can enter Heaven, at my appointed time, like my Dad and others before him and become perfected physically and mentally. Knowing love, trust and peace wait on me, in a real place called Heaven is what I am thankful for today. Thank you God for making that offer available to everyone, to be welcomed into Heaven as believers in Christ. And thank you that I see you also meant it for me, and for my Dad, to be a part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 4

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. ~Author Unknown

Today’s quote and my thankfulness is inspired by Mike’s grandmother. Rushing through the week I finally stopped long enough to remember Melodi still needed a hem for her choir dress which will be worn next week at their first performance. I don’t sew. I hot-glue. And there was an awful lot of fabric to contend with.

Melodi’s seamstress has always been great-grandmom Alford and in my time of need she cheerfully agreed to work on the hem. I am forever grateful to her! I am so thankful that God knew I would need some domestic help in this area. And through her sweet spirit I have seen how to hem my blessings as part of His great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 3

So thankful today for my sweet little Indian brave, “Blue Fish”, and for his fascination of teepees, wigwams and arrowheads. For his tender heart, his ukulele and his genuine desire to save the earth and all the people and animals in it. He could have named himself “Green Fish” – because in addition to a heart of gold he most certainly has the eco-friendly green springing up in there too.

Today he told me, “I just want to help people Mom.” Thank you God for instilling that servant’s heart in him. I look forward to how this tree-huggin’ boy will help me, his mom, see the world through his eyes.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 2

As we watch election returns on another Tuesday evening in November, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to vote. I turned 18 the summer of 1990 and since then I have cast many votes, worked on a campaign or two and even been a deputy registrar. All of these civic duties were done in hopes of making the place we work, live and play a better place for our children and our children’s children.

Realizing now that my right to vote began less than 100 years ago makes me even more grateful.

We live in a broken world. But at least we are on the side of the world where women got to vote today. Thank you Lord, for simply placing me here, to exercise my right to vote and making me part of your great story.

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Thirty Days of Thankful – Day One

Creating a spirit of thankfulness…

I am so thankful for the Christian marriage of my parents, 42 years ago today on 11/1/68. Through their union they brought forth 3 daughters and several years later, 3 grandchildren. To be connected to my sisters not only through our maiden name but also through the blood and flesh connection my parents gave us is a gift I will always cherish.

Becoming my children’s mother and an aunt to my nephew, are opportunities my parents created for me when they become one. I will always be grateful.

Thank you Lord, for bringing forth our family on this day so many years ago and making it a part of your great story.

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Do you want to see a cute baby?

then take a look at my nephew!

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And so began a simple October….

Outside my window… it’s actually “outside my screened in porch”… it’s dark and absolutely NO HUMIDITY, I think I am not in Alabama anymore.
I am thinking… it’s Saturday.  Therefore, I do not think.
I am thankful for… a gracious God who gives us this promise from Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
From the kitchen… tonight I took publix chicken breasts and cut it up strips.  Threw it in a skillet with butter and kosher salt.  Added diced onion, peppers and tomato.  Then I got real clever and cooked up some gluten free pasta and added pizza sauce on top of the chicken and let it simmer down.  Voila!  Dinner was served.
I am wearing… my Auburn alumni t-shirt.  Proudly.
I am creating… finally have some direction in the creative area.  Will let ya know but it prolly deserves it’s own special post.
I am going… to church tomorrow.
I am reading… “Tracks of a Fellow Struggler” by John Claypool.  Long story, but I was given this book years ago and tossed it aside.  Can’t find it.  In the course of some conversation I was given this book on Wednesday at my GriefShare group. To quote John Claypool, “No one can live on this earth very long without being initiated into the fraternity of the bereaved.” This book serves as companionship for those of us on the journey of grief, especially when one of your own flesh and blood is taken and there are so many questions and not so many answers.
I am hoping… Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. I hope it comes true.
I am hearing… we live rather close to the interstate. I hear cars. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking it’s the ocean.
Around the house… Alabama is whooping up on Florida. Yay Bama.
One of my favorite things… the two days of Autumn we have here in Alabama.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Moving on. Moving ahead. Moving past. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming….”

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Today I saw a restored GTO, a “toy car” corvette, a black thunderbird convertible (top down) and a gray-haired man driving a black mercedes convertible (again, with the top down)!

I know my dad isn’t here, but today he almost was!

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simply september

Outside my window… it’s dark.  it’s nearly 11:00pm.  do you know where your children are?!?  I know where mine are!  ASLEEP!!!!!
I am thinking… how in the world I produced a child who made a 98 in advanced math on her progress report from school.  and she is upset about it!  that’s because she made 100 (or above) in everything else!!!
I am thankful for… so many things.  this time last year was so very bleak.  now there is light on the horizon.  there is more than light.  there is a hope and a resolve that wasn’t there before.  Thank you Jesus.
From the kitchen… we made chocolate chip cookies when the kids got home from school.  then we had a Shaw fiesta…. “I’m forever eating tacos, tacos that are on my plate…”
I am wearing… jammies.  I am ready for bed.  but I have been known to wear jammies, even when I’m not going to bed.
I am creating… yeah.  that too.  Creating???  I need to figure this one out.
I am going… to create something so I can accurately answer the question above.
I am reading… “Same Kind of Different As Me”.  If I could just write one book like that one.  Ok.  I think I will.
I am hoping… that Canon will go to school tomorrow, painlessly and without giving us a guilt trip.
I am hearing… this crazy movie called “Cloverfield” that Mike is watching off our DVR.  I think it’s like “The Hills” meets “ET”.  No, make that “The Hills” meets “Aliens.”  Yikes.
Around the house… is the nighttime quietness of children in their beds and mom and dad on the couch.
One of my favorite things… hearing Canon read!  He is a smart little guy and so inquisitive about everything right now.  He loves to learn, especially reading the children’s encyclopedia my grandmom gave him for his birthday this year.
A few plans for the rest of the week:  I am going to make some awesome plans for the rest of the month.  September 15-30 is going to rock!

here is a picture thought for me to share with you… I love my boy!  No doubt about it.  He was heaven sent.

shelley and canon at the lake, 9/12/10

shelley and canon at the lake, 9/12/10

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 1 Comment

Good Things About February

sooooo, I haven’t blogged in so long I thought I would post one that I wrote a few months ago. In February.  February 26th, 2010 to be exact.  At 9:18 in the morning.  I will post it *as is*; I will not add, delete or change anything from that moment in time when I originally wrote it.

What is interesting about this post is seeing that number one and number seven are in every way, shape and form, more wonderful than we ever could have imagined back in February.  It also makes me laugh that number 5 is happening yet again, (this Friday) and number eight has become a necessity, much like my iPhone.  And oxygen.

As for the whole number twelve thing I would like to note that there are no spelling words in 6th grade.  At least not yet.  And if there are I think being in 6th grade means you get to call them out to yourself.

1) my sister Stacey told me a couple of weeks ago that she is expecting a baby! wow! God is good!
2) when I gave Canon his Valentine he said, “you made my heart super happy mom.”
3) Became better friends with those I need to become better friends with. You know who you are!
4) Won $54.00 or so at the Kenny Roger’s slot machine. This is not a bad thing. But does that really make it a “good” thing? Discuss amongst yourselves.
5) Finally got some blonde highlights back in my hair.
6) Facilitated Molly’s baby’s daddy making a visit (like 8 or 9 visits). Not sure if it worked or not but there’s nothing like having your dog right under your foot when this type of thing happens.
7) Helped mom make an offer on a house. It might not be “the one” b/c it’s not gone to contract yet but that is a huge step. HUGE.
8) Began setting the coffee maker for 6:30am. With coffee in it.
9) Realized more. Thought about it less.
10) And on that note, I began appreciating the freedom one experiences when you don’t care so much. I care, but just not as much as I used to.
11) due to an excessive amount of something I do not know what I will write here in the number 11 space.
12) and Melodi recognizes that at least spelling words are *something* she will use in the future. not to say that all that other 5th grade academia is not important. I’m sure it is. Like I use it so much everyday that I remember it on a regular basis. yeah. right.
13) February was good. All in all, it was good.
14) confirmed that most events you want to remember are the ones that you walked away from but were glad you have a picture in which to remember it.

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Simply Stated

Outside my window… it’s bright with blue skies, a beautiful start to a southern summertime day.
I am thinking… it was hard to sleep last night.  One of those nights too much in my brain.  Can’t believe in a few days it will be July 4th.  So many of my thoughts are flooded with this time last year.  Whew.
I am thankful for… Mike keeping the kids last night while I went out with some old friends.  He kept them so busy they were all just exhausted by the time I got home!  What a terrific Dad he is!
From the kitchen… I made the Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies yesterday and they are  nearly gone.  P.S.  goes great with coffee for a breakfast treat!
I am wearing… jammies, robe, slippers – I know I’m too sexy for this blog – ha!
I am creating… some kind of plan to keep the cats from driving me crazy.
I am going… to take Melodi to her first guitar lesson today!  she has a beautiful classical guitar that Mike gave her for her birthday.  now I’m going to get out the Esteban DVDs from a few Christmases ago and watch her start rockin’ da house, b/c I know she’s got some skilz.
I am reading… comic books.  In particular The Amazing Spiderman from the Marvel series.  Love those stories with Mary Jane.  And they are in such pristine condition…wow…
I am hoping… that I can finish this blog without anymore interruptions.
I am hearing… LOTS of chirping or something like it from some kind of insects that obviously love the woods – I mean, they are loud.  they must’ve been having some baby bugs or something.
Around the house… it is still quiet and dark, we are totally taking advantage of not having to be anywhere and the kiddos have been perfecting the Shaw art of sleeping late.  Very late.
One of my favorite things… coffee in the morning.  and I love it when Mike makes it for me and brings it to me before I even wake up!  Bliss!
A few plans for the rest of the week:  I’ll be helping out over at my mom’s house, she had some outpatient surgery and is on the mend.  She’s got a neighborhood pool so that works out well!  Scanning pictures for our highschool reunion (less than a month away now!) and maybe cleaning out and organizing a closet or two?  We shall see about that last one.

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 3 Comments

June 21, 1948

Today is the summer solstice.  And my dad’s birthday.  Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.”  As the days  lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.

This will be the longest day of our calendar year… it has always coincided with my Dad’s birthday, they fall on the exact same day.  Here is a picture which is in remembrance of him and my attempt of combining two pictures so that time “stands still.”

This was our last family picture taken of all us together in May 2009.  The accuracy is amazing.  The memory is a good.  And this is how he would want to be remembered.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Jane, Mitch, Shelley, Stacey and Kelsey May 7, 2009

Jane, Mitch, Shelley, Stacey and Kelsey May 7, 2009

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Still twirlin’ after all these years…

It was really for such a short period of time but the impact this group had on me lasted a lifetime… here are my remarks from our reunion last night…

Looking through pictures, discovering long lost video tapes, preparing for the reunion – all of this has stirred up many emotions for me as I know it has for all of you too. When I began as a member of the greatest color guard of all time, way back in the spring of 1987, I never thought 23 years ahead and to a group of women I would share such a deep common bond. Instead, that spring I put down this book on that I bought in elementary school and began meeting every waking moment with Susan Stone Kendrick who showed me just how Mr. Terry wanted it done. Needless to say – none of it was in this book!

From Scholastic / Weekly Reader copyright 1970, 1972

From Scholastic / Weekly Reader copyright 1970, 1972

Instead, Susan, the outgoing majorette captain at the time, taught me to keep my chin up and point my toes, through all my basic twirls, marching and group routine which compromised our tryouts every spring. Cheryl Clark Hale, the incoming captain, inherited me and my willingness to learn those downfields and the difference between a yard line and a hash mark! Gina Christ Caplan our co-captain tried ever so patiently to teach me rhythm, counting and how to keep in step. But it was Mr. Terry and the rest of the color guard who taught me the show must go on.

favorite all time majorette picture, fall 1987

favorite all time majorette picture, fall 1987

Sitting in homeroom that October morning, hearing the announcements on the intercom and learning of the news that our instructor was in a coma was a moment in time that has stayed with me my whole life. Fortunately, as we saw his recovery begin we knew he was going to be okay but wouldn’t be back at practice for a while….so those captains has a huge task ahead of them and a big pair of shoes to fill. They were going to demand that we continue to give our very best.

VHHS Halftime Show 1987

VHHS Halftime Show 1987

I won’t elaborate b/c as you can see on our video tape that the 1987-88 color guard put on a heck of a show – it was that year the contest scores were near perfect, scoring a 99 at the Homewood Contest. Our majorette line even won State that year, seven of us who ran laps when we dropped those batons. I’ll never forget when one of the Rebelettes saw us running in the parking lot after a long practice and said, “wow, is this part of your workout?” and I feel sure it was Cheryl who said, “Ummmm, no, we run laps when we drop our batons….it’s called practice….”

1988-89 majorette line with Mr. Terry

1988-89 majorette line with Mr. Terry

I continued to twirl and be a part of the group for two more years, becoming co-captain the very next year alongside our 88-89 captain Jana Guitterez McAlpine. That year we added 2 more majorettes for a total of 9 and when I became captain my senior year we had a total of 11! Since then I’ve taught baton and even gone back to the high school as a sponsor of the group. Well, what can I say, once a majorette, always a majorette! I am very proud and always will be to be a part of this colorguard. As we all know, words cannot express the kind of commitment and dedication Mr. Terry’s color guard is known for. As the years have gone by, what can’t really be explained just lives on in each of us.

Me and Mr. Terry, June 2010

Me and Mr. Terry, June 2010

Posted in Baton Twirling | 1 Comment

Keepin’ It Simple


Outside my window…finally a break – I think it’s 89 degrees and dusk is just an hour away. It is actually pretty cool under the porch ceiling fans. The sun is bright orange, glistening through the trees as it decides to leave us for today.
I am thinking… about how to keep these kids busy this summer! Would love any comments on that one!

I am thankful for… my sweet husband and the totally awesome date we had this past weekend! too much fun!!! mike is the definition of “dear husband”. I <3 my DH.
From the kitchen… gluten free spaghetti noodles with gluten free pasta sauce with sauteed chicken and mozarella – canon even said, “mama mia thatsa the besta!” it was good.
I am wearing… shorts and a tee, surprised?
I am creating… I am still stumped on this one. Me and Canon planted some sunflower seeds. does that count?

I am going… to hit Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market and make sure we are eating healthy this week. That’s after the kids finish up the Shipley donut holes.
I am reading… Facebook statuses and the news feed.
I am hoping… for a great colorguard reunion this Friday. That was a huge part of my life even though in the grand scheme of things it was a short amount of time… many of us are reminiscing and thinking we might catch a glimpse of the glory days once again.
I am hearing… earlier today – when I started this post it was the kids watch Tom and Jerry. You don’t hear much but the animated music – you know, those mice didn’t speak did they? That was back when cartoons were cartoons, but that’s another post. Now it’s the back porch noise of insects and the highway. and mike singing “buffalo dolphin” in honor of the gulf coast (to the tune of buffalo soldier)
Around the house… we are home much more right now so there is much more of mess. Legos on the floor, spilled lemonade in the kitchen, cat food dumped out around the bowl… wait, that’s not just the summer, that’s ALL THE TIME.
One of my favorite things… is summertime. I was born to be on vacation!
A few plans for the rest of the week: reunion planning, outfit shopping and avoiding the heat.
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing…

Picardi roses from Mike this weekend - the same we used in our wedding

Picardi roses from Mike this weekend - the same kind we used in our wedding

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Guess I’ll Know When I Get There

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down, as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good ol’ days, may not return
And the rocks might melt & the sea may burn

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
Well some say life will beat you down,break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out, for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds,
But what goes up must come down

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Learning to Fly
lyrics by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne
1991 album, “Into the Great Wide Open”

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A Simple Woman?

An idea “borrowed” from my sister-in-law’s blog and “inspired” by The Simple Woman’s Daybook….

Outside my window… it is dark, only a few lightening bugs remain.
I am thinking… that I am really not a simple woman but I will give this a try, it’s time to change the direction of this blog.
I am thankful for… my mother. I would do anything in the world for her.
From the kitchen… we have a new rice cooker/steamer which actually is a way cool new appliance. but not as cool as the Egg Genie. and we have one of those too.
I am wearing… shorts from a consignment store and a top from Walmart. yep, you read that right.
I am creating… gotta give this one some thought – a mess? a light in the darkness? a scrapbook? definitely not a scrapbook.
I am going… to get my hair did in the morning – finally!!!
I am reading…“Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle – Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity”
I am hoping… this gets a little easier – I am supposed to be very descriptive but keep it short at the same time.
I am hearing… our fish tank. it’s trickling – it needs more water. and it’s making me want to head to the bathroom.
Around the house… the boy is in bed and the dad and daughter are in the man cave playing on the computer.
One of my favorite things… Canon’s impromptu “I love you mom” – I must hear it several times out of the blue, everyday
A few plans for the rest of the week: looking forward to date night this Friday! possibly mellow mushroom to try their new gluten free pizza? or maybe we’ll just stay home and play some checkers since both the kids will be spending the night out ;)

1989 drum solo - I'm scanning old pics for our colorguard/maj reunion - that's me on the end

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 2 Comments


A moment
A memory
A reality
A place
A time

Not possible
In your dreams
Not really
A distraction


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What I’m Thinking Right Now

You didn’t ask for it but here it is :)

Mike bought some Ugly Dawg salsa. It is gluten free. Says so right on the back of the jar. We managed to eat 3/4′s of it just now. It’s dawg-gone good. Might be sending him out for some mo’ here in a minute.

Ummm…. AOL radio “totally 80′s” is about the best app my iPhone currently has going. PYT is on right now. Need I say more?

And did you know the word “awwwww” actually comes up in spell check on the iPhone? It has several more w’s in it btw, in case you are grammatically correct when it comes to these things. It also spell checks the word “ya’ll”. Which is “ya’ll” according to the iPhone. But really it is short for “you all” which should be “y’all”, at least that I was I learned in the previous century. I double checked this with the 5th grader in the house who actually has a (albeit 21st century) grammar teacher. She said “y’all” is correct. Which means the iPhone is wrong. Aren’t you glad you decided to read this far?

So there is this blog by the Christian author who is “pretty out there” which means, she basically just throws it out there kinda like me but she’s written a few books and actually has a “following”. She’s very genuine and honest and I have the utmost respect for her. Her latest is on “The Idol of Hurry.” I concur. Except I think most of the folks I know, including myself, are all about the idol of busy. Think about it, if you’re busy do you really have time to connect, bond or really, really care? You know the answer to this but I don’t blame you if you don’t answer. It’s a shame. But it’s the truth and I live, breathe and walk it out every day determined to change it. But that’s hard to do when the mind is willin’ but the spirit is weak.

Well, awwwwwwwwww…. not sure if that’s right not, b/c wordpress is not picking up on it… my kids are finishing up school this week. My son brought home his 5K memory book and I got out my daughter’s 5K memory book from 2004-2005. It is about the fourth of the size of his. Why do I mention this? For a variety of reasons but I think I will stop there. This deserves its very own blog entry.

Well, “99 Luft Balloons” just came on AOL radio and I think that is my cue to stop and listen to the wonderful lyrics of this song. Are they in German? and if so why I am listening to a German song on AMERICA online radio? good grief.

It’s all good now. “Jungle Love” is on. And you just can’t go wrong with Morris Day and the Time, I don’t care what decade you’re in. Oh-wee-oh-wi-oh.

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 2 Comments

Repost (kinda, sorta)

I’m watching “Meet the Robinsons” and it reminded me of a post I did in September 2009. The song at the end of the movie is a good one and would be included in the soundtrack of my life, if there ever was one!

Going back and revisiting moments in time, trying to make sense of it all is nothing new to me. Expressing it outloud and sharing it with the world on a weblog was a little different. So, this is one of those days. Rethinking it and telling the world about it. In a “shelley-esque” kind of way.

09/26/09 I posted a few of the words this song that defined what I was going through at that time. Here is the whole song. Now I see those lyrics defined more than just that day and that particular moment in time. Instead, the song explained the twists and turns of fate in my life and gave me an answer to the “whys” about those small hours. Some of these lyrics I need to just go ahead and tattoo on myself. Words like “clarity”, “let it go”, and “let it slide” just seem to jump off the page at me.

let it go,
let it roll right off your shoulder
don’t you know
the hardest part is over
let it in,
let your clarity define you
in the end
we will only just remember how it feels

our lives are made
in these small hours
these little wonders,
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away,
but these small hours,
these small hours still remain

let it slide,
let your troubles fall behind you
let it shine
until you feel it all around you
and i don’t mind
if it’s me you need to turn to
we’ll get by,
it’s the heart that really matters in the end

our lives are made
in these small hours
these little wonders,
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away,
but these small hours,
these small hours still remain

all of my regret
will wash away some how
but i can not forget
the way i feel right now

in these small hours
these little wonders
these twists & turns of fate
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away but these small hours
these small hours, still remain,
still remain
these little wonders
these twists & turns of fate
time falls away
but these small hours
these little wonders still remain

-Rob Thomas
“Little Wonders”

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Shelley’s Day at the Masters

Originally written on April 10th of last year, here are my thoughts on spending a day at Augusta National. This was day one of the Masters Golf Tourney, 2009.

I never got around to posting it…well…for a lot of reasons…I brought Dad a Master’s golf shirt back from the trip.  It was a big deal for me to give it  to him.  I won’t ever forget that.  It was associated with a good memory of my Dad and those are few and far between.  Just a short 360 something days ago.

But here it is today. So glad I wrote these things down, too much has happened since last year to remember it all. The significance of a weblog strikes again.

The first thing I noticed was the wooden log bench at each hole, right where everyone would tee off. At every bench there was an igloo cooler. The bench was a lincoln log bench, like it was an original, made years ago. And it probably was. Next I noticed 2 pieces of wood about 8-10 feet away from where you would tee off. And they looked really old too.  The “tradition” of the Masters is a strong one, with no digital scoring – the leaderboard is WAY OLD FASHIONED, no advertisements anywhere to speak of and the fact that many people I was hanging out with that day were generational members of a golf mecca that most people only get to see on TV.

I realized then that I was looking at a moment in time that was in every way, trying not to change, year to year.

next was the quietness of a crowd

the beauty of the place

the tradition

the respect

the what the heck am I doing here?

the sounds of the planes above

the hospitality cottage

the restrooms, complete with travel toothbrushes (just in case)

the no phone/camera rule

the irony of us being at an event with a media/technical “blackout” on Mike’s birthday

and I ate a bunch of peanut m&m’s

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Birthday Week

I think most of us would agree that birthdays don’t just last a “day” anymore. Don’t we all celebrate at least 2 or 3 times, maybe more? Between friends, family, work, school, whatever the case may be… there are usual multiple celebrations. I wonder if it’s always been this way? All I know is around here there is generally a birthday week, where we eat, drink and be merry more than once. It’s Melodi’s week this week!

Wow, I’ve managed to keep this blog since 2006 when Melodi was in 1st grade. So, in keeping with the birthday week theme I am going to re-post my thoughts about my precious daughter from years past. No crying allowed, only extra helpings of ice cream :)

here is one from September 2, 2006 – never published to the official blog but I found the draft saved after all these years…

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15 years ago

I was on my honeymoon!

We stayed on the “clothing optional” side of the beach. And… the hotel staff went on strike about 3 days into it. Management had to wait tables, etc. and they gave us 3 free nights which was supposed to make up for the rioting outside our door (we used those nights at another time, on another trip back to Grand Lido). And the travel wholesale agency went out of business that same week so our airline tix back home were no good. And an old man died naked on the beach. No, that was our second trip back there a few years later, when we booked the 3 nights for free. ya’ll, I can’t make this stuff up.

Honeymoon. March 1995. Grand Lido, Negril. Awesome.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 1 Comment

A Bug’s Life (shelley style)

One day a cricket was minding his own business. The life of a cricket is pretty routine…chirping, eating, chirping, trying not to get eaten, chirping…

But this day was different. Someone needed to feed some lizards back at the pet shop so this cricket had a date with destiny.

He watched as other crickets were picked up and carted away in plastic bags with egg crate looking things in them. He held his breath. “I am just an innocent bystander here, looking for something to eat and now THIS!” How did this happen he wondered? Most definitely the wrong bug time at the wrong bug place.

It was over in a matter of minutes. And there he stood – untouched. No worries. So he thought.

But everytime he went out he had visions of big sneakers and plastic bags and well, he just couldn’t shake it. All I want to do is live peacefully but what do I do with what I witnessed? Where do I put that in my little bug cricket brain, he asked himself?

Other crickets said to him “get over it!” or “it wasn’t you, it was THEM, you’re still here, it’s all good.” He wanted to believe them, really he did. But it was not sinking in. Just too much drama in that one tiny moment of his little cricket life. Now, it was chirp, eat, worry, think, lament, panic, eat, try to sleep, chirp, eat, worry, think, lament, panic…well, you get the picture.

Amazing how one moment in time changes the way you chirp.

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What I’m Thinking Right Now

Well you didn’t ask for it, but here it is:

I am so grateful for spring break. My kids work harder than I ever did in 5k or 5th grade. And they need a break. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was signing them up for. But it’s spring break and they can be as lazy as they want to be and I won’t say a word about it. Promise.
I am loving all the old furniture in our house. I am sitting in a chair that is at least 50 years old. Old is good. It means it has what it takes to stick around for a while.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is a great movie. It would be great to have the future Shelley come visit with me right now. Although, sometimes I think she already has. Seriously.
The fact that I can have an incredible chat on Facebook with my husband is intriguing, especially when he is sitting less than 3 feet away from me. How is that? Wait. I won’t question it, I will just enjoy it. So there.
I’m very glad it is now and not then. Or even would have been. Right now is better than yesterday. Or tomorrow. It is crazy to think of where I’ve come from, where I’m going. And who might be sitting in these chairs 50 years from now.

