Friday, April 30, 2010


I am inclined to think so, considering my history and past record of vegetation mutilation!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


1. THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2010 - The evening drive to New Orleans with my daughter after she got off work.
2. The birthday lunch I had with my mom earlier in the day.
3. The gift card she (my mom) gave me from Bed Bath & Beyond.
4. The card from my niece.
5. The picture drawn by her dog, Sadie.
6. The note from my niece on the drawing: "She (Sadie) REALLY drew it" 
7. The talks my daughter and I had in the car on the way to New Orleans pertaining to her dreams, goals, and ambitions.
8. The poodle who rode in the back seat quiet and content because she was getting to go "bye-bye".
9. The Subway sandwiches on the way.
10. Watching my daughter as she texted her dad in the car and hearing her laugh each time he texted her back. 
11. Knowing they were up to something pertaining to my birthday and having fun with it.
12. FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2010 - Waking up, knowing we had five whole days to be together, doing what we wanted to, when we wanted to.
13. McDonald's drive through for our late breakfast/early lunch.
14. Grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.
15. The time that FLEW by while in Wal-Mart.
16. Not realizing we had been in there for several hours when I finally realized it was 2:30 shortly after I hung up the phone telling my son to wait until around 1:00 to decide when he would drive down because of the weather.
17. The downpour while in Wal-Mart.
18. The ponchos my daughter went back inside to purchase after we had already checked out just so we could get to the car without getting soaked.
19. The fact that we got soaked anyway.
20. As well as the fact that it stopped raining just as soon as we got home and unloaded ALL the groceries.
21. My husband's early arrival home from work.
22. T.J. Maxx.
23. The turquoise canister I purchased.
24. The "silly" game we were playing when I spotted it. My husband tries to guess my favorite item on an aisle or on a shelf. (He usually never gets it right, but this time he did)
25.  My son and his girlfriend arriving.
26. The grilled shrimp, salad, and hamburgers for supper.
27. Having my son's favorite French bread waiting for him.
28. Whole Foods.
29. Cookies: short bread with chocolate drops.
30. Barnes & Noble. 
31. Scattergories.
32. The laughter over my daughter's answer for an item of clothing that starts with the letter C: CLOAKS.
34. Hearing my family up and scurrying around in the dining room.
35. The phone calls from family members.
36. The happy birthday wishes from family and friends on facebook.
37. The Pandora bracelet and charms from my husband, daughter, and son.
38. Knowing my daughter was behind the idea, as well as, the purchasing of the bracelet.
39. Knowing how important it was for her to have something special to give me on this particular birthday.
40. The card from my husband.
41. But especially the card from my daughter.
42. The tears that it brought to my eyes.
43. The joy that it brought to my heart.
44. The comfort that it brought to my soul.
45. The earrings from my sister-in-law.
46. The bath products, candle, and decorative wrought iron cart from my daughter.
47. The "Queen's Caffeine" coffee and mug from my daughter.
48. Especially the story behind the "Queen's Caffeine" mug (the reason for all the texting between my daughter and husband during the drive down)
49. The John Besh Cookbook from my husband.
50. The Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.
51. Seeing the Blue Bayou Waterpark on the way and my children's excitement and anticipation as they planned summer visits to it. 
52. VooDoo Barbecue.
53. CC's Community Coffee House and Turtle Mochasippi
54. Laughing our heads off in the food court as my husband shares with us the details of the toy he never got as a child despite the fact that he wanted it so badly. (not sure what prompted the story)
55. Watching the You Tube video of the vintage ad: "Six fingers, six fingers man alive, how did I ever survive with five?"
56. Sephora's
57. The trip that my daughter, son, his girlfriend, and myself took to the Lakeside Mall in Metairie after we returned from Baton Rouge because one GINORMOUS mall was not enough for one day.
58. We went to Jared.
59. The large Pandora display that took up approximately 1/4 of the entire store.
60. The fun my daughter and I had throughout the day looking through the catalog, talking about, and searching for beads as we planned and designed our bracelets.
61. Her bracelet and charms (dog and purse) she purchased at Jared.
62. Dragos and chargrill oysters.
63. Watching my son eat lobster.
