Saturday, November 14, 2009

Can I Hear An Amen?

I’m writing this from soggy Manteo which has gotten 10-12 inches of rain in the space of a couple days. One native of the area told us that this is the most rain he’s ever seen in that short amount of time.

Last night Steve and I went and paid a brief visit to one of our parishioners who had put huge pumps in his front yard in an attempt to deal with his extensive flooding. I must say, he was keeping a good attitude about it all.

I would have been crying. Or eating chocolate. Because either one works equally well in stressful situations. Can I hear an, “Amen?”

And speaking of amen, I remember a time once when Steve was preaching and instead of saying, “Can I hear an amen?” he inadvertently said, “Can I say an amen?”

And the audience was like, “Well sure, knock yourself out. Say an amen!”

This morning, Steve had a breakfast/board meeting at the church. Since he had to get a few things done ahead of time, he set the alarm on his phone for 5:15 before going to bed.

I was sleeping away soundly when I heard Snowy (MY alarm clock) go off. I stumbled around in our borrowed bedroom, introduced my shins and toes to a few pieces of unfamiliar furniture and finally dragged myself (bleeding and wounded) to the living room where Snowy’s kennel is.

As I let him outside, I saw that it was still raining, still cold, still yucky. I trudged back inside, wandered into the kitchen and saw on the microwave clock that it was 5:05. Stifling the world's largest yawn, I made the "wonderful mommy decision" to take Snowy to bed rather than put him back into his kennel. (I don't usually do that but he’s been so pitiful with Sarah gone this weekend that I thought I would be extra nice to him.)

Steve woke up when we came back into the bedroom and I told him it was about time for him to get up. He jumped out of bed, turned on the lamp, put on his clothes, stuck on his shoes and strapped on his watch.

And then he happened to look at his watch. And he noticed that it was not 5:10 after all, it was actually 4:10. As it turns out, the microwave clock had never been changed after daylight savings time ended.

So there we were.

One awake (fully dressed) pastor, one awake (fully pajama- clad) wife, and one awake (fully unclothed) dog--all hangin’ out in the wee hours of a miserable, rainy Roanoke Island morning.

Steve pondered the situation for a moment and then shrugged and said, “Well, I guess I’ll go back to bed!” And so the fully clothed fella and the pajama clad wife and the fully unclothed doggy all crawled back to bed until the real alarm rang at 5:15.

Steve got up (again) and took off for the church while Snowy and I snuggled back under the blankets. Because a miserable, rainy, Roanoke Island morning is the best time in the whole world for staying in bed.

Can I hear an amen?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Favorite House Of The Bunch!

Steve just got an e-mail from the realtor who showed our home yesterday. The peoples' comments were, "Beautifully laid out, well maintained and our favorite house of the bunch!"


They have asked for a copy of the neighborhood covenant and some other papers and have "casually mentioned" a closing date of January 1.

HOWEVER. No offers have been made and nothing is definite. It's just encouraging, after almost a year, to finally have some positive news in this regard.

What's not to love?

To the people who have already responded to the y'all/ya'll/you-all debate:

Norma--Congratulations for finally being an official Smithellaneous poster. You win the washer and dryer combo selected especially for you!

I do have to say, though, that your entry concerning this discussion made me just a teensy bit sad because, while it is very proper and dictionary-esque and correct to say, "you-all," it's just not very much fun!

I mean, "You-all?" Really? Please write to the publishers of that dictionary immediately and tell them that Becky said they are so very, incredibly wrong. (smile)

And to Stephanie who says it's "yall" and Angie who says it's "y'all," I'll just have to let the two of you work out your differences on your own! Maybe you can take each other out for coffee and get it figured out and report back. Sound good?

Anyone else want to weigh in?

My opinion is that I refuse to say "you-all" because its really hard to slur "you-all" in good Southern speakin' style. And if you can't slur a word and leave out a letter or two, a word is just not worth saying! (I mean, "sayin.'")

