Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I’m not really sure if having two weeks off for Christmas is too much or too little. I never want to go back to work, and I’m starting to get comfortable in this routine of staying up too late, sleeping too late, and drinking too much coffee. At all times of the day or night. Scandalous, I know.

I thought about doing a recap of the year’s highlights, but if you’re really that interested, just read some old blogs. ;) Instead, I decided to do a recap of this year’s best quotes…

Question: “Who was the Democratic Speaker of the House?”
Answer: “Condoleezza Rice.”

Student, discussing whether or not a professor was gay: “Maybe he likes the rainbow, but he stays away from the rainbow.”

Student: “It’s okay if I miss a Spanish lecture. I’ll just watch ‘Dora the Explorer’ before the next class and catch up.”

Me: “I gotta say, this paper was really impressive.”
Student: “Really?”
Me: “Yeah. Impressively bad.”

Me: “Have you started working on your multimedia project yet?”
Student: “No. I think we’re going to wait until the last week.”
Me: “Um…yeah, that’s now. It’s due next week.”
Student: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You can’t drop that bombshell on me!”
Me: “It’s been in the syllabus since the beginning of the semester.”

Student: “I’ve got three girlfriends.  I’m very productive.”

Student: “I want my hair to be long and flowing. Like a mermaid’s.”

Student: “My life is like a box of chocolates…you know, dark.”

Student: “My mom puts Scripture all over my wall because she thinks that I’ve got men over in my room all the time.”

Lastly, here are some pictures from Christmas.

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

How I love them

We gathered together Saturday to honor Betty, to remember her for her love, her generosity, her humor, and her spirit. It was the first time we all had been together in a long time, and, more importantly, it was the first day that the three great-grandbabies -- Joshua, Jack, and Miriam -- met.

Three babies, all looking the wrong direction
Of course, none of the great-grands had the desire to all look at the camera at the same time. I understand Miriam's excuse. I mean, she is only three months old. The boys, however, know to look at the camera, lol!

JuJu and Jack
 She's just getting some quick practice in. Her first grandchild is due Dec. 26. How fun is that!!

My grandmother is holding her first great-granddaughter. I absolutely love this picture. My only regret is not getting Miriam's mother and grandmother in this picture as well. As it is, though...I'll just be happy with Miriam and Granny. =)

Granny, Miriam, Jack and Nicole, his aunt
See?? I told you Jack knows how to look at the camera!

How many women does it take to get two cute boys to look at a camera?

 Apparently, six....(counting me!)

Joshua still does not understand that he's no longer the only great-grand in the family. This has apparently not been an easy adjustment for him, ha! As you can tell by these pictures, he's not all that sure of Jack!

And, of course, my husband wanted to play with all of these sweet angels...

Jack, his grandfather, and his great-uncle

They're having their first child within a few weeks, and it'll be Baby Boy No. 3 (for our family, at least!)! It's the first grandchild for my aunt and uncle. Who's excited? We all are!

My husband playing with Joshua
Joshua gets some lovin' from his grandmother.
My mom holds sweet Miriam
Oh, aren't these babies adorable?? And we're all just a bunch of "baby hogs" lol!! If someone was holding one of them, it would not be five minutes before that bundle of joy was passed along to someone else. It's so much fun having them around, and I can't wait to watch these little angels -- and Bryce and Katie's, who is due any day! -- to grow up in our family.

Friday, December 16, 2011

So this is Christmas…

I remember as a kid hating to count down to Christmas. Because I was always looking forward to it, but somehow after all the gifts were unwrapped and scattered across the floor, that’s when I remembered that half my Christmas break was – gasp – over. As much as I loved Christmas and the anticipation of it, I knew that the time for me to return to school seemed much closer at noon on Dec. 25 than it seemed at noon Dec. 24. 
This year, Christmas is different – for many reasons, good and bad. Bad, obviously, because this is the first year without Betty. The second week without Betty. My parents and I are actually exchanging gifts tonight because a) my dad will be home and b) I mean…why not? 
Additionally, Kyle and I have (mainly) exchanged gifts. He has one more than I had shipped to Misti’s house to open, and he actually has to have mine installed (auxiliary cord in my car, what what!). But it’s just different this year. 
But it is Christmas, despite this stupid 70-degree weather we had yesterday. If I’m running in shorts and a T-shirt in December, it’s just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ve been wearing sweaters despite the weather. It’s December, dangit, and I want to wear sweaters.
One really sweet moment in this month, however, is Christmas at my house. Our new house. Kyle and some friends put up lights outside (for the first time EVER), we bought an eight-foot live tree, and I strung Christmas lights all around. I made some new crafts for the holiday, and we bought a few new decorations to add in our house.

