Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ever wonder?

I wonder, but don't know what to make out of the idea that one person can be having the best day of their life- while for another it is the most trying of all days. It makes me stop sometimes. Tonight I sat with my husband and a group of people at an intimate, swanky place [Artisan Cooking School in Grand Haven] and enjoyed a 6-course gourmet meal. Every bite of food was delicious. The conversations were interesting, light and funny. I left all my stress and worries at the door and just enjoyed being. I am a very fortunate person. Some people will never have a dining experience like the one I had in their life - ever.
And to think that someone held the hand of their loved one for the last time, or was physically or emotionally abused by a "loved one", or took another they didn't have to "feel" anymore, or wondered where they would sleep tonight.
So, do you ever wonder how you got so lucky in your life? Why did God put you in the place you are, right here, right now...instead of in the body of some other soul? I think we should never take our circumstance for granted. Whether wonderful or trying- it's the time we've been given- we can learn, live, love, laugh, listen...and a whole host of other things that may or may not start with the letter "l". You fill in the blank. I guess I was just you ever wonder?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Food for thought- for scrappers

It's no secret that I love designing stuff, scrap stuff (I actually don't do many paper layouts- but I love to browse the stores and get ideas and make other "stuff"), and journaling. That's how I got into this blog-thing in the first place. I was reading Cathy Zielske's book Clean & Simple Scrapbooking and then I googled her and found her blog. From there I found links and links of other bloggers all doing similar- but different stuff.
I've just started some digital scrapdesigning and am having a lot of fun learning and doing it. But it's got me thinking about some of the activites I want to capture in photos so that I can in turn do layouts and tell more of the story. Or at least document the facts of the story.
So here is my latest thoughts on scrapping...
Why are almost all the layouts people do about "nice" things? I mean, I get that we love our family and our friends and pets and even nature around us- but those things can tick us off or cause problems too. Right? So why doesn't anybody make pages about them? For example you could do one about "the dessert I made that was a total flop" or "my day stinks because I got my first speeding ticket" [note here: it would be a good idea to have your camera in the car with you when this happens and maybe ask the officer if s/he would pose with you, or if you could snap a few pictures of him/her writing out the ticket] or what about "the clutter that piles up on my counter and drives me crazy" layout. There are more ideas in my head like the ones I just mentioned. Maybe for my New Year's resolution I will try to scrap something not so nice - but that helps tell a story anyway. Afterall, if scrapbooking is about our lives and passing on a part of ourselves to our loved ones- then it better include some of the "bad stuff" if we want it to be authentic. I got it. Authentic scrapbooking. That's what I'm about! Would love to hear some of your ideas on this topic if you're a scrapblogger. For the rest of my readers, I will try to pull something new and thought-provoking out of my head tomorrow- that doesn't inlude paper or scissors. That's all for now. Uh-oh. I hope I didn't just jinx myself about getting a ticket!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lesson for today~Happiness can be underware.

