Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Millenders and Random Pictures

We spent Saturday with our friends, Ron and Chris (and the kiddos), who are leaving for Africa on Thursday. We had a great time and I only cried once which I believe is a new personal record. For those who don't know them, though many of you do, they are the kind of people that you might know for only a short time but you'd swear you've been friends since first grade. They've only been around for a few years but we knew immediately that they would be lifelong friends. We are going to miss them greatly! You can keep up with their journey to Africa on their blog -linked at the right of this page.

Here are a couple of pictures from our visit:

It's hard to believe that the next time these two boys are together,

one will be a teenager and the other will be walking and talking.

For a minute it looked like Jesus was just gonna show up

and none of us would be traveling anywhere.

And here are few random pictures of the crew:

See, we know we have older kids, too. For those wondering, it's not that we don't love them equally. They are just better at avoiding the camera than the little ones. But trust me, they had their day and if you need the proof I have BOXES of prints that you are welcomed to peruse. Nathan is absent in the line up but I'll try to post one of his newly shorn head later.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Open Letter to Mark Driscoll

Dear Mark,

Do you mind if I call you Mark? Since our first reading of your books with the ooze of sarcasm dripping from the cover, I've felt that we were old friends. I'd like to thank you for spending time with my husband as he's been fighting off a recent head cold. Your late night, middle of the night, and early morning chats are very dear to him. Though he has made mention that you are bit one-sided in your "conversations*" and he can barely get a word in edge wise.

"Do you know what Mark told me last night?" he asked me first thing one morning. I coudn't begin to guess since you guys seems to cover a wide array of topics. "He told me that I should wear my wife's favorite cologne." Really? "Do you know where it is?" I was stunned. Of course, I know where it is. In fourteen years of marriage I have tried everything imaginable -begging, nagging, conspicuously leaving the bottle of cologne alongside his deodorant, offering various ahem, rewards and pleasantries; none resulting in consistent wear of my favorite scent.

But now, upon your recommendation (with the help of Solomon) the warm and enticing aroma of Drakkar Noir lingers in the air. And the memories and tummy flutters of our high school dating days have flooded in as well. I think he has long underestimated the power hidden in a simple dab of musk. While he was out of state for college in the second year of our relationship, I would visit the Macy's fragrance counter and douse my sweater with the tester bottle. Then I would sleep with the sweater and dream that I was nuzzled into the sweet, warm skin at the nape of his neck. aaaaaahhhhh.

Wait...where was I? Oh, letter to Mark Driscoll -that's right. Anyway, Mark I would just like to thank you publicly. You have brought the smell of the early 90's back into our lives and I'm loving it! Now, if I could just get my bangs to stand straight up...

Much Gratitude,

*(If you'd like to have "conversations" with Mark Driscoll, you can play and/or download messages at http://www.marshillchurch.org/)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tidbits from the Dinner Table

After a recent parental melt down (and intervention from my hero husband) Isaiah made this profound observation:

"Dad, it seems like it's hard to be a parent with kids around."

The boy is on to something. It's often said that the people with the strongest opinions about raising kids are those who don't have any. Lots of advice but zero credentials. They haven't learned the obvious wisdom in Isaiah's comment yet. But the same simple truth could be applied to a lot of things. For example:

It's hard to be an astronaut with gravity around.

It's hard to be a chicken with wolves around.

Basically, anything can look or sound easy until you meet your first obstacle. Have you ever wanted to tell your Abba/Daddy that "it's hard to be a Christian with sin around?"

Tim and I have always tried to be transparent because to us, if this Jesus stuff doesn't work in the hardest, scariest, most painful, most hurtful moments of real life then it doesn't work at all. Because real life is hard, scary, painful, and hurtful. Sometimes all at once. But that's the beauty of following Jesus. He lived real life. Just like us. None of the obstacles were removed. In fact, his suffering removed my greatest obstacle which was this enormous chasm between myself and God.

What's my point? Two things:

--My life doesn't have to be (and will never be) a smooth and unhindered path through meadows of flowers with money falling from the clouds. If this is what your church teaches, they are liars. And you already know that they are liars because no matter how hard you try your life never looks like that. And they know they are liars because no matter how they fluff, tuck, make up, or hair spray it their lives don't truly look that way either.

--I don't have to (and never should) isolate myself from the world and the people in it so that being a Christian will somehow look easier without the influence of sin. If this is what your church teaches, they are mistaken. Jesus died for the world of people you are hiding from. And the truth is if I (or you) lived in a sterilized bubble, sin would still be there because I am there.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


is highly over-rated.

Take Isaiah for example. Quite often he takes initiative to give a little extra help around the house. Oh Amie, that's so sweet of him. No, it isn't! You are among the duped who assume that initiative is always a good thing. So - not - true! You see, the child will have left his underwear in the floor, his toys all over the living room, and a big glob of toothpaste oozing out of the tube and onto the sink BUT he will suddenly take the initiative to wash the windows. Not something I've asked him to do. Not something I need him to do. And not something he's good at doing.

