Mount Hermon: Day Two - Service

The recurring theme for me today was service. My writing is a gift from God to serve in ministry. The outcome of my writing may or may not be a book. My service may be to write encouraging notes to people I encounter. But the point is, I am supposed to serve others with my written words. I don’t think this theme is completely revolutionary to me, but I constantly need to be reminded of my true and only purpose.

My day began lazily, with no real events until after lunch. I spent my time choosing my workshops, catching up with my friends (did I mention we’re in the “party cabin”?) and responding to some emails. After lunch, I rebelled and skipped orientation to take a walk and shoot some photos. I’ll include a few of my favorites at the end of this entry.

Kim Bangs, of Regal Books, facilitated my first workshop, entitled “Dream Big: Taking a Concept/Idea to Developed Writing Idea.” I loved her enthusiasm and encouragement, particularly as she reminded us not to apologize for our ideas. Her workshop started my recurring theme when she said “Your main reason for writing is to serve the God who gives us the gift to write.” She questioned whether or not the eleven brothers in the story of Joseph missed their destiny because they got hung up on Joseph’s destiny. This idea fit perfectly with the discussion I’m preparing on envy for women in my church. Sometimes we are so consumed by the gifts God bestowed on others that we fail to use the gifts He granted us to serve. So timely!

I questioned whether or not I would enjoy our keynote speaker, Dick Foth, because I did not know who he was. After listening to him tonight, I realized how wrong I was to doubt. He engaged the audience with his humor and stories, but delivered a powerful message about Jesus. Again, he emphasized the eternal impact our writing can have on others and our need to focus on that. He entitled his series “Writing in the Sand and Other Things Eternal.” In referencing John 8, where Jesus deals with the Pharisees and the adulteress they want to stone, Foth said that Jesus engaged people - for just a moment - and made an eternal impact. Like writing in the sand, our writing is a vapor. But the truth of what we write will be of eternal significance. What we write must point people to Jesus. He then explored the simplicity of Jesus. He noted that people often warn us not to take anything away from who Jesus is, but he felt we are more inclined to add things to Jesus. He gave a wonderful illustration using a bottle of water and a bottle of coke. Water is simple; it’s two hydrogen and one carbon. It is vital to our existence, and our body is largely made up of it. Coke contains water, but has an extremely complicated formula. We bathe in water, not in coke. We wash with water, not with Coke. Why? Because water is cleansing and Coke leaves behind a bunch of junk. If you go without water for more than five days, you can die. If you drink too much Coke, it can be toxic to our health. Jesus is the water, simple and yet life-giving, cleansing and vitally important. When we add things to Jesus, like we do to make Coke, we get a bunch of junk...and can even make Him toxic. Keep in mind, however, His simplicity is profound. Our total dependence on Him is the only way we will have an eternal impact on the hearts of others.

In the coming days, I hope to do three things with my blog: 1) share with you some of my main take-aways from the sessions (like I did above), 2) provide you with some interviews of people I meet here so you can get to know some of the awesome friends I’m making, and 3) if you’re a writer, encourage you in your writing and share any tidbits of information that might help you.

As promised, here are the pictures.


Mount Hermon: Day One - Focus

After a long day of traveling, complete with weather and traffic delays, we’re here. Our shuttle ride ground to a halt due to a burned bus on one side of the highway, but the conversation inside was lively and engaging. I felt like the conference started inside that van, as Steve Laube shared his wisdom and stories along with my friends Leslie Wilson and Mary DeMuth. We laughed a lot, and I remembered that this conference is as much - if not more - about connecting with people who have a similar passion for writing as it is about pitching an idea. When I came to Mount Hermon for the first time two years ago, my primary goal was to soak everything up and walk away with an overview of what the publishing industry is all about. This year, I again come not trying to pitch ideas, but to make friends and expand my network. I still hesitate to call myself a writer, but I am much more excited about connecting with others this year.

More in the days to come. But for now, I’m off to get some sleep and adjusted to the time change.


On the Road...

I intended to post a review of Mary DeMuth's Wishing on Dandelions today, but I'm just too busy getting ready to go out of town. I'm off to Mount Hermon tomorrow morning, and I will be posting blogs daily (hopefully) from there about my experience. If you're going to be there, please leave me a comment and let's meet up at some point! Off to finish packing...


