Reformed Grits

She does exist
November 24, 2008, 11:43 am
Filed under: I plead ignorance

So I wrote on my facebook that one of my children was giving a presentation for their class and when asked how they made their Egyptian diorama… he replied, "My brother made it for me." 


And an old friend from college commented about that, and it reminded me of how stupid I am.  Not stupid; naive. Have I mentioned that? 

When I was in college, I worked as a student worker in the university's admissions office.  It was a great jig.  I still can't believe I got to do that as a work-study job.  I met a lot of fun people there and really liked it for the 3 years I worked there.  But I'm sure you can figure out that the perceptive folks there figured out that I was pretty naive.  

One of our student workers I had worked with graduated and started working full-time for the university in our office, so he was older but I was naive and trusting and so he told me his fishing secrets. 

Like how the BEST fishing worms they got at the fraternity house, when they opened the floor drain in the kitchen and would bait the worms that lived in there (the floor drain– not necessarily the fraternity house but that's debatable) to wiggle out by holding bites of leftover pizza, etc. over the hole.  He said if you knelt down and were real still they'd come up and eat right out of your hand!  And then you could grab them and go fishing with them.  And they were the best because the fish liked those kind of worms. 

It's nice to be trusted with secrets.  I'm a smart girl. 


NOT “seeker-friendly”
October 16, 2008, 8:46 pm
Filed under: I plead ignorance

I've mentioned, I believe, that I quit going to the neurologist because she wanted me to come every 4-6 weeks ($40 copay) and every time I would get 2-3 new prescriptions ($30-$100 in copays) to add to my regimen, with little result.  A lot of the time the side-effects made me dopey and depressed.  And like I said, very few results. 

So for months, I've just tried to watch my diet, take calcium and magnesium as well as (Sam's brand) Zyrtec, and I may have reduce my headaches by 20%, tops.  But when you are having headaches 5 days a week, that's something. 

This week I've had a lot of headaches again, and I was down to my last remaining Relpax which is a migraine drug I've used with some success– but my insurance company covered 4 a month.   THANKS for nothing.  I get 20 or more headaches a month.  And I'm not supposed to take medicine for headaches more than 3 days in a row.  (Well what the heck do you want me to do the other days I have a headache, SmartOne?)   So I finally decided to go to my general practitioner so I can just keep up a prescription for the triptipans but I hadn't been there since 2004.  (I told them, "Well, I have had some babies and have been to an ENT and a neurologist but not another GP!)  Anyhow, she said I'd be considered a new patient and the only "new patients" they were taking had to be approved by the dr to see if he thought he could help. 

"So what's the problem," the nurse asked me.

"Well, I have a lot of headaches and I've been seen by all kinds of doctors to try to reduce them but I'm at the point I just want to have something on hand to take when I get them." 

"Ok, well, I'll tell the doctor and let you know!" 

"Did I mention that my husband is a patient there as well?"

"Ok, I'll pass that on!" 

Yes, well, it's been 3 days and I've heard nothing.  Now I realize that I appear to be a drug-seeker.  Wish I had worded some things differently. 

I'm smart that way. 

So young and naive…
October 15, 2008, 10:27 am
Filed under: I plead ignorance

So, seriously, I was thinking back today to when I was Jojo's and Sister's age, and I was CONVINCED that Prince was the anti-Christ.  Not saying I didn't love "Little Red Corvette" and "1999" but I was very innocent and naive and not well-versed in end-time theology and thought, "He is SO BAD that he HAS to be the anti-Christ!"  I often participated in rapture practice, knowing I was gonna "fly away" any minute.  (I grew up Pre-Trib.)

Now that I'm older and wiser, I know Prince could NEVER be the Anti-Christ!  How silly! 
HE's the anti-Christ!!!

(kidding, kind of…)

(cough, cough)
July 21, 2008, 8:15 am
Filed under: I plead ignorance

I was telling this story to someone the other night and she mentioned it was blog-worthy… so here ya go, Penny!

I’ve mentioned that I was pretty sheltered and naive growing up.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  This world is a bad place, and it probably saved me from a lot of trouble to be shocked by sin.  I may have not been the coolest girl in school, but I really think it served me well in my Father’s eyes. 

Anyhow, I was a cheerleader.  And this did NOT make me automatically cool, I assure you.  I was not on the inside, and I can assure you I never got invited to any parties because of my ability to do a back handspring.

But for whatever reason, I got along really well with the popular kids.  The “cool” cheerleaders, etc.  And we talked– while we were at school mind you. 

And there were some kids who had REALLY nagging coughs!  I mean it.  I worried about them, and if their parents shouldn’t take them to the doctor.  Because, not kidding, they were constantly downing cough syrup.  (This is back in the day when you could take it with you to school!)  Well, I say they had nagging coughs.  I never saw them cough; I just know they drank LOTS of cough syrup.  And I worried about them.  Because of their persistent coughs.  And all that cough syrup. 

I’d see them in their cars before school taking some.  And during class.  At lunch.  At practice. 

That’s a lot of cough syrup. 

Don’t you think maybe they should get those coughs checked? 

