Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have 12 minutes to blog

You may wonder where I have been.  Boy did that party two weeks ago really take it out of me!  I am just now back to blogging.

11 minutes to go.

I only have 11 minutes because I have to pick Emma up from school in 11 minutes.  She is in the school production of The Jungle Book - she's Bagheera, cool and intellectual, completely her role - and she has been rehearsing ever since 2:45 this afternoon.  After I pick her up, we eat a quick supper and begin our two hours of basketball at the YMCA with Will and Jack enjoying back-to-back games.

8 minutes to go.

I have to "coach" Will's team because Justin can't be there because he has to be at church for a meeting.  I was a cheerleader in high school.  I can't dribble anything.

7 minutes to go.

My sweet baby sister is coming to visit with her family.  She's the one with the gently used minivan that I envied a few weeks ago.  I would go find that blog entry and link to it but I only have

6 minutes to go.

We are having Jack's b'day party tomorrow.  His birthday always falls during Thanksgiving holidays so it's hard to know when to have a party.  I didn't want to have it on Saturday because Sam my sister is going to Asheville and I want to come too.

5 minutes to go.

So we (probably just me, Justin has more sense) are taking Jack and three friends to Monkey Joe's (AKA a little taste of hell on earth for adults) on Friday after school.  I will be pre- and post-medicating myself.

4 minutes to go.

Monkey Joe's consists of a bunch of inflatables, crying kids, screaming kids, laughing kids, loud kid-influenced music on overhead speakers, and a high schooler dressed up in a monkey suit who shows up every half hour and scares just as many children as he/she enchants.

2 minutes to go.

You have to wear socks, eat their food, drink their drinks, and the fact that they have wi-fi available doesn't cancel out any of their badness.  It is one of Jack's very favorite places to go, but I am unwilling to pay $10 for him to jump up and down in loudness very often, so that's why it takes a special birthday request from Jack to make me willing to endure the agony.  I will smuggle in a Diet Coke and dare one of those 17 year olds to give me junk about it.

41 seconds to go.

Will wants me to watch a rap about a platypus on Phineas and Ferb, so I have to go now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Saturday Night

For all of you praying for me to not come apart at the seams Saturday night, I would like to say Thank You!  Our Fall Party was a great success.  I couldn't tell you how many people were here, but the house was full and there were plenty of kids on the bouncy.  The band was a lot of fun!  I was not sure whether booking a band was a great idea, but they ended up being a huge hit.  Something about having to yell a conversation over the noise of guitars and a drum set creates a special bond between former strangers.   I also had forgotten how much fun it is to dance to a band!  I am not sure if it is appropriate for pastor's wives to dance to bands, but I can only hope that it is.  I find it ironic that talking to people scares me to death, but I cannot restrain myself from jumping around like a crazy woman when I hear a Michael Jackson cover, regardless of who might be watching.  Go figure.

What was especially gratifying to me personally was how many of our neighbors came.  Four or five families show up out of the many we invited, and several called to give their regrets.  One of our church plant families commented that they were inspired to try to organize a block party with their neighbors after the party Saturday night.  That was encouraging. Talking to your neighbors isn't so scary after all.

After the party was over, I felt like I had just passed a final exam and was about to embark on summer break.  Justin and I were talking as we were cleaning up, and I was saying how great the party had been and he was saying how great our house is for entertaining and then he said, "You know, we should do this again at Christmas."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Worrying about Saturday

We are having a party at our house on Saturday.  We're calling it a Fall Party and inviting everyone from the church plant and encouraging them to invite their friends.  We are going around our neighborhood, handing out invitations and introducing ourselves.  Justin remarked as we went from house to house today how much people's expressions change when they realize we are not trying to sell them something.  They open the door guardedly, and then when we explain that we are neighbors and we would like for them to come to our house, their faces soften and some even begin to smile.

I don't know if many of them will come.  If some random neighbor came to my house and invited me over on Saturday, I don't know that I would go.  But my husband would probably make me, since he loves people like Jesus does and I only love books and friends and family who are already friends and family.  I'm just being honest.  Actually, I like new people in small doses, but an onslaught of new people combined with me trying to host an event for said new people at my house gives me the shakes.

This is our second day of assaulting the neighbors, and I think we're going to do it again tomorrow.  The weather on Saturday is supposed to be brisk, so we're renting outside heaters.  Justin has a band and a bouncy house lined up.  The whole thing frightens me.

I struggle with being scared.  What if the church plant doesn't grow?  What if no one shows up on Saturday?  What if it is too cold and the three people who actually show up don't go outside to listen to the band?  What if the band only plays covers from hair bands of the 80s?  What if the bouncy house explodes and people sue us?  What if we don't have enough food?  What if? What if? What if?

What I have to remember is that God is in the what ifs.  He doesn't freak out, he never leaves me, he is for me and he is big enough to take care of me and everyone I care about.  And anything I enter into, He is already there.  I am the scaredy-kid on the diving board, and he's the dad in the water, telling me to jump!  That I can trust him, he won't let me sink.  It is hard sometimes to trust.  But as my dad would say, it sure beats the alternative.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I hate my life.

I can't believe you dressed me as a BatDog.
Just shoot me.
I wonder if I can really fly.

Is there anyone in this family who will help me?
Please. Stop. Laughing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My love/hate relationship with the frog

Last week when we were getting ready to go to Atlanta, I was doing some last minute cleaning up (my compulsion to frantically clean the house the day before a trip when I should be packing is fodder for another blog) and noticed our beta fish looking very contemplative near the top of his fishbowl.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like he had been dead for so long that his eyes had rotted out.  I am not kidding when I say I do not care for pets that live in bowls.

The fish belonged to Jack.  I was not mentally prepared for the weeping, gnashing of teeth and inevitable trip to Wal-Mart to purchase a new fish for me to neglect, so I did what every loving mother would do:  I threw the fish away, hid the fishbowl, and said nothing about it.  It has been ten days since I found the fish (who knows how long it has actually been dead) and no one has even noticed that it is missing.  Well, Emma knows, but she's been sworn to secrecy.  Now that I think about it, maybe she found it floating in the bowl.  I was mentally in packing mode, so I couldn't be bothered with fish death particulars at the time.

But this is not about the recently departed bowl dweller...this post is about he-who-must-not-be-named, our Frog of Uncertain Origin.  Will received him/her/it as a birthday gift three and a half years ago.  Actually he just received a frog certificate, which we mailed to Grow a Frog.  Our little tadpole showed up in the mail in a film canister a few weeks later.  We nurtured and fed the tadpole, enjoying all of his little stages of development, never realizing that we had a monster on our hands.  Yes, a monster.  He/she/it has subsisted for years on nothing...we don't feed it for weeks at a time, and yet it lives and thrives.  It resides currently in a fishbowl on our dining room table because it freaks Jack out at night when it is croaking.  I only clean the bowl water when I can no longer see the frog in the murk, because who knows what it might be doing in the unseen depths.  Growing, no doubt, into a Frogzilla that will someday overtake the world.  If you allow your finger to hover over the water, the frog will leap out and try to latch on with its creepy little froggy hands.  Justin says he's seen it jump out of the water and catch a fly that lingered to close to the water's surface.  Are you scared yet?  You should be.

