If you can’t say something nice…

I haven’t blogged since our vacation to Folly Beach, and I had a meeting with myself to figure out why I wasn’t motivated to blog.

The most used excuse on the planet is that I don’t have enough time.  But I’m not the only busy person alive and people busier than me blog regularly so I didn’t let myself off that easy.

Then I thought “I work so much that I can’t think of anything to write about.  And I can’t write about work stuff because I work in a pharmacy and there’s this law call HIPAA that doesn’t allow me to share stuff from work.”  But then I know that’s not true either.  It is true that I don’t want this to become a medical/pharmacy blog, but there’s plenty of things that happen during work and outside of work that aren’t legally protected subjects that I could write about.  So, work is not a valid excuse either.

Then I read this blog written by Carlos Whittaker, and had a grand revelation about myself.  I totally related to the post by Carlos, and there’s something about his articulation and imagery in his writing that turns some of his blogs into a mirror looking back at myself – and this was one of them.  I have heard a lot of different angles in my life on the “good fight of faith”, but I never experienced that “fights” that others talked about.  But I have experienced the “fight” that Carlos talked about, but it was never encouraged to be vocal and open about that type of “fight of faith.”  That kind of fighting you kept to yourself – you certainly didn’t talk about it, especially of you were in charge of teaching others.

Therein lies the answer to my blog-block.  Somewhere it was instilled in me that I was to keep my faith struggles to myself and deal with them in my “prayer closet” (wherever that might be).  And in this season of my life (that started about February) has been like the “sudden death” round of my fight with faith.  So, during all the in-between times when there is not a task to focus on, the struggle of what I was taught VS what I read VS what I see VS what I do is on the forefront of my brain.  That would make for some intriguing blog posts, right? But yet the little twinge of “you don’t tell people about that” hits me, and I don’t write it.

Now the question is: I’m an adult and I answer for myself, so why can’t I just ignore what I was taught and write it?

There is a two-part answer to this…1) Part of it is pride.  I think people who read my blog think I’ve got a great faith, and to break that image down in their mind (aka my mind) would be painful.  (Because those people might be people like my dad and in-laws and grandparents and other people who taught me things during period of my life).  2) Some of the things I’m wrestling with involve real people I used to or currently have close relationships with. I’m not sure how many of them, if any still read my blog, but I don’t want any public discussion to cause hurt to anyone.  Controversy – I don’t mind, conflict and confrontation are only ok within the correct context, and cut-downs are never ok.  So, I want to make sure that anything that involves a real human being, and not just a concept, is said in honor and love of that person.

So, I know, without anyone telling me, I need to get over the pride.  People don’t see me as perfect as I think/want them to.

But to write about things that frustrate me or confuse me or bother me, while risking people’s trust and confidence – I’m not willing to do that.

My conclusion:  Until I feel that I can fully express my fight with my faith without calling out people that might still be personally invested in some things, I will keep my mouth shut.

If you’ve missed me… I’ve missed you too.  And hopefully this confession will free me up to get some interesting (but maybe not life-changing) things on this blog in the near future.



I’ve killed 3 wasps in 2 days in my house.  With the warm weather, they’ve woke up and seem to be everywhere.  And it’s reminded me that wasps are my #1 least favorite thing about warm weather.  Here’s why….

On one not-so-special day in May 2005, I had nothing much to do so I decided I’d drive from Franklin Springs to Lavonia to use Ken’s mom’s tanning bed that she had in the storage room of their garage.  I was told that I could come over and use it anytime I wanted.  It was a nice day other than my pasty white legs reflecting in the sunlight.  So, I go to tan.

I turned on the light in the room and noticed 2 wasps flying around it.  I didn’t panic, I just thought “as long as they stay up there while I’m down here, we’ll be just fine.”  I was only going to tan for about 7 minutes (you have to build up), but I set the timer on 20 minutes to let it warm up (cold tanning beds are not fun) while I put on my tanning lotion.

It was counting down and was about time for me to get in.  I looked around – Wasps on ceiling? Check. Door locked? Check.  Goggles? Check.  So, I open the lid and lay down.  About 12 seconds later, this excruciating pain shot through my back and I came flying out of the tanning bed and starting stomping my feet and dancing around the room.  When I could finally see through my tears, there was a wasp flailing around in the tanning bed where my back used to be.

