Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Sad News

I'm sorry that the blog hasn't been such a fun place here lately, but I need to ask you for your prayer support again.

My friend Melissa (the family we spent Easter Sunday with) lost her 13 year old nephew last night in a four wheeling accident. They are a very close family and I know you can all understand the devastation they are experiencing. Please pray for his parents, his two sisters, and for all these aunts, uncles, and cousins.

This past Sunday, we read the story in Luke of the widow who lost her only son. Jesus was passing by as the funeral procession made it's way down the street and Luke tells us that when Jesus saw her, "He had compassion on her." I pray that this family would feel the compassion of Christ in the midst of their hurting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wouldn't It Work Better If...

we could all be super heroes. Maybe just for a day. Selfishly, I must admit that if I were a super hero (I would call myself "Scarlett Flame" btw. Is that already taken? =) ) I would not use my powers to right the corrupt systems of the world nor to save the innocent in dark alleys. I would not even rescue a kitten from a tree. I told you I was being selfish. On any other day, I would gladly do those things. But today...I need super hero powers to tackle my own house.

There's a moment when you realize that there is more to do in 1400 square feet of space than is humanly possible in only 12 hours. Of course, it doesn't help that you use up one of those hours to blog about how you can't get anything done. shrug. Without super hero status it is a "one bite at a time" elephant sized project. The problem with eating an elephant one bite at a time is that from certain angles, the little bites can't be seen and it still looks like one honkin' elephant sitting there.

Nonetheless I, the Scarlett Flame, am going to attempt to eat an entire elephant today. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Oh, and ---does anyone have a red body suit I can borrow? ;-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the News

There was a girl (17) whom we met shortly after moving into our neighborhood two years ago. Her name was Gabby and she would walk through our area while visiting a friend a few blocks over. She was popular with all the kids because she would often share candy with them and always stopped to chat if anyone was outside playing. She talked with the kids as though their stories were the most important thing she'd heard all day. She seemed very sweet, sincere, and was always smiling. We saw less and less of her as the two years passed.

She was shot to death on Sunday by her boyfriend. Here is a link to the news story. They refer to her as a woman which is hard for me to swallow. I know that 19 year olds would argue with me but when you are talking about the end of a life, nineteen hardly seems grown. Our kids were sad to hear what happened and a few of the kids who've known her longer have taken the news very hard. Please pray for them as they process it. Please pray for the Reece family. They are grieving in a way I cannot even imagine, and never hope to. But our God knows exactly how they feel. Pray that He will be very real to them in this time.

Also, pray that the guy responsible will be caught. As of this morning, he is still on the run.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Last week, the three youngest and I had to run a few errands, one of which was spending a gift card at the mall. We grabbed some lunch in the food court and headed up the stairs to the store of said card. Halfway there, I looked down and noticed that a bit of food was stuck to my shirt.

"Oh, I had food on my boob." Isaiah gave me a sideways glance. I brushed it off but it left a small grease spot behind. "Aw man, now I have a spot on right on my boob. Isaiah, why didn't you tell me I had food on my boob?"

Isaiah threw both hands up as though creating a protective shield around his head and said, "Mom! Will you quit saying that?! You are freaking me out!"

Oops. Note to self. Do not say boob in front of Isaiah.

WHAT?! I'm freaking you out, too? ugh. Note to self. Do not say boob on the blog. oops.


Thursday, April 16, 2009


Ode to Sarcasm
by Amie Sexton

Sarcasm, sarcasm, thou art a wicked friend
For what pleases in the beginning, surely bites me in the end.

You bring me great joy when good friends are near
The smiling faces of ones I hold dear
But in the public domain where the audience may swell
I fear you don’t translate yourself very well.

To attempt to restrain you, I once measured my words
Hoping not to confuse the ones who have heard
And I began to take literally the words others spoke
Till alas, someone muttered “Man, she can’t take a joke.”

So, you see that you’ve left me in a straight betwixt two
To embrace or replace thee, what shall I do?
Yet, even now I admit that in this very prose
I have used you again to make my point, I suppose.

Oh sarcasm, sarcasm, thou art a wicked friend
For what pleases in the beginning, surely bites me in the end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I published this comment under the previous Easter post despite the fact that I'm not at all a fan of "anonymous" opinions. It seems a bit unfair when our names, faces, and personalities are out there for public scrutiny (by our own choosing) but others can offer a critique of us without returning the favor. But whatever. I'm reprinting the comment here so that I can answer it openly and thoroughly.

Anonymous said:

I find it kind of sad the way that you represent the community you live in. I assume people who know you know that you're joking around. But I'm sure there are lots of people out there who read your blog regularly who don't know you and aren't able to contextualize your observations. I'm one of those people.

I always felt that part of the reason you decided to become part of this community was to help dispel myths about lower income neighborhoods. I feel that often when you talk about your neighbors you're simply perpetuating these stereotypes, and it saddens me.

I've read your blog for some time now, and I've actually wanted to raise this in response to a few posts, and i decided today i wanted to share this.

I hope you won't take this as a slam, but rather as something to reflect on.


