Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Due to the ice that began coating our streets and freeways around 1pm this afternoon, we were unable to travel north to our scheduled family get-together this afternoon/evening. In lieu of this, we celebrated Festivus with the Zipps, of course!

Most of you probably recognize the Seinfeld reference, and for those who don't click here. The event consists of three components:

The Festivus Pole. We didn't have one of these, which is okay since we very much believe in and love the Christmas tree. But I'm sure if we'd really put our minds to it, we could have come up with something. We did have logs we were trying to turn into a roaring fire. Certainly that counts.

The Airing of Grievances. The Zipps revealed they had about had it with how long it took for us to take care of the fallen tree in our yard this summer . . . and we railed on them for the flippin' broken window (frame and all) they had leaning up against the side of their house for - what - two months? Anyway, airing was done and punches were nearly thrown. Then we ate guacamole.

The Feats of Strength. Although no actual feats of strength were displayed, there were two comedic and potentially injurious near misses that could be described as feats of survival. The evening began with my opening the freezer door only to have a large ceramic jar full of what seemed like years of the Zipps' receipts, old gift cards, and odd contents of Brian's emptied pockets fall nearly on my head, hitting my knee, and shattering on the floor. A bit later, Brian decided to venture over to our back yard for some firewood and busted his tail on our solid-sheet-of-ice driveway as wood went flying. We both could've been killed. Or at least seriously injured.

Let's not forget Sean and Brian with their matching shirts. They are that close.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is My F-A-M-I-L-Y.

I love the holidays - especially Christmas because that translates to my entire family getting to be together and spending great time having fun and being the dork nuts that God created us to be!

In my 37 years, I've never spent a Christmas without my family. Not one. During the years that we lived in Houston, it never even occurred to us that things might change or that we'd miss out on anything. We've never been too far away to get back home. Even a 19-hour, straight-through drive with all boys didn't dissuade us from the trip. One year, we were even crashed into by an 18-wheeler (that didn't even stop) on the freeway in Memphis at around 3am. That was a mess, but God had his hand on us the entire time - and we kept on truckin' to get back to family.

Turn around? It would take more than a half-crashed van to keep us from going home for Christmas!

In a few days, my house will be filled with the family my parents started when they were married in 1961: them, my brother and sister and our spouses, and 9 cousins ranging in age from 3 to nearly 18 who all love one another more than life. We sleep all over the house and no one cares, we play games, we eat, we laugh and laugh and laugh. We are not a family who bickers or fights or treats one another badly. This life is too precious and short for that kind of nonsense.

Most of the usual Christmas stresses pretty much roll right off my back because all I mostly care about is my children understanding the true meaning of Christmas and not losing sight of that, and getting to spend several days having fun with my family.

My hope for you is that you are surrounded by precious family during the next week, and that the celebration of Christ's birth isn't lost in all the hoopla that the holiday has turned into. Have a wonderful, awesome, fun-filled, relaxing, enjoyable Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

THAT'S Why They're Pets.

Besides the whole no-opposable-thumbs issue, I know why dogs don't run the world.

Because if it took everyone 10 minutes walking in circles, even outside in 10-degree temperatures, to find the perfect spot to pee, nothing else would ever get accomplished.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now That's The Spirit.

I love the mall at Christmas time. It's the only time I go anymore. I have neither the time nor the desire to shop these days. Life doesn't allow it. Unless you count cheese, eggs, and deodorant at Walmart or water softener salt and chicken breasts at Sam's Club.

The last sentence makes me want to shout I Love America! But I digress ...

The mall at Christmas. It's like super-concentrated holiday spirit for the ultra-efficient person. You can enjoy an entire holiday experience for the senses all in one place in under an hour.

You've got your various holiday music selections playing overhead as well as filtering out from every store as you walk by; red, green, gold, and silver decorations of every shape and size as far as the eye can see; the mall-walking clans of ladies in their beaded Christmas sweatshirts; and little ones waiting in line to demand from Santa the latest dancing or laughing or poker-playing Elmo that can no longer be found on store shelves anywhere because CNN said it was the toy to have this year.

