Monday, December 28

Culture Shock 120

5 minutes from touchdown at the Oakland, California airport, I decided I missed Mississippi.

The flight was mostly peaceful with a little bit of turbulence. With about 2 hours left,  someone behind me decided to put on headphones yet turn their device up so loud I could hear it anyway. This person was 3 rows behind me. This person was obviously from Oakland.

I started thinking about the noise and traffic that California is known for.  I stated thinking that my blood pressure and anxiety were about to go up.

It has been amazing to be "home" for the holidays.  My heart is definitely torn in two. I left my heart in San Fransisco, but it found a home in Mississippi.

Friday, October 23

Culture Shock 119

Realizing the different memories my boys will have of their first few years.

☆didn't know what rain was until he was 4.
☆loves the sound of car motors zooming passed him.
☆has a hard time living without a pool near by.
☆didn't really know guns can have a good purpose, (hunting, protection.)

♡ doesn't know what a sidewalk is at 3.
♡can't sleep unless it is pretty quiet.
♡doesn't even know what a pool is.
♡can't wait to be old enough to shoot a gun.

Trying to raise them to love and respect each other despite such different backgrounds. At least they have the same crazy parents! They have that going for them!

Sunday, October 4

Culture Shock 118

My husband was told he needed to go back to elementary school! He didn't know the names of local heroes.  He didn't know a lot of details about the Civil War. He wasn't clear on dates and locations of history in the gulf.

But ask him anything about the California Gold Rush. Ask him about the San Andreas fault. 1906? Big earthquake. The Oregon Trail.  Lewis and Clark. Ansel Adams. John Muir. Sacagawea. 

It's interesting to find out that kids in Mississippi and Louisiana don't spend time in school learning about California history.  Seems like a "shoulda known," but we just never thought about it!

I want to make sure my sons learn about California history AND Mississippi history!

Saturday, September 26

Culture Shock 117

Street Names.

I lived in Atlanta for awhile.  Most of the street names were Peachtree, ending in way, street, court, lane, avenue, boulevard,  and any other form or synonym for street. I lived on Mead Street, though.

My home town of Antioch has street names such as G Street, 18th Street, and everything in between.  A lot of Spanish names too or streets named after trees.  I grew up on Springwood Way around Dogwood Way and Mahogany Way.

McComb is easy.  There is the part of town with the state named streets. There are a lot of lanes named after who's farm used to be at the end if it. And some streets named for what they are: Street street. Broadway. Magnolia/Pisgah Road.  Homesville Road, because it takes you to... Homesville. Easy. I lived on W.A. Walker Rd, named for the man who probably carved a dirt road into the land many, many years ago. He owned a diary farm and most likely had slaves.

I like learning the history of a place.  Here in the south, history matters; history shapes the family ties that we see today. History is relevant,  much like the biblical/world history I have been learning. 

In California, history is fleeting.  Families come and go. It's harder to find connections out west. I hope my boys find connections here.

Just Because

I'm opening up shop! I'm so excited to be sewing and offering homemade gifts!

Check out my fb page and hit "Like!" I need 30 likes to be able to turn on fb features for tracking my business and such.


Here is a picture of a few things in my shop.  Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 25

Culture Shock 116

Things I'm looking forward to when I get home:

TSJ for dinner.

Willie's Bagels for breakfast.

Trader Joe's so close!

Oh yeah, family!

Going swimming.

Free babysitting.

Monday, September 21

Culture Shock 114

Have I done this one?

Tall brick buildings. Many of them. Even around each other.  Apartment buildings. Old shops. Two story homes. Brick everywhere in Mississippi.

I'm not sure when brick was stopped being used so frequently and plentiful. I know a few brick buildings in the downtown area where I grew up were not fit to enter until they were retro-fitted for earthquakes. There simply are not as many buildings made of brick in California.

I guess the big bad wolf can knock most of California down!

Culture Shock 115

The ponytail: Classic hair style. Not reserved for just the young. Up do.

SIMH: Summer In Mississippi Hair. Consisting of a ponytail, often with a hat.

Even when I do my hair all nice for church or going out, it's inevitable that it will end up off my neck, up into a ponytail.  A hat also helps hide the frizzies from humidity.
This is my perpetual style for summer in Mississippi. Can't cut my hair so short as it has gotta go up when that humidity hits. Which is every. day. of. the. summer.

Culture Shock 113

Almost done.  I might start repeating myself if I continue! There are some things that are easy to get used to, like the wonderful new friends we're making and southern hospitality and no traffic. 

Other things I find still don't feel like home.  For example: tornado warnings, humidity, RAIN!

I am still amazed at the sounds of birds.  We had a few in our neighborhood back home.  A couple very talented mocking birds who copied lawn mowers and car alarms.  The mocking birds near our new home copy kittens and my son's whistle!

But there are so many birds! We have cardinals and wrens and mocking birds and robins and blue jays and buzzards and hawks and eagles. I get to watch a golden eagle perch and hunt for food every once in awhile. Amazing!

