Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Please Visit My New Blog: Life in Avoid

When we moved into inner-city Atlanta, I started a new blog: Life In Avoid. Here's my email signature:

What happens when a suburban white mom uproots her family and moves into the 'hood? Find out in Life in Avoid: Ordinary Life in an Extraordinary Place.


Transitioning from Suburban Mom to Urban Missionary. One crazy-ass step at a time.
So if you like what you see here, grab a cup of coffee and join me in Avoid. BTW: To understand the name of the bog, start with the first post: I Live in Avoid.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Like a Thief in the Night

Question: Are all children just natural-born thieves? Does everyone's house get burgled on a regular basis ... from the inside?

In this house, nothing is sacred.

No. Thing.

Not pencils. Not toys. Not food. ESPECIALLY not food.

I was not prepared for the amount of food young boys can eat. Teenagers, yes. I buy lunch meat, cereal, and milk by the truckload for the teenagers. But that's so typical, it goes without saying. No one was ever surprised by how much a teenage boy eats.

But it ain't the teens that are killing me.

It's the minions. 

They are 9 and 10, but they eat like 15 and 16. And it's not like I starve them.

They have hot breakfast at least 3-4 times a week.

They have a morning snack at school.

They have a good-sized lunch.

They have a snack in the afternoon. Frequently multiple snacks.

They have a good filling dinner every night.

But apparently that's not enough. Granola bars have a shelf life that can be calculated in hours. I buy about three bags of those Cutie oranges every week. We go through a dozen yogurts in the blink of an eye. And the bananas ....

Oh my — the bananas! Don't get me started on bananas.

But it's not the eating that bothers me. It's the sneakiness.

Every now and again, I'll go comb through their room, and what do I find?

Orange peel on the bookcases.

Granola bar wrappers in the pillowcase.

Candy and cheese stick wrappers under the bed.

An empty bag of marshmallows in the closet.

Squished juice boxes under the chair.

So we decided to get sneaky right back.

We recently purchased a new wireless security system for the rental house we're moving into and the house we are building. And we decided to give it a test. In the kitchen. [Insert devilish laugh here.]

We warned the kids ... we set up a camera on top of the kitchen cabinets that was pointed at the pantry door. They know it's there. And I have to admit, it seems to have cut down on the renegade snacking.

But then we took it up a notch. We put an alarm on the pantry door. 

The first night we armed it, we didn't tell the kids. At about 9:30 ... loooooooong after bedtime ... the alarm was tripped. Loud beeping came from the kitchen. My phone buzzed with the notification. Herb's phone buzzed too. We looked at each other and giggled.


Enter a wide-eyed nine-year-old.

"What were you doing in the pantry?"

"I thought I heard you guys in there, so I came down to see what was up."

"No way, kid. Not buyin' it."

"No really! I thought I heard you!"

"Good try. Back to bed."

As he walked away, I heard him mutter, "An alarm ... on the pantry. No way."

Yes way.

But you know what? I bought a box of granola bars the other day. It's still there, on the shelf, where it's supposed to be. And there are still granola bars in it.

Maybe ... just maybe ... I'll stop going to the pantry and reaching into a box to find out it's empty. I'll stop going to make a recipe that chocolate chips and find the bag missing. And maybe one day ... a banana will turn brown.

A mom's gotta have hope, right?

Eat well,


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why I Hate Facebook

Yesterday a friend had posted on her page that her daughter had requested one of those necklaces with two parts. You keep one half and give the other half to your Best Friend! She gave the other half to her brother, who gladly put it on. She was proudly gushing about how close they are, how they really are best friends, and how one day the other will volunteer to be a live brain donor so they can not only be best friends, but also think the exact same thing at the exact same time.

[OK. That last part was false and just a little snarky.]

When I read posts like that, I'm jealous. I soooo want this for my boys. But at this point in their lives, I'm be lucky if they are speaking to each other at the end of each day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her being happy that her kids love each other. There is nothing wrong with her saying so on Facebook.

I'm. Just. Freaking. Jealous.

So .... last night after I read the post, I commented:

Fast forward to this morning.

