Happily

Long, long ago in northeastern Louisiana, a baby girl was born. A few years later in east Texas, ANOTHER baby girl was born. A few years later in California, a baby boy was born.

Unbeknowst to them, God would use their various choices and winding paths to one day bring about a seredipitous meeting of the two girls. After their meeting and ensuing friendship, the Louisana Gal would LEAVE the Texas Gal to move to the country. . .where Louisiana Gal would go to church with and befriend California Boy’s mom.

And God shook his head and winked. A twinkle shone from his eye, and a chuckle escaped deep from his chest, because the time had FINALLY come for Louisiana Gal to introduce Texas Gal to California Boy bringing about the age-old question/answer combo below:

And here they are with me–the Matchmaker–but it really was “a match made in heaven” ’cause the events leading to me being in the right place at the right time to meet either of these people. . .and then having the moxy to introduce them (I didn’t even KNOW Greg’s name until the night I waltzed up to him and said, “I have a friend named Jennifer. . .wanna go out with her?”) thereby setting in motion the following explosion of pink and green decor for their WEDDING SHOWER was TOTALLY not my doing, but God’s. Seriously.

The Happy Couple with The Nosy Friend

Oreos for the Bride--long story--but a necessity.

(Except, Jennifer, I just now realized I forgot to put the peanut butter out with them. Sorry.)

The Happy Couple, the Moms, and Grandma Betty

The thing is, and I now humbly confess, that back in July when I introduced them–over the course of the weeks and months as they began to fall in love–I was feeling pretty proud of myself. The hubris was boundless. I mean, I knew it was God’s doing, but how GREAT was it that ‘Lil ‘ole Me could assist the Creator of the Universe in this venture. Seriously. This HAD to be The Reason that Jennifer and I met–for me to be SO AWESOME and help her find her future husband. *Preen.Crow.Jump back and kiss myself.*

And God, again, shook his head.

But this time, a tear trickled down His cheek and a sigh escaped from His chest. Worry creased His brow. You see, God knew that
*I* had no idea the crisis looming before me–the events already set in motion to sweep down on me like a hurricane stripping away my hubris and my moxy and my strength.

I had no idea that I would need Jennifer way more than she needed me. I had no idea that she would be at my house vacuuming my carpet and scrubbing my toilets when I was incapable of doing anything but sleep. I had no idea that she would take up a daily e-mail vigil–an hourly check-in system–to keep tabs on me and my rapidly accelerating slide into emotional mayhem and exhaustion. I had no idea that for the first time in my married life, I would need someone to go buy groceries for my family in my stead, because even that task was too much. I had NO STINKIN’ IDEA. But God did. He knew that I would need her in ways that I had never imagined, and in ways only she could fulfill.

Yeah, that Creator of the Universe? He knows what He’s doin’.

Thank you, God. Thank you for loving us so deeply that you make the beautiful life you’ve given us all that much sweeter–that much richer– by the love, help, and companionship of friends. (And thank you for pink and green, and flowers, and Oreos too.)

My friend, Jennifer. She is (at the very least) ten kinds of awesome. The people who live in my house love her A LOT.

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Curing the World’s Ills

I think this could SERIOUSLY cure lots of ills in the world today.

Carefree fun with friends in the great outdoors. Preferably on playground equipment.

Homemade waffles on pink plates with fresh strawberries and REAL whipped cream topped with pink sprinkles

Finding the world's biggest bottle of chocolate syrup. . .

And sharing it with your girl friends

Riding with the windows down (she was buckled in, Lisa)

Fresh flowers in an old snuff bottle or any other container

Taking photos of things you like, and capturing something you didn't expect. . .in this case, my right hand.

Sleepover

Remember the anticipation? The planning? The excitement? The chatting and secrets and laughter and trying to keep your eyes open just a few seconds longer? Three friends who have known each other since 1st grade, separated this year into three jr. high schools. . .FINALLY the mommies get it together enough to get THEM together, and VOILA!!!! Sleepover.

