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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Earlier in the month, I posted my appreciation to my Dad on his birthday. My dad is a great man, but he has an amazing counterpart that contributes to his success as the leader of our family. That counterpart is my Mom. Today is her birthday. I'm thankful for her, and here's why:

My Mom always tells me she loves me. Always. She's very generous with her affection, and her hugs and kisses make my heart happy. Sometimes, I go home to visit my parents just so I can have a little cuddle-time with my Mommy. I can't ever imagine that I'll ever stop feeling like her little girl.

My Mom is the hardest working person I know. Seriously. The woman gets the job done. She's not satisfied with anything but her best, and will put in 110% even when less would be acceptable. I won't call her a workaholic though...she's not in it for the pride of a job well done. She believes she's responsible for shaping hundreds of children every year as an elementary school Principal, and her passion for these little lives is unmatched.

My Mom has an amazing ability to plan and organize, whether it be a school fundraiser, a baby shower, a Christmas Eve Brunch, a vacation, or any other event. God gave me the spiritual gift of "administration," but He placed me underneath my Mom's example in this area to strengthen my own ability.

My Mom is an incredible Mom. When Ben and I were growing up, Mom always had a hot meal on the dinner table when Dad arrived home from work. She knew the value in a family gathering for supper each evening, and as a result, some of my most joyful times spent with my family as a whole were in our dining room. She happily fulfilled all of the traditional wifely duties, but did so while working outside the home full time. She's a Super-Mom! I'm not so sure that she ever actually slept...

My Mom made family life fun for Ben and I. In the summertime, she took us to the childrens museum, to the movies, to the pool, and so many other places. She made us fun snacks like "apple smiles," and fixed us hot chocolate to thaw us out from playing outside on a snow day. Mom played games with Ben and I, and read books to us. She wrote me notes telling me how much she loved me, and put them in my lunch box. She even joined us when we wanted to play basketball in the driveway each hot summer night. Mom was very involved in my adolescence, leading my Girl Scout troop, and becoming my Acteens church leader. My memories of childhood don't exist without her.

My Mom taught me to be an independent gal. Ben and I were responsible for chores, helping with laundry, yard work, and many other tasks that teach a child how to operate as a self-sufficient adult. She didn't wait on us hand-and-foot, thank goodness. No spoiled brats allowed in her household. This parenting philosophy paid off. I appreciate her disciplines now more than ever, as a single woman who is responsible for her own well-being.

My Mom always puts others before her self. She is incredibly self-sacrificing. I am not this way naturally, and as a result, I constantly notice this fine attribute of Mom. Mom would happily give me anything I need, even if she has to do without. It's a beautiful thing to realize this about my Mom, so I can try to give back to her like she gave to me.

My Mom and I love to laugh together. She's silly, and keeps me in stitches when I'm with her. Somehow, my Mom and I find ourselves in the craziest situations when we're together. When we get tickled at something, the laughter becomes the kind that's all movement and no sound, accompanied by tears running down our faces. She and Dad brought Ben and I up in a family with an emphasis on humor, so she's acquired some pretty thick skin from all of our relentless teasing...but don't think she can't dish it out!

My Mom is the farthest thing from high maintenance as one can get. She wants for nothing, and is satisfied with what she's been blessed. Mom is a model of thankfulness for me. Come to think of it, I don't know that I've ever even heard her complain!

My Mom is incredibly talented. The woman can make anything. She does it all. She cooks, bakes, sews, crafts, constructs. And, she does it well. She's creative, she's resourceful. She's my go-to whenever I'm stumped in the kitchen, or I need a pair of pants hemmed. If there's ever a question, my Mom has the experience that leads to the answer.

My Mom always recommended the high road, and taught me the importance of pursuing right. She did this not as a moral obligation, but as a responsibility to teach me God's way. Her "mom-isms" are still stuck with me, and my children will likely hear them someday. "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." "Kill 'em with kindness." "Holiness before happiness."

My Mom takes great pride in her appearance, but she's not obsessed with vanity. This was always very refreshing during my tormented teen years. I believe that so much of a girl's self-esteem and confidence is modeled by her mother. My mom taught me to see both my inside and outside beauty as defined by my Creator, not by the lies imparted by the world.

