Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Tonight I had a visitor at dinner....

Mr. Harry Potter (spoken in my best British accent!)

Sam has gotten totally crazy about the Harry Potter books this past year and so it didn't surprise me a bit that that is who he wanted to be for Halloween. The black hair was a trip to look at for a while but he had a great time casting spells on us throughout the evening with his magical wand that was waiting for him in the forest that is our backyard.

How does this all work with our Christian faith?

I have absolutely no idea. *exhausted sigh*

Josiah loves his little Lego skeleton guys and has spent most of this year carrying them around in his hand or pants pocket. So, when we found a skeleton outfit at Wal-mart, we knew we had to get it. I have to say, while a skeleton is very much "from the dark side", he was so adorable in it! You'd think a skeleton would be sparse on the compliments but JoJo got a TON tonight from the neighbors!


Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Missing home...

I just checked my guide on tv and there are a MILLION scary movies playing tonight for the holiday weekend.

I was renting a cartoon for the kids tonight and this group of friends came to the check-out counter with a ton of old thriller movies that I would assume was for a party tonight. They were giggling and making plans. I felt my heart sink.

I wish I was curled up on a couch with y'all, laughing our way through a silly, Halloween movie...

Just thought I would let you know!


Well, I can't believe it but this is the last winter for JoJo to be in footie jammies. I know that they make them bigger but really, it's around 4 or 5 that boys stop looking "cute" in them.


It's so crazy...He is so big. I can still remember him being so tiny and attempting Olympic jumps in his jumpin' johnny! Where does the time go?

(I am my mother...)

Jo will be toastie tonight and that makes me feel better. It's all about the children having warm bodies when you're a mom!

My New Obsession...

Thai Food.

We went with some friends to a local Thai restaurant this past Saturday and it was unbelievable!

My only experience with this family of food is Chinese food and it is SO below par as compared to Thai.

Thai food is all made fresh ordered in spiciness on a 1-10 scale. It's full of curry and peanuts and fresh ginger...It's a party for the mouth.

I love it, love it, love it.

I've recently been put on a medicine that makes me really sick but occasionally during the day, I'll be ready for eating. Today, it was Thai that called me and Sam and I had a great time trying to eat "authentically". Samuel was a natural. Having a eight year old is great! He's a wonderful date!

A Sad, Sad Moment

I found out last night at Anne's that Harold Dieterle, my favorite chef that won last season's Top Chef was just a few miles from my house at a festival downtown called "Fall for Greenville". He was teaching a one hour cooking show for anyone who wanted some ideas.

I had no idea.

It actually hurt to hear about it.

It's probably for the best, though. I'm sure I would have worn some stalker-like t-shirt and yelled out a number of times for his autograph.

I would have been pathetic.

Must..stop..talking..about..it. It's still quite painful.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Isn't it interesting when you have several occurrences in a row from people giving you a "heads up", so to speak, about what you are really like?

Yeah n..e..a..t. *sigh*

Matt and I were cracking up about this last night as I began to go down a list of things that I have heard about myself in the last week that he had heard also,but was waiting to see if I would be able to have the new knowledge and not bring it up defensively to be reassured.

(I lasted a week...I think that's pretty good, right?)

Like my son Sam told me this week, "Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings but you really are still very pretty even with those zits that you get!"

Um, thanks?

Then, Matt's friend Abe and I were talking over dinner about a girl I had met and how I didn't think that she liked me. I'd tried to talk with her a bunch but she seemed quiet. He then went on to say, "Well, Charity, maybe you scare her!"


(Alright, I can be scary, I guess.)

THEN, in trying to work through a recent conflict with my best friend, Steph, she declared her reasonings in dealing with me were very much caused by my ability to be, let see...I think she said it like this, "Um..You can be...umm *stutter, stammer* just very persuasive!"

Persuasive. I never would have called myself this or at least not in a negative way and yet I got the clear sense that it wasn't a compliment?! (I'm just kidding you, Steph.)

