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I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. Gertrude Stein

28 November 2008

Beyond Thankful

Ten years ago, I had Thanksgiving Dinner in jail, (complete with dry, thinly sliced turkey, cornbread dressing and a cup of Kool-Aid), with a group of strangers and my twin sister. That year, I was beyond thankful to have her there with me - because it meant I wasn't alone in the scariest time of my life.

Ten years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, we were given the option to go up on the roof to get some sunlight. Our group cell was not made of bars, but cinder blocks, like what is commonly found in High School gymnasium bathrooms - no windows. I opted out because I was going home the next day, which would've been day 4 in jail, the end of our "sentence".

Ten years ago, the next day came, but I didn't go home. Instead, I got a message that our judge was on vacation and we were going to be staying "indefinitely". That word dropped into my stomach like a bowling ball. Every day we'd ask, Is he back? When do we get to go to court and find out when we get out of here? Day after day, we got the same reply. He's on vacation, we don't know. We'll let you know when we know. Eight more days passed before we were released, bringing our grand total up to 12 days in jail.

Ten years ago, I went to court high with the full understanding of what might happen when I got there. You violate probation, they put you in the slammer. I was scared out of my skin, but I had the slightest hope we'd get a slap on the wrist. And honestly, at the time, even though I was quite sure I'd faint in front of the judge, I thought the 4 days we got in jail was a slap on the wrist. I told myself, Four days is nothin'. I can do anything for four days. However, I learned rather quickly that I can do very little indefinitely.

Ten years ago, I spent 12 days in a room where the TV was rarely off, all the calls I made were collect, and someone was always slamming a deck of cards on an aluminum table. The noise was constant. We had a communal bathroom which was wide open. Flimsy shower curtains. Short stalls around the toilets. Never any real privacy. For 12 days I wore faded, used navy blue scrubs and black plastic slippers. Every day, lunch was the same; peanut butter sandwich with a small cup of Kool-Aid. I was always thirsty. I had no blow dryer. No makeup. And most importantly, no drugs.

Ten years ago, my 12 days in jail were the first of my days of sobriety. Up to that point, I had been high every day. I couldn't even remember the last day I didn't do something - and the idea of spending the REST. OF. MY. LIFE. sober scared me more than anything.

Ten years ago, I wanted nothing to do with God. NOTHING. I continued in that way for the next two years, searching for the ever-popular Spiritual Experience - but not the God who calls Himself "I Am". And God, in His amazing grace, saw fit to set me free anyway. Because He could see His plans for me - plans to give me a hope and a future. At the time, it felt like death - which now, ten years down the road, I've learned seems to be God's way to freedom.

And ten years later, I am beyond thankful for that.

We went through fire and through water;
Yet Thou didst bring us out into a place of abundance.

24 November 2008

I Need Africa

I was asked by Mocha Club to write about the concept of why, 'I need Africa more than Africa needs me'. Mocha Club is a community-based website where members can start a team and invite friends to join them in giving $7 a month - the cost of 2 mochas - to support a project in Africa. Mocha Club's vision is to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

Which is good, because that means I can be useful too!

From where I sit in my life, it is obvious to me that I need Africa more than Africa needs me. What my flesh is and desires is painfully clear -- and I can say with some certainty that what I can offer in the way of giving of myself doesn't amount to much.

Like I said in the previous post, I've never been to Africa, but something in me already loves it. If given the chance, I would love to go... because I need Africa.

Need & Lack. To see with my own eyes, the heart and struggle of an AIDS infected single Mom, who has to feed her babies just like I do; and yet, I live such a cushioned, sheltered life that I never truly worry where our food will come from... I need Africa.

Disappointment. I have wrestled with disappointment and injustice in my own life and I have cultivated a spirit that can be very demanding of the Spirit of God. But disappointment is not an end. I have seen God use it in my life to bring me to brokenness, which has always lead to freedom. Africa, with its real need and personal disappointment offers perspective. I need Africa.

Beauty. I have never seen any face more beautiful than the stunning, black faces of Africa. ...And in spite of poverty and crisis, Africa has so much beauty to offer - beyond the faces of the people and the land. God offers beauty for ashes. I need Africa.

Share your thoughts in my comments, and even blog about it yourself. Discuss. :)

I need Africa more than Africa needs me.
Do you?