One time last year I was cleaning the frog's water, and as I poured the water (and hopefully, the frog) into a stadium cup, he jumped into the sink, scooted around frantically, and disappeared into the food disposal.  For a minute, I thought about flipping the switch...but I didn't have the heart.  Instead, I stuck my hand in the disposal and blindly grabbed around for the slippery little sucker.  When I am initiated into the Mom Hall of Fame, I think this moment should be on the highlight reel. 

So I love the frog - in the sense that I didn't try to grind him into a bloody pulp in my kitchen sink - and I hate the frog, because he is a freak of nature.  He's probably a clone.  His instructions said he can't live outside of the water.  What frog can't live outside of the water?  He's not even an amphibian.  I'll dress Jack like the frog next Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stream of Consciousness Blogging

I need to walk around with a notebook in hand, because sometimes I will come up with an idea for a blog entry.  Then when it's time to sit down to the computer, I think, "Now, what was I going to talk about today?" That is me, today.  Will is watching Game 1 of the World Series, Emma is playing Jingle Bells on the piano (never too early, Halloween has almost come and gone), Justin is setting up the Wii downstairs,  and Jack is taking a shower.  Domestic bliss.

Well, it's late so I will just share some pictures from my mother-in-law's garden.  We took her and Gran-daddy K. home from their stay at the hospital last week and spent a couple of nights with them.
Mexican something or other and some roses in the background.  The kind that are hard to kill.  I can't remember their names either.

I think she said this is the "Hot Cocoa" variety.  Seriously! It had a brownish tint.
More mexican something or other with some mums.  It's a good thing this isn't a gardening blog.
Lantana!  I love the stuff.  It's the only thing I have identified so far.
A pink rose.  Don't ask me the variety.  I could make something up if you want!  "Boudreaux's Bottom", perhaps?  That is probably a bad gardening joke.
Hibiscus! Take that, gardening know-it-alls!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Five Things I Hate...Currently:

Well, if you're grumpy, you've come to the right place.  Forget trying to stay upbeat! postive! empowered!  Come with me and wallow in self-pity.  It is a great place if you like sweatpants, stomach aches from too much ice-cream, and lethargy. 

Last night Will was complaining about having to go to school for the 1, 986, 458th time, and I suggested he remember the verse about not arguing or complaining.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life …"
--Philippians 2:14-16a

My angel baby husband then suggested, that I, too, could stand to remember that verse.  Well!  I bit my tongue, but let me tell you, I was mentally making a list of some Scripture that he would do well to incorporate into his life!  This little exchange took the whole "spiritual battle" concept to a completely different level for me!  But, he does have a point.  I'm quite the whiner.  Anyway, I think we're supposed to battle evil, not our husbands.  Sometimes I get the two confused.

So where was I?  Oh, that's right, making a list of top 5 things I hate.  That's not complaining, is it?  Alright, it is, I guess.  Well, now I don't have a blog entry.  Here's some things I love instead:

1. Jack waving to me in the bleachers while he's supposed to be playing basketball.

2. Cardinals at the bird feeder.

3. Apples and pumpkins!

4. College football.

5. Fuzzy blankets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Someone Finally Used the Bidet

When we moved into our house in August, the master bathroom came with an extra plumbing fixture which has since mesmerized our family and our guests; it is a bidet, and since we live in the southeastern United States, I will assume that you are not familiar with bidets.  Well, they're lovely, really; they sit right next to your toilet, keeping it company, and they are for...ahem...washing your bottom.  Apparently the folks in Europe (where bidets are common) were never let in on the invention of toilet paper. 

I would go take a picture of the bidet and post it to help you visualize the scene, but once again, the husband might wonder why I am taking the camera into the bathroom with me.  I'm trying to avoid suspicion.

Having never been owners of a bidet before, Justin and I have been at a loss as to what to do with it.  We have not embraced the bidet lifestyle, so it just sits and gathers dust.  More than one friend has suggested putting some plants in it.  Justin has offered the use of it to friends and neighbors based on a 50 cent admission fee.  I have thought about building some sort of shelving unit around it as a camouflage of sorts.  We are at a loss, or we were, until our 4-year-old niece Maddie came to visit this weekend.

She was using the bathroom frequently and we decided that she might like to try the bidet instead of having her mom wipe such a sensitive area continually.  Justin, my sister (her mom) and I stood around the bidet, trying to figure out how to operate it.  Justin adjusted the water temperature and turned a faucet and wham-o!  we had a water fountain that jetted straight to the ceiling, spraying him in his face on the way up.  We laughed and laughed; who knew bathrooms could be so much fun?  Anyway, Justin got the spray down to a more manageable level and Sam put Maddie on the bidet.  Maddie didn't want us to watch - a girl needs her privacy - but we could hear her giggling while we stood in the hall outside the bathroom.  She loved it!  She said it tickles and massages - her words, not mine. 

So now, the bidet has purpose, a reason to live.  And Maddie wants one installed in her house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quick! Come visit!

The downstairs is clean.  Well, some of it.  Really, just two rooms, but I am basking in the glory of two clean rooms.  Not just clutter-free, mind you, but dusted and swept and all of the dirty bits thrown away.  Lovely.  And then there is another room in the house which is not clean, technically, but looks like it because everything is put away.  If one child walked through any of these rooms and even thought about putting a book or a piece of paper down, I appeared magically in the doorway and glared at them until they cowered in fear and began cleaning up messes they hadn't even made just to appease me.  Beautiful.  Oh, and the screened-in porch, while not inside the house, is also beautiful.  I have to tell you all of the places that are neat and orderly in case it never happens again.

I would take a picture - we live in a cynical age and perhaps you need photographic evidence - but the time is 10:36 p.m. and I would have to wake my angel baby husband to get the camera out of our room.  Depending on how alert he is, he might question my need for a camera at this time of night.  I do not want to see his sweet angel baby forehead wrinkled in confusion, or hear whatever sweet angel baby words might come out of his mouth, so you will just have to trust me on this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hospitals = Not Fun

Hello Friends,

I am back from my father-in-law's surgery, which went wonderfully well, I am glad to say.  Justin and I left Wednesday night and came back Friday to enjoy a visit from my mom and my sister and her children.  My sister just bought a Honda Odyssey in anticipation of child #3 who is due to show up in January.  Plus her old Explorer made every trip to the grocery store an adventure - will this be the one when it gives up the ghost?  She never knew what to expect.  So I am glad that she has a gently used reliable minivan, and now she too knows the joy of automatic doors that spring open to welcome her sweet little babies in when her hands are full.  Those minivan engineers are geniuses, I tell you what.

