Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm not even sure what an heirloom tomato is.....

How your baby's growing:
Your baby's sensory development is exploding! His brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that he may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to him, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.

Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. His arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. His kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on his scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on his skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

We're off to the mountains for the weekend for some necessary R&R. Though Christmas week was more fun than we could have imagined - it's just not the same as getting away to the mountains with nothing to do! What an adventure this year has been! I need a break from it....don't you? Enjoy some black eyed peas and collared greens tomorrow and I pray many blessings on your 2009. Can't wait for my kiss at midnight......

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Too much good stuff

I am sitting on the couch. Just Amos the Famous Dog and me. Dad's away hunting with my brothers. It's raining outside and it is earlier than I had hoped. Amos was choking on something this morning so I jumped out of bed to tend to my child. My coffee (and yes I still drink a half a cup daily! I think baby likes it....) is perfectly flavored this morning and the house is 95% clean which I think is pretty good after week of travel and Christmas. I started to type about the events of the last few weeks and I felt huge rivers of tears well up so I had to delay for a few minutes. These are good tears - no worries.
Yes, circumstances were wonderful. Brad and I had such a sweet time with both of our families. I was surprised with the mother of all surprises - a new king sized bed! Amos was able to play and run in South Georgia for 3 days so he is the happiest he has ever been. Mr. Brad broke our $35 stocking limit and surprised me with another huge surprise - an awesome necklace. What's better is he left the note in my stocking telling me my stocking present was in the bathtub! Who uses the bathtub in their surprise but Brad who knows that is my most favorite place! We found out this week that the little mango in my tummy is a boy - and that was such fun Christmas day news! The weather has been in the 70's and warm. We are headed to the mountains this week to enjoy some down time with some of our favorite people. I could go on and on.....things have been pleasant this week. Oh, and I actually enjoy my new "career" at the mall. I hope those sentiments last - I can't take anymore job changes until May when my job really changes. Oh, and, I have spent a whole 23 hours away from Brad and it makes me crave him! Why is that so???? I can't stop thinking about him walking through the door tonight smelling like a camp fire and smiling ear to ear. I've certainly learned that a little time away is good for the soul and the marriage.
But really what has made my heart swell is just that - my heart. The condition of that thing inside of me that helps me to really feel any emotion at all has certainly been "feeling" lately. For me - that is the thermometer. It's not really whether my outlook is rosy or slightly grey - it is more a question of whether it can feel at all. To me, numbness of the heart is much more threatening than a few gloomy thoughts. Since we learned we were expecting unexpectedly back in September my heart has seemed to just stand there - still - waiting for something more to "shock" it back to life. I know, you say, how can the news of a child not cause your heart to flip? But I don't know that answer. I just know God in His perfect timing has started to pull at the strings and slowly "feeling" is seeping back in and oh my - it do feel so good! I noticed the increase in feel-e-mones in my body a few weekends ago. Jeff Henderson, the Buckhead Church campus director, spoke "live" at church the Sunday before Christmas. Brad and I were 7 minutes late as usual. We live 1.25 miles from church and we are consistently 7 minutes late - usually causing us to miss the first song or two. We'll tackle this issue in the New Year. We both were so hurried to get there because we were needing a good dose of Christmas tunes. We rush in the door only to be greeted by the end of the last song. Needless to say, I could sense a little frustration between both of see, the crazy events of the last month had just pushed the nearness of Christmas miles away and that morning we were just hoping for a little Christmas cheer. . . just a touch. So, admittedly, the first 20 minutes of service I was only half way there. Luckily, about half way through Jeff really caught my ear or my heart I should say. The bottom line is that God saw it fit that He should send a savior for me. We know He did because that is what happened. My numbness of heart comes when I forget this simple statement. I begin to forget my need for "saving" everyday. And if you grew up Catholic like I did that word just makes you cringe and think of the crazies on the sidewalk in Athens screaming at you to be saved or burn! But really I think if we all thought back about our day or even our morning - there are little things that we need saving from. I need saving from my temper all to often. I didn't even know I had a temper until I got a dog and a sweet husband. I usually need saving from my selfishness. Selfishness just doesn't leave anyone feeling anymore just seems to make me feel empty and alone. Mostly though I need saving from my pride. Oh how I hate those little feelings of "rightness" that spring into my head at every turn in marriage. I wasn't created to be "right" and even if I were it just never leaves me feeling as good as I thought it would when I started out on my plight to be right! So on this particular Sunday Jeff spoke right to me. He spoke right to my need for a Savior and though He never came out and told me I needed one because I was crummy alot of the time he did ask me to just consider whether I agree with God's assumption. You see, God assumed I would need one. So He sent one. Do I agree with His assumption? Yes. Fully. And on this Sunday for some reason I felt it more than ever. And this is the day my heart started "feeling" again. I miss the intimacy with my Savior that I have known for so many years. I miss my full heart that comes from just knowing someone came so that I might live a vibrant life. I love the word vibrant! Who doesn't want to live vibrantly? Who doesn't want more than mediocrity?

My prayer for my family and yours is that we might fully know the gift given to us this Christmas season. I was sick shopping for a few presents this year that I had to find because I knew a few people would have me something. I love to give to others so it isn't that.....actually if I could spend $100 dollars a month I would take you to lunch and buy surprises for people but I just hate it when it seems so forced. Really, my heart just wanted to recognize the ultimate gift that had been given on my behalf and for some reason it took 3/4's of a Christmas season to pass before my heart couldn't take it anymore and it broke. It broke that Sunday and has since felt so good not having to be closed tight. May God be near to you and your heart this week and may you, too, question whether you believe God's assumption about your need for a Savior is accurate?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's a......


BABY BOY!!!!!!

I thought this news deserved it's own mini-post. And, yes, we waited until Christmas morning to open our bundle of news. There was no peeking before Christmas morning even at the request of much of my family. We are so excited about this first child being a boy. But, what do I do with a boy???? Someone mentioned a "peepee-teepee" and I thought that word alone was enough to affirm that I am clueless when it comes to little boys. Anyway, all is well and the little kiddie-poo is growing a few days ahead of schedule.....8 ounces as of Tuesday. Brad's already researching little league football in the area for his studly son!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Boy or Girl???

We'll have a little envelope in our hands in two hours with the big secret! I am drinking a gallon of sugary apple juice and eating chocolate for breakfast. Oh, please little around today and wiggle and move freely. We want to see you!

We plan to not open our envelope of news until Christmas morning so you'll have to refrain from asking until then. I have every hour planned for the next 48 so I am not tempted to peek at our Christmas present. Happy anatomy day! Wear something pink or blue!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I love surprises! My husband and my mama.....

spent Saturday morning in bed.

This is what mama said to me as she was later explaining the planning of their biggest of surprises. This is just what every daughter longs to hear I am sure.

You see I headed out to start my most usual and most favorite of Saturday mornings. A Pilate's class at 10 and kickboxing at 11. I'll watch umpteen hours of football or help repair a car or clean toilets or go sit in a deer stand all day with my hubby as long as I first get to do my favorite of Saturday routines. I know...I should give unconditionally and on many things I do but rarely do I give in on my Saturday rituals and if I do Brad says he always has regrets. Even though my belly is growing and my body is getting soft everywhere I still like to try to kick and punch my way to increased endorphins on my Saturdays.
Brad was extra anxious this particular Saturday to get me out of the house. Usually, B-rad pulls at my t-shirt to get me to stay just a little longer and soak in the lack of routine on the weekends but as I mentioned I rarely budge. Not this morning. Brad was up and at 'em and tying his tennie's like he has somewhere to be. This is when my suspicion began. Brad loves nothing to do on Saturday as much as I love hitting the gym. He said he may be home by lunch and gave no further details. This was clue number uno for me. Brad rarely leaves me guessing especially when it comes to his whereabouts. Maybe it is that we are still newlyweds but Brad and I do not suffer in the communication column...if anything maybe we over communicate. Last month I had nearly $200 of cell phone overages. When I did my inquiry to find the problem for this unwanted surprise I saw that Brad and I used 852 minutes last month just talking to each other and that doesn't include the hundreds of text messages. And we LIVE TOGETHER!!! Ultimately, this lead to Brad getting a new blackberry as we figured it was time to be on the same network since our last names our the same. Anywho, this morning Brad left me hangin.
So on my usual way out the door I rang mama as I usually do. If there is another person that maybe I talk too much too though I would never dare admitting that - it's my mama. Luckily, we can make unlimited calls to each other...anytime - anywhere, baby! Well, mama had planned to meet me later to look over baby clothes at a friends "baby clothes" party (I didn't know in my pre-pregnancy days that they had these). Mama was extra quick on the phone this morning and with little explanation said she probably wouldn't meet me later.
I sort of start to add up all the weird behaviors of the morning but luckily I was late to Pilate's and quickly jumped into my Series of 5 and soon forgot about Brad and mama's where abouts.