Saturday, September 19

Culture Shock 112

The kids on the bus to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans were so fun!

As we passed the airport, the kids oohed and awed over the planes taking off. We were pretty close to the airport; the planes were huge compared to our bus. It was hard not to smile as some of the kids saw a plane "up close" for the first time.

Nick thought it was pretty silly that the majority of the kids jumped out of their seats to get a better look at the 10 to 15 story buildings we passed. They had never seen such tall buildings.

Coming from California, 10 stories is nothing! The San Francisco skyline, Oakland, Alameda; they all become common place backgrounds. We also lived near a small airport and the big planes flew over consistently.

We enjoyed others experiencing a bit of culture shock instead of us for once.

Thursday, September 17

Culture Shock 111

California has many signs written in both English and Spanish.

I don't even blink at this anymore.

I did pause for this sign on a bus ride to Louisiana:

"I'm not in California anymore! "

Wednesday, September 16

Culture Shock 110

I was standing outside in Liberty, MS the other day minding my own business. I was near an intersection that happened to have a stop light. A full logging truck and some kind of tanker were idling here. When the light turned red and the two trucks pushed on the gas pedals hard to get up the hill from a stopped position, I just about lost it!

Remember that I used to live 50 feet from a busy highway.  That was only 2.5 years ago.

No wonder I was an emotional wreck.  No wonder I couldn't sleep well. No wonder I was frazzled half the time.
The 120 seconds I had to listen to those two trucks made me crazy! They were so loud, I couldn't hear myself think!

Thank you, Lord, for the peace and quiet I have here, where I am now.  Thank you that right now, as I write this, I can hear my boys playing nicely outside the back door!

Saturday, August 15

Culture Shock 109

Just had a thought.  Don't be too shocked!

I have been paying attention to the new laws being passed in California.  Gun restrictions; vaccine schedules.  Scary things are happening all around the country.

If I lived in California still,  I honestly think I would simple live.  I would be (not completely) ignorant of politics and government antics.  When I was there, I didn't have time to dwell on these things, even the future of our country.

Now I have a freedom I never did before. Times are tough and if I could find a way to help bring income to my family, that would be good.  But I have a simplicity I never knew in California.

In Mississippi, I don't sit in traffic at all. In Mississippi, I'm not working 40 hours at work, commuting 10 hours a week or more, working from home 10 or more hours.  In Mississippi, work is left at work.  In Mississippi, we sit and talk together as a family in the evenings because we are all home.

I know that this has to do with circumstances and isn't a difference because of the actual place I'm in. It just happens that we are in Mississippi.

Friday, August 14

Culture Shock 108

I couldn't get a picture of this one. Too bad because it would've been good!

The Finger
That is one of the most legally rude things you can do without actually saying something. I was beaten up in junior high over a mistaken finger gesture made by my best friend. (I don't recall how I became the protector.)

Driving down a country road, passing a tractor, seeing someone at their mail box, you politely lift your pointer finger off of the steering wheel and gesture,  "Hello." Am I right?! Oh,  I think there is a slight nod of the head.

Another win for Mississippi, the hospitality state.

Tuesday, August 11

Culture Shock 107

Short and sweet.

One of THE WORST roads I have ever marched on for band was in my hometown of Antioch, CA.

Thank you, Mississippi, for keeping up with the roads. They are well taken care of.

Monday, August 10

Culture Shock 106

I'm still in shock as the summer heat picks up full force here.

Where, oh where, are the swimming pools!? No community pool. No college pool. No high school pool. No Grandma's house to go swimming.

My husband reminded me that even if we had a pool, the water would be 98 degrees.

California, here's we come! Oh, that's right.  You are having a drought and probably don't have many pools right now either.  But you have the cool Pacific Ocean. Enjoy!

Friday, August 7

Culture Shock 105

I caught myself starting to complain about the noise the other night. You know, the neighbors wouldn't keep it down, it kept getting louder and louder.

No! Wait!

That noise is cicadas and bull frogs and crickets.

Wow! They are really loud! There are not that many bugs in California! And one cicada can be heard up to a mile away.

Neighbors vs bugs. I'll take the bugs as long as they stay outside!

Culture Shock 104

Bridges. Overpasses.

There is the Antioch Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Also quite a few bridges within the delta where I grew up. But for the most part, I personally only crossed these bridges for vacations, for fun. I drove over and under A LOT of overpasses though. If you've seen the movies with shots of LA traffic and all the freeways, I've lived there.  And the Bay Area, CA, has it's fair share of interchanges.

Here near McComb, I go over a lot of bridges, too.  Most of them are over water.  Little creeks, rivers, low spots where water collects after the rain.

It just hit me the other day that I don't have a lot of freeways to go over or under, but I still see a lot of bridges. Not to forget one of the longest bridges in the United States that stretches over the Louisiana bayou.

Thursday, August 6

Culture Shock 103

I had to make a call to California to deal with some bank things.


For 2 years, TWO YEARS, I have not had to sit on the phone and get lost in a circle of recordings.

