Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another day...another smile

Now, who wouldn't want to wake up to a day of this???

We're potty training (OK, we have BEEN doing it since she turned one and now she's almost two), and her smaller 'panties' (which, I love them because they are 'for boys' and I was always jealous of boy Underoos with Yoda and cool stuff like that), so, anyway, she's wearing boys hand-me-down undies (kinda, ew...now that I think on it) and they are a little too big. Size 4T, actually. But, it makes for some great pictures.

I love my pool. Who cares that it's only about 4 ft across. And I'm only 21 inches.

Now, back away, slowly. I'm so cute I might make your head explode.

So, this morning I awoke, like a normal person. No nausea, no feeling of impending death, no fear of facing the day...well, OK, there is always some little nagging fear of some deadline, some person going off on me, some unknown thing that I can't even describe. But, still, my chains have fallen off and I'm happy to be free.

I got a small portfolio together for the modeling agency from which I won a year contract (Sophie won one, as well). Here are some pictures:

Who knows where all that will go. Maybe nowhere, fast. But I just have to be patient and if something comes along, so be it. I don't want to be a mega star. There's a little indie flick I'm thinking of auditioning for at the Tutwiler on August 8th. Maybe I'll go. I don't know. I've got to admit that I'm a little scared.
But what is life without walking through the flames and realizing you didn't even get singed?

'Till then, in response to my last blog, my dad wrote me this astounding and insightful and blunt (yes, I get that from him and I love it) response to my coping problems. I think a lot of us could benefit from this wisdom, so LOVE YA, DAD! You're on my blog now. :)


(a) unless it’s an emergency, you DON’T HAVE TO RESPOND IMMEDIATELY to anything…any comment, any request, any demand, any invitation. In other words, draw a line and don’t allow anyone to cross it until YOU ARE READY.

(b) you can respond partially (when you choose to), like “I don’t know…I’ll have to think about that."

(c) you DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN YOUR RESPONSE. Often, we don’t know WHY something doesn’t “hit us” the right way, it just doesn’t, and a clear logical, rational explanation is not needed and not to be expected. After all, we’re not a computer…data in, data out.

That will be $135, please. Just give your credit card to the nice assistant at the door. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Did you ever have a time....

Did you ever have a time when you thought, "This isn't happening. This is too surreal to be actually going on around me, in me (whatever the situation may be). I can't actually be considering these things. I can't actually have just done that."??

I have a friend who has become an addict, of sorts. ;) (In-recovery joke.) She has been exercising her butt off.... Seriously, Mer, like, where's your butt? LOL I'm kidding, of course.

But there's got to have been a moment where she thought, "Holy crap, this FitLinxx thing says I lifted 3 elephants this week. For real! Over time, my circuit training efforts mean I lifted that many elephants?" (I mean, with this YMCA FitLixx thing, you can even count walking from the parking lot to the grocery store!) Anyway, I digress...as usual.

So, anyway, I'm waking up, trying to go through my day, not thinking about my addiction in the sense that I am not trying to figure out how I can sneak around and get my 'fix,' but like, "HOLY! I'm through with it! Done. Finito. Wow. REALLY? Like, no, really?" And I smile. Really big. I laugh out loud. Even in this mental and sometimes physical pain, I just want to thank God that I'm done. I'm out of the closet. (No, I'm not gay.)

And I've realized what my new addiction is going to be. I mean, some Dr.s have told me that I need to do this and that and be hospitalized and blah, and blah, and blah. God's bigger than that. I was never opposed to doing what I needed to do, if I needed to do it, but I haven't needed all that Dr. supervision. (Funny word: Super. Vision. Like, Superman? For real?) Anyway, God's been enough. Watching my back. And my family and friends, and prayer and, of course, Tommy and sleep and my new addiction...which really isn't new because I had it before.

It's lame, nothing interesting, I know...but it's music. And I have to say, the clean version of this song, and the chorus especially, LOSE YOURSELF is THE most inspiring song for me right now. Eminem may not be some clean-cut Christian, but he is honest and you know what? I admire him. He's more open and real than a lot of people I know. So slander me. *Shudder* Big whoop.

