I ran 3 miles yesterday. All I can say today is: ow.

I was going to try to shave off time, but I think I'll be happy to just finish the race.

It's so crazy how running can wear you out so much faster than walking. Would skipping be the happy medium? Too bad nobody really caught on to the skipping phenomenon. I bet people would be a lot happier if they skipped more. But if they skipped, they need to be careful not to hop, because only bunnies and tiggers can be happy hopping. It just makes everybody else mad.

"Like Katrina with no FEMA.
Like Martin with no Gina."

I bought a NOW Music 27 CD, and that's one of the lyrics I’ve learned in my musi-cation of current music.

The more you hang with teenagers, the more you realize how much you’ve changed since that age, but at the same time, how very much the same you still are. It’s a bizarre feeling.

My favorite songs on my CD are “No One” by Alicia Keys (even if I can’t hit the keys with her), “Clumsy” by Fergie, “Love Song” by Sara Barielles, and “Love Like This” by Natasha Bedingfield.

The best compliment was when one of my Young Life kids wanted to borrow my CD to burn it. I think I moved up on the music cool scale by getting that CD and liking it. They never mentioned that when I played them my ipod tunes with “Brown-Eyed Girl” and the Carpenters.

I made a grill for my teeth on Wednesday night at Young Life out of aluminum foil. I've kind of been missing it. The kids liked it. I might wear it this weekend around town. It's comforting like my retainer, but so much cooler.

Today is Miss Fergie's b-day. She is 33--just like me! We are only five days apart in age. (We even share the same middle name--and I don't mean "licious"). That kind of makes me feel better about being 33. It makes me feel like I still have a chance at nice abs, a record deal, and learning hip-hop moves without pulling a muscle.


Have I crammed too much into my schedule again? Today I said no to two activities. I’ve heard of people that had “yes” months in which if they were invited on an activity (usually a date), no matter whom the person, they would say yes. I think that is a good way to practice having near-death experiences (especially for bus riders and singles group church attenders).

I decided to make April “The Month of No.” That means, I’m not going to any baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties, or extra group activities. It’s not that these things are bad to be invited to, it’s actually quite an honor, but I’ve been so overloaded, I’m exhausted. When I am exhausted, my normally easy-going personality can either become witchy or weepy. No wonder the Hollywood circuit has to go on drugs to attend all their parties! I’m not into those substances, so I’ll have to just practice saying no.

And, Mr. Wonderful, if you are reading this, I’m sorry, I cannot go on a date with you during the month of April. So, put our date money in a savings account to earn interest, because by May, I’ll need a seriously good date which includes dinner (somewhere which requires reservations) and a movie.

I've been in a long-distance friendship with my college friend, Leslee, for a very long time, and it's pretty successful thanks to Nextel/Sprint and Cingular/AT&T phone plans. I wish you all could know her (and her fabulous family) if you don't already. She makes me laugh very hard on a regular basis.

Two important things about Leslee:

1) Leslee likes to talk to me on the phone into the wee hours of the night.

2) Never underestimate Leslee's ability to generate a creative Halloween costume.

It happened. I hit 33. At 33, Jesus was dying for our sins, and rising again on the third day. I just went to the rodeo.

First, I had my favorite cupcakes courtesy of my friend, Lisa.

Then I went to the rodeo and fell in love with a Longhorn (sorry, Aggies).

I ran into some other peeps that shared a birthday with me.

And then, I got back to my KY farming roots.

We headed over to the big stadium and I got to see some of my favorite things at the rodeo.

Then, since the concert ended early, we were able to squeeze in some sushi, and some Empire Cafe cake.

Thanks so much, Lisa!

I don't know if you're 33, but I've been thinking, what have I done in 33 years? And what did Jesus do in 33 years? Hmmmm. I love Jesus.

Easter is here.



And it's just the beginning...

-Only three days left to get married before I turn 33. I'm going to the rodeo tonight to see Fergie Ferg. Maybe I can meet a Christian guy there that loves Jesus, likes to dance and recycle, and owns a labrador. Then, we might could book Vegas tickets for Good Friday.

This is so exciting! I'll keep you posted!

-Will I still be in my early 30s or am I entering mid-30s? The answer to that question could be the difference between a weekend of one piece of cake, or a whole bag of Lindt chocolates with the Best of Lifetime.

-Best quote of the day from Nashville friend:
"Beth, I really wished we worked together. We'd have so much fun at work, when I wasn't yelling at you."