And let's not forget the $16 digital photo you can purchase of your child on Santa's lap that you could actually take yourself and have printed at Walgreens for under a quarter.

Even the perfume snipers at Macy's must be working on commission this season, as both their aim and determination seem to be more direct than usual. Times are tough, and we all have to earn our keep.

Merry Christmas! Where again is Christ in all of that? Are we sure that the three wise men didn't follow that star to a crowded store first to pick up that gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

So Seth and I ventured to the mall today so he could have a chat with the big bearded guy. His Christmas spirit is in high gear now that the countdown to C-day is in the single digits, and he is wearing his own Santa hat everywhere he goes.

He took it off, however, before talking to Santa, I believe out of pure reverence.

He started out the trip telling me that "Santa is fake. He's not real. He's just fake," and ended the trip with "You know, I think that might be the real Santa." The guy must have been convincing - what with having a cell phone on that big black belt and all.

He obviously must have to stay in constant touch with the elves up north.

It was a nice hour or so spent soaking up the holiday atmosphere, and we capped it off with a Happy Meal at the food court. Does a 5-year-old's day get any better?

I think not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let The Season Commence!

I finally bit the bullet and decorated. We bought a smaller tree this year to make room since there will be 14 people here for Christmas this year (8 of which are kids). The gifts around the tree with all of those people will, I'm sure, overtake the actual tree, but that's quite fine. There is nothing like a house full of your closest family to celebrate the most significant event in the history of the world. We all love being crammed in together and practically on top of one another - it's all just too fun! The grandkids range in age from 3 to almost 18 and all not only get along fabulously, but love being together. We are so blessed.

In this branch of the clan, it is fun still having a little one in our midst who is quite enamored with the whole idea of Santa and Christmas. With his autism delays, Seth (5) has really only understood Christmas and Santa for a couple of years; and this year he is just now getting a grasp on the true meaning of the holiday, Jesus' birth, and what we are celebrating. It's not a tight grasp, but peripherally he is beginning to understand. And my heart soars along with every question he asks about it. He's getting it.

So behold some evidence that I actually got some decorations up:

Seth excited to wake up and find the tree up and ready to decorate.

Joel and Seth decorating the tree (Alexx is too cool to participate).

The obligatory boys-in-front-of-the-tree photo.

Our "Texas tree" in honor of our years being Texans and how much we miss it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things Are Gonna Get Crazy!

Tonight will be the year's largest full moon of the year and here's why. It has to do with the earth being something like 17,000 miles closer to the moon and blah, blah, blah (just go read the article).

It will appear the largest right at sunset - so get yourself out there and check it out. Take some pictures and send them to me! I'll put them on another post. Please? You know how I love taking in God's universe.

How illuminating it will be!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Great Is Our God?

As I walked out my front door 10 minutes ago to this awesome sight, I was stuck pondering the question: How can any human question God's presence in this world?

There are no words.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What A Difference A Year Makes

One year ago right now (to the hour!), I had just had surgery on my foot, wasn't allowed to be up except to use the bathroom, and was higher than a kite on pain meds when Seth fell playing in the snow and broke his arm clean through both bones.

My four-year-old autistic son, who could barely tolerate looking in to the eyes of a stranger was about to go through a horrible ordeal at the hands of many strangers - while I sat right beside him and let them.

I prayed with him on the way to the hospital, and once we got there - I refused to let anyone else carry him in. Having raised this stubborn girl, I think my dad (who drove us there) knew that this was one battle not to try and fight. This act of motherly defiance set back my own recovery time, as it pulled apart some of my stitches and I later had to go an extra two weeks before having them removed because of it. But at the time, I would have endured anything to make my son realize that I was there to protect him and make him know that everything was going to be okay.

Seth had to be taken into surgery to re-set his arm, and ironically, the same anesthesiologist who had been in my surgery the week before was in Seth's.

Nine hours and another surgery later, we were back home, it was the middle of the night, and I was lying in bed wondering how in the world I was going to take care of my son not being able to get up myself.

