Saturday, November 11, 2006

On my soap box

Can I just tell you how completely fed up I am with the LACK of Customer Service in America? For lack of a better word... and because I just feel like saying it... it sucks.

Occasionally, you will run across someone who attends to their job with pride and treats their customers like human beings... but those people are few and far between. Just today, I was coming out of Wal Mart and was unloading my stuff into my van. Beside me was the cart corral and 2 young men were working at getting the carts gathered to take back to the store. They looked pretty bored and miserable. They were apparently having a discussion about how much they hated their job. I overheard boy 1 say to boy 2, "Yeah, like, these people call for a stock-boy to come and clean up a tiny little drop of water that THEY spilled themselves."

That statement gave me pause, and I wanted so badly to look at him and say "Excuse me, but are you doing this job for free? Out of the goodness of your heart? I mean, you ARE getting paid, RIGHT?" Give me a break! It's not like it's the slave trade. So you have to bend down and clean up some water... who cares? If you don't like your job then quit and find another one. It's not like jobs are scarce.

On Wednesday, I ran into Sam's to pick up a few things. As I got to the checkout counter (which was SLOW, as usual), I smiled at the girl and asked her how her day was. She never once looked me in the eye, but replied "I'm here." I wanted to say, "Yes, you're here, and you're getting paid. You are getting paid whether you do your job well, or not. So cheer up and stop projecting your worries onto me." When I was finished, I smiled again and said "Thank you." She did not respond, which prompted me to say "I said, THANK YOU." She looked startled and looked at me and said "Thank you" right back. Is this such a foreign occurrence?

Several months ago, just after my brother got married, I went into Shoe Carnival to return some shoes. As soon as I entered, I noticed a type-A looking man behind the counter and secretly hoped I wouldn't have to deal with him. Alas, I had to.

There was one other customer in the entire store and she was being helped by the other person behind the counter. I walked up and explained to the man (who I assume was the manager) that I needed to return the shoes. I followed that up with "I have my receipt here somewhere" and he said "Good. You're going to need it." So professional! Anyway, I had tons of receipts in my purse from shopping for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, etc. I thought I had put my shoe receipt in a particular place, but it was not there. I could tell the man was VERY impatient, and I apologized although I have no idea why I felt obligated to do so. Our conversation went like this:

Man: Yeah, I was a young man when we started this process.
Me: Excuse me?
Man: Oh, nothing.
Me: Well, I'm pretty sure you're getting paid no matter how long it takes me.
Man: Not nearly enough.
Me: Aww, that's a shame... you're obviously SO GOOD at what you do. *sarcasm*
Man: If I had my way, I'd be in Afghanistan right now.
Me: What?
Man: I'd be over there fighting so my son didn't have to. I did it once, I'd do it again.
Me: See, I could've guessed you were military. I can spot'em a mile away.

By this time, I had found my receipt and was on my way to getting my refund. My niece, who was with me, was so upset and mad that she was ready to cry. Argh. [side note: I love our military. I have, however, seen a pattern with some former military men acting as though their poop doesn't stink. Get over it.]

Sometimes, I call people on the carpet for their bad customer service. Sometimes, I get home and phone the store and ask to speak to the manager. Sometimes, I just blog about it.

Elton John

I just read an article on Elton John, where he stated that organized religion stirs hate and that if it were up to him, he would ban all organized religion. Obviously, Elton John is gay, which is what spurred his vantage point.

At first, upon reading this article, I was a little peeved. How dare he make a rash statement about a group of people? Isn't that what he wishes to avoid about his own "group"? Right, Elton? Are all gay people the same? I sure hope not, because you are quite obnoxious. Since when does writing dozens of musical hits (whatever) qualify you to speak to the nations? It's music. My daughter writes better songs than you've cranked out in decades. [hopping off soap-box]

After a few seconds of being ticked off, I realized that regardless of how annoying Elton John is... he has a point. I don't like admitting things like this, but it's just true. Christians, particularly American Christians, and very pious and holier than thou... and usually it's the very ones that enjoy pointing out the faults of others that are hiding HUGE skeletons in their very own closets. Perhaps if we did present the gospel the way Jesus intended, by LIVING IT, more people would want to be a follower and believer. Just a thought.

