Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Amazing Spiderwebbing Woman

house spider

“What do you do?”

“I have a blog.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. Here’s my card.”

Everyday epistle?”

“It’s not what you think. I mean, it’s not a devotional per se.”

“What’s it about?”

That question strikes me dead in my tracks. What’s it about? What’s it about?

At a marriage conference once, I heard a speaker talk about a woman’s talent to “spiderweb” in conversations. How it can drive a man into circuit overload.

Spiderweb used as a verb. Very appropriate. Goes something like this:

I don’t like ice. Except when I take my child ice skating. We wear bike helmets to protect his sweet little noggin.

She shoots a gossamer thread.

He insists we both wear helmets to ride our bikes in the neighborhood. I like my bike. And I love my neighborhood.

Another thread. And another.

But not as much as I love the South. Although we’re moving to Kansas. I think I might like to be a cowgirl there. Blogging is a lot like being a cowgirl.

A dozen fine, silken strands fly out and connect the rings. 

I love blogging. Keeps me connected with some of my BFFs. I didn’t know what a BFF was before I joined Facebook.

Spinning, spinning.

I love Facebook. Sometimes I wonder if there’s unfinished business between me and people I friend. But life goes on and so do you. It’s like playing tennis.

She swings around the delicate starburst to the center, ready for the plunge.

I never learned to play tennis. And my son hasn’t learned to tie his shoes yet! You can learn most things in books. I love books and the library.

Going in for the kill.

I love music also, but sometimes I get the lyrics wrongMuzak is another story. One time I met Steven Curtis Chapman at the airport. He wouldn’t remember my name. Most people misspell it. Anyway, he’s so cool and very down-to-earth.

She drops down and…

Vanilla Ice is cool too, pun intended. He may be more down-to-earth now that he’s rehabbing houses on DIY. Yeah, Vanilla Ice is all right even though, as I said before, I don’t like ice.

You’re caught.

“So what’s your blog about?”

“It’s about a lot of things. You should probably just read it for yourself.”

Good idea.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV

Spider-Man and I would like to wish you a fun and happy Halloween!

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Lipstick, Interrupted

mica

In admiration of Ilene Beckerman’s book Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I give you my life in lipstick.

L’oreal Mica. Love at first sight. Faithfully wore it under Bonnie Bell rollerball lip gloss until the 80s crumbled with the Berlin wall.

Neutrals flooded the early 90s. I fell for Clinique’s Honey Ginger in a free gift with purchase. Head over heels, I broke up with Mica and never looked back.

But Honey Ginger was too orange for me. I began seeing Think Bronze on the side.

Then in 1995, I got married in real life. A Clinique free makeover introduced me to the soft, creamy neutrality of Tenderheart. It would be my steady companion for 10 years, with interludes of Bronze Leaf.

In 2005, I emerged from a postpartum haze looking a little worse for wear. Time for another Clinique free makeover. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat coddled me.

berrylicious

“You’re a Winter,” she said. “I’d hate for you to miss out on color. Let’s try some berries.”

She spoke my language. I was a Winter. I am a Winter. I needed berries. I needed Berrylicious.

Berrylicious sang on my lips. A soul mate in a tube. We spent four beautiful years together. Until that fateful day in Macy’s.

“What do you mean it’s discontinued?!” I said as the salesgirls cowered. All I have left are the flattened remains in the silver cylinder, tarnished with years.

Tried Water Violet for a spell. Tried Heather Moon. Returned to Tenderheart, with interludes of Chocolate Ice.

tenderheart & chocolate ice

Finally, I could stand it no longer. I took my pitiful, leftover Berrylicious on a mission to color match.

After a few discouraging tries with other brands, I stood staring forlornly at the Macy’s Clinique display. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat approached.

“Have you tried Perfect Plum?” she said, “It’s the Butter Shine formulation.”

The heavens opened. Perfect Plum wasn’t Berrylicious, but it was, well, perfect. We’ve been inseparable.

perfect plum

I go through tubes of it, relentlessly applying and sealing with gloss. Bonnie Bell rollerballs are no more, so I’ve taken up with the seasonal delicacies of Philosophy high-gloss, high-flavor sweet candy lip shine instead. Mmm.

Had a scare earlier this year in the makeup capitol of the mall. Couldn’t find Perfect Plum in the Clinique case at Sephora.

“Do you have any Perfect Plum?” I said breathlessly after a sprint to the Macy’s Clinique counter.

They did and I do. Clinique headquarters assured me it’s not discontinued. Yet.

Berrylicious is gone forever. So is Honey Ginger. My other past Clinique colors are still available. And recently I bumped into Mica at Walmart.

Mica looks good. I was tempted to buy. But I look good too. So I’m dancing with the Perfect Plum who brought me. For the time being anyway.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

perfect plum stash

Finally, a link up to The Go-Go’s! Our Lips Are Sealed.

Disclaimer

I’m not being paid to endorse any of the companies mentioned in this post. One company could, however, consider throwing me a bone for all the press I give them here and in The Great Clinique Heist of 2011. We’ll call it even for discontinuing my favorite lipstick.

