Never Mind Robert Frost, This Gold Can Stay

Today is so gorgeous, my entire person is tingly.

(Or maybe I just slept in a funky position last night. But that doesn’t work in nearly as well with my story.)

The sky is so blue, I can’t look directly at it. The sun is shining, warm. Our high today is 70. SEVENTY! Thanks to record-breaking rainfall in August and September, the grass is still green. The trees are still changing – vibrant reds, vivid oranges, brilliant yellows. Leaves are scattered like confetti on every street and in every yard. When a car drives by, the leaves swirl into the air and land with a whisper.


It just doesn’t get any better than this. The splendor of fall almost makes up for the Upper Midwest’s long and dreary winter.


Being a good Minnesotan and a Certified Weather Geek, I feel compelled to tell you how abnormal this weather is for the end of October. Our normal high for October 30 is 49. (Note to my dear California friends: Yes, I said that’s the normal high.) The grass should be mostly dead by now, the leaves brown and the trees standing like naked sentries, ready for their winter coat of snow. In fact, in 1991, the Twin Cities were lashed with the infamous Halloween Blizzard at the end of October. More than two feet of wet snow coated the ground when the storm was over.

But this year? It’s perfection. I could jump up and down for joy. Connor and I celebrated with a major Newsboys party in the car on the way home from Bible study today. There's just no way to keep that kind of happy inside my soul.

Want proof? Here are a few pictures I’ve taken around town lately. (Sorry, my Newsboys dancing picture isn't included. You'll have to wait for The Enquirer.)

(Yes, that last picture was taken while I was driving. In my defense, the day was too beautiful to worry about little things like road safety. Plus, I was about to turn in to the mall where a new Trader Joe's just opened. Trader Joe's. In Minnesota. Near me. Be still my heart.)

One of the things I love best about the Internet is reading about the differences in cultures and climates all across this great country – and all across the world. So how about you? What's fall been like in your corner of the woods?

Cinderella -- and Our Winner

Seven years ago next month, I discovered -- to my complete and utter shock -- that I was pregnant.

It came as a surprise to me, to my husband -- and to nearly everyone who knew us. As many of our friends tactfully said, "We just never pictured you two as parents."

And it was true. We were a great childless couple. We were completely absorbed in our fast-moving careers. We had two (sweet and loving) dogs and one (spiteful and contemptuous) cat -- which was more than enough responsibility for us. We moved a lot, traveled often and never expressed any desire to raise a family.

But there we were -- expecting our firstborn. (God is so gracious. And He has such a sense of humor. I enjoy Him so much.)

During my pregnancy, I was given many tidbits of advice from older parents.

Among them:
"Nap when the baby naps."
"Get the epidural."
"Never try out a new hairstyle when pregnant."
"Just so you know, that new Pamela Anderson look you're sporting there isn't permanent."
And maybe most importantly: "Treasure every minute with your children. They'll grow up faster than you can imagine."

Thankfully, I took that last piece of advice to heart. (Although the rest of the advice? Also true. Very, very true.) Ever since my daughter was born six years ago, I've tried my best to cherish every minute of every day -- even the hard ones -- because there's a little voice in the back of my head that constantly says, "Someday, you'll wish you were here. Don't let it slip through your fingers."

It's a sentiment tenderly expressed by Steven Curtis Chapman in his new (and destined to be a classic) song called "Cinderella." He wrote it for his daughters -- all four of them. His oldest, Emily, is a college student. His youngest three are eight and under, all adopted from China in the last few years.

Here's the story behind the song, in his own words. (Full interview here, if you're interested).
"Cinderella" was the first song I wrote on this journey. I went to give my youngest girls a bath one night, and it was right around the time of big meetings with the record label where I have to play them what I had written up to that point. I was really stressed and needed to get back to writing, but also needed to spend time with the girls, so I was frustrated and irritated. I told them to take the bath quickly, but of course they wanted to play and I didn't have much time. I finally got them into bed and told them to pray … fast: "Just pray for the immediate family and no orphans tonight!"