Let me start by saying that I don't take it as a slam. There are no ALL CAPS or over used !!!! It is much too thoughtfully written to be taken as an all out assault. So, thanks for that. Honestly, I am more confused by it than anything else. I did reflect -quite literally- I scanned back through a good year's worth of posts; and while I'm willing to admit a heavy bias, I don't see it.

Even more confusing was the connection to the post under which you penned your thoughts. The entire point of the previous post was how misguided and untrue my sons fears and concerns were. The opposite of what I understand your accusation to be.

I'm not sure which stereotypes you believe I have perpetuated. In fact, I had to go all the back to November of last year to find another post in which I specifically mentioned any person or situation directly relating to the neighborhood.

We moved into this neighborhood to love people. I suppose there are "myths" surrounding low income areas but there are also realities. I could have not shared the story of Willie in an effort to dispel the myth of alcoholism in the 'hood but... Willie exists. Alcoholism exists. What would you have me do? Does my recounting of Willie's story have a sarcastic edge? Sure. Perhaps you would offer a more sober-minded response to having a man stand in your living room and ask you (or your wife) to unzip his pants. Consider yourself the bigger person. I figured I had three options in this situation: be scared of it, be angry at it, or laugh about it. I chose laughing. I choose laughing.

I'm guessing (feel free to correct me) that you were put off by my asking if it was smart for my friend to bring white people to her party. Well, here's how that breaks down for me. Most white people would not have asked that question (out loud) for one of two reasons --

1) Fear. If I acknowledge our racial difference it may cause tension. That's not the kind of relationship I have with my friend, Melissa. Or any other friends for that matter. I did not have to be afraid of damaging the relationship by stating the obvious.

2) Arrogance. (unintentional, but still) Of course I don't have to ask if I'd be welcomed at the party. As a white American I am welcomed virtually anywhere I go. I'm not and never have been obligated to consider acceptance as a factor. The same is not true for African Americans. My willingness to ask (even within humor) acknowledges that they have the right to exclude me. I'm grateful that they didn't.

We love our neighborhood. We love our neighbors. We are surrounded by amazing, hard-working, loving, and giving people. There are also addictions, abuses, and sin. To deny either would be to misrepresent our community. To withhold love from any would be to misrepresent our God. The best we hope to do is to serve both wholeheartedly and honestly.

If we have screwed it up by your account -you are always welcome to come and help us out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Peeps on Parade

Peeps as in kids not the sugar coated, little Easter treats (which I am not fond of btw -feels like your eating a marshmallow that was dropped in sand, blech).
Happy Easter Everyone! You'll be happy to know that we survived. Whew! You mean you weren't worried about us? Well, that's okay. Nathan was worried enough for the both of you. Allow me to explain.

We were invited by friends down the street to join them for a big family barbecue/Easter celebration at the park in Raleigh. In jest I said, "Are you sure your family won't be wondering why in the world you invited white people to the party?" We laughed. We moved on. Didn't think much else about it. UNTIL...sometime Friday when Nathan said, "We shouldn't go because everybody might look at us weird since we're the only white people that'll be there."

We took a brief moment to remind him that, well, first of all, he's NOT white. And if need be, he could just slide in next to any of the black women and no one would ever have to know he was with us. =)

Nathan has a gift. It is a wicked gift. The gift of hyper-imaginative paranoia. After mulling this situation over in his head for two more days, the child was more or less convinced that as soon as we stepped in the park area a full blown, gangster style, race war would break out --an entire park full of black people against me and Tim. Ay-ay-ay.

After continuous assurance that they were not inviting us only to kill us and that if Miss Melissa wanted Mommy dead she could just shoot me at the bus stop any morning of the week; we made our way to the gathering. And...

Nathan had a GREAT time!!! They all did. Sure, there were a few odd glances as people tried to place us but Melissa was quick to introduce us as friends and before long "Big Man" was giving Tim the secrets to homemade Tequila. Ha! Life is never dull. Here are some pictures of the fun.

Little Tots egg race.

The bigger kids egg race. Nathan came in third.

Luckily, the prize for third place was a "We will not kill your parents today" ribbon. ;-)

Mamoune shaking her stuff for the hula hoop contest.

Tim volunteered to start a "bald head" contest and we figured he was a shoo-in until one of Melissa's sisters threatened to take her wig off. Oh, and Bella made off like a bandit. The girl ate no less than four cupcakes. Every time I turned around she had another one from somewhere. She was awfully sluggish as I tried to get her out of bed this morning. She gave a whispery "yes" when I asked if she had a "sugar hangover." My, they do start early these days.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maybe It's Just Me

...or in this case Tim.

We recently had a discussion about "lol" as seen on blogs, facebook, in chat rooms, etc. Here is his take:

Tim: LOL? Really? Is that an lol? I mean maybe it's a COL -chuckle out loud but an lol? I just don't get how often people use that. It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. (I didn't bother mentioning ROFLOL's because I knew that would only fan the flame ;-)) I think most of the lol's should really be labeled as what they are: a "WAAH."

Me: A waah?

Tim: Yeah, a Weak Attempt At Humor. waah.

That made both of us lol.