Friday, September 28, 2007

Homeward Bound

The last of the saga...

Trying Times

With a tearful goodbye and lots of waving from the little Livesays, I headed back into the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, printed my boarding pass, and essentially breezed through security. Couldn't help but wonder how much quicker it would all go if flying became a nudist activity. Then again, maybe buying the $2 water bottle inside the terminal isn't such a high price after all. But still, you gotta admit it would make profiling a lot easier. Those turbans would really stand out in the crowd. (No offense intended to anyone -a naked man wearing a cowboy hat would be equally funny just not as relative to the context.)

Tara and I had gotten an early start on Monday and I watched the news with great trepidation as they showed the satellite forecast. It would be a clear and beautiful day until severe thunderstorms and high winds moved into the area in the late afternoon. grrrrr. The sky was still clear blue when I entered the airport. I got some dinner and went to the terminal to relax. I was scheduled to leave at 6:50 ish. At 5:30 there was a flash of lightning, then another, and suddenly the heavens opened and the down pour began. It was at this point that the check-in attendants began "encouraging" everyone to move toward the center of the terminal and away from the large windows...just in case. Lord -pleeeaaase! Not again.

In an ironic twist of events, our flight was delayed and the storms had -for the most part, rolled on by when we began boarding the plane. I should mention now, that during the trip I had been reading the book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." Chapter 3: Unlearning Your Fears
It seemed that God was trying to prove a point with this one. The last sentence I read:

"Too many of us pray as if God's primary objective is to keep us from being scared. But the goal of life is not the elimination of fear." Followed shortly by "Maybe we need to quit praying safe prayers."

Since it's never been my nature to hide things from you all, my immediate prayer was..."Wow, God, that's good stuff. But seriously, now is not the time for me to stop praying to be safe." I don't think He expected any less from me since He knows me quite well. In addition to my refusal to let go of safety issues, I also had a moment of delusional selfishness. The plane was not full and I lucked out with a window seat and two empty seats beside me. I figured God was proud of how I overcame the need to vomit on the first flight and was cutting me some slack on this one. No need to feel added pressure of conversation. HA!

No sooner had the thought crossed my mind when a gentleman from the row behind said "Do you mind if I seat here since we have three in our row?" Okay, Lord. I'm an idiot. Of course, I welcomed him to join my row and it turned out to be a good move. We made small talk for a moment and something came up about the weather. I mentioned the torment of my previous flight and what do you know? He (Ken) was on that flight. There were actually a small handful of us on the same departing and returning flights. God is smarter than I am. Just for the record. The pilot came on the speaker to announce that we were experiencing a "mechanical malfunction" that should be fixed in 20-30 minutes. sigh. Time ticked by and after changing some computer parts which did nothing to repair the problem came the dreaded announcement -everybody off the plane to a new gate where we'll try again.

I learned a lot about Ken during the delay and was glad for someone to talk to and pass time with. We re-boarded the new plane. They were almost finished moving the luggage from one plane to another when the flight attendant noticed an unclaimed piece of luggage on a seat. "Does this bag belong to anyone?" she asked and no one responded. I was truly surprised that no one could hear the scream that was welling up inside of me. Ken looked over and said, "you know what this means, don't you?" I wanted to run shrieking up the center aisle " OF COURSE I KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS! IT MEANS I HAVE TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE FRICKIN' AIRPORT UNDER LOCK-DOWN BECAUSE SOME MORON FORGOT TO STICK HIS BAG IN THE OVERHEAD STORAGE BIN. AAAAAAAAHHHHH! By this time fear was no longer my worst opponent. Anger and fatigue were greater threats than possible terrorist activity. I am grateful that before I completely blew my testimony by losing my mind, the moron showed up and properly stowed his bag. At last, we were off. Only an hour and forty minutes behind schedule.

