Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I’m by nature, a reflector—not the bicycle kind—someone who tries to relate past to present to future. I really try to learn from my mistakes and like to think about the journey that’s been traveled and how it will affect where I’m going and where I’m standing today. In the midst of all that pondering, I am very thankful for God’s grace and his plan for this world, because if everything was only about my life and choices, God helps us all.

Last year, I made a big long list of resolutions, which I plan on doing today, and I fulfilled a lot of them. I ran a 5K, read ½ the Bible (I was going for the whole Bible, but I’m showing myself some grace), I ate more fruits and veggies, exercised more, and did many more fabulous things.

I could very easily become a very legalistic person, and sometimes in a sick way, it’s fun to be legalistic. That way, I can chart my abilities and activities in a way where I could almost turn myself into a baseball card with all my personal statistics on the back. I can picture the card having my very best photoshopped picture on front with my caloric intact average, my number of Facebook friends, frequent flyer points, and my church attendance stats on the back. Thank you, Jesus, that those things are not what life is about. It’s kind of like what 1 Corinthians 13says (paraphrased immensely from my brain), if I had abs of steel and have fulfilled all my resolutions from last year, but I have not love, I am nothing.

This year, I want to do fabulous things like visit faraway friends and swim a mile, but I also want more than anything to focus on my heart being his. The crazy thing about the status of my heart, is that none of my resolutions have too much of a part in it. They might help influence the patterns of my life, but the heart is something that only the Holy Spirit can mold and break and heal. I can read the Bible three times through in a month, and I might get better at Bible trivia, but unless I’m letting my heart be changed, what’s the point?

I’m not married yet, so the best I can do to assimilate what that would be like would be to think about my relationship with God. This year, I want to keep the romance alive with my relationship with God. We’re past our golden anniversary together, and I love him more each day, but sometimes I neglect him by getting so caught up with the process—or all the other things that swim in wavepool of my head. I want to spend more purposeful time with him. And sometimes be still so I can soak in his love for me. He loves silly, top-spinning, forgetful, impulsive, freaked-out, little old me.

And he loves you, too.

Blessings for the New Year to you!

I’m bringing out my strongest defense to fight this cold. I’m using Airborne, Zicam, drinking lots of fluids, eating protein, going to bed on time, and everything else that comes my way in CVS.

The goal is to be sniffle-free by New Year’s Eve for the big New Year’s Party. Prince Charming could be there, so I must be ready. The gown could be perfect, the glass slippers shined, but if the nose is runny, there goes my honey!

On the second day after Christmas, my mother gave to me:

One Christmas cold, and a Starbucks gift card for a hot tea.

Merry Late Christmas!

Today I heard a family asking a man in a med center hospital for directions to a fast-food chicken place. He was trying to explain to the family how to weave and maneuver to get there. I kind of stopped and waved to get his attention and said in a whisper, "That place has closed."

The family walked off disappointed, and the man looked at me puzzled, "Did it close down for a few days or something?"

"No. It wasn't good," I said.

"Huh," said the man. "Is it gonna reopen soon?"

Apparently, he wasn't getting it. So I did something instictive as I described what happened. I said, "No, it was..." and made the best rat face making the "pht-pht-pht" noise simultaneously moving two fingers on each hand as if making quotes, but this time I was mimicking a scratching rat. It must have been a good performance, because he said, "OH!"

And I left with a feeling of fear that perhaps surveillance cameras monitored my performance. And also I started to wonder where in the world that rat face impression came from.

Somedays we make better first impressions than others.

This past weekend, I dove into the Christmas season with full force. I shopped ‘til my bank account dropped.

I hit Harwin’s Trendy Jewelry store pretty hard. Once you’ve shopped there, it’s hard to go to Macy’s and pay $20 for the earrings you get at Harwin for $2.70.

One highlight was that I got a $20 video game for $1.24! It was entered into the scanning system wrong, but Target still honored it. My nephews must be praying very hard over their gifts.

I ran into an old friend Saturday night, and wound up staying at Pappadeux’s until 11p.m. visiting with her. That’s what Christmas is about—telling stories from the year over gumbo and French bread.

I stuck to my rule of not buying anything for myself. It’s pretty hard not to buy myself anything, because there are so many good deals and things that would be perfect for me to give myself.

I did break down and buy a charger for my new dysfunctional Treo. One of my superiors was getting rid of it, and I asked if I could possibly have it if I could get it to work. The QWERTY board is messed up, but the touch screen keyboard works fine. I’ve been playing with it all weekend. It’s a huge phone upgrade for me—even if it is dysfunctional.

I honestly think I am more attractive to men with the Treo. When you pull out the Treo, apparently you are saying to the world that you could be a Sugarmama. I saw a glimmer in man’s eyes, and it was almost a bit scary. Just think if I had the iphone. I’d have to buy a tazer accessory for it to keep the suitors away.

I wanted to plan to shop earlier, but the funds weren't quite cutting it. I prayed for a Christmas miracle so I could buy gifts--and I got it.

Yesterday I looked at my pay stub online, and noticed that I was overpaid by about a hundred bucks. It kind of made me nervous. I called the payroll department and found out that it wasn't a mistake, and it was just an error from several months back that was corrected.

I told the guy, "It my Christmas bonus!!"
He said, "No it was a mistake that was corrected."
I said again, "Yes! It's my Christmas bonus!"
He said again, "No, it was a corrected mistake from earlier in the year."
I said, "Can't I just call it my Christmas bonus? I'm calling it that."

Big corporations.

But I got a Christmas bonus!!