Seth amazed us all. I think he even proved to himself what he was capable of. It was as if he stared his autism dead in the eye and said, "Back off, I can handle this." This child who could barely handle a change in his daily routine handled a complete upset in every area of his being.

He had to handle strangers in a strange place poking him, hurting him, making him talk to them; and then for the next four weeks he had to take medicine (a traumatic thing for him on a good day), learn to do everything with the opposite hand (he broke his right arm), have something on him that didn't feel right that he couldn't take off, and generally deal with pain, frustration, and not being able to do a lot of things that were routine for him. And he handled it all with so much normalcy that all of us around him were in shock.

Quite simply, he showed us!

It was as if in a bigger-than-life way, God showed him and us that Seth was so much stronger and more on his way than any of us realized.

He also showed us how incredibly blessed we are, as a family, to be surrounded by the people that we are. We were taken care of by so many people it was unbelievable. Of course our immediate families swooped in - my parents, my sister, Sean's mom all came in shifts to run this house. Our best friends next door, the Zipps, did so much for us; girls from my Bible study and just general members of our church family and friends brought us meal after meal, stopped by with Starbucks for me (yum!), goodies for the kids, and just chat time.

They all made a pretty hard time for us beautiful because we felt so loved.

This Christmas season, I'm thankful that all is normal (well, normal for us) and I'm getting to enjoy the holidays fully - and not from a recliner. I'm thankful that Seth is also fully-functioning this Christmas. I'm thankful that this past year I have been able to pass on that spirit of giving and help other people who are in need with my own time.

(This is a messageboard signature that my friend made for me last year.)
And I'm also thankful that I'm 14 pounds lighter now than I was in this photo!
Hey - we all have our demons.
Happy early, uneventful holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just What Is Normal and Appropriate?

Parents of special-needs kids everywhere can relate to this phenomenon. You see your child do something that may be inappropriate that needs to be reprimanded in some way, but your first instinct is to be proud. Huh?
When you have watched your child be consistently behind others his age for years with developmental delays - whether physical, mental, emotional, or social - you long for him to do something on-level with his peers. So if it happens to be something that really isn't praise-worthy, you honestly don't care - at least initially.
Now in our instance, Seth (5) has been struggling with autism since being diagnosed at 2.5 years old. Take this and couple it with the completely normal situation of being the youngest of two significantly older brothers who pass on to him things that most kids his age don't know about yet, and you've got some pretty interesting stuff coming out of his mouth. This from a child who has trouble processing whether or not something is appropriate or how it will affect the person he is saying it to.
It is quite interesting around our house a lot of the time. For instance, his memorization of Michael Scott from "The Office" talking about reverse psychology was . . . hilarious - yet not quite appropriate for a four-year-old. So you can imagine how trying to find the balance between being so incredibly glad that he's "getting" something or understanding how to put ideas together and express them and trying to teach him what he can and cannot do and say is often a struggle.
Alexx (17) and Joel (10) have pulled Seth deep into Star Wars, so this morning he pointed a candy cane at the dog and with great fervor said, "FREEZE rebel scum!" How age-appropriate! How normal! How very BOY!
Now I have to go make him understand that he can't do that to the sweet little girl sitting beside him in the classroom.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Don't Judge, Lest You Be Judged.

Hello, Internet. I'm going to tell you something personal. Please don't pass it on. I trust that you won't since we are so close.

I. Don't. Like. Christmas. Decorating.

There. I love my house after it's decorated; I enjoy immensely other people's efforts to make the world a Christmas-y wonderland. But today I actually compared trying to make myself decorate for Christmas to having a research paper hanging over my head.

I wish I could just come home and find that someone has broken into my house and put up all of my Christmas stuff. Or how about this? Someone come to my house and put all of my Christmas stuff up while I make you a fantastic dinner to enjoy as payment. I know - not quite even. How about two dinners?

Please don't condemn me. There are just other things I like to do in my very little spare time.

Like write.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Baaaaaack!