64. The fact that we never saw a drop of rain the entire day despite the weather forecast of severe thunderstorms with possible hail and tornadoes.
65. Cafe Dummond. Coffee and Beignets.
66.The bonding that took place over the course of this long weekend.
67. A necessary ice-breaker between my daughter and my son's girlfriend.
68. My husband's love and devotion shown to me all the time and especially on this day.
69. The contentment I felt, leaving no room for sadness over turning 50, it was just a number.
70. A perfectly wonderful day, one that I never want to forget.
71. SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2010 - The trip to the French Market that my husband, daughter, and I took after my son and his girlfriend left for home to take care of school related deadlines.
72. The stop back by Jared before going to the French Market so my daughter could make an exchange.
73. Landry's Seafood.
74. Pralines.
75. Serrano's Salsa Company.
76. Movie shopping at K-Mart.
77. Watching "Old Dogs" with my daughter.
78. My husband asleep in the recliner because he could not stay awake to watch it with us.
79. MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010 - Knowing my daughter and I had the whole day to ourselves to shop or do whatever we wanted to.
80. T.J. Maxx and watching my daughter get excited over her find: a clutch purse and her bargain: an overnight bag originally priced at $180.00. T.J. Maxx's price was $35.00.  They were both Jessica Simpson.
81. Marshall's and my find: a computer tote.
82. PetSmart and the treats for Chole, Bentley, Bella, and Greyson.
83. Her love for animals and knowing it is an inherited trait.
84. Subway, again.
85. The crazy 8's I made circling the city trying to get to Tuesday Mornings and Wal-Mart to finally abandon the GPS and go the only way I knew how to even though it was the long way around.
86. The movie being filmed two blocks from our house on Clearview Parkway, "Jeff, Who Lives at Home".
87. The sandwiches I made (even though mine was better than theirs) (at least that is what they "lovingly" joked about when I kept making a big deal over how good mine was)
88. The picnic and walk in Lafreniere Park.
89. PERFECT weather.
90. Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt.
91. More Scattergories and hearing my daughter laugh at my answer to a personality trait starting with the letter K: KNOTS ON LOGS.
92. More movie watching.
93. More laughing at my husband who could not stay awake.  Waking up in spurts long enough to say, "I'm not asleep" or to ask, "Has it gotten to the funny part yet?"
94. TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010 - The silly little notes my daughter wrote and taped throughout the house for her dad to find when he got home from work after we were gone.
95. Whole Foods, again and their bath soap.
96. Bayou Country Village, Cajun Meatball PoBoys, and more Pralines.
97. A ride home and more time with her.  
98. To realize how sentimental we both are and that we laugh about the same things, like the same things, and say the same things.
99. Not wanting it to end.
100. But knowing it ended with more hope and more promises than it ever began with.  The PERFECT 50th Birthday Gift!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I mentioned in a previous post that my daughter had been borrowing my car.  Short story, long:  She wrecked hers by rear-ending another vehicle after they made an abrupt stop. She was able to drive away, thankfully.  She spent the evening at the hospital where she was checked out and diagnosed with a concussion.  It could have been worse, but again thankfully it was not.  The next day she informed her insurance company and waited for them to access the damages.  After a week went by and still no visit from the insurance adjuster, she called them again.  She was told they were waiting on a police report.  We could not understand why that mattered, but that was their story and they were sticking to it!   Into the second week and still with no sign of an insurance adjuster, she took her car to a body shop to let them go ahead and order the necessary parts. The man who owns the body shop told her that it looked ok for her to drive, but to not make any long trips in it.  This was on a Friday afternoon.  That same night, while she and a friend were on their way to a movie, smoke started boiling out from underneath the hood.  She was driving in bumper to bumper traffic, but was able to pull over into a parking lot.  By this time her car was pretty much blazing!  She and her friend got out and were ok.  Thankfully she was close to a fire station and their response was quick.  This time the insurance company did not delay accessing the car's damage.  Neither did she have to wait long for their report to declare it totaled.

