Saturday, November 28, 2009

a word to the

several years ago, while spending the summer at ft. myers beach, fl, where my parents own a condo,

i had the good fortune to meet randy.

daddy and i were in the pool one morning and an older couple was there with their two grown sons and their wives. it was their first year being at this particular condo and so we struck up a conversation with them, letting them know all the important stuff a person would need to know. like where to eat. and where not to eat. and about sights they should take the time to see, and places they should forget about and save their money.

the more we talked, the subjects would change from time to time and we would go from talking about our favorite restaurants to the subject of God or politics or real estate. over the next couple of days, we began looking forward to the times we would meet up with randy at the pool. because as we listened to his life story, we realized what an inspirational man he was. he talked about how he had gone from a broken marriage, which left him estranged from his kids, to his second marriage with Julie. and how he had begun a job as a window washer and built his company into a successful janitorial company. i  could listen to him talk for hours. about anything. he had such a positive outlook on life and he just made you feel good. he never said a negative word. about anything. or anybody. he was so friendly and outgoing and just exuded happiness. i wanted to hang around with him forever. so some of whatever it was he had, would rub off on me. but, i didn't think his wife, julie, would much like that idea. so, after two weeks, they went back home to indiana.

the next year, randy's parents came back to stay for another two weeks. but they came alone. and it wasn't nearly as much fun. they're good people, don't get me wrong. but i didn't want to hang around with them forever. i missed the "inspirational one." BUT, this past year...the parents came back again...this time with randy and julie. and they were going to be there for all of one week. so, we had to stay on guard at all times and make sure that we were in the pool at the same time they we could get our "happy" on.

mama and daddy started taking us to ft. myers beach every year, when we were little kids, for the summer. we started out renting a little cottage at the pink shell resort. it sat right up over the pool and mama could sit out on the porch and keep an eye out for the five of us kids. mama doesn't get in swimming pools. because she says it's like sharing bath water with strangers. plus, she knows what kinds of things people do in pools. gross things. like peeing, spitting, wiping your nose with your hand and then putting said hands in the water. gaaaaaaaaaaagggg. when you think about those things it's a wonder that any of us swim in them! later on they bought the condo and after they moved from clewiston to savannah they would go down and stay for the summer. my sister, terri, would also go. because she was still in college and had the summers off. after pickle was born, they would still go down, until terri and her husband moved to tennessee. then she and i started splitting the summers up. she would drive down to savannah and pick mama and daddy up and then go down and stay for the first half. then i would drive down and stay the second half and drive them back home. neither mama nor daddy were driving anymore and so they needed a "chauffeur."

so, the first year that randy and julie came, it was my time to be there and terri didn't get to meet them. but this past year we were both there at the same time, so she got introduced and she too, just loved to listen to randy talk.

now around the condo, mama is known as the "phantom lady" to the regulars. that's because in the more than 30 years that they have owned the condo, the regulars have never seen my mother! she is not a sun person. she never was. kind of ironic i know, that they would have a place on the beach and she doesn't even like to go out in the sun, but if you are really quick, you can catch her getting on or off of the elevator and getting into or out of the car. if you're not really quick, well, then you would never see her. there are 4 parking places underneath the condo, for owners to park their cars, and it backs up to the oceanside.

it has become a joke with us, that any time we would pull up in the car, we would ask mama if she wanted to sit outside for awhile. she usually said no. mama likes her air conditioner you see. and she doesn't like to get her hair messed up by the wind. not after she has spent 30 minutes with the curling iron on it trying to get it to hold a curl long enough for us to go eat dinner out and get back before it fell.

but, every now and then, it would be just cool enough, and we could talk her into sitting over by the grill area for a little while and enjoy the view and the beautiful sunsets.

this particular day...was one of those times. terri and pickle, and daddy and i, had been down at the pool all morning long. terri and i laid on our rafts and floated around the pool and listened to randy talk. she and daddy and pickle had gone up a few minutes before i had and terri had told mama, "boy, if i wasn't married, and if randy wasn't married...i would go after him!" and then daddy said something about him, like what a nice young man he was and just really brought out the best in people. about 15 minutes or so later, i walked in and said the exact same thing terri had just said. we were always just going on and on about randy in front of mama. saying, "oh, you should just come down and sit by the pool sometimes just to hear him talk." well... this day, after we got home from dinner, we pulled up in the owners parking lot and asked mama if she wanted to sit outside awhile. and she did! now to most people, this would not be a big deal! but to us, it was HUGE! so we pulled some chairs over so she could see the view and catch the sun setting and pickle ran upstairs to get her dog, tootsie, so mema (mama) could watch her walk the dog down by the water.

and i ran up (well, i walked and i went up the elevator)and got my camera...because, like i said, this was HUGE. and i wanted to document it. so MY grandchildren would know that their great grandmother really DID go outside once in awhile.

while we were sitting there, guess who came downstairs? randy and julie!!!! this was perfect. now mama could meet this man that we had been gushing about for the last week. we pulled up a couple of chairs for them and we introduced them to the "phantom lady,"  and we waited.

for randy to talk. and be inspirational. and we waited...and we waited. but he wasn't in a talking mood. for once. in all the time we had known him, he picked this ONE time to be kinda grumpy. maybe he and julie had had an argument. or a knock down, drag out fight. maybe his stomach was hurting or he had a headache or maybe he had already said everything he had to say. but he wasn't happy. or funny. or inspirational. and we were kinda bummed out. all this building him up and then this huge....nothing.

finally...after about 20 minutes or so, he slapped his hand on the table and he got this big grin on his face and he looked over at mama and he said, "I KNOW WHO YOU LOOK LIKE! all this time i've been sitting here trying to figure out who it was you remind me of, and i couldn't get it out of my mind! but now i know who it is!" and we were all like "yay, he's back! now mama will get to see the randy we know and love, and she will love him too!"

and we were all thinking he was going to say something like JACKIE KENNEDY ONASSIS or GRACE KELLY or some other beautiful movie star or actress. because mama IS a beautiful woman. she always has been. and very dignified.

