Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Rant & A Proposal

Oh my gosh. I am so mad at American Idol right now. I know entertainment is important but DANG. I know it's funny to watch the "bad auditions," but DANG. What the heck? After going through the audition I went through and watching tons of people with awesome voices get turned away, I'm turned off by the entertainment industry. Way turned off. For those of you unfamiliar with the audition process, it takes a LOT of auditions to get to Simon, Paula, and Randy. The "bad" people had to get cleared to the next level many times by many judges. Annoying. They deliberately let the "bad" people through (over me! how dare they! :) just to 1) allow them to make fools of themselves on national television, and, more importantly 2) provide America with some laughs. It may sound like sour grapes, but I'm going to say it anyway: American Idol, I didn't want to be on your show, anyway! As I watched the episode tonight, I just kept staring at the TV and saying (okay, oftentimes yelling), "How did YOU get through??" If you're going to advertise that you're looking for talent, then why the heck did you let these people through over others? It's insulting.

Okay. Now I'm done. And wow, I sound really bitter and even more cocky. My apologies. I'm really not either of those. But I had to get that out.

Yesterday I was running in the neighborhood and I overheard a conversation between two women on my street. I smiled when I realized they were talking about how one of them got engaged over the past weekend. One thing she said caught me. "I was wearing this ugly sweatshirt," she laughed to her friend. Apparently (from what my ever-curious ears gathered) the proposal was anticipated, but the woman really had no idea how it would happen. Her comment about the sweatshirt stuck out to me because I want to be wearing an ugly sweatshirt when I'm proposed to, as well. Well, something along those lines, at least. See, I don't really want an extremely fancy dinner or an excursion to the top of the Eiffel Tower or whatever. Honestly, I don't think the man of my dreams and I would be doing those types of things very often, anyway. That's not my style. I want to be proposed to while I'm doing, well, something normal. I want to be totally taken by surprise. Court and I were talking about it, and we thought it'd actually be kinda cool if we were taken to a nice dinner as a sort of false alarm. Let's face it--if you're in a serious relationship and you've talked about marriage, then it seems that a proposal wouldn't entirely be a surprise. But if you're thrown off a little by a fancy dinner, then he pops the question later while you're watching TV in your T-shirt and pajama pants. . .THAT'S beautiful. That says, "This is what I want--to spend everyday life with you. Every day. Sure, we'll go out and have fancy "romantic" time, but the reason I want to marry you is because you're YOU. Right here. Just you."

*sigh* That's it, folks. That's love. And there are numerous ways to fit a proposal into everyday life. I want creativity, but not necessarily extravagance. And honestly, I think this is what many women want. So there you go, guys. Cancel that reservation at the five-star restaurant that you'd really be kinda uncomfortable at anyway, and invite your girl over for your specialty: together time, a walk in the park, cooking dinner. Pop the question during a random time. That's my two cents. :)

By no means am I belittling fancy marriage proposals. I do think they are romantic and I love hearing about them just like anyone else. I'm just reflecting on what I think I want. And really, I don't have much say in how I'm proposed to. That's not really something I have (or want) control of. But in my thoughts for today, this is what came out. An engagement is exciting and wonderful no matter how it comes about. End of story.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Goodness, it felt like spring here yesterday! And as much as I claim to love cold weather, I think I'm starting to realize that I might, just might, in a teeny tiny little way, miss Texas weather when I leave. I know that's ridiculous, Texans. I know we have some really unpredictable weather and that it's really annoying when we're practically sweating in January. But man, it was gorgeous yesterday. And I got to do one of the things that's high on my list of lazy day activities: lay on a blanket in the grass. In January. Weird, but wonderful.

I always get like this. When I know something's going to change in my life, I start thinking way in advance of how I will be affected by it. I almost get it all out of my system early on so that when the change actually happens, I find that I'm not as emotional about it, or at least, the emotion is diluted a bit. I don't mean to do this, but it almost always happens. When I knew college graduation was sneaking up on me, I had my sad moments kinda early--like in October. And once December came, I was ready. Then in the months immediately afterwards, I found myself getting emotional again. I'm sure that will happen this time around, too. I have moments when I think about how great this church is, how awesome Texas is, how much I'll miss my friends here, etc., and I get sad. But I bet come June, I'm going to be ready to go. And then in July, I'm going to have an "I really miss Texas/friends/life as it was three months ago" spell. That's just how I am. I'm prematurely emotional, I guess. And I think that bleeds into other areas of my life, as well. I get excited/mad/sad before the exciting/maddening/sad event(s) even occurs. I anticipate and my emotions immediately follow. I'll probably cry more in February/March about leaving than I will when it comes time to say goodbye to everyone. Is this weird? Maybe. But it's just the way I deal with things, I guess.

