As a child, I feared moving with a great passion. We had many, many opportunities to move because of my dad's job, but somehow, after we moved to Dundee, we always stayed planted in the same house--which was our home.

When I came into the family, there wasn't enough room in my parents tiny house located in the big metropolis of Owensboro to fit three children (as you can see there was barely enough room for me on the couch). When I was a year old, the family decided it was time to move.

My parents purchased a home for less than you'd now purchase a used car, and got to work on fixing it up with the help of Uncle Buster and his savvy carpentry skills. It was a huge task, but the results created a home that served as a faithful haven to our family for a very long time.

My childhood memories are in this home. My main childhood memory is the one pictured below. I love this picture of my mom. It's completely her. She could do laundry, put make-up on in the bathroom, cook dinner, and iron, while on the phone stretching that cord for dear life.

I'm going home tomorrow to help my mom move. We're all going to miss our home terribly. It's the only home I remember. And if you've ever been there, you'd understand. It feels like home. Even the yard is great. Pictured below is the tree that at the age of 10, I met my best friend Amy under. She said in a West Texas drawl, "Your name's Beth, riiiite?" And I replied, "Riiiite." And then immediately felt guiltly for imitating her. It's a beautiful tree and in the fall it turns a beautiful yellow color. It also has really soft moss that's the best thing in the world to walk on.

This week I also realized I'm also grieving over the fact that the family will no longer have a connection with the town of Dundee. Dundee is a tiny town, but still in the country. I literally used to walk over the river and through the woods, and come to one of my favorite spots--the old creek road. I was never bold enough to swim in the creek like the people pictured for fear of copperheads and snapping turtles, but I did walk down there quite often with Midnight, my dog, and throw a lot of rocks. And sit and think.

Please pray for me, my brother, and my sister, and especially my mom, as she transitions to a new place after faithfully caring for our home and loving it for 31 years. It's too big and too much now for just her, so it's time to pass it on to another family.

Somebody get me a tissue. Aw, geez.

I feel like I have partied all summer. Not in the “MTV Spring Break” sense, but in the wedding/baby shower/birthday sense. These things are all well and good and fun, but I have such a tough time balancing fun things with the day-to-day stuff that I need to make my life run smooth. I have a tendency to live out “Carpe Diem” a little too often. I really took that Dead Poet’s Society scene seriously. I’m tired. I’m really tired.

But the problem is, this is how I was raised. To party ‘til you drop (once again not in the “MTV Spring Break” way). My granny used to have to use a timer to take doctor-prescribed naps. She would set the timer for 15 minutes, lay as still as she could on the couch until the timer went off, and then spring up like a piece of toast when she was done.

I’ve had a great time visiting with friends this summer, and laughing and talking, but somewhere inside of me, I feel like I haven’t really enjoyed summer unless I’ve spent a great deal of time sitting in a porch rocker sipping my lemonade watching the sunset. (Did that idea get into my head from an old Country Time Lemonade commercial?)

Perhaps I’ll apply the “Carpe Diem” theory to Indian summer in a different way. I’ll seize every opportunity to lounge in the pool, read my books that are gathering dust on my nightstand, and sip some lemonade while I watch the sunset (or the rain fall). If I’m MIA, don’t worry about me, I still love you, but there are just some things I need to do—or not do.

-This morning I accidentally picked up a Swiffer sheet and had it with my clothes and undergarments, and was given a revelation to market to European backpackers: disposable and biodegradable undies. But do I really want this to be my contribution to the world?

-I gave myself an at-home manicure and used some fancy stickers to give myself white tips, but what I was left with looks more like what I would guess to be a French-Canadian manicure.

-I heard Avril’s new “Girlfriend” song on the radio. I’m tempted to get that CD, but I remembered the experience of trying to sell that CD to half-price books when I was low on dough, and they wouldn’t buy it.

-Do I wear black because I’m secretly trying to give off a nun-vibe? Or is it because I’m like Johnny Cash? Why do nuns and priest wear black? The same reason Johnny Cash did? I’ve always liked it because it’s slimming and then everything in my closet matches. Except the navy items.

-I’ve had big stress at work this week, so I prayed specifically for some work situations, and saw prayers answered. God is good, but I remember that I seek His presence and not just His provision.

I heard Starbucks is raising their prices. Again. And what are we to do? I already have a very serious relationship with my local baristas. It would be too hard just to end things. Maybe I'll just cut back on my visits. But didn't I say that months ago?

I noticed on an old receipt (it was only for $1.77--see it's really not that bad--let's see...$1.77 + the price hike...) that *bucks has it's own summer e-vite type website. And why do I think this sounds cool?