I must admit, I had a twinge of minivan envy when I saw her 60/40 fold-down rear seat (we have the 100% fold-down model), and leather seats! heated, no less! a drop-down DVD player! Navigation system!  BUT I love my old Odyssey; maybe it is not as stylish, but it has seen us through 176,000 miles of traveling safely, so what's not to love?

When Justin's dad was in the surgery, we read and walked around the waiting room and then read some more.  It was a lot of waiting!  Justin's mom met a family whose loved one was getting a heart transplant; they just found out that morning there was a heart available, so there was a big rush to get to the hospital.  Another young girl - college-age, I'd guess - was there with a steady stream of visitors; her mother had suffered a massive heart attack and was still unresponsive.  Justin's mom met a man who had hit his head while running.  A lady taking her kids to school saw him lying on the sidewalk and got out and began to administer CPR.  Someone else came along to help her, and then someone else came and took her kids to school for her.  She rode with this man, whom she did not know, in the ambulance to the hospital, then came back to their neighborhood and started going door-to-door, describing the man and the situation until finally she found his wife, who didn't even realize he had gone running.  Can you imagine? I hope that if I ever am driving down the road and see a man lying on the sidewalk, I will be the one to get out and help him.  What if she had kept going?  He might be dead.

I did not like being in a hospital.  I have always had a lot of respect for nurses and hospital caregivers, but I don't think I could ever be one.  I would probably freak out if there was an emergency, or start crying if someone started yelling at me.  Nerves are very fragile when your loved one is in surgery and you feel so helpless, not knowing what is going on; a lot of people take their anxiety out on hospital staff.  In our case, all is well, and we are thankful.  Justin and I are going back to Atlanta to pick up Justin's mom and dad and take them back home on Thursday.  His dad won't be able to drive quite yet, and his mom's happy place is not behind the wheel of a car going 75 mph on an interstate.  She doesn't even pump her own gas.  So Justin will drive their car and I'll follow in the Silver Bullet (our minivan) and we'll get them back to Alabama, where they belong.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



I will not be blogging for the next few days.  Justin and I are going to be with his parents as his dad has heart surgery tomorrow.  If you come across this post, pray for him and for us!
Feel better soon, Gran-daddy K!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Camping Con't there a better way to spend a beautiful weekend in early October?  Maybe  watching chick flicks and sipping hot toddies in a beautiful vacation home in the mountains with a few of your girlfriends while Merry Maids and a professional organizer work together to make your wreck of a house into a vision of cleanliness and neatly stacked sweaters?  While you are waiting your turn for a mani-pedi, a gift from your husband because you are so awesome? Yes, yes, I believe that would be better.  But that option was not offered to me, so I went camping.  Yippee! 

At sleeping bag #4,398, approximately two hours after our intended departure time, we seriously considered unpacking the van and catapulting all camping-related gear into the bed of the pick-up truck, but instead we just kept shoving and throwing things on top of the already buckled-in kids until there was only a minimal pile of unimportant stuff left forlorn in the driveway.

We drove up the mountain up a crazy curvy hwy 80 which I can't recommend to anyone prone to motion sickness and got to Black Mountain Campground right before nightfall.  Our friend had secured three spots all in a row for our three families, so we set up tents and thought longingly of supper.  We set up our little two-man tent for the kids, ate some hot dogs and s'mores and remarked at how much we loved a campfire.  I do love a campfire, my friend, and the brisk mountain air felt deliciously cool in my lungs.  We were loving it!  Even Jack the Anxious enjoyed playing UNO by lantern-light and burning marshmallows to a cinder, pawning them off on me.  Everyone knows moms like burnt marshmallows the best.

The Saturday morning wake-up campfire

The mob takes to a trail.

The leaves were just starting to change color.

The beautiful and talented Emma
That night our three brave kids slept by themselves in their own tent close to ours.  I took my Unisom, but it did not kick in, and I laid there listening to the owls hoot and waiting for someone to cry "Mom!" in fear.  But all of the pre-bedtime running around in the darkness had worked its magic, and I never heard a peep from any of them. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Tomorrow, we the Kendrick family are going camping in North Carolina with some friends.  We have not camped since we moved to Spartanburg, and Emma is very excited about it.  Just Emma.

The rest of us have our various reasons for un-excitement.
Justin:  It requires sleeping in a tent.
Susan:  I would be excited if all of our clothes and camping equipment could magically pack themselves and then set themselves up in an organized manner once we get to the campground.  And the food would magically cook itself, and then the cooking utensils would magically clean themselves.  And when I had to pee at 3 in the morning, a clean bathroom would magically appear in the tent so I didn't have to stumble around in the cold and dark night.  Apparently I want to camp only if Harry Potter is with me.
Will: Two words: College Football.  Are you kidding me?
Jack:  We will be outside.  In the dark.  There will be animals very close by, waiting to pounce.

Jack is seven years old.  He has a few anxiety triggers: fire drills at school make him nervous, he hates Halloween and all things spooky, and he does not like to be outside at night.  Hates it, in fact.  When we eat outside on the screened-in porch at our house with all of the lights on and the living room just a glass door away, he opts to eat inside by himself in the kitchen.  He will come out only to ask us to come back in with him.  Crickets chirping happily in the night freak Jack out, so the idea of raccoons or - dare I say it - bears tromping around in the wilderness, looking for something to eat, sends his little anxiety meter right through the roof.  He asked if there would be bears and frankly, we can't rule bears out, so we just said we doubted it.  Not exactly what he wanted to hear.

Justin and I hope that the fun of sitting around the campfire with friends roasting marshmallows and talking (please, do not even think about telling ghost stories) will offset the scariness of the Dark Outdoors.  He is seven, after all, and getting a little bit braver every day.  I am bringing some sleeping pills just in case the whole bravery thing doesn't pan out.  One for me and one for Jack.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I want to be Bezalel

It is 4:30 p.m.  In 2 1/2 hours, I will be teaching a study on prayer.  I do not want to.  It makes me nervous.

I keep reminding myself that God delights to use the weak, that His glory is made manifest because I can't do anything in my own strength but all things through Him who gives me strength, but I struggle with my inadequacies.  I want to be very good at something.  One of my very favorite stories in the Bible is when God names two men who are skilled craftsmen to create materials and work metals for the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 31).  That is who I want to be.  I do not want to be Beth Moore. 

I want to be Bezalel, a behind-the-scenes worker who gives glory to God in artistic design.  I wonder if Bezalel had self-image issues?  I wonder if he ever looked at what he'd done and thought that it wasn't good enough, who was he kidding, thinking he was a skilled craftsman?  I don't think so.  I picture Bezalel quietly confident, working designs into metals and setting stones and carving wood and standing back and praising God through his work.