but randy slapped his hand on that table again and said, "YOU LOOK JUST LIKE ROY ORBISON!" WHAT??? did he really just say that my mother looked LIKE A MAN? and a not very good looking man, at that! and just like that...mama formed a different opinion about randy. he had kinda, sorta just insulted her! he said it was her big sunglasses she had on, and the way her hair was the same color, and that when her head was turned just so...she could pass for him. ummmmmm. okay there, inspirational man. open mouth, insert foot. randy was just laughing and trying to explain that he wasn't being mean or insulting...but it wasn't come off too good. and the rest of us just sat there with our mouths open...not knowing what to say or do. then mama said she was ready to go upstairs.

we put on our nightgowns and all of us girls gathered in mama and daddys room for our nightly ritual. playing a rousing game of "ball" and laughing until one of us (me) wet our pants. pickle gets great joy out of someone (me) wetting my pants. so she insists that we stay until it happens. every night. and i always manage to oblige. this night while we were playing ball, we got to talking about randy and mama said that it had really hurt her feelings, after we had all built him up sooooo much, that he would say she looked like a man. and we were laughing about it, and trying to convince her that no, she did not look like a man, he had only been joking. and to prove it to her, i pulled out my lap top, so i could pull up a picture of ROY ORBISON and show mama that they looked nothing alike! and this is the picture i pulled up.

i went to close the lid on the laptop, before mama could see it, and i was just a tad too late. she wanted to see it. and when i turned it around...she looked at his picture and said, 'I DO LOOK LIKE HIM! I DO LOOK LIKE A MAN! THAT IS A PICTURE OF ME!" and we tried to tell her that she DID NOT...but the truth was, that with her sunglasses on, she DID! while mama and terri and pickle were over on one bed, laughing about it, i was on the other and just to be funny and also so i could get to laughing good so i could wet my pants and then get to go on to bed, i opened up the Paint accessory and did this!

and then i put these two pictures side by side and turned it around to show them.

it just so happened that it was at the exact same moment that terri and pickle had finally convinced mama that she and ROY looked nothing alike. really bad timing! we all busted out laughing at the same time and of course, one thing led to another and i got up to get a piece of candy, and wet my pants. not just a little bit. an "i wet my pants now i have to change the sheets and my nightgown, kind of wet." and that led to mama wetting hers and that led to pickle deciding that from now on and henceforth...mema would now be called "ROY."

we decided that ROY was a good looking man after all, after looking at this picture. mama got over her feelings being hurt. but she didn't change her opinion about randy. she said she didn't know what all the fuss about him had been over. and she was glad that terri and i were both married. because she said she wouldn't want him for a son-in-law.

just a little word to the wise.... man. if you're going to put your foot in your mouth and tell a woman she looks just like a man...make sure you insert your weaker foot...otherwise you won't be able to outrun that frying pan that's flying towards your head!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a movie, a snack...and the JAWS OF LIFE

when i was fresh out of college (the one year that i actually attended college) i moved into an apartment with my sister, denise. we lived in west palm beach, fl and our apartment was just 5 minutes or so from the mall. and the theatre. we were both single girls at the time. not desperate, lonely girls...but just extremely...picky. about who we went out with. we both had busy daytime jobs, she worked at the chamber of commerce and i worked at a small law firm. ( i later went on to work at a very large law firm, and oh, how i wish i still had contacts there. there were many times in the years to come that i could have used a good lawyer.

on the off chances that a friday night came along and we neither one had a date, we would always go to dino's pizza to grab a bite. of pizza. and go see a movie. it was almost always a chick flick, and at times it could be a little the 12 friday nights in a row when we were dateless and went to see robby benson in ice castles.

(i still watch that movie on the occasions i can find it playing...and i still cry, even though i know how it ends.) we would try to go to the early bird movie, while everyone else was still at work, namely, so no one who knew us would see us in a movie theater with our sister on a friday night, but mostly, because we were poor. and we could get into the matinees alot cheaper. which left more money for pizza. and popcorn. and candy.

we had alot of good times, though, seriously. there were many times that we were the ONLY ones sitting in the theatre, and we would be laughing our heads off at something...or in the case of ice castles...crying our eyes out. and there would be no one around to tell us to be quiet or to go blow our noses somewhere else.

a year or two after living together, denise moved to miami, which left me needing a roommate, so a good friend of mine, wanda, moved down to fl from ms., and we shared the apartment that i was living in. and my brother, ray, would come over alot and we all hung out together. one day a guy from clewiston, whom i went to school with, and who just happened to have been the very first "love of my life", keith, came over and we all decided to go catch a movie that afternoon. i don't remember what the movie was, but the funny part was, that keith was wearing a pair of flip flops. you know the kind i'm talking about. the flimsy little $.99 ones that you could get at the drug store or the five and dime.

he had sat through what was probably at least an hour and half long movie. with his feet in the same position, and when he got up to leave, he almost fell flat on his face because one of his flip flops had completely stuck to the floor! in whatever gunk it was that the people who had sat in his chair before him, had left behind. coke, popcorn, melted candy, vomit. i don't know. but whatever it was, it had turned into something resembling super glue. and the little piece of rubber that goes between your big toe and your second toe had ripped apart when he went to lift his foot up. and he came completely out of his flop. we were just hysterical with laughter. i was thinking about that day today, because keith's brother, greg, has recently become my friend on facebook. i've been talking alot with him recently, because we are both big FLORIDA GATOR fans.

 anyway, i was sitting here reading something he had written on my facebook wall and it reminded me of keith and the flip flop thing and that brought to mind another funny story. about an incident in a movie theatre. only THANK YOU LORD, it wasn't ME that this happened to! (although i would have loved to have been present to witness it.) this little "embarassing moment" happened to my sister, terri.

she and pickle (her daughter, ashley) had decided to go see a matinee (she was trying to save money by going to the matinees too. so she could also get more snacks.) and they would take along one of pickle's friends, sarah. they stopped off in the lobby so she could splurge with the money she had saved on the matinee and get one of those very large tubs of buttered popcorn, with extra butter. and one of those ginormous diet cokes that come with it when you buy the the very large tub of popcorn..." the SPECIAL," they call it,

and then the girls got their candy and icees...all for the very low price of about $20. the girls walked a little ahead of terri as they went into the very dark theatre. and there were only about 10-15 people in there that had already taken their seats before they had come in, so they could have sat in any of the 200 other seats available. pickle and sarah chose the row that was about halfway up the stairs and they walked down to the middle chairs and sat down in their seats. terri came in behind them, trying to balance her purse, a very large tub of popcorn, with extra butter, and her ginormous diet coke and she did what most normal people do when they have both hands full and they have to sit down. she parked her badonkadonk on the top part of the bottom seat, so that she could slide down and the chair would move into the normal seating position. know how you know something isn't the way it should be, the second you know that you can't stop what you're about to do?