[Sunday confession: Herb is out of town with the minions. Sandy spent the night away because he was up half the night working on a school project. So I'm alone in the house on a Sunday morning. Even though I woke up early this morning, I read a novel and drank a cup of coffee instead of doing my quiet time. Then I got on Facebook ostensibly to check on good news from a girl in my boys' school who is fighting cancer, but instead I clicked on my news feed.]

Oh, goody! More people had comments on my friend's post about her kids who are Best Friends! I'm sure others are also bemoaning how their kids should be cage fighting instead of in elementary school. Let me postpone my quiet time again to read these comments, which are sure to assuage my fears that my children will end up on Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Some comments:

"Good raising!"

"That's called good parenting and Christ in the center!"

Crap, crap, crap.

If kiddos who love each other and buy necklaces declaring that they're Best Friends! have Good raising! does that mean that my kids are the result of bad raising?

If sibling harmony is the result of Christ in the center! who's at our family's center? Satan?


Excuse me while I go eat banana pudding for breakfast ... in bed ... and finally do my quiet time. After which, if I still feel like a crappy parent, I may pop onto Amazon and see if anyone makes a necklace appropriate for my boys. Perhaps one that says...

"I barely tolerate your existence, and would probably choose to never be in your presence again if we were not genetically bound together and live in close proximity. Until such time as I am self-sufficient and of a majority age, I will continue to harrass you, beat you, call you names, make fun of you in front of your friends, blame you for things I have obviously done, and in general make your life a living hell."

I'm sure someone makes that, right?


Sunday, January 11, 2015

How I Met Your Father

Every day, in living rooms and cars around the world, children ask, "Mommy, how did you meet Daddy?" Of course, this is after the idea that Mom and Dad have not always been Mom and Dad has sunk in. Which usually takes a few years and several conversations and a great deal of confusion. I mean, after all, our entire existence is tied to theirs, right?



Well, I'm recording this for posterity, and for my children. And for all those people who have asked to hear our {crazy, weird, ironic} story.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

[Herb asked me to post this. I wrote it for the Garden & Gun magazine's "Good Dog" essay contest and apparently did not win as I never heard anything. But when Garden & Gun published a book of "Good Dog" essays, I gave Herb this essay as a "P.S." to the book. The little essay that G&G forgot. Now I share it with you.]

Titan and I had a love/hate relationship. This started almost immediately because I felt like I was sold a completely fake bill of goods when we chose him.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Apologies to My Mother

Moms put up with a lot. And I'm not saying that because I am one. I'm saying that because I have one. Sometimes, it's only in retrospect that we see what little buggers we were growing up. Every once in a while, when I am unselfish enough to let my kids get what THEY want instead of me getting what I want, I am reminded that my mother went through this also.

Although far more often than I do.

So I'm starting a list. A list of things I got mad at my mom for, when it turned out she was right.

A list of things she warned me about, but I did anyway.

A list of things she didn't get to do or have so I could do or have what I wanted.

So here goes.

#1 — Cleaning for the cleaners.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let's Get Serious: Ernest

[I know my blog is usually funny. But every once in a while, I need to get serious. This is one of those times.]

Ernest came into our lives when he panhandled outside the Georgia Pacific building downtown. Herb would try to help him out when he saw him. At first food only, never money. Because in our white, suburban eyes, people who said they were hungry but would only accept money were suspect.  But whether it was a hamburger or a pair of socks Ernest was always pleased, always happy.

After Wayne Gordon preached a message at Perimeter Church entitled, “Who Is My Neighbor?” Herb and I looked at each other and felt a tug from God. A call to minister to people in a depth of poverty we could not understand. Not knowing what to do and not ready to move the ghetto as Gordon had done, we felt stuck.

Then Ernest was laid heavily on our hearts. We may not be ready to help change a city, but there is a person we know of who could use help. We drove downtown and sought him out, unsuccessfully at first. Then he reappeared outside Turner Field after a Braves game. He lived in a dirt-floor room with no running water just a block away from that temple to baseball, at which I have been known to worship.