Friday, February 29, 2008

To Bundle Up...or Not

It's a chilly day here in LA (that's lower Alabama, for those of you who don't know the lingo). It's a bit overcast, which I love.

On days like this, and even on days unlike this...virtually every day that comes...I am faced with a decision that plagues me: What's the weather going to be like? Do the kids need long sleeves? A light jacket? Long sleeves and a heavy jacket? What?? The newspaper says that the high is 67 degrees. What does that mean? Will it be 67 degrees at 9am...or 6pm? Should we layer? These and other questions like them leave me little time to think through much else on an ordinary morning.

Also, if the paper says the high is going to be 69 degrees, well...that's in the 60's, which is cold. But if the paper says the high is going to be 71 degress...that is in the 70's, see - warm. Michael labors to help me see that they are 2 degrees apart, but I can't wrap my mind around that concept. I see the temperature like I see music - by decades. The 60's are utterly and completely different than the 70's. And don't get me started on the 80's!

What to do? And it never fails...if I dress my kid in long sleeves, coat and mittens, they will be sweating by the time I pull up to the carpool line. If they are in shorts and short-sleeves, every other kid in the school will have on a sweatshirt. I just can't get this right, folks. Can't.

Michael sighs and rolls his eyes at me when I ask questions, too. But I'm learning, right? Maybe when it's Ethan's turn to don the school uniform I will have a handle on things. Sooner or later I am bound to understand how this all works and jump on board...but maybe not. Maybe I should just recognize my limitations and go with my strengths. You know, focus on what I'm good at.

If nothing else, my husband gets a chuckle out of my being appropriately-dressed challenged. That's got to be redemptive somehow, doesn't it?

Bless ya!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coffee Break...with a Poptart

I can only write for a friend, Cathy, invited me to meet her at our new Christian bookstore for coffee. Cathy doesn't like coffee, but I do think that is the only major character flaw I see.

I keep praying for Molly this morning. The reason, I hate saying this...our last interaction of the morning? Let's just say it wouldn't win me the "Mother-of-the-Year" award, ok? As we were walking out of the house Molly said, "Mom, can I have a Pop-tart?" I had just given Mason a Pop-tart, but Molly has a sort of "way" of eating Pop-tarts that is really messy and very slow. She picks off all the outside edges where the frosting doesn't quite make it to the rim. She does this very deliberately and intentionally, so as not to accidently get ANY frosting whatsoever into the discard pile.

I told her "no"...put a nutri-grain into her hand and started out the door. "Mom, I don't like this kind of nutri-grain!" So, I took the nutri-grain, thrust it back into the box (where it got all smashed up), and shoved a different flavor at her.

What were my actions saying to Molly? I love getting to school on time more than I love you...I don't care if you're hungry, you are interrupting my schedule...A clean car is more important than anything else. I know what my brother would say. He would say "you're too hard on yourself." And that would be true if I was going to camp out here and roast marshmallows.

But instead, I will tell Jesus I blew it. I will pray for Molly all day and when she gets home I will hug her and own up to my failure to love her well. I will ask her to forgive me, pray with her, and rejoice in how God restores broken things.

Then I will give her a Pop-tart.

Bless ya!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Do you have a song that just, oh...I don't know...says it for you? A few years ago I started writing my life story. Now, let me just say that I'm not writing my life story because I'm "full" of myself or anything (well, I probably am, but I think my motives are good in this minute...), but because I want to leave the story behind for my children. Before my mother died I asked her to write some of her story for me. It is a priceless treasure! It's a piece of her, the real story, and I will never have to say, "Let's see if I remember this correctly..." when I'm telling my kids, who never knew her, about their Nana's life.

Anyway, as I have been writing this story (I think it's up to about 25 typed pages at this point, because, keeps happening), I have inserted words to songs that have spoken to me during that particular spot in life. For example:

When I was in college and had just become a Christian, it was Sweet Victory by Twila Paris. I had just broken an engagement because I felt God leading me away. It was hard to do that - to give back the ring and simply walk away from a relationship that I thought might be forever. I'm thankful now that it wasn't. But that song - I listened to it over and over and over again in my dorm room. It helped, and I still sing it sometimes. "In this place I rest in more than I can see...High above the turbulence You carry me...From deep in a full heart I will speak Your name...Rising like an eagle I will fly..."