My Mom always shows interest in everything I say or do. While she already knows me inside and out, she has a constant desire to know me better. I know I can trust her. She's earned the title of my Best Friend.

Happy Birthday, Mommy! I love you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

To CHI or Not To CHI?

I consider myself a frugal fashionista. While I've been known to pony up a little more cash for a pair of nice jeans, high quality shoes, or the best in cosmetics, when it comes down to it, I'm a bargain basement kind of gal. I won't tell you some of the places I buy my clothes, for two reasons: 1) you wouldn't believe me by the way I dress, and; 2) I don't want you to bogart my suppliers. Seriously...I spend very little on clothing, but my closet is packed.

Anyway, it's all about making choices. I spend more on cosmetics with better ingredients, and justify the value for my dollar when my skin stays clear. However, when it comes to hair tools, I'm a cheapo. I've never spent more than $15 bucks on a curling iron or flat iron, but I'm starting to wonder if it's time for an upgrade. My Conair ceramic flat iron I got from Target is starting to lose it's ability to heat up, and let's be real...it never worked that well anyway.

For the same reason that I can't bring myself to buy a weather center, I am hesitant to acquire a professional flat iron. I've lamented to my roommate, Amy, many times that I would love to have a CHI. But spending $150 on a metal and plastic hair contraption seems to wane in importance, considering the number of starving children in the world today.

Before I absentmindedly plop down my debit card, I'd like your honest opinion. If you are a professional flat iron user, please give me the 4-1-1 on your investment.

I'd like to know:
--Which brand/model flat iron do you use?
--How long have you owned it?
--Have you experienced any manufacturing issues with the product?
--Did you previously own a cheapo flat iron?
--If so, can you tell the difference? How?
--What kind of temperature range should I seek on a professional flat iron?
--What's the difference between a $150 CHI and a $75 CHI?
--Are there brands that make a professional flat iron better than CHI?
--Would you recommend I upgrade?

Queen MAB Consumer Reports appreciates your feedback!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Since the time I completed my first Beth Moore Bible study (Stepping Up) back in fall of 2007, I've been dying to meet Christian author and speaker, Beth Moore. I am one of thousands of women who has been encouraged by Beth and taught how to study the Word. She empowers me to be who God created me to be. I'm so very thankful for her.

So, back in November, I was approached by Tyndale to host Beth at my Franklin LCS for an author signing event for her new book, So Long, Insecurity. Clearly, I jumped at the chance, and spent three months planning and promotion in anticipation of the event. Finally, last Thursday, I met her.

As I pre-flapped and passed books to her during the signing, I watched as woman after woman approached her, humbly offering their appreciation. And to each woman, she edified and encouraged, hugged and loved, laughed and cried with them. She made every woman in front of her feel like the most important person in her world.

While I spent some conversational time with Beth on Thursday, I failed to tell her how much she's influenced my life. I should've told her that my Bible study girls and I lovingly call her B-Mo. I should've told her that she helped unify my Bible study and taught us how to dissect Scripture daily. I should've told her that her Anointed, Transformed & Redeemed study of King David's life helped me conquer my own bondage to sin. I should've told her that she helped me see Esther's courage and faith so I could seek mine from the Lord. I should've told her that every morning I recite the Five Statement Pledge of Faith from Believing God. Instead, I smiled at her, hugged her, and simply thanked her.

Clearly, God has given Beth a supernatural gift to love women, and has made her this special instrument to be used for His glory. Beth is just a simple woman who God made extraordinary. I realized that God can also do that in my own life. He can take this simple, ordinary girl and make her into something incredible too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

At Risk

risk: (noun)
1) exposure to the chance of injury or loss;
2) a hazard or dangerous chance.

I've been thinking a lot about risk lately. For, perhaps, the first time in my life, I found something I'm willing to take a gamble. And this scares the living hell out of me.

Certain cliches designated as the themes of the American "romantic comedy" are pretty and convenient; such as, "the bigger the risk, the greater the reward." But Hollywood doesn't make movies with themes like, "the bigger the risk, the greater the damage." That doesn't sell.