So finally they got to bed, and once I was alone [in my writing room], it's like God had just two words for me: "Emily Chapman," my 21-year-old daughter who's getting ready to graduate college. And my heart turned straight to guilt because I didn't want to rush through these moments any more. I sat down that night and it was the easiest song I've ever written. The next morning, I brought it to the record company meeting, even though I didn't think it was quite done. But after I played it and looked up, everyone was crying and sobbing. I guess it connected! I recorded the song just as I played it that day.

This song is so beautiful, it would pain me to have to link to a :30 clip. Thankfully, I don't have to. You can hear the whole song on SCC's site. Go here and watch for the built-in audio player to start. "Cinderella" should be the first track to play.

Lyrics are below.
She spins and she sways to whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders
It's been a long day and there's still work to do
She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says, "Dad the wedding's still six months away but I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone.
Does anyone else need a tissue?!? Lord have mercy.

My firstborn -- six-year-old Natalie -- is dressing up as a princess this year for Halloween.

Of course she is.

Pray for me. And while you're at it, you might want to pray for our neighbors. Because the sight of a pregnant woman bawling as she follows around her trick-or-treating children cannot be pretty.

Although I bet I'd get lots of candy that way.

I'm happy to announce that the winner of the free "This Moment" CD will treasure the song "Cinderella" as well, since she has two little princesses of her own. Congratulations Angie!

And many thanks to all of you for following along with my reviews this week. It was a riot and an honor. Truly.


Last year, my husband was invited by some good friends at the Christian relief organization Food for the Hungry to go to Indonesia and do tsunami relief work.

It took him about 2.5 seconds to say yes. (And about 2.5 hours for God to convince me to let him go. "Not without me! Not without me!" was my initial response.)

I could write a book about his trip and all the things he experienced while he was in Meulaboh. (As could he; he's a good writer in his own right.)

(Did I just say "writer in his own right"? Oy. It must be late.)

Instead, let me sum up one of the over-arching lessons: Our God is global. He cares deeply about every race, every tribe, every tongue. There is no people group beyond his reach, no one too poor to escape His attention, no untouchable that God isn't yearning to embrace.

Of course, my husband, who spent his early growing up years as a street rat in a foreign country, is intimately aware of this. But the trip to Indonesia was a sharp reminder to both of us that God is working all over this world, in the most desperate and heart-breaking situations. Because of God, there is hope -- even for tsunami-ravaged mothers in Indonesia, even for AIDS orphans in Africa, even for the oppressed dalits in India.

I think that's why I love the song "Yours" on Steven Curtis Chapman's new album. It isn't the only track on the CD that has a global slant, which is to be expected at this point from a man so passionately involved with orphans in foreign countries. "Yours" is just the one that resonates most strongly with my heart.

As SCC tells it, he wrote the song in London, during a visit to write some worship music with Matt Redman. (The final cut on "This Moment" is an example of their work together.) He was taking a break one afternoon from writing, and as he walked the streets, he started to look at the faces passing by. Discouraged. Dead. Hopeless.

(Ever seen something similar in your world?)

I'll let the song lyrics tell the rest of the story. (Sample clip here.)

I walk the streets of London
And notice in the faces passing by

Something that makes me stop and listen

My heart grows heavy with the cry

Where is the hope for London?

You whisper and my heart begins to soar

As I'm reminded

That every street in London in Yours
Oh, yes it is

I walk the dirt roads of Uganda

I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading

They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing

Of a God who heals and rescues and restores

And I'm reminded

That every child in Africa is Yours

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours

You're the Maker and Keeper,
Father and Ruler of everything

It's all Yours

And I walk the sidewalks of Nashville

Like Singapore, Manila and Shanghai
I rush by the beggar's hand and the wealthy man
And everywhere I look I realize

That just like the streets of London
For every man and woman, boy and girl

All of creation

This is our Father's world

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours

From the stars in the sky

To the depths of the ocean floor

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours

You're the Maker and Keeper,
Father and Ruler of everything

It's all Yours, God

The glory is Yours, God

All the honor is Yours, God
The power is Yours, God
The glory is Yours, God

You're the King of Kings

And Lord of Lords

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky

To the depths of the ocean floor

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God

Everything is Yours

All the greatness and power,
the glory and splendor and majesty

Everything is Yours

Yeah, it's all Yours
Want to hear the song in all its glory? You have one more day to enter the drawing for a free copy of "This Moment." Leave me a comment on this post. I'll pick a random winner Friday night. The winner's name will be posted with the last review Saturday.

