Thursday, February 26, 2009


I don't always remember to blog about friends when they have birthdays. But I have this one friend, some of you may know her as "Dow"...

When I first met Christine Dow (she's now Christine Rubino but I have no idea how to ever call her anything but Dow) we were at Kanakuk. She swaggered right up to me and greeted me in her big, booming Alabama accent and proceeded to lift me off my feet in a bear hug. I was slightly horrified. On a long bus ride she also leaned over the seat behind me to loudly gawk on and on, laughing crassly, while I tried to have a private conversation with Katy. Geez. This girl seemed omnipresent that summer.

I tried not to like her. 90% of our campers seemed to pine for her. She had some kind of fame going as the best counselor ever to hit Missouri. She was loud, brassy, often inappropriate (okay, yeah, I liked that about her)...but she was also deep, often outrageously spiritual, calling people, "Beloved." I couldn't decide if I thought she was the cheesiest thing to hit my life or simply precious. The latter finally won me out. To not like Dow is to try to hate a puppy. Even if they crawl all over you and blow you with puppy breath, your heart has to melt at some point.

So, yes, I began to just love Dow. She was a huge source of comfort to me. After a particularly terrible day on my part, she drove me out to the parking lot at Kamp (did I mention there is no candy, coffee, or cursing at Kanakuk?) and we dove into a half melted bundle of Swiss chocolates that had been sitting in her Jeep Cherokee all summer. It was pure delight, mainly because we could have been busted for it.

Katy and I came up with several skit characters for Dow. I won't post photos of them, only because I don't have a scanner. Otherwise you'd see Delores, Gaynelle, and the Fashion Fairy in a heartbeat. I'll never forget one time when I was penciling in her unibrow for the 800th time that summer, she griped, "why do I always have to play the ugly girl?" In so many ways, I was taking childhood trauma out on her - me having had to always play the husband or mother in make-believe. Boy, we did a doozy on Dow.

One time we got in an argument, not a hard thing to do when you sleep on bunks together in an un-airconditioned cabin and basically live on top of each other for a summer. I have no idea what the fight was about, only that I think it occured mid-afternoon and by bedtime we still hadn't really spoken. I could see Dow lying in her bunk, reading her ever-present bible, sniffling and misty-eyed due to the tension. I went over to her and sat down and had barely said, "Dow, I'm-" when she pounced on me in tears hollering, "I'm sorry too!"

Several years later when I was suffering from depression, I called Christine. She was so gracious. She invited me to come to her parent's beachhouse in Perdido Key, Florida and that time was a healing balm for both of us. We are so similar, loving to talk about theology, psychology, ministry, and of course, Chi Omega. Actually that last part is just Dow.

We were both in each other's weddings and though we get very little time to talk to each other these days, Christine is someone with whom I can call out of the blue and we are caught up instantly. The only thing I hate is that due to the fact that in the past she has been a much loved youth minister, she is still bombarded by voicemails from teens who miss her. I went to call her on Monday night to wish her a happy birthday and I got the dreaded, "the mail box you have called...IS FULL." Dammit, Dow! Empty your freakin' phone!

Miss you & Love you!

Comment if you know & love Dowie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My BF is a Techno Snob

So trying to keep up with Katy can be hard - seems she's always got something new in the works. (oh, you will not be disappointed if you go there) Anyway, we are now on opposite schedules. She gets off work around 5pm and that is when we are descending into the tearful hours around here. (note: if you have ever tried to reach me between 4 and 7, now you'll know why.) So the other day we finally decided to iChat. Kates does this all the time. She even suggested, "we could always Skype, too." Skype? Ain't that whut they do on Oprah? I feel so up to date by having a best friends who keeps me clued in on these things. Last night we had our first iChat date of what I hope to be many!

It's Wednesday and I typically have more time to write new posts, being that I don't work today but we have a doctor's appointment to make sure that Davy has gotten over her ear infections. Lately I've heard myself complaining about her sicknesses, her teething, and the hard phase of 6 months when babies are caught between the first stages of mobility (squirming out of your arms and wanting to grab everything) but aren't yet able to crawl or walk. It is so easy to whine about how hard it is to be a mother. For some reason, I'm tempted all the more to joke or be sarcastic or behave like a martyr when I'm with other moms.