Pics from Young Life Christmas Party:
Me & Josh lipsyncing a Jingle Bell melody.

Flo the Elf giving Eric an old toothbrush for Christmas.

Kids singing the tunes...

--If I eat chocolate for every meal until Christmas will I become a) an elf, b) Santa, or c) diabetic.

--I found this in my bible reading last night. It’s translated a bit differently in other versions. This is the New Century Version. It’s a wee bit ironic and prophetic for kids kickin’ it in the 80s.

1 Chronicles 25:5 All these were sons of Heman, David's seer. God promised to make Heman strong, so Heman had many sons. God gave him fourteen sons and three daughters.

--Put together a group of fun teenagers, a group of kid-at-heart-adults, tamales, and Jesus, and you’ve got a great Young Life Christmas party. Last night, we had so much fun. I’ll show some pics on tomorrow’s blog, if I remember.

--I transformed my $1.76 Target necklace into a wannabe bauble bracelet like in my J.Crew catalog. That’s a smart savings of about $73.24. My co-worker said it was cha-cha. I think the “J” is standing for “jipped” these days, but I still love to look at the catalog and adore the outlet.

--I feel like my father who was an accountant/tax preparer when I use my number pad on my keyboard without looking at my hand. He was the fastest number puncher in the state. Maybe the region. It's a good feeling having his skills.

This is the time of year, when it’s really fun to call friends in cold parts of the country and say, “Oh? It’s 30 there? Well, we’re in shorts, and it’s 81 degrees today!”

But honestly, I kind of miss colder weather. It’s the only time of year when not having a tan is not that noticible. And you can use a big fluffy sweater to cover up some days from the past when you chose M&Ms over vegetables for dinner. All you have to worry about is not having hat head all the time or how to keep the static out of your hair. …And you also have to figure out how not to look like Rudolph after you come in from the cold. …And you also to be careful not to slip on ice when you’re walking on sidewalks, steps, etc. It’s definitely a debate—the whole cold or hot issue.

I had a revelation today at work that the possibilities of me ever getting snowed in here would be nil. It nice to not have to worry about sudden snowstorms, but I also remember the fantastic feeling of peering through the blind right after waking up and finding out the whole world had stopped except for television access.

As a kid, my mom would make us snowcream and we would bundle up with our snowboots, as many layer of socks that we could fit on, longjohns, tights, pants, gloves with mittens over them, hat, and a scarf. My favorite thing to do was to trek my name as big as I could through the snow. Then, I would attempt to make a snowman. The snow can’t be too light, or too icy.

One year, I rolled the snowballs too big, and I couldn’t pick them up, so I had to just push the balls beside one another and make a snowworm. Maybe that’s when the neighbors first realized that I was a prodigy.

I ate at La Griglia today with my office group. It was absolutely delicious. While we waited for everyone to arrive, I got to sneak about 7 thin slices of warm pizza bread smothered with a bit of tomato sauce. Soooooo good!

The meal was wonderful. I love food, and I really love food that is great and free. For my soup, I really wanted to eat the high-caloric, but divine Shrimp Bisque, but instead chose the chicken & barley so I would not be consuming 5,000 fat grams at one sitting. For my main course, I consumed trout with a side of muscle-building spinach. My dessert choice was a chocolate cream cake roll that was quite lovely. They brought the most adorable little cookies to eat with our dessert.

I love days like this. My co-workers and I had a great time together not working. We should not work more often.

One of my sweet friends from home has a sweet little dog named Presley. It's a Chinese Crested. It was so sweet and got in my lap so I could pet him, but it was like petting an old man, so I used it's stuffed animal to pet its fur, I mean, skin... Besides, my hands were cold and it was making him shake. Okay, okay! It was also giving me the heebie-jeebies.

When I was probably 13, my brother gave me a beautiful monogrammed pendant. It was gold with a black face. The letters were really curvy and elegant, and I immediately said, "Oh! How pretty!" Then as I observed the necklace a little more closely, I realized it spelled out my initials in that fancy monagram way where the last initial is in the middle. There is was in its glory. My initials: bRa. A look of horror came over my face because I was embarrassed to wear a real bra at that time, much less emblazen an advertisement of one around my neck.

That bRa was worn maybe two times during my teenage years. And when it would catch someone's eye and they would say, "Oh! How pretty!" I would quickly cover it with my hand or turn my shoulder and mumble a thank you. I didn't burn that bRa, but I did mentally try to bury it.

Last night, I was quickly rummaging for something to wear to a holiday cocktail party and then a Christmas show. I wanted to look a little Anthropologie-ish, and somehow as I combed through my jewelry box, I came across my once forgotten little bRa.

I wore that bRa proudly last night for the first time in my life, and received several comments like I did the other two times I wore it many moons ago. I was also told I should wear my bRa more often.

It was an uplifting experience.

Last night, we got to talk to the Young Life kids about salvation. It was pretty neat how everybody was noisy and laughing and making fun of the kid that worked at McDonald’s, and then like the wonder of the first snowflakes of the season falling, the mystery of God spread through the room. Some kids were still fidgeting with uncomfortable looks on their faces. Others had eyes locked on the speaker, and he wasn’t doing any voodoo magic or Jedi mind tricks, he was just telling the story of God and his only son, Jesus, who died to pay the price of our sin. He explained that this huge, undeserved payment was paid, so that we could be with God. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus paid the price of our sin--for us. Not because we did anything, but because he loved us. And God didn’t pick Jesus to pay the price because he did anything wrong, Jesus was perfect—like those first snowflakes.