After about 800 calories spent and the little endorphins dancing all through my head I headed home but was stopped by hubby who says I have to call first. WHAT??? Then I get a fun text saying there are surprises for me at home. I really didn't want to start guessing about these surprises because the truth is.....I LOVE surprises but I can NEVER be surprised. I was going to let Brad have this one...mostly for my own enjoyment. I did have a thought or two though that started to get me nervous. What if Brad went and bought my 4 new tires that the Explorer needs? I am not sure how this would have gone over and I didn't even want to think it through. Knowing that we are on a tight budget right now I then thought maybe my "surprise" was a clean guest bedroom and a freshly vacuumed floor. I was okay with that but trust me - I was expecting nothing more. Expect little and then be surprised much, right?

As the elevator door opens to our floor I run into Mr. Brad stuffing some sort of large trash down the trash chute. He runs ahead of me and comes back out the door with a scarf. He ties the scar around my eyes and asks me to trust him. I am never good when someone says that....I am fairly independent especially when it comes to my body and my sight - I like to rely on no one! As we walk through the door Brad turns me into the guest bedroom slash office slash soon to be nursery slash storage room. Who knows what he could have been storing away in this room? All of a sudden I run into a plush wall or something and I rebound back. I pull off my blindfold and see a beautiful KING size mattress leaning against the wall. WHAT??? OH MY GOODNESS??? AGGHHHH!!!! NO MORE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? These were just some of the emotions taking over my body. Apparently mama and Brad had been conspiring all morning to go try out mattresses to put an end to my nights of no sleep. Go ahead and pity Brad but the truth is I can't sleep if Brad even breathes heavy in bed. I need complete silence and complete stillness. No squeaks, no deep breaths, no creepy toes touching my leg....nothing. Don't worry - I cuddle too but the rule is cuddle and divide. Now in our new bed we can do mattress angels and still not touch eachother! Oh, this is such a dream come true and such a perfect early Christmas surprise from mama and daddy. I told her she was just wanting to protect my marriage and the hope of more grand children as I think she thought soon enough I'd be sleeping in my own room if another elbow hit me or wondering toe woke me up. So mama and Brad spent the whole morning in bed they say. They found the perfect mattress and more so, pulled off the perfect surprise.

Off to a splendid night in my new bed with my cute husband and a good foot of space in between! Sweet sweet dreams.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the 4th day of Christmas...

My mother gave to me.....4 rolls of cookie dough, 3 extra pounds, 2 tired legs and really really fun memory!

Mama and lil sis and I have picked up an old tradition. Of course, my rose colored goggles remembers us doing this every week before every Christmas but I am quickly reminded that it's been a while since we spent a day baking with the mother hen. And she is just that in the kitchen! You see, she doesn't normally like me in the kitchen. She has always fed a family of 6 every meal for 27 plus years. She easily entertains a crowd of 10 or a crowd of 75. The one rule we all know though is to not linger around the kitchen 'til she is ready. So, a day of cooking was certainly a stretch on sweet mama's patience. Maybe it was the Christmas tunes in the background and the perfect smell of Christmas in their home but mama was especially calm through this cooking experience.
Mamas' mama aptly named mawmaw had originated this perfect pinwheel cookie recipe. Maybe it is because I grew up nibbling on these things around Christmas time or my baby's recent love for chocolate but I love these perfect wheels of chocolate and orange flavored shortbread! I have now had about 3 after every meal. Yikes! I am sure my doctors appointment on Tuesday will confirm some weight gain and I don't think it has anything to do with a baby! Needless to say, mama handled the chocolate filling while I tackled much of the yummy cookie dough. Mary....well, she was mostly moral support but that is necessary when you spend 4+ hours in the kitchen just preparing the dough...not including baking time.
Anyway, I had such a fun day in the kitchen with sweet mama and ML. We talked over babies and colleges and marriage and Christmas traditions. We had flour everywhere and ML looked especially stunning in her apron (see picture). I am just happy we brought back an old family tradition (or started a new one!) My baby's happy that I like to eat cookies all day long. Amos is happy that I keep dropping crumbs on the floor as I eat and type. See....when the girls get in the kitchen - everyone comes away happy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My little turnip green! vote on the side.....Do you think this little thing will be a mini-Brad? (A boy) or a mini-me (a little girl)???

Your pregnancy: 17 weeks

How your baby's growing:
Your baby's skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she's around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.
(**Again, they say "she" but I am not sure why???) We find out the big news December 23rd but we won't actually read the results until Christmas morning with the fam'!!!

I am so anxious! (PS....last week it said it was the size of an avocado. Isn't a turnip smaller than an avocado or do I not know my veggies?)

Betsy and turnip!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TAG! I'm it!

My favorite person living on an island has tagged me for some Holiday fun. I love anything cheesy having to do with the most splendid time of year so here it goes.....6 quirky things about me during the Holidays.....

1) Even before there was a bun in my oven I loved to walk over to Phipps Plaza across the street and see all the little toddlers scream on the real Santa's lap. Did you know the Phipps Plaza Santa is the real Santa? Last year for my first Christmas as a Bagwell we walked over with our Starbucks and sat on the spiraling steps above Santa's chair just watching the 5 years olds leap onto Santa's lap while the little 2 year old pig-tailed girls wailed and kicked their legs as long as it would get them away from that scary man. It was sad.....we couldn't leave the spectacle despite the embarrassment of the young parents.

2) My mom used to truly dress us in puff painted sweatshirts that I had made and attempted to sell at a garage sale..with no luck. We would also pack some eggnog and grab a candle and hit the streets of Oaklanding...our neighborhood in Tampa, Florida. Now, I was in the choir and I sang in the shower thinking there was promise in my ripe new voice but soon I would discover that singing was not a talent I had been given. Nonetheless, I would carol along with my younger siblings and our next door neighbors. I won't lie....every single year I have the itch to round up some buddies and knock on the doors in Brookhaven. I loved this tradition with my mama....and maybe it only happened a time or two but it has stuck with me! Fa la la la la la la la la!

3) My memories of my childhood Christmas's are all seen through rose colored glasses. Last year my sweet brothers quickly put out the fire in my eye as I told stories to Brad of our lovely Christmas traditions. I remember mommy singing all season long as she baked cookies and pecan pies while dad hummed to the "winter wonderland" as he hung the gleaming star from the tree. Meanwhile, the kiddos and I were playing happily with our train set and watching the 18th hour of a Christmas Story. CRASH....BAM! Ruined......Last year the boys truly tried to ruin any merry memory I had stored in my happy memory bank. They recalled our hatred for going to mass as a family Christmas morning. They reminded me of my grumpiness in the morning when I was old enough to know a thing or two about Santa and they were busy leaping for joy in their onsie pajamas with feet on them. They said I pouted when I didn't get what I wanted and that the beautiful breakfast that I remembered dad making every Christmas morning was really the result of mom and dad arguing over who made better grits. Ouch! This year I will leave my memories tucked happily inside let them warm my thoughts and my heart. No more bah humbug for me!

4)Wassail. 9 out of 10 of you do not know what I am talking about. You'll have to find out. All I know is my sweet granddad used to have himself a cup or two and sit with a huge smile in his big chair. Wassail is dad's concoction. He never really tells the exact measurements of all the spices but he says he is the perfect wassail maker. I loved the smell even when I was a mere tweenager. I knew there had to be some "happy sauce" in the steaming pot of joy and I knew a 12 year old probably should stay clear but I never did. And that's the thrill of a big ole one ever knew and I guess if they did they never cared. Dad used to sing (or maybe this is one of those "rosy" memories....) "Here we go a wassailing - a wassailing we go!"

5) I am anal about Christmas lights on the tree. Last year we had an 8 foot tree and I think we had 20+ strands of lights. This year our tree is a little shorter (and for some reason doesn't smell like last year!) and we probably only have about 15 strands. The little lights aren't twinkling, Russ! I like to wrap each branch with lights and then stuff them back in the back and wrap the next one. I want you to see my tree from across Peachtree and think wow, that tree has a whole lotta lights! This year I was feeling a little first trimester queasiness so I wasn't as involved with the lighting of the tree. I left these duties to my little elves, Brad and Amos. I can't complain because I was half present during the tree trimming but everyday I wonder if Brad would notice if I stuck another 10 or so strands on the tree?? And I don't like colored lights. Will I have to have a tree with colored lights that blink when the little ones come along? Is that a necessity?