Would I feel just as cool carrying a Dunkin' Donuts cup around while I paraded around the med center or the Galleria? Think not. It's those Olsen twins that started it all. That's gotta be it.

Things I’m able to do after an afternoon Starbucks:

1)Walk around the office like a wooly mammoth when no one is watching.
2)Invent a new text symbol for Starbucks and claim that I invented it even if maybe somebody else thought of it: *$
3)Tell about 3 stories (all about myself) in a matter of 5 minutes.
4)Sing several clips of random songs in a row like I’m singing for a TimeLife CD collection commercial.
5)Grip my mouse and try to make myself stay planted in my desk chair to ride out the caffeine rollercoaster.

Last night I had a dream about Granny. It’s been two and a half years since Granny died. It’s not unusual for me to dream about deceased family members, because I dream about my dad all the time. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream about Granny—or not one that I remember.

In my dream, I was holding Granny’s arm as she walked down a hallway, and I noticed that she was really wobbly, but it wasn’t because she was too weak, it was because she had on some high-wedged gold shoes. I helped Granny to a white wicker chair in an open area of the building and I bent down to get those shoes off of her. When I took a shoe off, it revealed a beautiful foot. It looked young and smooth and the toenails (although unpainted) were very pretty. And I thought to myself, “Granny has such beautiful feet. I hope I inherited her feet.”

When I woke up today, God spoke some things to me about that dream. One was that, “How beautiful are the feet of those that spread the word of God.” And the other was the peace of knowing that Granny’s feet are restored! Before she died, Granny’s feet looked horrible because she had very poor circulation. A toenail or two were colors they should not have been. And she had some sores that would not heal. But Granny’s feet aren’t like that any more.

I didn’t floss for ten days. My gums are aching. When I was housesitting, I forgot my floss. I really like flossing my teeth. It makes me feel really clean and my gums like it. I always floss before I brush. When I’ve flossed after, I always find a huge chunk of food that didn’t quite get found by my toothbrush. It’s disgusting, but reiterates the fact I need to floss.

I’ve read studies about how healthy teeth reflect a healthy heart. My mom’s side of the family is heart-disease city, and my dad lost all his teeth at a young age, so I’m a bit fanatical about tooth care. I loved my dad, but really don’t want to inherit his touch-my-tongue-to-my nose-trick-when-my-teeth-are-out. Although the grandkids used to love it.

I set up a profile for myself on Virb, because my friend, Leslee, was on there and I wanted to make comments on her photos. The little tiny photos of all the people on Virb look way too cool for school, so I wanted to join along, even though my pic doesn't look supercool. Anyway, Leslee lives in Nashvegas, and I think Virb must be the cool thing for artists/musicians to be on. Check out Leslee's photos cause they are really good.

I just have 3 "friends" on Virb. Leslee, her brother, and some weird band.

Oh, back to my original point. I checked through Leslee's friends and Dave Barnes is one of her friends. I had a crush on him until he got married. Even though he's off the market, I still really like Dave's music. It's very laid back and a little bluesy, and a little bit funkadelic. You've got to check out Dave's Virb site. Please scroll down and watch his holiday videos. They are really funny. Laugh out loud funny.

And buy me his CD for Christmas. I used to have a bootleg one that I let someone borrow. If you have it, please return it--or throw it away so I can be an honest woman and get a real DB CD.

Missed Connection:

SWF seeking non-smoking, Cingular Phone between 1-3 years old. Last rebound relationship with current phone hit the rocks (or the pavement). Please respond before this afternoon so we can hook up before the weekend. Phone calls not accepted unless you leave a v-mail.

Txt is nt optn. Cn't rd thm. Scrn ded.

I had a lunch meeting yesterday and my office ordered Chuy’s fajitas. We had enough leftovers, that I’m eating it today, too.

It is a gift. A delicious and tasty gift.

I just had a very interesting phone conversation. I had to share.

Operator: Nordstrom, how may I direct your call?
Me: Shoe department, please.
Operator: Men, Women’s, or Children’s?
Me: Women's
Operator: Just a moment.

Me: Hello?
Nord Nerd: Hi-iiiii!
Me: Uh, hello. [slight giggle] How are you today?
Nord Nerd: Fabulous and fierce.
Me: That’s fantastic. I was calling to see if you had Croc’s in the Prima ballet slipper style.
Nord Nerd: We don’t. We won’t. And we haven’t. Actually, we might have them on line.
Me: Hmmm. I was really hoping to see them in person.
Nord Nerd: Ohhhhh…I know!
Me: Well, thank you so much.
Nord Nerd: You’re welcome so much!
Me: Bye.
Nord Nerd: Toodles!