Winter, that is. And I have one word for you. YUCK. No - I have three. I. Miss. Houston.

This is my backyard this morning:
This is what it looked like in my backyard at the end of November in Texas:

But life goes on, and we move with it. Embracing the winters that I grew up with continues to be a struggle - but a struggle that I shrug off because it means I am surrounded by my family again, which means a world more than sunny, warm Decembers and close proximity to the beach.

So when I walk out my door and see this:
I can smile because it means my mom and dad are only an hour away and my boys' cousins whom they adore along with the rest of my family will flood our house in three weeks for Christmas - which never, ever happened in Texas.
So thank you, God, for bringing us back home - and please continue helping us adjust a little more each year when the curtain drops on the nice weather. It is well worth it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Once Upon A Time ...

While I am not one to be superstitious, the significance of the numbers that this year represent for Sean and me are pretty ironic.

My favorite number has always been, for some unknown reason, 21; and Sean's has always been 17. This past May marked the month that Sean and I had been together for 21 years, and today is our 17th anniversary. The story of us is long and not even half over, and I can't wait to live the rest of it.

We've been through a lot since the very beginning: early parenthood, going through college married and raising a child, job losses, several relocations, life-threatening illness, a child with autism and another with a mood disorder; and I'm sure I'm forgetting other significant things. And I'm also sure the list will continue to build as time goes on. But through it all, our marriage has remained rock-solid; and I know with all of my heart that was no accident. I also know that we didn't do it alone.

We've always believed deeply that God brought us together for reasons that I won't go into here; and in the last few years, we have made it a priority to have a Christ-centered family and marriage.

Along with that, we have made a commitment to cling to one another during difficult times rather than turn on one another; we know that a good, happy marriage is a daily work in progress and not a destination to be forgotten if your path takes a detour; we have an enormous amount of respect for one another; and very importantly - we laugh and laugh and laugh and have fun.

We started out as two kids who met on the first day of 7th grade when our lockers were assigned next to one another. Even when we began dating as friends three and a half years later, we couldn't have been more different - in personality, in background, in our goals for the future.

God had a plan that brought two polar opposites together. Two decades and three boys later, we're as in love as the two kids we started out as - that love has simply matured and bloomed larger and more colorful than we could have imagined.

Happy anniversary to my best friend in the whole world!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Boys Are Spoiled

by their Nana and Papa. Joel and Seth are always begging to sleep with Nana downstairs when they stay all night with us and the answer is always NO. They always stay with us during the week, which means it's a school night for the boys.

They were allowed to last night on Thanksgiving eve - and it was party time in the living room!

Even Heidi thought she was going to get to sleep with Nana ...

I ended up busting up the party when I took Heidi to her crate and made the boys quit telling Star Wars stories AT MIDNIGHT.

Speaking of my kids being spoiled by Nana and Papa - Heidi believes she is one of the grandkids and demands spoiling, as well. Papa is only too willing to oblige.

Speaking of the "S" word, I got to be spoiled today, too. I spent the morning cooking a yummy dinner with my mom, who is the awesome cook who taught me to cook; and then after we all ate and cleaned up, I took a two-hour nap!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm so thankful for my family each and every day. I'm thankful for my immediate family - my sons and my husband. I'm thankful for my extended family. I'm thankful for our best friends, who we consider family. I'm thankful for our church family.
We are very blessed, indeed - in family and otherwise.
Folks who
Matter and

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Now Return You To Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming

It's been a lackluster week. The blogging lull was but a symptom of a bigger issue: The Zipps were on vacation all week and life just wasn't the same. With my neighborly partner in crime missing in action for SIX days, I was forced to do things like repaint trim, catch up on my laundry, and vent my frustrations out to my dog.

Now don't get me wrong. I've got several good, awesome friends who I can (and do) go to any time for support, fun, great conversation, or whatever one of us needs. But being 30 feet away, Mrs. Zipps gets the good, the bad, the ugly, and whatever else I can throw at her. When I don't have two seconds to call any of my other friends or an hour to visit with them, it's Susan who seems to pop in my door at just the right time. I can sit in the recliner in their living room in my pajamas after all the kids have gone to bed and cry about my day.