After the shock wore off, my daughter became very concerned about what she was going to do with no vehicle, no money for a down payment to purchase another one, and the probability of still owing a large sum on the "charred" one after the insurance company settled.    Finding out she had Gap coverage was a surprise to her, a welcomed surprise.  (Gap insurance covers the difference between what the car is worth and what you owe on the car.)

We played "musical cars" for a little while.  My husband got a company car to drive, I drove his truck, and she drove my car.  She needed a couple of months to save for a down payment and some time to try to find another one. 

After a couple of weeks and after she looked and looked at cars and agonized and agonized over the price tags, she made what I considered to be a very "big girl" decision.

She realized how great it felt to not have a car note and how great it would be to not have one when she returns to school in August.  Prior to her accident, she had been looking at three more years of payments, and now this incident had changed all of this.

In the words of the late Paul Harvey: "And now for the rest of the story".

My husband and I had already planned on purchasing a new or at least newer vehicle towards the end of this year.  So, we talked about the possibility of selling the old one to our daughter and going ahead with our plans to buy another one.  But, not only were we not financially ready to do this, we also had some concerns about selling her our vehicle because of its age. We barely mentioned this to her, but never pushed the idea on her.  As a matter of fact, we were in the process of helping her look for one for herself.  We had also made the joint decision to not inflict her with our advice or ideas. 

This was why I was taken back the night she called to inform me that she wanted to buy our car.  She told me it felt "right" and she had peace about it.  She knew she could save up and pay us for it in one lump sum and after having driven it for a few weeks, she realized it had all the features she was looking for in a vehicle.  The car she owned had been void of any "extras".  I told her over the phone that I would have to talk to her dad about it first because we would have to have some work done on it for her if this was what she wanted to do.    

- Unbeknown to me at the time, my husband had called a friend of his who is a prayer warrior and asked him to pray about our car situations, for my daughters, as well as, ours. I am not sure how many days this took place before the following telephone conversation.
- My husband's brother mentioned to him that his daughter and son-in-law were on their way out of town to purchase a new vehicle. At the end of the conversation, my husband hung up and immediately called the son-in-law.
- He asked him what they were going to do with their old vehicle.  The answer was to trade it in.  He asked if we could possibly look at it.  So, they got an estimate for a trade it while they were there, but picked up their new one and drove the old one back home for us to look at.
-We picked it up on Sunday, called him Monday morning to find out how much he wanted for it. He asked us for the pay-off.
- By Monday night we owned a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe and owed less than $6,000.00 on it. I am not usually so open about how much we pay for things, but this was nothing short of an answer to prayer and I just had to share it. 
-The son-in-law was happy and willing to do this for us.  And we were so thrilled to watch God work all of this out!
-I will thankfully drive this car for the next couple of years while we are up to our eyeballs in college costs for our son. 

AND I am not finished yet. Or at least, God was not finished yet.

I got a phone call from my husband on Wednesday from his work.  He informed me of an incentive bonus he had just been given at work.  He asked me if I had any ideas on how to spend it.  (Was that a dumb question or what?)  It only took me a fraction of a second to tell him what spilled out of my heart.  He agreed wholeheartedly.  I could not get her phone number punched in fast enough.  I was able to inform my daughter that she now owned her car, our old car - free and clear!  She owed us nothing.   

My heart overflows.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


And I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember
Ever feeling my heartbeat… (“You Found Me” by Big Daddy Weave)

I am not now nor have I ever been a “night owl”. I wind down fairly early and wake early. I can usually “hit the floor running”. (Not literally, but you know what I mean) However, the older I get it’s more like I hit the floor shuffling. I use to be a sound sleeper, but this HAS changed. It is on a rare occasion that I am able to sleep through an entire night.

I was 28 when my daughter was born and it was very difficult for me to get use to interrupted sleep. I don’t think it would be a problem for me now, but back then (WAY back then) it was! Thankfully, though, her sleep pattern, going to bed early and waking early, mimicked mine. And, she also mastered sleeping through the night after a few short months.

My son, on the other hand, is completely opposite. He is a night owl and has always been. And he never slept through an entire night for the first year of his life.

When your children wake you up in the middle of the night…

As babies, it is usually because they are hungry. As toddlers and young children, they may have had a nightmare and are scared, or they are sick.

As teenagers, another story!

My children have called me on the phone in the middle of the night to let me know where they are or walked into my room to wake me up to let me know they were home.