The flight started off bumpy but smoothed out in the long run. The coolest moment was when we broke through the top of the clouds and were looking down onto a mass of billowy white puffs illuminated by the brightest moon. It was breathtaking and surreal. God is so cool. Even when He doesn't follow my schedule. I gave Ken a tract and an invitation to our church since he doesn't live too far. Maybe he will pop in sometime.

My sweet husband was waiting at the bottom of the escalator, flowers in hand; looking only partially weary from the two hour wait. The house was spotless. I was impressed. And I figure since he did such a good job holding things together...I might as well use the $25 coupon from NWA to jet off again.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Installment 2

Tara Times

Having gotten to the ground without major incident and regaining my bearings, it was time for a fun-filled weekend with the Livesays (less two). Or from their perspective, a fun-filled weekend of harass the hillbilly.

We got to the house around 9:00 pm and chatted for quite awhile. The next morning we were getting ready to make a Target run when Paige (pictured here in silliness as retribution for the following comments) informed me that "you've said 'ya'll' four times already." I sneered. "Are you keeping a log or something?" She assured me that she was and I knew I would have to be careful. Unfortunately, you can take the girl out of the south but you can't...yeah, yeah. A little while later both Paige and I entered the house from opposite sides and in a moment of total senselessness I said "howdy." I believe there are still screech marks on the hardwood floor from how quickly Paige stopped and glared at me in disbelief. I reckoned she was fixin' to put that in her log. To Paige's credit, she did forfeit her bed two nights for me. I sure do done love you, Paige! =)

Friday night we went to a football game for one of the local high schools where Matt (Tara's brother-in-law married to Tara's sister, Tina, who graciously let me use their shower) is the head coach. It was a really good game and perfect cold football weather. Hope sat in my lap through out the game and cried "hug! hug!" whenever the wind would whip through. It was in the last two minutes of the game that she looked up and said "what's your name again?" Yes, she had been sitting on the warm, softness of my fat legs while I on the other hand, could no longer feel my buttocks due to the frozen metal bleacher, for over an hour and she couldn't remember my name? Lucky for Hope she has that whole stinkin' cute thing working to her advantage.

Isaac is wonderful! No really, he is wonderful and everything he sees or touches is wonderful! The glass is not only half full -it's a beautiful glass, too. He's so precious and his optimism is priceless. He had me puddling on the way to the airport as he prayed for my flight and that "maybe Amie can bring her whole family to see us because that's just a wonderful idea God!" (ps... God, I think he's onto something.) Isaac was a constant reminder of my own gentle giant, Isaiah, whose naivety makes me smile. I pray for the day we can put these two over sized boys together for what will surely be an entertaining event. Noah is his mamma's boy. No doubt. BUT I did get some unexpected snuggles on the last day of the trip which was nice. Here's the crew plus Aiden (nephew) and Peanut -who I think loved me the most unconditionally on this trip. Not one comment from her about my accent.

We got to see Britt in action at a swim meet and then headed off for a couple of days without the kiddos. Btw, Britt got the award for being first to usher in the tears. She has big college decisions coming up and I'm just so amazingly proud of her thoughtfulness and desire to glorify God in her decisions. She's an incredibly smart and mature young woman. Not sure who she gets that from. =)

We went to church Saturday night and met up with Lisa (Tara's lifelong best friend). We all hit PF Changs for dinner and more abuse for the southerners in our bunch. Oh wait, that was just me. I admit that I can tolerate a great deal of ridicule while feasting on lettuce wraps. mmmmm. And despite the WAY off base stereotypes regarding Nascar, we had a really great night. We talked for hours about everything under the sun...for much of the conversation I was thinking that we were like a married and only slightly less supermodel-ish version of Sex in the City. (never actually seen the show so stop judging me) Troy called in the middle of such conversation and was glad to see we were getting Tara geared up for his homecoming.

Tara and I spent the rest of our time being total bums. Talking, napping, movies, all good! I'm not sure if these issues are evident in all pregnant women but here are a few things I learned from Tara:
5. Pregnant women (read Tara) should not be obligated to wear seat belts. It just causes unnecessary rage.

