Jun 29, 2008

In a galaxy far, far away...

I've been working on a post for about three days now. It's a tough one, so I've been taking my time. My left foot (no, not the movie, my REAL left foot) has been really bothering me, so I've kept it propped up most of the day. Since I don't have a lap top from which I could blog while my foot was elevated, I've had to wait until I felt well enough to come in here and sit at "the command post," as Studly calls it. Sometime soon, I'll finish that other post. For now, I'm going in a different direction.

At about 5:00 this afternoon, our power went out. No storm, no nothing. Just no power. When I called to report the outage, the recording acknowledged a problem in our area and said they estimated we'd have power back by, oh... 8:00 p.m. Hello? This is TEXAS. Three hours without air conditioning at the end of June... well, that's just not funny. Thankfully a thunderstorm blew in last night and had cooled things down a tiny bit, but Studly and I figured camping at my ma and pa's house until the crisis was overted was a capital idea. So after securing some ice cream for our hot selves, we mosied over to the homeplace.

My daddy recently came across an old foot locker that was FULL of stuff from my "Growing Up Jenny" years. I went through the box tonight and laughed hysterically at some of the stuff I said/did/wrote/saved/photographed from all those years ago.

One thing I found that DID warm my heart is the picture below. We had one.sweet.dog. when I was growing up, and Dad and I realized some time back we don't have very many pictures of her at all. The very few we do have are blurry and grainy. Imagine my excitement when I found THIS picture: I was probably five or six when we got her. (I'm nine in this picture.) We had lots of choices of names for this dog. "Spot" would've been a good idea because of that big ole thang on her back. "Bat Girl" was suggested because of the "mask" she wears. Ultimately we settled on the highly original, no-one-else-will-ever-name-their-dog-that name of Princess. It fit her.

I loved that dog. She was funny and smart and so very sweet. She had to be put down when I was in high school, but for the years before that, she gave our family so much joy and unconditional love.

I'm glad I found this picture.

I miss her.

Jun 26, 2008

Strawberry Sensation

Big Mama is having a hard time staying cool in the Texas heat. Heating up the oven to cook dinner also heats up the whole kitchen and elevates the grumpy factor. I totally speak that language. She's having a summer recipe carnival over on her blog, and she's looking for something that won't warm up her house. I'm obliging (that's a big Southern word we use here in Texas) by posting a recipe for a frozen dessert my family loves 'cuz who doesn't like dessert? Expecially a COLD dessert on a HOT day!

Strawberry Sensation

4 C fresh strawberries, divided
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (I use fat free)
1/4 C lemon juice
1 12 oz tub Cool Whip, thawed, divided (I use lite)
12 Oreo cookies (I use reduced fat)
1 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Line the inside of an 8x4 inch loaf pan with foil, extending the edges down over the sides and ends of the pan. Mash 2 cups of the strawberries in a large bowl. Stir in condensed milk and lemon juice. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Pour into foil-lined pan. Finely chop oreo cookies (can do this part in the food processor). Combine with melted butter and spoon over the whipped mixture in the pan. Cover the cookie mixture with ends of foil (and a little extra foil, if all is not covered). Press cookie mixture into whipped mixture through the foil. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Invert onto serving plate when ready to serve. Remove pan and peel away foil. Spread remaining whipped topping onto top and sides. Slice remaining two cups strawberries and arrange on dessert plates. Store leftovers in freezer. Makes 12 servings (or six REALLY big servings for two people!).


Jun 24, 2008

Is It Wrong?

On Father's Day, my family got together for lunch after church. Then we all took naps, because... isn't that what you're SUPPOSED to do on Sunday afternoon? (If it isn't, please don't tell me. It would scar me for life.) After all the good little boys and girls awoke from our naps, we gathered over here at Casa de Castro for some fellowship and food. You know, chips and sandwiches and the like.

My momma made tuna salad. Lotsa people make tuna salad. But my ma? She makes gggooooooooooddddd tuna salad. Apparently during our six years of marriage, Studly Man had never overdosed on had my mom's tuna salad. And that? Well, that's a crime.