6) I secretly have a hard time not spending the night with my family Christmas night. More so, I have an even harder time knowing I won't be here most of Christmas day this year. And, even more secretly, I was bummed that my fam left me out of the Christmas picture this year! I am sure this "quirk" will drop off the list next year as Brad and I have our own little family but for now I just can't let myself think about Christmas lunch without me and Christmas day without me! I thought Christmas doesn't go on if I am not there! You see.... I love watching the boys play with their electronic toys and watching ML as she changes into her new outfits throughout the day. I love watching pieces of a Christmas Story throughout the day while dad sneaks in a nap in the background. I love picking at the leftovers from breakfast until mama gets her perfect lunch on the table. I love going to the movies that afternoon or night and I love seeing all the mess and the paper and bows lie around the whole day while mama attempts to straighten our new things into our own happy piles. I will miss dad's video taping of every possible embarrassing look and I will miss more ML's eyes rolling as dad makes "dad type" comments. Many of my friends know this....I have not been your model wife for learning to "leave and cleave." I have my foot in my new family but I just hate to pull the other one out of my family. This gets easier, right? They say kids help. I am hoping this is true. Luckily this year Brad and I will go over to mama's for breakfast and then hit the road to South Georgia so I'll get a little taste of a Nicholson Christmas.

Thanks, Katie! Love you! The sad thing is I don't have anyone to tag because I don't think too many people but the three of you (who have already been tagged) read this blog (and have a blog, too!) But I'll try....give it a whirl CHARLSIE. (No one make fun of me if she never reads and chooses not to participate.)

Whirlwind of a week!

Among other things....Amos got a haircut. The barber loves to put a bandanna on him after he is freshly cut. I have let him keep the bandanna on this time. Brad threatens to put toothpaste in my socks if I don't relieve his dog of my insanity. I actually like the bandanna this time. I am certainly not one to dress my dog in any type of clothing....though I did think he made a good Rudolph for the 45 seconds he wore his antlers....Nonetheless, Amos got a bath and tidy last week and I am so happy for him. When he is all clean and neat I let him cuddle with me (even on the bed sometimes! Don't tell!) and you can just tell he feels a little better about himself. He can't stop looking in the mirror in our bedroom when he trots by....just like his daddy. I love it!

It was a good thing Amos had a busy week with friends and hair cuts though because it was a mess around the household. I will have to spare the specific details but within a 24 hour period Brad really had some big decisions to make regarding his career. I sent him away to the mountains in the middle of the week so he could get to his happy place where he could think. This he did...he went and he thought and he forgot to sleep (which came in to play as the week intensified). I was really praying this whole week that he would find clarity and peace in a decision. This was one of those weeks that I know we will point to years down the road. It was also the first time we really had to make the best decision for our family. In our young age it is easy to be swayed by everything around you and everyone around you. This was one of those times where we just couldn't look to what was around us but we had to trust that God was before us and that He had a plan....even though it seemed so foggy. The whole scenario still just blows my mind.....since we found out we were expecting we have said that "there is more to come." We both knew it. We knew God would be right before us aligning our foot steps. Admittedly, in the midst of a growing belly and a failing economy it seemed hard to trust what we had been saying. Sure He would God threw some opportunities in front of us when we least expected. I am truly blow away by God's hand in the details of our lives. My heart is so full yet so light.

We ended our crazy week in the booming town of Selma, Alabama. Brad was in a wedding of one of his dearest friends. He was a hot groomsmen I tell you. I am not sure if it was the new found confidence coming from a week like I just described or his new haircut but I loved watching him march down the aisle in his tuxedo. Don't you just love a boy in a suit and a bow tie? We had such a good time catching up with old friends from Athens. Irnoically, 90% of the wives of the weekend are expecting a little kiddie poo in the spring, too, so that was fun to talk about babysitters and diapers and growing belly's. I was happy to be able to be a part of the conversation. What is happening to me??? I am growing so attached to my morphing middle. I love seeing my body change and I can do nothing to stop it...nothing! This is a completely different tone than a month ago but a welcomed tone. Oh, God is so in the details of our lives! After a week like last week Brad and I are ready for some hopefully peaceful few days before Christmas....the kind of days where you turn the cellphone off, heat up some spiced tea, and just watch the lights twinkle on the tree and feel at ease.......


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lemon to an apple to an avocado!

From my most recent babycenter email:

Hello, Betsy!
Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length . Right now, he's about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too.

**And PS - they say "he" sometimes and "her" sometimes but they don't know yet either.

I am ready for a little belly. Come on little belly....bring it on!

Brad, please employ me as your housewife!

I must be quick. The chili is cooking and the muffin timer is about to ding. I thought I would start my campaign early in hopes of a successful outcome....
You see....I have grown to love doing chores around the house. Today I have some of my favorite tunes on the ipod speakers. I am still in my pajamas (well, Brad's over sized t-shirt if that counts) and I am cooking and cleaning. I just love having things to do around the house and having the time to do them. I know often you hear of many women talking about needing 25 hours in a day. I don't necessarily need more hours - I just need to stay unemployed. This week is my last week before I start working again. I have had 6 weeks out of the working world and sadly, it took me 4 to just to realize that I had nothing to do and to start to enjoy it. I am on my 3rd load of laundry. The tree is mostly trimmed and I have been making some of our our favorite chili this morning (compliments of my dear friend Meredith). I've done half of our Christmas shopping and when there are chores to be done I have myself scheduled to volunteer at the front desk of the church. I know this job doesn't pay and, yes, I feel uber guilty about not contributing to the family budget right now but can I just confess....I am happiest at home...making it cozy, hanging things, mixing things and planning things. And, this my friends is a HUGE statement! 5 years ago when I was fresh into the financial sector you couldn't have paid me to stay home by myself and clean the toilets or cut coupons. Thankfully, this little thing in my tummy and God's goodness in just helping me be content right where I am have contributed to this welcomed mind shift. So, for your is a pic of me at home....doing what I do....cutting onions with ski goggles on. Hey - does anyone know a better way to keep from crying when cutting onions? Please share. And...lastly, a recipe from sweet Meredith. Yummy!

Happy at home

Mere'sTurkey Chili

1 lb ground turky

1 med red onion diced

3 cloves garlic/minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper chopped

2 cans diced tomatoes (w/green chiles)

2 cans pinto beans

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder (I usually do 1 1/2 cuz 2 is really spicy)

pinch of salt & pepper to your taste

Saute onion, garlic, and red pepper in oil for 2 mintues. Add ground turkey until all turky is cooked through. Add tomatoes, beans, and all spices. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bored in substitute land so posting funny videos

Thanks to my sister who showed me this 4 minutes of joy. I did this stuff, too, when I was 12. Really, ask my mama...I took videos of me doing flips on the trampoline for hours. Oh gosh, and I made people watch them! I'll post one someday. Then I would video myself acting out a part in a book. I loved Cecily from Ann of Green Gables. Even better, I would make up dances in front of the camera but somehow the level of the camera only caught me from my knees to my neck. The most humiliating was my video tape of me practicing my toe touches for cheerleading in middle school. I wasn't really a flexible little girl but I thought I was and my whole family told me I was great. I stunk. I mean, I stunk bad. I could barely get my feet off the ground so of course there was no way I was able to bend down and touch them 3 inches off the ground all while jumping. Anyway, I don't blame my mom though....what cheap entertainment for a 'tweenager. Give her a camera and let her go.

So, in honor of my years in front of the camera.....Check this out!

My 2nd trimester goal

I may have never had or lost the curves that Beyonce has in her newest video but nonetheless, mama, buy me a black suit and get me a video camera! I am just slightly obsessed with the dancing in this video. What girl wouldn't be? You don't have to be single to hear this jingle and want to jiggle! I know about three moves from this video just from seeing it played over and over on the today show (the men of the Today show had a strong fondness for Beyonce's latest creation too. Funny, even men like this video.....hmmmm) So, every 3rd day or so when I am feeling spicey (meaning the sun is shining and I wouldn't mind dancing the day away) I will drop a few of these moves in the living room just to get Brad's take. I think he is a fan. Anyway, seriously, I won't let a little growing abdomen stop me from this goal! Mark my the end of the 2nd trimester I'll be singing to all the single ladies, too, or atleast to Brad. I am sure he loves getting to be my cheerleader for all of my sporadic endeavors. That's what husbands are for, right?

I need a few back-up dancers. Anyone?

Oh My Darling, clementine!