I really wish I had a video phone in cases like this. One that recorded.

My sister told me some funny stories last night about her “Adventures with Vacation Bible School.” She’s working with the preschool kids, and they played a game last night where they toss a ball and say one word of a bible verse. So, it should’ve looked like this: Toss 1 – LOVE; Toss 2 – ONE; Toss 3 – ANOTHER.

But she said it looked more like: Toss 1 – blank stare. Toss 2 – blanker stare. Toss 3 – blankest stare. The preacher’s four-year-old kid caught on and would scream out to the rest: “LOVE! Say LOVE!”

Somehow this story became a teachable moment to me. Sometimes, I’m the one with the blank stare, not quite able to perceive the Word. Sometimes, I’m the one screaming “LOVE!” at other people.

God, may I get it. May these kids get it. May we really understand “Love one another.”

Geez, and these kids haven’t even gotten to “Be kind to others.”

Side note, my Sunday School class is memorizing 1 Peter 4:12 – the rest of chapter 5. It’s been really good. Maybe we can add the ball-toss this week as we try to recite it.

(pictured are my nieces. they love one another.)

Sometimes thoughts run through my head, and sometimes I hear them coming out of my mouth. And then I’m surprised because my ears are hearing something aloud that I thought only I was hearing in my head. I always stop suddenly and look quickly from left to right making sure nobody else heard me.

Yesterday, after walking Oscar and wanting to gag after picking up his bidness, I held the bag away from me with two fingers and then heard the Bethonc√© in me singing, “I am poopy-licious...”

Then I remembered that I was in a neighborhood, and not alone. I don’t think anyone heard me, but the question is, how in the world do I get these things in my head? It’s scary to think who hears me say these things, but when I’m not embarrassed, I can laugh really hard at myself—which in turn helps me out with my fabulous abs. HA!

I try not to let this happen, but sometimes, I have a condition called “Cell Phone Addiction.” It can be socially embarrassing. It usually involves checking my phone repetitively in a short time period. I catch myself trying to cover my behavior by murmuring, “I’m expecting a call…” to the nearest bystander.

Today, I am away from home, and my cell phone is at home. I know it’s not a living object, but I can’t help wondering what it’s doing today. Is it moving around on the table it’s resting on because it’s getting text messages? Or is it making a loud beep telling me I have a missed call or a voicemail?

Forgetting your cell phone is not quite as bad as forgetting to pack your underwear on a long trip, but it’s kind of the same uneasy feeling. It’s like something’s missing today.

I really wish I didn’t feel this way. Why do I feel like a Renaissance woman when I forget my phone? What has the cell phone phenomenon done to me?

I think some of this feeling might be because I fear back-lash from my public. Missing text messages and phone calls can really tick people off if you don’t respond. I’ve been on the other end of the line before, and sometimes the vision I’ve had of the caller is of the person ignoring me on purpose (okay, sometimes I do that but in those moments, it’s not a good time for me to take a call, or you just really wouldn’t want to talk to me at that moment).

I guess the things that go through my head when my phone isn’t with me are the missed connections:

“Hey Beth, this is Prince Charming. Too bad you’re not picking up your phone, because I was going to come by and pick you up for dinner. Call me in twenty minutes, or you’ve forever missed me.”

“Beth! It’s me, your best friend. I have free plane tickets to New York. I’ll guess I’ll have to give them to my other best friend that picks up the phone.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. This was Madonna. I guess I got the wrong number.”

Occasionally, I do take a day off from the cell phone. It’s usually best if I plan that day and inform potential callers that no calls will be accepted for that one day. Fortunately, I don’t have any expected calls from my agent or possible lunch dates, so I should be okay today. Maybe it will be nice to not have to keep checking my phone. And maybe the world won’t end if I don’t always pick up my phone. Hmmmm…maybe.

I’m spending some time dogsitting right now. I had sworn off dogsitting, but some dear friends waved some greenbacks and tossed in some super fluffy pillows into the deal, and due to my recent heart-attack for a car repair bill, I caved. So, I’m spending time with Oscar. He’s a border collie that loves Frisbees, and marking his territory every five feet. By the end of the week, he should own pretty much all of the West U area.

Last night, we watched a bit of The Dog Whisperer while I ate a pre-sleep snack, and he salivated hoping I would sneak him some food. I love the show The Dog Whisperer.

Last night’s show had a lady that had a bad neck injury and was worried her dog might pull her too hard, causing her hanging vertebrae to snap, and then resulting in her death. Common sense would tell you, get rid of the dog! But Cesar was called in to help rehabilitate the dog (and train the owner).

