Monday, December 26, 2011

Weep With Those Who Weep

A few weeks ago my friend Alicia wrote a blog post titled: Rejoice with those who rejoice.  The month of November had been filled with much rejoicing as good friends came to the adoption finish line.  Long days of children waiting in orphanages were now replaced with sweet tears and cheers in an airport waiting area.   I spent almost the entire month in awe of a God that would allow 3 children to go from having nothing to having everything - a family.  I was left with an intense feeling of gratitude to a God who knows every detail of our lives and knows what each of His children need before we even ask.  I must have listened to Travis Cottrell’s "Thanks Be To Our God" at least a hundred times...

Hallelujah! Everlasting songs will rise For all you've done.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Thanks be to our God!

And then came December. On December 6th, I found out my mother has cancer. The days of rejoicing were shut down and a season of weeping began. I'm not really sure if anyone is truly thankful for days like these, but I’m trying my best to remember all He's done and be thankful in all moments.  Each moment of pain and suffering is filled with His grace, and I just ask for more...more grace, more days, more moments. I know that He is here, and I'm confident that He knows exactly what I need even in this place. 


This moment, this place, is none other than a gate to heaven, a window of grace. Even here, a place of God.  Ann Voskamp

Monday, November 07, 2011

The journey of 5000 miles must begin with a ride to the airport

This past Saturday I took my friends Tracey and Keith to the airport. Usually taking someone to the airport can feel like somewhat of a chore but not on this day because they were going to pick up their CHILDREN!  Yes, children, as in plural, as in two big boys are now going to have a family!  Needless to say, things were a little hectic with all the things that you have to remember when you're leaving 5 children at home with family members, packing for 2 adults, packing the clothing items for 2 new kids and various and sundry items.  It was a lot of stuff but at this point, I know how to get people packed and shipped off to's one of my gifts.

So we're riding along and there was lots of anxiety in the car.  The type of before going on a big trip anxiety because you're worried about forgetting something and then there's the anticipation of can you believe this day is finally here and we're going to pick up our children!  I think I asked them 5 times if they had their passports because I have an obsessive compulsive disorder of always worrying about forgetting or losing my passport.  So anyhoo, we get to the airport and we're pulling all the luggage out of the car and Tracey says...

Oh no! I forgot my SHARPIE!

As soon as I heard the word FORGOT, my heart started pounding and I was like OH NO! And then I heard the item she forgot and my heart settled quickly but she immediately said, "You have one of those in your car, right?  I bet you have one in your car and it's okay if you don't but you know how I like to travel with a SHARPIE so I can write names on water bottles." 

And yes, I had two Sharpies in my car because like a good girl scout, Big Nanny is always prepared.

No one guessed Sharpie!
What did Tracey forget?  Leave your answer in the comments or in the Facebook comments.  The first one to answer correctly will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card.  Let the guessing begin :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesdays at Target

If you're anything like me you spend a lot of time and money in Target. It's a convenient place to pick up everyday items like toilet paper, or the latest fancy designer clothes like that fancy Missoni brand stuff they came out with last month. I personally thought all of that Missoni brand stuff had some high price tags to be sitting on a Target store shelf but then I saw the price on these and realized that sometimes you just have to dole out the cash to get the good stuff.

Pajama Jeans now selling at Target for just $39.99.
As seen on TV!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Favorite Thing Friday

I love this cup.  It's my favorite.
I like to drink from a straw and this cup makes me drink more water.
I only drink water from this cup. 
I'm not OCD but this cup is for water only
Not for Cokes, not for Diet Dr. P and definitely not for tea because 
I don't really care for tea. I spend lots of time with people that like tea. 
Specifically, one unsweet tea with 3 lemons and one Splenda...
that's why I don't drink tea. It's too complicated.
You can fill said cup with water from your tap or fridge...
yes, from your tap.
You'll save lots of money and not have to buy bottled water.
You can buy the cup at Kroger.
Give your bottled water savings to a worthy cause.
Give the cup with a cute tag to your favorite teacher!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Confessions of a Lost and Found Shopper

I sometimes find myself shopping in the rarest of places...

The lost and found box at church. Yes, I know it's tacky to admit such a thing, but I find good stuff. And that good stuff is free if no one comes to the box and claims it after 30 days.

But this kind of shopping can also get quite awkward...

Like when someone compliments the item you're wearing and you wonder if they used to own it?


Someone comes up to you and says, "I lost a pair of sunglasses, you haven't seen them have you?" and you're wearing them on your head...awkward.


Someone says to you, "My sister has a pair of sunglasses like that." And then you have to awkwardly admit that they might be your sister's sunglasses because you got them out of the lost and found.

