Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Rise of Red Writer

I have had a story in my head for quite some time now, and finally put pen to paper...or rather fingers to keyboard...and started writing.  I may not be the best writer in the world, but I do enjoy it.  It is very therapeutic for me.  With a little help from my mom (the best English teacher retired), I am ready to present the story to you.  I am working on a drawing of my "hero" and will share that as soon as I finish.  Now, without further ado, the story of Red Writer...

I have often heard the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”, but nowhere is that more accurate than a school…especially if that pen happens to be red. Oh, the immense power of a red pen, with a stroke it can bring relief or despair. Those little checkmarks, or lack thereof, can build you up or bring you down.

With the power of the red pen comes responsibility, and a solemn vow not to misuse the power, or use it for self gain. No, the ones entrusted with said power are on a mission to stamp out ignorance across the country, and the red pen is the all powerful tool. Who are these chosen ones? How do we identify them? Simply, they answer to the name Teacher.

Never have I felt the power of the red pen more than I did a few days ago, when I discovered an exchange that was less-than flattering about me. As expected, my initial reaction was one of justified anger, but as I re-read the exchange, anger was replaced by a much different feeling. My anger dissipated as I took pen in hand and swiftly made spelling, punctuation, and grammatical corrections on the note. Oh, such power! The page soon became filled with red marks that gave me such a sense of freedom. Ignorance was being vanquished by an object mightier than a sword!

I have often wondered what feelings give rise to those who become super heroes, and I have come to the realization that it must be power, and the confidence that they have the capability to make a difference. The dawning of this new knowledge led to an idea; and idea that began to take shape on paper; and idea for a brand new, true-to-life superhero….Red Writer! Never before has there been one so dedicated to stamping out ignorance as Red Writer. She comes swiftly, wielding the power of the red pen as her weapon. She draws knowledge from teachers across the country, and with them, she is determined to improve grammar and vocabulary. She is fighting many unseen foes, the evil Abbv Txt Man who forces victims to change complete words to a mishmash of letters and numbers with his evil counterpart L8r, who is bent on ending the use of vowels. Fonetik, who has children world-wide convinced that it’s okay to spell it like it sounds, and IDK, the worst of the bunch, who is on a mission to completely change the English language as we know it, bringing entire sentence structure down to nothing but simple letters. Should these evil villains succeed; gone forever will be good vocabulary skills, correct spelling, and all punctuation marks. But, with the mighty power of the red pen, and the knowledge that she is not alone, Red Writer will succeed. Through her vast internet resources and the support of English teachers everywhere, ignorance will be vanquished and grammatical superiority will reign!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


This morning Bro. John preached on breaking addictions. One of the many addictions he mentioned was the addiction to food. I started thinking (amazing, huh?) about my little project again and why I can’t seem to take the weight off as quickly as I want to. I think one of the big issues is somewhat of a food addiction. I don’t deliberately gorge myself to the point of pain or oblivion, but I do just nibble here and there without even realizing I’m doing it! You know that old “that tasted so good I think I’ll have another bite” kind of thing. He made several points about overcoming addiction, the first one being ACCOUNTABILITY. Hmmm, the light bulb just came on. That’s what I’ve been missing. I haven’t been accountable to anyone but myself, and it’s obviously not working. One of this morning’s scripture references was John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.” God doesn’t want us to fail, He wants us to succeed and have a good life. Another verse from the sermon was 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Did you read that? DIVINE power, power to DEMOLISH strongholds! If we are walking in the will of God, and I believe He wants us to be healthy, we can’t lose! The inability to stick with a healthy eating plan is weakness, and possibly a lack of faith. I’m shooting myself in the foot with the weight thing by saying, “I don’t know why I even bother”. Now, don’t think that I want to be a size 2, because that won’t ever happen. I don’t think I was a size 2 when I was 2! I barely remember wearing a size in the single digits (I do remember 6x for some reason?), and that is not my goal. My goal is a 12. I’m 5’9” and that is a reasonable, HEALTHY, size for someone as tall as me. If you are 5’9” and are a size 2, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but you need some help…and some cheesecake.

