Cheer Up Basket

I received a message today from a tired friend reaching out for some comfort, prayer, and support. She is what I like to call my “3 a.m. friend”. That doesn’t mean we stay out partying after the kids go to bed until 3 a.m. {although we have considered it once or maybe twice.} No, she is a friend that I would call at 3 a.m. in the event that something goes down and I need someone to be there for me that I know isn’t going to curse me under their breath for disturbing their rest in the wee hours of the morning. One time I casually mentioned to her that my blender broke and I wasn’t able to make my favorite morning smoothie. A few days later, she shows up at my house with a brand new blender–  not just any blender. It was, if you will, the cadillac of all blenders and not only that. She brought over the ingredients to “blend” one of our very favorite adult beverages. Now that’s friendship. Next time I find myself in a blending crisis at 3 a.m., I know exactly who to call!

But she doesn’t need a blender. She needs a week at the beach. Unfortunately, I can’t show up at her front door and whip up a solution to all of her problems. I wish I could, but instead, I paused for a moment this afternoon to think about what I would appreciate most if I was in her shoes. There is always the usual gestures… a hot meal, child care, margaritas. All of which are smashing options, and I would gratefully receive any one of them. But today, I found myself assembling a few of my favorite things to make what I like to call a Cheer Up Basket.

Some magazines and bottled wine, a couple of gift cards for coffee and spa treatments, a bottle of scented body lotion, an assortment of herbal teas, a silly coaster, a pair of comfy socks, a bookmark, a wine cork magnet my personal favorite…. some cash envelopes meant just for her labeled, “Fun”, “Gifts”, “Clothing”, “Misc” {because she may very well be an even bigger budgeting nerd that I am}.

I spent almost the kids’ entire nap time putting this together, but I couldn’t help it. I was having way too much fun. And if I ever get too busy to tend to a friend in need, I give you full license to call me at 3 a.m. and tell me to get over myself.

Cheers!

A Wife By Any Other Name

I keep a separate blog from this one. Did you know that? It has more to do with my vocation where as this one has more to do with my first-loves… marriage, motherhood and of course, HGTV. I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon pondering a phrase that has come up recently among some friends of mine. Since many of us have already discussed the marriage topic around this particular cyber-table a time or two, I thought I’d include you on some of my more twisted introspective thoughts. Tune in next time for more fun with hot-glue and wine corks.

Today’s Post at The Sound of Center City’s Blog:

I was recently asked to join an online forum for Young Pastor’s Wives. At first, I thought someone surely must have sent me the invitation by mistake. And then it occurred to me, “funny, I AM a pastor’s wife”. How ’bout that. Let’s celebrate with a round of PBRs, shall we?

Now, my husband doesn’t have the fancy credentials yet, but for all intensive purposes, he is functioning in a pastoral role which makes me the wife of one pastoral-esque figure. Nobody actually calls him “Pastor” or “Reverend”, and that is a good thing. The first time I ever paired the phrase “Pastor Clark” he glared at me as if to say, “say that again and I’ll introduce you to everyone we ever meet as, ‘This is my wife Salina who used to work for Benny Hinn’.” I’m not sure if it is the weightiness of the pastoral title or perhaps the very mention conjures up images of grown men wearing crew socks and Teva sandals with a T-shirt that says, “Satan Got Punk’d”, but either way, it is currently a shelved issue to be discussed at a later date and time perhaps after he’s had too many apple martinis.

When Clark and I met and got married, the rock-n-roll life still had its charms. I pictured myself an 80-year-old woman still wearing Chuck Taylors and cheese-grated blue jeans listening to Family Force Five. I’ve toned down the “shredded” look a bit {even though last week after the supposed Earthquake along the Eastern seaboard I found myself singing, “10.0 on the richter scale. Shake it like an earthquake. Move your tail!!!” for the remainder of the afternoon}. What can I say? Old habits don’t die hard.

But this “Pastor’s Wife” identity has me wondering if I’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere. As if all across the world wide web there are forum gatherings for “Postman’s Wives”, “Engineer’s Wives”, “Iranian- Chinese-Puzzle-Solver’s Wives… From what I gather this “Pastor’s Wife” identity carries with it quite the lofty expectation. The woman who find herself bearing such a title must herself exhibit the compassion of Mother Theresa, the domestic savvy of June Cleaver, the vocal styling of Fraulein Maria, and the delicate grace of a Japanese Geisha. If that’s the case…

I’m sunk.