After returning from 2 1/2 years in Thailand I met Michael. We met in the middle of very turbulent times for both of us. Michael's father died May 19, 1997, 6 weeks before our wedding. Then, in June, Michael preached his first sermon on Father's Day of that year - about a month after his father died. The title of the Sermon was "Hold On" and it was about hope. Our entire dating/engagement we drew strength from the Lord and the song Hold On, another one by Twila Paris: "We can hold on to sorrow, hold on to pain...We can hold on to anger, when there is nothing to be gained...We can hold to a thread at the end of a rope...But if we hold on to Jesus we are holding on to hope...Hold on, hold on..."

Then, when we were leaving Altadena Valley PCA and looking for a job in youth ministry, we saw God provide in awesome ways - like a free house to live Mountain Brook, of all places...but I still struggled with wondering if God saw us. Why was it taking so long? I remember living in that neighborhood for 3 months and walking every morning with my walkman listening to the Caedmon's Call song, Shifting Sand: "Waters rose as my doubts reigned...My sand-castle faith, it slipped away...Found myself standing on your grace...It'd been there all the time..My faith is like shifting sand, changed by every wave...My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand on grace..."

In 2004-2005 we faced the roughest storm ever. Some of you may know the story, some of you may not (it's not a secret...I'm (we) are happy to share it, just ask). It has a happy ending, and there has been much "redeeming of the years the locusts ate". During the trial, it felt almost painful to breathe - profound pain, that I now understand was purifying us, showing us our sin, and doing much, much deeper things that I can't even write about. That's a face-to-face with a pot of coffee kind of conversation. Our "mantra" (aside from the many verses in 1 Peter that we were clinging to), was the song Praise you in this Storm, by Casting Crowns: "As the thunder rolls, I barely hear You whisper through the rain "I'm with you"...And as Your mercy falls, I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away...I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands...For You are who You are, no matter where I am...Every tear I've cried, you hold in Your hand...You never left my side...And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm."

Well, this morning as I was unloading the dishwasher, I was listening to our newest Caedmon's Call CD. It's called "Overdressed", and there is a song on it was just right where I was this morning. I want to give you the words...maybe you can relate as well:

This house is a good mess, it's the proof of life.
No way would I trade jobs, but it don't pay overtime.
I'll get to the laundry, I don't know when.
I'm saying a prayer tonight, 'cause tomorrow it starts again.
Could it be that everything is sacred?
And all this time everything I've dreamed of has been right before my eyes?

The children are sleeping, but they're running through my mind.
The sun makes them happy, and the music makes them unwind.
My cup runneth over, and I worry about the stain,
Teach me to run to you, like they run to me for every little thing.
Could it be that everything is sacred?
And all this time everything I've dreamed of has been right before my eyes?

When I forget to drink from you, I can feel the banks harden,
Lord, make me like a stream, to feed the garden.

Wake up, little sleeper,
The Lord God Almighty made your Mama keeper,
So rise and shine.

Could it be that everything is sacred?
And all this time everything I've dreamed of has been right before my eyes?

(Words by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Osenga)


Bless ya!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Finding God in the Noodles

Michael and I have come to the conclusion that our children need a crash course on table manners. Now, they aren’t jumping on the table, or throwing stuff at each other, but somehow napkins don’t seem to make it to laps, there is a lot of wiggling, singing, elbows on the table…that sort of thing. Now, just like with anything, balance is the key. In our house, when we have spaghetti, noodles will be placed under the nose. We make noodle moustaches each and every time there is a noodle cooked on my stove. In fact, if we have noodles at your house, we will probably make noodle moustaches there as well. (Incidentally – there is one other thing we sometimes do with noodles. It involves the noodle and the word “achoo!”. I’ll let you do the math…)

Last night at dinner, I informed the fam that from now on, we are going to take a “hard line” with the table manners. I bought a book. We are going to have examples of what not to do (starring Michael) as well as examples of the correct things to do (starring…me). It’s going to be a rich learning environment, I promise you.