What a strange "lesson", huh?! Here I go- trying to put my life into words and hoping they will translate into some sort of meaningful sense to you.
It's Monday morning- barely up and running and I've already learned a life lesson- from my 3- year old, no less. For those of you who know Isabella, you will see the beauty in this all the more. She is a spunky girl with a strongwill and a big heart that gives me the patience I need to survive her strongwill. Get it?
We've been working with the whole potty-training concept for about 6 years now. Okay- since she's only 3 that's a teensy exaggeration but for some of you moms out there you understand how I feel. I joke that she could spell 'toilet' and yet she couldn't use one properly. She's finally chosen to quit using diapers and decided the potty will be just fine for her now. It's funny how something that consumes much of a mother's time and energy can be no big deal in a matter of weeks. Isabella sees life in black and white- you know, "all or nothing" kind of girl. So, she has totally gone "toilet" and wants to do the whole thing herself- which is okay by me, 98% of the time.
Here's where today's lesson comes in. Bella woke up in a happy mood (remember she's either hot or cold, happy or grumpy, you get this concept now...), and I asked her if she wanted to go potty before having breakfast. She ran to the bathroom and did everything by herself. I grabbed a pair of clean underware out of the basket of laundry-to-be-folded and told her to come get dressed. She saw me holding the undeware up and started jumping and shouting, "Yea...Hello Kitty underwares, Hello Kitty underwares...yea, yea, yea!" I smiled and told her to settle down so she could step into them. Once on, she did some more jumping and cheering. How can a Monday morning jump-start on a better note than that?!
I can't remember the last time I got excited putting on clean undeware (although some of my underware affect my days more or less than others- but that's more than you care to know). I do remember times my daughter, Teagan got excited about underware though- and to see Bella doing the same thing gives me unmistakeable, pure joy. That's what I'm talking about here.
Look at your own life~ there might be joy where you least expect it. Or maybe you need to see something for what it can be. To recognize joy in the everyday things in your life may be a new concept. It's one I've been on journey toward for about 4 years now. In fact on the first page of a journal I started keeping a month or so after my family's accident, I wrote about not needing books on grief support or dealing with trauma- but on finding joy. I'm learning it's not about being happy with things or circumstances- but it's a's a situation that warms your heart for no big's a memory or a's a moment when you realize your efforts are paying's letting all the other stuff that can bog you down in life slip away so that you can "see" the present moment- no matter how big or small it might be.
For me, joy manifested itself in the glee of my little girl stepping into a favorite pair of underware. Maybe I'll make t-shirts for Christmas gifts that say, "Joy can be undies." I'm sure you'd all want one of those. See post about nitty.gritty. tshirts if none of this makes sense. And in the meantime, I hope joy jumps up and down in your face today...just make sure you're looking for it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I just had to post a picture of some of the goodies I picked after hanging out in the scrap aisles at a couple of chain stores. I am mixing and matching green, pink, red and brown- and plan on having a good ol' time designing some holiday cheer to send to some of my family and friends. Looks like I have made some work for myself...but it is helping to lift my mood already. Funny how some stickers, ribbons, frames and even Heidi Swapp photo corners can perk me right up. Maybe if you drop me your address via my email I will send you something fun. I'm at I'll pick a few random bloggers and you'll get in on my Christmas wishes too. Retro holiday Christmas stuff here I come!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Photography and life's paths....

So, if any of you out there are photography fanatics- I am just about to make a big purchase. Since some of you are into design and scrapbooking, I thought I'd give you a chance to comment on what you love or hate about the camera you shoot with. I am looking for a good, easy digital- high-end camera- mostly for taking photos of the kids and life in general...but would like to explore this world of photography more and more. So, drop me a note about your camera...and maybe it will help me decide on what to purchase.
On another note, my son just said at breakfast, "I just hatched an idea...". I don't know where he got that phrase- but I already smiled because of it. That's a good thing since the past couple of days I've been a bit "mope-y". I put up our "Barbie" Christmas tree (I'll post the story of that in a bit) and it makes me realize a lot of things about my life and the loss of Teagan. On most days her life seems to me more like a dream- I can remember all the happy things I love about her and how "easy" our life was before our accident...but then I do something like put up a big tree that helps me to celebrate her life and Christmas...but at the same time it's a big in-your-face reminder that she's not here and I'm missing out on the joy and excitement she would be sharing with us right now. So, that's the struggle. Those opposing feelings crash against one another inside me and sometimes I snap right out of it- while other times I just have to let them swarm inside and do their thing. That means I pout, and snip at the kids more than they deserve, I play and replay how my life could be different...and basically I just wish for a real life do-over. I know most of you won't have a clue what I'm talking about- but it's nice to have a place to write it all down and express myself for whoever wants to try to feel my life for a moment. ANd just so you know, I still am very grateful for all that I have and how much I am blessed. I haven't forgotten all that- I just take occasional sidetrips down that "feeling sorry" path...and then I come back to life. It's like the opening lines of Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens..."It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Kind of sums up my life. Lucky for me the good in my life far outweighs the bad. I appreciate those of you who have chosen to walk this journey alongside of me and be there through it all. You help to keep my head up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I can't help but be thankful, despite all the bad stuff that's happened in my life. Looking at the pictures here I am one lucky woman and have 5 beautiful reasons running circles around me everyday- giving me cause to smile. I am guilty of grumbling and being stressed out with the work they can create for me- but when I pause and just "look" at them, I can't help but jump inside. I understand that a lot of people get through this life with a lot less trouble than I have faced- but I realize that I could have more trouble than I do...and for that I am grateful. Everyday. God has blessed me with a lot of love and care- from family and friends and even strangers. I appreciate life and all that has come my way. Even the rough spots- because they stretch me and make me think and most importantly they teach me to trust in God. And without that I am nothing. So, I thank Him for ALL that He has given to me...and for what has been taken from me. And I hope He gives Teagan a big squeeze from me this Thanksgiving time. She's my Angel in waiting...and I'm getting closer to her everyday! Happy Thanksgiving, one day earlier. I plan on taking tomorrow off from blogging. Unless something really funny happens at mealtime that I must blog about. Hope you have much to be thankful for this year. There are blessings everywhere if we choose to see them- some are disguised as something else- but they are always around.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wyndham can walk, new home/job...and Rachael.

