When I was in grade school, my mom lied on the school application and said I lived a mile from the school. I think it was actually about 500 feet. She didn’t want me to walk on the highway because coal trucks came through the 35 mph zone going about 80 sometimes. So, I became an illegal bus rider.

All the other kids stayed on the bus probably 30 minutes to an hour. For that whole 30 seconds I was on the bus, I had to listen to their taunting, "I would walk if I were you!" Whatever. They didn't have my mother protecting them.

My Bus Number 75 driver, Dean, was the best bus driver in the world. The bus was her ministry. She was my friend Amy’s grandma, and she acted like she was every kid on the bus’s grandma. She gave us cokes and candy bars for holidays. One time, she pulled off the road and put on a mask to give us Halloween candy (okay, weird, but fun for kids!). Bus 75 also “adopted” an elderly woman from a nursing home. We all met before Christmas and sang carols to all the nursing home patients. And remember, this wasn’t with church, this was my school bus.

On that bus, I met a sweet little girl named Lacy that had to sit up from with the other little kids and me (since I was one of the first ones off the bus). This weekend, my best guy friend from high school, Jason, is getting married to sweet little Lacy from Bus Number 75. When I think about them getting married, I picture Lacy coming down the aisle in a little dress with her big glasses and long brown hair with bangs like she used to be on the bus. And I think of Jason in his high school days with his K.Swiss and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt driving a Grand Am (he hated that it was 4-door). They’ll probably look different at the wedding.

I might have to be the best man, so I'm keeping a moustache in my purse just in case.

Baby Victoria was born this morning at 1:11 a.m. Welcome to the world!

I waited until 8:30 p.m. Then, went to go help out with the rest of the family that got left outside in the dark.

Auntie E-bay and I are very excited about watching Princess Victoria grow up! Congratulations, Ken & Barbie! I mean, Chris & Ann. :)

The resemblance is uncanny. I really do look like Iona today.

I feel like I have a costume on today instead of clothes. But where I usually prefer to play Molly Ringwald’s role of Andie from Pretty in Pink, today I feel as if I have become Iona, Annie Pott’s role as the weird 30-something friend.

When did this happen?

To take you back to that great movie, since I couldn’t find a suitable pick of Iona...

Here’s a little scene:

Andie mentions that she might not go to the prom.
Iona: I have this girlfriend who didn't go to hers, and every once in a while, she gets this really terrible feeling--you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, and then she checks her keys. She counts her kids, she goes crazy, and then she realizes that nothing is missing. She decided it was side effects from skipping the prom.

At the request of sweet Abby who might be having a hard day today:
1. What were you doing 10 years ago? Sept 1997 Student teaching with Miss Mize’s third grade class in Bowling Green, KY. Probably monitoring students in the computer lab, watching to make sure they didn’t put magnets on the screen—[don’t do it!!]. Sneaky cheeky monkeys! And eating lunch at about 10:48 a.m. for 15 minutes. [scary thought. Those kids are 18 now!]

2. What were you doing 5 years ago? Sept 2002 Working in Trinity at the Outdoor Education Center teaching 5th graders from HISD about science, diversity, and canoeing. Monitoring their sleeping/eating/bathing habits. Jumping over copperheads and watching out for gators and fireants. Trying not to get lost in the woods with a group of 10 years olds for fear of a Lord of the Flies reenactment. Driving back to Houston every weekend to shower and return to civilization and Starbucks.

3. What were you doing 1 year ago? Sept 2006 ... Having a visit with my friend Kari and her daughter, Katherine, to my one room apartment.  Working at the same job I have now meeting with doctors in training. Eating at Chuy’s. Working out at the Y.

4. What did you do yesterday? Woke up, went to work, talked to a friend on my way home, went to Old Navy and bought pom-pom socks for me & Wendy for her b-day (2 for 1), enjoyed good food at Empire with lots of sweet friends, talked to old roomie, brushed teeth/face, talked to friend again, journaled (need to by a drool-proof one for when I accidentally doze off on it), and konked out.

5. Snacks I enjoy ... reduced fat Kaukauna port-wine cheese (cannot find a retailer in H-town that sells it), hummus, laughing cow cheese triangles, dried cranberries, dark chocolate, cereal, string cheese, apples, crackers, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, chili-lime Guiltless Gourmet chips with spicy black bean dip.

