Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grasping at Straws

I am just going to be honest here:
the other day when I said the pity party was over,
well,  apparently I lied.

I didn't MEAN to just sort of happened.
It seems as though degrumpifying is easier said than done.
I had full intentions of snapping out of it, but it simply didn't happen.

The latest on my back, you ask?
I'm sick of it.
I hate it.
Can a girl just get a new one already?

I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Monday.
The fingers are crossed....again.

In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can think of to gain some perspective
and turn my frown upside down.

Here are a few more things that have been big fat fails in the name of cheering up:

1. Ke$ha and her glitter rainbows, unicorns, and dancing with Dawson.

Big fat fail.

2.  Reading, reading, and reading some more.

While it helps a little, it's only temporary.

3. Sleep? No sleeping here. The back isn't a fan.

4.  Retail therapy.

No such luck. The town I live in is super tiny and has little to offer in this department.

5. Watching the girls play dress up.

Ok, I will admit that this helped more than anything else. Hollyn was so proud of herself, and the look on her little face was priceless.
That is, of course, until Libby took her hat....and then Hollyn cried.
Bye bye, moment of temporary back distraction.

Here's hoping you have a great back, a great Thursday,
and a great source of distraction for moments such as this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shine: Compliments

Have you heard about the Shine Project?
(You can learn more by clicking on her button.)
It's basically one woman's attempt at being happy and spreading that happiness to others.
And every week she has a challenge that she offers to her readers.
And this week the challenge deals with compliments.
Who doesn't love compliments?
This is a challenge I'll readily accept.
So, in no particular order here are a few compliments I believe are long overdue:


You are one of the most level-headed people I've ever met.
Must be all that math, huh?
And your loyalty is just plain awesome.
Could I possibly be more glad we're friends?
Negative, Ghost Rider.



You are truly one of the most beautiful people I know, both inside and out.
I am so proud of you for always seeking to be a Godly example to others.
Can my girls please turn out as well as you did?
Get right on that, k?



Thanks for being the big sister I never had.
You inspire me and encourage me always.
Big, you are the best.



Only one word to describe you, precious girl: J*O*Y.
You radiate and leave a little wherever you go.
I am so thankful that our paths crossed in such a special way.

5.  SARA


I don't know how you got stuck with the role of my friend who I constantly vent to, but I seriously don't know what I'd do without you. Thank you for always checking in on me and never giving up on me...even when I have a consistent case of the grouchies.

Do you have long overdue compliments?
I'm betting you probably do.

And if you post about them, how about you leave a link in my comment section?
I'm always interested in hearing what you have to say.

And while I've got your attention:

*Kristen only lacks about $400 to meeting her needs for her Africa trip. Please pray that some dinero will come her way soon.
* I'm so excited about all the interest I've received in our book collection for a soon-to-be library in Africa! I'll be posting more on that tomorrow, so please come back soon.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Africa: The Next Step

First, a big thank you to everyone who took a second out of your busy day yesterday to comment on my post. My doctor appointment didn't go so great, and while we're at least making plans for a next step (I'm hoping to have an appointment with a neurosurgeon in the next week or so), all of the "we can't guarantee it will be effective" talk has left me with a major case of the blues. So now I have the blues AND a hurt back. Bad combo.

However, I am working on my perspective. And reading stories such as this and this helps remind that me that my struggles are so insignificant in the big scheme of things.  So, needless to say, the Pity Party is over. Done. Finished. I'm picking up and moving on the best I can.
And here's where I'm headed:

I have something else big planned for Africa.

Bloggers, meet Melanie:

Isn't she precious?
She blogs here, and after reading about Kristen's trip on my blog, she became inspired to help Kristen get to Africa.  And then she realized God has plans for her in Africa too... Kenya to be exact.

For twelve days in June, Melanie will be working with a group of fourteen others to help build a library for the Heritage of Faith and Hope Centre in Nairobi to serve the children.
And in her own words:

Heritage of Faith Christian school is fully registered by the Ministry of Education in Kenya, and due to the high quality of education offered at the school, many parents are admitting their children from the community! These children are so smart and have done so well on standardized testing, that the government has given them land to build this library! They have a vision of continuing to grow the word of God as well as the education of these precious children.

Here are Melanie, Mary, and Emily yesterday getting their shots for their upcoming trip to Africa.