I just found this "Southern dictionary" on the web. Be sure to read down to the very last line! Hmmm . . . the debate continues.

AIM TO- plan to do
AIRISH- cold
BIGGITY- vain and overbearing
BITTY BIT- a small amount
CARRY ON- to carry on foolishness
CLODHOPPER- heavy work shoes or large shoes
CHUNK- throw, toss
'COON- Raccoon.
COW LICK- hair standing out on one's head.
DIRECTLY- in a little while, or a couple of weeks
DIXIE- Southern States of the U.S.ADO-HICKY- substitute name. Like the terms whata-ma-call-it or thinga-ma-jig
FALLING OUT- disagreement
FEISTY- being frisky
FIXING TO- about to
HEY- hello
HOLD YOUR HORSES- (be patient)
HONEY- affectionate term
LAID UP- ill, hurt, unable to work
MESS-one who carries on, "He's a mess."
MUCH OBLIGED- thank you; hope to return the favor
PIDDLE- waste time, doing nothing
PLAYING POSSUM- playing dead
RECKON- think or supose so.
SHINDIG- dance or celebration
SMOKEHOUSE- Shed with a dirt floor where pork and other meats is cured, and then smoked.
SORRY- inferior quality, worthless, and lazy
SOUTHERN BELLE- Southern lady
SPRING CHICKEN- young thing
SWEET TALKING THING- has a good line
TIGHT- stingy with money
WAIT ON- serve or assist
WART-TAKER-one who removes warts by charms or incantations
WHITE LIGHTNING- moonshine whiskey
WORRY-WART- one who is annoying

YA'LL or Y'ALL (can be spelled both ways)-you all, two or more people

Randomosity and Inspiration

Piles and piles of papers. They seem to sum up my life pretty well.

In the first two pictures I was working on a filing system for the songs we're putting together with our worship team in Manteo. And the third picture shows our home school stuff stacked on the kitchen table.

Um. Apart from that brief and illuminating explanation, I really had no good reason for showing you those pictures except for the fact that I took them and really hated for them to go to waste.

So thank you for being a part of the "Helping Pictures Not Go To Waste" Task Force Team. I just don't know how I'd get along without you all. (I mean, "Y'all.)

Speaking of "y'all," I just wondered how everyone spells that word. I had a friend on Facebook who says that everyone usually spells it "ya'll" but that was wrong. Actually, I am one of "those" people who has always spelled it "ya'll" and so I guess I've always been wrong. (That gives me a nice warm feeling. Always. Wrong.)

Anyway, does anyone have the gen-u-INE spelling for it?

Boy, this is certainly a random post. (You don't have to agree. Out loud.) Sometimes randomness is called for though, early in the morning, before I've had my first cup of coffee.

Except that I don't drink coffee. Except that I hate, loathe and despise coffee. Except that I also hate iced tea. Which in the South, makes you a highly suspicious person.

Which is really random. Which seems to be the theme of this whole entire post.

Have any of you guessed yet that I have nothing to say? And that I'm taking a long time to say it?

Yes? You have?

Okay then. Maybe I should just stop saying what I don't have to say and go and start packing something. Or re-arranging a stack of papers. Or organizing music for the weekend. Or correcting Sarah's math pages from yesterday. Or putting together my grocery items for our trip. Or eating the rest of the candy corn I bought on sale.

Y'all (ya'll?) have a good day now, hear?


P.S. Just because I feel really bad about the fact that you dropped by here today and got nothing but a large-ish dose of randomosity, I am including for your inspirational reading two quotes that I gave to Nathan quite a few years ago.

He taped them to the back of his bedroom door and they have hung there for a long, long time. In fact, the quote on the larger paper, which I gave him about seven years ago, even made the trip from our last house and got re-taped to the door in this house.

I gave him that one to encourage him to be faithful to practice the two things that have been the most important to him in his growing up years--basketball and drums.