God can use me wherever he wants to.   Months ago I saw the need for a women's small group in our new church, so I headed it up.  I heard once that the need is not the call.  I can't decide if that is true or if that is just an excuse not to help out.  We can't do everything that needs to be done ourselves, I know, but if you see a hole and you are able and willing to fill it, is that the call?  Maybe it is, or maybe we're all serving miserably in the church because we're not doing that to which our gifts and skills lend us.  I don't know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Supper: Green Stuff, Chicken, Rice, Carrots and Bell Pepper Strips

Jack tries to pick out the green stuff.

Will shows what he thinks of the green stuff.

I'm not sure what's going on here.

Jack tries to finish the rest of his chicken so he can get down from the table.

Justin shows the kids how to act like a grown up.
Will refuses to eat anymore.  Emma comes to the rescue and finishes it for him.
The family shows what Mama looks like at supper.

Friday, October 1, 2010


This morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to a horrifying realization:  I had not put the cold groceries in the refrigerator.  As I hopped out of bed and navigated the dark hallway, I began mentally tabulating how much money it would take to replace what would surely be room temperature food by now.  Here's what I got:
  1. two packages of fresh pizza dough @ $2.79 each
  2. 3 blocks of cheese @ $2
  3. six cartons of yogurt @ $0.50
           Total:  $14.58 worth of groceries.

That made me a little sick to my stomach.

Groceries make me crazy.  I am a reluctant coupon-er; I hate how much time it takes to deal with coupons, but I cannot argue with the results.

So at 4:30 this morning, I looked at the yogurt, cheese, and dough (which was trying to rise right out of its bag), and do you know what I did?  I put it all in the fridge, every last bit.  And fed it to my family today.  So far we all feel fine.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Hello Friends and Fellow Overwhelmed Mamas,

I have just put supper in the oven to bake and thought I would share one of my favorite recipes with you.  It's called Easy Chicken Pot Pie, and if you have a rotisserie chicken, a can opener and a refrigerator, you can make this for your family tonight!  Here it is:

  • 1 can cream of potato soup (I use cream of whatever-I-have-in-the-pantry, and it always still tastes good)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed (I use more than this for a deep-dish pot pie)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (sometimes I don't have this on hand, so I just skip it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
Mix up everything except for the pie shells.  Put one pie shell in a pie plate, and then add the chicken mixture.  Top with the second pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes (slit the top crust to let the steam escape).  Easy-peasy-shampoo-squeezy!

It tastes like Grandma made it!  Toss a salad and add some crusty bread and supper is done, with about 10 minutes of preparation.

You can thank Vickie Margene, one of my favorite high school teachers, for this lovely concoction.  When Justin and I were engaged, one of my high school friends hosted a wedding shower and everyone brought a recipe on a recipe card.  Then the hostess put them all in a cookbook for me.  What a sweet (and useful) keepsake!  I'm still thankful for it, fifteen years later.  My sister was a junior in college at the time and here's her recipe card:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hmmm...a tell-all blog entry about a desperate housewife's obsession?  This should be good and juicy, right?  Well it obsession is lip balm.  There!  It's finally out in the open, and I feel so much freer for having told you all.  Yes, I love lip balm.  I stash it in secret spots where ever I go.  Right now I have some beside my bed, in the dash of the minivan, in the bathroom, in my purse, in the kitchen and on the porch.  Just kidding about on the porch, that would just be weird.  Who needs lip balm on the porch?  Well, maybe if it was cold and windy outside, I could see leaving some on the porch just in case.  I'll leave some there tomorrow.

I hate, hate for my lips to be chapped.  They are often chapped because I am a compulsive lip-chewer.  There...another dark secret come to light.  Quite the confessional today, eh?  I also tend to rub my face and twist my hair into a bun when I am stressed.  But I don't bite my nails.  Only weirdos do that.

I also obsess about cardigan sweaters.  I am wearing one right now.  I wore one particular sweater so often that my friend Stephanie named it Greenie and asked about it when I didn't have it on.  Where's Greenie?  Why aren't you wearing it?  Did you have a fight?  Cardigans are like Snuggies as far as I'm concerned, only a bit more fashion-forward.  Especially the really long ones that look like knitted trench coats.  I used to have one like that, but it had permanent bumps at the hips that made me look like I was carrying a coat hanger in my jeans.  I'm not looking to draw more attention to my hip region.  Anyway, you can wear cardigans year round.  They make cute little short-sleeved ones for the summer.  I have one in green which has a hole in the collar but of course I still wear it because I just pretend like it's not there.  In my world, that cardigan is still perfect.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beware the little foxes

Hmmm...that title sounds kind of creepy, doesn't it?  It actually comes from the Bible, which doesn't make it any less creepy, really. 

"Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom." 

- Song of Solomon 2:15

I ate lunch with a friend yesterday, and she asked how Justin and I were doing, relationally.  Church planting is a stressful undertaking, and sometimes that stress can bleed into and damage marriages.  I told her, honestly, that at times our relationship felt more like a business partnership than a marriage.  Our conversations center on Grace Church, how to handle the children's ministry, what kind of results he was having in the search for a bigger meeting place, how to make people feel more included, when to go to a morning worship service.  Now, planting a church is a good and noble endeavor, right?  And church planting will necessarily be on our minds and enter into our conversation.  But when it becomes all consuming, it can turn into an idol; something that has to go right in our lives, or our lives are not worth living.

Sometimes little foxes sneak into our vineyards, our marriages, and if we do not catch them, they will ruin the harvest, nibbling on the vines while they are still in bloom.  They can be hobbies that take us away from our spouses more often than is healthy.  They can be relationships with understanding friends which become more important to us than our relationship with our husband or wife.  They are usually unnoticeable at first, harmless in appearance.

Life is busy right now.  My husband and I are at a place in our marriage where we could easily shift into leading parallel lives, working and living side by side without ever taking the time to really look at each other, encourage each other, enjoy each other as we should.  Marriage is a good gift from God, but it cannot be taken for granted.  Good marriages require vigilance, sacrifice, and sometimes watching more Pride and Prejudice or ESPN than one would think humanly possible.  Get interested in what interests your spouse.  Husbands, look for ways to love your wife - maybe even ask her how you can best love her.  Wives, the Bible reminds us to respect our husbands; ask God (and your spouse) how best to do so.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Tonight Justin is at a CEO meet and greet sponsored by the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce.  I guess he is CEO of our church plant and that's how he got the invite.  To celebrate supper with minimal preparation, the kids and I dined upon such choice delicacies as chicken nuggets, roast beef sandwich, Very Cherry fruit cocktail (once you've gone very cherry you can never go back to plain jane fruit cocktail), and Cheetos.  I do not even feel guilty about it.

If, tragically, the father of my children was to depart this earth, I feel sure that said children would never eat anything from the fresh produce department again.  A father who insists upon a balanced meal is a blessing from God, as much so as a mother who consistently insures that there is clean underwear in their little drawers when they dress every day.  We complement each other nicely as parents, I think.