He mentioned s.e.v.e.r.a.l. times how good her tuna salad was.

Me? I took the hint.

Night before last when I was making the grocery list, I said, "I'll get the stuff and make you some tuna salad." His response: "Like your mom's?????"

"Yes, dear. Like my mom's."


Now Studly Man has some hobbies. One of them is fishing. In fact, he'd rather fish than breathe. Okay, probably not really, but close. Tomorrow, he and Paul, his buddy since the first grade, are going fishing at a great big lake north of here. He's so excited, he can hardly stand it. When I got home from work tonight, he had the car packed. He announced he'd be going to bed around 9:00 p.m. since he'd be getting up around 3:00 a.m. My response: "Are you sleeping in the guest room?"

He is.

Now being the thoughtful wife I am, I decided I'd whip up a batch of Ma's Special Tuna Salad just for the fishing trip.

And then....

it occurred to me.

Is that right? Is it ethical? Is it moral? Dare I contribute to the trauma of a striper bass?

It would be kind of ironic. There's Studly sitting in the boat, line in the water, cool drink next to him and a tuna fish sandwich in his hand. Mr. Striper Bass swims up to the boat and sees his cousin, well, um... IN Studly's sandwich. Studly takes a big 'ole bite and says to him, "Mr. Striper Bass, have no fear. All ya hafta do is swim over here, hop on this little hook I've got for ya, and I'll eat you on a pretty little sandwich, too."

Is that wrong?

Maybe Jessica Simpson could help me make chicken sandwiches. I did get Chicken of the Sea. And that IS tuna, right?

Jun 23, 2008

Break Up to... Make Up....

Can't you just hear The Stylistics singing?

It seems Samson can.

Perhaps he's forgiven Studly Man for the, um, scalping.

He's either forgiven his daddy or needs to snuggle up with him for some extra warmth! Either way, they're pretty cute.

I'm keeping them.

Jun 19, 2008

Haircuts and Bratwurst

Every now and then (actually pretty frequently), Studly Man will volunteer to do for me something really, really thoughtful and helpful. You know, run an errand, bring me Starbucks at work, or slay that big dragon hiding under the bed. On Tuesday, he told me he had made an appointment with the groomer for Samson. He was even going to drop him off for me and pick him up, too. What a sweet guy!

Little did I know he had hatched an evil plan.

He took Sam in and gave the instructions for what he wanted. He said, "I want him to be bald when I pick him up."

They complied.

Please Daddy, PLEASE don't make me go back to that stylist!

Don't ever do that to me again, you big meanie!

I hope all the other dogs in the park don't make fun of me. My poor baby now LOOKS like the "mouse" his daddy says he is! Studly SWEARS Samson will be happier this way, what with this h.o.t. Texas summer we're havin', and it isn't even officially SUMMER yet. Shiloh keeps looking at him while wondering who he is and where Samson went.

To make up for it (okay, not really - it was a coincidence), Studly decided to grill some lamb chops and bratwurst on the grill and let the kids have a taste.

Our children, our beggars.

If ya gotta have a goofy looking 'do, at least negotiate some bratwurst outta the deal.

Next time Studly volunteers to "help" me, somebody remind me to say "No, thanks!"


Jun 18, 2008

Jun 17, 2008

Amazing and Amazed

Sometimes I'm startled by how hard the enemy works to keep us from experiencing the miracles of God. And then I'm amazed at how God works in spite of him... and in spite of us. I have to work on that second part - I never want to STOP being amazed by God's power, but then again, why I am ever "amazed" any more after a lifetime of watching Him do amazing things? Interesting conundrum.

After the enemy's attempts at stopping (or at least stalling) the prison event on Saturday, it was awesome to see what God did. In addition to having four brand new shiny volunteers added to the team, we also had the privilege of having Studly Man's dad come in with us for the very first time ever. Since he lives ten hours away, it has been hard to schedule an event when he'd be in town. But this time, it happened. His concept of what we do in the prisons was, to say the very least, a far cry from actually happens. Now he is able to understand more of what we do, and more importantly, why we do it. He's always been very proud of his firstborn, but this experience elevated that to untold levels. I'm glad for Studly. The most common denominator among the incarcerated kids we see is an absentee father. Absenteeism can take many forms: absent from the home, absent from the child's life in any capacity, present in the home but absent from the child emotionally, or some combination. That made the public expression of Studly's dad's pride even more precious.