I cannot begin to tell you how fast and how high my blood pressure rose.  "Press 3 for payment; press 4 for adress." There might have been tears in my eyes as I sat in the church parking lot trying to get a hold of a real person.

It's been awhile since I've had that experience.  It used to be a daily, or at least weekly, existence thing.  Not here in the south.  Not anymore! Thank goodness for that.

Wednesday, August 5

Culture Shock 102

Something you may not know about Beth: I'm allergic to grass; all of it.

I still love sitting down in it and playing with my boys. Not for long, mind you, but we watch the chickens and move toy tractors around!

BUT! Y'all know about the ants by now. They bite.  Little ones. Big ones. Black ones. Brown ones. THEY WILL FIND YOU! No matter where I settle down with the boys to play, the ants find us!

I miss getting a picnic blanket or beach towel down on the grass and not worrying about ANTS!

Something else you may not know about Beth:
I'm not allergic to poison oak or ivy.

Culture Shock 101

I never watched "The Blair Witch Project" for those of you who remember that one. I'm not one for scary movies or for shaky cinematography.

That said, the scariest thing in the previews was the music.  I was aghast at the thought that these teenagers would be scared running through the skinny twigs, I mean trees. Seriously, these sticks they were calling trees had me laughing at the previews.

Now, imagine running through a forest where the trees are as big around as your car. You can't see around them.  Anything could jump out at you from a number of locations. If you don't see your buddy turn to the left, chances are you will lose him quickly amongst the trees. These are redwood trees, or gnarly oak trees, or a one hundred year old pine forest. It's not a little birch tree you are leaning against!

I thought "The Blair Witch Project" took place in a fantasy forest.  I really did. Until I went on a retreat in Atlanta and saw the skinny trees...

I did a ropes course on retreats in the redwood forest.  Those are big strong trees holding you up! I braved the ropes course on these skinny trees in Atlanta and I'm so glad I did. It was amazing! It was different watching the trees sway in the breeze as I climbed through the obstacles.  The massive redwoods never swayed!

So I look at these young forests here in Mississippi and I miss my redwoods.
I wish I had a picture to show you...

Friday, July 24

Culture Shock 100

This picture is a neighborhood in Jackson, MS. You can't see the houses for the trees and shrubs in the way. Beautiful!

I bet it keeps it so cool. From the air, I wonder if you can even see the houses nestled together.

This was a different scene then I am used to.

Thursday, July 23

Culture Shock 99

Growing up, I remember my dad always fussing with the sprinklers.  Digging, replacing, fixing, messing with the timer. I remember going to the store with him to get parts.

Raise your hand if you are in Mississippi and you even know what sprinklers are! Ok, the three of you can put your hands down now.

We planted a garden this year.  We do use the hose to water it, but we didn't even think to put in sprinklers. I should rephrase... my husband laughed at me when I suggested it!

Friday, June 19

Culture Shock 98

My generation will understand this:

If you leave the house late for work, you can make up time by avoiding certain streets or lights. You know what lane to drive in on the freeway; how to weave through traffic to make up 5 minutes. But please, oh please, don't be 5 minutes late to work for any reason.  Your kid throwing a tantrum? Too bad. Your car won't start in the cold? Too bad. Woke up with a massive headache? Too bad.

If you leave the house late here in southern Mississippi, chances are you are just gonna be late. Since there are only two or three lights anyway, you can't avoid them. If you know the back country roads, you might be able to speed around and make up a little time.  Mostly, people are just glad you made it!

Thursday, June 18

Culture Shock 97

It's not raining against my windshield.

It's bugs dieing. Fireflies are really fun to see smeared in front of the only spot I can see clearly through my window. If you catch one while it's glowing, you get a green fluorescent smudge that glows for awhile. Fun.

Tuesday, June 16

Culture Shock 96

"Mom, can I go outside to play?"

I still hesitate to say yes at times. 

It is so wonderful to say yes! Yes, you can go play while I finish the dishes or make dinner or mop the floor.  You don't have to wait for me to be done. You don't have to wait for me to feel like it.  You can just go! Go run! Go jump! Go explore a bit.  Go catch bugs.

You do have to watch your brother for a bit, though, and I'll meet you out there in a few minutes!

Monday, June 1

Culture Shock 95

We have lived in two different houses here in Mississippi, neither of which have had carpet.

Since there is so much mud and dirt, carpet could actually be a nuisance. Considering that I sweep at least twice a day, depending on our outside adventures, I'm glad to not have mud-stained carpet.

So, I know it's time to sweep when my family members start to do ballet moves to remove the dirt specks from the bottom of their feet!

Imagine, if you will,  running the bottom of your right foot on the inside portion of your left shin. I think it's ballet position number 3, though it's been 30+ years since I took that class!

Friday, May 15

Culture Shock 94

Californians get excited about rain and In N Out.  (I don't miss the rain as a storm just passed over, but an In N Out burger sounds divine!)