Happy, happy, happy of happiest girls. Tummies full of taco salad and brownies and Hawaiin Punch Rapsberry Lemonade–two Klutz books FULL of Things You Must Know About Your Best Friends, and SURVEYS. Big, comfy t-shirts, and all three of them still small enough to fit into one full-sized bed. I’ve barely heard a peep from them since I brought Allie and Carrie home with me today. Victoria met us IN THE DRIVEWAY, and they have been nothing but a joy and a pleasure since then. MaryLinda, Stephanie, and I were NOT this quiet.

Wailin’ Jennys

Heard the Wailin’ Jennys for the first time on a Garrison Keillor 4th of July show. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. . .

1. GORGEOUS HARMONIES. . .and the acoustics in the first video were PERFECT. Seriously. . .I don’t know WHERE they were, but it’s AMAZING. It’s worth 3:36 seconds of your time.

2. Again. . .you can’t BUY harmony like this. and that alto is just indescribable.

BTW: I had originally entitled this “Good Music”, but the auto posts at the bottom that “matched” had a not nice word in it. SERIOUSLY!!! and also EGADS!!!

Mary Linda and Stephanie


November/December, 1985–My fave photo of the three of us. On the balcony of the gym “having class” on a game day–we won state in football that year. Our makeup ALONE is a study in the ’80’s. PEEP all of that blue mascara. We won’t even address the hair. And you can’t tell, but we all have neon green Extra gum (it had JUST COME OUT) in our mouths.

As I have stated a time (or thousand), I have known Sarah for nigh unto forever. . .really. A long, long time. Just 5 years shy of the amount of time I’ve known Sarah, however, is the amount of time I’ve know Mary Linda and Stephanie. A whopping 28 years. That is no amount of chronology at which to sneeze.

I thank my lucky stars for the unfortunate rezoning of their neighborhood to a school where neither they nor their parents wanted them to attend. It landed them squarely at O.C.S. my 7th grade year, and boy did I ever need them.

I went to a teeny, tiny private Christian school. I’m talkin’ little–like just over 30 other kids were in my graduating class–and I had known most of them since at least 4th or 5th grade–or 1st. I was not the most popular girl in 7th grade for many, MANY reasons. . .being extremely loud and very bossy not the least of those reasons–others were more superficial and ones over which I had less control. That being said, Stephanie and Mary Linda (and Kim who left in 8th grade I think) came into our little school and, though objects of curiosity, were not immediately accepted into the cliques that naturally form. And neither was I. And did I mention that I was loud?

Well, the three of them found me HILARIOUS. . .they would just laugh and laugh and laugh at me–and I loved that. I’ve never particularly asked them WHY they laughed at me (I’m pretty sure I KNOW why)–but it doesn’t matter, because in October of this past year when I went home for the chorus reunion, they were STILL laughing at me (loudly enough that I could hear them through a plate glass window) when I had barely gotten myself out of Sarah’s car. I had my ankle brace on, and they are both WELL acquainted with my lack of grace and dexterity having seen me trip, fall, stumble, and skin my knee (and crawl out of the trunk of a car or a CLOSET) on more than one occasion.

Those two girls were the friends I had never had. They really, truly DID love me–in all of my loud, unfashionable, bossiness. They threw a surprise party for me on my 13th birthday–and we STILL tell the story–poor Bea (Mary Linda’s maid) didn’t know what hit her. They taught me how to put on makeup. They listened to me drone ON AND ON AND ON about my jr. high/high school crush. They wrote me notes, and signed their letters “LYLAS.” Stephanie read my really, really BAD poetry and was kind to me anyway. They shared their secrets and held mine in confidence. (Well, MARY-“he’s-wearing-a-pink-shirt”- LINDA–most of them.) I spent more nights than I can count in their homes–normally Mary Linda’s–she lived about two houses away from Stephanie–and M.L. was an only child, so there was more room at her house (for me to destroy things and generally drive her father insane). There are many, many, MANY other stories that don’t need to be published on the world wide web.

I was in both of their weddings. They were both in mine. They were in each others. We have the photos (and dresses) to tell the tale.

June, 1991. I had been SPECIFICALLY told to NOT get strap marks. Oops.

