Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pray for the babysitter!

We have gotten Tony a babysitter to come see him three times while we are in Menard for the holidays. Last night, while Tony was laying in between me and BJ in bed purring with that plotting look in his big evil eyes, it occured to us that it would be just like Tony to do something so horrible to the baby sitter that we would end up with a lawsuit against us. I should have had the lady sign a contract that said, "I will not sue you if your cat tries to severe a limb or scar me for life in any other manner."

Of course, Tony was on his best behavior when the babysitter came yesterday to meet him and get her instructions. But things still managed to get out of control. This time it was Gus. With his Old English Sheepdog genes strongly in place, Gus feels the need to bark loudly and extensively anytime a visitor (in his mind "a wolf") comes into our home (in his mind "the perimeters of our flock"). He actually made the babysitters three year old daughter cry. Fortunately, the mom just laughed at how funny looking Gus is. I'm pretty sure his comical cuteness gets him out of loads of trouble.

I'm leaving today on a Greyhound to go see my parents and help Mom with the pre-holiday preparations. I've left a note with BJ in which my P.S. reads, "Don't forget to baby talk to Gus 5 to 10 times daily. And, please, don't kill Tony." I've got to make sure Momma's little boys are taken care of.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thoughts on marriage, honesty, and the blues

I hate going more than a week without doing a blog post, so I just sat down to do one since today makes a week. Unfortunately, I found when I set in front of this headache-inducing screen that my life has not been filled here lately with the funny or touching moments that compose the bulk of my blog posts. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but I think it is best to be honest when one has come upon a rough patch in life. It is nothing to be frightened of. I just have a temporary case of the blues. It is a mere fact of life that the road is full of little dips, or perhaps canyons that one must search for a bridge to cross. I would say I am seeking out safe passage.

Of course, as I have stated before on my blog, God does not give us more than we can handle, and we can often handle more than we had counted on. Yesterday, for the first time in months, I walked into the office and told BJ exactly what I wanted/needed. For him to not play games with the guys tonight. For him to spend time with me. No I don't know what we will do, but I don't want you playing with the guys. It was so simple, and yet it took more courage than I have felt I possessed in months. We spent a wonderful evening playing Yatzee and watching reruns on TV since reruns are all that we have with the current strike. Though a far cry from the romantic images of marriage we picture when we're single, it was a lovely evening due to the mere fact that it was a product of honesty. It is so difficult to be honest with those we love, but the reward of making ourselves vulnerable is a deeper, richer relationship. Thus, I learned a little lesson in life that perhaps would have eluded me if it hadn't been for a nasty case of the blues.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Cozy Christmas Corner (i love alliteration)

BJ and I have decorated our house, and I must say, it is charming. We have a homemade advent calender from my Mom, homemade stockings I made last year, and homemade ornaments that I made after we moved to Frisco. I've always wanted a homemade Christmas, and this year really is all the way homemade. I'm giving homemade apple butter for presents to extended family and BJ's colleagues, and I've made all of our Christmas cards out of scraps of decorative paper I had in my art room. Here's a picture of our tree (it is not homemade) that we got the other day at Lowe's. (Notice: Gus is trying to drink the tree's water. This is what happens when you have an OCD dog who has an obsession with water.)

After decorating the tree, I decided that we should get some family photos. Tony was outside, so I settled for just us and the dogs. Somehow, though, the dogs were not in the mood for family photo time, which is extremely inconvenient when you're using a timed camera sitting on an ottoman. Here's our first attempt:

And our second attempt:

Can I just say my dog has gotten huge. I mean HUGE. We never got a good portrait, but oh well, this is probably more true to the general chaos of our household. I still thing Gus is awfully cute in these pictures.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A dozen things I have learned during a really tough week

~A candle-lit dinner and homemade Italian food create a warm spot in the coldest of places.

~Rubbing the superciliary arch of my husbands forehead helps him fall asleep after a long, stressful day.

~Whether they're in Abilene, Lubbock, Winters, Menard, or Illinois, my friends and family are always close by when I need them.

~The closest I can come to seeing the vastness of God's love is by examining my parents love for me.

~BJ has some very supportive colleagues. Despite the bad impression Frisco has often made, there are many fabulous people God has put in our lives.

~God doesn't give us more than we can handle, and I can handle more than I thought I could.

~My brother can always make me laugh.

~A wound inflicted by a fellow Christian always cuts the deepest. This power we have over each other should be respected and feared.

~I married a fiercely loyal man. His loyalty is an anchor for those he loves. It is an anchor for me.

~If the whole world thought I was scum, Gus would still think I was the best thing since packaged raw hides.

~The sound of the garage door opening after a long, lonely day at home is better, believe it or not, than Willie Nelson singing "Georgia on My Mind".

~If it weren't for bad days (or weeks, or months), we might never see the redemptive power of God with the clarity I have seen this week in my friends and family.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have never written a blog post under such pressure as I am feeling right now. Yesterday, BJ was called to the office at school where he was informed that I would no longer be allowed to sub at LCA because my blog had offended some unknown someone. I have removed the "offensive" material out of a desire to protect my husband from any further difficulty at work, and I am sincerely sorry for offending anyone. But I would like to say to whomever was offended that the written word always has one weakness: the lack of tone, body language, and eye contact to convey messages. I use sarcasm and hyperbole to make my blog more enjoyable for my friends and family who frequent my blog, and I believe that they read my blog knowing full well that I am serious about half of the time.

I was really enjoying substitute teaching, and the money was not a luxury but a necessity for our family. I have never been fired, and I have certainly never been looked down on in the way that I have experienced in this town. The site monitor I have for my blog shows me that people in the Frisco area have been doing Google searches on both BJ and myself as if they are looking for something. It is the duty of all Christians to lovingly confront their brother or sister when they feel they have witnessed a transgression, but the covert nature of this attack on my character has been not only unproductive, but I would venture to say harmful. It is extremely difficult to not regress into a state of cynicism when one is treated in this way within a community of Christians.

Lastly, I would like to ask for prayers as I deal with both the hurt and the anger that has come out of this incident. May God's plan of redemption always triumph in the muddles we humans get ourselves into.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is here!!!

BJ's mom and I just finished setting the table for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. Last week, I made napkin rings and place cards from odds and ends I found in the house, our yard, and the park. Here is the end product for my first Thanksgiving table scape as a hostess.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A day in the life...

I had to sub today, so the dogs were locked up for way too many hours in the garage. Needless to say, when we got home they had some energy to burn. BJ and I took them out to the back yard to spend some quality family time. After a little fetching and running around, this is how we ended up: BJ and Sienna running around rough housing like crazy, and me and Gus in the corner watching with Gus sitting on my feet while I baby talked and petted him. Typical.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Post Script to Previous Post

Yesterday I was making chocolate chip cookies for one of BJ's classes who have been doing exceptionally well here lately, and I took BJ all the utensils I had used in the process for him to "clean" (aka, lick). BJ looks up at me and, totally oblivious to my last blog posts, says, "That's why I married you- cookie dough." You've got to be kidding me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Marriage Analysis

Every once in a while, I think it's good to sit back a take a look at one's marriage. Today offered a couple of rather intriguing exchanges between me and BJ that left me contemplating our relationship.

The first was this morning when we were getting ready for the day. BJ was putting on the outfit that I had placed second in line in his closet in the Tuesday slot. On Sunday I ironed five sets of clothes and put them in his closet in the order they should be worn. I was sitting at my vanity, and I said, "Isn't it great being married to me. You don't even have to think in the morning about what to wear." BJ's reply was, "You know that would annoy most women." Stating the complete and honest truth, I said, "I think it's fun. It's like dressing up a doll when I was little." As I said this, it became obvious to me that this is slightly twisted.