Mississippians get excited about little league baseball and crawfish boils. Umm, I still don't eat seafood.

And a shock for everyone else: my 10 year old has never played baseball. 

Wednesday, May 13

Culture Shock 93

I just packed all of our winter clothes because the humidity of Spring has hit full force here in the south.

In California, packing up winter gear always left a few sweaters and warm pjs for those cold winds in June or a chilly night in July.

The only chilly nights we have here in southwest Mississippi are when we fall asleep with the air conditioner on full blast.

Sweaters, coats, sweatpants, hats, gloves,  comforters, blankets.  All put away!

Tuesday, May 5

Waiting on Jesus

The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore

I am using my quiet time in the morning to read through this study of John the Apostle's life. I actually can't wait to finish with it and then read the Gospel of John with this new insight that I'm learning.

I'm at the beginning of Part 8.  That sounds crazy to me.  Anyway, Beth Moore reminded me of something I should know but seem to have forgotten.

She reminded me that if Jesus sends us, He will meet us there.

I'm sitting in our tiny cabin that we call home. Oh, do I have a list of complaints a mile long!  But the blessings should outweigh these silly comforts I think I deserve.  A few blessings:
Healthy children
A warm place to sleep
A big backyard to run and play in
A job for the hubby
Making new friends
Food on the table

I've still been waiting for Jesus, though.  We are blessed. I see His provisions clearly! I'm simply waiting for an answer to,  "What do we do next?"

So Beth Moore reminded me that He sent me out here, therefore He will meet me here.  The Israelites were slaves for 400 YEARS. John the Baptist wandered in the wilderness.  John the Beloved Disciple waited for Christ to return as he watched his friends get martyred one be one.

I will wait in faith that Jesus will direct my path. My impatience does not bring Him nearer to my heart. I will wait and count my blessings. I will wait and watch His glory shine in the lives around me and rejoice in it. I will wait in humility for Him to direct my path. I will wait on Jesus.

I will wait on Jesus because it is worth the wait; He is worth the wait.  Whatever He has planned for me will be worth the wait. I will wait on Jesus because He brought me out here for a purpose. I'm searching and reading and studying and trying to keep my eyes on the prize.  I don't want to miss Him.

Monday, May 4

Culture Shock 92

You've heard of it. You know someone who has it.  Maybe it's you.

Aches and pains that come before the weather channel even knows the wind is shifting.

Sure, I had a few in California, but the weather is pretty stable there.

Here in southwest Mississippi, I can predict with 95% accuracy when a tornado watch is going to be issued.

Let's see: sinus pressure equals a tornado; ankle pain means a thunder storm; sore wrist means light rain.

DO I SOUND OLD YET?! It's getting ridiculous!

Friday, May 1

Culture Shock 91

We live near a swamp.

Like the swamp in the Muppets movie!
Like the swamp from The Princess and the Frog.
Like the bayou.

And I learned that those little tree stump, knob-looking things are called knees. Weird.

Thursday, April 30

Culture Shock 90

I've posted about all kinds of bugs before.

Not sure I've mentioned the sheer size of them! (Not to mention the AMOUNT of bugs.)

Story Time: My 9 year old was allowed to bring a Dragonfly into the house because he usually keeps a good grip on things. Not this time!

The huge Dragonfly bit his thumb so he let go!  It flew onto his little brothers chest and bit him in the chin!  Then it landed on me! On the hand that was holding my phone.  I may have tossed my phone across the room in fear of being bit myself but I'm not telling.

The rare Luna Moth entered our home for a brief moment. It's the size of a dollar bill. 

And I have no idea how my son found a queen ant but he did. It's dead here in his hand but THAT thing is an ANT! Yuck!!

I don't know if we have Texas beat for big bugs but Mississippi is giving TX a run for the money! 

Monday, April 27

Culture Shock 89


Ideas are not coming as fast.

I think because everything seems so normal now.

Everything feels like home.

I'm finally acclimated to the South.

That doesn't mean things are comfortable, like the prospect of tornados or snake bites. And it doesn't mean I miss California less. Things are different; people are different; I've grown. ... older and, dare I say, wiser.

Not sure when I'll get a chance to visit California, but my husband, who has been "home" twice, assures me that I'll find lots of things that are different/annoying when I finally make it out that way.

Not sure much can shock me now a days anyway.  Raising 2 boys around bugs and dirt and snakes and tornados has been quite enough, thank you!

(Though I know God has a sense of humor, so now that I've said that, I'll be on my toes!)

Mississippi adventures, (I mean home!): mud puddles,  swamps, chickens, and more chickens. 

Sunday, April 26

Culture Shock 88

This is another shocker for me about attitude.

Californians: mention that you want to move out of the city. You are the odd one out here.  Why live in the country where you have to drive 45 minutes just to go grocery shopping? Don't you want neighbors and socialization?

Mississippians: mention that you are looking for a place out in the country. You might get a slap on the back and a, "Good for you!"