So many things occur on each one of these visits. It is so hard to pick out just one or even two that impact me each time because SO many things do. However, this event was a little different. There was one precious child who stole my heart.

As I shared my story (including parts I will not ever post here), one young girl began sobbing. She told me later it was as if I was telling HER story. As I tried to comfort and encourage her, she begged for help. She was desperate, and she was speaking out for the very first time. She needs several different kinds of help. Her mother doesn't understand (or believe) what she says, and therefore has never done anything to help her daughter. I was able to impress upon this young girl to keep.asking.for.help. until she gets what she needs, even if it means asking many different people. One of the guards, who thankfully is a Believer, came over and took notes. I believe my new friend WILL get the help she needs now.

Seeing her downtrodden face and sad eyes, I remembered walking the road she now travels. The fear was so real, I could taste it. The memories, so fresh, it was as if it had all happened to me just last week even though it has been more than 20 years. But I was able to give her a glimmer of hope and share with her how the Lord had grown me through my darkest days and delivered me to a life of hope and joy and blessing. For the first time in her life, she imagined that she also could heal and that her healing would begin... in prison.

Isn't that interesting? God used incarceration as a way station along this girl's journey to facilitate the help she needs. While she is locked up, she is being protected from who and what hurts her. For the first time, she was able to be grateful... grateful... for her current circumstances. She is learning that not all people in the world have hurting her as their primary goal. She is learning how to determine who is trustworthy and how to give voice to her pain. She is asking questions about how to "get on with life" and how to forgive those who have wronged her. She is listening to the Truth for the very first time.

And all because the enemy's attempts at derailing my commitment to be there were thwarted by an almighty, all-knowing, loving, merciful God Who knew this little girl needed to hear my story.

I'm amazed.

Jun 13, 2008

Defeating a determined enemy

In the morning, Studly Man and I will be leading a team of 25 volunteers into our local juvenile prison.

We are strangely delighted by the horrendous week we've had. (We're delighted NOW... it took a few days to get that way.)

Let me explain.

Studly's sister is an amazing artisan. She left her job as a chemical engineer after adopting four amazing kids, and she has replaced her income by selling her art. (Those kids are seven, seven, six and five now - pray for her!!) She lives near Austin, and we're here in Dallas. There is a huge art festival here this weekend. Her husband is at another huge art festival in Santa Fe selling her art, so he couldn't travel with her and help her during the show here. That means that Studly's parental units had to drive five hours from Brownsville (FAR south Texas) up to Austin, pick up Sister and her wares, and drive four and a half more hours to Dallas to check in at Casa de Castro.

While I was at the grocery store last night at about 9:40, they arrived. Which was after we'd returned from my parents' 55th anniversary dinner/party thingy that I planned. Which was after I got home from the dentist. Which was after I broke a tooth by chewing my night guard in half. Which was after Studly spent three hours on his hands and knees or a ladder frantically trying to get blood (lots o' blood) off the walls, ceiling and just-professionally-cleaned-seven-days-ago carpet before his family arrived for the weekend. Which was after Shiloh sliced her tail and then wagged it briskly for say, oh, an hour or more while no one was home, slinging blood all.over.the.place. Which was after Studly delivered his brand spanking new project to his potential first buyer. Which was after a very long and sleepless night preparing for the delivery of said new project. Which was after a spat we had over who would unload the dishwasher. Which was after I spilled a half gallon of milk on the freshly mopped floor.

This was in a 24-hour-period.

There's SO much more for the previous 48 hours, but my fingers are tired. Use your imagination.