I have a new addiction and a revelation.

Somehow, I have become addicted to guacamole. I eat it literally everyday. My favorite guac is from Chipotle. They use a nice blend of lime and the consistency is most always perfect. I find myself scraping the plastic container with a chip fervently trying to make it give up whatever remaining bits of green stuff that seems to be sticking to it. My finger would be much easier to use than the chip, but I don’t want to generate stares from strangers, in spite of my addiction pressing me to clean up the guac with my finger.

My revelation is that my taste buds have changed. I used to not like guacamole. I would be the first to offer it up to anyone else at the table. It was green. It looked disgusting, and I didn’t like the smooshie texture. But then, somehow, somewhere, guac has become my rice, my staple, and my amigo.

Last night, in a conversation with a native Texan friend, he was quick to correct me that my pronunciation of the word “guacamole” should be “wok-ah-mo-lay.” He said that even his two year old niece can says it the “correct” way. Guac-ever. I am not saying that. I’ve never heard any other of my Texas peeps say, “Wok-a-mole.”

I think I’m most insulted because he is insinuating that I can’t pronounce the name of my sweet love. My love is guacamole, and that’s with a g-u-a-c-a-m-o-l-e. (It’s most fun to sing this to the tune of Glamorous by Fergie).

Green is the color of my favorite frog.
Green is the color of my blog.

Green is the color of guacamole.
Mexican food again. Holy mole!

Green is the sign that announces towns.
Hopefully it’s not upside down.

Green is poop when poop is weird.
Maybe somebody drank green beer.

Green is my shirt on St. Patty’s Day.
Gotta keep those pinchers far away.

Green spelled blue is the color of grass.
If you don’t get it, let the thought pass.

Green is something that’s not easy to be.
Green is you. And green is me.

-Automatic toilets always flush at the wrong time. And then other times the auto toilet is stubborn and won't flush when you want it to, so you wave your hand over the infrared light and after nothing happens, you press the button. Wouldn't the handle concept have been a lot simpler?

-I read somewhere that toilet seat covers are made with the same type of paper as oil blotting paper. The whole butt-face concept is a little too much for me to process. I'm assuming you would blot before placing it on the toilet seat.

-How is it possible that a thin sheet of blotting paper can protect me from toilet disease? What kind of research studies were done with paper on toilet seats? Is that paper a protective shield? Who needs a bullet proof vest when you have toilet seat covers?

-I hate it when I go in the bathroom and everything is really quiet, but you sense someone is in there. I feel like I've just stepped into someone's private time. When they are still there after I leave, I know they really needed private time. I bet they're glad I left, too.

Yesterday, I had a call at work, and I believe the caller was calling from an internet line. The conversation was quite difficult. I really needed to know my phoenetic alphabet. It's quite fun.

•A - Alpha
•B - Bravo
•C - Charlie
•D - Delta
•E - Echo
•F - Foxtrot
•G - Golf
•H - Hotel
•I - India
•J - Juliet
•K - Kilo
•L - Lima
•M - Mike
•N - November
•O - Oscar
•P - Papa
•Q - Quebec
•R - Romeo
•S - Sierra
•T - Tango
•U - Uniform
•V - Victor
•W - Whiskey
•X - X-ray
•Y - Yankee
•Z - Zulu

My sweet friend, Toast, had his memorial service at our former workplace last Friday. It was so neat to see and hear how he had touched so many lives. His parents called him Greg, but everyone else knew him as the name his brother gave him: Toast. We all felt so blessed by knowing Toast and enjoyed our time of toasting Toast.

The Toast Manifesto was shared and enjoyed by all. It was written about toast, but also applies to Toast in parts. I like it. Read below.

The Toast Manifesto
by Ryan Bigler, Nate Patrus, Mark Peters, etc.
(edited for content by Ulovebeth)

Toast is a process. Toast is transitory. Toast is only toast while it's hot. After that, it's just rough bread. Our band is called "A General Lack of Toast," because our toast, like our lives, does not last forever. Toast only exists in the moment. Toast is a state of being.
Toast is inherently Buddhist. "Zen Toast" is redundant.
The toast that can be named is not the eternal toast.
A bagel can be toasted but toast cannot be bageled. A toasted bagel is a form of toast.