My risk could turn into something beautiful. Or, it could be a train wreck.

That I'm even willing to talk about this somewhat openly is a big step outside my type-A comfort zone. I can't help but to be guarded. 28 years of singleness will do that to a girl. Can I get an Amen?

I'm so afraid of getting hurt. So afraid. But, I know two things:

1) God is sovereign.

2) He hasn't let me down yet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

At my Bible study retreat several weeks ago, we watched an Andy Stanley video series called "Go Fish," focusing on evangelism. Andy asked us to write a letter to the person that led us to Christ, and tell them how thankful we are for their influence.

That person in my life was my Dad. I believe it was a Sunday afternoon in April of 1988. I was about to be seven years old, and I think I asked questions that prompted him to tell me how to have a relationship with Christ. I remember Dad emphasizing the eternal importance of my decision, and then leading me through a prayer. I also remember him telling me how proud he was of me, and that I should go tell Mom. I was baptized about a week later on Sunday, April 16, 1988.

Today is my Dad's birthday. I am so thankful for him, and here's why:

My Dad has always been the spiritual leader of my family. He made it a priority for my family to be at church on Sunday morning. He encouraged us to read our Bibles, pray, ask questions about our faith, and get involved in ministry. Dad taught me to swim against the current, and to pursue righteousness and holiness. I credit Dad with laying and cementing key bricks in my spiritual foundation.

My Dad dearly loves my Mom, and he dearly loves Ben and I. There were times when Ben and I were growing up that Dad was pulling 70 hour work weeks. However, he still managed to coach my basketball team, lead Ben's boy scout troop, help me with my math homework, and so much more. He always put us first, and I never doubted it.

My Dad always believed in me, always encouraged me. I've mentioned this before, but around nine years old, I decided I wanted to be the first female President of the United States. Some of you (myself included), are probably rolling your eyes, but Dad never did. He said, "do it." In fact, he said "do it" for anything that I expressed interest. He gave me way more credit than I ever deserved--believed in me much more than I'm capable--but it was given to me nonetheless. Dad never put limits on my success. As a result, I'm always excited to call dad with good news, especially when it involved school and now, my career. His approval means so much.

My Dad always makes me feel special. He never fails to ask me what's going on in my life, and he remembers the details. I can tell that it's important to him to be involved in my story. How extraordinary is it for a single girl to have a man in her life who loves her this much?

My Dad has a heart of gold. He is kind to the core, and aims for servanthood. Mom and I laugh because Dad always seems to find himself in situations where he is helping complete strangers, even though it may be incredibly inconvenient. But, he never complains, and I love what this says about his character.

My Dad impressed upon me the importance of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. He taught me to manage expectations with people, and to always give someone the benefit of the doubt.

My Dad was a strict disciplinarian, and set strong boundaries in his household. I was constantly challenged growing up, and Dad didn't put up with any misbehavior. But, he also knew when to bend, and when to give.

My Dad manages his family finances responsibly. He always advised me to default to saving a dollar versus spending a dollar. Dad encouraged me to open a savings account at an early age, and to live within my means. And, maybe even more importantly, he led me by example in tithing. As a result, I've always been able to joyfully follow suit.

My Dad is the funniest person I know, hands down. He has this unique ability to make me double over in laughter with the simplest facial expression. I can't be in a room with him without giggling. I get him, and he gets me.

Freud, say what you will, but my Dad is the yardstick, to which all the other men in my life must measure up.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Four Seasons

My roommate, Amy, just walked in my bedroom and sang Happy Birthday to my blog. You see, The Queen MAB Manifesto turns four years old today. Four years of documenting my tumultuous twenties. Priceless. I only wish I began sooner.

Reviewing four years of cheers, fears, and tears, I chose one favorite post from each year.

In 2006, a quiet evening of knitting with Natalie turned into the Mousecapades.

In 2007, I learned 26 very important lessons.

In 2008, I closed the chapter on the Aspen Bungalow, and opened a new one at Fort Knox.

In 2009, Courtney drew a picture on my dry-erase board. Maybe I'll get her to add another bird soon. And if not, I know I'll be just fine.

Thank you for faithful readership, for your encouragement, for your challenge. I appreciate you.

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