Sean sulked around because he didn't have Brian to play with all week long; not to mention how massively bummed Seth is when his pseudo-sisters are gone. Talk about hard to live with. Oh. My.

So life is back in order. The Zipps are home. The Andersons are happy and all is right with our world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Can Hear The Ad Now.

This morning as Seth (5) and I were in the middle of our morning cuddle time, he snuggled his face into my neck and said, "Mmmm, you smell like an angel ..."

And this was a totally awesome half-a-second, until he immediately followed it with, "Ewww - and that coffee breath!"

Do angels not drink coffee?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Love My Music!

This is one of my favorite songs by Third Day - and it's so awesome when they perform it live. Such great energy.




Click "Pop Out Player" which will take you to the song, then click the play symbol.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yummy Goodies . . . That I Can't Have

One of my favorite things to do is cook - even when I have no time to do it. It's cathartic for me! Plus my second favorite thing to do is give it away. Right now, I'm in a weight-loss challenge and am down 7 pounds. So when I feel the urge to cook or bake, I have to give it away if it's anything very fattening.

The day before yesterday, I spent the afternoon cooking meals for Sean to take to his mom's house. She was having an out-patient procedure done and he was going to care for her for a couple of days. So of course, my first instinct was to think that the last thing they'll want to do is cook. So I got to give all of that away (except for a bit I kept back for the boys).

Then yesterday I had some over-ripe bananas, and if you know me at all, you know it would kill me to throw them away. So I made banana chocolate chip bread and gave it to Seth's teacher and his speech therapist when I worked at his school in the afternoon.

The cutest part is that Seth wanted to give some to Mr. Mike, his bus driver, but I'd only prepared two plates. So when we got home, he found the leftover cinnamon rolls from what I had made and sent with Sean and insisted that we hurry up and get one ready for when Mr. Mike shows up. My sweet boy!

We heated it up and gave it to him when he pulled up, and he was quite appreciative.

So I guess for World Kindness Day, Seth and I were able to make three people smile with really fattening goodness.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Love to Write

In case you haven't clicked over to it lately - there is another blog that I write on my church's website called In the Thick of It.

Sometimes the posts on both blogs are duplicate, sometimes not. You never know!

Check it out sometime.

Beeeee Kind

Today is World Kindness Day. I think every day should be a celebration of being kind; but alas, it is not.

I have a naturally biting personality for some reason, and I have to work against this a lot. I'm sarcastic, prone to judging people, and can be taken down easily by small situations - situations that are manageable for others. I'm better now than I used to be, but it's because I am constantly aware of what I'm feeling and work to turn it around.

I do not have a hard time being kind to people that I run into. In fact, I try to teach my kids to engage everyday folks that they come in contact with in conversation just to show that they care how their day is going. But honestly, being truly and genuinely compassionate and kind is something I really consciously have to work on. My own emotional inadequacies often hinder this.

My genes are twisted around somewhere, somehow - because my mom is genuinely compassionate and built an entire life as a nurse on this quality. She really inserted herself into the lives of her patients, and they absolutely loved her for it. She cared for them above and beyond what the job required.

Well, let me back up a bit. It's not that I don't feel it, I just often have a hard time expressing it. Ask Sean and he'll tell you about my "bleeding heart" issue. My heart often aches for things when others couldn't care less. I'm always wanting to take people - and animals - in. I feel sorry for people for a number of weird and probably uncalled-for reasons.

But when it's time to express it, I always think the same thing, "Who in the world am I?" I often feel like I would be looked upon as an idiot; like people will wonder why in the world I think I have anything to offer.

Twisted, I know. I suppose true kindness and compassion can be shown in many ways and perhaps I'm not as damaged as I think.

I did actually tell Sean once a few years ago that I wish I could have a job where I just make people's days better. I love the small things that brighten people's spirits. Ya think there's a career in that somewhere? And do you think my experience in the cutting world of advertising and my journalism degree will even matter in that search?