Can you believe it? I went to Walmart with two of my kids- Bella and Ava, and had an uneventful shopping experience. I was refreshing. Normally I am happy to just get outta there. Today, I could have browsed longer had I not had to pick up Wyndham from therapy.
So, an uneventful trip to Walmart translates into a slow blog day for you the reader here at Nitty.Gritty.
Although one of the greatest persons in my life stopped by my place and brought pink, Barbie cupcakes. Doesn't that sound "Thanksgivingy" to you?! The kids loved them...thanks Rachael. {This next part is a personal message to our nanny/friend, Rachael who lived with us all summer and deserves a lot of praise...} You can tell everyone you want to brag to that you are in the top 5 list of the things we are most thankful for this year. You rock! But, you already know that. Next to Wyndham walking, a smooth transition moving to our current home, and of course, Buttercream- we are grateful for you in our lives. Literally- in our lives.
One more note about Rachael- I know she won't mind. =) You realize that I have 4 kids, ages 6 and under- one of them with extra-special needs (because they ALL have special needs- they think!), and a husband who worked an incredibly large amount of hours this summer... which is why we needed a nanny to live with us.
Lucky for us, Rachael accepted our offer- even when we were upfront with all the things she may have to see, hear or do around our home. A couple of times when she would get up in the morning, I'd say, "Rachael, you're still here! I thought you would have packed your bags and left in the middle of the night". She's a real trooper. Her resume should have somewhere very close to the top the following credentials:
- Can handle all types of body fluids, anywhere, anytime- with ease.
- Work well under stress and love loud noises at the same time.
- Know the signs and symptoms of various types of concussions.
I think I see a job in the medical field in her future. I would highly recommend her...but don't plan on giving her up soon- so you'll just have to wait your turn.
That's all for now. Sorry, Rachael- but you knew I'd blog about you sooner or later. Happy Thanksgiving- in the South. Hi to all your family too!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Simple pleasures...

Here are some things that cost nothing but can really make my day...
I love, love love climbing into my freshly made bed- crisp, clean sheets. Love 'em.
...hearing songs that remind me of Teagan- my 4 year old in Heaven...she was a great little singer and dancer and even when certain songs cause tears to well up in me- the music still makes me smile- because I am thinking of her.
...setting my coffee pot on auto so that my Starbuck's is brewing when I wake up.
...watching my kids give their Daddy hugs and kisses- especially when they get up in a good mood and want to smother him or snuggle for a few minutes.
...reading a verse from the Bible that makes me feel like God understands me or a situation I may be dealing with- gotta like knowing that God is in control!
...getting handwritten notes in the mail- especially when they are sent "just to say hello".
There you go. A little bit more about me. See? I'm not as crazy as some people might think. Hope your day is filled with simple pleasures too. Drop me a note and tell me some of your "free simple pleasures of life."

More thoughts...

Hi. I bet some of you thought something bad happened to me- I've skipped 2 days of blogging. I know, I know...I've missed you too! But, I found that life still goes on even when I can't get near a computer or log on. I was busy with real life.
I worked 2 weddings- got only 3 hours of sleep one night before my kids were up and wanting breakfast and me to rebuild their fort. I worked the 2nd wedding (Yes, I do tire of hearing Neil Diamond and other "traditional" wedding dance music- but some of it is beginning to grow on me...), and then got caught up in family life and doing some "design stuff".
Anyway, here I am- with more stuff to share. I was struck by some of the things the father-of-the-bride spoke of at one of the weddings this weekend. He was praising his daughter and gushing, as most fathers do at their daughter's wedding, and then remarked about the bride and groom and how he loves the "enthusiasm, passion and vigor" he sees in their relationship.
My mind of course got sidetracked as I started thinking about all the words people might use to sum up my relationship to my husband, Chip.
I've mentioned that we celebrated 10 years of marriage- and we do indeed love one another very much. But- I wonder if I could use the words enthusiasm, passion and vigor- in a "good" way. I mean, we "debate issues" with passion. We are enthusiastic when we discuss how our kids have been behaving on a particular day. We make time for each other when it works in our schedules- but that's not really something we do with vigor.
Those are three words I am going to push myself to regain in my marriage relationship. Maybe I will use those as my challenge words in other aspects of my life as well. I imagine things would be different from the moment I awoke if I had those words in my thoughts as I went about my day. They are lofty goals in some areas- like at mealtime, for instance. What if I get enthusiastic about cooking my kids dinner again? Granted some meals can be a real delight at my home- the kids turn pudding into arts & craft time. Or they can be passionate about dipping stuff in sauces and I can get worked up when it starts getting all over the place. So, maybe I'll push myself to love without limits- even at if it involves more housekeeping for me. I can always try...if I fail, at least I tried. And if it works- then that means I will have stretched myself and become more passionate, enthusiastic and vigorous.
Yikes! That almost sounds a bit scary- like a supercharged me. Maybe I'll stick to just being "Buttercream Jody" this week. And in case he happens upon my blog...Happy Birthday, (big brother) Marc. Hope your day was full and perhaps you got to taste some buttercream icing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Time for yourself.