6. Things I would do with $100 million dollars ... Find a good financial planner. Find a good accountant and set up estimated payments (okay, okay, I worked at a CPA firm for awhile!). Tithe. Bless random people with dough-ra-me. Set up a foundation (or donate to one) partnering with African children/orphans. Fund a doctor’s salary for a physician to live in Mukaa. Help fund my friends who are missionaries. Help set up college funds for my nieces and nephews. Help take care of my family. Go back to school. Travel to visit friends that live everywhere and take another friend with me. Establish organic farming and training centers in the area where I grew up. And build a Young Life camp there. And build a few retreat centers where I would work/counsel/play/relax, rent to groups, and live with my family. And then, I’d probably have drained my funds dry. 

7. Locations I would run to ... home, Asheville, wherever I have a friend or can make a new one. Or wherever there is a magnificient spectacle of God’s creation.

8. Bad habits I have ... I am always late, but I forgive myself. I sometimes talk more than listen. I tell jokes to myself that are so funny that I laugh out loud at inappropriate times. I like to do too much, and I wear myself down with fun and get grouchy. I eat too much chips and queso at one sitting.

9. Things I like to do (but sometimes never do): talk to friends/family, take photos of kids, write, draw, paint, play the guitar, dance, work-out, read, laugh, eat, cook, stand with the waves at my feet, look at stars (oh, how I miss the Blue Ridge Parkway!), hike (don’t even own hiking boots anymore since I’ve been Texified), canoe (I am a champion canoer), learn, shop (when I have money), drink hot tea, read my bible, and think.

10. Biggest joy of the moment: I am loved by God. And I am taken care of by God. And I am always amazed by the unexpected ways he shows me he’s got me taken care of just at the time when I’m ready to give up and try to make things work on my own. True joy. True peace.

I request completion of the above questions by Laurie, Erin B. and/or DuB, if they have time. Or Steven or Todd just for giggles.

Once upon a time there was a girl who ate out too much. After moving to the big city, she ate out almost everyday at lunch, and she ate out with friends on most evenings—especially the weekends. For awhile her favorite phrase during out-to-eat sessions was “Carpe Diem!” and she ordered expensive lofty things because eating out was a special occasion. And then she added the phrase “Carpe Dessert!” to her repertoire while she had a European suitor, and within several months, her clothes had somehow mysteriously shrunk (even with a cold water wash).

After coming out of her trance and realizing too many sweets from her sweetie was not a good thing, she decidedly ditched both (well, a man is much easier to part ways with than chocolate, so she established visitation rights with the latter), but she maintained her dining habits with friends (because what better emotional therapy is there than friends and food?).

Throughout the years after, the girl has had to learn moderation in eating out. She has abolished the phrase “Carpe Diem!” during dining, because she realized that she was seizing one too many calories with that attitude, and one too many dollars from her debit account. She has become quite a savvy person when it comes to making healthy eat-out choices for less than an entire week’s wage.

Over the past weekend, she had a bit of a relapse as she visited seven eating establishments with little regard to the cost or nutritional value. She very much enjoyed all her time with friends, but she’s wondering if perhaps in the future, she should spend an entire week not eating out—as a type of money-saving challenge. But she will save that challenge for another week, because tonight, she must dine in celebration of a birthday.

Occupo Unus Dies Non Duos!

BTW: I love this website.

I keep having strange experiences in the work bathroom. I thought about starting a blog just about restroom experiences because sometimes the experiences are so strange, but then I thought the idea might be stinky.

I actually have made several friends in the work restroom. There are a few ladies that are on the same daily schedule as me. So we greet each other as we pass, and share small talk stories. They’re always happy to see me, and I’m happy to see them. But we’re only on the bathroom buddy level. I never meet them for lunch or see them any other time.

Having bathroom buddies can make things uncomfortable. Because sometimes you want your bathroom experience to be a place where not everybody knows your name, because they’re not always glad you came.

I really think there should be a smell-o-meter outside the bathroom door. That way, if it was stinky, you would know so you wouldn’t enter and then get hit in the face with toxic gas and have to make the choice to forge on, or find an alternative location.

It would be kind of funny if there was a webcam at the inside entrance to the bathroom so you could watch for people’s reactions when it hits them. Or you could also catch the culprits. Who is it that leaves the toilet paper all over the floor?

And one last thought, I always hate walking the dog to take it to potty because she has to sniff around for hours finding the right spot. But I guess humans do the same thing in public restrooms. If I’m alone, I will examine several stalls before deciding. And why can’t I just go in one that hasn’t been flushed? Do I think a clean toilet has never had anything in it before? The only difference between the two is usually just a flush, unless there was some other type of disturbance.