I can't help but think God is going to use them in a big way during this time.

And I think we should help.

It's funny how God works things out. The minute our t-shirt sales for Kristen were over, I told her that I wasn't done. I haven't helped enough; I want to do more.
And I want my next project to deal with books.

I actually e-mailed back and forth with two different organizations asking if they would accept books, but the fit just wasn't right.

And then I found Melanie....
who's going to Africa....
to build a library.

As an English teacher, a mom, and a person in this world, I can't imagine my life without books. And did you know there are statistics that show that just by having books in your home your children are more likely to be readers?

And I seriously don't know one person who doesn't have an extra book or two at home that could be given to someone else.

So, why don't we?

From now until the end of May, I'd like for us to work together to stock this soon-to-be library in Kenya.

In Melanie's words:

We would like to bring books that are K-12 and primarily nonfiction, moral/religious, educational.  We would prefer to steer a little away from the fiction books because most of them are geared towards Americans (ex: Clifford the Big Red Dog has little blonde Emily Elizabeth).  We want them to be able to relate to the books, as well as be able to understand and learn from them.  Gently used books are appreciated!  

There are a few ways you can help:

* You can donate your gently used books.
* You can purchase new books.
*You can donate money for Melanie and her team to use to purchase books.

If you're local and want to give your books to me, I'll be happy to mail them myself.
And, if you'd like to donate money you can use the paypal button I've posted on my sidebar in regards to Kristen's bracelets. Just please put FOR BOOKS somewhere in your transaction.

I'll be back soon with more details on where Melanie is going, where you can send your books, a button to help spread the word about this little attempt to help, and even an incentive to give.

I can't even begin to imagine my life without books. Even more importantly, I can't imagine Libby and Hollyn's life without books.
Can you?

If you have questions or want to help by donating and incentive to give, please contact me at And, if you send books Melanie's way, please leave a comment on this post...I promise it will make my day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Enough Is Enough Already

Warning: I'm grumpy, frustrated, and plain ole' over it. There will be no neighbor post this week because if we were neighbors in real life, you'd know that I'm just not feeling it. But save your posts for next week, because, Lord willing, life will resume as 'normal' soon enough.

I try really hard to make my blog a happy place.
While I try to be honest about the ups and downs life can bring, I also realize that no one wants to read about the negative. So while I don't ignore the bad, I try to focus on the positive.
Except for today.
Because today I've had enough.

In case you're just now tuning in, my back has been hurting since January 19th.
I haven't picked up Hollyn since roughly a week after that.
That means that for over a month I haven't picked up my fourteen month old. She's sat in my lap and cuddled with me on the couch and whatnot, but it's so not the same.
And, to make matters worse, I'm not working this year.
Why is that, you might ask?
Well, I took the year off from teaching to be with her, the fourteen month whom I can no longer pick up and who has therefore spent the last month and a half in day care while I sit at home and hurt.

You'd think that with all this new found free time, I'd be living it up, right?
Not happening.
My back hurts twenty-four hours a day.
We're talking serious pain here, folks.
Bulging discs are no joke.

And despite the fact that I've done everything the chiropractor has told me to do during our seventeen hours we've spent together so far, my back is still a train wreck.
And later this morning I'm going in for a consult where we'll decide on what my next step will be.
He says I have three choices, and one of them is surgery.

So, not only can I not enjoy this moment because my back hurts so badly that I can hardly see straight, but I also can't make plans because I currently don't know what the future holds. And this is as bad for me as the pain. I am a plan-making kind of girl. My planner and I are basically BFF, so this is so not fun for me.  I'm not scared of surgery, but back surgery is its own beast. It's nowhere near 100% effective or a sure fix. In fact, many people have flat out told me not to do it. Still, it's not the surgery that makes me nervous, it's the toll that more time with me being basically out of commission is going to take on my family that has me losing sleep.

And, in case you're wondering, I've been going this route virtually pain-pill free. My back just laughs at the over-the-counter stuff, and I pretty much can't function when taking anything stronger than that. Although last night I caved. I took some leftover Lortab from a previous incident (I'm thinking wisdom teeth? Who knows.) and had the most terrible allergic reaction of my life. We're talking Def Kong Five here people. I'm still itching this morning.....about fifteen hours after taking the hated pill.
And while I can't pick Hollyn up, I refuse to not enjoy the little time I have with her every day.
I'm tough. I can take it, but it sure is getting old.