Now, I said this was a not-so-special day in May; it was actually 3 days before my 22rd birthday.  I couldn’t tell if I was crying because it hurt, or because I was mad that I had to get completely dressed to go find someone to help me, or because I had gone 21 years, 11 months, and 27 days without being stung my anything worse than an ant!

So, I come out of the room into the sunshine and Marie is coming around the end of the house and sees me.  Our interaction went something like this…

Marie:  “Hey, girl!  I didn’t know you were here.”

Cyn:  *sob* Hey, Marie… *sob* I just got stung… *sob* by a wasp… *sob*sob* in the TANNING BED!  *SOB*SOB*SOB*

Marie: Oh no!  Come in the house, I’m sure I’ve got something we can put on it.  You’re not allergic, are you

Cyn: *sob* I don’t know… *sob* never been stung before *sob*sob*

<enter the house> Marie reaches in the freezer and grabs a few ice cubes, wraps them in a paper towel, and tucks it in my bra strap to hold it in place to get the swelling down.  Then she pulls out the “medicine tub” and starts looking through tubes of creams

Marie: I’ve got some Benadryl cream and some Benadryl spray and some Benadryl capsules and some Benzocain spray and some Neosporin.  Here’s some Advil, take these now.  I guess we can just use all of these.

So, standing in her kitchen, she proceeds to apply Benadryl spray, Benzocain spray, Benadryl cream, and Neosporin, followed by a Band-Aid – always letting the previous layer dry/soak in before applying the next.

Then we walked back out to the storage room to see why there were wasps in there.  The wasp that stung me was still laying in the tanning bed, and the 2nd one was back up at the light on the ceiling.  She made sure they were dead and ensured me that she’d have Kenneth to look around outside for a nest since we didn’t see one inside.  And we went back to the house.

Then she says “Here’s 2 Benadryl capsules, but don’t take them until you get home and know you aren’t going to have to drive anywhere else.  The guys were out working, they should be home soon.  Here’s some chocolate pudding, I’m going to go finish weeding in the front yard.”

So, when it was all over, Ken found me sitting on his mom’s front porch, red-faced and teary-eyed, and eating chocolate pudding – and still white!

The good news…Ken loves me in spite of my whiteness and I haven’t been stung since.

Personal Shoppers

I don’t know from experience, but from what I’ve heard, back in the day, department store workers served as personal shoppers.  They’d help customers try on clothes, make suggestions, find measurements and sizes, do alterations – full-service.

That’s not the way things are done anymore. You have to get a clerk to let you in the dressing rooms with keys.  They give you a strict limit of how many items you can try on at one time.  No one seems to be willing to give you an honest opinion on anything.

But I’ve discovered how to get that type of service at today’s stores.

During the Black Friday rush about 2 years ago, my sister, mom, and I were shopping in New York & Co.  It didn’t take me long to learn that the clerks pay attention to you if you have about 10 items in your hand.  One of them came to me and asked if I wanted her to start a dressing room for me.  I said yes, and she took my items and wrote my name in dry-erase on one of the doors.  I tried on things, she exchanged sizes for me (which is usually what my mama does), she built outfits for me and gave opinions on how things fit and looked.  And at the end of the day, I only spent the amount of money I came to spend, but she got all the commission on it.

The next experience I had with personal shopping was at Buckle at the Mall of Georgia.  Buckle is one of those stores that had the mannequins hanging all along the walls with lots of different items and looks.  This particular night, there were several of those looks that I just thought “I want those exact pieces to wear exactly like that”.  When one of the clerks asked me if I needed help with anything, and I told him what I was thinking.  He looked the store over and even undressed the mannequins to see if the display items were my size.  Then while I was in the dressing room, he roamed the store to look for similar items and left for me.  I came home w/ some great pieces.

A similar thing happened to me at The Loft outlet in Commerce.  The store manager got an idea of what kind of look I was going for and while I tried on clothes, she brought me things until I found a winner.

