Yesterday, Houston became the Land Between the Lakes (not to be confused with the one in Kentucky).

In Kentucky when it floods, it's emphasized not to drive through water--because when a car is just in four inches of water, it can be swept away. Of course, Kentucky is a tad bit different, in that there are a lot of rushing rivers and creeks to pass over.

In Houston when it floods, the inner cowbody comes out in the population. All of the sudden, Houstonians revert back to Wild West days and try to cross over water with their cars as their swimming steeds. It's also a perfect time to test the limits of their trucks and SUVs. Water just seems to be a hazard that needs to be crossed.

I'm not making any claims that people don't get this attitude in Kentucky, but because the population is so much less, I suppose it makes the occurence seem less. And maybe there aren't as many news cameras to document it.

There are also times when accidents just happen during flooding. The worst stories I've heard have been drivers that don't see water under an underpass until they are in the water. It's horrible. And some people lose their lives.

In parts of Houston, it rained around eleven inches yesterday. CRAZY! We are in the tropics.

We're starting to dry out now, and my new fear is mosquitoes since standing water = mosquitoes. I've also found out that some good friends had water enter their homes. Not fun.

It's so bizarre how storm clouds have a tendency to just sit on our city. Can they not get by because of the buildings? I can't figure it out.

Picture courtesy of SC

I kept running into frogs this weekend. As a 34 year old single woman, kissing one did cross my mind just to see...but I resisted the temptation.

I have curly hair. It used to be straighter. And then it got curlier. Now, I do a lot of work to get it to be straighter.

I shed a lot of hair, and I find it on the floor in a circle with about a 1.5 inch diameter. Because of shedding so much, I find my hair everywhere. And it's pretty easy to identify it as mine--because of the curl and the color.

I got a curly Q type bed from IKEA, and I woke up one day and found a hair curled around the curl of the bed frame. I mean, really. I think my hair is taking over my home.

The above picture is an untouched photo of the event.

I almost just had an American Idol type audition. My friend at work swears that she can rap, and doesn't believe me that I can sing. I told her I'm not recording star material, but I can hold my own. I should have told her I do great shower solos, but that might not be appropriate to share at work, and I could wind up with a visit to HR.

Maybe one day, I can do a whole album of my shower favorites.

Beth's Super Sudsy Shower Hits
1. Holy, Holy, Holy
2. The Greatest Love of All
3. A Part of Your World
4. Coal Miner's Daughter
5. Have You Seen Jesus, My Lord?
6. One Moment in Time
7. Once Upon a Dream
8. Ice, Ice, Baby
9. Amazing Grace
10. You Are So Beautiful

I guess since everyone else is on the bandwagon, I'll get on it, too, and share some tips for Happy Tree Living.

1) Recycle. It's not too hard, but make sure you have a plan in place so you know what to do with all your recycling--because it will build up quickly!

2) You know you've reached true-recycler's status when you get recycler's guilt from throwing away a recyclable item. Learning some basic facts about landfills helps to increase this guilt.

3) Act like your grandparents and reuse things. My granny had a whole set of make-shift Tupperwear from old Country Crock containers. I follow suit and try to keep plastic take-out containers. Some can even survive the dishwasher!

4) Do your own divvying. Do you know how much packaging waste is used in single servings of this and that? It is possible to make your own 100 calories snack samples. We need to stop promoting single-serves of everything. It won't help the economy, but it will help the landfill.

5) Don't throw trash on the ground, but if someone did before you, pick it up. I love being in Texas even if it's only because I get to see the slogan "Don't Mess with Texas" more. Littering is not cool. I almost ran down a guy to make a citizens arrest during the Hurricane Rita evacuation for tossing a fastfood cup out of his window. (In cases like this, I am really saying, "Citizens arrest! Citizens arrest!" in my car.) I thought we all got the "Keep America Beautiful" message early on--but apparently not. My students used to drive me nuts by leaving their trash everywhere. For goodness sakes, pick up the trash--even if it's not yours!

And remember, the golden rule for Earth Day stolen from the critically acclaimed movie HSM3: "We're all in this together."

I promise my goal was not to get that song stuck in your head. If it's not stuck in your head, congratulations for passing my over-media-ed test!
Keep those trees happy and green (and brown)!

A few years ago, I completed a 5K. Before that, my running skills were pretty subpar. I had ran three miles only one other time in my life. Distance running never appealed to me--too much sweating was involved.

Since then, somehow 5Ks have become a part of my life. So far, my 5Ks include: two Susan Komens, one Aidsudan, and one that was supposed to be a swim, but it got cancelled, so I had to run.