Most days I feel about as foul-tempered as the Queen of Hearts with the grace of an Alaskan bullmoose. So naturally when I’m asked to contribute thoughts on pastoral wifehood, my initial response is “I’m still working on the whole ‘wife’ thing where every other word out of my mouth isn’t “OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!” By preceding the word “wife” with “pastor’s”, one implies that a “pastor’s wife” is somehow a different brand of “wife” when the “wife-ly” wife is the one I was already working so hard on, and the very mention of it becomes way too much to handle and all of a sudden I feel the overwhelming urge to beat a live hedgehog with a flamingo mallet!

Before I’m run away with myself, allow me to say this… being a good wife who gives selflessly and loves unconditionally is hard enough without attaching some unwritten expectation to it. If being called a “pastor’s wife” somehow sets me apart from all of the other women out there who are just trying to be good “CEO”, “Radio DJ”, “Construction Worker” wives then I’ve never been one for titles.

Although if “Oldest-Living-Chuck-Taylor-Wearing-Ex-Benny-Drama-Queen” isn’t taken, I’d like to put myself in the running and I would appreciate your vote!

Chicken Soup

While I’m taking a break from crunching numbers in preparation for tonight’s final installment of Financial Peace University, the Head Beasley is watching Sci-Fi underneath more down feathers than one would find in the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. He is so sick, he is utterly incapable of even unscrewing the child-safe top of the ibuprofen bottle. We paid a visit {and when I say “paid”, did we ever} to a new Family Physician who asked a few questions preceded by a rather well-rehearsed stethoscope routine. We indulged Dr. Pickelherring in an amusing round of “name that virus”, and wouldn’t you know the big finish was none other than an autographed prescription for more sci-fi and down feathers. I should have saved my $150 and opted for a little Legend-of-the-Fist therapy instead!

I live by a rule that if one must be sick, they ought to take advantage of the opportunity to indulge in some of their favorite things. In Clark’s case that involves surfing the net for the latest in guitar gear, an endless supply of all things Chic-Fil-A, and you guessed it….plenty of Sci-Fi. When {and if} I come down with whatever bug he’s currently hosting, I will opt to beat the blues in all things HGTV, Pinterest, Pride & Prejudice, and my grandmother’s chicken soup. Trust me, the smell of it alone is enough to put you back on your feet. And so, here is my gift to you in the event that you are feeling the “least bit poorly” {to quote the handsome Mr. Charles Bingley}.

Chicken Soup

3 chicken breasts {with skin & bone}

1 package of carrots {sliced}

1 batch of celery stalk {diced}

1 large {or 2 small} yellow onion

2 boxes of chicken broth

2 tbls olive oil

2 or 3 minced garlic cloves

salt & pepper, oregano, dried parsley {to taste}

Preparation: Sautee chicken in soup pot with olive oil. Take out when partially cooked. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots with 2 containers of broth. Add water to taste. After chicken has cooled, cut into pieces and add to soup {leave the bone in for flavor}. Simmer for hours. Add salt, pepper, oregano and dried parsley. Heat noodles on the side and add to soup.

The patient is calling….. off to deliver more Hellboy II and War of the Worlds.

Budget CPR

Today is one of those days when there’s a million other things that I could be doing…. that I should be doing…. and I don’t feel like doing any of it. Perhaps it is the coffee wearing off and the mind-numbing tiredness greeting me like an unwanted guest, but either way, the only productive thing my hands have found to do in the past hour is have absolutely nothing to do with my “to-do’s”. In my defense, school is back in session as of today. I’ve always loved the first day of school. This morning a school bus passed me while I was on my morning run and all of a sudden I felt the most overwhelming urge to go buy a Trapper Keeper and a Jansport. So, of all the things I would resort to doing this afternoon, I have chosen to play with paper, glue, and scissors.

You may remember a few months ago I created a more stylish version of the cash envelope system developed by Dave Ramsey. It looked a little something like this…

My friend, Lindsay commissioned me to customize a set of cash envelopes to suit her budget needs. I was thrilled to make them for her. The only problem was that after 3 months, my envelopes began to look like our bank account… tattered and in need of repair.

Yikes!

Nothing like a broken down set of cash envelopes to throw a wrench into your budget.

