You have brought so much laughter with you into the world!
Since three years of age, I have desired to be a coffee drinker. My mom is addicted to the stuff; she drinks it black, and I grew up watching her relax as she sipped away at a steamy cup of liquid heaven. The smell, too, entices me so. It smells like sophistication and laid-back happiness.

My earliest attempt at coffee came one morning when I was four. Mom allowed me to take a sip out of her cup after it had cooled sufficiently. Excitedly I slurped it into my mouth and held it. The acrid taste shocked my poor little tongue, and I automatically opened my mouth to let the liquid escape. It cascaded down the front of my nightgown, and Mom decided that she would not be giving me any more sips from her cup even though I begged often.

Over the years, I have attempted a few other times to drink coffee or any variation thereof. In high school, a friend recommended adding a half cup to our hot cocoa, and I enthusiastically agreed. At last, a coffee concoction that would stay in my mouth, I thought excitedly. The first sip quickly informed my tastebuds that this was not an option for me, and I sadly gave the rest of my chocolate coffee to my friend.

Once, in college, I dumped enough milk and sugar into a coffee cup to rival General Mills' entire sugary cereal division, and I couldn't even swallow the first sip. (It wasn't because of the milk and sugar, either.)

So you can imagine my skepticism when earlier this summer, Melody said, "Here try some of this; you'll love it," and thrust a Smokey Row cup of Sweet Georgia Brown towards me. I inhaled wistfully before reminding her of my coffee-challenged taste buds. "But this has brown sugar, honey and steamed milk in it," she replied. Hope poked a tiny hole in my cloud of skepticism, and I tentatively lifted the styrofoam cup to my lips. My tongue depicted a hint of the acrid espresso but welcomingly embraced the brown sugar, honey and milk. The two flavors danced tastefully on my tongue before my throat opened. I had officially swallowed my first mouthful of coffee! I carefully tasted three more sips before handing the drink back to Melody. With a face of delight and a voice of awe I told her, "I liked it! I really liked it!"

However, four days later, when Mel surprised me with my own cup of Sweet Georgia Brown, I knew after the second sip that my mouth would no longer cooperate. The acrid espresso dominated the drink, and it was too much for my wimpy tastebuds. Sadly, I poured the aromatic remaining liquid into the sink and disposed of the cup.

Then last month, Kathy and I explored the small town of Clear Lake, and Kathy insisted on entering a local coffee shop called The Coffee Cabin for her daily caffeine fix. I decided to try once again. I ordered a small, turtle frappaccino and instructed the barrista to give me only half of the normal amount of espresso, while Kathy eagerly informed the woman that she would gladly accept the other half of my espresso in addition to her own. My order arrived complete with chocolate syrup, whipped cream and caramel drizzlings. And it was good! I drank almost the entire glass, wimping out at the end due to a sugar high instead of my normal espresso reasons.

Once back in my own town, I began longing for the air of sophistication that I associate with casually sipping a cup of coffee. Well, that and I had begun craving the mixture of sweet and sharp flavorings and the smell of roasting coffee beans that only a cup of java can supply. So when Craig told me he was making a Smokey Row run and offered to pick something up for me, I immediately ordered an iced Sweet Georgia Brown with half a shot of espresso. (Except I had forgotten the name and called it an Alabama Brown? Lousianna Brown? until he laughed at me.)
He brought the drink back to our office, and I luxuriously pulled sweet draughts of the cool beverage into my mouth. I sucked on it all morning, reveling in the sweet acridity and the incredible aroma.

I've found the secret: lots of steamed milk and only half a shot of espresso. That's how I drink sophistication.
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Kimmie was tuning the radio a few nights ago and became frustrated over a weak signal. She switched to the AM frequency and we began listening to a news cast.

Kimmie: You know this isn't really happening. This is tomorrow morning's news.
Me: (puzzled) Why do you say that?
Kimmie: Because I switched it to AM.

At least she used some logic!
I am very thankful for the extremely powerful imagination that God has given me, but sometimes it gets me into trouble...or at least into embarrassment.

When Jeremy and I first got married, he caught me in the bathroom "talking to the wall," and he has been teasing me about it ever since. What he doesn't know (and what he is learning right now if he is reading this) is that I was not talking to the wall. I was talking to an imaginary person who happened to be in the room with me. I'm sure some of you are now backing away from your computer screens and searching the phone book for the name of a good psychiatrist to refer me to, while others of you are smiling and nodding in identification. (Or at least I hope some of you are smiling and nodding in identification. I would hate to be the only grown up who still talks to imaginary people.) Yikes, now I'm getting paranoid about letting this blog out into the world, but oh well, this is me. Laugh if you must! :-)

My imagination sometimes makes it hard to separate fantasy and reality, especially when I am involved in a REALLY good book. This is difficult to describe, but even though I KNOW what reality looks like, sometimes when I'm reading or just finished reading, the edges of fact and fiction begin to blend.

I can remember one Saturday night when I was in third grade. I had entwined myself into a fictional account of a scientist who frantically experimented to refine a miracle drug that would save millions of soldiers' lives. The book was set during World War II, and the drug being refined was penicillin. Dr. Joe's top secret experiments with penicillin were somehow being leaked into enemy hands, and a plot had developed to steal his notes and discoveries before he could finish. The story was intense, and I secretly holed up beneath my blankets and read by the glow of a flashlight until 5:00 AM. (If my parents had found out, my book would have been taken away.) The next morning, after being dragged from bed, I attended Sunday School. I have no idea what the teacher, Miss Linda Ramsey soon-to-be Mrs. Scott Rankin, was talking about, but for some reason, she said the word penicillin, and I shouted, "No!" and jumped to my feet. In panic, I had assumed that she was telling Dr. Joe's secret, and I had immediately, patriotically jumped up to stop her. Once on my feet, I sheepishly realized that my reaction stemmed from the book I had read the night before, and I slowly sat down. Amid student laughter and teacher questions, I sat down again while my tired mind foggily struggled to sort out which world was real. (I soon came to the correct conclusion, but it worried me slightly that my brain had reacted that way.) Of course, I told no one...until now.