I find that there are rare moments in my life when I have a block of time and absolutely nothing pressing to fill that space. Most days (besides being on the computer blogging away) I find that my "free time" consists of the few moments I spend in my shower- which actually isn't spare time because I am taking care of personal hygiene- so even that time in the shower has purpose.
The idea of empty space and time- to just think, meditate, reflect or dream is one that I feel I need to allow myself more of in my life. I think I need to reevaluate my schedule, or the things I currently do to fill my time, and create more "breathing space" for myself.
It's something that is easier said than done- because things come at us so fast and eat up our time and consume our days- without us realizing it. I think we are busy people- but there are a lot of things that aren't necessary for our daily living.
This time of year makes me think of the Pilgrims and some of the pioneers who came to this country with nothing. They had to wake up and "do" just to live and survive. Their lives were about basic needs being met- with very little free time. I look at my own life- and although I don't watch a whole lot of tv (especially the "mindless stuff")- there are activities that I could cut out and it wouldn't affect my ability to live.
I don't really know where I'm going with this idea- I guess this daily journaling makes me wonder about each of us and how our lives are important, in and of themselves- but also that if we all had personal mission statements or a focus than we might be able to affect other lives to a higher degree.
Okay. On a personal level this is what is really hitting me. There is a woman in this world- whose life has forever affected mine- in a truly horrific way- and yet I can't help but be consumed with thoughts of compassion for her. I believe that all life is sacred- that God personally designed us individually with specific gifts, qualities, characteristics, moods- everything. But in this fallen, broken world- some people live as though none of that is true. Maybe they were surrounded by evil when they grew up and thought that is how they should live as well...maybe they were influenced by other broken people telling them that they were worthless, or unlovable, or ugly or no good- or any other sad thing broken people say to hurt people around them. I don't know what happened in her life- but she made a lot of bad decisions and one of those choices changed the course of the life I was leading forever.
I have no idea why my life intesected with her life that day. What I do know is that the same God who loves me and created me- loves and created her too. Some days I am angry that He created her- but the faith I know of tells me that my Creator doesn't make mistakes. He does everything with intent and purpose. His nature is one of goodness and love- so that is what I have to trust in. He knows all things-past, present and future.
I didn't mean to write a mini-sermon and discuss my faith- rather I am just writing about the thoughts that have consumed my "free time" lately. I have no idea if I will feel led to act on my thoughts- or what those actions would even look like- but I do know where there is life there is always hope. Hope is available to anyone in this world- no matter how ugly, evil, cold, selfish or otherwise "broken" that person may be.
Goodness exists for all to grab onto and can be channeled out of a soul that is open and willing. Our broken world would be a different place if every individual heard this message and believed it for themself. I hope you believe it...if not, I challenge you to seek out the truth in this message. You matter in this world.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Every day can be a party!

This is a picture of my daughter, Wyndham. She looks like a happy birthday girl- but in fact, when this picture was snapped- her birthday was still 4 months away. What I love about this picture, besides her big smile, is that it says to me, "Life is what you make it."
My youngest daughter, Ava, pulls this hat out of one of our cabinets and walks around saying, "happy. happy." She wants me to put the hat on and sing, Happy Birthday to her. The other kids all like their turn wearing the hat too. We sing happy birthday to everyone and clap and laugh together. Like a real life "Leave it to Beaver" episode.
I've learned in my experiences that life can turn on a moments notice and so you need to celebrate and have fun even when there's no real reason to party. My kids love when I do this- which is not as oftern as it should be- but then that can take the fun out of it too. We've had cake and sang, "you cleaned the basement and made Mommy so happy". It's about living in the moment... and being content in the present time. Try it. You just might find partying for no reason to be the best kind of partying around.
Here's to celebrating just being! Happy "whatever-makes-you-happy" today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Real compliments...