I did a little brainstorming to come up with a way to reinforce and preserve my scrap paper envelopes. And lo and behold…

Con-tact paper!

Now, I haven’t bought Con-tact paper since the 9th grade when I had to cover my textbook for Madame Strochein’s French Language class. Turns out high school wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!

I will test out this latest set of envelopes on myself before I send them out. Oh, and what do you think of my “fun” new label design?

Not bad, huh?

OK… I’m off to be productive… {if you call throwing Mexican Chicken into a crock-pot and fixing myself a cup of tea “productive”}.

Enjoy just “be”-ing today!

Wonder Woman

 

 

 

Central Coffee… its my favorite new hotspot… just a few blocks from my house. I leave the house by 6am before the kids wake up to take my online class. At Central, Jimmy has my dark roast waiting for me piping hot when I walk in the door looking like something the cat coughed up in the middle of the night. Not Jimmy. Me! Last night, Clark woke me at 3am from a nightmare that involved all of my teeth falling out, to ask me where I kept the children’s Triaminic. In a tired stupor, I completely vandalized the kitchen looking for the purple bottle gone AWOL and wouldn’t you know it was right there on my nightstand the whole time. But at 3am I was too exasperated that the cough medicine, and apparently my teeth, were nowhere to be found even though they were both right under my nose. So what did I do? I took it out on my husband who was just trying to be a good dad and tend to his son’s cough. I’m talking a yanking-covers-violent-tossing-muttering-obscenities fit that resulted in some major grovelling once the sun came up. Ever since Mia was born, I’ve had this problem where if I wake up in the middle of the night, even to pee, my mind starts to race and I can’t go back to sleep. Last night, I laid awake just thinking thinking thinking…. about Salem, his cough, the missing meds, my Italian fury, Saint Clark, of what I would look like with no teeth, and how I really ought to floss more often. Two hours later once I had finally drifted back to dreamland, the alarm went off, and that is how I greeted Jimmy this morning….. like Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback.

I’m halfway through my first dose of caffeine and no longer fire-breathing when in walks in some friendly faces. One of the girls sat down and we began to chat about our experience yesterday morning at church {given the aforementioned scene of tempers ablaze, it appears I ought to pay better attention}. We were laughing about a mommy-move I made in the middle of band rehearsal. Salem was pulling mercilessly at my pant leg, his petitions for “juice please…juice please” growing more anxious by the measure. My think-fast maneuver went something like this: verse 1…. sing sing sing…. instrumental turnaround… fly backstage to retrieve the sippy gone astray…. fill said sippy with communion grape juice {you think I’m kidding, but I don’t mess around when it comes to holy communion}… thrust sippy into thirsty 2-year-old’s face… back on the mic for verse 2. Bobby May would have been impressed. We were still laughing about it when my friend says, “I swear, you are like Wonder Woman.”

Wonder Woman? Would Wonder Woman have yanked the sheets in a toddler-like tirade at three in the morning? Would Wonder Woman have acted like her son’s cough and her husband’s compassion were infringing on her beauty sleep? She would have properly stowed the cough medicine for quick retrieval. She would have affirmed her husband for being a loving father and then quoted Bible Scripture or counted sheep for two hours until she fell back to sleep. She would have come up with a better solution for her son’s beverage crisis than the communion grape juice for crying out loud! I am most certainly and without a doubt NOT Wonder Woman!

But this got me thinking about my own ideas of perfection. I used to think a woman who had it all together kept the fridge full, the laundry baskets empty, had a 27-inch waist, a perfectly balanced check-book, and a knack for making dazzling conversation. She wouldn’t be caught dead letting her kids run around with jelly toast faces, letting her account overdraft, or heaven-forbid… ever yell at her husband in the middle of the night. I’m not sure a woman like this exists, but if she does, I know one thing’s for sure….

I hate her.

The older I get, the more I am aware that Wonder Woman doesn’t obsess over the 30 15lbs of baby weight still desperately clings to her mid-section because news. flash. She brought life into the world. She knows that ought to be celebrated more than fitting back into her favorite jeans. Wonder Woman laughs. Out loud. The louder the better. She doesn’t notice if the people around her are laughing with her or at her and she doesn’t care. She thinks laughter is contagious and she thanks God that laughter is free. Wonder Woman doesn’t turn a friend away from her house because she hasn’t mopped her floors in three weeks, and she certainly has more class and substance than to gossip about this same friend behind her back. Wonder Woman looks for an excuse to turn an ordinary day into a holiday. If her mother got a good report from the doctor or her friend got a promotion or the dog finally found the pee pad, well that is reason enough to celebrate. Wonder Woman buys bigger jeans, quotes comedy, has dusty base boards, and  treats herself to fresh flowers for the heck of it.

