Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celebrity Crushes: A 20 Year Retrospective (part 2)

The High School Years: 1992ish-1995

Kadeem Hardison as Dewayne Wayne
Dewayne Wayne: One of the classic nerdy-turned-cool guys. And much cuter than Bill Gates, no? He had the flip glasses, the witty banter, the calculus mind, the romantic touch that finally won over Whitley. And me. Kadeem, you rocked my homogeneous world. I like to think I could have been the one cool white girl on your campus.

Luke Perry as Dylan McKay
Listen up people: Dylan was not just a "bad boy," he was a renaissance man. He was a poetry-reading, AA-going, tear-wiping, daddy-hating, Brenda-loving, wetsuit-wearing, Harley-riding Byronic hero. He took Brenda to donate blood for their first Valentine's Day, y'all!

To be honest: This crush did linger into my college years, when an unnamed roommate and I watched 90210 from the very beginning. (Even the episodes we had missed due to our parents' censorship or the unfortunate seasons that ran on Wednesday nights.) One of us actually made her class schedule based on the airtime for these shows. Um, it wasn't me.

Robert Sean Leonard
3 words: Dead Poets Society.

My love for ol' RSL knew no bounds. Then he was in Swing Kids. Then he completely fell of the face of the earth. But, BUT! He is now back on House! Not quite so cute as before, but, in my humble opinion, a pretty stinking good actor. I am hoping that this TV role does not end in his shooting himself or being shipped off to a concentration camp.

Ethan Hawke
Noticing a pattern here? What can I say...for a girl whose wildest fantasy was being shipped off to boarding school, Dead Poets Society was practically porn.

I was fairly convinced that Ethan was a cinematic genius, but then...Reality Bites. Even with all the greasy hair, that flick, kids, was deep. And very, very 1994. (As it was aptly observed by my friend who did not watch the movie until 1999.)
I actually own that movie on VHS and I might drag it out later tonight.

Bonus: GirlCrush........Dana Delaney
The History Channel started running reruns of China Beach in the afternoons when I was in 9th grade. I still think that was one of the best shows ever to air on TV. Dana Delaney was spectacular with her no-nonsense haircut and her bad drinking habit. Way better than the current slop on Desperate Housewives.

I think this was about the time I started dying my hair red.

Note to self: See if China Beach is on NetFlix...

Part III coming soon........

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Car Musings

We went over to Fayetteville this weekend to celebrate our nephew's 12th birthday. It was a fun trip, but awfully quick--which means the ratio of hours IN the car to OUT of the car was not exactly weighted in our favor. A couple of thoughts from our 10 or so hours in the Volvo:

*Surely some deep meaning lies in the lyrics of that siren Laurie Berkner:
Oh, Bumblebee-hee, can't you see?
It's just you and me--
One...two...a hundred-and-three

When do little kids start developing correct stress & accent in their speech? Sometimes I find it really hard to decipher what John Mark is trying to tell me because the rhythm is all wonky. Like carrying on a conversation with a tiny Andre the Giant. (Was I the only one who had to watch Princess Bride like 13 times before I understood any of his lines?)

*The word "Mama" is much like the Hawaiian "Aloha." It can really take on any meaning, depending on the context. At some point in the last 2 hours, "mama" has meant all of the following:
I threw my pacifier and now want it back.
Turn on the DVD player.
I'm hot.
I'm hungry.
I'm thirsty.
I'm tired of being in this car seat.
The music is too loud.
The music is too soft.
Hold my hand.
Make the See'n'Say play "Old MacDonald" again.
Hey, look!
What's that?
Quit talking to each other and pay attention to me.
I can't think of anything else to say, so I will say your name. Again. For the forty-eleventh time this minute.

*The Electric Company is still fabulous, even 25+ years later. John Mark and I are trying to perfect his "Heeeeey Yooooooooou Guuuuuuuuuuuuys!" Also, Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader--it don't get any cooler than that, kids! If you do NetFlix, put the "Best of the Best" DVD in your queue, stat.