It’s interesting how people get squirmy when you talk about spiritual matters because it seems easier to focus on the seemingly "real" things in life: gaming systems, clothes, sports, or music. But we don’t like to always think about what is beyond what our little eyes can see. And it’s not much fun to admit that we’re not perfect or that we have times when we realize that there’s a deep need in us to be loved and to know why on earth we’re on this earth.


It’s an amazing feeling to stop being squirmy, to be real (with ourselves, others, and God), and to let our creator, the awesome and glorious and wonderful God love us. Ahhhhh…peace.

When I went home to Kentucky last week, I got to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews. They are all so funny and lots of fun.

Leslee took some pictures of Christan since she’s a senior this year. Please check out Leslee’s photos on her Virb page. Click on the photos section to view. She’s got some great shots of Christan and many other great things.

I took these pics of the littlest niece, Princess Emily. She’s a tree-climbing princess and about scared me to death when I was led outside by her older sister, Marissa, who wanted me to see what Emily did. All I could picture was a cast on her arm everytime I looked up at her while she sat in the tree smiling like a cheshire cat.

Oh! Had to show this pic, too. This is my friend, Emily's little girl. It's her DARTH AUDREY face. It makes me laugh.

I try to mix things up from time to time—including my music listening at work. If you check out Pandora, you can type in the name of a Christmas song, and then get to listen to holiday songs all day at your desk! My co-workers love it! (Well, I haven’t asked them yet, but I’m sure they do.)

I’m listening to the station I created right now based on the song “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.” It’s pretty fabulous.

I’m trying to stick to a commitment to not buy personal items for myself for the month of December. Do you know how hard that is in the midst of all the Christmas sales?! Do you know how many cute things I can find to buy for me?!

My budget is tight this year. I’m really trying not to use my plastic cards that the devil gave me. I’ve been so nervous about my budgeting for Christmas, I haven’t even made out my list yet, much less checked it twice. I’ve got some ideas that I’m toying with, but I haven’t come to any conclusions on what the official shopping list will be.

So, one way to make sure I have some extra dough to buy gifts is to stop buying gifts for myself. Not that I am a shop-a-holic or anything, but I do have the tendency to pick up a shirt or pair of little shoes from Target every now and then. And perhaps I might have a weakness for those little make-up gift sets at the mall.

I will resist the urge.

Last night, I bought some things at Target, and then wound up taking something back two hours later. (Is this a form of shopping bulimia?)

What things are necessary purchases and what things are frivolous? If Santa didn’t bring me one single thing for Christmas, I might mope, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing. I am stuffed with stuff.

No matter how shiny that iphone looks (which I guarantee I would drop), or how cute those heels are, the only thing that will give me true joy has nothing to do with stuff.

I’m not outlawing gifts in my life—so if you’ve already purchased mine, I will accept it. I’m just trying to get my thoughts and heart wrapped around this Christmas gift thing. I want to be a cheerful giver—even when it involves personal sacrifice. And in turn, I will also be a cheerful and thankful receiver (Historically, this has sometimes been a difficult concept for me.). My view of gift-giving during this time, is that it’s a way to show honor and love to people we care about, like the wise men gave to Jesus.

This blog post is mainly me preaching to myself today, and I might need to revisit it often during this season, and remember to pray before shopping and to carry the thankfulness of Thanksgiving into Christmas. Isn’t it kind of funny that we’re thankful first, and then we get gifts? I like that.

Forgot to mention I would be hanging with the turkeys in Kentucky during this week. Happy Little Trees will be up and running next week. Internet access and Starbucks are slim here in the great Commonwealth.

It's pretty cold. I'm sporting every item I could round up for cold weather at the Houston Target store.

Hope you all had a great turkey time!

Did you know Oprah writes down 5 things she’s thankful for everyday? I don’t do that. There’s one more thing that makes Oprah savvier than I am. Now, she’s even more thankful than I am. But I really don’t want to be Oprah, I’m happy being me. So not being Oprah one thing I’m thankful for?

Let me get a list going. And I’d be curious about your lists, too. Five will do for publishing. Make sure to share a longer and more personal list with God.
1.I’m not Oprah, but I’m happy being me.
2.I’m going home for Thanksgiving.
3.We still own my Grandmother Richards’ old house so I can swing on the porch swing like old times.
4.My neighbor got a beagle puppy named Smokey—but his good friends call him Smoke.
5.I get to visit with old high school friends late Thursday night. It’s been 14 ½ years since high school (and the end of 90210--we all graduated together).

Here's a little stroll down memory lane--click to watch:
90210 Thanksgiving

Today is probably a day in which I could eat chocolate covered crickets and not mind.

There a new gelato place in town called Gelato Blu. I went there yesterday because I was feeling a small case of the blues, and I knew that some gelato might be some good balm for it. I was greeted by the owner, Chuck (who makes all the gelato himself), and two workers, Kevin and Barbara. They were all very polite and gave me tons and tons of samples because they wanted me to love their gelato just as much as they did. And I did.

All the gelato is homemade—no mixes are used (which I learned that other competitors use). And I can take my friend that has a nut allergy there, because they don’t mix all the gelatos with the same equipment! I’m very excited to get to enjoy gelato with her.

It’s a quaint little place, and might become a good hangout for me. Especially since *bucks has again raised their prices on hot tea. I paid $1.57 for a tall hot tea. And then burned myself. Ouch for both.

Gelato Blu is more smurfy than Starbucks. And you can quote me on that.

Remem-bah! Remem-bah! Remem-bah!

My friend Ann let me burn a disc from her itunes last night. She's got some great hits from yesteryear. I got the fancy tune linked above because I got big dreams.

