Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Day Short and A Dollar Late...er...Whatever.

Apparently, I have this deeply seated need to make a monstrous donkey out of myself, so here I go again:

Oh wait! For the record, this is Leisl who came up from South Alabama to take care of her Daddy after his surgery. You can read all about that on her blog, though. I have to say here that posting this video is going to cause her to want to beat me to death, but it captures a TRUE outing to Starbucks, so it had to be done. It was in the rules, I think. I hope you weren't expecting too much:

Anyway, tell my girl, Leisl, that we ALL think we look and sound completely retarded when we do this (some of us actually ARE, though) yet we do it anyway. Not that it's going to help. I'm so dead.

Just so you can rest assured, Miss DeeDee did, in fact, make a spur of the moment trip to meet up with us at almost 10 p.m. How much does she rock?! Alot, I tell ya. ALOT. She has already trekked (and survived) this homeschooling road, and she has been a pastor's wife and women's ministry leader for many years in our city, so we pretty much sit at her feet.

Seriously, I LOVE these two gals a ridiculous amount. Go check DeeDee out here and please participate in the poll that she is taking for a really great marriage conference that she and her hubby are leading.


As you may or may not be aware from the post below, this little "video blog" was quite the undertaking for some unknown reason. I mean, I had just uploaded one less than a week ago, but this video wouldn't work to save (what was fast becoming the end of) my life. Have I mentioned how much I love my laptop? Well...

I feel strangely compelled now, to remind you that: Mark + Gayle = 4ever
I don't really love my laptop. Pshaw! Ok, well maybe just a little....

Anyway, let's close this freak show with this:

How 'bout them eyebrows, huh Linda? Can you say "woolly mammoth"?! :D

OH!! For more GREAT videos head over to Linda's, but not the Linda above...ummm...just click here: I See What You're Saying


Since I'm sure you were having trouble moving on with your life on this fine Tuesday morning until my video was posted, I thought I would go ahead and tell you that I am having some technical difficulties.

I can't get the thing to come OFF of my memory card ONTO my computer. This has caused the teensiest bit of rage, so now I need to go and repent. Hopefully, after some time apart for cooling down, Camera, Computer and I can work together to get this whole thing resolved. You might want to say a prayer for unity.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Whadya Wanna Know?

Okey-doke. Let's move on from that debacle below, shall we? :) I promise to be more....ahem....reserved on Tuesday, k?

***5.5 hours later***

I started typing this post this morning, when I looked out my dining room window to see a HUGE black snake slitering around in my rose bushes. Of course, I was the only person home, so I had to call the 12 year old to give me a refresher course with the bee-bee gun. I missed, so now said HUGE black snake is loose somewhere in my woods. Yes. I AM SKEERED. What is UP with all the reptiles lately?!

But anyway, now I have to hurry up and get to the point because Mark and I have a date night happening tonight (somebody say AY-MEN!). And that point is: Do you have any questions for me for my video on Tuesday? (Carrie, I swear, I didn't snatch your idea! I was going to do this yesterday....Caroline will tell you...).

Please ask me something otherwise you may be subjected to such ramblings as burning spinach once more, and do you really want to go there again? I mean, really? I didn't think so...

So ask away, no holds barred. Maybe. Ok, don't be gross and don't be mean. Now go...

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Have you ever seen a distracted Mom at the end of the day whose make-up has long since worn off, is sporting a wonky hair out the side of her head, AND is burning dinner?

Well, here ya go:

Ok, first things first, that spinach that I was burning? It was actually creamed spinach and it. is. amazing. (when not charred) Here is the recipe and please don't let the use of...well, spinach...deter you. I promise, it's yummy.

Now then, here is the button for the carnival:

Also, you can go to Linda's blog and click the very same button on the left to find out all of the fine details. Can't wait! And if I can do it, YOU definitely can!!

P.S. Upon publishing, I realized that this video makes me look like I have more energy that 10 monkeys on speed and for that I am truly sorry. I am not usually that "bubbly". :D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weighty Matters

Hey! Guess what? I have nothing to say. That, in and of itself, is a miracle which is noteworthy enough to expound upon because, as I am sure you are well aware, I am not exactly known for having too few words. See, how often can you find someone who "has nothing to say" yet can fill up half a post talking about it?