Seriously, I do miss the convenience of a 30 minute round trip grocery store run. It just takes a little more planning on my part when I know the driving alone will be an hour out of my day.  And no last minute dinner changes.  If it's not on the menu,  therefore we don't have the ingredients this week, it's not getting made!

Saturday, April 25

Culture Shock 87

Can't imagine this to be true anywhere in California.

We currently DO NOT know what our physical address is.  We know the street we live off of, but we have no house number. 

We have found our place on Google Earth.  It's quite beautiful from that angle. It's quite beautiful from this angle too! The post office simply will not be able to find our house.

Monday, April 20

Culture Shock 86

Open carry. 

I have learned more about gun safety and gun laws this past year than I ever cared to know before. 

The FIRST shocker relating to guns was when I saw a guy entering Lowe's with a shot gun strapped to his back.  No one else seemed to blink an eye, but I sure did! It made me so uncomfortable. 

Of course my husband just grinned at me with that little smirk on his face that says he likes that I'm a bit uncomfortable, thinking that it's "cute."

Friday, April 3

Culture Shock 85

California has power lines, of course. Many of them are under ground though.

I don't think Mississippi has any underground lines!  Driving through the city or on your way out to the country, the lines scar your view of the setting sun. In California cities,  the buildings are in your way unless you can find a small hill or rooftop. Either way, it's hard to get a clear view. 

I feel like God made this sky just for me!

Thursday, March 26

Culture Shock 84

I have a confession to make. I am afraid of the dark.

The city is a fine place to live with the streets lit up at night.

The country is a bit darker with backwoods lanes and farms all around.

My husband loves to remind me of our arrival to the southern states.

"Beth's flight came in around midnight.  As we drove to our new home, we got farther and farther from the city. The roads got darker and darker. Beth started asking if this was a joke.  We got to a point where city light pollution did not penetrate through the trees. Beth was sitting next to me getting more fidgety and nervous.  At one point, she asked if I needed to turn around!  When we pulled up to the house, only the garage light was on with no streetlights near by.  Beth insisted that we would get a light on our property like the neighbors across the way!"

When those neighbors trimmed their trees, I remember cringing that their light shone through our side windows in the master bedroom. Oh how quickly I changed my tune!

I don't relish in the darkness but, if you've read some of my previous posts, I do love a clear, crisp night of start gazing nowadays!

Wednesday, March 25

Board Games

My 9 year old is making a game board for a science project. We need to go buy index cards to make the questions that will advance you along the "Animal Trail."

His board actually started out very sloppy. We had a talk about being proud of your best work. He said it was his best. I said nope. He is too old to praise him for simply getting it done. He has to do it well or start over. Not a happy boy at first! 

I didn't make him start over this time as we are out of cardboard.  We learned how to fix mistakes and make it look nicer. Next time, he said he'll use a ruler!

Tuesday, March 24

Culture Shock 83

Do I know more than a 21 year old?

I thought I had some life skills. My husband taught me how to cook. I taught myself how to sew. My mom taught my to do counted cross stitch. My dad taught me how to change the oil in my car and put the spare tire on.  I can play every instrument in the woodwind family except bassoon. I can fold a fitted sheet neatly. I have teacher handwriting. I can write on a chalkboard in a straight line - in cursive. I can successfully negotiate commute traffic, saving a minimum of 15 minutes of travel time twice daily.

I thought I could survive. Silly me.

People out here in the country know how to survive. Before they get married they can cook, drive a tractor, plant and maintain a garden; they know how to can food, make jam, raise a pig, milk a cow, ride a horse, shoot a gun, butcher a deer. You know, real survival skills!

I'm learning, but I'm not there yet, and I'm twice their age! Did I just admit that out loud?!

Wednesday, March 18

Culture Shock 82

Rent. Try to guess what a 670 square foot apartment would cost ya.

This is what you get:
2 bedrooms. 1 bathroom.
A 2 ft wide balcony out your front door.
No backyard.
A front yard that you share with 10 other tenants.
A 3 ft wide bathroom with a broken fan and no window.
The highway 400 feet out your back window with 24 hour traffic.

Any guesses?  $900. And if you want downstairs with a tiny fenced in backyard, it'll cost you $950.

Now come to Mississippi with me.  We are currently in a one bedroom apartment so that is no fun with a 2 year old. BUT this is what we get:
700 square feet.
1 bedroom.  1 bathroom.
Walk-in closet.
A 3 ft wide front porch.
A huge backyard.
A decent front yard that we share with some hunters parking their trucks once a year.
A bathroom with a separate vanity.
A secluded house that no one can see from the small country road that is barely ever used.
Any guesses?  $300. Yep.

Groceries will cost you a little more out here. We get a lot of produce from other states.  Mississippi actually grows a lot of cotton, I think. Gas is cheaper. So in general we spend less; can live on less.

Typically, rent is $500 to $750 for 2/3 bedrooms out here. Still cheaper than Cali.

Tuesday, March 17

Culture Shock 81

We really are home - bodies.  If you are looking for us,  chances are we are at home.