I don't like making myself go for runs. I do like the beginning of a run and the very end. It's just the agony that's sandwiched in between that's the hard part.

I guess I can qualify as a part-time runner. I don't run all the time, but I am capable of doing a loop around the park. From my experience as I part-time runner, I know that one of the best things about running in a city is being able to people watch.

Not all of the people on the running trail are superfit. Sometimes when I'm with friends, someone will pass up by kicking up dust and they'll be wearing a mini outfit with abs and buns of steel, and we say, "One day. That will be us." Other times, people will be running that take me back to the video I watched during CPR training, and I'm scared I'll have to use the skills I learned back then. Basically, I've learned that running can be just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge.

I bought some new running shoes on Sunday which were $150. I totally thought they were $100 (and I had a $50 gift card) which I though was a lot. The gift card I had helped, but I really wish I could have bought some new slingbacks instead. I'm hoping these super shoes will lead me to victory in my upcoming 5K this Saturday.

Last year at this 5K, I won first place in my age group. I have a plaque and everything. This year, my strongest competitor is a dear friend of mine. She just turned 30 this year and has a few marathons under her belt. But with those shoes, I'm pretty sure I can take her and hold on to my title.

I've been having skinny envy. I have a few friends that are shrinking, and I feel like I keep growing--in spite of trying to eat better and making periodic attempts at exercise. My body seems to be in opposite gear.

This morning, I watched Monica Seles on GMA. She was promoting her new book about how she lost weight by dealing with the underlying issues of her weight gain. She said a few times, "Yeah, after the stabbing, and my dad's murder, things were hard..." And little Diane just seemed to skim over those major life events by focusing on the picture of where Monica was the fat bridesmaid.

Our society is so skewed. Monica apparently had some real issues and weight gain was a product of those issues. If I was stabbed and my dad had been murdered, I probably would have gained weight, too, or developed a nervous tick or something. Weight gain would be the least of my worries! I just felt like the show was too much focused on, "Hey, I'm skinny again!" Instead of, "Hey! I'm mentally feeling so much better, and I don't cry every day."

I want to be lean and mean (or lean and nice). I don't want to be obsessed with it, but it's a constant battle with the crazy images being thrown at us on a day-to-day basis.

On one side, we get constant advertising for food. How many of those mini-dessert commercials do I have to see a day?! How many Pillsbury roll commercials do I have to watch?! And on the other side, we are bombarded with images of stars with waists the size of my ankles. God help us.

Maybe instead of a food fast, I would be in better shape going on a media fast. I'll think about it. At the end of it, I might feel better about my own body and less likely to fill it with sweets and fried eats. That would be a tough fast. Hmmmmm...

A lot of days, my day has a theme words. I don't plan on the day having a word-theme, it just happens. It's pretty much like The Secret Word from PeeWee's Playhouse.

Yesterday's theme word was camel. For some reason, I thought my co-worker said the word camel when he actually said raccoon. And at lunch, another co-worker told a story about how her little boy wrote a story about a camel cop. Then, I looked at someone bending over someone's shoulder, and he looked just like a camel.

Today's theme word is Greece. I bought some Greek yogurt, and I had several discussions about the movie Mamma Mia! today (set it Greece), but I'm sure the theme will keep repeating.

Maybe your day has a secret theme, too. Now that I just told mine, it's not a secret anymore, but don't forget to ask me about my theme word. It would be so amazing if we had the same theme word.

I just drank a cup of Mighty Leaf Tea. That stuff is so amazing. I don't know why I like it so much. It could be because the tea is chunky and smells nice. It's also in a nice silky teabag.

As a child, my impression of hot tea was not favorable, but mainly because of the teabag (what a gross word). A friend of my mother's drank hot tea, and I didn't like the way the teabag looked after it had been used. I remember eyeing it, hoping it wouldn't come near me. I still have a bit of a problem with teabags, even now that I've become a tea lover.

Here are my teabag rules:

1) When drinking a hot tea from a to-go establishment, wait until the tea has brewed, and remove the teabag before drinking. Dispose of the teabag somehow/someway. Whatever you do, don't drink the tea with the tea bag in it! It's like a slug on a string!

2) When drinking hot tea from an in-house establishment, it's perfectly fine to let the tea brew in the small teapot provided. This only applies if you are given a separate tea cup. It's also helpful to leave the teabag in the pot so you can possibly brew a bit more tea with some new hot water.

Maybe now I have just identified myself as a crack-tea-pot of sorts by typing out these rules that once only lived in my head, but I felt I must explain. Maybe there's more people like me with a love/hate relationship with teabags.