So, I must hand over the proverbial mic to you, Awesome Bloggy Friends. The burning question in my mind on this fine Tuesday is two-fold actually, with the first part being this: Do your tastes (for food) change along with the seasons? And if they do, what is something that you get really hungry for at this time of year?

I will answer my own question here with a resounding YES! I seem to crave comfort food the minute the weather starts to even hint at cooling off. Which is NOT good....well, actually it is good, insanely yummy in fact....but it is bad, and I do mean VERY BAD for the ol' thighs if you get my drift.

In other words, if it is carb-laden, sugar-coated or otherwise artery-clogging, I'm all about throwing it back in the most unladylike way. So spill it (but watch out because if it meets the above requirements, I might just snatch it up), what could you eat 2 or 16 of right now?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Jacob just bee-bopped into the kitchen where he proceeded to shimmy up onto the counter to reach something on top of the cupboards. As he's doing this he says, "Mama, I'm glad I'm small even though some kids pick on me for it. God made me this way and I can do all sorts of things that other big kids can't, like climb, and run fast, and get into small places.... isn't that awesome Mama?"

"Yep." I said as I continued to sit here staring at this screen, "You are absolutely right, Jake. God did make you exactly the way He wanted you." "Now," I said looking up, "why don't you come on over here and tell Mama who's been pickin' on you..."

Jacob jumped right off of that counter just as fast as he got up there and started to race out of the room to go to his next endeavor (he's always running somewhere). But before he got halfway there he quipped, "Let it go, Mama." And then he was outta here like a shot.

Yeah. I'll get right on that, kid. Because going against my natural instinct as a mother comes as easily for me as avoiding sarcasm.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Idols and Followers

I have so much to do right now, so I think I will just sit here and blog because that's what responsible people do, right? Of course it is.

So I am reading this incredible book by Kelly Minter called No Other Gods and, man, is it spot-on. A bunch of girls were doing the Bible study version together online over the summer, and after reading all the awesome reviews, my interest was really piqued.

To give you a quick synopsis (and remember, I'm not even finished yet), the author talks about what she calls "functional gods" in our lives and how they wind up overtaking our worship to the One True God. Here is a great quote:

"For so much of my life, I worshipped God: showing up for church, singing hymns, working in the nursery, reading my Bible, confessing my belief in Him. Yet if you could have witnessed what I was controlled by, what motivated and moved me, you would have seen that in many cases it was not God at all, but my idols. Not carved images, but people, career paths, materialism, acceptance and more. God was getting my worship on some level, but my gods were getting my service."

Anybody's toes hurting? Mine are. Which is why I wanted to tell you about this book. Not because I want you to have need for a podiatrist, but because this book is SO GOOD. It is jammed up with sock-it-to-me like truths that are so very applicable to our day and age, but with ways to turn our hearts back to their rightful owner. The One who created them in the first place.

I'd love to hear thoughts from any of you who have already read it all the way through. I am hoping to have it finished by this weekend.

Now, let's switch gears so fast that our heads spin, shall we? Aw, c'mon...a little head spinnin' is good for the soul every now and then. Plus, I can't come up with a good segue. Ready?

Blogger has this new little gadget available that I am putting up on my sidebar to showcase all of you! So if you are willing to admit that you are my friend (and I understand if you aren't quite ready for that step...it takes awhile), please click the link that says "follow this blog"...or something like that.

Thank you ever so much and I hope deeply that you are having a productive day unlike ------------->

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Prequel

Ok, I'm back with you again. Poor Mark had a horrendous sinus headache which caused him to be even more sick, if you get my drift. It's just that time of year, I suppose. He's feeling alright today, though, so thanks for asking/praying. :)

Before I go back into this (and oh, isn't it gorgeous?):

I must tell you what happened to me right before we left last Thursday. The enemy of our souls tried to take me out, y'all. I mean, he came to steal, KILL, and destroy.

Here is a little factoid about me if you don't already know it: I completely HATE frogs. I am so sorry if you are an amphibian lover, really I am, but those creepy creatures that just jump around willy-nilly FREAK me all the way out! I am not even kidding.

So there I was, minding my own business, trying to get out the door on our impromptu trip. Being the green thumb that I am (not), I thankfully remembered to give my flowers a nice, soaking drink since we would be gone for a few days. I walked outside and snatched up my watering can from the back porch where it resides, then I came into the kitchen to fill it up. I was desperately going through my packing list inside my mind, which is not a pretty thing, when all of a sudden SOMETHING JUMPED ON MY HAND.