Things we used to do for fun:

Hide and Seek
Watch movies
Swim at Grandmas
(Hide from our drug neighbors that approached my son.)
Our neighborhood park was under construction for 2 years. Gas prices were atrocious.  We stayed home a lot.

Things we do for fun now:

Play with our dogs
Watch movies
Chase chickens and bugs
Ride bikes
Blow bubbles and write on the porch

We are enjoying the freedom to venture outside! I could do with less carpenter bees though!

Monday, March 16

Culture Shock 80

We visited the children's museum in Jackson, MS a few weeks ago. They were celebrating Dr.Suess' birthday.  We colored sox on foxes. We made hats to match the Cat's!  We did spin art and listened to a story where The Cat in the Hat acted out the parts with Thing 1 and Thing 2. What a blast! We even ate green eggs with avocado.  Yummy!

It was crowded. We got bumped a bit and had to stand in line once. The crowd was generally pleasant, though. A surprise for me. People moved out of the way for strollers and parents running after toddlers. People smiled and said excuse me. Wow! 

You would hope that human decency would not be a surprise but it is. If there is a crowd in California, you simply prepare yourself to be bumped, prodded, and generally pushed out of the way for whoever is more greedy or self serving than you.

Thank you, again, MS, for showing us Californians some hospitality; a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, March 10

Culture Shock 79

I thought I'd written about this before, and I have, four years ago, before it was a life change! (You can click on the link to read if you'd like.)

STARS. A lot of them. The first week we moves to Mississippi, I made my then 8 year old stay up late so he could come outside. I stood quietly. He stood chattering, oooing and ahing over the night sky.

My husband and I often go out and gaze upon HIS glory. It's a beautiful, welcoming change to have little to no light pollution. WOW!

Culture Shock 78

Gatgoo went the little green frog one day.
Gatgoo went the little green frog.
Gatgoo went the little green frog one day and they all went gatgatgoo.

Weeee all know frogs go lawdee dawdee daw.. lawdee dawdee daw.. lawdee dawdee daw.
Weeee all know frogs go lawdee dawdee daw. They don't go gatgatgoo!

I have a disc with this song and have song it for years with my oldest son. It's a silly song! We all know frogs say, "Ribbit!" Right?

Very wrong! A small percentage of frogs might say ribbit, but the frogs in Mississippi say, "Lawdee dawdee daw!" They chirp! They tweet and twitter! They shout and sing all kinds of songs in the rain.

Thank you for correcting me, frogs of Mississippi! As I was flipping through a children's book with my little mister, I stopped on the frog page, unable to produce a Mississippi frog tune!

Monday, March 9


Fun with math!
We worked on tessellations today. My son thought it would be boring and hard, but he really got into it!

Culture Shock 77

It's been done.

The Ipad got left on the roof of the car as we drove away. We didn't even miss it for 2 hours.

The screen was already cracked. Rob dropped it while helping someone with a heavy mat. But I expected it to be shattered this time.

Sunday after church, we stopped to get gas, them headed out to a restaurant anniversary brunch.  As I walked to the car after eating, I started to get messages and texts about the Ipad. I got confused and asked Rob when he finally came out.

Oh! Yep! The Ipad is missing! I put it on the roof so I could strap the baby in. The case is the exact same color as the car and I didn't see it to pick it up.

Turns out it stayed on the roof all the way from church to the Walmart parking lot where we turned around to get gas.

Some wonderful family saw it and picked it up. They used the messenger app on it to find the last texted number. Thank you, hubby, that it was me! The mom met us in the parking lot of the restaurant and we were reunited. We gave her all the cash we had, $3. The Ipad wasn't much more damaged either!

LONG STORY SHORT: thank you, Mississippi, for your honesty and integrity. California, unfortunately, does not compare. Of course there are good people everywhere, but in general, a lot of them live here in MS!

Tuesday, March 3

Culture Shock 76

At the hight of my sleep deprivation, my son being a sleepless 2 year old and my husband being a snorer, I got into a little fender bender. Little. Little. No damage to the other car, but tour my own bumper a bit and made one headlight wonky.

No problem in California to drive with a wonky headlight. My husband was able to tilt it down so it didn't blind anyone. I hardly noticed it was not centered because I never drove in the pitch black.

Until now.

It bothers me now. It is annoying to not have both beams centered like they should be.

Someday I'll get it fixed. It's only been 8 years!

Monday, February 23

Culture Shock 75

We have been keeping our eyes open for places to rent.  We need something bigger as a family with 2 kiddos and 2 dogs. Living with only one bedroom was fine for a time but is not fine anymore.
So, I look over at this house while I'm at a stop sign and I thought how cute it was but do I want to live on a busy corner? And we would need a fence for the backyard to keep the dogs from running into the street. Oh, there is a dog run on the property... in the front yard.
In California,  you get a dog and put it in the backyard. In Mississippi,  you get a dog to put it in your front yard; your automatic doorbell.