GHR: Who Is God - Christ is Sufficient

For me, the sufficiency of Christ was the most profound lesson I learned on our trip. Let me approach this from a couple angles.
1) As I mentioned in my last post , we expected to minister to the people we encountered. After all, we were from the United States. We own plenty; the Africans have little. I don’t think we realized the arrogance of our mindsets until we realized how little we did have to offer. For one, the needs are so overwhelming that we didn’t even know where to begin. Additionally, we found ourselves being served more than we were able to serve. Families sacrificed their only meat for the month, so we could have a meal that we didn’t need. Our hosts gave us chairs, while everyone else sat on the floor. Children serenaded us with songs prepared in advance for our arrival. It impacted all of us deeply. I was completely humbled by the fact that I had absolutely nothing to offer, although I thought I was going to be some sort of hero, serving them. All I had to offer was Christ, and He was sufficient.

2) We visited many Christian communities during our visit. One such group was a church comprised of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. They banded together as a community because their communities had rejected them. In East Africa, AIDS is a socially isolating disease, which is a major part of the problem. Several people shared their testimonies with us. They talked about the lack of access to proper medications, the lack of food to eat - not only so they wouldn’t be hungry, but so the drugs they were able to take didn’t make them sicker, the lack of clean water and the lack of love from their families and former communities. But I don’t believe they shared these problems with us to gain our pity. Their testimonies didn’t stop there. They talked of their love for God who watches over them, who cares for them when no one else had and who they can’t wait to see when they leave their earthly bodies. Then they sang praises...praises from the lips and hearts of people whose God is sufficient for them. As our group debriefed that evening we could barely talk about our experience. As I sit here and type this, I can hardly keep from becoming emotional all over again. From an earthly point of view, these people had no reason to be joyful, and yet their love, their joy and their hope was more profound than ANY place I have ever been. He alone is sufficient.

3) Lastly, the so-called title of this little blog series came from my lowest point during the entire trip. I lay on my bed in a grass hut in Sudan, and it was about half way through the trip. I saw and experienced so much in those first three weeks and the weight of it all began to press down on me. I cried out to God, “I can’t do this, Lord. I don’t know how in the world to love these people. They are nothing like me. I have nothing to offer them. I can’t live in a grass hut. I miss running water. I don’t like the bugs. I’m tired. I don’t know how to even make it through the rest of this trip.” And I recalled the verse in Philippians, chapter four. We often quote verse 13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) as a sort of mantra that “we can do it”, but we pull it out of context. Verses 12-13 say, “...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” What is Paul saying? Christ is sufficient. He is sufficient in any situation we are in, and His sufficiency is what gets us through.

I know this is a long post, but this lesson was monumental to me. I’ll leave you with a few pictures and words that I shared during our reports back to the churches who supported us. I’d love for you to comment on how you have found Christ to be sufficient for you.

Where we expected to find despair...we found HOPE.

Where we found death and sorrow, we also found LIFE and JOY.

Where we found the fatherless, we found the FATHER.

We found that we are inadequate. We have nothing to offer ourselves, but Christ is SUFFICIENT. Philippians 4:12-13

Photo: Church service at AIDS church, Rwanda (2004); Congregation at AIDS church, Rwanda (2004); Genocide Memorial, Kigali, Rwanda (2004); Coffins holding at least 10 people each from genocide, Kigali, Rwanda (2004); Street children, Rwanda (2004); Sudanese orphanage, Sudan (2004); Family watching, Rwanda (2004)


Another reflection from Africa later today, but I wanted to share a cool thing that's going on in my church. We just started a 22-week series (pulpit ministry) on the book of Galatians. I'm really excited about it because I studied it in depth with a women's small group Bible study, and it was awesome. But the coolest thing is that we are encouraging the entire congregation to memorize the ENTIRE book. The church staff has committed to memorizing it, and we're getting our small groups on board with it. They've provided CDs, with the weekly passages broken down into 22 tracks, memory cards with the verses pre-printed, memorization tips and a sign up for email encouragement. I'm so excited! I think this will be an awesome thing for our church. If anyone wants to do it along with me, I'll be happy to post the verses. They start this next Sunday.
What do you think?

Paul, an apostle, sent not from men nor by men but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead...



We've redone things a little over at Headlines. I'm posting on Mondays, so catch my blog over there today (to be posted shortly).



It looks like we’re trying to create an elaborate canal system in our backyard, but really, we’re just having our sprinkler system retrofitted to our new landscaping plan. Originally, we thought we might try to do it ourselves. We later came to our senses, as we decided it was better to be sure the sprinkler system worked correctly and that it was worth it to pay someone who did this all the time. Boy were we right! Just watching the guys maneuver around the yard with the ditch witch makes me grateful we didn’t try.