I forgot how much I love music. Acting like a rock star in the car, in front of the mirror (OK, maybe I'm sharing too much.... *snort* ME sharing too much. *laughs*) and just being the biggest moron and pretending I'm the bomb.

Don't lie. You know you've done it, too.

However, there is one thing that is missing. HUGE problem: I've never learned how to cope with stress or conflict. I am the epitome of 'fight or flight.' For the last 8-some-odd years I've been flighting...flighty is more like it. Before that, I was a fighter. Not a good one. A mean one.

Seriously, anyone who knows me...really knows me...knows I am not non-confrontational (unless I have a horrible addiction to fall back on and couldn't give a rip and didn't have energy to fight back anyway). However, when I am backed into a corner, I do not come out with my fists up or say, "OK, you're right. I'm being irrational." (Although, I am capable of that rationality, it takes WAAAAY too much effort for me.)

So, if I'm not a pretty tame 'fists up, ready to fight,' what am I when I'm backed into a corner? I am thinking...this: You asked for it. And I was taught this. Through pain and heartbreak and lies and blah, blah, blah, blittity, blah.

So I called up a shrink today and said, "I have no coping mechanisms. The only coping mechanism I've had for about 8 years is gone. I don't want that to ever come back. However, I don't know the balance between fight or flight. I either roll over and play dead or...well, become your worst psychopathic, belittling nightmare. (You think I'm kidding?) And I hate it. I need help. Celebrate Recovery will help me with certain things, but the psychological things...I need help, Doc." So, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist tomorrow at 5pm.

He's actually excited for me. I can't truly understand why. Pretty cool doctor, I guess.

Anyway. That's all for now.

OH, please pray that I can get some more painting done. I just don't have the energy and these headaches are killing me and things are strained (no big surprise here) between Tommy and me. I still have two full paintings to go and the lady asked for them by mid-August. I'm going to have to trust my instinct and JUST FREAKIN' PAINT.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oi? You been on 'oliday?

I am going to go ahead and preface this with a HUGE and SERIOUS warning: Not everyone who reads this is going to be able to process it fully. I KNOW that I'm putting this out on the freakin' Internet for the 'whole world' to see. Do I care? NO! Why? Because hiding is what has gotten me into the situation I was in, up until almost 8 days ago, and has me writhing in the aftermath of fear and pain of the mentality and physicality of my sin. I will say this, though. This is NOT for you to gossip about and I call down God's angels to silence your tongue if you speak ill of what glory God is getting from my situation. I don't take this lightly. I'm not an idiot. I know there are people that will read this, perhaps glean something and know immediately what I'm talking about...on the flip side, others will only contemplate and never think of it again. But, if you do decide to tell people of what you KNOW to be the truth of my situation, in fairness, take the plank out of your own eye first. Then let us deal with my plank. Let them come to ME and I will stand as a living testimony of GOD ALMIGHTY. This is MY story, my testimony of God's grace and healing, my LIFE to tell, not anyone else's. No matter how important you think it is to 'share.' If you know you are a gossiper, slanderer or 'sharer,' please, out of respect for my family and to honor God, don't read this. Go read something else.

Peace and Chicken Grease.

Now on with the show.

Oi? You been on 'oliday?
Yeah, an eight-year "holiday" FROM HELL!

I'm not going to go into all of "IT" on blogspot.com for cryin' out loud (yet), and no, I am not referring to Disney. Disney was a great holiday. I hate roller coasters, but I know I'd ride the Tower of Terror a bazillion times if I could get back the (on and off of ) eight years I've lost. (I'm sure that after the tenth ride, I'd stop vomiting and passing out from anxiety and just get bored anyway...or laugh my head off and realize I love the feeling of free-falling.)

Anyway, the hell in which I am referring is this stupid, friggin' addiction I've had on and off for eight years that I am finally free of...well, it's been a week, but I'm free so far. Nothing dramatic happened, really. Just...got tired of it. God has shown me a glimpse of His dream for my life and man, oh man...it looked GOOOOOD. That's what it took.