So it is with renewed commitment that I, once again, move toward my goal of the red dress. Not only do I want to wear the dress comfortably, but I want to wear it comfortably without Spanx. (some of you ladies know what I’m talking about). This time it’s going to be different, though, because I have God in my corner and I’m going to let Him handle what satan throws my way. No more self doubt. (Chris will be happy to hear this since last night was a major night of self doubt. He tries to be encouraging, but he just doesn’t quite get it. Which brings me to my next point; I need an accountability partner, any takers? Prayer warriors on my behalf would also be greatly appreciated.

Oh, one more thing. As promised, pictures of our little landscaping projects from yesterday.

And one really great surprise I got this morning.  Our youth pastor and his wife gave those of us helping with VBS music these really cute t-shirts.  I LOVE t-shirts, especially lime green ones, and I just love Jeff & Missy & their family, too.

Just when I thought I'd said all I had to say, I thought of one more thing.  I've told you about him before, David, the man who comes to church on the church van from an assisted living facility.  He is probably in his 40's, and has Down's Syndrome.  He sits on the front pew, and is a wonderful reminder of God's love for us all.  He raises his hands in praise and sings at the top of his lungs. Even though he is hard to understand, you can tell by the look on his face that he knows God hears and understands. It is such a blessing and always leaves me with tears in my eyes.  This morning he was just overcome with joy.  People were on their feet with hands outstretched (I can see this from the choir)...well, most people, Bro. John wasn't on his feet.  He was sitting on the front pew with his eyes closed, smiling, enjoying the worship.  David noticed.  The next moment, David slipped across the aisle, took Bro. John's elbow, and motioned for him to stand.  It was precious!  David wanted to make sure everyone was on their feet to worship God, even the preacher.  After John stood, David raised his hands and began to sing again, a song that only God knew the meaning, and I'm sure it brought Him great joy. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two down, many to go...

...landscape projects, that is.  After the torrential rains passed, Chris and I got outside and attempted a little more landscaping, okay, it was actually redoing some that we had done last year that really didn't look so great.   I also used the seeder to spread some fescue seeds on the recently dozed area.  I felt a little like Johnny Appleseed, only a little more high tech, and sowing fescue rather than apples, but for me it was a time to sow.  I hope the grass grows, I'm thinking I should have gotten some shady area grass seed and mixed with it, but I do have a tendancy to overdo seed planting, but I digress.  We moved the ugly brick things from around my little dogwood tree and replaced them with some really pretty, big rocks.  Two of the rocks I spotted behind a barn where Chris was working (Donna & Trooper, you'd love what I did with them, espceially since I got them out of your pasture)  They are curved and fit around my tree really well.  We only had one minor accident when Chris dropped a big rock on my finger, but though it's a little sore, it isn't broken...and it was an accident because he felt really bad about it.  Our little project did involve another trip to Lowe's, which isn't a quick thing for us, it's 30 miles to the nearest Lowe's, but we also made a little side trip by Chili's for a burger to go since it was supper time. (Logan was hungry ( ;    Anyway, we picked up more river rock and pea gravel (we've ditched the mulch and are going with pea gravel now), came home and fixed up the 2 little projects (pictures later).   Thankfully the rain we had settled the pollen, and I managed to get through the project without sneezing! 

On our way to Lowe's, the sun was just breaking through the rain clouds and God put the most beautiful rainbow in the sky for us.  It was very short lived, but it was one of the most brilliant rainbows I've ever seen, and wouldn't you know it, I didn't have my camera!  It's usually my American Express...I don't leave home without it! 

The next project will be the big one; I'm anxious to get started, but it's going to be lots of work.  Oh, do I have grand plans!  Anyone want to come help me...and bring nice, flat rocks?  Chris said he knows where we can get all we want, but we have to wait for cold weather because of the rattlesnakes.  Rattlesnakes?  I'll just buy the rocks if it means fighting snakes!

