Friday, June 5, 2009

Move Along Folks; There's Nothing To See Here

Isn't that what police officers always say when they're trying to move bystanders away from a certain area of police activity?

Well, in actuality, I don't really want you to "move along" because, as always, you are welcome to camp out here at Smithellaneous as long as your little (or big) heart desires.

However, the "There's nothing to see here" part is pretty accurate.

I have spent over two hours today starting (and discarding) two different entries. Each time, I got sorta impatient with them and thought, "Hmmmm. There's nothing to see here."

So if I'm not liking my own writing very much, I would certainly not be fond of foisting it upon my fine and fabulous friends.

The truth of the matter is that life is sort of closing in on me at the moment. I'm feeling slightly discouraged, quasi-depressed and a tad bit soggy in spirit which simply means that writing inspiring and/or funny words is a bit of a challenge.

And so . . . if a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll sign off with a few pictures, just so you're sure to get your money's worth from your visit here today.

As far as pictures go, I know that I usually post pictures of Sarah on her web page but since Snowy is also in the picture, I figured that maybe I could get away with posting them here on the family page instead. If anyone has a problem with those particular improper posting procedures, you shall be whipped twenty times with a wet noodle. So take THAT!

Okay. Moving right along . . .

Sarah was in the midst of sorting the laundry and obviously thought she needed an assistant. I'm not real certain that Snowy was thrilled about the whole endeavor but he tried to be a good sport.

He even managed to pose manfully for the inevitable mommy-taken photo. (Or at least as manfully as a fluffy white doggie can possibly pose while being carried around in a laundry basket by a GIRL!)

Here is a similiar photo except this time it features The Dithering Mother in the Mirror. (That sounds like the title of an opera.)

Snowy was at long last rescued from the laundry basket by the lovely fair maiden and is now contemplating a lifetime of therapy to get over the trauma and indignity of the Laundry Basket Incident Of 2009. Poor fella.

Alrighty then. Two things in closing:

1. All entries for the give away are due by midnight Saturday. Um. Not that I'll be awake at that time, or anything.

2. Becky from the UK asked the difference between a thrift store and a consignment store.

As a rule, consignment stores sell things on behalf of customers, with the consignment store and customer dividing up the proceeds according to a certain percentage. Therefore, consignment stores are more expensive to shop at because they are trying to make some money for their consignors as well as themselves.

At a thrift store, however, merchandise is usually just donated outright and the people who donate don't receive any money. Therefore, the selling price can be a lot less. And usually (but not always) the proceeds from thrift stores go to help the needy.

I'm now going to take my "soggy in spirit" self away. See ya soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oops. I forgot to answer this.

"Random" had asked in the guest book if it was possible to contact Steve with some "pastoral type" questions she had.

Of course!

Steve's e-mail address is

He'd love to hear from any of you, even if you are just writing to let him know how wonderful his wife is! :-)

Dithering in the Dressing Room (And a Giveaway!)

I am spoiled.

Utterly, totally, completely, irrevocably and quite happily spoiled by thrift stores.

I used to be a great fan of consignment stores and I still am to some extent. However, I was in a great consignment store a couple days ago and found myself dithering in the dressing room over a simple, plain shirt. It was a color I needed to go with a certain pair of pants but it cost eleven dollars.

Now I realize that eleven dollars is a whole lot less than what it would have cost new. But I just had a feeling I could find something similar at a thrift store.

So I decided to desist in my dressing room dithering and I took off for a thrift store. And yes, I did indeed find a similar shirt--for only three dollars!

As I said, I'm spoiled.

And since we've been unemployed for seven months, thrift store shopping is not just a joy, it's also a necessity. (Well that is, if I want to purchase any "new" clothes.)

Now some of you may be reading this and thinking, "Thrift stores. Yuck. Don't they just carry a lot of tacky, dirty, out of style, old clothes?"

Well yes, I'm there are some that do. But in our area we have several great stores where most clothing items are just a couple dollars.

And to prove my point about it not all being junk, I am going to do a Thrift Store Show and Tell and display for you some of my recent bargains--ALL of which cost less than three dollars. I hope to encourage YOU to be a Fellow Thrift Store Shopper.

Are you ready?