When are Christians going to STOP giving Christ a bad name? When are we truly going to stop glorifying ourselves and start living our lives to the glory of God?

I'm guilty, too. I'm not just pointing fingers. But I am asking a question.

Why are we, as Christians, ineffective??? Why are we not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit so much so that people get healed just from being in our shadow? What have we come to?

Friday, October 27, 2006

My "baby" turns 3!

Lincoln turned 3 on Thursday. We had a great time at Chuck E. Cheese for dinner... then on to our house for lots of goodies and presents. It's hard to believe that he is 3 years old now. Three years ago was such a tough day... life is so good now it's hard to believe we ever went through all of that.

If you click here, it will show you the photo album from the day. There is a slideshow tab that will take you through all of the pictures. To stop the slideshow, wiggle your mouse and hit "exit".

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall Fun, Oct 23

The neighbor kids came over to play in our multitude of Fall leaves. It was a great time, although you won't see any pictures of Lincoln outside - he was having a "moment" and wouldn't play along.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Daddy's Birthday...

Today would've been my dad's 65th birthday. However, he passed away shortly before his 64th birthday. I cannot accurately describe my father with mere words. It's exhausting to even try. What I can tell you is that he was wonderful, unique, loving, funny, and never met a stranger.

So, I woke up this morning and thought about my dad, as usual. Instead of being sad and upset like I was last year on his birthday (since his passing was so fresh), I felt a peace. As I went about my day, I kept imagining what a great birthday dad must be having in heaven. I could just picture him standing with people all around him as he cracked everyone up with his great sense of humor. As much as dad was loved on earth - and he was - I know there was a great celebration when he arrived in heaven.

So, happy birthday, Daddy. I'm so thankful you are no longer suffering in your earthly body. And I'm so thankful you are with your Lord Jesus, whom you love.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Strawberry Hall's

Today before church during band practice, I consumed a number of Strawberry Hall's cough drops. They are so good! But that's not why I ate them. I have suffered greatly from hideous allergies for 4 weeks in a row.
Besides coughing my head off every day and night, I have had some interesting moments during worship.
2 weeks ago my gravelly throat made me sound like Joe Cocker on his last leg.
Last week, to my horror, I practically hacked a loogie (sp? I'm not sure one should know how to spell this word...) right into the mic.
Today, in spite of downing several Hall's, I cracked at one point. Fabulous.
I suppose I'm doomed to suffer the evils of allergy season in Tennessee until the good Lord delivers me. Even so, Lord, come quickly.

Toilet Paper McMuffin

Another funny thing happened Sunday morning. Each Sunday, the band goes to the back/side room just before service to pray and do a quick pow-wow.
For once, we were all back there waiting for Aaron - he's usually rounding us up.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alex, our drummer, unwrapping something that at first I thought was an Egg McMuffin. I whipped my head around to tell him he wouldn't have time to eat it, only to find he was unwrapping a roll of Industrial Toilet Paper.
Random, but funny.
At that moment, Matt, our electric guitarist, decided to grab a duster and pretend to karate-chop Alex with it... and he called it a dust-mop in the process.
It wasn't a dust mop, which made it all the more funny.
Amazingly enough, we managed to get into the Spirit and lead the church in some pretty good worship! Never a dull moment with these guys around...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A trip to Prestonsburg

We went to my hometown of Prestonsburg, KY to visit and see my nephew, Mason, play football. Aaron ended up going to the game without me, because it was butt-cold! We were only there for 36 hours, but it was on of the best trips we've had! I stayed up late laughing and talking with my mom, sister Mona, and aunt Mary on Friday night. Hilarious fun!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Football & Baptisms

That title pretty much sums up my weekend! Friday night, we went to the Station Camp High School Football Game. It was a blast. Lincoln had more fun than just about anyone! Everytime something good would happen, he went WILD. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Jeremy, Daniel, and Pomai taught Lincoln how to bellow like a Bison... as if they know!

