Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Only Sister

Yes, I've accepted the challenge from my friend Teresa to get back to blogging.

Today my sister turns 29. I can still remember my Mom pacing back and forth, quietly calling the doctor, and then me being dropped off at my Aunt's house late at night. It would be days before I would get to meet her because it was the eighties, and hospitals had strict rules about kids and germs and such.  Some might think it's odd that we are so close considering the number of years between us, but we've always been this way. I guess when your 12 year old sister carries you around all the time, you have no choice but to bond with her.

We've bonded over some really bad hair daysbad hair

         I think we bonded when I made her an Aunt at age 6 (she looks a little bitter)pic 2

We've bonded on fun trips and para sailing gone badparasailing
(FYI-the para sail should not be in the water next to you)

Her wedding day
Misty and Angela 1

We’ve bonded over her pregnancies, the day I handed over her first baby boy to be circumcised and me becoming Auntie to this crazy crew…mistys kids june 2012 001

But this year we've bonded in the valley. It was this time last year that the valley was deep, and we thought we wouldn’t make it through. There were days when my Mom looked at me and then looked at her. There were no words, but I knew that she was telling me to take care of her baby.  Sure, she was bossing me in her final days about the quality of home health care that I was providing, but she still looked at her with tear filled eyes because a mom is never ready to let go of her baby.
The days of 2012 have been filled with sadness, but I'm so thankful that on December 31, 1983, my Mom walked in the house with an almost 10 pound adorable baby girl that I would finally get to hold (and boss), and I would have someone to walk through the valleys with me.
mom misty me
Happy Birthday to my sister, my only sister. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Last Place I Went With My Mother

It was now time to step into the land of chemo. I know chemo is encouraging to most people because it offers hope to those that are filled with disease. The room was filled with people that could carry on normal conversations and people that looked good. Sure, some of them had lost some hair, and looked a little pale, but most of them looked like they stopped by for a little dose of chemo on their way to the bank. And while that might encourage the average person taking a “get to know us” tour of the chemo room; it was a little discouraging to two daughters who sat at the foot of their mother’s chemo recliner trying to read magazines and look at their iPhones to hold back the tears that wanted to flow. We both knew that our mom didn’t look like any of the “stopping by for chemo people” and it would be the last place we would go with our mother.

We sat there for 6 hours as the poison ran through her veins, and we asked her if she was okay at least a 1000 times.  She was always “okay” and would doze on and off when the drugs would give her a break from the pain that now ruled her life. The nurse would stop by and say,  "You’re doing good" but we knew she didn’t mean it.  Everyone, including the doctor, knew what we were up against and this visit to chemoland was what I like to call a big dose of sympathy.  He knew it wouldn’t work, but this good ol’boy doctor from Alabama didn’t have the heart to tell a fellow southerner that she couldn’t have her chemo. So he told her if she could walk across the room (about 4 feet), he would let her do chemo and made it very clear that it would probably kill her. 

We were nearing the end of the day, and she needed to go to the restroom so I asked a nurse to help unhook all of the cords and tubes.  The nurse walked beside her as I followed closely behind. She tried to make small talk, and asked about the girls that were with her. She quickly said, “They are my daughters” with a strong sound to her voice that I hadn’t heard in days. The nurse quipped, “I hope this one’s your daughter or someone is following us.”  The nurse was just making conversation, but the few words that were spoken meant a lot to a woman that would say good-bye to her children in just one short week…

She didn’t have a lot of hope in the poison that was running through her veins, she didn’t have the strength to make conversation with another patient, and she didn’t have the energy to even read a magazine, but she was quick to say what she had…she had daughters.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teen Tuesday: Pinterest Is Your BFF

Way back in the fall the Lil’Nanny decided that she was going to move to her sister’s bedroom.  I had offered this room to her years earlier and she wasn’t interested, but then one day, she slept in there and realized that the smaller window didn’t let in as much light and she could sleep later…she’s a typical teenager.

The room needed to be painted so we got on the Pinterest to start looking for room inspiration and before we knew it, we had an entire board of teenage bedroom ideas.  You can view our teenage room ideas here.  The Lil’Nanny decided that a turquoise and black “glam” theme was her style, and I began pulling it all together.
Here’s the big reveal…

Brianna room 1
The focal point of every room is the bed so we found a reasonably priced black damask quilt at the Steinmarts.  Those large rectangle pillows on the bed are actually dog beds, but I didn’t know that when I bought them.  Not exactly as classy sounding as euro shams, but they do the trick. The mirror and decorative pillows are from Homegoods.  Homegoods is my happy place.  Sheets are from Walmart, gray blanket is from Target.