My holly jolly Christmas wreath I made. I must say, I'm quite proud of it! =)
Our Christmas mantle 

My nativity. I've lost a few pieces, but I still have the Baby Jesus. That's kind of necessary for any nativity, really.

Tinsel going down the stairs...
Tinsel going up the stairs. =)
Our photo Christmas cards (as of Monday!)
Peppermint trees I made resting on a silver tray my aunt got me for my birthday
Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree... 
Our eight-foot tree! LOVE how it smells and how beautiful it is!
Lol, just a fun Christmas tree cheese/tomato tray I made for a work party
Beautiful memories have been made, and more have yet to be made. I love spending time with my friends and family, even though the time with family is a bit marred by sadness. But, still, in the pain, praise God for His mercy. She could have suffered for longer, but He welcomed her into His presence in peace. She was with my aunt and grandmother – leaving loved ones behind but being welcomed by Christ and other loved ones.
Continue to pray for us, friends. This is a difficult time. I’m so thankful to have an opportunity to be off of work for two weeks, to spend time with my family, with my husband’s family, and to refresh myself for 2012.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My mom's youngest sibling, Betty, passed away yesterday afternoon around 3 p.m.

My mom said my aunt was rubbing her hair and my grandmother was holding her hand.

The memorial service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in Eudora, Ark., Betty's hometown.
Betty and Nicole, my cousin
The siblings -- can you tell who the cut up is in the family? I'll give you a hint. He's front and center.
Just keep us all in your prayers, please.

Monday, December 12, 2011


NOTE: As I well know, many of you are suffering this Christmas season from some sort of loss. If you’re having a good day or if you are a member of my family, just go ahead and stop reading now. I'm quite serious. Writing is my expression and a release for me, very similar to running. If you’re suffering through loss and want to know that someone else feels your pain and you think that would help, go ahead and keep going.

I wrote this last week with no intention of using it as a blog or to go public in any way. Again…writing is cathartic for me. However, the more I think about it, the more I just get a feeling that maybe this is good. I don’t really know how. There’s nothing hopeful or uplifting really in this writing. Just raw, barely filtered (for privacy’s sake) words. We do have hope in Christ. I realize and am joyful for that. Yes, there is joy in this pain, because she has her faith in the One who will save her from everything this world has thrown at her. And for that, yes, I am quite joyful. But it doesn’t take away the sense of losing this battle or the feeling of helplessness.

We received news last week that Betty has a brain tumor, and the doctors sent her home without treatment. As of today, one of my aunts and my grandmother are in Texas with her and her husband.


For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21

“Universal emotion,” I explained to the class, “is no different from regular emotion. I just specify that it’s universal so you realize that everyone feels. Everyone has joy. Everyone suffers. Everyone has a good day. Everyone has a bad day. Universal emotion, in your columns, is about writing something that has emotion, that connects with a large number of people – because we’ve all experienced that.”

It was dark when I got the call. I was heating soup in the microwave, trying to watch for when it started bubbling. When I got the call, I let the soup go. It splattered all over the microwave.

I tried to remain calm, tried to sound strong for my mom, who was suffering, but when I saw my husband, I remembered…I don’t have to do this alone. There he is, a trained, professional counselor here in my house, right now, who can deal with this. Because I can’t. Not right now.

I handed him the phone and hated myself for not being able to hang on.

He talked to my mom, talked to my dad, asked what we could do. He’s so good at separating himself from the situation to make logical, rational choices. After he hung up, he looked at me. “What do you need me to do?”

I shrugged. “I’m going running.”

It’s amazing how stress can make you forget that you’re running in the dark. In 36 degree weather. For 50 minutes. It’s amazing how hearing that your aunt has a month to live makes you forget to take walking breaks. My running partner just thought we were doing well on our run to only take one walking break in five miles. Truth was, I forgot to stop. But I didn’t tell about the phone call.

My running directly correlates with my stress. That’s why I started running – because I was overly stressed. It’s a means to escape, to keep my mind busy as one foot goes in front of the other, one foot goes in front of the other, over and over, over and over. Repetitive. Scenery changes. You keep running.

“What’s something that you could write about – a personal, emotional story that others can connect with? Just think of something off the top of your head. K – what are you thinking about?”

K is shy. Reserved. But she’s smart. You can see it in her eyes. She wants to learn; she wants to be a good student. She wears a 2009 senior shirt, so she’s probably 19 or 20 at the oldest. She looks young.

“Becoming a mother,” she said with a hint of pride.

