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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Polly Vu Fran-Say?

It's official---we booked our flight to Europe, more specifically, to London and then to Paris. We, as in myself, Siebe, Lana and Mandy. I can't believe we finally did it and I've been giggling myself silly all night in excitement---and even doing that teenage-girl high-pitched squeal while dancing on my tip-toes in place.

Siebe and Lana came over earlier so we could choose our flights. Of course, I have stories.

First, we book my flight. I'm nervous, and I can't seem to make my fingers work properly on my laptop keys. As soon as I'm done, we begin to book Lana's flight. I'm about to type her name into the reservation form, and she blurts out, "Lana. Groves." Siebe and I pause a minute, and then burst out laughing. We know your name, Laney.

After she's booked, we call Mandy, and evidently wake her up from a deep sleep at 9:00 p.m. She's fumbling around to get her credit card, and we get to the part of the form where you submit your emergency contact info. I ask her, "Mandy, what about your emergency contact?" and she says, "my cell phone." Our spirits were already heightened with Lana's earlier blonde moment, and so this set us off in laughter for a full five minutes. Siebe says, "No Mandy, who do you want the airline to contact in case of emergency?" Mandy says, "my momma." Laughter ensues again. This time, I'm crying and doubled-over in stitches.

So now, the fun part begins. The planning process (a.k.a. my favorite part) shall commence and I've got to get crackin' on my gringo-French.

We've decided that we need a documentary filmmaker to accompany us on our trip, because let's face it---the four of us make good entertainment. Europe, get ready.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Biblical Barbie

What does it mean to be a woman of Christ? On several occasions lately, I've dealt with uncertainty on this subject---including writing a disgruntled letter to a local Christian radio station when a comment was made by the male morning show host, "if a woman becomes President, then who's gonna do the laundry?" Don't ask. I wasn't nice: "that's like asking, 'if a black man becomes President, then who's gonna pick the cotton?'"

I have vivid childhood memories of boldly proclaiming to my parents that I was going to be the first female President. I'm sure my parents secretly giggled at this, but never once did they say to me, "you're better off in the kitchen, so lower your standards." In contrast, I can remember my dad saying to me, "do it!"

Part of me is proud to be a career woman, a minority in a corporation powered by beards, and the other part of me is dying to find myself a sugar daddy and become the traditional 1950s homemaker. Right now, I don't have a choice. I must work to support myself. And someday, I hope to have the choice to work or stay at home with the kids and keep house. But what do I do in the meantime?

Yesterday, I got an email from an associate at B&H Publishing, that contained the video below. The video promotes Robert Lewis' new book, "The New Eve":

Many women lack a clear, compelling, biblical vision for what it means to be a Christian woman living in the twenty-first century. They are stuck with images mired in 1950s terminology or given license to indiscriminately pursue a modern life that overlooks divine directives, bringing confusion and regret.”

Don't you love it? What are your thoughts?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Name That House!

In the past month, I have completed the following in regards to securing a roof over my head:

a) Unsuccessfully negotiated a new rent-rate with my apartment complex;
b) Panicked;
c) Entered verbal agreement with three other fabulous girls to seek out alternative and collective living arrangement;
d) Gave 60-days notice to my apartment complex, on faith that God would provide a place to rest my soul;
e) Spent hours on Craigslist and even more hours touring homes;
f) Prayed;
g) Prayed some more;
h) Negotiated reduced rent with potential landlord in return for extended lease period;
i) Accepted an offer;
j) Made it official with ink on paper.

I move out of my beloved Aspen Bungalow and into my new home on February 23. I could not be more excited, more thankful, and more aware of God's presence in this major decision. With it will come much sacrifice, but also much blessing.

Meet our new 4 bedroom, 4 bath home located in the 12South district of downtown Nashville.

She will be named appropriately when the time comes. Current candidates are:

  • "The Mother Load," nominated by Amy. I quote: "I was thinking about our new place and what awesome girls we are and how some guy is going to think he hit the mother load when he finds us."
  • "Knox Inc.," nominated by Autumn. Made in reference to Em's comment, "I can't wait to see how God is going to use us individually as well as corporately.

Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!

God is moving in my life. The past year has been a year of spiritual dormancy, and I'm entering a season of growth. Not that I ever thought God had left my side---He just quietly led me through the dark. I am so excited for Him to rid me of guilt, of self-loathing, of loneliness, of greed, of lust, of hatred, of all that hinders. I desire for Him to fill me with His love, His grace, His abundance.

Kairos was an amazing time of worship tonight. This video provided an incredible visualization of a sacred hymn.

Last night in Bible Study, Mandy shared the following passage written by the late Ellen Dent. Ellen was a high school student in the small group Mandy led in college, that was killed in a car accident. Found in her Bible were the following words she had written--words that I hope are my prayer for a very long time:

"My priority is being God's daughter. Everything else will fall into place. Don't strive so hard to serve Him. Rest in His love. The rest will come naturally, from an overwhelming realization of how much God loves me."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, Grate...

In many language derivations of my name, Mary Anna translates literally to "bitter grace." I translate literally to "bitter grace."

Last night, I went to the wedding of a close childhood friend, Brittany Powers. The wedding was held in the Wightman Chapel of Scarritt-Bennett, a beautiful gothic structure in the heart of Hillsboro. It was exceptionally cold last night, but I dressed myself in style and slipped into my new pair of Steve Madden chocolate brown, tweed fabric heels. These shoes are simply beautiful, and I felt so sassy when prancing up to the chapel in their four-inch spike heels.

The wedding ceremony passes, and the crowd begins to file-out for the reception. In the chapel, there are three aisles---one main center aisle and two along the outer edge of the pews. Sprinkled every few feet along the outside aisles are 2x2 foot metal grates, with small square holes punched through. Dad and I exit on the outside aisle, followed by Mom, struggling to get her coat on. I'm busy looking back and laughing at her for not being able to find the armhole, and I walk forward, directly on top of the first grate. I pause for a moment, trying to help Mom with her coat, and when I try to move forward, I realize I'm stuck.

Both of my heels are wedged about three inches down into the grate. I try to lift up my feet, but neither will budge. I'm pulling and yanking and by this time, Mom's caught up to me and is pushing forward telling me to "go!" Behind Mom is a line of guests also wondering why there's a hold-up. I look back at Mom, glued into my shoes, with a horrified look on my face. I panic and say, "I can't move!" At this point, she realizes that I'm sunk and she starts laughing hysterically. I tell her later that it's a good thing that I wasn't being sucked away by an escalator or an emptying drain, because I would've been long gone by now.

Finally, I get my bearings about me and slip out of my shoes. Now standing barefoot on the floor of this formal chapel, I bend over to get my shoes and realize they're stuck fast. Pretty soon, I'm down on my hands and knees, wiggling my heels out of this dang grate. Remember--there are approximately 40 or so folks behind me, waiting in line to exit. I'm that girl, the one that's holding them up.

Mortified. My face is purple and I'm completely humiliated. I haven't been this embarrassed since the time I was knocked face-first out of my chair by my co-worker in a training meeting at Adtec. Trying to regain my composure, I move forward, and glance up at the mezzanine. I see my friend Parker standing at the top of the chapel, filming the exiting crowd. We make eye contact and he waves. Did he get this fiasco on camera???

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Let me count the ways.

Wow, how much do I love this dress? At first glance, I literally gasped in awe. Katherine Heigl looks stunning at the 27 Dresses premiere. Old-Hollywood glamour is my favorite style, and she embodies the era from head-to-toe. Her dress is Bill Blass, and I had multiple dressgasms a few minutes ago when I viewed the dresses in his spring collection. Have a looksee!


Friday, January 4, 2008

Queen MAB's Consumer Reports

If there were ever cause for me to acquire a new career, I'd be well suited for research. I don't mean the kind of research where you donate your body to science---my kind of research is historical, or marketing, or investigative, or whatever you want to call it. Throw me a topic or issue and I will inductively study to provide a comprehensive conclusion. It's a gift. And it's why I want to be a travel writer. But I digress...