But I'm reminded of several things today: I think of some of my sweet friends who are trying to get pregnant and experiencing the sorrow and frustration of wondering why their bodies aren't cooperating. I'm so grateful that they are allowing me to be on this road with them, sharing the feelings and letting me peek behind the curtain on this phase of their lives. I'm also reminded of so many close friends who have recently been through the heartache of miscarriage. One of my best friends once said that what was the most painful to endure after her miscarriage was the complaining of her friends who were mothers - that the baby wasn't sleeping or the baby was crying a lot or any number of things we tend to gripe about. My friend shared that she knew they were just venting (and goodness knows venting can be good) but that it tore at her insides, knowing she had lost her baby, that there was no baby to cry or fuss or be awake at nights.

Those of you who know me well know that I often battle fear in it's many forms: anxiety, worry, control, obsession. I have to be careful what I read, what I focus on. But I want to add a video today not as a means to upset anyone (myself included) or to force you to watch something painful. I just keep thinking about and praying for The Macs. I couldn't get one minute into Cora's video before I went and grabbed Davy. I realize that when I am worn out at trying to "play" with her or keep her entertained, that I need to refocus, get some perspective. What a wonderful burden to have: a growing baby who takes up your time. I confess that I cried all over her this morning.

LC, this is why we need to take so many family photos!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Homeboy Needs a Job

Go here!

Seems like I have about 10 friends (along with almost 30,000 other strangers) competing for The Best Job in The World. But I gotta go with my blood here & ask that you click on the link above to vote for my brother, Josh Meredith, by watching his video and giving him 5 stars.

Please have mercy on him. This is the brother who I once gave a cup of feces to in order to trick him into drinking it. Hasn't he suffered enough? The kid deserves an awesome job and I can say honestly that he would be good at it! (A little biased? Yes.)

More proof of his past suffering can be seen here and here.

You can also listen to his music here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Magic Tree

Maggie, over at Mighty Junior, found the Magic Tree here. OHMIGOSH. Did you ever play with this? I know I did but I also know for a fact that my parents didn't pay that kind of cash for it. Seriously, this is one of the things I get excited about as far as parenting goes - Momma needs a benefactor...


We all have a Debbie in our lives.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Because they are still on my mind

Let's keep praying for Jess and Joel, the parents of Cora Paige. I think of how a very little life can change so many people...I love how God uses the "foolish" things of the world to shame the wise. He uses little ones to impact us big'uns. My heart is still so broken for The Macs.


Teething, two ear infections, loads of drool and snot - but dang, she's cute.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review: three in common

This past month I read three books that profoundly impacted me. Taking a breather from the teenage angst of Twilight, I borrowed a book from my mom called, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn. This began a frenzied study of stories about survivors of The Holocaust.
Mendelsohn's Lost starts in a manner that seemed quite tedious to me. He begins by sharing about his own family and how he went from vague stories he heard as a young child about relatives who were murdered during the German invasion of what is now the Ukraine. Mendelsohn spends great detail drawing you inside his family's history. He also interweaves several critiques on the Patriarchs of Genesis, building an understanding of how the Jews, as a nation, began. In the beginning of this book, I was overwhelmed by all the minutiae. However, once I got into the story, I began to feel for myself the urgent need to find out exactly how these precious relatives died. The search itself seems to unite Daniel not only with his past, his family history, but with his present and with his own siblings.

I came undone during several parts when he records actual testimony from witnesses of the crimes committed by the Nazi soldiers, Ukrainian villagers and even the Jewish Police against the families of Jews, especially children and babies. This book is terribly is also poignant and important. I found myself longing to talk to my own relatives who have since passed away, longing to learn more about the generation that lived during WWII. Upon completing this book, I realized I was still hungry to hear more about this time...

I have an extremely old copy of Martin Gray's For Those I Loved that I stole from my parents' library. I believe I once began this book in college, only to find it too painful, my young mind not ready to take it all in.

Barely 14 years old when the Nazis invaded Warsaw, Martin Gray gives his gripping account of coming to age during the darkest time that Polish Jews would ever see. His survival not only of the Jewish Ghetto but of the extermination camp, Treblinka, are staggering. Gray becomes a man during the War and I found myself having to stop at many points in his story just to pull away from the palpable terror, the fear of what it would mean to attempt to stay alive while all around you death is reigning. I don't want to say too much about this book, except to tell you to read it for yourself. The atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during WWII are not so different from what certain governments in Africa are inflicting on their own people (DR of Congo, Uganda, Sudan). These things not only happened, but they continue to happen. I will say this, however: I felt such a fond love for Martin Gray while I was reading this - but I also felt that life had damaged him, almost beyond repair.