As soon as the dog started going psycho during walk time, Cesar put out his leg and touched the dog. The dog stopped being psycho immediately. He told the owner to do the same.

Her: I always felt like when I do that, I’m abusing the dog.
Cesar: The dog is abusing you.
Her: Oh. I never thought about it that way.

Another lady covered the dog’s ears as Cesar told this lady that her dog wasn’t human. Cesar’s explained in the voice-over of the scene that he realized he needed to show this lady patience as he trained her.

Cesar has to train the people to understand that they are in control, not the dog. And that the dog is a dog. Not a human. This show is not rocket science, but covers concepts that many people can’t get.

Digging deeper than I probably should into the show’s meaning, I think most of the people are trying to earn acceptance and love from their pet. Instead of the pet earning acceptance and love from the owner.

People. Pets are great. God has given us animals—and pets. But the love that is truly unconditional is not from your dog, but from Jesus Christ. As a petsitter, the dog pretty much forgets you within 24 hours when someone new starts feeding him. And that’s okay. Because he’s a dog. Don’t get it backwards. He’s not a god. God doesn’t forget you--even when you think you've stopped "feeding" him by not praying or paying a tithe, or even believing in Him.

Because I dabble in moments where I try to be a fashionista, I decided to be brave and finally use the black polish I bought several months ago. The fashion trend might be over by now, but I had to try it. If I had enough money to dish out for the real stuff – Chanel Vamp, I would have, but I bought some Sally Hansen knock-off color at Target (pronounced “Tar-shzay”). It really looks like I’ve injured myself of something, but I’m trying to pretend I’m above all the critics that just don’t know cool polish when they see it. But secretly, I think my toes are screaming for some nice OPI pink polish.

Speaking of which, I’ve often tried to come up with polish color names like the creative marketing team of OPI, but never can quite think of anything. Guys are missing out if they don’t know about the names. They can be so funny. I found these nice color names for pink: Pistol Packin’ Pink, Tijuana Dance?, and Holy Pink Pagoda!. The funny names make me want to buy them. Ugh! Marketing ploys!!

I heard on the radio today that Apple is supposed to make a new iphone that is smaller and more affordable. Kind of like a phone version of the nano. I did some google research and found these pics online.

Clever. Very clever.

Today, I’m reminded about what my dear friend, Marie, repeats to me in every phone conversation we have: Fret not, little flock.

It makes me breathe a little slower and smile a little more every time I hear it.

I ate spicy salmon sushi for lunch. It was so spicy, that I needed some extra fluids fast to wash down the spicy causing my lips to be on fire. I popped into Starbucks for a hot green tea, but somehow all that spicy made these words come out of my mouth, “Tall caramel frappaccino no whip, please.”

Yesterday, at Central Market (best grocery store of all time), I noticed a new line from the Republic of Tea. Each can of tea bags was a catchy color and labeled with a catchy phrase like “Get gorgeous” (clear skin), “Get lost” (weight loss), or “Get a grip” (PMS). (I wish I was making this up.) On t.v. earlier that day, I watched a segment on the “news” which stated we need to drink 8-10 cups of black, white, or green tea a day to get the full weightloss and antioxidant benefits.

So tea is the answer to all my problems? Should we confess to the British we were so wrong for throwing all that tea into the Boston Harbor?

I confess that a little bit of this tea-ology has seeped into my brain. I had to hold myself back from buying the Republic of Tea “Cosmopolitian” editions, and instead bought the hearty Mighty Leaf tea. It’s really good stuff. And really overpriced.

I knew it would happen soon. When I woke up this morning, I had no clue that today would be the day. What circumstances could create one of the most exciting encounters of this age?

I’ll set the scene.

I work with doctors-in-training, and since someone in our office recently retired, I have been “blessed” with some aspects of her job by default. So, now my job is “checking out” the doctors who are leaving. (I’m sorry. This cracks me up every time I say it! I’ve tried to create my own check-out process with questions like: Are you single? If so, how do you feel about red hair? Do you like music? What are your views on sushi?—but my boss hasn’t let it pass yet.)

Today, one of the doctors had in his possession (in addition to scrubs and a pager)…[insert Star Trek soundtrack here, please] …the coveted iPhone. He casually handed it over to me to examine when he saw that I stopped in my tracks when realized he was holding the iPhone. I felt like my granny trying to figure out the VCR.

Him (noticing my cluelessness):“Press the button.” (there’s only one button)

Me: “Ohhhh. Wow. Shiny. Did you wait in line?”