4. Pregnant women (read Tara) snore much less than normal. But they can still snore.

3. Pregnant women (read Tara) can be very great with child and yet still wear fancy shoes. (per Troy's favorite ob/gyn)

2. Pregnant women (read Tara) do not want people constantly staring at their pregnantness unless it will give them a cut in the bathroom line.

1. Pregnant women (read Tara) are hormonally imbalanced and should require proper permits and a 10 day waiting period before entering public service areas.

It was a great trip! I just hate that distance makes these get togethers so few and far between. If you don't already read the Livesay Blog, you can (click here). If you don't already pray for their family and their work in Haiti, you can.
I'd like to say that the trip home was uneventful but then that wouldn't be my life, would it? The final installment soon to come.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Minnesota Bound

Turbulent Times

I don't love flying. I tolerate it but would never choose to jet around on the weekends just for fun. Nope. After a successful separation from Tim and the kids (successful meaning only Isaiah and his wimpy mom dissolved into mush but no screaming), I did the ever expanding security bit. Liquids less than 3oz in a Ziploc bag, water bottles in the trash, boarding pass and identification available, shoes off. No problem.

As I sit a the terminal I can't help but look around and wonder, even pray, about who God will stick me next to. I had a window seat so there was really only one person to worry about. I like window seats. I can focus on something other than my nausea. I can see just how much or little we are actually turning and better orient myself to avoid the nausea. I can press my face against the slightly cooler window pane when the nausea begins creeping up the back of my throat. Flying bad. Window seat slightly less bad.

Soon enough I board the plane along with all the other peasants in coach class, pausing momentarily in the inner chamber of first class and fighting off the desire to begin shouting "unclean, unclean" like the outcasts we clearly were. Moving again, I scan the numbers at the top of the rows and find my destination -row 14. Shifting my eyes over to see F -occupied! WHAT!? For people like myself who experience in flight anxiety, a confrontation over seating must be weighed carefully. I decided it wasn't worth a fight but maybe I could use it to break the ice. And you all know me, if I don't have sarcasm what do I have?

I climb into the middle seat, settled in and then stuck out my hand and said "Hi. I'm Amie!" He looked at me with a combination of surprise and fear. I'm sure he was thinking I was some kind of freak who would talk his ear off the entire flight. He was only half right. ;-)

He shook my hand and introduced himself as Tijuan (not sure about the spelling) and I said "I just figured if you're going to steal my window seat we should at least know each other's names." He smiled sheepishly and said, "Sorry, it's my first time flying." I was thinking just what you are thinking, yeah right. Turns out, it's true. It was his first time flying. And boy was it a doozie. Everything was great until the last 45 minutes. Apparently, torrential storms had landed on top of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and were not letting up for anyone.

We went from occasional, pleasant conversation to passing looks of "oh boy", intermittent deep breathing, and synchronized fanning of ourselves with the NWA emergency exit information. I was praying hard. Lord, what kind of testimony will I have if I throw up on this guys feet? Please just get us on the ground quickly, well, not too quickly. I also prayed for him. Not a highly spiritual prayer. It was more like Lord, please don't let him hurl. If he goes, I go. Please do not let him throw up. The plane did not land any faster than usual. The shaking, bumping, and random dropping of altitude did not stop until we hit the ground BUT God was faithful. Nobody spewed. And I was able to give Tijuan a tract before we left the plane. He had another two hour flight to go so maybe he read it.

I was so glad to be on the ground and so glad to see the giant suburban pulling up to baggage claim. The chatter and barrage of questions from Isaac, Noah, and occasionally Hope was great fun. And after such a flight, Tara's driving wasn't so bad.

Installment one...more later

What A Rip!