You may recognize this particular bargain from our family photo; I bought it at our local Salvation Army. (Which our family has nicknamed, "Sals.")

And here, ladies and gentlemen, you will see one of the lovely Smith ladies (joined by a handsome Smith man) modeling a cheerful thrift store ensemble.

And let me just also mention that thrift stores don't just have clothes. No sirree, they also have books. Books, books, wonderful books!

Although I already own this book, I still bought it because I knew I could find someone to pass it on to who appreciates really great writing.

And guess what? This book is the first of two give aways I'm doing today! It's just slightly used (with a few markings on the inside) but to me that just means that the book has been well loved by someone.

The subtitle of the book is: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.

Publisher's Weekly says, "Miller is enjoyable clever, and his story is telling and beautiful, even poignant."

Christianity Today says, "Think of Donald Miller as Anne Lamott with testosterone."

Another reviewer says, "Donald Miller writes like a good improv solo--smooth, sweet, surprising, uplifting, and full of soul and fury and joy."

To win this book, just sign the guest book and tell us the title and author of one of your favorite books. We'll do a random drawing from those entries to choose a winner.

And my last Thrift Store find? Well, it is the subject of my second give away!

I found a set of 10 note cards and envelopes; the front of the cards have kind of a "raised velvet" feel and the cardstock is thick and expensive feeling. The cards come in their own little matching holder and are so gorgeous I was almost tempted to go out and change my name to Kim or Kathy so that I could legally use them.

Feast your eyes on these lovelies!

If your first or last name starts with a K, please sign the guest book and tell us three things about yourself. (The guest book is all about us getting to know each other.) I will do a drawing from all of the "K Folks" and will send the winner these absolutely fabulous and gorgeous note cards.

There now. Wasn't this fun?

If you have yet to visit a thrift store, run (don't walk) to the store nearest you. I promise that your "dithering in the dressing room" over high prices will immediately become a thing of the past.

Enjoy the adventure!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Family Video: Reprised

The Non Buff Stuff

This week, we had an impromptu push up contest in the living room with Nathan and Steve, of course, being the Smith Household Push Up Champions. Sarah and I were more than willing to take a back seat in this particular contest and bravely donned our title of, "Wimpy Push Up Gals."

On the subject of push ups, I have gone to the gym for over a year on a fairly regular basis. I have diligently worked out on weight machines that are touted to be terrific arm toners. And strengtheners.


And here's what I'm "ha-ing" about.

During the Smith Family Push Up Contest, Sarah and I decided we would have our own little competition. I was the first one to "compete" and carefully lowered my impressive 47-year old body to the floor (accompanied by dramatic grunts and groans) and prepared to stun my family with my buffed up, beefed up, gym-produced mass of musculature.

Ha. Again.

I still could not do even ONE girl push up. Not even one!

Sarah, on the other hand, got down on the floor and managed to pull off an entire "girl push up." She beat me! Hurray for her!

Not so hurray for me.

Of course, Nathan then had to show off HIS wonderfulness by demonstrating how a real manly man push up is done.

Here he is after his fab display.

After that bit of business was over, Nathan decided that it was time to be even more impressive. He asked Sarah to sit on his back while doing a push up! (You will please note at this point in the narrative that I did NOT ask Sarah to sit on MY back while failing to do my one girl push up. Which I think was pretty wise, actually.)

Sarah is circling around Nathan, trying to figure out the best way to sit down.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff!

Ladies and gentleman, we have collapse!

I must mention that he DID get in one push up before the collapse. (And before the collective sibling giggles that precipitated the collapse.)

All I can say about this whole (or)deal is that push ups are highly over rated. (Now if I were able to do a hundred of them they would, of course, be highly under rated.) Even though Sarah and I are non-starters at being strong and buff, we are pretty good at a whole lot of other stuff, mostly all sorts of NON buff stuff.

We're just "Non Buff Stuff-er" kinds of gals.

Anyone else in the same boat? Want to start a Non-Buff Stuff Club? We could begin each meeting with eating Golden Graham Bars. We could close each meeting with taking sledgehammers to weight machines.

Oh wait. All that sledgehammer slinging might inadvertently make us buff.

Never mind.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shower Curtains and Miracles

So here's the deal.