I also got the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duet that was the punchline to the first dirty joke I told on the elementary school playground--What do you call Dolly Parton in a hottub?

I journeyed out to Katy Mills a few weeks ago and journeyed into the J.Crew Outlet store. I like to pretend I’m long and lean and fresh faced like a J.Crew girl and that I have a boyfriend with a 5:00 mountain-time shadow, and he loves the red cashmere muffler I bought him with matching mittens. Although he hates getting the splinters out of the weave after he carries in firewood into the cabin where we’re staying for a holiday with our entire group of friends and family. Ahhhh…J.Crew dreams…


I bought a pair of jeans and a long sleeved tee. The tee looked navy in the store. When I brought it home, it became black. I did the test where I put it next to other black items, and it was black. Now in my florescent office, it’s once again navy and paired with black pumps and a black belt. All I can come up with is that this shirt is a hybrid. It’s gotta be the color blavy. I still like it. I feet mysterious with absence of all color and nautical all at the same time.

Every year, I try to add more fruits and veggies into my diet. I know that eating those magical foods is a great way to fight disease and cancer. So, why is it so hard for me to eat them?

Adding fruit to my diet has been pretty easy. I just have to make sure I take a weekly trip to the grocery store to stock up on apples, grapes, or berries (depending how much money is allowed in my food budget), but those veggies are a different story. Some days as I evaluate my food intake of the day, I try to bargain with myself that the salsa I ate counts for a vegetable serving.

Salad is such a cop-out for a solution because a) lettuce is for rabbits and possesses little nutritional value and b) by the time I doctor it up enough where I can stomach eating it, the salad has gained 50 fat grams and 900 calories.

My only good solution for eating more veggies has been making myself eat at home more. It also helps me in my personal training to be a housewife—and more importantly—a grandma.

Perhaps I’m a late bloomer at 32, but I think I still have time to develop some Jedi-like cooking skills like my Grandmother Richards possessed. “Use the fork, Beth...Never underestimate the power of the fork…” She could whip up some mean homemade buttermilk biscuits. And add a little hot chocolate gravy on top with a dab of butter, and your grandchildren are in complete bliss. This is after they’ve had servings of fruit and veggies, of course.

I am a huge proponent of non-traditional Thanksgivings. Today at work, I just had Chuy’s for our office Thanksgiving meal. It was fabulous. The creamy jalapeno was flowing. The fajitas were tasty. We were blessed.

Next week, I will trudge through the turkey. I will avoid the canned cranberry sauce and all of its seeping juices that try to stain my food. I will snub my nose up at deviled eggs. The pecan pie can dry up and grow some trees for all I care.

So, basically, I’ll eat some green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and some dinner rolls.

But perhaps this is God’s way of teaching me that life is not always about the food. (I know! Can you believe it?!) I will be very thankful for my company, thankful for the Lord’s provision, and so humbled and honored to be loved by Him.

…And I might pray to one day convince my family to plan a non-traditional meal. Doesn’t lasagna for Thanksgiving sound tasty? And really, who knows how to cook a turkey anyway?

I just joined a new club. It’s called Goodreads. I rate books I read and then keep them on my list.

I don’t read much anymore which is sad. I believe not reading keeps our brains from growing. That might be why God put his word into a book form. Reading really is food for our brain. And God’s word is food for the brain—and the soul.

Every month, I am faithful to read my copy of InStyle magazine, but I have difficulty settling into books as an adult. As a child, I was so much of an avid reader, my mother encouraged me to stop reading as much.

I joined Goodreads at the request of my far-away-friend Liz, even though I feel my current level of reading is sub par. I would probably do better at Goodfeeds—which could be a restaurant reviewing system.

I also developed a bad habit in high school of skimming books. I would read the beginning, middle, and end. Life is just too uncertain to not read ahead on the endings. (This works for most books--except for the Bible--which in doing this could scare the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of you.)

A friend of mine likes to get people on his book bandwagon which I gladly joined, because I thought he was cool--and I thought those books would let some of his cool philosophies rub off on me. Through his bookclub, I read Blue Like Jazz, The Irresistible Revolution, and I'm supposed to read The Long Loneliness--but in the middle of that I started dating someone who had me reading other books, and you can't two time book clubs very easily. I'm trying to find books now that aren't just to impress people, but are things that I really want to read.

I even have a bookclub that meets at La Madeliene, but I've never been.

It's sometimes difficult to do all the things I should do as a single woman: workout, read books, develop cooking skills, eat out, volunteer, and bring home the bacon. But I manage.

I got the hiccups at work again. I announced it to my co-worker on the other side of my cube area.

Co-Worker: “Hold you breath and smile.”

Never tried that one—so, I held my breath and smiled--which is an odd thing to do.

Co-Worker yelling over cube wall: “You have to force it.”

So, I smiled more. My co-worker came around to my side.

Co-Worker: “You smile when you hold your breath? What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m holding my breath and smiling.”

Co-Worker: “I said, ‘Hold your breath and SWALLOW.”

Believe it or not, the hiccups went away. I think I’m totally on to something here.

I know it’s probably not this persons fault because she just sings, and doesn’t write, but I would assume she has some right to choose…but why did Carrie U first sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” and then next have the song to be released be “Before He Cheats”?

Both songs involve cars.

One (with its ever-so-clever country style rhymes) points out that we just have to let go, and let Jesus take over. She’s got the baby in the backseat. And the road is like a sheet of glass from ice. Jesus has to take the wheel because she’s lost control of her car…and maybe her life. Wow.