(Quote is by Ed Macauley--former NBA player)

The second one I clipped out of a magazine and gave to him when he was discouraged about practicing and trying so very hard at basketball and still playing against guys who were better than him. I didn't ask him to tape it to his door but he did it anyway. Nice to have a son who actually thinks his mom gives him fairly okay advice.

This quote is certainly not just about basketball. It's a good quote of encouragement for all of us, whatever we might be doing.

The basketball playing, drum thumping, quotation reading son of my heart.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Martha Stewart and Miscellany

We have just returned from our foray into franticness which included two hours of frenzied cleaning, plus one hour of "being gone." Haven't heard anything from the realtor yet; usually it takes a couple hours for any sort of response.

The good news is that our house is really, really clean! If you all lived closer, I'd have you all over for a clean house party!

While we were away from the house, we grabbed a quick lunch and then went to Salvation Army. Sarah found several groovy pieces of teen clothes and I got a sweater and a lovely, dressy suit. Total bill was fourteen dollars. Not too bad!

Tomorrow, we'll pack our bags and head out for Manteo one more time.

(By the way, Saffyres asked how Manteo is pronounced. It just so happens that a blog reader, Buff, saw the question and just now signed the guest book to say that it's "Manny-o." I think someone people throw in the "t" a little bit, but I've heard it both ways. Thanks, Buff!)

Here is one of my extremely well organized boxes of staples for our "Manny-o Meals." (Martha Stewart is doubtlessly getting ready to feature this box on the cover of her magazine because of its incredibly pristine aura of awesome attractiveness.)

If you would like to view another of my Manteo Packing List Items, here is my official "beauty bag." (My whole family knows that if we are driving down the road and I should ever say, "Oh no! I forgot my beauty bag" Western Civilization as we know it could very well crumble. The bag is that important.)

It even has a little flap that folds up for more storage. And all of us ladies know that you can never have too much storage for beauty items!

Here is the aforementioned, vitally important, fully packed beauty bag, hanging on a hook. (Is this not such an exciting blog? I know you're going to want to run right out and tell all of your friends that Smithellaneous is a blog worth reading!)

The good thing about my beauty bag is that it stays packed all the time. I throw in my little cosmetic pouch and I am ready to go.

It's nice and simple. Simple and nice. Nice. Simple. (Well, you get the idea.)

The other thing that I must have on all overnight trips is my noise machine. (I would walk across the house and take a picture of it but I am far too tired from our cleaning spree.)

My noise machine produces constant white noise (or ocean waves, or spring rain) and I am completely incapable of sleeping through the night or even taking a nap, without it. In fact, I am so addicted to it that I probably need a Noise Machine Anonymous group. If you've never used one of these machines, I highly recommend them.

I'm all about passing my addictions along. Chocolate , books and noise machines--am I a wild woman, or what?


Pertaining to yesterday's "Sam Hill" entry, you all had some very interesting comments and insights. Thanks for jumping on board with your discussions!

Connie asked how best to explain to her daughter why "hell" is even considered a swear word and before I could even start thinking about it, Angie and Pam had jumped in and answered the question better than I ever could. (Nice to have such "full service" blog readers. They read! They comment! They give good advice!)

Before yesterday, I had no idea what the origin of Sam Hill was and I was very interested to find out. I am such a word lover/word investigator that those kinds of things are always fascinating for me.


A little later in the day, I'll be posting a bit on
Sarah's site about a sort of scary thing she's doing this weekend. In my humble and completely unbiased opinion, she is an amazing young lady.


Just got a call that someone is coming to look at the house today at 12:30.

Frantic cleaning, frantic praying, frantic hoping are all ensuing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What In The Sam Hill?

For my whole life, I have heard people use the phrase, "Sam Hill." For example, "What in the Sam Hill is going on here?"

I never thought much about it and just thought it was a cute little saying.

However, I happened to say that phrase today and my husband/pastor gave me a strange look and said, "What did you say?"

I replied, "I just said, 'What in the Sam Hill happened'"?