December, 1991 Mary Linda's big day. I won't tell the story of how she had to go to the bathroom AFTER she got into her chapel length trained dress. Guess which two bride's maids helped her do that.

June, 1993 Obviously NOT the formal photo of my bride's maids, but my favorite one because Daddy is in it. He'd known M.L., Steph, and Sarah FOREVER--I love that he is the only male among a sea of pink.

Stephanie now lives in Texas–not too incredibly far from where we grew up. Mary Linda is still in the same town in Louisiana. About a week ago, I had a REALLY bad dream about the three of us AND Sarah. It was just not a pleasant dream AT ALL. And, so, after I woke up from it, I thought about them. As with most friends–we don’t talk as often as we “should.” We just know the others are there.

On my way in to work, I called Mary Linda–7:23 a.m. I was pretty sure she was up, but knew she wouldn’t kill me even if she weren’t. She answered on speaker phone, so I got to speak to her hubby too. (Hi, J.J.) I told her about the dream. We chatted for awhile–she assured me all was well, and that was that. When I got to school, I e-mailed Stephanie the same info and cc:d Mary Linda. Over the course of the next few hours, we e-mailed back and forth–chatting–making jokes–asking some serious questions and divulging some information too.

These girls–these women–these are my friends. They have loved me a long, long time. They are precious to me. At the reunion, Stephanie was the only one who brought her husband with her. Mary Linda–strictly speaking–was not in chorus (though she DID make sure I arrived back in time for chorus each day after our drive-thru lunch of McDonald’s fries and Wendy’s chicken sandwiches and Frosties), but we made her (under EXTREME duress and peer pressure on our part. . .and much whining on her part) come with us. We laughed the WHOLE STINKIN’ TIME. We made snarky comments and told inside jokes and generally yucked it up. Stephanie’s husband said, “I need to get her away from y’all. She doesn’t ACT this way at home.” He was kidding. I think. 🙂

How did I get so blessed? Seriously. What a treasure. . .

The three of us with Sarah and Michele.

Still holds true. . .

Repost time: And an update. . .I have now talked to Sandy and Linda on the phone, Melanie and I have exchanged real, hand-written letters, AND I finally met Becky and her five beautiful children in December. Stephanie (gal whose husband I had a crush on in college) and I got to see each other in September, 2007 and are planning another visit this summer–WITH Becky who has moved much closer to us. I saw my friend Carolyn (knew her son in college) in November, and I got to see Sarah at Christmas–and her Dad. 🙂

I am blessed beyond measure. That is for sure.

The Race that Knows Joseph
July 2, 2007
(link to original should you care to read the comments)

“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Exodus 1:8
One of my favorite series of books is Anne of Green Gables. I know. I know. It’s old fashioned and sappy sweet–but so am I. . .and there are great truths in those books. One of the best books in the series (as far as I’m concerned) is Anne’s House of Dreams. It’s in this book that Anne grows up and gets married and makes a home and friends away from Avonlea. It’s also in this book that I found a great explanation of instant friendship.

“You’re young and I’m old, but our souls are about the same age, I reckon. We both belong to the race that knows Joseph, as Cornelia Bryant would say,” said Captain Jim.

“The race that knows Joseph?” puzzled Anne.

“Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds– the race that knows Joseph and the race that don’t. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes–why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph.”

“Oh, I understand,” exclaimed Anne, light breaking in upon her. “It’s what I used to call–and still call in quotation marks `kindred spirits.’”

“Jest so–jest so,” agreed Captain Jim. “We’re it, whatever it is. When you come in tonight, Mistress Blythe, I says to myself, says I, `Yes, she’s of the race that knows Joseph.’ And mighty glad I was, for if it wasn’t so we couldn’t have had any real satisfaction in each other’s company. The race that knows Joseph is the salt of the earth, I reckon.”

As it turns out later in the book, Cornelia Bryant is of the race that knows Joseph as well.

