Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm Just Sayin'

Potential: Not Everyone Gets To Be An Astronaut When They Grow Up
(Good luck.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

Just one of the many reasons I love youtube. What's your favorite youtube video? Please leave some link love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blessings In The Mundane

(Today's post was written by my sister, Lisa. Not only does she get to be my sister, she is the wife of Eric, a minister to homeless and runaway youth in Indianapolis, IN. They have 3 girls, Addi (6), Makenna (3), & Cora (2). She is an exceptional wife and mother. But a gross cook. Just kidding.)

When I do laundry its a 1 time a week event. I like to call it laundry mountain. It consumes our basement and is a bit overwhelming in mass, but I would rather do it that way than some everyday. Yesterday I said to Makenna (3), "Makenna, who has been wearing all these clothes?" Of course she began to name us all in the house. Then I said "Who said we could wear all these clothes?" Makenna says "Jesus said we could"

Well, that floored me. Not because Makenna is so profound, but because of the implications of what she said. I know that the Lord used her at that moment to speak to me. At that moment I realized that she was right- Jesus is the one who has provided us all those clothes and cause of his abundant provision to us, I am to care for them in response to that provision. I realized how in a little thing like laundry I was being ungrateful to the Giver of all my things.

I am sharing this because I have been chewing on it the last couple of days. I am blown away by how, when I search my heart, I have an ungrateful attitude towards most of the mundane things I do each day. I get easily overwhelmed by the unending list of 'to do's. I never realized because I am actually doing them in response to the Lord's provision for what I have been given: I wash dishes/ unload the dishwasher(my least favorite thing on the planet) because we have dishes and food to eat, I vaccum because we have carpets that keep our feet warm and us comfortable, I change the sheets because I have a bed to sleep in, I stay home in my unglamorous glory everyday because Eric works hard for us, I scrub the bathroom because we have the opportunity to use toothpaste/ an indoor toilet, I pick up around the house because am blessed with a family, I clean out the van because I have a vehicle to drive. The list goes on and on.

Maybe this doesn't hit home for you. However I wanted to share in case it does.


So, what about you? What do you care for out of God's provision? For me, out of God's provision, I try to keep my tongue in check. I can build God's Truth into my kids or I can rip them to shreds. Also, I cook every day, trying really hard to be frugal.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've made a decision. I'm giving up on people pleasing - there will be no perfect gift, meal, decorations or children for us this Christmas. "Dittos" of the world unite. Haven't you heard? "Average" is the new awesome. I'm going to be who He made me to be. Everything else is less than who He loves - it's true for me, it's true for you. Rest in a baby in a manger. Maybe together we'll find simplicity is divine.
Much love to you,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Shoes - New & Improved!

Listening to the radio the other day the DJ said, "You're either going to need a tissue as you cry through this song or you will decide to adjust your spam filter. Here it is, "Christmas Shoes". Just a few notes into the song 2 things happened to me: 1) my ears started to bleed and 2) for a split second I wished I were Jewish. (Plus, I've always thought Dan would look hot in a yarmulke.)

I hate the song "Christmas Shoes". Do you feel the same way? Other than the song itself I have not real framework for the story. But based on the song alone here's what I gather...

There's a kid with a sick mom. She's going to die. So instead of comforting her as she dies he decides she won't be able to get into heaven unless she's well dressed. (Some women's ministry programs operate on this same premise. Just saying.) So he goes out to Footlocker on Christmas Eve. Instead of selecting a nice, sensible Hush Puppy, he selects some red, crystal encrusted Dior heels for about $450. He gets up to pay for the shoes, and even though he knocked over a 7-11 on his way over, he doesn't enough coin for the bling. So he deviously cons the guy behind him in line out of some mad cash. He buys the shoes. He shoves the receipt in his pocket. And laughs all the way home. He's taking them back the day after Christmas and pocketing the proceeds.

That's the way it should be anyway. I mean, seriously, people! Who wrote this song? I don't know if there are world religions that offer divine merit based on footwear, but maybe that's what they were thinking.