Oh Lawsy, I am still traumatized.

Anyway. I looked down and what to my crazed, bugging-out eyes should appear? A little slimy, lime-green colored frog. And he was ready to pounce, I just KNEW IT. So, I started shaking my hand like a mad woman and shrieking at a pitch that would break glass. In what felt like 10 years, the little thing was launched off of my hand and onto the counter behind the sink where he just sat and stared at me.

Looking back now, it was probably because he had Shaken Froggie Syndrome, but whatever, because I'd be willing to bet a dollar to a doughnut that in only INCREASED his pounce-ability. I wasn't about to find out, though.

Mark was on the phone with his boss during this little "episode", who at this point, was absolutely SURE that I had been attacked by a pack of wild dogs. I screamed my man's name several times in a row to come save me, and I am almost positive that he rolled his eyes before he came running, but I'll will never really know for sure because mine had already retreated into the back of my skull due to the cardiac arrest that I was experiencing.

What else is there to say? Mark nonchalantly picked up the little tool of satan and put him back in his natural habitat while I fanned myself and tried to bring my blood pressure back down from stroke level.

Hallelujah! It is nothing short of a miracle that I am still sucking air, people, and I just thought you would want to know that. I am all about giving God His due glory.

Amen and Amen.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gatlinburg the Great

Well, we are home again. We had SUCH a great time and it was a perfect fit. Beach schmeach, the mountains were amazing and it was just what this Crew needed for our get-away, but God knew that all along, I guess.

We did so many fun things that if I attempted to put it all on here, your eyes would glaze over before I was even a quarter of the way through it. But, since I can't leave you with NOTHING, here are a few highlights with pictures:

Numero uno was our amazing cabin. Oh, how I loved our little retreat in the woods. I can't for the life of me understand why in the world I don't have any pictures of it though. However, here is one little feature that was adored by each of us:

Love us some jacuzzi, people. LOVE it. There was even a t.v. up above it that didn't make it in the picture. ~sniff~ I probably need to move on because I am seriously going through cabin withdrawls...

It is important to note that, over the weekend, Mark and I made the dreams of certain little 5 year old boy come true, even though we were quite unaware of his longings. It came to our attention that riding a "charlie" (a.k.a. trolley) was indeed on Andrew's top 3 list of "AWESOME" things to do. Who knew? Watch as his joy unfolds:

I want you to know that he was so excited when he started to board "charlie" that his little knees were shaking. AWWWWWW!!!

Almost there....

Phew!! Did you know that this was the self-proclaimed best day of his life? Well, it was.

We went into town where we watched people make candy and then ate it. Alot of it. In fact, I think I've consumed my weight in peanut butter fudge and rock candy and I'm not even sorry about it because it was THAT GOOD.

We rode the sky lift which was breathtaking. Quite literally breathtaking for my sweet Jacob, as you can see here:

No kidding, I don't think he breathed one time while we were ascending the mountain. He did alright on the way back down though, and actually asked to ride it again before you think me too horrid.

Mark, Ty and Andrew were right in front of us soaking up the view:

Speaking of Mark, he just called to tell me he is coming home early because he's sick, so I'd better go get the laundry off of the bed. I will post some more tomorrow...

Oh but here's one more for the road:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Please excuse the mess

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Alternative

For several months we have had a really fun beach trip scheduled for this weekend. I can't emphasize enough how much this girl loves the beach. The sun, the sand, the seafood...love it all. It's the seventy mile an hour winds that I would rather do without.

So, while Hurricane Ike isn't supposed to make a direct hit to where we were planning to vacation, the weather there will still be nasty, so we had to cancel. On that note, I realize that my vacation plans messing up is trivial compared to those that are in the path of this thing, so please know that the Crew and I are saying prayers for all of you. I hate hurricanes. Big, scary things that they are.

Anyway, Mark wasn't thrilled about spending his much anticipated vacation doing yardwork (call him crazy), so he set out find a suitable alternative. Now, instead of heading South, we are merrily....ok NOT merrily...... heading North to the beautiful Smokey Mountains. It is NOT merry simply because we are holed up in this van during rush hour in Chattanooga as I type this. THAT IS NOT MERRY, FOLKS. In fact, I can think of 10 different kinds of Chinese torture that I would rather endure than this punishment.