Why? WHY are we delighted that we had such a horrendous week? We've learned a simple truth.

satan (yes, not capitalized on purpose) doesn't waste his time attacking where God is not at work. Why would he? If there is no threat that God's kingdom will be added unto, glorified, honored or built up, satan will focus his efforts elsewhere.

God must have really big plans in store for this weekend....

We're rejoicing. We weren't earlier in the week because we'd had a momentary lapse of reason, but we are now.

Please remember our team and the kids we'll minister to in your prayers.

Jun 12, 2008

This day in history

Exactly 55 years ago today, two amazing people pledged their lives to one another forever.

Last night as I sat at the dinner table talking to them, I learned something I'd never heard before. Part of the story I knew, but there was one BIG piece I'd never known.

Dad was in college on a naval ROTC scholarship and as such, he had to go on a six-week midshipman's cruise. Mom was "back home," and though she loved him, she feared her high school romance might not be "the one" she should commit to forever. She was young and hadn't dated too many others, and she felt she needed to make sure she wasn't going to make a mistake. While he was at sea, she dated a little. Nothing serious, just general "getting to know you" types of dates.

At one point while Dad was away, she wrote him a "Dear John" letter, which is funny considering his name is, well... John. She has always said she knew before the letter hit the bottom of the mailbox, it was a mistake. She could only trust that IF this relationship was meant to be, the letter wouldn't matter.

Dad got the letter. Dad ignored what it said.

Smart man!

When his ship returned, he got his pay and spent everything he had on her engagement ring. All he could think of was getting to her. He had no money. He was Norfolk, Virginia at the naval base, and she was at home in Roanoke, Virginia. How did he get there?

He hitchhiked.

For 200 miles.

He didn't even go to his own home to see his family after six weeks at sea. He went to her home.

When he got there, her mother told him she wasn't home because....








With someone else.

Being very sure of himself and his intention, he opted to stay there and wait for her.

To come home.

From her date.

With someone else.

That absolutely cracked me up when I heard that last night!

And yes, it was meant to be.

Happy 55th, Mom and Dad. I love you both more than words can say. You have set the bar high and given your daughters a most excellent model of a Christian marriage. Thank you for loving each other right.in.front.of.us. Thank you honoring and respecting each other. Thank you for being faithful to your vows and to our Lord.

This girl is glad an ill-conceived "Dear John" letter missed its mark.



Jun 10, 2008

Windblown Puppies

Ever seen a little dog in a wind tunnel before?

Me either.

But here's what I imagine it would look like.

This is Samson in the 35+ mph wind gusts we had last week. Studly and I were laughing so hard at him, we had to take pictures. Unfortunately, the REALLY funny ones are so blurry, you can't even tell it's a dog!

He looks like a hamster!
Hey! Who turned out the lights?
Who keeps doing that?
My eyelids are going to turn inside out!

He couldn't figure out what was happening to his tail. He was walking in front of me, and every time a gust would come up, he'd turn around and glare at me (yes, dogs can glare) as if to say, "Will you STOP doing THAT?"

We shouldn't make fun of our pups. But hey... if we don't, who will?

Jun 6, 2008

God and the US Postal Service - Part Three

Part one of the story can be found here.
Part two is here.

Several days later we were in our Sunday School class, and without mentioning names, Studly Man told the story of what had transpired with Jeff. There was much rejoicing, especially among those who had been praying with us about God's direction for our ministry. However, there was one couple who didn't seem to be quite as joyful as the others. No one noticed but me, but I certainly DID notice. No one else in the room (except Studly) knew what I knew.

You see, the two people I was watching were the couple who had SENT the donation check and affirming letter. I couldn't figure out why their faces didn't light up when they heard how God had orchestrated so many details as a result of their gift. All I could do was pray...

After class, the wife in this couple approached me. She asked - knowing the answer in advance - if the letter and envelope Studly had talked about had come from her home. I confirmed it had. Her face was red, but not with embarrassment as I first thought. It was frustration, and maybe even a little anger. I told her Studly had shared the story not to embarrass them, but to highlight the miracles God performed in getting that envelope to its intended destination. God doesn't NEED us to accomplish His will. He works it out in spite of us!