But what is most amazing to me is the amount of rock they unearth (and it's not like they are digging more than 12 inches down). I knew quite a bit of rock lay just beneath the surface based upon my personal experience digging up our front beds. But holy cow! We’re on a stinkin’ quarry. My mom suggested lining our beds with them. I thought it was a cool idea, but was sure we’d never have enough to make it all the way around. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I think we have enough rock to build a retaining wall or a whole new addition onto our house. Okay, okay, I exaggerate...but only a little. Check out the pictures and see what I mean.

For size comparison, look at our 75 lb lab next to the tub.

Between these two buckets, we collected most of the obvious rocks from about 1/4 of our yard.

This is one of the largest rocks we found so far. Use the bricks for size comparison.

Now if I were LL or Charity, I could probably come up with some deeper application to my life and spit it out here:______________. But since I’m not, all you get is a quirky story and some pictures of rocks. Happy Friday!


Something really strange is happening at my house. In fact, if I tell you about it, I’m not even sure you’ll believe me. And I hope it doesn’t give you nightmares or make you afraid to be alone in your house because if it could happen to me...it could happen to you.

Grab your security blanket, ‘cause here goes: I could do every load of laundry waiting for me - I mean, every stitch of clothing - and have it waiting to be folded, still warm from the dryer...and another load (or two!) will magically appear. Isn’t that disturbing?? How in the world does that happen? It’s a spooky mystery to me.

If you find out how to rid my house of these laundry gnomes, please let me know.


GHR: Who God Is - God is Sovereign

Three years ago in July, our team of nine boarded planes in Texas and California headed toward Minneapolis, MN to reunite, and then on to Africa for a six-week exploratory mission trip. We were eager, excited and ready to take on anything that came our way, just so long as we got to see first hand the needs in Africa and minister to the people we encountered. Little did we know that our first obstacle would manifest itself as a “mechanical difficulty” on our plane in the US. That delay created a ripple effect in our flight schedules, and we ended up stranded in Amsterdam overnight. In order to keep all nine of us together, the ticket agent booked us on a flight to Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) via Accra, Ghana (West Africa) instead of a direct flight. Note #1 - Never allow your flight plans to be redirected to the other side of the continent of Africa. Wait for a direct flight. That little detour ended up costing us 3 more days (for reasons too long to explain here). Note #2 - Don’t leave the airport without the proper visas and paying the proper entrance fees...even if the airline agents tells you it’s okay. Immigration does not appreciate that.

What a discouraging start! We missed the time we had planned in Nairobi, and would have to leave immediately for our next destination in Rwanda. As our team prayed over and discussed our frustration, we were reminded of God’s sovereignty over our trip. We had barely even begun, and in our minds we had already taken over control. Thankfully, God lovingly reminded us who’s trip it really was before we travelled very far.

We also realized that we needed the rest we found in Amsterdam before our difficult journey. The time of preparation before our trip had been, for many, a stressful time, particularly as the final dollars of our support came in literally days before we left. Additionally, readying our households for a six-week absence had been an enormous task of its own. God prepared this time of rest for us - in an amazing hotel - when we didn’t even realize we needed it. Indeed, His plan is best, even when we don’t immediately understand (or agree!).

Our time in Ghana was really a unifying time for our group. Our adventure through the airport, among the crowd and in a stressful situation helped us see how we could better work together and support one another. As we sat in a compound outside the airport, in the dark and in a foreign country that was not part of our plan, we had to admit our complete dependence on Him. We were tired, scared, confused and frustrated. At exactly the moment of our deepest emotions, we heard praise and worship songs that we knew - in English - wafting over the radio of the armed guard protecting the compound. We were assured of God’s presence and His Sovereignty.

When we finally arrived in Nairobi, we exited immigration with little hope of finding our luggage, which should have arrived three days before. As we glided down the escalator, we were astounded to see ALL of our luggage - every single piece of it - stacked up in a neat little pile waiting for us. He is sovereign even over the tiniest details.

All of these precious reminders were just in the first five days of our trip. God displayed for us His Sovereignty throughout the entire time, and I am still left in awe of His plan and His provision.