Well, enough about the delights of processed cheese powder.  I just wanted to let you know that I am still alive and kicking.  I have been running, though I would need to run about three hours more than I do daily to offset cheetos and fruit cocktail.  My strategy when I am returning to running is to run/walk six minute intervals.  I start walking 4 minutes, running 2.  Any person, regardless of what shape they are in, can probably run for 2 minutes:  this is my thinking.  Then, every day, I shift the balance towards running 10 seconds longer and walking 10 seconds less.  Right now I am running 3:15 and walking 2:45.  This means at some point I only gave myself a five second shift.  It probably was a bad day.  I figure something is better than nothing.

Today I was about 40 minutes in and I'd been running in a light drizzle when suddenly, the bottom fell out.  The dog (my running companion) would bolt for a bush to hide under, let me jog by, and cower until the leash tightened up again and she was forced to bolt for the next bush.  I was concerned that my Ipod was getting too wet, so I took it off and tried to stuff it in my pants, arm band and all.  Once in my pants, it kept threatening to slide down one leg and fly out in front of my shoe, so I held it under my shirt for the rest of the way home.  I will pause here for a moment while you enjoy that mental, clutching my abdomen with one hand, and with the other, jerking on the leash to get the dog out of the bush.  In the pouring rain.  With cars flying past me, sending up nasty road water spray.  Well, the good news in all of this is that the Ipod survived and I ran faster and longer than I have in quite some time!  In fact, I ran all the way home, a good 20 minutes.  The bad news is that I am throwing the Ipod arm band away after its journey into my trousers, and I hate my dog.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Down with Quinoa

Yes, that's right, I said quinoa.  It's pronounced keen-wah, and it is the most protein-ific of all the whole grains you could possibly eat.  How do I know that?  Because it says so on the box, right under the words "If you really cared about your children, you would feed this to them every night!"  OK It doesn't really say that, but you know they are thinking it.

My blog info says that I have guilt about feeding my kids Reese Puffs for breakfast.  Reese Puffs, for those of you who don't know, is a breakfast cereal that ranks 7th in the top 10 worst cereal to give your kids for breakfast.  Tenth in the list is Cinnamon Toast Crunch, another Kendrick Family favorite.  At least we don't eat #1, the dreaded Cocoa Puffs.  Still, I try to combat the effects of all that sugar with some quinoa at supper.  And spinach.  Ummm...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

No one on this continent even knew what quinoa was 30 years ago, except for the descendants of the ancient Inca indians in South America.  Now they are trying to force their quinoa agenda on their northern brethren.  What's next, temple-building?  Maybe they are just sick of eating it, and they know we feel guilty about all of our high-fructose corn syrup issues, so they figured they could pass it off on us.  Either way, be on your guard.  Do your patriotic duty and eat more refined carbs.  Or you may find yourself chanting to the sun and trying to hide all of your gold from the conquistadors.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Way We Spend our Days

I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed by my post yesterday when I read it today.  But I'm a big believer in transparency, so I'm not deleting it.  My feelings, though maybe steered by PMS and the beginnings of a cold, were nonetheless real, and I'm probably not the only woman who has ever felt this way.  BUT I will also note that a post like that is a wake up call that I am spending too much time thinking about my shortcomings and not enough time with my Father God who meets me in my weakness.

When you feel down on yourself, look up!  Remember that fear and anxiety are problems that God can solve.  Even disorganization and unrealistic time-maps are no match for him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time management

I spent a good portion of my day today defining my life goals and trying to create a time-map in which I achieve said goals.  I'm not sure how it went, but I can tell you that on Google Calendars I have lots and lots of blue boxes with event titles like CLEAN UP SUPPER; VOLUNTEER; HELP KIDS WITH HOMEWORK.  Hmmm.  There are no empty boxes, which means if you call me and you are not on the time-map (and believe me, there is no room for phone calls on my time-map), you have completely wrecked my day. 

The reason I created the time-map is that each day, the minutes turn into hours and then it's 10:30 and I'm wondering, "What did I do all day? It exhausted me, whatever it was."  We are entering year #3 of being a stay-at-home mom with no stay-at-home kids, and reality has set in.  I am no closer to being organized.  I have read many more books about organization and time management than I had this time two years ago, but that is about it.  I feel like, in order to validate being at home for approximately 6.5 hours every day with minimal interruptions, the house should be respectable, I should be running some sort of profitable home-based business, and clothes should be neatly folded and in drawers.  Is that too much to ask?  I don't even know; all I know is I'm not there. And the guilt...I don't even know what drawer to put the guilt in. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Top 5 Reasons to be Thankful Today

  1. The supply of Reese Puffs was replenished today, thanks to buy one get one sales at Publix.  Jack came home and looked at the yet-to-be-put-away groceries and said, "Thank you, Mama, I'm sick of eating Raisin Bran."  
  2. Justin and I walked together to the school to pick the children up.  What a blessing to have a) a husband willing to make that walk and b) a husband who works from home, so he can make that walk.
  3. I got a good five inches of hair taken off today.  I walked in and Justin said, "Does this mean you lost 25 pounds?"  Funny guy.  I said, "No, this is mild compared to the hair cut I am getting when I lose the weight."  My husband is mourning the loss, while I could not be happier.  Well, maybe if it was shorter, I'd be happier.
  4. The weather is cooling off.  College football is days away.  We still don't have a TV hooked up yet.
  5. Today is over and I get to go to bed.  Hooray!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday before people come over

We are having our church plant Bible Study at our house tomorrow.  It stresses me out.  The basement is in chaos and that is where we are going to have the Bible study.  So why did I spend my time hanging pictures and cleaning up the kitchen?  We will never know.  At one point, I thought, I should prioritize.  #1 Basement #2 Basement Bathroom, etc.  Instead I just kept doing the dishes.  They won't go away just because the basement needs to be cleaned up, right?

Then after I finally decided to go downstairs, I realized I had never assembled my IKEA console table to go behind the sofa.  It is critical because it hides the sofa back which is quite faded (too bad they didn't make a table to go IN FRONT of the sofa, too) and hopefully it will keep small children from trying to jump over the back of the sofa to sit in it.  Or maybe it will just add an extra bit of challenge to a young jumper, like a hurdle in a track event.  One never knows.

IKEA is quite brilliant in their wordless directions on how to assemble a table, but I still managed to mess it up.  Not once, not twice, but thrice I un-assembled and re-assembled that table.  I was almost in tears because the idea was to throw the thing together and begin cleaning!  Instead it became a huge time suck, and I succumbed to the stress and became quite snappy with the husband.  He snapped back, and then after a bit, came and helped me.  He was there for unassembly #3, I believe.  At any rate, as mad as I was at him, I still really needed his help, so I grumbled a thank you and tried not to think angry hateful thoughts directed toward my family for swimming while I was wrestling this beast, my church for coming over tomorrow and thus prompting the stress, and the good folks at IKEA for building a table so cute and cheap that I just had to buy it.  None of the attitude problem, of course, was my fault.  One of my spiritual gifts is blame-shifting.