Which came first, the toast or the toaster?
If toast pops alone in the woods, does it make a sound? If no one eats it, is it really toast?
When the toast talks, butter it.
When is toast not toast?
Toast is born of bread. Bread is a universal symbol of food and bounty. Christ used bread to represent his body. But if Christ had a toaster, the disciples surely would have eaten toast.

A toaster can exist without toast, but toast cannot exist without a toaster.
Those who toast, toast toast.
Toast is completely free from desire.
Those who eat toast are toasted. Those who are toasted eat toast.
French toast is toast.

All toast is sorrowful.
Don't be afraid to make a toast to toast.
Philosophers debate the existence of God, but nobody doubts the existence of toast.
Everybody must get toasted.
When the toast talks, eat it.

Is this toast I see before me?
Toast is.
Don't cry over burnt toast.
Toast knows of all toast.
Although toast can be pondered, it is better to be eaten.
Bread is the masses . . . toast is individual, unique . . . a slice . . .

Shakespeare ate toast.
Toast cannot be lent.
Croutons are cold toast.
Never overestimate the fragility or underestimate the taste of toast.

Toast treats death as its advisor.
Toast like to get buttered up.
Bread crumbs are toast.
When toasted, English muffins are toast.
Toast will not discriminate.
Toast eases elimination.
Toast dies younger than us.
Toast has no temper.
Toast has no enemies except itself.
Toast is real, not vicarious like dead people.

What goes on the toast is not toast.
Toast give dignity to the insulted and injured of the earth.
Toast cannot be explained: one interprets it.
Toast is the mask of no thing.
Toast is a universe.
Toast--perpetual metamorphis.
Toast is itself and other than itself.
Toast repeats itself like waves: no slice resembles another.

Paths, whether ramified, sloped or bewitching, do not unfold like that which is unfolded between toast and us.

Toast is a planet revolving around itself.
Don't burn the toast and the toast won't burn you.
Our path towards toast is toast.
When I see toast, my eyes fill with butter.
When we apprehend toast, we can say: we apprehend everything.

Toast exiles us, and it is our only refuge.
Toast waits for no one.

Spread the butter.

The big day is coming in 11 days. So now I must ask the question I ask every year at this time, "What do I gift myself?"

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

And despite the fact that I have tried making my big day a national holiday for several years, this year, due to Jesus' resurrection coinciding with my birthday (per Easter e-mails this will only happen once during my lifetime), I shall digress and celebrate with an invitation to the rodeo. Please remember my birthday, but think about the resurrection more. :)

This weekend, I was blessed with a visit to the woods. I had so many blessings over this weekend, including some new friends.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Walden or Life in the Woods
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

Friday night, the stars were absolutely spectacular. I could see every dimple in Orion’s cloak. I was in awe. When I see Orion, I keep thinking about how it’s mentioned in the Bible and I feel like I am staring up at something so ancient and see such a glimpse of God that overwhelms me it makes my heart shudder with awe.

Job 9: 7-9
He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
he seals off the light of the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.

Happy Little Trees will not be posting tomorrow to spend time at Toast's memorial service.

I'm excited to see old friends, sad that this is the way we will be coming together, but excited again because I'll get to see pretty birds at the lake.

Please pray for us tomorrow as we celebrate and grieve for our friend. He was very special, and brought joy to a lot of people and kids.

I used a different deodorant today, and I feel a little bit stinky. Very unsure. Hopefully, no one else is affected by this situation. I would prefer this was a personal stinky issue.

I’ve read some studies that say the smell of men’s sweat relaxes women. That sounds pretty disgusting. I usually prefer the smell of cologne—but not eighth grade boy style—that’s a little too much.

Speaking of 8th grade boy style, when I was in middle school, my sweet friend, we’ll call him Jacky, wore so much Polo that it smelled like the entire whole Ralph Lauren polo team had invaded the hallway between classes. Some family friends moved into a rental house that Jacky had lived in for awhile, and while helping our friends move in, we found a huge industrial size box of Polo. It was like I was Indiana Jones finding the Holy Grail box; I knew it had to be Jacky’s.

Somewhere along the line, maybe when I was in college, my dad joined the Polo team. After dabbling on Old Spice and Stetson for a period of years, he suddenly upgraded to the green machine bottle. When I smell it now, I smell middle school, and I smell my dad. And it’s comforting.

I don’t think I’d get the same comfort from smelling my dad’s sweaty socks, if we had saved them. As kids, after my dad got home from work, we used to throw his socks on each other for torture. It was a painfully stinky experience.