Coming soon: Part Dos of the Celebrity Crushes Retrospective.....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Celebrity Crushes: A 20 Year Retrospective (part 1)

The Early Years: 1988-1992 (6th-8th grades)

Joe McIntyre of New Kids on the Block
Oh, Joe. You were so fab with your falsetto singing. Or, perhaps, just your voice that had not yet changed--I was too young to tell the difference. I remember being so shocked to hear my mom say that "Please Don't Go Girl" had been popular when she was in junior high. Surely no one but Joe could do this song justice! I listed to that one on my walkman at least 4 times a day in 1989.
Many tears were shed over being denied my requests to go to a New Kids concert. (Yes, I know they are on a reunion tour now--that does not erase my pain.) Validation came in 2004 when I saw Joe on Broadway during his run as Fiero in Wicked.

Kirk Cameron

This probably goes without saying, because who didn't have a crush on Kirk Cameron in junior high? The hair, the tightrolled jeans, the impish grin--he was the total package. My love for Kirk only grew when I saw him in some James Dobson abstinence video at a youth rally in Newport.
I am sad to say that Kirk's stock took a sharp downward turn when he decided to star in the Left Behind movies, but my pre-pubescent heart still flutters a little when I see pictures like this I would have cut out of Tiger Beat and hung on the inside of my closet door.

Michael J Fox as Alex P Keaton

Hmmmmm. Looking back, I see this crush as, perhaps, a sort of foreshadowing in my romantic tastes.
Well, Alex P/Michael J....So much to love:
1. Gotta love the initial. I give him props for starting the initial craze way before it was cool. C'mon--did you really think Samuel L Jackson thought of that all on his own?
2. Again, please note the fabulous hair, just bordering on a mullet.
3. Sock ties.
4. The dorky earnestness of a Young Republican.
5. Much repressed emotion.

I did not love Michael J quite so much in the Back to the Future series, but Spin City was a pretty great show, even if I did only watch it in reruns.

Bonus: GirlCrush.........Alyssa Milano

The lipgloss!
The clothes!
The bangs!

Alyssa had it all. The greatest compliment of my junior high life was when some girl at church camp told me I looked like AM. It was totally untrue, but I clung to those words with all the vanity in my 13-year-old heart.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

It's, like 3 months of Tuesdays, really. Would it make me sound SuperSpiritual to say that I have been fasting from my blog? Ooooooooh. I bet you are feeling very humble and NotSpiritual right now, aren't you?

Okay, okay--I have been a) busy, b) completely uncreative and c) somewhat forgetful of late. However, in spite of the busy-ness, there have been some great moments in the past few weeks. I have much reason to give thanks!

1. John Mark is now 2 (!!!!) and has started using quasi-sentences. It's the most precious and amazing thing ever. Sometimes I think if I loved him any more my heart might explode.

2. The drama for WOW came off pretty darn well, I think. My son is still singing "Go, Go, Go Joseph" every day, so at least one kid found it memorable. The cast was fantastic. I was so proud of them!

3. I don't have to work on the drama for WOW 2009 for at least 5 more months!

4. We had a wonderful trip to Hungary with the mission team. It was great to be back at the Bible Camp.......exciting to see our missionary friends with their new to team-teach with Robin again........a huge relief that our son did not scream for the entire trans-Atlantic flight.......exhausting to eat out for every single meal with a toddler in tow. All in all, a huge blessing for our family to be on this trip. A little bittersweet that this will be our last Ash-MG mission trip for a few years. I'm already looking forward to our next adventure! (See JM riding with Daddy on a subway in Budapest.)

5. My nigh-unto-perfect husband took off 2 afternoons last week to help finish our family profile for the adoption agency. Woo-hoooo! I am so glad to have that done, signed, sealed & delivered.