Well, the table is together but everything else has to wait because it was time to fix supper. So while the chicken pot pie is baking and the rice is ... swelling? absorbing?  I don't know what it does.  Anyway, I am here to tell you that it is ok if the basement doesn't get clean.  It's ok, though it hurts my pride.  Which probably needed some hurting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

weeds or plants?

Before we moved into our new house, I told myself that I would not pull up any plants the first year we lived here.  I would live with them, whether they looked ugly to me or not, because sometimes a plant that looks bad in late August may have been beautiful in April.  I am giving them a chance to prove their worth, so to speak.

So today I simply cut back rather than uprooted ugly unkempt plants.  I did pull some up by their roots, but they were easily identified as small trees.  And pokeberry plants, I would know them anywhere.  The rest got a good shearing. 

The reason I am trying to not pull up all of the plants is because at the first house that we bought, I decided to bring order to the chaos that was all around our mailbox by "weeding".  Instead, I took out a good hunk of creeping phlox (now a personal favorite) and some daylilies and clumps of yarrow.  I didn't know they were perennials; I just thought they were ugly.

What if we did that to our friends?  There was a man in our church when we first got married who struck me as a rigid, judgmental, ultra-conservative homeschooling dad with whom I would have little in common.  I would have pulled him right out of my circle of acquaintances, if I could have, but we both went to the same church, so it was hard to avoid him.  Well, when we decided to finish our basement ourselves, my husband started calling on him for advice, because he was in the construction business.  And he ended up coming over to check things out.  He ended up coming A LOT because we had no idea what we were doing.  And the more I got to know him, the more I realized how completely I had misjudged him.  He is a great guy with a big servant's heart, and when we think of the folks we miss seeing now that we moved here, he is right there, one of our dearest friends. 

Give your plants a little while before you decide they are weeds.  You may regret getting rid of them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Got It Under Control

As I said yesterday, we have been in our house for three weeks now.  We knew when we bought it that the formal living room in the front of the house (it's an old 60's style ranch with a walk-out basement) would become Justin's office.  Because we are planting a new church, Justin is working from home, so all of his commentaries and spiritually-minded books which have always been in his church office are now coming to live with us.  There are lots of them.  Lots and lots. 

We went to IKEA in Charlotte and bought bookshelves.  18 feet worth of bookshelves, which, when finished, will go all the way to our 8 foot ceilings.  In my mind, that would be enough room for his books and some plants, framed pictures of the kids, and other assorted decorative objects.  Well, instead, it is enough room for his books.  And little else.  He received a box of books yesterday in the mail.  I looked at the box and then looked at him.  He said defensively, "Just because you know how many books I have now doesn't mean I have to stop buying them."  There was a book on depression and a book by Richard Baxter (wise Puritan author) the size of a cinderblock.  "Tim Keller says this is a necessary reference book to have!"  he says while I give the book my squinty-eyed laser look.

Last week we decided to change out all of the electrical outlets on the wall o' bookcases to accommodate three-prong receptacles.  I googled the process and it all seemed straightforward, so while Justin was at a meeting, I decided to surprise him and get it done myself.  I went to Lowe's and talked to the helpful man there, and he told me that I could buy and install the new outlets, but it wouldn't make a difference in a power surge because there was no ground wire.  We went back and forth on various solutions to the problem, and I walked out of Lowe's with a new GFCI breaker, that I was going to install in our breaker box, that would protect all of our precious electronics in case of a power surge. 

Fast forward 45 minutes...I am standing in a dark basement with a head lamp on, sweating and praying that I don't electrocute myself.  The kids are yelling, asking when the lights are going to come back on.  I cannot get the old breaker out, and it doesn't matter because the new breaker wouldn't fit in the same slot and I am not going to stand here re-wiring the breaker box all night long.  I give in.  I cannot DIY whole house electrical systems.

Turns out, from what our electrician friends tell us, that what I was trying to do would not have helped that much anyway (curse you, helpful Lowe's sales person!), so we just leave it all alone and I return to things I know about.  Like hanging pictures.  Unpacking boxes.  Laundry.  Diet Coke.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's been two months

Yes, it has been two months since I last wrote anything.  And I really thought I would blog through the entire move. I wish I had!  The computer was down for a couple of weeks, but that was it.  I could have.  I should feel guilty.  I DO feel guilty!  There...everything is back to normal.

Well, folks, the kids have been in school for seven days now.  We've been in our house for three weeks; it will be four on Saturday.  We've spent more time than we could ever have anticipated trying to figure out how to get the pool water clear.  I feel like we've adopted a fourth child - a very large, wet, blue child with a propensity for algae.  But that's ok because I will unabashedly say that our new home is awesome.  I love it!  And I am so thankful for it.  In fact, I think it is one of the greatest inanimate objects I have ever been blessed to own.  That and my minivan, which now sounds like a ghost is riding on top of it every time you get above 45 mph.  Don't ask why.   Justin has looked at the top of the van, and I have watched him looking at the top of the van, and the problem didn't show itself, so we just enjoy the wind whistling through the roof racks.

Boudreaux the dog seems ok with the new house.  She injured her tail because she wags it so hard against the bricks that it bleeds and now we have to keep her away from guests because she will bleed on their pants.  There are little blood spots on the kitchen cabinets and the door frames which I keep cleaning off.  We would like to just cut her tail off but that seems harsh to do to an adult dog.  It's probably inhumane, I don't know. Plus we'd have to pay for it, which we can ill afford to do right now.  Justin suggested putting some sort of bandage on her tail, but you know she would just chew it right off and then I'd be cleaning bloody bandages off the floor while I was scrubbing the kitchen cabinets. 

I told myself I wouldn't write until I had pictures of the house, but I decided writing is better than nothing.  Instead of a picture of the house I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures of my nephew eating his first birthday cupcake.  See you later!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summertime...and the livin' is...easy?

I remember just a few weeks ago I sang the praises of summer...all of the things I love about summer.  I remember how eagerly I anticipated the slower pace of life, how I soaked up the sun's warmth like a lizard on a rock...well.  Fast forward to today, June 22, I believe day 2 of the official start of summer, and I am trying to organize my storage building, sweating like a glass of ice water on my mom's good dining room table, and wishing I had had the foresight to gather some cardboard boxes and trash bags before I plunged into the murk that is known as Kendrick excess.  I hauled hoes, pool noodles, plastic jack-o-lanterns, and a badminton net out of cinderblock purgatory, with two phones, a pair of scissors, and the extra set of house keys stuffed in my pockets.  My shorts were too tight and in between fussing at myself for not losing any weight yet and cursing my husband's penchant for saving every lawn tool, broken or not, that we have ever owned, I answered calls and tried to take care of prayer requests for the email prayer chain and set out the slip-n-slide for my kids and two of their friends.  I safety-pinned a make-shift bathing suit on a 5-year-old, prayed with Will and Emma because they could not play on the slip-n-slide without becoming physically abusive, and replaced Wii remote batteries for Jack and our friend, Jesse.  At about 4:30, Justin stuck his head in said cinderblock purgatory and asked how it was going.  Then he said it felt like it was 110 degrees in there and asked if I had any water to drink.  I said no because I had told myself I would quit at 5:00 and I was almost there and I didn't want to take the time to get a drink.  He went and got me some water and asked me not to have a heat stroke.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend Excitement

So, I was folding clothes in the laundry/guest bedroom and one of the kids runs in and says, "You are NOT going to believe this!" and then runs back out.  The other two kids and I follow him (it was Will) outside and there, sprawled across the driveway, is one of the oak trees.  Completely toppled over.
Apparently a disease had infected the root system of the tree and they had rotted underneath the tree.  To look at the tree, you could never tell - it looked perfectly healthy.  My friend Suzanne and I were talking about it on Sunday and she said, "Oh that's a sermon illustration waiting to be used."  Only pastor's wives have these types of conversations.