she knew the very second that her badonkadonk touched the top of the seat and she went to slide down, that something was about to go horribly wrong. there was no BOTTOM to the seat!!! just the frame. someone had completely removed the seat. and you're already getting a visual as to what happened next, aren't you? she went right straight through that hole and the next thing she knew, her badonkadonk was flat on the floor, her knees were at face level...buttery popcorn and diet coke went flying...and pickle and sarah were hysterical with laughter. i imagine the other 10-15 people in there were too! terri was trying to be very discreet about the whole thing, so as not to draw attention to herself. (i'm sure the people that were sitting behind her must have wondered where in the world she went them, it must have looked like it does when the car in front of you has a very short person driving and you can't see their head over the headrest, so it looks like the car is driving itself.) i mean, one minute, she is standing there and the next they can barely see the top of her head!

pickle and sarah were trying to help her get out of the hole the best they could...but they are both tiny little things. plus, it's hard to pull with all your strength when you are laughing so hard. they thought they were going to have to call in the fire and rescue with the jaws of life to get her out of there,

but she finally managed to hold on to both of the chair arms and work her way out. she thought she had been PUNKED by someone. or was on an episode of candid camera. she HAD, however, managed to hold on to the popcorn tub and the now empty diet coke cup...which was a good thing, because once she managed to extricate herself and her badonkadonk, she was able to get free refills. good thing she had splurged for the SPECIAL that day!

price of the movie...$18.50, price of the snacks...$20.00, terri falling through the hole in the seat...PRICELESS!! just ask pickle. or sarah. they still laugh about it to this day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

a 50 yr. old SQUATS...for a weed.

last thursday morning i was pulling into mama and daddys driveway and as usual, stopped to pick up their mail. they have a long driveway and the mailbox sits out on the main road. and this road gets a fair amount of traffic. as i got out of the car, i noticed this little yellow flower (some would call it a weed, i would beg to differ) sitting there in the dirt, all by itself. and i felt compelled to take a picture of it.

now i know that anyone else would have probably just said, "oh's a weed!" they would not have reached back inside their car to grab their cell phone so they could take a picture of said weed. but, i'm not like other people. i'm a little strange. i know this about myself, and i accept it. but when i feel these compulsions about things like this, i know that it's usually someone whispering in my ear.

no, i don't have voices in my head. not that kind of whispering. more the whisper of God...telling me that it's something He wants me to do. and i try my best to listen to God when He whispers things to me. granted, sometimes i think He whispers just a little too softly for me to understand. (this is usually my excuse when He tells me to do something that I don't WANT to do.) but, this morning God told me to take a picture of this little yellow flower. so...i DID reach back into my car and grab my cell phone. and i set it to camera mode. and then i did something i know looked pretty silly to the people in those cars that passed by me (but i didn't realize this until i got back in my car) i squatted down, so i could zoom in on it. i am 50 yrs. old. and 50 yr. old women don't squat well. and i'm quite sure that it was not a pretty sight for the people in those cars that passed at that moment. nor was it very pretty, i'm sure, for the ones that passed as i was trying to get back up from said squat. 

i proceeded to get the mail and go in to the house. and in the back of my mind i kept thinking about WHY in the world God would have had me take a picture of that little yellow flower.

the next day, friday, i pulled into the driveway again and i noticed immediately that the little yellow flower  was gone. i got out to go over to the mailbox and as i was walking back to my car, i noticed this.

that little yellow flower that was so pretty the day before, had died. overnight. and then i did something even more stupid than the day before. God whispered in my ear to take a picture of the now DEAD yellow flower. and how weird do you think i looked THEN? a 50 yr. old woman, squatted down, in front of passing cars, with people in them, to take a close up picture of a dead flower (weed.)

i admit that by then, even i, was thinking to myself, "ok, God, this is preeeeeety strange." so i definately didn't tell my family about this. they would most likely have had me committed if i told them that God wanted me to take a picture of a dead weed! and i can't say that i would have blamed them. but....i thank God that i listen to his whispers. saturday, while at lunch with the family, micajah had grabbed my cell phone and was looking through my pictures. and he came to the ones i posted above. and of course, he had to ask me, loudly, so everyone at the tables around us could think his mother was insane, "Why did you take pictures of some weeds?" and i had to say because God told me to. and of course, everyone thought i was nuts. but on my way home that day i knew EXACTLY why He had me take those pictures. in the Bible, God gave parables (life's little lessons) all the time. and he was using this flower (weed) a modern day parable, if you teach me and hopefully, those who are reading this now...a lesson. and THIS is the lesson.

earlier this week i was on the phone with one of my very best friends in the world, pam. she was on her way to pick up her daughter, emily, from a school field trip her class had taken to the mall. just a few minutes away from the school, she heard that little click in the background which signifies a call is waiting. she noticed it was emily and said she would call me back. a few minutes later she called and said that emily had been crying. softly, so her friends wouldn't hear her. when pam asked her what was wrong, she just said, in a quavering voice, "telllll you...laaaater." and instantly, with a mom's superpower intuition, pam knew what it was. it was, what she had warned emily about earlier...before the trip to the mall.

emily just turned 11 yrs. old a couple of weeks ago. she is a VERY bright, little girl, who is mature in some ways, beyond her age. just last week, out of her whole grade...she placed in the top three for a poster she had made on world peace. and then it was chosen, by the Lions Club, as the #1 poster! two honors for the same poster. and hers wasn't about depicting guns and, hers was about God holding the world in HIS hands. about how God is the ONLY source of peace in this world. her poster STOOD OUT from all the rest.

a couple of weeks before that emily won a place on the All Stars cheerleading squad. again, because she STOOD OUT.

