This is a good start . . . for Arden

So what have I been doing with myself these past nine months? Taking care of a baby for Pete’s sake. Nothing, and I mean nothing can prepare you for this kind of sacrifice and work. And I am not a young, new mom, but sometimes I think that makes it harder because I am so, so selfish. I mean like calling my mom over to my house on day 2 of being home from the hospital because I needed a nap kind of selfish. I simply could not go without ANY sleep. I cried to my doctor on our first visit about it. I just remember saying over and over to her about how hard it is . . . my husband literally had panic attacks. And this little 7 pound girl broke him, I mean, out of 6 years of marriage I have only seen him cry a few times and it was all during this time out of fear that our lives would never be the same again. We were overwhelmed to say the least and I couldn’t stop talking about it to anyone who would listen. Thank the Lord, a lot of people listened and so many people did so many kind things for us to help us along the way. Anyways, we love her to pieces and now all I can think about is what she will be like. Actually, I think a lot about things that if she did would BREAK MY HEART. I read Tina Fey’s book Bossy Pants a while back and loved it so much! A friend the other night reminded me of Tina’s prayer for her daughter. This is as good of a place to start as any . . .

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.

The little one:
IMG_1049

modern day love

Steve and Dawn

for Arden . . .

I want you to know that today your dad and I went to see “Silver Linings Playbook,” and while in the movie your dad put his hand on my stomach, to touch you and gave me the kind of look that every girl should experience from the love of her life.  I want you to know love stories you see in the movies do exist, and are actually better.  It’s the kind of love your dad has given me, and 5 years later he can still look at me and make me feel like the most beautiful, amazing girl in the world.  I want you to know that to really find this kind of love it takes faith, patience, you being authentically you, and God.   It also may not come in the type of person you expected.  However, true, passionate, over-the-top love is real and does exist and you should never settle for anything less.  He should make you feel like your best self every day, and you should do the same for him in return.  I have so much more to say on the subject, but just felt the need to let you know that your mom is experiencing the most amazing love story in the simplest kind of way. I want you to know we may not have the most money, be the most educated or refined, but we are the most in love two people can be, and I can’t wait to welcome you into this love story! 

leaving the things of old . . .

That’s right the moment has come where I will no longer be watching “The Real World (RW).”  I understand that many of you are confused as to how this decision took so long to reach.  However, I am a super loyal person and that is a thread that continues through all aspects of my life including TV shows.  I started watching the RW when I was 16 years old, way before it became scripted or really trashy.  It was the first reality show ever and opened the door to all my favorite shows currently:  “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” “Housewives of insert city here,” “Design Star,” actually this list could be super long thanks to TiVo, so I’ll stop there.   The RW gave me a glimpse into real people’s lives and allowed me to watch them before producers even knew how to create “moments”.  I am fascinated by people and would have been a sociology major, but wasn’t sure what kind of job I could get with that degree.  Seriously, I’m asking, what kind of job do you get with that degree?  I’d like to know because I would love to get paid to observe people!  But at the age of almost 35, I can no longer relate, don’t really care, can’t handle the debauchery and worst of all, I find it boring.  All things must come to an end . . . so see ya Real World, until you have a “Where Are They Now?” show.

Be still my heart.

If you know me or have read a few of my posts, you should know by now that I love Wes Anderson movies.  It has been a while since he released a new movie, but the wait is about to be over with his latest movie Moonrise Kingdom.  It’s about two kids meeting up in a meadow in the summer of 1965 and all the crazy characters who look for them.  One thing I have not yet revealed is my not so secret crush on Bill Murray.  Say what you will, but he is everything to me and there is very little that I don’t like about him.  And God, being the most amazing gift giver ever, allowed me to meet Bill Murray on a get away trip to Austin for my 1 year wedding anniversary.  My husband and I were staying in the Driskill Hotel and in walked Bill Murray with some woman publicist, probably assigned to keep him company during his stay in Austin.  He’s a pretty big deal in the Austin community and I saw several people begin murmuring about Bill Murray and how much they like him.  They all admire and probably like him, but I kind of love him and have for a long time.  At this point, I may or may not have told my husband of one year that I need to have a conversation with Bill and if things go well, I will let him kiss me.  Steve seemed a little too okay with this plan, I think he thought I was joking, probably for the best.  When Bill’s floozy, I mean lady friend, went to go use the restroom, I knew this was my moment.  I got up started walking over and then saw Bill hang his had and  say, “Oh no, no, no, no, no, no.”  Um, what was I to do?  I was more than half way to his table, I was committed.   I had to continue on and in a very weak voice I said, “Excuse me Mr. Murray.”  He did not look over or acknowledge me.  I knew it was bad, but I was seriously committed.  I repeated, “Excuse me Mr. Murray.”  After another pause of what seemed to be the length of my lifetime, he looked up (with disdain).  So I told him that I loved all of his movies, especially his roles in the Wes Anderson movies, then I told him that I even named my fantasy football team after his team in The Live Aquatic – Team Zissou.  And then the most phenomenal thing happened, he started laughing, genuinely laughing.  He said, “That’s very nice.”  Then he reached out his hand and said, “I’m Bill, what’s your name.”  Naturally, everyone thought we had a connection, but making him laugh was all I needed.  I told him it was nice to meet you then returned to my husband and asked if he saw any paparazzi taking  pictures of Bill and me?  Steve didn’t have to answer, in my heart, I knew I would be front page news:  “Bill Murray’s new Texas girlfriend.”  It was a magical night, and a gift from God!