Him: “Nah. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Me Thinking: “Not that big of a deal?! This is the iPhone!” (I tilted it and watched the screen flip positions and then attempted to tap into the accessories)

Me: “Oh, it has a camera! Does it work like the camera on the iMac?”

Him: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You know, does it distort the image and make your face look like a cartoon or a pencil drawing?”

Him: “I don’t know. I haven’t had time to play with it.”

Me Thinking: “This guy has spent too much time in a hospital. He hasn’t even been to the Apple store. Sad, just sad. So much knowledge, yet no sense of the amazing amounts of fun he could be having.”

Why don't monkeys live in the United States? I had to explain to a Japanese lady sitting next to me on a plane once that the U.S. doesn't have monkeys. We have other animals here that aren't indigenous and took over like nutria, so where are the monkeys?

On behalf of every American at work today: why didn't they let us have today off?

Sweet, Fourth of July!

I like the Fourth of July. So many wonderful memories are connected with that day.

One of my favorite ways to spend Fourth of July in times past was at Camp Rockmont. In college and for a few years following college, I worked with the sister camp, Camp Hollymont. Rockmont is nuzzled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Every year, my camp, Hollymont, would make the journey to go to Rockmont for the big Fourth of July dance and fireworks display. The dance I could leave or take, but the fireworks were absolutely fabulous.

The camp had a whole fireworks team of the best pyro-counselor representatives. They would put together an awesome display of sparkles and flashes all accompanied by music. And I would get to enjoy all their hardwork by sitting along the edge of the lake and staring with mesmerized eyes into the sky. Those moments don't ever seem to last long enough. Each Fourth of July, my heart aches to be sitting by the lake watching the beautiful lights and listening to the snaps and crackles--always traveling a few seconds behind the view.

If you've been there or some place like it, you know what I'm talking about. It's not about the bbq, the traffic, or the uncomfortable lawn chair. It's about your mouth catching flies and unconsciously saying, "ooooh! ahhhh!" with the rest of the crowd. It's about sitting around noticing the sound of crickets after the fireworks are done.

Sweet America, sometimes you are so brave and other times you embarrass me. Sometimes you are refreshment and other times you are frightening. I thank you for being my country--the only one I know, but my country none the less, and I will be an honorable citizen and representative of your name (even though sometimes I think Canada might be a cool place to live, no pun intended). For goodness sakes, somebody break out the Lee Greenwood CD--I'm having a patriotic moment!

I like talk-radio. But sometimes, I don’t want to leave my car because I don’t want to miss what is on the radio. By the time, I find the station on my in-house stereo, I could be missing valuable parts of the conversation between the host and the guest.

Last night was one of those moments. I didn’t realize that I was listening to a radio broadcast that I had heard months back until I listened to the end, but it was worth a second and complete listen--even if I had to sit in a parked car for awhile.

The replayed conversation was between Dr. James Dobson and Kyle West (who at the time was 7). Kyle completely cracks me up in the conversation, and I laugh out loud. The way he tells stories is priceless, especially since he is 7 years old. What you can’t see on the radio, is the fact that Kyle has cerebral palsy. At the end of the commentary, Dr. Dobson says something like, “Kyle, how do you think God will use you in your life?” Kyle responds (from the best I can remember), “Why would God want to use me? I’m just a boy with cerebral palsy.”

At that moment, my heart breaks. But how many times have I thought the same thing about my own self. I don’t have cerebral palsy, but I have other things in my life I consider to be “disabilities.” As you listen, you want to cheer for Kyle, and help him open his eyes to see how amazing he is, and I’ve never even met the kid, but you just know this kid is amazing from hearing his voice.

The best part is how Kyle’s wheels keep turning (along with his heart) and he talks through his thoughts as he comes to understanding that God can use him. Kyle can’t put a limit on what God can do based on the circumstances he sees. Kyle is 7. Nothing is impossible with God.

If you are able to, listen to Kyle’s conversation. And maybe keep a tissue near by. But I promise you will laugh more than cry. But a good mix of tears and laughter is always somehow comforting (or maybe that’s just a woman-thing—if so, guys, you’re missing out).

I’m a night owl. I prefer to stay up late. I guess I’m more of a Cinderella night owl, because when the clock strikes midnight, that’s my perfect bed-time. But I’m also an 8-hour baby, meaning I need 8 hours of sleep to function at top-notch Beth-energy level. I have this dilemma every night: to go to bed at the time I want, or to get enough sleep.

Today is a rainy day, so I think on rainy days, I need an additional 30 minutes of sleep. Or perhaps two hours, so I can watch a movie and lay in bed and fall asleep during the boring parts of the movie. Work should also be cancelled on rainy days. Or at least delayed.