I guess my technique for this kind of treatment (at least until it becomes more commonplace) is to have a firm spending limit in mind, but then go in and try on clothes like I just might buy everything I see.

Now, just recently, Ken found this site called Boutiques.com.  Once you sign up for free, you can take their fashion quiz and it will determine your style.  You select the things you “love” and the things you “hate” and it will make suggestions to you.  Then from the suggested items, you can say what you “love” and “hate” about it and the will refine the selections.  Beware: it’s got a lot of high fashion brand names so don’t get sticker shock – one of the things you can “hate” is the price.   But for the times that you’re not shopping for anything particular, but you’d like the help of a personal shopper, Boutiques.com is the way to go.

Fading Evidence of Love

Have you ever experienced the evidence of love fade?

A time when there was such evidence of love that no one could mistaken it for something else.  And suddenly, seemingly without notice, it starts to fade… until it’s gone.

It’s not something that is gone in a blink of an eye.

But it’s like watching a movie scene in slow motion – one thing leads to the next, and when it’s all over, everyone’s looking around saying “what just happened here?”

That’s the way it feels when the strong evidence of love begins to fade.  It happens right before your eyes – one piece after another falls off – until you look around and wonder “What happened here?  Where did it all go?  Was love ever here at all?

Knowing deep down inside – you can see it and sense it in your memories – it was there.  But now there’s no evidence… and the judge isn’t going to rule in favor of love without evidence.

So, am I doomed to let the evidence (or lack there of) convince the world that there was no love, and then try to convince myself of the same?

What if God was narrow-minded…

…like us?

Go ahead, get mad, huff and puff and tell me that you’re not narrow-minded.

Now, think of something that you don’t like.  And think of a person (or group of people) that like that thing that you don’t like.  Did God create those people?  Did God create those people for a purpose?  Does God love those people?  Can you tell me that God didn’t give those people the ability or knowledge or skills or gifts to be able to accomplish, participate in, and succeed at that thing that you don’t like?

Ok, so that’s kind of vague.  Let’s get specific (and I’ll talk about me so you don’t have to examine yourself)…

I’m a pharmacist (well, about to be one very soon).  I like science, I like medicine, but I don’t like blood and guts and oozy things.  Therefore I am not a nurse or doctor or surgeon or dentist.  I’m a pharmacist.  Thank God there is somebody out there that likes blood and guts and oozy things to be nurses and doctors and surgeons and dentists.  I also don’t like dealing with death and terminal illnesses – my emotions aren’t built to handle those situations (that’s a whole ‘nother story).  Therefore do not work in an ICU or nursing home or cancer center.  Thank God for people who can handle those situations and choose to work on those places.

Now, it’s time to look at yourself…

Say you like art and music and drama, but you think sports are dumb and pointless.  Does that mean God didn’t create the people who are famed for inventing those sports – and give them the creativity to invent such things.  And does that mean that God didn’t create people to have talent and abilities to play and succeed at those sports?  And does that mean God didn’t create the people who like to watch (and even make sad attempts at participating) in those sports?

Let’s flip it around…

Say you like sports, but you think art and music and drama are dumb.  Does that mean God didn’t create those people and give them the skills and ability to create art or write music or plays?  And does that mean God didn’t create people who have an appreciation for and find enjoyment in all types of art and music and drama? (Yes, ALL types!)

This goes for just about anything… people who wear different types of clothes or like different types of music or movies.  People who have a different favorite subject than you.  People who believe differently than you – religious or political or any other way.

How often do you find yourself silently (or maybe not so silently) saying the words “stupid” or “dumb” or “idiot” or “moron” or “pointless” when you encounter people with different likes and dislikes than you (and it doesn’t have to be about the person)?

Maybe you like Action movies instead of Fantasy or Sci-fi?  Does that mean God didn’t give those people the imagination to create or enjoy those movies?

Maybe you like soccer instead of football?

Maybe you like country music instead of rock?

Maybe you like English instead of Math or Science?

Maybe you think it’s important to protect endangered animals, or be more Green to protect the environment, or buy local produce to support your community or eat organic foods.

