Thursday, January 27, 2011

How A Pastor’s Dog Deals With Temptation

Hi. Snowy here.

So. I’m in the kitchen. Strolling back and forth. Forth and back. Bored to tears.


And so I do what all bored kids do. I look look up and say, “Mom? I’m bored!”


I then take a few steps into the hallway to see if anything exciting might be happening out there.

Nope. Still bored.



Mom (bless her heart) decides that she shall leap fearlessly into The Fray of Boredom and do something quasi-exciting in order to enhance the momentousness of my existence. This consists of opening the front door just to see what I will do. (My mom is easily entertained. I love that about her.)


Hmmm. Is this a trick?


Um. Mom?


Sniff. It sure smells good out there. I am catching all sorts of whiffs of all sorts of things and all of them are calling to me, “Snowy! Come outside! Come join us in this wonderful whiffing outdoor world!”


A little closer to the door. A little closer to temptation.

Note: May I just add that as a veteran pastor’s dog in good standing, I feel compelled to inform you that this is not the highly recommended method for the efficient handling of temptation. As a rule, I believe that the widely accepted idea is to run really, really speedily in the opposite direction. (However, do not look at my mom near a tray of brownies as an illustration of that point. Just sayin’.)


Sigh. I’m really sorry to have to report this to you, but temptation finally won out. I have passed beyond the point of no return.

I have crossed the line.

I am heading out into the Great Beyond, the Great Unknown, the Great Pee-ing Expanse of Land That Stretches to the Horizon. (Did I just say “pee” out loud?”)


Ahh! Deep breath! Freedom! Fresh air! Sunshine on my shoulders! (Cue John Denver.)_DSC0017

My very own patented Alert Doggie Head lowers just a tad in order for me to better sense the sometimes scary scents wafting by. One can’t be too careful when one ventures out into the Outer Outside World. (Especially when one normally resides in the Inner Inside World.)


I make doubly sure to keep a close eye on the little bird that is walking across the lawn a few feet away. I always say that one can never be too careful around birds because one never knows when they might turn into violent, rabid, awful monster-esque creatures. (Or something like that.)


I dearly hope that my dear mother is taking note of the fact that I am just standing obediently on the porch instead of frantically running into the street or chasing those (violent, rabid) birds. At least I am proving myself able to resist a wee bit of temptation!

Oops. Saying “wee” just reminded me that I am outside and that I have to go, um, well, you know.


(My mom has decided to spare you the picture since this is a family friendly site.)

This is Snowy. Signing off.


P.S. Mom didn’t want to mention this for fear of embarrassing me but I will just go ahead and admit right here that I have gained about two pounds in the last month. I think that means that I’m eating good and feeling great.

And since the doctor told me in December that I was about to die? I think gaining two pounds instead is pretty okay with me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pictures. Comments. Happiness. Inspiration. Sadness.


I’ve been fervently reading my Super Duper Camera Instruction Book and taking lots of test pictures with my new, wonderful camera. The problem I’ve having right now is that when I get a picture I like, I don’t always know what I did to get that particular shot. I’ll know I’ve really arrived as a photographer when I start taking good pictures on purpose—not just by accident!

But I’m sure having fun in the process.

_DSC0101 _DSC0115 _DSC0119 _DSC0120


From the comments corner:

Random wrote, “Wonderful! Your post today serves a dual purpose. First off, we're all envious of you and your chick magnet... and second off, those of us who *cough* *ahem* have access to a free gym and aren't going are now guilted into action! What do you do to keep yourself occupied at the gym? I would certainly love to be able to work out on the treadmill and the exercise bikes (former triathlete; miss those days), but I just can't help being bored when I'm not actually outdoors, going somewhere! Any tips?

I can sure understand how making the switch from the fresh air and scenery of outdoors to an indoor gym would be a bit tough.

I honestly don’t ever really feel that bored when I’m working out; there are close captioned TV’s nearby and I find myself intrigued by ignoring the words all together and just watching the people’s faces and interactions without knowing what they’re saying. Fascinating. (But then again I’m easily entertained.)

If you have an Mp3 player, you can always download books and listen to a really great story while you work out.

Or I don’t know. Maybe you could sing loudly? It works for some people!

Jojy said, you know how lucky you are to have a free gym in your area? I have to go for my osteoporosis..and free gyms don't happen in Calif! I pay over $500 a year to make myself miserable 3 times a week!! (this price is not unusual out here in the West!!

Jojy, yes I feel very blessed because we wouldn’t be going to a gym right now if it weren’t free. In the last town we lived in, it was similar in cost to yours and that adds up pretty quickly. This gym is not real big (holds about 20 people) but it’s brand new, modern and well equipped. I’m a happy camper having something like that five minutes from our house.

And by the way, kudos to you for persevering on going to the gym and not giving up on it!


Last Thursday, Sarah and I took a road trip to Smithfield so that she could spend some happy time with her old friend, Hope. She stayed two nights and then Hope’s mom brought her to Manteo on Saturday.

It’s appropriate that the girls’ picture is taken in front of a bunch of books (we went to a coffee shop/bookstore) because they both adore reading. (Hope said she read 50 books last year!)