Think of one the best or most recent compliments you've received. Who did it come from? Why was it given? One of my most beloved compliments was one written about Chip and me in an article about our family after the death of our little girl, Teagan. (See: )
The author, Patty Thompson, spent a couple of hours with us talking about all we had been through and how we were dealing with life. So, part way into the story, she wrote "For a couple who has been through so much, the Ferlaaks are remarkably upbeat. "
I think what makes this one of my best compliments ever is that it is speaking not of something physical- but instead points to character. Most of you reading this know what has gone on in my life. It's not pretty or fun or enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination. Yet somehow, all the horrible events have not hardened my soul.
Sometimes I let the events get me angry or depressed or even negative toward other things in life, but somehow I am able to move through those moments and look for deeper meaning or find or create an outlet for the frustration that has built up.
Back to the topic of compliments. I think today would be a good day for all of us to seek an opportunity to pay someone a compliment. I think it should be sincere and speak to something other than beauty. Most people can do a certain amount of things to alter their appearance- but beauty is often totally out of a person's control. As if we can choose how tall we are or how thick our hair is or how smooth our complexion is. With various products we can do a small amount- but then it is often genetics or environmental issues. And besides- beauty is a relative term- no matter how People Magazine markets it...or any other media chooses to portray it. To get off the subject for a quick second, I joke to my husband Chip, "If you want me to be a size 2, I'll be that in Heaven. Down here you get what you get!" Just so you know- he's never pressured me to be a particular size- and that's one of the things I love about him. He accepts me the way I am.
So a small challenge for you; go out there and find a character quality that you admire in someone- maybe it is a talent that they have developed through hours of study and practice. Maybe it is a gift that they have used in a selfless manner. Maybe something, such as the way they spent their time, has affected you in a positive way. Today- let that person know that whatever it is within them has touched you- and you noticed it.
One final thought on compliments (and then you are welcome to email me your thoughts or leave them in the comments section here), they usually affect two people. The giver and the receiver. If you choose to share a compliment with someone today- I'll bet you anything that you'll both feel better about it- that's just an added bonus to you- the giver.
I'm off to tell someone that I really love something about them- and it just might be you! Thanks for reading are a person who must love learning and gaining insight from others. I admire that in you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

not much here...

I don't get how people can sit in front of tv and watch such mindless things, such as how various types of candy are made (think Food TV- "Unwrapped") or how animal control seizes 6 dogs from a home in Detroit (Animal Planet). I mean, sometimes I have the tv on just to unwind and so that I don't have to think. But I don't sit night after night and watch this stuff- I wonder who does. And how it can be so profitable to create these type of shows. How much does a narrator earn for walking us through the steps of how the Peeps marshmallows are produced?
Sorry. This is a slow day at nitty.gritty. Guess you could be asking who would read this stuff anyway? It's about as entertaining and informative as those shows about how food is made. I guess there is a market for this kind of stuff afterall. As far as the pay in blog far I haven't earned a cent. I guess I'm into non-profit blogging. =)

Monday, November 14, 2005

You are better off not knowing...

That's the truth. I jotted down some random thoughts earlier today and rather than hit the [publish post] button, I highlighted and deleted what I planned on blogging. Let me tell you that unless you are a 14 year old kid who delights in body functions and finds them humorous- you probably aren't missing a thing.
And I still have a bit of internet dignity left...and a husband who's not totally embarrased by his wife who posts random thoughts for the world to see. Note: I'm not even sure if he reads this or not- but he would defintely not be amused if he found out that I was being so candid with my silly thoughts.
I was able to exercise a bit of personal restraint and because of that wise decision- we all win. Sometimes self-control is a very good thing. I wish I could use it more often and be a more disciplined, even person. Everyone around me would love me that much more.
Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to work on that this week. If you're lucky again tomorrow I just may have something a little bit interesting to blog about. 'Til then ...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Why I am happy at this moment...