Admittedly, I was becoming obsessed with accounts of Holocaust survivors. I don't know if I was becoming fixated on the fear and the pain I was reading about, or if it was my anger against the Nazis (and all who behave like them)...but I sat down with my mom and we talked about everything I was reading. (I had previously worn Russ out, I think.) Having read both the books above, Mom reminded me about Corrie ten Boom's story in The Hiding Place.

Oh. If you've never read this book, then you are in luck - because to read it is to feel all that I've been describing but to sense the presence of the Lord in the midst of absolute horror and evil. Reading this book was like spending time with someone who has walked closely with God. Corrie ten Boom's family harbored and hid Jews during the German invasion of Holland. Her father, Casper ten Boom, shares his merciful heart perfectly when he says, "I pity the Germans, Corrie. They have touched the apple of God's eye."

Without spoiling the story for you, I will tell you that Corrie survives the awful conditions of the concentration camp, Ravensbruck. Throughout the book, the ten Booms are continually clinging to Truth, to passages of scripture that remind them of God's love and goodness. In unfathomable circumstances, they are able to love their tormentors. When I read the first 2 books, I was left feeling exhausted, deeply saddened. Upon finishing The Hiding Place, I thanked God for reminding me of His Truth, of His Hope for the future and for Heaven.

I confess that a part of me now wants to delve into studying The Third Reich and how Germany came under Nazi rule. What do you think? Maybe I need a break - anyone have some light-hearted suggestions? Mom, you still need to get started on Twilight!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crabby McCrabcakes

Why do babies fight going down for a nap? If someone were to take me into a darkened room with a sound machine playing the noises of a gurgling brook, tell me it's "time for night-night", wrap me in my softest blankie, and then rock me gently while humming in my ear, I'd be their love slave for life.

Someone else in our house feels differently.

Update: well, I now know why the munchkin was so fussy - at her 6 month checkup the doc told me that she has ear infections in both ears and is also teething. I'm sorry, little girl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Six Months!

Sweet Davy girl,
You turned 6 months old yesterday and it feels like I blinked and half a year just zoomed by! It was hard to believe that six months ago I was in labor with you, completely oblivious to how much my life was about to change.

So many people told me I would be in love with you from the very moment I saw you. I can honestly say that the first feeling I had for you was awe...and then...fear. I loved you, for sure, but more than anything I was a little scared of you.

Since you were just a day old, the first comment that most people make about you is that you look like your Daddy. Man, that kills me! I love your Daddy and personally think he's hot, something that you'll most likely never want to hear again from me - but you're my little girl and I really want you to look like me, too! This photo of you, however, proves that we'll never need a DNA test for you - you are definitely your father's daughter.

You were such a little thing six months ago. I had to work hard to give you those thunder thighs you're hauling around now. Even since your early days you've been a really, really good little baby. You took to a schedule right away, even though it took awhile for us to get the whole feeding thing down. You have such a sweet countenance and easy going manner. For your first 3 months it was mostly just you and me, day in and day out. I was probably a little obsessive at first about taking you anywhere - so you and i just BONDED.

Your dad and I have bonded too over these six months. We never knew we had it in us to be your parents. I'm thankful that God knew we did. I have to say that your dad has really surprised me. I always knew he'd be a good Daddy but I had No. Idea. that he would be so great at all that goes into it! His favorite thing is to race me to your room when it's time to wake you up. He likes to be the one that picks you up and gets to see your face the moment you open your eyes. That's something I'll always love about him.

We have a whole new respect and joy for family now. I love that you will know your grandparents and your cousins (even the ones yet to be born) and that they will play such a big role in your life! You are so blessed to be born into this family - every single person in our big ol' extended family loves you so much and is someone that I want you to get to know. We are relying on all of them to help us raise you.

For me, you've already taught me so much about myself. Your Dad always says that getting married makes a man grow up and that having a baby makes a woman grow up. I do feel like I've grown more since you've come into my life than ever before. Having you makes me feel confident about myself, helps me to think less about myself. God is using you to take away some of my insecurities, partly because they pale in comparison to the joy of being responsible for you. Now, He's also shown me again just how fearful and controlling I can be. I promise to work on this before you become a teenager!

We took you to Ft. Worth this weekend and I loved all your new changes: eating baby food (hating the peas and loving the applesauce), laughing with us, and generally just being a very happy baby.

My greatest prayer for you in the next six months is only that I would be grateful for each day spent with you. I don't always understand how God works and why He does the things He does...but I know He is good. I want to be able to live in a way that teaches this to you.

I love you, little baby girl.

In Memory

Sometimes there really are no words.

Dear friends, we don't even know each other but you are on my heart and mind today as you hold the funeral for your baby girl. I have no words at all to try to comfort you but I am praying for you over and over again today.

