A bit of Randomness.

1. I just scarfed down a full plate of broccoli and beef, dumplings and crunchy noodles. And I stopped myself from eating another. Why is it that when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I stopped eating under stress and duress; I would actually lose weight. Then I hit 25 and am determined to eat my way into eternity. 

2. Have I mentioned there is a port-a-potty chair on my carport?

3. My dining room is absolutely covered with boxes. Amidst the stacks are two boxes containing Christmas gifts that were actually delivered to my house by Brown Man. One box for Russell. One box for Brett. Future birthday gifts, is my guess.

4. I texted my husband and told him I was about ready to cry.  He text me right back and said he feels the same way.

5. *this item was deleted. you are welcome*

6. Disregard my pity party, aka #5 above. We are doing the right thing. We are doing the only thing. We can handle it. We are grown-ups. And we have wine to help us. Just kidding on that last part. Sort of.

7. My tree is in the stand. Completely nekked. It smells delicious. In a nekked sort of way. This year, if we ever get it decorated, it will be a “there’s a toddler in the house” kind of decorating. No antique glass ornaments; all vintage Snoopy ornaments will stay packed up; nothing shiny or tinkly or tempting for a toddler aged kitty. So, pretty much lights and some old paper chains the kids made back in elementary school. As I’m typing this, toddler kitty is galloping around the living room, chasing her own shadow and occasionally stopping to take a swig from the tree stand water.

8. Thankfully, Clark has put up the outside lights on the house. Not completely done yet, but we do light up the block like a runway. This year, I am making him put lights on the back deck. And the shed. *he has assimilated me*

9. Her Evil Highness made her great escape this morning. It isn’t a big deal anymore. Sarah texted me a fleeting photo of a reddish blond blur on the front porch as she ran back into the house howling. For food. The open door stalking continued as soon as she was full.

10. As I’m attempting to compose this post, I have NCIS on and the time is 6:00 pm. The suggestive commercials that have come on have absolutely shocked me. As in I thought Chloe had stepped on the remote and we had switched to an adult channel. Seriously. 

11. Public Service Announcement. Stop collecting junk. More stuff does not make us happy. More stuff does not make our children happy. And think of your poor children when you are gone and they have to go through all of that stuff. Russell and I are committed to going through, purging and organizing. You’re welcome.

12. Okay, I’m totally not happy with this post. “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” *name that quote*

Come December 1, I will still love you guys. See y’all tomorrow.


So easily distracted.

I woke up thinking there was no way I could spend another day away from my home.

The house was a wreck. The laundry was piled up. Christmas Tree needles scattered about. A dishwasher full of dirty dishes. Boxes everywhere.

So after church and lunch, Shawn brought me back home while Russell, Mike, Brett and William drove South to Dumfries.

*which by now we pretty much do with our eyes closed*

Shawn changed clothes, threw his stuff together and headed back to school. He returns back home on Dec 10. Hardly seems worth it, except for the whole “study for and take semester final exams” thing.

I started digging into the kitchen, determined to straighten up, clean up, wash up, throw out and…quickly lost the will to live continue. You know, about 5 minutes in. I thought a little parental distraction would be nice and I quickly plopped myself into Mamie’s chair and dialed my parents to catch them up on our continuing adventures.

When I couldn’t drag out my procrastination any further, I headed back to the kitchen and picked up and set back down a few items. I picked up the phone again and called my sister. She wasn’t home. So I texted her. She was at the Hair Wizard. I was soooooo jealous.

Wanting to see which teams were playing, I made the fatal error turned on the tv and found myself on the USA Network, aka the All NCIS All the Time channel. My favorite. I took it as a sign. I settled in with a bowl of spaghetti-o’s with meatballs because I hadn’t eaten enough junk over the last four days.

Of course it was an episode I’ve seen a bazillion times, you know the one where Agent Lee goes undercover.

It didn’t matter. I so needed it.

During commercials, I surfed some channels and found Return of the Jedi. Nothing says Christmas like Princess Leia in a bikini.

Unfortunately, my husband was soon on his way home from Dumfries. With two loaded down trucks and an Xterra packed to the gills.

Thank goodness it was the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend which meant the traffic was wicked headed North on I-95.

I had time to enjoy the entire episode.

See y’all tomorrow. Love you guys.

Sunday. A day of rest?

I hope to take a break today. Not sure it is in the schedule, however. No sleep last night has made This Girl a tad grumpy. Especially coming down the stairs this morning and seeing this…

But then, after grabbing my coffee, I headed into the living room and saw/smelled this…

And then I remembered I took this…


Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow.

If we’re in Dumfries, it must be Saturday.