He said, "Well, you do know, don't you, that that phrase is actually, 'Sam Hell?'"

I was befuddled. Not to mention bamboozled.

I had never heard of such a ridiculous thing. Of course, it was Sam Hill. Whoever heard of it being "Sam Hell?"

Well, my dear hubby found the following explanation from a column at the
Word Detective website; I thought it would pass it along to you.

Dear Word Detective:

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who, when surprised, exclaimed, "What in Sam Hell was that?" My initial reaction was to ask whether his mama hadn't told him not to swear like a prospector, but since then,this expression has haunted my brain in the wee hours of the morning. Where in Sam Hell did the phrase "Sam Hell" come from? And why Sam, rather than George or Larry or even Betsey? -- Elizabeth, via the Internet.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when euphemisms we incorrectly perceive.

The phrase your friend was grappling for in his moment of excitement is not "What in Sam Hell," but "What in Sam Hill" or "What in the Sam Hill." In fact, the whole point of the phrase is that it does not involve the word "hell."

The explanation of "Sam Hill" is actually pretty simple -- it's an early 19th century American euphemism for "hell" used as an oath. Perhaps due to our Puritan ancestry, Americans have always been especially creative when it comes to inventing linguistic detours around oaths and blasphemies. "Heck," "drat," "darn," "gosh," "jiminy," "gee-whiz" and "goldarn," for example, all started out as euphemisms for exclamations of surprise or rage no newspaper would print and no proper dinner table conversation would tolerate.

Because the euphemism "Sam Hill" is also a perfectly good real name, many people assume that the phrase must have originally referred to a real person. A reader wrote me several years ago, wondering if he might have uncovered the "original" Sam Hill in the person of Samuel Hill (1857--1931), a lawyer, financier and railroad magnate known in the Northwest U.S. as "the Father of Good Roads."

After doing a little checking, however, I can say with certainty that while Mr. Hill may have been famous for many things, he was not the source of this phrase. In fact, "What in the Sam Hill" was in widespread use by 1839, quite a few years before this particular Sam Hill was born.

So there you have it.

I just can't believe that I've lived forty-seven years and just discovered this whole story today!

What about you? Have you heard (or used) the phrase, "What in the Sam Hill?" Did you know its origin?

There's never a dull moment in the life of a word lover!

The Train Of Change Is Coming

To paraphrase an old Johnny Cash song, "The train of change is coming, coming round the bend. . . "

I sat alone in Nathan's room yesterday and could almost hear the train picking up steam, getting closer and closer, getting ready to explode into our lives.

Sarah and I were talking last night about how excited we were that Nathan would be home for three weeks over Christmas. I sat there for a moment in Happy Mommy Bliss, picturing our family gathered in the living room, having eggnog and cookies, listening to Amy Grant's Christmas CD and decorating the tree.

Then all of a sudden, my lovely vision went POOF as I realized that I had been "visioning" the whole thing happening here. In this house. In this living room.

I looked at Sarah and said, "Just think. We'll never, ever have another Christmas here."

We gazed at each other with newly stricken faces as we pondered that alarming sentiment.

No more birthday parties, no more summers, no more family games of UNO in the kitchen, no more snowfalls on the backyard, no more Smithfield House memories to be made.

The train of change is coming.

I know that this is good change, positive change, exciting change. But it's still change. It still means that in the space of about two weeks, this haven of our home will be ripped to shreds and there will be no quiet place to sit, no lovely arrangements of furniture, no gracious meals to be served in the dining room that has served us so well over the years.

Because who can even find the forks and the garlic salt and the twist ties when they're moving?

Not me, that's who.

I'm not an overly organized person but as a rule, I do take a lot of delight in being able to find things when I need them and having my life in order. The thought of chaos and confusion and the challenge of discerning which of the 43 boxes stacked in the bedroom contains clean socks is just overwhelming.

The train of change is coming.

Life itself is a train of change. You can get on it and ride it or you can get run over by it.