emily comes from a broken mine. her daddy left her mother, also for one of those "greener pastures." but emily's mother is a very Godly woman. she has taught and teaches on a daily basis, about God and His love for us. and emily accepted Jesus into her heart a long time ago. when she has to go and stay with her "dad" and his "greener pasture" she stands her place when her dad tells her that the stories in the Bible are "fairy tales" or when he forces her and her brother and sister to sit in front of the tv for two hours and watch a show on evolution and how we evolved from monkeys. emily stands up TO her "dad" and stands up FOR her God. many times parents come to know Jesus because of their kids...this is the hope we all have for her "dad."

and, emily loves to read. she is what some would call a "bookworm." i have a sister, myself, paula, who when she was a little girl, would always have her nose in a book. so many of her childhood pictures show her reading. and she grew up to be really, really smart. she went to college for 7 years and became a PA (physicians assistant) and she knows more than most doctors i know. she can diagnose us even when the doctors can't quite figure things out. and her son, ryan, is the same way. he has read literally thousands of books. he is 19 yrs. old now and a sophmore in college, studying for a major in psychology. people who read alot, are smart people. and smart people STAND OUT.

emily was looking forward to the trip to the mall, because she had a little money (she was given a monetary award from the Lions Club for her poster) and all she wanted to do was go to Barnes & Noble (a bookstore) and pick up a few books. pam tried to warn her that most of the other kids would not want to spend their limited time going to a bookstore. so, when the kids got to the school to prepare for the trip they were divided up into groups and told to vote on the stores they each wanted to go in. emily,of course, put down the bookstore, but the other girls in her group wanted to go look at clothes and Claires (for jewelry, purses, hair bows, etc.) and so they decided that the bookstore would be the LAST store they would go to. time permitting.

when emily got picked up that day, still sobbing, she told her mother that the group managed to make it to the bookstore FIVE WHOLE MINUTES before they were to meet back at the bus. wow. it takes 15 minutes just to check out in, needless to say, she didn't have time to buy a book, much less, even, to LOOK for a book. when everyone got back on the bus all the other kids pulled out their purchases to oooh and aaaah over. except for emily. she was the only one that didn't get to spend her money that day. the only one who felt left out. and she STOOD out. but this time, for a very different reason. this time because the other kids, (her friends) didn't care what she wanted. because they made her feel that she was less than popular because she was interested in things that they weren't. that because she wasn't into the fashion thing or the makeup and jewelry that she was somehow not as "cool" as they were. and haven't we ALL been there? on BOTH sides, at one time or another? i have. i have been the bully and i have been bullied. and neither feel particularly good.

when pam and i were 11 yrs. old, all the rage at that time was autograph books. nowadays those are used to get signatures of celebrities and "important people," but in those days, we used them for our friends. it was kind of like signing your yearbooks when you got to high school. just recently, we BOTH found our old books. and looking through them we both remembered as though it was yesterday. when we would get mad at one of our "friends" we would draw a line through where they had signed "best friend forever" and write "NON-FRIEND." a few days later, after we had made up, we would then scratch though non-friend and write BEST FRIEND, again. our loyalties at that age changed on a daily basis. and as we got older, i think that we didn't really need a book any longer, to keep us reminded that a certain friend had committed a transgression against us. we simply wrote it on our hearts.

when pam was telling me about what happened to emily it made me stop and remember how much i disliked high school. i was not a bully...i was THE bullied. i was bullied because my body had matured at a very young age. there were certain girls that didn't like that...because their "boyfriend of the week" might have looked at me or spoken to me, so they would come up behind me while i was opening the combination lock to my locker, and they would look over my shoulder and get the code and then go back later and steal a jacket or my p.e. tennis shoes, or a shirt...and brazenly wear it to school the next day. they were the intimidators. and trust me, i was  intimidated. then there were the boys...two in particular. one was a little short guy, in my own class, who every time i would walk by him, would reach out and pat my badonkadonk. i could not stand this boy. i was always looking around corners to see if he was anywhere near me so i could run the other way. this is a picture that one my girlfriends took from across the hall, where i am actually looking around one of those corners and he is coming up behind me!

i don't care about showing him here in public. he humiliated me so many times. i can only hope that he has "grown up" and stopped this behavior. (after all, he would be 50 yrs. old now, and i think there are laws against that!) then there was a boy on my school bus. i absolutely HATED riding the bus. every single day that he lived in clewiston (which, thankfully, wasn't too long) as i would get up to walk to the front of the bus to get out at my stop, he would do the same thing. reach out and touch my badonkadonk. and there were even the male teachers...that liked the girls that had mature young bodies. one even went so far as to try to attack me in a music closet. in his classroom he would call the girls up to his desk and while he pretended to be speaking to them he would try and run his hands up their legs, and if they had on a dress, even further. he was eventually fired...after the near attack in the music closet, when my parents called him at home and threatened to report him to the police. another girls parents beat them to the punch though. just the other day pam told me that HE was the main reason she had left our school in the 9th grade and moved to another state.  and i had never even known the reason she had moved away,until this year, when we reconnected on facebook.

in our youth we have ALL made fun of other kids who were "different." maybe they wore glasses, or braces or had a lisp or "we" thought they were ugly. maybe we called them "retarded" even if they weren't. or stupid when they were really smarter than we were. or fat. or skinny. or a million other things. and "we" were the bullies.

Proverbs 20:11

Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

and we do it as adults too. sometimes purposefully. sometimes privately. sometimes joking. sometimes not. we say mean things, or we think them. we're rude when people irritate us, or get on our nerves. we lash out at people we "love" when we've had a bad day. we want things "our way." we give the "silent treatment" to our spouses when they make us mad. we laugh when someone does something stupid or wears the wrong outfit, or falls in public. 
Proverbs 26:20-21

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

and every single time we do one of these things...we lower their self esteem. we make them feel worthless or useless or lazy. or ugly. or fat. even if they don't hear it...or see us laughing...even if they don't know us. we kill them, a look at a time. a word at a time.