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A Dead Battery When You’ve Already Saved

So I’m at Publix today, trying to figure out if the www.southernsavers.com has any help to offer me in the way of saving $$$. A friend of mine asked me about this type of thing in December, she asked me to go try it and then “teach” a small group about it… that is, if it worked. Finally in February I had another friend turn me on to the website and give me the 5 minute “how to” lesson. I decided to try it. Today.

The premise is simple: typically we go the pantry, see what we are out of and proceed to make the list. When we do that we are at the mercy of whatever the store wants to price it b/c of the whole demand/supply thing or something like that. Anyway, long story short, when we do this we pay whatever the store wants us to and this website teaches you how to hack the coupon method and therefore, only pay the lowest price available during a 6 week couponing cycle. I think there is something to it b/c I have always thought EVERYTHING is negotiable. The thing is this way you are negotiating the lowest price with the help of a website that does much of the work for you, so you still pay the store the lowest price possible without haggling with the cashier at the checkout.

Really. Never pay full price. I’ve been known to do this at the Kiwanis Christmas tree sale. yeah, the $$$ was for a good cause but I didn’t pay full price. I talked him down $15 on a Christmas tree. Because EVERYTHING really is negotiable. It just depends on how much work you want to do on the front end. Doing the whole, “I read this in consumer digest and here are the best price points on this, or that or whatever…” takes time. Asking the manager “is that the BEST price you can give me???” takes time. And sometimes going to the store and demanding they still honor the warranty even when it’s 355 days later is time. It’s effort. It’s work. But $100 later it doesn’t feel too bad.

The irony is this. I went to the website, did my due diligence, thought to myself, “we are only going to spend $50 on groceries this week, let’s just see if this works…” and I left with a publix receipt that read, ” your savings at Publix, $40.51″. I paid $45.10. Mission accomplished.

When I got out the car, it wouldn’t start. Didn’t turn over. Needed a new battery.

I will spare you the details of how much “time + effort = work” I spent in just trying to make this ONE trip to Publix and testing the $$$ saving method. By the time I left I spent less than $50 and saved $50. Again….mission accomplished.

The problem was trying to leave the parking lot. I guess we got the car battery plenty cheap since the $$$ I saved went directly to purchasing it.

Welcome to my world my friends. I think my entire existence is the definition of “irony.” That’s not all bad, but really, I was trying to save $$$. You would’ve thought I could’ve bask in the whole “I saved $50″ for at least 24 hours. I think I got 24 seconds.

I’ll try this again in a few days.

Unless we run out of everything in the meantime. Or if it snows. Or if the entire economy collapses before I have a chance to try it out again and we begin looting and pillaging. And come to think of it, any of those things *could* happen. Sounds like a whiney song made popular by an even whinier singer in the 1990′s. Don’t cha think???

Posted in Real Life Stories | 2 Comments

Here’s What I Think

At this VERY moment:

I think the weather forecast is a bunch of bull.

I think it’s absolutely hilarious to watch Elaine dance on Seinfeld. 

I also think it’s interesting that the minute I bring out my laptop Mike puts his away. 

I think I’m rather frustrated that my FB app crashed on my iPhone because I have nearly 4,000 pictures stored on it.  Guess I really do need to off-load those pics.

I think I’m way overdue to cut and color my hair since I saw a recent picture of myself.

I think it sucks that my vasculitis rash is back b/c I started dosing down my prednisone. 

And I think if you’re reading this post and it’s making you uncomfortable then you need to stop reading now.

I think I see my dad driving different cars in Birmingham.  I think I see him lots of times throughout the week, in different places and I realize that, well, that’s not him. 

I think I’m sadder than I’ve ever been.

I think that I want to go to community college since I began watching the show, “Community” on NBC.  Or is it ABC?  who cares, you can DVR and skip the commercials. 

I think that I’ve made some mistakes and I am not going to correct them.

I think that my daughter is the most incredible person in the whole wide world. 

I think it’s amazing what all has happened since October 2008.

I think that 2010 is going to be VERY different than 2009.

I think that skin cancer has really cramped my style here recently.

If you are wondering what I think about anything at this present moment then I hope you have the answer.  If not, feel free to comment and I will give you the low down on what I think. 

I think that paying someone to listen to your problems is well worth the money.

I think I will do everything differently from now on. 

I think it is fascinating that I lose a friend daily, if not weekly on FB.  If you’re not into this kind of uncensored stuff then I guess I see why you wouldn’t want to be my friend on facebook.  Whatever. 

I  think arranging flowers is more fun than painting.  It may be more expensive but as long as you’re paying for therapy who cares how much flowers cost. 

I think I may regret posting all of this by tomorrow morning.  If so, I might delete it.  However, I might keep it.  Because it’s the truth.  And maybe that’s why I posted it.

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I have decided…

The shallow is much easier than the deep.

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02 of 10

It’s been an exciting start to the month of February around the Shaw house! 

We began 02/1 0 with my melanoma removal at St. Vincent’s Outpatient Surgery Center on Monday.  That is not a fun way to start the week.  Now, 18 year old Shelley did not consider how 37 year old Shelley would feel about interrupting life and having a wide area incision across the right side of her abodomen when she was lying in the tanning bed, oh, nearly 20 years ago.  But I am so ready for this tape to be off, for my stitches to be out and for my stomach to stop looking like the meat section of the grocery store.  And I am going to have to have seriously de-tox because my system is all of whack with hydrocodone and various other narcotics not to mention bigger than ususal doses of steroids running through my body.  I just feel all jacked up.  Yuck. 

But it  hasn’t been all bad.  Molly went into heat so we arranged visits with Winston, the poodle, (aka Molly’s babies daddy), who is 13 years old and in possible need of doggie viagra.  Honestly, being doped up this week is probably the only way I could *truly* handle this.  Finally, on Winston’s 5th or 6th visist Canon says, “Look mom, Winston is dancing with Molly!”  And I’m like, “yeah, I guess you could call it that.”  He finally determines that Winston is on Molly’s back looking for the puppies.  Lortab anyone? 

I got my fix of Oprah, Judge Joe Brown and R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” hip-hopera.  That would be thanks to Mike, for dvr-ing the “most annoying but can’t look away from it” music video of all time.  We proceded to find Weird Al’s version, “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” and realized an entire hip-hopera had been written about us.  Oh and I was only taking ibuprofen so I can’t blame it on the pain meds. 

I got to sleep a little more except I will say lortabs make me feel like I’m tripping out w/r/t the dreams I was having.  I can’t remember enough of them to record them here but I do know the dreams were all too real.  So, I guess you could say I slept more but didn’t get much “rest”. 

Basically my brain has been in a little bit of overdrive.  Kind of like my dog. 

I did manage to cook, clean, oversee homework and attend a parent/teacher conference this week.  Kids probably didn’t see much difference in regular mom vs. medicated mom.  Poor Mike though.  Through sickness and in health.  He took me out tonight though.  We wound up at the Salvation Army.  He bought a lovely picture of an eagle, completely laquered on beveled wood.  NIB I might add.  Then, he bought me a piece of costume jewelry, only found at a thrift store.  It is a golden squirrel pin/brooch.  I can’t make this stuff up. 

And that my friends, is how we roll.  In the Crown Vic ’04.

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project grow up

The definition of  Project Grow Up:

“The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.”

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(Lyrics By Dolly Parton)

When it’s family, you forgive them for they know not what they do
When it’s family, you accept them, ’cause you have no choice but to
When it’s family, they’re a mirror of the worst and best in you
And they always put you to the test
And you always try to do your best
And just pray for God to do the rest, when it’s family

Some are preachers, some are gay
Some are addicts, drunks and strays
But not a one is turned away, when it’s family
Some are lucky, others ain’t
Some are fighters, others faint
Winners, losers, sinners, saints, it’s all family

And when it’s family you trust them and your heart’s an open door
When it’s family, you tolerate what you’d kill others for
When it’s family, you love and hate and take, then give some more
Somehow you justify mistakes, try to find some better way
To solve the problems day to day, in the family

You take the trouble as it comes and love them more than anyone
Good or bad or indifferent, it’s still family
You choose your lovers, you pick your friends
Not the family that you’re in, nah
They’ll be with you ’til the end, ’cause it’s family

Let Me Be All That I Should Be to the Family

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Circus, Circus

(originally written and posted on May 21st, 2006)

I’ve always thought I should’ve jumped that circus train
Taking me places
Where you get paid for flying by the seat of your pants
Like those trapeze artists do.
Or by simply being different
It becomes a line on a resume
And someone finds some value in your flaws.
How about courageously facing fear in its face, whether it be a lion, tiger or bear
And it becomes entertainment.
One ring,
Two rings,
Three rings,
Organization amidst the confusion.
Laughter, applause, amazement.
And somehow it all makes sense as you get to do it again and again!
Day after day, night after night, weeks become months, months become years…
A circus performer I might become yet.

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not worry

about this

but instead

said a prayer

and knew

that it was answered.

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Once Upon A Time (again)

There were three bears.  Golden Bear, Rainbow Bear and Aqua Blue Bear.  They were very different bears.

Aqua Blue Bear was just happy to be there.  Or here.  Or wherever.  Being in the midst of things was a good place.  Neutral is good.  Being the mediator is a good thing!  Lucky Aqua Blue Bear!

Rainbow Bear was wondering, always wondering.  Or maybe it was wandering?  Rainbow Bear was not stable in any way, shape or form.  That’s a rough place to be!  But at the same time, being unsure and unstable can be a good thing.  Right?  There is always medication for that kind of thing.  Lucky Rainbow Bear!

And Golden Bear had it all figured out.  Lucky Golden Bear!  What a great place to be!  All knowing, all omniscient Golden Bear!   Law-abiding Golden Bear was judgmental and smart.  What could be better than that?  That was EXACTLY the place to be!

Rainbow Bear needed reassurance.  Aqua Blue Bear was all about encouragement and gave it freely.  Golden Bear had nothing to offer.  Except judgment and well, truth.  Thus, Golden Bear earned the name Truth Bear.   Rainbow Bear didn’t hear much from Golden Bear.  But Aqua Blue Bear was right there!  And Aqua Blue Bear didn’t even realize it!  Aqua Blue Bear was just happy to be there!

Rainbow Bear had been on both sides of the rainbow.  And earned the name, Grace Bear.  However, Rainbow Bear needed some judgment.  Some truth.  Otherwise, grace meant nothing.  Grace without Truth is not acceptable.  Instead of wandering (or wondering) Grace Bear needed both the other bears to figure things out.

Aqua Blue Bear decided to speak up.  Aqua Blue became bluer than the sky.  The name Clarity was given to Aqua Blue Bear.  Being bold and speaking freely was a good gift and Clarity Bear used it at the most appropriate time.

Truth Bear, Grace Bear and Clarity Bear made a good combination.  It is amazing but all of a sudden the three bears became one bear.  Truth combined with Grace gave Clarity.

This is just a story.  A short story.  NOTHING about this story is really “real.”.  At least the fact that this story is about bears.

But wouldn’t it be great if it were?  Real?  Real.  Really?  Really.

I mean, really.

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WDW, Then and Now

Mike’s parents gave the gift of Walt Disney World for Christmas!  Except we are here for New Years 2010!  ¡Felíz año nuevo!

The first time I EVER came to Disney World was in a modified “woody” buick station wagon that we bought at the square Don Drennen dealership, which will only mean something to you B’ham folks.  I think it was 1982.  That might have been the 10 year WDW anniversary?

We stayed in the Contemporary, got our picture made at the Old Timey Photography Studio on Main Street…. and here’s the best part, I brought a friend with me!  Leah and I slept in the back of the station wagon, this was long before the police actually stopped you because no one was wearing a seatbelt and the kids roamed free in the floorboard, backseat and frontseat of the car.  Yes, that was LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG time ago.

Mom and Dad planned several trips to Disney when I was growing up.  I am too tired to remember them all, but I can think  of the trip with Leah, the trip with Stacey when she came for the first time and the trip with Kelsey when she came for the first time.  We have incredibly cute pictures from the trip with Stacey, she was such a doll, with all her curls and around 3 years old too.  Kelsey came when she was 5 too.  I loved every minute of that trip, watching here take it all in.  Which means those magical ages of 3-5 years old, when you *believe* everything about WDW, are truly priceless.  I am noticing on this trip that you totally outgrow that by the age of 10.

I have great memories of highschool band trips to WDW, marching and performing in both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.  Not to mention the first trip I took with Mike, a couple of years after we got married and Canon’s first trip in 2006.  I think we certainly have paid someone’s salary at Disney, throughout the course of these trips.

We started our week yesterday, with the 10 hour (12 hour with stops) drive from the ‘ham to the most magical place on earth.  I remember flying a couple of times, once on Eastern Airlines (am I dating myself or what?) and again when we brought Melodi for the first time in 2004.  We flew the straight shot flight out of B’ham and stayed at the Port Orleans Resort.  8 full days and Mike documented it very well in iPhoto.  She was 4 years old and I was 12 weeks PG with Canon.

But I digress.

I was preparing for our trip over the weekend, 24 hours after Christmas day, washing clothes and packing…making very last minute reservations for our early arrival since our resort reservations don’t happen til Wednesday and we got here Sunday night.  I don’t recommend this btw.  At least the part about last minute reservations.  After traveling 12 hours by car and then having some serious issues upon check-in due to…whatever you want to call it…not good.  But nothing really prepared for the emotional toll this would take on my brain.

I’ve mentioned several “firsts” here, my “first” trip, my sisters “first” trips, Melodi’s “first trip.”  This is my “first” trip to Disney World with my Dad being gone.  And that is a lot to process.

So, here is what I have thought about:

1)  Dad and Mom brought me here as a child.  And my “last” offiicial family (of origin) trip with them was to WDW in 1994.  I remember that week well b/c  I had just graduated from college.  I got a phone call the week we were here for an official job offer at WBRC.  I think the first person I told when I got the call was my Dad.  I took the job!

2)  They spent a heck of alot of money at the  Contemporary, the luau at the Polynesian, the downtown disney resorts, getting us here when Epcot first opened, and many, many other things I totally took forgranted.

3)  Pretty much everywhere I go in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot will hold a memory of my Dad.  Dang it, that just makes me want to cry.

He loved to bring us here.

Now I’m here with my kids and there are not enough electric outlets in this hotel room to re-charge all the electronic devices we brought on this trip.  A major criteria for choosing our hotel was if there was free (in room) internet connection.  And the Wal-Mart down the road is the exact equivalent to a 3rd world country (I know this because I lived in Guadalajara).  There are millions of people here and most of their currency is worth more than my American dollar.

So, that is, in a nutshell, the difference between then and now.  But in my heart there is so much more than that.

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A Decade of Swapping Some Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookie Swap #10 happened at approximately 14:00 hours today.  From here on out we’ll take it up a notch around here and there will be more excitement than usual!  Our cookie swap means Christmas Eve is usually within 24-48 hours of the event.  Here we are!

When Melodi was born I wanted to have a tradition with her that would last longer than I would.  I mean, eventually I won’t be here anymore but she will and will hopefully carry on some of the things we did while she was growing up.  Up until recently I never really grasped that fact as the truth.  I’m here to tell you, it is the truth with a capital “T”.  We don’t live forever but our memories and traditions can.

So, my aunt gives me a Christmas book, a journal which records Christmas for the next 10 years.  This was in 1999.  We are 10 years later and it’s 2009 and this will be the last entry in this little book.  Where, oh where, does the time go?  Oh, I know.  It’s really not that fast.  In fact, it’s a long, slow process but that’s another post.

It’s so funny to look at this family Christmas book  b/c 1)  you can’t read my handwriting and 2)  I stopped journaling in it about  half way through.  That would be when Canon was born.  But I always recorded our cookie swaps and now have 10 years worth of them chronicled in the book.

Every year for our cookie swap I mailed out an invitation, created a “menu”, created fun cookies and anitcipated the day of the party.  Each year Melodi has taken on more responsiblity for the party, by addressing the envelopes, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping off the front porch and finally, baking the cookies.  This year she did all of that except address the envelopes.  Why not the envevlopes?  B/C there were no invitations.  This year you got an email.

She loves this tradition!  And I want her to have it long after I’m gone.  Which means Melodi, if you ever read this, please have the cookie party.  No matter what.  Life will change and be a little different, year after year.  But make room in your heart for our cookie swap.  And when I’m too old to participate, bring it to me at the old folks home.

And for those of you who know my incredible, has her act together daughter, know that she will.

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Jingle Bell, Jingle Bells, Stumble all the Way

So here I am stumbling through Christmas.

It’s not all bad, but I’m here to tell you the Shaw family doesn’t have our Christmas cards in the mail yet.  Melodi is planning the cookie swap this year and I’m hoping Santa is real b/c I can’t find the children’s stockings and I’m not quite sure what thy are getting for Christmas.

As much as I want to “check out” it’s just not gonna happen.  For one thing, the kids only have one Christmas in which they are 5 and 10.  That is this year.  I can’t get it back.  So I will be engaged, realizing that these days are a gift and I don’t deserve them.  But in God’s grace he’s given them to me.  And I am obedient to enjoy them.

Secondly, I’m living and breathing and if Dad were here and in his right mind he’d say, “have Christmas!  be merry!” or something like that.

And thirdly, not that I need a third reason or anything, but I’ve been living my life like I’m going to have another Christmas.  And another.  And another.  But the reality is, I’m only promised this very moment I’ve been given.  Anything 60 seconds from now is a God thing.   So I had better stumble or whatever you want to call it through the next week.  Because it’s not guaranteed that I am going to have it again.  I’m just speaking the truth.  Ya’ll know I’m right.

In an effort to engage myself in the season I am going through old Christmas pictures.  I am scanning a few of them and putting them in an album on my facebook page.  Facebook gives me a place to compile some thoughts and ideas and pictures, that otherwise I may not ever get around to doing.  Some folks do this by scrapbooking or creating a Flicker account or blogging or by any other creative means the 21st century has given to us.  We do have many ways to store our memories now-a-days.  Makes me remember alot of things I thought I had forgot.

Oh what fun it is to ride… in a moment suspended in time… hey!

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Once Upon a Time

There was a wardrobe.

And whenever Shelley felt like it she could jump in it and escape.

Into a world which was much different than the “real” one she found herself in.  (ended with a preposition, can’t help it).  She received the wardrobe as an inheritance of sorts.  Her dad’s Uncle Stacey had previously housed the wardrobe.  (I think I have this correct.)  But when he died, or his wife died, the house needed to be emptied and Shelley’s parents got the wardrobe.

The bedroom furniture Shelley had was among some of the very first furniture her parents acquired.  It was old, really old.  An antique when they bought it so that meant by the time Shelley had it it was antique x 100.  The bed was known as a “cannonball” style since on the headboard and footboard displayed these really big balls (if that makes any sense).  The chest of drawers were incredibly deep, the best ever.  They could hold lots of clothes and especially diaries.

It should be noted that the wardrobe was very small.  For clothing that is.  The left side had a bar which could hold hangers.  The right side had two drawers and some open storage.  When Shelley asked about it her mother explained that back in the olden days there weren’t any closets.  So, the wardrobe acted as a closet.  It is odd that the wardrobe could only hold like maybe 5 things.  But the chest of drawers could hold so much with those deep drawers.  Now modern society must rent storage units to house stuff because the closets and chest of drawers in their homes can’t hold it all.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Shelley’s granddad decided to paint the bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe.  By the time Shelley was 10 and was in a new house she got the whole deal except for the vanity and mirror.  Somehow it didn’t get painted.  The only remant of that piece is the mirror and Shelley’s sister found it in the basement of her parents house a couple of decades later and decided to have it re-mirrored, or something like that.  Shelley’s sister now hangs it proudly in her master bedroom.

So, Shelley has the cannonball bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, freshly painted a neutral  ivory color by her maternal grandfather.  She is 9 years old.

Back to the wardrobe.  It really was the vehicle that fueled her imagination.  She found that as hard as she tried she could never get past the back of the wardrobe.  Instead, it stayed firmly in tact and she remained a part of the world in which she had been born.  Secretly, Shelley thought, “dang it!”

But since necessity is the mother of all invention Shelley decided to invent games that started and ended with the wardrobe.  She did escape, mentally.  Never phsyically.  The hard parts of her existence stayed there but her imagination took her elsewhere.  It was an okay arrangement.

The wardrobe traveled on to another house.  Many years later it was inherited again.  Shelley decided that her daughter would have it.  An artist got hold of that piece of furniture and turned it into a masterpiece.  It became part of the nursery when her baby arrived.  Inscribed at the top of the piece are her daughter’s initials, “MJS” and birthdate.  Shelley officially tried to give it away.

However, due to space constraints,  it has wound up in Shelley’s laundry room.  Which makes sense.  Because she is forever trying to escape her present circumstances (and the laundry).  The wardrboe has remained quite present in Shelley’s grown up world.  She will let you know how that works out for her.

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

I just found the biggest coffee mug I could in the house and I can’t believe I’m sitting here drinking it by myself in front of our newly decorated Christmas tree!  We got a tremendous fresh cut frasier fur and it smells wonderful.  A very beautiful beginning to the holiday season indeed.

We had a very lazy Thanksgiving break and in light of everything else we’ve been through that was exactly what we needed!  We slept a little later each day of the 5 day break, which means Canon slept later.  He is the one to get us up and moving and it’s a good thing.  Otherwise the rest of us might continue having visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads until noon.  The break ended when we all had to face Monday morning running late in the rain today.  But I will admit that hearing the rain, drinking my coffee and sitting in front of the tree make for a much needed time of reflection for myself.

I ate and drank and was merry through the long weekend, watching football and spending time with my family.  The first quarter of the Auburn/Alabama game was unreal.  After AU’s second touchdown we were hooping and hollering and Canon walked over and said, “I wish Deeda was here to see this…”  and I said, “yes, I wish he were here too…”

I won’t write but a brief paragraph or two about our Thanksgiving without Dad.  His absence was present.

A very deep sadness, one that I really haven’t known before has taken up residence in my heart.  It is heavy, it is real.  The feeling can begin at almost anytime and it always gets interrupted.  It doesn’t just “go away”.  Instead, the weight of loss makes it’s presence known and in a matter of seconds I am immediately distracted and the emotion gets put off until the next time.  Maybe it’s due to the season of my life right now.  Grieving just really isn’t in the schedule.  There is far too much living to be done around my house.  So I’m guessing the one hour weekly therapy session might be in order.

I miss him.  But more than that I want to know “why”… why it all went down the way it did.  I want to understand his mental state and how real his reality was to him.  I want to know how a human being can put up such a front.  I want to really know the moments he loved us.  And I want to know the last time that he was in his right mind.

So now I’ve got 24 days to get ready for Christmas.  Better get busy!  But I am most definitely going to finish this cup of coffee first.

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Melodi’s Story

It was three weeks ago this Thursday when we received the news about my dad.  Sometime between November 2nd and November 5th my dad left the temporal world which had tormented him so.  The coroner’s report states he died of natural causes.

Due to dad’s very serious psychiatric condition he had been hospitalized.  My family was not included on his call list as we were the ones who committed him to go there.  Which means this had become quite adversarial.  He had hired lawyers to work on his behalf, while he never fully accepted his diagnosis.  Instead, he continued to live his bi-polar, manic episode with psychotic features lifestyle.  And, well,  it is what it is.

I think there are 5 stages of grief and if I understand correctly, humans must be willing to go through all 5 stages, otherwise we endanger our own emotional health.  Much of my grieving began several months ago as I realized my dad was going to a place he was not going to come back from, at least not on this earth.  I think I’m at the “anger” stage, although psychology is pretty clear that we all vacillate between the stages for some length of time.  Maybe I’m still in shock.  Who knows.

Below is Melodi’s interpretation of what she witnessed since August 9th, 2009.  I could give an account of what I’ve seen, but even in the infinite world of the internet I don’t think  there truly is enough space to record it all.  So, we will go with Melodi’s story, written the week of Dad’s funeral (2 weeks ago).  Typed by Melodi, we have cut and pasted her story into my blog.

The Death of Love
By Melodi

Chapter 1: The Beginning.
Once, and this is a true story, there lived a girl named Melodi about ten-years-old. She awoke to the sound of her mother calling her for breakfast. Today was her brother’s birthday. But little did she know that this was the beginning of a new life.

Her brother was going to have a pool party. And he invited many people. Friends, family, and friend’s family. This included his father, mother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, other grandmother, and other grandfather. Of course, Melodi did not notice her grandfather’s (on her mother’s side- Deeda- for short). The very next day was brought to her attention.

It started later in a day. When her family got a call. Suddenly, mother burst into tears. Melodi wondered what she was crying about, but was too afraid to ask. She soon learned the troubles.

Her grandfather, Deeda- had gone to the hospital down in Auburn. Melodi knew this. But he used to be a doctor and did not want other doctors telling him what to do. So he ran away. Melodi did not understand well, but later wished she would have.

Chapter 2: The News
He had a sickness. Unidentified. He was brought back to the hospital and escaped again. Later another story had formed. Deeda had been driving in his car. But first here are the symptoms of his sickness: being very confused- almost like alsimers-. But he was driving in his car. He parked his car in front of a house he did not know. He went to the door and told the people that there was a bomb in his car. The dad, feeling bad for him, took him to a hotel. The mom, however, was very upset since she had two kids and Deeda had said he had a bomb in his car. She called a bomb squad.

By this time, Melodi was worried sick about Deeda.

Chapter 3:Bad Things
He was back in the hospital again. Nana (his wife) was very scared and worried. They had to have a divorce even though she didn’t want to. Once heard, Melodi was very nervous. Because soon came very bad news…

Chapter 4: The Saddest Thing Heard By Her
Now time for the worst news of all: They were on their way to her brother’s football game when came the frightening words: “Um… Shelley, we are not going to the football game.” Dad had said when off the phone. “Come with me,” father said. All of the sudden, mother was crying the worst I have heard ever. Mom and dad left and left us with grandmom and grandad. (father’s side)

The next day, mother and father took me to Nana’s house. The news came to ear. Mother said, “Deeda died.” Melodi’s once smile turned into a frown. “What happened?” Melodi asked. “Well,” Father said, “he died on Monday but found this Thursday, in a chair. Dead.” Melodi’s eyes filled with tears but she did not show.