I've got family, friends, even strangers praying for me and looking out for me and keeping me accountable. And I'm going to give Celebrate Recovery a good 'ole, standing-ovation try (I didn't say, "good 'ole college try", cuz honestly, I never did much like the college scene and I can't say I really tried when I was there--although, somehow I managed to pass everything but Math anyway. I didn't even finish my degree anyway...aaaaannd I'd feel cheap if I lied about giving props to my healing having anything to do with formal schooling.) I already feel cheap enough for all the crap I've done while addicted.

So, on the contrary, life has always been my school. I've never had any use for droning lecturers. What they said, never stuck. I'd doodle and think of elaborate short stories and wait for lunch and the blue sky. I'd rather read a million good books (shoot, even BAD books, if there is such a thing), walk the sands of the ocean or climb a tree in bare feet, face burials of 10 beloved pets, fight viciously with everyone I know, at least once, and to love deeply, passionately and have my heart broken over and over, so that I may even try to glimpse the vastness of God and the universe. (I still have a few of those goals to go, actually. Like, the fighting viciously part.) And with all that I've seen and experienced and lost in my tiny 33-years, I still don't understand the vastness of God or the universe, of course. Never will. That's fine with me. This isn't my home anyway, but I want to enjoy it as much as I can before it's gone.

Anyway, let me say this; I don't know why God had this happen now; this total healing. This repulsion by my sin. But I'm sure as heck glad He did. I've been begging Him to take this thorn from my flesh since 2001 and I couldn't believe He wouldn't do it! I got ticked, actually. (Ticked at the wrong thing, but ticked, nonetheless...and who do we blame when things don't go our way??? Yep. God.) I did my duty and went to church, tithed, attended Bible studies, quoted Scripture, love on the lost. So, what the heck, right?

Thankfully, I never stopped believing in Him; or His love, goodness or beautiful righteousness (His sanity, yes, but never His love, goodness or righteousness), but I certainly didn't want to have any real conversations with Him, either. He could have crushed my addiction once-and-for-all when I whole-heartedly wanted to start Truth Magazine, when I got married, when I had my little Hamlet, when I was recovering from three surgeries to remove necrotized fascia, but whatever.

Who can know the mind of God?

And that's Scripture, folks. Romans 11:34 says, "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?" Not me, thank...well, Him. If it was up to me, the whole planet would have waaay worse problems than fake Global Warning (kidding, kind of), Michael Jackson's obsession with plastic surgery or people thinking Obama is the savior. I would have wiped us out with a flood again when I was 16, promise or no. I'm just glad I'm not in His position.

See, we know that satan (we'll call him the s-word from now on), likes to pull some pretty sick pranks. Don't fail to mistake them for fun and games. He's playing for your life. He's trying to make you think all hell is going to break loose if a loved one is going to die. Or you'll lose a job and you've got mouths to feed and here comes the s-word, delighting in sending his slimey little cohorts (remember, he is NOT omnipresent) to pester you and plague you and taunt you unto death-and perhaps not even physical death, but certainly death of hopes, dreams, friendships, marriages, families and all good things in this world. But it's not God's fault if you choose to believe the s-word. Oh no! Do NOT be mistaken there.

Because, from THE MOST important AUTHOR, we know that, "The wages of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."--Rom. 6:23 (Did you get that part? I lost if for a long time. If He's not your Lord-the one you trust with all your hopes, dreams and fears, well then, He's nothing to you at all). Also, James 1:15 says, "When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth with it, death." I like how another version puts it, too. "Then, when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full–grown, brings forth death." It gives sin this living, breathing entity that we can take so much more seriously. Our sin is like breeding axe-murderers. ON PURPOSE! You think I'm kidding? Look at some of the most notorious killers...they usually came from some twisted form of Christian home life.

(And, Yes, by-golly, after 8 years of (again, on and off) addiction, I can still recite Scripture and that is only by the grace of God, as well.) Do I have the right to preach, heck no.... And...heck, yes. The lack of belief is what has kept me in bondage for so long. So I rejoice in the Truth and when it is spoken...from my mouth, from anyone's mouth.

But now...what keeps us in these entrapments?