But who wants to hear about that, right? No, we are planning to hang out in a beautiful secluded cabin with a jacuzzi and a pool table. I can seriously handle that, especially because we bagged an awesome deal due to the fact that we booked the thing today. According to the rental place we are going to be in close proximity to many of the attractions, so that will be nice.

There is one thing that I am most looking forward to, though. Can you guess what that is? Alright, I'll tell you... I'm sleeping in. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

An End to the Whimsy

You know what? I totally hate change. Not the "change" that entails giving me some of my hard earned money back. Indeed, I like that kind of change. No, I am talking about the rolling-with-it variety. Hate it. And I hate it because I STINK at it. To the high Heavens, in fact.

We have had alot of change around here at the beginning of this school year. I have started to keep a little fellow while his Mom goes back to work for the first time. He is such a little sweetie and truthfully, he is one of the best behaved toddlers that I have ever been around. Do I love him and my new-found job? You betcha! Am I at a loss for how to incorporate him into our brand new schedule? Oh yeah.

Speaking of our brand new schedule, we have started a homeschooling co-op for the first time ever. This has taken a LOAD of planning responsibility off of me, which was really needed, AND it has added a great schedule with accountability, which is always a good thing for this Schedule Non-Participator.

HOWEVER. It is change. And it is change of mammoth proportions.

I will add here that I can create a schedule that, on paper, can make this place run like a well-oiled machine. Creating has nev-ah been this gal's issue. It's the sticking to it that I usually kick to the curb after 2.5 days. Doing that has a habit of keeping things pretty status quo around here. Status quo wasn't exactly bad, but it could have been better, hence the CHANGE. Follow?

So here we are at the point of my usual habit of punting, and I'm stuck. I knew I would be, and I actually planned it this way, but I still hate it. Honestly, I will continue to hate it until it becomes the new normal. I firmly believe that 5:45 a.m. and I WILL make friends and that I WILL learn to conform to a schedule for my day like 85% of the rest of the adults on the planet.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night we took our Crew, plus 1, to our city's minor league baseball playoff game. I just overloaded on cold medicine, stuffed my pockets with cough drops, and decided not to let this energy-zapping cold steal my fun.

Da boys:

We actually scored some really nice seats right behind home plate, so we got all settled in with our blown up baseball bats and heart-stopping cheese fries when I spotted this:

See those foreboding clouds? Well, they didn't cause too much havoc right off the bat (pun intended). In fact, it wasn't until around the 8th inning that we had a true problem, but I will get to that in a minute.

All we really had to deal with, in the beginning, were a few light sprinkles that wreaked more havoc on my hair than anything else. It was that sticky, nasty, sorta-kinda dampish hair that, when mixed with no small amount of root-lifter and shine enhancer, gives you the end result of frizzy cement. Not pretty, folks. Not pretty at all.

See this little gal?

Well, that's my JuJu (and Andrew). Let me tell you something right now: Girlfriend can CATCH! Every single promotional thing that they were throwing, she snagged. My girl didn't even have a problem tangling with grown men if it meant getting her hand on the prized squishy baseball. Small size + speed and agility made this child the female equivalent of Dash Incredible last night, which made her brothers and company stand in awe. She walked away with 2 frisbees, a baseball, a rocket, and a t-shirt. You go girl!!

After the rain picked up a bit, we ended up using those frisbees for a makeshift hat. Andrew had other ideas:

Whatever works, right? Not much longer after this picture was taken, the real rain came in. We were at the top of the 8th inning when that happened which made every single person have the same idea: Shelter NOW. We grabbed all the kids and paraphernalia and headed to the inside of the arena along with several hundred other people. It was chaotic to say the least.

We decided to head to a more open area to wait out the rain, but when we were almost there, I looked around and the older three boys were nowhere in sight. I called out to Mark (who was really right in front of me, but it was so loud), to see if they were ahead of him. They weren't. We made it out into the open area and looked everywhere to no avail. Terrible feeling in the pit of stomach, begin. Immediately, Mark took off running while I alerted the arena staff.