Chapter 5: A Sad Moment
The funeral was Monday, the week after the death. The saddest moments she had in her life were upon Melodi. “But, Christmas will not be the same without him,” Melodi cried at the place were his picture was on the table at the funeral (a few moments of silence). “I didn’t even get to say goodbye!”

Chapter 6: Happy Times
He lives now in Heaven. Happy and free of all sadness, and pain. Looking down at us saying, “Do not cry. You will see me some day!”

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Friday, November 20th, 10am

I’m not crying because it’s over.

I’m smiling because it happened.

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H. Gordon “Mitch” Mitchell

As I sit here among sympathy cards, too many to count messages in my inbox and beautiful flower arrangements it is still hard for me to grasp the fact that my dad is at his final resting place on this earth and the next time I see him will be in heaven.

I was barely in touch with him since mid-August and the last time I saw him he was driving his car.  That is fitting.  He loved cars and if I didn’t have the opportunity to have a conversation with him then the next best thing is watching him drive his car.  He had many over the years, everything from Corvettes to a restored GTO (the Goat he called it), a Range Rover and even an Explorer which was atruck edition (I think).  Too many mercedes to count, including one he bought for me.  Lots of cars and lots of miles driving.

Many miles were driven on one car ride in particular..  It was actually in a cargo type van, hugging the mountains to Guadalajara, Mexico where he attended medical school.  I live there with mom and dad when I was 3 years old.  Dad made it back to the States when a spot opened up at UAB.  He graduated medical school when I was in 3rd grade.  Life changed a lot after that.

As I process through my Dad’s illness and the trauma which has enslaved my family for the last three months I will write more, explain more and hopefully help someone in a similar situation.  As Christians we have to take what was meant for evil and change it into good.  That is going to happen if I have anything to do with it!

The best account of what has happened is written by my oldest child, Melodi.  She gave me the story to read Wednesday night and through a child’s eyes I read a very honest explanation of why I had arranged a funeral, why I was estranged from my Dad and why God doesn’t let you know the future.  I will certainly share the story she wrote in another post.

Below is a picture from my wedding day.  You’ll recognize the man dancing with me.  And you’ll read his obituary and know that somehow, someway, it will all be okay.  Thank you for taking the time to read about my Dad and see him here at a happier time.  He is certainly in a better place now and I still love him and always will.

H. Gordon “Mitch” Mitchell

A memorial service for H. Gordon “Mitch” Mitchell was held at Langley Funeral Home Chapel, Camp Hill, AL, at 3 PM on Monday, November 9, 2009,  with Rev. Craig Guy officiating.  His internmet was held at Dadeville City Cemetary.

Dr. Mitchell was born on June 21, 1948, to the late Gordon and Monetha Davis Mitchell and passed away on November 5, 2009, at the age of 61.

He is preceded in death by both his parents and his sisters, Anita Mitchell Thornton and Lisa Mitchell Aaron.

He received his pharmacy degree from Auburn University and his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Most recently he earned a masters degree in public health from UAB.  He touched many lives over the course of his 40+ years in the medical community.

He is survived by  his wife Jane Gittings Mitchell of Birmingham, AL; daughter Shelley (Mike) Shaw of Birmingham, AL; daughter Stacey (Ashley) Smith of Birmingham, AL; daughter Kelsey Mitchell of Auburn, AL; and grandchildren Melodi Jayne Shaw and Michael Canon Shaw.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, www.nami.org.

me and my dad
me and my dad

Posted in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley | 1 Comment

Just a Thought

I think I am going to start a new website.  It is going to be called:


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Making Sense out of Nonsense

And who else, but Dr. Seuss, could explain it all?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”  — Dr. Seuss

“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.”
– Dr. Seuss

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss

And finally… probably the most important thing you will read today.  And you know who are…

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”  — Dr. Seuss

and if you are wondering about me, here’s my take on things, written by Dr. Seuss:

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

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Right Now

Don’t wanna wait til tomorrow,
Why put it off another day?
One more walk through problems,
Built up, and stand in our way…
One step ahead, one step behind me
Now you gotta run to get even
Make future plans, don’t dream about yesterday,
hey, come on, turn, turn this thing around…

Right now it’s your tomorrow.

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Today’s Paper

is tomorrow’s compost.

you know I’m right!

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9/28/09, 10:00 am

I ain’t no psychiatrist, I ain’t no doctor with degree
It don’t take too much high IQ’s to see what you’re doing to me

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In the End

let it go,
let it roll right off your shoulder
don’t you know
the hardest part is over
let it in,
let your clarity define you
in the end
we will only just remember how it feels

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It really is just a matter of time

Confusion Never Stops

Closing Walls


Ticking Clocks

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I Can’t Take Credit For This

But I sure can relate to it.  You probably can too!

Here’s a poem I found while I did a search on Narcissus.  You know, that Greek mythology character that we read about in 9th grade English class.  He was a hero who was renowned for his beauty.  According to the Wikipedia, he is exceptionally cruel, in that he disdains those who love him. As divine punishment he falls in love with a reflection in a pool, not realizing it was his own, and perishes there, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.

Hello Narcissus

Your preoccupation with yourself

Your singular obsession

With your self importance

Wearies after a while.

When you were two or a teen,

It was quite charming,

But now your narcissism

Bores the pants off me.

It’s all me, me, me,

I did this, I do that.

This feedback might be

Hard to hear,

Thinking, as you do,

That all it takes for you

To change a light-bulb

Is to hold it, while the world

Revolves around you.

Click here to see the poem on www.about.com

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Note to Self

Contempt is an intense feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless—it is similar to scorn.

A person holding contempt would not have the urge to openly confront the person with whom they are at odds with, nor would they themselves try to remove the object of contempt; rather, one who holds contempt would have the tendency to hold the view that others should remove the object of contempt, or hold the view that the object of contempt should remove itself. So while one would make their feelings known to others, the person with contempt would not necessarily want to directly deal with the situation at hand. One who is experiencing contempt would exhibit negative affective behaviors that may be labeled as “cold” – this simply meaning that one who is experiencing the emotion of contempt would tend to alienate those responsible.

In the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking author Malcolm Gladwell discusses John Gottman‘s theories of how to predict which couples will stay married. Gottman’s theory states that there are four major emotional reactions that are destructive to a marriage: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt. Among these four, Gottman considers contempt the most important of them all.

Source:  Wikipedia

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An (Un)Rhetorical Question

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.  -George Bernard Shaw

A RHETORICAL QUESTION for myself and anyone else who reads this:  Are you reasonable or unreasonable?  Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?  Is it really possible for the ENTIRE WORLD and EVERYTHING around a person to revolve around oneself?

My answer is NO (and I realize now I did not ask a rhetorical question if I answered it out loud on this blog).  The entire world, our circumstances and everyone we come into contact with will not revolve around us.   And if one thinks it can, then that person needs to recognize some irrational and selfish behavior and seek some help to resolve some serious issues that need to be addressed.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man (or woman).

If you (or me for that matter), are being are unreasonable, progress cannot occur.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 1 Comment

Better Days

And you asked me what I want this year
and I try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
’cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now
’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
and the one poor child who saved this world
and there’s ten million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now
’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now

’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

“Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls, 2005

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August 24, 2009

I found the missing piece.

Please click here.

Posted in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, poetry | Leave a comment


Rain by Shel Silverstein
I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

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Happy Birthday Canon!

Today he is officially 5 years old.  I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry!

Yesterday I got out my boxes of keepsakes that I put together around the time each of my children were born.  There were so many memories in each box.  I might not know where my celphone charger is, but I know where their hospital baby bracelets are that they came home from the hospital wearing.

Among these treasures are two journals that I kept while I was pregnant.  I’m going to recap my last journal entry from when I was pregnant with Canon.  This is where I recorded all my thoughts and emotions on that roller coaster ride called  pregnancy.  But what’s amazing about my entries are that their personalities showed up early in pregnancy.  So much of what I discovered about my children in utero have played out in “real life”.  Amazing.

Here is my last entry from that journal, when my precious baby boy was only 3 months old.  Now he’s rocking and rolling into kindergarten.  And we have partied all weekend, unlike the weekend he was born, when I woke up in ICU.  Well, that’s another entry entitled:  “Things I’m Glad I Won’t Have to Do Again.”  So, here are my thoughts post delivery and all I can say is that with every passing day my joy has increased tenfold.  As I have said before, I’m a blessed woman!


You are now 3 months old.  And quite honestly it has taken me 3 months to revisit my pregnancy.  I mean, for the last 12 Mondays following his birth I cried, sometimes beginning on a Sunday night.  It’s just been different.  I was laboring and not progressing, had to wait it out for the doctor and proceeded to have complications.  Like not being able to breathe.  I have spent 3 months now trying to figure out what I did to deserve such an agonizing delivery!

But he is here now and I finally feel more like myself and can look at pictures from the week in the hospital and read up on my last entry in here.  We’ve doubled his birthweight, had a cold, started some anitbiotics for a slight ear infection, and captured my heart in so many ways I didn’t know could exist.  When he smiles, his entire face smiles.  He shows me when he can do something new and waits for my affirmation and does it again and again.  He wants to be a baby, none of this growing up too quickly like his big sis.  He is a precious bundle of joy and I can’t believe I will become his measure of what it means to be a woman, a wife, a mom.  I love him so much, even these tantrums he has learned when it ‘s time for bed and he’s hungry and sleepy are all precious.

Because when I wrote in here on August 3rd, 2004 it was a week before I went into labor my final time.  A memorable time in my life which won’t be repeated until I become a grandmother.  I am so excited because I have so much love for both my children, I am so looking forward to our life together.  Apart from heaven, this is what it means to be complete.

Posted in Real Life Stories, kids | 1 Comment

June 7, June 23 and July 26

6-7-89.  I always thought that was so cool to have a birthday with consecutive numbers like that.  That birthday belongs to Kelsey.  The summer I turned 17 also brought with it my youngest sister.  She’s in college, a sophomore at my alma mater, Auburn University.  I often ask her if I could just come stay a night and “pretend” that I’m in college with her.  It’s only a request because currently as mom of two and wife of one it’s just not easy to pick up and say, “I’m crashing in Auburn tonight.  See you tomorrow.”  But I can always count on her to let me know what’s going on, especially on my phone.  For example, she sent me a text the morning Billy Mays was discovered dead in his house, “Shelley, is it true Billy Mays is dead?”  I always try to be accurate when replying to Kelsey’s questions so after a quick search on google I confirmed it for her.  (I get news faster from her than I do CNN).  She posts to my facebook page.  She reminds me that yes, I once was 20 years old.  If it wasn’t for Kelsey I’d be pop-culturally deficient I am sure.  In fact, I am sure my kids would be too.  Kelsey has passed on more way-cool items to my children than I can count.  Her hand-me-downs bring with them a coolness that can’t be bought at a department store.  We heart Kelsey!

Rewind 10 more years.  Stacey came along in June of 1979 and I’ll never forget it because I was nearly 7 years old.  The first time we thought she was coming I went and stayed with my cousins, thinking the entire time that surely mom would have twins so I could have one and she have one.  It was a false alarm and when the real delivery happened we ushered in my dad’s sister to come to stay with me.  Aunt Nita didn’t have any kids so this was always an adventure when she was my babysitter.  The main thing I remember about that is she lost me in the grocery store.  Eventually we were reunited, after hearing my name called across the loudspeaker.  And then they brought sweet little Stacey home and my life changed forever.  In a good way.  Stacey’s been an important part of my life for 30 years now.  I love her dearly.  She shares her birthday with Dad many times because they are only a day apart.  A very generous and giving person, she loves creating fun memories for my children.  They adore her!

So, here we are, ever so close to the end of summer.  I just celebrated my birthday and that in itself was always the ceremonial “summer is almost over” check point.  Most folks were usually out of town, getting in their summer vacations which meant it was really hard for us to pull a party together at that stage of the summer.

However, one year in particular was different.  1983.  My very dear friend put together a surprise party for me.  I was turning 11 years old and I thought we were just getting together to play with our “adoption” dolls.  And much to my surprise a carport full of people had shown up and surprised me!  We have lots of pictures from that event…it was sort of bittersweet because it turned into a going away party.  We moved a couple of weeks after that.  But I’ll never forget it and Leslie is still my friend after all these years.

1972.  37 years ago my blog started.  That’s pretty neat when you stop to think about it.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 2 Comments

Save Shelley’s Splurge At Starbucks PLEASE!!!

Last week I read an article which explained that Starbucks was going to discontinue their gluten free Valencia Orange Cake because it wasn’t a healthy option. Whatever!!! And I suppose the blueberry cheesecake muffin and double chococlate chip mocha is healthier???

I’m not bashing Starbucks. Honestly, I just want an occasional splurge there too!

On Monday I had a chance to sample this treat. To be honest, I really didn’t know I had an option like that at Starbucks. I rarely go anymore and I’m always one to save my calories (and money) for something else anyway. So I generally don’t order much more than a tall Pikes Peak or a skinny latte when the urge hits me.

But on Monday the server asked if I wanted a muffin to go with my latte. I said, “yes, I wish I could but I can’t have any wheat or gluten.” He quickly replied, “Oh, well you can have the gluten free orange cake!  It has almonds though, can you have almonds?” And I said, “why yes, I can!” I was thrilled.

I can’t tell you how “normal” I felt when I ate that cake with my latte.

So, if you wouldn’t mind signing this petition I would be forever grateful. No, I didn’t start it. But I got it serendipitously today in my email inbox and felt like it was divine intervention! Help me save my splurge at Starbucks! Please click here.

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Mid Summer Report

We’ve been busy. We’ve been lots of places and done lots of things. When we aren’t on the go, we’re eating, watching TV, having friends over, or playing our gameboys. Sleep is in there somewhere. More so for sister than brother. She doesn’t get up before 10am if she can help it (brother is up by 7am most days – oh, joy!). Speaking of sister, she’s getting paid this summer to do some chores, babysit her brother and teach her Nana computer lessons.

Survival techniques for mom include three musketeers bars and energy drinks.

Below are some quotes from Canon this summer. Consider this a special appendices for my blog today. If you know anything about my sitcom lifestyle you can easily read between the lines and figure out what is really going on in my house. But just in case you can’t, I will explain each statement and what it *really* means.

Mom, did you know there’s an air freshner that can watch your kids for ya?(I’ve been watching too much TV and have confused a couple of commercials with reality)

Mom, let’s see how long my hair can get. (he has had no haircut at all this summer)

I can’t find pink lovey. Where is hers? (stall technique at bedtime)

I have no money mom! I want a job where you can watch TV all day and get paid for it. (sis got paid for helping out, isn’t watching TV a job that counts?)

I want hungry! (so hungry he forgot the word food)

Look what I can do! (see the next quote below)

That’s not carpet burn on my face. (see the quote above)
Hardy tardy life’s a party! (he learned his mantra well early in life!)

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When Sadness Becomes Happy-ness

Oh, this is going to be a smattering of stuff that you will either be fascinated with or not. It is actually going to be the uncensored thoughts of my brain RIGHT NOW. I might censor when I proof it but the general rule I have learned when it comes to developing a blog is to do it often, keep it short, and it doesn’t matter what the content is.

I absolutely love the 4th of July. There is always a good memory associated with it, whether it be sparklers and homemade ice cream in my grandparents backyard or the fireworks I saw last year in Warner Robins. We’re headed back there tomorrow, staying nearby at a great bed and breakfast resort and basically creating somewhat of a tradition. The concert and fireworks are free and my brother in law will be playing in the Air Force Band which means we’ll get good seats. yea Tim!

Yes, we were there exactly a year ago and I’ve spent the evening thinking about what’s the same and what’s different in a year’s time. The obvious difference is the fact that we might be seeing the recession fireworks show tomorrow night. Last year they spared no expense and I loved seeing all my tax dollars light up in the sky, it lasted FOREVER and I was just plain grateful to be standing on American soil, surrounded by the veterans and members of the Air Force witnessing it. Now, I’m not to sure what we’ll see tomorrow but something tells me that my tax dollars are busy paying for something else this year. We shall see.

We’ve got a new president. I’ve got a new doctor (joy!) and seem to be managing all my growing pains much better now. My children are growing WAY UP really FAST. Other relationships in my life are different too… some are deeper and more fulfilling than ever. Others of them make me sad because they are strangely different. I’ve learned lately that it’s okay to be sad because sometimes, well, it just is what it is. And sometimes really letting myself be sad about something is when real happy-ness begins.

There is much to be happy about today as I sit on my new love-and-respect seat in my newly painted room. I don’t have to go into great detail here. The one that knows of my happy-ness also knows the how, why, when and where of it all.

I love my life.

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 2 Comments


Out of nowhere today my son said something so reassuring to me it had to be the voice of God speaking into the car.

Canon said, today it’s okay if you’re late mommy. Sometimes you just have to be late and it’s okay.

late for what? I asked him.

for anything. sometimes you’ve got to just be late and it’s okay, was his reply.

he said it like three times. I said, you’re a smart boy Canon. he said, you’re a smart mommy, mommy.

and I think it was the best part of my day today.

Posted in bible study | 2 Comments

Burden + Opportunity = Godly Leaders

“Nehemiah didn’t discover his purpose until he was confronted with a problem. That’s the way it works for most godly leaders. They don’t have to go looking for something that captures their hearts. The calling comes as the result of obediently seizing an opportunity that is close at hand. The burden precedes their vision for the leadership.”

~John Maxwell

HT to Suzanne, who is my hero, battling cancer. John Maxwell is always right on!!!

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My 5 Favorite Gluten Free Items in my Fridge Right Now

Since I know you’ve been wondering what in the world I eat on a regular basis (besides Snickers and 3 Musketeers bars) I thought I would give you a little look into my fridge. Please ignore the fact that it needs to be cleaned in a big way.

1) Organic Tamari Wheat Free Soy Sauce
2) Organicville Tarragon Dijon Vinaigrette
3) Seal Sama Teriyaki Sauce
4) Annie’s Naturals Organic BBQ sauce, Hot Chipotle
5) Organicville Organic Ketchup

I am noticing as I type this list that all of these are sauces of some sort. And that makes complete sense! Because you can take chicken or pork and make it oriental or bar-b-quey. Or, you can dip veggies in the Tarragon Dijon or even use it as a marinade, besides, it tastes great on any and all salads. Best of all, an order of McD’s fries is gluten free and is better than ever when dipped in my Organicville Ketchup!

Another common theme is there is NO WHEAT DISTILLED VINEGAR in any of the aforementioned products. Organic cider vinegar or rice vinegar = okay. Wheat = fever, rash, achy joints, in the bed, sick. I don’t know why. Except my research indicates that folks with my particular autoimmune condition cannot digest the wheat protein, gluten. All of a sudden my body thinks it’s a foreign substance and it begins attacking itself. Crazy! But I don’t think I would know how to live my life if it weren’t a little crazy now and then.

In all honesty, I love vinegar and I hate the fact that I can’t ingest it. I’m a greek salad girl, a full moon bar-b-que sauce woman, a heinz ketchup fanatic. But I’ve found some substitutions and they are quite good and they are good for me. I just ate my organic tamari soy sauce on a stir fry I whipped up tonight. And I’m feeling fine! And by the way, PF Changs has that gluten free menu with this same sauce :) . It’s all good!

On my next post, I’ll give you a sampling of what we eat around here. I promise it’s not boring! And if you’re really curious about eating “G-free” (I sound so hip when I say it that way – ha!) then comment on this post and we’ll have you over for dinner. For real. Consider yourself invited!

Posted in Autoimmune Conditions, Gluten Free | 1 Comment

Isn’t it

definitions from the urban dictionary

1. A situation where the result is a complete reverse (and practical mockery) of what was expected

2. A word heavy misused and abused in conversation today, mostly by people who think that using the word in any way will automatically make them seem intelligent. The word is usually misused to exactly mean “coincidental” or “tragic”, when again it doesn’t mean this (see #1)
If the heavy metal band Anthrax dies of anthrax, that would be poetically tragic, but not ironic. If a diabetic crosses the street and is run over by a truck carrying insulin, then it’s ironic.

“Isn’t it ironic that the pop song ‘Ironic’ contains absolutely no examples of irony?”

“One issue of Mad Magazine showed Alfred E. Neuman face-down in the desert, crushed to death by a parachuted crate of first aid supplies. Now THAT was ironic!”

2. ironic
containing irony
-the opposite of the literal meaning
-a mismatch between the expected and the actual result
pro-lifers making death threats to Michael Schiavo is ironic

3. ironic
That a song about things which are ironic makes no mention of any things which are, in fact, ironic.

Posted in Mike, Uncensored Shelley, songs | Leave a comment

The Best Parenting Advice

I’ve gotten so far…

The job of the parent is to help children come to know themselves, grow to like themselves, and find satisfaction in being themselves ~ Chuck Swindoll

That changes everything.

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What Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Shelley Shaw Have In Common

This is a stretch. But here we go…

We’re moms. We both have great husbands. She does have a spot on a major TV talk show, which, if given the opportunity, I’d do the same in a New York minute. And we’re both blonde. She likes Sarah Palin. So do I. And I like Australia. Maybe she does too? Surely she does, after being on the Outback Survivor show and all.

But here’s the biggest connection I have to this celebrity. She’s gluten free! How ’bout that?

I get asked daily about this and I have found it is simple to explain. However, once it sinks in, most folks look at me like I’m crazy and say, “wait a minute, what DO you eat?” It’s tricky, but there is a way.

My story is much different than hers, as most of us with a gluten intolerance would tell you. It is generally on a case by case basis and sometimes (well, ALOT of times) goes undiagnosed. Because wheat is a huge part of the Western diet, it is impossible for most people to imagine living with out it. But truth be told, I’m living because I do live with out it.

Chronic pain and inflammation is a foreign concept to many and was to me before I began noticing how bad I felt a couple of years ago. I wondered, why I am bloated 3 weeks of the month? Why do I feel sick and have brain fog after eating a bowl of oatmeal? Those were uncomfortable symptoms but I lived with them. Until I started a fever, joint pain and a rash that would NEVER go away. Yikes! I had every test under the sun. And what came back was an elevated rheumatoid factor. Then my proactive, take charge self decided it was time to figure this out.

I was not diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. But it was becoming apparent I had an autoimmune disorder and these things take time, sometimes years, to figure out. Ever heard of prostrate prayer? Well, you can bet I was on my face daily. And when I wasn’t on my face I was in the bed. And when I wasn’t in the bed I was in pain. Again, Elisabeth had her aches and pains and I did too. I would say agony might be another thing we have in common. Plus food!!! Food, had become the enemy. Both Elisabeth and I have been at war with our own bodies.

Long story short, people suffering from a wide range of diseases—from autism to osteoporosis, from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis—can often benefit from a gluten free diet. A chiropractor finally told me I needed to give this wheat free/gluten free thing a try. I was ready for anything. When you live this way for any length of time you will do ANYTHING to get better.

So, I have been gluten free for a year now and I am coming out on the other side of this crazy season of my life. I still have a chronic autoimmune condition which requires daily medication but by controlling the amount of wheat and gluten in my diet I have become much better. I do not have the same condition Elisabeth has, but my autoimmune disorder goes hand in hand with gluten intolerance.

Gluten is the binding element in wheat. It is a protein and once it gets into my bloodstream my autoimmune system attacks it as a foreign substance. I can handle LOTS of other foods (thank you God!) but not wheat. And it’s a full time job figuring out what you can eat. Thank goodness for celebrities like Elisabeth, for shedding some “celebrity” light on this discovery. Who knows, I might have another thing in common with her. We might just be trendsetters.

And I’m good with it.

Posted in Autoimmune Conditions, Gluten Free, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley | 4 Comments


Laugh it off let it go and
When you wake up it will seem
So yesterday, so yesterday

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The Value of Things Not Sought For



: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for ;

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

:an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

This was today. Didn’t plan it, didn’t go looking for it. Serendipity. Now I know what it is.

Posted in Mike, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley | Leave a comment

The Blessing of Field Trips

April 15th, 2009

April 15th, 2009

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with Canon’s class… I say it was an opportunity because it truly is just that, an opportunity, a chance. So many field trips I’ve been on and I don’t think I’ve ever taken one for granted. First of all, it is such a gift to have children of my very own in my life. Second of all, I am so blessed to have a boy and a girl, what a joy it is to see the world through Canon’s eyes! And thirdly, they are growing up and each day is a day the Lord has given me to see them through it. How good God has been to me!

The hayride was the highlight of the trip

The hayride was the highlight of the trip

I am cherishing this because over the weekend I got the words I knew I would hear one day.

me: “I sure wanted to go with you on that field trip to Montgomery, Melodi. I am sorry it didn’t work out this time…”
melodi: “that’s okay mom. I think I had more fun without you being on it.”

She went on to say how grown up she felt. Last week she had the opportunity, the chance, and she took a charter bus with a bunch of school kids and with $25 in hand and her gameboy she left for a full day on the town. Before I know it she is going to be dressed for prom for a full night on the town. I just hope she doesn’t take her gameboy. But if she does, that boy better just consider himself darn lucky. Because not every girl can make a gameboy a fashion accessory ;) .

Posted in Real Life Stories, kids | 1 Comment



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My Refrigerator Door

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by what is on their refrigerator door. Don’t worry, I won’t be trying to over-analyze you and your family the next time I am at your house. I’ll do it when it get home, after I’ve studied your fridge door.

Here’s what is on ‘my’ door. Of course, it is the family’s fridge. But sometimes I feel like it’s my big lovable friend in the kitchen. Because I am usually the one to clean it, fill it and empty it from time to time. But that is another post.