So who’s going to see my boyfriend’s new movie?  It comes out May 25th.

closer I am to fine

what has made me happy lately:

figuring out how to wear my hair curly again, without looking like a frizzy mess

neon anything – lip gloss, t-shirts, dry erase markers – anything

friends that come in town last minute and gather a fun group

friends that come over to watch The Bachelor – I have lots of thoughts on this, but this is meant to be a short list, not a commentary.  I’ll just say this, I love Jesus, and yes, I also watch The Bachelor.  I think it’s great if you do not!

The Voice – it has become a show Steve and I really look forward to watching together

Bittersweet – a book a friend sent to me a while ago, but I just started reading it, and it has become water to my soul – again, lots of thoughts on this for another post

friends getting married and all the celebrations that go along with it

97.5 FM (a local Waco radio station) having The Bobby Bones show on in the morning, instead of Darren and Chrissy.  Needless to say this is a huge victory for Waco!

Speaking of Waco, we are getting a Freebirds!!!  Yet another dream come true!

My brother and his girlfriend Erin . . . don’t they look fun?

ps – my brother told me I should add the following to my unthankful list – people who don’t know what movie they want at Redbox.  Therefore, when it’s super cold outside you get to freeze as they slowly browse through each movie option.  And if you don’t get out of your car because of the cold or rain, other people will, and then you stuck last in line.

Cranberry Tea

So nice, I’ve had it twice, times 25.  No really, ever since this drink was introduced to me I have it morning, noon and night.  I’m obsessed.  If I could marry a drink, I choose this hands down.  It has changed my life and I’m never going back to plain old tea. If you even remotely like any of the above you will love the combination!  Angela, I will be forever indebted to you!

Recipe:  Make ice tea, add a can of cranberry concentrate and a little sugar.  Limes or oranges or both for garnish.  As you can see, I drink my cran-t straight up.

Sounds simple?  Well, it’s simply delicious!  Enjoy!

an UN-thankful list . . .

Trust me, I am a firm believer in being thankful and grateful and all the other things we are supposed to be in most circumstances.  However, tonight as I was trying to take a hot bath and stuck in a luke-warm to cold bath (see item number 1), it made me feel better to create a small list of things that are annoying to me right now.  Things that I am not thankful for . . . I must add one disclaimer, this has not been an easy week in the Hall household, and I am not referring to the below list.  Therefore, you must know, these are not my only problems, they are my annoyances.  What’s the difference?  Real problems are necessary, they make you change and grow and they help you realize what is important in life and they make the good things of life more apparent.  Annoyances are just that, irritating and extremely ANNOYING!

So here’s my current list:

1.  cold baths – tonight, after a very long day, all I wanted was to take a hot bath, but that is currently impossible because we have a water heater that only kind of works.  It works enough to fill up our tub 1/4th of the way with hot water, then you have to turn off the water and give it time to heat up again, only to get a little more hot water.  Basically, it is the most annoying thing when you are trying to relax.

2.  a non working garage door opener – as of last week our garage door opener broke, which didn’t really bother me at first, because I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  It’s a bigger deal than I thought, here’s how it goes:  Go to the garage open it, back up the car, get out and go back into the garage to close the door, leave through the back door and reverse.  Multiply this times several times a day and it becomes the most annoying process, not to mention annoying barking neighbor dog and weather elements like rain.

3.  sleepless nights for my husband – not only do I feel sorry for him, he tosses and turns so much that he might actually be trying to wake me up every night too.  He denies this, of course, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have to turn so violently.  I’m not a light sleeper, and yet I wake up every night.  Exactly, Nancy Drew, he is intentionally waking me up.  Misery loves company!

4. Valentine’s Day – it has never been my favorite because it is a reminder for single people that they are alone and for people in a relationship, it is a super cheezy holiday.  Do grown woman really want teddy bears?  The problem is, I don’t really care about celebrating Valentine’s Day, but it’s the day after that really gets me.  The day when all of your friends ask what your husband did, and proceed to tell you about what their husband did . . . I’m ashamed to say, that is when I wish we had done something – lie – that is when I wish Steve had done something – truth.  So Valentine’s Day is overrated and irritating!  Tonight’s episode of “The Middle,” covered this so well.