I have been blessed over and over and over in my life with companions who are of the race that knows Joseph–some of them predicatable but many of them unlikely. I’ve had friends who were old enough to be my grandmother–I even have one who’s old enough to be my GREAT grandmother. She just turned 101 and still drives her own car. She got a speeding ticket shortly before her 100th birthday and told the officer, “Honey, I’m nearly 100. If I’m gonna get somewhere, I gotta go in a hurry.” He still gave her the ticket, and she laughed and laughed over it when she told us about it in ladies’ class.

I’ve had friends who were students. I remember being told that you shouldn’t have “favorite” students. . .and I know they meant “teachers pets.” But it is nigh unto impossible to NOT have favorite students. I have favorite adults, favorite teachers, favorite aunts, favorite friends, so it is highly likely that I will have a favorite student or two in my day. Some of my favorite students–the ones that know Joseph–have been highly unlikely. . .like Patrick who cut Molly’s hair and couldn’t sit still to save his life and Geoffrey who dressed like a Goth and could cuss a blue streak IN CLASS, but was so incredibly intuitive and intelligent that you couldn’t help but be drawn to him. Another was Molly who got her hair cut by Patrick, because when I IMMEDIATELY sent him to the office she said, “Mrs. Langley, I have a chunky cut anyway. You can’t even tell. Please don’t send him!!!!” I still did send him. I had to. And when I called later that night to check on Molly, she was more upset over Patrick getting into trouble than having him embellish her “chunky” cut.

I’ve had favorite teachers–some of whom I still keep up with. People who made an indellible mark on me as a person–the way I teach and parent and the way I live. I can go for years without talking to them, but when we get back in touch, it’s as if no time has passed–and they are now my friends–not my instructors.

Sarah and I were another unlikely pairing–I’ve told that story here before. She is a gift. Sarah’s grandparents were my friends. I would go and visit with them frequently because I yearned for their company. Another gift. I met one of my dearest friends because I was friends with her son my freshman year in college. Besides my own mother and grandmother, she is the woman who has made the biggest difference in how I function as a wife and mother and Christian. She knows this. I’ve told her. But I’ve made a difference in her life too. We have made each other better than we ever could have been had God not given us this gift of friendship. I have yet another friend that I hold dear. We met because I had a crush on her boyfriend. . .who is now her husband. I no longer have a crush on him–though he is a remarkable man–but she continually inspires me by her creativity and her singularly unique view of life.

That brings me to the REAL reason for this post. I have met friends in the blogosphere. It is odd. I’m still a little embarrassed to tell people how I met “my friend in California” or “my friend in Canada.” There are so many dangers in the world–the internet being one of the biggest dangers of our time. Personal information is so readily available and can be hijacked and used for all manner of things that can make us miserable. But this is also a place for us to meet others of the race that knows Joseph. Becky, Linda, Sandy, Melanie. . .these are girls I’d love to have some diet Coke and chocolate cake with. I’ve never laid eyes on any of them, but their souls shine through their words.

Evidently (I read this over at Melanie’s place) the Mommy Wars have been revived in the media. Old insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies are being pulled out of storage and aired on the net and in the news. But here’s the deal. Extremists aren’t of the race that knows Joseph. The race that knows Joseph is a group of people who have those same insecurities and opinions and habits and hypocrisies, but we don’t bash each other with them, and we certainly don’t think one size fits all. It’s not “I’m okay. You’re okay.” thinking. It’s more like “None of us are okay, but it sure is easier to get through this world with a friend.” thinking.

If you’re reading this, if you keep coming back day after day to check in on me and read about Moon Pie Consumption and funny Thadisms, what Victoria has to say, and the current whereabouts of my husband, then you are of the race that knows Joseph. Thank you for making my world a nicer, homier place.

It’s Not May Just Yet–or March either.

I don’t know why I wrote this. . .especially in March. . .I found it in my computer files tonight, read it, and decided I’d post it. I was still at my “old school” at the time. . .I had been blogging for one month. . .here is a link to the entries from March, 2006. Still don’t know why I wrote it, but I stand by it–and have a lot more to learn.