Anyway, we're just thankful that no one was hurt; Jack had been practicing learning how to ride his bike without training wheels in this very spot about 30 minutes before it happened.  The other exciting part was that this tree's root system was bound up with another oak's, just a couple of feet away.  We were afraid that this still-standing tree might be ready to come down without any warning as well, so today we watched as they de-limbed and chopped up the trunk of the second oak tree.  Now the area beside the house which used to be so shady and nice to park under is a barren wasteland.  Well, at least we're all safe.  The kids climbed all over the bobcat and the bucket truck tonight.  Then all of the folks in the Mt. Calvary exercise class came across the parking lot to get a gander at the tree.  It is something to see.  One elderly lady in our church told Justin she remembered those trees being big when she was a little girl.  I guess if there's disease in the soil, there's no point in planting a replacement tree.  I feel like something green needs to go in it's place, but I guess it will have to be something green in a pot, which can't quite take the place of two 60-foot tall majestic oaks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Confessions of a Selfish Mother

Yesterday, I used a merchandise credit at Belk's to buy myself some flip flops. While my kids ran up and down the escalators in the center of the store, I leisurely tried on different styles, standing on one foot and then the other, to find just the right shoes I wanted.

The reason this is a confession of a selfish mom is because a) I didn't really need flip-flops. In fact, I had perfectly good ones on my feet when I walked into the store. They were just showing their age a bit. The other reason b) is that the merchandise credit that I used to buy the flip-flops was from returning some shirts that my mother-in-law had bought for the boys. Yes, I am stealing money from my children to buy myself frivolous footwear.

They were totally worth it.  In fact, they are on my feet right now and it makes me happy just to look down at them.

Monday, May 31, 2010

1st Official Monday of Summer 2010

The first official school-free weekday of summer is...wet.  Very wet.  Thunderstorms.

That picture has nothing to do with today.  I just like it.  And that's where we were at the beginning of last summer - Wilmington!  We are too swamped to even leave Sparkle City.  Everyone left for Memorial Day Weekend and Jack said the only fun thing to do today is play with a paper clip.  Pretty sad.

We went to Blockbuster (I know, we're the only people that still use Blockbuster) and rented the 1st Harry Potter movie, The Sandlot, and The Adventures of Super Mario Brothers III.  All of my favorites.  I just got finished playing Monopoly-The Clone Wars edition because Jack thought he might lose and wanted to shut it down before I turned the corner on all of my mortgaged properties.

We got the house.  Yippee!  I thought I would be on cloud nine when it all ended, but the whole process was so long and emotional that I am just thankful to not invest time and thought into it.  At least not until the closing, which is July 30.  Even though we have a contract on the house, I will not truly believe it is ours until we hold the keys and all of our stuff is sitting in boxes in all of the various rooms.  Remember my great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaddy is Thomas, the disciple who doubted.  We have a lot in common.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I Hate Honors Day

Honors Day...that ancient grade-school tradition wherein we applaud the academically-, artistically-, and athletically-gifted cream of the crop of children, and expect the middle of the pack children to sit still, applaud when appropriate, and try not to fidget. 

The fact of the matter is that those gifted and talented children have usually been praised and reminded of their academic superiority throughout the we need to have a day dedicated to them?  And what are we telling the other 95% of their classmates by singling out this little bit of their population for recognition?  I don't see how Honors Day helps anyone.

Don't mind me, I'm just grumpy.  We still are in house negotiation issues.  I thought we would know today whether we could buy the house that we finally decided we liked the best of all the billions we say, but the sellers are still thinking about it.   Thinking is overrated, I say!  Just sell us the house at a decent price and be glad you are done with it.  But I can't talk to them, everything has to go through our realtor who talks to the sellers' realtor who talks to them.  Justin said it's a little like playing the gossip game in school.  Who knows what the message looks like after it has gone through so many hands? 

Once I abolish Honors Day, my next goal will be to get rid of realtors.  They once were a necessary evil, but with the advent of the internet, they need to go sell used cars or be telemarketers.  I hope none of you are realtors.  Or used car salesmen.  Or telemarketers.  I probably should stop now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Ode to Summer

I love to be hot.  In contrast to my husband, who hates hot, I soak up warmth like a cold-blooded lizard on a rock.  I can feel the sun beating down on me right now, just thinking about it.
I also love having my kids with me during the summer.  Remind me I said that mid-July.
I love going to the beach, and now that our kids aren't terrified of the ocean (big scary waves! take cover in the dunes!), they are fun to be with at the beach.  We make dribble castles, look for shells, make life difficult for ghost crabs, and swim in the ocean.  Yippee!

I love swimming in the pool, I love wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops every day, I even like vacation Bible school.  Kinda.
I love going on trips! I love camping in the mountains near a loud, rushing river.  I love hearing the crickets and as summer wears on, the cicadas.  Jack hates them and always asks me to close the windows when I open them at night to hear the night bugs.  Which reminds me, I love lightning bugs.  And grilling out.  And baseball.  And fireworks.  And home-grown veggies.  I just don't like canning them.
This summer if all goes as planned, we will be moving to a new house.  I do not like moving.  But it's exciting to buy a new house!  I will try to fan the excitement flame when I'm packing bed linens and dishes into cardboard boxes while my kids whine about being bored.  I will put them to work if they whine.  I will put them to work if they don't whine.  I love them, but they're soft.  They need to work! And read.  And keep up with their math facts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fifteen years ago today...

I said, "I do" to my sweet hubbie!  When I met him in college, I thought he was goofy and not cool enough for a hot mama like myself (I am laughing at myself right now for ever thinking that someone was not "cool enough" for me, but I have to tell the truth).

The first time I ever saw him, I was handing him a check for players' tickets to the Auburn - Georgia game at Georgia.  As I was writing his name on my check - and this again is the truth - I thought, "That's a nice name.  Justin Kendrick."  It seemed balanced, pleasant to the ear.  Little did I know...