I'm home and will soon fill you all in on the fun details of the trip but I must start by saying what a big loser you are Tara Livesay for ripping my best material while I'm stuck on a plane breathing recycled air. A plane (followed by another plane) that was, btw, delayed for an hour and forty minutes and didn't land in RDU until 12:04 a.m. Let's see, dropped off at 4:30 pm yielding a delightful 8 hours enjoying all the best of Northwest Air and their crummy $2 Pringles.

But despite the fact that many of you have already seen the evidence of excellent parenting on the Livesay blog, I would like to point out by a comparison of photos that....

Tara managed to rearrange the room while leaving the stove just as close to the crib as before. Nice. Maybe Phoebe's arms are a lot shorter in real life than in pictures. Why waste time on an easy bake oven when you can go straight to the real thing?

Up next...Minnesota Bound! (chapter one)

Monday, September 24, 2007

9 Hours and Counting...

Okay. I pick Amie up in 9 hours. I've been a single dad for 3 days and 13.5 hours. The end is near (probably not the best word choice)...

Here's what I've learned so far:
1. MY 4 children are wonderful, manageable and at times even fun. My 4 children plus 24 neighborhood kids and 3,459 knocks on the door, 598 requests for water/snack/Playstation/bathroom/"can they play?"/etc., etc., nauseum, is less manageable and, honestly, not so much fun.

2. I have a great wife. You know what? She ain't lazy. She actually works long hours for very little (read: zero) pay.

3. My greatest friend is my attitude. My worst enemy is my attitude. Attitude is not a chameleon; it is a painter (think about it).

4. NEVER take children to the library.

5. NEVER take children to church.

6-10. Gotta go change a diaper. Sorry.

Amie, I love you. See ya soon, babe.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Single Dad Report: Day 2

Never, ever say "nothing can go wrong," even if you're joking. Just minutes after yesterday's blog I took my 4 kids plus 1 neighborhood kid to the library. "Going to the library" sounds educational and amirable. Sounds great, like something a great dad would do.

Except that the library is a place where you're supposed to be QUIET! Grumpy babies aren't quiet. Long story short, between snooty librarians and an opinionated 9 month-old, I'm leaving "going to the library" to Amie.

Today was better. Only 1,375 knocks on the door from neighborhood kids (down 27 from yesterday). Amie, I don't know how you do it. I have the utmost respect for you. Nothing much else to say. We had a pretty good day. Tomorrow, however, is Sunday. A day for worship. A day sanctified for remembering our Savior's resurrection. A day to sanctimoniously pursue a relationship with God. A day to fight with children. A day to stress. A day to arrive late and irritated just in time to repent and confess. Anybody else enjoy Sundays like these?

And the message tomorrow is about marriage. Wonder what that is...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Single Dad Entry #1: So Far, So Good...

We ain't got no mama, no wife, no cook, no best friend, no "kiss-the-boo-boos" expert, no super-I-see-through-that-scam disciplinarian, no Amie.

However!!! We got Jesus, yes we do (I won't finish the cheer). And He is enough. We're making it. It's amazing what Jesus and the television can do to help a single dad make it through a long weekend without his wife. Thus far today we have accomplished the following:

1. Watched a movie (a replacement for Saturday kid shows because we have another plan for tomorrow morning).
2. Cleaned house (oh, yeah--and I plan to keep it that way!)
3. Had pancake day (extra sausage for everyone because Mom's not here!!--not that she rations sausage so that she gets the most when she's here, but...)
4. Homeschooled (9 minus 7 does NOT equal 3, even though I insisted that it did. Nathan is better at math than me).
5. Sent the kids out to play

And it's not even 3:00 pm yet! We're fine! Nothing can go wrong from here! We don't miss Amie at all!! (Watching for lightning bolts that proverbially hit liars).