Title inspiration thanks to Girl, Interrupted.

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Filed under humor, women's studies

Ella Comments on the 100th Post

Friday’s post was our 100th. The shameless self-promotion continues. Hey, we only reach 100 once.

If you haven’t read Lyrical Interlude and the comments—and logged your own story of “lyricosis,” now’s your chance. It’s good for a smile to start the week.

Speaking of smiles, here’s what Ella had to say about the 100th post:

Enough said. And enough with the fanfare.

newshound, as seen at Nordstrom

Time to craft a story or play fetch, which is in a lot of ways the same thing.

See you later this week with a new post.

…the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. from Proverbs 13:4 NIV

Snow Patrol Called Out in the Dark. Why? Because I like it. So will you.

This is your life, this is your time.

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Filed under humor

Lyrical Interlude

lady with pink guitar in the The Loop

The year is 1986. I’m walking through the mall with one of my favorite cousins. A Sade song pipes into the common space.

“No need to ask cause it’s cool for Loretta,” my cousin sings at the top of her lungs. “Coooool for Lorettaaaaa!”

The year is 1992. I’m sardined into a friend’s late-80s Honda Accord.

There are four of us girls in the car and at least half of my friend’s earthly belongings. Honda makes a sweet second closet.

We’re listening to a classic rock station. “Come on, baby,” my friend sings at the top of her lungs. “Don’t feel the rebirth!”

The year is 2011. A couple weeks ago to be exact. Life in the Fast Lane by the Eagles plays on the truck radio. I’ve only heard this song 6,500 times. The first time when I was maybe eight.

off broadway at Vintage Vinyl

Some of the older kids at the pool where we hung out were obsessed with the song. They played it repeatedly over the loudspeaker, dropping quarter after quarter, alternating between the jukebox and the foosball table.

We younger ones staked out our spots at the corners of the foosball table, our chins hovering just above the surface to watch the games.

Swack! Block. Zip! Slide. Za-ping! And goal. Life in the fast lane. Surely make you lose your mind.

What a great song, I thought as I sang alone in the truck at the top of my lungs. Think I’ll post a line on Facebook.

“They had one thing in common, they were good and bad.”

Reveled in my coolness until a few hours later when a friend (or two) informed me those were not the words. I Googled it to be sure. Gasp. I’d been singing it wrong for more than 30 years.

In my mind, I’d camped on what one friend termed moral dualism, the conflict between good and evil that rages in the world and inside us. All the while the Eagles had something else in mind. Something more Hotel California.

Blueberry Hill

Musicians would do well to enunciate. Or sing cleaner lyrics. Ones that make sense to people who aren’t cocaine dealers.

Cool for Loretta instead of Smooth Operator? Maybe.

Don’t Feel the Rebirth rather than Don’t Fear the Reaper? Absolutely not. Rebirth sounds too much like afterbirth. Ew. Needs more cowbell.

Life in the Fast Lane? The Eagles’ lyrics work in the context of the song’s story. Drug addiction, outrageous parties, nasty reputations as cruel dudes.

But in the context of real life, where most of us reside, my line is miles better.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15 NIV

Go Cards!

Exit the fast lane for Seven Bridges Road. Watch for shots from Busch Stadium along the way in the video link.

What’s your favorite lyrical mishap?
Come on. Share a bit!

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Filed under humor

The House That Rural Built

Today’s post will also be featured on Rural Women Rock.

homestead barn

Confession: I didn’t grow up on a farm.

My husband did, but we don’t live on a farm now. Or even in a rural area. We live in St. Louis. Before that we lived in Chicago. And we’re moving to Wichita.

So what am I doing on a blog called Rural Women Rock?

Did you know 17 percent of Americans live in areas deemed rural? That’s 50 million people.

And, get this, a staggering 80 percent of our nation’s land is rural.

Rural spreads way beyond the Corn Belt. It exists in every state of the Union. So do its values: hard work, family, community, love of God and country.

milk can

For 85 years, my husband’s family operated a dairy farm in south central Missouri. At one point, they had 1,600 acres and 200 milking cows.

All that changed the gut-wrenching day in 1993 when the dairy cows were sold. There was no other choice. There was no way for the dairy farm to continue.

A portion of land remains in the family. My in-laws still farm some livestock and crops in addition to their day jobs. To live rural is to live resourceful.

One year, I traveled the Midwest on puddle jumpers for my employer at the time. My assignment? Get a firsthand glimpse of Farming, USA.

The sheer vastness of cropland left me stunned. Rows and rows, fields and fields of corn and soybeans, wheat and barley. A giant patchwork quilt of farms.

hay rake

America’s cropland is exquisite. The dirt in the South where I was raised is the dramatic red earth of Tara. But in Iowa, the dirt is chocolate cake. Fluffy, dark, rich. Nothing else like it in the world.

A quote from the EPA: “The United States is blessed with more arable land than any other nation on earth.”

Did you read that? We’re blessed.