The next song is about how she’s in a relationship that’s gone bad. The guy she’s dating is out with a girl who can’t even order strong drinks at the bar. I guess that means the girl is a weenie. So, in the song, Carrie decides to get him back by keying his car and carving her name into the backseat of his pretty little four-wheel drive. And maybe next time all that damage on his car will make him think before he takes another non-alcoholic girl to a bar that isn’t his girlfriend. He sounds like maybe he’s not a good pick to begin with.

Maybe she should have let Jesus take the wheel again…and the key. She could have just slipped a bible into the backseat of his pretty little four wheel drive with his name carved in the leather bound cover.

Apparently, this is her second bad relationship because the first guy should have been driving the car when she was on the ice, and it sounds like her rebound guy has no interest in her child—or maybe this was the first guy. Where’s the baby now? At home alone while she’s out keying a car?

I’m working on a new song for her called “Jesus Pick My Man.” It’s also a personal testimony and will be a ballad that all single girls should sing. I’m basing it off of an old Billy Graham sermon and the Bible.

Stay tuned.

I got a massage yesterday. We almost had a disaster at work, which was quite frightening, but we were released from work early. So after I did a bit of shopping, I decided it was time I checked out the massage chain that I’ve heard about where you can get your first massage for $39. I went to the closest one to my house, and walked up to the counter to see if they accepted “walk-ins.” There were only a few ladies sitting who were waiting, and an older gentleman that worked there (maybe the janitor?) who walked in with me, and several girls in matching shirts standing behind computer screens.

The girl behind screen #4 squeezed me in so I could get an appointment right away. She glanced quickly at girl behind screen #3 and appeared to give her “the look,” so I was a bit concerned about my massage adventure. After making a quick trip to the bathroom, I started to make my way back to the lobby when I was stopped by the older janitor man who was holding a clipboard.

“You must be Beth,” he said.

I flashed my best Oscar-winning smile, “Yes, I am!” And I began to secretly say a series of rosary prayers as only a devout Baptist can.

After a few minutes, I finally relaxed and realized that he was a professional, and I was a professional, so therefore, we have a professional experience on our hands—or his hands—or whatever. The massage actually wasn’t that bad. And what am I looking for in a massage therapist anyway? Tall, dark, and handsome? It’s a massage. Not a date. (Perhaps not the best comparison. Don’t know quite how to compare the two.)

This experience solidifies that I will only use a female masseuse. Once before, my appointment was with a young male at a fancy spa for a quick back massage. Afterwards, he said, “Hope you enjoyed it.”

That was so weird.

If you could just know that clearly in his/her mind and clearly in your mind, this is a therapeutic experience, everything would be much better. I try to keep in mind that it’s like going to the doctor…but what about the mood music? And where’s the paper gown to help me feel safe? And why are the lights so low?

Now I need therapy over massage therapy.

Lipglosses currently in my purse:

Victoria Secret Rush (can’t remember the flavor name, but it’s pink)
Clinique Black Honey
Sally Hansen Lip Plumping clear
Rimmel Gloss Snog
Blistex Lip Infusion
Estee Lauder Bois de Rose

I could have a problem. Because I want more!!

Back in January 2006, I was working out semi-regularly. I was preparing to have ACL surgery in March of ‘06, and I was kind of freaked out by it, so I compensated by trying to get in really good shape before the surgery, so I would recover faster.

I had in my head that I didn’t want to run long distances…I just wanted to be fast. Perhaps it was my fascination with Flo Jo as a child, but I don’t really like to run for long distances because it’s just too tiring and makes me want to stop and pass out. My face gets really red and I get sweaty, and it’s just not pretty. I worked my time down to running one mile on the treadmill in 8:22. Not too shabby, but nothing compared to what even the worst high school track teams members perform.

My goal this year is to run a 7:30 mile. Last night, I plopped myself on the trusty old treadmill at the Y, and came out with an 8:58 time. I have some work to do.

I found this on the net on wikianswers:
What is the average time it takes to run a mile?
After a major study in a group of 125,000 humans, the average mean time was approx. 10:07:79.

So, I guess I can run a mile faster than the average bear, but the other question is…who made up the test group?

Eat less. Exercise. Lose Weight.

Who knew?

Why in the world is weightloss such a huge industry?

And why can't I master the plan?

I really love food. Food is a gift from God. But I think pastries are a gift not from God. They haunt me. I want to eat them. There is a chocolate covered croissant at Au Bon Pain that I can't seem to get out of my mind. I want it in my belly. And then it will take up root in my tummy, and live there all the way through Christmas where it will steathly hide under bigger shirts until swimsuit season returns at which point it will yell at me with a megaphone: Boo!

Where am I going?

How did I get here?
And where am I going?!

Is it that Oh! The Places You’ll Go! book from high school graduation that has cursed me?

I have a restless energy that makes me want to go backpack across Europe, or plan a wedding for myself and a mystery man, or tour all the Starbucks in the U.S. playing my guitar, or visit elementary schools in all cities that begin with the letter “T” so I can read the children poems from Shel Silverstein using funny voices.

But that is ridiculous. I sound like a college graduate whose sorority letters have not yet begun to peel off her windshield or fade from her plastic cup from Rush Week 1993. I have been out of college 10 years. 10 years!! Children get potty trained, learn to read, and sometimes smoke their first cigarette in that period of time.

This, my friends, is the reason I need sleep. What you just experienced is my brain deprived of it.

Note: In sound mind and body format, I was not a member of a college sorority (unless BSU counts), and I do not support cigarettes beyond what is necessary to fund the great Commonwealth of Kentucky’s farmers.