The following list are the little things that happened to me today, that aren't spectacular or necessarily exciting on their own. However, when you combine them all together it makes for one simple, happy day. Normal. But for me, normal is almost always a Wonderful thing.
Here are the things that made me happy today:
~Woke up and was able to shower, dress myself and four kids and get to church on time- kids even had a chance to eat leftover Blueberry French Toast beforehand.
~With chilly winds gusting outside all afternoon, I enjoyed being warm inside my house with kids, and even hubby was home for part of the day! That's something that doesn't happen often.
~Had Carrot Cake Icecream with Coconut at new Cold Stone Creamery... probably should take picture now, and then another in a few months to see how bad this place will be in my diet!
~Have 4 kids tucked in bed- 2 bathed and smelling yummy, by 8:42 pm.
~Missing my oldest daughter, Teagan like crazy, because it's been so long since we've rubbed noses and shared an "I love you"....but her little sister, Bella just said before bed, "I love you...and I want to kiss your nose."
And that, my friends about does it for today. Hope you had something really simple to be happy about. Life passes us by- whether we enjoy it or not. So I say we might as well try to enjoy it.


I was not planning on posting today- I thought maybe I would take Sundays off. But here I am anyway. Nothing smart, sassy, thought-provoking or even funny to blog about. Guess I better go out and make something happen. Maybe I'll be back later today to write about it.
Incidentally, my not having anything to say doesn't mean that you can't drop me a note in the comments. I do read 'em, you know. Til later...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Made a little change.

I've renamed this spot, Nitty.Gritty. Not because I love the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but because I was needing something more succinct. For the moment this title is more catchy for me~ and besides, I thought it would look kind of funky if I started making my own blog-tshirts.
Maybe I'll pass them out as Christmas gifts. Wouldn't you all have that at the top of your list?! Okay. Maybe second to an iPod mini or something really fun- but a Nitty.Gritty. blogspot tshirt to sit around in while you sip a Pumpkin Spice Latte and enjoy mellow Christmas tunes next to the tree while your family rips into their that folks is a beautiful picture of life.
Notice I didn't say Christmas. Most of that has nothing to do with what Christmas means to me- but it does depict that you have more than enough in this world and that you are very blessed.
Enough of all that silly thinking- besides, I could very well change the title of this page before Christmas even gets here.
Now for one more short, true story. Happened to me in line at Wal-Mart, where I usually walk out with some sort of story or incident every single visit...(sidenote here- quirky thing you'll have to live with or get used to about me~ I really LOVE run-on sentences because I feel like a rebel breaking rules of writing- my apologies to you...back to the story...) Oh yeah. Wal-Mart, yesterday, Veteran's Day, I'm standing behind an middle-aged woman who is doing her best to casually get the attention of everyone around her- starting with our check-out kid. She starts talking about her daughter who is coming home by Christmas from duty in Iraq. She tells us all loudly how horrible it's been not knowing when her daughter would come home. She misses her everyday. She couldn't put up a Christmas tree last year- because she was too overwhelmed with her daughter not being home to celebrate. She had 3 cases of LaBatt Blue Beer and some hamburger and buns and chips on the checkout belt. She adds, she better get home soon because "I've nearly drank myself to death". I smile at this point, say, "Happy Veteran's day...and tell your daughter the next time you talk to her that some of us appreciate all she is doing. "
The woman then turns to me, puts her hand on my shoulder (which some of you know I don't appreciate "stranger touch" that much), and dramatically says, "I noticed the diapers in your cart and I'm so jealous that you have a baby at home to hold. You're so lucky. "
At this point, I probably should have just nodded or smiled...but not today. I said, "I had a 4 year old daughter killed tragically four years ago and another left brain-injured. I appreciate my kids everyday." She pulled her hand off my shoulder (I guess she could have done the opposite and bear-hugged me), and said, "I'm sorry." She didn't say another thing to any of us.
I write all that (which really wasn't a short story afterall) not to show you what a "bad person" I really am...but to say that I think there are a lot of people out there who complain and gripe or feel sorry for themselves- instead of focusing on all that they have and how lucky they are in life. I could have said more to this lady- or commented that she at least still has a daughter coming home, or that she should think about the Hurrican victims that have nothing left of some of their whole lives.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I guess it's not too soon to start making our lists of what we have to be grateful for.
That's my nitty gritty for today. I never said my blog would be lighthearted. But I do hope to make you think a minute or two. If nothing else, maybe you'll think twice before standing in a checkout with me!! (I'm grinning right now- I can be a really sweet person too. Don't forget that.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Day of Remembering...