MAGNETS. I collect them as souvenirs wherever I go and here are a few:
Twelfth hole at Augusta National
Pensacola Museum of Aviation (we visit the aviation museums wherever we go)
Cheaha State Park
USS Alabama
Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Wakulla Springs, Florida (it’s a deer, I bought it for myself)
Ober Gatlinburg (it’s a squirrel, I bought it for Mike)

Fort Valley, GA (this is where they make the BlueBird school buses, so it’s a yellow school bus)

Then we have random ones like:
The Honey Do List (currently nothing is on it)
A rainbow Canon made with Genisis 9:13 on it (the rainbow promise)
A big, huge “Sassy” maginet (for Melodi aka Sassy the Cat)
A very small calendar from our realtor (it still says March 09 on it)
A magnet frame from Success Rice (yes, in the red box at the grocery store) that says, “Picture of Success” at the top and my sister Kelsey’s picture is in it
Mickey Mouse

We also have those clippy magnets that hold artwork, school announcements, etc. Currently we have two holding:
a picture of me and Mike at Chuck E. Cheese’s photobooth (2007)
and another of me and Canon in the same booth (2009)

Plus a magnet picture of Canon’s 4k Thanksgiving play, we have one of these for every play they do at school. I usually have to rotate them out.

This is only the front doors, I haven’t even gotten to the sides. If I had to sum up the rest of the Shaw refrigerator door it would be something like this:

Weeki Watchee Spings, FL, a picture of Melodi in a stockade (colonial days at school), a measuring cup with measuring equivalents, a weekly meal planner (I don’t think I’ve ever used it), and a picture of me when I was 3 or 4 years old at Halloween dressed like an Indian. There are more, but I think that gives you enough to psycho-analyze our household.

Oops, I almost forgot my two favorite ones. They each have a saying on them that I try to live by:
I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
Both of us can’t look good at the same time. It’s either me or the house.

So, don’t spend money on a therapist. Ask me to come over and give you the lowdown on what you’ve got going on. And would somebody please comment and tell me what I’ve got going on in this crazy head of mine?!? Thanks!

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 1 Comment

Her Birthday

It was a good one, she was truly very happy all day today and isn’t that just the best? Everything, from the candle in her fresh baked cinnamon sugar muffin this morning to the April Fool’s fun at school. She didn’t want to fall for my prank: a banged up foot from a fall in the parking lot, with ice and crutches, the whole deal. Here’s what she told me, “mom, you know I’m a professional. I’ve been doing this April Fool’s stuff for 10 years now…” Not to mention more fun at dinner, fun with the cake, super-fun with presents… it was a special day and I’m sure we’ll always remember it.

One of the gifts I gave her today was one her Dad bought on the day she was born. “Wow, mom, it’s like a re-used gift!” A cute little beanie baby from the gift shop at St. Vincents had been put away for the past few years. She saw the exact one online and asked for it for her birthday. How about that? Receiving something a long time ago is actually something that you want again. Interesting to think about.

I didn’t get sad til I put her to bed. She told me about some silly stuff a boy was saying to her at school. I said, “you know he’s just doing that to impress you…” She rolled her eyes and I said, “it doesn’t work does it?” and she said, “no, it doesn’t work.” Like I said, I’m going to make darn sure she learns from some of my mistakes!

Tucking her in, giving her a kiss and then hugging her got me. I said, “Can I just stay here a little bit longer?” She agreed. My face was in her hair and I thought, here we are. How happy she has made me, how she has challenged me and how much she’s allowed me to grow and learn what the heck I’m doing right in front of eyes. And then I felt the tears come that don’t fall. And while I was sad, because every mom knows what it’s like to remember a new life in your arms, I just knew I was blessed. Immensely.

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First Real Paycheck

I just found the stub to my first real paycheck from 1994. You know, the one you get after you graduate from college and are off of mom and dad’s payroll. Of course, I am certain there were still some things mom and dad covered. Like, I lived with them for a about year until I got married. Thank goodness. Because after it netted down from the $833.33 gross pay I got $601.86 every two weeks. It was not that much, especially after I am totally honest with you about this. Believe me, I’m laughing all the way through this post.

Around $1,200 a month… I imagine mom and dad felt great deal of relief when they realized I was officially paying for “something”! Are you ready? Here is what my somethings were:

( I would so give anything for this not to be the case but it is written in a ledger book from 1994, so I know it’s real)
that would be the credit cards, oh me, oh my.

Next are things that don’t me feel quite like I blew everything on whatever I bought at those department stores:
Cel Phone (yes, mom and dad immediately gave me that bill!)
Gold’s Gym (I go to church now in the same building that used to be this gym, WEIRD!!!)
Gas (wish I knew what it was going for back in 1994)
Dry Cleaning (sales job necessity)

Now this next catergory is priceless. It is called “specialty stuff.” Again, I so wish I were kidding but here it is in black and white. I never used red b/c to be honest, I didn’t understand what being in the red was until here recently.
Deanna’s Wedding
Michelle’s Wedding
My wedding: video and pictures
Stamps (to pay all those bills I am sure)
Furniture (what????)
Road Trips
AU Football
Home Decor (what home, I was living with mom and dad??)
Makeup/Clothes (what was I buying at Parisian?)
Car maintenance (a long story, but at least mom and dad covered my insurance til I got hitched)

this gets better, my cat had her VERY OWN CATEGORY!
friend (have not a clue what this meant)

okay, in an effort to project myself into the future I think I added this for some food for thought:

And just a side note: when Mike and I got married (14 years ago this week) we got so many duplicates of gifts, like china, crystal, etc. that I had over $800 worth of returns at Rich’s. They just credited it to my card to pay it off. Seriously.

So much of the messes I have gotten myself into make complete sense now!

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We went to an unexpected funeral today. I say that because now-a-days you can sometimes know “how long” you’ve got. Me and Mike decided that would be the best way… having the time to say what needs to be said and being with those you love the most would be the way to go. Instead, many times it is a tragic event, one that is not so expected and certainly no one, regardless of the circumstances is ready to bury a loved one. Especially someone who is a wife, daughter, granddaughter and only 33 years old.

This family has really been through it. And Mike has been one of David’s dearest friends for years… long before me (which does make it a LONG time ago!) So, it was appropriate for Mike to sing today and David chose “It is Well.” Even with the flood emotions going on I can tell you that Mike nailed it. I am so proud of him.

Before the funeral began I had a chance just to sit there. Just me. On the pew. And I heard hymn after hymn being played on the piano (by Mike’s mom, nonetheless!) How beautiful she played. It seems like these days I never hear those hymns anymore because we sort of go to a lively church with lively music (no, it’s not charismatic but closer to it than any Baptist church I’ve been in!) Thanks to many, many sermons and church services throughout my life I knew every word to every hymn and I was just a-singing in my brain. And that lively excitement started to inch it’s way in as I wanted to yell, “Hallelujah” when the preacher started his portion of the funeral. Don’t worry. I didn’t. But my brain did.

And dadgum it, I never cried. Wanted to, but it’s just not physically possible. So, I think God just knows me well enough to know that I need to lift my hands and jump around a little because nobody cries when they’re at a party! I just have to think somewhere on the other side of this life there must be a party and I’m just getting to experience that joy while I’m in the here and now. How about that?

After reflecting a bit today I’m just going to stop feeling bad about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow. It’s time to turn everyday into a party and be joyful for what we’ve got! I’ve got today and that is really all that matters.

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Honesty is different from transparency. And I have a feeling if I were really honest I might have more readers. We shall see.

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Random Saturday Morning Thoughts

These thoughts are from my life this past week. I am going to do this as fast as possible. Ready, set, GO!!!!

1) I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night. It was so original, definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. The way the writers took the events of this guy’s life and began weaving a golden thread through it so it all connected, (even the bad stuff) was just downright clever.

2) I read recently that someone with autoimmune problems had not only cut out wheat, but also ANY grains, including corn, etc. She said she felt great and had gotten her problems all under control. I was explaining this to my mom and Canon overheard her. It might just be my next step in trying to get off all this medication!!!

3) So, Canon wants to grow up and re-open all the Food World grocery stores that have shut down around here. Not sure where he came up with this idea but he’s all about it. Having heard my conversation with mom about no/wheat/gluten/grains he said, “Mom, I am going to open Food World and have no wheat in it. Only fruits and vegetables all the way to the top.” I think that might be the sweetest thing he’s ever said to me.

4) Competition is the one thing I’ve seen that makes us step up. A healthy dose of competition forces us to make an honest effort.

5) I’m probably more excited about being out for spring break than the kids are (no HW!!!!!!!!!)!

6) Your real personality, intentions and motivations really do come out on the internet.

7) Blogging is done for two reasons: the first, an audience. the second, yourself. I do it for the second reason. Which means I overanalyze everything I put on here and act like an editor more than a writer. I think the reason why goes back to number 6.

8) Every now and then it is so worth it to have a birthday party for a doll. We have eaten off of pink plates all week in honor of Barbie.

In addition to all this random stuff, I think I am trying to see exactly just how dirty my car can become before I ever wash it again. That goes for the inside and out! It has been my observation that both the car and the house can not and will not be clean at the same time. It is virtually impossible. Maybe this means my house will become a spotless oasis!

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The Sjogren’s Club

Of all the opportunities I’ve had in my life this is the one club I did not want to join! But I am in… really in. Like, I’ve pledged and been initiated for a long time now.

Here’s what I can tell you: Sjogren’s Syndrome (SjS)is a progressive autoimmune disease. It would be considered a connective tissue disease, sort of a cousin to Lupus or Rheumatiod Arthritis. SjS is a chronic disorder that causes insufficient moisture production in certain glands of the body. Basically, my normally protective immune system has decided to attack my moisture-producing glands, mostly my salivary and tear producing glands. It doesn’t necessarily sound like much and to many folks diagnosed with this condition it ends there. But according to the Cleveland Clinic website there are many more symptoms associated with the disease and guess what! They are all part of my membership in this club!

To get in the club, one must have dry eyes. This is the hallmark characteristic of SjS. My extremely dry eyes were confirmed by the opthamologist at UAB here recently when the Schirmer’s Test showed no tear production. I could’ve told them that. I thought that when I stopped crying it was a sign of maturity. The real deal is I have virtually no tears and I get a headache and feel like throwing up when I need to cry. Now I use Restasis, which initiates a little bit of moisture. I still don’t have many tears but I can look at a computer screen for a little bit longer.

To secure your spot in the Sjogren’s Club one must possess an extremely dry mouth and throat. This causes difficulty in chewing and swallowing, plus a decreased sense of taste and dry cough. It does nothing for my appetite! Again, up until recently, I thought it was normal. But I always wondered why I was constantly thirsty, even after drinking half my weight in water! Increasing my water intake helps but honestly, I have been thirsty for so long it really doesn’t bother me as much as the rest of the perks associated with my membership, which would be the following: extreme fatigue and joint pain. There is so much to address in these two things alone that I will save it for another post.

Now that I’ve researched it a bit more, my other symptoms fall into the “not so common” features of SjS. Irritation of the nerves in the arms, hands, legs or feet (neuropathy), feelings of numbness and tingling, easy bruising, fever and this lovely rash, which is my secondary automimmune condition (yes, I have two) known as vasculitis (inflammation of my blood vessels). Now, I’m not only a member of the club, I am like one of the top officers.

SjS is chronic and never really “goes away”, my doctors and I just try to manage it so that I am more comfortable. Vasculitis can go into remission. When it’s not in remission it’s called a flare. I am still looking for the manual on instructions for this part of the membership. Vasculitis associated with SjS is not common. It’s almost like I am in two clubs. Two for one!

I’ve kept this lighthearted and sort of sarcastic because when I decide to explain more about autoimmune disorders in further posts it may not be as funny. This whole thing has really cramped my style and no, I’m not dying, but sometimes I feel like it. You probably agree with me, that everybody’s got some membership to some club, whether it’s the your big toe hurts club or the chemotherapy club, or whatever in between. Life in this broken garden has some (joint) pain, (mental or physical) exhaustion and (non-existent) tears. It makes me even more grateful for the new body I’m going to get one day! That will be in the Heaven Club :) .

Posted in Autoimmune Conditions, Uncensored Shelley | 3 Comments

T-minus 4 weeks and counting…

Some time last week Melodi was complaining about everything she didn’t want to do. We had all been making our lists on Facebook and I had a brainstorm…“Melodi, write down all the things you ARE looking forward to!” She said, “Like a list?” And I immediately knew she was all over it. If Melodi were on Facebook, there would be no list of 25 or 57 or 103 things she would not complete. She’s always got an answer for everything!

She closed her door and appears later with a envelope marked “Mom”. I opened it and there was a list there that I could’ve written when I was 9 years old. Made me stop and think. She’ll be 10 in less than 4 weeks and around this time every year I get a little sad. Now we’re into the double digits! In five years she’ll be… 15! Instead of being sad this time I am rather on a mission. Now is the time for being the best kind of mother I can be to her during this phase of her life. Because as most us girls can attest to, there is plenty up ahead and over this hill. Or maybe I should say mountain?

It’s all about love/hate and the silly, serious, or strong emotions that no young teenage girl knows what to do with. Those battles among friends will hurt but probably not as much as the ones she’ll fight with the opposite sex. She might decide to journal her thoughts rather than talk to me about them. And if she does decide to talk, then I had better be ready! The “it’s complicated” part of life is on the horizon. So much of what she decides to do now will affect her for the rest of her life. I am not sure where I’m going with this, but if you’re reading this far into my post then it probably makes sense to you.

So, here’s her list. The 9 year old list.

Looking Forward To:
1) Going to swim
2) Playing with friends
3) Being a vet/teacher/lawyer (I only wanted to be Barbie when I grew up- ha!)
4) Getting Molly to have puppies
5) Summer
6) Any break such as spring break
7) Having kids
8) Getting married
9) Getting a hamster (funny how that comes right after marriage!)
10) Going to sleep
11) Going to Heaven
12) Learn about God
13) Seeing Uncle Tim’s adopted kid

And on the back – Not looking forward to:
School Homework any pets dying
School Homework
School Homework
School Homework
School Homework

Guess I need to make a new list too. The “what I learned that I can teach her list”… maybe after she blows out the candles…

Posted in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids | 2 Comments

Yes, I’m Their Mother

Today is really not chaotic. However, I did not have my chance to blog until now. So, my blogging attempt is becoming chaotic because my children are so darn entertaining. Any real deep thoughts will be written later. Now, you dear reader, have the chance to become entertained by my children as well!

Canon’s class is having a wedding tomorrow for Wanda and Willie Walrus. They will eat wedding cookies and worms. It is W week (obviously) He just told me, “I get to marry Jolie! and I will have two lifes!”

I asked him what that meant and he held up 2 fingers, and said, “I will have 2 lifes, Emily and Jolie, b/c there wasn’t enough boys.” Life? Wife? What’s the difference? One or two? Again, I bet most men would say, what’s the difference?

Next up was Melodi. She wanted the laptop and I said no. I was still in some dream-like state that I thought I could squeeze in some deep thinking/blogging with the kids and the dog at my ankles. She looked at me and said, “Well, mom, can you type for me on my blog? I will tell you what I want to say…”. Honestly, I don’t make this stuff up. She wanted to blog, but she wanted me to type it. It was like dictation. All of a sudden I felt like a secretary. My daughter’s secretary.

I decided to do it because by typing her blog I had some decent material to go along with Canon’s life/wife story. I thought about cutting and pasting what she said, and I typed, onto to my blog. But, I do believe you will get much more entertainment value after visiting her site yourself. Please note she is very incentive based and much of her blogging are attempts at getting rewards. Did I tell you I was her mother?

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I’m talking about being free from pretense or deceit. Open. Frank. Candid. That’s what transparency means to me.

When you read this blog, you will get nothing less than the transparent thoughts of my mind. Isn’t that just exciting?!? For those of you who really know me you might be on the verge of hyperventilating. No, I am not talking about the soap box, let me tell what what I really think transparency. That, my friend, is best experienced from me in person. But I will allow you to get a look into my life that is open, frank and candid. That is without pretense or deceit. The real deal so to speak.

In an effort to display this kind of transparency, I’m going to tell you that I mopped my kitchen floor for the first time in 2009 just yesterday. There. You have it. The truth! I am not particularly proud of this but I think it demonstrates exactly what kind of transparency you’ll be hearing from me if you continue to keep up with this blog.

What’s even funnier is the reason why I decided to mop on the 24th day of February, nearly 8 weeks into the new year. Last week Canon asked me what a mop was. Oh my goodness, I thought, this child has never seen me mop! Then I thought, when was the last time I mopped a floor? I couldn’t remember. Oh, keep reading, it just gets better!

Yesterday I picked him from preschool and told him we were going to buy a mop. We looked at them together, me explaining (since I am the homemaker diva) the difference b/t this mop and that mop. Yes, this is what me and the 4 year old did for about 30 minutes yesterday. And do you know what I did after that? I talked myself into swiffering! So, you see, I will mop as long as it’s not called mopping. That is just plain sad folks. But there you have it! Transparency. No pretense. No faking it. Just the real deal.

Posted in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley | 4 Comments

This is Not My Desk

This is not my real desk. If this were my real desk the keys would not be on it. They most definitely would be lost. But we will leave them there as a hopeful incentive that I can start keeping up with my keys. On the other hand, I ALWAYS know where my iPhone is located! So, this desk is partly accurate. A few more tweaks and it will reflect me. The real me!

For example, take the coin that is pictured here and it becomes a Chuck E. Cheese token. That cup of tea is really a cup of strong black coffee. And there are pictures of my family all around. Replace the pen with a crayon. Now it starts to look more like “my desk.” Except with a lot more sticky notes!

Lately, people have come back into my life who helped me remember who I was. Not that I’ve ever forgotten but you know, life gets busy and you forget stuff. Like crazy dancing at spend the night parties to Devo and playing imaginary games with imaginary people that become so real that you could hear them talk to you. Fun memories, sad times, the good, the bad and the toxic shocks that make up this thing called life. My childhood, high school and college memories are really the things that shaped my life and got me where I am today! A happy mom of two precious children who is very much in love with her husband and recognizes the only way to get from here to there is through an abundance of grace.

To complete the look of transforming this desk to my desk, some index cards with bible verses written on them will have to take up some room too. Because the kind of grace I’m talking about is heavenly grace. And you’ll continue to hear more about my thoughts on grace, forgiveness, freedom and such if you decide to follow this new and improved blog ‘o mine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I will get back to blogging later. I am going to try to find something important that should be on my desk but I can’t remember where I put it.

Posted in Uncensored Shelley | 1 Comment

New Year, New Stuff

Life’s thrown some stuff at me. But, in the words of someone else famous (not sure who said it but it’s true), it’s not a setback it’s a comeback. Be patient with me as I pull this blog thing back together. New and improved! Smarter, stronger, better. Sounds like an advertisement for paper towels doesn’t it?

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The Top Ten Reasons why I love, admire and respect my Husband!

#1) While getting the kids to the car, he kept everyone dry this morning on this lovely rainy day = Thoughtful

#2) He helped me fold clothes last night (without me even asking!) = Intuitive

#3) He takes me on a weekly lunch date = Consistent

#4) He loves to watch Malcolm in the Middle with me = HAL (need I say more?)

#5) He knows where I’m going and where I’ve been = Unconditional

#6) His facebook statuses are absolutely the funniest thing I will read all day = Witty

#7) In regards to our over the top, incredibly fake WHITE Christmas tree, he doesn’t complain = Patient

#8) Even though he’s never been to seminary, he totally knows his Bible = Intelligent

#9) He can benchpress and leg press A LOT of weight for a thirty-something year old guy = Strong

#10) He understands my need to be the Barbie doll I think I am = he’s my Ken doll!

#11) oh yeah, he can write lyrics and sing too!  (like in Spinal Tap, we will go to 11) = Talented

I love you, Mike!

I love you, Mike!

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Best Places to Raise Your Kids

I just saw this article online at Yahoo.  There is a state by state listing of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids.  Looks like Hoover is one of the runners up!  God has really been in the details of my life and has truly blessed me and my family with a great place to live!

Click here to read the full article.



Getty Images

Nearest city: Huntsville

Population: 162,819

Median household income: $69,000

Families don’t have to leave Huntsville to find fun things to do.

The city is best known as the home of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where scientists designed space rockets in the 1950s and visitors now come for interactive exhibits, rides, and movies.

The 104-acre Huntsville Botanical Garden has a new Children’s Garden and Nature Center, which claims to have the nation’s largest seasonal butterfly house.




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Little Shop of Horrors – Shaw Style

Melodi was 5 when she lost her first tooth.  It was exciting, it was sentimental, the tooth is somewhere in this house.  But it was also, well, dramatic.  And this has been going on for 4 years now.  Not only does she cry, I cry.  When that first tooth was loose I started to realize how different she was going to look.  How she was going to have to “grow into” these big adult teeth.  Plus, well, I just cry at all these milestones.  And I’ve always been the one to pull these teeth.  But nothing really prepared me for yesterday’s trip to the dentist.

She needed two teeth pulled because, quite honestly, they were loose and she was bleeding all over the dental hygentist.  The four year old is with me and I am thinking, oh no, he will never come back to the dentist.  As the chaos insued, another dental hygentist came and got him and cleaned his teeth while I was doing disaster recovery with Melodi.  I tell the hygentist, “Do what you got to do…” and she replies, “I can’t, legally, I can’t pull these teeth…”  WHAT?  That’s a whole ‘nother post.  So, Melodi gets to pull her first tooth.  The pictures may not do this justice but suffice it to say that the tooth fairy bar got raised BIG TIME.

I hear Steve Martin singing in the background here

I hear Steve Martin singing in the background here

you'll be a dentist, you'll have a talent for causing things pain!

you'll be a dentist, you'll have a talent for causing things pain...

Oh that hurts, wait I'm not numb!

Oh that hurts, wait I'm not numb!

We did this twice!!!

We did this twice!!! Now the tooth fairy needs to visit Mom!

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Even Superheroes Love their Moms

After school today I had a surprise for my little man.  Aunt Stacey gave us a great book, Even FireFighters Love their Moms and we read it often.  Once he was dressed in his Halloween costume he said (through the mask), “Even superheroes love their moms!”

But the best thing he said (and he said alot while he had that costume on, somehow he gained much confidence while wearing it) was this, “You know superheroes are strong… like this many (he held up 5 fingers), but God is stronger, he is like this many (both hands went up, all 10 fingers).”  Wow, what a great reminder… from the mouth of babes, I mean little boys.  Am I a blessed mom or what?

I think Canon might be going as a charismatic Spiderman on Halloween!

Nobody knows who he is!

Nobody knows who he is!

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2008 Book Fair Purchases

The school has a yearly scholastic book fair every year and it is always fun to see what comes home.  I’ve sent blank checks (not a good idea) and sometimes barely scraped together $10 to put in the backpack.  This year, Melodi “raised her own money” in the form of a lemonade stand this past weekend.  That’s my girl!  She’s been around me long enough to know if you don’t ask for the sale it will become someone else’s profit.

Anyway, below is a picture of what she came home with… all I can say is she might sing like her Daddy but she reads like her Mommy.  Notice this is a picture of a poster, not of books.

I am really wondering about this poster.

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The Heart of (economic crisis) Dixie

Mountain Brook made this list. I don’t spend much of my day thinking about this kind of stuff.  But when I see Alabama come up in two separate articles regarding this economic crisis I have to take notice.

Mountain Brook, Ala.CC2: Robert Donovan

Mountain Brook, Ala.

Share population in finance and real estate: 18.66%
Nearest large city: Birmingham
Population: 20,654
Median Household Income: $115,148

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

So I’m up early and have barely had one cup of coffee.  My four year old has discovered that he has “no school” on Saturdays.  If I let him, he will sit on the couch with his jammies on all day and watch TV.  We started with SpiderMan and then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Then some show about humans morphing into dinosaurs.  Now we are at an all time high… or is low?  Where is my coffee?

Introducing…. Sushi Pack.  Yes, it is animated pieces of crime fighting sushi.  The sushi pack team lives inside a fridge in a donut shop with their human friend, Ben.  Canon’s favorite is the “little fire guy”.  Yes, that would be the wasabi.  Forget the coffee!  Maybe I need some sake!


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What do you suppose?

A chicken?  On Lorna Road?

struttin' her stuff!

struttin' her stuff!


1. Polluelo o pollo; gallina (hen); pollo (as generic term).

  • To play chicken -> jugar a ver quién es más gallito
  • Don’t count your chickens (before they’re hatched) -> no cantes victoria antes de tiempo
2. Jovencito; niño. (Figurado)

  • She’s no (spring) chicken -> no es ninguna niña/nena
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Melodi was 2 years old and I was taking her to mother’s day out. At the time, I was coordinating aerobics schedules and teaching about half a dozen classes weekly in addition to choreographing majorette half time shows. Needless to say, I was crazy busy and had my time accounted for that morning, as soon as I dropped her off I was to hit the ground running.

At a quarter to 9am we were flying to get to the interstate and Rick and Bubba were doing their ususal. Until they got real serious. That never happens! This is a joke, who in the world is playing this kind of joke? I’ve got a million things to do and ” going to war” is not one of them. What are they talking about?

But they continued on… I kept driving. Then I started screaming. Melodi says, “what mommy?” Then I remember I have got to get a grip on myself b/c for a moment I forgot everything, including that I was a mom who needed to display some kind of courage. Do I take her to school? What will I encounter up the road? Is this for real? What to do?

Mike was a consultant at the time working from home. I called him from the car and all I could say was, “Something really bad is happening. Rick and Bubba just announced that we are under attack. Please get to a TV and tell me what to do.” He said, “Keep driving, keep on with your day, I will get back with you.” There was the couarge I was looking for. Life was just happening, stop lights, traffic, people just keep moving right along. So I did the same.