This has happened several times throughout my life, and Jeremy and Kimmie complain that when I am reading I cannot hear them talking to me, and I sometimes yell at my book. This does not bother me at all. I enjoy becoming part of the story, and I feel like I am constantly meeting new friends.

Last night, around 3:00 AM, I finished a bit of science fiction. American scientist, Albert Morrison joined a Soviet team of scientists who miniaturized a ship and sailed into a human brain. Albert brought along a machine of his own design, which he later accidentally discovered would aid in reading others' thoughts. This morning, while driving to work, my imagination subconsciously kept "seeing" arteries and glucose molecules, white blood cells and dendrites floating past the front and side car windows. Later, while in a meeting at work with Craig, he said something about sensing another person's personality. I had sensed the same thing when speaking with that particular person, and my mind immediately jumped to Albert's telepathic machine. I smiled and nodded, thinking that Craig was talking about the machine. It took me a few minutes to remember that the machine existed only in my book, and that Craig had not read the book so he could not possibly be discussing the machine.

Once I discovered my mistake, I amusingly told Craig about my too-vivid imagination, and we laughed together. He then confessed that he has had the same confusion with reality when he reads a really good book!

So, maybe I'm crazy, but at least I'm not alone in my insanity!
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This weekend is Ladies' Retreat for my church and many other churches in our state. I am so EXCITED to be going. When I was little, my mom would pack up once a year and enjoy her weekend with the other ladies in our church, and I wanted SO DESPERATELY to go with her. She always came back full of fun stories and laughter.

When I became a teenager, I decided that I must finally be old enough to join my mom on her retreat weekend, and I begged her to take me with her. She would don her "quiet face," which is my name for her facial expression when she is thinking way more than what she is saying, and she said, "No, Missy. You're not old enough yet."

Now, I realize that what she was really saying was, "Are you crazy? I need this weekend to get away from you and to remember how much God loves you and to find out how I can better love you. If you come too, I won't get to retreat, and when I come back, I won't be the wonderful mom that you need me to be."

You see, NOW I realize that, but then I just thought she was being mean.

Yay for me! I get to retreat! :-)
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Spring cleaning hit our house rather late this in over Labor Day weekend.

We emptied the garage of EVERYTHING, swept, built storage cabinets, hung bike racks and shovel racks and tool racks, raked grass clippings, dug up a circle around our sad little pine tree and refilled the circumference with specially fertilized dirt. (We are desperately trying to get the puny tree to perk up.)

At one point, Kimmie asked, "Isn't this supposed to be a holiday?"

"Nope, it's LABOR Day," I cheerfully responded.

We can party any old weekend.
Saturday morning dawned beautifully and warmly. Brilliant blue sky kissed green and golden harvest-ready fields. Jeremy woke early (around 10:30 AM) and as previously arranged, Kimmie babysat Liberty while Jeremy and I drove to Olive Garden to use our gift card.

I ate a scrumptious Smoked Provolone Alfredo over Angel Hair. The dish arrived sprinkled with breadcrumbs, diced tomatoes and chopped parsley. Beautiful and delicious! Jeremy ordered the never-ending pasta. He started out with Spaghetti and Meatballs, moved on to Sausage and Peppers and finished with Alfredo over Angel Hair. (I guess the never-ending pasta did come to an end.)

We then conducted a napkin-folding contest while Jeremy digested. Our waitress judged the results, and Jeremy won. Sigh. In my defense, my cloth napkin was older and floppier than Jeremy's crisp linen. I've already challenged him to a rematch when we return to Olive Garden six months from now.
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The football team wasn't the only entertainment last Friday. Liberty kept one section of the crowd smiling by climbing up and down the bleachers and stopping to "talk" with anyone near her path, and Kimmie awesomely performed her cheers for hours in front of the crowd.

Our Eagles seemed to be well-matched against BGM, who had beaten us last year, according to Kimmie. They intercepted several of our passes throughout the game and gained an early touchdown in the first quarter, but our defense skillfully held them back throughout the rest of the game. We entered the final quarter 7-6 BGM, my voice already hoarse from screaming "Stop it!" after each interception.

The other team had possession. A beautiful pass soared through the night and landed into the outstretched hands of OUR defensive player! He ran it down field about 50 yards! The Eagles crowd screamed and leaped to our feet while Liberty laughed and clapped, enjoying the excitement. We fought to score the touchdown and easily obtained the two-point conversion. With almost three minutes left in the game, the scoreboard read 14-7 Eagles! Could we keep it?

BGM quickly raced the ball to their 36 yard line. "They only need a touchdown and a field goal to tie up. A touchdown and two-point conversion to win," Jeremy muttered in my ear. If I were in the habit of biting my nails, I would have been chewing away at that moment. Kimmie and the other cheerleaders began chanting, "Hold that line, Eagles. Hold. That. Line!"

BGM's quarterback snapped the ball towards his open receiver, and seemingly out of nowhere, an Eagles player catapulted into the sky and snatched the flying ball. He ran down field as our bleachers erupted into screams of joy. We jumped, we stomped, we yelled, we threw popcorn. We were a victorious mess!

A touchdown and a two-point conversion later, we walked elatedly to our cars. The first game of the season belonged to us!

PS> I had some awesome pictures of Kimmie cheering, but the camera's memory card wimped out on us afterwards and deleted everything.