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Friday, August 30, 2013

mommer and diddy

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children."
Proverbs 17:6
Last night my parents attended the USCvsNC football game in Williams Brice. I texted to be sure they were safe in that lightning and they replied, "Girl, we are in our hotel in the bed!" A picture was attached of my parents snuggled up and grinning like they didn't have sense. I don't know why, but I couldn't stop looking at it. It's funny how life does that to you sometimes. You have a moment and something allows you to see an entire lifetime all at once: a picture, a song, a smell...and tears are flowing before you can fully grasp it all coming in.
I could see their whole life in that sweet picture. And I couldn't help but think, they've done it.
well, they've almost done it--they have finished strong. Now my goodness, I hope they live another 50 years, but I am old enough to realize how short this life is. And I cherish my parents. I hope y'all aren't tired of hearing about it.
so, i'll try to be obsure, i'll try not to tell too much, but when i prayed this morning, i wrote a short letter to those two birds. about the 35 years that i saw in that picture...
stan and gail,
     Mid-50s. Practically a lifetime lived together. My initial thoughts were all that has been difficult...the hurtful words said in anger, the heartache endured. the same as any family. first precious years.
early 20s. a baby. your baby. terminally ill. for years. i can't imagine the strain that put on your marriage now that i have a marriage of my own. raising two little girls. now that i share two little girls. whew.
30s. a heart attack. angioplasty. crazy nights at the dinner table. laughter... spankings. many well-deserved spankings. "the talk" before the spankings. defiance. disreguard. dirsrespect. disobedience. which brings me to the teenage years. teenage girls. i'll say it again: whew. tears. fits. living room theatrics. slamming doors. oh, the drama of it all. a car accident. boys. dates. proms. and then probably the most difficult years of all.
40s. college. hurt. open heart surgery. twice. unfortunately, i could go on and on about the pain we've endured, as i am sure many other families have, too. but i applaud you. you've stayed. together.
and i know why. because you have taught us why. over and over again.
"He that is in us, is greater than He that is in the world."
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
"I discipline you becuase I love you, because in His own way, in tougher ways, God disciplines me and He will discipline you."
"We forgive each other, as many times as we have to, because He forgives us." 
and so much more.
so that verse up at the top is right, i am proud. PROUD OF YOU. so, don't let me down now. finish all the way strong. together with Him and with each other. i know you will and i know that your greatest years are only ahead of you.
your very healthy, God-fearing, big baby girl  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

i think i have a problem...a pinterest problem.

before i married my husband one day he asked me,
"do you REALLY love me? (yes. SO much.)
do you love me more than Zeva? (of course.)
do you love me more than feather? (that's a completely different kind of love.)
do you love me more than pinterest? (does that mean i have to give up pinterest?)

i love pinterest more than any living thing should love any non-living thing.

how do i know i have a problem?
  • before i go to bed i pin a lil.
  • i wake up and wonder if anyone pinned anything i need to know about.
  • i set time limits for pinning...and (head hung in shame) i ALWAYS exceed those time limits.
  • lately i've discovered all of the music classroom pins available, so the new even better justification for pinning is professional development! that means when someone asks me i can say "please leave me be, i'm doing this for work."
i do, however, have some helpful pinning advice that all fellow pinner "addicts" might appreciate.
  • waste the time to click every link. why?
    • some of them aren't even there.
    • some that are there are are just a picture. no info.
    • just because it says "in the budget" doesn't mean it's in YOUR budget.  
    • clothes and shoes for your "dream closet" can be especially expensive. not what i would ever pay. the fashion world has flipped their gourd.
  • blogs are best.
    • decorator blogs with one picture of a room you love are usually filled with other rooms you will love.
    • how to dress blogs are better than the pictures of just one outfit. and they usually share where every piece came from and about how much it cost them.
    • DIY blogs are awesome and (back to point number one, DIY has MANY different meaning. i could NEVER diy some of the things that other birds diy. just fyi.)
  • change the description for YOU.
    • how many times have you gone back through your own pins and thought, "why in the world did i pin this?" i have.
    • delete what they wrote and change the food description from "my family LOVED this" to "i should TRY this." i even have two food boards. one to try "whoa, yum?"and one that was successful "tried and true to my tastebuds"!
  • clean it up.
    • i spent a saturday recently looking through my pins. it prompted me to do two things:
      • create new boards: i had so many home decor pins that i needed individual rooms and the aforementioned before and after food boards. (but careful--don't REPIN, just EDIT. that way they won't show up and tell on your reorganizing.)
      • delete. delete. delete. now that i know there are endless supplies of things, i am deleting outfits i would never truly be brave enough to wear, deleting recipes that have no ingredients my husband would love and deleting home decor because i liked one pillow on the bed that i will not take the time to track down or copy.
for now, that is all.

i have pinning to attend to!