One Heartbeat

I know it's late. (At least late as my husband defines it. I used to produce the 11:00 PM news. Ten o'clock is when I'm just getting warmed up. But my sweet man doesn't share my night owl proclivities, especially during the work week. Ideally, he'd like to be in bed by 9:00 PM -- to which I sweetly, humbly, submissively reply: "Are you kidding me?!?" So normally, 10:00 PM is our compromised bedtime.)

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. It's late. I know I should have posted this much earlier today. But I wanted to wait on one last crucial bit of artwork.

So here it is: a 3D ultrasound photo of our 28-week-old baby girl.

We hadn't experienced a 3D/4D ultrasound before tonight. It was startling to me how real everything looked. Her lips are perfectly formed. Her fingers flex and relax. Her eyes blink. Her feet kick. (And kick. And kick.) In fact, even as we watched the screen tonight, completely transfixed, we saw our baby, in utero, wrinkle up her nose and give the biggest yawn, just like a newborn is wont to do.

Wow. I'm in awe of God's masterpiece. I'm in awe that my body is housing this masterpiece, that I have a part to play in this miracle.

I'm also in awe of how much more laundry I'm going to have to fold next year. Here's my dining room table earlier today, straining under the weight of eight loads.

Motherhood. It's fulfilling. And exhausting. Exhilarating. And tedious. Filled with love. And filled with frustration.

Steven Curtis Chapman knows this. He and his wife, Mary Beth, are parents to six children -- three of their own, mostly grown, and three little Chinese girls they adopted, still very young. And while Steve writes and records and tours and gets the accolades, Mary Beth stays home and does the laundry and the carpooling and the lunch packing -- you know, typical Mom stuff.

So Steven, as he is wont to do (Have you ever attended a Christian wedding that didn't include his classic "I Will Be Here"?), wrote a song for Mary Beth that ended up on his new album, "This Moment."

It's called "One Heartbeat" and it speaks powerfully to the importance and influence of a Godly mom. (Sample clip here.)

You're up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are

So you fall into bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Oh, maybe you just don't know
Or maybe you've forgotten

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

With every "I know you can do it"
Every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They're just like the drops of rain over time
They become a river

And you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
How you're changing the world
You're changing the world

You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
Oh, I believe that you
You are changing the world
One little heartbeat
At a time.
Lord, how sweet of You to remind me of the significance of my calling. Encourage the hearts of all my friends who are blessed with the title of Mom. We are changing the world.

Reminder: Leave me a comment on this post to enter the drawing for a free "This Moment" CD, courtesy of SCC.

Wordless Wednesday - Autumn's Glory

Talk about an illustration of the miracle of the moment. Fall is glorious. I took this yesterday, outside my daughter's school.

Miracle of the Moment

I woke up this morning slightly exhausted and dizzy from the vast quantities of news I consumed yesterday. The situation in San Diego is changing every hour. I'm so thankful to have high-speed Internet access at times like this, since it allows me to keep tabs on the developments via a live stream of news from my old station. (When we moved to the country four years ago, we went from high-speed to 24.4 kb dial-up, which was more painful than childbirth for me. Thank you, Lord, for returning me to civilization!)

Many of my friends have been evacuated from their homes. But then again, more than 500,000 people have been evacuated in San Diego County. It's pretty simple to find someone you know in a group of half a million. (By the way, to give you a little perspective, during the Cedar Fire of 2003, which burned down our house, about 50,000 people were evacuated. That's how much bigger this fire is.)

My brother and 38-week-pregnant sister-in-law have not been evacuated. They are northwest of the fire pattern right now. But they are wearing air masks inside their house, since the entire county is covered with a thick layer of ash and smoke. (At least, Michael is. Julie, my fellow preggo, is too hot to deal with breathing through a filter. Can't say I blame her.)