Matthew 12:36

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

and this brings me back to the little yellow flower. emily is that flower i took a picture of last thursday. she STANDS OUT on a daily basis, amongst all the weeds. she is a CHRISTIAN. she is a cheerleader. an artist. a bookworm. she is beautiful. she stands up for her faith, at 11 yrs. old, even when her "dad" tells her she evolved from a monkey. or when her "dads greener pasture" gives her a box of anti-bacterial wipes for her birthday and "he" gives her a tube of chapstick. when her friends ignore her wish to just run in the bookstore so she can buy a book to read because "they" think books are boring. she blooms bright. and i am so very proud of her. her mama is too.

1 Timothy 4:12

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

and the dead flower picture taken the next day? that too, is a picture of emily. of what WOULD happen to her, without Jesus in her heart. when people are mean and ugly and judge others for being "different than they are." she would bend and wither up and die. people and circumstances can suck the life right out of you. they can hurl angry, hurtful words at you. they can bully you into submission. they can bruise you and batter you until there is no fight left in you. 

1 Peter 1:22-2:1

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

but this WON'T be emily. she does have Jesus in her heart. she knows she didn't evolve from monkeys, as her "dad" would have her believe, but instead was created by the Master Designer Himself. she knows that she is smart. her report cards prove that every semester. she knows what is right and good and she shouts it out without shame. she is, after all, an all star cheerleader. and she is a bookworm. she reads her Bible and she goes to church. and her mama, my friend should be commended. for the Bible says,

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the ways he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

are we training up "our" children in the ways they should go? we should be. because God has commanded us to do so.

and i am so thankful, that i am learning to listen when God whispers to me and tells me to do things. He uses the simplest of things sometimes, to get our attention and to teach us a life lesson. and last thursday and friday he used a weed (flower), of all things. and even though i had to squat and then try and get up by myself, with nothing to hold onto, and humiliate myself in front of the people passing, i'm glad i did it. thank you God, for this simple little lesson. i hope i can remember it. (i'm 50 yrs. old, after all and my mind seems to be going...somewhere.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

little blue truck...and the unlikely car wash.

it was the year 1983. james and i and our two boys lived at the time on a small piece of land in which the back yard bordered a man-made rockpit. for those of you who live in a city and don't know what a rock pit's where these monster machines come along onto a big empty piece of land and scoop all the dirt out and use it for fill dirt and then they put water in the gigantic hole that is left behind and it looks like a little lake. they stock them with fish and of course, there are ducks. and turtles. and other critters that live in the water. occassionally, due to the wrath of mother nature, the edges of the rockpit will begin to deteriorate and you have to buttress the land with humongous rocks and plant trees or build yourself a concrete wall to keep the water from washing away your land. else you will walk out your back door one morning and find yourself walking on water. like Jesus.

well, mother nature must have had a problem with us at this particular point in time, because the water was just washing away our land quicker than you could bat an eye. and finding big huge rocks and then finding a way to lift them and transport them back to our house was no easy task. so, on weekends we would go riding around, in james' little blue truck, looking for errant rocks along the side of the roads that we could...ummmmm....borrow. you know, to buttress our land. i did not want my kids walking on water. i didn't particularly want to walk on it myself. we would haul our treasures back to the house and place the rocks just so.

one day james had come upon a building that was being demolished and the man that owned the property said that we could have all the cement blocks and rocks that we wanted...for free. we had hit the mother lode... we could do alot of butressing. but we had to load and haul them ourselves. so each afternoon, when james would get off work he would drive his little blue truck over and load blocks. and rocks.

 THIS afternoon he had worked long and hard and filled the back of his little blue truck with as much as it would handle and still move along down the road.

now. my kitchen window faced the rockpit. my sink was underneath the window, and i was standing there that day, washing dishes. and i heard a very loud, very unusual sound. almost like a big splash, but not really... and then a kind of loud gurgling sound. i walked outside to see what it was and there was the little blue truck, which was now IN the rockpit. sinking...and there was james, climbing out of the window of the little blue truck. and he was kinda having a LITTLE bit of a panic thing going on, as he was in deep water, without a paddle. and he couldn't swim. our neighbor to the left of us had been out on his dock, and saw the whole thing unfold, and he yelled over to james that he would throw him a rope and james could tie the rope to the truck somehow and then they could figure out a way to get it up out of the water. but no siree...james wasn't having any part of that. he was in the water. and there were other living things in the water with him. like alligators. and water moccasins. and schools of piranahs that could rip the meat off your bones in 30 seconds or less. (he was pretty skinny, so it would definately be less.) he was outta there! he may not have HAD a paddle, but he could DO a MEAN DOGGY PADDLE!

what had happened, was this. he had decided to back the little blue truck up as close to the water as he could get it, as the rocks were very heavy, and that way he could just kind of slide them out of the truck and into the water. what he wasn't thinking about though, was that the spot where he was backing the truck, the land was on a slope. a downwards slope. a downwards slope towards the rockpit. he put his foot on the clutch to put the truck in park and when he went to open the door to get out, those huge rocks in the back went sliding and the truck went sliding with them, with james still in it. it was pretty deep water, just a few feet from the edge and by the time he managed to get out of the truck it had leveled out and was filling with water. and that was the loud gurgling sound i had heard. (some of the gurgling could possibly have been mixed in with his whimpering and that's why it was so loud...i don't know...just saying.)

so we (meaning me) thought it was just the funniest thing and i wanted to tell everybody because this was about the most exciting thing that had ever happened to us. so i called one of james' brothers, who came on out to the house with their mom and dad in tow, and a friend he had picked up on the way. then our other neighbor, chris, heard all the ruckus going on and he came over to investigate and brought one of his friends that had stopped over after work for a few drinks. and then, of course, i didn't want MY family to miss out on all the excitement, so i called them and they all came over, and before long, we had a yard full of people, and none of us with any idea of how we were going to get the little blue truck out of the rockpit and back home where it belonged.

after alot of discussion, mainly among the men folk, who wouldn't even listen to any of us women folk's ideas, they came up with a plan. chris, the neighbor, would go to his house and grab his scuba diving gear and the guy that had come over with james' brother would call one of his friends who had one of those big redneck pickup trucks with the lift kit and the 4 wheel drive and tell him to come over and bring a chain. and chris would dive down and hook up the chain to the truck and mike would try to pull it up with his big ol' redneck truck.