Brianna room 2
Another view of the bed. 
Brianna room 3
We got her this black vanity for Christmas.  My favorite part of buying this vanity was that it’s from Big Lots, and I needed to pick it up when I was out Christmas shopping with Alicia and Sumer.  I’m not sure that Alicia had ever been to Big Lots before so I’m always glad to expose her to a new high class shopping destination.  Sumer was like a kid in a candy store because they don’t have good Big Lots shopping in Addis Ababa. 
Brianna room 4
This was the dresser that we bought at Unfinished Furniture Mega Mart before she was born.  CraftiMama and I picked this dresser out, painted it white, and lined the drawers with baby shower wrapping paper (do people still do this?) five days before I delivered the Lil’Nanny.  It’s held up well, so I painted it glossy black and glammed it up with some crystal knobs we found at Homegoods.

Brianna room 5
A ruffle curtain from Target
Brianna room 6
We found this chalkboard wall sticker thing (Kohls) for the door.  I thought I was going to leave her fun notes of inspiration like clean your room, clean the bathroom, wash your sheets, etc., but she had other ideas. 

Our final project ended up being one of my favorite things in the room.  I bought this wood sign at the Pottery Barn Outlet years ago for the Medium Nanny’s room.  We weren’t using it anymore, but I always kept it because I knew that I could repurpose it.
  brianna room 7

My inspiration idea came from Pinterest via the Susan Harris Blog.  She makes and sells word signs on her blog.
April May June 2012 017

If you don’t know this song, you should.  You can listen to it here.  Whenever I’m getting my craft on, I can’t help but think of my CraftiMama.  My first instinct at completion is to send her a text. This was our primary means of communication the last couple years so I could always count on her for an honest opinion, and a you need to add ________.  She would have definitely suggested more bling.  This sign and this song is a reminder that oh, how He does love us especially when our hearts are broken. 

I’m thankful for craft paint, a teenage girl, and fun glamour rooms…it’s cheaper than therapy!  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Messy Monday: Clean Shower Edition

If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time then you’ve seen all those recipes for homemade cleaning recipes.  I’ve seen them over and over again and finally thought that I would give one a try. 

shower pic 4

The most popular recipe I’ve found is made by mixing equal parts white vinegar (heat vinegar in microwave for 1 minute) and Dawn dish soap into a spray bottle.  Shake a little and you get a nice aqua blue bathroom cleaner. Warning:  It stinks like you think vinegar and soap would.  Some recipes say that you have to mix up a new batch every time and that it’s the heating of the vinegar that makes this all work.

shower blog 1

The above “before” picture is the tub my children use.  Yes, I’m showing you how we they live, and I’m not ashamed.  I used to always clean the tubs on a tight every 2 weeks schedule.  Then one day, I just stopped doing that and the world didn’t come to an end.  So now I make the kids clean it whenever I think the health department might just shut us down.  What bothers me more are the amount of almost empty shampoo bottles sitting on every surface of this tub…the world just might come to an end over that but the occupants of this shower don’t seem to mind!

shower blog 2

The “after” picture.  It looks a little streaky but it was really clean.  This cleaner is made to combat (I love it when household products use “war words” like combat and destroy in their commercials) soap scum and it did do that and it got most of the gray yuck that gets stuck in the bottom of the non-slip pebbly type surface that all fiberglass tubs seem to have.  I would use it again so give it a try! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Big Nanny has been HIJACKED!!! Her "girls" wanted to take over while she was out of the country.  Enjoy the next few days as we give you some insight into our world with Big Nanny. 

We don’t need you! You need us!
 I need teachers! I pretty much always need teachers. We have a lot of preschoolers and it takes a lot of volunteers to provide good, quality care for them each week. Plus, its promotion time and teachers are moving to other departments and the “holes” are piling up.
Yes, it is true that I need to fill these holes. A huge part of my job is to staff Sunday School. But God gave me a different perspective for this year’s recruitment.
Future teachers need us.
Not me or the preschool staff, or even the precious children.
I realized that each “hole” represents an invaluable opportunity, a true gift. See, I remembered how much I grew in my faith when I started teaching two year olds. We went from church members who attended regularly to leaders who couldn’t miss. People were counting on me. I had made a commitment and I didn’t want to let those two year olds down.
However, what started as a commitment grew. It grew and grew! God took my act of obedience and He changed my heart. I started doing more Bible Studies and the people who were serving around me influenced my walk tremendously. You see, it wasn’t me that the church or even the kids needed. I needed this. I needed the opportunity to serve God on a weekly basis.
Then one day, they offered me a job. Now I can’t tell you that your service will end up in employment, but I can tell you that it will change your life!
The biggest perk – you get to work with Big Nanny!!! She is not only a really cool girl, she is one of the wisest people I have ever known! Come work with her and she will bless you!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial: T-Scarf

I didn’t have enough scarves so I thought I would start tearing up shirts so that I could add some pizazz to my wardrobe. 

So the first thing you need is a t-shirt. This is a ladies size large.

shirt 1

And you’ll need to cut straight across right under the armpit.