Yeah, like maybe check those coughs into REHAB!!!!!!!!! 

Did I mention I was naive? 

Good to be…
June 10, 2008, 7:21 pm
Filed under: I plead ignorance, Travel

It's good to be home, and it's also good to get away.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Crescent City… but can I say, I'm SO sheltered!  I'm not used to seeing homeless people, people asleep lying on sidewalks, people talking to themselves, broken-down strippers–I mean, dancers falling asleep on their feet in the daytime, porn posters in windows of buildings, women pulling out their "bosoms" just for the asking and to get a cheap strand of beads, and open-containers in every hand on the street.  I spent the first 24 hours or so getting used to NOT staring and finding our way around the streetcar system as well as learning the streets to avoid. 

We went with no real agenda other than eating well and relaxing.  We did both.  I don't feel at home in the bar-life.  I wasn't wired that way and although Mr. Grits was interested in hanging out and enjoying the nightlife– well, I'm just not wired that way.  I feel VERY old now.  Even in college, before I got married, I didn't do the party stuff.  I was more of a stay home and watch a movie kinda girl.  I'm not sure why my beloved found that appealing but I'm glad he did. 

We ate at The Central Grocery Saturday upon arrival, wolfing down a whole muffaletta (which we learned the hard way is pronounced "moof a LOTTA."  My teacher's phonetic sensibilities were screaming at that.  Kind of like Brett Favre.  Why is his name pronounced "Farve" and not "FAV-re."  But I digress…)  This was a food-highlight for us and we were disappointed that it was closed both Sunday and Monday so we didn't get to enjoy it again.  That night, while nursing a headache, we ate at Deanie's which we might have enjoyed more if we hadn't pigged out at lunch.  I just wasn't ready for a huge dinner but I got one anyhow.  It was fried and heavy and, well, to be honest, I just would have been happy with something lighter. 

Sunday, we slept in and ate breakfast at the hotel.  After venturing out, we had a "picky lunch" at the renown Cafe Du Monde which is like the dirtiest place ever.  We each swallowed 3 beignets whole and sufficiently covered ourselves in powdered sugar.  It's crazy how much they put on there!  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I asked for a frozen cafe au lait and they were out.  Bummer.  

That afternoon, we milked our VisiTour pass by riding all the street cars just to give our poor legs a break.  We had walked some serious mileage.  It was fun to see the beautiful houses in the Garden District on St. Charles.  I was praying, "Dear Lord, could you let us get a church that has a house like this for a parsonage?  It'd be ever so cool!  Amen." 
Along the way, we passed Zea's which has to be the favorite place we ate the whole time.  It was fabulous and they made REAL mojitos– none of that fake stuff.  I'd really like one right now, please.  We determined it would be in our interest to plant some fresh mint in a pot upon our return home for this very reason.  Yum.  My beloved had Thai Ribs and grits which were YUM-O, and I had rotisserie beef, since I'm a major red meat eater, with grits and sweet potatoes.  Then I died and went to heaven.  (Hat tip to Karl and Mara for this restaurant recommendation!!!) 
We rode the stretcher streetcar back which stopped right in front of our hotel (woohoo!  Nice to not have to walk after THAT meal!)  Later, I really wanted some dessert and we searched everywhere, and would you believe no one serves ice cream there?  I couldn't find any, anyhow.  So we wound up topping it off with a jamoca shake from Arby's.  No, I'm not kidding.

Sunday, breakfast at the hotel again.  We packed up and then took off in search of more food.  For real, all we did was eat.  I gained like 5 pounds.  I think I only got a frap at Starbucks though.  While walking around, around 2 or so, we stopped at Gordon Biersch's (I think this is a chain) and were just going to enjoy the brewery but decided to get a salad.  Then more drinks.  Then we split a pizza.  And an order of asparagus.   We spent like 2 hours there I think but they weren't crowded in the middle of the day so we didn't mind holding the table.  And my honey is a good tipper, so it's all good. 

At that point, we decided, what the heck, and thought we'd scope out where our bus to the airport would stop.  Frankly, we were less than thrilled with the neighborhood and the bus-mates we'd be sharing, so we sprang for a taxi instead.  Our great driver showed us all the post-Katrina stuff and told us all about his experiences during that time.  He was great. 

We totally enjoyed ourselves.  We were lazy.  We laughed.  We put no pressure on ourselves to see and do everything.  It was really great.  I miss him already.  On the way home, I said, "Let's not go home!  Let's run away and go to the Caribbean and live on the beach."  He looked at me like I was crazy. 
Nah, he's right.  We were ready to go home and see our kids. 

Just say no…
June 3, 2008, 11:35 am
Filed under: Faith, Family, I plead ignorance, Life, Soccer IS life!, What's she up to now?

It's hard to say no. 

Well, I mean, to some things. 

When I was in the Bahamas a few years ago at the straw market and was naively "ooing" and "ahhing" over the cute hand-carved pipes with funny faces, it wasn't hard to say "no" to the Bahamian fellow who noticed my pleasure and wanted to know if I would like some "good weed." 