The Lies. You know 'em. I know 'em:
  • You are NOT worthy (course I'm not) except that Christ Jesus lives in me and makes me worthy.
  • You're a no-good liar and a thief (yes, that's true) and yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • You deserve every bad thing that happens to you (prolly, yeah), but we know that everything works together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. And every good gift comes from God. He longs to give us good gifts.
  • Ooo, this is a good one! S-word works hard on this one, I bet; You are completely and utterly alone. BUT the Lord is near the broken-hearted; he is the saviour of those whose spirits are crushed-Psalm 34:18 and A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. —Proverbs 18:24

And on that friendship note, there is also the verse (to those trapped in addiction, struggling with shame, wrapped up in the sin of anger, unforgiveness (a biggie), lust, etc.:

Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
—Proverbs 27:5-6
Remember that when your friends and family will not allow you to live in sin any longer.
So, what gives me the gall to stand before God and you and write all this?

Because I am a sinner SAVED by GRACE and He has healed me and I know the truth.
(And because He told me I could.)

(See random pics from our trip here: You've Got a Friend in Me and here Disney in 36 Hours) Oh, and thanks, Ty, for keeping me company and giving me courage!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Working for love

Wow. Sometimes it takes years, months, or decades to find what you really love to do with your time. You may have talents or abilities, but never know how exactly to use them for the glory of God or to make a living off of them. He has the answer.

My advice: Just start using them and He will bring opportunities out of the woodwork.

I think all of us have a certain thing we're really good at...music, math, painting, listening, counseling, athletics, writing, encouraging, organizing, fixing problems, and so on. It's something that comes rather easy to us. Something we often take for granted. However, sometimes, we believe the lie that we aren't any good at these things and let it drop to the wayside, 'squandering our talents.' Matt. 25 tells of a master who gives each of his workers a certain amount of talents.

I liken this to God giving us certain abilities (things we're born naturally good at doing) and asking us to use them for His Glory. If we bury them, it's like saying He doesn't know what He's doing and not only do we not trust ourselves with this talent, but we also don't trust God. Essentially, we are saying, "Um, thanks God, for giving me this, but You don't know what you're doing. I'm not good enough. I think I'll just sit on this and let other people with similar talents do all the work."

This is what I've been doing for years. I have been drawing since I was able to pick up a crayon. I remember sitting on my Grandmom's floor (mom's mom) and rifling through my special drawer to find crayons and paper at the age of 3. I wasn't any good then, but I had a passion. I just needed to hone my abilities.

It wasn't long before I began to shy away from drawing. A lady, who is now very well known in the art community (Donna Peters), was our neighbor and when she saw my drawings, she wanted to give me free...FREE...drawing lessons. I was too shy and wouldn't go over to her house. I still kick myself for that.

However, what I am doing now all started with a birthday party for a friend (Wendy). She had called in a lady to do a painting party with us. Our subject was a wrought-iron type cross. Our colors were pretty much pre-chosen, and the cross was already drawn out (this was super easy for me and very relaxing), but we could decide how to decorate and accessorize our painting. At the end of the party, I donated the painting to Lifeline Adoption Services because I had said I would submit something into the TableScapes 2009 silent auction coming up April 25th.

When ladies from Lifeline saw the cross painting, I began to generate some interest in my work. One girl, Marie, went ahead and asked me to paint a cross like the one I'd done, but in brown in blues. I agreed...for $45. (Live and learn.) On a side note: NEVER tell the price until you have accessed how much time it's going to take to complete a painting. I spent about 10 hours on this painting, trying to figure out the background, the shades of blue, and then the actual adornments, etc. An since I usually charge $20/hour, this painting should have cost an upward of $200. Like I said...live and learn.

However, it's done and I'm very pleased with it.

Now I have been hired to paint not one, but TWO murals for a lady's two girls. I was originally going to do in directly on the wall, but she said if they move, they wanted to be able to take it with them, so we decided to do it on a big canvas and then mount the canvas on the wall. I can't wait to get started and I've done some preliminary sketches. It's been a lot of fun (and hard work) learning to draw horses again. I grew up with horses and have always been fond of them.