I'm going to ride.

I may not have clean socks on, but I'm going to ride.


And yet a few more pictures from last week's trip to Manteo

(For newcomers to Smithellaneous: Manteo is a village on the coast of North Carolina that we will be moving to in about two weeks. In the meantime, we're driving back and forth every weekend so that Steve--the newly elected pastor at a church there--can preach the Sunday services.)

A lovely lass and her cutest canine.

The last of summer's glory

And now a picture NOT from Manteo. A picture that pains me to look at. A picture that reveals the fact that this bargain bag of candy from the grocery store is no longer full. Who ate the candy that is now missing? We'll just let that be our little secret.


Miscellaneous Tidbits:

To Rachael from Angola, Africa. Thanks for signing the blog! You mentioned you would enjoy hearing from me but I don't have your contact info. You could email it to if you'd like. Great to hear from someone who lives so far away!

Also, someone sent a request to friend me on Facebook and I accidentally hit "ignore" instead of "accept." If you asked to friend me and you're not seeing my posts in your feed, please try again and I will attempt to hit the right button this time!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Spate of Steven-esque Spontaneous Sanguinity

On our way home from Manteo Sunday night, we stopped at Pizza Hut for dinner. As we were waiting for our pizza, Steve somehow managed to spill an entire drink in his lap.

An. Entire. Drink.

Let me just say that it resulted in a very big mess and a very wet lap.

Later on in the evening, he and Sarah went into a convenience store to pick up a snack. The van was parked right outside the store so I thought I would take a video of the two of them as they came out, thinking that they wouldn't notice and I would have some sweet footage of daddy and daughter.


As soon as Steve stepped out of the store, he noticed the little red light shining on my camera. Being the inveterate ham that he is, he immediately launched into a spate of Steven-esque spontaneous sanguinity and started "walking funny" because of his wet pants. (Although the light is not good, you can certainly tell what he is doing!)

Nothing quite like a public display of funniness to embarrass a teenage daughter!

In non-sanguine husband news, I've enjoyed seeing all the blog blurbs that have come in. It's not too late to put a blog link (and description) in the comment section. After a couple more days, I'll put all links into one post; that way they can be referred to at any time in the list of topics in the right column.

It's so much fun getting to know your blogs and your stories!


Here are a few more pictures from this past weekend's trip to Manteo.

As seen in the parking lot of a restaurant we stopped at:

Huntin' Dawgs (Please note. It is NOT "hunting dogs.")

As seen in the front seat of our van:

Spoiled Doggy (Please note. It is NOT "spoilt dawg.")

The sights that welcomed us to Manteo

Our view as we left

As you can tell, Sarah was very by impressed the lovely scenery!

Questions and Answers

Q. I'm curious to know what physical aspect of your Smithfield house you will miss/not miss the most and what you are excited about the most with the house in Manteo. --Danette

A. Danette, that's a great question with multiple answers!

1. The master bath in our current house has only one sink and the house in Manteo has two sinks. I am so excited about getting to have my very own personal, femininely stocked, non-shared sink. During 28 years of marriage, Steve and I have only had double sinks for about a year so this is Really Big Stuff!

2. The house in Smithfield has a lovely, fenced backyard and we've gotten a bit spoiled being able to just let Snowy out the back door (in all kinds of weather) to do his business.

In Manteo, there is no fence so we will have to join the rest of the world's dog walkers and actually put him on a leash and take him out to the yard. Sigh. Eventually we'd like to put a fence up but that will be down the road a little bit.

3. And speaking of "down the road," our house in Manteo is only about a 4-minute walk to a thrift store! That's a very good feature.

4. Our Smithfield house has huge closets and tons and tons of cupboard/pantry space. The house in Manteo? Not so much. I'm trying to figure out what I can get rid of and pare down so that we can easily fit into the storage areas of the new house.

5. The house in Smithfield has a 2-car garage; the house in Manteo, just one. That means that "garage junk" will have to be squished a little bit, too.