Friday, July 19, 2013

growing up, growing larger, growing old...

i had a wonderful week at the beach with my parents. we laughed and talked about all sorts of things. i've always thought that my daddy was funny, the life of the party! but i realized this week that my sharp, intelligent wit comes directly from my mother.

with the pattern of the tide we drug our chairs in and out each day in order to stay at the "edge of the water." in between these relocations she had quite the witty knowledge to impart... about growing up, growing larger, and growing old.

here are my top 5 of her words of wisdom:

1. it is evident that some people are just seeing themselves for the first time down here. why do they feel the need to BEGIN an exercise regimen at the beach??

2. if your belly ring disappers when you sit down, you probably don't need one. (if you have a belly, nor should you wear a belly "shirt").

3. check out that skinny bird. she looks about my age and she doesn't really look better than a bigger one. after 50 it all REALLY falls down. it doesn't matter much if you're thick or stick--old is old.

4. tattoos, tattoos everywhere.
    the old tattoos give us a scare.
    so young girls, i give this advice.
    before you tattoo, think it twice:
    how will this tattoo appear
    as age wears on, year after year?
    that thing will stretch and fade and fall.
    and won't look today's--at all.

5. between the internet and high school reunions, i have decided that i do not want to look like a duckbilled platypus or the joker. i'll stay away from those injections and out from under the knife. it will be enough for me and your daddy to grow old gracefully as the good Lord intended.

for more of gail's insight, stay tuned.

Friday, July 12, 2013

your momma knows more than you think she does

Last week I was cleaning (and dancing "too big") to one of my FAVORITE artists, Usher. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that, since the rest of this post is about faith in Jesus. While I'm blurting out the lyrics to "There Goes my Baby" I stop dramatically, drop the broom and put both hands out to the side to sing the bridge with feeling:
"and it feels just like it's the first time every time we get together
 lovin you feels better tha-n, anything, everything,
 with all my heart, you don't need a ring"--WHAT?
I stopped singing and thought, "Did he just say that?" I know I'm going to sound 70 years old at my ripe 33 but i genuinely thought, " This is what is wrong with the world. With young girls. I should know, because for years it was wrong was wrong with me."
now, I'll admit that i overthink EVERYTHING (just ask my husband--or better yet my mother), so I overthunk this. You don't need a ring. He is actually saying that he loves her so much that he doesn't even have to prove it to her. That is absolutely ridiculous, for that is exactly what a man SHOULD do. prove it. But I kept singing (& dancing), and didn't think too much else about it. until...

A few days later, while pinning (the thing I love to do even more than cleaning) and I saw a picture that said this:
Chivalry isn't dead, it just followed wherever being ladylike went.
Yup. Girls are doing the proving these days. I wondered more specifically, "What are my girls going through? What are they having to deal with at school?" "What are their fears? I know how bad it was when i went to school, i can only imagine..."

Then yesterday, the straw that broke the camel's back was a tv show. a lifetime movie actually (wow, apparently this is also guilty pleasure's confession hour for me...) This movie had another focus but I kept noticing how it communicated that girls need to take the initiative in relationships. WRONG again.

So, let's look at one of the greatest romances in the bible, Boaz and Ruth. I'll be quick to the point (finish rapping it and we'll move on together...):

1. Men like a challenge, not a sure, desperate female.
Ruth didn't go after the man, she just put herself in front of him so that he could see her, and he did. Be noticible, and be yourself, but don't be obvious. (Ruth 2:1-3)

2. The RIGHT man is worth waiting for.
There are only a few verses here so it seems like this was whirlwind romance: Ruth worked in the fields, Boaz spoke to her the first day and they were untited in love by Friday of that week. That was NOT how it went. Read closely, Ruth 2:23. That means she worked in those fields. Worked. For months. She probably didn't even see Boaz some days. She lived life and didn't FOCUS on the man. These verses are not about how God comforted her as she cried out to him at night to PLEASE let Boaz just look at her and smile the next day so that she knows that he knows... (you know you've thought it....) I had a huge problem with this growing up. I prayed for my husband to come. Which is great, but not if it's your FOCUS. Pray for your relationship with Jesus.