james just wanted to leave the little blue truck in the rockpit. to meet its watery demise. he was a little embarrassed about the whole thing. he wanted everybody to just go on back home. and not tell anyone else about it. and get on with his life as planned. but this was a small town. and things like this just don't happen everyday in a town like ours. this was NEWS, people! wasn't to be the way he wanted. after a short wait the big ol' redneck pickup truck came pulling up into the yard and they proceeded to hook a big ol' chain to the back of it...and chris came over wearing his flippers, his mask and snorkel and a bc vest. he hooked the other end of the chain onto his belt loop and jumped into the rockpit and he was down there a pretty good while before he surfaced and gave the thumbs up sign. that was the signal for mike to put his truck in gear and gun it. he did...and after a few short minutes...

from out of the depths of that rockpit,

 came LITTLE BLUE TRUCK, none the worse for wear, and even bringing a small gift up with it.

we let the little fish go. he was too small to fry up for dinner for all those people anyway. (course, if Jesus had been there, he could have blessed that little fish and fed all of us and still had plenty left over.)

and as for the LITTLE BLUE TRUCK... james let him dry out for a few days and then he put a new battery in it, and do you know, that little truck cranked right up. he had found a home with us and God decided it just wasn't his time to go. he wasn't ready for the scrap yard and he didn't intend to get buried on the bottom floor of an old rockpit. that little truck had alot of living still to do.

i did have alot to be grateful for that day. james made it out alive, without having his meat stripped by the piranahs. landon wasn't in the truck with him...which any other day he probably would have been. and i did manage to get these pictures to put in a scrapbook years later. and the little blue truck survived, which was a very good thing...because we sure didn't have any money back then, to get another one. and for these things...Thank you God! you've always got our back!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"the grass may be greener on the other side...but it usually ends up being astro-turf"

today was a very, very hard day for me. today i had to practice "tough love" with my son, who will turn 17 this week, and i find that is not something i am particularly good at. being tough. in fact, over the past few years, i have been told that there are alot of things i am not particularly good at. but that's a story for another time.

what started out yesterday as my son being very disrespectful to me, his mama...his "only" mama, i might add... his "only mama" who has been very, very sick all week long, turned into a heap of anger on my part and which resulted in my telling my last little bird (just minutes before leaving to go to church) that it would be best for all those involved (me) that he leave our nest. within ten minutes. and i wasn't talking about him leaving for an hour, or a day. i was talking "pack up your feathers and move on over and share his nest with the buzzard (the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures.) and for me to get to that was bad stuff. because my little bird means the world to me. i have fought tooth and nail for the past seven months to "save our nest" lest the buzzard push us out, to fend for ourselves. and today it just all hit me at the most inopportune time. right smack in the middle of the pastors sermon.

the Bible says, in Ephesians 6: 1-3, "children, obey your parents. this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. Honor your father and mother. this is the first of God's ten commandments that ends with a promise. and this is the promise, that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing." child should honor me. and he should respect me. and everything should be hunky-dory, right? yes. right.

but what to do when, for 17 years of his life he lived with a "father" who did not respect his wife? who listened to his "father" tell his mama, time and time and time again...that "she's wrong...about everything." who grows up every single day of his life watching his "father" belittle his mama and make her feel worthless and tell her she's lazy and make her feel as if her sole purpose in this marriage is to "submit to her husband."( funny, out of ALL the verses in the Bible, this is the ONLY verse that he knows. and can quote. ad-nauseum!)

does this earn my son a "get out of jail free card" because this behavior has been instilled in him since birth? does he then become entitled to treat his mama in the same manner in which he has become accustomed to seeing his "daddy" treat her? first, i thought no. no, it doesn't give him that right. or any other right to talk to me or treat me in any other way that he deems acceptable. and that i don't.

when i got home from church he wasn't here. but, he had not packed his feathers either. he had left me a note. a note is always easier when you want someone to think you are really, really sorry, but you don't have the guts to look them in the eye. because "sorry" is not an easy thing to say. much, much easier to look someone in the eye and say mean, hateful things, than to say "i'm sorry." that's another lesson he learned from the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures. he's been gone 7 months today, and he hasn't looked me in the eye yet. or said "i'm sorry." quite possibly because he's not sorry. and this thought led me to become angry about another issue.

the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures, said (still says, but i don't believe it for a minute) that he is a christian. he attended church with my family on the few occasions that he was not at work on the weekend (or playing in that greener pasture.) people in our congregation thought him to be a christian. so did some of the men he worked with. so did alot of other people. he was very, very good at the Jekyll/Hyde thingy. but, what i became angry at today, and i admit, this is not the first time i have become angry about this same thing,) is that soooo many people, so many christian people who knew or now know, of our marital split and the reason for it, seeing as how he makes no attempt whatsoever to hide it, have chosen to look the other way and "not get involved." for the Bible also says in Galations 6:1-3, "dear brothers, if a christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. share each other's troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord's command. if anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is really a nobody."

for seven long months, not one single person, whom i know to be christians, have once gone to the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures, to share with him, what God has commanded of us. to help him back onto the right path, and out of the greener pasture that will surely end up being astro-turf. not one, apparently, has felt God urging them to go and try to bring one of their own, back into the flock. aren't we, as christians, put here on this earth, to be soul winners for Christ. isn't that our sole purpose. if just ONE person had followed this command, might a marriage have been saved? might a son still know his "father." might a soul have been saved? i prayed about this, several times. i have asked God to put someone in his burden SOMEONE'S heart to go...and share Christ with him...before it's too late. before he is lost forever and my son will not get to spend eternity with the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures. because, you see, he didn't just leave me. he left his son. he left his step-sons, his grandchildren, his mother and father in-law, my whole family. without a good-bye. without an "i'm sorry." without even the note.

can i be angry at my son for only doing what he has been taught to do, by the one person who should have been his hero? can i throw him out of the nest that has been his "home" his whole life, because he never got the "bring up your children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it?" upbringing?

i find the answer to this question , again in Galations 6:7-9, "don't be misled, remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows! if he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life which the Holy Spirit gives him. and let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up."

my son wrote to me, in his note, "mom, i'm sorry. i made a mistake. and i want to make things better. i love you!

i gave him a "get out of jail free card," this time. he came home tonight, and as i type, he is sleeping. i looked in on him awhile ago and i thank God he is back in the nest, not yet ready to fly away. i can forgive him. and i can try a little harder to learn to be "tough." i have a feeling i'm going to need to know how. and i can do my best to "train him up in the way he should go..."

my prayer that someone reading this, someone who knows the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures, will be burdened to go and try to bring a lost soul back into the flock...not for me...but for the sake of my youngest little bird.