IMG_2904 IMG_2903

The bathroom at this particular bookstore had an unusual sign posted that I had to ponder for a while in order to truly grasp what it was saying. (And yes, I will hereby admit that I am enough of a word person to stand in a bathroom and scrutinize an interestingly worded sign.)

I have truly never before in my life taken the time to wonder if a particular “flapper has seated.” It was quite the revelation.



My good friend, Sheri Hawley wrote a truly amazing post on her blog this week. I have thought about it a lot since reading it as I realized how many thing would be different if the person in the story had chosen to deal with her pregnancy in a different way. For one thing, I wouldn’t have a friend like Sheri and Nathan wouldn’t have his wonderful girlfriend—Sheri’s daughter.

It’s a great, well written story; please take a moment to read it.


If you’ve been reading Smithellaneous for at least six months, you are no doubt familiar with a Famous Commenter around here—the fabulous Sue G. You’ve also probably noticed that we haven’t heard from her in a while. If you will drop by Sue's site today, you will find out the reason why.

When I first read the news, I didn’t cry. But when I told Steve and Sarah about it a few minutes later, then the tears came. Sue and I have exchanged several hundred e-mails over the past couple of years, we’ve talked on the phone, she has mentored me and tutored me in my writing, she’s sent me chocolate and writing books, and she is also the one who gave me a camera she wasn't using (AKA My Beloved Purse Camera) when my old camera broke a few years ago.

Please keep her and her family in your prayers and if you have a moment, leave a message on her site. So many people on blogs and websites around the country been blessed and encouraged by Sue’s witty, profound, funny, compassionate comments. It’s time for all of us to return the favor.

We love you, Sue, and are praying for you and your family.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scenes From a Gym (Alternate Title: My Husband: The Chick Magnet)

Some of you may remember this horribly unforgettable picture that I featured in a post from last year.

Yes, it appears as though I have become the Poster Child for being fit and toned.  (You can stop laughing any time.)

With the heavy responsibility of Poster Child-dom on my shoulders, I figured I should do something to maintain my impeccable reputation of international renown. And so, as I mentioned last week, I have started going to the gym.  (Thankfully, the gym in Manteo is free, free, free which makes me happy, happy, happy!)

You might be curious as to how it’s been going for me; in fact, I’m sure that question has  been keeping you awake at night as you’ve wondered if I’ve been making all the other gym goers look bad with my sleek and sweaty svelteness.

So just because I’m a nice kind of person and I like to keep my blog readers informed about the important aspects of my life, here are a few miscellaneous observations I thought I’d share with you about Gym Life, written from the perspective of the reigning magazine cover girl of fitness.  (Hack, cough, ahem.)

Observation One
Treadmill Singing

Last week I was on the treadmill next to this particular lady when she suddenly started to sing!  Not just sing, but SING!  Loudly! Then she stopped. Then after a while, she started to sing again. I assumed she was listening to her iPod and just sort of forgot where she was when her favorite song came on; however, when I sneaked a cautious glance in her direction, I saw that there was no iPod in sight. She was just singing for the sake of singing.

I must say that anyone who has the fortitude to burst out into song while on a treadmill deserves my great respect.  (Although I’m not planning on engaging in Treadmill Singing anytime soon.)

Observation Two
Shadow of a Mastectomy

After I had been going to the gym for a couple days, I spent a little time with the (little bitty skinny) woman who is in charge of overseeing all of us buff, gym-going types.  I wanted to get her advice on two things:  stretching and working with free weights.

She started with the stretching instructions and commenced to showing me some of her favorite moves. These particular moves involved the flinging of herself to the floor and then taking both legs and both arms and intertwining them into the most alarming pretzel shape you’ve ever seen in your entire life.  It made me hurt to watch her.

She smiled cheerily in my direction and said, “So what do you think?”

I replied, “That’s not going to happen.”

I think her smile lost one shade of cheeriness in the face of her recalcitrant, unwilling-to-be- pretzel-ized client.

We decided to go ahead and move on to the strength training and I thought it might be good to mention my mastectomy and tell her that I didn’t want to work certain areas of my chest and pectorals too hard.

It caught me by total surprise but when I started to briefly explain the situation to her, my throat got tight and I felt myself tending toward teariness.  I was like, “Where did that come from?”

Seriously.  I didn’t know the emotion was still there.  But it is.  It probably always will be.

And that’s okay.

Gym Observation Three
My Husband: The Chick Magnet

Steve’s and my morning schedules don’t always gee haw real well when it comes to going to the gym together but we did manage to finally accomplish it on his day off last Friday.   It was his first time to go so I kind of showed him around a little bit and then I went about my usual business of making the other gym goers jealous.

After awhile, I figured I should check on how Steve was getting along and, well, I don’t know how else to say this, so I’ll just go ahead and say it.  He was over in the corner of the gym-- surrounded by women!  Four of them!  They were chatting animatedly with him, laughing coquettishly and acting like he was the best thing since sliced bread.

I was just slightly taken aback by all the female attention he was getting.  I mean, I’m not really the jealous sort but--four women? Gathered around?  So stinkin’ admiringly?