Photo: Praying in the Minneapolis Airport, Minnesota (2004)

Grass Hut Reflections

A recent post by Craver reminded me of a little book I started to write about my experience in Africa a couple years ago. My working title was “Grass Hut Reflections” because it was while lying in a grass hut in Sudan that I hit my lowest point (and greatest spiritual insight) during the six-week trip. I haven’t done anything with the work I started on that book (which wasn’t much more than a table of contents and some pictures), and I was thinking that the heart for Africa part of my life is not very evident on my blog...so I thought I would take one chapter per week for the next several weeks and post on it. I’ll aim to do it on Tuesdays, but I can’t say for sure I’ll be super consistent.

Photo: Grass Hut, Sudan (2004)


Spring has Sprung

Words tomorrow, but today I leave you with a view of Spring.

This bud fell off the bush and landed on the ground exactly as you see it.

This is a beautiful tulip tree next door to my parents' home.

Another shot of the tulip tree.

A lone daffodil in my mother in law's backyard.

Redbud in bloom.

Tulips are beginning to bloom.

Some hyacinth peeping out from under a LOT of mulch.


Odds and Ends

Just a couple random thoughts today, and maybe I’ll write a more coherent or meaningful blog later.

1) I love my new Mac. I’m still getting used to it, and being nerdy taking the tutorials online, but I already love it. It really does open up a whole new world of possibilities for my creative energy.

2) You would’ve laughed at me this afternoon if you had seen me sneaking around my house. I was hiding in blind spots, running through the kitchen passed the windows and crawling behind the couch to get to the other room without being seen. By whom? The dog. She’s outside because she is wet and muddy and I’m too lazy to clean her up. But the problem is when she knows that we are home and she’s not with us, she barks. And barks. And whines. And did I say barks? Since M is taking a nap, I didn’t want her raising a ruckus and waking her up...so I snuck around my own house. Pathetic, I know.

3) I hate it when I go to read my Bible and I just cannot concentrate. What is that all about? I curled up yesterday with the Word, looking forward to a time of refreshment as I studied my passage for the day (I’m reading through Matt 1-28 for Lent) and I could not stay focused. I must’ve read the Sermon on the Mount four times before I gave up. I was very disappointed. At least today was better.

Household Tips

As I was folding laundry today, I thought it might be helpful to share a couple of the household tips that I’ve learned, and see what others have to share.

1) Laundry - a) When folding clothes, separate them by type before you fold. I typically start with undergarments (not including socks), and begin folding them as I go. As I pull out clothes that are not unders, I place them into piles: socks, pants, shirts, ironing. I keep plugging along folding skivvies and sorting the rest until I am done with the pile. Then, I go back and fold shirts, then pants and last I match and fold socks. It just helps me go faster to fold the same type of thing each time. Today I folded about five loads of laundry (I know, I was behind) in 45 minutes. b) I have a friend who has a laundry basket for each person’s room. When she is pulling clothes out of the dryer, she immediately puts them into the appropriate room’s basket. She delivers each basket to the proper door to await folding. When her kids are old enough, they can fold their own clothes. For now, she folds one basket at a time when she has time.

2) Picking up - For me, I can pick up faster if I stay focused. So I pick up one room at a time. Anything that does not belong in that room, is put - rather, tossed, plunked down, dropped off, or piled up - into the next room I’m going to pick up. You just leave it and go back to the room you are currently working in. Typically, I do not go put it into the room it belongs, unless that room is on the way to my next working room. I know that means I move some things a couple times, but it still goes faster. Working this way, I do not get distracted by other things (like deciding I need to dust a piece of furniture or clean out the clothes in my closet) and I systematically get every room clean.

3) Meal planning - You don’t have to be super detailed in your meal planning, but I find that creating some type of plan helps me budget, cook and eat right. I actually have a template for my breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks (for me and my daughter) that I fill out once a week. I then make my grocery list based upon my meal plan. I don’t always stick exactly to the plan, but it helps to have a guideline. Plus, I find that I eat better throughout the day. I have another friend who come up with all of the dinners for the week, but doesn’t specify the day. She shops according to her plan, and then each night (or a couple nights in advance), she looks at the list and chooses dinner, knowing she already has all the ingredients. However you do it, meal planning can really help.

What other tips do you have?