Anyhow, once we had finished dinner and were kind of sitting around talking to each other, Ethan got up from his chair and went and sat with Michael. Michael is really into the crystal light singles – where you just pour the mix right into your glass or bottle of water (it just makes Monroeville water taste better – and every little bit helps). He (Michael) was sitting there with at least 2/3 of a glass full of something red. Ethan went over there, sat in his lap and began trying to drink from Michael’s cup.

Now, before you start thinking, “Wow…Amy can see into the future!”, let me also add that I had mopped the kitchen floor that day. So, it goes without saying, really. The rule is, on the day you mop, the children will want chocolate pudding for an after school snack, or they will end up eating (and dropping) rice krispies (once those suckers get down there and harden, walking near the table is almost like walking on crunchy bubble-wrap). As I watched sweet Ethan heaving Michael’s glass up to his mouth my thought was, “What a sweet boy…who is about to spill red stuff all over my floor.”


Ethan started to cry. The reasons – probably two-fold. Firstly, he was wondering if he was going to get disciplined (which he didn’t, of course, but I know him and know that would be his first thought), and secondly, the water was cold. Ethan was covered in cold, pink stuff, so I took him to the bathroom and started running the tub. Meanwhile, over the hum of the bath water, I heard a scream. A blood-curdling scream.

I thought at first maybe I had imagined it, but no, it continued. I called Molly into the bathroom to watch Ethan so I could go see what the problem was. Evidently, Mason was spinning Caroline around in the kitchen, she slipped, and her face nailed the floor. Her forehead looked like it was wearing a purple marble.

Maybe table manners are overrated? If we had just stayed in our seats putting noodles up our noses, no one would have gotten hurt, right? You know what else I learned? Even the best table manners in the world cannot control chaos. It might make a meal more pleasant, but they won’t give life. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying “since the world is chaotic and sad, let’s just forget about table manners”. That’s not what I’m saying at all. The point I am trying to make is: Manners – important. They sort of “bring God’s kingdom to bear” right there at the dinner table. They (good manners) are a way to love others, and we are all about making our children understand this. However, they won’t solve the world’s problems, so if we occasionally slip up, God is still God. I am talking bigger picture here, folks, and I am really just talking to myself.

So. Noodles all around! A-A-A-choo!

Bless ya!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Emotional Soup

I am an emotional soup right now.

Last night (and the night before!!) Ethan was up - I forget how many times and for how long - pulling on his ear saying, "Mommy, ouch!" Why is it always at night and why is it always on weekends? I'll be home from church again today, but that' ok. So, I'm tired, and for me, being tired leads to one thing...crying and randomness (actually, that's two things. See, I'm just not thinking clearly.)

I think I'll share some of the little things in life that make me happy...

Funny commercials - I love the cheese commerial where the bull goes up to the cows and tries to hit on them by speaking with a French accent, then the cow, who actually does speak french, starts saying all these things he doesn't understand, and he's busted. Sometimes (since we got a free DVR when we signed up for sattelite) I will DVR commercials and play them back for Michael.

My pan flute CD. Mason gave it to me for my birthday. It's called "Endless Love" and it has various ballads performed on the pan flute. And yes...Endless Love is one of the ballads. It's from the Dollar Tree, and you can't go wrong there.

Cinnamon rolls - the kind that come from the tube with the little packet of icing.

Reconnecting with old friends - this past week I was so blessed to have several conversations with people I haven't talked to in a while. I LOVE that! It feels so good that I just want to go through my address book and reconnect with everyone. The best kind are the ones you can go without talking to for a year, but when you finally do it seems like you just pick right up where you left off.

My under-the-cabinet CD player - this is where I enjoy my pan flute CD.