The second exchange was on our way home. I was discussing how I have almost finished up with his family's Christmas presents. BJ said, "If for no other reason, I'm glad I married you for Christmas." Basically, he hates shopping for presents, and I now do all the required thinking for him in this area.

So basically, it seems that I have allowed BJ to completely stop using certain parts of his brain. He never asked me to, I just do it. I'm not sure what this says about me, but for now, I think it says that I like picking out clothes and going Christmas shopping. However, it is possible that I am a control freak with a hyper-active maternal instinct who really needs kids to occupy my energy. I think I'll stick with the first theory.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Prayer Request

My oldest friend, Theresa, who was the Maid of Honor in my wedding and who I was the Matron of Honor for in her wedding in December, could use your prayers tonight. She is telling her husband of ten months goodbye as he leaves for Iraq at 11:00 p.m tonight. He is in the Army and will not be returning until December of 2008 at the earliest. They will not spend their first Christmas or anniversary together. Please prayer for them at this very difficult time and for their friends and family as we are trying to support them. And as always, let us all pray for a quick peace and healing for our country and Iraq.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WE GOT A CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BJ and I drove home our new(to us) car last night. It is a 2006 Hyundai Elantra, and it is the most beautiful color of red. I've always wanted a red car, and BJ's always wanted a sun roof, so we somehow managed to get both of our requests. Here's a couple of pictures I took last night in the garage. The lighting isn't very good, but the sun hadn't come up enough this morning when BJ left to get any better pictures.

It was a really good feeling last night driving home with our pretty red car. I could see in this little used vehicle the healing work of God in our lives after a frustrating, painful two weeks. "All things work together for good to them that love God."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pink Polka Dots a Little Boys

Since the wreck, I have been substitute teaching at BJ's school to help us with the financial problems that are inevitable after a wreck. Subbing has really been a blessing from God because BJ and I get to commute together, and I am able to make us the bit of extra money we so desperately need. So far I've subbed 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 7th grade. In my opinion, the older the better. The 7th grader all have BJ for Bible, so they were absolutely fabulous for me. Somehow, I just don't know what to do with small children. It seems so natural for elementary teachers to know when to discipline the kids and how to talk on their level. I just kind of tumble through the day from what I later am able to see was one mistake after another.

My biggest problem is that I don't always notice that what a kid is doing is something worth disciplining. For example, at the end of today, I was put in charge of watching the younger children as they waited for their parents to come and get them. One of the little boys was stamping himself from head to toe with a hot pink circular stamp. My thought process: "That looks pretty cool." In fact, this was not only a silent thought, but it was also my verbal response when he proudly showed me his body art. Not long after this, another teacher jumps all over the kid (who was technically my responsibility) for what I saw as a little harmless self-expression. It probably didn't help that he stamped his pristine white tennis shoes, but, what the heck, they look better now. Or at least more interesting. Perhaps I should invest in a lifetime supply of birth control so that I can save my would-be children from getting in trouble at school for things their mother encouraged at home, like Crayola murals or playing with you food until it is aesthetically pleasing and then eating it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What a week

Monday while taking a quick excursion to Walmart, I got in a wreck that totaled my car and did a pretty good number on me. After two months of barely maintaining hope and sanity in a town that is so contrary to everything I believe in, this wreck was a blow to not only my body, but to my spirit as well. The isolation of life in an urban area is mind-boggling, and the effects of a wreck (even a wreck that, thank God, I walked away from mostly unscathed) is terrifying long after the vibrations of the blow fizzle out.

God, as always, is watching out for us. I applied for substitute teaching yesterday to help with the financial strain of the wreck, and I was called today to come in. Also, BJ's co-workers have been really supportive through our ordeal. The problem is just that I'm not entirely sure how to walk away from that wreck, and I don't have the slightest idea how to live in a place without friends, family, or our church in Nugent. Before we left Abilene, I did a blog on all the things about Abilene I would miss. I was right; I miss all of those things. I just hope that by the time we leave Frisco, there will be things about this place that I will miss. I am beginning to think that a sense of loss is the best way to gage the success of one's life in a given place. Frisco has a lot of work to do to catch up with Abilene

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The lengths to which we will go to see The Office

BJ and I, like all newlyweds, are in a constant struggle to make ends meet. This has resulted in us not having cable for over two months. To compensate, we have rented DVD's of the NBC show The Office and watched them over and over and over again, and then we watched the deleted scenes and other special features over and over and over again - no, I am not exaggerating. The new season started a few weeks, so we have pretty much been going crazy not knowing what's up with Pam, Jim, Micheal, Dwight, etc. This lead me to Walmart tonight where I bought bunny ears. Unfortunately, NBC was the least clear of the major channels, so during commercial breaks, we had to get creative if we wanted a clearer picture. Here's what getting creative looked like...

...a bar stool, three pillows, bunny ears, and aluminum foil I literally had to dig out of the trash can because we had run out of it earlier today.

You may wonder what TV show could possibly push two people to this extreme, but it's more than just a TV show to us. It is the first TV show we have ever both liked. BJ and I don't have a ton in common, but we've got The Office. Also, tonight we had a moment in which I saw hope for us even beyond Dunder Mifflin. I had a coupon for a medium three-topping pizza from Mr. Jim's, so I asked BJ what toppings he wanted. He said: "I don't know about you, but I'd go for pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives." Of all the thousands of toppings in the world, those were the exact three I was thinking of!!!!!!!!! I did do the right thing marrying him!!!!!! Yes!!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

He got bigger, but not smarter

Most people have a phobia of one sort or another. I, for example, am terrified of needles. When I have to get a shot or blood has to be taken, I about have a panic attack, and I am especially frightened when I get a splinter in my foot that requires a needle to pick it out. My dad has an irrational fear of matches. Apparently, as a child, his older brother through lit matches at him, and in the process, he created a phobia that still plagues my dad. To this day, Dad won't eat a birthday cake that has had lit candles on it.

So, in the tradition of his mother and grandfather, Gus also has managed to come by a rather bazaar phobia. I discovered his phobia on a few innocent walks in the park. A few weeks ago, we were walking in the park like always - me on the left and Gus on my right. A young mother came towards us from the right with a baby stroller, and Gus about knocked me over freaking out and running off my side of the sidewalk. I didn't give this much thought since it was his first time to see a baby stroller, but since then we have encountered many more baby strollers with the exact same panic attack following each. Today, Gus about chocked himself on his choke chain, and in the process tripped me up pretty good. To make matters worse, we live in a town where everyone either has a baby or is pregnant - everyone!

The ridiculous nature of this fear reminds me of when Gus was a baby and we were first taking him on walks around Abilene. He wasn't afraid of cars when they drove by, but he was deathly afraid of the parked ones. Thankfully, he got over that fear. Hopefully, this baby-stroller phobia will also only be temporary.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mommy's little bear grew up...way up

You might remember the following picture from a post I did April 27, 2007.