Five minutes and seventy five million terrifying thoughts later, here comes Mark walking with the boys in tow. In the end, the boys just got turned around and went in the wrong direction. It was definitely easy enough to do in a crowd that size, BUT they did the right thing because as soon as they realized that they had been separated from us, the sought out a security guard, who saw Mark searching frantically. I will say right now that the fear in that feeling is such an awful one that it's not something that I usually get over quickly. Plus, it just made my heart break for this all over again. :(

At that point, I was ready to go home. Rain, lost children, and cold meds long since having worn off, were the end of this Mama's good time. I was ready for my Nyquil and cozy dry bed. I didn't want to be the dissenter, though, so we stayed until the bottom of the 9th when they were STILL tied up with no end in sight.

Honestly, except for the last part, we really did have a good time. I am also pretty proud that Mark and I didn't succumb to the siren song of the funnel cake. Today, we are planning to do some things around the house and simply veg. What's going on with you this weekend?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thanks (and a little whine for variety)

Well, it's officially the beginning of a new school year. Let the diseases begin. I have some fun form of a severe cold and Mark was revisiting his lunch last evening. I'd love to know exactly what lets loose in the germ realm that wasn't around a mere month ago. It happens every year.

We rarely get sick in the Summer and it isn't because we aren't around people. In fact, we are usually around more folks during that time between trips to the pool, cookouts, and the 50 trillion other activities that make up the Most Blessed of All Seasons. It's perplexing, I tell ya.

In an effort not to "share the love" with innocent little kindergarteners, I have stayed home with Andrew and the little boy that I keep. I sent the other three on to co-op this morning, which has given me the fantastic opportunity to tell you how very blessed I am/was by your comments and emails from the last post.

By nature, I am not a "surface" person. I love to dig in and get to the heart of where people are (which isn't something that people always think is endearing, by the way). So many of you afforded me (and others) that honor and I am grateful. Some of your struggles are ones that I can relate so strongly to, that it brought tears to my eyes. And your emails.... I just love each and every one of you all the more, especially your hearts. Hearts that just want what your Father wants. How precious that is in the sight of the Lord.

Thank you for allowing me to stand with you in prayer. I really can't put into words how much it's blessed me. Know that I am not the only one praying either. We have some mighty prayer warriors out there; ones that I tap into pretty regularly, and I know that they are coming back to the comments to pray, too. Which is exactly what I'd hoped for and I LOVE THAT!

Alrighty, I had better go down some more Theraflu. Hey! That reminds me! I meant to ask when I started this post and then got sidetracked (imagine that)..... What is the one thing you can't live without when you're sick? Or two. Or ten. It doesn't matter. Just tell me what makes you more comfy when you feel like you've been walloped upside the head with a baseball bat.

In sickness and in health,

Monday, September 1, 2008

Help Me Out

Hey Peeps. Hope you're having (or have had) a great holiday weekend! We have decided to not allow Gustav to spoil our plans to chill at our favorite park, so we are grilling some chicken and otherwise relaxing. What's a little wind gust, right?

Let me begin by saying that I am continually in awe over the way that God has, quite literally, granted access to people all over the world through this crazy thing called the internet. Some of my most treasured friendships, strangely enough, began right here. All of that to say, it is extremely important to me to be able to pray for my friends. I do consider it my privilege to pray for YOU, the person who takes the time to read this blog. Even if it's your first time here.

However, if you know anything about me, you know that my mind is rather sieve-like. As you can imagine, this has caused me no small amount of issue over the years. The great news is that I am forever in the process of combating it and today is no exception, folks. As I sit here with the wind drying my contacts to brittleness, I am trying to put a few things in order and one of those things is my time with the Lord. I am trying to be more intentional, but that's another subject entirely.

Get to the point, Gayle.

Would you please, ALL of you, let me know how I can be praying for you right now? No request is too small and I can promise you that I will lift it up to the Father. If you leave it in the comment section, then hopefully other sisters can grab the list and be praying, too. But, if there is something that you don't want everyone to see, and you are willing to share it with me, please email me at westiecrew6@gmail.com . I am hoping to compile a tangible list so that I don't have to rely on my poor, overworked, teeny-tiny brain. See? This is how I combat. It's all good.

I had better sign-off before Mark bursts a blood vessel over this archaic grill, but please keep in mind, I can do nothing more powerful for you than to get before the throne of grace on your behalf. So go ahead and spill it, sister.