Once she was dropped off I went to church to work my office hours in the Recreation Center. By that time it was the real deal. It was several minutes after 9am CST and the world was very different than when I had left at 8:45am. I saw it on TV for the first time. I got there and went directly to the chapel and with several others we prayed. After talking with Mike and agreeing that Melodi could stay at school we met our longtime friends Joey and Michelle for lunch and in a crowded restaurant we could hear a pin drop as the president came on television to tell us what was happening. There we were, the four of us moving through the day but we all looked at each other a little differently, not knowing what to expect next. We had double-dated in highschool, been in each others weddings, celebrated the birth of Melodi and numerous other things in our lifetime with them. And here we are watching the world fall apart with them. At least that is what is what it felt like at the time.

I went to the highschool at my appointed time and to my surprise found that the band director intended to have a late rehearsal b/c we were sharing the practice field with the football team. “What have you been doing all day? Do you KNOW what has happened? These kids need to be with their families at church tonight, not practicing for band competiton!” I said to him. (needless to say, I only worked a few more hours after that, I finally realized how insane he really was). He told me to be there for rehearsal and it wasn’t until the parents started calling to say “My child WILL BE HOME by 8pm to hear the president” that he relented. So, there we are, on the field and the football coach is wrapping things up with his boys and he gets the bullhorn and tells everyone, including the band to be still and listen. “I don’t know what is going to happen. Some of you might be fighting a war that you didn’t ask for. But you have got to be brave and look out for each other. Because what is happening is changing your lives forever. This is real. I don’t like it any more than you do but the stuff you’ve been learning out here on this field is what we have to demonstrate to the world. You have got to come together as a team on this field and off this field. For real this time.”

Anyway, to be standing there with a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds hearing an impromptu speech like that was just about more than I could take. Somehow, that stupid practice the band director called was not so important anymore. He let us go pretty quick.

And I came home wondering how in the world I brought a child into the world where stuff like this could happen. Eventually, we have all come to grips with 9/11 but I will never forget the course of events that day. The horror of watching it all on TV and wondering how, why, what next. It’s been seven years and while I could write on the politics of it all I think I just wanted to remember.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 2 Comments


Melodi was 2 years old and I was taking her to mother’s day out.  At the time, I was coordinating aerobics schedules and teaching about half a dozen classes weekly in addition to choreographing majorette half time shows.  Needless to say, I was crazy busy and had my time accounted for that morning, as soon as I dropped her off I was to hit the ground running.

At a quarter to 9am we were flying to get to the interstate and Rick and Bubba were doing their ususal.  Until they got real serious.  That never happens!  This is a joke, who in the world is playing this kind of joke?  I’ve got a million things to do and ” going to war” is not one of them.  What are they talking about?

But they continued on… I kept driving.  Then I started screaming.  Melodi says, “what mommy?”  Then I remember I have got to get a grip on myself b/c for a moment I forgot everything, including that I was a mom who needed to display some kind of courage.  Do I take her to school?  What will I encounter up the road?  Is this for real?  What to do?

Mike was a consultant at the time working from home.  I called him from the car and all I could say was, “Something really bad is happening.  Rick and Bubba just announced that we are under attack.  Please get to a TV and tell me what to do.”  He said, “Keep driving, keep on with your day, I will get back with you.”  There was the couarge I was looking for.  Life was just happening, stop lights, traffic, people just keep moving right along.  So I did the same.

Once she was dropped off I went to church to work my office hours in the Recreation Center.  By that time it was the real deal.  It was several minutes after 9am CST and the world was very different than when I had left at 8:45am.  I saw it on TV for the first time.  I got there and went directly to the chapel and with several others we prayed.  After talking with Mike and agreeing that Melodi could stay at school we met our longtime friends Joey and Michelle for lunch (we were celebrating his birthday) and in a crowded restaurant we could hear a pin drop as the president came on television to tell us what was happening.  There we were, the four of us moving through the day but we all looked at each other a little differently, not knowing what to expect next.  We had double-dated in highschool, been in each others weddings, celebrated the birth of Melodi and numerous other things in our lifetime with them.  And here we are watching the world fall apart with them.  At least that is what is what it felt like at the time.

I went to the highschool at my appointed time and to my surprise found that the band director intended to have a late rehearsal b/c we were sharing the practice field with the football team.  “What have you been doing all day?  Do you KNOW what has happened?  These kids need to be with their families at church tonight, not practicing for band competiton!”  I said to him.  (needless to say, I only worked a few more hours after that, I finally realized how insane he really was).  He told me to be there for rehearsal and it wasn’t until the parents started calling to say “My child WILL BE HOME by 8pm to hear the president” that he relented.  So, there we are, on the field and the football coach is wrapping things up with his boys and he gets the bullhorn and tells everyone, including the band to be still and listen.  “I don’t know what is going to happen.  Some of you might be fighting a war that you didn’t ask for.  But you have got to be brave and look out for each other.  Because what is happening is changing your lives forever.  This is real.  I don’t like it any more than you do but the stuff you’ve been learning out here on this field is what we have to demonstrate to the world.  You have got to come together as a team on this field and off this field.  For real this time.”

Anyway, to be standing there with a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds hearing an impromptu speech like that was just about more than I could take.  Somehow, that stupid practice the band director called was not so important anymore.  He let us go pretty quick.

And I came home wondering how in the world I brought a child into the world where stuff like this could happen.  Eventually, we have all come to grips with 9/11 but I will never forget the course of events that day.  The horror of watching it all on TV and wondering how, why, what next.  It’s been seven years and while I could write on the politics of it all I think I just wanted to remember.

Posted in Baton Twirling, Real Life Stories | Leave a comment

In My Humble Opinion

For anyone who has known me for any length of time you will understand why I am fascinated with this.

I just don’t quite know what to say.  I really do think I am speechless.

No, for the record I think I will have a position on this…

(from the article) “We want to show that it’s a sport,” said DeDee Carte, a director of Hi Society who thinks more boys will be captivated by the activity. “It takes a true athlete to be able to do it. It’s not just about flipping a baton.”

Hard?  Yes.  Different?  Absolutely.  Boys twirling batons?  NO!!!!!!  I just think the girls look better in those uniforms.  There is a reason they called us “shiny butts.”

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Michelle Obama’s Prepared Remarks

Here they are.

And while I would love to say that the same hope he gave to the streets of Chicago is exactly what this nation needs I would be buying into the rhetoric their party is famous for.  Has anyone given thought to the fact that the people who pulled up their bootstraps and got back on their feet might have done it regardless of who the leader was?  This next statement from her speech reads like a fairy tale.

“That’s why he’s running — to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That’s what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.  He’ll achieve these goals the same way he always has — by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn’t care where you’re from, or what your background is, or what party — if any — you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future — is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.”

What I see happening is enough people will have had enough and through ingenuity and good old fashioned American work they will pull it together regardless who is president.

Just like Larry Winget says, “Success is your own damn fault.”  If you want it bad enough it doesn’t matter who your president is or who your mayor is or who might be your neighborhood president.  What matters is what you want.  And if he wants to take credit for that so be it.  But it absolutely doesn’t matter who is president.  What matters is what YOU want and what you are willing to do to get there.  Because it still is a land full of opportunity.  All it takes is one fellow American to remind of you of that, not the president.

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Surfing Is Believing

Over the last hour I have stumbled across three stories that have put me in an official BAD MOOD.

First of all, I have had trouble with my iphone too.  But to go to this extreme, well, it’s just extreme. Who has time or energy to sue Apple?  Maybe I’m just jealous she thought of it first.  She’s from right here in Birmingham and I bet if she spends any time in Homewood she probably has NO RELIABLE SERVICE b/c well, there is NO SERVICE in that part of town.  Or at the Kirkland Clinic.  Or on Rocky Ridge Road.  Or on Columbia Road.  Or in the mall.  Or in my house for that matter.  The point is, it has crappy service but I’ve just decided to live with it because it is a nifty gadget.  What it doesn’t have in service it makes up for in coolness.  And it’s a WAY CHEAPER plan than my frankenstein phone I lugged around from Verizon for two years.  Lately I’ve just had too much other stuff to worry about but that’s another post.

Secondly, I’ve been saying for two weeks now that those Chinese gymnasts are young’uns.  I’ve agreed with Bella the whole time.  Those Chinese folks.  The Olympics won’t be remembered for the grandeur of the (fake) opening ceremonies or their amount of (unjustified) gold medals but they will be remembered for the IOC investigation.  Kudos to the computer security guru (not the one I live with but the guy who writes this blog) whose determination uncovered the right data to bring this to light.

Now this.  This is just about too much.  This hits close to home for lots of reasons but the obvious one is I am married to a Christian singer/songwriter.  Please take a moment to read this and PRAY for this preacher/singer/songwriter. Is it marketing?  The all-mighty dollar?  Is he crazy?  Demon-possessed?  Or again, am I just mad that I got conned, along with an entire movement of people that came to appreciate his song in praise and worship and believe his story?  This one just makes me so mad I can’t even go on about it.  Lying about being sick and profiting from it is just about more than I can take.

Finally, I’ll add a bonus to this wonderful night to be surfing the internet.  Now Hallmark is just like the Auburn Gay and Lesbian Association who hung signs around campus stating, “Wear Jeans if you Support the AGLA.”  I went home and changed clothes that day because guess what… everyone was wearing jeans!  I guess I am going to have to find another place to shop if I care enough to send the very best.

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This is generally a very funny website which uses lots of humor to point out “the stuff Christians like.”  It is widely-read and I think it gives great commentary and is right on.  Today’s post  (#375, scroll down a bit) was a little bit more serious.  But it was well done and certainly something I needed.  So thanks to Jon over in Georgia for giving me a mighty good perspective on what I think I may have forgotten about.

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How do you say Milli Vanilli in Chinese?

Apparently, this is how.

You know, if you are chubby-faced with crooked teeth and can sing opera in America you might get your own reality show.  And I thought we were imaged-obsessed!  The article states, “The country’s quest for perfection apparently includes its children.”  I think I’m just mad that I got duped when I watched it for myself.  Just like the pain we all felt when Milli Vanilli blew their cover… remember that one girls?  Ugh.. blame it on the rain… that would be the fake, digitized rain that the Chinese invented for their “perfect” opening ceremonies.

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He’s A Jolly Good Fellow

happy birthday!

Someone told me before he was born he would be my joy

canon and cake

And along the way he has stolen my heart too.

me and Canon

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My Earth Suit

I’m home from the dermatologist where I had a basal cell carcinoma removed today.  Yes, that would be skin cancer.

Really, this is the “mildest” form, the least aggressive… it’s only a small sore which wouldn’t heal, on my right shoulder.  The worst part was them working so close to my ear.  I could hear everything.  And the tugging.  Ugh, I am sown up tightly that is for sure (looks to be at least a dozen stitches).  No lifting for two weeks, which is fine because I don’t want to get sown up again.  Maybe super glue would work if I needed some extra reinforcement.

I came into the world fair-skinned and got my freckles pretty early.  My hair was basically platinum blonde and my days as a little girl were spent barefoot and sunburned.  I remember getting to be about 7 or 8 years old and wondering how the heck I was ever going “to outgrow” my freckles.  By the time I was 25 I realized outgrowing them just wasn’t in my genes.  I sure wish I could’ve kept the really blonde hair though, it has cost a pretty penny to keep that up.

So, you might say my earth suit got an alteration today. ;)

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That Naked Nirvana Baby Is All Grown Up

I love this article from www.npr.org…

but I especially love what this kid really had to say:

These days, Elden says, his peers concentrate on “playing Rock Band on Xbox, like, that’s not a real band! That’s the difference between the ’90s and kids nowadays; kids in the ’90s would actually go out and make a [real] band!”

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Family Fun Pack

So we’ve hit the point in the summer where I’ve enrolled the kids in just about any camp I can afford.  Which means we are in the car quite a bit driving to and fro.  I am an avid radio surfer so we get our fill of Rick and Bubba, country, praise and worship music and of course, classic rock.

I’ve been hearing an advertisement for the Family Fun Pack you can win by being the 10th caller on Birmingham’s latest classic rock station.  The thing is, I can’t quite get past this being a family event.

Over the weekend my daughter picked up on it too.  If you look up “perceptive” in the dictionary her picture is right beside the word.  Basically, we live in an avid Guitar Hero house.  In fact, she is working on going from medium difficulty to hard.  And she is acing it!  Problem is, Daddy has currently banned the Poison song, “Talk Dirty to Me” from being played on the game, therefore she can’t get to the next level.  All the songs must be “mastered” before you move on… she officially has this on her agenda now.  And he officially has said, “you can listen to that song when you get married.”

What do we hear on the radio as our family of four moves along the interstate to church?  The banned song along with the words, “Win a Family Fun Pack, be the tenth caller!”  And she exclaims, “HOW can you win tickets for your family?”  Again, she is putting together her case very effectively.  “You mean the WHOLE FAMILY can go?  but isn’t that the song Daddy won’t let me do on Guitar Hero?”

I start laughing as Mike suggests along with a koozie for your beer you also get a sippy cup with Poison’s logo and a stripper pole for mom in the Family Fun Pack.  Honestly, what about Brett Michael’s suggest FAMILY?  Fun… yes, if you count 25 skanky women throwing up on your TV show fun.  Family?  Well, I just realized that I just described fun for some families.

Posted in Real Life Stories, kids, songs | 1 Comment

Great Example of the Social Innoculation Theory

OK! Magazine

 There are so many things not OK with this.

I was watching the morning news and learned this would be on the newstands today.  This prepared me, but not really.  One quick errand to the grocery store with my 9 year old reminded me that no matter how OK this picture on the OK magazine appears to be it’s not OK.  But thank you Jamie Lynn for throwing this “out there” for me to discuss before the spend the night party tonight.  I mean, this is my daughter’s age group, the Zoey 101 fan club.  And it has been discussed… on their level and on mine… which means, it will get discussed tonight.  I know, I was 9 years old once.

 Melodi:  It’s kind of like puppies mating isn’t it, Mom?

Mom (which is me):  Well, yes, but puppies don’t have babies before they finish highschool.  Puppies don’t have babies before they get married!

Melodi:  So she won’t go to college?

Mom (still me):  No… she needs to go to college… she needs to finish highschool… she needs to be married!

Melodi:  Her sister didn’t get it right either did she mom?

Mom (trying to keep it together):  Well, she actually finished highschool and got married and had two babies…

Melodi:  But she didn’t take care of them.

Mom:  (please, this conversation must be coming to an end!)  right.

Melodi:  It’s like their family is the worst case scenario.  I’ve heard you say that before.

Right now I am just glad that my opinion of what the worst case scenario is matters to her.  I do hope to keep up the influence on my daughter since Hollywood seems to be glamourizing Jamie Lynn’s teen motherhood.  Do you agree?  Am I crazy or over-sensitive?  Talk about the social innoculation theory.  Don’t get me started!  This magazine did a textbook job of it.



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The Room Mike Built

I am so proud!  Mike is completing the basement and built this room from scratch.  It’s kind of like the story about the fish and loaves.   Except there were credit cards involved.  And the economic stimulus package.

Honestly, it is a work of art!  And love!  The pictures won’t do it justice but here they are.  He hung an amazing (that means a tray-like ceiling giving us optimum headroom) drop ceiling that has like 400 pounds of tiles suspended above our heads.  And the woodwork is all his too.  Not to mention most of the drywall.  He even designed and installed the lighting.  We had some help on the carpet (installed just this morning)… and the paint we chose turned out to be the smurfiest blue ever!

the Shaw basement

the Room Mike Built

Posted in Real Life Stories | 3 Comments

Charmed I’m Sure

I needed some extra rest today so I got off my feet with a really great book that I have been trying to read for over a year a now.  Yes, I know, I know.  It’s less than 150 pages long and I really should’ve finished it by now.  But that’s another post.

This book is a real treat, even if I only get to read a page at a time.  I was busy finishing chapter 12, thinking, “I’m almost there!” (there are 16 chapters) and next thing you know here come little feet running down the hall.  My son jumps on the bed and says, “mom, why don’t ya move that book?”  He wants to be right where the book is and well, he decides to sprawl across me where the book is (he’s not quite 4 years old yet).

He realizes he’s interrupted me as I tell him, “why don’t you move your body b/c my book was here first…” and he just turns on the charm.  Out of nowhere comes his next statement:

“Mom, if you was a bunny I would pick ya… and if Dad was a bunny I would pick him too.”

Anita Renfroe’s book of wisdom is tabled for later… I am sure she will understand!  Obviously, my little boy won that battle :)

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We might be living in our generation’s worst economic mess but honestly, as a former advertising account executive I would so do this…

I would just have to pass the extensive background check and defensive driving class and it would be all good.

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No Gluten, All Glory

More on this later. In the meantime, feel free to visit my other site…

Posted in Gluten Free | 2 Comments

Litany (Life Goes On)


I see life like a mirror… And I see life so much clearer. We move so quickly, who knows where the time goes…

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Canon Labs


Forget what you are supposed to do with the sprinkler. Be the sprinkler.


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Here we are, there we go


I have only been to two highschool graduations. Tonight will be my third.

My first was my very own. It was May of 1990. The reason that’s significant is because somewhere there is a polaroid pic of me in my cap and gown with my baby sister, well, looking like a baby. Because she was a baby! She was only a mere 11 months old when I graduated highschool. Stacey’s graduation was next. I was seven years older, working my sales job and had been married to Mike for 2 years. I can remember that day well too. I even remember what I was wearing because I wore it to work and raced to the ceremony. I remember thinking here I am, where did the last seven years ago and why is my little sister graduating highschool? Well, now here we are.

There are a million thoughts going through my head right now and with two children asking me what I am doing every 2 minutes it is making it rather hard to even know where I am going with this post. Which reminds me, I am really looking forward to the next two highschool graduations I will attend.

So, there we go.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 2 Comments

Stick a Fork in Me

I’m done.

Not sure what I’m done with but I am definitely done with something.  I’m watching King Kong right now and the guy just said, “I’m an actor with a gun who has lost his motivation.”  I can relate.  I have often thought we are all born with a certain amount of motivation to get stuff  done and eventually we use it all it all up.  And I’ve often thought I used all of mine up in the first 24 years of my life.  Now I’m like the actor in the movie.  I’ve got a gun but not so sure about the motivation.

That could be a great country song come to think of it.  Continue reading

Posted in Real Life Stories | 4 Comments

I love this!

Glass Slipper (taken from the WBRC-6 website, www.myfoxal.com)
Do you — or someone you know — have formal wear just hanging in the closet? You can donate it to the “Glass Slipper” project. It provides underprivileged students from the area with formal attire so they can participate in pageants, proms, coronations, and more with pride! If you need a dress, you must be referred by a school counselor, teacher, or principal… then a committee selects who is accepted into the program. If you would like to donate or for more information on the glass slipper project, simply call (256) 447-3087 or visit myfoxal.com.

If you’ve got a donation let me know… I’ve already put in a call. Or call them at the number above to donate! What a wonderful way to contribute to the life of a young girl! I saw this on TV a couple of days ago and couldn’t get it off my mind. LOVE IT!

Posted in Real Life Stories | 3 Comments

Birthday Blogging

I just got back from my daughter’s school where I had the wonderful opportunity to share an April Fool’s joke. Yes, I am an opportunist and birthdays are no exception!

So, after getting strict directives from my little project manager I was then on the hunt for just what to do for the third grade. Cookies, cupcakes and donuts are the usual expression of motherly love at the local elementary schools. She asked for donuts, “you know, make some chocolate, some vanilla, Mom… b/c not everyone likes chocolate and someone might be allergic!”…. but everyone likes Chinese food right? Especially picky 8 and 9 year olds? Right? I kept these thoughts to myself.

I wound up at the Chinese takeout restaurant and that in itself was quite a feat. Buying 20 empty boxes along with 20 fortune cookies… the language barrier was tough. I just kept saying, “for the children at school” and eventually I overpaid for a bunch of empty Chinese food takeout containers.

Next was the BEST place for donut holes this side of the Mississippi…Shipley’s Donuts. I took in a container and said to the poor tired fellow behind the counter (I am sure he had been there since 4am), “I need enough donut holes to fill 20 of these. You know, for the children at school.” Language barrier? No. He just looked at me like I was crazy. I said, “Oh, it’s April Fools. For the third grade. Get it??” Again, no spark of fun here, he only said (while he was trying to do the math), “how many donut holes in a dozen?” I left with 10 dozen (yes, 120) donut holes.

The teacher played along beautifully. The children were at art while I set up… I hear her out in the hall instruct them all, “do not touch what is on your desk. use your manners! be polite!” Each child had a takeout box with 6 donut holes plus a fortune cookie; it looked very Chinese-y if I do say so myself… my daughter walked in… “MOM????”

Mrs. Birdwell: “We hear Melodi loves fried rice! Don’t you Melodi? How special for your birthday!”
Melodi: “Well…um…. yes, I guess I do…” (she is really holding it together at this point, in fact the whole class is trying to keep it together.)

After singing and getting her birthday licks, the teacher says, “Let’s let Melodi open her box first to make sure she got right one. Did you want shrimp fried rice or chicken?”

She starts to open the box. Silence… then… giggles… then laughing and then, RELIEF! It was then that I was so honored to say to my beautiful first born, “APRIL FOOLS!” Poor child. An April Fool’s birthday. The class roared! Everyone opened their fortunes and got to read them aloud. What a great time! What a precious child who was willing to go along with it all. She was all smiles. It just doesn’t get much better that this.

By the way, my husband did not proof read this blog today. I will address that with him later.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 3 Comments

No cream or sugar here!

thanks to Sherry over at Party of Five for this highly scientific test.

I am between delusions of Godhood and near death… and really, I do take it black. Very black.

Posted in Real Life Stories | 3 Comments


~It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.~

I found this quote and really liked it.  I hope you do too!

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Somewhere between Easter and two important April birthdays is my wedding anniversary.  It was yesterday and we found a few stolen moments among the current demands at work and home.  Along with lots of great memories of the last 13 years I’m also admiring 4 dozen red roses!  Yes, yesterday was a good day!

And just for your information, if I were a smurf, I would have to say I am married to the smurfiest guy I know.

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Today I saw a Christmas tree still displayed in someone’s front window.   This was on a nice street with a good zip code… among the blooming azaleas and dogwoods there it was… a fully decorated tree.

Sort of made me feel better about all the stuff I haven’t gotten done around here!

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The Beauty of Easter

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1

Jude 24-25… To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen

Okay, these are not the traditional Easter verses you might hear today. But… have you ever had two left feet? Big mistakes? Big regrets? Are you more than a beautiful mess? ROMANS 8:1

I keep thinking, where would I be without someone to save me? Someone who won’t let me fall? Someone who sees what I am meant to be? JUDE 24, 25

Because of His resurrection everyday is filled with hope. Accept this and be in agreement with me that without the ugliness of the crucifixion we could never be presented without condemnation, without fault. Realizing this truth for myself has been a big step in my walk of faith. Matthew West’s song captures it for me perfectly. Please take a moment to watch it, read the words and believe the beauty of Easter can be true for you too (click here).

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Shout Out

To my good friend Shannon Johnson. She started a blog and is on a roll! Way to go girl! It is lots of fun to read and she is always my “go to” person when I’ve got parenting questions. She is right on! Take a look and bookmark her page. If you’ve got kids, then http://youvegottoknowthis.blogspot.com/.

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I don’t know what to call this…

In the Bible much reference is made to tents. These folks went on many journeys, often living out of tents for quite some time. I can’t even think of putting together what I need for a trip and throwing it in backpack along with a tent and hitting the road. It gives me an anxiety attack just thinking about it. Although with my new iphone (courtesy of Mike’s gracious gift-giving abilities) I might could hack it. That thing will do just about anything plus it has google maps right on the dashboard. So in the event I did pitch a tent and got lost I would know my exact location. But I digress….

Back to my devotional today. It started out with a verse from Deuteronomy, stating that “God would go before me, to search out a place for me to pitch my tent” (chap. 1, v. 32-33). Which absolutely made me laugh because the thought of me setting up a tent is hilarious. Regardless of Bible times or the 21st century, I would be the one having trouble with that tent. I began having quite a time relating to this illustration.

Then my tent became a place… a situation… a relationship… an illness. The tent is a place where God will put you and He’ll show you where to go from there. To those of us who believe, He is going before us in everything. When we want to point and click (or in my case, lightly tap the keypad) all he’s really looking for is for his believers to acknowledge Him wherever it is he has brought us to camp. To trust Him for the places, the situations, the illnesses; and to trust that he will show us the way to go.

This really sounds too easy and hard all at the same time. Which tells me that you know you are at a spot God would have you when you simply can’t do it on your own accord. When I’m in a tough place and the only way “out” or the only way “in” is because of him then I know He has me right where He wants me to be. God is far more interest in my character than my comfort level! And I am sure that if it really were a real tent the Holy Spirit would have me setting that thing up til I got it right. Same thing applies here. Trust in Jesus, outside of what you think you can.  Set up camp, go where He leads because I know for sure that the one who created it all will get it right.

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If this is my worst offense

Then bring it on!

Main Entry:
eth·ic Listen to the pronunciation of ethic
Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek ēthikē, from ēthikos
14th century

1plural but sing or plural in constr : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation2 a: a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> <an old-fashioned work ethic> —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction <an elaborate ethics><Christian ethics> bplural but sing or plural in constr : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> c: a guiding philosophy d: a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ethic>3plural : a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness) <debated the ethics of human cloning>

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January Gut Check

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the willingness to do what needs to be done. -Cecilia Stoll, National Vice President and Top Ten Income Earner in Arbonne International

and on that note…

Always do right – this will gratify some and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain

and finally…

He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.
Leonardo da Vinci

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The second week of December

12 loads of laundry, 11 bils to pay, 10 days til Christmas, 9 baby gerbils, 8 trips to the grocery store, 7 birthday parties, 6 doctors appointment, 5 pounds gained, 4 batches of fudge, 3 visits to Target, 2 precious children and one heavily medicated mom!