I say you might remember it because it is quite simply the cutest picture ever known to man-kind. In fact it was so cute, it inspired me to take a picture in this pose every month to document Gus's growth. For some reason (perhaps I am near-sighted both in eyes and in spirit) I didn't foresee this ever becoming difficult. However, today, to mark his nine-month birthday a few days late, BJ and I trudged out to the back yard to take our monthly picture. We got the picture, but let's just say Gus has grown. Take a look:

And one more:

In the first, he looks like he may be trying to kiss me, but by the second it is clear that he is pretty much just disgusted with his lot in life as an overly cute fluffy thing. And me? Well, I'm just trying to not fall over.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coupons, Frisco style

In the mail, I periodically get the Frisco Style Magazine. It is fill with useful information, like where to find the best au paurs (spelling? it's some sort of a nanny) for your children, or what chefs in town serve the best forty dollar plate of French food I can't pronounce. This past issue had a coupon like all good magazines should have, except that this one wasn't for mac and cheese or cereal. It was $50,000 off the next house you buy in some gated community. If I hadn't already figured it out, this made it pretty clear to me that Frisco is not going to be a permanent home for BJ and I. But I guess for the time being, it at least makes for an amusing magazine.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Pierce Curse as seen at Wendy's

When Pierces venture out into the public to do anything, it generally goes badly. This weekend while my brother and dad came to visit, we had a pretty good case in point. The three of us ran to Walmart to purchase some of the necessities (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.) that they had inevitably forgotten. On our way out, we decided to stop by the Wendy's in the parking lot to get Bro a frosty and Dad his daily cup of afternoon coffee.

When we got to the Wendy's, Bro went up to order. This is how it went:

Bro: I would like a chocolate frosty.
Worker: Okay, anything else.
Bro: Yes, a large cup of Wendy's custom bean coffee.
Worker: Would you like that with M&M's or Oreo.
Bro: I want coffee.
Worker: Yes, it comes with M&M's or Oreo swirled in.
Bro: The coffee?
Worker: It's like a frosty with M&M's or Oreo's swirled into it (making a swirly motion with hands).
Bro: Uhm, I'm not pointing to the Frosty Twirl. I want a Wendy's custom bean coffee.
Worker: Oh. You want a coffee. Okay.

So after this fiasco (during which Dad and I had been trying to not totally burst out laughing in the background), Dad got his coffee. Unfortunately, when he took off the lid to put his creamer and sugar in, they had left absolutely no room for extras. It was filled to the brim. So Dad, after a good bit of spilling, took the little paper cups used for ketchup at Wendy's and started dumping out cups full of coffee until he had room for his creamer. Of course, during this process, he got coffee everywhere which I had to clean up on my way out. On our way to the car, we all decided that convenient store coffee is definitely the way to go. The Pierces will have no more Wendy's coffee, custom beans or not.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Day one of my new job

Yesterday, I started a new job . My employer, Abrakadoodle, is a franchise that offers art lessons for children ages 20 months to 12 years old. I'll be working about 10 hours a week, which is all I was really wanting to do this year. I think it will be pretty fun, and it will help out my resume next year when I'm looking for a real teaching position.

On an entirely different note, I had a fun time driving BJ to work this morning. BJ is a little luckier than the average working guy in that he gets sent off to work by the whole family. Since we only have one functioning car at the moment, I drive him to work, and of course, I bring the dogs along in the back seat. This morning while we were sitting at a red light, I looked back at Sienna, and she was staring out the window very intently. I followed her gaze, and it lead to a landscaping company's truck sitting next to us. In this truck, a gruff, manual-labor-working man was baby-talking to Sienna. He had a big goofy grin, and was gooing to our dog. It made me happy that our dogs in the back seat possible brightened someone's day. Unfortunately, Sienna's day-brightening abilities ended when we got home and she started whining for no reason whatsoever.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BJ's first day of school

As sick as this might sound, I feel a wee bit like a proud mother right now. BJ had his first day of school yesterday, and, of course, he was fabulous! His only real hang-up was one section of eleventh graders. But anyways, here are some pictures of BJ, his classroom, and what we've been doing the past couple of weeks, which have, in general, been spent almost entirely in BJ's room getting everything ready.

This picture was taken last week while we started the process of decorating BJ's room. Here, he is putting a border around his bulletin board. Somehow, I never pictured BJ doing this. Perhaps my Elementary-Ed.-major friends from college, but not BJ.

This is BJ and I after day two of decorating. By this time, we had done the time line for BJ's room. All LCA classrooms are required to do a time line, so I did one for BJ using brown packing paper and black paint. We tore one edge of the paper and then crumpled it up to give it the "I just found this in the Dead Sea" look that all Bible classrooms should have.

BJ was given this poster of Jesus, so I (stupidly) volunteered to paint all 13 apostles and Paul to put around this. I, being me, forgot this little promise until 9 o'clock the night before Meet-the-Teacher. So BJ and I had to really buckle down. We cut out the packing paper, he burned the edges with the candles, and I started to work. I painted until three o'clock that morning, and then I woke up at seven and continued painting until noon. We got the paintings up hours before the parents started showing up. On Sunday evening, we laminated them, which accounts for the shininess in the pictures.

This is a close-up of Matthew. I'm rather fond of Matthew.

Last but not least, this is picture of BJ after his first day of teaching. He had been wearing a tie, but that was torn off pretty much moments after the bell rang. Anyways, I think he looks pretty professional.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Remember that cartoon, Pinky and the Brain...

Yesterday, BJ walked into my art room a little disgruntled to tell me that Tony, once again, had ran out the door, and I needed to go get him. Tony, like all cats, is always trying to escape so that he can pursue his true goal in life, that of taking over the world and enslaving all non-cat beings. I got up from the project I was working on, went to the door, and, as always, Gus followed closely behind. When I opened the door, Tony had only ventured about 10 feet into the yard, but even 10 feet can be a lot when your trying to catch a mad cat. Fortunately, Gus sensed that there was a mission needing to be done, so he ran out in front of me, tackled Tony, and held him down until I could get to him and safely bring him in.

I say Gus sensed something, but that is probably incorrect wording. After all, Gus doesn't really ever sense anything. It is more likely that he saw Tony and thought "Ooh! Kitty-cat! Tackle!" Yes, that's probably what happened. But whatever it was, Tony has once again been foiled in his attempt to take over the world.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm an artist...we'll leave it at that

Whenever I tell people my major/profession, I always get interesting responses. It is actually half the fun of being an artist. You get to her people say "Oh, how fun," or "How do you make money with that?" Today at church, I got one of the more interesting responses I've ever received.

We have started attending a nice Church of Christ in Lewisville. The people there are extremely friendly, and everyone wants to introduce themselves and talk with us for a long time. Today, a woman in her sixties came to introduce herself. She asked BJ what he did, and he had such a nice, simple answer: "I'm going to be teaching Bible at Legacy Christian Academy." Then she asked me what I was doing. I've begun to dread this question because it is at the moment rather complicated, but I dove into my answer: "I am an artist. I'm trying to book private art and piano lessons, and I am also working on launching a handmade wedding invitation business." She gave me a weird tilt-of-the-head look and then said, "Well you don't meet people like you every day." I wasn't sure how to respond, so I fell back on my normal response - giggle softly and look at BJ for social rescue. It worked as always, and we left for a nice lunch with the preacher and some members.

The lady's response to my answer made me laugh, but it has been on my mind all day. What am I doing with my life? I haven't really got a clue. I'm chasing a bunch of neat sounding ideas, and if they don't work, I dread the defeat of applying for jobs that have nothing to do with art, and if they do work, I don't know if I have the talent, perseverance, or any thing else to actually succeed at them. Some days, it feels like it might be easier to just go back to being an office manager somewhere, have a simple answer for people at church, and do art for a few glorious hours on the weekends. But I've blabbed long enough. This is the twenties, right? We are scared and not sure what we're doing for a decade. Hey Bro- is this existential despair, or what exactly?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Little Tony and the Big Pillows of Doom

Today, Tony decided he, like many cat's in the world, wanted to sit in a window sill and disdainfully look out at the stray cats and other poppers of this world. He chose the window sill above our guest bedroom bed to be his throne. In order to mount this throne, he hopped onto the really cute pillows I recently decorated the bed with, and then made a leap up towards the sill. Unfortunately, slickly painted wood has little grip, so after a good bit of struggle, he plopped down into the pillows, which are so soft and fluffy, they just rolled him onto my computer hard drive which (not so softly or fluffily) rolled him onto the floor.