Roxanne’s definition of Mom, March, 2006

My definition of mom is completely influenced by the women in my life: my Momma, my Granny, my friends and family. That being said, the media could have influenced them and thereby, influenced me, but I don’t feel I’m directly influenced.

So what is my definition of “mom.” Actually. . .I still call my own mom “Momma” and that’s a large part of my definition. A momma is someone with whom you are comfortable, someone with whom you feel safe.

I once saw a definition of “mom” from a child. It said, “A mom is a whole lot of nice with a little bit of mean.” Sounds like I winner of a definition to me.

A mom is someone who plays with your hair and scratches your back, buys your favorite cereal, knows what to give you or say to you even before you ask for it or know you need it yourself.

A mom is a smell–mine smelled like Gloria Vanderbilt perfume–my daughter tells me I have a smell. I know I do, because she will walk up to me, bury her face in whatever part of me she can reach, take a big, deep whiff and say, “Mommy, you smell.” Which sounds like an insult. . .but she means, “You smell like Mommy.”

A mom is someone who loses her temper when all of the pots and pans fall out of the cabinet. My son once walked into the kitchen during a metal avalanche and wisely exclaimed, “Yikes! I’m gettin’ outta here,” as he scurried away.

A mom will stay up way too late at night making a dress, or a skirt, or wrapping presents, or doing things that she knows will make you happy.

A mom is someone who will search through an entire bin of Hotwheels cars to find just the perfect one for her boy.

A mom is someone who sees the face of their baby in the face of their sleeping child, or teenaged child, or adult child.

A mom is someone who comes in to check on you in the middle of the night just to make sure you are covered up—to smell your hair—to hear you breathe—to pray over you.

A mom is someone who makes up silly songs with your name in them and remembers to sing them to you.

A mom is someone who is moved to tears by the thought of you.

A mom is someone who is not always perfect, doesn’t always keep the house clean, doesn’t always sign your school work on time, doesn’t always eat right or set the best example or answer your every beck and call. . .but tries the best she can.

A mom is someone who is loved and chosen by God to help the little ones He has entrusted to her care along their path to Him.

It was a little ironic that I found this tonight. Thad is a very smart, well-behaved student. . .HOWEVER, like most boys, he has his moments of being “off-task, not paying attention, day-dreaming. . .” When that happens, he gets a conduct mark and goes from green to yellow. We’ve only gone from yellow to orange ONCE this year, and our conduct chart is littered with mainly green. Being off-task is a #4 in the behavior chart, but TODAY he got a #1 which was “talking and disturbing others.” Well, that’s a new one, and evidently his Daddy (who signed the behavior chart right before I walked in the door from work) had already given him the what for (and as Thad says, the for what). And. . .he most certainly deserved it. As his school teaching parents know, that is no small matter in a classroom. I tried to get the story out of The Boy as soon as I saw his downcast face. He was very near tears and made me lean down so he could whisper in my ear, “I got a conduct mark.” When I asked him why, I saw that the burden was too much to bear at the time. So we tabled it and ate pizza instead.

After Tony and Victoria left for Girl Scouts, Thad had a long bath. And after that, while I was drying him off and getting him jammied up, we talked about what had happened. I told him I wasn’t angry, but I needed to know what he’d done. He was still very embarrased but told me that he and Nicholas were blowing pencils–as in, laying their pencils on their table, then blowing them to make them roll across the table. . .during math class. . .while the teacher was teaching. Not cool.

We talked about why that was not cool and about what he should do instead–about apologizing to his teacher and seeing if she could move him closer to where she is when she teaches. Then he said, “I can tell you, but Daddy asks the hard way.” I said, “What is the hard way?” Thad said, “He asks lots of questions and then tells me what I did. It makes me feel really hot.” I don’t think he meant “hot-under-the-collar” hot–I think he meant the heat of shame rising in his chest. And which one of us hasn’t experienced that feeling a time or two?

Anyway. He said I don’t make him feel hot. That’s not to say that there are times I don’t lose my cool. I most definitely do–normally with The Girl. I think her Daddy is the one that makes her feel “not hot.” Ironic. See. We do the best we can. . .and hug away the rest.