Have I crossed the fine line of clicking myself into the "forward zone"? I consider myself a casual forwarder. If something is really poignant or funny, I forward it. But most of the stuff (especially the stuff with the animated cartoon graphics), I glance over to be polite, and then delete.

I've noticed this week, I think I've been forwarding too much. It could have been when Leslee sent me an e-mail back that said, "STOP THE SPAM!" I got a really amazing e-mail about a girl that was in the tornado in Tennessee a month ago that I needed to forward, and then I got a really, really funny e-mail. I couldn't resist. I had to forward it. But when is that line crossed? When friends see my e-mail address do they let it sit in the box because it's probably just a forward? Oh dear.


Here's a website you need to check out that I found through the forward. And here's some pics from the site that are pretty funny. Why do I find these things so funny? I can't stop laughing at them.

Today Brett Favre announced he was retiring from professional football. During lunch in the cafeteria, I watched some of the commentary on Sportscenter. They had huge discussions with lots of footage and even a voicemail that Brett left to mourn his retirement and to reminisce about the good years. Apparently, there’s going to be even more regalia tonight with interviews with Emmitt Smith and everything.

Is it bad that my favorite memory of Brett as a football player was his cameo on Something About Mary? He became my favorite NFL football player at that moment, and as I watched the credits, I memorized his name—including the correct spelling and pronunciation.

I’m not really that into sports. I like boys, and sports are okay, and I guess the two usually go together. I like to play sports (or just practice sports—maybe not actually play), but God made me not-so-great at sports, because I am a poor winner (if I’ve played you in Monopoly, and I’ve won, you know what I mean). I like attending sporting events to be around the people and watch the cheerleaders so I can practice the moves and dances at home. And occasionally, I will get into the actual game. Sometimes, I’ll even get into a game on TV., but it’s gotta be a good game. The announcers drive me crazy most of the time, and the instant replays also get on my nerves. I prefer to watch the game in the purest form.

For some reason, I prefer to watch college games instead of pro games. I think the commercialism of the professional games is too much for me to take at times. College games have enough hype, but at least you can hope the players are getting a college education in the process. Professional games seem to ooze hyped fame and flagrant abuse of money.

Something that I thought was commemorable about Brett Favre that I heard from one announcer on Sportscenter, was that Brett had fun playing the game. I think that’s the secret dream of the viewer. You want to believe that the player actually enjoys their job. I hope Brett enjoyed his job. And I hope he enjoys his retirement. And if he becomes an announcer, I hope he's not annoying and doesn't make me watch the instant replay 20 times.

I was so gung ho on this food journal thing that I'm sending my sister to evaluate after I watched the Dr. Oz program on The Discovery Channel. I want to lose a few pounds so I can be lean and mean. I want my heart to be able to pump blood through unclogged veins. But I also really wanted to eat richly on my company’s tab during the conference last week in the Big D. So as I enjoyed all that great food I kept thinking, "Oh great. Gotta put this on the list!" Food journaling is like keep track of debits or something.

I felt very much like a traveling businesswoman last week(which being an ex-teacher has been a completely foreign idea in the past). I got to stay at a fancy schmany hotel. And eat lots of rich food. I was successful in avoiding sweets, but it was hard. I had to sneak and steal the berry garnish on the dessert platter one time to calm the sweet beast inside of me.

One of the hardest things to avoid has been Starbucks. I don’t often get a sweet treat from there (mainly just drink the tea), but on trips, Starbucks establishments seem to be everywhere and they all seem to offer the sameness of being in familiar surroundings like a place-near-home-away-from-home. It’s comforting. And to ignore that comfort was difficult. But when I really and truly thought about it, the first few sips might make me pretty happy, but when the shakes from caffeine and the sugar low hit, I always regret my choice.

In a twist of fate, I received a Starbucks giftcard today, so God must be telling me to keep Starbucks as an active part of my life. Or I could use it to buy a CD. Or a cool mug. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll use it to take you out for a treat.

Ode to Starbucks

Your very name conjures up feelings
Of shining in the sky and spending
I visit you on chilly nights
Starbucks makes me feel alright
I give a shout out to baristas
Just like to my brothas and sistas
Then after my first name is called
Fight for a seat with a man that’s bald
The evil eye does just the trick
I snuggle in the cushion nice and thick
A subtle hot sweet sip hits my lips
My mind cannot dare to forget
The sweet place to be together and alone
Mine, yours, ours: home away from home.