It was a while later when I began to understand the magnitude of that conversation. She and her husband were newlyweds at that time and still struggling with the communication game for marriage. She had written the letter and made out the check. She had carefully placed them in the envelope, written the parts of the address she could remember off the top of her head, and placed a stamp on it. She put it with the other outgoing mail for her husband to drop off at the post office. He glanced only briefly at it. He figured if she'd gotten all the way to the point of putting the stamp on the envelope, it must be ready to go. She assumed he'd notice the holes in the address and fill them in. He assumed she had completely addressed the envelope.
A spotlight was now shining on a critical issue in their marriage: they weren't communicating very well! They were frustrated and headed down a rocky path.

We as believers know how satan (and yes, I meant for that to have a lower case "s" because the enemy doesn't deserve capitalization) prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. That includes Christian marriages. If satan can gain a foothold, he will tear apart a marriage. Communication is an easy target.

Thankfully this precious couple has made great strides in learning each other's language and how to communicate more effectively. The Lord has blessed them individually and corporately, and they in turn, have continued to bless others including Studly and me and Faithful Friend Ministry.

Now, two and a half years later, I am amazed when I look back on that letter and check and how God used it so obviously in the lives of five of His children. The bigger picture though is how He used the contents of that envelope to bring hope to hundreds of hurting, broken, desperate teenagers in prison who had never known true and abiding unconditional love and had never been given any real hope. Through the contents of that envelope, many have heard the Truth for the first time, and many others have come to a saving knowledge of and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now tell me how one could believe that God is too busy to be bothered with details.

Jun 5, 2008

God and the US Postal Service - Part Two

If you missed Part One, check it out here.

Fast forward several months. Since Studly's business is home-based, he was often able to invite Jeff in for a glass of iced tea when he'd see him out on his route. We'd also occasionally see Jeff at church - not that he was only occasionally there, but that we go to a BIG church, and it's easy to miss seeing friends from week to week, especially if they attend services at a different hour. When we'd see him, we knew he was struggling. Depression was nagging at his heels, and he missed Melanie terribly. He was fighting the urge to fall into old patterns of behavior. He was in a great class, surrounded by believers who loved him, encouraged him, and also remembered sweet Melanie. He found solace there.

One day, Studly Man went to the mailbox in front of our house. We don't get much mail there because the prison system strongly suggests never giving one's home address as prisoners WILL come visit you upon release. We have a post office box for ministry, and we use that for personal bills, etc. for the additional safety and prevention against theft of credit card or banking information. So our home mailbox usually only takes in birthday or Christmas cards from family or very close friends or sales circulars from local businesses.

Imagine Studly's surprise when he found an envelope addressed to Faithful Friends, our street NAME, but no house number, the city and state, but no zip code. There was no return address anywhere on the envelope. A note in Jeff's handwriting was attached to the front. It said:

"Les, if anyone else had come across this letter, it would have ended up in the dead letter file. I am your FAITHFUL FRIEND in Christ, Jeff."

The implication was that there is no "faithful" ANYTHING registered on our residential street. Another mail carrier would not have been able to put the pieces of the Faithful Friend name and our street name together to know its intended destination. But GOD ordained it for JEFF to be the one who sorted mail that morning, and the letter found its home.

What was IN that letter you ask?

A check to the ministry for over $11,000 and a beautiful, affirming letter from a precious couple who desired not only to be obedient to God in their giving, but also to support the work of Faithful Friend Ministry. Studly was blown away. That was the biggest donation we'd ever received with the single exception of a grant from a non-profit foundation, and it came at a time when we'd been asking the Lord whether or not we were to continue in prison ministry. What a confirmation!

When Studly was finally able to catch his breath, he decided to call Jeff to tell him what was inside the letter he had worked so hard to deliver. Studly called Jeff on his cell phone as it was only about 4:00 in the afternoon, and he suspected Jeff might still be on his route. He was right. Studly read the letter to Jeff and told him about the check.

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

Jeff had pulled over to the side of the road to regain his composure.