5.  not being understood – not in the no one understands the inner workings of me, but more in the, “Why is your blog about cancer, it’s so negative,” kind of way.  My blog is actually not about cancer and more about my obsession with Wes Anderson. You really need to watch, “The Royal Tenenbaums.”  It will make this blog title make sense and, if you are my friend, it is all you need to know about me.  One of my college roommates and I had t-shirts’ made with our favorite phrase, “No One Cares.”  When we wore it, those who did not understand felt sorry for us, as if our shirt meant, no one cares about me, sad-face.  Wrong-o, don’t feel sorry for me, it means, do what you want, no one cares.  If you like Miley Cyrus, but feel embarrassed about it, don’t, no one cares.  If you want to eat 5 hot dogs and you’re a girl, do it, no one cares.  Hopefully you get the point, and if you don’t . . .

Honorable mentions:  Courtney from The Bachelor, Nickelback songs on the radio, T-Mobile commercials that copied the Apple commercials, random feel good sayings (some do inspire me, most annoy me), and my constantly unorganized room

Thanks for letting me vent, I feel much better!

So long 2011 . . .

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are enough to get me ready to ring in the New Year with Steve.  We have been through a lot this year.  It has been full of many blessings and hardships.  But isn’t that every year really?  No matter what the previous year has held, I am always ready to begin a new year to see what it holds for myself, my husband, friends and family.  A new year brings new hope, peace and perseverance.  I pray this will be the best year yet for you and your family including good health and much love that you receive and give . . . I pray those hurting will find peace, those sick will find healing, those with bitterness will find forgiveness and those who are lonely will find amazing friendship.  However, above all, I pray that everyone would know God.  I do not write this for my benefit or to sound religious.  I write this because He has truly been my best friend since the 5th grade.  He has given me wisdom, comfort and courage.  He has been near in the most difficult of situations and He has shown me how to love others in the midst of terrible circumstances.  Many people know of God, but they do not know Him.  Therefore, they have not experienced Him in a tangible way.  He is always speaking (in a still small voice), always loving and always right.  There IS a difference between knowing OF God and experiencing Him.  I make this point, because if you do not experience him, then it your interactions with God would feel distant and more “going through the religious motions.”  It’s the same as asking someone, “How are you?” and always getting the “Good,” response.  Real friends tell you how they actually are doing.  I owe knowing God to people in my life who did the same for me, they shared with me their relationship with Him, the two that come to mind the most are my mom and grandmother, before that I just went to church because my mom made me.  Just like any other friendship, getting to know God takes time.  You must read the Bible, go to an imperfect church and add a few people in your life who you respect who have walked with God for a while . . . they are there to help you process all the questions and thoughts that will come up along the way.  Spend time alone listening to worship music, a sermon on-line, reading the Bible, reading an inspirational book or just be still.  He will meet you in that place, and you will get to know him like you know your best friend and your life will be forever changed.  He takes away the struggle, the burden, the fear of the unknown, the pain, the loneliness, and the anger.  Again, the reason for me mentioning all of this is because it’s hard to just be a good person with no real help.  Knowing God, living life with Him and not telling you about it, is like me cracking the lottery code, winning the lottery and keeping the secret to myself.  If I cracked the code, I would share it with everyone.  And I promise, knowing God is far more of a gift than any monetary amount.  Money will not get you through dealing with cancer.  It will provide the best care possible, but cannot provide peace, comfort and healing.  I do not write these things because I believe in them blindly, I write them because they have been my experience and it feels selfish to not share my lottery ticket.

Landslide

I love this song in every version, but there is something about these kids singing it with so much passion in this little auditorium, that really gets me!  Listening to this, I can think of a few things I built my life around that were not healthy.  And it will take some major changes, determination and lots of unravelling to deconstruct these houses in my life that have grown way too big and are taking up too much square footage.  Also, as the song says, “Children get older, and I’m getting older too,” and I want to be free of all things and bound to only Christ before my life has passed me by . . .  It feels good to be free.  The freedom I have experienced is better than anything else, but there are those houses and they are the most well constructed mansions you have ever seen.  They are built around satisfaction in the moment, it’s constraining, shameful and heavy, but satisfying.  Freedom is light, open, but differs instant gratification.  It’s the last three words that seem to be the catch for me.  I somehow have to be ok with differed gratification, ugh the worst . . . I’m more like the spoiled little girl in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” screaming how I want everything NOW!  Remember her, no one likes that girl, but she has really cool things!  As my friend Jill’s dad would say . . . MERCY!