SO...Hopefully the rest of you will have a very self-aware day so I am not alone, and if you need some help...Just call me! I'm apparently scary and persuasive enough to tell you what you need to know! :)

The Great Exchange

I've been tossing around the idea for this post for some time now. I have put it off for various reasons...

First, I've come to realize through hurtful experiences and a little maturity that I am actually not an "Island Unto Myself". I know many of you may have already discovered this years ago but for me, it's been a little slow in coming. There was a time that I would voice any feeling, thought or idea I had with no regard to whom it may hurt or affect but I know now...It's better to be quiet.

You see, like everyone else, my story is not my story alone. It intertwines itself amongst other's journeys and because of that, I'm careful. "Blog world" has given us a platform for discussion and a chance to share our thoughts and opinions without having to give much of an account to our readers. While it offers a connection, the price has become high.

It's taken our discretion.

Simply "blog surf" and you will find that out for yourself.

Secondly, I feel a lot better about writing something when I'm at the "end" of a particular path. I always think I've got things figured out and that I can see clearly what is to be learned and then I turn another corner to find my hastiness has decorated me ignorant. I hate that. It's very humiliating.

The problem is...Are we ever at the end of a path? I believe that we walk, and we walk until we, quite simply, stop earthly walking. Every step taken with God in view is a moment of learning. It's in that refining classroom, that we look to our peers and share. We share out of amazement, we share out of confusion...We share out of a desperation to survive together.

So, I share...

I was driving along one evening and thinking about this idea of "exchange". As human beings we exchange with each other every day on different levels. From the change owed back to us at Wal-mart to the glance from one stranger to another...Exchanging something has become a part of our every day lives. I've gotten to where I do it and I don't even notice it. I believe this is so because in most cases, the exchanges costs me very little.

Give and take is a customary practice. It's involved in every phone call or business transaction. From the internet to the doctor's office you will find exchange.

But then, it gets complicated, doesn't it?

What about the soldiers in World War II that hit the ground running into enemy fire ready to exchange their life for freedom, or the firefighters that climbed the steps of the Twin Towers knowing they might not make it out again. I'm not even sure how to mentally grapple with the exchange taking place in those situations.

Then there's the young mother that hands her new baby to another woman for adoption so that her child might have a more secure and successful life. What weight does that moment of exchange hold?

I'm just skimming the surface of the sacrificial trade offs that complicate and often devastate the lives of so many far more heroic than I, but there is a greater exchange still and surprisingly, it involves me.

All of me.

I'm beginning to see as the years pass and as life becomes more real and frankly, more hard, that I am involved in a daily exchange. I wish it was as simple as cash or the extra few pounds from the cake I had last night but it goes much deeper and the cost is everything I have.

I feel a little baffled because I'm starting to process that the initial and what should have been final exchange was acted out and I didn't realize the depth of it. I was bowing there, at the moment of salvation and in exchange for my redemption, I gave Him my life.

I imagine it just like that. A little girl, kneeling down with head bowed and arms reaching up to the heavens and in her hands was the small and insignificant measure of a life. Maybe she was whispering within herself, "Here..It's Yours. It's not a fair exchange but it's all I have."

Sadly for me, the exchange goes on as one by one, He waits for me to willingly give up the parts of myself that I childishly think I'm still holding onto. I know with my intellect that He has it all. He's had it all along but as with most people, I'm clinging onto those things that seem like I can control.

I then imagine that same little girl, with eyes squeezed tightly shut in a denial that He is there and as she opens and looks at her clenched hands, she finds she's been grasping onto nothing. Her hands are empty after all and He is still holding everything that she is.

My family, my friends, my marriage, my money, my lost baby, my body and all it's quirks and disorders, my boys, my home (and every electrical outlet!), my car, my job, my reputation, my hurts and disappointments, my past, my now and my future...He is holding all of it.

