Batgirl: Beginnings

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

A few weeks before moving from Michigan, we decided to take a very nostalgic “one last family walk” down the bike path to end up at the little ice cream shop in our tiny town.

We were in high spirits, so much so that we let the kids choose anything they wanted off the menu, no matter the cost, size or sugar content! You want the choco mountain sundae? Sure, let’s have two! An orange creamsicle frosty shake? Extra large! Can we get two cherries on everything, please? It’s a celebration!

On the walk back home, we stopped to talk to friends and confirm the rumor that we were moving. They live in a charming yellow house with a zipline from the tree house, a chicken coop next to the teeter totter, a climbing wall and a tire swing in addition to a random assortment of animals from an aligator in their basement to a baby zebra and a giant tortoise roaming the yard.

Not only did we attend the same church and elementary school, but I had been in Bible study with the wife, the husband helped work on our basement renovation, and they had once had us over for dinner. It was only appropriate that we stop and  say farewell to such good neighbors.

We stood outside their white picket fence exchanging pleasantries and they stood inside listening to our moving story while attempting to corral their 3 children plus the 4 they were babysitting that night. Not to mention all the animals in the yard.

As I was telling them the crazy story of the events that led up to our impending move, I felt a leaf or something blow on top of my left foot. I simply brushed the offending object off my foot using my right foot, but a tiny screeching sound caused me to look down.

It was a bat. Lying on its back. Squealing at me and baring its fangs.

Of COURSE all the kids were immediately intrigued by the tiny creature. “Did it bite you?” the neighbor asked. Since it was dusk and getting hard to see, I said, “I don’t think so, I didn’t feel anything.” I laughed it off and we commented on how strange it was to see a bat on the ground rather than flying in the air etc.

The neighbors grabbed an empty clay flowerpot to put overtop of the clearly unable to fly nasty-looking little creature in order to keep the kids from poking it with sticks or trying to touch or step on it. We finished our conversation and walked home remarking how totally weird the whole bat incident was.

After we got home and got the kids in PJ’s and settled into bed, I had a chance to take a good look at my foot in the light.

It looked like someone had stapled my left ankle.

…to be continued…

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BeCumming more local

I got an e-mail from a room-mom who asked us to sign up for various items for a Valentine’s Day party next week. Being the cheapskate budget-conscious person that I am, I signed up to send in 20 napkins. I figured I’d just do what I’ve done in the past and take a handful of napkins that we’ve bought in bulk in and throw them in a baggie to send in.

But something made me pause.

I didn’t want my son to be embarrassed of the napkins I sent in. What if the people who signed up for plates and cups sent in cutesy Valentine’s Day themed plates and cups? This IS the south, people. I’ve got to start learning their ways! What if the full-on party paraphernalia would be paired with our see-through cheapy-cheapy, white, buy-them-by-the-million napkins?

My next skinflint frugal idea was to run to the dollar store and pay $1.07 for a package of napkins.

But again, and this is SO uncharacteristic of me, I just didn’t feel right with that option either.

Since moving to Georgia, I’ve been trying to intentionally get to the know the town we live in. One way I started to do that is by using a website called Cumming Local that helps direct me to locally owned stores and services. I’ve even checked out a few local businesses and written articles for the website.

Cumming Local offered a challenge for 2012 for the residents of our county to pledge to become even “more local” in the new year. I didn’t formally sign up for the challenge, but I’m taking it nonetheless. They asked residents to commit to trying at least one new local business each month.

I searched the site and found that Party Depot is locally owned. So I typed the address into my trusty GPS and headed out with Taye in tow.

I’m so glad I did! I got to meet the owner, whom I recognized from her picture on the store’s site, and tell her that I found her store using the Cumming Local website. Win-win!

I appreciated the absolutely pristine store (we always have to use hand sanitizer before and AFTER being in a Dollar Store–“blech”, as Taye would say!) that was organized, bright, happy, and I was thrilled at how competitively priced it was! And Taye loved looking at all of the balloons around the perimeter of the store. Lots and LOTS of great balloons!

I found exactly what I needed–a package of frilly, heart-y Valentine’s Day napkins for the girls and a package of Georgia Bulldogs napkins that the boys (and Liam’s teacher, who is a big dawgs fan) will get a kick out of. Win-win-win!

Yeah, I spent a few dollars more than I would have somewhere else, but I think the importance of affirming local entrepreneurs trying to start and keep a business going in a really tough economy is well worth those extra two bucks. I am also all for pulling together as a community and supporting the businesses that are going to give back to the community that we live in.