We’re having an office Thanksgiving dinner on November 13. I’m counting down the days because the office voted on having…(drum-dinner-roll please) CHUY’s! We’re all so excited. On those days from now until then when the e-mails seem to flow in a little too fast, and the red light on the voicemail won’t stop blinking, I’m going to be looking forward to that lovely day of office togetherness and creamy jalapeno ranch dressing.

Have yourself a Merry Little Thanksgiving…let your tummy delight…from now on your toes will be out of sight…
So have yourself a Merry Little Thanksgiving….to-night….

Way back when I was a little girl, I used to dress up in a homemade costume of random things found around the house, grabbed my plastic pumpkin, and headed out around the neighborhood to collect candy. There was one strange man, that we were told to be careful around, and he would just hand out nickels, and not candy. And then there were a few houses that quickly became famous as they handed out some really good candy, and not just super bubble or that orange and black wrappered peanut butter chewy stuff.

Now, since we’re all scared of one another, we don’t trick-or-treat. Kids are scared of adults. Adults are scared of kids. But we’re buying more decorations than ever for our homes, and we’re still buying bags of candy, but then we’re hiding inside with the lights off. We’re all very confused.

Last night, I bought candy, and set out a lighted pumpkin (okay, it was a plug-in) as bait. Hours passed. Finally, a family with seven kids whose only English was “trick-or-treat” came to my door. The girls were cheerleaders with “USA” emblazoned on their chest. The boys were Batman and cowboys. These people have embraced American tradition, but maybe a little too late.

It’s always really fun to see little kids dressed up and to see their faces light up when you give them candy. If I were running for President, my platform might be community unity. And it would start with Halloween trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.

Do you know your neighbors? Twenty years ago did you know them?

Sometimes it’s just really strange to me that in the town of 100 where I grew up, I knew everyone’s name, and had been in most of their homes. And now, in a town of 4 million, I know the first names of the neighbors on the right and the left, but that’s it. And I’ve only peered in their garages.

It’s Halloween, and I haven’t even had any of those little marshmallow pumpkins. My dentist would be so proud. I have on Holy Ghost earrings I bought on my trip. It’s my only holiday decoration today except for my outfit which is my interpretation of being in the Johnny Cash [wo]Man in Black club.

This week I learned:
-Be kind—even to people that hurt your feelings or who get on your nerves.
-Give if God leads you to do so. And don’t be chintzy about it.

Cool Bible Stories I read in my one-year bible:
-The story about Elijah and the widow who took care of him—her oil and flour jars were NEVER empty because God kept them filled.
-Elijah wanted to give up sometimes too, but he didn’t.
-Jesus gave Judas bread and then Satan entered him when he ate it. (sometimes carbs are bad.)

Why were the Breedlove Quads in my dream last night? And also other multiples of babies?

-I got a special award at work. It says, “Give me a high 5, I saved somebody’s booty today!”
-Happy Little Trees is taking a vacation on Monday and Tuesday. See you Wednesday.

I bought Listerine whitening strips several months ago. I don’t recommend them—or at least using them in public. You’ll be a cross between a rabid dog and a one-week non-brusher waking up in the morning. It’s pretty gross. They’re supposed to melt off, but it doesn’t quite work.

I wish I could follow through with the white strips long enough to really see a difference. Two weeks is long time to walk around like a rabid dog. Or I wish I could do a self-study where I whiten the right side, but leave the left side normal—kind of like in those old head-and-shoulders commercials.

What is the obsession with tooth whitening? In the 80s were we all just a bunch of yellow-toothers and nobody really noticed?

I don't think it's possible. But God could do it because nothing is impossible with God. He'll probably show us that trick in heaven.

Hungry. I’m always hungry. I eat, and then I’m hungry again. But if I don’t handle the hunger properly, I can reach the status called stuffed in a matter of about 15 minutes. I don’t like being stuffed. And I don’t like being hungry. What a conundrum. I better think this over during lunch.

I got to see Dave Barnes & Mr. Matt Wertz in concert last night. They're so laid back and really enjoy playing music. Their concert feels like you're hanging out with your brother's cute friends that are also really funny.

I like all of Dave Barnes' cheesy love songs. They're really not that cheesy for love songs, but maybe a little queso-y. And I love queso, therefore I love the songs.

And Matt Wertz was fun to watch because he gets really, really into playing his guitar and sings his heart out. This boy does not know subtle. When he's performing, it's with full gusto.

Click on the links and become their fans.

I ran on the Y treadmill last night. I logged 2.25 miles. I thought I could use the Y radio/TV system, but the TV was focused on twelve years olds and birth control in Maine. And the only radio station was on zydeco. I went with running to zydeco. I think most of the songs were about dancing with women in Lake Charles.

Beside my treadmill, a girl in her twenties (which is by default the natural enemy of a thirty-something single woman) was flirting with some young gentleman. I was instantly put off with the twenty-something girl because she was wearing pearls with her t-shirt to workout at the Y.

My first thought was, “She must be a Baylor grad.” I kind of shocked myself with that thought because I’m not originally from Texas, and honestly have no particular feelings one way or another about Texas schools and/or their graduates. I have just about much interest debating Kroger vs. Randalls. If we’re talking U of L and UK, then we have a different story.

My friend, Stephanie, Baylor Class of ’98, told me that girls at Baylor used to go for runs around campus while wearing pearls and full make-up, so I guess that’s how that thought got into my head.

What in the world else is floating in this head of mine?

And why did I dig my pearls out of the jewelry box and wear them to work today?

But I will not be wearing them to the Y.

