Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kiss the Cook

Yesterday before Sarah and I left the house (for what turned out to be a 12-hour day) I posted a To Do List on our refrigerator.  It contained a few things that Steve and I both wanted to accomplish this weekend.

1.  Put name/letters on mailbox.  Check. 



2. Hang the fourth curtain panel which had been on back order. Check.


3. Hang the towel ring in the bathroom downstairs.  Check.


Here’s the vantage point that is supposed to make you feel like you’re in a jungle.


4. Cut the legs off the three stools I bought for a bargain at Goodwill.  (Not yet checked.)


5. Move the shelves around on their little “slot thingies” in the fridge so that I have more room to store stuff in a more logical manner.  (Not on the list but my wonderful hubby did it anyway.)  Check.


And then mysteriously, a final task just suddenly appeared at the bottom of the list, added by a Certain Someone after I had left the house.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Travelin' Day. Honey Do List.

Today's gonna be a travelin' day.

Sarah and I will drive eight hours round trip to get Victoria back to the halfway meeting place with her mom. In the process, though, the four of us get to have lunch together, so that will be a lot of fun! Victoria's mom, Crystal, is a good friend of mine, so I always look forward to our rare chances to hang out.

On our way home, Sarah and I will need to stop and do a little school shopping so it'll be a long day. In our absence, I have left a "Honey Do" List for my Honey To Do. (Nice how that works, isn't it?)

Here are Sarah and Victoria on their way to Manteo Booksellers.

In front of the store.

Inside the store.

A few more views of the store. (Which is a mere five minutes from our house.)

Don't you just feel like pullin' up a chair and settin' a spell? Me, too.

It was so nice having Victoria here for the week; she's been a dear friend of Sarah's since they were three years old! Friendship is such a gift.


From the Comments Area:

Q. Marysienka asked, "What was the song playing behind Sarah's Power Point that you posted this week?"

A. That was the soundtrack to a song I wrote called, "Like A Blanket." It's on a couple of our CD's. (Which can be ordered by scrolling down the right hand column. And yes, that was a commercial!)

Q. Jessica from Lone Pine Assembly signed in to say that she remembered when we came and sang at her church all those many years ago. (Right before Sarah was diagnosed.)

A. Jenny, it was great to hear from you! Thanks for being in touch. We have fond memories of your church and its congregation--very sweet people.

Q. Jane Copes said she thought that the recent photo I posted of Steve in front of "Grumpy Steve's" was in Minneapolis and asked when we had been there.

A. Jane, that picture was actually taken in another town in Minnesota, right on the MN/WI border. Unfortunately, I can't think of what the town is called right at the moment, but it was cute and quaint! (By the way, my brother and his wife live in Roseville, MN.)

Q. Catherine asked why Sarah's school had closed.

A. Catherine, like many businesses, Sarah's old school was affected by the economy and it just just wasn't economically feasible to keep it open. Sarah has many fond memories of that school; I'm so glad she had the chance to attend it for those five happy years.

Hard to believe that on Monday she'll be starting a new school.(She only went to public school for half of second grade; the rest of the time she's been at a Christian academy or has been home schooled.) Thanks everyone, for your prayers during this exciting but challenging transition.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Saga of the Daybed

I love Craig’s List.  I look at it every day.  I see all sorts of things I might love to have.

An adult trike. Harley Davidson headphone mike. Joe Gibbs lunch box. John Deere bagger. 400 watt car sub woofer.  Rusty surf board. Two props, hydrofoil, transom saver,  A ferret and cage. An 8-inch worm drive. An industrial-grade, oscillating pedestal fan. 

Will someone please tell me how I have lived this long without a John Deere bagger?  I mean, really?

Last week I was scrolling through the line up of the usual suspects when I saw, “White daybed with trundle. $50.”

I “hmmm”ed to myself and went on Google to see how much day beds cost new; turns out that they start around $300 and go way up from there.

Good deal, right?  

Since Sarah will be having a lot of friends stay overnight in the coming years, I figured it would be great to have two extra sleeping places to use at night (the daybed and trundle) and then an extra sitting place to use during the day. It seemed like a wise, thrifty and practical purchase.

So I discussed the plot with the Husband of the House and shortly thereafter, we went and picked up our $50 bargain bed.

We got it home and The Putting Together of the Daybed Commenced. Please note that I was not invited to The Putting Together Party. (Well, except in an official photographer capacity. Putting things together is not one of my gifts.  At all. Whatsoever.  Not even.)