Friday, November 13, 2009

MAMA'S, DON'T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP...and bring one of these home.

when landon turned 16 yrs. old, his dad bought him a car. a pretty nice car too, i might add. a champagne colored oldsmobile cutlass supreme. it was a used car, but not used so much.

when landon turned 18 yrs. old, he received a pretty fair amount of money that had been set up in a trust fund from the accident we had been involved in when he was 10. not a good idea, i don't think, to give an 18 yr. old boy anything larger than a $20 bill. (especially, when his mama has nothing larger than a $20 bill.) they will spend it. very fast. on very foolish things. and landon, well...let me just say that landon is shall i say boy that marches to the sound of a different drum. he is an extremely confident, outgoing, popular, doesn't really care what people think about him, kind of boy. he was always the class clown, the goofball, the one who does not get embarrassed about anything. very, very unlike his mama. i am not confident, not popular, just a little outgoing (snicker), cares very much about what people i don't even know thinks about me. gets embarrassed easily (usually from the idiotic things i do to myself,) and i am not a boy. i'm a girl. i'm a woman. hear me roar.

anyway, landon and christian, his polar opposite brother, were living down in clewiston and i was living up here in savannah. it was christmas and the boys came up here every year for the holidays and usually stayed for a week or so. this year, 1999, would be no exception. landon had decided to get rid of his cutlass and buy another used car. a very used car. a very used, ugly car. a 1987 chevy caprice. and since he had his hands on this fair amount of money, he decided that he would splurge on a new paint job for the ugly car. to make it look "good", so he said. keep in mind that i had no earthly idea what a chevy caprice looked like. also keep in mind that he had forgotten to mention to me what color he was having it painted.

the afternoon he and christian were due to be at our house, micajah and i were anxiously awaiting their arrival and decided to sit out on the front porch so we could see them the minute they pulled up. it is NOT a good omen...when you hear the car approaching a good five minutes BEFORE you actually SEE said car. it is also NOT a good idea to sit outside on the front porch (before you have had a chance to view the car,) when said car comes careening down your street, so that all of your neighbors can witness your absolute humiliation first hand. (instead of hearing about it at the neighborhood block party.)

at first we heard just a booming noise that sounded like a drum beating. a very large, very loud drum. then we heard what sounded like a couple of kids repeating the same exact words, over and over and over again. i think he had 5 or 6 "ghetto blasters" installed, and then...just out of the corner of my eye, (the neighbors trees were blocking my view) i saw just the tiniest glimpse of PINK! MAGENTA PINK! METALLIC MAGENTA PINK!  and my first thought was "OH DEAR GOD, NO! NO...NO...NO...please don't let this be them, please don't let this be them!" but it was. them. in a 24 ft. BARBIE MOBILE!!! i was dying. right there on my porch, in front of all three of my children and all of my neighbors, who just happened to be outside at that moment. i was surely dying.  of utter and complete humiliation. i don't recall even hugging my boys. or speaking to them. what i do remember was crawling back into my house and hiding under the covers and praying that this was somehow a mistake...he was not SERIOUSLY thinking of parking this monstrosity in my DRIVEWAY!!!!

i could not even pretend to be thrilled when landon walked inside and said, well, mom, what do you think of my new "ride?" what i thought of his new "ride" was that i wanted him to get back inside of it and "ride" it right back down to FL and just forget that this had ever happened. if i could forget, surely in time, my neighbors could forget too, right?

but what i said was something like, landon, what in the world is WRONG with you? WHERE DID I FAIL YOU? WAS IT BECAUSE I MADE YOU WEAR SANDALS THAT TIME FOR YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROTRAIT, or DID THAT BASEBALL BAT THAT HIT YOU IN THE HEAD DO SOMETHING TO YOUR BRAIN ? WHY on GOD'S GREEN EARTH would you paint a car METALLIC MAGENTA PINK? do you want to be a girl? do you feel like one of those people who was born in the wrong body? are you gay and this is your way of telling me? i was mortified. but, he said he wanted it to be a color that would be noticed. that when people saw it moving down the road, they would say "there goes landon." well, clewiston is a very small town. everyone there already knew him. he didn't have to go METALLIC MAGENTA PINK to be noticed. but he loved it. and what is bad... really, really bad... is that my other two boys loved it too!

when we were getting dressed the next morning to go to church, landon walked into my bedroom and asked me if i wanted to ride to church with the BARBIE MOBILE!! i was speechless. i wanted to beg off going, by saying i was sick. (i really WAS sick at the thought of actually having to ride in that car) and i prayed, "Lord, please do not make me ride in this car. i can not let my church friends see me come pulling up in that...that THING!" and, GOD saved me. when landon walked outside two of his tires were flat. as in pancakes flat. (OOOOOH, thank you LORD.) and no, i didn't go outside in the middle of the night and stick a knife in them. he had driven 500 miles on bad tires to get to my house in time for christmas eve. sooo...guess what he got for christmas? tires. four of them. 

i never did have to ride in the BARBIE MOBILE. the boys were only able to stay a few days this trip and it took several days to find a place that could fit him in to get new tires put on, on such short notice, with it being the holidays and all. really, i called everywhere i could think of, but they were all booked up for the holidays. (hehehe)

the night before the boys went home, landon had parked the car at the top of our driveway. i wouldn't let him park on the street where he wanted to park, because (1) our mailman doesn't like you to park in front of the mailbox, and (2) you never knew when the streetsweeper was going to come. (and that way, we could park our cars behind him and our neighbors wouldn't have to see HIS car.) after getting new tires put on and having it aligned and balanced, he got up the next morning and they loaded up the car and it wouldn't crank. it turned over, but it wouldn't crank. he was trying to think of what could possibly be wrong with it. the battery obviously wasn't dead. it probably wasn't the starter, because it would turn over. hmmmmm...what could it be? like i said, he had parked at the top of the driveway, which is on a slope and having the needle sitting on empty (because, mom, i thought i had enough gas to get me into town) the car had run completely out of gas. soooooo, the middle-aged man who would later leave me for greener pastures, used the gas he had for the lawnmowers and filled his tank up with enough gas to get him to a gas station, where he could fill it all the way up.