Most cats might get discouraged at such humiliation (especially since me and BJ were pointing and laughing) but not my resilient little Tonster. Nope, he hopped back to the pillows, leaped towards the sill that, strangely enough, still had no grip, and ricocheted right back to the pillows. He lands on his back cradled between to large pillows(one at his head, the other at his behind) and was left completely immobile. At this point, I believe the humiliation (and our sounds of uproarious laughter) did finally get to him. He seemed to just resign himself to reclining between to ridiculously soft and fluffy pillows, staring disgruntled into the purple, patterned fabric of his prison. I eventually got my breath back and took mercy on him. I picked him up and placed him in his window where he gallantly resumed his reign as the master and lord of all things. I did not see him get down from the window, but I examined the area, and I am happy to say nothing is broken.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


When we moved to Frisco, we didn't bring Tony with us because we were planning on immediately heading up north to see BJ's family, and I didn't want to leave him by himself in an unfamiliar place. So we left Tony with his favorite babysitters, Josh and Allie. Unfortunately, car trouble led to a cancellation of our trip and a delay in being able to go to Abilene to retrieve out favorite feline. Thankfully, though, we were able to get down this weekend.

During all the move, I managed to lose our cat carrier. Tony hasn't gone on a ride that lasted longer than five minutes since he was a baby when I brought him to Abilene from Menard. BJ was a little nervous about Tony roaming free in our car for the four hour trip to Frisco, but with money too tight to go buy a cat carrier, we decided to chance it. Of course, I'm not sure what we were worried about it. Tony, being a cat who has been raised with dog's ten times his size, is really not scared of anything, including a car. I had him in my lap ready to comfort him when he freaked out, but instead, he jumped in the backseat and started cleaning Sienna. Eventually, he settled down between Gus and Sienna and took a nap. As much as Tony would hate hearing me say this, it seems he is really just one of the dogs. Of course, he's the fearless, intelligent, cunning dog, unlike the other two.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


My brother has tagged me to do a blog post which follows these guidelines:

* We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
* Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
* There are additional rules that I am choosing to not follow, simply because I don't know enough people to tag.

So, after a few days of careful contemplation, here are my eight random facts/habits:

1. When I was a young child, around four or five, I had nightmares about Saddam Hussein killing me.
2. I like to wrap plain Lays potato chips or plain Ruffles potato chips in lettuce and eat them after I've had a sandwich for lunch. I like the salty taste of the chip mixed with the taste of lettuce.
3. One of the first evenings after BJ and I started dating, I asked him what his favorite word was during one of our late night conversations. To me, the sounds of words are a fascinating topic that I could talk for hours about. Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone. I believe BJ may have encountered his first doubts about dating me on this evening. By the way, my favorite words are taffeta and Chantilly.
4. When I can't relax and fall asleep, I go through the alphabet trying to think of names I wouldn't mind naming my children for each letter: Adam, Bridget, Carson, etc. D is an exceptionally difficult letter for me.
5. Last night, I watched a DVD of Murder, She Wrote episodes and stitched a tea-pot Christmas ornament. I'm pretty sure this alone makes me a freak.
6. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my Grandma Pierce's house. We would have monster drawing competitions on paper towels everyday. I would try to make my monsters really spiky because Grandma said it made her back itch.
7. When I get sad, I like to watch the Princess Diaries or read books that were written for young girls. I think this is because I have an aversion to growing up.
8. I've often had dreams about kissing random people. Once, I dreamed I had cheated on BJ with Bob Marley. I felt so guilty, I was sure BJ was going to dump me. Also, kissed Dr. Fleer, a professor from Rochester College who comes to lectureship at ACU and who taught BJ in undergrad. I felt so guilty about this dream, it took me several weeks to admit it to BJ.

Friday, August 03, 2007


After feeling fairly isolated from the rest of the world, we now have internet! To celebrate, I am giving all my friends and family out there a virtual tour of our new home. I regret that we don't have a good picture of the master bedroom yet, but it doesn't look very different from what it looked like in Abilene. Only now it has two huge closets, a connecting bathroom, and tons of space. Come on in!

Obviously, this is the front of the house. Boring, I know. But I just couldn't start a tour without showing this part.

This is our formal dining room. I really love this room. Growing up, we always had the piano in our dining room so that dad, Bro, and I could entertain our guest immediately following the meal. I've always wanted to continue this tradition. Unfortunately, we do not have chairs yet for our table, but I'm working on that.

I was not able to fit the whole kitchen into this picture, but I did get half. The other half is just the stove top, fridge, and some more cabinets. This will probably come as a shock to most of the people who know me at all, but I actually have enough cabinets that I have one empty shelf! It's a miracle.

This is the first half of our living room. It consist of a futon for reading that is placed directly under a sky-light. I've already spent many hours reading by the natural light. It is one of my favorite places in the house. Also, we have a really nice little bar here. I'm also working on tracking down some bar stools.

This is the second half of our living room. Our furniture actually fits in this place. And, thanks Mom, for the lamps. They look great!

We have a fireplace!!! I've always wanted one of this, but this is my first time to have one. Dad's painting is the perfect piece for the mantle.

This is the guest bathroom. If you come to visit me, you will take care of your business here.

This is the guest bedroom. The quilt was a gift from my grandmother when I graduated from high school. It won the blue ribbon at a county fair. I love this quilt.

Here, of course, is my art studio. This picture was taken before I started pursuing three separate art projects. It is now a disaster as all art studios should be. hehe.

This is our two car garage and our basket ball goal. So, Bro, are you ready to clobber me and BJ at a game of b-ball?

Finally, this is a picture of our new ice maker. It is really awesome having an unlimited supply of ice.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Six Months Old

Gus is officially a half of a year old. We have made it a tradition to take a picture of me and Gus in this or similar poses the twentieth of each month. So here is his cuteness today. Enjoy. I know I will.

Below is one of our other attempts at this pose (which is getting progressively more difficult as he gets increasingly more massive). In this one, Gus demonstrates his uncanny ability at being a mess. It's charming.

Monday, July 16, 2007

One year

Here's what I thought one year anniversaries looked like: chocolate, flowers, sweet cards, and a private corner in an expensive restaurant. Here's what my one year anniversary looked like: BJ woke me up by jumping on me and yelling "happy anniversary!!!" way to loudly, we thawed out the top layer of our wedding cake and barely got down one bite at breakfast, we went to Hastings after church to reserve our copy of Harry Potter (the gift we agreed to get ourselves for lasting longer than most celebrity marriages), and than during the evening (the evening I thought I would spend at a nice restaurant), we went to a party with about twenty-five senior citizens and ate sandwiches (tonight was our going away party at Nugent). So, needless to say, it wasn't what I expected. But why should it be? Nothing else this year has been what I expected.

On top of the unpredictable nature of this past year, today was representative of our first year of marriage in several other ways. We laughed a lot today, and we got in a minor argument that I really wanted to stay mad at him over, but forgot about it within the hour. We settled for a cheap present because money is tight (again). We fought nerves over our upcoming life change while being sincerely happy that we are together for our life changes. We held hands in church, and wrestled with each other on our way home. But best of all, we spent it with our family at Nugent, the family we weren't expecting a year ago, we stumbled upon because we need a hundred bucks to pay some bills, and we are now trying to figure out how to leave.

I'm sitting here wondering why God chose to plop such an amazing gift in our laps, a church that loves us, and then send us away only eight months later. Tonight after dinner, several of the church members told BJ what a wonderful preacher he is, and how he should find I congregation in our new home area that needs him and not waste his gift. They were sincere, and I have seen many of them shed tears over losing a preacher that they had come to love so much. I turned to my brother and said, "A year ago, I married a preacher, and I didn't even know it."