We have been spending a lot of time in Dumfries, pronounced DUMBfrees not dumbFRYS like my husband says it. Today is The Big Day. We are moving half a ton of things into storage and another two tons into our basement, apparently. Not much goes into a 10×10 storage unit. Furniture that is not going to Granddad’s new apartment and boxes that will never see the light of day again (at least not our light of day) all have to be moved out of the house so the house will “show”. “Less is best.” Or so we have been told. Try telling that to an 82 year old man who just lost his wife of 55+ years and doesn’t want to move.

But. I digress.

My husband decided that Thanksgiving Day was the perfect opportunity to wrench his back. I think he stood up and breathed at the same time. That’s all we can figure he did to cause it. He is down like feather on a duck. Thankfully, we have a full contingency of favors we called in people lined up. So very thankful for them. *remember that the next time you ask, “is there ANYTHING we can do to help?”* And of course the muscles that are our three children and a variety of their friends.

Yesterday we needed a break from the packing and cleaning and sadness, and stuck to our annual Black Friday tradition. We headed to The Cracker Barrel at 8:00 am. There were thirteen of us. Miss Nina was our server and she was amazing. I had My Man chase down the manager (in his fastest my-back-is-out-hobble) to sing praises for Miss Nina and her helper. Seriously, the woman had skillz. She juggled our orders and plates and requests with ease while barking orders at the other servers. It was impressive. Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows that complaints are the norm and praises are few. We did some praisin’ on Miss Nina.

After we were all stuffed with pancakes (seriously, I have never seen some many pancakes consumed at one table) we hopped into four different trucks and headed West to Warrenton. After a stop at the Sheetz (if you live in the south, you have to stop at the Sheetz, no matter how long or short your road trip is), we turned right and headed toward the Shenandoah Mountains (the most gorgeous place in the whole wide world) and into Amissville. We have been getting our Christmas Tree at Glengary Christmas Tree Farm in Viewtown (coolest town name ever) since BK. We stumbled upon it one year when we couldn’t find the tree farm we had been to the previous year. Had to have been around 1986 or ’87. Shawn was born in 1990.

This year I decided we were all going to wear red scarves for our annual Christmas Card Photo op. And black shirts and blue jeans. Brilliant, I thought. STUPID and LAME were the thoughts of my three darlings. And yet, they all came down the stairs wearing black and blue as requested. I had totally prepared myself to pull a “I ask so little of you *sniff* and you couldn’t even do this one thing I *hiccup* ask and it’s CHRISSSSSTMAS” dramatization but, they came through. I was even willing to pull the “you know how broken my heart is” line but didn’t need to use any of it.

It was a stunningly beautiful day and, even though it really was like herding cats to get them all together and lined up and still and smiling for photos, they were amazing. And, suddenly, everyone wanted to wear the red scarves for their pics.

Trees were chopped down and plucked out of the shed (The Bryan Men chopped their tree…the spoiled Smith woman will only have a Frasier Fir in her house, which are cut down a few days earlier and brought up from the Glengary property in Blacksburg.)

On the way home, I thought to myself, ‘one day, we will be out here with our children and their spouses and our grandchildren.’

And the cycle of tradition will be complete.

Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow.

Droid Friday Photos.

My Man got the fireplace going! For 15 seconds. *and yes, that is a duck pin on my mantel…don’t ask* 

 I keep forgetting to show this to My Man. *He* loves Angry Birds!

 My fave niece, Courtney. Not to be confused with my fave niece, Minz or my other fave niece, Courtenay. *thankful I don’t have more nieces*

 This is why I go to bed at night. 


 The Cat Whisperer. He hates them, they love him.

 Thanksgiving Morning Tradition.

Meagan, My Fave Barista loves to write on the lids of my cups…just a little thing we have going.

Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow! Or, maybe later with some pics from Operation Christmas Tree Farm…


As I sit in my Mamie’s chair in the living room, I face directly to the East.

The sun is just peeking over the roof line of the house behind ours and no matter how I position myself, pours over my face the warmth and promise that is a new day.

It’s going to be a difficult day. For us…we are soon packing up our brood, all of the food for our Thanksgiving Feast and heading South to Dumfries. There will be cooking, packing, cleaning, tears and yes…laughter. My Creator did not make me to cry my way through every day. Snippets of sadness; often rivers of tears do happen. And there was a time in my life, not so very long ago, when I was That Girl, that I would have wallowed in my pain and sadness and the tears and the anger and would never have let it go. But now I am This Girl. I will have tears today. *confession: have already had tears today* I will also laugh and probably even snarl a little out of impatience. I will be, after all, with all three of my children, my husband and my father-in-law, lol.

The difference in becoming This Girl, though, is that my tears, my sadness, my heart break is less often for my own pain and almost always felt for the pain of others. It is going to be an unbearable day for the others in my life. Not only my own immediate family, but also my extended family, friends, neighbors. Everyone of whom has loss, tragedy, sadness in their lives.

Think of your others today. Pray for them. Call them. Hug them.

Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow and Happy Thanksgiving.

It is Wednesday. It is Random.