Obviously, it's easy for me to be consumed today by the latest news coming out of San Diego. But truthfully, it's my nature to get consumed by whatever is right in front of my face -- the to-do list, the dinner making, the laundry folding, the errand running. The tyranny of the urgent. I would hate to know how many times my kids have heard me say something like this: "Hang on, honey. I'll play with you as soon as I'm done [choose one: dusting, vacuuming, writing, cooking, talking]." It's something I struggle with, and it's a battle I've only recently begun to fight with vigor.

You may have a different weakness, something else that causes scales to fall over your eyes so you don't see the beauty around you. The shadow of depression. The haunting of a past you regret. The insistence of a job that demands more and more and more.

Which is why this new song from Steven Curtis Chapman is so timely and so wise.

It's actually the theme song from "This Moment," Steven's newest album, which hit the streets today. (Not that I have any idea how an album would actually hit the streets. Wouldn't it just shatter into a million, unplayable pieces if that happened?)

If you have a nearby Christian radio station, you may have already heard this song. It was released as a single a few weeks ago. If you haven't heard it, you can hear a 30-second clip here here (Windows Media Player). Of if you have and prefer iTunes, you can check the store.

Either way, the lyrics -- which make or break a song for me -- are below. Read them once. Then read them again slowly so they really sink in.

It's time for letting go
All of our "if onlies"

Cause we don't have a time machine

And even if we did
Would we really want to use it

Would we really want to go change everything

Cause we are who and where and what we are for now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out
And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now

It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

There's only One who knows
What's really out there waiting
And all the moments yet to be

And all we need to know

Is He's out there waiting

To Him the future's history

And He has given us a treasure called right now

And this is the only moment we can do anything about

So breathe it in and breathe it out

And listen to your heartbeat
There's a wonder in the here and now

It's right there in front of you

And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
Let them soften your heart

And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back

And let it go

Let it go, yeah

You gotta let it go

And listen to your heartbeat

Breathe it in and breathe it out

And listen to your heartbeat

There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you

And I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment.
Right now. This moment. It's all we have. And while laundry needs to get folded and dinner made, this song is a perfect reminder to look up. Look around. Stop. Breathe. Smile.

It's a gift, from the One who gives the best gifts. I, for one, don't want to miss it.

Reminder: I'm giving away a free copy of SCC's (Can I call him that? Or does that cross the groupie line?) "This Moment" on Friday. Leave me a comment on this post to enter the drawing. If you don't want to wait, you can buy the album today at Christian bookstores, Amazon or iTunes.


Four years ago this week, our home burned to the ground.

We weren't in it; in fact, we had just sold it to a wonderful young couple expecting their first baby. But we hadn't been gone long, so it felt very personal. All our beautiful hibiscus bushes, my treasured stainless steel Viking range, the red flowered wallpaper, the backyard where we celebrated our daughter's first birthday. It was all ash.

Making it even worse, it wasn't just our house. Our entire neighborhood went up in flames (that's our street in the picture to the left), a casualty of the Cedar Fire that was the worst fire in California history.

Until today.

Fall is fire season for Southern California. It's both expected and dreaded, the same way tornadoes are expected and dreaded in the Midwest in the spring. But the fire burning out of control today in San Diego is a monster. More than 250,000 people have been evacuated. Winds are whipping along at 45+ miles per hour. The landscape is incredibly dry. The fire is zero percent contained.

And it's expected to get much worse before it gets better. Said Sheriff Bill Kolender: "This fire will probably be the worst this county has ever seen -- worse than the Cedar fire [of 2003]."


Of course, I'm going to be glued to the Internet today, watching the live stream from my old station.

More later, I'm sure.

SCC Week at Love Well

Have you ever gotten to do something really cool? I mean really, really cool?

Back in my journalism days, I got to do cool things quite frequently. (Mind you, it had little to do with me and everything to do with those three little initials after my name -- NBC.)

I attended trendy restaurant openings. I was given free tickets to hot concerts and movie screenings. I rarely paid to attend a theme park. (Free Disneyland. Enough said.) I was escorted to classified areas on military bases and given rides in military aircraft. I even got to meet and sometimes interview famous people.

Understandably, my life has calmed down a bit since I left NBC, moved to the middle of nowhere and gave birth to two children.