This same lady wants a 4x6 painting of a horse for herself after I'm done with the murals and has told me she already has ideas for Christmas and her other friends are interested in hiring me, too. This is before I've even completed the murals!!!

For God's glory, I hope that the paintings with show the talents He's given me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Life is so creative

Wow, I'm actually having a pretty good time in life right now. My new nephew (Isaiah) is very healthy at 6 weeks and just too, too cute. My in-laws are so super-terrific, my husband loves me, even though I can be pretty unlikable sometimes. My sister, her kids, my BIL Smith and my mom all live not 20 minutes away from me, both sets of grandparents are less than 5 miles away in either direction, Hubby's 40+ cousins are close and they're more incredible to watch every day. My dad is a terrific cheerleader for me and helps me so much just in every day things. Props to him for marrying one of the best gals in the world! Love you, Gugu. OH, and my sister and I are starting a Bible study together. (Such a long story that I can't get into it here, but trust me, we went from wanting to kill each other most our lives, to her leading me to Christ in 1996, and now we are closer than ever.) God is so good.

On a whole other level, I have started working on the new commissioned piece for a girl that Andrea works with at Lifeline Children's Services. I am really excited about this piece because it is something I personally am drawn to artistically. It is a painting of a wrought-iron cross with blues and browns in the background and the cross itself is a dark brown. Here is the background without any accents or elaborate detail.

And here is about 45 minutes later as my husband takes pics of me working. He's really good at that and I'm thankful he takes such interest in my creative side. He's a great supporter. It's a wonderful thing.

So, there you have it. Not much else to report, but I'll blog more tomorrow and hopefully I will have this painting finished.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Help! My daughter's turned into a parrot!

Welp, whoever said that teaching little ones Sign Language impedes their speech must not have been doing it right. Or at least, they've never met my daughter.

I can say just about anything and Ham will repeat it...or try. Which makes for very funny moments. All of which I wish I could get on tape, but alas, it's just so spontaneous that I would have to install cameras all over the place to capture her humor.

This morning I said we needed to get a diaper and a wipey and Ham crowed, "Di-uhn 'n eye-pee. Di-uhn 'n eye-pee." I love the variations of words she uses. It makes the English language so much more interesting.

However, there are downfalls.

Most of the time, Husband and I call each other "mommy" and "daddy." But sometimes we do call each other by our names. So, I don't know in what situation Ham deems it necessary to use my real name, but sometimes she will just start calling, "Amy! Ammmeeeee!" She doesn't do it to my husband, though. I don't know why.

This brings us to making sure we think about everything we say. I use, "Ah, man," when I do something unexpected, like dropping some food on the floor. And Ham might be in the other room and I hear her croon, "Aaa, meen." And one day I said something about a bomb and as she was innocently eating in her booster seat, she off-handedly mimicked me and said, "bauuum." Hubby and I just eyed each other warily.

I have to say that I'm glad I don't use swear words in everyday language. Now, I'm not perfect by any means and I have been known to let a nasty word slip when I am overcome with anger. (I don't like it, so I have worked to not do that at all.) I only say that to let you know I don't judge those who use curse words because I, myself have struggled with it. However, I don't want my daughter exposed to it. I don't think it's cute when kids cuss. I just don't. Sorry. I have laughed at it before, but since becoming a mother, I wouldn't ever want to hear dirty words rolling easily off her tongue. OK, that being said, let's move on.

Ham is also trying to sing songs she's heard. Most recently it's "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and I gotta say, she's just the cutest thing. The first part is a lot of, "Ayeyeyaya ooooayaya" and then it's a very pronounced, "Neee aaannnn tow." Love it.

So, that's the main event going on right now. SO much fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


OK, so it's been too long to catch up on everything. My bad.