After a long moment, Jeff said, "I needed that today. I REALLY needed that. I don't know if you realize what the date is, but tomorrow is the first anniversary of my wife's death. It has been a really hard week. I didn't want to go back to my old bad habits [drugs and alcohol] to help deal with the pain. Instead I'd been thinking about killing myself. I needed to hear that God has me right where He wants me and that He can still use this broken, hurting man. Thank you. Thank you for calling to tell me what was in the letter."

Who says God isn't in the details? He is intimately acquainted with all our ways, and He loves us. He loves us more than we could ever imagine, even when He seems so far away. And He knows our needs. He is never late and never too early in delivering exactly what we need.

Jeff's life changed that day. So did the way Studly and I look at the gift and responsibility of ministry.

If THAT were the end of the story, it'd be a good story wouldn't it? It isn't! There's still more... all tied to this letter and how an all-knowing, omnipresent God IS in the details. Come back tomorrow for part three!

Jun 4, 2008

God and the US Postal Service

Ever wonder if God still wants to be intimately involved in every detail of His kids' lives? Sit back and relax, and let me tell you a story.

Studly Man and I met while working with a juvenile prison ministry. Later, the Lord blessed us with a ministry of our own, and since that time, we've been on one. amazing. journey.

One of our sweet volunteers was sitting behind a couple in church one particular Sunday morning. Angela recognized something in the wife of the couple that tugged at her heart strings. Melanie was quite obviously suffering the effects of chemotherapy and was likely in the battle of her life. Angela's mother had suffered this way years before, and the memories were painful. After the service concluded, Angela tapped Melanie on the shoulder and introduced herself. In the months that followed, Angela ministered to Melanie and Jeff, her husband, and their two teenaged daughters in ways few would have thought to employ. Jeff's job with the US Postal Service provided good insurance, but it wasn't enough to meet all of their expenses. The tangible help Angela gave them was secondary only to the spiritual encouragement she lavished on them.

Jeff and Melanie were deeply in love, and their marriage had weathered many storms, including Jeff's addiction to drugs and alcohol. Melanie's condition was terminal, and Jeff was struggling to find meaning in what God was allowing to happen in his life. He hung on every word he heard at church and from new friends who loved him with the love of Christ. Melanie's faith was strong, and her witness to her husband was powerful.

After months of fighting, Melanie went home to be with Jesus. Jeff was devastated. Lost, really. Angela continued to encourage him. One day she told him she thought his testimony would be a powerful tool of the Lord to minister to the young men (and women) who were incarcerated. He listened with interest as she shared of her experiences inside the prison walls.

A few month's after Melanie's death, Jeff planned to join our team and go into the local prison with us. Because training is required for every new volunteer, Studly made plans to meet with Jeff at the church to conduct the training. The meeting went well, and Jeff was ready to go.

Even with Melanie's passing so very fresh, he stood before those young men and shared his story, his heart, and his tears. They listened to every word with respect and compassion (an unusual occurrence with incarcerated teens) and clapped with enthusiasm when he finished. One by one, they filed by to shake his hand, share their condolences, and thank him personally for coming - in the midst of his grief - to minister to them. He was moved, and he was encouraged.

At the end of the event, Jeff walked over to where Studly stood with Shiloh. Jeff studied her face carefully and then looked at Studly. He said, "You live on 'ABC' Street, don't you?" Studly was shocked. "Well, yes, I do. How did you know?" he asked. With a huge grin, Jeff said, "Your dog barks at me every day. I'm your postman." Studly called me over, and we all laughed at how God weaves the threads of our lives together for His purpose, even when we're completely unaware.

If that was the end of the story, it'd be a pretty good one. It isn't the end. It's only the beginning. Come back tomorrow for the next installment. You'll laugh out loud or maybe cry with how amazing our God is and how He much He cares about us.

Jun 3, 2008

Purple Tragedy

Sometimes I wonder if God sits on His throne and laughs out loud with a big belly laugh at all the gaffes His clueless children commit. We must be a great source of entertainment for Him. Thankfully, He is gracious. And so is my sister.