(Side story, but I can't help it: Two years after I left NBC, I talked to a good friend of mine who was still in the business. The exact conversation eludes me -- I've worked hard to forget the specifics -- but it went something like this. "Oh my word, Kelly, I'm so exhausted! ... Got the job with MSNBC ... still looking for place to live in Manhattan ... get to work at 30 Rock ... immediately sent to Boston to cover DNC ... then straight to Athens to cover the Olympics. I need a nap!" Or something like that. Meanwhile, I had been busy that summer potty training my daughter and hacking giant zucchini out of my garden whilst cleaning up bug carcasses from my kitchen counter every morning. Not exactly the kind of stuff that makes the society page, if you know what I mean.)

OK. So my life without journalism -- it's a little dull. Honestly, I love it anyway. I'm exactly where God wants me to be right now, and all that hoopla and dazzle and glitz can get old. Not to mention it eventually feels as fake as a celebrity's smile and air kiss. (Which I was never good at anyway. Do you lean in for the kiss? Do air kisses always come in pairs? Should you turn your cheek or give them a chance to hit flesh?) Even with the laundry and the lunches and the bickering and the boredom, I am so incredibly grateful God has given me today to live in this moment.

Which is why I'm so excited about Steven Curtis Chapman's new album. (Finally! The title of the post is starting to make sense! It was starting to drive me crazy, too.) It's called "This Moment," and while it's technically not released until tomorrow, I have been listening to a live stream of the album since mid-August. So I feel qualified to say (in a dignified voice) that it totally rocks, dude! Not only is the music amazing, but the lyrics are profound and deeply truthful.

I had already decided to spend a few days around the release date talking about my favorite songs on the album. Because I'm slightly obsessed with it. And then the deal was made even sweeter by Steven's people. They've agreed to let me give away a free copy of "This Moment" to one of my readers. Just leave me a comment on this post, and I'll let a random-number generator pick a winner on Friday afternoon. It's that simple -- and that awesome.

Of course, you can also go to Steven's site right now, buy the album through one of the pre-sale options and get the music immediately. And depending on the deal you choose, you might even get access to a free single not even on the album called "Beautiful Scars."

I'm just saying.

Tomorrow, I'll start telling you about my four favorite songs on "This Moment." And Friday, I'll give away a free CD. Thus, I'll be cool again, if only for a while. See you then. Kiss-kiss.

Unca Jon

Here’s the post I promised “tomorrow” – which, if you look at my blogging pattern, means “as soon as I’m not exhausted beyond all reason and I have a few free minutes to put fingers to the keyboard, and the likelihood of both things happening the same day has about the same odds as my husband sobbing while watching a movie on The Lifetime Network.”

But you got that, right?

I have three siblings, all of them younger: a brother, a sister and another brother, in that order. My youngest brother is a full ten years younger than I, which unfortunately meant our growing up years didn’t overlap much. By the time he was five and becoming “a person,” in my opinion, I was already 15 and too cool to spend a lot of time hanging out with my family.

Plus, I had bangs to tease and jeans to pin. And I was still learning to roller-skate backwards in case a boy asked me to skate with him during The Snowball.

Priorities, people. Priorities.

To make matters worse, I got married at the tender age of 21 and moved to Arizona (state motto: Hell is Prettier But We’re Hotter) shortly thereafter. Thus ended the chance of a day-to-day relationship with Jonathan.

Time passed. We both grew up.

Corey and I moved to California (state motto: As Seen On TV) as soon as I realized Arizona doesn’t have water. Or grass. Or seasons. Or mercy. Eventually, my parents and my other siblings joined us there.

But Jonathan did not. He stayed in Minnesota (state motto: Not Sweden But We Sure Try To Act Like It) to go to college and ended up establishing his life here in the Upper Midwest.

Fast-forward a few years. Corey and I moved back to Minnesota, albeit two hours from where Jon lived. Jon and I started to get to know each other as adults, to form a relationship that wasn’t based solely on past memories.
The growth was hindered by tough years. Corey and I hit rock bottom in our relationship. And if I told you all Jon has been through the past few months, you would accuse me of reading you a episode summary of “Days of Our Lives.” It’s been that bad – and that shattering.