I read all about Cora and find myself so sorrowful, so completely brokenhearted for her parents. This is one of those days when I don't understand, God. This family took their beautiful baby girl to the doctor on Jan. 22 and today they are having her funeral. I don't say this to be morbid - just to share that life is so short and so precious.

If you read this, please stop right where you are and pray for the McClenahans, that God would show them His goodness even as they mourn.

I wrote all of that and then broke down crying.

Right then God reminded me of a verse in 1 Cor. 15:

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (v.19)

"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (vv. 55-57)

Cora Paige yet lives.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Nights

In this phase of life Russ and I have slowly become Friday night zombies. He sometimes gets home after 7pm. I usually am wiped after working and getting Davy down for the night. Whereas Fridays used to mean happy hours and the one night of the weekend when we could stay out till 2am, they now mean a night in and a few mumbled words to each other.

"what do you want to eat tonight."
"whatever is easy."

We were sort of late to the game (no pun intended) on discovering "Friday Night Lights." I had no interest in it due to the cheesy Billy Bob Thornton movie that preceded it. There is nothing less Texan than Billy Bob. But Russ convinced me to watch the 1st season on DVD and...let me say...I loved it. I love that show. Do you watch it? If not, there truly is a reason to stay home on Friday nights. It is excellent. This is due, in part, to the fact that it is truly Texan and I feel like I know these people that are on the show. It is simply so familiar. There is also a strong moral chord that is woven throughout the plotlines.

NBC almost cancelled the show. I have no clue why. It seems like the tv drama is almost dead. However both the writing and the casting on "Friday Night Lights" continues to be excellent and entertaining.

(Have I really spent 10 minutes on a friday blogging about a television show? Ehh. I haven't been cool for a really long time.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Guess Who's Coming for Happy Hour

Oh, Mom. We're driving down there for a glass (or 12) of Chardonnay. Honey.

Alli Aars, for some reason I think Gladys is so up your ally, too. I love her talking about Austin shutting down for an ice storm. Oh, she's a gem!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just Some Thoughts

While D. is catching a few extra zzzz's I will jot down some thoughts from this morning.

I'm burdened. There are three friends who I am praying HARD for because the weight on their back is way too heavy to carry alone. The only comfort I can give is to share it with them, pray for them, and go to the Truth for them. "Carry each others burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2) These friends are people I treasure, so I'm honored to hurt for them.

I called my dad this morning to ask for some wisdom regarding a certain situation. After getting off the phone I was struck with the immense burden of being a parent - being a godly parent, at that. Will I ever be able to parent my child the way my parents did? The fact that I can call my dad at his work on a busy morning, ask him for guidance, prayer, scripture - and receive all that and's such a blessing. I have some seriously big shoes to fill. I'm incapable - do You hear that God?!

One more random thought: I've been thinking about the whole Health & Wealth/Prosperity movement. With the state of the economy right now, I can only imagine that this type of theology will become very attractive to folks who are hurting, struggling, feeling hopeless, and in need of comfort. I believe they will be drawn to the "sell" of this theology that states that good Christians will receive wealth, success, status, good health, power, etc. And there couldn't be a bigger lie for people to fall for right now. I saw this today:

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, "Blessed are they that mourn." - C.S. Lewis

And I think of this:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30, NIV)

I think part of the problem is that most of us, me included, want health & wealth more than we (I) want to rest in Him. And the scramble for health & wealth (worldly happiness) is anything but rest.

God, teach me to rest.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Getting the Thousand Words Painted

Being the kind of mom that I am, I was pretty close to having my monthly guilt trip about not having gotten any professional photos taken of Miss Pretty Pretty Princess. She's so stinkin' cute now and it seems like everyday brings new accomplishments: sleeping on her tummy, able to sit on her own, laughing...

A few weeks ago I searched out my old Kanakuk friend, Janet, who has begun her own photography business. Little did I know that she would show up and work some magic while I basically just had a typical morning with Davy. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that I wanted a very natural setting and I wanted to capture my little girl's simple beauty.

go here
click on "site"
click "client images"

That's my girl! And there's so many more where that came from. The best part was that Janet and I sat down, had coffee, caught up on all kinds of life and generally had ourselves a great morning. She made the whole experience such a peaceful, enjoyable time. I highly recommend her!

A Little Lackluster

I'm a little tired right now. I think I'm recouperating from the sick family from last week. Everyone is almost all better now, by the way. So due to my lack of anything interesting to say...I give you Binocular Soccer!