And what happens when I can't anticipate emotional events? It takes me a while to get over it. But I don't think I'm abnormal in that sense. Death, break-ups, things that come out of the blue. . .I hold onto painful events longer than I need to, I think. But overall, my emotional reeling time is pretty average. Emotional reeling time?! Awesome. I just made up a new term.

I announced to the congregation yesterday that I will be heading to seminary in a few months. And the sweetest thing happened--all these "older" people came up to me afterwards, saying, "We are going to miss you so much!" These people have grown kids, grandchildren, etc. They really don't have much investment in the youth ministry, and yet they do! I haven't had but one or two small-talk conversations with these certain people in the time I've been here (honestly, this is embarrassing, but I couldn't think of one lady's name while she was talking to me!) But how cool that they notice more than I think they do.

Lots to do today and so little time. . .have a good one!

If I just breathe
And fill the space between
I'll know everything is alright.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

From a Distance

So Dallas was NOT just a bunch of old white men. I realized as soon as I arrived that I was, in fact, wrong in my assumptions. My apologies to old white Lutheran male pastors everywhere. It was really fun to be there and I didn't realize how many pastors I know in this state. As soon as I walked into the hotel lobby, it was like, "Lauren! How are you? Where are you going to seminary?" etc. This greeting was repeated many times throughout the conference, and I appreciate the fact that 1) I have so many people interested in my future, and 2) I am blessed to know so many different pastors from all over Texas through all sorts of different ways. Although after about the fourth inquiry as to where I was going to seminary, I got a little tired of it. You see, most people didn't stop after I answered. They didn't say anything like, "Oh, that's great--God will lead you to where you should go." No, these men and women who preach and teach of God and God's leading proceeded to explain to me their version of God's call for my life. "You should really check out *insert one's seminary alma mater here*." One man practically forced to me to follow him to the seminary display tables and shoved his alma mater's catalog and viewbook into my hands. All I could think was, ". . .but I don't want want to go to Iowa." ha ha

Not that I don't think God works through others to guide us. God worked through others to guide me to the seminaries I'm most interested in currently. And really, who knows? I could end up in Iowa, and I don't want to shrug it off completely. But it just got tiring to hear everyone's personal opinions. To some I replied, "Well, there are eight ELCA seminaries for a reason, I guess, huh? Different ones attract different people, and they're all good schools." Anyway, that's my rant about that. And really, who can blame someone for pushing his or her own school? I push TLU when kids are talking to me about college. But I don't bash their other choices. And I don't push it unless I truly think it would be a good fit for them.

During worship one day, I experienced a very meaningful moment in which I called to memory many of the faces who have shaped who I am today--specifically, those who have shaped my call to ministry. From people in my family to pastors and various lay people, I was moved by how God has orchestrated certain meetings and relationships in my life. Some of the pastors at this conference I'd only had brief conversations with at camp last summer, others I worked with on youth projects, and still others guided me as a child back home in Arlington. To be in the same room with many of them was very powerful. The Spirit was very present. And always is. This is easy to forget, but oh-so-true.

Yes, even in our mundane routines of life, God is active and alive. Find some way to hold onto that--however is best for you. Because I think when we cease to recognize this significant truth, we slowly (sometimes quickly) lose sight of the wonder and power that surpasses this world in which we currently live. Our time here is fleeting and really oftentimes disappointing--why not be intentional about noticing the mysterious presence of the One who's constantly there but drowned out by everything else that demands our attention?

Okay, you're thinking, enough of this spiritual stuff, Lauren. :)

In other news, Courtney is moving out in two weeks and I am bummed. B.U.M.M.E.D. (As I was typing that out, I remembered the old BUM Equipment logos from the 90s? 80s? Funny.) She's moving to Kingsville to be with her grandmother, who's pretty sick, for a little while. Every time we talk about her leaving, we get tears in our eyes. The other night, I heard her shuffling around in the living room and got out of bed to see what was up. She started crying and we went into her bedroom where she got into her bed and, through tears and sniffles, asked me to sing her a song. I didn't think I'd be able to. But what came to my head immediately was "From a Distance"--that old song by that lady, I can't remember her name, but it was super popular when I was in like sixth grade. And really, the only lyrics I knew were "from a distance." The rest of the time I was like, "la la la la la." Anyway, it's really hard and sad right now. This weekend I have nothing planned and we're hoping to spend a lot of it together doing the silly things we do. Because Lauren and Courtney may never live together again. And that makes the world a bit of a sadder place, I think.