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Pecan Pie

I am eating it for breakfast because I had no excuse not to. Now I just have to fit in some exercise before I eat my second piece. At least I am wearing these shoes:


I can vouch for these folks. They even price-matched my shoes from another site and gave me the difference! The first time I wore them I had a 30 minute conversation with someone while standing up and was exhausted afterwards. Check it out and get some here by Christmas so you can literally stand there, eat your pecan pie and do isometric exercise all at the same time. I bought the blue suede ones and now I feel like Elvis while eating just about anything.

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This was what I saw on the back of a car a few minutes ago.

It has been said an excuse is a well planned lie. If that is the case, then I’m in trouble with the 9th commandment.

Circumstances turn into excuses. So do bosses, co-workers, bank accounts and family members. These are not lies; they are simply the stuff of life. Maybe the way in which one responds to these things is what becomes the excuse, the well-planned alibi. At any rate, I like what it said and it gently reminded me that pressing on through life’s stuff is really what no excuses is all about. So, enough with my excuses and in the words of someone else (but I haven’t figured out how to put this on a license plate)… “Do the next right thing.”

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Ants in My Pants

Not really, but they are in my kitchen.

This has happened before but today it was true army. A force to be reckoned with. The day got started bright and early as Canon is the only morning person in our house. We were due at a birthday party by 10am and after the “hurry up or we’ll be later than usual” speech I realized I forgot my celphone. Being “out of touch” for a morning was a bit of a vacation but by the time I got back home (with an extra kid in tow nonetheless) we had poison in the kitchen and Mike was on a mission. I am sure he tried to give me a heads up but got my voicemail. Anyway, no one was allowed in the kitchen and again, I had the same feeling one gets when you forget your celphone… the “ahhh, peace. but wait, I know I am needed, I AM THE MOM and what if….” I am not sure what to call that feeling but you know the one.

It was great not to go in the kitchen today; however, I started out there. I usually spend enormous amounts of time there. But by 10am my kitchen duties were null and void. There needs to be a hallmark card holiday that celebrates getting out of your kitchen. When you care enough to send the very best, care enough to tell a loved one to stay out of her kitchen for a day, household pests or no pests.

With that being said, I can’t thank Mike enough for attacking these ants. They were carrying eggs, they were moving their nest by way of our house. Seems weird but it gets even weirder when you think we have a ant farm that we are trying to keep alive in our kitchen closet while we are killing the ants that are trekking through it. As Mike explained those are two totally different things. At any rate, I say again that I have not had to spray, vacuum or kill the ants in any way, shape or form. He did it, going on at least 12 hours and they are still on the move. I appreciate his strategery and the fact that I got a entire kitchen holiday out of the deal. It’s nice to be married to someone who is willing to go to bat for you before calling in the professionals. Although, with as much googling as he did on the ants today I would say he is a professional. I am just rambling now which means I need to get back to blogging more often as not to bore the reader with useless information. I will try to blog again very soon as I am sure there will be something else going on that will enhance your life in some way. Check back soon. I’ll let you know what happens with the ants.

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For anybody who knows a Mom…

or had a Mom or is a Mom, all I can say is if you want to be a Mom please watch this video.

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The Elmo Factor

Elmo was interviewed on ‘The View’ this morning. Which reminded me of something.

Over the summer we watched Elmo’s interview on Larry King. What is so absolutely crazy about this is the voice of Elmo is not who you would think it is. It is a big African-American man who looks like you may not want to get in a fight with him. But out of this big guy comes this sweet little Elmo voice. He sings, he rhymes, he is adorable. And the voice behind the cute furry red character is incredibly talented and doesn’t resemble Elmo in the least. How about that?

The Elmo factor is simply this: things may not always be as they appear. Elmo’s voice and his puppeteer just didn’t quite “go” together. That’s not a bad thing. However, speaking out of both side of one’s mouth could be a bad thing. Like if Elmo was cute and furry with his pre-school voice and then out of nowhere came the man’s voice… talk about freaking out a little kid! That would freak me out! We’ve seen it though in various forms and fashions. Call it two-faced, call it double-talk, pandering or spinning… call it what you will… I will call it the Elmo Factor and I will try to avoid it at all cost.

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The 80/20 Rule (revised)

Known as the Pareto Principle this rule applies to so much of life it should be taught in kindergarten. Please note the following case scenarios, I made them up so they aren’t “textbook” quality, just a day to day look at my life and why I believe this rule is right on:

  • church life: In a large group, organization, company, church… 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I am serious! Look at your fraternity or sorority in college… your neighborhood… the parents of your local PTA… I just happen to notice this at church.
  • beach life: If you are on the beach be in the 80%. If you are in the 20% it is because people are looking at you and it may not be for the best reasons. So “blend in” on the beach.
  • work life: In my line of work I must be talking 80% of the time. 80% of my time is spent on income producing activities and 20% are the non-income producing activities.  What this basically means is that 80% of your output determines the results.
  • home life: Do what you like to do with your 80% of time. In your 20% hire out or employ others to do what you don’t enjoy doing. For me that includes ironing. You guessed it, if it is wrinkled it goes out to get ironed.  Or you just wear it wrinkled.
  • best rule of thumb: Smile 80% of the time. Everyone will wonder what you were doing with the other 20%.
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Tuning In to Turning Out Alright

If you have spent any time around me by now you know I have a fond affection for country music. Here’s a song I heard this morning on the old fashioned car radio. It tells a little story of days gone by that you might recognize depending on which decade you were born. I love it! Growing up south of the Mason Dixon line this song perfectly captures my childhood, most every line and lyric. Comment if any of it rings true for you too. And then let me know if you think you turned out alright.

We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead-based paint
No childproof lids
No seatbelts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets
and still here we are

We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were outside

It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world

School always started the same everyday
the pledge of allegiance, then someone would pray
not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed but that was alright

No bottled water
We’d drink from a garden hose
And every Sunday,
All the stores were closed.


It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world

A Different World lyrics on http://www.metrolyrics.com By Bucky Covington

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Wrecking Balm

Last night we watched the Ultimate Fighting Champion reality show while also watching The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading reality show. All of this was accomplished by using the picture in picture on the lower right hand of the screen. That is an entire blog in itself. But the reason I bring it up is because Mike eventually speaks up and says, “Please show me a guy on this show who has no tattoo.” There wasn’t one to be found.

Today I heard an advertisement for the Wrecking Balm which seems to be the favored solution for tattoo removal. The ad goes a little something like this: REGRET IT. FADE IT. FORGET IT.

How about that? The tattoo craze has created a possible surge in the economy with remedies like the Wrecking Balm. Because I honestly believe a great proportion of the people with tattoos will eventually have the “regret it, fade it, forget it” opinion of their body art. I have to admit, knowing there is a safe way to fade permanent ink stains on your skin might be just the reassurance I need to get a tattoo. But come to think of it NONE of the candidates for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders had visible tattoos. In case I decide to audition that will be one less thing I have to worry about… (besides the stretch marks).

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Where the River meets the Road

Life’s like a road that you travel on
there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind…

Too many times we stand aside And let the waters slip away
‘Til what we put off ’til tomorrow It has now become today
So don’t you sit upon the shoreline And say you’re satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids And dare to dance that tide

Tom Cochrane, 1991, Life Is a Highway and Garth Brooks, 1991, The River

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Sunday Morning Date Night

While I was busy doing the hurry up or we’ll be late routine this morning I asked Mike if he could take me on a date to Starbucks on the way to church. He said, “sure, but what about the kids??” While I smeared concealer under my thirtysomething year old eyes and I said to him, “If you will drive the car, order for me and pay with your own debit card then I will consider it a date and the kids can come with us and sit quietly in the backseat.” As I’m finishing up and nearing the almost ready point I hear him call for the kids and rally them into the car. That wasn’t even part of the deal! SWEET! He took us to the Starbucks drive thru AND he even dropped us off curbside at the church so we didn’t have to walk through the parking lot. That was the best 15 minute date we’ve ever had. Seriously.

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Typical night at the Shaw house: Singing, dancing and watching the Blues Brothers.

Melodi was intent on “giving a concert” when brother went to bed and she started with a stellar version of ’9 to 5′ by none other than Dolly Parton. Next up was Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think’. All it took was a few measures of the CD and Mike began the movie. This was a coaching attempt on his part, while Aretha is telling off McIntyre Murphy we watched her acting as well as her singing and dancing… Mike says, “Look at her attitude Melodi! Sing it with your face!”

Now we’ve moved on to ‘Shake a Tail Feather’ with Ray Charles. This is reminiscent of my childhood, dancing with my Dad. Doesn’t seem that long ago and now I’m dancing with my own daughter.

Before we eject this DVD we’ll end with the usual statement from Mike, “They just don’t make movies like this anymore.” And I think he is right.

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Doctor, Doctor

Going to the dermatologist for me is a lot like going to the dentist for the rest of the world. Some people honestly can’t stand those twice yearly dental checkups or any work done in their mouth… for me, going to the “skin doctor” raises the same hesitations. Maybe it all started when I was 12 or 13 years old. I went to see someone about acne and left after they had placed shots in my face, into the actual pimple-zone. Yuck! And a little scary too!

I’ve been back to the dermatologist as an adult because my fair skin and various skin ailments give occasional scares… not the acne kind of scares but the “fair skinned could this be pre-cancer” kind of scares. Luckily any biopsies done so far have been routine and the place is burned or “iced” off with liqiud nitrogen. This makes my skin crawl (no pun intended!). At least my daughter went with me last time. I had to put on my big girl panties and be brave for the sake of holding it together in front of her. I did it although I didn’t like it.

Today I went back because a stubborn rash has developed on my lower legs and won’t go away. Guess what? They biopsied that too. I was ready for a shot, not shaving skin off my legs to send in to a lab. After some local and some whining on my part I got to leave with two band-aids and the “we’ll call you in a week” speech.

The waiting room was filled to the brim and honestly, I was the second youngest person there. The oldest person was a real hoot. Formerly a real estate attorney he deemed himself the entertainer of the bunch (I’m telling you it was standing room only). He went around the room asking your name and then drawing it out on a piece paper in old english style letters. He would autograph it Mickey Mouse.

Considering I was worried about getting home to take care of a sick child it occurred to me later that part of me can’t wait to have nothing to do but hang out at the dermatologist office. The elderly entertainer had been there since it had opened, had seen the doc and had no intention of leaving. Basically, he had found his days work in that busy waiting room. I’m not sure why that became part of the experience but there you have it.

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Back To School Sketchers

Honestly, I stumbled across this tax free holiday thing in Alabama this weekend. I knew it was out there but had no idea it was this weekend. Which made the back to school shopping I did on Friday even better when I looked at my receipt! We got several things done but needed to get out today to get back to school shoes. Which, of course, are always sketchers.

For a moment I wanted some back to school sketchers. At least if I was going back to school it would be okay if everyone around me acted like kids. Act your age, not your shoe size just doesn’t seem to be the advice we give each other anymore. Instead, we seem to be tolerating even more adolescent behavior than ever!

Well, that’s a topic for another post.

I bought Nikes in hopes of finding the Shelley who liked to exercise somewhere deep down inside of my body. I’ve let all my fitness certifications lapse and I guess after leading classes for seven years I just sort of got a little slack? Maybe I can at least show up and do PE with Melodi’s class this year. Or maybe I will figure out how to run a marathon. Who knows, the good part about this time of the year is there is certainly the anticipation of something new in the air. And that goes for whatever age you are (or whatever age you are acting like you are!)

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HSBC’s Ladies Fall Bible Studies

Here is a complete list of what is being offered at Hunter Street beginning in September. Most of these studies are offered for 10-12 weeks (some longer) and meet weekly or bi-weekly. Morning and evening choices are available plus childcare is offered for many of these!

Three years ago I had the opportunity to lead on Thursday mornings and continue doing so… I can’t tell you what blessings I have received by being a part of a small group! If you are not in a weekly small group I encourage you to take a look at these below. Regardless of your background, church affiliation or work schedule we have something for everyone! Hear my heart here: not only will you grow in knowledge but friendships and encouragement await you by becoming a part of one of these groups. Take the time to join a study and you will be so glad you did. Let me know if you have questions!

REVELATION PART 1 by Kay Arthur (precept study)
Mondays 6:15 p.m. 9/10/07 – 11/19/07 Room S112-114
Jesus’ Message to the Church. Want to know what the future holds? Come study Revelation and allow God’s plan to be revealed to you.
LEADER: Terri Houston 428-3141 or terrillah@aol.com

HE SPEAKS TO ME by Priscilla Shirer (daughter of Tony Evans)
Mondays 6:30-8:00 p.m. 9/10/07 – 10/22/07
Are you longing to hear God’s voice but feeling disconnected? Hungry for His presence? Need His leading? In the 7 weeks of her video and study guide with daily assignments and personal challenges, we will see how God spoke to Samuel and learn to position ourselves to hear from God personally.
LEADER: Mary Carolyn Sullivan 822-8882 sullivanken_mc@juno.com

SERMON ON THE MOUNT by Kay Arthur (precept study)
Tuesdays 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Dates: 9/4/07 – 11/13/07 Room S112-114
Faith that does not compromise is promised a reward in the world to come and also a life free from anxiety in this world. Get a deeper understanding of the fruit and security that come with righteousness in the life of a true believer. You’ll never look at the Beatitudes the same way again! Kay’s video set for this revised study includes teaching on-location in Israel.
LEADER: Tracy Caldwell, 942-5803 or tracy.caldwell@charter.net

Tuesdays 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Dates: 9/11/07 – 11/13/07 Room S109-110
This study Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life, leads you through a stud of the Scriptures to discover the transforming power of Christian freedom. Based on Isaiah 61:1-4, this in-depth study draws parallels between the captive Israelites and today’s believers.
LEADER: Marygene Allison 428-9055 or georgemarygene@juno.com

HE SPEAKS TO ME by Priscilla Shirer
Tuesdays 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Dates: 9/11/07 – 10/23/07
Do you want to develop a more intimate prayer life? Even more, do you want to hear from God in practical ways? Based on the life of Samuel (who first heard God’s voice while still a small boy), this study will give you a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit. This book speaks directly to the need to develop a richer prayer life and a deeper, more intimate relationship with God and to learn how to comfortably share your experience of God with others.
LEADER: Angela Jones, 663-0209 angelaj6@bellsouth.net

WISING UP by Beth Moore
Tuesdays 6:30 p.m. 9/04/07 – 11/20/07
A teaching DVD series by Beth Moore from the book of Proverbs. A 60-minute DVD with a listening guide. No workbook/homework involved in this study.
LEADER: Jenny Williams 663-2445 or williams4676@bellsouth.net

DOWN BUT NOT OUT (How to Get Up When Life Knocks You Down) by Wayne Mack
Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 9/11/07 – 11/13/07
None of us live a trouble-free or without-problems kind of life. This study gives practical answers from Scripture when the circumstances of life seem overwhelming. Topics include worry, anxiety, spiritual burnout, discontentment, discouragement and more. You will find out there is a supernatural way to overpower trouble, to live in contentment with a deep down peace and an unassailable joy.
LEADER: Judy Chiles, 824-4385 or judychiles@charter.net

A WOMAN’S HEART, GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (New & revised) by Beth Moore
Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 9/11/07 – 11/13/07
You’re invited to enter the sanctuary of your God and let Him reveal marvelous mysteries to you. Explore the building of the tabernacle, uncover the significance of its intricate design, and learn its pivotal role in God’s eternal plan. You will be challenged to prepare your heart, like the holy of holies, to become a home for His love and glory – a dwelling place for the Most High God.
LEADER: Ashley Anderton 425-5544 ashleyanderton@bellsouth.net

DOWNPOUR by James MacDonald
Wednesdays 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 9/5/07 – 11/21/07
Take hold of this opportunity for personal revival. Make yourself wholly His. Let nothing come in between you and God’s fresh downpour of mercy and grace. God wants to rain down on you not a trickle, but a torrent – a deluge of Himself. What’s required is a turning to Him with all that you are. Will you come? Great for a friend who is searching, seeking, longing for a closer relationship with the Lord.
LEADER: Debbie Beckmann 426-4226 dbeckmann@charter.net

Wednesdays 9:00-11:00 a.m. 9/5/07 – 11/14/07
You can know the glorious freedom of a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit. You will be challenged to pursue the only route to develop the fruit – by maintaining an intimate relationship with the Spirit of God.
LEADER: Nancy Bickings 982-6203 bickings@gmail.com

WISING UP by Beth Moore
Thursdays 9:15-11:00 a.m. 9/5/07 – 11/21/07
A teaching DVD series by Beth Moore from the book of Proverbs. A 60-minute DVD with a listening guide. No workbook/homework involved in this study.
LEADER: Shelley Shaw 979-2190 shelley@shelleyshaw.com

Thursdays 9:00-11:00 a.m. 9/6/07 – 11/15/07
Is our belief system working? Are our Christian lives successful? Are they achieving and experiencing what scripture said they would? This 10-week study will help women to explore what it means to believe God, trust in God and receive a fresh word from Him.
LEADER: Vicki Wilkins 663-4463 vkwilkins@bellsouth.net

Thursdays 9:15-10:30 a.m. 9/11/07 – 11/13/07
Linda Dillow writes “If you’re tired of worrying about all the ‘what ifs’ in your life and want to experience the calm and contentment promised in Scripture, Calm My Anxious Heart is what you’ve been looking for.” Join us as we learn to turn to Scripture for comfort and away from the sin of worry.
LEADER: Karen Rosenow 664-4798 krosenow@charter.net

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Birthday Bliss

It’s pretty crazy when your metabolism starts dictating what you want for your birthday. Honestly, we could’ve been in the best jewelry store in Nevada and I still would have wanted to eat $200 worth of Italian food for my birthday dinner somewhere on the strip. There were LOTS of choices, we could’ve done a progressive meal from hotel to hotel and created an 8 course meal or something like that. But b/c my feet were quickly swelling from the walking and the heat I chose a wonderful Italian place in the hotel we were staying in and ate PASTA… and ended with tirmasu. There was bread, REAL Caesar salad (non of that diet dressing stuff) and a very simple WHITE sauced (not heavy, really rather light) pasta dish. For those of you post-baby and in your mid-thirties who stay on a diet you know I just described the most perfect meal. And someone else cooked it! I would like to think it was like the movie Ratatouille without the rat… back in the kitchen, a gourmet chef barking orders, “for the birthday girl!”

After being upgraded to a rather large suite, shopping for a new outfit (without kids and my husband close by giving me thumbs up), and just plain old-fashioned sightseeing you can see why the day was just about perfect. I even put $5 in the Kenny Rogers’ slot machine and got a$56 voucher back. How about that?!

BIG shouts out to my sisters for making sure the kiddos weren’t left alone. Along with my mom, dad and in-laws going far, far away for my birthday would not have been possible. Words cannot possibly say what Mike’s time and money meant to me on this trip… (oh, Las Vegas says “thanks” too). 35 looks like it is going to be the best year yet!

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Late Night with Shelley Shaw

Sorry I have neglected my blogging as of late.  I’ve had some stuff to share but my mental energy has been spent on entertaining two children.  School starts in 3 and a half weeks… maybe you’ll start hearing more from me soon!

I’m going to keep this simple.  I’ll share what I watched on TV last night.  Watching TV is when I move from room to room checking to see what someone else is watching.  I don’t sit down to really watch it myself until about 11pm most nights.

Random television viewing started last night around 9:30pm and it was that Big Idea Show where people who have invented something get interviewed and talk about it.  This navy seal had managed to develop a better way to do a push up using some specialized equipment.  At one time in my life I would’ve probably bought the newest exercise gizmo… (yes, I owned a thighmaster) but right now doing a push up is the last thing on my list.  Unless it has to do with undergarmets (I can always use a push up padded bra).  The next inventor actually had done a great job marketing some clever undergarmets which I must say I will probably buy.  This was probably too much information but my brain is what you might call “summerized.”

Next up was Larry King.  He was interviewing Tammy Faye Baker.  She has cancer and is dying and well, she looked like it too.  It was terrible!  If you have seen The Emperor’s New Groove she looked like the character Izma.  Except worse!  Mike said, “this is starting to become a bizarre night on TV.”  Soon after that I made my way to the couch and saw a 91 year old man wrestling a twenty-something woman on CMT.  Next was the goofy guys on that Mythbusters show sinking a car with one of them in it.  As if that wasn’t enough we ended with us watching the Jerry Springer Show.  This show actually begins with a disclaimer, “This is one hour of your life you can never get back!” written across the bottom of the screen.  I’ll spare you the details but I only gave that show about 20 minutes of my life.  We finally turned the TV off.

Right now Mike is watching two shows (picture in picture) and changing the channels every so often.  There is some version of American Gladiators on but it is in Japanese?  These are not Americans.  As long as it is not the Nancy Grace show I think I’ll go join my man a little early on the couch tonight.  Over and out!

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Land of the Free

This Independence Day has much more significance because one of my very own family members is active in the US Air Force. Uncle Tim left just a few short weeks ago to complete a tour of duty in the Middle East with the Air Force Band; we expect him home very soon. Tim is Mike’s brother and because of the internet we have actually had an opportunity to correspond with him! Amazing!

He is busy over there and we are getting a glimpse of the “real deal.” After experiencing my freedom over the past 35 years I still don’t think I will ever truly comprehend the amount of unseen work that goes into keeping us free in the United States. Stuff makes the headlines but I am so grateful to get hear of Tim’s first hand experience when he arrives home. We are so very proud of him and his wife, Aunt Tina, who is home in Warner Robins, Georgia holding down the fort.

I’ve got dead grass in my front yard but at least it is on American soil. And I have debts that need to be paid but last I checked they can be paid in American dollars. And the mosquitoes that ate me alive this week, let me remind you they feasted on red American blood!

To get to spend an afternoon in an air-conditioned environment or on a long lunch break is called freedom. After thinking about all this it sort of makes me really want to do something with it.

America is too great to dream small.

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Just what you always needed to know

I saw another blogger post her responses to an email survey… you know, the kind of chain email that someone sends you and wants you to send back to them and also to 5 other people (really, it is just like a middle school chain letter)! Generally I never take the time to do this but my dear friend in Valdosta sent it to me and I loved reading her answers. When I realized this might be some material for the weblog I made sure I cut and pasted here. It’s not what you might call inspiring but it is a quick glimpse into what’s on my mind. So, here is just what you always needed to know about me…

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My mother’s name is Laura Jane and I am Laura Michelle. “Laura” was my grandmother’s youngest sibling who died in early childhood so we are both named after her.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? 3 weeks ago, but I wouldn’t call it crying I would call it a bona-fide come apart.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Considering no one can read it and it was always my worst grade in school I like it okay.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Thinly sliced deli style turkey but leftover roast makes a great sandwich with white bread and mayo!

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 2 precious children, Canon who will be 3 in a few weeks and Melodi who is 8 and going into 3rd grade

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Absolutely! I used to sign my own yearbooks like I was friends with myself!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? Some call it sarcasm, others may refer it to as a cynical nature…


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I’ll do a lot of things once but this one I don’t think I will ever do (maybe if there was money involved?)

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I used to love it, I think I overdosed on it and don’t eat it anymore


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I could give a sarcastic (cynical?) answer here but I won’t

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Bunny Tracks by Blue Bunny

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their conversation skills, who they know or who they are connected to (i.e. where are you from? oh, you are from south Alabama, do you know… etc., etc.)

15. RED OR PINK? Pink

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? This is not a good day to answer this question

17. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jean shorts and bare feet

18. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses

19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The voices in my head! They won’t shut up!! (ha ha, refer to number 7)

20. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Yellow. Actually, I was a yellow crayon once. During my senior year me and my group of friends dressed up as a box of crayons for a Halloween costume contest. We took a lot of time and effort into making our colorful warm-up suits into crayolas (pointed hats made out of poster board completed the look)… Mike and his pals ripped their clothes and mousse-ed their hair right before they came to school. They were New Kids on The Block and they won the contest. BUT I WAS A GREAT YELLOW CRAYON!

22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Stargazer lilies, magnolias, gardenias, honeysuckle, I love the smell of fresh flowers!

23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My sweet Arbonne friend, Rachael from Lawrenceburg, TN

24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I admire my friend Elizabeth so very much! She lives too far away but we are keeping in touch!

25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football, I will like it better when my son is playing

26. HAIR COLOR? Is this a trick question?

27. EYE COLOR? Blue green with yellow flecks


29. FAVORITE FOOD? Anything that someone else cooks


31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? The Pursuit of Happyness

32. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? White t-shirt from Big Spring Jam

33. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, but I think I like the dry heat out west instead of the suffocating humidity we’ve had today!

34. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses

35. FAVORITE DESSERT? Anything with chocolate

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day

37. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? No mouse pad here, I use the touch pad on the Mac

38. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T. V. LAST NIGHT? Whatever was on VH1

39. FAVORITE SOUND? You know, I really like the sound of quiet


41. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? I guess going out of the country to Jamaica on our honeymoon but I did a cruise to the Bahamas in February that might be farther? It felt farther because I missed my man so much!

42. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Complicating the obvious, I seem to really be good at that

43. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Opelika, Alabama

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Hold Your Horses!

We’ve been experiencing drought conditions here in Alabama for weeks now. In the last two days I have finally seen some much needed downpours. We got in the middle of one at the stables yesterday. Yesterday’s horseback riding lesson was of utmost importance because Melodi fell off the horse last week. I don’t ride and can’t seem to understand what happened. All I know is there was crucial window of opportunity for her to get back on the horse and move on, pressing forward in her goal of learning how to become an equestrian. Luckily, the incident happened toward the end of the lesson and my son Canon has taught me to respond to such mishaps with the “shake it off mentality.” He is a cannonball on two legs. Although my stomach stays in a constant knot I can now stay composed in most any situation. So much so that the instructor told me how much she appreciated my response and wished other parents could do the same.

Having said that still didn’t make it any easier for me to get her to the lesson yesterday. I was nervous, so was she but it was not our desire to let the horse get the best of both of us. A torrential downpour began and I was grateful, how we have so needed the rain. Driving up to the farm I notice there are currents of water running everywhere. After finding a like new umbrella, I hand it off to Melodi and off she goes. Looking for the umbrella took me into the rear of the SUV which meant I had to scramble my way back to the front seat. I look at my toddler son and confide to him, “I’m so stressed out…” and as I look out the front window I see Melodi absolutely drenched. She has fallen into a puddle that is the size of a small lake.