Also, this posting has nothing to do with the teabags used yesterday in the Tea-Party Reenactments. From the news footage, most of the bags I saw used were Lipton, which is okay with me.

I try to leave a two second space between me and the car ahead of me while driving on the freeway. By leaving that space, I'm following the rules I learned in my driver's manual from 1991. That two second space will allow me enough time to brake if the car ahead of me makes a sudden stop.

But I have a problem. Drivers in Houston like to slip in between my two second space, and then I'm left with one second. Today, I was following a large 18 wheeler, so I left two to three seconds. Then, someone crowded in one of my seconds, and then somebody else crowded in what was left of the seconds, and I had about .5 seconds remaining.

We are not trains, we are automobiles. We don't need to drive so close we are linked. The personal space that an American requires (compared with other countries) when not in a car is greater than in a car. For some reason, our culture has adopted NASCAR as the official sponsor of highway driving. Do we not understand how many of us are crashing into one another?

I think there might be a law against following too closely. Lately, I've been thinking about buying a car like the one the google maps people have and use it to make driving instructional videos (okay, okay! And I want to give out violation tickets!). Or maybe it might be a better idea if I could have a horn that would say, "Stand back!" like those old Viper car alarms. And if anybody got to close, I could blow the horn and freak them out, but that might not be a good idea, because then they might slam on the brakes.

It's weird. Why are we so afraid to be close to one another when a car is not surrounding us, but with the car, we all become magnets with no barrier for space?

My youngest niece is celebrating her 8th birthday today at an indoor lodge/waterpark. Her friend told her it was the best time of her life, so the expectations are high.

When I was getting all the details from my sister yesterday, I asked my sister if Emily could swim.

She said, "Well, she does her best."

So being the concerned aunt I am I said, "Can she float?"

She replied, "I've caught her in the bathtub floating before. Face down. It really freaked me out, but she was just practicing."

"What?! Face down?"

"Beth, you've forgotten what's its like to be a 7 or 8 year old. They look at things a little differently."

Maybe I have changed in the last few years since I was 8. It's been years since I've tried floating in the bathtub. I forget the wonder of children and their amazing imaginations.

Happy Big 8, Emily!

Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but when did khaki pants take over the world? Khakis are the official pants of business casual, and also the official pants of school uniforms. This means, that there could be individuals that wear khakis for the majority of their lives.

Have those in charge of this uniform uniforming system thought about how this is affecting individuals? What if khaki is not a flattering color for someone? Or what if someone develops an allergy to khaki after years of exposure?

I used to be into khakis. I had a nice pair from The Gap with a flat front. I probably paired them with a white button up and a leather belt. And it was probably 1995.

I don't know what happened to my khakis. They probably got a stain on them, and then I sent them to Goodwill where maybe they were picked up by a school girl that needed a pair of pants, and those khakis only made it through one day because the headmaster noticed they were stained and told her not to where them again, so then they were sent to Goodwill again where they were noticed by a Target employee (who would just be unloading trucks so the stain wouldn't matter) who used them as a part of her uniform. That's probably what happened.

If we're going to make it as a futuristic society, the khakis need to go.

I volunteer with Urban Young Life. It can be quite an adventure. Because I'm no longer a teacher, Young Life helps me to stay connected with teens. And because the premise of it is being a Christian organization, I can begin the relationship letting them know I love Jesus without having to speak his name in code inside a school building. [i.e. "I know you're having a hard day today, but the man upstairs sees you and knows about it."]

On a self-centered note, being around high schoolers helps me to feel connected to a younger generation which helps me to know what is cool and uncool in pop-culture. (or krunk and not krunk--or tight and not tight--whatever the going phrase is at the moment) I get to learn new dance moves that I can't do. I get to learn about new video games that I never can win. And I get to see new fashions that would look horrible on me. All of those things because I am not a teen, but it's nice to be in the know. I am also forever grateful for my eyes being opened to the wonders of text messaging.

On a deeper note, these teens have become dear friends. I pray for them and their families. I cheer (or boo) their relationships. It's such a blessing to be included in their lives and to see them get to know Christ. And sometimes it can be hard to see them struggle through life situations, but it's a blessing to be there to offer hope.

Some of my favorite times are hearing their perceptions of stories from the bible. We've been studying the book of Esther with the girls. One night, we were learning about how King Xerxes said Esther could have up to half his kingdom if she wanted. And then one girl said, "Pre-nup!" It kind of shocked the other leader and me...and then we realized it was hilarious.

I decided yesterday what kind of dog I want. I've known for a long time, but after some searching, I decided to make it web-offical. My dog of choice (drumroll, puh-leeze): Newfoundland.