Adios, mis amigos. Have fun out there.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Naps, Showers, and Old White Men

It's a cold and rainy day here in the ATX. Perfect nap weather, which I just took advantage of by sleeping for 2 hours after church. Naps have to be one of my favorite things--that is, if I get a good one. There are different kinds of naps, you know. Sometimes you wake up and feel even more tired than when you went to sleep. Sometimes you sleep for just the right amount of time in just the right way and you feel the way a nap should make you feel--rested. Sometimes I drool during naps. And I don't ever drool when I sleep at night. Weird. Sometimes I'll have crazier dreams during naps than I've ever had during the night. Interesante. Anyway.

I went to a baby shower this weekend, which was super fun. . .but weird, because I realized that this was the first baby shower I've been to on my own. I'd been to them with my mom years ago, but now my friends are having babies?! Huh? Cu-razy. It was really cute, though. Baby food and diapers and cute little clothes. One lady said to me, "So Lauren, doesn't this make you want to get married and have babies?" I laughed and said, "Uh, not really, actually." Which surprised me. I think not too long ago I would've been dreaming of my own marriage and kids and all the loving women who would throw me showers. . .and at this point in my life, I have other plans. Of course I DO think about those things--even at the shower I thought things like, "I wonder what it will be like. . ." etc. And I don't think it's bad to think those things--I don't tell myself I shouldn't. Because regardless, I'm a girl (a romantic and dreamy girl, at that) and will always wonder what my own "big days" will be like, who they will be with, etc. But it's different b/c I'm satisfied with my life right now, and quite frankly, marriage and a baby would kinda throw off my plans right now. :) Although I admit that I have absolutely no idea of the timing of these things in my life--God tends to keep surprsing me--but the point is, I'm not pining away for a different life than I have. And I'm thankful for this. It's much more fun to enjoy what I have rather than wonder when I'll get what I don't have.

I'm headed to Dallas (D-Town!) tomorrow thru Wednesday for our Tri-Synodical Conference. Should be fun. A bunch of Lutheran pastors (read: old white men) and me! Just kidding. There will be some young folks there, but not too many, so I'm glad some of us are bringing the age level down a bit. Not that I'm complaining about old white men. Some of these old white men have been significant people in my life. Anyway, I'll stop trying to dig out of this hole. I'm going to Dallas and hopefully I'll get to see my family a bit while I'm there. Otherwise, I might go home this weekend (Lizzie's birthday!); however, I haven't made up my mind quite yet. Two trips to the Metroplex in one week? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Love to all. Have a fantabulous week!

'Cause it's you and me and all of the people
With nothing to do, nothing to prove
And it's you and me and all of the people
and I don't know why I can't keep my eyes off of you

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ministry Stuff

I realized today one of the most crucial jobs of a pastor--visiting the sick and the dying. Now this is pretty obvious; after all, sometimes the only time people seek ministers is when tragedy happens, such as a death. Actually, the beginning of life and the end of life are moments that ministers are privileged to have a special place in--kinda like a front-row seat. People want ministers around during these moments.

Our interim pastor, Merle, whom I've talked about before and admire a lot, has taught me a lot about being a pastor in the short time he's been at our church. He makes tons of home visits to members who haven't been to church in a while--just to check in, see how things are going. We've gotten kinda lazy about that these days in the church. We forget how churches used to be born--through home visits and door-to-door "witnessing" (I'm not a huge fan of that word, but couldn't think of another one). Plus, it means a lot when someone comes to visit you. It shows that someone cares enough to see you in your environment, on your terms. You don't have to make the effort to come to church, that's fine--we'll come to you and just sit and chat for a while. I think that's a good model of what God is like. And I hope I make many home visits when I'm a pastor.

