Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oaky Afterbirth

Michael Scott: [after sipping wine] That is sort of an oaky afterbirth.

Jim Halpert: What was that?

The Office, "Dinner Party" episode, season four

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I may not be in love.  I may not be anyone's Mommy.  I may not drive the flashiest car, live in the nicest part of town, go on luxury vacations, or have the metabolism of a 15 year old gymnast :)  I may, despite my best efforts, hurt people I love.  I may struggle with "letting go" -- I may forgive "too easily" (for you, A). 

I may get bossy when around my sisters; I may laugh too loudly at crass jokes and secretly feed the cat that hangs out in my parents' front yard (even though my Mom has "expressly forbidden" the feeding of stray cats).  I may cry at movies at which no one else cries (for you, C).

I may not look the way I'd like or act the way I should or be as strong as I dream of being. I may fight when I should flee, flee when I should fight, and leave best friends in awkward situations to fend for themselves (ask Jiggers about the walmart trip in college). 

But tonight, I'm just so extremely thankful -- for this abundant, merciful, and love-filled life I've been given.  I am not deserving.  If only I could give this day to someone who didn't have a good day today.  I wish I could wrap up the comfort found in a loving family, a cheerful home and a deep sense of belonging and gift it to someone who doesn't have any of those things. 

If that "someone" is you -- I'm praying for you tonight.  You are not forgotten.  May you be ridiculously and extravagantly blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth...

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. -- Psalm 145:8

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -- Psalm 34:18 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching a Fly Ball

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base. 
~Dave Barry

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happiness Is...

I'm putzing around my cozy little apartment, talking to my sister A most of the morning, unpacking Christmas decorations, cleaning the kitchen ... and this song popped into my head!  I couldn't honestly even remember what it was from or where I'd heard it, so I googled (I'm in love with google) and it's from the play You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!  The neat and nostalgic thing about THAT discovery is that my college theater group put on that show my junior year and they did an AMAZING job.  It brought back a lot of memories, which made an already good day even better :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spiced Orange

Possibly one of the most delicious smells in the world.

PS.  My Bath and Body Works soaps came today. FAST!!  And they're all wonderful -- my favorite is the "spiced orange" (aka, the title of this blog) and "winter candy apple."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It Was Not a Silent Night

This morning, a colleague of mine was in charge of chapel, and one of the songs he played was this one -- "Labor of Love," by Andrew Peterson.  The holiday season hasn't really begun, and already I can feel myself getting busier and busier, focusing on things and dates and deadlines and prices instead of quieting my heart and focusing on being thankful for what Christmas allows me to remember about my Savior...

There are a thousand Christmas songs, but this one touched my heart this morning.  I am attaching the youtube video, as well as the lyrics, so that you can hear the beautiful vocal talent of Jill Phillips, but I'm not a huge fan of the actual images in the video -- I don't know that they coalesce the way I'd like them to with the lyrics.  I suggest playing the video so you can HEAR, but I would read the lyrics while listening, rather than watching the video.  Enjoy the vulnerability and beauty of this song.

"Labor of Love" 
-- written by Andrew Peterson, sung by Jill Phillips

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being a Woman Who Loves to Talk

Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak. 
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself - like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks. 
~Jean Kerr

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Soap and Cookies

One of the perks of being single is being able to splurge on the small luxuries that big families can't always afford.  For me, yummy-smelling soaps are the best kinds of little luxuries.  Bath and Body Works has some of the best scented soaps for the holiday season.  Check them out here...


And if you google "bath and body works shipping codes," you'll get hooked up with a code that allows you to have 20% of your entire order and save $3 on the usually $5.99 shipping cost.  So you can get the 6 soaps for $20 deal delivered to your front door for ... drumroll please ... only twelve cents more!!  My total yesterday was $20.12 and I'm excited to get my Christmas-y smell-y soap-y-wonderful-ness in a few days.  :)

The only thing better than a yummy-smelling soap is something yummy-smelling that is actually edible -- and my favorite website for holiday baking and Christmas cookie-making is the one and only:


The thing I love about allrecipes.com is that readers can rank recipes -- so I only ever use the ones that get five stars and lots of reviews -- and they also do a "cookie countdown" for the month of December.  Each day, they'll email you a new Christmas cookie recipe :)  I've found that allrecipes.com has WONDERFUL recipes that are very easy to follow.  I highly recommend!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Card Confessions

Last year, I worked delightedly for several hours (for several days) making my yearly Christmas cards.  They were beautiful and lovely and homemade with love. Then, I got discouraged over the time it would take to write personal messages in each card, and before I knew it -- Christmas was over.  I never actually sent aforementioned homemade cards.  Sigh. 