6. My air conditioner works. I really, really hate to be hot, so I do NOT take this for granted.

7. I have an air conditioner in my car. (See #6.)

8. Just a few more weeks 'til the "school schedule" starts. I know--we don't have a child in school. But so much of the world runs on this schedule that all of life seems to settle into a nice routine come Labor Day. Ladies' Bible Class, library day, Kindermusik....I'm looking forward to being back in that groove.

9. Now that all my summer projects are completed, I get to tackle some fun home projects. I have been looking forward to these for months. At the top of the list: finishing up the transition of JM's room to his "toddler" room and starting work on the nursery.

10. My dear, sweet friend Alyssa got married this weekend. I am incredibly happy for her...even though I am not ready to admit she is old enough to get married! I got to see some of my first "babies" who are now full-fledged young adults. They make me cry just a little--they still make me laugh my head off--they make me proud all the time.

Bonus! 11. John Mark walked down the aisle at Alyssa's wedding without a hitch. Well, except that just as he started into the auditorium, he hollered, "MAMA! Walkin'!!!" (as opposed to sprinting, which he had been warned not to do!). Then about halfway down the aisle, he spotted me waiting for him on the front row and said, "Peeee-yow!" (pillow). Not bad for a barely-two-year-old. He was rewarded with a trip to the candy store :)

It's good to be back!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sum, sum, summertime

And, oh, that can only mean one thing: Camp! I do love me some summer camp. Which is odd, considering that I don't like to sweat, I don't like to do sportsy stuff outside and I don't like mosquitoes. But, somehow, all those things together + sleeping in a cabin with like 15 other girls + swimming in a nasty pool + doing some cheesy crafts + singing every 1970's devo song ever written = Big fun. My dad was actually the director of our church camp for many years, so our family would MOVE to camp every June. I really do miss those days. I even try to get my husband to wear Deep Woods Off sometimes to conjure up memories of those camp romances....

This week the youth group went over to the Country Gardens apartment complex to do a little mini-camp with the kiddos there. John Mark and I helped serve snackies. I absolutely LOVED seeing our teenagers in action! They paired up with the little kids and took them around to about 20 different carnival games. They did all the "big buddy" stuff like helping them open their snacks, putting straws in the juice boxes, reminding them to throw away the trash, and letting them win at the games. It was precious. JM even got in on the action! He had his very first taste of another summer favorite...Pop Ice! Here he is with one of our teenage friends:

Being over at the little camp reminded me of the most demanding job I've ever had: Day Camp Counselor. Sheesh! At the ripe old age of 17, I was responsible for keeping a whole cabin full of 4-year-olds from drowning, getting stung by a wasp or wandering into the woods. During registration on Monday, one of my camper's moms introduced herself and said I would need to make sure her daughter did not get into the sand box (which was actually a full-sized sand volleyball court)....because she had a glass eye. Of course, this was a perfectly reasonable request, but have you ever tried to keep a kid out of a sand box? I think I made it 3 days before said camper's buddies lured her into the sand. I had to call her mom, who then drove to camp so she could take out the eye and wash it. Bless her heart!

When John Mark goes to camp, I think my first question is going to be, "How old is his counselor?" If they say any age younger than 30, we will be bringing our sleeping bag and bug spray right on home.


Random shot of the week: Who doesn't love to get some homemade goodies in the mail? I found these in John Mark's mailbox yesterday. In case you can't tell, they are the trimmed ends of asparagus spears that we had for supper. On Tuesday. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

I have not been feeling too bloggy lately, but I have been dying to share with you my big accomplishment: I finished my first 5K on Saturday! It was such a fun day, from start to finish. I loved being part of such a beautiful group of women that included every size, shape, color and age imaginable.