Take me to Spain. Take me to the land of the most perfect cousin of the orange family! Take me, take me, take me! There is a commercial that tells me my latest joy comes to me straight from the orchard's of Spain (I can't find the commercial but it's so catchy. You'd like clemmy's too if you saw the commercial). I've been to Spain...many a time...but ne'ry do I remember my dear clementines adorning the trees. Needless, I hear they are from Spain and that makes me love them even more. I have an unusual fondness for Espana. I love the people, the pace of society...just a few steps slower than en los estados unidos. I love the food and the sangria and the nightlife. I love Dani and Tamar and my other amigos from Villanova.
Before Mr. Brad swept me off my feet I had some extraordinairy-not-from-me type desire to live in Spain for a season. I told Mr. Brad from date one that I would be leaving him soon for who knew how long in order to live in Spain and be as much of a Spaniard as I could be. At the time, my church, had began a partnership with a small church outside of Barcelona. I just knew I should go and live and be a part of this church. Well, you know the rest of the story....Brad swept me off my feet and I did get to visit Spain with 12 other amigos but only for a short time. Since then, my heart belongs in Spain.

Anyway, I love clementines just as much. I am substitue teaching today for hopefully the last time ever. Sorry, kiddos...."Mrs. Bagwell" just isn't cut out for babysitting all day. Anywho, all I can think about is the bittersweet smell of my clementine friends. So easy to easy to eat. Yesterday I ate 5. Today I have none left. All I want for Christmas is endless orders of clementines straight from Espana. Brad has been waiting on me to have a pregnancy hankering. He says it would be much easier to go out and get me what I am craving like a super hero than to try to guess at something that might sound good to eat. You see, the pregnancy hormoneys have made me hate food.....all but the clementine and mashed potatoes that is.....
Literally, I have a food aversion to food. But baby's gotta eat so I eat clementines all day. Now, I know this isn't the most hearty snack for the growing "apple" in my belly but it is all I can swallow. So, Mr. Brad....listen up.....clementines are what my heart desires. Muchos y muchos clementines!

The bell just rang and I see that I have a 45 minute planning period. I know just the planning I will do. Clementines to the rescue! I'll be back! Oh my darling....oh my darling....oh my darling, clementine........

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I have been eager to write of friends, family, and food and laughs and lights and laziness...all things that made my heart swell this long Thanksgiving weekend. Every time my heart feels stable enough to write though it seems another house puts their Christmas lights up or I catch up with a good friend and then my heart is just too full again. So here I am. Brad is sweeping the needles from our perfectly picked tree. Amos is wondering what a tree is and if it will give him food. My house smells like Christmas due to the $3 impersonating candle I bought on special last year along with the mix of the fragrance of the fraser fur....our most favorite of trees!
There is too much on my mind and heart right now though if I were to be really honest and I can't seem to write about all the joy that has been leaping out of me this last week. My heart is really heavy and the only thing I know to do with that is take a bath. So, I am taking a bath. I probably should have spared you this terribly short and annoying post (annoying because it seems all too vague) but I just thought I'd try. I am thankful too for my bath. I love the over sized bath tub of our undersized condo. I love the jets and the Crabtree and Evelyn bubble bath that some how made it's way into my house....maybe you gave it to me last Christmas. If you did - I love it! I love the candles all around my bath tub and I love that Brad warms up my fluffy white robe so it is warm and ready for me when I am done. I am thankful for Brad. Why I sit and let my heart stir over things I can't control but that burden my heart - he does all my wifely chores. He has done the tree by himself (probably better that way) and he is now cleaning the kitchen. What in this world did I ever do to deserve a Brad? That's just it....I never did a thing. I just prayed for a long time and knew that God was writing my story. And that reminds me. He is writing this story, too. The one that won't leave my mind. The one that brings unwanted, heavy tears. He, too, cares and has the pen and knows the ending. I sent my dear friend a card last week that read "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." On the inside I wrote something like HOW FRUSTRATING (really BIG)! It's so true....we all know that "In time...."in God's time" things will be okay and everything will work out but it is the today, the right now that just gets us. Isn't it true. I will heed my own advise though. This story in my head is not over. It is in the middle and though the middle hurts....the end is yet to come and God can bring glory to any tale He writes. On to my happy bath. I am so thankful for so many things and that I don't write my story.

Oh, and, since I am becoming a walking billboard for church sermons gotta hear this one too. Gosh, I am just in love with these sermons lately. How are they speaking so specifically to me and Brad? Click below and then go to "Listen and Learn" and listen to the first sermon. 99% of you won't do this but for the few of you that do - you are welcome. Enjoy.

Listen Carefully

And....I found three things to add to my Christmas list. Depending where life has you - you may like these too:

(1) Souper Jenny Cookbook! What???? Oh my gosh, shut the front door! I will camp out for this treat.
(2) Prayers for our little "lemon". I know I haven't spoken much regarding this most exciting blessing. I figure there are six months of baby talk just wait!
(3) Just let me dance! This pleasure has been something I've cut out of my routine and budget since I began living with a boy. But I love to dance! There is no stopping it. What a great Thanksgiving morning Brad and I had watching the runners jog down Peachtree for the Atlanta marathon while listening to our Christmas music for the first time this year! And if I can make a show out of Santa Baby you can only imagine what I'd do in a room full of mirrors! I need to dance again. My life misses it.

Oh.....and who's counting...these are like my lustful, unrealistic "want" but a girl can dream right???? Happiness on my feet! (Espresso not black. Do you like them too? Have you seen other tall brown leather boots that I should consider wanting???

Monday, November 24, 2008

Down time

I am a professional volunteer, note writer, and random talker to random people in random places these days. No, the man doesn't pay me but that doesn't matter. These are things I like to do. I volunteer at our church, Buckhead Church on Monday afternoons. These are my most structured hours during the week. I love structure and oh how I miss it on a regular basis. I know, I know...many of you - my "board of directors" I would call you - know that I usually abhor structure and prefer chaos but the grass is always greener, right? I need structure! I need to know where the staples are and I need to know there is someone to tell if the internet is down and I need to plan on the Thanksgiving lunch at the office the way I planned on the same lunch last year. But this year is just different. You don't need too many staples to send letters to people. If the internet gets sick Amos is no help and there is certainly no "office" party at my home office. A year ago I may have told you flexibility was what I was seeking but I was so young and so naive and so new to the non-structured world. Anyway, Mondays are great. There are rules and there are ways to answer the phone and literally 98% of the time I have had the answer! It helps that I have volunteered in about every area in my church and if not I know the person who runs the area so I typically have answers. You wouldn't believe some of the questions I get during my 3 hours at the front desk. Really, you wouldn't believe them. Next time we have coffee ask me. They are ludicrous...not all of them but enough of them to make me feel like I was a part of some drama for the day.

So when I am not volunteering I am dining. Usually with a companion but sometimes these days - all alone. Typically Taco Bell is my place of choice when I am all alone. Since I am without employment I vowed to Brad that any lunches I eat out would come out of my $50 I make a month teaching exercise classes. He likes this idea. To stretch that fifty bucks though I have to do a lunch or two at the Bell. $1.06 is all I need unless I get crazy and order two bean burritos! Crazy! I have enjoyed my coffees/lunches/mid-afternoon coffees with friends during this season of ample down time. I actually have a running list of those conversations in the grocery store that go like this....
ME "Oh my gosh, we really should get together.."
"We really should."
Me "Yeah, we really should. Gosh, when was the last time we tried?? April?"
"Yes, April. But this time lets really get lunch. I mean really."
ME "Perfect. I'll email you"
And then you get one of those looks like "Sure. See you next year."
Oh, but then I do email that afternoon! I love it. I love having the time to follow through with my friendly offers! More so, I love actually doing something that I say I want to do. That gives me good feelings all over.

And, with all due respect, I do get a little more cleaning done with this excessive downtime. The dishes get put in the washer immediately and I have relieved Brad of his bed-making routine in the morning (normally because I am still in it) which I know makes him a little lighter on his toes the whole day through. I keep a running list of the places in my house that need attention. You see, marriage is a funny thing. Brad's closet is color and size coded with certain sections for pants, shirts, and "other". My closet is a plethora of every article of clothing ever purchased or donated to me since my sophomore year in high school (just in case that shirt comes back in to style). Admittedly, there is usually a shirt or two with no owner as I have lived with many girls in the past and half of my clothes are missing and I am sure half of theirs have once graced my closet. Brad often suggests that he will take a Saturday to super-organize my closet as well. I just shut the door and tell him he is closet is the model of organization (in my own unique way.) So that is just one of them. I need to organize and clean out my closet but there just isn't that much down time...right???