Our congregation is fairly young in population. We have tons of young families and little kiddos, but not a whole lot of elderly people. In the 25+ years the church has been in existence, we've only had 30-something deaths, which is pretty low. And right now, we have a member who is in severe pain and close to death. Merle visits the hospital every day and it sticks out to me because I haven't had a lot of that part of the ministry to witness. But it's so important. There are even spots reserved for clergy in hospital parking garages. Merle told me today that he thinks visits--be they home or hospital--are one of the most important jobs of a pastor. I think he's right. Who cares if you preached an awesome sermon on Sunday--are you caring for the members of your church? Are you right there with them when crap is happening in their lives? Are you showing them God's unfailing love as best you can by being where they are rather than expecting them to come to you? It will be weird to someday be the one who gets called to be with a dying person, but what an honor.

On a more humorous note, Court and I laughed tonight at the thought of me in a preacher's collar. She was like, "I'm just gonna laugh at you, I'm sorry." and I was like, "I'll probably laugh, too." It is kinda funny. Some women pastors I know look really cute in their collars. Some look dorky. Hmmm. I have several years, though--maybe they'll come up with some more fashionable ways to dress as a minister by then. :)

You're Beautiful by James Blunt--great song. *sigh* His last name makes me laugh, especially since in one line he says he was high. ha ha

Time for bed! 'Night friends.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Get Down

I'm working today and most of America is not. Bleh.

But at least I'm leaving early. Erika and I are going to watch a movie and catch up. 'Tis been a while. (And in case you care, I'm not ducking out early without making up for it later on my day off. There. No guilt.)

This weekend was LAZY and I loved it. Though I'm very glad the roomies will be returning today. I definitely slept in the house for two nights by myself--yay for Lorena! :) Friday night, I ice-skated (still don't know if that requires a hyphen. . .) and laughed a lot as my kids did silly things on the ice to entertain me. "Hey, Lauren! Watch!" and then there's a big fall. And then everyone laughs. Good times. And oh, was there drama that night! My goodness, kids were asking each other out left and right--within the youth group! It was hilarious. And yet it was sad when people were rejected. I gave one girl the "it's not the last time your heart will be broken by a guy" talk that my mom gave me in 7th grade after Ryan Cantu had asked me to the dance and showed up with three other "dates" and never danced with me. No, I'm not bitter. :) But I remember that night vividly--sitting in a corner in my room, curling up into a ball, and crying like a baby. My mom consoled me and I'll never forget those words. She was right. And really, what would we learn if we'd never had our hearts broken? We certainly wouldn't appreciate love as much, I don't think. Okay, that was a tangent. Anyway, so there was drama within the youth group and it cracked me up. . .and brought back memories of adolescent crushes. Cute stuff.

Saturday night I decided to watch Big Fish, knowing I would cry at the end, but not expecting to cry as much as I actually did. I've seen it before, and yes, I cried. But this time I was bawling, people. I'm talking shuddering, eyes-puffy-when-you-wake-up-the-next-morning CRYBABY! I honestly don't know why, but whatever. It was really good to cry like that. I must have needed it. It's just a sweet movie. And it got me. I'm one of those people who, if you tell me a movie made you cry, I'll say, "YESSS!" and be excited about seeing it. Then you'll say, "No, I cried. It was sad. You mean you want to see it because it'll make you cry?" Why yes! Duh. :)

I'm out. Later, friends.

I feel that when I'm old,
I'll look at you and know
The world was beautiful.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Friday the 13th!

It's Friday morning and I can't tell you how nice it is to have a weekend with (almost) no plans! Today I'm hanging out with Becky--we're going shopping b/c we decided our Christmas presents to each other would be shopping together for clothes. We would do it anyway, and most likely together, so why not buy each other clothes? Yep. Now that's what I call fun! :)

Tonight I'm taking my middle schoolers ice-skating. I love ice-skating. And. . .I guess that's all I have to say about that.

Tomorrow morning, Janie and I are playing tennis--it's been too long! Tennis is my favorite form of exercise, but it can be frustrating if you don't have a partner who's on your playing level. Jane and I are pretty much exactly on the same level, so it's lots of fun.

Courtney went to Seguin to see some friends last night, so I was home alone. And it was weird, because I was actually quite bored. Besides talking on the phone to a lot of people I needed to catch up with, I was still like, "What do I do with myself?" I lived for a year and half by myself before I had roommates again--you'd think I have the whole nights-to-myself thing down. Obviously not. Which makes me sad about seminary, because I'll most likely be living alone again. . .and I don't like it.