Actually, I do miss my wife. BUT, she trained me well and left schedules, notes, recipes, and such for me. Thanks to her, I think we'll make it...I think. I think I can, I think I can...sigh...Monday is a LONG way away...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


My husband greeted me this morning with his song for the day:

"Please don't go girl..."
(That's an old New Kids on the Block song for those of you who aren't familiar or who are just to embarrassed to admit that you listened to them.)
Isaiah wanted to know if Minnesota was an island? I think he's confusing Tara's two abodes.
Nathan wrote in his journal this morning "momimisuiusuwrhr". Isn't that sweet? =) Okay, I needed an interpretation, too. It says "Mom, I miss you. I wish you were here." It's there if you look close enough. (Yes he IS home schooled -don't even go there!) Anyway, I found it funny that he was writing that today and showing it to me while I'm still very much here. He's a sentimental fellow. Later this morning, he wrapped his arms around me and said "You can't go. I'm holding you right here." I think he and Tim and will quite a pair this weekend.
Mamoune hasn't said a word but seems unusually cheerful. hmmmmm. I'm guessing she would pilot the plane herself if that's what it took to get rid of me for a few days. I'm sure that deep down she's really torn up over it. ;-)
I have a million things to do and the hours are ticking by quickly. Pray that the airport drop off will go smoothly. The last time I traveled to see Tara our boys were 4 and 2. The screaming began just as I lost sight of them going up the escalator. Tim high-tailed it out of there. Something about being a white man holding two black children screaming "I WANT MY MOMMY!" made him nervous. Go figure. =)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane...

That's right, people. I'm outta here. (for a few days, anyway) I will be heading to Minnesota tomorrow to visit the coolest lady I know. I am very excited. The six-toed man pictured below is not very excited. He will be holding down the fort and all four kiddos while I'm gone. I know that he will survive. I think the kids will survive. I'm not holding my breath that the house will survive.

Here's a cool (and constantly needing to be repeated) lesson that I've learned while planning this trip. Shortly after purchasing my non-refundable tickets to MN, I received in the mail a "Summons for Jury Service". A three week term (ugh) starting on Monday the 24th. I will be flying home on Monday night so you can see why this was a problem. Not to mention the fact that we have four kids and they are home schooled. This was in no way a convenient time to do my civic duty. I sent in a letter requesting to be excused from service and have been waiting to be "notified in writing on or before the Wednesday immediately preceding your service." Wednesday, as in today, as in one day before I leave.

Every time I thought about it I would get a stomach ache. What if they don't excuse me? Will I have to change my flight? How much will that cost? Will I have to cancel the trip? When will I ever get to see Tara if I do that? And on and on and on it goes. So, yesterday my Pastor's wife (very smart lady) says "go ahead and call them, they can be human sometimes." I did. I left a voice mail but I was still stressing. Then it hit me. God is in control. (you're smiling as though you always remember that -puhleeze) It's was true. God knew the minute I planned this trip. He knew the timing of the summons. He knew how badly I wanted to see my friend.

So, I confessed. "Lord, I have prayed about this and then ripped it right out of Your hands and stuck it back into the pit of my stomach over and over. I'm sorry." And I really let it go this time. So much so that when I got the call back, it threw me. Then when she said that I had been deferred (which means I'll have to serve at a later time but still) I knew exactly who to thank! Later, I was reading from "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" and was reminded again by the author:

"God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go."

The obvious question being, is where I want to go and where God wants me to go the same destination? I hope in this case, the answer is yes. I give each of you permission to offer the following services to my crew -pity, support, and prayer. Not necessarily in that order!

One final note: why is it that when you google images for Northwest Airlines you get countless pictures of crash scenes????!!!! -grimace- God is in control...God is in control...God is in control...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Toe Head

No, I am not attempting to reignite the blog war with my husband. I actually have his permission to post this one. He allowed it due to its "creative value." I just think it's hilarious.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Retracting the claws

I am an idiot and my husband is twisted. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then just read the comments from my last post. Two comments specifically -Anonymous and my reply to anonymous.