Not long ago he cleaned the bathroom mirror...with one of my Olay facial cloths. yep. Took me forever to figure out why their mirror was fogged up every time I went in there. Sometimes initiative is a truly horrible thing. Just imagine if I had taken the initiative to build the last 50 feet of the Golden Gate Bridge. No good.

So, when Isaiah took the initiative to put Justus in his swing this morning...let's just say it wasn't met with showers of gratitude. Oh no. It is the point at which initiative and incompetence meet that this "go getter" characteristic become inherently evil. As demonstrated in the very moment that Justus somehow missed the swing seat and was being held up by one arm. I was screaming "Drop him, Isaiah, drop him!" having quickly rationalized that the six inch fall couldn't possibly do more damage than the dislocated shoulder; and having been suddenly caught in that panicked time warp of slow motion that makes a distance of three feet feel like the length of a football field.

You'll be happy to know that the baby is none the worse for wear -shoulder safely in place. And Isaiah? Well, I'd like to post this announcement on his behalf:

Attention Future Employers of Isaiah Sexton

Please be advised that if your evaluation of and potential earning increases for employees hinges upon evidence of having taken initiative in the work place -Isaiah will never receive an exemplary evaluation nor a pay raise because on this the 18th day of September 2008, he has been instructed under threat of death and/or dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) to ONLY do that which he has asked and been granted permission to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

And now, if we can just work on the incompetence issue. Don't worry -we will NOT be practicing with living creatures. You remember Lennie from "Of Mice and Men," don't you? yeah.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Just Don't Get It...

Rachel Ray, that is. I don't get it. Well, I kinda get it, but really I don't. I watched her morning talk show for the first time today. I was feeding Justus and instead of listening to my Spanish language Cd's, or reading to Isaiah, or praying, or anything of real value; I decided to click on the old tube.

Here are my observations. On the positive side -she's cute and quirky and not a size "0" which is encouraging. The recipes seem easy enough and I'd be willing to try a few. On the flip side, however; I find myself wishing someone would tie her hands behind her back just to see if she could complete a sentence without them. It makes me tired just to watch her and I am a hand-talker so I should be able to appreciate this about her. But e.ver.y. sin.gle. syll.a.ble. is emphasized with some movement.

In addition to this (though this one is not just a Rachel Ray thing but applies to all cooking shows with studio audiences)... are people really clapping for Parmesan cheese? I mean, it's totally quiet until she says "and now we'll just sprinkle in some Parmigiana/Reggiano" and suddenly there is uproarious applause and even whistling. It's cheese people. Now, if it were cheesecake --that would be a completely acceptable response. (btw Ron Millender: twelve days and counting =)) But it's not cheesecake. Is this really our nations innate response to dairy products or is there some guy holding a cue card that says "Clap for the cheese. We don't care if you're lactose intolerant"?

And speaking of studio audiences -whose the brainiac behind this one..."this show was recorded before a live studio audience"? Have you ever considered the alternative? hmmm.

In the end, I gotta give Rachel Ray props seeing that she has like 47 different shows, a magazine, and her own line of kitchen garbage bowls. shrug. All I have is this here blog. Which, by the way, "is recorded before a dead studio audience." Apparently, something wasn't quite right with the cheese platter we offered before taping. Wait...no...hold your applause...it was BAD cheese, people....bad cheese...STOP clapping already...put down those cue cards....aaaaaaaah!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Picture This...

Fat and Happy!

Do you ever want to escape your reality?

Apparently, it starts very young.

Storm watchers...chasing is not their thing.

Move over, Shirley Temple!

We just need to teach this kid how to tap dance.

Excuses, Opinions, and Tidbits


it seems I may have slightly underestimated what life would look like with two kids in public school, one home schooler, and two in diapers. While we are slowly getting into the groove of a workable schedule, you can clearly see that blogging has been pushed to the back burner. Hopefully it won't stay that way for long. To the many of you whom I nag relentlessly when you fail to update your blogs -I am chief among sinners. It doesn't mean that I will stop nagging you, it just means that I will continue to do so fully aware of the hypocritical nature of it. =)

I recently opened a facebook page (which was the intelligent thing to do given my inability to maintain just one web account). I joined this cult, er I mean, club for one simple reason; I wanted to see pictures of the Millender family. Now I have all of these friends --which I am grateful for because apparently being a friendless facebooker is like the scarlet letter of our day. I have nightmares that I'm gonna try to check out groceries and be told, "I'm sorry we have a 100 facebook friends minimum here. You'll have to shop at the 'people who still think myspace is cool' store." What?! You mean myspace isn't cool anymore? crap.--

Anyway, I have friends but I'm not sure what we're supposed to be doing together. Every now and then someone "writes on my wall" which could be seen as a little offensive giving our states laws against defacing public property but laying that aside, I respond. And then there are these other things like smiles and chocolates and knighthood and... the list is really endless. So, you get one of these things and it's flattering and thoughtful. You have two options: send one back or IGNORE this person. Okay, seems like an obvious choice but sending one back is not as simple as you might think. First, I have to download this widget-ma-jiggy in 62 easy steps. HUH?