And while we're on the subject...I'm also thankful for Rick and Bubba - they are a little piece of home, and Rick's recent loss of his 2 year old son (same age as Ethan) made me hold my kids a little tighter and a little longer.

My brother - He is wonderful, and so funny. He makes me gut-laugh every time I talk to him. He is raising his 2 girls and doing a wonderful job. I'm very proud of him.

Photographs - If my house were on fire and I only had time to save one thing (with the understanding that my family was safely outside) it would be my photo albums. I attempt scrapbooking, but the photo albums are always current and in order.

Coffee - If there weren't a beautiful world to show us God's creativity and love for us, but there was only coffee, wouldn't that be enough? A good cup of coffee is a gift from the Lord.

and with coffee goes...

Books - Just the feel of a book in my hand makes me smile. Especially if in the other hand, there is a cup of coffee to go with it.

The smell of other people's fresh laundry - I know that sounds weird, but I often get my kids' clothes returned to me, washed, after they've left them at someone's house. When they are clean inside that Target bag, they just smell so much better than my fresh laundry. Maybe it's that their combinations of detergent/fabric softener are different than mine? Maybe it's the Target bag? I know that the Gain/Downy combo is the best frangrance-wise, but even if I use them myself, my clothes don't smell like that. Maybe it really is the Target bag...maybe it's like a "curing" crucible or something. for thought.

The way Michael makes the kids laugh - No matter how much tickling I do, I can't bring forth the same response as Michael. They laugh so hard that it sounds like "kkkkkkkkkkkkk". Do you know what I mean when I say that?

Giving up the warm side of the bed - I have this really silly thing I do for Michael. I love the feel of the coolness when you first slip into bed, and then when things get warm, putting my arms and legs in different spots so they can feel cool again. So, I hurry and get ready for bed and crawl to Michael's side. Michael would rather the bed be toasty warm when he gets in. So, I enjoy the coolness on his side and, in the process, warm it up for him. Then, when he gets into bed I just roll over to my side where I get to experience the cold again. (one thing...this is not as great a feeling when it is super-cold. I like the cold, but I eventually want it to warm up. Summer is optimal for this effect. Honestly, I can be pretty selfish with the warm-up-his-side-first thing in, say, December, January and February).

Family recipes and french white corningware

Rainy days and nowhere to go

Reading the blogs of my friends

Looking at my children's lost baby teeth

Contemporary Christian music

The sound of a clicking tock (I mean, ticking clock. That actually was a real typo, but I thought it was fun enough to leave like that)

Little House on the Prairie reruns


My Wednesday/sometimes Thursday women's group

The sound of my girls singing songs they have made up themselves

I guess that's it for now...

Bless ya!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Criticism...and Fuzzy Pink Mittens

My dear Molly is a thumb sucker. Last week I took the 3 big kids to the dentist and learned (again!) that Molly will need a complete dental overhaul as a result of this habit. Her teeth are out of whack and her jaw is...crooked, I guess. She used to suck her thumb all the time, now it's just (mostly, though occasionally she gets busted) at night. The dentist said we could take her to the orthodontist now and he'd install some sort of scratching device, so that when she puts her thumb in her mouth, she'll get a scratch and hopefully remove said thumb. Ah, such simplicity...

Not that it's not a great idea! We just decided to try a technique of our own. Now, in addition to our regular bedtime routine (bath, Bible stories, prayer, teeth brushing, back rubs), we have added: the putting on of the fuzzy pink mittens.

Molly loves these mittens. They are pink. They are fuzzy (a little pilled, if you ask me), and they have Winnie the Pooh on them. Our reasoning? If she has on mittens, she can't suck her thumb...problem solved. We did have a couple of mornings at first when we woke her up to discover the mittens on the floor, thumb in her mouth. But I'm happy to say that this morning when I went into her room, her arms were splayed, hands covered in pink. Success.

I love my Molly. I want her to have a pretty mouth. Sucking her thumb is just taking her down a path to things that could hurt her both physically (braces and the scratchy thing) or emotionally (Molly sucks her thumb! Molly sucks her thumb!). The fuzzy pink mittes are something she can use to help her NOT nurture a habit that's not good for her.