The challenge of training for and completing this race has taken on a deeper significance for me over the last couple of months. While I am incredibly proud to have reached one of my fitness goals, I am far more grateful to have finally come to a place where I can say I am at peace with my own body. Like so many other women, I have spent years at war with my body--starving it, stuffing it into girdles, hiding it under carefully chosen clothes, saying horrible things about it, keeping detailed lists of every flaw and mistake. My struggle with infertility was the last straw--not only did my body not look as it should, it wouldn't even work as it should. It was the ultimate betrayal.

However, on Saturday, as I ran alongside my fantastic clinic leader, Renee' I crossed the finish line and saw my wonderful husband cheering for my gorgeous little boy hugged me and cried, "Run! Run!" I looked around at all the amazing women who were celebrating our success together...I was finally able to reclaim this body for what it is: a gift from God. It's not perfect, but it is a gift nonetheless: A tool, a vehicle to move me through this life and allow me to work and play and serve and grow and experience all this world has to offer. I promised God that I would begin to celebrate the gift of my healthy body as a way of honoring Him, and so I thought I would start right here....

1. My arms can comfort my baby, hold my husband, and hug my friends.

2. My hands can write a note of encouragement and fix food for someone who's sick.

3. My legs take me quickly down to my baby's room when he needs me in the middle of the night.

4. My lungs allow me to sing praises to God when I gather with my church family.

5. My heart beats all day long, all night long--I never even have to think about it. That's pretty amazing!

6. My back is strong enough to carry an ever-heavier toddler, bring in the grocery bags, haul the laundry basket, scrub the toilet, and make my house a pleasant place to live.

7. The little lines forming around my eyes and mouth show that I have spent many, many moments of my life smiling. I am thankful for those moments--even if I'm not exactly thankful for the lines!

8. My feet have carried me through some of Jonesboro's roughest neighborhoods, down the dusty streets of Honduras, along mountain paths in Ecuador and trash-littered streets of Guyana, through cobblestone sidewalks in Hungary and Costa Rica, up the side of a mountain in Colorado and through dozens of flooded streets in Mississippi and Louisiana while I tried to do what God had called me to do in each of those places.

9. My body is the most sacred and special gift I can offer my husband.

10. My lips allow me to speak words of blessing to those I meet every day. What a powerful privilege and responsibility.

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 139: 13-14

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday
What a gorgeous couple of days we've had! It's been wonderful to enjoy some sunshine without all the heat and humidity. Playing outside and even working in the yard have been a treat.

My in-laws are coming tomorrow, so in honor of their visit, today's list will be just 10 of the things I appreciate about my family-by-marriage...

1. They truly think of me as their own and treat me as such.

2. They love to travel! I love to hear about all the exotic places they visit...Hawaii, Panama, Florida Keys, Branson....;) As a bonus, my MIL always brings us cookbooks from the places they visit.

3. Technically, both my mother & father-in-law are retired, but the truth is that they are full-time shepherds at their church. They go to the hospital several times a week, sit with the sick, check on the shut-ins, lead a grief recovery group, visit families in crisis--I can't even keep up with all the ways they serve the flock there.

4. They love to try out new restaurants, so eating with them is always a culinary adventure.

5. They adore John Mark! Their support throughout our adoption process was just amazing, and they welcomed their grandson with open hearts. I just love seeing them all together.

6. My sister-in-law has been a single mom for about 8 years now, and she has made many sacrifices in order to be a stay-at-home mom during that time. She is one of the strongest people I have ever known.

7. SIL is "den mom" for her son's scout troop and goes on every camp out, fishing trip, backpacking trip and pinewood derby race known to man. And never complains about it!

8. Both my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law bought webcams so they can talk to to John Mark online. Yes, it's pretty ridiculous. Yes, it's also pretty adorable.

9. My nephew has an amazing head for science. He loves to take things apart and see how they work. Rockets, chemical reactions and physics problems fascinate him.

10. This family has gone through many heartbreaking losses in the last 10 years, but they remain faithful to God and secure in His love. Their commitment to the Lord is a blessing to everyone who knows them, and I'm especially thankful that my son will grow up experiencing this kind of faith.