The rain had slowed before I let her out of the car; I never dreamed she would wind up in the water. I missed the whole thing… she was wet, all the way down to the her bones. Leaving Canon in the car I run out to see the most pitiful site I’ve ever seen in her life. There we were, very willing but our spirit was becoming weaker by the second. We find the instructor in the indoor arena, with her horse ready to begin. Melodi is re-thinking this whole thing and I’m wondering where the heck I am going to find a change of clothes. I’m also hoping Canon doesn’t drive off in the car.

Going back to the car to retrieve my son, I happen to locate a shirt. Our instructor comes up with pants and although her shoes were filled with water we dried her off enough to start the lesson. 15 minutes late. Did I mention we had actually been on time? The ran has tapered off and I notice how incredibly dirty we all are… Canon plays fetch with the yellow labrador out at the barn and Melodi begins gracefully “posting”, which was a first in the last 7 months of lessons.

I can’t decide if it was the wet undergarments, the squishy shoes or the fact that once she got all dressed she looked at me and said, “We are so going to laugh at this at tomorrow.” All I know is I’ve got one heck of a daughter! She gives grace and composure an entirely new definition. I am so proud to be her mom!

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Some Free Advice

This person didn’t ask for my help but I gave it to him anyway.

A couple of years ago I was at home, doing whatever I do at home. The doorbell rang. A modern day traveling salesperson was there at my door washing the glass door with some extraordinary cleaner that he just knew I needed. He was young, well dressed and absolutely working his hiney off.

He was excited as he cleaned my glass door for free. Giving me the salespitch and absolutely throwing himself into his work it was hard to say no. But I did.

“You are absolutely one of the best people to stop by my door and try to sell me something. I understand, I have been in sales, too and I appreciate what you are doing. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! I don’t need your product right now but I PROMISE if you keep doing what you are doing up the hill and down the street YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE SALE. Just not to me.”

Was that mean? I don’t think so. He really was doing a good job. I told him so. But I really didn’t have time or interest in his product. I knew, however, that in order for him to keep going he needed to know that he was doing a bang up job and his next sale was right around the corner. I sure hope he kept going. He probably owns the traveling glass cleaner store by now.

Why do I share this with you? Because if someone is trying to sell you something and you don’t want it please tell them no. If they are really cut out for the job, they can SO take it. If they can’t take it they either need to personally develop into the the kind of salesperson who can accept a “no” or find a new job.

And you can have that advice for FREE!

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Thompson Reynolds Stadium

It could be renamed Mitchell Shaw Stadium. It was there that I started falling in love with my man, Mike. He marched the bass drum our senior year in highschool. If the grass had not been recently covered in astroturf what might it tell us this many years later?

It was there that I also graduated from highschool. We were told to keep our dresses shorter than the graduation gown and if it fell below the hem we must tape it up. I purposely wore a hot pink dress and it hung very low beneath the hem of my gown. I also wore black patent shoes with bright pink flowers on them (remember it was 1990). I was determined that my parents would find me among the sea of 293 royal blue caps and gowns.

I also ate some humble pie at that stadium. I ran track in 9th grade. I received a complement one day as I ran around that field… “If you just spread your arms like this wide I bet you would fly”… that same week I fell during the 440 relay race. I was the third leg on that team and as I passed off to the final leg my spikes didn’t work… I basically “ate the track” as another friend put it. How did I possilby go from flying to planting my face in the track? Not a good memory.

I also proved myself in the field of battle at that stadium. Twenty years ago I traded the spikes for a sequined uniform. I received an alternate spot on the majorette line… there were 8 places on the field and two alternates. One of the gals decided to move on and did not serve another marching season; we were down one person and the band directors simply couldn’t work with 7 spots. It had to be an even number, so 6 were written into the drill. The assistant band director brought me into his office.

Here is the visual: I would be singing the words to the song we’d march to rather than counting. I had terrible rhythm and just stayed confused most of the time. The other alternate was a year older, had some rhythm, was skinnier and prettier and well, let’s just say if this was American Idol I knew I was getting voted off. What happened next shaped my life forever.

“The reason you are in here today is because you have a fair shot at this spot. It can only go to one of you and the group thinks you have potential. I know what I am looking for and I am going to decide in a few weeks… are you willing to work hard and give this your best shot even if that means you aren’t chosen anyway?”

I said what any southern born and bred 14 year old girl would say to their elders, “Yes sir.” I realize now I had already passed the first test. Commiting and going head to head with the older alternate carried with it some high stakes that I had to live with until she graduated. I knew what I wanted, the spot on the field was my desired result. With a smaller skill set but a determined result in place I knew I would figure out the way to get there. I managed to figure this out: Commitment + mechanism = results. I’m glad I did it anyway.

He later chose me for the spot and it came down to one thing… attitude. Here’s what I will always remember, what he shared with me back then on that football field:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

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Where is your umbrella?

I was reminded this week of a “modern day” parable story. You may recall the one where the old country church folks of days gone by would meet and pray for rain after a long dry spell. We were mostly an agrarian society back then and although there were times of drought there were also times of harvest among the forces of mother nature. The part that struck me about that story was once in a while just one person would bring an umbrella to that prayer meeting. Three things:

1) If I could find an umbrella, I would like to think I would be the one who would bring it.

2) I’d even find a rain bonnet or raincoat too. Part of asking for the rain is the preparation for it too, right?

3) When the first big drops would begin to fall I would want to be the first to dance in it.

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The Color Purple

We ate at Melodi’s favorite restaurant a couple of days ago and came home with fortune cookies in the take out bag. She got excited, realizing there was still part of the meal waiting to be enjoyed and unwrapped her cookie. Like me, she never eats them but will read them and has been known on occasion to keep the paper fortune.

I asked her, “So what’s your fortune? Got any good luck coming your way?” She goes to toss this it in the garbage and rolls her eyes, “Yeah, if I focus on the color purple.” She turns on her heel and walks away.

Immediately I grab the tossed fortune and there it is in black and white… Focus on the color purple this week to bring you good luck. I am mulling this over in my mind because I am proud of her to notice this whole fortune thing is just for fun and she so doesn’t take it seriously. But on the other hand her FAVORITE color has been purple and well… we’ve got a lot of purple in this house. She’s even wanted to paint her whole room (ceiling and walls) you guessed it: PURPLE. How easy would it have been for her to keep the fortune, focus on her favorite color and add it to her purple collection? Rolling her eyes, tossing it in the trash, and walking away was what she chose to do in that moment in time.

So, what is your color purple? Is it a magic number in the bank account? A dress size? A coordinating manicure and pedicure? How about a hair color (you got me there!)? A particular vacation? What about a promotion? One thing I’ve noticed is it has become an interesting struggle as I place high value and confidence in things that aren’t purple but still make the promise of fortune and luck in modern day Babylon. Don’t get me wrong, many people operate most efficiently as they are working towards a means to an end. Placing confidence in the temporal is part of being on this earth. But when we think those things will bring luck, fame or fortune as Christians we are called to re-evaluate our interpretations of what really makes us confident and… happy.

No Tarot cards, No 1-900 calls, Don’t need to read the stars I know the one who made them all, Don’t need a horoscope or tea leaves left in my cup, No séance guy to give me hope, I know the one who makes the stuff
Lyrics from “Your Will”, written by Mike Shaw

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Singing Songs of Praise Today

Blessed be the LORD because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28:6-7

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We’re Only Here for a Little While

My poor family has endured my love of country music for quite some time now. The kids, even the little 2 year old, will tell me, “don’t like it mommy” although he WILL know who Dolly Parton is before he is 3 years old. Melodi knows who she is… she even has the classic song “9-5″ stashed on her shuffle mix (we all agree that is a GREAT song).

Okay, so country music is a little different… but you can always count on it to tell a story. I am not a deep person so having something completely spelled out for me is really okay. The biggest problem I’ve had is when country music stars decide they need to reinvent themselves… take for instance Garth Brooks. I was a devoted fan until he came up with some alter ego and made an album completely under a different name. Mike defended him to an extent, something about artistic creative rights and abilities… I just got plain mad. Don’t get me started.

But last week, listening to a gospel/country station (yes, it’s cruel but when you’re in my car you are subject to many, many radio stations) I heard an oldie but a goodie. Take out the steel guitar and just read the words and let them soak in for a minute. I’d say Billy Dean hit the nail on the head. Are you holdin’? Are you mendin’? Are you walkin’ though it means an extra mile? Cause like the song says, we’re only here for a little while.

Today I stood singin’ songs and sayin’ Amen, Saying goodbye to an old friend who seemed so young, He spent his life workin’ hard to chase a dollar, Putting off until tomorrow the things he should have done, Made me start thinking “What’s the hurry, why the runnin’? I don’t like what I’m becoming, gonna change my style. Take my time and I take it all for granted, Cause we’re only here for a little while

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Soaking Up the Sun

From the great theologian Sheryl Crow…

It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got…

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Putting Things in Perspective

Luke 18: 27 He replied, “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.”

This week has been all about perspective. The culmination of many events, both in the world and in my personal life, have helped me find a place to compare something to other things so that it can be accurately and fairly judged. Allowing myself to think about a situation or problem in a wise and reasonable way has always been tough for me; but as Jesus states in the above verse, with God’s help whatever seems impossible from our point of view can be entirely possible in and through Him.

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Fight the Good Fight!

It’s Easter morning and my 2 year old son is padding down the hall in his footed pajamas… so cute and sweet and quiet. Until I hear this clunking sound. It’s not the cats, it’s not the gerbils, it’s coming from my son’s pjs.

I quickly stop and kneel down to his level, “what are on earth is going on?” I wonder outloud. More clunking. As he walks there is this noise with every step he makes. I immediately unzip the footed pajamas… he exclaims, “My weapons!” All this stuff falls out. I mean, a BUNCH of stuff. He had slept all night with random household stuff shoved in his pjs, as he stated, his weapons from whatever bedtime game had been going on 12 hours earlier.

At this point, I am just cracking up. He was so serious. How uncomfortable had that child been as he slumbered? How did I put him to bed with all this stuff in his pjs? Crazy. Just absolutely crazy! As I thought about this and continued laughing about it (honestly, his expression was INTENSE when it came to these “weapons”) another thought occurred to me. What weapons do us grown ups have stashed in our footed pjs… the uncomfortable ones that we tolerate because they seem to offer a great deal of therapy to our hurting souls? Alright, we all know the Sunday School answers here… gossip, backstabbing, drugs, sex and rock and roll. But really, what else are we toting around, ready to use to our advantage when the opportunity presents itself? Many people see the way they were raised, their life circumstances, or their emotions as being just too big to overcome. These “things” quickly become weapons, fighting off any good that might come from these situations. They are classified as strongholds that keep us in a gridlock, anticipating the battle but never allowing it to be fought.

I believe spiritual battles are fought over random household stuff we stuff in our jammies. They are only won when God unzips us and offers freedom a fighting chance.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

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Mom, what does redeemed mean?

While listening to some Good Friday music in the car my daughter asked me the above question. How very wonderful it was to answer her… “you know what Jesus did on that cross? that’s what it means to be redeemed,” was my reply.

From Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
Redeemed: to get or win back
2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : CLEAR d : to free from the consequences of sin

His favorite song of all
Is the song of the redeemed
When lost sinners now made clean
Lift their voices loud and strong
When those purchased by His blood
Lift to Him a song of love
There’s nothing more He’d rather hear
Nor so pleasing to His ear
As His favorite song of all

lyrcis from Phillips, Craig and Dean

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Iron Sharpening Iron

A little over a year ago Mike sent me a link to the Johari window. The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up. This link became a defining moment in my life. Everything became obvious and somewhat complicated all at the same time.

As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

There is nothing quite like having someone that loves you give you a fair estimation of what you can work on. I know my personality flaws; Mike is my best friend and that’s what they do – they help you confront some things that you can’t do alone. I have been a stay at home mom for years now and just when you think children are the antidote for personal development, well, that is a topic for another post. I was ready to tackle some issues… but needed a vehicle to make the change. Just prior to that email with the link I had spent quite some time praying about how to address the things I was ready to change about myself. In God’s perfect timing He delivered the springboard I needed.

A year later I am looking at my list of the good, the bad and the ugly formed on that Johari window. I am happy to say I am on the other side of some of what I wanted to change. Praying for change, realizing you need it but then not knowing what to do about it is where most of us find ourselves. Allow me to encourage you here… if you are asking in earnest for God to work on YOU (and not everybody else which is what is more common, right girls?) I believe He will provide an opportunity that will take you from one level to the next, sharpening whatever it is about you that just doesn’t “cut it”. He has blessed me in abundance with a host of people, situations and circumstances to secure personal development and success in areas I didn’t even know existed. To see more about this Johari Window go to http://kevan.org/johari. Maybe we can share our results!

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Muppet Theology

For those of you old enough to appreciate seeing the Muppet Movie you’ll also be old enough to appreciate these lyrics. What kind of movie are you writing? Are you beginning with the end in mind? I hate to sound cliche but it really isn’t a dress rehearsal is it?

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We’ve done just what we set out to do.
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.

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I spend a great amount of time in the car. It did not strike me as odd that one way I would hear from God would be through license plates. I am constantly seeing them in front of me, I actually take the time to read them and figure them out. He knows this about me, I believe He made me this way. So I have gotten use to this and consider myself blessed by it, even if it means there is a special hall in the psyche ward for folks like me.

A funny thing happened tonight. A deliberate, “see I told you so” moment that only God orchestrates. While on a Shaw family outing I noticed a license plate in front of me. So I start trying to figure it out…. “hey, I think that guy’s name is Wally in front of us.” The plate read something like “imwally” which could have meant several things but I gave my interpretation. My husband, knowing I have divine revelations from license plates says, “so is God telling you to go find a new guy named Wally?” Really, he will sign the necessary paperwork to commit me when the time comes.

Immediately I say, “No!!! As a matter of fact God has been very quiet lately, thank you very much. In fact, every license plate I have seen has been just like the one we just saw. Last night someone had the word ‘actuary’ on the back of their car. I assume that they are very proud of what they do for a living.” Honestly, I have had no deep, meaningful moments with God stemming from the back of cars in quite sometime. The last few words he gave me were ‘dilgenc’, ‘surrnda’ and ‘destind’, all seen on license plates over the last 6 months. However, the last few weeks have proved to be quiet. I see now He was getting ready to make a point. When you feel like He’s being more than quiet, I am very much convinced it is because you are about to hear from Him in a profound way.

The VERY NEXT car had something a little different between its two tail lights. Just about the time I say “look, every license plate I’ve seen lately has just been random. Like that one in front of us with a bunch of jumbled numbers or letters. Unless…. could that be Jeremiah 32, verse 27?” There, in front of us reads, “J32V27.”

The series of events and conversation we were having were not coincidence. Had we been half way joking about something else we might have missed that blessed moment of “I’m in the details” miracles of God. In God’s perfect timing, He showed up. Why do I ever think anything different? Thanks and praise be to Him! The glory continues to be revealed.

Jeremiah 32:27 I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

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The Contented Path of Mediocrity

Contented come what may…
Right now is simply is good as it gets.
Forget the dreams, the goals, the plans
Instead simply grab on, hold fast.

But what about the other road?
The higher one, less traveled on?
Maybe there is something there
That simply needs my grasp.

Change of plans, lost my way…
Detours, sidetracks, fast tracks, dead ends.
It doesn’t matter what they are called,
it simply may lead to nowhere fast.

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What Snack Foods Can Teach Us

I bought a bag of Golden Flake corn chips and there is a huge sticker on the front that says, “National Corn Chip Month.” What kind of culture have we created that gives snack foods their own month?

Wait… there is really no problem here. If anything it is confirmation of something I’ll elaborate on at a later date. For now we’ll just leave it at this:

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.

For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD; and He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:3, 7-9, 23

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The Real Deal

You know, when your second grader is “schooling you” in the blogosphere, it’s time to write. Go to www.sassythecat.net to see more anecdotes on the Shaw household. There’s not much censorship when it comes to 8 year olds blogging so you pretty much have the real deal there.

Mike pointed out a week ago that it was the first time in THREE WEEKS that no one had a fever or flu-like symptoms. We will never miss flu shots again. It really began around the 30th of January. I had no idea how bad Mike felt. He went to the doctor which should’ve indicated that he was pretty bad off but when he came back with no antibiotics and simply a shot to help get over the “virus” I just didn’t think much of it. I was scheduled to attend an Area Manager’s retreat with Arbonne and I took off out of town, actually it was out of the country since I was on a cruise to the Bahamas (btw, if you need full time pay on part time hours let me know, you will be amazed at this work from home opportunity!). Upon returning, in the airport no less, Mike tells me that Canon had started throwing up. I got home and realized Mike was still sick, the baby was getting over it, so there was two down and two go.

Within three weeks we each had this “flu-like” virus TWICE. Which meant my second grader missed nearly 2 weeks of school and I was simply not functioning one full week in February. Had it not been for Mike getting sick first, thus being the first one to get well this family would not have made it. He has done more grocery shopping, diaper changing, and general maintenance of this family than I’ve done in the last month. I am still trying to figure how to make it up to him.

One (albeit, expensive) effort that took place this past week was I hired a carpet cleaner and a couple of extra sets of hands to clean this house, in an effort to get rid of the germs. To be honest, celebrating Christmas, going to Disney, then having three weeks of flu means that at some point you just get behind. I’ll admit, I’m never caught up. There is always something better to do than laundry and I just had to get my head above water. So I called in reinforcements and paid them well. I heard this past week that with the appliances and technology of the 21st century we each have the equivalent to 20 or more servants helping us get through the day. I believe it. The sad thing is I need like 40 people helping me get the job done. And that’s the real deal.

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Antibiotic Soup

The Lord is good it to me,
And so I thank the Lord!
For giving me the things I need,
The z-pack, the flagyl and the levaquin.

Oh the Lord is good to me… A-men

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Valentine’s Day

I was going to “blog” about Valentine’s Days gone by but it occured to me that today is the best Valentine’s Day ever. For many reasons but the main one is this: I am living in the moment, not in moments past or what the future moments will bring but for the one right now. This might even become a consistent theme about myself. Being deliberate, on purpose and demonstrating a great deal of consistency is what its all about. Not that reflection doesn’t have its place, it certainly does. But I think I will save that for the days when I’m 80 years old. Right now time is best spent being becoming a woman of integrity which will be really nice to think about in about 50 years.

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Here’s a Riddle for You

Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad. One of them thought about jumping off. How many frogs are on the lily pad?

Did you say two? Look again… thinking about doing something and actually doing it are two different things. Looks to me like there are three frogs on the lily pad. I am happy to say I am actually meeting more people who take the jump. Sometimes the stuff they are jumping to makes no sense but at least they are moving. Following through on a thought can get you in a heap of trouble. Or it might just be the best thing that ever could have happened. The point is you never know if you are just sitting around thinking about it. Sometimes you just have to do it.

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Shake Hands With Yourself In 5 Years

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

2006 has been a wonderful year. Lots to remember, not much I want to forget, although because of the way my brain works I will forget much of it… just ask my husband who has to remember everything for me!

A new year gives us all a new start. If you are like me there is some goal in mind that when achieved will give you the feeling of success. The above verse captures this worldly idea of success and combines God’s integral part in it. However, instead of success, the word masterpiece is what the writer of Ephesians uses. Think of what reminds you of a masterpiece… an artist using various mediums, brings it all together and it is becomes such. What are you doing in 2007 that will allow you to become God’s masterpiece and possibly make you want to shake hands with yourself in 5 years?

We know as Christians that even our very best will never truly be the masterpiece of success that can stand in front of God. Filthy rags are what we have to offer… without being created anew in His son, Jesus. Accepting Jesus and allowing Him to fill in our gaps is what God’s measure of success will be. Take a step in the direction of trusting. learning, and cultivating yourself into that masterpiece. It is likely the result will be who you would want to shake hands with in 5 years.

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A Day In The Life

A day late and a dollar short has been my way of life in 2006. Not on purpose, it has just sort of happened that way, so I wasn’t surprised at lunch today when I realized exactly where my brain was… or was not.

Yes, there I was today in the men’s bathroom. I am so glad I have not written anything in a month so I can be the comedic relief you need right about now. During the hustle and bustle of the 72 hours before Christmas Eve several physical, emotional and personal issues are at stake. When you have a small window of opportunity to shop without children and try to eat lunch with your husband plus wonder if the stuff you ordered online will ever make it here before Christmas, going to the bathroom becomes a luxury. Nothing like needing to go and being in the men’s bathroom, only realizing it when you are actually sitting there. As for my defense, I’m in a hurry, and why not? Everyone is running around like mad and I just run into the first restroom I see. Obviously, I completely miss the urinal, head for the stall and shut the door. My first indication that I am not where I’m supposed to be is the fact the toilet seat is up. But being the proud mommy of a little boy I think to myself, “someone’s little guy must have been in here with their mommy.” Pray tell, where is my brain?

I fix the seat and next thing I know someone comes in. They are next to me but remember, I’m in a stall. That seems perfectly normal. What does not seem normal is the fact the person has on big muddy boots and they are pointed in the opposite direction of where they should be. There is no water running, surely they are using the sink??? Again, where is my brain???

Oh, I found it. After I got over the feeling of being trapped in the men’s room. If I walk out there is a 100% chance some poor fellow is using the urinal. I stay there, thinking to myself, wait it out. Surely he will leave and NO ONE else will come in! Because when he does leave I have like a milli-second to get out of there before another walks in. Can this really be happening? Absolutely. My life is a complete sitcom I am just waiting to make some money on it.

Because I am here sharing this story I made it out of the men’s restroom. I even came back to the table and acted like my very short trip was completely normal. That’s because we were only two feet away from the next table. I was looking to see if he had on muddy boots.

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Mercy, Hope and Patience

My aunt had a saying, it was “I want patience and I want it now!” You gotta love it. We live in culture that breeds impatience. In fact, I missed the sermon Sunday morning at HSBC (www.hsbc.org) and guess what I missed… a sermon on patience! No problem, I thought, I’ll be a real 21st century student of the Bible and listen to it on the podcast. I got up on Monday, went to the library (you know, I really was trying), sat down with the Hoover Library wi-fi and guess what, the podcast wasn’t in yet… therefore, even in the point and click world sometimes it just isn’t fast enough (right Ebay bidders)? I was disappointed because surely God wanted me to listen to some wisdom on patience. Or maybe He just wants me to dig a little deeper?

So, I go back to the basics. Paper. Digging through paper, no invisible lines or connections, just the basic pulp stuff that seems to overrun my house. I found what I was looking for which is no small miracle.

I participated in a study on the Fruit of the Spirit and learned that the patience noted in the familiar Galations verse is of the mercy kind. Makrothumia: patience with people, inspired by mercy. The other kind is called hupomone which is biblical perserverance or endurance, which gives us the word hope.

Now, I will attempt to explain from my bible study text why the makrothumia is the fruit of spirit kind of patience. When it comes to prioritizing between circumstances and people you agree that God will choose people, right? That fruit of the spirit kind of maturity comes from dealing with people… not your circumstances. Why? Because God demonstrates this kind of mercy with us on a regular basis. He values my growth and character as a person far above the convenience of my circumstances. Basically, responding with patience to circumstances is far easier than with people. We need to respond with hupomone when some circumstances are trying us; we need makrothumia when someONE is trying us.

The bible is full of hope, which qualifies it as something for which to pray. I actively ask God for endurance and perserverance which I am privileged to tell you He delivers. He’s always on time with an added dose of hope which inspires perserverance.

As for this mercy thing, I’m struggling. But when I think of the kind of mercy he has shown me I am reminded that what He is asking of me is certainly nothing that He hasn’t already asked of Himself. So, I conclude by telling you that if I have ever demonstrated patience with you it is of the supernatural kind. Which is really what the fruit of the spirit is all about… a supernatural ability to be different in the same situation. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!

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The Other Side of Oz

After listening to Christmas music half the day on old-fashioned FM radio, (and why was that even an option considering Christmas is over a month away???), various country music songs, Rick and Bubba’s commentary on society and some breaking news about a school bus accident, I finally changed stations and realized I had one thing and one thing only in common with Elton John…

Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road.

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Mountains and Valleys

A long time ago I read in Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest, a couple of sentences that reminded me what it’s really all about… I wrote this down and have carried it around with me for years.
We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. The moments on the mountain tops are rare moments and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.

The last couple of weeks through a series of events in my life I discovered where Mr. Chambers might have gotten his perspective… found in 2nd Samuel, Psalms and lastly in Habbakkuk. It is a passage repeated three times in the Bible which helps me understand only in the Lord is a mountaintop truly achievable. Our mettle in the valleys is where He enables us to go to the top.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habbakkuk 3:19

Deer are typically seen in the valley or forest, running across highways and currently in my backyard. They have special feet which can make them very graceful and speedy to go up high when neccessary. We are deer, proving what we were meant to do down here in the valley. As believers, when we move to a mountain it is God who enables us to get there gracefully and sometimes quickly to claim HIS glory while we are there.

I’ll add that Habbakkuk verse to my index card with Oswald Chambers quote. It just makes perfect mysterious sense to me.

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God Simply Speaks

Last week I had a car beside me at a red light with this on the license plate: dilgnce.
If I added two vowels I saw the word, diligence. The reason this spoke to me is because one of the biggest conversations I’ve ever had with God happened by way of license plates. I know he was reminding me with lovingkindness that what He stirred in me in 2005 required diligence to press on towards the goal. I stand amazed at how He has supernaturally gotten my attention. I am even more amazed that I am listening! Read on.