And while I can take the physical pain, it's the mental part that's really getting to me.  Sitting at home alone all day while someone else takes care of my kid isn't exactly my idea of fun. Add not knowing what's to come and whether or not surgery is in my near future doesn't help either. And can I just say that I love my couch, but sleeping on it every night for weeks on end is about all I can endure?

Let's throw in the fact that my grandmother came home from the hospital today after a three week stay, Libby woke up this morning looking absolutely terrible-- her skin stays bad but she always goes to school....except for today...because today it's all over her face, and I just couldn't do that to her. I've e-mailed her doctor, and hopefully he'll change something or do something or fix something SOON. And in case that wasn't enough,  Hollyn is probably about to get tubes put in her ears, seeing as how she has stayed sick non-stop since starting daycare. And why is she in daycare? Blame my back. It's a vicious cycle, folks. 

In short,  you can tell that our house is just a barrel of fun these days.

Even though I can't fix the physical pain from my back,
I have made numerous attempts at fixing my frame of mind.

These include but are not limited to the following:

* a lunch date with Molly

*a baseball game with good friends

*a Sonic run with my mom

*catching up on the latest Grey's episode

*laughing with Rachel

*spending some time curled up on the couch with a good book

*listening to my girls laugh at each other

*enjoying a Happy Meal, my comfort food of choice

*listening to (and loving) this song

*Heck, I've even gone as far as to give Doc his first taste of peanut butter so I could watch him make this face:


And still, I'm thinking that any minute now I just may lose what's left of my mind. I consider myself to be pretty tough, and I've endured a lot in my thirty-one years. But this is about to push me over the edge. It's just too much at once. I could handle any one of these incidents independently with no trouble whatsoever. But when you put it all together like this, it's nothing shy of a big. hot. mess.

So, I must know:

what do YOU do to make yourself feel better when the stress starts to really take its toll?

I'm seriously grasping at straws here, folks.
I'm a tough cookie, but enough is enough.

Thanks for listening to me rant and rave. I owe you big time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Love, Love, Lovin'

Here are some things I've been loving this week:

*This post.

*Sometimes, when I read Kelle Hampton's blog, I can't help but think that Hollyn and Nella look so much alike...and it makes me happy, because I happen to think both are pretty darn beautiful.

*This blog and how it's quickly becoming a new favorite.

*I'm pretty sure I have a wee little crush on this.

*This has truly inspired me this week.

*I so wish I had an excuse to buy this dress.

*Watched this movie this week....super stinkin' cute.

*And now I'm itching to see this one.

*This is just one more reason why I love the blog community.

*I'm seriously thinkin' I need one of these.....and that maybe you do too.

* This makes me seriously want to learn to sew.

* I wish Lib had a birthday coming up soon...I'm dying to throw one of these.

Oh, and for all of you waiting for a back update, you're gonna have to keep waiting; my doctor had to reschedule for Monday. But seriously, if it doesn't feel better soon, I might go c-r-a-z-y. Get ready. THAT could make for some interesting blogging. Just sayin'.

So, the hurt back, the fam., and I will be doing  a whole lot o' this this weekend:

So, I ask:

what is your favorite family friendly movie?????

We need some suggestions, pleaseandthankyou.

Oh, and just in case you didn't know:
Happy weekend, lovelies.

friday favorite things </P>
<P>finding joy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{Home Sweet Home}

Can I just say that it thrills my heart to see our Africa shirts in their new homes?
Seriously, we're talking real live joy here, folks.

Can you blame me?

Melanie in North Carolina

Cool fact: Melanie is also headed to Africa this summer! You can read more about her story by clicking on her name and visiting her blog.

Kim in Mississippi

Mallory in Mississippi

Molly in Mississippi

Allison in Mississippi

Leah and her dad in Mississippi

Erin and her niece in Missouri

Janelle in Mississippi

Kayla in Mississippi

Allison in Mississippi

Cool fact: Allison will be joining Kristen in Ghana this summer and will also be working in the orphanage there...for the second time. In other words, she's one cool kid.