Sunday morning we had our annual baptisms at church. It was awesome, besides JJ accidently renouncing his faith... but that's another story! Here is a cute shot of Aaron dismissing us in prayer. And lastly, here is a picture of OUR LAND! This is only a snippet of it, but it sure is beautiful!
Truthfully, the weekend held much more than just football and baptisms. Friday made one year since my daddy passed away. Maybe as a result of that fact, I had the worst migraine in the history of my life on Saturday and spent the entire day in bed. Argh. I should probably blog about my dad. I'll work on that.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

American Idol, baby... part 1

Tonight - well, technically LAST night - a bunch of us went to the American Idol concert. We have been looking forward to this for months. The original plan was for Jenni to take Abbey as a little girl's night. Sonya, Jackie, and I were not having it. We had to go, too. So, we shelled out the money and started counting the days.

This morning at 5am, Lincoln woke up with a raging fever. The poor child was miserable. Then, Abbey woke up with one eye swollen shut. Once we got her eyes open, we found that it was incredibly infected. Yikes. Unfortunately, I had to drag all three kids around Hendersonville to meet their teachers. It was meet the teachers day. I wasn't just being intentionally cruel.

As the day progressed, so did Abbey's eye infection as well as Lincoln's fever. So, at 4pm I took them to the doctor's office. The doctor shocked us with the news that Aaron and the 2 kids have a funky virus that effects people with either an eye infection or a high fever with sore throat... or both. Anyway, it's highly contageous, and since Abbey is at that age where if her eye itches, she scratches it and then forgets to immediately wash her hands, I thought it would be best for her to stay home. It was a difficult decision to make, but I didn't want to risk getting everyone else sick. Kim Rollins eagerly gobbled up Abbey's ticket - yay! Once we got to the concert, I teared up everytime I saw a little girl with her mommy. Wah! I felt so bad, but I know in my heart that it was the right decision. Aaron rented The Shaggy Dog for the kids to watch.

After getting home at 5:30 from the doctor's office, I didn't have time to even change clothes before the concert. Kim picked me up in a torrential downpour to head downtown. We had a neat lightening show on the way there!

We ended up with great seats! Thanks, Jenni!!!!! Enough talking... here are the pictures. Three blogs follow this one!

I have found it increasingly hard to take a good shot of oneself while holding the camera. Case in point below...

Kim is glad to be out of the house, and Jenni is glad to be in the same building with Taylor Hicks. Jackie is semi-excited to be there, but very excited to be there with her girls! Doesn't Sonya look like a two-headed monster, kinda?
The concert begins with hometown girl, Mandisa!!!!! She was AMAZING, and looked beautiful!!!!

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American Idol, baby... part 2

The best part of the night was rocker Chris Daughtry. Oh. My. Word. He will go far in life.

Chris pointed out his biggest fans - us! (Just kidding - we were not in that section, duh! Look where I was taking the picture from.)

Our reaction to Chris...

His reaction to us reacting to him...

There wasn't a whole lot cheesy about Chris. He was 100% cool.

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American Idol, baby... part 3

Finally, Taylor comes out... what 3.5/5 of us have been waiting for! The crowd went wild. The place erupted in applause. He put on a great show, that wacky guy. His passion was not lost - people got their money's worth. Most people, anyway...

These people, for sure. Look at those happy faces! They love Taylor! (Look at the pride on Jenni's face. Ah, young love.) This girl, on the other hand, was less than thrilled.
Undeterred, these girls partied on! Soul Patrol, for sure!

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American Idol, baby... part 4

Nearing the end of the show, the whole group performs. The cheese factor was high, but 4/5 of us barely noticed.