A year ago from today, I cried as my father and I prepared to walk down the aisle because I knew I was having to leave in a certain sense the family who had raised me and nurtured me into the woman who was to become BJ's wife. Tonight I am crying because I'm having to leave another family, only this time, I'm not sure what comes next or what they have raised and nurtured me for. All I know is that BJ and I are a little better for having met them, and we will never, never forget them.

Monday, July 09, 2007

#2 on life goals list

A couple of months ago, I did a post on my ten life goals. Number 2 on the list was to start a small business. Well, what better time to attempt to accomplish a challenging life goal than when you move 200 miles a start fresh in a new place? I have been working the past few days on launching a small business in which I will teach small art classes, private art lessons, and private piano lessons. I now have a website for Ms Kalyn's Art School, and I have contacted two home schooler organizations in an attempt to get some students.

After working four weeks (I know, a monstrously long time) at a job that does not in any way involve art, I'm starting to remember why I switched majors three years ago: I don't thrive without art. I make it okay, yes. But there's no thriving going on until I come home at five and launch into designing wedding invitations for a friend or practicing the piano for my sister-in-law's wedding. I've decided to go ahead and take the chance on making a living out the things I love to do. BJ and I (and Sienna and Gus and Tony) may starve for a few months, but, hey, isn't that what artists do best?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Things I can already tell I'm going to miss about Abilene

Well, it has finally set in that we are going to be leaving Abilene by the end of the month. I really didn't believe it a week ago when we first got the news about the job, but after a trip to Frisco and some time to unwind, I realize it is in fact true. BJ and I are both excited about starting this new chapter in our life, but here are some of the things I know I'm going to miss (in no particular order).

-Little Panda. The best Chinese food on earth.

-Late night trips to Walmart with Bro. And especially the part where we wake up the next morning only to realize we forgot to take the groceries out of the car. How many gallons of milk have we ruined that way?

-Nugent. Yeah, we most definitely cried the entire church service this Sunday. I actually wasn't sure if BJ would make it through his sermon.

-$500 a month for rent. Not happening in Frisco.

-Jack and Jill's apple fritters. Krispie Kremes has nothing on this local chain.

-Fat Tuesday. I don't know what I'll do without my weekly dose of crazy girl talk, home-cooked food, and chocolate.

-Josh and Allie. They've been BJ's friends forever, but strangely enough, I feel like I've known them for just as long. You just can't beat old friends.

-Monks. Iced tuxedo mocha and talking with Allie and Em...need I say more.

-Driving by the place where I got married everyday.

-ACU. Parts of the college drive me nuts, but overall, it was a great four years.

-Being close to family. We're only two hours from my parents, and both of our siblings are within five blocks.

-But most of all, I'll miss living in a town that is on the top of every alphabetically organized list. This is surprisingly convenient.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"BJ, I would like to formally extend an offer of employment for the 2007-2008 school year"

After a year of job applications and rejection letters, the unreachable was reached today. BJ got a job at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, TX. I think that at the moment, we are both stunned. To be perfectly honest, I'm crying while I write this blog post. I'm so happy for my husband. He has worked so hard the past year at a job he didn't really want to do with people who weren't always nice, and he has done it all for his family. Now, he's going to get to see what it is like to have a career. And he'll get to teach kids about the subject he is most passionate about.

If I have learned one thing since leaving Menard for ACU, it is that there is really no point in trying to predict life. I never expected to marry someone six years older than me (and a Yankee!) at such a young age. I never expected to graduate with a degree in art (and absolutely love it). I never expected to live with two dogs and a cat. And I NEVER expected to move to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. But God is funny, so oh well.

When I started this blog, I wrote this statement in the "about me" section: "I see BJ and myself as a team traveling on some bazaar journey trying to figure out what God is up to and how we fit into it." At the time, I thought it was a fairly cheesy statement, but one that really captured how I viewed our life. Now, I feel like we've come to a very significant turn in the road, and I'm really excited to see where it takes us.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I got peed on this morning.

This morning, the alarm rang at 6:40, I got a plastic cup, walked out to the yard with Gus, and filled my cup up with Gus's urine. A great way to start the day. Some say it's even better than Wheaties. Unfortunately, in my groggy stupor, my hand wavered, and I got a tad bit on me.

On my way to work, I dropped off the urine sample. I am extremely, extremely happy to announce that the sample came back normal. Gus doesn't have diabetes insipidus. Yay for high gravity indexes (whatever that means).

Besides being told my dog is a healthy (stupid) puppy, my favorite part of the morning was when all the nurses at the vet asked, "Oh! Was it hard to get? Did you have to chase him around all morning?" Apparently, this is what normal dogs do when you try to get a urine sample. But not Gus. Anytime Gus pees, it's about the same: He stands normally and looks strait ahead. When I was retrieving the sample this morning, the only variation to his routine was that he looked up at me with a look that said, "This is strange." Basically, taking a urine sample from Gus is about as difficult as getting a water sample from your sink faucet.

So to sum it all up, it's been an additional $50 later, and the diagnosis remains the same: Gus is an idiot.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Taking a short moment at work to write a cheesy post

I just received a call from BJ. He was walking to the office where he will have yet another job interview, and he was feeling sick with nerves. This time, the interview is a little different from the bagillion other ones we've had in the past year. With every interview, we have prayed and pleaded that he would get the job so we could stay in Abilene and be comfortable. This time, the job isn't in Abilene, and I don't have a clue what I want to happen or what would be best for us. I want BJ to have a job he likes, but neither one of us want to leave Nugent. So while BJ is walking to todays interview, I'm taking a moment to say a prayer I probably should have been saying all along this past year when he was walking to interviews: Your will be done. It just took me a year to figure this one out.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A house divided

Gus and Sienna are not only completely different in appearance,, buy they have entirely opposite personalities as well. And, ironically, their owners are also polar opposites at times, as I was reminded tonight by an incident in our bathroom.

Being at work all day has made me exceptionally clingy with Gus here lately, so when I'm home, Gus and I can usually be found doing the same thing: he'll be laying on his back while I'm rubbing his belly. Embarrassingly, I tend to baby talk to Gus during this process. I know that's stupid, but his cuteness makes it impossible for me to keep the mumbo-jumbo from flowing out of my mouth.

So tonight, Gus and I were sitting on the bathroom rug doing our routine while BJ was brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed. After spitting out his toothpaste, BJ looks down at me and Gus and says, "It is quite possible you are going to drive me crazy when we have kids." He then looks at Sienna and says, "Don't worry Sienna, you don't have to be stupid to be loved," and he started petting her.

At this point, I'm getting slightly irritated because he called my dog dumb (a fitting label, but it stings none the less), so I say, "You're just jealous you don't have this kind of a relationship with you dog."

Sienna, a picture of pure-bred, Labrador elegance, is now lovingly looking up at BJ with her front two paws meekly crossed. BJ says, "We're too elegant for that."

I wanted to retaliate, but I was currently sitting on a bathroom rug rubbing the belly of a giant oaf. And, of course, Gus chose this opportune moment to start rapidly kicking his hind leg (he's ticklish). So me and my mutt remained silently on the bathroom rug while our more elegant counter parts went to more refined places like...I don't know...the living room.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Prayer Requests

I just found out a moment ago that one of our church members at Nugent has been diagnosed with cancer. His name is Richard and his wife is Ada. The cancer appears to be in a film surrounding his brain. I know that his family, both biological and congregational, would appreciate prayers.