I took my camera along on Steve's and my weekend trip to South Carolina, thinking that since this was one of our few opportunities to go out and do something interesting, I could snap a few fabulous, scintillating pictures along the way and create a lively and lovely photo journal for you all to enjoy.

Because I'm nice like that.

Well, I DID take some pictures. In fact, I took more than one picture. I took several pictures. I snapped away with feverish alacrity and fervent enthusiasm.

The pictures I took will reveal the scope and breadth and depth of our journey. They will uncover the nuances and subtleties of our excursion to our southern sister state. They will make you laugh. They will make you cry. They will move you.

Are you ready?

Now wasn't that worth getting up for this morning? Two versions of the same shower curtain in the same bathroom of the same hotel in the same town of the same state!

I understand that you may now be staring at your computer screen in some consternation and puzzlement. You may be asking, "WHY did Becky feel compelled to take (and post) these pictures? Did her 47-year old brain suddenly take a vacation and leave her without wisdom or common sense? Did she actually think that we, her readers, would find these showers curtains interesting? WHAT is going on here?

Well, here's the scoop. We were in a small southern town staying at a hotel that was clean and comfortable but not real fancy. And because it wasn't an extra fancy place, I was especially impressed when I walked into the bathroom and saw the way they "displayed" their shower curtain; I just couldn't resist taking a picture. And then I just sort of FORGOT about taking more pictures of the weekend, since I was sort of stressed out over the concert, and everything.

So although I DID fall down on my job as Official Smith Photographer and Documenter Extraordinaire of the Official Smith Family Sojourn, you are hereby getting the privilege of viewing a creatively arranged shower curtain. Therefore, I don't want to hear any complaining! Or you will go to your room! Do you understand me, young lady? (Oh sorry. I accidentally put on my "mommy hat" there for a minute.)

Okay, enough about shower curtains. Now we move on to miracles!

(Nothing like a smooth segue.)

As you probably remember, I was quite nervous about doing this concert in SC for two reasons. First, Steve and I have not done a full concert together in seven years and secondly, I haven't been able to sing through even one song recently, let alone seven!

It didn't help matters any that I slept poorly on Saturday night (probably because of anxiety) and woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat. (On top of all the already existing vocal cord issues.) As a result, I was not feeling overly perky or positive when we walked into the church to prepare for the service. The way I was feeling, I figured I'd last maybe a song or two and then we would move on to Plan B.

Oh wait.

We didn't HAVE a Plan B. We only had a Plan A. And Plan A was for a certain Becky Smith to sing the whole concert.

And do you know what? I DID sing the whole concert! I sang Every. Single. Song. (Well, except for Steve's solo.)

Now every note I sang wasn't perfect, and I had to grab a few breaths in places that I didn't used to have to breathe, but all in all, my voice stayed amazingly clear and strong all the way through to the end.

Just so you know how incredible that was, earlier last week I was practicing some of the songs and after singing through just two songs, my throat was on fire and my voice was husky and weak. All I could think was, "I am SUCH a goner."

But on Sunday morning, when people were praying for me and I when I was actually up there singing, my voice held out. And it continued to hold out on the 4-hour trip home so that Steve and I could enjoy lots of laughs and conversation on our journey.

So if you were praying for me yesterday--thank you! It was a great morning in many ways and especially wonderful that Steve and I got to do once more what we're gifted to do.

When we got home last night, we enjoyed a quick meal with the kids. And since Sarah hadn't been feeling well, I was especially glad to get home and do my mommy stuff.

I asked her if she and Nathan had gone to church and she said they hadn't. Our church is about 45 minutes away (round trip) and Nathan wasn't thrilled about using his precious supply of gas to make the journey. (Of course, when Steve and I are home, everyone rides with us and uses OUR gas.)

However, Sarah went on to add that Nathan had prepared a Sunday teaching for her using some of his pictures from Israel displaying where David and Goliath had fought. Nathan had a "sermon" all ready, complete with three points about the life of David. Steve and I agreed that we would have loved to have been a little fly on the wall listening to THAT Sunday morning service. And I'm sure it was a Sunday morning service that Sarah will NEVER forget!

So as I close today, let me reiterate my list of thanks: attractively displayed shower curtains, miraculous vocal strength, and sermon-giving nineteen year olds.

A good weekend, indeed.