In return, He asks only for my trust. A pretty small and again "unfair" exchange for the orchestration of a life with every direction and each decision motivated in perfect love and goodness.

I look at others around me..Believers that truly love God and are suffering. I see their pain and in moments where my focus streamlines on the hardship which in turn narrows out God's presence in it, I wonder why the exchange has to be so great? Why can't He keep it all at a minimum? Shouldn't we, His chosen children, get a break from the chaos and heartache that is trademark to the human existence?

Should He not be required or at least expected to step in and "save the day"...every day?

And then my gaze softens and I see Him there in every moment of every situation, holding it all together with spirited hands that are far bigger than my feeble mind can imagine, and I'm reminded of why He is allowing it. I know the answer because the truth has been ingrained in my mind for years now.

I am a joint heir to all that is heavenly with Christ. He was sent for the One great exchange and His hands were open and willing every day of His earthly life. He is my hero, the Famous One. He is my Savior and His exchange unto death was brought about for my example. It is in that daily exchange that I make that a supernatural explanation is called for and the only answer can be God and all His glory.

In spite of this knowledge, I still struggle. I often wish I could be allowed to arrange my life and curb the hard days. My pride deceives me to believe that I know better what I need and what I want. My desires for the things that are forbidden tempts my thoughts and cloud my perspective about resting in the sovereignty of God and the joy of the pursuit of holiness.

And I know that I am not alone. Person after person..Friend after dear friend has sat at my table or in my car or on my phone and questioned with me..."How do we do the impossible?" How do we say "no" to something God says "no" to? How do we love when we are being mistreated? How do we let go when what we want makes us feel happy? How do we forgive..."That"? How do we find satisfaction in God alone?

My answer is short.

"We can't."

We can only hope in the power, patience and the grace of a loving Father that with each thing that He rattles out of our false stability, We will come to hold on to the ONE whose very glance makes all things secure and that that in exchange will produce a devotion and passion and a fulfillment that exceeds any we have ever known.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shoes and the blues...

My good friend Anne called today and found me sounding a little not like myself and forced me away from the house to the mall.

I have to admit..I'm not much of a mall girl, mostly because I don't have any money to buy anything but she always puts a smile on my face and she needed to stop by and check on the latest pair of shoes she's waiting to adopt into her fashion family. Like any supportive girlfriend-I had to see them.

4 inch, soft, animal print heel. BEAUTIFUL.

(Not for the faint of heart shoe wearer..that's for sure!)

My friends are all good for me in many different ways but Anne definitely reminds me that I'm a woman and it's fun to be pretty. Looking at shoes in Macy's with Anne (and Di, for that matter) cracks me up but lest you think I'm mocking them, you will always find Charity in the corner admiring some 6 inch boot that she'd love to get.

I'm a shoe freak.

It's true.

I'm not sure what would happen if I ever introduced Anne to my friend Amanda but I'm pretty confident damage at the mall would be done.

Today...I came home with the boots.

I'm still feeling blue but my feet look great!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Somebody bait me about a funny memory with Manda. She thinks she's being all quiet but I intend to lure her in....

I want a REALLY good one!

(Sorry Amanda...I'm just lonely. I need an occupation or I'll go mad!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Where's the Trap Doors??!"

Alright, I've fought the urge to blog these past few weeks but I have to say...It is so therapeutic to me. I've considered going to straight journals and while that is nice and I have a few from before I submitted to what is "blogging", it's just too hard. I suck at it, it hurts my hand and it's more fun when everybody can read what you write! I mean, that's pathetic but true! Feedback is inspiring!

I'm such a loser.

But, I thought in honor of the holiday that is close approaching and the fact that my recent level of friendship with Steph has risen to new heights (only she and about four others will appreciate that), that I would write about a memory that I have with her.

It is my goal, for the record, to get my three other friends to develop a blog together and amongst regular stuff, re-write a bit of our history from different perspectives. San is always telling that I need to write a book about our crew and I know I should. Maybe this would get my creative juices flowin'! Right?