I am not her. But I am working on it.

Do you know any “Wonder Women”? If so, share the wealth. What makes her great? {And if you say a 27″ waist, I will have to un-subscribe you myself.}

Wishing you a wonder-ful week!

 

 

 

 

Mission Impossible: The Dining Room Chairs

I’ve walked by this bundle of colored circle pattern fabric draped lazily over a bar stool in my craft space for months now. I have every intention of breaking in my new electric staple gun this weekend and recovering my rather depressing dining room chairs. Have you ever reupholstered a piece of furniture? Sounds like a snap, but after reviewing Design Sponge’s Dining Chair Do-Over tutorial I’m beginning to think this requires some real elbow grease. Wish me luck!

In the event that I chicken out, I’m about to raid a reclaimed fabric store that I recently stumbled upon so that at the very least, I can churn out some frayed fabric rosettes this weekend.

I LOVE WEEKENDS!!!!!! Here’s hoping you have a great one!

Mothers Speak: Time Out

I was having tea with a girlfriend yesterday when all of a sudden Salem, for no apparent reason hauled off and whacked me in the face. No warning. No reason, and yet, no exceptions. Hitting is simply not tolerated in our house. I recognized the immediate look of “uh-oh, I’ve gone and done it now” in Salem’s expression. Therefore when I whisked him up to the tune of “Time Out” and carried him to the back door where we keep the smelly trash {where our bad attitudes belong}, he didn’t put up a fuss. At the sound of the 3-minute stove timer, we rehearsed the “Time Out” mantra.

Mommy: “Salem, do you know why Mommy put you in time out?”

Salem: “Hit Mommy”.

Mommy: “That’s right, Salem. It is never OK to hit Mommy or Daddy or Sister. Can you say, ‘I’m sorry’?”

Salem: “I sah-wee”

Mommy: “I was wrong.”

Salem: “Iya wong”

Mommy: “Please forgive me”

Salem: “Peas a-giff me”

Immediately upon release, Salem bee-lined for his guitar which allowed me to resume my conversation. My girlfriend said to me, “Wow, you’re really good at that”. “Good at what?” “Discipline”. As though discipline is something a parent either has a knack for or not. We chatted about it for a while longer, but even after she left, I was thinking about it, and I’m still thinking about it today.

My question for you is this: Is child-discipline something for which a parent has an aptitude or not? Does it come more naturally to some while for others it feels about as awkward as watching an umpa lumpa hold a Bikram yoga pose? The truth is Salem and I dance our “Time Out” routine sometimes multiple times a day…. ok, an hour. There are days when he spends so much time in the smelly trash corner that I’m convinced I won’t be able to wash the garbage-scent out of his clothes and he’ll surely end up one day becoming an adult with a body odor complex! And then other days we skate right through without so much as a hiccup… {except for last week when he tried to put Daddy in Time Out. That didn’t go over very well even though 3 minutes on the stove timer in the smelly trash corner might actually do both Clark and I some good.}

I’m noticing that the topic of discipline can easily become a touchy subject among mamas, so I realize that I may be opening a can of worms. But I’m curious. What does discipline look like at your house? I’ve heard it said that one form of discipline may work for one child but not necessarily another. Do you believe that?

Come on, ladies. Let’s chat it up!

Amelia’s 1st Birthday Tea Party

Mia’s 1st Birthday Tea Party…. I struggle to know where to start. First things first, the party poms were a success.

For a moment there, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to pull them off, but they were a smash hit, and this little tissue paper display will soon make a new home in Mia’s bedroom.

This table featured everything the grown-up ladies might enjoy for brunch tea. Fine china, sterling silver, and sweets galore!

I loved these vintage tea boxes. Little accents like these along with the teapot cookie cutter and the cupcake necklace {compliments of Mia’s Nona} added a little something special to the overall display.

My sister bough Amelia this adorable “Got cupcakes?” apron. I just had to somehow sneak it into the decor. Did you notice the tea cup-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Those were my favorite. And thanks to Jones Design Company and Kevin and Amanda’s scrapbook fonts, I was able to design these adorable menu cards!