They are big, fluffy, and cute. But there's a catch. If you want to own a Newfie, you should probably live in Newfoundland or someplace like Kennebunkport. I probably would need a boat, too. And dock shoes.

I live in Houston, Texas in a townhome--not as conducive to supporting a Newfoundland. I do not have a boat. I do not own dock shoes.

I guess I need to be a chiweenie person.

I'm hopefully planting some flowers this weekend. My mom gave me some cold, hard cash for my birthday (thank goodness the Post Office didn't catch it!), and now I can parade around the nursery and pick up whatever plants tickle my fancy.

I have an small back patio that could stand a bit more landscaping, and I have a small 3x4 area that is my front "yard." It also contains a banana tree. I don't like the banana tree. I like all trees, but this banana tree drives me crazy. It keeps growing mini-mees of itself.

Being a Kentucky girl, the whole concept of a banana tree in my 3x4 yard that doesn't grow bananas is really bizarre. So like most intolerant people, I must get rid of it so my garden can grow with familiarity.

Alright! I'm not that cruel! I am planning on leaving one of the 5 ft minis, but the 15 ft papa is getting chopped. I suppose it might be odd to buy a chainsaw for my 3x4yard, but I need some something with power. That banana tree is coming down! Tim-berrrr!

The other day I saw one of my neighbor's little girl's toys laying out on the carport. It made me start thinking about when I was a little girl and how I played outside.

I loved playing in our yard. We had a very large yard (with no fence), and I loved it. I would sit on the front porch and watch cars go by. I would perform my gymnatic routines on the railroad tiles that separated our gravel driveway from the grass, and afterwards, I would search for worms and rolly-poly bugs. I would practice hula-hooping, climb our apple tree, collect pine cones, do cartwheels, played whiffle ball, play king of the mountain on the old tree stump, walk on the moss barefoot...I did so much amazing stuff out in my yard. I don't know if they really make yards like that in the center of Houston.

There's a lot to be said for a great yard. It's like a whole outdoor gymnasium of fantasticness.

But being a swinging single, my 3x4 yard is a good starting point for maintenance. Maybe in place of that banana tree, I can put an apple tree, for old time's sake.

I took a Benadryl. Need I say more?

I don't like to take drugs (legal or illegal). [from this point forward, I will refer to over-the-counter drugs as "medicine.] Depending on the medicine, it makes me feel a bit loopy. Remember in Sixteen Candles when the sister is walking down the aisle at her wedding after too many muscle relaxers? I feel a tad like that after taking Benadryl. I feel like my hand kind of just skims my face and flutters my facial features like she did in the movie.

Color are brighter. The leaves on the tree by the parking garage in the car were so vibrantly green from spring. Amazing.

My brain is just slow. I can't triple focus like normal. I can't wait to feel normal again.

I want to run. I want to have a non-sore throat. I want to be able to think clearly.

I don't really understand what normal feels like until I don't feel it anymore.

Holidays come and holidays go. As Americans, we've morphed our holidays until the once joyous and meaningful occasion becomes a feast of burden. We ask ourselves: Are the decorations festive enough? Do we have plenty of deviled-eggs? Did I buy the holiday label-covered soft-soap? Sometimes amidst all the celebration we've lost the meaning.

Easter is getting closer. I don't usually "celebrate" Easter with my family. I don't have time off from work, so most of the time, I stay in Texas and spend time with dear friends. I dabble in candy. And one year, I bought an Easter egg dying kit, that I later sold at a yard sale for a quarter.

The true meaning of Easter--when I take the time to think about it--blows my mind.

Speaking of explosions, what if that's how Easter happened? [stay with me for an Easter action dramatization] I keep envisioning what it would look like if God had blown the stone away from the tomb instead of rolled it away.

I can picture maybe a group of bunnies hopping by and then KABOOM!!! Jesus is alive!! And the bunnies get blown way up in the air, but they land softly, but stunned, and just kind of hop away. If that's how it really happened, it would make me feel better about eating chocolate bunnies, because it would fit into the real meaning of Easter and everytime I ate a bunny, I would remember Jesus' re-entry.

I was looking through the gospels the other day reading the accounts of the cross and Jesus' death. I read about how everything went dark at noon, the curtain of the temple was torn in half, and people that had been dead started walking around town!

Matthew 27
51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

I get so used to reading the story, that I forget that I really don't need to envision bunnies being blown up into the air, because the Bible already is an action-adventure--I just forget to be an active reader.

Hope you have a hoppy Easter! May God continue to blow your mind with the gift of his Son as your Savior.