3. Your momma knows more than you think she does.
Ruth took the advice of an older, and wiser, woman. How many times do we ask our friends what they think? How can they possibly have any more insight than we do--they're OUR age. Ask your momma, ask your grandma, ask someone grown at church that you trust. God will direct them to give the answer you need--even if it's not the answer you want. (Ruth 3:1-5)

4. Boaz PROVED that he could take care of her. Men of God are made to provide. How did he prove it? 
  • Instead of making more money for himself, Boaz gave her the best of what he had to offer (Ruth 2:8-9)
  • Instead of having them over to showboat, Boaz sent more than they needed home with her (Ruth 2:15)
  • Boaz watched her actions and learned that she wasn't after his money, she wanted a life with him (Ruth 2:10)
  • Instead of bragging to his friends about something that didn't even happen, Boaz protected her good reputation (Ruth 3:11-13)
  • Instead of giving up or making the girl feel like she had a choice to make, Boaz was willing to do difficult things to have Ruth as his wife. This one really blows my mind: Boaz told Ruth that he would marry her and that when she became pregnant they could give the child her dead's husband's last name instead of their own, so that particular family line could continue. Now that's giving. Men will do whatever noble thing needs to be done to have the wife they want. (Ruth 4:7-10) 
So... I hate it for you, usher raymond, you've got it all wrong. We DO need a man to prove it. If you can't, if you won't and you'll just walk away, we better let you walk. We better not be fooled by your games. We better ask our momma what she thinks of you. We better wait on a good one. We better work hard ourselves. And we better focus on the only man we really need, Jesus.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

just an ordinary day...

During the normal time that our kindergarten team has related arts,
I had a planning time today.
During this time there was a quiet knock on my door.

"Come in!"
Emerges: boy. kindergarten. 5 years old. grinning from ear to ear and with blonde bed head to boot.
(I wish I had taken his picture because I am certain it would make this conversation eeeeven better.
Perhaps I'll email his mother to see if that can be arranged.)
"Hey!" he realizes, "You don't even gots no kids!"
"you're right, i don't."
"and whyyyyy not?"
"well...(knowing i shouldn't bother, but trying to sieze the opportunity to impart some mathematical wisdom) how many kindergartens are there?"
"count them: mrs. tyner..and..."
"oh, um......3!"
"yep, and there are 5 related arts."
(Complete with visual using our hands.)
"well, okay, " he admits, "i still don't get it." (it was worth a shot.)
"that's alright."
"hey! (random.) look at you up there gettin a kiss on your face! love him, don't you?" (referring to this year's christmas card on the wall above my desk.)
"yes friend, i do. but, why are you here?" (let's cut to the chase and are you just killing time or did someone send you? you never know...)
"are you in art today? did you go to the bathroom?" (if you are a teacher you will understand the logic in these is across the hall and the bathroom could be a free pass to visit--oh, say-- ANYWHERE, a little before you return to class. especially if you were quick, you know, didn't waste time with that nonesense of hand washing. not that he did that, just sayin...)

"no, i ain't been. i might gotta go..." (hm....considering. whoops, now i've put the thought there.)
"focus-are you in art, friend?"
"no, PE." (far away, other end of school....5 year i'm a slight concerned)
"dear, why are you here, for real?"
"check your email."
"yeah, check your email. coach said, 'check your email!'" he proudly exclaims!
"i will. thank you, thank you very much."
"ok." (standing there, adorable, grinning. but.....not leaving. for you see, when you are 5, you must be told when a conversation is naturally over.)
"is that all u need, just 'check my email'?"
"okay, you can go back to coach in pe now."
"oh, okay."
walks away. sheepishly. looks back to grin one more time as he closes my door.
what a bird.
welcome to my world.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the three of us are gathered here today...

i didn't want a big "to do." chuck had spent the past few weeks making sure that i didn't and i'm grateful he cares enough to be sure, but i genuinely didn't. i didn't want to spend the money nor the planning time. so...