Now it's time to climb back into bed and read for a while before I must shower and head to G-town to see Becky. Have a great weekend, kids!

I'm amazed. . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Preschool Chapel Comedic Moments

Bennett: "Lauren! Knock Knock!"
me: "Who's there?"
Bennett: "Banana!"
me (thinking I know where this is going, but who am I kidding?): "Banana who?"
Bennett: "Banana take off your underpants!"

My reaction was probably not exactly what the teachers wanted. I laughed. I can't help it. Then I said, "Um, Bennett, that's not very. . .nice, buddy."

Then we're saying the Lord's Prayer and I hear one of the girls in the front row, loud and clear, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be my name. My kingdom come, my will be done. . ."

Cute cute.

So, on to more thought-provoking issues in the world of Lorena. I've been thinking lately how quickly I get antsy at a particular job or task or whatever. To explain further--my whole life has pretty much been set in increments of which I had no control. Besides graduating early from college, I have been on the same track as everyone else my age. So when I started this job, I figured I'd be here about 3 years before moving on to something else. It's turning out to be 2.5 years here, which I'm fine with. I'm ready to do something else. But then I think about being a pastor and serving somewhere for way more than 3 years. I seriously doubt I'll jump up and move around a lot. Not that I'll stay in the same place for 20 years (because I think that would drive me crazy), but I bet I'd stay in one place for 5 or 6 years at the very least. This kinda scares me because I get jumpy, I get anxious for new things. Maybe it means I'll just have to keep challenging myself in some way--more school, more time for hobbies, etc. It just seems weird that I'd be in a certain position for more than 2 or 3 years. I honestly can't imagine myself not becoming extremely antsy for something new.

But then I think about how much the other parts of my life will be changing, too. I hope to get married, I hope to have kids. . .these things may create the challenges I need to keep from getting bored with my career. I just wonder how people stay in the same place for work for so many years. While I will miss this church dearly when I leave (I've already had a couple of teary moments due to sweet notes from members or comments from staff about me leaving--and it's only January! I'm going to be a wreck come May!), I still know without a doubt that I couldn't be here much longer without absolutely going crazy from wanting to "move on to the next step in life." How many steps are there for me? Will I always want to move on or will I at some point find a place where I'm satisfied? Will there come a time when I don't find myself constantly looking ahead?


Since some of you have asked, I have no updates on the prowler around my house. I guess that's a good thing. :) Court might be going to SA tonight, which scares me a bit because I'd be home alone. . .so I think I'm going to beg her to stay. I'm sure she wouldn't mind. :)

Have a good one!

The first star I see may not be a star.
We can't do a thing but wait
So let's wait for one more.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Court called my cell phone while I was hangin' with Miss Anna tonight (which was way fun, I must say--finally saw Narnia, was amazed, and will now recommend it to everyone!, had a yummy margarita and am feelin' good). . .anyway, Court called tonight to tell me that while she was outside in the back having a cigarette, the neighbor behind us was shining a flashlight over the fence into our yard and into the neighboring yards. "Uh, ma'm," he said to Court, "Someone just tried to break into my house and he might be in your backyard."

What the hell??

That might explain the sight I came upon while upon looking outside a few days ago: the overturned chair, the can of bug spray knocked over, and the crumpled door mat. This freaked me out a little bit. And let's not forget the random thumps we've heard in and outside of the house lately. I've decided that these mishaps couldn't have been committed solely by the dang stray cat who lives under our shed. Nope. I bet this burglar has been lurking for a few days now. Or at least, the paranoid part of my head thinks this.

But you know what? I'm not scared at all. Actually, when I got home, I went directly outside, stood in the front yard for a minute and looked around. I even muttered to myself, "I'm gonna kick some a**." No fear, Lauren is here! Who knows where this "tough guy" mood came from? Maybe because I've had a margarita (oftentimes that's enough) or maybe because I'm not all alone (that's probably the real reason--Court and I are holding down the fort together!). Regardless, I'm fearless and ready to fend off the predator!

. . .for now, anyway. When bedtime rolls around, I might be singing a different tune. We've locked all the windows and doors. We've checked the outside of the house. I think Court and I might even go for a walk tonight around the neighborhood. . .just, you know, to strut our stuff a little, scare the you-know-what out of whoever might be thinking of robbing us. We're tough, you know.