I underslept, and then overslept, this morning. As I walked up to the security guard at work to get a sticker badge in place of my forgotten real badge for the second day in a row, I heard a song playing at his desk. It was Mr. Powder singing, “So you had a bad day…”

Last night, I had a distressed call from a friend telling me she was tired of the “game.” She was tired of it. I repeated another cheesy song (but true in this instance) by a Mr. Blunt as I told her, “You’re beautiful.” And she said, “No, I’m not!” And I said, “Yes you are.”

What other cheesy song am I going to live out today? I never really considered myself much of a fan of either song, but apparently they have found their way into my subconscious, much like "My Humps." (Sorry, but it's true. I've been running to that song on my shuffle as I train for the Susan Komen Race. Maybe some irony. Maybe I'll stop exploring this thought.)

Note to readers: I did not intend to get “So you had a bad day…” or “You’re byoo-TAH-FULL” stuck in your head all day although it might happen. Sorry about that.

"She's got me spending...spending all my money/money..."

Where is tall man?
This morning on my shuttle bus, it was so crowded I had to stand in an aisle and the driver wouldn’t let any more people on the bus. I glanced back into the crowd of bus riders and noticed a man with only his middle finger resting on his mouth by his moustache. I did a double take which should not have happened because on take two, I saw Mr. Tall Man enter his left nostril ferociously.

Whole Foods To Go
I found out that the Kirby Whole Foods shops for you. If your order is over $50, they do the shopping for you, and you just pick up your order. It sounds like such a luxury, and I wonder if they let you do a pick-up like that if you’re not the butler in a Rolls. I keep wondering how they’ll keep the cool side cool and the hot side hot? Perhaps they could use ancient McLean technology. It sounds great, but I fear finding a perspiring cartoon of Horizon organic milk.

Fashion is Hot
Being from Kentucky, I have an inbred sense of seasons. The autumnal equinox is only a few days away, and with fall, comes fall clothes. Fall is my favorite season. One of the most difficult things about being in Texas is not experiencing fall. But perhaps more disastrous that not seeing the leaves turn warm colors is the fact that the temperature is not yet suitable for fall clothes. I keep looking at my closet with visions of layering in my mind, but I know if I attempt to do so, the results would not be pretty by the end of the humid day.

I visited with an old friend on Saturday and noticed she was looking quite slim. I said, “You look really fit! Have you lost weight?”

Then, she shared her secret. She has been exercising more and watching what she eats, but has also started using Alli, the diet pill recently approved by the FDA that has a slightly unpleasant and quite noticeable side effect. You’ve got to read the article about it. It’s quite entertaining.

My friend said it hasn’t been a bad experience so far. You just have to careful about when you take the pill. Or things could get bad. Real bad. I think I'll depend on my Y membership and focusing on fruits and veggies.

I’ve found a balance between the world of text and the world of e-mail. Maybe it’s not texting in its pure form, but it works for me.

I just send a short e-mail to the phone number and text address and voila! I’ve sent a text! The number received by the phone is a bit strange, so you might need to identify yourself. But when the texter replies, it goes back to your e-mail.

Sometimes certain providers offer texting someone from their website, but this is a bit more user friendly.

The major US cellular carriers use the 10_digit_number@cell.carrier_domain.com format for SMS to text capable cell phones, with a limit of 160 characters in the subject and message body (total).

Send Email to phonenumber@....

AT&T @txt.att.net
Nextel @messaging.nextel.com
Sprint @messaging.sprintpcs.com
Verizon @vtext.com

I spilled a pot of bare minerals gold eyeshadow on my white jeans this morning, so I had to change clothes pretty fast so I would make it to work at a decent time. I grabbed a pair of khakis that need to be hemmed, but I thought if the heels were high enough, I should be okay. Then, I paired it with a plain red tee, and took off out the door.

I was really bummed because I wanted to wear my white jeans today with my brown top that has teal beaded accents. Suddenly, a feeling of horror overtook me. In that moment, I realized as I weaved through traffic, I was dressed for work in my khakis and red top; I looked like a Target Team Member.

If anybody deserves this, it’s me. Once I created a special name tag for a guy in my office that said, “Target Team Member ANDY” when he wore a red shirt with khakis. He never wore that outfit combo again. And I am the person that laughs at customers shopping in Target who enter the store dressed in red and khaki and wonder why people keep coming up to them asking where the lightbulbs are.

I have got to remember not to shop at Target on the way home. But I just know that something will draw me there. And then I will be answering questions about where products are located (which I will probably know since it’s my favorite store).

I guess I should look on the bright side, maybe they’ll give me a discount! Humble. Humble. Humble Pie. Yummy.

Nothing like some "My Cheri Amore" instrumental while being put on hold.

