Death is a funny thing. You may have no clue it’s coming, and then BAM, it hits you. In my grandmother’s case, we knew for months, and the dying process seemed to crawl by. And then one day you wake up and it’s over.

So then you start the funeral preparations, calling in family, trying to get everything planned for the big event. Folks know what to do, how to help. They bring food. They tell stories.
But my grandmother didn’t want a funeral, and we are honoring our wishes. So instead of a predictable plan, we have had to figure out our own way to deal with the loss. For my family, it meant a fun family dinner that first night, first sharing some hard information, and then transitioning to some great belly laughs. My family is good at belly laughing. Then yesterday the women of the family went shopping. Ironic, because we aren’t a shopping family, but it was something to do, a mission we could conquer and something completely frivolous to enjoy after some stressful weeks.
I found the perfect area rug for my bedroom. And then suddenly I knew I had to paint my bedroom. And having a mission was a bit comforting–next thing I knew we were at the hardware store buying supplies, and then painting until almost midnight, sharing more belly laughs and reminiscing about fun family times of the past. So less than a day after we went shopping, my room looks completely different, and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. And control. And that is strangely comforting.
More fun family things are planned for tonight. It’s amazing how a very full schedule can suddenly and immediately clear itself with one brush stroke, replacing obligations with simply resting and bonding. Loss is never easy, but it’s a wonderful reminder to enjoy the people around me. And it’s a reminder that because of my faith, I can have hope.


I want to go to Africa in 2010. More specifically, I want to go on a mission trip to Tanzania with my church. I had a few things that I worried might hinder my traveling (first and foremost, my annoying and currently uncontrollable asthma issues) but I have started finding solutions to what I thought were closed doors. I’m a bit terrified of the idea of traveling to the wilderness for two weeks, but my heart is aching to go.

Last night I had dinner with my wonderful Christian parents–both leaders in their church and big advocates for spreading the gospel. Here is what our conversation looked like:
Dad – So you really want to go to Africa, huh?
Me – Yep. I really want to go.
Dad – You know what happens to folks who go to Africa… they all come home wanting to adopt an African orphan.
Me – Oh really? Would that be so horrible?
Dad – Nah. I’d watch him for you.
Me – Well it’s settled then. Africa, here I come!

My Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad… Week

I wrote a story in the 6th grade about my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. My teacher loved it so much that she kept it, and years later she told me she was still showing it to her classes. Maybe it was an early sign that I would choose a career in writing. Or maybe I had written about a day that was so bad, even Mrs. Lewis was impressed.
This week has been THAT bad.
That car repair? Oh yeah, much worse than expected. When my dad broke the news to me, I dissolved into tears (again). He asked me over the phone, “Are you okay?” That’s when I told him that I felt the overwhelming urge to throw up.
Of course, I didn’t. But it would have added to my week.
Just about everything that could have gone wrong, did. From the moment it started until the minute work ended tonight, it was one set of bad news after the other. One stressful moment after another. One tough conversation after another. I’m really glad the week is over.
And then I went to dinner with my family, and everything changed. As I told them about my crummy week, we all started laughing at just how horrible it had been. Next thing we knew, we were laughing so hard that tears were streaming down all of our faces. I think the laughter began when my dad recounted that tearful telephone conversation, and I started hyperventilating just thinking about the cost of the repair bill (think thousands and thousands of dollars). The hyperventilating triggered a minor asthma attack, which just tickled everybody else, and from there, we couldn’t stop.
It was a great night.
And then, the night got better, because I spent it with my new favorite boy.
(Insert sigh here)

(Go ahead and insert another one here…)

(Maybe one more?)
After our family dinner my sister introduced me to the greatness that is High School Musical 3. Granted, I haven’t had that much cheese since my last jumbo pretzel at the hospital employee party that came with hot, melted cheese dip (and bbq sauce, another tasty pretzel treat). But Zac is just the cutest thing ever, and I’ll admit that I loved the dance numbers. Now I need to see HSM 1 & 2
After the movie (and the out-takes, and the special features), we had a debriefing. My sister decided that in our family, she would be Vanessa Hudgins, and I would be Sharpay. I’m not sure how I feel about that, especially since that means Sarah would get the boy, and all I would get is some little yappy dog. But pink IS my color, and I do love my sister… although I’m not sure I love her enough to give up Zac without a fight. 
Tomorrow will be better. I’m going for a run and then spending the day at the zoo with a friend. It has to be better… Surely it will be better…

Fourth of July

On this beautiful 4th of July day, I am thankful to my soldier friends who have taught me just how costly and wonderful my freedom is. Thank you for your sacrifice, for your bravery, for your sense of humor, and for your willingness to put everything on the line so that silly girls like me can live a life free of oppression.
Here’s to fireworks and ice cream and hot summer days in the pool with good friends and family. God bless America.