But it's hard to say "no" to good things.  My dear friend Meg brought this to my attention not long ago and it has resonated within me that there are seasons in life where you have to say no to "good things."  This next week I have actually for the first time ever, had to say "no" to working in VBS.  Ever since the spring and summer became so challenging with work, I have habitually said "yes" to working VBS even though it's my busy season for work and it completely drains and overwhelms me and makes me want to sit in the back of my closet with my blankey, sucking my thumb.  VBS is a "good thing."  But Mr. Grits has assured me that I physically and emotionally can't do both.  He decided for me, laying down the law (which he NEVER does except in situations like this where I can't be relied upon to make a wise decision and I know it) that last year was my last time to work VBS as long as I'm doing this job.  He's right, but it's hard to say no to good things. 

Something that wouldn't surprise most folks but they may not know is that Mr. Grits is a gifted soccer coach.  He has great knowledge of the inner workings of the game, strategy, skills, and what it takes to be a great player.  Not just physically, but he knows when a player is a liability to their team with their attitude and temper and is able to coach this as well.  He coached Jojo's teams for years until Jojo got on a traveling competitive team and then we decided that it would be a "good thing" for him to learn what others had to teach.  Two years ago, it looked as if his team would need a coach so Mr. Grits stepped up and coached him again in the competitive "2nd" team.  By the end of the season, the team found itself playing the club's "first team" in a tournament.  With his leadership and having been under his coaching for 2 seasons, our team dominated the game and almost won– a last minute corner kick score did us in.  It was a great experience… except for the fact that Mr. Grits is called to full-time ministry and seminary.  That year of coaching, a new baby, and seminary classes almost stressed us to breaking.   I wish we looked back on that year as "good times" but whenever we look back we groan and say, "We will NEVER do that again." 

This summer, Mr. Grits and I have been plotting strategy for him to finish school inside the next 2 years.  We've talked about getting "gazelle intense" with his schooling.  Meanwhile, it looks as though an opportunity would come about to coach again this next year.  This prospect, like the proverbial carrot hanging just out of grasp of the horse's mouth, tempts like a siren.  He's a good coach.  A GREAT coach.  He enjoys it.  He could make a difference.  This opportunity is a good thing.  But it's a good thing we have to say no to. 

I've tried to think about a Biblical basis for this.  Why should I say no to something that's good?  The thing I keep coming back to is how Paul often mentions he had to turn away from trips or opportunities to go visit those he loved to continue on with difficult and challenging ministry opportunities.  In 1 Corinthians 16 he says "…I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.  But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."  He is delaying the gratification of the "seeing you now" in order to be obedient to what the Lord has actually called him to, with the hope as well that he'll have a longer visit later. 

So basically, it's about obedience.  Our primary call is to get through school and for me to do my job.  (Obviously secondary to The Primary Call of parenting our children and raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.)  Coaching soccer, working VBS, volunteering in the kids' classrooms, working in the library, having the kids in music lessons or even playing soccer (yes, there I said it) truly are good things.  We just have to pick and choose which things help us in our call and which ones distract us from it.  Sometimes we don't know.  Sometimes we have to make bad decisions and learn from them.  And sometimes we just have to do the hard thing by saying "no" to "good things."

Nothing worth doing is easy. .

I (should) have issues
April 24, 2008, 10:44 pm
Filed under: I plead ignorance

A friend of mine has a private blog where she was laughing about being a Polynesian child in a play when she was young… but she is fair skinned with very blonde hair.  Her mom dyed her hair black– or tried to– and it turned green. 
That led me to start a very lengthy comment that I decided would be better served by just becoming a post where we can all laugh at me and my issues and I can get a little tension breaker from my flat buttness.   
When I was in school– I think like 7th grade– I was to portray a slave in the play Man Without A Country.  Made for interesting make-up since I also am fair with light brown hair and blue eyes.  I had to speak a line in Portuguese which is hilarious because with my natural anal tendencies, I’m sure I more tried to pronounce those words than just throw out some gibberish to sound like it was another language.  As if I needed to speak to those Portuguese people in the audience that night– they might need to understand, with my thick Southern accent, what I was saying… Something about "not seeing my family for ‘seis meses!’" or something.   
Another bizarre portrayal– somewhere we have pictures of me dressed up like an African native for Halloween after my grandparents, who were missionaries there, brought me the whole outfit/costume from there.  This is a picture you will never see on this blog as I think it’s horribly insulting for all the people of other races and it’s embarrassing from that standpoint.   Honestly, y’all, I’m not kidding when I say there was nothing ill meant about it other than my grandparents brought the costume right from Kenya and we just didn’t think anyone would "get it" if I didn’t shoe polish up my face.  And arms.  And feet.  At least I get it honest, folks.  Again, interesting make-up job, and why on earth did my parents think it would be a good idea for me to go trick-or-treating in downtown Birmingham in black-face?  I’m surprised I lived to tell the tale.  I think they were trying to get rid of me.  Someone should speak to my mom about this.  Really though, my dad used to tell me my real father was black– the problem with this not being that it was bad to be black or course; just that he was denying my parentage.  I really think I should get some therapy. 
I’m going to go suck my thumb now.