How often do you try to convince God to close His mind to think like you rather than ask Him to open your mind so you can really love (and not just patronize) your neighbor as yourself?

(Disclaimer: I’m not trying to say that the decisions people make about using their God-given abilities, skills, and creativity are always right.  But He did give them those things and He did give them free will to choose.)

What’s your Melisande?

“Her skin was like alabaster, her hair a black so true it gleamed blue where the light touched it and her eyes a sapphire that gemstones might envy…her raven hair fell in ripples, gleaming like black water in moonlight …[her laugh] the sound liquid in the moonlight…her look went through me like a spear, my knees turned to water…collects hearts as the royal gardener collects seedlings…she shone, no less for her beauty than her barbed wit ”

In the story, Melisande enraptures everyone she encounters with her beauty and grace, including Phedre, the heroine. In spite of the adoration, Melisande is so concerned with only herself and then her son that she would use, hurt, sell, marry, or kill who she has to in order to get what she wants – including Phedre. Phedre experiences the murder of her adopted family, being sold into slavery to a barbarian, imprisonment, and attempts on her own life due to this Melisande. On her many adventures, Phedre hoped that she could outrun the hold Melisande has on her or be cured of the love she has for her. Each time she returned home, she cannot deny it.

Melisande holds responsibility for every negative experience in her life – and she hates her.
Melisande is wealthy, beautiful, intelligent, and graceful – and she loves her.

Do you have a Melisande in your life? Something or someone that inevitably draws you but then stings you? The one thing you despise most but it marks almost everything you do and you need it to bring your dreams to pass?

My Melisande has been my school. It told me I’m qualified and I’m going to be great at what I do. Then it told me I don’t belong and tries to send me away. They promised me one more chance as long as I do everything EXACTLY as they say. I hate it! And yet every hoodie I wear in the winter has their name and logo on it – it’s so comfy and the logo is so cool. Every pen I write with pricks a painful memory that I have to be dependent on them – they’re the best writing pens I’ve seen. Every memory I have from the past four years has the mark of them lurking in the shadows or hovering over me. My life and my dream could not have gone on without them – and they liked it that way.

So what is your Melisande? What is the one thing that the very sight or smell or even a touch on the skin sparks a mixure of devoted love and strong hate?

It’s Ken’s Birthday

In honor if Ken’s birthday (and since I’m not able to be home), I am going to share with everyone all the things I love about my husband… (I stole this idea from Holly Furtick)

… the way he hollers when I put my cold hands or feet on him.

…the way he tickles me mercilessly until I leap off of the piece of furniture I was happily sitting on!

…the way he enjoys picking out clothes for me (yes, he even enjoys shopping with me for a little while)

…the way he enjoys cooking in the kitchen with me (and sometimes experimenting with spices we don’t even know how to pronounce).

…the way he loves watching the Discovery channel.

…the way he blurts out the last thought of a conversation he had been having with himself in his head (this usually confuses me greatly).

…the way he apologizes for the house not being clean when I get home.

…the way he doesn’t mind my legs being hairy.

…the way he is a groggy zombie until he has his shower in the mornings.

…the way he calls me a different pet name almost every time he calls me.

…the way he has told me “goodnight” the exact same way ever since we first started dating…he says “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs steal any of my kisses”.

…the way he blows me a kiss on the phone before he hangs up.

…the way he gets creative when I start getting cabin fever from being cooped up in the house.

…the way he laughs when we end up thinking or saying the same exact thing.

…the way he makes me laugh (laughing burns calories, and I love to laugh).

…the way he is so dedicated to the GBF vision.

…the way he cares so much about the people on his teams (more than they think they do).

…the way he blushes when I write sweet stuff about him (like this).

…the way he wallows in his recliner and ends up halfway on mine.

…the way he loves planning surprises for me but hates keeping it a secret for too long.

…the way he goes ga-ga over my new hair cut.

…the way he reiterates his dedication to my dream and to our marriage exactly when I need it.

…the way he writes me mushy poems in my email that make me blush when I’m at work.

So, happy birthday baby!  I think I’m finally getting better at the “birthday surprise” thing (or at least I think I am)!  I love you… and now the whole world knows!