Please note the dictionary on the floor beside Steve. Sarah is never far from a dictionary.



Voila!  The bed is done!  Put together!  Compiled!  Completed! Finished!  

I realize the thickness of the mattress is not real inspiring, but hey, when our ship comes in, maybe it will be loaded with mattresses!


It appears as though we were also a bit thin in the area of Day Bed Decorations.  However, I scrounged around and managed to find one holey blanket.  Sarah threw on a few extra pillows and we were done.  Not terribly impressive, but done. And the daybed itself really is charming.


On Friday, Steve and Sarah took off for the day to work on the house in Smithfield and to pick up Victoria, whose mom was bringing her as far as Smithfield. After they had left, I went up and took one more look at the bed. 

I was not inspired.  I was not overly happy about our new forlorn daybed with its sad and unseemly threadbare appearance.

But alas!  The Daybed Savings Account was empty.  In fact, the Daybed Savings Account had not even been started! What was a girl to do?

Well, what THIS girl did was to hop in the car and drive to our nearby thrift store.  My first find of the day was a lovely set of pink (virtually new) pink sheets for $2.00.  Since we only had one set of single sheets for Sarah’s bed, this was a great find.  On went the pink sheets. 

(Since Snowy is now a College Dude, he felt qualified enough to dub himself as the Supervisor of the Project.   If a fluffy, cute, white dog can, indeed, be a supervisor.)


I also found a blanket for a dollar as well as a few pillow cases for a few cents each.  Once I got everything displayed and arranged, it looked a whole lot better.  Not Martha Stewart-esque, mind you, but still an improvement.  I just love me some bargains.


Now obviously we still have a little ways to go before achieving this sort of daybed perfection, but at least we're making some progress and having fun along the way!

prettty daybed

What really did my heart good was to go up to Sarah’s room last night to see what she and Victoria had done about their sleeping arrangements.  (They assured me they would take care of it.)  Turns out they had dragged the single mattress from Sarah’s bed over to the trundle and set it up next to the daybed. Isn’t that just perfect?



And so our bargain daybed earned its keep on its very first week in the Smith house.  I’m sure there will be many more giggly girl parties to follow in the sweet space that is Sarah’s.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sarah's Video is Back Up! Horray!


I did have a video (that worked) posted here last night but it doesn't seem to be working this morning. I'll see if I can do some of my skilled and brilliant technical repair work (ha) and get it up again soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rebuked By Potatoes

Our family was sitting around the table on a Sunday afternoon, eating a takeout meal from a chicken place. Most of the food had been passed and it was finally time for the little container of potatoes to begin its way around the table.

It started with my son, went to my husband, passed by my parents-in-law and finally came to me.

I was so incredibly happy to see the Potato Container wending its way in my direction because I love potatoes and gravy. I long for potatoes and gravy!
I live for potatoes and gravy!

But alas! When I finally got my greedy paws on the Styrofoam bowl and peered into its depths, I saw to my everlasting horror that there was just one small scoop of the delectable, white stuff remaining.

One scoop.

I looked to my left and noticed that my daughter, Sarah, had not yet gotten any potatoes. I looked at the potatoes again. I looked at Sarah's plate.

I wrestled with my conscience. I wrestled with my soul. I wrestled with the Unselfish Mother DNA that was rising up in full force. I wrestled with the Selfish Becky Smith DNA that was rising up in even fuller force.

I pondered. I ruminated. I looked at the potatoes one more time. And then, as hard as this is to admit, I helped my selfish self to the last serving of potatoes.

And then I had the nerve to pass Sarah the empty container and say, "Sorry, sweetie. The potatoes are all gone."

Sarah looked at my plate. She looked at her plate. Her face filled with the pitiful pathos of a potato-deprived princess. She looked back at me once more and said, "You took all the potatoes?"

My first instinct was to be proud of myself, to be glad that I had stood up for myself and had not cowed to what I should have done. I was a strong, independent woman who could have the last serving of potatoes if I jolly well wanted to. I was not enslaved by the expectations of my children, I was not constrained by the compulsion to please everyone all the time, and I was not obligated to fulfill the needs and whims of those around me. I could partake of the last bit of potatoes if I wanted to, thank you very much!

I spent a few glorious moments reveling in my rare foray into the realm of self-indulgence. I rejoiced that one of my all-time favorite foods in the world was nestled on my plate, waiting to be doused in my gravy, waiting to be forked into my lips, waiting to attach itself to my hips. (Oh wait. Forget that last line.)