Let's get a few fundamentals out of the way:
  1. I'm still recovering from the car accident which did leave my Camry a total loss, but scored us a check for more than what we paid for it almost 3 years ago. Ham and I are fine, but it was scary and I have a new, not-so-unjustified paranoia that I will get rear-ended again when I'm at a complete standstill.
  2. Thus, we are now on the long, but somewhat fun, adventure of buying another car...or minivan. Hmmmmm....
  3. I have finally found the antique armoire I've been looking for, for three years. BirminghamFreecycle is the bomb. A lady was giving away a white wood bedroom set complete with double dresser, vanity (mirrors included), night table and afghan rack. I jumped on it. I didn't know that when I went to go pick the stuff up off the side of the road (by her house), I would also be receiving a white, antique armoire. I doused it all with soap and water and it's just fantastic! I was literally jumping up and down in the middle of the road.
  4. Ham can now recognize the written words, "hi," "arms up," "mouth," and "cats" 3 out of 5 times from the flash card set Grandma Annette gave us a month ago. She also put together her first shape and color puzzle two days ago all by herself. *big grin*
  5. On a less exciting note, I have tonsil stones again (well, HAD...one big one) and if they keep coming back, the only option is to get my tonsils taken out. I had a sore throat, earache (I have a new-found sympathy for children with earaches), swollen lymph nodes, and trouble swallowing. So, what? I thought I was just sick or something. Then, I looked at my throat--it only took two weeks of misery for me to be smart enough to actually look back there--and I saw this big...well, you can just look it up if you want. I had my tonsils lasered down in 2003 b/c of this phenomenon and really, tonsil stones are just disgusting, so I won't go into it. It really is as gross as it sounds. Pray that they never, EVER come back.

So, that's just a little update. I'll post some pictures or something soon. I've got three new commissioned pieces of artwork to begin working on, but I still have to finish my mom's 20x24" Lillies before I'm allowed to start on anything else.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Jim Shore and Disney

I have a new favorite artist. I can't believe I've never heard of him before, let alone seen his work. His name is Jim Shore and it's really his Disney stuff that I'm so in love with, to tell the truth.

I am not a big American Folk Art fan, but this guy's style on classics like
and my favorite villians,

are beyond inspiring for me.

I have always loved drawing paisleys and designing funky, psychedelic patterns that have hidden pictures within them, but this is some of the most charming work I've seen in a long time.

One of the best parts about his Disney creations (other than the fact that they are the coolest hand-carved, wooden, 3-Dimensional sculptures) is that they are relatively inexpensive. Si and Am can be found on eBay for around $17.00 + shipping or $25.00 retail. I found Bambi for $7.00 (even if I didn't buy it). I've never been able to afford Lenox or Armani or WDCC sculptures of my favorite characters, so this opens up a whole new world of Christmas lists for me.

I love it when I discover new artists and realize I can like genre's of art that I never gave much attention to before.

Move over Gentle Giant.

Friday, January 16, 2009


OK, My cousin (in-law, whatever), the lovely Blair McLeod, has tagged me in a fun and easy little game.

The Rules:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer

2) Select the 4th picture in the folder

3) Explain the picture

4) Tag 4 people to do the same. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Welp, there it is. Grover, from Sesame Street, hanging on a clothes line. I did this pen drawing when I was a Sophomore at UAB taking Art. We had to pick a subject and draw it in pen, ink, pastels, oil, and watercolor in various different perspectives and settings (mine was a stuffed Grover toy that I loved dearly). I added the water droplet for effect. My teacher rolled his eyes, but I still got an "A" on the project.
I tag:
1. My sweet, and very pregnant, sister-in-law, Tammy.
2. One of my bestest friends ever, Meredith.
3. One of the funniest and craziest people I know, Emily...um, I mean, Micah.
and 4. My wonderful, beautiful, supportive sister, Jennifer.
(Maybe this will make you update your blog, Jen.)
And there you have it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Wordless" Wednesday

I'm already very musical.

Bowling with Daddy at Aunt Sarah's 15th Birthday party!
What's a blog without a butt shot?
The doll house and tree are bigger than Sophie.
Love my Golden Books! Sweet Aunt Tammy!
I love Aunt Tammy's piano-playing.
She also makes toys do the funniest things!

Granddad is so fun!

Awwww....Oh, wait. SOPHIE!

Gloating over Mickey's defeat.

Never intimidated by the boys.