Also, on a less urgent note, I found out a few hours after I did my last post that Gus is not out of danger after all. The vet is afraid that he might have an extremely rare disease called diabetes insipidus. I realize he is just a dog, but I really love that mutt. We won't know for about a week and a half if he has this disease.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Diagnosis: Stupidity

Gus has always LOVED water, but this past week his adoration of H2O got a little worrisome when he drank so much two mornings in a row that he threw up. Thursday, BJ booked Gus an appointment to check things out since over-consumption of water can be a sign of diabetes. Unfortunately, BJ had to stay home this morning to wait on our furniture to be delivered, so it was just me and Gus on what turned out to be a very interesting trip to the vet.

When I got there, I of course had to explain to the vet what was wrong: "My dog drinks too much water, so my husband thought I should bring him to the vet, but I think he's just stupid." The vet just kind of laughed and said we would do a blood test and a urine sample. The blood test went smoothly, and it was then time for the urine sample. They sent me out with a Tupperware container to walk Gus around until he peed. We walked around, and Gus eventually went number 2, but as far as pee went, he was as dry as the Sahara. I finally brought him in and said I thought I needed some water for him to drink. The vet brought a bowl of water, laid it by Gus, and left.

Twenty minutes later, the vet returns. Embarrassed, I look up at him and say, "I just brought a dog to you for drinking to much water, but he's refusing to drink any water this morning." That's right, Gus just wanted to lay down and rest. He didn't want water.

The vet showed me the results on Gus's blood test, and he is as healthy as he can be. I'm supposed to drop by some pee later. According to the vet, dogs are much like humans in that they can have strange obsessions with random things. So $150 later, I have now learned that I have a dog who has a strange obsession with water. That's it. That's the problem. My dog is an idiot.

My favorite part of the whole horrific morning was when we walked back to the waiting room. There were a lot of dogs in today sitting in the waiting area. One of the dogs, who according to the nurse had been fine with all of the other dogs, freaked out when he saw Gus because he didn't know what the big black fury thing was. This sent all the dogs into a barking fury, including mine. The nurse started laughing and yelling to the other freaked-out dog, "I promise, Gus is a dog." Apparently, me dog looks more like a monster off of Sesame Street than a dog. Thus ended the my most embarrassing trip to the vet's office.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Entering the mind of a fluffy puppy

What Gus thinks during his nightly brushing session:

"You can brush me all you want, but you will never take my dignity or my tree bark."

What Gus thinks during his monthly picture-posed-with-mom-holding-me-like-a-stuffed-animal:

"I hate being this cute."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

He may be a preacher, but he can still be a jerk

BJ and I say a prayer together every night before we go to sleep. Here is a short, preacherly moment from last night.

BJ: Do you want me to do the prayer tonight?
Kalyn: Sure.
(after about 3 seconds of pious silence before the prayer begins)
Make it a good 'un.
(me laughing at my own cleverness)
BJ: Dear God, please give my wife a better personality.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Job!

Well, for the first time ever, BJ and I are financially somewhat stable. That's right, I got a job. I am the new office manager at Veteran's Garage Door. Allie is training me for the first two weeks, and we're having a pretty good time so far.

With two people working, there is a whole lot of down time, but we find ourselves busy pretty, also. Here are some of my favorite moments from my first two days:

-Early Wednesday afternoon, Allie and I decided it was time for me to do my first phone answering. The phone rang, we both looked at me, and Allie said to go ahead. I picked up the phone, and...nothing. It was one of those fluke calls where there is no one on the phone.

-I spent a little time yesterday calling applicants to tell them the officer manager position had been filled. I know, it's a little bit evil.

-This afternoon was REALLY slow, so we are both have our own ways to pass the time. One way is simply by drinking a ridiculous amount because its something to do. Of course, this leads to a lot of bathroom time. As some sort of test (mainly trying to make the time pass), Allie decided she would not go to the bathroom until 4:oo. At 3:50, her nose randomly started bleeding, and she was forced to run to the bathroom. When you're really bored, these things are actually entertaining.

-I think my favorite memory, though, happened before my first day of work on Wednesday. I squatted down on the floor to ask Gus if he would still love me after I left him home all day. His answer was simple. He rubbed his nose against mine. That was some ooey-gooey preciousness.

I'm sure this new job will generate many blog posts. The guys I work with are hilarious, and, let's face, garage doors are a fascinating subject.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shopping like a grown up

When my brother graduated from ACU three years ago, my parents got him a lab top since he was planning on going to grad school and he like computer-type stuff. Me, not so much. I'm NOT going to grad school, and I do NOT like computers. But they did want to get me an equal size gift, so I got money to go buy a couch for my home.

I've been researching online for a couple of weeks, so when Memorial Day rolled around, I was ready to go out shopping. I had figured out online that if I was careful, I could probably get a five piece living room set for the money I had. Mom came up to help out, and we pretty much figured out the whole furniture thing in the first two hours and spent the following six hours shopping for what really matters: clothes. After Mom left, I took BJ to Ashley Furniture to show him his choices, he fell in love with one set (basing his decision on which is was more comfortable), and we bought it.

This was really exciting. We are coming up on our one year anniversary, and we are still having a bunch of firsts. This was our first big purchase. We were actually pretty giddy on the way home from the store. It feels like we may actually be grown ups, but I'm still not sure.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thoughts on dreams, death, and Gus's messed-up hair

Saturday morning I woke up and started piddling around the house cleaning as always. Suddenly, while making the bed, I was struck by an image of a dream I had had earlier that morning. The more I thought about it, the more the dream came back to me. It went something like this...

I was at Grandma Farr's farm with Gus sitting on the swing in her back yard. Grandma came out and saw Gus for the first time (she only saw him in pictures before she died). She said, "He looks dirty", and I said, "He needs brushed." She went inside and looked around the house for old brushes. She brought me out a few old broken brushes and we brushed Gus together.

If Grandma had ever met Gus, this is exactly what would have happened. She was always working, always cleaning. And she was a bit of a pack rat, so she would have had plenty of brushes hidden away for Gus.

After the dream, I was a little thrown off for a couple of days. It was the first time I had dreamed about her since her passing, and she was very real and present in the dream. I remember when Grandma Pierce died, and I would dream about her, I loved hearing the sound of her voice and laughter so much. I felt that same way Saturday. When someone special is lost, I believe that dreams about those loved ones are one of the most amazing gifts God gives us. For a short moment, I got to hear her and see her and be reminded of her unique quirks. It was a very good dream, although I wouldn't have minded it lasting a little bit longer.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I have to go, I have to go, I have to go...!

Gus is by far the easiest baby animal I have ever raised. He's calm, hasn't been very sickly, and is actually really good with guests. But he does have one weakness: he's had a hard time figuring out a way to communicate with BJ or I that he needs to go out. He knows he isn't supposed to relieve himself inside, so he usually just holds everything in until he has to trickle a little, and BJ and I stumble upon the drips and run him outside as fast as we can. Needless to say, this isn't a very effective method.

The real problem driving this whole issue is simply that Gus doesn't whine. Sienna is the world's biggest whiner. She whines when she thinks she might detect a trickle coming on, so we always know when we need to take her out. But Gus doesn't want to inconvenience us. Or rather, his intelligence hasn't caught up with his bladder.

Yesterday, though, for the first time ever, Gus let me know he had to go. Maybe he's actually the smart one and has been doing this for a while, but I just figured out yesterday what the I-have-to-pee signal is. This is how it goes: Gus runs up to me, turns in a circle, sits down very quickly, and then stares at me with unusual alertness. If I don't catch on soon enough, he repeats the turn-sit-stare process.