I don't want to download the widget-ma-jiggy but my only other choice is to actually click the button which says "INGORE" my dear friend who has sent me something flattering and thoughtful. I have a hard time hanging up on telemarketers and now this?! Where is the "send a nice thank you card and move on with life" option? I want a third button, dang it! sigh. Being smiled at should not cause this much anxiety.

In other news, Nathan completely made his mama's day recently. He accidentally left his lunch box at school and so we packed his lunch in a target bag. While walking to the bus stop, he handed it off and asked me to carry it. Seemed odd. You're carrying an 80lb book bag but your lunch sack is weighing you down? "Are you embarrassed that your lunch is in a target bag?" I asked. He was. I laughed at him (because that's what good moms do) and tucked it into the top of his back pack before anyone saw it. Then, I grabbed his hand and said, "Are you embarrassed to hold your Mommy's hand in front of your friends?" He slid his little fingers in between mine and said, "Nope. Not even one little bit." I fought back the tears. If the Target bag wasn't enough a sobbing mom would have surely put him over the edge; but seriously, my heart melted into my toes.

The rest of the crew is doing well. It's been a while since we had a night of incessant crying...oh, and Justus is sleeping better, too. ;-) Izzy and I have started a new tradition of having our coffee (or coffee flavored milk as it were) on the back porch every morning after Tim leaves for work and before we wake the wee ones. It's a nice start to the day and he loves feeling all grown up.

Bella is as Bella does and has decided the way to get what she wants or to stop her siblings from doing something or to tell us what she doesn't like or well, for just about any reason is to scream as loud as possible. She is learning that this method really only gets her one thing so, I think it will be a short lived phase.

I'm afraid that Mamoune will not be with us much longer. I do not expect her to survive the winter months at the bus stop. It was about 65 -70 degrees this morning and the child was shivering cold with chill bumps all over her arms. I guess you can take the girl out of Haiti but you can't take the Haiti out of the girl. Thermal underwear will be her new best friend.

Picture post to follow shortly. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Quiet please, I'm stepping up onto my pedestal. =)

The following essay is presented in defense of opinions held by Amie Sexton and is entitled "Why Christians should NOT be creepy salespeople."

If you have a product or service and you want to sell it, fine. I don't have a problem with that. But for heaven's sake don't be creepy. What does creepy look like? I just happened to have experienced it today.

A gentlemen knocked on my door this afternoon. As I opened the door, he stepped back quickly and said "whoa, didn't mean to surprise ya there." I wanted to ask "uh, you knocked on the door; I opened it. What's the surprise?" but I refrained. He immediately went into the name dropping phase of his presentation. "I was just chatting with some of your neighbors, the uh, Wiggins' and Howard's. Really great families." I stared at him blankly since I know very few of our neighbors by their last names. He could've said he'd had tea with the Bush's and it wouldn't have mattered to me. But I got the impression that hearing these names was meant to put me at ease. "Oh well if the Wiggins' listened to your spiel then I'd be a fool not to." It didn't work. As I said, I don't know the Wiggins'.

Next, he assured me that he would only be taking a couple of minutes of my time. And for added flare or in case I was a complete moron who had no idea what a couple of minutes was, he pointed carefully to his wristwatch --twice.

"And so, is there a place where we could sit down and chat?" At the very moment he is forming these words and I am NOT exaggerating (though that is my usual nature) -he begins wiping his feet on a non-existent door mat, elbows in the air and stepping toward my front door apparently expecting to be ushered right in. He seemed only slightly jolted when I said "No." I explained that I don't welcome in people that I don't know when my husband is at work.

Not to worry. It turns out the condensed version of the spiel can be done standing. In closing, I told him I did not think we would be interested in the service he was offering. "Do you mind if I ask what line of work your husband is in?" He's a spokesperson for the NRA who likes to shoot door-to-door sales people for sport. "He's a pastor."

Turns out the guy has been to our church before but currently attends another church in the area. "yeah, I've been the that church for your Halloween program before (he knew it by name and wasn't bluffing, even so). What's your husbands name?" As soon as it left my mouth I was mentally kicking myself in the derriere repeatedly. The pitch ended and he moved on down the road.

Take note: if you live in the area and a guy knocks on your door and says, "I was just talking to the Sexton family the other day..." Do not be fooled. Pretend you've never heard of us and close the door quickly.

And so, back to my original statement. If you have a product that you believe is worth my time and financial investment -say so. But don't do the whole song and dance routine and for the love of Pete -DON'T wipe your feet on an imaginary door mat. It's just creepy.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dear Granny

(an open letter)
When Mommy got me dressed the other morning, I wasn't so sure about the outfit she chose. It had cows and farm equipment on it which are pretty unfamiliar to an urban guy like myself.

But when she explained that it was from YOU;
"Oh!" I said...

"Well, that makes all the difference. Thanks Granny!"