I am plum tuckered out.

Last weekend, I was a weekend-nanny. I was too tired to write a nanny diary. Normally, I can party like a rockstar and have no problem staying up until 2 or so, but I didn’t get enough sleep through the week, and over the weekend, I didn’t get to catch up, and now, here I am at Thursday wishing I had an afternoon appointment with my pillow and high thread count sheets.

Sleep. Sleep.
You are so sweet.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Slip. Slip.
Away I go.
I meet the sheep.
I dance with Peep.
The cow jumps.
The moon ducks.
Sleep. Sleep.
A precious treat.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Dream a dream.
Spot a moonbeam.
Peaceful, restful,
Beautiful, sleep.

I woke up this morning not really wanting to go to work. All I could think of was: Calgon, take me away!

How do people become morning people? I thought that it’s got to be some type of secret. An Ancient Chinese secret, huh?

I rushed to find something to put on and wouldn’t you know it—on my favorite shirt—
ring around the collar.

I needed energy. Maybe something sweet. I looked all around at the buildings as I drove to the med center but my mind was distracted. In these times it seems like whatever it is I think I see, becomes a tootsie roll to me.

A lady was walking her dog along Hermann Park. That dog was moving faster than the owner. At the stoplight, I yelled out, “That’s a fast dog.” She replied, “I’ve got a dog his name is Bo, and he’s got the high pro glow!”

You might be asking yourself, “Beth. Why did you write this today? Why?”

And all I can say in return is sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.

-If Nick Lachey’s band would have been called 68 degrees instead of 98 degrees, I think they would have been more successful. 68 degrees feels so nice.

-I brought dry cereal, dried cranberries, organic yogurt, and an apple for snacks at work, and just inhaled a cheesecake brownie I found on the counter in the office kitchen.

-I have 56 rollover minutes left for daytime talk to last me until November 3rd. I should have reevaluated cutting my cell phone plan before starting a cell phone roam-ance. So if you’re not a M2M friend, hope you have a nice Halloween! We’ll talk turkey later!

Ramadan ended on October 12th. I broke my bread fast for Indonesia that I did during Ramadan by eating a turkey and swiss grilled sandwich on Saturday. Dee-lish. And now, I am eating bread once again. Welcome home, carbs! (that was my belly talking)

This morning, I wanted to eat the whole-wheat blueberry pancakes from the work cafeteria that I had been craving for a month. After our staff meeting was finally over, I rushed to place my order before breakfast ended. I barely made the cut-off.

When I got back to my desk, I dug into the pancakes, but noticed something a bit strange about my blueberry pancakes—I couldn’t find the blueberries. In the two pancakes, I found one blueberry. ONE. I don’t know what this means. But I feel there has to be a symbolism in this situation. It was just too unusual.

Maybe this is my gateway inspiration for becoming a fortune cookie writer: In breakfast, better one lonely blueberry, than one lonely bug.

Sometimes I miss my family a lot.

I especially miss my nieces and nephews. Being far from home is hard, because when you don’t see adults for six months, their hairstyle might be different, and they might have lost/gained a few pounds, but kids can change drastically. I’ve missed diaper changes (okay, maybe that’s not sad), kindergarten graduations, loose teeth, basketball games, and knowing who their friends are. But I do get to periodically step in and catch up on what is going on. My oldest niece, Christan, is a senior this year, and I think it’s given me a bit of her senioritis, and the need to reminisce.

I remember when each one of them was born (I was closer to home in those years –partly because I was still in high school for two of them!).

When they showed us Christan in the window, she had a floppy ear. Later, she would say, it’s waving “hi.” Her ear still waves just a teeny bit. It’s really cute. And she knows it. And tells us in case we forget.

Katie, now 15, had a little bitty bow put in her hair with toothpaste in the hospital nursery. Until about age 6, she showed everyone that picture a million times and had to point out the toothpaste in her hair.

David, 13, made me laugh even as a baby. He looks pretty much the same as he did from the first glance I had at him in the nursery window. He just makes you laugh.

Jonathan, 12, was so cute and became very sick a week he was born, so we prayed fiercely for him and cried when we saw him so lifeless. We recounted the fateful tale to him last week on his 12th birthday.

Marissa, soon to be 11, was two months premature and the tiniest baby I had ever seen. Her socks didn’t even touch her ankles, but hung like cuffs. And her hair was red even at 3lb 9oz.

Emily, 6, was another miracle baby. My dad had died three months before she was born, and my sister had been on bed rest all through that time determined to see the pregnancy through. My first memory of Emily was seeing her wailing as she went through the “welcome to the world” nursery assembly line. She still does a great job of making herself known when she enters the room.

It’s been so neat to see their personalities develop and know that some things, such as brains and cuteness (and being a smart alec--which they are all very good at just like me) are family traits that are passed down. They are chess champions, dog trainers, dancers, comedians, actors and actresses, and love God. And they are my precious, so precious, nieces and nephews.

(Christan, sorry the pic of you has one of your eyes squinting. I’ll do a special Christan page soon.)

Can you believe that there is a Jello Museum?

Learn all about it.


Why does it taste different in those prepackaged containers? I need to make some fresh instant jello--like mom used to make.

I watched part of The Bachelor last night. My favorite phrase that I kept hearing over and over from the ladies was this:

“I really felt like there was a connection between us…”

I’m not Dr. Phil or anything, but if the man of your dreams also has a connection with twenty or so other women, there might be a problem.