But it's a chance I'm willing to take. I sported a great scarf all last winter and received many compliments. Yes, I just don't just take the sunglasses. I'm not too good to wash and wear your accessories to spruce up last year's sweater dress.

A recent sunglass acquisition was a pair of Ann Taylor Loft sunglasses that were left on the kitchen counter at church. They had been sitting there for a good while, and I had asked several people about them and no one claimed them. They were great sunglasses.

And then one day someone asked about the location of some Ann Taylor Loft sunglasses...

The downside of this type of shopping is sometimes the glasses belong to your friends and the right thing to do is to give them back.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Why Rich People Should Not Make Hotdogs

On a recent trip to the beach, we decided to visit the quaint/affluent/trendy town of Seaside, Florida.  The Lil'Nanny and I decided to get a hotdog from Wild Bill's Beach Dogs.  Wild Bill's Beach Dogs works out of silver bullet trailer and I took that as a good sign.  My years of hotdog reviewing and stats have proven that a lower quality style establishment produces a better dawg.

I ordered a hotdog with chili, cheese & onions.

The Lil'Nanny ordered her dawg plain.

Did I mention the sign said the dawgs were organic? That should have been the first piece of evidence to indicate that these would be the worst tasting hotdogs in the world.  Our second piece of evidence was the appearance of the dawg.  It looked like the worst hotdog in the world, but they don't show you the dawg before you buy it.  My third indicator should have been the fillers, no nitrates, no hormones and no antibiotics.  I've done the research and I know that you can't make a good hotdog without those essential ingredients.

But here is the kicker...
Two hotdogs and two drinks cost a total of...$21.65. The economy has been hit hard and this is why the rich have gone to makin' hotdogs.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Longest Mile

Last Saturday, the 30th day of April in the year of our Lord 2011, I ventured out on a journey with one of my best friends to walk 13.1 miles.  As always, I want to give you the behind the scenes scoop of how a marathon works. 

The journey started when I woke up at 4 a.m. and made the decision to get out of bed.  I hadn't felt well the day before and I wasn't even sure I could make it to the shower. My game plan was that I would pack a credit card in my backpack and if I started feeling bad during the marathon then I would call a cab to take me back to my car.  I picked up Alicia and we were on our way.  I had a Gatorade, a banana, and a pack of GU gummies on the way for a little pick me up.  We arrived at LP field and then had to ride a bus to our "starting corral".  On the way to the corral we decided to make a little stop to the Port'O'John.  It was in this Port'O'John that I had to do some quick maneuvering and thinking because this was by far the nastiest restroom experience that I had ever had in my life. From my observations, I think there are some runners (no pun intended) out there that might need to seek the wise counsel of a gastroenterologist.  IN.MY.LIFE!

Here we are in our corral.  The race starts at 7 a.m. but everyone can't start running at the same time so you get sent to a corral according to the number on your shirt and how long it will take you to run walk the race. And no, I'm not wearing a shower cap and thanks to Shawn Hanks, I now know there is not a swim segment during the race. I'm wearing a headband that we bought when from a booth when we went to pick up our number bibs.  And those numbers are called bibs in the marathon world.

The starting line.  It's just us and 30,000 other people going for a stroll.

Before we had even finished mile one I started getting hungry because we kept passing fast food restaurants.  I seriously considered going in McDonald's for an egg mcmuffin because I really was feeling like I was going to need some protein to endure this day of misery, but I decided that it was just too early in the game to do that.  This race was seriously lacking in water and snacks so by mile three I had all I could take and told Alicia I was going into the next convenience store to get some Gatorade and something to eat.  I bought 2 Gatorade's, 2 power bars, 1 bag of beef jerky, 1 pack of peanut butter crackers and a bag of chips.  Yes, I shared with Alicia.  I didn't sit down to eat, I just kept on walking and snacking.  I would also like to mention at this time that when you're walking through all of the Nashville neighborhoods there is a yard party like atmosphere and people are out drinking it up at 8:00...that was somewhat irritating.  I'm running walking a marathon and people are kicking back the jack and having a good ol'time.

I did feel better after my snacks and Gatorade.  Our legs and feet were burning because we had never walked more than 3.5 miles at the rec center and we never practiced walking any hills.  Would have been nice to know about the hills. We did try jogging two segments of the marathon just so we could get it over sooner but it's hard to eat snacks while jogging.  Here is the mile 10 marker just for official documentation purposes.  (I would really like to have this blog post notarized just so people don't ever try to say..."you didn't do the Country Music Marathon" I can pull out an official document from the state of Tennessee to prove it.)