Here's a story that I probably should be embarressed to tell- but it's true, so I'll post it. On our honeymoon in Hawaii, Chip and I had a day to spend in Honolulu. [We spent 8 days on the island of Kauai, and everything you read and hear about this island of paradise is true. Jump at the chance if you ever get one to go there.] So, in Honolulu we didn't have an agenda and started walking around enjoying the scenery. To me it just looked like another metro area- besides the warm, moist weather;I could have been in any number of big cities.
Chip says, "Lets go check out Pearl Harbor. We have to see it while we're here." Me- "What's the big deal? I'm not standing in line for 3 hours just to take a boat out to a memorial. Let's go check out the Armani store." Here we are arguing on our honeymoon- ultimately we take the boat out to the memorial where I say something really intelligent like, "This is what we just spent three hours waiting in line to see? A big cement block on top of a sunken ship?"
Fast forward- several years later and lots of life experiences under my belt, so I am a bit more sensitive and much more mature- we're watching the movie, Pearl Harbor. I'm glued to the screen and having a hard time watching the horror of Pearl Harbor unfold. I say something to Chip similar to this, "That's what happened at the place we went to on our honeymoon? Why didn't you tell me that's where we were....and that's what happened to people in real life...and that it's a sacred place....and that a part of us is owed to those people who suffered and paid the price for what we have today?!" I got it.
I think that there are so many people in America today, walking around- even at famous memorial sites- that don't really get it. Our freedoms are taken for granted more often than not. I know I claimed I wasn't going to use this sight for political purposes, but this isn't about being Democrat, Independant, Republican, or any other party you choose.
Today is Veteran's Day. We should all be humbled and extremely thankful for the people who have given their lives to protect the rights and freedoms that we enjoy everyday. They are heroes who rarely get the recognition they deserve for such selfless acts they have performed. I think of the families who have stood behind them...and I thank them today as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anything but "nondescript".

So there you have it. The long- thought-out answer to the question I posed yesterday. If I were to place an adjective in front of my name, it could be one of several things, except nondescript. That was a word a friend used to describe another person in my life recently. I thought about it then, and I thought about it yesterday and I still think that "nondescript" is one of the saddest words a person could use to describe me.
I think "saint" is still a bit lofty- although Phyllis McGinley had this to say about saints in her book, Saint-Watching, "For the wonderful thing about saints is that they were [and I think, still are] human. They lost their tempers, got hungry, scolded God, were egotistical, or testy or impatient in their turns, made mistakes and regretted them. Still they went on doggedly blundering toward heaven."
I guess "Saint Jody" is one I'm still working on. I also thought of "adept". I'm skilled at many things by virtue of being a mother and wife. I also like "creative" and "realistic" even. But don't try nondescript. In fact I would rather be "crazy" or "misguided" or even "horribly-mistaken" if you count hyphens... but nondescript means to me that you didn't even try. That you never put yourself out there. That you walked along easy street your whole life and never sought adventure, good or bad, along the way. If a person giving a eulogy (is that how you spell that?!) at my funeral says, "She was...nice. Jody was a good person." I think I would cry about that.
I don't expect flowery language or rhetoric that goes on and on at my funeral- but I hope that I end up contributing something a little bit meaningful to the people whose lives I touch along the way. I think that we owe it to ourselves to seek to be something more than just merely existing.
Although...there are moments (occasionaly hours or days) in my life when I question the purpose of my being. In those painful moments- at the very bottom of life's pits, I usually look up- and in so doing find my hope.
That's where the title of this blog comes from. I truly believe that there is something more to all of this than our human eyes can behold. I have felt it in my soul. I have heard it in my heart. And when I close my eyes sometimes I catch a glimpse of what I hope for in the future. For every one of us here on earth-no matter what word we pick to describe ourselves-with each breath we take, we are then one breath closer to that place.
Okay. Maybe I'll just get out the ol' jeans and t-shirt blog again tomorrow. Whew!

On my counter...

Here is how Brock's signature looked on his homework that I mentioned yesterday...which inspired the rest of my blogging today. This second picture is for your viweing pleasure. If you had stopped by anytime today you would have been offered a slice of warm zucchini bread. I make this stuff all the time because it's an easy way to sneak something healthy into my kids' mouths. They gobble the muffins up...I cut back on the sugar & oil, add applesauce and a can of mandarin oranges and whala! Healthy snack. Compared to Pop-Tarts, I guess. Maybe I'll post the recipe here. If my mom lets me. :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How do we see ourselves?