i did, however, in a moment of guilt over how i had reacted, send him on his merry way with one really cute addition to the car. in his christmas stocking he got a huge pair of PINK FURRY DICE to hang on his rear view mirror. i wanted to get him a license plate that said WANNABE BARBIE, but he wouldn't let me. i don't know why.

fortunately, his love of all things pink ended and he now drives a much nicer car. a gray one. fits him better i think, now that he's married, with kids and all. every now and then when we went back home to clewiston to visit, we would see some other scmuck riding down main street in the BARBIE MOBILE. and i would say a little prayer for his mama. and for me. thanking GOD that MY little boy had finally grown up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a sa-weeeet love story between chris & sarah...wait...WHO?

in february, of 2008, we were getting ready to have our annual valentines banquet at church. my oldest son, landon was ready to propose to his girlfriend, kirstin, and i thought (and i made my thoughts known to him) what would be a more perfect time than at the valentines banquet? in front of all (well, alot) of our friends. how romantic. and how much more romantic it would be if it was a surprise to her! so, mama put her thinking cap on and came up with what i thought would be such a unique way to propose, and at the same time, entertain people at the banquet and allow them to be involved in the proposal. (sometimes mama comes up with some good ideas. other times, not so much.) we just had one small problem. the ring he had ordered specially made, was not due to arrive until the following week. so... i made a little trip to party city and picked out the most perfect "stand in" until the real thing arrived.

everyone was in place. the dinner had been served, a rousing game of "the newlywed game" had been played. there had been some special music, and my trusty little camera and video camera were placed in strategic places. (i'm a scrapbooker and have to have pictures of every single thing that goes on in the lives of my family) as people began filing in i walked around and gave random people a picture that i had cut out of different magazines. i asked them to place the picture, face down, and not to look at it until i called their name. (how many do you think "cheated" and looked?) mmmm hmmmm... i think so too.

when the time was right to play this little "game" i told everyone that pastor donnie would pick up his picture, show everyone, and then he would begin to tell a love story about a couple named chris and sarah. he could say anything he wanted, but it had to pertain to the picture he was holding, and when i said stop, he would then sit down and i would call the next persons name, and they would show their picture and continue with the story. at the end of the story, landon would be the last name i would call and he would end the story by proposing to kirstin. only my family, and the pastor were in on this whole scheme...and i must say it turned out sooooo much better than i even imagined it would. i have written out the love story, the way it was told, and have included each person, telling "the story" of chris and sarah. i love the ending and i hope you will enjoy this little story as well as we all did!

chris and sarah...a love story.....

donnie: (picture of a train) once upon a time there was boy named chris and a girl named sarah. they had met on a blind date and took a shinin' to one another. chris was an engineer down at the train station and sarah was a school teacher. chris had to be gone sometimes for weeks at a time and didn't get to see sarah every day.

diane:(picture of two cell phones) after that first date, chris and sarah were always on their cell phones, whispering sweet nothings in each others ears.

susan: (picture of a bouquet of roses) one day sarah was at home and she received these beautiful flowers and she found out they were from chris. and he wrote on the card that he missed her, and asked her to meet him at the train station. (oops, no picture of this one)

faye: (picture of a sewing machine) after they had gotten to know each other awhile, chris wanted sarah to make him some clothes to wear, but she said that he looked alot nicer in his sweat shirt and his baggy jeans with the hole in the knee.

warren: (picture of a roll of pink toilet paper) one day sarah had made a whole bunch of pies. chris ate one of the pies, and uh, where he had to eat it was over at sarah's place. she was making the pies for the valentines day banquet at church, but he thought it was for him and he ate soooo much of it. he excused himself to go to the restroom, where he saw that even sarah's toilet paper was pink.

frank: (picture of OTC pink-eye drops) and after chris had stared so viligantly at the pink toilet paper, he needed some relief, so he rushed over to the drugstore to get some pink-eye relief for the love he felt for sarah and from the pie that was rushing through his system.

miriam: (picture of a bag of dixie crystals sugar) when he got back to sarah's house from the store, chris saw this bag of dixie crystals sugar sitting on the counter and he said "darlin' you are sweeter than this bag of sugar."

genell: (picture of a sofa) after this long day with sarah, running around, riding on the train, eating pie, running to the store, all chris wanted to do was fall out on the sofa.

wayne: (picture of a car crashed into a tree) and while he was laying on the sofa, sarah ran out and jumped in her car to go the store to get some more stuff for her pies and someone ran her off the road and into a tree and she ended up in the hospital.

aubrey: (picture of a money tree ) chris and sarah, they just loved the train ride. They had done ridden on it together, ate pie, and chris felt bad that while he was at sarah's house, layed out on the sofa, sarah was in the hospital and would probably be there for a very loooooong time. so chris decided to sue and in the lawsuit that would follow hoped they would win bunches of money.

david : (picture of a puppy) since sarah had wrecked the car, and was in the hospital, sarah wanted a puppy to keep her company while chris was away on the train. so, chris bought her one and took the puppy to the hospital and sarah cherished it.

landon: (picture of an engagement ring) so, after all these wonderful times together, chris realized that he was in love with sarah.

 she was always going to be the one for him and he wanted to marry her, so he got down on his knees and he said "KIRSTIN, we haven't been together very long but, i've enjoyed every minute of it. YOU make me happier than anyone ever has and i want to spend the rest of my life with you. WILL YOU MARRY ME?"

and of course, she said YES!!

and everyone wanted to see the HUMOUNGOUS DIAMOND that landon had given her (it even blinked)... the happy couple...

and here is kirstin, calling her mom in Chicago and letting her in on the news that SHE WAS GETTING MARRIED!!!!

to my baby boy.

and it wasn't the only got better from here. on june 7, 2008, landon and kirstin tied the knot!...will share the wedding pics at a later time.