And here is the glorious finish line.  Our official time from start to finish was 3:47:54.  They give you a little tag to put on your shoe so it knows exactly when you cross the start and finish line.  You can view this official document here.  And you might be able to view some pictures and video here.

And here we are with our medals. It is at this time that I would like to point out that a 1/2 marathon is really 14.1 miles if you count the time you have to walk from your car to the shuttle bus and then from the finish line to your car.  We followed up this marathon with a celebration lunch at Five Guys Hamburgers because again there was not an appropriate amount of nourishment offered during this marathon. 

A big thanks to Alicia for talking me through the race and picking me up at 5:55 a.m. for the last 3 months.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Many of you know that I have committed to run walk the Country Music Half Marathon this year. Yeah, I'm not sure what got into me. One day the thought crossed my mind that I should challenge my almost 40 self with some sort of fitness goal this year and the thought immediately left my mind within 30-40 it should have. But then...I logged on to my Facebook account and noticed that my friend Alicia had posted that she was running in the marathon. And then I got all commenty and left a comment that said...

I was thinking about doing that too!

And before I knew it I had an email from Alicia in my inbox with all of the registration information and yes, we could do this together.

And let this here be a handy dandy reminder that the Facebook can get you into all kinds of trouble because I'm now signed up to run walk...

The country music marathon!

But in true Big Nanny fashion, I kept this on the DL because I knew what my people would say...

The first comment comes from my assistant Awesome Amber after finding the training plan printed out on the office copier...who printed this out??? who's running a marathon???? are you running a marathon??? Note to self: If you print anything at the office, you better run and get it off the copier ASAP!

The second comment arrived via Facebook from the one and only Teresa Wood...

I don't even know who you are anymore? Did you get malaria on your trip or something?

The third comment arrived in a room full of friends when someone mentioned that I was running a marathon. It came from Checkers: You're running a marathon? How come I didn't know about this? It's like you're cheating on us with exercise???

But now the cats out of the bag and everyone wants to know the status of my training. Like how far are you on the training? How's it going? What are you up to? How many miles can you do? I'm just going to let everyone know right now that I'm not a professional marathoner and I don't know the answer to any of those questions.

Alicia and I have discussed it, and we only have one goal. Here it is...

To not send a text to each other at 5:55 a.m. with some lame excuse that says we can't go to the rec center. That's the goal. So far, we're making the goal!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the first day of Ethiopian Christmas

It has taken me a sweet forever to put into words the special time that my team had in January celebrating Christmas in Ethiopia. It would be the longest blog post ever so I'm just going to divide what we did into several posts.

On the first day of Ethiopian Christmas...

We loaded up the vans with all the goodies and headed to the countryside. Okay, I didn't really load any of those vans. Some very strong Ethiopian men did that. I just went around looking in the windows of three different vans making sure I had all my people. I did that a lot. At some point during this time someone asked Sumer, "Will we get nauseous on the van ride to the countryside?" Sumer replied, "You will only get nauseous if you are afraid you are going to die." That one sentence sums up a van ride in Africa. :)

On our super, fast, speedy way to the countryside we stopped and took a team picture under an African tree. I thought it would make a cool pic. You can see how cool I look carrying that rainbow bright purse. You too can be that cool if you run into Marshall's the day before you leave for a mission trip.

We stopped for a quick bite on the way to the school...

Well, some had a bite to eat. Some were led to believe that there would be another opportunity to eat that day. This right here is a learning point that I would like to impress to future team when given the opportunity, you don't know when or where your next meal is gonna happen.

We arrived at the school and it was time for meetings and greetings...

This is Candace meeting Buzyeah for the first time. She sponsors her and she now attends school and no longer depends on the local dump for food. This was one of my favorite pictures from our trip.

This is me introducing my Birhane to some of the team. Several team members met their sponsored child for the first time.

After we got settled it was time to hand out the shoes that Soles for Jesus sent with us to give to all the kids.

Missy and one of our happy customers...

The team trying to find sizes and get everyone fitted...

We started in daylight and ended at dark. By the time we left the school it was too late for dinner so we checked into the resort and packed the stockings for Christmas day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Office: Inter-Office Memo

Way back in thee olden days I used to work in a corporate office, and we had what was called an inter-office memorandum. Hold still if you're under 30 because this is going to rock your world...we didn't have email! We had a handy-dandy manila envelope that had a note inside and lines on the outside of it and you would sign it when you read the material. This would let the originator of said memo know that you had read the material and it was now your responsibility to pass it to the next person. It was like tag and it required us to get up out of our cushy office chairs. The great thing about the inter-office memo was that no one could reply all. You couldn't reply anything. You had to keep your snarky comments to yourself.

