Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Revenge of the Bridesmaids

So. About a week ago I got into a fight. I know those of you who know me are surprised - fights probably don't seem like what someone as charming, peaceable, sweet, and loveable (and don't forget humble!) as me normally participate in. But, when we went to try on bridesmaids dresses for Kristi's wedding, it happened. Or, supposedly it happened. Or at least we told Taylor it happened.

It all started innocently enough - Taylor texted Mom to see how the day had gone with trying on bridesmaids dresses and all, and since Mom was driving, Hannah texted for her. It seemed boring to just say the day had gone well so she said that everything had gone well EXCEPT that Kim and I had gotten into a fight. We expected Tay to be like, "Yeah, right," and that be that. One problem - Tay never did! The story kept growing - each time Tay texted back, we added a new preposterous (we thought) detail. It evolved to a final version in which Kim would not share the cheese at Olive Garden with me and said my dress was ugly and then punched me in the nose. Then, I refused to have her ride home with the rest of us because I was scared she would hurt me again, so she had to stay in Savannah at David's Bridal and wait for her mom to pick her up. We never thought Tay would believe it, but he did, called Joe to ask him about it, who then called me to see what had happened. Guess what? Joe believed it too. And as the story spread around, so did my dad and the rest of my family. It made for a VERY amusing car trip home as we spun our yarn and laughed incredulously at the trust of the rest of the family. We kept it going until we heard my dad was furious at Kim for hurting me. I figured I'd better call and tell him that actually she hadn't. But, we asked him to not tell the others, and I arrived home with makeup on my nose to make it look bruised and continued the act a bit longer. Finally, we told the truth and had a good laugh. So, moral of the story, do not rest assured that when you make up a preposterous story for a joke that others will automatically understand it is only a JOKE. People will actually believe some pretty outrageous things. At any rate, it makes for a good family story. Generations from now, we will still be talking about the time I got in a fight. Only maybe we won't tell our grandkids that it didn't actually happen. After all, they need a tough grandma, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Get Back Up Again

Ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you just keep messing up? Your list doesn't get done, you let people down, you don't meet your goals. If it doesn't happen to you, I congratulate you. You are of all people most fortunate and successful. You also probably 1. do not live on earth or 2. have an unduly inflated view of yourself or 3. are content with small accomplishments. Very small. Because, let's face it, this is something that all of us who are trying to live a successful, productive, exemplary life deal with at some point or another. It is something I deal with almost weekly (if not daily). It is so easy to beat myself up, get super discouraged, give up in despair and bury myself under the covers with some ice cream and chocolate. But, the truth is, none of these strategies are going to result in success and satisfaction. So what are you supposed to do when you fail? What am I supposed to do when I fail? The answer is simple yet surprisingly hard to do. Get back up again. I have note cards that show a picture of a girl roller skating and say "Success consists in getting up once oftener than you fall down." And you know what? As simplistic as that sounds, it is true. As long as you have the courage to keep trying "just one more time," you will make progress and you will eventually be successful. You never really hear of people who never, never gave up despite the odds not succeeding at the end. The people who really do fail are the ones who get discouraged and throw in the towel. So, although I feel a little discouraged right now because this week has not gone how I have planned, I have not been following my New Year's resolutions even though it is still January, and I haven't gotten half the things done that I wanted to this week, I am not going to give up, give out, or give in. I am going to be brave, get back up again, dust myself off, and keep on persevering towards my goals. Who knows? This may be the time I finally succeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Visit

After Christmas, Hannah, Bethany, and I traveled to South Carolina for a couple days to visit Ashlyn. She had been wanting us to come see her new house, so this was the perfect chance to do so. We visited our grandparents while we were there, plus I met up with old friends and professors. We had a great time. It was wonderful to see everyone and it was a lot of fun to hang out with Ashlyn. We enjoyed shopping, walking downtown, eating lunch in a quaint Italian cafe downtown, watching chick flicks, and just spending time together. The couple days we had there were over very quickly, but it was a great trip and I think everyone would agree it was time well-spent!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Cousin for Christmas

Some of you may have been wondering who the "Amber" that I mentioned in my last post was. Here's the scoop: my cousin (Amber!) needed to find a place to do her student teaching in order to complete her degree. So, she worked it out with the school I teach at (and Joe goes to) to do her student teaching there. So, Christmas Eve, she arrived at our house, complete with all her winter clothes and all her summer clothes (As we explained to her that the way the weather works around here is that it could be 80 one day and 40 the next. This is NOT an exaggeration.) She spent Christmas with us, got to see how crazy we really were (we tried to warn her, but, well, some things you just have to see to believe), and decided to stay (or maybe she just didn't have any choice). At any rate, we now have one additional member of our family! She moved in with Hannah and Bethany and seems to be fitting in nicely. She is holding her own quite nicely and has even shown us that she also has a devious, crazy, mischievous side!!! :)

December....in a nutshell

In an effort to capture some of the main events of December quickly so that I can move on (seeing as it is mid January!), here is a list of some of the highlights:

  • Musical opportunities - I kept busy with my music over Christmas, playing a concert at First Baptist Church in Cochran, playing for Christmas parties, and accompanying a children's choir at Christ Church on St. Simon's Island. They were wonderful opportunities which will hopefully open the door to future chances to play as well.
  • Christmas party at church - this will forever go down in infamy due to some events regarding the um "12 days of Christmas," six geese a laying, my dad, and some...uh...."air freshener." That is all I am going to say...you will have to talk to an eye witness if you want more details! :)
  • My students' piano recital - this was a great chance for my little students to join with two other teachers' students and play Christmas carols. I was so proud! :)
  • Christmas Baking - Who knew baking Christmas cookies could be so much fun? We put on movies (like Elf!!) or Christmas music non-stop and baked away. Our pantry and our kitchen were proof that some epic baking took place!! And of course, seeing as it was OUR family who was baking, there were some "unusual" occurrences with some of the cookies - key words: Benjamin, ninjas, my sweetheart, the Gingerbread man, and MORE!
  • Kidnapping the "Sherris" - This tradition began a couple Christmases ago with the kidnapping of Jase and the Ds. In the absence of those dearly beloved people, we felt that we must continue it with the kidnapping of our dear friends the "Sherris." Armed with all the (toy) pistols we could find, we barged into their house and told them they were being kidnapped and must come with us!! :) They were all loaded into our huge van, and then we drove around and enjoyed Christmas lights together! :) Afterwards, we enjoyed some delicious pizza and general fun times together.
  • Christmas Eve - we finished up a whirlwind of preparations for our party that evening, then my family headed off to our church and I headed to play for the church I am currently serving as pianist of. When we got back, Ashlyn and Amber were there! (more about who Amber is later! ;) We all worked together to set up all the beautiful hors d'oeuvres and goodies we had made. Taylor made it home just in time, and we all enjoyed the good food amid much laughter and fellowship. After eating, we commenced the annual sibling gift exchange. This is always an epically good time with many tricks being played, hilarious moments where we are rolling on the floor in laughter, and general craziness and fun times. After that, we normally watch a Christmas movie together or play games but this year it was so late and we had church the next day, so we forwent the movie in favor of a few hours sleep.
  • Christmas Day - we normally have a traditional breakfast before opening presents. This year, however, with Christmas being on a Sunday, we did have the traditional breakfast but it was a bit rushed and was the prelude to scrambling out the door to church. This year, too, I found out what it is like being a church pianist when Christmas is on a Sunday! I had to hurry with preparations for the solos I was either playing or accompanying that morning, so Christmas morning was mostly spend preparing those and rushing out the door! That afternoon when we got home was much more fun - we FINALLY got to open presents(! :) and then prepared a delicious Christmas dinner. And that night we got to watch a movie. All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


中國歡迎您 "Welcome to China." That was what we kept hearing over and over again. Were we in China? No, but China had come to us in the form of 30 Chinese government officials - at our house for dinner. It all began that summer when my dad had been chosen to be part of a government education exchange program (sponsored by the University of Georgia), where representatives from the US traveled to China for two weeks to teach Chinese officials about US government. Now, nearly six months later, Chinese officials were returning the favor with a visit to the US. When my dad heard they were coming, one of the first things he did was invite them to our house for dinner. My mother graciously agreed to cook for the 30 foreign guests (and you will be glad to know she did not cook dog or donkey, two Chinese delicacies).

The night of their visit, as we all worked together to prepare for their arrival, little did we know what was in store.

"They're here, they're here," someone called, and we all scrambled frantically to put the last touches on the house and tables and assemble in the foyer to greet them. As the Chinese delegation crowded into our house, some even going up the stairs in their efforts to find a place to stand, it was an out-of-body experience, being surrounded by smiling, eager Chinese faces all laughing and talking rapidly in Chinese. My dad introduced our family and welcomed them to our home (all of which was interpreted by Jong Fei), and then to our surprise, they began presenting us with gifts and showers of welcome and thanks and expressions of what a great honor it was to be in our home. I felt like I was in a movie - it was so surreal and magical.

The entire evening it was the same story. They told us over and over again in broken English or with an interpreter, sometimes with tears in their eyes, how much this meant to them, what a great honor it was to be in our home. They were constantly smiling, laughing, and trying to communicate with us through broken English, gestures, or one of their comrades who spoke better English than they. And amazingly, we DID communicate - heart to heart. I have never met such open, friendly, loving people. Although they were in our home, in the United States, they kept saying over and over, "Welcome to China." They told us about their families, asked us all kinds of questions about our family and lives, taught us Chinese words, played games with the little ones, and all in all, in a few short hours managed to capture our hearts forever.

I showed one lady how to do Zumba.

I played the piano for them and they sang for me.

When it was time to say "goodbye," many had tears in their eyes, begged us to come to China, and said they would never forget us. We will never forget them either.

It is impossible to describe what that evening was like. Nothing could have prepared us for how special and unforgettable it would be. They came for dinner but left with our hearts.

Better Late than Never

Well. This is certainly a *wonderful* start to the new year. As in, horrible. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to keep up with my blog better. And instead I've kept up with it worse. Even though I have had many wonderful thoughts and exciting events to blog about. Oh well. Better late than never I always say. So, get ready - I am about to update you... on well... the last month or maybe two!!