6. The Manteo house has beautiful pillars in the dining room/living room area. I think those are so cool!

7. The best thing about the house in Manteo? It's the place where our hearts will be at home.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Your Chance To Post A Blog Blurb

Just to let you know--I am unabashedly stealing this particular idea from Jon at Stuff Christians Like, a "snort Pepsi out of your nose funny" blog that I love to visit. (Although today's post happens to be a bit serious.) And just so you know, a lot of times the comments he gets are as good as the blog itself.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Jon invited his readers to put their blog address in his comments area and then (this is the good part!) he encouraged them to shamelessly brag about their blog. (Or at least write about why people would want to visit it.)

I loved his idea so much that I posted my blog there. And I shamelessly bragged. (Or at least I shamelessly described.) And I found some other blogs there that I now follow.

And have I yet mentioned how much I loved his idea?

So here's the deal. In the next couple of days (there's not an official cut-off time) pop on over to my comments section, post your blog link and then post a blog blurb to go with it. And brag if you want. It's okay. Really!

I love the idea of getting to know the blogs of people who visit here and I know I have a lot of readers (with or without blogs) that would sure like to get acquainted with your own personal, wonderful corner of the blogosphere.

Or if you don't have a blog, just post the link to a blog you really love!

Sound like a plan? Good.

Okay. I'm going now. I have a few more empty boxes I need to ignore.


Almost forgot to mention . . . I have my Facebook info over in the right column. I'd love for my blog friends to friend me on Facebook; however, if you do, please be sure to write a little note saying you're from the blog so that I don't think that you're a serial axe murderer which would certainly cause me to run screaming from the room!


This is where we stayed this past weekend in Manteo. It's a different place than our usual spot since our "usual cottage" was being used by its owners last week.

(double click on image to make it bigger)

More Manteo pictures to come . . .

Unkinked Mondays

We rolled in from Manteo last night about 9 pm.

I got out of the car doing my best and creakiest imitation of a 112-year old woman trying to walk. These middle-aged bones of mine don't seem to love riding in a car as much as they used to; it always takes about ten minutes just to unkink everything.

Happily, I am now unkinked (de-kinked?), fairly well rested from last night's sleep and am ready to get a new start on a new week.

My plans for the week?

I'm so glad you asked.

My main plan is to continue to ignore the empty boxes and full cupboards that are fixing me with their stern gazes and just hope against hope that my packing responsibilities will vamoose, vanish or otherwise go away. Or else the boxes will pack themselves. Or something.

And speaking of packing, here I am five years ago at the other end of that delightsome process.

What our kitchen looks like now. (A teensy bit of an improvement.)

I seem to be at a point in my life right now where the House Mourning Process is kicking in. Big time.

I walk around and look at stuff--the serene backyard, the kitchen nook, a sunny corner of the living room, Nathan's bedroom--and I think, "Only three more weeks until this is all gone. Forever. Sniff."

I have lived in this house longer than any house in my entire life. (Yes, I was born a rambling man woman.) In addition to that emotionally laden fact, when we moved here five years ago, Sarah and Nathan were just eight and fourteen years old.

Can you believe how young they look?

Now? They are fourteen and twenty.

"Fourteen and Twenty Years ago . . . " Isn't that line from some famous historical speech? Oh wait. That was "Four SCORE and Twenty Years ago." Good thing Sarah has such an astute teacher for her home school!

Anyway, here is a more recent photo of my almost grown-up offspring. And their Dad. And dog.

Are there memories in them thar walls? You bet there are! And as far as I can tell, U-Haul doesn't box up memories. (In the South we call it, "Ya'll Haul.")

And so I continue to ignore the boxes and concentrate on the memories.

Denial? Yup.

Will the boxes pack themselves?

Um. Probably not.

But if memories could pack boxes? We'd be good to go.


Coming later today. Pictures from the weekend like these . . .

. . . and a way to promote YOUR blog here!

Hurray for unkinked Mondays!