OK. I'm desperately trying to think of what year it was and I'm suspicious that it was 1993 but it could have been our senior year. I don't know for sure. SHE WILL KNOW..trust me. Steph's like an elephant when it comes to remembering.

I was hanging out with a long time friend of mine, Jeremy Lazzell, and we decided to invite Steph to join us for the night. Jeremy was HIGHLY enjoyable to do stuff with. VERY FUNNY...I can't really say anymore than that. You guys know.

So, I can't really remember what all we did at first, but the idea came to us to go to Tilton and hit a haunted house. I love Halloween and haunted houses and I thought this would be a total blast with the both of them.

Now, Just for the record, Steph and I had only been best friends at this point for a year or two. I knew her but I didn't really "KNOW" her. Not everything, like I do now! And, at the time, I didn't quite realize or accept that she was intensely terrified by all things Halloween and life-time trained to believe that holiday was to be rejected. (I'm not judging that belief...I just wasn't aware of it!)

She began to break this fact to us in our excitement that she wasn't really fond of haunted houses. That they scared her and she didn't really want to go. Now, Jer and I were chalking this up to just about everyone and how they feel about haunted houses. They can be scary. That's really their point. If a house wasn't haunted it would just be some building where you found dirty dishes. There must be some semblance of a ghost.

She then went on to explain that she didn't like that she felt trapped in them. She couldn't get out if she wanted to and yadda, yadda, yadda. Bottom Line is, we wanted to go...We wanted her to go...We were willing to lie to make it happen.

So, we told her that this particular haunted house had "trap doors". I laugh about it as I write it because it would seem that anyone could see the holes in that story. If there were trap doors aren't we back to just a regular ole' house again? We convinced her that if she needed to get out, there would be designated places for that to happen.

In our defense, we really thought that she would get into the house and enjoy herself. Sure, she might be afraid but the kind of afraid that makes you giggle and squeal in delight. Not the kind of afraid that makes you run in terror and desperation.

We waited in the line as Steph was outwardly fretting and tolerating my flirting when finally it was our time to head into the freak show that is Tilton's Haunted House. I will say at this point, that it was a bad haunted house. "Bad" in the sense that about 50 disgusting firemen and their friends got together with chainsaws and took the chance to cop a feel at whatever came through the door. *Shivers*

Regardless, I grabbed onto Jeremy who was the first through and began to run through the maze of rooms towards whatever Creepy Von Creeperson that would jump out next.

Sadly, I was not overly aware at what was going on with Steph behind me.

This means I was a selfish friend and I'm pretty sure I idled at selfishness when I was that age (and maybe older or maybe still!) and I figured that Steph would just expect that of me.

To my shock and horror (strangely NOT because of the haunted house), I looked back at my friend who had grabbed a "Freddy" character by the shoulders and was screaming, "Where's the trap doors? WHERE'S THE TRAP DOORS?"

He then transitioned into his regular John Smith type voice and said, "What?".

I couldn't believe it. She actually believed us. She was crying.

It was horrible and as soon as we exited through the final room and outside, she took off like a flash for the car, unwilling to say one word to either of us.

We had no idea.

I begged her to forgive me as she explained that she wasn't afraid like everyone else and in time she stopped hyperventilating.

I'm so glad she has decided to stay my friend despite that night and many hard times to follow. It's real loyalty when you stick by people that have hurt you and love them despite their faults.

(...and she's gotten me back a little through the years! Maybe one day she'll get honest about Senior Trip and the ditching!)

Happy Halloween, Steph! Thanks for not running through any trap doors out of our friendship.

The Alone, Late-night dilemma

Alright...I'm doing that insomnia thing again. Yesterday I took a sleeping aid at 2 in the afternoon and slept from them on with a brief eye-opening break around seven to blog only to collapse and sleep until 9 this morning. It's now midnight and I'm noticing that all the great "Halloween"/"Friday the 13th movies are playing and I sickly loves those.