Criticism...and fuzzy pink mittens. I know it sounds far fetched, but in my prayer time this morning, God helped me to tie these two together. Let me see if I can explain.

Can I be honest? I don't like to be criticized. Even if it's from a friend I love and know is for me - I don't like it at all (and neither do you). But criticism seems like one of those things that God has set up to sanctify us, develop our perseverance, make us rely on him. It hurts, but it's good for us in the long run - kind of like a shot of antibiotic in the butt, or a vaccination. The Bible says that the wounds of a friend are faithful (I stress the word friend...I wouldn't go to someone with something I see in their life until I had earned the right to speak into that life!!!), but there are those who will criticize just because they don't like you, or don't like what you said, or don't like the way you discipline/don't discipline your children, or don't like that you do this or that, or don't see things their way. (And lest you think I'm lumping all the people like that into a different category from us blog readers...let me admit that I have criticized people like that in my heart, and sometimes to some OTHER listening ear...very, very dangerous indeed.) Criticism will's what we do with it that matters.

For me, this is the rub. I have a hard time not wearing my feelings on my sleeve. I get bothered and it it shows. Then, often, my heart becomes bitter. I may dismiss that person and think, "Well, they don't matter anyway," instead of seeing what truth there may be in the criticism, taking it to the Lord, repenting of some sin (or some hard heartedness) thanking God for the trial and growing in perseverance. Too, too many time I have let things fester in my heart.

The solution? Fuzzy pink mittens. Wait! Let me see, I have this habit of hardening my heart to something that hurts, but that the Father intends for my good. I don't need to stew on the bad things, I need to stop stewing! I need to trust the Lord. And the only way I can do that is through Jesus. Believing the gospel (Jesus loves me, a sinner, enough to die for me and make a way for me to have a relationship with God through faith). He gives me his Word, full of encouragement and power (we'll call this the left hand). He gives me his Holy Spirit, who helps me to say NO to ungodliness (and we'll call this the right hand). They may not be on my hands, but I sort of have my own set of fuzzy pink mittens, you see. Just like Molly uses her fuzzy pink mittens to keep her from nurturing a habit that's not good for her, I can use mine the same way.

I hope this makes sense. I think today I'm going to go and get my own cute red mittens and stick them somewhere I can look at them from time to time throughout the day. I could use the reminder. Please pray that I don't take them off and throw them in the floor!

Bless ya!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

An awesome book!!

This past Saturday evening I read a great book.

Well, to be honest, I read the first 40 or so pages on Friday night.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is, in my opinion, a must read. I know it's not on my list at right, but my friend Ginger dropped it off on her way out of town on Friday, and I started reading it immediately.

Girls, do not read this book if you don't want to cry like a baby. It is riveting - it is difficult to read. I tried many times to put it down last night and absolutely could not do it. And I cried - oh, how I cried. I cried and wiggled around...I want to go ahead and used the word "writhed", if I may. I got up from the book at least 2 times and went into the bedrooms and kissed my sweet children, and dear, dear husband, all asleep.

I tried to process through it with Michael this afternoon. I don't want to tell you what it's about, except that it is about women and friendship in war-torn Afghanistan, starting in the early 70's and ending around 2004, or so.

Buy or borrow this book. Trust me.

Bless ya!

Friday, February 08, 2008


I did not mean to post "Teethmarks in the Chapstick" twice, for those of you who experienced deja-vu.

In the future, I'll take panes to be more detail oriented. Oh! And my friend, Jawan (who, incidentally, brought the double-posting to my attention), will understand why I chose to use the word "panes" instead of "pains" in that last sentence. If you'd like to find out for yourself, please visit her at:

Bless ya!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Teethmarks in the Chapstick

As a mom, I know that nothing is really mine. I may have a false sense of ownership – I may even tell my kids that they should thank their lucky stars that I let them live here, in MY house…but we all know the truth: I am just a tenant.