You may remember that my
dear sister got married on Friday. It was a very small, family only affair. She wore purple. I wore purple. Everyone should wear purple. Studies have shown that while men are partial to blues and women are partial to pinks and reds, most all people like purple - the combination of those blues and reds - at least to some degree. The interior designer who decorated our office knew of this fact, and our office is based on a purple palette. She said...

Oops... I did it again. Digressing...

I wore a purple pants suit with palazzo pants and a flowy duster type jacket-y thing. It's purdy. I knew the bride wouldn't mind that her sister was wearing the same color as she, because, well, it was PURPLE. Who doesn't like looking at something in lovely lavender or violet hues, however pale or dramatic?

Digressing again...

Her dress was far lovelier than my outfit, and far smarter, I might add. After 46 years, one would think I'd know better than to try to do ANYTHING in the same league as my sister. This event proved my theory. She was radiant and beautiful in her color of royalty, and I was, well, I was there.

But I was happy

'cuz I was wearing purple.

After the ceremony, we all motored over to a family favorite, Posado's Mexican Restaurant. I was sitting next to one of my nieces at the table, and we were looking at the pictures I had taken at the wedding. Not only were they teeny, tiny on the back of my digital camera, it was also a bit dark in our corner of the restaurant. And by corner, I simply mean that she and I were in a little corner of our large table for 15. The table itself was positioned smack-dab in the middle of the traffic pattern whereby virtually every patron who needed to visit the necessary room must pass. Because details are important: Digressing.... again.....

As I was putting the camera back into the case, I heard something drop to the floor. I looked around, under the table, under Studly Man's chair, but I couldn't see anything but, um, floor. I asked my niece if she had heard anything, and she looked at me as though I was growing a second head. "Perhaps I'm imagining things," I thought to myself.

Polite banter shot back and forth across the table. The sweet young waiter, who, it turns out, knows my sister's entire family from the Christian school where she teaches and where her kids went (one still goes there), approached the table to refill the ginormous glasses of tea we had gulped down with dinner. We had moved them around, and he wasn't able to reach my glass. I reached over to hand him my glass. In stretching out my arm toward him, something unusual caught my eye. I could only hope it hadn't caught his.

I spied....

my beautiful







That sound I heard? It was one of the five buttons from the front of my purdy purple flowy jacket-y thing. It hit the floor... and so did my chin.

There I sat, with my back to the wall, facing the entire restaurant with a gaping opening in my purpleness and MY.BRA.SHOWING. Fortunately for me, I was sitting across from my momma who has in her lifetime seen a few bras, and from Studly who never minds seeing my bras and from my daddy who thankfully was engaged in conversation with the groom's stepfather and thus oblivious to my state of undress.

Have you ever played that game called "Gossip?" You know, the one where you whisper a sentence to the person next to you and they pass it on? I sent word to my beautifully arrayed sister whose bra was NOT showing that I needed safety pins. For the love of Pete! I'm NEVER without safety pins. Being the altogether girl she is, she said she had a couple in her van out in the parking lot.

Studly was quite the gentleman. He got her keys and went on an expedition after the safety pins while I sat clenching my purpleness. When he reappeared after a long absence, he had a very long face. His eyes met mine from the opposite end of the table. He slowly shook his head to signal no safety pins could be found.

I was doomed.

The next three years 20 minutes seemed to take forever as I waited for the bill to be settled so we could leave. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, two brilliantly beautiful, shiny silver
objects appeared on the table before me. My sister, KNOWING she had safety pins in her van, had sent her 16-year-old son out to fetch them. They were right where she'd told Studly they'd be.

I discreetly made my way to the ladies room where I carefully pinned my clothing back together. Breathing a sigh of relief, I returned to the table. My sister's wedding and celebratory dinner were complete, and so was the side show. My purpleness was gaping no more.

I hope the young waiter isn't scarred for life, and I hope Studly makes an appointment to have his eyes checked soon.

Jun 2, 2008


Ever feel like this? Or this?
Or maybe this?

Yeah. Me either.