And I appreciate that. I really do. Although those “middle of the night” phone calls have nearly given me a heart attack.

But, last night, or should I say this morning, around 2:00 a.m. to be exact, my son woke me up. And are you ready for this?????

Shining a flash light in my room…. “Hey, mama, wake up. The electricity is off.”

All I could say at the time was, “OK”. I wish I could have mustered up more of a conversation. I would have probably told him something like this, “Go to bed, and go to sleep! And then you will be like me, at least like me before you came in here and woke me up, not knowing OR caring that the electricity was off! At least not until you are awakend in the morning by your digital clock flashing the wrong time in your eyes."

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Well, Happy Birthday, at least!  You haven't been a baby in a long time and you are no longer a boy.  You have become quite a handsome young man.  In four hours you will turn "20"!! I cannot believe it.  It seems like just yesterday you were telling me things like: you didn't like "bean balls" (known as English peas to the rest of us) and that not a kid in your class knew how to spell the word circle.  When you were in the first grade, I asked you if you had a girlfriend at your school.  You told me no and when I questioned whether or not you had ever received a note from a girl in your class wanting to know if you liked her - circle yes or no, your response to me was: "Mama, not a kid in my class knows how to spell the word circle".

Well, guess what, Jarred? Today, at the age of 20 you still do not like bean balls! 

But from all appearances, you must have mastered spelling the word circle.  Happy Birthday.  I love you, mom.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


For quite some time now, when I view my blog the word prodigal that I used in my profile to describe my daughter leaps off the page at me.  I almost feel guilty for using it.  Here are some synonyms I found  for this word: wasteful, squander, lavish (mainly referring to money).  I guess I need to remind myself as to why I used the word in the first place.  The parable of the prodigal son mentioned in the Bible, in Luke, describes a young man who in every way except the inheritance part resembles what her life has been like for the past couple of years.  He took something before it was time for him to have it.  So did she.  He left all the comforts of home. She did too.  He left behind those who loved him more than anybody in the world.  She did too.  His parents grieved.  So did hers.  His brother showed lack of compassion and understanding through immaturity.  As did hers. He found himself in a terrible situation not knowing what to do or how to get out of the mess he was in.   She is still there.  He experienced forgiveness and the unconditional love of a parent.  So has she.

I was thinking about how he must have felt as he walked home.  I don't know how long it took him, but he must have agonized all the way there.  He was regretful, embarrassed, full of shame and sorrow, unsure  of how his father would respond to his returning, not knowing what he would do next if he turned him away.  He must have been tired, dirty, smelly, hungry - just beaten down.  

But we all know what happened as he made those final steps home.  His father could not get to him fast enough.  He loved all over this dirty, smelly young man!  He threw a party to celebrate his arrival.
My daughter has not arrived on our doorstep yet.  She is still walking home.  I am still like the father of the prodigal son who watched and waited everyday for his son to return.  This mother is still watching and waiting for her daughter. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her and then she disappears.

I feel certain that as soon as the prodigal son came to the realization that he had made a terrible mistake, he did not take off running home.  His heart and his mind changed first.  He knew what he needed to do, but the faith and courage to do it was probably not there at that exact moment.  Thankfully they came and he was able to react physically to what his heart and mind had already reacted to.
My daughter has not reacted physically.  I do not mean this in the sense that she will ever come back to an address.  But she needs to walk away from her circumstance.  Her heart and her mind have changed.  But she has not made the leap of faith.  She has not gotten the courage to leave.  She wants to.  And I believe she IS on her way home. I know she is.  The party decorations are up!




Thursday, April 8, 2010


I woke up around five this morning after having had a dream. In this dream, I was in a bathroom about to take a shower. Not just any bathroom, it was the one that was in my grandparent’s house. I could not go back to sleep because I kept recalling vivid memories of this bathroom. Strange! Yea, I know!! My grandparents have been deceased for several years and I have not been inside this house in a very loooong time!