Sarah didn't do anything to make me feel guilty but I did notice a look of slight confusion cross her face that said, "Who is this woman and what has she done with my mother?"

I sat for a few moments pondering The Look. I also pondered The Potatoes.

And then suddenly, right smack dab in the midst of all my pondering and reveling, my brief flirtation with my giddy greediness started to lose its appeal. I stared at the potatoes and they stared back at me with one white, accusing eye as if to ask, "
Why have you stolen food from your poor child?" I stared back with some small attempt at bravado but it was useless.

What's a mother to do when she's being rebuked by potatoes? She caves in. She gives up. She capitulates.

I picked up my spoon and scooped up the pile of potatoes. I held them aloft for a few shining moments of fond farewell and then reached over and plopped them on Sarah's plate.

I said, "Here, Sarah. I don't really need these." (And if you were to take one glance at the expanse of my "back forty" you would doubtless agree.)

And then, with a light heart and a potato-chewing princess at my side, I made the wonderful discovery that if you split open a biscuit and put gravy on it, it's even better than potatoes!

Although the selfless uniform of motherhood seems to fit me just fine most of the time, I was still glad for the opportunity to briefly dip my toes into the shallow pool of selfishness. It helped me realize that making it all about me isn't all it's cracked up to be and it reminded me that giving gifts to people I love brings me far more joy than hoarding things for myself.

But when it comes to sharing my chocolate? All bets are off.

The DMV. Grace and Peach

Today I went to the (very) small and (very) quaint DMV here in Manteo to get the address on my Driver's License changed. I've gone through this scintillating process in large cities in the past and remember very well the whole rigmarole of signing in, standing in line, sitting and waiting, filling out forms, and standing and waiting some more.

Not so in Manteo!

I walked in. I was called back. I sat down. I was back out the door in 5.7 minutes.

But wait! There's more!

After I had been seated at the Official Address Changing Desk, I handed the lady my old license and answered a few questions. She typed everything up and then said, "Okay. That will be ten dollars."

I got out my checkbook and wrote out the check. I handed the check to the lady. And then (out of habit) I came this close to saying, "Do you need to see my driver's license?"

I am so very, very glad that I clamped my mouth shut at the very last nanosecond and did not ask the Driver's License lady if she wanted to see my Driver's License.

Would that have been embarrassing or what?

And now for Part Two of today's post:

I just received an e-mail from the Official Pastor Person in my life who just happens to be my own Personal Husband Person. He had sent out an e-mail to me and the other staff staff members at our church.

No biggie, right?

Well, it was no biggie until I got to the end of the letter and saw, to my great amusement, that he had inadvertently signed the letter, "Grace and Peach."

Grace and Peach?

I know he was going for "Grace and Peace," but I really sorta like Grace and Peach. It sounds a little bit like a female folk duo from the 60's!

Okay, I'm signing off now. And as I do, my sincere hope is that the rest of your day will be filled with grace.

And peach.

(Hey, it works for me!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti. Tears. Beauty.

Yesterday morning, the eight members of our worship team gathered to spend time praying before rehearsal, as is our custom.

The subject of Haiti was brought up and we all agreed that the country desperately needed our prayers. As we began to pray together, it was incredibly moving to sense palpable love, to feel genuine compassion, and to see real tears.

We were a group of sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, gathered in a circle on a small island in North Carolina. We had gathered to pray for sons and daughters, sisters and brothers on another island whom we had never met. And never will meet.

But the human connection was there. The family connection was there.

We were all thinking, “How would I feel if it were MY daughter screaming in the chaos? Or MY mom’s body being piled on a truck, to be hauled off to a mass grave?”

Our hearts hurt simply because fellow human beings also had hearts that hurt.

And as we prayed for those precious people in pain, beauty emerged. The beauty of tears, that showed compassion. The beauty of time taken to pray for people whose pain is beyond imagination. The beauty of understanding that the labels “Haitians” and “Americans” don’t really exist. Not deep down where it counts.

No. Deep down where it counts, the only labels that define us are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.


All of us in need of miracles in many sizes and shapes. All of us in need of a Heavenly Father to comfort, to protect, to heal, to wipe our tears away.

Beauty came to church yesterday morning. Beautiful hearts prayed over broken lives. And wept. And cared. (And later in the service, also gave.)

Haiti. Tears. Beauty.