My gift is also a curse. While I am incredibly decisive in matters of spontaneity, I am also inclined to take my sweet time in making important decisions----such as, purchasing an iPod.

A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted and needed a portable music device, and I began a fund for acquiring said device. However, at the time, I was also saving for a new laptop, and several planned vacations. The coveted gadget slid to the bottom of my list---but as of December it's back at the top.

So here I am, beginning the Socratic process. And here you are to join me in my endeavor. Please humor me. Lay it on me folks: I am in the market for an iPod and would LOVE your uncensored feedback and recommendations about your own experiences, trials, tribulations and successes with the little biddies.

My needs/wants: Primary use will be for my daily commute and a soundtrack to my work-day. I also want to use the iPod during my workout, and for lengthy travel periods. I need durability, a large amount of storage, and appropriate accessories. Currently, I have approximately 4,500 songs in my music catalogue, all of which I want at my fingertips at any given moment. I also need room to grow.

My questions/concerns:

a) Where should I purchase my iPod? As far as I've been able to research, there's no price break for shopping at stores like Target or Best Buy. And Amazon deals are not substantiative or consistent. What are the benefits from purchasing from the Mac store? Engraving?

b) Have you ever had any problems with your iPod? Did you purchase a warranty, or have any issues with repair or replacement?

c) If you have a PC, ever run into any compatibility issues?

d) My iPod will likely spend some time in my purse. Some of you have seen the suitcases I carry around on my shoulders, and the weight and dimension of their contents aren't iPod friendly. So, I need a case/holder/reinforced steel shell that will protect my purchase from rigorous wear-and-tear.

e) Which brand of car-kit do you recommend? Any particular car-related accessories? Note: my only means of using an iPod in the Cubmobile are through the cigarette lighter. I would prefer an inconspicuous cord, but I can entertain other options.

f) For work, I will primarily use a USB cable and my computer speakers to broadcast. For home use, I need a dock with speakers. What brands? What kinds? Best value? Best sound? Most portable?

g) Because the iPod basically serves as a mini-hard drive, I'd imagine that it's not incredibly workout friendly (exception being the mini, Nano, shuffle, etc.). Please tell me how to make my iPod compatible with my workout (treadmill/elliptical/free weights/yoga/pilates).

h) Ear buds: do they come standard, or do I need a pimped-out set? What about a charging device?

i) Any worthy reading materials and/or websites that might help with my research? Em's already passed along ilounge.com and it's been super helpful. I'm also familiar with c-net.com.

j) Any closing thoughts/recommendations/warnings you'd like to contribute to Queen MAB's version of Consumer Reports?


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fresh Queen of Nashville

What's the point of staying up past your bedtime on a school night if you don't watch cheesy tv sitcom reruns? Point in case, I'm tuned into the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and fighting off yawns while I punch out the obligatory New Year's blog post.

Inspiration arrives from all over, even from the aformentioned show's theme song. I'm struck by the word, "fresh," as it is rather apropos for the season. I love a beginning and my M.O. is highly motivated by something like a new year.

I am confident that the year 2008 will hold much change in store for me, and so far, my outlook is positive. Events occuring near the end of 2007 mean new traditions, a new homestead, and new friends. With that comes new challenges, new places, and new boys. How exciting! And to think that I don't even know the half of it yet!

Reading over my last New Year's post, I realize how much I've grown in the year 2007. And I also realize that my one resolution will carry itself into 2008:

Discover and manifest the woman God created me, on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

Tonight, I hosted my second-annual Black-eyed Pea Party, complete with black-eyed pea salsa, black-eyed pea quesadillas, and a traditional pot of the little brown beauties for an extra shot of luck. Lana and Siebe snuck out before the rest of us toasted to the new year with a spoonful, and some of us even double-dipped our luck.

ab hinc anno MMVIII!

I pulled up to to the year of two-thousand-and-eight,
And I yelled to the last year, yo, home smell you later
Looked at my kingdom I was finally here
To settle my throne as the Queen of Nashville!

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