I wouldn't call this new method brilliant or even practical, but if this is what Gus has come up with, I have little choice but to take him out everytime he turn, sits, and stares alertly at me. Somehow, the inaneness of the whole process fits Gus, who is currently lying next to my desk chair panting loudly with his purple tongue hanging out, as always.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Graduation Weekend

Since Thursday, BJ's parents have been down from their home in Illinois to see my sister-in-law, Alison, and I graduate. BJ and I have both been blessed with spectacular in-laws, so we have a great time when they come down. Here are some of the memories from this weekend.

Friday night, I had BJ's parents, Alison, and her fiance Breandan over to our place for dinner. It was my first time having all of them for a meal, so I had a blast preparing everything. We had this laof of bread (it was my first time to braid bread!!!), clam chowder, salad, and hot milk cake with ice cream.

This is me and Alison and graduation. Thunderstorms cam right at the end of graduation, so there was no recessional. It was nothing short of a disaster trying to find family and friends afterwards.

On Monday morning, BJ and I took his parents around campus. I got some really good portraits of them at Jacob's dream. What I want to do is get portraits of my parents at the same place and frame large prints of each for our house.

Last but not least, here is a very characteristic moment with BJ's dad captured by BJ's mom. BJ's dad get a little camera happy any time he get's his camera out, so while we were at the sculpture, he was trying to get all sorts of crazy pictures. Classic.

Friday, May 11, 2007

When I grow up...

A couple of weeks ago, my brother tagged me on his blog to do a top-ten goals list, and I figure that the night before my graduation from college is a good time to do this. I've thought a lot since he did his own list about what my goals are in life, and I soon realized that I am not a very ambitious person. It was really, really difficult to come up with ten. So I just tried to picture in my head what I want to see if I could see into the future. Here's what I saw in no particular order.

1. Kids. I'm the world's single worst babysitter EVER. But, in defiance of all logic, I still really want to be a mom. I think it is because I saw the relationship my mom had with her mom and I see the way Bro and I now are with our mom, and I know that I'm supposed to take part in that tradition of motherhood. When I was a kid, I played with baby dolls all the time, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that motherhood became a part of my list so quickly.

2. Own a small business. I know that if I really want to do art for a living, I pretty much have to start a business of my own because there just aren't many good jobs out there. Also, I think I would like the independence of being a small-business owner.

3. Travel. I want to leave the U.S. at least once. My preference is Europe because that is were the art is I love so much. BJ, Bro, and I are already scheming towards this end.

4. Embody hospitality. Here's were I get hoaky. I want to create an environment in my home where people feel welcome. This means several things to me. Good smells coming from the kitchen, a pleasant but not extravagant decor, lots of heirlooms and things from the past in each room, art, the piano playing, and most importantly, loving and welcoming spirits inside (other than the dogs. I'm talking about BJ and me). BJ and I love having quests in our home, and I want to be the kind of hostess where people love coming to my house.

5. Maintaining my weight. I don't want to be one of those women who says "Now that I'm married, I don't have to worry about my body." Avoiding the American obesity crisis is important and really difficult for me. Important because I want to feel good about myself, be healthy, and look good for BJ. Difficult because weight problems run in the family and I love to cook and eat. This is both a goal I don't like to see on this list and one that is very important to me.

6. Go Green. I think that as a Christian, it is only right to be sensitive to the needs of the environment God has blessed us with. But I'm not very good at doing this. I think that this mainly stems from ignorance. I want to become more informed about how to take care of the environment and then implement the information.

7. Spend daily time with the arts. All art is intriguing to me, but sometimes laziness convinces me that TV is more entertaining than painting or drawing or playing the piano. I want to become more disciplined about daily devoting myself to the arts I love so that I can continually improve.

8. Give personal gifts to those I love. This goal probably sounds a little wierd, but let me explain. During the days following grandma's death, it occured to me that every single member of her huge family had items made from her hands that they will always cherish. She crocheted place mats, afgans, and hot pads, made quilts, sewed clothes and aprons, and did countless other personal gifts for Christmas, birthdays, graduations, and marriages. In fact, one day when I was taking a short moment to sit down and mourn her passing, I realized that the blanket I had wrapped myself in to cry was made by her hands. I want to spread that kind of tangible love to my friends and family, ecspecially when I have kids.

9. Have a healthy marriage. Here's what I'm hoping for: thirty years from now, the church where BJ and I are attending decides to do a marriage class, and the most natural choice for who to teach this class is BJ and I. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs, but I just hope that we keep steady, always keep the romance, and grow in our faith together as well as separatly.

10. Something about God and faith goes here... but I'm not sure what it is yet. I'm at a funny place in my life where I know faith is the most important thing, but I'm not sure why or how it is going to play out. I hate when twenty-somethings talk about how confused they are in their faith and yada-yada-yada. But, it is kind of complicated. I just hope that when the end comes, I've worked through some of the confusion to a state of peace and some sort of certainty that God is actually there.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A few random sayings from a uniquely random guy

Sometimes, I just don't know what to think of the things that come out of my husbands mouth. Here are a few from the past week.

This was said in Dairy Queen while BJ was trying to decipher what Sienna's image of herself might be:

"I'm Sienna...Invader of kitty litter boxes!!!"

The other night while I was getting sentimental about our upcoming move from our first apartment together where we have so many good memories, BJ gave me a bit of a reality check:

"Yes, but now we will make new memories in a less crappy house."

And, finally, I have no idea where this comment came from:

"Sex is one of the few things not made better by milk."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mama's little bear

Some posts just don't need words.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ah, how cute

Yesterday I was given the honor of being a University Scholar. At ACU, this is a pretty big deal, so I was excited. There were two students from my department, myself and Erin Holland.

The way these induction ceremonies usually go is something like this: the student name is called based on alphabetical placement of the departments, that student and the professor from their department who they chose stand up together, the professor places an Olympics-type medal around the students neck, and a minute or so long paragraph is read that was written by a member or members of their department's faculty.

These short readings are pretty consistent. They list accomplishments, significant volunteer work, publications, convention presentations, etc. But (big surprise), when the mc got to the art department, consistency was thrown to the road side. Instead of listing the cold hard facts of our accomplishments, they wrote about how Erin has more natural talent than any student they have ever had, and for me, well, let's just say this was the last sentence:

"One of Kalyn's professors said 'If I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like Kalyn.'"

And the audience went:


I had to hold in my laughter over the ever-present quirkiness of my department. But I was also kind of proud of them. I don't know if it is the extra-long classes or the nature of our curriculum or just the incredibly good fortune of have exceptionally decent people as professors, but the art professors get to know their students way past the surface level. And yesterday, it showed. Of course, it had to be at the expense of my overall embarrassment of getting the only "ahh" at a fairly formal affair. I guess that when I leave this fine institution, I will always know that although I may not have been the best student ever, I was the one they wanted to adopt.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Finally, one of our pets is turning out to be a Christian

When BJ first got his job as pulpit minister at Nugent Church of Christ, I bought him a perfect, medium size Bible for preaching. Tonight, Gus ate the corner of the cover of this Bible when we weren't looking. According to BJ, Gus in hungering for the word of God.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Saying goodbye

It seems like a vast amount of time separates this post from my last one just over a week ago. A lot has happened. Thursday afternoon, my grandmother passed away. The past few days have been a time of mourning, fellowship with family, and remembering an amazing woman.

It has been five days, and I already miss her. The last three and a half weeks before her death were awful, so I'm glad she is finally at peace, but that comforting thought won't make the healing process go quicker or be easier for my family. Since my Grandma Pierce died eight years ago, the sharpness of the pain has dulled, but I still miss her at every milestone I face in my life and every time I sit down to play the piano, which she loved so much. Now, I will miss them both.