The Almond Chicken Salad sandwiches were delicious, but surprisingly not as popular as the mimosa punch. Go figure! And yet, as much fun as I had putting all of this together, I was most excited about my Mia tree centerpiece.

I pulled some of my favorite pics of Mia from the past year and clothes-pined them to some branches I picked up from Michael’s. Then I filled the vase with some tea bags for some thematic flare, accented it with a glittered fabric bow, and surrounded it with paper streamer rosettes. I love it so much, its been over a week and I still haven’t taken it down!

This was the little ladies tea party table complete with metallic glitter crowns, princess silly bandz and tea pot suckers from Oriental Trading Company. And of course, what is a tea party without a proper tea party attire?

A top hat and suspenders for the head Beasley…. a silly hat, pearls and white gloves for the hostess. I’d say we looked the part, wouldn’t you?

The hat was a huge hit with Salem {which is more than I can say for the tie, unfortunately.}

Before we sat down to enjoy our tea {pink lemonade for the little ladies}, Nona beautified each of the little party-goers.

And here she is ladies and gentlemen. The guest of honor with her proud Mimi. As they say, she’s a party waiting for a place to happen!

After the girls had their make up done, they put on their crowns and enjoyed some party sweets.

When they had eaten their fill, they dove into the dress-up box and covered themselves with metallic beads and feathered-boas to match their glitter crowns.

We played a round of musical chairs to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”.

Afterward, we rounded up the little ladies for story time with Nona. What could be more appropriate than the book,  My Very First Tea Party?

We wrapped things up by opening into Mia’s birthday gifts. Don’t you love the handmade tutu?

It just occurred to me that I had slowly morphed from tea party hostess to Michael Jackson impersonator with the single white glove.

Yet how can I convey the magic that was my Mia on her very special day? I think this picture says it all.

Sparkly light-up crown, frosting-covered grin, “Got cupcake” apron, and a half-eaten smash cake… In a word, our celebration was… magical. It was a day we will not soon forget.

I love you my sweet Mia girl!

Fair-Feathered Friend

Its been a quite a week…. good heavens!

After Mia’s 1st birthday tea party {pics still to come}, I got sick and spent most of the week in my pjs doped up on cold meds. The rhythm around my house turned into a house of cards on the verge of collapse, and it was all for me just to keep my children from being swallowed up by the laundry pile. We’re slowly but surely digging our way out, and life is looking a little more rhythmic this week. So, I am looking forward to exploring a little more inspiration with you.

First, a weekend visit from my dear friend Jessica.

The best way I can describe Jessica…she is the Avis to my Julia. Jess and I “met” via Facebook 4 years ago. Our cyber-paths crossed thru a mutual friend and within weeks we were emailing one another multiple times a day pages upon pages of self-disclosure — random topics ranging from cake decorating and dream interpretation to more personal core values of faith and family. We’ve drawn from each others’ spiritual and creative substance since our first email exchanges, and prior to this weekend, we have seen each other face to face only once! Since then, I’ve had not one, but two babies, done an about-face with my singing career, made an interstate move and started a blog. Jessica now has a handful of Minnesota winters under her belt, a job she loves in Minneapolis at a shop appropriately called “I Like You“, a range of artistic pursuits, a life-giving and receiving community, and she is quite possibly the only person I’ve met to date that can effectively pull off feather hair extensions. The years have had a way of seasoning us into women complete with laugh lines and a sober awareness of our legacies and limitations, and this past weekend, we simply relished in the gift of friendship that is both free and priceless. So, thank you, Jessica for feathering my hair and re-fueling my inspiration tank.

Be encouraged to celebrate your friends today!

Saved by Battery Life

This was one of my all time favorite books as a kid, and after Mia’s 1st Birthday Tea Party {pics soon to come}, it has never been more true to life. I am currently laid up in bed sick with the cold funk somethin’ fierce {as we say in the South} therefore, I couldn’t possibly write anything of any substance that I wouldn’t look back on and seriously regret publishing. On the bright side, I’m currently doped up on cold meds provided by none other than my neighbor who happens to be my friend of twenty years who happens to be my pastor. Thankfully, he is keeping me happily drugged. See, there I go incriminating my pastor! Seriously, I should just stop talking. Lucky for me {and a drug-free man of God}, my Mac is about to lose power in less than 3…2…1…

« Older entries