Just in case you're wondering about the Dress progress, don't ask.  We had supper with friends last night and she's a fantastic cook.  She also made a key-lime cheesecake...did I mention cheesecake is one of my favorites? 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This is going nowhere...

I now have the swelling under control, and my ankles and hands aren't swollen any more, so I can't blame things on fluid retention, so I think it's time to go to plan B.  I need some help, I'm not losing anything!  Maybe it's time to go back to Weight Watchers, but we don't have a meeting locally.  I may check it out online and just hope I have the willpower to stick to it.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Well, the Red Dress Project continues, but more behind the scenes than before. I am making progress, as evident by the loose fitting capris that were snug enough last summer if I'd have had a quarter in my back pocket you probably could have seen the imprint of the date. With a little more determination...and some good Spanx...I may be in the dress quicker than I thought!

It's been a wild week around VHS, prom is Friday night, and we've been Benchmark testing this week. Just for the record, I HATE Benchmark testing! I can only imagine how much the kids hate it. When we used to do standardized testing in school we could at least take a book to read if perchance we finished early, not so anymore! In fact, the whole signing in and signing out of test booklets is something akin to the to protocols of moving nuclear warheads...or so it seems. Some of the "rules" are ridiculous and insulting to our intelligence...but I'll climb off the soapbox now.

I was saddened to hear of the death of "Designing Women" Dixie Carter. I wish the producers and actors could know just how much laughter they brought to two struggling single-mom, college students. Shelley and I could really relate to those girls. Yeah, we watched Melrose Place, but it was from a outside-looking-in sort of things. They were a little to surreal, Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo, and Charlene, on the other hand were like sisters. We understood their southern humor, we even got the subtle humor of the line, "she has no breeding, she wore while shoes after Labor Day and before Easter!"  Yep, we knew those southern fashion rules...I even sported the big hair and occasional shoulder pads. You left us on the floor crumbled with laughter, red faced and gasping for air when you were asked to re-decorate a nudist colony...the "well, we don't want wicker" and "I thought he was wearing a vest!" comments were just enough to give us a mental picture, and beauty queen Suzanne knew how to spot falsies.   I still channel Julia Sugarbaker when I'm a little angry and need to "tell someone off" in a civilized manor with dignity and decorum. My, but didn't she have a way with words. What has happened to TV? What happened to the clean humor? They were hilarious but not vulgar, and even though they were always fully clothed (and quite fashionably I might add) that show had top ratings. Oh, TV, what have you become? Give us more to which we can relate.

Goodbye, Dixie, may you rest in peace.

Hmmm, maybe Delta Burke and I could pass for sisters?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy things

Back to the happy posts. I decided to take a few shots of pictures of things that make me happy, and I got some good ones!  Let's spread the cheer, feel free to post a link to things that make you happy.  I'd do the McLinky thing, but I really don't know how and I don't think I have that many people who read my ramblings from a scattered mind...but I'd love to, so spread the word and let's be happy together!

This kid makes me happy.  He always has something funny to say and is usually the most pleasant kid to be around.  I love him dearly. (okay, this isn't the best picture, but I was driving...on our dirt road about 10 yards from the driveway with NO oncoming animals or people were harmed in the taking of this picture...or Dodge trucks, either)

These 2 kids make me happy.  I love listening to their conversations when they think no one can hear them.  Casey had intended to walk to the barn and out through the field by herself, but Logan turned on the tears and looked at her with those big blue eyes, so she said, "Come on, you can walk with me."  They ended up spending an hour together and having some good conversation.

Unexpected surprises make me happy.  I found this cute little gray & black tree frog perched on one of my lawn chairs.

Getting a fun new T-shirt makes me happy.  These are the VHS 2010 prom shirts.  I designed them and was really happy with the way they turned out.  (If you need a t-shirt design just give me a call or drop me a line..shameless plug, just in case you didn't catch that.)