And here are just a few other things that occupy me these days:
*Worrying about things I can't control. I am good at this one (despite the fabulous sermon on "worry" posted below.)
*Checking just in case there is a house that needs to be bought or rented in February. Good to start early.
*Glancing at for only 24 seconds just to see if the title of the first job post reads, "BETSY, WE NEED YOU!"
*Calling my mama every hour and forty five minutes to ask her how to boil chicken or cook broccoli or how many cups of water are needed to boil eggs?
*Searching and for new recipes that one day I might try when I enjoy cooking again.
*Looking through drawers for things once lost. Brad's red Georgia hat, my old sunglasses, the camera battery. I will NEVER give up!
*Organizing my inbox with colors to indicate the category of the email. I know...this is pretty bad.
*Writing a list of things I want in case anyone ever asks me walking down the side walk what I want today?
*Floss my teeth. Alot.
*Writing lists of baby names. This is a fun activity. I started this list in 7th grade. Every girl does. I am just glad I found mine in time......In time for what you might ask....
*In my down time I am enjoying growing a BABY! Yep, a little Bagwell Baby will grace our family late May of next year. He/she is the biggest surprise that has ever befallen me or Brad. We are thrilled. Now, we are thrilled. It's been a funny few months as we wrap our arms around this news but God has continued to open our hearts to welcome a new person to the world! CRAZY! Of course there is much to write on this subject and that will come but we figured it was time to let the world know...we'll be PARENTS!!!!
*Oh, and I mustn't forget...I enjoy looking up new words to expand my vocab these days. This will be valuable one day....I just know it. Yes, I am certainly loving my down time.

Me gusta las fotos!


A Amos and Briscoe going for a hike
B Amos herding the cows
C Amos kissing the cows
D A low country lunch in the Boro
E Girls that like boys that make fires (with Charlsie's guidance)
F Boys with loud guns
G Fluffy dogs hiding by the house because of the loud gun shots
H My baby's daddy
I My favorite boys
J More doggie kisses
K A perfect Sunday hike!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Past 'Boro pics




Reunion this weekend!

Brad, Amos, and I are headed to the 'Boro this weekend. Waynesboro that is! I am so thrilled. I just can't tell you.....
This trip was an annual trip with my old roommates at the Terrace and a few other selected few. Brad and I went in March when we first started dating and I think this trip may have sealed the deal. Something about seeing a boy with a gun, out in nature...just doing his thing. Brad tried to teach me how to shoot his turkey gun which I learned was a big mistake but I don't think I cared....I just liked that he was holding my arms and my hips steady so I could pull the trigger. Needless to say, there is much anticipation about going back this weekend. Not only can Brad and I flirt and act like school kids - many of my favorite people will be there! Catie, the coolest friend I know, is hosting and she is flying in from Dallas. Kat, the funniest person I know (and pretty cool too), will be coming from B'ham. Charlsie, the honorary roommate and her dog, Briscoe, Amos' girlfriend is also bringing her fun and games....It's a mini-Terrace reunion! (without our most adventurous friend, Katie.) Katie, as you may have read previously, and her husband, Ryan, have taken the move of a life time to literally live on an island. They are living on Nantucket...even writing that feels CRAZY! Katie is one of my longest friends and truly one of my most genuine Georgia peaches! So I just love that God has them in the farthest place from home. Their stories are quite entertaining. Anyway, of course they can't make the trip.

So, what will 10+ people do out in the woods for a weekend in a really old house with 2 twin beds??? Eat and laugh. That is what I am most looking forward to. Catie's family is cooking up a big dinner on Saturday. The boys are bringing their guns and fishing poles and the girls will bring all the munchies! I am just so happy to spend time with my old roommates. You know this about me....I live in the past season of life. Katie used to say in college that I spent the whole time taking about the glory days of high school. Yes, I am that girl and I loved high school. Then once college had come and gone and I lived with my favorite people in my favorite house in Atlanta I couldn't help but talk about the carefree days of Athens. And now in this first season of marriage I am sure Brad tires of hearing of the trouble we got into living in the Terrace...the four single girls for nearly 3 years in Atlanta. Ahhh......good times for sure....maybe the best times. Anyway, per my husband's request I am doing a better job seizing the day. You know, trying not to live for the past to come again and trying not to dream away the present. This mindset surely helps me enjoy the cold air in the room in the mornings when I get up and the brilliant sunshine throughout the day as I roam about Atlanta. More so, it helps me enjoy each conversation throughout the day without thinking in my head about my next thing to do or the next place to be. God is good. Marriage is good and has surely helped slow me down a little.

Cheers to a relaxing weekend in the woods with my puppy dog and my cute husband and his gun and favorite friends and yummy food (and probably little sleep! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This morning's church service was one of those that hurts so good. It's not the kind of guilt that you feel when you have necessarily done something wrong. It's the kind that hurts just because you realize you have been so blind and seeming could have been missing out on something more. I love how God does that! The simplest messages sometimes take the hardest hits...helping reming me of my priorities and what really matters. And what really matters to me, deep down, below the worries of needing a job, whether we should move, and how Brad's job will go in this market - is that God is supreme in my life. And just as Andy said this morning, "He knows the things I need. " (Matthew 6:27-34)

Brad and I left both feeling a little lighter and a little more free today. We are going to take Amos to Piedmont park this afternoon and let him enjoy the cold. He has the most perfect winter white coat growing right now and he just seems to love to be outside! We are going to just enjoy today and just worry about today and not think about what we can't control tomorrow. There are certainly more uncertain things in our lives right now than certain things but the certain things carry much more weight. God knows and loves us surely more than the birds of the air and the flowers and yet he takes care of them. How much more will He take care of us, who are made in His image? Oh, what a good morning. Thank you thank you thank you.

Here you go: Take 40 minutes and know you'll feel a little lighter after.....
(Click on the turquoise looking cd cover, then choose the second sermon - Switching Sides)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dad's home!

Mr. Brad is home from work today to honor the veterans of our country. I am so giddy. Now he can see exactly how exciting my days are here at the condo. I can't stop poking him just to make sure it is real. Yep, it's real. He is here next to me eating cheerios.

So what shall we do today on this little gift of a day off? Brad has always wanted to go to the zoo. I love the monkeys. This is an option but Brad says only if we can take our child, Amos. We need to paint some places on our walls. I like to paint because it is soothing and I like seeing the end product. Brad is looking around the condo for projects we can do today. Unfortunately, when you live in a brand new condo that another man owns there aren't too many "projects" to do.

Regardless, I am just happy that our country chooses to honor Veterans today and I am happy that Brad's bank wanted to participate in the holiday. I love Tuesday's at home with Mr. Brad and the famous dog and no plans! Yippeee.......

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I have 7 minutes to spare before my next class.
That's right, "class."
"What is she up to now," you are thinking. I'll tell you.....
This morning at 6:23am I got a call from maybe my new best friend Dunn. He asked if I wanted to sub an 8th grade class at a local private school for a teacher that was out. What? I haven't stepped foot in a middle school classroom....since, well, I wore baggy jeans and pigtails. I had some other anticipated appointments today but I somehow mustered up a "sure, I'll be there."
I know middle school anything shouldn't be too intimidating but I don't even remember what you did in Middle School. Will these kids know how to read? Do they call me "Mrs. Something" or can they just call me "Betsy?" Is there a dress code? Are tall boots too risque in middle school? I thought I'd fall fast asleep for another 30 minutes to complete my now-usual 9 hours before my big day began but I was so anxious and giddy just to have somewhere to be by 8:25am so I hopped out of bed with energy! I was a minute or two late because I didn't know where the building was and I couldn't decide on my outfit. I mean, I want to be the cool teacher, you know? I want to be the substitute teacher they never forget! I think it's gonna be a good day of learning. 1800 SAT we come!

(I just heard a bell. Do I need to go somewhere? Where's the lunchroom? I'm hungry. Is lunch soon. Aggghhhh....i don't know what the bells mean!)

Anywho, first period I made up a jeopardy game to quiz the little boogers on their vocabulary. Words like immigrate and emigrate...persecution and brain drain along with toxic waste and the Continental Divide. Many I knew....several I didn't. I think they liked my game though. The boys won and the girls didn't like me much for that. And get this....every kid in this school gets an apple laptop. I plugged mine into the white board and then the kids could answer the vocab by touching the screen and matching it to the right definition. WHAT??? Brad, can we send our kiddie-poos here? I even like the uniforms. I think I want to do middle school all over again with my own apple laptop and knee socks.

Okay, the bell rang again. I'll be back. I need to tell you about God's goodness yesterday. Off to class.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I feel new today

I hope to have time to explain why. Much to do today but I hope I am back. For now.......

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One thing remains the same

This certainly isn't my writing but my sweet friend Rachel sent it today and by-golly, I like it. I hope you have voted! I love wearing my little sticker all over town and feeling more patriotic than a cracker jack on the fourth of july!

God Is Still in Control
David Langerfeld
Nov 4, 2008

God Is Still In Control

By the end of the day today, we will know a lot about the future of the United States. You might be surprised to learn that I am about to predict the outcome - I am about to predict what will happen after the election. Before the votes are counted, even before the voting booths close, I can predict with 100% accuracy that the following things will happen... 