Say, for example, I want to brush my hair. I may as well traipse off to the girls room first where I will find my hairbrush…waiting…in the girls’ vanity drawer. Want to read at night? The handy book light is right where I keep it – on Mason’s desk. Lips feelin’a little dry and chafed? The solution is always candy cane scented chapstick. Of course, I will have to wipe off Ethan’s spit first, and try and even out the teeth marks, but…

And no matter how much I try to press the issue, things don’t really change. One morning, I reached for my hairbrush and couldn’t find it.

“Caroline!” I bellowed.

“Yes, Mom,” she answered.

“Caroline, I need to explain to you about a little thing I like to call personal possession. Basically, it’s when something belongs to someone else. Like…my hairbrush, for example. You have a perfectly good brush in your drawer, don’t know why you have to get mine, make me have to go searching, already have a million things to do in the morning, how would you feel if I took your stuff without asking, treat others as you would have them treat you, how would you…”

“MOM!!” Caroline interrupted.

“See, there you go, Caroline, in this house when mom is speaking we are respectful and don’t interrupt the homily…”

“But Mom, your brush is in your hand…”

Now, maybe this isn’t the blog entry that’s going to make me look stellar or anything (but I figure by now, if you’ve been reading this blog, you already appreciate this nugget of truth anyway!). But reflecting on instances like this make me see how much I make big deals out of such small stuff. You know, small things like caps back on toothpaste tubes, not wiping your toothpast-y mouth on your sisters bath towel, swishing the cereal bowl with water before setting it in the sink for it to harden into whole-grain glue before I get around to washing it, laying your coat on the floor next to the coat hooks. These things (and oh, so many more like them) are the crayons in my dryer. They are opportunities to trust that God is good, that he knows I’m here, and that he is committed to making me more like him. Plus, I know that in a few years I will think back to the teethmarks in my chapstick with fondness and nostalgia.

Sadly, Scripture is silent on teethmarks in the chapstick. But I do know they are for my good and HIS glory.

Bless ya!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Twinkie Incident...Part II (or, the OTHER side of the story)

In case you don't check my brother's blog, here is his side of the story...

"After reading my sisters story about the Twinkie story I see a need to print a rebuttal for the readers. Now please understand this in no way serves as my admission of guilt in any story telling, half truths, or those little white things. This should just serve as a defendants plea.
Now in reading the story it is quite obvious that the author seemed to have little to no remorse at the time of the incident. It is also noted that this behavior was brought about by routine practice. In other words, this wasn't the first time I took one for the team.

Also, I would like to tell you that I serve as an advocate for the underdog. I think that muscle memory caused my inability to be honest for those few.........years. Amy simply capitalized on an opportunity that I provided her.Now the actual incident is very faded in my mind. Not saying that I dont remember it, just saying it is one of many. Maybe it's because I got away with so much that one spanking I didn't deserve was ok with me. I mean after all there were plenty more I should have gotten but avoided because of my skills.

Case in point: "Down the Hatch Family Resturaunt" circa: 1978, Dad's words, "No you may not have another coke until your food gets here". I excused myself headed to the restroom caught up with the waitress and ordered a coke. My plan was for her to deliver it while I was in the rest room, kind of like she had a watchful eye on her customers needs. Dad wouldn't tell her to take it back, and I would have a new coke! She had plenty of time to make the delivery cause I was in the can playing with the hand dryer, then made a stop by the full sized deep sea divers suit. As luck would have it, I beat her to the table. I think her comment upon her arrival was a little something like "Here's your coke you asked for hope you enjoy it".

I noticed the temperature rose a few degree's as BC (Dad) was trying to decide between sudden death or making me wait for it, he chose to make me wait. I knew I had to act fast... We got home and he ordered me to my room to wait on him. When he arrived I had a good cry going, a really good one. I told him I would never do it again and explained how sorry I was. I put on a huge performance, and he bought it. You guessed it, no spanking!!! Needed it but got out of it.