Wednesday, February 4

Soup Season

It's soup season! Love it! My husband isn't much of a soup fan, so it's been a challenge through the years to find something that he approves of as "man soup." It has to be hearty, meaty, flavorful.
A friend is hosting a soup exchange of recipes and I thought I'd share one that is husband approved! There is one special ingredient that is hard to come by here in McComb, MS, though.
Tortilla Soup
1 Tbsp of 21 Seasoning Salute* (or other)
5 cups chicken broth
3 chicken breasts (cooked & cubed)
1 small jar of salsa
2 cans of black beans drained
1 can of corn drained
Cheese to your liking
3 cups white corn tortilla chips
Dash of hot pepper sauce
•Combine chkn cubes & broth in Lg sauce pan. Bring to boil
•Reduce heat to simmer. Add corn, beans, 2 cups of broken chips, salsa, seasoning, 1cup shredded cheese.
•Heat thoroughly.
•Garnish w/more cheese & chips before serving.
Love it! Serves 6-8. Takes about 20-25 minutes on the stove top. Easy!
*21 Seasoning Salute is a jar of seasoning from Trader Joe's with no salt added! The closest store to McComb is in Baton Rouge, LA.

link to soup exchange

Tuesday, January 20

Culture Shock 74

My husband and I were commenting the other day that we have been unable to find good bread in Mississippi.

Well, it looks like they finally did something about that!  They shipped in bread from California!

(Shopping at Kroger. Not sure if this is really made in California, but it made my taste buds tingle for some San Fransisco sour dough and salami! Yumm!)

Culture Shock 73

I didn't think I could have another weather shock out here! But this is one that took me awhile to pinpoint and be able to say out loud.

In California, the coldest part of the night is about 2 in the morning. After that, the temperature starts to go up. The hottest part if the afternoon is between 3-4. You will get a sunburn at this time.

Mississippi is closer to the equator. I'm sure that makes some difference. That and the gulf of Mexico. I've been up with the dogs at 2 in the morning and had the air not be too chilly.  But at 5:30 a.m. Oh my, is it quite a bit lower in temperature. My husband and I are in a debate on the hottest part of the day here. The humidity makes it difficult to pinpoint.

Culture Shock 72

It's always hard to find your place in a new situation. New school. New job. New town. New friends to make. New things to learn. It can be quite an adventure.

I have often changed circles in my life. I mean that I haven't had the same group of friends since kindergarten. I changed schools in 5th grade; then again in 7th; then of course for high school. Went away for college. Took a year off of real life to be a missionary. Worked for a bank. Substitute taught for a couple years. Moved quite a bit when I first got married.

Anyway, I say all of that to point out that I have not grown up with the same group of friends. I've known some people for a long time. I've had and still have friends that transcend all those life changes. But only a few.

And even if you've seen all the "small town" movies, there is nothing like experiencing it; nothing that could have prepared me for it. It's even hard to put into words. If you've seen the "small town" movies, I'm here to tell you, "Yes. It is like that." Everyone knows everything about you.

I'm still new, so I don't know all of the "old" family names and money, or the tragedies or marriage unions that have taken place over the years. The culture shock for me is sitting around a table, chatting with new friends, when the conversation topic goes on to someone I don't know. No big deal there, but that everyone knows this person or at least their cousin gets me thinking about the small town aspect.

You can never be anonymous in a small town. You won't be forgotten. It's hard to make a mistake and go unnoticed. But if your family needs help, it's there. Give and take. I'm sure it is annoying to have everyone know your business. And I do know the feeling of trying to grow up and change but having people not see the new you, only wanting to remember your mistakes.

It's difficult to stay in the conversation at that round table when you don't know everyone in town. I try to follow who is related to who but I really just want to get to know you, the one at the table, the one next to me; not Joe Smith who left town 5 years ago and has a new baby. I understand that is interesting news to some at the table, but it is hard to stay involved in the conversation when you don't know who is being talked about.

Saturday, January 17

Spiritual Gifts

As a child, I had a nickname among my mother's sisters. "I dunno," was commonly heard out of my mouth, so my aunts started calling me that. I felt like I would get in trouble for an honest answer. So, at nine years old, I began to answer "I dunno" before I even heard the question.

The honest answer was often, "I know," or "I knew that." But at nine years old, I learned that you can't say that to an adult. They think you are being sassy, defiant, or just plain rude.

We, as adults, often forget that children will spend most of THEIR lives as adults. It seems like childhood is unimportant or a nuisance to us. We forget that children have character traits that will benefit them as adults and they can often be belittled for things that an adult would be praised for. I'm talking from experience!

I got in trouble in 5th grade for being bossy. I grew up to be an amazing boss, if I do say so myself!  I got in trouble for reading too much. I grew up to help children that struggled with letters learn how to read. I got in trouble for not having my assignments done on time. Yeah, nothing there!

I got in trouble for saying, "I knew you were gonna say that." Turns out that 20 years later,  I am realizing that THAT was discernment. I have learned over the last 10 years that THAT is my spiritual gift. It's not something I can turn on or off, so don't come bombard me with questions, please! Because I have stifled it for so many years,  I am just now learning how to use it for HIS Glory.