I was surprised. “Do you have kids?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, smiling. “A little boy. He’s 11 months.”

I sent a text message with the same, impersonal message: “The doctors are not treating Aunt Betty and are sending her home. They say she has one month. Please pray for her and our family.”

I didn’t want to send it, frankly. I wanted to bottle this hatred, this unthinkable bitterness up inside and not let others have to endure it. But I did, mainly because my dad asked me to – he asked me to have others pray. And others can’t pray if they don’t know there’s a problem.

I’m sure my family thinks I’m a bit crazy when I joke about certain things. I’m sure they wonder why I laugh about something as awful as some of the things that have happened this past year. But what are my options? I can laugh or cry. And, if there’s any possible way I can laugh – I will. Sure, it hurts. But if I can laugh about it, I can get by.

That’s why I didn’t want to tell anyone. Why make them suffer as well? Why make them uncomfortable? And I’m the world’s worst at receiving heartfelt condolences. 

J sent me a text this morning saying, “I’m sorry.” And it crushed me just a little. Not because it was a condolence, but because it was true. She was sorry. And she knew, maybe better than others, that nothing else can be said.

“What else is a universal emotion?” I asked. “What about fear? Hollywood has capitalized on the fear market. They create movies and shows to scare us.”

“I’m not scared of movies,” A said.

“Really?” I asked. “Then what are you afraid of?”

I was leading them to my next point: death.

So I told them. But I didn’t tell them everything. I didn’t tell them about having lunch with Aunt Betty last week. How awful it was. How she couldn’t walk straight. Couldn’t hold a fork. Couldn’t read the menu. Fell down outside. Was in tears the whole time. Couldn’t remember where she was.

That was hard. It left me raw.

What do we do now? Where do we go for this month? This awful, long, stupid month? While we wait, while we pray, and while we wonder – do we have today? Do we have an extra day?

“What about death?” I asked. “You’ve all, I’m sure, experienced it by having someone close to you die. And I want to ask you this: Are there things worse than death?”

“No,” A said firmly.

“What about torture?” I asked.

The rest of the class consented that torture was worse than death, but A disagreed. “Even if they torture you, you end up dying,” she said.

I thought it strange – that death was a greater fear to her than torture. Death would seem more of a release than torture. But maybe that’s because of my faith. Maybe because I know after death, there’s life.

“What about Alzheimer’s?” I asked. “Is that worse than death?”

“Yes,” J said, his eyes darkening. “My grandmother has it – and as hard as it is to watch her…it’s even harder to watch my mother have to help her mother.”

I knew exactly what he was talking about. I thought about my husband's aunt selflessly taking care of her mother, day after day. One foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, over and over, over and over. I thought about Betty and my grandmother, how Granny is trying to take care of her. Of how Betty now has to have someone take care of her – and she’s barely in her 50s.

“Yes,” I echoed J. “There are things worse than death.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, putting up decorations, going to parties, and planning festivities...sometimes, it's good to have a girls' night with nothing else to do but paint.

Angie and her reindeer
A few friends and I arranged to participate in a Palette Party, where we spent three hours doing nothing but talking and picking out paint colors. Christmas music played in the background, and we just sat back and relaxed, letting our teachers help us when necessary and enjoying each other's company.

Bethany, a super half-marathoner (seriously, she just finished a halfie in Vegas this week), and her Christmas painting 
Christmas always seems to be a time of the year when everyone's so busy. So much to do, so much to plan. So much to enjoy! But sometimes...sometimes it's nice that your biggest concern is whether to use the dark blue or the light blue paint for your next stroke.

Brandi and Morgan with their reindeers
What a great reason we have to celebrate. What a great opportunity that many of us around the world get to celebrate the birth of our Savior. And, yes, while Christmas PROBABLY isn't Jesus' birth date, it's nice that we picked a special day to celebrate His birth and what it would mean for mankind.

Christy and me with my blue dog and her Christmas trees. And, yes, that is a Blue Chihuahua. =) 
Joy to the world, the Lord has come. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thoughts from the dog

Merry Christmas from the Super family...including the Super dog...
Vicki: "Aunt Misti, I thought you were on my side on this one. I bet your dogs don't get stuffed in gift bags for pictures. This is just as bad as the stocking incident a few years ago. Oh, yeah, I remember that."

 Vicki: "I'm not smiling nor looking at the camera. Haters gonna hate, but I HATE Christmas card photos."

 Vicki: "Are we done yet? Do I get a treat for this? I BETTER get a treat..."

 Vicki: "I'm pooping in all your shoes tonight."

Vicki: "Peace out, humans! I'm making a getaway!"

Merry Christmas to all!