So we can call the Twinkie spanking a trade for the Down the Hatch one I should have gotten. After all, I have actually eaten a whole box of cakes, put the wrappers in the original box, and hid the box in the lawn mower shed until I could safely throw it away. Basically setting up a Jedi mind trick for Momma, "Maybe I didnt buy snack cakes after all".So I guess I should be thankful, after all Amy could have done that whole set up more than once. Believe me, they would have bought it every time."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Twinkie Incident

Isn't it funny how some memories never leave you? In fact, some memories...well, they stay as fresh as a wrapped Twinkie. Do you remember the Twinkie? Yellow sponge cake surrounding a center of creamy deliciousness that's almost indescribable. 3 puncture holes in the bottom of the cake where the cream was inserted by big machines (I know this becasue I'm a big fan of the "Secret Life of..." Series on the Food Network channel). One very vivid childhood memory centers around this little goodie, and I'd like to share with you MY version of the story...

Mom had been to the grocery store (that was a big event for us as kids - to come home from school and realize that mom had been to the Jewel...and now MY kids love it when they come home and discover I've been to Winn Dixie. By the way - who sits around and comes up with these ridiculous names for grocery stores? Winn Dixie? Piggly Wiggly?). In the pantry sat an unopened box of Twinkies. The instructions were clear: one Twinkie a day. Have it in your lunch; have it after school; have it for breakfast...but you may have ONLY ONE.

The next morning as I toted my lunch pail to the school (I had one of those red ones from tupperware - remember? It had all the little boxes that fit perfectly inside of the bigger red box with a handle around it? Like I said, some memories never leave you...), I thought of the Twinkie that would be waiting for me around 11:30 or so.

Lunch finally came and the Twinkie was relished. I broke it in half long-ways, ran my tongue down the center to scoop out the cream and then ate the cake separately. It was an art, really. The day was complete. Social studies, art, was time to go home.

Back in those days we were "latch key" kids. I literally wore the key to my house attached to a piece of red yarn around my neck. My brother and I got home and turned the TV on (which, for us, was really just one single gesture. Walk in with thumb outstretched...and yell "I get couchcontrol!!!!" before my brother did. This was the goal.) I think Chris got couchcontrol that day...he must have, for the events which transpired next to have occured properly. With his gaze and attention elsewhere, I meandered back to the kitchen - solo - for a snack. I opened the pantry and there - eye level - was the box of Twinkies.

Now, understand...I knew the one Twinkie rule existed, and I can appreciate the need for rules such as that one. But the actions that I I really to be blamed? I mean, the twinkies were at eye level. I was a latch key kid for Pete's sake! (If that doesn't earn me another Twinkie, what does?). And, unfortunately for my brother Christopher, he happened to be going through a "lying" phase. I'm not proud of it, but I used the situation to my advantage. Quietly, I slipped the forbidden second Twinkie out of the box, and secretly ate that one, too.

Well, the damage was done. There was no getting around this one. I could try and rearrange the remaining Twinkies in the box...but there STILL would have been one less than there should have been. And make no mistake: Tennie (my momma) would come home and count.

I holed up in my room for a while. Waiting. I think I even gave it a good straightening up as well. I figured anything might help. When Tennie came home, I heard her in the kitchen and then climbing the stairs to my room.

"Who ate two Twinkies?" She demanded.

Now, when faced with a question like this and certain wrath, what can a 9 or 10 year old do, but give the only answer possible:


I'm not proud of it, folks, but I did it. I lied. I bold-faced lied to my mom, and worse? She believed me. Chris got a spanking.

Years later I told my parents...but the damage was done. He loves me now, but Chris battled bitter demons for many years as a result of the "Twinkie story". I told my kids the story a couple years ago as an example of what NOT to do...but they think it's just such a great story and ask to hear it at all hours of the day. Over and over and over again. Maybe they can't believe their mom would have done such a thing.

So, little brother, I'm sorry. I owe you. I owe you so much. Apologies, deep, deep personal sorrowful regret...and all the Twinkies you can eat.

Bless ya!