I will not go into the multifarious ways that Christmas Card Fiasco 2009 is a possible symbol for my life, haha, but let me just say -- with my fist raised high in the air --

This Year Will Be Different!  I Will Send My Homemade Cards!  I Will Post This Declaration On My Blog So That I CanNOT Fail Myself Again!

Haha.  Sigh.  Okay.  I feel better now.  Back to The Grading of The Papers. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there. 
~Ellie Rodriguez

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration. 
~Charles Dickens

It's only a week and a half until I leave the cozybutsometimeslonely lodging of my little apartment and head towards the hustle and bustle of another M Family Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's.  It makes me smile just thinking about it -- the laughter, the drama, the cooking, the smooshing into a very small house and fighting over the remote control... ahhh.  Family.  Good times, good times.

My family is big.  And loud.  And passionate about almost everything.  Addendum.  Some of us are passionate about SOME topics, and some of us are bored to tears by said topics.  Which is part of the magic of my family -- there's always something to talk about and almost always someone who will listen to you talk about it.  Or argue with you about why you should be talking about something else :P

Home is a lovely blue house with a beautifully landscaped yard and an American flag always waving from the front porch.  

Home is a blue/white/yellow kitchen, a dining room with a picture window, and a bird identification book always close at hand.

Home is feeling the heat from a freshly poured cup of steaming coffee and seeing the sleepy faces of my family wandering out to the back porch, which has somehow become the unofficial gathering place for starting or ending each day when the whole family's in town.

Home is where the most beautiful, gracious woman in the world answers to the name of "Mom" and leaves little chocolate bars on the pillow when she knows you're coming home...

Home is where a smart, laughing salt-and-pepper headed man steals kisses from her when he thinks we're not looking and always makes sure there's enough coffee in the pot for "one more cup."

Home is where sisters live :)

Happy homecoming to all the weary travelers tonight.  May you know the truth and peace of being HOME -- wherever and with whomever that home exists.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unzip Your Pants!

I'm sitting outside of Starbucks, sipping some deeeelicious coffee and grading some faaaabulous papers (love my students!) and I'm thinking about making wise decisions. 

I would like to be wise.  I love owls.  I love glasses.  I love men who wear sweater vests.  A love of wisdom seems implied.  Haha

In all seriousness, though, a wise Word once said that faith without works -- or for the purposes of my thoughts today -- "knowledge" without action ... is dead. 

So today I celebrate the extremely small step of  realizing what needs to be done ... and then doing it. Since my mom and dad practically drove that expression into the proverbial ground of my childhood, I know they'd be proud to know I'm living it today.  Well, technically, yesterday and today.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Oh, and the title?  Well, it's a sister-thing, but suffice it to say -- if your pants are too tight and they're giving you a tummy ache, you gotta unzip.  There's just No Other Option.  In life, sometimes you've gotta suck it up, let go of whatever's holding you too tightly, and do the right thing.  The cool thing is, whether in a real-life-pants-situation or a metaphysical decision-making situation, "unzipping" offers nearly-instant relief.

(for sisters A and G)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Like a Wink and a Smile"

When I was eighteen, my very littlest sister and I were best friends. We'd take long walks around the neighborhood together, and I'd ask her not to forget me when I went away to college. She was eight and would promise me with total sincerity that she'd never, ever forget me. And she didn't. All through my first year of college, my little sister would draw me pictures and send me letters covered with stickers and drawings of girls in pretty dresses. When I came home for Christmas, I slept on the floor of her room and we'd whisper secrets to each other.

"Our" song was Harry Connick Jr's "Wink and A Smile" -- we'd sing it to each other and try to figure out which one of us was the Wink and which one was the Smile... Every time I hear this song, I think of that sweet, smiling, little-girl-faced sister who captured my heart so many years ago; baby B was my little soulmate.

This past Saturday, a tall, strong Pennsylvanian boy asked my baby sister B to be HIS soulmate.

She said yes.

Congratulations to my beloved sister and her new reason to smile :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

... and the world must know how wonderful, how wonderful you are!

My sisters and I sing snippets of our childhood to each other.  Yes, we sing.  Randomly, and without regard for where we are, if we see something that reminds us of our childhood -- BAM.  The singing dorkiness erupts and the laughter follows. 

This morning, while wishing my sister A a fabulous happy birthday, I was reminded of this song.  (Probably because I was singing it to her.)  

Happy Birthday, A.  Share your glory.