I toyed with putting the song and video to "Christmas Shoes" up today. But I wouldn't want you to think I endorse such behavior.

If someone were to haphazardly turn on the super sunny Christian radio station and hear "Christmas Shoes" they'd think we're a sad bunch. Maybe this is better.

(George, I would never dis you on Christmas. Steal your mousse, maybe. But never would I break your heart. E.V.E.R.)

So, what's your least favorite Christmas song?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why Women Should Not Take Men Christmas Shopping

No one hates to go shopping more than my husband. So I do almost all of the Christmas shopping, which usually works to my advantage. Imagine Christmas morning in the Small household: our son, 6, is reveling in his new set of box cutters. Our daughter, 8, prances around in her new sequin tube top. Dan gets his 5th ratchet set because apparently 1 isn't enough. Then, Oh! Look! What's that small velvet box under the tree? (Which is his cue to find what's left.) "Honey," I say. "Read the card to me." He clears his throat. "To Stacy From Dan... I'm the world's luckiest guy. You are crazy hot!" (Which is what he would say if he were a wordsmith like me.)Well would you look at that? Dan got me a shiny ring for Christmas! Wasn't that nice of him? And especially generous considering we bounced the mortgage payment for December.

Given Dan's disdain for shopping, and that he has this in common with most men, I decided to share with you something a friend sent me. Consider it a reminder to let your spouse off the hook when it comes to selecting gifts.


After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target.
Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get
in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she
loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter
from the local Target.

Dear Mrs. Warner,

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our
store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both
of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Warner,
are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other
people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice,
'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away'. This caused the employee to
leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that
in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time
and costing the company money.

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms
on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children
shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from
the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and
screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a
mirror while he picked his nose. For 10 full minutes.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked
the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming
the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by
using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through,
yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed
a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'

And last, but not least:

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile,
then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of
the clerks nearly passed out.
This list feels pretty complete but what do you think? Any other reasons not to force the man in your life into Christmas shopping?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Alternative Christmas Letter - SFL Encore

(Of all the posts I've written this is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it, too. Feel free to cut, paste, and send it out as your own. But change the picture first. You're probably more attractive anyway.)

Christmas brings out strange behavior. Case in point, the traditional Christmas letter. You know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you've even sent one yourself, I know I have. It generally goes something like this:

1) Pay a photographer $500 for 1 picture in which every member of your family looks perfect. Usually this involves matching Polos and lots of airbrushing.

2) Write an exaggerated narrative about family events over the past 12 months. For example, "Jill learned to color" becomes "Jill, though only 2, shows artistic promise as she boldly experiments with color and design". Or, "Life really sucked this year. The fact that we never heard from you once means you're a jerk" becomes "God is teaching us to depend on Him in this season of growth".

3) Send the photo and the letter to people you haven't seen in at least 3 years. Why? Because people who snub us deserve to know what they're missing out on: the perfection that is your family. Sure, you may have put the dog down this year but for the most part the year was without incident. Unless the kids poisoned the dog. In which case, your kids my look perfect but, trust me, they're headed to Juvie.

I must admit, we get lots of these traditional Christmas letters. Wanna hear a secret? (Lean in close to the screen - I'm whisper-typing.) We don't always read them. They get old and boring and...well...we really don't care how great a soccer player your kid is.....or how your new job as hot dog vendor at Weenie Hut is amazing....or how very cozy you feel in your Snuggie. I just don't care.

So, in response to the throng of Christmas letters that flood our mailbox every year, our family has chosen The Alternative Christmas Letter approach. What you are about to read is the actual Christmas photo and letter we are sending this year. But I wanted to share it with you first.

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We wanted to send you a letter to let you know what we’ve been up to this last year.

We still live in a house. It is in Kentucky. We live close to some family members, but far away from others. We try to get together. Sometimes it works out and we have fun. Other times it does not.

This year we all had birthdays. We have a tradition where we give gifts and have cake. Sometimes we have ice cream, other times we do not. We also blow out candles, which is nice. Every person gets cake because it is good to share.