Taking a bow...

The REAL American Idols...

And the FAKE American Idol...How shocked (and more than a little disturbed) were we to walk out of the GEC to find none other than Corey Clark standing on the curb trying to sell himself. No, really. Kim was going to get her picture taken with him, but you HAD to BUY something in order to do that. So, I yelled out his name and got him to look. Later, as we stood to the side and made fun of him, he tried to talk us into buying his CD. NO WAY! I wanted so badly to ask him if he actually follows the Idols around from city to city, trying to capitolize on their momentum, but I was too tired to get into it with him. The sad thing is that a few people actually purchased a few things from him and had their picture taken. Sick and wrong.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

American Idol, baby... addendum

This is how far back we were from the stage!

Elliott rocked. He was so cute! He has really blossomed as a performer over the summer. Also of note: Ace was REALLY good. His voice was spot-on. I always thought he was good and just made weird song choices.
Lisa was ok. The girl can no-doubt sing... but she was just a little boring.
Paris cracked us up. She was a dancing queen... and I'm glad Abbey wasn't there to see some of her moves!!!
Elliot and Chris did a duet that was oh so great.
Kellie Pickler drove me crazy. The girl talked so much and didn't make a lick of sense. I wondered if she was on drugs at one point... then realized it was just "her".
Katherine looked stunning, but you could really tell she had been sick with brochitis. Also, she had a broken foot, so she only did 2 songs.
Bucky was a lowlight, to be kind. He was just painful to watch.
Chicken Little and Melissa weren't there. Weird, but a relief. I was NOT looking forward to enduring Melissa. I was, however, looking forward to getting up to get some $3.25 water while she sang... which never happened and so I died of thirst the rest of the concert!

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

An explanation of this picture...

It started like this: After a drive to KY that should've been 5 hours turned into 7 (read previous "What is God Trying to Tell Me" blog for explanation) and resulted in us not getting in bed until around 2:30am, I woke up on my 35th birthday quite disheveled. Mom was in the middle of renovating much of my childhood home, thus making a good portion of the house a little dangerous for the little ones.

My 10 yr old niece was staying with us and helping out with the kids so I decided we would go to my aunt and uncle's pool to hang out for the day. I discovered, however, that I had left Lincoln's swim diapers at home in Nashville. Hmmm... Morgan needed me to drive her to my sister's to get her swimsuit anyway, so I asked her if she would mind running into Walmart and picking me up a package.

Now, I will be honest with you. You can go to Walmart in Prestonsburg, KY on any given day and find a diverse clientele. You either have the people who have taken time to groom themselves and are there pick up a few quick items because Walmart is pretty much "it" in the town... OR, you have the people that, God bless their sweet hearts, seem to have rolled out of bed, and are there for the sport of beating their children while they wander up and down the aisles. Had I gone in that day, I would've unfortunately fallen into the second category... minus the beating part, though that may have occurred as a by-product of my kids' sauciness. But, I digress.

I had on my nifty swimsuit with a t-shirt over it... hair slicked back in a hapless ponytail... van full of kids. I pulled up in front of Walmart and let Morgan out. After sitting there just a few minutes, I looked over and saw my ex-boyfriend and his daughter walking across the parking lot. At the same time, Morgan came walking out of the store. To my horror, she said something to my ex and his daughter... then he started walking back to his car as if getting something for Morgan. Huh? Morgan halfway got in the car and I briefly thought about speeding off before she got her second leg in the van... but then she shut the door and there were lots of people in the pedestrian crossing. Next thing I know, Morgan rolled down her window and my ex has stuck his entire HEAD in the passenger side of my van. Suddenly, I was very self-conscious of my leg pretty much showing, my slicked-back hair, and the make-up smeared all over my eyes. Why? I have NO idea. I guess I would feel the same way if it had been ANYONE I had gone to high school with and not seen for awhile. Ya know? Anyway, he looked up and realized it was me she was in the car with and gave a little shock and then said "Well, hey, how are you doing?" I tried not to sound too sarcastic as I said "Oh, just GREAT."