Book Review - Watching the Tree Limbs

It’s been a while since I sat down to read a book that I could not put down. Watching the Tree Limbs is exactly that type of book. Author Mary DeMuth hooked me from the moment the book opens with “Folks like my friend Camilla have lofty goals before they die, like stealing a kiss from a movie star or seeing the Sahara. Mine’s quite simple. I want to tell my story unsevered, as if it was actually me walking the sweltering pavement of Burl, Texas.” Half-way through the book, I purchased the sequel because I knew that I was not going to be able to wait to start the next one once I finished.

What I love about Mary’s storytelling is that she paints a poignant, beautiful picture of redemption and Christ’s unconditional love without feeling like it’s preachy or spoken with an ulterior motive. Certainly, Mary desires to share her faith through her words, but she chooses to show, rather than tell. The redemption story is so woven into the development of the characters and the movement of the book, that you can’t separate it out and say, “here’s the author’s agenda.” In fact, it’s the way I think my friend Mary lives her life: you can’t say, here’s the spiritual part of Mary’s life and here’s the rest. As a result, I feel comfortable - even encourage - recommending this book to non-believers.

But have no doubts, just because it’s “Christian fiction” does not mean that it is not a good story. Mary uses her words like a paintbrush on canvas, encouraging the reader at times to simply marvel at the intricacy of details and overall artistry of the story. I laughed, I cried and I connected with the characters. I couldn’t read fast enough, and yet wanted to savor every word. I won’t share much about the story itself; I’ll leave that to you to experience fresh. Know that Mary addresses some tough issues, and at times she reaches out and squeezes your heart just enough that it aches, but that pain only leads you to a greater appreciation for the redemption offered to the characters in the book (and to us, through Jesus Christ).

Please don’t think I gush just because Mary is my friend. If I thought her book stunk, I would let you know. But I don’t, and knowing her heart just makes it that much sweeter to recommend it to you. Mary graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me to post here, so I will leave you with our short little interview.

1) What has Maranatha taught you about redemption?
She has shown me that it’s possible to be redeemed even when life looks pretty bleak. God stoops best when He stoops to impossible situations like Maranatha’s.

2) What do you hope readers walk away from your book thinking about and feeling?
I hope the story sticks with them, that they can’t get it out of their heads. I hope they’ve been challenged in their perception of God and people. I pray they want to live better, more Jesus-breathed lives, having experienced the lives of the characters in the book.

3) Have you re-read your book since you wrote it? If so, does any character or scene strike you differently or teach you something new? If not, why not?
I’ve re-read the intro. Of course I pick it apart, wondering if I should’ve used this word or that. I recently received an email from a reader who lamented she’d not turned in someone who’d attacked her. I’d forgotten about the courtroom scene where Maranatha does just that. I’m thankful it had an impact, but I also hope that readers will know it’s never easy to tell about abuse.
4) Do you feel like you view life a little differently, now that you have interacted with Maranatha and the characters in WTTL? If yes, how so?
Yes. I always wanted a Zady in my life, but never had one. Now I want to be one. I hope I can be one.

5) On a personal note, what do you feel like God is teaching you during this season of Lent, as we prepare for the glory of Easter morning?
Mainly just the loss of it all. I again am struck with the reason Jesus was crucified. It’s a fascinating study if you look up the word envy or jealousy. Several times in the NT, the Pharisees are seen as being envious of Jesus. We think envy is no big deal, but it’s huge. HUGE. Envy crucified Jesus!


Conversion Story

We’ve been pondering converting for some time now. When it got down to it, it just made more sense on so many levels, and it really seems like the right thing if you’re really serious. We ventured for a little taste, just to see if it seemed to be all it was cracked up to be, and everything that was offered seemed so easy and relevant. Well, that and the catchy advertisements did us in.

So we admitted we’d been in the dark, and we traded teams. That’s right, we converted.

We’re now proud owners of a new Mac. Next blog will be from a whole new world.


Preparing the Soul

My friend LL recently posted another agricultural concept over at Seedlings in Stone, this time on the practice of fallowing. We usually think of allowing a field to go fallow as doing nothing to it: letting it rest. In actuality, a farmer still conducts activity in that field; it is just not focused on producing a crop but on restoring nutrients and improving soil structure.

As I ponder this post and what it means to my life, I see that whether you are planting a crop or allowing the field to go fallow, you are working the field to be productive. It is not a time of idleness in either case. The end goal is the same. As we live in a society that expects immediate results, we are often unwilling to take the time to tend our field if it will not produce a crop. We see many examples of people skimming over appropriate preparation so they can get the “doing” of an activity or project. Sometimes it works out okay, but often without the proper foundation things eventually fall apart.