Dan has a job. He works hard. He gets up, goes to work, works all day and comes home just before dinner. Most days he does this, some days he does not. On the days he does not work he is sick or it is a weekend or maybe even a holiday.

Both kids are in school. Our daughter wakes up every day. So does our son. They put on clothes, eat breakfast, and get in the car. They go to school and stay until they are picked up. They also eat lunch nearly every day when they are hungry.

Stacy stays home some days. Some days she goes out to the store. She buys food and sometimes even underwear or shoes for the kids. Most days she makes dinner. Some days we eat chicken. Other days we eat beef or sandwiches. Usually there is a vegetable but not always. When dinner is ready we like to eat it. We use forks except for when we have soup.

We had all four seasons this year. In the winter it was cold for the most part. Some days it snowed. We would look outside and say, “Look. Snow.” We enjoyed saying this. Then we had spring. Some days it was warmer, other days it was not. Then summer came. When it was hot we would come inside. When we did this we might have a cold drink or say, “It’s hot today.” But we did not say that every day, just some days. Then it was Fall. We had colder weather. The leaves came off the trees. “Look”, we said. “Leaves.”

We went to church a good amount. We sang songs. We listened to people talk. We tried to be happy about what they say. The kids learnd about God and use plenty of glue. Sometimes there are even puppets.

Some of you are nice to us. We try to keep in touch. If you send a letter we will read it. If you call we will answer the phone. We like to say things like “Hello” and “How are you?” Being nice is good.

It has been so good to catch up with you. Merry Christmas.

Have a nice day,

The Smalls

Monday, December 7, 2009

An Interview With Satan

I'm sure we all have a good answer for this question: What is the most ridiculous argument you've ever heard in church? Let's talk about crazy displays of disunity.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

White Elephant Gift Exchange 2009

I'm a hardcore white elephant gift exchanger. I know I probably need therapy or at least a new hobby. Yet for this admitted prankster the white elephant gift exchange shines like a floodlight in a deserted Dollar General parking lot. For a few fleeting moments it's as if Santa is just asking to be depantsed in the name of universally lame gift giving. (Enter The Snuggie, The Shamwow, The Slap Chop.)

On Saturday our Sunday School class amassed for a Christmas party. Now let me be frank. I did not attend this yearly event because the food was delicious. My attendance also had nothing to do with the fellowship (though I must say the "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" analysis did make me more than a little chortle tipsy). The reason I attend this event is because I spend months configuring the perfect white elephant gift. (The balance of embarrassment, sarcasm, and shock is delicate. Personally, I think it's some kind of gift.)

As I wrote last year there are tremendous ways to sabotage such an exchange. This year however, I took my own advice, threw caution to the wind, and gave away this little gem, note and all.

The Baby Making Date Night Kit!

Contents include:
1 regifted $25 Red Robin gift card (unused)
1 Colt 45 Malt Liquor 22 oz. beverage for 2
1 red bottle opener
1,000,000 possibilities

That's right. I said "Malt Liquor" and "Sunday school class" in the same post. (You are welcome.)

When the Colt 45 made its grand appearance eyes popped like bottle rockets on the 4th of July. Though I can't prove it I think there was a whole section of folks who weren't offended but were pretty sure someone was gonna have some 'splainin' to do to some elders.

For other reasons I can't quite figure 3 whole people yelled at the top of their lungs, "STACY SMALL! YOU BROUGHT THAT, DIDN'T YOU!?"

Now, a note on white elephant gift psychology. We all know the point of the game is to leave the party with the least crappy gift. The conundrum with the Date Night Baby Maker is an inner struggle with moral depravity. One might think to himself, "Red Robin gift card? For $25? Not bad. But I must claim the Satan water to get it. Am I ready to reveal my inner wino?"

A friend sitting next to me said, "What is the difference between beer and malt liquor?"

"Trashiness," I replied.

She tilted her head to the side to let that sink in. I tilted my head to the side as I evaluated how I knew the answer to her question. (If you are reading this while enjoying a nice malt liquor I appologize sincerely. No joke at your expense to be sure. Cheers.)