(Random thought: Why do little boys make noises with their hands and armpits.  I’m quite certain that’s the reason that God didn’t give me a son.  He knew I couldn’t handle the armpit noises.)

shirt 2

Now you have a rectangle that should look like this.

shirt 3

Now you will need to start cutting one inch strips.

shirt 4

Now it should look like this. At any point during this tutorial, you can stop what you’re doing and turn this into a dust rag.

shirt 5

Don’t forget to cut off the tag.

shirt 6

Now you’re going to hold the top of the fabric and pull on the bottom of each strip.  You’ll need to make it “spring” a little so that the strips don’t look so straight.

shirt 7

And then you just wrap it around until you have something that slightly resembles a scarf.  There’s a good possibility that someone is going to ask you if you have a cut up t-shirt around your neck. And then you just say…

I saw it on the Pin-Interest.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Messy Monday: Labels

Labels. I love them. You'll see evidence of them whenever I'm around. Some people like to make fun of this fact. I’m not sure why.  If everyone labeled everything; I would know where everything is and where everything goes. It’s a public service that I like to offer people so they will put items back in their correct spot. 

label 2I label my kitchen.

label 6I label my bathroom
b card pic
I label my children.
Okay, well maybe that’s taking it a little too far.  But my Dad always calls me Misty and that’s not my name.  It’s my sister’s name.  So obviously we should label our children to make it easier on parents.
labelmaker Label makers make the world a better place. You should have one.
label 1
And fancy labels make the world a prettier place.
You can get these free label templates here.
Happy Monday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Puddles and Glitter

I’m sitting in a puddle of sadness. It’s not a pit, or an ocean, or even a pond. It’s just a puddle. I step into it daily, and I get splashed by my own tears. The funeral is over, the nice words were said, the flowers are dead, but my heart aches over a loss that is so significant to me. After all, I’m grieving the loss of the first person that ever held me.

I’ve lost a family member before so I knew that this would hurt, but no one could prepare, not even me, the obsessive planner could prepare for this kind of pain. Those who have already been there have told me, you won’t get over it. You’ll get used to it; you’ll even accept it…eventually. But you won’t get over it. And I guess that’s the way it should be. No one should really ever get over the loss of their mother. But I really like to get on with things and cross things off my list, so I thought I would get through this grief thing a little quicker than the average bear. Depending on who you ask, there are 5-7 stages to grief, and I was ready to get it done because sitting in sadness is not my thing.  But there are some things in life you just can’t check off your list, and I’m thinking grief just might be one of them. 

I tell my Savior daily that I needed more time to prepare and 39 days was not enough to find out my mom has cancer and take her from this earth. I prefer to know things in advance so I can plan out my coping skills for such life changing events. And in the same breath, I thank Him for the blessing of “it happened so fast” and a life that was fully lived until the end. But my heart is exhausting my body with its tiresome ache. This ache can’t be relieved with aspirin or Advil, but sometimes the Father sends a song or two at just the right time to sooth my cracked up heart and remind me of the healing that happened on January 12th.

And in those moments, I sit in the glitter…


In mansions of glory and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright; I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I’ve been planning a mission trip for almost a year.  Yes, I stepped off the plane on January 12 of 2011 and declared it would all be done again.  Many go on mission trips to provide medical help, some to teach English, but me, I get to throw parties. 

I enjoy planning and going to parties.  But mostly, I enjoy the anticipation of a party.  I plan this event like I would if I were planning a party for my own children.

It’s not every day they get to eat meat so the finest Ethiopian cow will be served and each child will have their very own bottle of Coke or Fanta.  All children should get to drink Cokes at Christmas.  I would spend many weeks talking about the price of sheep/goats and how many sheep can $100 buy and He gently whispered…you’re not buying sheep this time

The kids in line for Christmas dinner 

A new shirt that was designed just for them.  We would take a great team picture with all the kids, but He again whispered…you might not be in the picture.

They're all getting a new t-shirt that looks like this 

And some will get new shoes because God has a great sense of humor and never lets any team that I'm leading to cross the Atlantic without shoes. 

My favorite guy getting some Spiderman shoes last year
He never said I couldn’t go, so I just continued on with the planning because I didn’t have any reason not to go.  He knows how I like to anticipate these days of party planning and seeing all of the children that have captured my heart.  Then came a reason not to go.  Two years ago I walked on to a plane because God clearly told me to go.  Obedience meant going when He gave me the big and loud: GO!  But obedience also means staying when He gave me the quiet and gentle whisper: just stay. 
The morning after I made the final decision, I read this quote:
Extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience. (Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick)

Project 61 January Team
  I’m praying that God does extraordinary things with this group!
So I just gave out 19 hugs and put all these people on a plane without me. They will have a great trip.  They will buy sheep, tell the many children that I love about Jesus, place shoes on dirty feet, and take lots of pictures of the Ethiopian Christmas Extravaganza.  They will be gripped by His grace as they love hundreds, and I will be gripped by His grace as I love one.