It sounds like I have a future as a Walmart greeter. Though I need to put on about 30 years to qualify for that position.

Happy World Kindness Day! Go be nice to someone for no reason.

I Love Cranberries!

I realize I've neglected posting recipes, like I was asked to do, so here is one of my favorites. And not only is it one of my favorites, it's one I get requests for - especially around the holidays.

I give it away on platters all the time - especially to my kids' teachers. And it's easy!

Cranberry Orange Loaf

¼ C. margarine or butter
1 C. white sugar
1 egg
¾ C. orange juice
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 T. grated orange zest (Imperative! Don't leave this out!)
1 ½ C. fresh or frozen cranberries
½ C. pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional, of course)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and nuts. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter or margarine, sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in juice. Pour in flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Scape into a greased 9” x 5” loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour, (may have to cover with foil last 10 minutes if top gets too brown). Let stand 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mmmm, That Feels Good

In honor of winter finally hitting here in central Indiana, I have dressed up my blog in richer, deeper colors - colors that make me want to cuddle up by the fire and relax.

That almost never happens, but I can pretend.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's Get Real.

I just read this in an article on MSNBC about this country's economic downturn and how it could affect movies.

"Even if a nickel no longer gets you a double feature, movie tickets remain one of the great entertainment bargains available ..."

Um, what? By the time I walk into a theatre with my husband and three kids before the show has even started, we have spent between $50 and $60 for tickets and snacks - that must be shared. And it costs just as much if you don't take your kids because then that money goes to a babysitter.

Does film critic Alonso Duralde (the author of the article) know what the word bargain means? I'm going to take a giant leap here and say he's either unmarried with no kids or hasn't a clue what real life is like for most "normal" folks here in America. Or both!

Looks like I'm right on at least one count.


Go Ahead, It's Okay.

Wanna publicly admit that you follow this blog?

Well, think about it.

If so - check it out to the left.

Updated to add: Danielle, for becoming my first official follower, find me at church and I'll give you a hug. Not a prize in your eyes, you say? How about a free goodie the next time I make food for the small group leader training class on December 7th? It's a SWEEEET deal.

And as the first person to admit to reading all of this nonsense - you get to name the followers. Might I suggest something peppy, yet filled with meaning. For instance, "chaotic" in Filipino is "gulo" - how about Gulos?

I am so obnoxious. The constant fabric softener fumes from today's laundry-doing must be settling in.

Oh No You DIDN'T!

Oh yes we did.

What Heidi looked like last week:

Heidi after being groomed Friday:

WHY why oh why? Because she had a few mats, so we decided to start all over. We recently adopted her and the previous owner failed to mention how I was supposed to groom her a certain way. I bathed her and brushed her, but with the wrong kind of brush. So now we know.

And now we wait. And wait. And wait . . . for her crew cut to grow out.

For now, we have renamed her Mrs. Bigglesworth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can You Say AWESOME?!

Friday night was the greatest gift - on many levels. The Zipps came through and were able to provide for Sean and me tickets to Third Day through a friend that once worked in the biz. You can click their album cover at the bottom left to learn more about them or visit their website HERE.

We first became huge fans after seeing them perform at a music festival in northern Indiana a few years ago along with Kutless (another of my favorites) and Michael W. Smith. We already loved their music, but seeing them live is amazing. They connect very well with the audience and are just quite inspirational. We happened to receive free tickets to this from a radio station.

When I found out they were going to be here this summer, I wanted to go so incredibly bad, but we are trying to be very tight with our money to pay down debt. So the obvious answer was that concert tickets are not on the short list of needs (which really could be argued against). The day before the concert, I was offered free tickets from someone who received them from one of the concert's sponsors, Habitat for Humanity. I felt good about this because Sean, Alexx, and Joel had worked on building a Habitat house just a few weeks before with our church.

Again - an awesome performance.