There is nothin' better then curling up on a couch and lauging your way through it.

But, I am alone tonight (which my sister will kill me for admitting because there is that serial killer in California who'd love to hop on a plane tonight and see me! HA...I'm not that interesting, Jean) and I am the mother of two small boys that need to have a good example.

It could also backfire on me and scare me enough into a night of no sleep.

But, it's fall and it's chilly out and scary movies are so fun! I'm gonna eat cereal because I skipped dinner and I think I'll have to do the frosted flakes which makes me sad. I so wish I had some Cinnamon Life right now-that would be perfection.

I don't know. I hate growing up. This would be a no-brainer 15 years ago...and I certainly wouldn't be alone! I'd be forcing some boy and Steph to watch it with me. That totally reminds me of a good story, Steph, about haunted houses! HA! I'll blog that soon.

Wish me luck...I'm goin' in! I'm a southern girl! I can handle it!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Amanda...I've found you!

I've always thought that Katie Holmes reminded me of Amanda. The others might disagree but even down to the sweet, quiet voice that she has, it's a duplicate to Manda. THEN I found this picture and it was a done deal!

There you go gals, I think we have our four star set!


"Did Aunt Stephanie get a job with the Weather Channel?"

This was the question that my son, Sam, asked when he came up behind me and found the results of my long search for the meteorologist that I am convinced is Steph's famous twin. I laughed for at least a minute and those of you that know me, you know it takes alot to get me to laugh that long.

She's a dead ringer...

Her name is Jeanetta Jones and you can read about her here.

It just keeps shocking me every time I look at it. The ironic thing is that she used to work in Spartanburg, South Carolina, just 20 minutes from where I live. It's crazy.

Here you go, Steph. Meet your twin.

I have to add here that I still think you look very much like Melissa Peterman, known as "Barbara Jean" from the show Reba. Something about the set of her jaw and eyes...if this chic had brown hair and occasionally wore glasses, it would be you!

(By the way..I'm not forgetting you, Manda. You're stumping me a little but I know you're out there!)

Why does it seem like blogger has just become a more overt way for the four of us to talk to each other?? Do you think we are amusing anyone else?

Another discovered Twin...

Steph sent me this pic as her vote for Sandy's Hollywood twin and I TOTALLY agree. I don't have a proper picture of San that shows this very look of hers (she gives it when she's being funny serious and looks down at you with evil eyes) but it could not be more familiar!

Way to go, San! Sandra Bullock is a babe!

(See Steph, it's fun, huh?)

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Alright, here's the thing...

I'm not so savvy when it comes to the internet. I mean, I know my way around it and I'm pretty good with searching for something but as far as an understanding of how very, very...VERY far it can go with information is not in my realm of reality. I was made more aware of this tonight.

I'm not much of a natural reader. I was just discussing this with some friends over lunch and it is a sobering truth. I never remember there being a kid book at my house growing up. Other than the Bible, I never remember my mom reading one story to me. We just weren't that kind of family, thus, reading today is very much a conscious choice that I make. I actually have to put "read to the boys" in my daily schedule or I will prioritize it right out.

Sad but true.

My library is full of books now that I am an adult. Ninety-five percent of them are "self-help" type literature. I know, some of you are giggling because that type of itinerary insinuates that there is a need for help, right?

Shut up.

So true, though. Thanks to the various directions my life has taken, people in general feel very free to lend, buy, or anonymously leave self-help books for me to read. Most of them I enjoy-LOTS of them I pass along! But, again, they are books that I schedule myself to read and I'm not flipping the pages at three in the morning.

Occassionally, I sneak off to the library in search of something that will really wet my appetite for reading. It varies from a classic English author and their tales of romance in high propriety and fine lifestyle to a good poet. Give me a Jane Austin novel and a comfy couch and I am set for the day. AHHHH...