This guy is playing about 20 girls at one time, and that’s what he’s told to do per the producers. The women have to pursue the man, and backbite each other in order to win. It’s seems much like high school. I already lived through that. All the girls find the one cutest guy available and fight over him like they’re in Toys-R-Us during the 1983 Cabbage Patch Doll War, and they fight to the finish until they have been clawed, bitten, and one receives the “prize.” And 30 years from now (or worse case scenario about 3), they’re all like, “I fought for that?!” Love isn’t Survivor (but perhaps marriage is!). And it isn’t always that dramatic.

I think the best twist would be if the Bachelor fell in love with one of the camera women or his make-up artist. That would be fun. The show is getting dried up and boring. At least switch colors of roses or change types of flowers or something. These bachelors are all really nice looking, but the show makes them seem like they’re not very interesting.

Well, now you know all the reasons that I would never be on The Bachelor. That, and the fact I would never go on public television sporting a bikini. (Are they only allowed to pack bikinis and evening gowns?) Unless I was playing beach volleyball. And since I have no volleyball skills and I’m 5’3” and not 6 feet, I will not be doing that either.

Why, yes, I am from the great state of Kentucky. And not only do we excel at basketball, apparently, football is our latest muse!

If you scroll way down on the rankings, you can find the Texas teams. If you're an LSU fan, you're #1 right now.

A friend stopped me today to tell me about how great Kentucky had been playing, I really didn't know anything about it. Usually, football season is spent waiting for the basketball season. We let states like Tennessee have their time in the spotlight while we practice our 3-pointers.

Could life get more fabulous?

I haven't had this much fun since I created my own Barbie on

I ate dirty rice for lunch. Why did I think that would be a good decision? Why did someone invent dirty rice? It makes me think of Christina Aguilera's blatantly inappropriate years.

I think from now on, I'll eat clean rice. Or even brown rice. Which is white rice with more melanin.

Today’s cell phone call of the day. Brought to you by AT&T Wireless and your friends from Happy Little Trees.

Her: Beth. You’re not gonna believe what just happened to me!

Me: What happened?

Her: I’m in Kroger. And this old man just asked me out. First he said, ‘Hey! I just saw you!’

I mean, hello! We’re in the grocery store, of course he just saw me!
And then he says, ‘Have you ever tried the plate lunch in the deli? It’s good.’

Then he says, ‘I’m single.’

I mean, what in the world was this guy thinking?!

There were some young cashiers watching, and they called other cashiers over to watch the whole thing.

Why does this happen to us, Beth?

Me: Well, what did you say?

Her: I just walked away. I turned around and pretended like nothing happened. I just walked away.

He was sweating, Beth. I thought, ‘Has this man just come from working out?’ But he was wearing flip flops. He was in the grocery store sweating.

Me: Well, maybe you looked extra cute today.

Her: Well, I do look cute, but come on, ‘Have you tried the plate lunch in the deli?’!

You can get better lines than that off the internet. And what’s with ‘I’m single.’?

If he doesn’t work on his lines, he’s gonna be that way for a long time.

I love Jenni’s Noodle House. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in Houston. My friend, Joi, introduced me to it about six years ago. Last night, I was so excited to see that there was a location now on Shepherd! I told Scott (owner with his lovely and adorable wife, Jenni) that I would put it on my blog. Just a little note to HFBC-ers: he’s Marge Caldwell’s darling grandson.

My favorite menu item is the Art Car Curry. I love that stuff. And I love the Disco Dumplings. The dumplings are divine.

The parking is tight at the new location. And the prices have gone up from several years ago, but so have gas prices. And now Jenni and Scott have a kid, too. I’m excited about their new location, and will be visiting them quite often. Tell them I sent you and you’ll get a free take-home menu. :)

I had a Vegas adventure.

I was a little bit nervous about going to Vegas for Jason and Lacy’s wedding this past weekend, because my friend, Amy, had to cancel, and I was making the journey on my own. I prayed for God to go with me to Vegas so I wouldn’t be lonely or scared. We had a good time. And some pretty crazy adventures.

Another step of faith involved moulah. I didn’t have a lot to take with me to Vegas. I had overextended my monthly Target budget (again) and also overextended my emergency “running-late-or-my-routine-changed” med center garage parking fund ($10/day), so I was a bit low on dough when I arrived. I found out that the shuttle from the airport is $6—compared to the $30 cab ride I was expecting. I actually felt safer on the shuttle than the cab rides I’ve had there. And the monorail was connected to my hotel, giving me easy access from my hotel to The Strip. Through my trip deal, I got a meal voucher, so one of my meals only cost $3.78. I even beat Rachel Ray’s $40 a day! I lived off about $18—including transportation. That, my friends, is God’s provision (and divine help for avoidance of Starbucks and buffets).

On the way back, I flew stand-by because I got to the airport earlier than I expected. The lines for security were ridiculously long. But I knew if God wanted me on the early plane, I would make it. And I did. I was the very last person that was let onto the plane.

God makes such a great travel partner. He even introduced me to lots of new friends, and gave me sweet time with old friends.

My new friends: Jason’s co-workers, Diane, Hope, Gene Simmons, Rick from the Hard Rock CafĂ© gift shop, Irma from Carolina Herrera, Jack from Manola Blanik, Candace from Kiehl’s, the Arkansas couple on the plane trip there, Deborah from the plane ride home, and Pete Rose.

My old friends: Jason, Lacy, Ryan, and Robby.

Random celeb sightings in Caesar’s Palace: Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Mid) and little Jack Osbourne. My apologies to both for trying to get a sneaky camera shot. FYI, it didn’t work.

And thanks to Kevin for being my GPS and tour guide.

And thanks again to God for blessing me with such a great trip.