You know, that has to be such a sad profession—Hold Music Musician. Kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys, but for musicians.

“I used to be in a band, but things didn’t work out. Jimmy quit. Joey got married. Should of known we’d never get far. So, I found a job in the classifieds for a Hold-Music Musician. If I keep up the goodwork, I might get a promotion—Elevator Music Musician.”

Note from Happy Little Trees: These statements are in no way geared to be malicious to anyone who might be a hold-music or elevator musician.

I love knowing people that live all over the world, but with that comes more of a chance for my heart to be stretched and maybe to feel a bit of worry. I just heard that there was an earthquake in Indonesia, so then I worry about my friend there, and then nearby Malaysia, where my sweet friend, Ernie and his family lives. But I am so thankful for all these connections because it helps me to understand how small this world really is. And it helps my heart to feel something when I hear news—whether good or bad—and helps me to expand my heart and mind beyond the red, white, and blue bubble of my America.

Psalm 89
A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. [a]
1 I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

3 You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,

4 'I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.' "

5 The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.

6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD ?
Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?

7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.

8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?
You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

9 You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.

10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.

11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it.

12 You created the north and the south;
Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.

13 Your arm is endued with power;
your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you.

15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.

I’m kind of embarrassed to write this, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And I’ve found myself talking about it more than I would like to admit. It’s about Britney. Oh, poor girl. I’ve never been a big fan, because for some reason I always perceived her as annoying—but kind of in a way like a little sister that hasn’t grown up yet and won’t stop talking about nothing for even a minute. It always bothered me that she had a whole troop of pre-teens following her, copying her, and wanting to be her.

Years ago, I saw her on a show where she was confronted about her attire, and she defended that she could dress how she wanted. And it was up to parents to dress their children. How she dressed should not have an effect on anyone.

I realize also, that she’s just a girl, not yet a woman, and that she is the product of the media—we are all a little bit responsible for the woman we have encouraged her to become. She’s living before our very eyes what every one of us has experienced in varying degrees of magnitude—the consequences of sin.

Fame is a dance partner that can quickly throw you to the ground after the applause is finished. And then another partner quickly rushes to his side thinking it will be different this time. Or we might even get another chance to dance with fame again, expecting great results.

Many times I have been convicted to pray for celebrities. Once at a bible study, I was talking about this and gave an example of a new couple I prayed for, and a sweet, soft-spoken lady told us that her childhood friend knew the celebrity I was talking about. She told us confidentially that the couple had a difficult Thanksgiving after bringing the new wife home to be with his family. Later, this couple split up very publicly. It felt so strange for me to realize that these people are people. The husband had grown up in a strong Christian home, but had turned a much different way after moving to LA (city of Lost Angels ).

So, perhaps instead of me joining in the “ohmiga!” over Britney, I need to pray for her as I see her picture, and I am sure I will unavoidably be seeing her picture quite a bit these days if I go to a grocery store, or watch any t.v.

Nothing is impossible with God. Britney has tried about every possible outlet, so hopefully, one day soon, she’ll open her eyes and ears and listen to the voice of God. I’ve made big mistakes before, but hopefully none of mine will ever be on YouTube or the cover of People. It’s nice being non-famous. I just usually publish them myself on the blog since I am my own paparazzi.

I have a friend that has asked her supporters and friends to fast lunch, or some food for the 30 days of Ramadan and to pray for the people of Indonesia where she is serving as a missionary. It begins on September 13th.

I’m going to pray about this. (Yes, I’m praying about praying.) I kind of hear the faint, “Starbucks” in my head, but I need to pray about this first. Maybe I need to fast bread or something like that. Surely not Starbucks. I really don’t go there very often. Really. The last Starbucks I had was like three days ago or so.

She made a note and shared a verse that although fasting is important, the attitude is more important.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts,
Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,
do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."
Zechariah 7:9-10

Do you want to join me? For Ramadan, do you want to fast and/or pray for 30 days for the people there? If you want to know more about my friends’ journey, e-mail me, and I get you put on her e-mail list. She’s in a not super-safe situation, so I can’t tell all the details. Kind of like a CIA Missionary or something.

Something great thing that happened over the weekend, is that Cody’s dad got to meet some of my friends from church. His dad said all my friends looked like models, so be encouraged! ;) Thanks for praying for Cody. Here’s some pics of me with Cody and his family.

His mom and dad are Pat and Gerry. Please pray for them as they near the home stretch of their stay at MD Anderson. They’re ready to get back to Tennessee, and it’s close to time, but everything is not ready yet.