 1. The Bible will still have all the answers. 
 2. Prayer will still work. 
 3. The Holy Spirit will still move. 
 4. God will still inhabit the praise of His people. 
 5. God will still pour out His blessings upon His people. 
 6. There will still be God-anointed teaching and preaching. 
 7. There will still be singing of praise to God. 
 8. There will still be room at the Cross. 
 9. Jesus will still love His own.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

Whatever the outcome of this election, remember, God is still in control.

Today, tomorrow, forever...
God is still in control.

We'll be telling our grandkids about this one

For a girl that has been partially employed for most of the past year I've spent more than my desired time watching the news, the Today show, and each and every political debate. I can't believe that even though tomorrow there will be plenty of commentary and analyzing going on by all the loud people in D.C -it will all be over. I won't have to watch another horrendous Jim Martin commercial again. Hallelujah! Really, I can't take one more. I've gotten to where I mute the tv when I am home. I like to have something on so it doesn't feel so lonely in the condo but I literally refuse to listen to one more of those ads. Oh my goodness....I am not I am typing I look up and there it is again! I surrender. No more tv. It is off. Done.

Carrying on......Today is obviously a pretty huge day for our country. The fact alone that there is an African-American man and a woman in the election is something to talk about. Not that my generation has been around all that long but I do recall 5th grade history in Mrs. Cooks class and all of those men we learned about from the last 200+ years. I didn't fully understand that social changes would soon mark many of my young adult years......the fall of communism, the rise of terrorism, the tolerance of all kinds of people who call themselves American, the decline of American morality, and the rise of Starbucks! Those are the most memorable ones for me. I mean today is a big day.....not only are we voting for either a male and a female presidential ticket or an African American led ticket - Starbucks is giving away free coffee!!! I have waited for this day for a long time! After spending my future kids' college fund on frothy coffee flavored drinks the last several years it is about time for something completely free! No "after 2pm-2 dollars off" type stuff.....FREE FREE FREE! So, as I am sure you are already in line as I write or you are preparing to go it - get out and cast our vote for history! The free things don't last forever now! If not for the love of your country, for the love of free things! Here are some other free things below, too. Basically, go vote. Get your sticker. Go get some chicken fingers at Shanes. Yummo! Go to work for a few good hours. Talk about your crazy wait in line this morning and how you didn't know any of the other names of the other offices you voted on. About 1:30 you are going to need a break. Walk over to your local S'bucks and they'll give you a mid-day-pick-me-up-cup-o-coffee....on the honor system, too! You just have to tell them you sticker needed. But don't lie...that goes back to the morale decline of America thing. Then, finish your emailing at work and on your way home to see the kiddos - stop by and get you a big ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's! All for free. I love election day.

Starbucks for President!
The Fresh sign is Always on at Krispy Kreme.
Shane says VOTE.
We all scream for ICE-CREAM!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tis the season

I drove around Thursday night after Brad and I had dinner together and parted ways. I drove through the large, picturesque neighborhood across the street from us. First, though, I got a signature hot chocolate from Mr. Starbucks and I found my cd I made last year of Christmas songs. These aren't your over the top "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus" type Christmas songs but the ones that just get my heart stirring for a little mistle toe, cold weather, and lights on the trees. Sufjan Stevens authors many of them....Holy, Holy, Holy and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Songs with more than enough joy to get you feeling all giddy about the season to come but also just enough tranquility to help you relax and not get so anxious about trees and shopping and lights and crazy family gatherings. Anyway, this night I just needed to feel Christmas so I went and found it. Apparently these days many homes decorate for halloween like they do for it's neighboring holiday. There were orange lights in trees and lanterns placed in windows. There were circles of little ghosts planted in yards. Since it was the night before Halloween I even caught several families carving their pumkin in the front lawn. I turned my tunes up a little louder and sipped away at my hot chocolate. I am sure husband was a little concerned as I should have been following him home from dinner (since we met eachother as he was coming from work). I didn't think twice though....I was in heaven. I could start to feel crisp fall air on my cheeks with my windows down and the piercing red leaves of every 4th or 5th tree just made me melt. You see, I love these next few months. I love everything about them. This year I have been especially anxious for my most beloved time of year to arrive. I think it is something about change. Not Obama type change but real change - God given change in the colors of the trees and the sky. The steep change in temperature. The change in priorities with lots of family time in the works surrounding Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And the change of pace. Maybe it isn't true for everyone but I feel like even as calendars get more ability to truly savor my hot chocolate or hold onto the notes of Christmas hymns sung at church and the desire to just sit and be with family - all increases.
Just like the stores in the mall, every year I anticipate this favorite time of year even more. I'm excited to actually have some "annual" traditions between Brad and I now that we get to experience our second fall season together. We will certainly go see A Christmas Carol at the Alliance. The first day of the best Santa's arrival at Phipps we will walk over and watch all the kiddos and their families tell him their wish lists. We also plan to visit the Atlanta History Center again for the caroling and the lights. Oh, I am just so so happy for the change in the air. What a perfect time of year! Let the leaves turn and fall and let the temperatures drop for 'tis the season.....though maybe a little early!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An uplifting update from Megan's mom

Good early morning. It was so dark so late this morning and I was so happy in my bed. I have been a little less motivated these days for anything and a little less interested in getting out in the new cold weather. So I afforded myself a little couch time under the covers while I start my new book before the day really begins. It's not the same as the dark bed but it's inviting all the same. Before I dove in to the 300 pages I was looking over some often checked websites and I found this piece of refreshing, encouraging "literature" if you will. In the midst of a job that suits me or that I can suit - this was assuring. I am "working" right now but just maybe not for a monetary income. Nonetheless, we are always working at something. Read on.......

Hard Work
Posted 15 hours ago

Dr. Feelgood and I were invited for a weekend away. It was refreshing to sit by the sea and read, and to walk along the pounding surf under a starry sky. We worked at our golf game, trying to correct that annoying, recurring, swing flaw, and we gladly worked for our dinner, cracking giant crab claws and peeling fresh-caught shrimp.

Now, there is work….and then there is work. Working to get the succulent meat out of a crab claw yields instant gratification. And the process is fun – sitting around the table with garden tool utensils, laughing at each other, sharing a meal that tasted oh-so fine. No one minds working for such reward. However, the golf work does not yield such quick return for the effort. After two days of repeating errors, on my to-do list is to schedule a lesson – or a series of lessons. And then I will need to practice and practice. Golf is work. Up to this point, it has been fun to get out in nature, to be with people I love, and just to hope I can move the ball forward without holding up play (a major annoyance to men). But I am getting tired of a lingering high score and working at it is the only thing that will bring it down.

Last week, I went back to visit Whitefield Academy where I worked before Megan became ill. Work was a joy for me, probably not a passion, but a meaningful experience where I learned so much and grew in my faith. I loved going there daily and working with creative, caring colleagues. I had projects to accomplish and worked hard to see them through. I was challenged and rewarded. Rewarded with an income, yes, but rewarded by feeling that what I was doing had meaning and purpose in the lives of others. My work, like the crab claws, made me feel good.

Megan loved her work. She poured her short time as a teacher into creative lessons in her classroom. She used a lot of her own money for snacks and special activities. Once she made a birthday cake for her student and delivered it to her home because she was sick. She was passionate about the little lives she was touching and had wonderful, lively stories about so many of them. But she also worked at her friendships, her family, and her faith. She was always busy - joyfully working at her work, and loving the process. Even the day after she died, September 13th, she was busy being honored as a bridesmaid - all the way from Heaven!

So what exactly is work? Is it just what we do for money? Is it what we do with our time to yield some kind of reward? Is it what we have to do when we are not having fun? Is work a passion of our heart’s dreams or is work an effort to simply accomplish a task? Maybe the task is not the Monday To-Do List, or of our own choosing, but rather a way of life – like working through a series of Chemo treatments, or working to live with a chronic disease or disability. Maybe work is the task of forgiveness or loving someone unconditionally. Maybe work is grieving a loss.

Right now I do not like my job – this work that I did not choose. Grieving is hard. It hurts. There is no consistency in the process. I WANT LIFE THE WAY IT WAS! I want Megan to call me on the phone for our daily chat about nothing. I want her to snatch Dr. Feelgood’s wallet and make him play the wallet game where she takes out a card and he has to guess which one she took. I want her to take a road trip to visit Blair on her birthday this week or make Owen some brownies. I want someone that I cannot have ever again in this life – someone I loved.

