First Girl

My oldest daughter Melanie turns 27 today.  In honor of her birthday, I thought I’d write some mom-related thoughts about her (indulge me!):

  • She was born in Miami, Florida, on a Saturday morning at 11:27 a.m.  I was considered high-risk (Crohn’s disease issues) and was assigned to give birth in Jackson Memorial Hospital, the largest medical facility in south Florida.
  • Al and I were holed up in the Jackson Memorial labor & delivery department the entire night before her birth.  I remember us, wide-eyed white-bread-Southerners, blown away by our surroundings.  There were a dozen Spanish-speaking mamacitas lining the hallway outside my room in gurneys, alternating their prayers with urgent pleas for C-sections.  These were the indigent patients we were told, who didn’t have health insurance and so were relegated to wait it out there until their babies arrived. We were also told that these ladies were taught to “scream the pain away” every time they were hit with a contraction.  OH MY GOODNESS–did they ever take that advice to heart!  I don’t think we got ten minutes of sleep that night.
  • A  close Christian sister who also worked at Jackson Hospital–Sonja Kinghorn–helped deliver Melanie.  Sonja was a Jamaican midwife who was a member of our church in Miami, and oh how glad we were to see her radiant brown face the next morning!  Another sister in Christ, Jodie Dunton, was a nurse on the labor and delivery floor and was a member of our choir.  These two ladies were godsends in so many ways.

It’s hard to believe that my baby girl is 27, because the memories of holding her warm little body close. . . of smelling her skin and hair. . .of dressing her in cute little clothes. . . of taping ribbons to her head for church. . . all seem like just yesterday.

Her daddy and I are extremely proud to be known as “Mel’s parents.”  She enjoys writing (like her Mama) and messing around with graphic art, throws herself into DIY projects and house decorating, and adores pug dogs (has two of them).  She loves the Lord, is extremely responsible, is loved by all who know her.  She’s a fierce friend, a loyal sibling, and unabashed “Daddy’s girl.”   She is funny as all get-out and succeeds in making us laugh whenever we are around her.  A true ray of sunshine–and we are so blessed to have had the privilege of raising her and enjoying her as an adult.

Happy, happy birthday, Mel!

Lookin’ up,


2 iPad or not 2 iPad?

I am not a techie.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m not even a Mac disciple, though I am getting there–slowly getting there.

Recently I gave into temptation.  I purchased an iPad for myself to give my writing productivity a shot in the proverbial arm.  I own an old Lenovo Thinkpad laptop (bought in 2004) that is quite a dinosaur.  Hubbie gave it to me for Mother’s Day, and I was thrilled when I got it!  I have tap-tapped out my stories and novels on it in the past quite happily.

However, all good things must come to an end.  I have no idea how much memory the Thinkpad came equipped with or how much usable space I have left on it.  All I know is that it’s old.  And slow.  And terribly frustrating.

Why the jump to an iPad?  I belong to a couple of writers’ loops and follow the trends people discuss there.  There has been a recurring thread about what items folks are bringing to the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, and an iPad is an oft-mentioned one.  Since I am also attending and wanted a device to keep up with things at home and at the conference, my ears perked up.  The reasons they cited for packing an iPad and not a laptop?  Its size, ease of use in a lecture setting, and all those darned cool apps that one can get to navigate iPadom.

At the Apple store I bought the least expensive one (to thy own self be true!), a WiFi unit with only 16KB memory.  It’s aluminum with black trim.  It’s sleek and thin.  Incredibly thin and light.  Just a little bulkier than my Kindle e-reader. After test-driving a Brookstone case/external keyboard for the iPad that exported some keys to weird positions, I’m going to return the case to the store.  In its place I’ve ordered a Logitec aluminum case/external keyboard off the internet that has the regular Qwerty keyboard which should enable me to type at close to my normal pace.

How am I faring in MacLand?  So far, pretty good.  Supposedly you must be an intuitive thinker to navigate Apple products.  Being used to a PC, I found some things very nonintuitive, at least for me.  Yesterday during the yucky weather of the hurricane’s aftermath, I played with it for hours.  (Did I mention it has a very cool 10-HOUR battery?)  Of course I hit a few snags along the way, while  synching everything up or trying to navigate my way to a certain place.  Hubby, who is fluent in Mac, was able to slide screens and punch up a few invisible keys for me in order to send me contentedly on my way.

I know, I know, this was a big expense to be sucked into.  I thought I might feel that way, but 48 hours out from the purchase I’m pleasantly surprised.  The iPad’s size and accessibility factor sold me.  I want to be able to slip it into my purse. . whip it out to write on when I have a few minutes. . check my email or FB while lounging in a hot spot. . .listen to my iPod tunes. . . jot sermon and meeting notes on it.

So far, so good. . .now I just have to figure how to password-proof myself out of Spy Mouse so I can get some real work done. . . .

Lookin’ up,


Home Again

Last week we vacationed in the Great Smoky Mountains with my parents, my two sisters, and their children.  The Rixies/Barnes/Plushes/Huffmans are an interesting mix of personalities, each with definite likes and dislikes.

My sweet mother always rents a place for the fourteen of us and then cooks herself silly (her own idea of a va-ca.  Go figure.)  The condos/house can be located in the mountains, at the beach,  or sometimes in an area with a historical bent.  Wherever we find ourselves, it is a time of being thrown together with extended family and lots and lots of personal free time.  (Personally, if I score a stack of paperbacks and a quiet place to read, I’m a happy camper.)  There are no established requirements on our vacation, other than to show up at the dinner table for Grandma’s meals.

In general, vacations are a great break from reality.    You get to:

  • Physically distance yourself from distractions of daily life
  • Strengthen family bonds, sometimes sorely tested in the day-to-day
  • Refresh and refill your tank with new experiences you otherwise might not have had

One thing Europeans have gotten right over the Americans is the duration of what they term a “holiday”–usually at minimum a two-week stay.  We Americans short-shrift ourselves to squeezing out one week at a time, with a day or two of that allotted for travel.  Hardly do you get unpacked in your room, before it’s time to gather it all up and go back from whence you came.

Regardless of how long they are, vacations are blessings from God.  Even with the extra preparations they require.  Even with the dreaded piles awaiting when you return.   On vacation, we can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  We can reflect on His goodness and His provision.  We can just be, if we wish.

Someday every believer in Jesus will embark on a getaway of a lifetime, to a wondrous place.  There will be no time crunch, no lowering of bank accounts, no dirty laundry, no emails out the wazoo.  Just zillions upon zillions of years in eternity with our Loving Savior–and that long to mix it up with our kindred tooling alongside us in heaven.  We will be enthralled with the most glorious of scenery, have the most magical air to breathe, fulfill the most extraordinary purpose ever–that of praising our Lord Jesus forever and forever, on into eternity.

All of that, without ever repacking a suitcase again.  Vacation = Permanent Home.

Hmmmm. . . I say, SIGN ME UP!  Are you ready to go?

Lookin’ up,