But now? Now, God has granted us the chance to live 15 minutes from each other. We are forming a real relationship, made even more tender by all we’ve been though. And my kids? They adore Uncle Jonathan. (“Unca Jon is CRAZY!” Connor shouted gleefully during one recent outing.) They fight over who gets to sit next to him at dinner. They beg him to do the trick where he eats Styrofoam balls only to make them magically reappear in their ears. They jump on him and hit him and tickle him and cry when he has to go.

What a treasure family is. Living near Jon is one of my favorite things about living in Minnesota.

Jon and Connor play "Doodle, Doodle, Doodle."

Natalie lectures Jon on the correct way to catch her when she jumps off the kitchen island.

A Few of my Favorite People

One of the coolest things about moving back to the city where I grew up is reconnecting with a few shadowy fun figures from my past.

One of them is my college roommate. (I’d post her picture but she knows where I live.) For the sake of simplicity, we’ll call her Angie – because that’s her real name, and if I start using fake names at this point in the blog-game, my head will explode trying to keep track of it all.

Angie and I connect on a deep level – if you consider Dana Carvey deep. Ever since I met her our freshman year, laughter has been one of the defining threads of our relationship. There are few people who can make me laugh as hard or as long as she. In fact, during a play date with her yesterday, I believe the subject of Depends was brought up.

(Well, maybe we were discussing what the birth of children does to your bladder and why moms should never, ever attempt to jump on a trampoline without sturdy undergarments. But let’s not retrace our steps too much here.)

(Aren’t you glad you stopped by today?)

During The Great Sort of 2007, I went through an entire cabinet drawer stuffed with cards from the past 10 to 15 years of my life. Even though I’m a bit of a Hallmark junkie (one version of my perfect afternoon involves two hours of free time, a cup of coffee and a quiet Hallmark store), I had no little-to-no trouble getting rid of most of the cards in that drawer. Why? Because most of the cards were either not sentimental (damning) or, worse, not funny (the ultimate card sin).

However, when I reached the college-years strata in the card drawer, I found gem after gem of humor. All were sent to me by Angie via the intra-mail system at the school.

All were saved.

Here are a few of the classics.


Inside: Laugh or I’ll bite your butt.

This might be the quintessential Angie card. We got it for each other on numerous birthdays, because no card stated our feelings quite as well as this card.

Added bonus for 2007: The six-month-pregnant me resembles this lion. Just a little. But especially when I’m laughing. I hold my round body in much the same posture.


Inside: Moo, Snort.

No words are necessary, really. It probably goes without saying that we both liked “The Far Side” and Gary Larson’s twisted sense of humor.


Inside: I’m now 2600 miles from home.

Maybe even funnier than the card: The fact that Angie underlined the punch line and wrote “Funny!”

Because if something was funny the first time, it’s downright hysterical the second time.
That’s a motto we live by to this day.


Inside: You could stay at my place until the reward got over $15,000 or so.

Personal note under the punch line: “Hey, that’s a year and a half of school Or a really nice car. Or maybe a so-so car and a really nice guy!”


Inside: You’re always pulling crap like that.

Touching isn’t it?

And the moment this card celebrates?
“Kelly, Thanks for always sending spontaneous, fun card! Love, Angie”

That’s right. Angie sent me a funny card to commemorate the fact that I sent her a funny card.

My other favorite person-with-whom-I've-reconnected? My little brother, the last remaining family member I have in this state. But as this has already turned into one of the longest posts of all time, his essay will have to wait for tomorrow.
See you then.

Can't ... Breathe ....

Hot. Freakishly hot. And humid. So humid. On Saturday, it was 90 degrees with a dewpoint in the upper 60s. (Which I believe is equivalent to the average humidity level in New Delhi. Or Houston. Whichever is worse.)

It's supposed to be back to "normal" (whatever that is) by mid-week. The forecast Wednesday calls for sun, dry air (dewpoint in the 30s, for the other weather geeks out there) and temperatures in the mid-60s.

If it happens, I will be a happy camper. Because have I mentioned that I'm six months pregnant? And I have no summer maternity clothes -- only jeans and sweater coats and turtleneck sweaters? And I live in a three-story townhouse where the bedroom level -- top level, naturally -- never seems to cool down, no matter how high the AC is set? And my lungs, they are being squished?