When they began announcing the dates for the tour for their new album, Revelation, wouldn't you know - two dates in Indiana were among the first ones! I kept harping on Sean about it, to which he stood firm. Yes, he wanted to go badly as well, but we have financial goals to meet. Fine. Be mature about it.

The Zipps then asked their friend if he could hook them up with tickets, and a few days before the concert - dude came through. And did he ever! Along with the terrific tickets (14th row), he included two passes to the meet and greet after the show. Oh. My.

Now, let's just say this - I'm quite the Mac Powell (lead singer) fan. Sean would laugh out loud at this understatement. It's not so much a physical rush, but an emotional one - the man's voice and the words he sings move me. I'm not even kidding you when I say this - when I was trying to convince Sean to buy us tickets to go and he was standing his ground on the financial plan we have, I actually compared my going to see Third Day to how some people feel when they go to the Billy Graham crusade. I know. But I was just trying to make him understand how much my life depended on doing this. Okay. Now you may laugh. (And my mom is now having flashbacks to how I tried to get my way as a teenager ...)

Long explanation short - I love them. I love them more that I love Keith Urban and his music. And that says a lot. Another important point is that their music has been very instrumental in Sean's walk as a new Christian these past few years. Music is a huge part of our lives as an entire family, so it's no surprise that listening to different kinds of music helps us through many things. There are days when I am trudging through autism, where listening to certain music that reminds me of what I have in my faith is what gets me through that hour to be able to tackle the next issue. So this is a little more than fun for us. It means something.

Of course, they did not disappoint. We had a great time being uplifted once again by Third Day, and were also introduced to a band we weren't aware of, Need to Breathe, and found that we really enjoyed them as well.

We also had wonderful time as a couple, which all marriages need. The concert was at IU Auditorium in Bloomington, so we also had great alone time on the drive there and back. It was a good evening all around.

AND I GOT TO MEET MY FAVORITE BAND. They were incredibly nice. During the meet & greet, they moved around the room separately, so you were able to talk to them individually, get things signed if you wanted to, take pictures, etc. They then moved everyone through so they could all get a photo with the entire band. There are a couple of photos on the website that were taken of us by their photographer that I haven't been able to download yet.

When Mac Powell walked up to me, held out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Mac Powell," I may have grabbed his hand a little too hard - and maybe he thought it was weird when I then smelled it for a minute or so? We were able to tell him how their music has helped in the ways that I mentioned above, then he began asking about our kids and their ages and commented on how far apart they are and that they'd really squeezed theirs together . . . and then I only remember taking photos and asking if I could have his shirt to make a pillow case out of it.

Is that weird?

Fun, fun night. Now I can die.

And the next day I said something about the bottle of water I was drinking from was my "Third Day water" because it was what I got at the meet & greet. A few hours later, I noticed it was sitting on the fireplace mantel. Huh? Sean said he figured I wanted it on prominent display and that no one should touch it. Funny. Funny guy I'm married to.

Wouldn't this make a great poster? Or wall mural?

Having great couple time!

Sean and bassist Tai Anderson.

On the way home, we were recognizing God's hand in all of this. All three opportunities were put before us by others. We wanted to do something, but felt we shouldn't for financial reasons - and God provided. For all three events, all we had to pay for was gas money and, perhaps, a soda or two at the shows.
Now I know it may sound silly that we see these things as God providing. But we do, and we are grateful for the experiences.

And the Zipps totally rock for loving us enough to try and make this happen on their end!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Once upon a time when we lived elsewhere, we would sit in our garage on Halloween and hand out warm apple cider and candy.

This is the first year we have done it since moving back here. And as we do much of our life now, we did it with the Zipps! We all had great fun.

Making lots of spider cupcakes ...
Preparing for the evening ...

Ready to go!

Star Wars dudes Seth and Joel.

Even Heidi got in on the fun! Doesn't she look thrilled?

Mr. Zipps (with his injured leg and crutches) and I stayed back and handed out cider, cupcakes, candy, and trinkets and chatted with neighbors while Sean and Susan took the kids trick-or-treating.

Great fun was had by all!