You will be happy to know the Date Night Baby Maker made the rounds that evening. It finally found a place to call home with one of my friends. She leaned across the table and said, "I'm always looking for something to do with the kids when my husband works late." I think she meant taking the kids out to dinner, but who am I to judge? I'm the kind of person who brings Colt 45 to an otherwise Christian outing.

What's the worst (or best) white elephant gift you have ever given? What will you be taking to your white elephant this year?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody

As a child The Muppets terrified me. "Why do people laugh at the Swedish Chef?" I wondered. "He doesn't have eyes. I can't understand what he is saying. Why won't someone help him?" For a 4 year old it was all too much. I'd lay in bed and pray my Holly Hobby sheets would protect me from Pigs In Space. Though my sensibilities are less delicate today my opinion of The Muppets hasn't changed. That is, until I saw this. Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps one of my favorite (albeit shockingly twisted) songs sung by the various creatures who forced me into therapy. Pure genius, even if they are made from asbestos, Yak hair and Hawiian Punch.

Don't miss my husband's cameo at 3:46.

Where's your cameo? Which character are you? (I pop up at 3:59)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Reader,

Jon Acuff once said, "The best way to overcome writer's block is to write about writer's block until the ideas begin to flow."

I responded, "No, Silly, the best way to overcome writer's block is plagiarism." No one else agreed with me. It was one of those "Jon is handing out sage wisdom" moments and I was just being a ridiculous. Go figure.

Here I sit with the opposite of writer's block. Right now I have ideas spinning through my head a mile a minute.

Since September life has not made sense. It started with my dad having a heart attack around the middle of the month. A few days later as I laid down highway miles traveling to his heart surgery, Dan called. A raspy, tearful voice, barely recognizable to me, demanded me to pull over. "You need to come home, Stacy. My dad is dead."

"NO! NO! NO!" Over and over I screamed. The patriarch of our family, our "go to" guy, our protection in the storm was gone. Hit head on while riding his Harley, he died on impact, taking a piece of me and the rest of the family with him into eternity.

My husband's brother's wife and I often joke that we would have married either of the boys just to get into the family. When I married Dan, the love I shared for his parents really sweetened the deal. In fact, at our wedding, Dan's dad, David, made a toast to me. He raised his glass and simply said, "Stacy today I'm proud to be called your dad." It's my favorite memory of him.

We have lost so much. Together we have been grieving, remembering, and moving on. It's a slow process. The art of letting go seems contorted, after all, we're not made to know how to handle death. We are made for eternity. For those of us in Christ, when we lose a member of the body, we can't help but long for heaven.

In the midst of losing Dan's dad, my dad had a major stroke. His personality changes and lack of ability to communicate leaves my heart raw. He isn't recovering quickly. Unfortunately his diabetes slows the process considerably. He is my daddy. Watching him suffer doesn't seem fair.

Faith aside, there is a real sense that I am grieving the loss of two dads. One is with Jesus in eternity. The other is still with me and the goal is to try to determine how to communicate with him in a way he understands. This is my greatest longing.

I wish I had and super spiritual insight to bring it all home. But in writing this to you after a long absence this is as honest as I can be. Right now I don't have many answers. I never set out to have a perfect blog, but I did promise myself I'd always be real. Part of that reality is that I have missed you. Your friendship transcends the screen.

I did have one very good thing happen in November. My family and I met Jon and Jenny Acuff. Even though they did not pay for our lunch we had a good time. We gave them a Stacy From Louisville gift bucket. Bucket, you ask? Why yes, a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket filled with items made in Kentucky. Of course this included Maker's Mark Bourbon. (You can make whiskey anywhere, but true bourbon is only made in KY. You are welcome.) And who doesn't want bourbon without a Gettin' Lucky In Kentucky Shot Glass? Dan and I even signed it for them. Seems a shame I don't have a photo.

It is my hope to get reacquainted with you. Thank so much to those of you who have sent me Facebook messages of encouragement - and messages telling me to get back to the blog already. It all means so much.

Let's talk again soon,