The other thought I had about this was perhaps my goal as a Christian is to focus on being fallow. My priority is to abide in Christ and grow closer to Him, and that restores the nutrients I need to grow and builds the soil structure I need to serve. It’s his job to do the actual producing of fruit in my life. I’ve thought about this concept a lot recently. I have heard many speakers and read many books that basically say to pick a fruit of the Spirit and work on improving that area of your life. While I do not disagree that it is important to be aware of how those fruits are manifesting themselves in your life, I do not believe we are supposed to work on them. We are told to abide in Him and HE will produce the fruit. We don’t have the ability to produce the fruit on our own. (And as my friend Sarah pointed out, did you ever notice that it is not the “fruits” of the Spirit, plural…it’s fruit, singular. They can’t be separated.) So maybe we should leave the crop production up to God and work on being fallow, so that when it’s time to produce a harvest, our soil is ready.

Photo: Countryside in Rwanda (2004)

Monkey in the Middle

My friend D'Ann has entered an online contest for fiction writers. Register on the site here, and then check out her first chapter of Monkey in the Middle and give her a rating. She is being judged by the ratings as to whether or not she moves on to the next level of the competion. You have to register to read and vote, but it is free. Good luck, D'Ann!

Signs You Might Be a Blog-aholic

1. You have more than one idea for a blog floating around in your head.
2. You check your blog several times a day to see if anyone new has left a comment.
3. You are depressed when they haven’t.
4. You leave a comment on a blog and are disappointed when you check back to find that the blog author hasn’t left a comment on your comment since you posted it 10 minutes ago.
5. You gauge your popularity by how many people site meter or Google Analytics say have visited your site.
6. You view the events, thoughts and quotes of your life through the lens of “How can I write about this in my next blog?”
7. You get excited when people add a link to your blog from theirs because you think that means they like you.
8. You feel connected to the people on your “blog roll” and begin to see them as close friends…even though you don’t even know their first names.
9. You check the blogs of your “friends” at least three times a day, just to see if there is anything new.
10. You blog about how obsessed you are with blogging.

So are you a blog-aholic? Or do you have any to add?

Photo: Oh what a feeling! (2005)


I couldn't be a single mom..

I have several blogs floating around in my head right now, but I’m just too tired to organize them into some semblance of a coherent string of words. My husband just returned from a week-long trip, and I am worn out after staying with my daughter. I know, I’m being a weenie – I just have one child…but she is a busy little girl and lately has been a mama’s girl (meaning she constantly demands my attention and is NOT interested in anyone else - except maybe the dog). Halfway through the week I realized that I am not cut out to be a single mother. Quite frankly, I don’t know how they do it…especially when they don’t have the support of family or friends. I just couldn’t do this job and be the least bit effective (and keep my sanity) on my own. Needless to say, I’m thankful my husband is back and maybe tomorrow I’ll write those blogs.

Photo: Say Cheese! (2007)


Single Women - I Need Your Input!

As many of you may know, I am an aspiring writer. I am currently working on my first series of magazine articles, focusing on maintaining positive relationships between married women and single women. As more women are marrying later in life, the number of friendships between married women and single women is increasing. And yet, it is often difficult to maintain those friendships once marriage enters the picture.

I've been conducting a little survey of my single friends (and my friends' single friends) to find some tips for successfully maintaining those friendships. If you are interested, please post your responses as well (or leave a post with a way to contact you, and I'll give you information on how to email it to me).

1) What are the top 1-3 lines you are tired of hearing from your married friends? (e.g. "As soon as you stop looking, you'll find Mr. Right.")
2) What topics do you feel your married girlfriends talk about too much?
3) What topics do you wish you talked about more with your married girlfriends?
4) What advice would you give your married girlfriends about maintaining a positive relationship with their single friends?
5) What do you wish you could tell your married girlfriends that may be too awkward to come out and say?


Top 5 Ways You Know You Spend Most of Your Day with a Toddler

5. You know what time it is based upon what is currently on PBS.
4. You do things with one hand, even when there is no toddler on your hip.
3. You cannot say the name of an animal without immediately making the corresponding noise.
2. You see an unidentifiable, gigantic object on an 18-wheeler, and your first response to your friend's question "What is that thing?" is "Looks like a doghouse for Clifford."
1. You have food and/or snot on your shoulder, and not only do you not really care but you fail to even notice it's there anymore.

Any to add?
Photo: The Bucket Brigade (2007)