This one is questionable.  It makes me happy to see Logan playing and having so much fun on his swing.  I wasn't too happy to see that he was standing on the TOP of the swing hanging onto a rope.  He's been watching way too many Indiana Jones movies, you can't really see the thick string around him, that's his "whip".  I never know what this child will come up with next!

One more thing that made me laugh out loud tonight I didn't even get a picture of (those will follow when our little project is finished).  Tonight Logan and I were working on a little project in the front yard.  I'm hiding the ugly blue drain pipes from the downspout drains with some big, flat rocks.  Logan and I had gotten most of them in place and realized we were still missing one big one.  Chris volunteered to carry it across the yard (we have a really big yard...I used the 4 wheeler to tote them from point A to point B) for us.  He brought us a really big one, lots bigger than Logan and I had used, and when he laid it down Logan looked up, grinned, and said, "Dad, you're the man!".  It was hilarious, but sure made Chris feel good.  He is the man!

Oh, one more thing that makes me happy...are you ready for this?...putting on a pair of pants that were a little snug and finding out they are quite loose.  Yay me!  (another shameless pat on the back for me)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Handling stress



Have you ever started writing something, then changed your mind, deleted it, thought about it, re-wrote it, deleted, re-wrote, etc….?  That is how this post has been.  I've wondered, should I write it?  What if someone reads it and gets hurt feelings?  Is it worth it?  I guess it has all come down to the fact that is it my blog; my online journal; something I started as an outlet for my feelings.   I try to keep it really light and occasionally humorous, but the last few hours have found me in anything but a humorous mood.  I've run the gamut of emotions from extreme anger to very, very hurt.  I try to remember the source of my hurt is just a kid, not mine…mine would never do anything to hurt their mother (and I have some ocean front property in Northern Arkansas for sale if you believe that).   So here's the rub, as you have probably noticed, I really had my feelings hurt last night.  Why do I let it get to me so much? 

After some soul searching and self-evaluating (you know how qualified I am in the ways of psychology…not), I think it all boils down to my childhood.  Isn't that the typical diagnosis?  Maybe I can blame everything on my childhood.  However, I had a great childhood.  I have a great family, but there were a few times when I felt like I was the big misfit, literally the BIG misfit.  When Daddy remarried I gained 2 stepsisters, both of whom were skinny blondes, and along comes the awkward kid with dark hair who towered over the other 2.  I've said before I was the tallest in my class until around the 5th grade and my cousin finally passed me in height…HE is now well over 6 feet tall.  I always felt ugly, like some kind of freakish human anomaly, maybe that's when I started medicating my hurts with food.(of course, it didn't help that Mom and my grandmothers are all great cooks) 

Fast forward to last night, after it was pointed out that I am NOT part of the "family" (not the above mentioned, those hurts have all been worked out and things are cool there), I just happen to be the woman who married into the family and have changed my husband "and not in a good way" (yes, that is a direct quote, oh, and you can substitute the word "woman" with another word that begins with a B..Yes, it was capitalized so I guess that means I'm really, really bad).   I can't help but be hurt.  I've always felt like somewhat of an outcast in the clan, but I thought it was just me.  Now I realize they really don't like me.  Bummer, I think the world of some of them and I hate that they think that I have changed Chris.  I married him for who he was, not who I wanted him to become.  He may not spend as much time there as he did before, but it's because he works very, very hard and when he gets home he wants to stay there.  We like being home.

So, there it is my vent for the day.  I promise not to post anything so negative in the future, but I can say that even though I've been stressed out about the whole ordeal, I DID NOT turn to food as my comfort.  Maybe I'm breaking the bad habit of reaching for a snack when I'm down.  I did take a nice, brisk walk last night to walk off the anger.  It helped immensely; maybe I'll take another walk tonight.  Maybe the hurt feelings will help me get back into that dress quicker than I'd hoped.  See there is always a positive to every negative, and I am choosing to focus my energy on that rather than the hurt.

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