I open my blog account to find this comment that needs to be moderated. I read it. Read it again. Read it AGAIN. My thoughts are flying! Who is this psycho and how could she dare to go on and on about how wonderful MY husband is? And that whole thing about him being faithful???! Dang right he's faithful and she better say it in her sleep. What the heck? I could feel my inner Madea swelling. I was "fit'n" to bust somebody up -earrings coming off!

So, I asked Tim if he'd read the blog lately?

"Why? Am I the brunt of your jokes again?" he asks.

"No. But you may have an admirer and I don't like it very much."

I coax him over to the computer and (I did mention that I'm an idiot, right?) I show him the last post that I did. The really sweet and loving one that shows off the best of my husband. He shrugs carelessly (idiot!! me!) and says "what's the problem?"

"It's the comments. Look at this. Can you believe some woman had the nerve to post this...anonymously! And what is up with the "faithful" comment? She's lucky I responded as calmly as I did."

Tim: "hmm. Infrequent blogger? Wonder what that means?"

IDEEEEUUUT! Me: "I don't know I guess it means they don't blog often or..."

Tim: "Like it's somebody who doesn't read the blog very often."

ding, ding, ding HUGE GASP! "Did you write this comment about yourself? Ugh. You have got to be kidding me!"

Insert Tim's raucous laughter here.

It seems that my husbands anonymous admirer is himself. Weirdo! And I am a big dummy for falling for it. Although, in my defense, I should point out how lucky this man is to have a wife who is ready to throw down for him!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Apparently, unless I am humiliating someone else I have very little to say. A sad commentary on myself. shrug. Actually, the past week or so has shifted between completely hectic with little time to blog or completely boring with little to blog about. Either way you've been stuck looking at my dining room for too long now. Today is leaning toward one of those nothing much to say days so I decided to dig myself out of the pit a little by giving you my favorite Tim photos -no flaming orbs, er, I mean ears; no funny hairdos. Just my sweet husband (sweet and forgiving) being his usual, wonderful self! =)

Oh, and one BIG deal that I should've mentioned first -Nathan was baptized this past Sunday and his daddy baptized him. ("my son and my little brother in Christ" -very cool!) The pictures I took are dark and pitiful but I will try to get something worth looking at posted very soon.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Our house is a very, very, very fine house...

Okay, Sabrina Freeland, this one's for you. Here are a couple of pictures of our house. I can only manage to have two rooms clean at the same time on any given day so, two rooms is all you get for now.

The dining room. Remember the posts from our moving days when I said that people had strong reactions to my choice of paint colors? Now, you can see for yourselves why. I won't try to make excuses -I like it. Tim tolerates it. The kids could care less. Every one's happy. =)

The Living Room. Tim says it's pumpkin orange. I say it's more of a sweet potato pie orange. Either way, I suppose there's no getting around the fact that it is orange. Btw, we do realize that the crazy cords behind the entertainment gizmo need to be gathered and hidden. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

More pictures later. Oh and Tim says "What? No comments since I caught you? Come out and show yourselves, you cowards." ;-)

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Well, well, well. Look who decided to read the blog. Too funny. I must say, it was well worth the wait for a good laugh. As Bernie Mac would say "America, I'm proud of the boy." I didn't even think he knew how to upload pictures. Ha!

So, here's the deal. I'm at home right now and Tim has gone on a WalMart run. I was logging on to enter one final post telling you all that I was turning myself in. I mean, it seemed he would NEVER read it and without the fear of getting caught, it just wasn't as much fun anymore. Imagine my surprise! lol. I can't stop giggling about it.

I sincerely wish that I could capture on tape the moment he returns and I go crawling out to the van with my "still friends, right?" face on. I hate that you all have to miss such a laugh fest. But it's been good while it lasted. And I have a suspicion that he will be an avid reader from now on. To all of you who held your tongues, I am grateful. Oh, and I will be filling Tim in on all the snickering conversations that have happened behind his back. If I'm going down, I'm taking you all with me. =)

The Gig Is Up.