i left work at 12:15pm on my wedding day.
i went home, chuck was asleep on the couch. knocked OUT.
i took my time getting ready. he did too.
we laughed about what to wear.
mr: "baby, you're not gonna like WAY dress up are you?"
mrs: "no sir"
mr: "whew. that would just be too over the top, don't you think?"
mrs. "yes. fo sho."
i laughed to myself at how relieved he was. i guess miss big hair and 4 inch heels could have been percieved as liking to make a big deal - i really didn't want to.
as i donned my favorite nine west sandals, "i gotta wear heels. i hate it for ya, handsome. i gotta."
he just laughed and shook his head.
dang, he looks good. he IS handsome. so much more, but i was focused on the handsome part.
i took his picture.

we were ready. dressed for a friday night date night out, not our wedding.
it was almost like we weren't doing anything at all.
but there was an underlying feeling of not talking about it so that we wouldn't freak ourselves out.
i kept being all giddy and repeating "we're doing this! we're really getting married!"

we drove to the courthouse and the same secretary-esque lady who let us apply for the license took our forms and $20 cash.
we sat in the "mauve thrown up everywhere" waiting room. it was hear a pin drop silent. we giggled a lot. smiled real big at each other. it was like a dream.
all we could hear in the background was her on the typewriter filling in our boxes...
a few minutes later she popped up with a folder and said, "ok, y'all follow me."
i realized walking down that hallway that i had absolutely no idea what to expect.
(would this even be like a real wedding? where are we going? what is she going to say?)
we walked down a short hallway, passed a fella raising his voice to his lawyer, a group of three men (judges?) standing together and then she interrupted the questions firing off in my mind with, "y'all come in here."
we went into a room that was a conference room. for a split second i thought, "really?" i don't know what i expected, i had no expectation, but this wasn't it. it looked like a slightly better version of our current conference room at work. "aw, someone left thier bouquet!" she exclaimed. "look, i don't remember who it was. what was their name?" she was thinking out loud and sure enough, there was a plastic-ish bouquet on the bookshelf at the back. it dawned on me that people probably do some ridiclulous stuff in this room with her. people who have chosen not to have a wedding try to have a $20 wedding in this conference room.
chuck and i just stood around not knowing what to do, where to stand. we had rings. i still didn't even know if she would say regular wedding stuff. i walked forward like i knew what to do. i like to pretend that i ALWAYS know what to do next, even (especially) when i don't.
"where do we go?" chuck asked me "i dunno." i whispered. i didn't want HER to know i didn't know.
"i usually marry people over here in the corner. come right here. and face each other. hold hands, now. how do you say this name, fawsee?"
she practiced, got it right and said our given names, christen and jason, and i didn't even think to correct her.
"y'all ready?"
we nod.
"do you have rings?"
i hand them over.
"oh good. okay, here we go..."

then it happened. it hit us both. while we stood in a conference room in the anderson county courthouse...we looked into each others' eyes and realized fully what we were doing. and that it was exactly what we wanted.

"the three of us are gathered here today to marry jason faasse and christen campbell."
(three of us?! hilarious. jason and christen? or chuck and chrissy...ok, chrissy, focus.)
do you, jason, take christen, to be your wife? do you promise to love her and be faithful to her for as long as you both shall live?"
"i do."
"and do you, christen, take jason, to be your husband? do you promise to love him and be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?"
"i do" (and i choked up.)
i honestly can't remember what other vows were said, at least not exactly, i'm confident that "with this ring..." was in there somewhere. but as we said whatever those words were, i tried not to cry because i wanted to appear strong and sure, but i couldn't help it. standing there looking at the man God gave to me, i knew that however i said them wouldn't compare to how deeply they were rooted truthfully inside of me, but i wanted to try. i've never wanted anything on earth and been sure of anything like i am this man. this life.
and while i looked at him, when he said them to me, in his quiet special way, i saw him fight back tears, too. and i knew, all over again, that he meant those words like i did. two people, with a lifetime of pain, who only want to make whatever time God blesses us with rich, full of Him, full of each other, full of LOVE, encouragement, forgiveness, trust, and just. plain. fun.
she even said, "you may kiss the bride" and he did! and that was it.
we thanked her and she shared that her son was getting married this year and she was having a hard time not being emotional and we were sweet. after that whole bouquet dabocle i had to comment, "boy, i'll bet people do some STUFF in this room." "oh yeah, absolutely." and she said a few other things...
we walked out, hand in hand, grinning from ear to ear.
and was so surreal.
we went to olive garden, simply bc we were starving and had recently seen an olive garden commercial. So we had been craving it ever since. then we went to walmart.
walmart on my wedding day.
(but i needed CDs for chorus!)
and then, we went home, together, as husband and wife. mr. & mrs.
what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. AMEN!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

why wait.