Only about one-fifth of our arable land is used for crop production and one-fourth for grazing livestock. Farmers make this small percentage go a long, long way.

Today each one American farmer produces food for 130 other people.

old silo

And Audubon ain’t got nothing on rural. Nature thrives in rural.

Have you ever seen a flock of wild turkeys float freely down a dirt road, bouncing like a bunch of walking pillows?

Or watched a wolf’s shadow sweep across your truck’s headlights on the way back to your cabin?

Have you witnessed the timeless words of The Holly and the Ivy come to life in a field before your eyes? Oh, the rising of the sun and the running of the deer.

I have, and I was just visiting.

This is the land of spacious skies and amber waves of grain. The fruited plain, bountiful, free. It is our forgotten heritage as Americans.

A few more conclusions quoted from the EPA:

tractor wheel

  • The U.S. farmer is the most productive in the history of the world.
  • Food is more affordable in the United States than in any other developed country in the world.
  • There is a definite trend toward fewer farms producing an increasing share of agricultural products in this country.
  • In spite of many challenges, U.S. agriculture is uniquely positioned to provide for the food and fiber needs of a growing world community.

Not to mention the food is delicious. Blue plate. Meat plus three. My mother-in-law makes a powerful concoction she’s understatedly dubbed cheese potatoes. Now that is how the west was won.

Women who live rural, just like women who live metro, support their families and communities in ways too numerous to count.

Theirs is a sisterhood of endurance through hardship. Perseverance with grace in times of boom and in times when there’s no other choice but to sell the cows.

hay bale at sunset

Chances are, most Americans will never live rural or set foot on a working farm.

Most of us are are far removed from the technology and commitment it takes to run the most productive farms in human history and meet the demands of the world’s table.

And yet agricultural exports, born of rural America, are a bright spot in our stagnant economy. Many things can be jettisoned when money is tight, but people have to eat.

I’m on a blog today called Rural Women Rock because they do.

Who they are, what they do, where they live matters to America and to the world. Daily we reap the benefit of their harvest. We live in a house they built. And for that, we are truly blessed.

The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest. Psalm 85:12 NIV

Delightful song by Ashton Shepherd, Where Country Grows.

The photos in this post were taken on the Whetstine farm in Cabool, MO.

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Filed under food & farm

Don’t Save the Marshmallows

My mother used to tell me not to save my clothes. Go ahead and wear your best today, she’d say. Guest blogger Karla Foster explains how the same applies to the marshmallows.

jet puffed

Rummaging through my pantry, I came across a bag of marshmallows. I almost returned it to the back corner, but decided to bring it into the light instead.

Expiration June 2009. Oops.

Apparently, one day in 2008 I thought it might be nice to make Rice Krispies Treats. How many times since then had my hand brushed across the marshmallows looking for another ingredient?

I’d think to myself, “I should make something with these.” Then in the same breath, “No, I should save them.”

Not now. No time. Save for later. As I stared at the marshmallows now in our trash, I thought about what was missed because of my excuses.

as seen at Good Works, www.goodworksfurniture4u.com

The marshmallows could have been a quick dessert for a family in need. A greeting to a new neighbor. A snack for a friend’s kids. Or even a sweet reward for lots of us working out at the gym.

Recently, a member of our Sunday school class entered the hospital in a life and death battle. This only gives me more pause to consider that I am not guaranteed a later. There is just today. There is just now to do what God is calling me to do.

Be holy as I am holy. Go and tell all the world. And so much more. There are kind words to share, notes of encouragement to be written, prayers to be lifted.

Why wait? And for goodness sake, don’t save the marshmallows.

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.
If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” Proverbs 3:27-28 NLT

The Winans’ voices are smoother than s’mores. This song is an oldie—even older than Karla’s marshmallows, but such a goodie. Take a listen now to Tomorrow.

guest blogger Karla Foster

Karla Foster and her husband Bill are dear friends of ours.

Besides teaching Bible study and apologetics classes with Bill, whipping folks into shape as an aerobics instructor, and making the occasional pan of Rice Krispies Treats, Karla enjoys a successful career in IT sales.

Oh, and she’s a Tarheel, which never hurts on this blog.

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Filed under faith, family & friends

Pink October Free Blog Button

I hate cancer. You do too? Funny how things come together in social media.

Inspired by And Cuisine for All, our masthead went pink this month to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Then I noticed the Versatile Blogger button on Life is a Bowl of Kibble and discovered Jeffrey Miskell who designed it. Decided I needed a button too. Asked around my blogging friends, tapped into picnik.com and voila! Created my first button-badge-image widget.

Introducing Pink October. A small, defiant fist raised in the face of cancer.

I invite you to use this button in your social media this month. Copy and paste it on your blog or website to honor survivors, those battling cancer, and those who’ve lost loved ones in the fight. Pray for an end to all cancers.

I’m serious. It’s free for the taking. Grab it here, use at will, and pass it on.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NIV

Now by Your grace I stand. Healing is in Your hand…

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Filed under blogging