Elizabeth (and her super cute kiddo) in Mississippi

Gillon and Leslie in Mississippi

My friend Edi's precious little girl in Mississippi

That's a lot of Mississippi, yes?

I'll be featuring some more of our shirts in their new homes next week, so if you have yours and haven't sent your pic. my way, there's still time.

Here's hoping your Thursday is top notch.
I can pretty much guarantee that this will be the highlight of my morning, seeing as how in an hour I'll be sitting in my chiropractor's office having a consult regarding my next steps for this ole' back of mine.
Double yuck.

Oh, and if you need a way to pass the time this morning, hows about writing your neighbor post and linking up? Sounds like a plan to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breakin' the Rules

So, if you facebook, which I'm assuming you probably do, then I'm willing to bet you've seen the whole '30 Day Challenge' that's been floating around for the past few weeks. Seeing as how I'm sometimes a social slacker, I opted not to partake in the one day at a time option.
Instead, I'd rather dump all thirty here for you...all at once.
Cause I'm a rule-breaker, that's why.


Day 1: A Picture of You with Ten Facts About Yourself

1. I heart flat Coke.
2. I speak Spanish.... kinda.
3. I love picking out baby names, even though I have no intentions of having baby #3.
4. I hate lettuce.
5. Green is my favorite color.
6. I love all things acoustic.
7. I have to be in just the right mood to go shopping.
8. I could eat candy all. day. long.
9. I love the number twelve
10. When I was in third grade, I got in a playground spat with a sixth grader....and he broke my ankle.

Day 2: A Picture of You and the Person You've Been Closest to the Longest

My amazing friend, Heather.
Going strong since 1984.

Day 3: A Picture of Your Favorite TV Show

Still running: My Life as Liz

No longer running (insert moment of silence here): Prison Break

Day 4: A Picture of Your Favorite Night

Eric Hutchinson concert. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Day 5: A Picture of Your Favorite Memory

The day my girls officially met for the first time was one of my very best days.

Day 6: A Picture of a Person You'd Like to Be for a Day

The Libster-- oh what I'd give to see how that little mind works.

Day 7: A Picture of Your Most Treasured Item

I heart my I-pod.

Day 8: A Picture that Makes You Laugh

You're laughing now too, aren't you?

Day 9: A Picture of the Person Who Has Gotten You Through the Most

Day 10: A Picture of a Person You Do the Most Messed Up Stuff With

the infamous Kara Leigh

Day 11: A Picture of Something You Hate

Day 12: A Picture of Something You Love

Day 13: A Picture of Your Favorite Band or Artist

This was a tough one for me, but John Mayer prevailed.

Day 14: A Picture of the Person You Could Not Imagine Your Life Without

my bambinos

Day 15: A Picture of Something You Want to Do Before You Die

Day 16: A Picture of Someone Who Inspires You
Day 17: A Picture of Something that Has Made a Huge Impact on Your Life

Day 18: A Picture of Your Biggest Insecurity

 Le hair- real or otherwise

Day 19: A Picture and a Letter

Dear 22 year-old McCall,

Don't. You. Dare.

You can thank me later,

Day 20: A Place Where You Would Love to Travel

Day 21: A Picture of Something You Wish You Could Forget


My bulging disc

Note: this picture is not actually of my disc, but they could easily pass for twins.

Day 22: A Picture of Something You Wish You Were Better At

playing my gui-tar

Day 23: A Picture of Your Favorite Book

Day 24: A Picture of Something You Wish You Could Change

No more eczema. Ever.

Day 25: A Picture from Your Favorite Day

Hurricane Gustav. We were ready. Were you?

Day 26: A Picture of Something That Means A Lot to You

Four generations of learning, love, and a lifetime of togetherness

Day 27: A Picture of You and a Family Member

Me and my H

Day 28: A Picture of Something You're Afraid Of

I'm afraid of ever forgetting the moment I first held each of my girls.

Day 29: A Picture that Can Always Make You Smile

Oh, how I love thee, Megan T.

Day 30: A Picture of Someone You Miss

My college friends

Did you partake in the 30 Day Challenge? Or were somewhat of a cheater like yours truly? If you're of the cheating variety, send me your post. I'd love to take a peek.

And be sure to come back tomorrow to see some of our Africa shirts in their new homes.

Happy Wednesday, peeps.