A toast to the happy couple

Here is the toast my sister Sarah and I gave to Lindsay and her new husband Dallas at their wedding last weekend:

Dallas, you have been dating our sister for six years, and we’ve put through many trials. Through this lengthy pledging process, you have proven yourself worthy, and because of that…

Tonight we would like to welcome you into the sorority. (hand shirt)

First thing on the agenda is our formal event. Make sure you’re there tomorrow night, in a tuxedo, ready for your initiation, and then to the dance that follows.

This year we’re excited to announce that our annual sisterhood retreat will be held in (drum roll)… HAWAII!!!  Please have your parent or guardian sign this waiver so you can travel more than 15 miles from the house, and so that you cannot hold the sorority liable if you decide to have another tarzan vine-swinging experience on your trip.

We at Beta Sigma Lambda (for Bethe, Sarah, Lindsay) are very community-minded. We have service projects almost every weekend that you can take part in. Please be sure to bring your lawn mower, your paintbrush, and your first-aid kit – also known as Lindsay.  The first project will be Sarah’s yard, and then we will move on to Bethe’s house, where there will be some minor manual labor… so please also bring a water bottle. We at Beta Sigma Lambda appreciate the importance of good hydration.

Don’t forget about elections next year.  We are always looking for new and diverse leaders. You are welcome to run for any elected office, including president. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath, since you are a bit outnumbered, and you only get ½ a vote. We’re pretty sure president and vice-president is in the bag for the next few years, but feel free to try anyway.

This year our focus is on recruitment. Please feel free to recruit new pledges. Our only requirements are that they be tall, dark, handsome… and rich.  Sarah would also like one from Australia.

Our chapter meetings are held at the pedicure spa. Your attendance is not mandatory, but you must send your lovely wife… and please also send cookies. Please also note that your dues will need to be paid by the first of the month. Make that check out to me.

Dallas, we’re so glad to have you as part of our family. Let’s all raise our glasses, in true sorority fashion, to welcome Dallas into the sisterhood. You’re in it for life, mister. We can’t wait to teach you the secret handshake.

To Dallas and Lindsay!


 (This speech is funnier if you know that a few years back Dallas really did swing like Tarzan from a vine, and then fell about 30 feet into a ravine, breaking a ton of bones. It was very serious at the time, and something we will forever make fun of him for. In fact, he’s like a walking accident waiting to happen (motorcycle accidents, breaking his knee hopping a fence, you name it)… which makes it even more perfect that he married my sweet sister Lindsay–a nurse!

 Here’s some more pics from the rehearsal dinner.

It started out rough, with our sweet dad wrecking his car right before the rehearsal at the church. He ended up hurting his arm and popping his tire, so the men (my dad, uncle, and a family friend) had to change his tire in the sweltering heat. Then, while we were practicing at the church, an employee came in and told us that tornadoes were nearby and that we needed to high-tail it over to dinner before they hit. So we all hopped in our cars and drove like maniacs to the nearby Mexican food restaurant. Once there, everything was much, much calmer. Speeches went great, their slide show was beautiful (except that apparently I didn’t take a good photo from the time I was 8 until I was 27), and I think everybody had a wonderful time. And they got married the next day, which is really all that matters.

Going to the Chapel

Tomorrow is the big day! My baby sister is getting married (the one in the blue). So crazy, I remember when she was an itty bitty thang, cute as could be with her white blonde hair and mischievous smile. And now she’s all grown up into a fabulous woman, and she’s getting a pretty cool husband! Or, I should say that Dallas is gaining a pretty cool wife (and amazing sisters-in-law, I might add).

I’ll post more about tonight’s rehearsal dinner later, but for now I need to get my beauty sleep. Remind me to tell you about the wreck, flat tire, sprained or broken arm, the tornadoes, and the sorority initiation. Tonight was a night to remember!

And the panic sets in

I’m the co-maid of honor in my youngest sister’s wedding on Saturday, and I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Until about an hour ago, when I discovered that there will be a fabric runner laid on top of the center aisle for me to walk on. 

EEEK! What was my sister thinking?!
I’m the girl who tripped at a job interview as I walked down a tile hallway. One moment I was walking along in my brand-new business suit and high heels, and the next moment I was face-down on the linoleum, arms and legs spread eagle. I hit so hard my forehead had a bruise. I think they were so worried I might sue them that they went ahead and gave me the job. 
I’m the girl who tripped while walking up the stairs at my high school. I fell face-down on the top stair, and when I finally lifted my head in shame, I saw 25 students staring back at me from a classroom, right across from where I lay. 
I’m the girl who fell down a set of marble stairs at a hotel in Venice in front of a small crowd of people.
I’m the girl who fell down all 20 stairs at my apartment sophomore year, causing a deep, purple bruise that ran from my bra strap to my tailbone… the week before I was due to wear a backless formal dress.
I’m the girl who knocked out my own front tooth. Twice. And caught my hair on fire. At church.
And I can’t tell you how many chocolate fountains I have bumped into, staining perfectly beautiful cocktail dresses. I not only spill on myself, but also on those around me. Just ask the table full of people in Tuscany, who witnessed me spilling 10 bottles of water and wine all over everything and everybody. It was just like knocking over dominoes… one right after another after another.
If it can be spilled, I will do it. If there are stairs, I will fall down them. And if there is a runner of fabric laying on top of the aisle, with even the slightest crinkle or movement, then we all know that I will probably trip and fall, ruining my sister’s wedding while 350 of our closest family and friends watch.
I’m going to start praying now. Maybe she will change her mind.