I have actually asked God for this gift, but I have also asked him to take it away. I don't yet fully realize what he wants me to do with it. I have heard the truth of situations that others can't see or hear and I have done nothing, so I don't feel worthy to carry this burden. Other times, I have known the hurt a friend is gonna share before they even know they are gonna share it.  I have learned that there is healing in saying things aloud, so I don't interrupt, but I don't act shocked when the news comes out either.

I have no blame here for adults treating me like the child I was. They were not Christians and might still not understand. This is a reminder to me to look at my own children in a new light as I help train then for adulthood; to help them find the gift(s) that God has given them and learn to use them for HIS Glory!

So, when some one asks me how I know what I know, or why I think what I think, sometimes it's because the Holly Spirit told me. Sure, I can back it up with a weeks worth of research, or scrutinize over someones life to find reasons. Typically, I know because I know. I know because my God has given me a gift to discern the truth of the spirit of things: people, articles, situations, feelings. This is why I stutter and hesitate to explain the whys of my own feelings. People don't like the answer, "I know," or "I already knew that." People want solid, provable answers. I don't have that. I have the Holy Spirit and he will be proven. Be patient and you will see.

This article here is a wonderful description of the gift of discernment.

1Cor 12:7-10 (NKJ) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, another discerning of spirits...

Thursday, January 15

Culture Shock 71

I'm missing Monarch Butterfly Migration Season in California.

I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit Monterey a few years ago. We used the pictures from that trip to make a shadow box when Nick was in 2nd grade.

Missing home...

I think the season we are in currently in Mississippi is, "Grow a beard because it's that cold!"

Tuesday, January 6

Culture Shock 70

I want to take the time right now to remind folks from Mississippi where I came from.

Beaches and mountains. Hollywood. Home to the California redwoods,  the tallest living organisms in the world.  The place where fortune cookies were invented. The lowest and highest points in the United States: Death Valley at 282 ft below sea level and Mt. Whitney at 14,491 ft above. The 2nd best view in the world of the earths surface is at Mt. Diablo. Home to the Golden Gate Bridge, California is the most populous state, famous for the Gold Rush of '49 and Los Angeles traffic.

I say all of that to point to a busy state full of people trying to get their hands on the latest trends, whether that be fashion or technology.

I keep thinking that there can't be much more to shock me here in Mississippi; that I've seen it all or heard it all. But here we go again!

I've had the opportunity to work with some other homeshooled youth besides my own. I had a hard time realizing that these very smart kids were not aware of the potential to use youtube as a learning resource; the internet was not their first thought for reseach; "google it" was a new term for them.

So I've introduced these sweet and modest southern boys to a whole new world of learning. Maybe this old-fashioned southern state needed some California mixed in.

Friday, January 2

Culture Shock 68

I've spent the last 9 months paying close attention to how this southern state of Mississippi is different than the west coast of California.  From weather to manners to driving and animals, there are uncountable things that make these states unique.

Not all things are shockers or even need adjusting to. Some surprises have been a sweet relief in their difference while other things make me long for cold oceans and earthquake weather!

As a new year approaches, I decided to join the masses in stating a resolution:
I resolve to embrace my new home, to wonder at the simple, carefree life that God has brought me to; to not be shocked, but  thankful, for the differences that make my new home a place that my boys will settle into.

Culture Shock 68 is that I have changed; for good or bad is yet to be determined! My feet have grown to love the land. My hands have grown to need the soil. My heart has grown to want these southern folk next to me as I learn to live all over again.

California, you will always be my home! I will always dream of cooling off on the beach; of sled rides in the snow ; of mountain hikes; of controlled frizzy hair! I miss picnics on Mt. Diablo with my husband and impromptu drives to Stinson Beach with the Platts. I miss Lake Tahoe trips and San Diego fireworks.

But I am learning that my heart can survive being split in two. Two beautiful boys to love. Two beautiful homes to live in my heart.

Mississippi,  thank you for welcoming, for embracing, this camo-free California girl and her family.

Culture Shock 69

Green season.

No. Not the Packers. Not the Oakland A's. Not sports at all. The trees! The grass! The little hills out here in southern Mississippi! They stay green!  For more than a week!

I lived in the foothills of Mt. Diablo for many years. It was always a beautiful sight to see the golden rolling hills turn green. It would seem to be an overnight transition.  A spring or summer rain the day before would prompt the grass buds to sprout a gorgeous green across the horizon. Then, before you could blink, the green would disappear into the sunset, turning the hills into a wavy golden sea against the dropping sun.

I've been told that it has been fairly dry here in Mississippi as of late; that the green isn't "as green" as it usually is. To these California eyes, it is like the Emerald City! Brown is not mixed in or even thought of until early fall. It is a wet green, shining droplets in the sun, not unlike my golden hills back home, just a different color of gold! And it lasts and lasts and lasts!