God spoke to me on the highway a year and a half ago traveling a daily errand route. Isn’t that how He does it? He picks the most ordinary way of talking to us, simple people and simple tasks. The hard part is when He’s trying to get our attention. It can be uncomfortable, uneasy and downright frustrating but when He gets our attention it is because He has something to say. Here’s what the God of the universe said to me that day after He used all his techniques to get my attention.

I looked up ahead of me and on a license plate read:
This is fitting I said to myself, I need to be reminded of this. I looked up and thought, Thanks God for the gentle reminder.
Not five seconds later another car passes on the left and the plate reads:

Whoa. A complete sentence. Well, if I’ve ever had a moment that God is trying to tell me something it was then. He simply told me, Oh grow up in the word, Shelley.
A sentence made on a daily errand route, no voices, no familiar faces… just the way he always talked to his people… indescribably the Holy Spirit.

I can honestly tell you the previous month’s series of events brought me to a breaking point. Otherwise, I would’ve missed the whole thing. Had I not started that particular month crying over Melodi turning six my heart would not have been softened. Also anxiety beyond explanation became a thorn in my side; all of sudden God became a little bit bigger. Sickness invaded a usually healthy household and the physical ailments in my infant son Canon caused major fatigue in the thirtysomething members of the house. Again, slowing me down, however, I chose to fight it all the way. The big SUV being crumpled like aluminum foil got my attention too. I had no kids in the car, wasn’t on the phone, it was beautiful weather and there appeared to be no good reason to have rear ended someone who just happened to be someone who I actually knew. Ugh.

And seeing a particular Bible study workbook I had shelved, waiting on me for the right moment…. the right faith building moment…. captured my hurting heart, exasperated mind, tired body and I knew He had my attention. He wants for me what He’s always wanted. To grow up in the word. I can only take those baby steps for so long. Physically, we all learn to stand and walk and then run. He wants it to be the same way for us spiritually. It’s time to grow up in His word. Diligence is necessary to what He has asked me to do. I appreciate the gentle reminder and want to pass this on to you Dear Sister. Oh, grow up in the word. Daily determination. Discourse with God. Diligence.

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Super “Natural” Glue

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:17

If you are having a come apart day like I’m having I simply remind you of this: YOU are not the super-glue! HE is! So stop trying to keep it all together without His help. Christian wife/mom/sister/daughter/ lesson 101… start your day with him (before all things) and He will help hold all things (mainly, yourself) together.

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Sufficiency of Grace

In a time when school shootings become headline news and my mind just can’t handle all the heartache I know I am supposed to look beyond the temporal and focus on the eternal. A song I heard yesterday captures my goal, which for some seems effortless and for others (like me) it’s like fighting all your battles with no equipment, no helmet, no backup. I know that’s not true but at times it sure feels that way.

Melodi was born on April 1st , 1999… within days a school named Columbine in Jefferson County somewhere out west was all over the news. What have I done? I brought a child into the world who might be subject to a school shooting? Post partum depression, the reality of parental responsibility and suddenly the “real time” world of news collided and I just knew I would not make it past that month as a new mother. Through His sufficiency of grace I have made it through 7 birthdays and lots of other bad news on cable TV. I can honestly say that’s not me it’s Him.

Are you basically thinking whatever you are facing is not fix-able? I heard this week on Beth Moore’s television program that many of us assume our problems are just too big and that God a) can’t handle them and b) doesn’t want to. She was quick to point out how this attitude demonstrated an elitest attitude toward God. How could the problems of this 21st world be too big or too unfixable for God? Or maybe it’s a 19th century problem that has followed you through generations of messed up people. Have our situations become too big for the one who made the heavens and earth with His outstretched hand? Have I become that pious to insinuate to the God of the Universe that He can’t fix it? Thank goodness for the concept of His sufficiency of grace. Until you experience it you almost can’t explain it. Accepting what is without explaination is what I call sufficiency of grace.

lyrics by Greg Long

If there is a shadow
I can’t see it
If this is my cup
I’ll learn to drink it
If there is a purpose
You’ll reveal it
But for today I found my place
In the sufficiency of grace

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I Want My MTV

So it is a quiet Wednesday night and I have nothing to do. Actually, I have a million things to do but I am chosing not to do them. And what do we red-blooded Americans do when we make this choice? WATCH TV! I have the remote, no one is saying “mom” every five seconds and there is an empty couch beckoning me to forget about laundry, packing backpacks for the morning or paying bills. There is TV to watch! Now, mind you this happens rarely. Thus, I have no idea what I am watching nor what channel anything is on. I see that there is a two year old child missing and a break in the case on Fox News… that’s enough to keep me up half the night so I don’t watch that. Celebrity Fit Club, Trick My Truck on CMT and the Ted Turner interview on CNN didn’t hold my attention. But wait! It’s Wednesday! Everyone I know is either ti-voing (is that a word?) or watching Two A Days. The brainchild of MTV starring my hometown of Hoover, Alabama. I can’t find MTV anywhere on our TV. We have every other channel but that one. Mike has it blocked while changing channels. I finally figure this out.

When I land on MTV I start getting confused because I honestly couldn’t tell where Laguna Beach ended and Two A Days started. And since I’m not totally sure I’ve found MTV I am even more confused because a bunch of teenagers with lots of highschool drama is what I found. Which is what this Two A Day show has turned into. Eventually, if you watch it long enough you see the guys dressed out and some football action. Honestly, as a woman I never knew the thrill of a touchdown. At least I can live vicariously through this show right?

Oh I don’t think so. MTV has taken way too many creative liberties with this. In fact, I hate to think what the rest of America thinks about our teenagers around here. I know some of these kids and go to church with their parents. It is less than accurate. Clearly, writers have quit writing and editors simply cut and paste this stuff together to get a storyline. My highschool was drama filled but it was conservative 1980s drama. I have no idea what the heck is really going on in this show except that if I watch Laguna Beach long enough I might figure it out. A friend of mine asked me over the weekend what did I expect from MTV? I guess I’m glad Mike has it blocked. He just got home, asked me, “is this MTV? it looks like a highschool project…” Oh me, it has gotten worse. All this to say, I’m grateful for Nick at Night and long for the way things used to be. At least once upon a time I could watch music videos on this channel. And to think that was considered corrupted behavior! Where is that remote???

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January 29, 1989

This doesn’t happen often and I’m almost paralyzed in my amazement but also prompted to write about His lovingkindness that knows no end.

I was studying 1 Corinthians 12:4 on this particular day; I marked my Bible everywhere back then and dated it nearly everytime I was in it. I am so grateful to know as my life seemed in shambles early on that year that somehow someway I was in His Word. Trying to pay attention. Among my broken heart and various other 16 year old problems there I was, in the Bible, giving it some kind of shot.

I’m in the same skin I was in 17 years ago. It’s older, there seems to be more of it. But somehow the Lord decided to remind me I’ve always wanted to get in His Word, know Him and give some effort. As I ran across this dated point of reference in the Bible of my girlhood it’s like He is reassuring me in some way that I came through whatever was going on then just like He is getting me through it now. The reason this is significant is because in January of this year on the 29th day I found myself turning to 1 Corinthians 12:4.

There are lots of Bibles in my house. I chose to look through this one earlier this year on that particular day. It is basically a love letter to myself I began writing in 1981 after I received the bible from loving granparents. He brought me to January 29, 2006, guided my steps, watched the calendar and made the appointment. It moved me so much I wrote what you are reading now and put it close by so I could reminded of the lovingkindness my God is demonstrating to me, beyond anything a human can do.

I wish I knew exactly what was up that day I wrote in my bible but that might be living a little but too much in the past! The most important thing here is to see if He arranged all of this 17 years ago what kind of sweet and mighty thing might he be arranging 17 years from today?

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Beauty Advice

A quick word search on the word radiant consistently pointed out definitions involving light, brightness and even splendor. My husband further pointed out the significance of a radial beam, which means something circular, even reflective (and a bunch of other stuff that had to do with computers)… this word has been imprinted on my heart and mind for so long I knew for me it had much more to do with something else I needed to understand.

The etymology of the word further confirmed the significance of Mike’s interpretation because of a synonym; if you will – resplendent, meaning to shine back. Now, we can all be radiant. Goodness knows with a credit line big enough becoming beautiful or confident is affordable. But that’s not what this about. I want to be resplendent! I’ve never even heard of that word til just now.

Because of the middle English and Latin history of the word I began to realize the root word splendor. Now I don’t know about you but the only reason I use the word splendor is to describe our Heavenly Father. I can honestly say I’ve never used it to describe my lovely children or devoted husband. And I can surely say most of us women wouldn’t use it to describe ourselves either. Well listen up.

The Lord intends for you, dear sister, to be resplendent. I am sure of this. Two verses confirm this message He intends for me to share with you. We do just about anything in our culture to be beautiful. But if we take ourselves out of this temporal place and look to what our Eternal Father has to say about this you will find being beautiful is simply radiating back to him the likeness of Himself.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Psalm 19:8
Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance. Ecclesiastes 8:11

I promise I am qualified to speak out on this. I spend a great deal of my time worrying about what I look like. It has been very freeing for me to understand some real beauty advice… the commands of the Lord can improve the wrinkles and dark circles around my eyes? Wisdom from God can change my appearance? You might want to say I’ve taken this stuff a little too far but so far I have found no ingredient in my present beauty regimine that promises me to become resplendent. That kind of radiance can only come from the daily walking I do with the Holy Spirit. Join me on this walk and let’s encourage each other that we are radiant and full of splendor because we are SAVED! I know someone reading this needed to hear that just now. Thank you Jesus, for becoming the ugly face of sin and death so that we can radiate back to you your glorious splendor.

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Labor Day 1978

In the late summer
It gets real hot
The hose pipe keeps us cool
And the popsicles… we eat a lot
Beneath the big tree in grandmom’s backyard.

Walking to the railroad tracks
Was easy and fun
Using the sidewalks
No harm done
Running, playing, climbing those big trees
Being six years old
Was an absolute breeze.

Til I decided it was time
To jump from the swing set to the limb
Of that big tree
Like the bigger kids did

Lying on my back
I missed the limb
Broke my arm
Summer was done
Beneath the big tree in grandmom’s backyard.

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Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child that’s born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny, blithe, good and gay.

I have two children, a Monday and a Thursday. Not that I needed this poem to tell me about them or what I might expect… most of us mothers know what we are in for while our babes are in-utero. What continues to fascinate me is the distinct difference between the two and how can I possibly be the same mother to two totally different individuals?

Case in point: my sweet daughter saw a big red notebook in the kitchen recently. It was titled “The Dad Notebook.” She looked at it, wondered out loud, what is this? But intuitively knew she didn’t want the answer. Mike suggested this tactic after realizing we needed to de-program some kind of new attitude which at best was just becoming well… less than acceptable? So, I conjured up some old binder and took my permanent marker and named it the dad notebook. We are to write anything in it that Dad needs to know about. Nothing has been written in it. Yet.

She absolutely, positively does not want to disappoint her Daddy. So, I’ve indicated that anything that happens before Dad gets home that he needs to know about will get written in that book. I am sure that may seem drastic but she spends much of her time debating and perfecting skills that will one day pay alot of money in the courtroom. But, right now, she is in Mom’s jurisdiction and at least I’ve got a man backing me up!

On to Canon. So sweet… “wook mommy, I did it!” I hear this several times a day. He needs my attention, my approval and my accolades. And when it comes to Daddy it basically turns into a match of physical power. Mike wins. A couple of weeks ago he was able to tell me, “wuv you mommy”… funny it happened the same week he got several spankings. Amazing that his little brain already thinks so differently than mine.

Monday and Thursday. Wouldn’t trade ‘em for the world.

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Humble Pie

I’ve noticed a trend in my life, like the past 34 years or so, that I keep having to learn the lesson of humility. So, I go where I go when I need to understand big words and concepts. The Bible and Merriam Webster. To be honest, the fact I started cringing at what the word really means gave me a huge breakthrough… I’m still eating humble pie so to speak.

After God used the book of Daniel to make his point to me today I sort of started feeling a little bit like King Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 4, beginning in verse 28 is where my Bible sort of fell open today. Don’t you love it when He just turns the page for you? I can honestly say though, that before this happened, I began my day praying he’d give me an answer to what He was trying to teach me. I read beginning in verse 28 and realized the King basically was turned into an animal-like creature, eating grass while his hair turned into feathers an his fingernails became birds’ claws (v. 32). I turned the page and their it was written in my own handwriting, “Either humble ourselves or He can humble us.” Looks like the King received the latter.

Ouch. My toes are killing me! Here’s what the dictionary says: Main Entry: hu·mil·i·ty:
the quality or state of being humble. Great, that told me nothing. So I went to the word humble:

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthOn earth, chamai on the ground; 1 : not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive; 2 : reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission ; 3 a : ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : INSIGNIFICANT, UNPRETENTIOUS b : not costly or luxurious

Everything about that definition is the opposite of us humans. We aren’t born submissive, we don’t actively pursue being the low man on the totem pole and for Heaven’s sake we are all about costly and luxurious. At least most of us (ME included)! God has placed before me numerous lessons in humility. A baby sister (not just one but two!), lots of tryouts and auditions, job interviews, personality tests, four-legged animals, credit scores, doctors, friends, my own children… the list goes on and on. Just when I think, yes Lord I am humbling myself to be what I need to be, another lesson comes my way.

Out of my Bible it states the New Testament meaning is primarily a personal quality of dependence of God and respect for other people. It is a God-given virtue of holy living; humility comes not from self but from God. The result should be praise of God, not praise of (wo)man. I’m headed to the doctor for my son’s checkup right now, I think I’ll have him check out my toes too. Maybe just one more serving of humble pie and these toes won’t get stepped on so often.

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Romans 4

I was privileged this time last year to lead a women’s Bible Study which much to my happiness has decided to meet again beginning August 31st. The material is different this time around, but I know will be just as meaningful as last year. I say this because I truly believe in God’s perfect timing… last year’s study came during a test of faith and greater spiritual maturity than He had ever expected of me. Now, I am excited beyond measure to see the truths He will teach me through this group beginning next week. If you can, join us on Thursdays mornings, post a comment here and I will be in touch.

Our main mission in the fall of 2005 was to believe God. Not just in Him but believe Him. We were asked to read Romans 4 no less than 20 times. This is sometimes a hard passage to grasp hold of but 20 times into it you will probably start seeing what God wants to reveal to you. He said so much to me, but the most prudent part keeps coming up, long after I finished my required reading. Verses 20 and 21 read like this:

20 Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Another version states, And being convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform… what has God promised you? He promised Abraham as many descendants as there are stars, with a barren wife, no less. If you, Christian sister, have made a commitment to Jesus who lives in and through you then the answer is all about God, his son Jesus and bringing you as close as He can to the likeness of our Savior. This verse states God has the power to do what He has promised. I would like to say His promise to Shelley includes bon bons, a big IRS tax return check and a trip to Hawaii. But I know better than that. He has promised me He has the power to take a selfish creature and turn it into the likeness of Himself. He’s not into writing checks He can’t cash. The deal is I’ve got to be willing to let it happen.

Abraham’s story begins in the Old Testament and it reads nothing like my short existence on this earth. But I do know I have one thing in common with him and that is my God is the same God who made big promises and saw to it that He pushed Abraham into believing Him. I think he still does that, look around, what part of you life is barren or fruitless and he is simply making you uncomfortable enough to honestly believe Him? If you begin to tune in He will reveal it to you. Most folks would agree it gets pretty crazy as he tries to get your attention. But when you see that God has promised to grow you into something supernatural, beyond yourself you can break free.

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USS Shaw

We had our last hurrah for the summer, a trip to the beach before meeting the new second grade teacher tomorrow. And yes, we are the kind of parents that drag our children to historical monuments and museums and our journey today led us to the USS Alabama in Mobile Bay. We’ve seen it before, as many of us born in bred in this great state have, but this was Melodi’s first trip. Mike made sure we went everywhere on that ship, I’m telling you it is BIG. We walked and climbed, sweated and toiled our way through that amazing battleship. I managed to kept my comments to a minimum, thinking about life during WWII. However, our Melodi gave a running commentary as usual… “can we leave now?” “how many guns are on this ship?” and of course, “were there any women on board?”

I managed to finish one of my summer reading projects on this trip, A Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. If you are at a loss as to how to even begin to understand God’s plan for you as a married woman I highly recommend this book (if you are unmarried, the book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart by the same author can truly change your life)… So, my post you are about to read is the culmination of finishing this book, touring the USS Alabama or a combination of both. Did that make sense?

I walked through that big boat and realized the answer one of Melodi’s questions was, “no, there probably weren’t many women on this boat.” At least not ones that worked and fought the good fight while this ship was on active duty. But you know, they managed to survive without us women. They had a kitchen, a major laundry situation, and I know they had their share of motion sickness to clean up after. They ran a tight ship with at least 2500 enlisted men during active duty. And instead of it ending up on the bottom of the ocean I walked thru it today, marveling at the fact that the men took care of this thing. Every job, every joy, every tribulation was of mere men.

After realizing what Elizabeth George was trying to communicate to me and what I observed on this ship I realized I am more than equipped to do my job at home. It is exhausting, the aggravation I feel at times is more than overwhelming. But if 2500 men could keep tons of steel clean, functioning as a home off the bottom of the ocean floor certainly I can keep my house in order. I only have three people to cook for, buy for, clean up after and care for… they are my gifts from God, my first priority every day. As Elizabeth states in her book, God first, Mike second and my children third. Careers, friendships, volunteering and acts of service are to come after these first all important three. I honestly believe God honors women who can learn His priorities, practice them and teach them to others. This will help me run a tight ship.

I have to tell you that the laundry area on the battleship was exceptionally technologically advanced for the time period, stating that cleanliness and order in this department helped keep infection and disease to a minimum… not to mention there was a “brig” where folks wound up when they were out of order (yes, it was a jail and did not look like much fun). So, with a new laundry room and naughty steps (or chairs) it would seem that Admiral Shaw is ready to set sail into the new school year. This ship is setting sail and with supernatural strength will stay off the ocean floor.

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Out with the Old, In with the New

Today a really good thing happened. I got a new washing machine and dryer. The previous pair was a hand-me-over from my Mom and Dad, we think it was pushing 18 years. The set was very dependable, they washed and dried my youngest sister’s sweet baby things and once we inherited the set it did the same for my children. I washed my first married load of clothes in it and through the years, I also washed and dried several important documents that never seemed to make it out of pockets. Lots of clothes, four different Shaw homes and now they sit outside waiting to picked up by Goodwill…

I felt some humility I hadn’t felt in a while staring at the new pair. I even prayed that somehow these appliances could help me become the better mother I lamented about in my last post. Here I am, in a newly remodeled laundry room with 21st century appliances (thanks to my sweet husband) while a world away other mothers sit in bomb shelters with their children wondering when it’s safe to come out. I am beginning my 34th year in my earthly journey and I am so grateful the Lord saw to it that I could come this far. The gratitude I feel is abounding, thank you sweet Saviour, for your blessings.

Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever. 2 Samuel 7:29

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Motherhood 101

I think I missed this class. Maybe taking 6 weeks of home-ec in 6th grade just wasn’t enough. I had other things to do, places to go, friends to see… even still you could take an entire home economics class by the time highschool rolled around and where was I? To be honest, it looked like fun but didn’t that stuff come naturally? I had a good amount of estrogen, surely it wasn’t that hard or no one would do it (ha)!

So, me and a friend of mine have a theory on this. If the truth really got out on this motherhood thing the human race would cease to exist and of course, we know, that is not an option. In other words, where in the job description did it say “the ability to avoid mental breakdowns between May and August is neccessary for success in this position”? I mean, do they teach remedial motherhood classes????

Okay, enough of that, on to what got me thinking (or maybe not thinking) that insanity is a mere breath away. There are few low moments in motherhood but forgeting the toothfairy is among them. There she is smiling, a huge grin, showing me the gaping hole in her mouth. “Mom, did you forget I left my tooth out last night?” says my sweet daughter. Oh me, well, yes I did. But that is nothing compared to what I put my toddler through just an hour later. We are at the gas station, paying $3 a gallon and I think, sure I’ll spend a few more bucks to get the car washed. We have driven around the Birmingham metro area with smiley faces painted in the dust of the black SUV most of the summer. Moments later my son absolutely thinks we are are being eaten alive in the gas station car wash. Of course he thinks that, now why didn’t I think of it??? He is screaming, I mean to the tune of numereous decibals. What do you do when you are literally trapped in there? I can’t drive forward…. I just climb to the backseat reassuring we will come out alive. Deaf, but alive.

We drive out and he looks at me and says, “I did it”. Whew, yes we did. We got home, somehow I remembered to pick up Melodi from VBS and after unloading groceries and catching my breath my oldest says, “Mom, Canon has just set off your car alarm…” she is not moving, it doesn’t occur to her to grab the car keys and maybe just press a button to get it to stop. Which makes me think, how long has it been going off? Maybe just a little longer and someone may actually show up to help! Now there’s an idea!

Mothers everywhere need that button, the “I”ve fallen and I can’t get up” button for someone, like Superman, to step and I say, “It’s okay Mrs. Shaw. Everything here is under control…” Well, Melodi has just announced there is a very bad diaper situation which means duty calls. I’m glad she is around to give a play by play of my day, every mother needs to be reminded she is needed. Where are my car keys???

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Update on Fall Bible Studies

Many of you have stopped and asked me what the schedule is looking like for Bible Study this fall. And now that we are only a few short weeks away from school starting back I wanted to give you something else to look forward to! Take a look, it’s a great line up.

There are three Beth Moore Studies being offered, I have participated in two of them and can highly recommend both. Jesus the One and Only was my very first Beth Moore study, about 5 years ago. If you can’t join me on Thursday mornings but have Tuesday mornings open jump in on this one, it really brought Jesus to life for me. Beth’s newest study on the book of Daniel is being offered three times! I might lead the Thursday morning group AND participate in one of the Daniel groups; after looking through those 12 chapters of Daniel in the Bible I am absolutely intrigued.

Finally, I am leading Breaking Free. I participated in this just a few short years ago and it is truly worth repeating. Is freedom a reality in your life? This study leads you through the scriptures to discover the transforming power of Christian freedom. Based on Isaiah 61:1-4, this in-depth study draws parallels between the captive Israelites and today’s believers. Most Christians today do not fully enjoy the abundant life God intended. Beth uses scripture to point out the benefits of our relationship with God and shows you how to remove obstacles that hinder that relationship.

See below the complete listing of what HSBC is offering for women this fall:

Daniel Precept Study
Mondays at 6:15 p.m., begins September 11 for 8 weeks
Leader: Terri Houston, 428-3141, terrillah@aol.com

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
Tuesdays at 9:30, beginning August 29
Leader: Judy Chiles 824-4385 or judychiles@charter.net

Jesus the One and Only By Beth Moore
Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., beginning August 29 for 11 weeks
Leader: Mary Gene Allison 428-9055 or georgemarygene@juno.com

Where Are You Going, (Jonah) Precept study
Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., beginning August 22
Leader: Tracy Caldwell 942-5803 or tracy@onpointadv.com

Gripped by the Greatness of God by James McDonald
Tuesdays at 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. beginning August 29
Leader: Jenny Williams 663-2445 or williams4676@bellsouth.net

Daniel By Beth Moore
Tuesdays at 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning August 29 for 11 weeks with Sylvia Green 533-5993 or sylviagreen@bellsouth.net
Wednesdays at 9:00-11:00 a.m. beginning August 30 for 11 weeks with Nina Butler 426-3448 or nmbutler_cmc@yahoo.com
Every Other Thursday at 6:30-8:00 p.m. beginning September 7
Leader: Denise Chamblee, 985-2048 or dchamblee@benefitcommunications.com

Attending the Bride of Christ By Martha Lawley
Tuesdays at 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning August 29 for 6 weeks
Leader: Ashley Anderton 425-5544 ashleyanderton@bellsouth.net

Hope by Mary Glynn Peeples
Wednesdays at 9:30-11:00 a.m., beginning August 23
Leader: Mary Carolyn Sullivan 822-8882 or sullivanken_mc@juno.com

Breaking Free by Beth Moore
Thursdays at 9:00 a.m., beginning August 31
Leader: Shelley Shaw 979-2190 or basketgal@gmail.com

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The Real Wheel of Fortune

A few days ago the Lord gave me a word which hasn’t left my mind all week long… providence. Merriam Webster gives it this definition: divine guidance or care, God-conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny. That was good; I needed a definition, however, I knew I needed more. What I found was a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, circa 1908, which gave me the clarity I needed to fully absorb the meaning of this word and why God wanted me to understand it. It’s crazy how something so old is so accurate, especially in a day and time when we think we know it all.

Spurgeon paints the picture of providence being like a wheel. I’ll borrow some of his thoughts here and hopefully you too can read his entire sermon to learn more about fate, destiny and providence. If you can get past the turn of the century Old English you will see a modern day message (see http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/3114.htm)

I have just hinted at the reason why Providence is like a wheel; because sometimes one part of the wheel is at the top, and then it is at the bottom. Sometimes this part is exalted, and anon it sinks down to the dust. Then it is lifted to the air, and then again by a single revolution it is brought down again to the earth…So it is with our life. Our own experience is never a stable thing; it is always changing, always turning round…Such is the state of man. Providence is like a wheel.

Dear sister, does this explain your life to you? I tell you, it spoke volumes to me. That’s why his next point is so important I must share it with you. This can honestly be the first day of the rest of your life if you understand the next part of his “word picture”… apply this to your life RIGHT NOW! Where ever you are, up on the wheel or down, the axel stays the same… He’s the only one holding it all together… He is your FORTUNE!

You know that, in a wheel there is one portion that never turns round, that stands steadfast; and that is the axle. So in God’s Providence, there is an axle which never moves. Christian, here is a sweet thought for thee! Thy state is ever changing; sometimes thou art exalted, and sometimes depressed; yet there is an unmoving point in thy state… The exterior of the wheel is changing, but the center stands forever fixed. Other things may move; but God’s love never moves: it is the axle of the wheel; and this is another reason why Providence should be compared to a wheel.

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