And then come back on December 1st - when we can stop singin' it and start bringin' it!


22 November 2008

Prelude

When Annie first posted about the Mocha Club and their new campaign launch, the words that snagged me were: "All you have to have is a blog and a heart for Africa. That's it."

I've never been to Africa, but something in me already loves it.

Also, I think Annie ROCKS THE CASBAH - even though we've never met. Sometimes people are so transparent you feel like you know them. Annie has posted so much of her heart that I, her imaginary friend (for now), feel in part, like I know her and can trust her. If Annie says it's cool, it's because it's cool. If she says it's funny, you better get ready to laugh yourself slackjawed. That's all I'm sayin'.

I think you'll want to see what the Mocha Club is up to though - because there's a very good chance you will want to get involved! You may be amazed by how much your little can do.

I need Africa more than Africa needs me.

14 November 2008

Steel Magnolias (or my alternate title: You'll Never Believe This Because I Look Like I Grew Up In Church)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... or you know, back when I was 13, I thought I was bad.

I found some well-priced steel-toe combat boots that I liked to wear paired with a short teal and white floral print rayon mini skirt. Because nothing says "mean" like combat boots and rayon. I would iron all the wrinkles out of my pretty skirt, lace up my knee-high black (tough) boots and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes I packed my butterfly knife that I found somewhere one time.

(Criminal disposal maybe?)(Which of course made me feel even more indestructible and above the law.)

And then there were times I packed my brass knuckles.

I was tough. And edgy.

Everything about me said, "Do not mess with this girl. She will cut you."

Except for the floral rayon.

One day, this thug girl found out I had kissed her boyfriend. In short, she had beef with me. So she confronted me in the street. In front of her little friends minions. She cussed me lower than a snake's belly and then she slapped me in the face.

Hard.

I was put in my place. Effective immediately.

I turned to make my walk of shame back home, hot tears rolling down my face, my heart pounding in my chest and throat, telling myself lies, like, if I had had my brass knuckles, she wouldn'tna handled me like that. I'da taken her down.

I think the case had already been solved though, who the real gangsta was.

I got in front of my house(finally). But not forgetting about my hard thuggish image, with a final jolt of gall, I turned back to where she was still standing (and laughing)(at the far end of the street) and I screamed some profanity and called her some classy names and then I turned and ran into my house.

Because I was bad.

True story.

**Edited to add: After reading this again, it sounds as though I was your regular run-of-the-mill bully. This was absolutely not the case. This whole story took place on weekend visitation at my moms - hence, not my hometown - AND WAS AN ISOLATED INCIDENT! I tried to "be somebody else" over there. Or at least give it a valiant effort. Truth is, I was not hard at all. (As evidenced here.) I was just really into this dude that was a straight thug and all I did was DRESS THE PART. The end. I was only trying to be what I thought he wanted. Inside, and outside evidently, I was just a big softie. And I prefer me like that.

13 November 2008

Cuteness with skin on.

video

And also, consider this very robust applause to be yours, Rachel! Because you won my very great and awesome giveaway! You guessed 37 days. My guess is roughly 42 days, give or take, so you win!! Congratulations!

Stretch almost won because he guessed 41 days, but his guess was not documented herein, therefore, etc. etc, and so his prize is now null and void, etc. etc. and will now be passed onto the next best guesser.

And now, with this great prize, you, Rachel, will undoubtedly (or you know, undoubtably, if you wish), be the absolute envy of your friends.

I mean, who doesn't want some rousing applause? Hm?

Thaaaat's what I thought.

12 November 2008

Slap Me Some Skin



Thanks BooMama! You have increased the delight of the world at least two-fold.

Sugar.

Bed piled with plastic ponies and Care Bears galore, Sugarhead smiles big and exclaims, "I have ALOT of friends!"

My heart smiles.

Later, her Daddy goes in to check on her. This is how he finds her; cupcake crown securely on her head, exclaiming to all, Happy Birthday! I am 4 today! ...nevermind that her birthday was 2 weeks ago and her party, 3 days behind her.

I think she's very happy to be four.

And again, my heart smiles.

11 November 2008

I made you a delicious bass.

"Mmmm, something smells good."

"It's the fish, baby."

"It smells like barbecued chicken."