Hodge-Podge… big time!

This is what happens when I take a break from writing for awhile. Everything starts churning in my head, bubbling up to the surface, and next thing I know there’s ten topics that I want to cover. 

First of all, you won’t be hearing from me for awhile. Again. I know, you should probably give up on me altogether. This time is for a very FUN reason though… I’m about to set off on my third European adventure in the past four years! Hooray! This time I’m going with a wonderfully sweet girlfriend of mine, and I already know that God is going to bless us with exciting adventures, good conversations, and fun memories. 
Our cruise ship will have an Internet cafe, so there’s a slight chance I may sneak in a post or two, but it depends on if (a) they charge by the minute to use their WiFi, and (b) if I can tear myself away from all the Mediterranean fun long enough to write. So if not, bear with me, and I promise to post lot’s of pictures very soon!
On to the next thing…
My youngest sister graduated from Baylor yesterday! She, Sarah, and I are all fifth generation Baylor alums… our family has gone to Baylor since 1885. A great great aunt, a great grandmother, my grandfather, both my parents, and now all three of us, plus a future brother-in-law who is a Baylor Bear. And I can’t forget my genius British aunt who taught here for a few years. My family’s blood flows thickly with the green and gold goodness of the Baylor spirit. 

Ick, I look a little creepy in that photo. It was horribly humid, and I was a bit tired, and well, I could come up with many more excuses… but oh well, sometimes a gal just ends up taking a creepy photo… I guess that’s life. But I do love how excited both my parents look in that photo. I’m sure they’re breathing a huge sigh of relief that they finally got all three daughters through school.
Here’s a photo of something I got Lins for graduation… this shirt makes me laugh so hard, I almost want to become a nurse simply so I can wear it. Which reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where the guy converts to Judaism simply for the jokes. But I digress…

Speaking of weddings… I wrote awhile back about Lindsay’s wedding dress debacle. I’m not sure if I ever wrote about the resolution… basically David’s Bridal did in fact do the right thing and fixed her dress (I think it was the fifth alteration) for free. Apparently the curse of the ill-fitting dress must run in the family, because I went to pick up my bridesmaid dress this morning from the tailor, and mine didn’t fit either. My alteration guy was smart though… I could tell he was about to accuse me of gaining weight, preventing my dress from properly zipping up, but I gave him a look that said “Sir, I dare you to even suggest that I would gain enough weight in one week to cause my dress to be about four sizes too small,” and I think he got the point. So instead we’re going to try letting out the part he took in. Hope this dress survives until the big day!
I’ve been on a crazy organizing kick lately. I’ve cleaned out every closet, cabinet and drawer in my house over the past month. It’s what happens when I finish with school and suddenly find myself with a few hours of spare time. But as you can see, the compulsive cleaning was necessary. Check out my before and after pictures:
Before (I promise, this is exactly how it looked when I opened the door… everything falls right on your head):


Now onto the hardest project of all… packing! I’m not sure how a gal packs for such a long get-away, one that includes 4-wheeling across the Greek countryside, formal dinners on a cruise ship, leisurely walks along a Spanish beach and miles of trekking through Rome. I may win the award for most luggage on a trip… I’m off to go see if I can weed anything out.

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday. The Big 2-8. 

It’s also the one-year anniversary of this blog. Here’s the original, written last year. 
And here’s a throw-back to another birthday post on the old blog
I seem to get a bit sentimental on my birthday. But for some reason, not this year. I’m in a pretty good place, one of those transitional spots where I’m on my way somewhere, but not there yet. But as I travel to my next destination, I find myself happy, content, and thankful to be surrounded by some pretty neat people. And surprisingly enough, I don’t feel the least bit introspective. Maybe I’m just too full with chocolate birthday cake to worry about much.
Tonight I had a birthday party… a retro roller-skating party with about 25 friends and family members. It was a real hoot–I promise to post pictures very soon. I felt like a kid again… possibly because I wore a glo-necklace, raced boys on rollerblades, and had my mom there taking pictures. Yep, I may be 28, but that doesn’t mean I have to act like it.