Oy. This is Minnesota, people. We shouldn't be wearing shorts and flip-flops to rake the leaves and watch football.

We now end this rant and return you to your normal Monday morning activities.

Lost in Translation

"Mom, are we going to ride the tramp now up to Loose Mountain?"

Why it's important to enunciate when communicating with your daughter about the tram you are soon going to take to the top of Moose Mountain.

The Inevitable List

Busy week. Busy life. Now that my daughter is in first grade (which means she has to go to school every single day; can you imagine?) and my son is in preschool two mornings a week, I'm turning into a chauffeur for little people.

Naturally, I write posts in my head while I'm driving. Naturally, I have no time to write once I get back to my computer.

And that whole typing-while-you're-driving thing? It's just about as dangerous as you would think.

And yes, I've tried.

I have a few posts I've been working on that will eventually make their way to the World Wide Web later this week. But for now, you'll have to indulge me a list so I can clean up all the mental litter that's blowing around the empty spaces in the gray matter.

1. After as string of abnormally warm weather, God has blessed me with cooler weather in recent days, glory to His name. I’m not being sarcastic or flippant. It’s a Good Thing to be able to dress in clothes that fit (read: maternity clothes) each day instead of trying to piece together an ensemble that both looks halfway decent and doesn’t include Corey’s gym shorts. (Note: The two might be mutually exclusive.) I’m so thankful for the more autumn-like days outside.

(Quick pause here to remember that normally I would relish 85-degree days in September, because it means winter’s arrival isn’t as imminent. But this year? Bring on the 60s!)

Oh! And maternity clothes? They are so cute these days. I am amazed at how far they've come in just four years. I bought a maternity sweater coat at Old Navy last month (it's already sold out or I'd link to it) that is absolutely adorable. I'd wear it even if I wasn't pregnant.

2. Speaking of the pregnancy, I'm officially six months now. The baby kicks constantly, which is both wonderful (when I'm relaxing) and somewhat annoying (when my bladder is full -- which is always).

I'd post a picture of my growing baby bulge -- but I'm not sure y'all would appreciate that.

3. The husband, the kids and I just returned from our second annual Fall Trip Up North. (Note to self: Come up with catchier title.) It rained two of the three days we were up there, but the sunny day made quite a name for itself.

To wit:

You really can't beat Lake Superior for natural wilderness beauty. It's the coast of Maine without all the people. We hiked, we rode the alpine slide, we skipped rocks, we marveled at the trees.

Oh. And the food. It was divine. I ate myself silly.

4. My three- (almost four-) year-old son Connor is a bundle of humor these days. Last week, we drove by a park near my childhood home. I commented to him – in my non-stop stream of witty, lively, educational conversation – that the ball field out his window was where Daddy used to play softball.

“Softball? What’s softball, Mom?” he queried.

“Well, it’s like baseball. Only with a bigger ball. Daddy used to play it a lot.”

“Baseball? Dad? Our dad?!? Our Dad used to play baseball?!?”

Oh little man. You have so much to learn about your athletic, almost-pro-in-three-sports father.

5. I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud, but I would give anything for a big stash of tomatoes and zucchini right now. Normally, September is the month when I begin the Great Zucchini Giveaway, because I have I’ve already eaten more zucchini than I care to recount, I’ve already baked countless loaves of zucchini bread – and still, my plants make new zucchini.

But this year, we moved -- leaving behind my garden right when everything was near harvest. Thus, no zucchini. No heirloom tomatoes. Just the grocery store.


6. This sounds strange, but lately, nothing brings more satisfaction and peace to my heart than running the dishwasher once a day. Because it means -- after yet another year of commuting and hardly ever seeing my husband -- that we're living as a family again. I’m cooking and cleaning and spending time with the ones I love, and nothing says that more to me than a full dishwasher.

I think it stems from the years when I would run the dishwasher maybe once a week, even if it wasn’t full, simply because I needed clean bowls and spoons for cereal. I’m glad to have those days be a thing of the past. Who knew the homemaking gene lurked so deep within this career girl?