And so we must work at accepting this loss - the grief process. We are finding our way day by day - it is called stumbling and just allowing the tears to fall – often at surprising times. Time with the Lord in the morning is what comforts and teaches and provides a sense of assurance in the midst of great sadness. To be able to rise every day and read verses from scripture gives me strength to move through the next 24 hours and then I start again. It is enough. God alone is enough. Here are just a few:

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not man…it is the Lord you are serving.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and train you in the way you shall go. I will counsel you with my eye.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

1 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I believe that each of us are all serving the Lord through our work, that he will not only instruct and train, but will watch over us with his eye; I trust that I do not always understand things, but that our path will be directed; I will not lose heart, but will expect renewal day by day, trusting that our troubles are somehow in some unseen way working to some glorious eternity.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Welcomed rain

There couldn't be a more perfect day for a drenching in the Atlanta area. I am happily off work today so I have no need to get out in the mess and we just need a good soaking. Amos has been watching the rain all morning. Occasionally as it picks up he barks at it. His bark almost startles himself as it is so rare to hear a noise from him. He is so entertaining though. You would think he is protecting his family from intruders or something but, no, he doesn't do that.....he kisses anyone that walks through our door.

So the forecast calls for rain all day today thanks to our neighbor Alabama. Therefore, I am on the couch doing alot of something I never do....nothing. I used to feel guilty when I wasn't busy. Luckily marriage has lessened my guilt as it seems okay to do nothing if it is with someone else. But today I feel no guilt. The doors are open. The rains incessant pounding on the sidewalk is really refreshing - and much more enjoyable than the usual sound of the constant traffic. The only unfortunate thing is I finally finished my epic novel, The Thornbirds, last night. I wasn't really thrilled with the last 100 pages. I am not sure why someone would have wanted to right a 700 page novel and write the ending just so drearily. I am a hopeless romantic and would rather see the love at the end than the lesson learned. Love pervades all things, right? I guess I will pick up Brad's latest read, When Crickets Cry. We ran into some dear friends from college who also happened to be the pastor and his wife from church in Athens. Both of them were raving about this book. Brad immediately had to buy it. Funny - if I recommend a book (as I did this same book a year ago) Brad seems interested for a second but feels no pressure to actually read it. Oh, but run into some old friends and you would have thought Brad wouldn't sleep or eat until he had the thing in his hand. I am happy for him though as he really dove into the book and had a great week on the beach reading it. So, I will pick it up too now. And, I'll sit here all day with my dog barking and the rain falling under my down comforter on the smelly couch and I will read and do nothing and I will not feel an ounce of guilt.

Enjoy the rainy Friday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have a very large family. Both sides of the family are their own separate overgrown oak tree of relatives. Since Brad and I have been married we have ran into a second cousin or great aunt in the most random places and I am sure he must think that we all couldn't really be family. You see, in South Georgia where my boy is from he has Aunt So-and-So and Uncle So-and-So that aren't necessarily an aunt by blood though certainly by definition. I love that too! But as you could imagine he is constantly asking my if Cousin Joe is really related to me or just a real close family friend. I love being a part of a great big and a fairly local family at that.
Well, yesterday my great big family gathered to celebrate the life of my granddad. As family's of four and six trickled into the funeral home my heart kept growing more full. Family family everywhere. The family alone is about 70 strong not to add my mom's side of the family that showed up to show their support as well. As the hugs were extended and the cheeks pinched I couldn't help but boast of the love in the room. Love certainly for my granddad and the thorough life he lived. Love, too, that extended to my dad and his siblings as well as my great aunts and uncles - granddads siblings. But there was a big love for my sweet Nana.
You see granddad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven+ years ago. I hate to think that I may have been too swallowed up in college life to really understand the magnitude of this disease at it's onset. And that's the trick of's one of those things that slowly but ever so surely evolves. Nonetheless, Nana never once left my granddad's side. She literally became an earthly extension of him - protecting him physically, protecting his mind, protecting his heart by still speaking kindly to him and treating him with dignity despite the seemingly shameful turns the disease took. Four weekends ago he took some sharp, fatal turns for the worse. Nana didn't crumble. She has acted stoically and genuinely in response to the turn of events. And this is unconditional love. I have written of this term often. I have experienced it in small ways through marriage. I tell my mom of her unconditional love in any card I send to her. She is selfless to the core. But my sweet Nana has truly written the definition.

Though I know and feel the pain of loss at this time I also feel joy for my Nana. I can't imagine the peace she must feel knowing as she has said over and over "she has ran the race" and she has certainly ran this race with poise, a smile, and persistence. I just pray she feels the adoration of Our Heavenly Father smiling upon her. She has truly been a walking, breathing example of selfless, unending, agape type love....even when it means getting your hands dirty in the middle of an ugly disease. And I know I am not the only one in my great big family to see this. God, I am grateful for Your presence amid this loss. I am grateful for the way You have used my Nana's hands and hearts to truly be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A few from our week in Seaside

Brad and his attempt to beat my perfect handstand below....

Anniversary dinner! Where did the year go?

Mr. Brad and Dr. Amos on a tour through Rosemary.
Betsy with the most perfect handstand on the beach.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A juicy book on the beach

Brad was determined for this post title to be true as we packed for a week at the beach last week. You see, nearly a year ago we were going through the same hurried task of packing for a trip. This time it was to St. Lucia for a week of honeying the moon and we were preparing for days away in a manner that would become the norm. We need to leave the house by 7am. Therefore, we'll set our clocks early, oh 5:30amish, and that will be plenty of time to wash dirty socks, find passports, and make sure our toiletries are in plastic baggies. As you can imagine, this was a nightmare. I hate to remember it that way as it turned out to be such a sweet time but getting ourselves to the airport that chilly Monday morning was a disaster. As we were heading out the door I looked sheepishly at Mr. Brad and asked if he had seen my book that I had been saving to read for our week on the Caribbean beaches sipping fruity concoctions. Since I had only been his wife for a mere 30+ hours it seems he was more eager than normal to find the little treasure of literature. We tore my recently delivered boxes apart, ripped open every box in storage, scurried through any drawer we could find and to much avail, nothing. Brad assured me that we would just buy the popular book when we got to the airport. " It will be everywhere," he assured me. Fast forward - Brad and I race to the airport in record speed only to find the longest most confusing security line ever known to Hartsfield Jackson. Fastfoward some more - Delta mixed up some things just to make this story good and Brad wasn't even booked on the flight...the one flight to St. Lucia for the week. Needless to say, the book was everywhere but there wasn't a moment to grab one in our plight to make it to our plane to paradise.

Day two in St. Lucia. We are sitting happily in two shaded lounge chairs on the beach in between the Piton mountains, overlooking the indescribable blue water. Brad has discovered his drink of the week - the Piton beer and I - a pina colada type of bliss. Brad looks over at his new wife to see the shared joy on her face only to find her hidden behind the over sized restaurant menu from the resort. I didn't have my much anticipated book to read so I figured I would study the food. Meals are typically my favorite part of any normal day at home or any extra special day on a honeymoon. As tasty and tempting as they were the reading only lasted for a mere 12 minutes. Now I sit. 5.5 days left in heaven and not a thing to read to whisk my mind away. About midway through the day I decided to check out the resorts library. Surely the many American tourists before us had left a plethora of books behind and since this particular one was on Oprah's summer reading list (not why I bought it) it was sure to show up smelling like suntan lotion and a spilled daiquiri. Well, that wa wishful thinking. The most recent book on the island was The Pelican Brief which if I recall correctly was something in the mid-90's. I conceded. I would have no book all week and I would survive. And I did. I survived very well. I read every tourist pamplet provided and knew the prices of every item on every menu and though I would like to believe I kept my angst to myself - Brad assures me that I did not. Welcome to marriage, honey! So now whenever we get to retell stories of our divine week on the island - the story usually starts with the quest for the lost book and Brad dolling out advise to always make wifey (that's what they say in St. Lucia) happy. The end.

Luckily, on our second of week long excursions Brad heeded his own advise. I was literally craving a green book I had seen when Brad decided to pack up half of my things earlier this year in the condo and store them. I remember seeing a way-to-thick-to-read book in the box. It was one I was given as a gift in college and much to my shame, I began it and for no reason I never even tried to finish it but I do remember liking it. Lets' just add... life has been messy lately. I'll spare you of the details because I am at the beach and things are happy but things have just been messy between alot of, sickness in my family, dreams, plans, the usual....So all I could foresee last week as we were packing was my toes in the white sand and my head stuck in the middle of a big fat book. The kind that invites you right into the middle of the plot and leaves you there all day prompting you to keep turning the pages....all 691 of them. So as we were trying to get out the door Sunday sweet Mr. Brad unloaded 16 boxes from our one storage closet. We dug through half of them until we found the thing I had been imagining the thick green book....the ticket to escape for a week.