My son, Brock, is in first grade and brings home a folder of his schoolwork each Friday. One of his worksheets caught my eye. Normally is name is scrawled at the top of the page- this particular page instead of writing "Brock" he had written "Cool Brock".
I asked him why he had written "Cool" in front of his name, and he responded saying, "because I am- that's why!"
It made me grin in a big way. The past few days I've been thinking about that more and more. How is it that at age 6, my son feels so confident about himself that he would write "Cool Brock" for his teacher, friends and family to read- yet this same kid has yet to learn to ride his bike with or without training wheels? I guess I still have some work as his mother. To encourage him in his abilities and to push him harder in other areas of his life.
But what about the rest of us. Here's my gig for you today. Think about one word that you could put in front of your name that you would want others to "read" about you. I think we can be hard on ourselves and we can be critical to the point that we lose some of the best parts of us along the way. I need to think on this a bit more myself. That's part of what I hope to accomplish with this whole blog thing. To get to the deeper side of me and learn from those strengths and weaknesses I try to hide.
This one thing I know...if I were a cake I would write my name, "Buttercream Jody"! As usual, would love your comments. Or even just one might be fun. :)


Day two and I'm still here. The good thing is that you're reading this so that means that I have a small fan base already. Thank you! Actually, I would have posted first thing this morning but I couldn't get interent connection til just now. Yep. Still have the old-fashioned dial up. My kids will laugh someday when I tell them that I had to use a phone line to connect to the world wide web!
I must say that I had some great ideas for my blog- but I decided to tone it down a bit since I'm just starting out. I didn't want to scare anyone away this early in the game. It's kinda like dating, I guess. You know. You spend all that time in the beginning getting all nerved up- what should I where, what will we talk about, what if we don't have anything in common? If you overdress you feel funny all night- and you can't take that first impression back.
So this is it. The "casual look" from me. I've always been more of a jeans & tshirt sort of girl anyway. Don't get me wrong though. A nice pair of diamond stud earrings goes well with anything!
I guess this is as good a spot as any to tell you about my adoring husband. He clicked on this site yesterday spanning it quickly to see what I blogged about him. Yep that's right. It was a fast span since the closest mention was in the sidebar where I mention I am a "wife" (which in my lingo still means my significant other is a male husband). Note here: I don't plan on getting political- unless I truly think I can sway a decision with my voice. Which includes any level of government...including county prosecutors.
Enough on that though. Oh yes. My husband. We recently celebrated our 10th wedding annivesary which means we are finally to the point where we feel comfortable telling each other what we really feel. I guess we both think that we know everything about the other person- including what's best for each other. It can be funny at times. Some of you know just what I mean. If you know Chip- than you are fortunate. I think the thing I love most about him is that he fell in love with me for my sarcastic, dry sense of humor...and it's the one thing that I've developed most in the past 10 years. So, I give him "stuff" to love me for more and more...and even though it usually really annoys him- he can't help but love me more fully every day.
Oh yeah. He probably wants all of you to know that he's a certified golf professional with in the PGA. He is proud of that...and I am too.
This blog has gone on long enough and I feel like I haven't even touched on all the stuff I have to share. See. I told you that you should bookmark this site. You never know what's on my mind- if you'll pardon the exaggeration. (that's a joke- a sample of my dry sense of humor. you do know what sarcasm is, don't you?!)
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading this. And feel free to leave comments. You don't have to join the blog or do anything weird...just click on "other" or "anonymous" in the comments section and it should let you leave a note.
Looking forward to day 3. Hope you are too. Maybe it will be another "jeans day" here. I'll have to see how I feel. Ciao for now!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The first day of the rest of my blogs

Wow. That was easy and this feels kinda good! I have been a daily reader of various blogs for several months now and just finally clicked the link- CREATE YOUR OWN BLOG today. I won't make any promises to you, the readers, about the content, the timeliness or the entertainment factor of this blog- but I will promise glimpses of my real life right here- for you to see and read about.
I apologize for any incorrect grammar, spelling and the overuse of the word buttercream. They are all bound to happen- so that's my disclaimer. The rest is up to you to read, ignore, respond or ponder. I welcome comments....and will probably reply to almost everyone of them. I love two-way dialogue- and even debate.
So, this is it. Thanks for coming over. I look forward to watching my life "virtually unfold" right here along with you. Happy Monday. Don't forget to add this link to your Favorites. I'm sure it will be!

Blond Oprah? Yeah, right.

In case you're wondering...This is me~Jody. Posted by Picasa