Still, please say prayers if you're reading this. Because even tough girls need prayers. :)


Thursday, January 05, 2006


1) I love Thundercloud Subs. Honestly, there is nothing better. Mmmm. I pity anyone who has not devoured a lovely Thundercloud sandwich. It is delightful. Many will say (including my sissy) that the Thundercloud is not at all different from any other sub sandwich, but I dare say these people are WRONG. Come visit me and we'll go get some Thundercloud goodness. :)

2) I'm writing letters of recommendation for one of my friends, Anna, who worked with me here at the church last summer. She's 2 years younger than me and applying to divinity school. But not just any divinity school. She's applying to Harvard and Yale. So I'm writing recommendations addressed to the folks at Harvard and Yale. Puh-lease. I feel like such a dork because a) I somehow feel that my letter must meet a certain academic standard simply because of where it's going, and b) I find it very flattering yet funny that she asked me to do this--I mean, as I said, she's only 2 years younger than me. And, more than that, I'm applying to div school, too--just not at Harvard or Yale. (Though looking at their webpages through this process definitely made me think about it. I don't think those places are for me, but it'd be kinda fun to see if I could get in, huh?) Anyway, this is an interesting process that I must admit I'm enjoying. I feel so. . .official. ;) And yet, I'm practically in the same boat as her.

3) And now, my favorite quote this week so far, out of the mouth of Trishy:

"Lauren, you're not a boo whore."

Love it!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And Now, Without Further Adieu. . .

I present to you: my white elephant gift from the Mayor hisself!

This lovely traffic cone greeted me on my doorstep one day a few weeks back. A UPS label was slapped on the side, addressed to the one and only: Laurey-Baby. Hey, that's me!

The cone has made its home as the centerpiece on our back porch. We spend a lot of time out here (in fact, Mayor, oftentimes I'm talking to you while on this very porch), so it gets a lot of attention. Even Sandwich the cat stares out the window at its majesty. :)

I'm sure you're all happy to see that the reflective stripes are still alive and kickin'. Obviously they weren't sacrificed during the trek from NC to Texas in who-knows-how-many UPS trucks. I wish I could've followed the cone around on its trip; for you see, it wasn't boxed or contained in any way--it was just a traffic cone travelling on its own. What you see is what I got. :)

Needless to say, I love my gift. Thank you, dear Robby. Seems our white elephant exchange was quite the hit, friends! Here's to more fun times in the future.


Today was spent running some errands with Court and Leah and--the best part--laying on a blanket in Zilker Park. . . reading a little, but mostly just laying there. . .giggling. . .thinking. We did entertain ourselves a bit by burning holes in cotton candy with Court's cigarettes. Those cigs go right through without any effort! Quite fun. ha ha

Back to work tomorrow. . .my break flew by so fast! I guess that's how breaks go, though.

Until next time. . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Better Days

Wow, it's 2006. Or Twenty Aught Six, however you prefer to say it. Either way, it's 80-something degrees here in Tejas, and I'm a bit bummed about the warm temp. But it was a super nice day to be outside, so I guess it's okay.

Our New Year's Eve Par-tay was fabuloso! Old friends and new congregated to celebrate and it was quite fun. I finally met Trishy's fiance and lemme tell ya, this guy is awesome. He's funny and he fits Trish so very well. . .I'm so happy for her. You know how you look at some couples and think, "I want what they have"? Yeah. That's how I feel about them. I can tell he and I will be buddies. Plus, he approves of me being in their wedding. Whew. I was worried about that one. ;)

Em, Lizzie, and Garrett came down from Arlington and the party just wouldn't have been complete without them. They made a fantastic sangria which I pretended to be drunk on. Can I get an AMEN?

Lee-lee and her friends were here, too, and they were the only ones who brought noisemakers and party hats. They were cool and obviously we were not. :)

Confidential to RWW & Cap'n Bravo: We greatly enjoyed talking with you guys!! Now if only we could make that road trip actually happen. . .

The hostesses with the mostest. . .es? Um, right.

Lee-lee (center) and friends--see how they were cooler than us? They look like they know it, too. :)

Trish and Rich. . .and Sandwich's head.

Here I am at midnight, following a tirade about men. "So I was at this bar, right?" Hopefully my readers know I'm joking. Oooh, for that matter, I hope my guests knew that, too. :)

Happy New Year to all! May 2006 be full of hope and blessed surprises!

'Cause I got nothing of my own to give to you

But this light that shines on me shines on you

And makes everything beautiful again.