But then, as I travel the isles of the library, I am inevitably drawn to one particular section. I feel this pull comes from an inborn gene that I inherited from my mom and so as you are tempted to swirl your finger around in my eye to get the splinter out, remember that it's HER FAULT.

Real life Crime Stories.

Oh My Word. I am trapped by them every time! I am sickly seduced by the tales of how people can go out and murder somebody and then try to get away with it.

For the record...I think it is very risky to read these kind of books. I know they aren't filling your minds with good thoughts and they can truly set you in a state of panic if you have to spend nights alone!

(Sadly found out by experience)

My mom is seldom without a Mary Higgins Clark book in her possession and she is addicted to murder mysteries. I'm convinced that we could have been a forensics team in some alternate life where I wasn't afraid of ALL THINGS BLOODY and both made a very successful living.

So, I say all that to say, I just finished a book entitled, "For Laci". It's the story of Laci Peterson as written by her mother and I picked it up because I remembered all the news publicity about the case and was interested in getting her mom's perspective. I could tell the book was going to be less about the murder and more a biography of their lives prior to the crime and so I reasoned out that this one would be more acceptable.

I was wrong.

Very much about her disappearance. VERY MUCH about the trial and conviction of Laci's husband. VERY MUCH GOOD. I have barely been able to put it down since I checked it out a while ago. It has greatly contributed to my "escape" tactic this week and my real lack of sleep. *Yawn*

Ironically enough, my mom called in the last chapter (which I earnestly tried not to sound irritated because I was reading with a fury that could have put me in Guinness) and asked me if I had lent her another tragic book that she just finished. I snapped "No!" but now that I think of it, I need to call her back and intercept the return so I can borrow it! I'm pathetic...

So, I was alone tonight and finished the book and I thought I would get online and check out some pictures of Laci in my nostalgic state.

The flood gates were opened.

I cannot tell you how much information there is online regarding this case and I was appalled to find that I could not only read extensive court transcripts, watch every news program every aired but I could also listen to actual phone conversations that this guy had with various people after Laci's disappearance.


I find this very frightening. While I am disheartened at the real lack of discretionary privacy that should be upheld, I am strangely tempted. How depraved am I?

I mainly stuck to news programs but I will say that I had to get off and give myself a break. One could truly go for hours on a research adventure and that, I'm sure, is an abuse of motherly freedom.

I'm going back to my home and garden sites. They produce WAY less guilt.

"Back in the Saddle"

Alright...I've sort of fallen off the blog horse for a bit and while I'm not sure I'm permanently back in the game, I've been promising a pic for my girls.

Steph, San (and Brad) and Amanda-Here is the picture of Seth and Anne...

Seth and Anne are some of our closest friends here and they are entirely amusing to sit around and talk to. Many a dinner has ended with some crazy story that I can't believe ever really happened! (Much of that is thanks to Di!)

They have this thing that everyone looks like someone famous...you just have to figure out who your Hollywood twin is.

Like, Anne is Kirsten Dunst. Hands down. Hair and eyes are slightly different but she has the exact same mouth and smile. She hates this. I'm not sure why?

Seth is clearly Superman. He feels he is more compared to Hugh Grant (which looking like both is entirely disgusting and should not be allowed by any one guy!) but I totally disagree. Superman.

I, like every where I have ever lived, remain the Helen Hunt in the group. I find this a tad depressing even though she is in one of my all time favorite flicks. (Not Twister but I do loves me a good natural disaster movie!) Where is Helen anyway? Is she even acting anymore? Shouldn't I get to be compared to someone who is still in the business?

What do you think?

How does her nose actually look smaller than mine? Oh Geesh...that's depressing.

I don't know, but it's got me thinking who my other friends are! Mindless fun, I know.

A picture of Fall from the South. The place you can still lay out and get a tan by your pumpkin! It's what makes being away from Indiana/Illinois bearable!

(Proud of me Steph? I got a tacky scarecrow for my front yard. It's not a duck but it will have to do!)