I’m already excited about my next local business beneficiary, apparently there is a new donut shop in town! And since I didn’t try a new local business in January, I have some ground to make up…

Picking Pittman

Against my better judgement, I read my little local newspaper. Quite frankly it scares me to death. They list all the DUI’s, drug busts, thefts, and more…AND they list the street or development where the criminal lives.

Last month there was a drug arrest for someone who lives two lefts and one right turn away from our development on Pittman road.

I don’t really like taking the Pittman road cutoff. It winds all around and you’re whiplashed back and forth from having to see trailer homes in disrepair plopped next to a castle-sized villa that looks like it dropped out of the sky straight from Tuscany.

But recently in studying the Psalms, I was told to pray for my city. So I started praying for Cumming.

And lately, knowing that someone desperate or broken enough to be dealing and using drugs is close by, I have felt compelled to make the turn and drive Pittman road praying as hard as I can with my eyes open as I drive down that road.

p.s.–I also will not shop in the evening at the Kroger where a car was stolen, and where thieves congregated then were chased on foot and captured by a police officer. If I must shop after dark, you will find me at the well-lit Publix that has not yet been reported in the local paper as the scene of any shenanigans.

a 1-up for life

Last year started an annual tradition for me. Some of my oldest dearest college chums and I traveled to Tennessee to spend Labor Day weekend together and just be girls.

Last year for me, the journey was half the fun. Not only did we refuse to drive a rented Yaris (because it didn’t have cruise control) from MI to TN, but we made a pact to stop at every single Chick-Fil-A we passed on our journey.  There was not one second that we weren’t spewing water as we LOL’d harder than we had laughed in a long time, catching each other up on our lives, asking parenting questions, then going deeper and really asking the “good” questions. Making plans, pacts, and as my friend called it “iron sharpening iron”.

This year I traveled a different route since I had moved from MI to GA this past summer. I braved public transit all by myself in the wee hours of the morning to get to the airport in time for my flight. I may or may not have gotten caught in the turnstyle doors exiting the train because I didn’t realize you also had to swipe your Breeze card to get OUT of the station, not just into it. I also may or may not have crawled underneath said closing doors while people pointed and laughed at this country mouse’s terrified innocence of how to travel public transportation. Next time, I’ll look waaaaay  cooler breezing THROUGH the bars instead of under them.

This year our destination was deep in the heart of Ohio. Our eyes were treated to the most stunning views of rolling hills, beautiful homesteads, and lush farmland while our ears gulped in the billowous sound of silence when not being treated to the gentle clip-clop clip-clop of an Amish buggy driving by.

We got caught  up on each other’s lives, cooked and ate fabulous recipes together, sunned by the pool, got dressed up for church and a meal “in the city”, we giggled like ninnies and cried like babies as we watched Anne of Green Gables on VHS no less!

We also took some time to sit and soak in the beautiful creation we were surrounded by and take a good, hard look at ourselves. How can we not call ourselves friends if we aren’t actively investing in each other, making sure we are staying on track, celebrating successes and challenging each other to continue to grow and thrive in our walks with the Lord?

 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

The girl, who had the audacity to suggest that one Dan C. Scott and I meet each other blindly during our junior year of college because we “would be perfect for each other”, took a chance and sent me 16 pages of Bible study notes on a passage that wouldn’t leave her alone last year. Together we’ve spelled out 44 pages worth of Bible study material we pray might make an impact on the lives of women someday. And we drove through the first half of the material with the four of us sitting around a table sweating in the heat and humidity, praying for God’s wisdom, often holding back or bursting into tears as we grappled with some tough passages and questions that we did and didn’t want to answer all at the same time.

 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

It’s hard to find and keep in touch with friends who have the same heart. It’s not easy to be different, to have priorities that don’t seem to fit into the world’s view of normal. But we know that as children of God, we are called to be on a different mission. And that as women we have a huge responsibility to safeguard what does or doesn’t come into our homes and influence our families.

This weekend was what my son would probably call a “1-up”. It gave me extra life. It reminded me that I’m not alone running this faith race, that I’m not the only girl in the world who desires to be a better wife, mom, sister, neighbor, friend. That I’m not there yet and never will be, but that with all that is in me I should be trying. And that when I get discouraged or off track, despite the distance I cherish a beloved circle of friends that I can share my soul with and they will redirect and recourage me.