It turns out that he was Morgan's softball coach and had her all-star uniform to give to her. Fine. As I drove away, I silently prayed to God that He would somehow let me run into this person (who didn't look like time had been any better to him, I might add) again WITH makeup ON before my time I KY was through. I didn't think that was too much to ask.

So, that still does not explain the picture with the sombrero, does it?

After a day of swimming and receiving phone calls from all my loved ones wishing me a happy birthday, I went home to get ready for my mom, aunt, sister, niece, and kids to take me out to eat at the only Mexican place in Prestonsburg. It's a fun place and the food is actually really good!

After finishing our meal, we sat around and just talked for awhile. I could kind of tell my family was stalling a little bit, and it occurred to me that maybe they were waiting for the servers to come and sing Happy Birthday to me. Awww, how sweet! While waiting, I looked up and saw my ex's wife and daughter walk in. Hmmm... Next thing I see is my ex walking in and going to their table. Ha! Thanks, God! I had my makeup on and was dressed pretty ok!

Just as I was sitting there thinking how good God is to care about SILLY little things like that, that don't matter at all really, I catch a flurry of activity out of the corner of my eye. Oh, no! I expected a fun little birthday song in Spanish... but a big ole sobrero???? Mmmm, and fried ice cream. That could make up for the big hat.

Imagine my horror, though, when the seemingly drunk waiters (only half-kidding) proceeded to use my spoon to DAB WHIPPED CREAM on my face while singing a version of Happy Birthday I had never heard before and hope to never hear again. I sat in embarassment as they would not let me wipe the whip cream off until the song was over and everyone in the restaurant had taken a good little gander. Yipee.

So, that's the story of the picture of the sombrero hat, thrilling as it may be.

I want to go on record as saying that the fact that the person in this embarassing story is my ex is really of no value. I would be equally as embarassed running into anyone from high school... at both Walmart and the Mexican place. Now, I'm not an easily embarassed person... and I guess that's not even a good word for it. It was simply unfortunate. But it makes for a cute story. Ha!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sumner Life Picnic - July 1st

My beautiful kids at the church picnic...

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I finally convinced my best friend from college to start a blog. She is so brilliant and hilarious, and I have felt for a long time that she needed to share her inner thoughts with the world.

For now, I'm keeping her name a secret... until she decides to reveal herself. Nevertheless, it's a great read. Bridget Jones, move over.

I do want to go on record as saying that she is beautiful and talented and a wonderful friend, and the fact that someone hasn't snagged her is to their own detriment. I personally don't understand it... but there are LOTS of things I don't understand. Don't get me started, ya know? I can think of at least 4 wonderfully amazing friends of mine who have yet to be swept off their feet. For the men around them, I say this is a tragedy.

So... check out the blog:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

He's a Big Kid Now!

Lincoln consciously peed in the big potty tonight for the first time! Yay!!!! He has really not shown too much interest in going on the potty, and because he's my last baby, I haven't pushed the issue. I figured he'd get the hang of it sooner or later. Now, I'm not niave enough to think that he is "potty-trained"... puhleeze. Now comes the hard part, in fact. But, I'm proud of my little guy... if not a little teary eyed. My baby's growing up!

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

What is God trying to tell me?

I turned 35 today. All in all, it was a great birthday. I slept late. I laid by the pool with my kids. My family took me out to dinner, where I got serenaded by Mexican waiters - long story, pictures to follow shortly. No complaints from me here. And I don't mind being another year older. With age comes great wisdom. Ha! Anyway, I really don't mind. Really.
However... the past 2 weeks have been filled with some odd happenings. Lots of stuff seems to be "breaking" around me. Strange things have been occurring.