My brother and I enjoyed many extended visits with my grandparents during school vacations. And they went something like this:

During the daylight hours we played outside. That’s right! Played outside! This is something foreign to our children. There was no central air, so it was usually cooler outdoors especially if the wind was blowing any at all. There were only a couple of “boring” channels on the TV, no video games, and no cell phones - only a four party phone line. There was no super Wal-Mart or indoor malls. Period. And not even a grocery store close enough to “run” to. A day in town took just that: a day. They lived on a dirt road in a rural area surrounded by livestock, ponds, fields, and forests. Outside, there were so many places to explore and ways to be creative.

But nighttime was a completely different story. There were no street lights or close neighbors here in the middle of nowhere. So, the safest place for us to be was inside between the confines of the front door and the back door. Safely away from the NOISES we KNEW we HEARD coming out of the pitch darkness and safe from the CREATURES we THOUGHT we SAW lurking in the pitch darkness.

Or was it the safest place? This brings me back to the bathroom. Not literally, just in thought.

The house originally did not have a bathroom. It was an after-thought, an add-on. Actually it was added on to the back porch. This porch was the same length as the house. Opening the back doorway located off the kitchen here is what you saw: A few feet in front of you was the back yard that you could see through a flimsy, ill fitting screen door with a hook-type latch. (Now that I think back, it is quite comical to remember that my grandmother always made sure it was locked.) There was linoleum on the floors. It was the old kind that came in rolls not in squares, and it was floral and worn if I remember correctly. To the right was a “real” door leading into the bathroom and to the left was a make-shift door made out of a curtain leading into the pantry/storage room.

A trip to the bathroom at night was NOT just a trip to the bathroom. It was our very own virtual video game of survival: Get in - Get out - Before being captured and drug off by the bogeyman.

LEVEL 1: To make it past this level you had to make it into the bathroom before being captured by the you know who from behind the curtain door or from behind the “locked” screen door.

Keep in mind there were no light switches to flip! Exposed light bulbs hung from sockets on the ceiling with long strings hanging from them. So you had to actually walk inside the dark room, feel for the string and pull it down before a light would come on.

Also, during the winter, you HAD to close the door leading back into the kitchen because if the temperature was 25 degrees outside, it was also 25 degrees on the back porch slash bathroom slash storage room. So once the door was closed and you were on the porch, you were on your own!

LEVEL 2: Surviving the bathroom. Once inside the bathroom, you were still not safe! It was crude. Nothing fancy. Only the basics. A bathtub, sink, mirror, toilet, and a space heater. No vents! Enough said! And then there were the creepy crawly things that you had to watch out for if they dared brave this non-ventilated room through a hole in the floor.

LEVEL 3: The third and final level. Leaving the bathroom and once again, getting past the screen door (the “locked” screen door) and the “curtain” door ( I always checked to see if it was moving.) and back into the safety of the kitchen.

Thankfully I survived! And lived to tell about it! Aren’t you glad?

Actually, the bathroom trips are not the only memories I have of my childhood days at my grandparents house. And this makes me glad!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I usually have my thoughts together before I begin writing a post and this morning I do not, so I do not know where this will go. Neither do I have a title, but I am sure one will come to me.

Last weekend my husband, some friends, and myself were in a restaurant. We had to wait 20 to 30 minutes before being seated. While sitting in the lobby, I happened to notice the capacity sign. If I remember correctly it was 375.

We were out of town, but I do know that on any given weekend the many, many restaurants where we live are full. Sometimes the wait is over an hour before one can be seated and served.

If there are 50 restaurants (not sure about this number, just throwing it out there, but there are at least that many)and each restaurant holds 375, and there is a line to get in, then that would mean that on Friday and Saturday nights there could be AT LEAST 20 thousand people eating out. In one town!!

My son wanted to go to a concert this weekend and it was sold out. In an auditorium that probably held over a thousand????

Also, this past week I typed the script for the Easter cantata at the church where I work and part of it mentioned the crowd at the cross.

I did a little research to see if I could get a number on how many were actually there. I did not come up with that number, but I do know the Bible only mentions a few specific names, less than a dozen.

All of this made me think about the crowds that we are use to seeing: the ones at the restaurants, malls, concerts, amusement parks, beaches...

I wonder if tomorrow the churches will be "standing room only".

I wonder if I had been living near Golgotha, would I have been present? To the most important event in the world, held for my benefit, one that would change me forever, AND one that was free!!