And off he runs, back to his toys.

10 November 2008

BRILLIANT.



Even if you don't like Star Wars. If you're one of those people, I don't even want to know.

09 November 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

...try, try again. As they say. This time the balls did not defeat me.
This time, I won.
Happy Birthday to you (again) Sugarhead! Your Mama loves you!

Closer...
So close you can almost taste it...
saith the evil woman.

Success!
And she lived happily ever after.

06 November 2008

The giving, it continues.

We all have dirty secrets. Some dirtier than others.

Today I vacuumed. It's been a while since the last time so I figured, hey! We're having company this weekend.... why not today? Why do I avoid that particular chore?

Exhibit A.
My vacuum really sucks.

Really. Sucks.

(All of my aversions have very good reasons.)

But talking about how filthy your floors really are is putting yourself on shaky ground, is it not. It's like saying, "I went three days without a shower." It's better to talk about those things as past tense.

Not, say, this week. That's how you lose friends.

But today, I cleaned my putrid carpets. And of course I'm playing fast and loose with the word "cleaned" because I'll refer you back to Exhibit A.

We're down to two. Rooms that is. Two rooms with carpet.

So today, I'm giving something else away, because I'm a giver. A great prize at that.

Answer this question: Not counting today, how many days has it been since I last vacuumed?

Whoever guesses closest to my guess will win a very robust round of applause.

By the end of this you will feel so good about how clean your house is.

I may never recover, but you will feel like a MILLION BUCKS.

I do so much for y'all.

Indulgence

I baked a cake today so that I could try my hand at a second attempt at the Cake Balls that so utterly flopped previously. I would link back to them, but they were just so ugly.

The edges of my cakes came out a little too hard.

So I ate them.

All of them.

05 November 2008

The years teach much...

that the days never know.

04 November 2008

Safety Tat Winners

Congratulations! Here are the winners of the (totally awesome) Safety Tat 6pks! I truly wish you could all win (or that I could keep them all)! Here are the random numbers:

Random Integer Generator
24
3
17
Timestamp: 2008-11-04 18:39:29 UTC

24 - Chantelle
3 - Trish @ Sweet 'N' Sassy Girls
17 - Shalyse @ Life, Isn't it Great

Thanks for entering my giveaway and have a sweet day!

And to all my faithful sweethearts that I adore and appreciate so much, I did not mean to communicate that I might quit blogging altogether. Let's don't be silly. I love blogging! And clearly you don't know my obsession as well as I thought... I have no intention whatsoever of stopping.

None.

Zero.

Dually noted.

Didn't mean to frighten you there. See you soon!

02 November 2008

Two things.

First, Canton was very good to me. Very good. I had a great time. Pretty much finished one scarf and made some progress on the second. Bought some delight-inducing goodies and had some good visit-time weaved in and out. It was good. Something I hope to repeat somewhere in the not too distant future.

Oh, and I think it's worth noting that Canton is into the dogs. You can buy more clothes for your dog than you can shake a stick at. We even saw a lady who was wearing her dog in a baby sling-type contraption and her (poor, to-be-pitied) dog was wearing pink sunglasses. Yes it was.

It really is no wonder dogs bite people.

Second, I've been kicking around some things in my brain concerning this blog. I have, unintentionally, cultivated the habit of posting almost every day, whether I had something to say or not... lately it feels mostly like not and my blog is becoming something I have hoped it would not be.

I feel like this online life gets the best of my time sometimes. I may begin to post less regularly because for me, I want the things I say to be worth the time it takes to say (and read) them and if most of my time is spent sitting here reading about y'all or posting about me, then that doesn't leave much time for living.

I need to get my head into my home, and into some great books. I need to take some good stuff in before I can spit any good stuff out.

Annie (Maundering Pondering) said it best in something she posted recently. ...In her words (which are far better than mine): Before I can produce, I need to consume – through reading, and thinkin, and observing, and mulling things over. I need to interact with people (real humans), and go running, and listen, and nest,...I need to spend time living in order to find things to write about.... So in the coming days and weeks, I might not post as regularly. Or maybe I will – I don’t know. I suppose I’m just giving myself permission to let the thoughts ebb and flow, and to hold off until the light goes on.

All I can add is, amen to that sister.

Amen to that.