Um . . . did I remember to mention that their average age was 75 and that one of them was a great-great grandmother? 

Yup.  It’s true.

It turns out that one of them had recognized him and introduced him to her friends as that “new young pastor” in town. (Young being a relative term.)  And next thing you know, he was the most magnetic (older) chick magnet around!

And may I just add that this chick finds him particularly magnetic? 

And that I’m the one who gets to go home from the gym with him?

Be still my heart.


I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find myself listed at  The Pennington Point  as one of Lisa’s favorite blogs.  (Thanks Lisa.  You made my morning!)

And may I just also add that you won’t regret dropping by Lisa’s blog and bookmarking it.  She and her family are some of the most creative people I have ever heard of—plus, she’s an excellent (and funny) writer.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Retro Blogger.

Middle age must be hitting me pretty hard because it seems like for the past week or so I’ve been in a reminiscing sort of mood. And what could possibly be a more fun way to reminisce than with pictures?

So here is a motley mishmash of miscellaneous Smith shots with accompanying text to make the reminisces a bit more reminiscent of reminiscing. Or something like that.

Beautiful baby then; beautiful girl now.

This picture makes me want to reach right in through the screen, pick her up and just inhale the sweetness of her baby fragrance. Oh how I miss those baby days! (Well, all except for getting up several times a night. Don’t miss that so much.)

Janaury 2008 002-1

Sarah is pretending to play the piano in one of the many churches we sang at over the years. Don’t you just love the dramatic flair of the “flung in the air” left arm?

sarah's 13th 013

She has a way with Maybelline, doesn’t she?

sarah's 13th 005

Of course, a face like this doesn’t need a whole lot of Maybelline. (Unlike her Mom, who needs gallons of the stuff just to leave the house.)

Janaury 2008 012

I don’t know why in the world I was putting rollers in Sarah’s already curly hair; I guess I just had the urge to play dress up with my “baby doll.”

Janaury 2008 007

I’ve always loved this picture of when Nathan first saw Sarah. His face says it all.

Janaury 2008 005

This is the first time my mom ever saw Sarah. The picture was taken in the Charlotte airport when Sarah was just six days old. Sarah and I had just flown in from Minneapolis; we had been singing near Duluth, Minnesota when Sarah decided to arrive a month early, keeping us from getting back to NC in time for me to give birth here.

sarah's 13th 012

Always best buds.

Mother's Day.ppt4

I love the shoes in this picture. Big brother shoes; little sister shoes. And I also love that Nathan was just lying there beside his sleeping sister for no reason other than the fact that he wanted to be near her. She’s so blessed to have a big brother like him.

Janaury 2008 004

Farmers in the dell.

Janaury 2008 020-3

I think in this picture Snowy had just nibbled on Nathan’s hand rather unexpectedly and startled him.

Becky 3

Sarah had the helpful ability to put herself down for a nap regardless of where she was. And she was most often on the front pew of a church in some city, in some state.

sarah's 13th 004

Of course, when she was back in the RV (where we lived), she had her very own napping partner. I’ve never seen Snowy sleep like this except in this particular picture and it makes me smile every time.

Janaury 2008 006

We were at a church in Maryland when Sarah informed me that she wanted to go outside and “play a song for the birdies.” Snowy stood guard. (Of course.)

sarah's 13th 002

What a face! (He was “helpfully organizing” some of my linens.)

Janaury 2008 022-1

Here are some family pictures guaranteed to make you smirk. I look at my hair and say, “What was I thinking?” (Of course, Steve’s hair is a bit, um, interesting, too.)



Joined by Smith Sib Number 1. . .


. . . and then Smith Sibs Numbers 2 and 3.

sarah's 13th 007

We’ve come a long way!

family photo serious

In other more recent picture news, this past Saturday morning I hosted a breakfast meeting for several women from eastern NC who are all credentialed ministers. I asked a few ladies in the church to help with food and I ended up with the following menu: breakfast casserole (hash browns, bacon, eggs, cheese), vanilla yogurt with granola, fruit salad, lemon poppy seed muffins, banana nut muffins, ham biscuits, orange juice, V-8 juice and coffee. I truly do love to entertain and to make people feel spoiled and special when they come over to our house. We all had such fun!


I thought it might be time for a bit of a Snowy update since he is a very popular member of the Smith family.

I’ve actually been a bit concerned about him over the past couple of days; he threw up one night, and then didn’t eat very well for the next couple days. Yesterday, he asked to go outside about every half hour; I know that one of the signs of kidney stone problems is frequent urination. And then to top all that off, he had several real “shivery, anxious” periods where he just didn’t seem to feel well for a while.

But tonight? He’s back to his old rascally self, eating and running around like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

So who knows what’s going on with him--maybe he just picked up a little virus for a couple days. We’ll just keep an eye on him and continue to be so grateful that our little buddy has experience such a remarkable recovery from the very bad place he was at just a month ago.

He’s a Miracle Doggie!

(And lastly—happy, happy birthday to my little sister, Debbie, who turns 44 today. She is an inspiration to me in every way.)