My sister and I rode in the trunk (I guess all of the seats were taken.  Or maybe he was really particular about who rode inside his car.) of his Grand Am up to ... oh I can't remember now, but it was the Panhellenic HQ where the powers that be would announce important things. Cater Hall, maybe? Justin and his roommate Ed ended up chauffeuring various Chi Omegas around because we never wanted to give up our parking spots close to the dorm.  That particular night the announcement was the finalists for Top 20 Miss Auburn.  I was probably the only finalist riding in the open trunk of some random boy's car while he listened to Snoop Dogg's classic rendition of Gin & Juice ("With my mind on my money and my money on my mind...everybody sing it now!).  I remember we had to hold the trunk top up or it would come crashing down on our heads every time he hit a bump.

Justin and Ed would come over to the dorm and play Nertz, an interactive speed solitaire where everyone has their own deck of cards and chaos reigned.  He farted one time and it stunk up the room so bad we went down to the lobby and played there.  That's probably when I fell in love with him.

To be fair, he has told me in later years that the first time we kissed, my breath smelled so bad he had to keep himself from gagging.  Well, he didn't say that part about gagging, but he did say it was pretty horrible.  I do have horrible breath.  That's why I chew so much gum.  Maybe I should start brushing my teeth.

He was friends with Sam before he was friends with me, and Sam said they would run together at night at the track and he would ask about me.  Her roommate had a huge crush on him and she would come too and practice tumbling passes while they ran (she was trying out for cheerleading).  In fact, she was one of two good friends who had crushes on him.  There was some tension in the dorm, girls!  He only had eyes for me, though.  Of course, I didn't know that then.

Our first date we went to see Schindler's List.  Maybe that's why, fifteen years later, I only want to watch rom-coms now (romantic comedies...rom-coms...isn't that a word?).

He cooked me catfish almondine with green beans on one of our dates.  I should remind him that he can cook!  He said later that he was on the phone with his mom walking him through it the whole time (the dinner prep, not the date).

I think he fell in love with me when he saw my bookshelf (literally, my bookshelf.  That's not a euphemism.  Get your mind out of the gutter).  Weighty theological tomes...this girl must be a keeper!

Happy Wedding Anniversary, Sweetie!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You'll be glad to know...

that I'm almost done with The Swan Thieves

and the laundry

and I'm over the whole house rant I posted yesterday

and I forgot to call my sister back

and Will got to play third base in the last game of the regular season

and my husband is yelling at the TV again. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just Ugly

My seven-year-old son Jack's Sunday School teacher, who knows that we are in the middle of house hunting, asked me if we were looking at a house with a pool.  "Yes, " I said, "Why?"  She said that Jack had told the whole Sunday School class that we might buy a house that has a pool, because everyone was talking about going swimming.  He is obviously as excited about that prospect as I am, but the conversation with his teacher put me on the defensive.  I told her that I was afraid if we bought this house, people who knew that Justin was a pastor would see it and look at each other knowingly and say, "That sure is a fine house the Kendricks bought."  Now, if you are not from the southern part of the United States, I will translate that sentence for you:  That preacher boy must be getting paid way too much to afford a house with a pool.  Well, I am showing the ugly in me just by saying that, because if God made it possible to buy a nice house (I feel compelled to point out now that it backs up to a busy road, the room layout is awkward, and the bathrooms are tiny - that may be why we can consider it in our price range), and we end up buying that house, I need to just rejoice in his goodness and not get all wadded up about what congregants may or may not be thinking.

It reminds me of a time about 13 years ago when Justin and I were joining a church in Charlotte, where we lived when we first got married.  The pastor and his wife invited all of the new members of the church to their house for a potluck supper.  We got to his house, which was pretty new, and all I could think about was how did a pastor have such a nice house.  And it was a nice house, but for Pete's sake, why did it matter to me what his house looked like?  The irony of that scene and the situation we are in now is not lost on me.  I would like to smack that little 23-year-old me upside the head and say, "Be glad for him!"

In a country where everyone lives and buys to excess, it is hard to know any longer what is appropriate when buying a house.  I pray that whatever we do, we will be good stewards of the resources God has given us, and not worry about what everyone else thinks.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Recently as a part of our involvement with the Spring Fling festival in downtown Spartanburg, we had a drawing for $50 worth of gift cards.  It was just another way to show love to the folks in Sparkle City.  I was tapped to be the one to call the winner so we could send her the cards.  Well, I talked to her today, and she was so excited!  I mean, she wasn't screaming or anything, but you could tell we had just made her day.  It was such a great feeling to be the one to deliver the good news!  I had kinda been dreading it (I'm such an introvert), but it was so much fun to hear the joy and surprise in her voice; I decided I would like a job where that's what I did all day.  Just calling up total strangers, telling them they've won something great.  I could be Oprah! but without all of the crazy I-lost-400-pounds-and-then-ate-every-doughnut-in-Krispy-Kreme TV shows.

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that actually, I already have that job.  I have good news!  You've won absolution from your sins and eternal life in a wonderful place called Heaven with a wonderful person called Jesus.  He is not only a great friend, He knows you inside and out, good tries and bad thoughts, and he loves you dearly.   You've won this through no doing of your own; Jesus just wanted to give you this prize because He's good like that. 

When we were handing out free cookies at the Grace Presbyterian booth at Spring Fling, many people would shake their heads no, they didn't want a cookie.  Now, maybe they didn't really, but maybe some of them did and they were just skeptical, thought surely there were strings attached.  Would we try to sell them something?  No, we gave out cookies like God gives out His goodness...just because we care, just because it's a joy to bring joy to people.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

tip of the day

Did you know that if you rub balled-up pantyhose against your black t-shirt with white deodorant marks, the marks go away?  Amazing!  Liberating!  All of these years I've been changing shirts when I could have been rubbing myself with pantyhose.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


We looked at a dozen or so houses today on the east side of Spartanburg.  None stood out as a clear winner.  We are too picky or we need to win a lottery, I'm not sure which.  When we got home around 5ish, after leaving our realtor about as tired as we were but without the emotional stress, I looked over the lesson I was about to teach to my 4th and 5th graders.  It was about the tenth commandment, not envying your neighbor, or his house, and I knew that the Holy Spirit was giving me a subtle smack on the top of the head to remind me that He was still taking care of us, even in a house hunt which looks to stretch on with no end in sight.  I needed that!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I have a problem

I don't know how to stop checking out books from the library.  I was there, ostensibly, for the children, because they have standardized testing this week and need some good books to read in the down time.  But I saw The Swan Thieves: A Novel the new book by Elizabeth Kostova and my fear is that I would never see it again.  The horror!  So I checked it out.  Her book The Historian was a massive work of fiction, but so well-written.  I loved it.  And I also checked out two more books by Laurie King The Moor: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Mary Russell Novels)O Jerusalem (Mary Russell Novels) .  Now I, at this point in my life, don't even have time for deep cleansing breaths in the car pool line.  I know there is no way I can throw a little light fiction in life's mixing bowl (which seems to be set on super-high).   But I need books like other people need conversation, and the library is so great about giving them to me for free!  I cannot help it.