Just wanted y’all to know that while I am sitting here typing this up, I am balling like a baby. This part is NOT random. I have so many incredible women in my life that just overwhelm me with their love, compassion, and Godliness. In our bible study session Monday, our fearless leader, Jeanie, pointed at each of us and asked us what we were going to do this week to respond to the prodding of our Savior and reach out to whomever He lays on our hearts. The next day, she sent out an email to our group sharing with us that she did, indeed, follow through and wrote the two women God laid on her heart and then basically said, “next?” And the emails started flowing in. Each of us shared our response to Jeanie’s challenge. I have been reading these today and that is what has me balling like a baby. Reminding me of the amazing women God has blessed me with here at my church, in my ‘hood, in my path through The Twitter, blogging, Facebook…

Okay, because I hate to always be serious and stuff…on to the random:

:: My Man was emptying the dishwasher last night and I heard him bust out laughing. In he walked and handed me my reading glasses. And yes, they did have water spots on them. *time to switch dishwasher brands*

:: The Big Boy and his roomie, Theo, woke up this morning (I’m sure by Her Royal Evilness climbing all over their faces) and promptly positioned themselves on the couch for a Super Smash Brothers Battle. My Girl announced she was making breakfast and soon delivered egg, bacon & cheese burritos to each of us. I was in Heaven.

:: Until Her Evilness snatched two pieces of bacon off the counter and devoured them. *bad kitty*

:: Yesterday, my niece, Courtney, came over and hung out with me. I loved it. I rarely have extended time with any of my nieces or nephews alone and I, of course, put her right to work. I’m sure she is anxious to come back and spend some quality time with Doo-Doo* very soon!

*Andy, when he first started talking, tried to say Sue-Sue and it came out Doo-Doo and now it has stuck. And I love it, by the way. 

:: If you haven’t yet, please pop back over to yesterday’s post and share what you are cooking/
bringing/baking/making for Thanksgiving tomorrow. It is true that I live vicariously through everyone else’s food.

:: Back to a serious thought or two (they are so fleeting, I have to get them down on paper immediately). I told y’all earlier this week that I have missed reading and studying the Word and communicating with God. Our last Bible Study session is this Monday. I’m looking for something to fill the space before we begin James on January 9 and I’m asking for your ideas. Please!

:: And at the risk of bursting out in tears again (sheesh), can I selfishly ask y’all to pray for my baby sister, Jenny and her Man, Al and their sweet girls, Courtney and Lindsay and my mom and dad, Judy and Phil. Their pain is unbearable with the Holiday season here and Andy gone.

:: Okay, I need to finish up working on the announcements for church and, as a sidebar, can I just say that I Love My Job.

Love you guys. Mean it. See y’all tomorrow and hug your loved ones extra hard while you are all together this Holiday season.

*also…every time I read through this I start to cry again so I apologize for any typos or other such nonsense.

Tuesday’s Chronicles.

I opened Jesus Calling this morning right at the ribbon marker. I have always been thankful for ribbon markers. They take me to the exact location I need to be in a book. In this case, that would be November 8, the last time I opened up Jesus Calling, apparently. I was seriously surprised by that. I could have sworn it had only been a week since I last checked out JC.

Just another indication that life is flying by. Flying. By. My wise father told me years ago that time would really start flying now that I had children. We have always received comments like, “you and your family are so busy;” “how do you ever get anything done?” “when do you take time for yourselves?” We were/are busy; we get nothing done around our home as evidenced by the condition of our home; and we snatch tidbits of time to call our own. Wouldn’t change a second of it. Well, except for the part where I apparently lost total communication with God.

I realized that He and I weren’t in touch anymore yesterday morning during Bible Study when I opened up His Word and felt a rush of excitement; the excitement of newness. I absolutely believe His Word is Alive. Which to me means ever-changing, always fresh, new each time we read even our favorite verses. This, however, was the newness of long-time, no-see, and so-glad-to-meet-ya.

I left my hand on top of my bible most of our study yesterday. I could feel its warmth; its Life; its Power.

I longed to devour every word.

But, like most days, by the time I rushed out the door after bible study, met the girls for lunch and dashed home to begin (continue?) the never-ending packing, sorting, re-packing that is our life right now, I had completely forgotten about and lost that bible-lovin’-feeling.

Until this morning at 5:30. I opened Jesus Calling to the ribbon marked page of November 8. And, even though it is November 22, I began to read, “Learn to appreciate difficult days. Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way. As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything.This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times. Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days. If you are tempted to think, “Yes, but that was then, and this is now,” remember who I AM! Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity. This is the basis of your confidence. In My Presence you live and move and have your being.”

There was a reason I opened Jesus Calling on this particular morning. I needed this reminder. As always, He is Faithful and True; the Bright Morning Star.

Love you guys. See y’all tomorrow. Oh, and open up your bible and get yourself a Word today.