A preface for regular readers... I emailed this story to a close friend recently and I realized that I wished that Gwen could've read my blog about herself. I know it was a part of my healing, but oh how I hope she knew just how much she meant to me. And while both of my parents are a blessing, this story happens to be about my daddy. (girls and their daddies, the only thing worse is a momma's boy...hee hee hee.) I want my daddy to know how I feel while he is still here... Our story begins in 1979 (insert hippie theme song).  when my parents found out they were expecting, my father was so proud to think of having a son... he began to think of what he would name the one to carry on the campbells. i was born, and my mother said something to the tune of, "well, it's a girl. u didn't think of any girl names, so you better think of some now." So, Christen Michelle was named from Suzanne Somer's Three's Company character, Chrissy Snow and the hit "Michelle" from the lesser well-known Beatles album Rubber Soul. This is where our story gets a little complicated... When I was born my small intestine was completely blocked, in masses, in several diff't places. In anderson they removed 3/4 of it... If i remember correctly, I went from born @ over 8lbs to 4lbs, in just weeks. They told my parents there was a great chance I wouldn't live. They moved me to Charleston. My mother, who was 20 at the time(wow) in a house with other mothers of ill children. My 21 year-old father swung shifts at Michelin and came as often as he could. When I think of being 32 today, I can't even imagine how their young hearts must have ached....  Over the next year I had 8 major operations & several minor procedures. They took the 1/4 of small intestine I had remaining, split it all the way down, lengthwise, (like cutting a hot dog weenie in half, except it's tubal) sewed those over to make two smaller tubes and then reattached them. So I have half the length and half the diameter of the average bear... I went home 4 days before my first birthday, for the first time. ever. My poor parents. The first everything (Easter, mothers day, fathers day, halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas) were spent in 9-D in charleston. They have often retold weeping all the 4 hours home, away from me, to spend Christmas with our family. And now, the best part of this story... Last week in sunday school my daddy explained how God completely changed his life with my illness. Its a story I've heard many times. And because it is so special, i could never hear it enough.. My dad prayed to receive Christ as a child & meant it. But lived like many Christian teenagers, half-heartedly, haphazardly. Then, one afternoon when he was there at the hospital, an intern was trying to start a new IV. He couldn't hold me still and get it. So he said, "hey, daddy, hold her." "me?" "yes, sir" He said that while he held me down, firmly still, I looked up at him, asking him, "Why? Why daddy are you letting them do this to me?" He started to cry telling the story and couldn't look at me because he said I had the same big eyes that pleaded with him all those years ago.  And that 21 year old half hearted believer heard God speak clearly, "that's how my Son looked at me, when He died for you." while that dr finished his work, Stan prayed begging God to spare me and promising Him that he would always live for Him and give me up to Him. No matter what. And he meant it.  While that story is heart wrenching, the very best part is that He has done it. Always. Ever since. My entire life. What a blessing he is. He kept his promise. While he is on a pedestal, as an adult I have learned that my father is no saint, he has a temper; is quiet with his thoughts; emotions, almost to a fault. But he has fought the good fight and will finish the race. He has studied God's word daily my entire life, he made difficult decisions to love us with christ's love, to protect us from all sin that he could, he prayed over us & aloud with us. Many have told him, or us, that he was being too hard on us, but he wasn't. He was being obedient based on what he read. And he didn't back down, even when I was a smart aleck 14 year old, an over dramatic 16 year old, and a disobedient 18 year old.  Our family has experienced some painful loss & never during the major trials of our life, did he turn his back on God. I did. As an adult. After my marriage failed, I walked away from God. I pretended like I didn't, but my heart was far from Him. How easy would it have been for my daddy to feel justified in thinking God let me go, so was his promise in vain? But he never did. What a testimony. I know he has influenced me & my sister, my brother in law, some of the men who suffered through the process of going out with me, people that he works with, and probably most of all, our wonderful Sunday school class. It is a joy to sit under him because he has never wavered in living what he teaches. he has even apologized any time he realized he taught them in error. All too often we tell these stories to memorialize a believer. So today I'm going to tell this one so he can read it himself and know what his life has meant to me. Thank you, Daddy, for every penny earned & spent on me, all the prayers I will never even know about, for being the kind of husband I now will settle for no less than, and most of all I thank you for-your life.