I now work in the technical world of email and countless reply all emails. We can put just about anything out there on the "all staff" email for everyone to read. We get many announcements and requests in the "all staff" email box. Here is my most recent favorite "all staff" email from the local senior pastor...

Subject: SUV

Hey gang,
I am looking for a full size suv. Most likely a chevy or gmc. 4 wheel drive. Something along the line of suburban or tahoe. I would love the quad seating (buckets in the middle row). Preferably one in mint condition driven only to church and Kroger by a little ole lady. Somewhere in the year model 2004 to 2006 or a really really clean 03. Under a 100k miles. If you see one for sale on the side of the road in front of the nursing home or something please let me know. Thanks.

So if you just so happen to find out about a Tahoe or Suburban driven by a little ole lady (because all the grannies are driving Tahoes these days) or see one sitting in front of the nursing home (because I'm sure the nursing homes allow their patients to pull up their old Suburban and put a for sale sign on it out in the parking lot.) let me know and I'll send out an "all staff" email.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taking Care of Business

On my recent trip to Africa I found myself in one of the most glorious places on earth...BUSINESS CLASS!

Yes, I got bumped up to business class because I had the good sense to have my friend/former teacher, Anita, who has some kind of gold/platinum/diamond member status at Lufthansa Airlines join me on this trip. She just flashed her shiny membership card, and I suddenly found myself on lifestyles of the rich and famous. For all of you little people that didn't get to sit on my side of the curtain, let me give you a little peek into my world...

Check out all that beautiful leg room footage! I could have planted a garden on that row. I'm not going to mention any names but a certain mission's pastor had to sit in coach across from a puking child during this time.

This is my slightly medicated self in the seat that reclines out to make a bed. It was during this time that we had a two hour delay that I didn't even notice. (That's just funny because I have some issues with patience. At one point during this trip, one of my friends asked me if I had read my Bible yet that day because I was being so impatient over getting a Pepsi. Just for the record, I was really tired, cranky and thirsty that day.)

The meals in business class are fancy too. Everything comes on glass plates and you get real silverware. No boxed meals for me and no plastic wrappers to open. I wasn't crazy about this fancy salad but that pat of real butter for my bread made up for it. No chemical laden margarine products for me. I like my butter, and I like it real.

This is Anita. Anita brings the funny wherever she goes. She quickly found out that I just didn't take her to Africa, I took her to secret fat camp. Thanks for going to Africa with me and thanks for taking me to the land of reclining seats and leg room!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teenage Tuesday, Hellister

There is a place in this world that no mother in her right mind wants to go. A place of torment. It is loud there and no one wants to help you. This place is in the mall. Some call it...

I call it Hellister.

My 13 year old daughter requested a sweater for Christmas from this institution of snobbery and mediocre teenage sportswear. I had been to this store before and knew that going to this place alone was not an option especially during the holiday season so I brought some supportive friends with me. All of these people had preschool children and had no idea how bad this place was going to be.

I walked into the store and made my first move...

I asked for help. Something so simple but so difficult to get. At one point, I had to give the boy the hand. Like a hand wave with a hey could you help me look. Because no one offers you help there. Or maybe they don't offer help to anyone over 30, I'm not sure.

My second move...

I asked for the "navy" sweater that was on the display. Not gonna happen. They will not sell you an item that is on a display. Obviously, the economy is not that bad if they won't sell you the item that you need.

My third move...

I saw a table of black sweaters and asked if they had anymore of the same sweater in navy? She told me the sweater I was holding was navy and not black. I looked at it and said are you sure? It looks black? (Note to self: do not question sales associates.) I was immediately given a look of disgust and ignorance when the teen sales associate told me, "We don't sell anything black in this store; it is navy."

You might think this would deter me from buying said sweater from snobby establishment. Nope, I'm willing to suffer through Hellister to get daughter her navy (it can't be black!) sweater.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mission Monday, Ordinary Hero

Ordinary Hero is a great Nashville non-profit organization that does child and orphan advocacy around the world. Their motto is change the world for one. They were a huge help in finding sponsors to get our Project 61 kids out of the dump and into boarding school. You can click on this link and check out their website here: Ordinary Hero. They also have a list of children on their website waiting to be adopted.

My friend Avery is participating in their shirt design contest. They are creating a new children's shirt and letting a child design it. Here is Avery's design...

You can click on his picture and it will take you to the Ordinary Hero Blog so you can look at all the pictures and vote for Avery. You need to go today and place #27 Avery in the comment section. Or you can click here Ordinary Hero Blog.

I might have to get this shirt while I'm over there voting :)