1) I made mention in a previous blog about what happened on July 4th in front of thousands of fireworks-watchers when our van broke down. Thankfully the "group" from church was there to save us and get us home... however, it ended up being the transmission. We also had to get several other things on the van fixed and it all rounded up to a whopping $3600 for a 6 year old van.

2) This happened the week of my brother's wedding. So, as I was trying desperately to get things bought and ready for the rehearsal dinner, we had 6 people in the house and only one tiny car. Oh, and the driver's side mirror on the tiny car broke off, too. Lovely.

3) The only thing my sister-in-law-to-be asked of me was for me to get "Cowboy Take Me Away" onto a cd so it could be played as they were walking away for the recessional in the wedding. I bought the song online and burned it onto a cd. I forgot to take it to the church for the rehearsal... and when I showed up for the wedding (I was singing in it, too), Jeremy ran it up to the sound booth to test it. You could've knocked me over with a feather when he came back and said "Uh, this cd doesn't work." WHAT? I freaked just a teensy bit. Then, I grabbed Gail - the SUPER-talented pianist and took her into the hallway behind the sanctuary. I sang the chorus of "Cowboy" to her and she said she could play it. I was so nervous, but as they were pronounced man and wife, we burst out into a rousing version of that song! Side note: I got back home and tested the cd and it worked fine on my cd players. I think it worked out for the best because the song starts out too slow on the cd. We did an ok job in a pinch.

4) So Tuesday, the kids and I got packed and headed out for good ole Kentucky for a little vacation of sorts. One of the reasons I don't mind driving there without Aaron is because we have a portable DVD player and it keeps the kids entertained. Well, I plugged the adapter into the cigarette lighter and the fuse had blown. No power. I had some spares because this does happen from time to time. That one blew immediately. So did the next one. Finally I just hit the road. The kids complained of no movies a lot - mainly because they could see the DVD player. A painful reminder. Ugh.

5) Back on our 8th anniversary, Aaron and I bought a 2GB mp3 player. I was really enjoying making trips with this thing. I could hit the open road and be there without listening to the same song twice. On monday - to prepare for my trip - I added around 300 songs to my mp3 player. I have an account that allows me to do unlimited songs for a flat fee so I did entire albums I had been wanting to listen to. I excitedly grabbed the earphones and powered up the player. It worked for about 15 minutes before running out of battery. I pulled over at an exit and bought a battery and was on my way again. 5 more minutes down the road, the blasted player COMPLETELY STOPPED WORKING. I had to try and pick up radio stations, which is NOT easy to do in the mountains of eastern KY. It's either crap or it's static.

6) So, today I had a pretty great birthday... and was settling in to go to bed tonight. All the kids were pooped, I was pooped, my mom was exhausted. As I took out my contacts, as is my nightly ritual, I grabbed my glasses and began to clean them on my t-shirt. CRACK. My glasses broke straight down the middle of the nose. My mom and I tried for 20 minutes to super-glue them. Nothing doing. I'm pretty much blind, so right now I'm sitting her with them cocked onto my nose, trying to sit very still so they won't fall off. It's lovely.

So as you can see... things are just falling apart all around me. What in the world is up with this? Is it just a part of getting older? I sure hope not.

I would like to add a few happy things: An anonymous person gave us $3000 towards getting our van fixed. Priase the Lord for that. While the van was in the shop, my friend Jackie loaned me her car one day so I could run some important errands. Then, my friend Cindy loaned us her Durango to use for the weekend while the wedding festivities were going on. I have the best friends!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Frio River Fun

I'm a little late in blogging about this. We've been just a little busy. Nonetheless, it's a blogworthy event! We went on our first official family vacation (that didn't involve staying at my mom's or Aaron's mom's) to Neal's Lodge in Concan, TX. It's very close to Mexico. The Frio river is there, and it's beautiful. It's a spring-fed river... which means it's clean but COLD. Cold is good when the temps are around 100 degrees. We had a blast. We played in the river, went tubing (HUH-LARIOUS), and hung out at the gorgeous cabin. It was fab.

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