And that is just what I have done. Meggie Cleary from The Thornbirds has become my closest friend. Luckily for Brad he, too, found a book - a non self-help book - that he could dive into. And that is just what we have done this week in Seaside for our anniversary. We've eaten fried shrimps, drank fine beers, watched the sun for exactly when it dips behind the ocean line, walked the quiet Seaside and Watercolor streets at night and read. Mostly, we have read. This is what I call vacation. Vacate anything usual and customary and enjoy the story of a juicy book and the tastes of not-so-normal food. We may not have learned all the lessons to be learned in the first year of marriage but we learned some big ones. Get away occasionally, just the two of you, and don't try to fix or solve anything. Just be still and enjoy the very day that has been given to you. I'm just happy these days have been spent in the sand.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I am the woman at the well

My husband of 360 days retired to bed after McCain and Obama jumped in front of the teleprompter messing up Tom Brokaw's closing words. All I heard was "Goodnight everyone from Nashville." As interested as I am about the future of our country my brain was just too wired tonight after a really neat (no better word, really) day. One of those days that seems to sneak up from behind and surprise you as a monumental day. Nothing earth shattering but just pleasant reminders of the simple yet inconceivable love of Our Creator and His acceptance of me just the way I am.

I had a brief meeting that was loaded with some really meaty stuff this afternoon. I keep saying "God is right before me. He is two steps ahead of me just getting me in the right place to blow me away." And, yet, daily He blows me away with seemingly "little" meetings like this. Someone who knew no more of my name this morning ended up transforming my perspective by dinner time. It's not that I didn't expect it...the guy is writing a neat book and he has more energy than contained in my little pinky. Whether he is part of this plot line regarding my "purpose" vocationally....I don't know but I know we met today for a reason and I think we both walked away a little more free, a little lighter, and a little encouraged.

Tonight Mr. Brad surprised me with a gift for no reason. I loved it! I loved the packaging the most and I loved the spontaneity even more. I have felt like a princess all night. This little snippet has little to do with the woman at the well but in a way it does. I don't deserve or expect Brad to treat me the way he does but somehow he sees right past my often nasty nasty sins and selfish stuff and he chooses to love me anyway....the way I am. This first year of marriage has certainly displayed grace for me in a tangible way....and what more way than a new Juicy track suit! As soon as I got home from the evening's activities I wanted to put on my track suit and go run the stairs outside our condo. I did run stairs more out of hype from the evening but I didn't wear the suit. Go figure.

Which brings me to the woman at the well. Tuesday nights Brad has signed me up for the Theopraxis study at church. At first. I complied to join Brad knowing that Tuesdays had become a nice quiet night for once and I wanted to keep it that way. I sort of hated committing to something on that one free day. Nonetheless, I knew Brad was excited and I gave it a whirl. I can't really give the 2 hour class justice on this thing. I just love the fresh perspective offered by the instructor - and one of the most wise (yet humble) men I have heard in a while. I love, too, the way even this mostly fact based studied is challenging me and my current status quo activity or inactiity towards God and His present Kingdom (that's a whole different post. Last week we discussed the present and coming Kingdom of God.....a few words that seem to lofty and far off to contemplate but wow - powerful if you really can conceive that it is here, now, and still coming at the same time! Like I said...a seperate post). Anyway, tonight we looked in depth at a story you have read in Sunday school and probably know by heart. How cool is it when you know something front and back - like for me the Georgia Alma Mater or my high school fight song ( I know, embarrassing) - I know it front and back but then when you break it up it has so much rich gooey stuff. The class helps you look at scripture in a more analytical way. I appreciate that our church is not only asking us to investigate for ourselves but teaching us how to analyze and ask questions. So, the Samaritan at the well in John chapter 4 is truly at the right place at the right time. She was thirsty and was fetching water as she would do any other time she was thirsty or needed water. She had a past too. She had a reputation in the town. She came to the well and Jesus happened to be there and he engaged her in conversation like there was nothing abnormal about him interacting with her....a Samaritan (ostracized from the Orthodox Jews and a woman! whoa!) and a very sinful Samaritan-woman at that....I mean 5 husbands! For me those 5 husbands translate to my selfishness and my lack of faith in my actions during this year long "fog." As our group was reading I was looking to see why this woman's demeanor and response to Jesus changed from being defensive to being vulnerable towards the end of the passage. I am no bible scholar by any means but this is what popped off the page for the first time. She was known. Jesus knew her and loved her just the same. He knew what she came with and knew her past. That is what breaks me. He knows me and knows my thoughts and my inability to live for Him throughout my day yet he still pursues me relentlessly AND He knows what is best for me. He meets me right where I am. The woman at the well was known. Isn't it true that when we are really....I mean truly known in a community or with another person that is where we can actually fathom reformation in our lives? Today, I am the woman at the well. I am known fully....even the yucky stuff but God still knows just what I need to quench my thirst. He knows what I need without me even knowing what I need. He meets me right where I am.

As I was running stairs tonight I kept saying in my head, "Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more." This is what I think the Samaritan lady understood in this interaction and today this is what I know. I am overwhelmed by grace and just so full off off of it tonight. I am so grateful. Now, let's see if I can sleep after a day like today!

Connect the dots, la la la la

I enjoy watching the details of a story unfold. Whether it is a story I am reading or a story I am watching or even my story I like to see how the main character ends up somewhere by what most would call random circumstance. I call it divine intervention but whatever you call it - it makes a story good. Often in your own story though it is hard to see that any of the previous dots have anything to do with the most current dots.

This morning I received a really cool message from someone whom I wish I could say was a dear friend because I think it could be a rich friendship but he is probably more of a really neat auaintence. Then again - I recall a few insightful/more than aquaintance type conversations and even a sweet Christmas card one year of him and his large family. So if he'd have it - we are friends. Anyway, the message pointed back to a post on the "old blog." If ever I go back to visit the old blog I do so hesitantly. The old blog is full of mishaps and follys and confessions galore. Basically, it was me....wrapped up in all the mess that I found I was over those crucial and favorite 4 years in between college and marriage. I was a little shocked to read that a friend had recently read the old blog just because I thought like me, the old blog was a thing of the past. More so, I've had this growing feeling that I don't write the way I used to. I hope this doesn't sound vain but I used to really enjoy my writing because the words just seemed to vividly describe how I was feeling or what was going on. Lately or in this latest season of life, the words seem to tell more about circumstance than about the "color or smell or flavor" of the circumstance. I don't really know what is different but nonetheless, I loved reading the old blog this morning in trying to find the post that the kind gentelman mentioned. I loved writing then!

But what I read was a little disturbing. It is now late into the 8th year of the new millenium... a full year and then some past the time of the original post. My name has changed, my job title has changed one, two, three, four times! My address changed. I have a four legged friend and a husband but my heart.....this is the hardest heart seems to still be stuck. God has certainly brought insight and perspective in the last 15 months but overall - still stuck. And, the stuckness still relates to my "calling." I am just a hopeless romantic at heart when it comes to our "sweet spot" and I think there is one for everyone. Everyone in every city in every state has a place where they can feel most used and most valuable right? Amid the woes of the economy crumbling I still want to believe that there are vocations out there for every single type of person. The most frustrating thing, still, is I just don't know how I was created to be used. More so, I am still in denial that my five years in the corporate world were all in vain. And that is where I believe in dots. I know my "dots" made during my years at HomeBanc and even the 3 dots I have made since all connect in some way foreign to me. The problem is that I probably want them to connect and make a vivid and clear picture. You was obvious. But the one thing I do know about the next dot is that it has more to do with my inactivity than my success in finding the dot. That's just it for me. I have this strange lurking feeling that God really isn't concerned about my next job title but He is more concerned with the condition of my heart when I get there. He is also more concerned about the fame He can receive from writing a story that didn't seem likely and that you couldn't have guessed the outcome. He want's to get all the kudos and accolades for the journey He has had me on for the last 25 months now. Yes, I know, September of '06 is the first time I recall feeling God's hand in my life. That is when He started reidentifying me and telling me who I really am...not who I think I am. Not a sales girl in a business suit with too many things to do and people to see to notice the people all around me. Not the single socialite just dying to host the next party. Not a daughter who holds on to things from the past but a daughter who is able to love fully because she has been loved fully. And not some girl that spends her whole life waiting to "arrive" but someone who realizes there is really nowhere to arrive to because things are ever changing and God is ever growing us.

I still don't know where the next dot is and someday's I get really frustrated that I am still here, stuck and waiting. But today like in my old post - I am choosing to embrace the here and now. I choose to embrace the meetings I have today. Maybe they really aren't about the product I am selling but more so about a connection with another person that may be a part of the next dot.