Roger Federerline

The Simpson Family

Rick Springsteen
"Don't call me Bruce."
"Don't call me Rick"

While doing a workout video with friends last night:

"Is that Kim Alexis? The model that did the hemorrhoid cream commercial?"
No. Don't know.

"It’s Kathy Ireland. She’s got a line at K-Mart, right?"
No. Yes.

It’s Kathy Smith. And her workout videos are fab-ab-u-lous. I don’t know if she did a hemorrhoid commercial or not, but she has kids is in her 40s, and looks great.

I am an avid water drinker. I love me some H2O. We don’t have a water cooler at work, so I drink lots of unfiltered tap water because I always forget to bring water with me. So when I have access to filtered water, I go a little overboard (is the restaurant “fountain” water filtered? Please say yes.).

Today at my Chipotle visit, I overindulged in some water a) because I love it, and b) because my pico de gallo was a pico bit caliente. Perhaps I should have taken into account the amount of liquid my belly could hold, but I did not.

Afterwards, I decided to get a nice Starbucks to finish off lunch in a special way. In the brief moments before I was asked to proclaim my order to the baristas, I feverishly tried to come up with something a little bit creative. So, I ordered like this: “Tall, caramel macchiato with soy, please.”

Even the flow of the words as I said them was almost spell-binding, so I knew the drink had to be tasty. I guess the word “macchiato” makes me feel like I’m flirting with the Italian language.

So then began the H20 and macchiato tango in my tummy. As I trekked over the metro train tracks and down the sidewalk, I was almost embarrassed as I thought maybe others could hear the “slosh-slosh-slosh” of the tango. I tried to walk slower, but that didn’t seem to help, “sllllosh-sllllosh.”

It took me back to days of drinking way too much cherry kool-aid and making my sister put her ear to my stomach to listen to the sound.


I foresee many trips to the ladies room in my near future.

I have always loved candy. I had a strong affection for Nerds for a long time (the candy, not the men). My brother and I used to eat tons of Sweet Tarts, Chewy Sweet Tarts, and Laffy Taffy. Oh! Oh! And Fun Dip! (My jaws just started to clinch from the memory.) Later on, I started on harder stuff like Cry Baby gum. Ow. I remember as a kid, I would eat the little sweet tart pops and my tongue would start to bleed, but I would still keep eating it. I know that’s tough to hear, but it was the life of a sugar addict.

In college, I fasted sugar for a month, and lost five pounds. Somehow, I’ve kind of grown out of my tremendous sugar addiction. And I’m very thankful for that. I still have a breakdown from time to time, but my tolerance for sugar isn’t near what it was, and I can’t consume multiple candy packages without getting ill.

I met with a family from home yesterday. The husband was one of my dad’s classmates. The wife has a blood disease. When they found out she might have 3-6 months to live, they were very distressed and read a book called The Cancer Diet or something like that. Basically, she cut out sugar from her diet, which caused her to lose 35 pounds. She said she used to eat up to 3 Snicker bars a day (she liked to keep them in the freezer so the chocolate was crunchy). Anyway, the couple has been in constant prayer since they received the diagnosis, and have really made a lot of changes in their diet. Today I found out that her diagnosis looks much more positive. She was sent back home today with no treatment necessary, and doesn’t have to return for four months.

This couple is a great example to me. They sought the Lord for His help, they searched out the right medical treatment, and they tried to be wise to make change with what was right in front of them. God guided them, and they are so thankful. And I’m thankful He let them cross my path again. It’s really weird that even though my dad has been gone for almost 7 years, and I’m a 1,000 miles from home, I’m still able to get to be blessed by people that were in his life. But I guess it’s not weird to God.

For the last several years, I have relied totally on my cell phone. I have had a local line in my grips, but I prefer my cell. I’ve come to realize something about my phone service: it stinks.

I’ve been a member of several mobile teams in H-town: Sprint, T-Mobile, and now AT&T—the phone company formerly known as Cingular. Cingular used to boast that they had the fewest dropped calls. Maybe they meant the fewest dropped phones, because my phone dances to the “Drop It Like It’s Hot” rhythm on one out of two calls. My cell phone bill has more repeats than episodes of Friends.

On October 27th, AT&T and I are having our 2 year anniversary. I’ve done some thinking, and I really think we need to break up. AT&T has been breaking up with me for a long time, and I just didn’t want to face it. I miss how it used to be when AT&T was Cingular. AT&T puts the A, T, and T in the word attitude.

We are so over. But we’re still together until our contract runs out. And I’m worried about moving on. I’m thinking about hooking up with Sprint.

Give me a shout of if you have any mobile relationship advice.