I would like to take a moment to write down a couple of my thoughts from the funeral today. First off, this was probably one of the only funerals I've ever been to where all of the glowing, wonderful things that were said about the deceased were actually true. The speakers talked about her embodiment of Proverbs 31, her extreme submissiveness and peacefulness, her love of her family, and, most of all, her reflexion of Christ in her life. And, yes, that is all true. All I could think while sitting in that church building with over one hundred of her decendents was that we had all given grandma a reason or two to not love us so much or disagree with us or feel disappointment in us, but her love never decreased when we screwed up. She sometimes thought my skirts were too short, and I occasionally slipped and said "crap" or "sucks" in front of her, but I haven't a single doubt that she loved me dearly. Two days before she came down with the illness that took her life, she heard that BJ and I were having some money problems, and she immediately wrote a check for a considerable sum of money. Although that check is minuscule compared to everything she gave me in the past twenty-two years, I will never forget that final gift.

On a lighter note, I had a haunting moment this morning where I wondered if perhaps the ghost of Grandma might be present. My grandmother believed in reproducing rapidly (obviously, she had eight kids). In fact, one of the last conversations we ever had was in her hospital room when I assured her BJ and I would have kids and got her approval on a couple name ideas BJ and I had. So when I was getting ready for her funeral this morning, it suddenly hit me that I had forgotten something very important last night. Birth control. My Sunday pill was still there. She would have loved that.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

What makes Gus so dang wonderful

Today is our four week anniversary with Gus. It has been a fabulous four weeks full of laughter, barking, failed attempts at teaching Gus anything, and, unfortunately, more pee than I ever thought possible. As we are getting to know Gus, we are constantly learning more about his personality. Here are a few of my favorite memories or new discoveries about our precious puppy.

1. Gus is not so bright. When Emerald and I took our new puppy's to the vet last week, everyone was raving about how smart Emerald's puppy is. All anyone thought of to say about Gus is that he is fluffy. Yes, he is very fluffy.

2. Gus does not like leashes. During my fourth attempt to get him to walk on a leach, we put it on him and then decided to walk without holding the other end to see if we could just get him used to it. BJ, Sienna, and I took off walking to the park, but Gus did not follow. After noticing this, we peeked from around the corner of our house to see him sitting, leash attached, staring blankly up at the sky.

3. Gus likes water ALOT, so, therefore, Gus pees ALOT. After the rainstorm yesterday, Gus stood next to a puddle in our yard drinking water while he was simultaneously peeing. Great multi-tasking skills.

4. The old saying "His bark is bigger than his bite" was actually a prophesy of the birth of Gus. Most of the time, our house is filled with the barks and howls of Gus while he is playing with Sienna. But the second I come over to pet him or pick him up, he melts and is completely silent.

5. Gus is a little stinky. Turns out, you can use Febreeze on absolutely everything. Trust me, I have. The only think I haven't Febreezed in this house is Gus because BJ fears it would be a health hazard.

6. Gus is Sienna's new favorite toy. Also, Tony is pretty happy since Sienna now has significantly less time to eat him.

7. Everyday is the best day of Gus's life. And every time I come home is the best moment of the best day of his life. Apparently, Purina puppy chow is a smorgasbord of Prozac.

8. But best of all, Gus is really, really lovable. Just like the character he was named after, the fat and stupid mouse from Cinderella, there is no way a person can't love him. The other day while BJ and I were striving to watch TV over the noise of Gus barking while tugging on Sienna's ear, BJ looked down and said, "I'm really glad we have him." That pretty much sums it up.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Exhibit A

This week, I got in the photos of my senior art show, Exhibit A. I was really pleased with the quality of the photographs, so I thought I would post some pictures, ecspecially for people who wanted to see the show and couldn't come.

This is a photo of the pre-show preparations. Kayla and Emerald helped with a lot of the cooking. Kayla and her fiance, Darby, were helping me set up the refreshment's table just minutes before the door was open.

This is the group who I did the show with. Hanging above us is a whole bunch of A's. We each made about seven of these over the preceding week. The word Jazz is also in the grouping. This is because we had a live jazz band performing at the opening.

I love this photo because it is me talking to the person in the artwork we are standing in front of. A couple of summers ago I drew a charcoal picture of my brother, and it was in the show. So this is the model standing next to the artwork derived from him. Pretty cool.

I like this picture because I think it shows how chaotic the evening was. There were just tons of people there the whole time. Also, this is a good picture of what the gallery looked like as a whole.

This is my favorite picture from the evening. BJ and I are just standing around talking in the midst of the loud, busy room. I still can't really believed that I had a husband at the gallery opening. I never would have expected to have that sort of a guest at my senior show three years ago when I started my art degree. Life is funny.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

An update

I got to see Grandma today, and it was really difficult seeing her in this condition. Just a week ago I was sitting at a wedding reception talking to her. Today, she looked fatigued, breathing was a huge labor for her, and she constantly feels uncomfortable. The doctor reconfirmed with our family this morning that Grandma does not want life support or the paddles used, and he took her out of ICU. At first, we thought it was a good sign that she was out of ICU, but it seems that he mainly did it so that the family is no longer limited by visitation hours. In other words, we're just waiting for something we don't want to acknowledge we're waiting for. She told Mom yesterday that she has lived a good life, she has been happy, and she is okay with going. Knowing she feels that way helps with letting go, but it is never easy.

Seeing Grandma's eight children anxiously sitting in the waiting room and holding her hand when they go to her room despite her very contagious pneumonia has really made an impression on me. The very people she brought into the world and now helping her leave. It is beautiful.

I would like to ask for prayers for our family. More specifically, I ask for prayers for my mother. She talked to Grandma everyday 2 or 3 times a day for as long as I can remember, and they have never lived more that 22 miles apart. Mom has quite an adjustment to make whether or not Grandma miraculously pulls through. For Grandma, I just pray for peace.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Well, this is the longest I've ever gone without writing a post, but I have a good reason. I went to Menard (where there are hardly any working computers) for a little of my spring break, and my grandmother ended up getting severally ill, so I've been consumed with that situation. I just got a call from mom that Grandma is doing better, though. Our family would appreciate prayers, though.

I have enjoyed getting to see my family, but this has been a tough break. In fact, I think I can safely label Tuesday night one of the worst nights of my life. There where two contributing factors to the horribleness of this night. First, everyone (including the doctors) seemed pretty certain that Grandma was going to pass away that night, so I couldn't stop thinking about the phone ringing. And to make matters even worse, Gus had found the tuna and dry food of my parent's cat, Abby. And he ate it ALL. Basically, he had three days worth of food in an evening. I probably don't need to write this out for anyone, but he was really, really sick. So I was trying to run him outside the whole evening plus cleaning up things when we didn't make it out in time. Finally, at around 3:30 a.m., he and I got to sleep, but he woke up at 6:15 with the same problems. In fact, it never really ended until about noon.

End the end, though, the night turned out all right. Grandma made it through and is improving, and Gus finally got all that food out of his system.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's a boy!

We have a new addition to the family. Meet Gus. He is an Old English Sheep Dog mix. And he is HUGE!!! The vet could not believe he is only about 6 weeks old. He is very fat, and very furry. BJ calls him a box with a head. I love him. This blog post is a dedication to our new baby and our two other crazy, loveable pets.
This is a close-up of the head part of the box. Pretty precious.

This is Gus's manhood. Ruff! (Uncle Bro's in the background. He is continually amazed at the cuteness and craziness of his niece and nephews.)

This is Gus and Sienna bonding. It was a short moment, but BJ managed to catch it in a picture. Most of the time, Gus is trying to play with Sienna while Sienna is trying to figure out why he is still in her home. She was really excited when we brought him home, but she has since realized he isn't leaving.

This is BJ and Tony recovering from the exhaustion of having a new puppy in the house. Before we got married, a lot of people doubted whether BJ and Tony could live together. Well, here's proof. They can.