crazy stuff,  diary illos,  Family Matters,  heavy on photos,  illos,  Life Lessons,  Niece-com-poops,  the meeting

And We’re Back

DEC 27

Bug and I just got back from a bible conference that we try to attend every year. It’s something I did with my parents when I was a kid and now I’m finding myself doing as a parent. It’s a very strange journey I’ve been on to get there. I could go into a lot of back story (and I have in the past in ways I’m not proud of so I won’t be linking) but I don’t really want to dwell on that. Just know that this is a something of a struggle for me. I was very happy to be there though.

I did take notes during the meetings too. No, I was not sketching during meeting! I tried very hard NOT to doodle and to listen instead. I’m glad I opened my ears up, even if my heart was wrapped up in protective duct tape. Because my ears heard a lot of things that my heart needed.

So, what I’m trying to say is what you see here in these illos is everything BUT what the conference was about. Not that I’m trying to keep what conference was about secret. I’m not. I have notes. I will share! I just don’t know if I should share here. I know that Christians should expect to be hated for their faith and I should embrace that but I’m scared. Plus, I don’t think preaching from a blog is exactly the best way to help others, even if it’s just scrawled notes from a moleskin. So I’m keeping it private but if you want to know more email me.

DEC 28

In other notes: I did not know that so many meeting people read my blog. It’s a bit unnerving! I feel like I should clean up my language (even though I hardly cuss) and talk a bit less about drinking alcohol (even though I rarely drink) but I guess if you read this blog it’s a bit late for me to go around cleaning things up now. Besides I’m already trying really hard not to be snarky and hurt people’s feelings so if I get any more wholesome I might just write myself out of existence.

What else…. hmmm. How about some photos?

Sleeping in the car

This is Bug asleep on our way to the conference. It was a two hour drive to Burbank (I think. I didn’t time it) and she just couldn’t stay awake. Which is fine except her hair got mussed up a bit. I tried to do her hair everyday (unlike at home where I let her be a raggamuffin everyday) but her hair is so fine it just slips right out of whatever hair-do I’ve done it in and flies away of it’s own accord. Sort of like our human nature. Anyway!

My Dad Knits

This is my Dad, knitting. He’s a such a sweet old man now. I love how he is aging. I hope I age like him. You know he’s a trucker right? A knitting trucker!!! Ha ha! We all love that about him. He’s working on slippers and trying to perfect the toe that has some problems. If you bought some slippers from him and you have toe-poking-out problems, please contact my Mom so my Dad can fix them! (He doesn’t have internet in his truck yet.)

McDonald's to the rescue

Here is Bug eating McDonald’s. She wasn’t a fan of conference food. She did like the deserts but unfortunately I have a no-desert policy if you don’t eat your dinner so it was a bit of a struggle for both of us. I thought the food was fine. She starved. And then one day I broke down and walked across the street so she could have a happy meal.


This is me sketching. I love the pictures Bug takes of me. Even if they do capture my bad posture. They give me a glimpse of what I really look like and now I know exactly what my back will look like when I’m 60. I really should straighten up.

I don't match

I really do dress like this. I don’t care what you think, obviously.

in red tights like Mommy

I dress my kid like that too! Actually the only way I got her to wear this cute red dress instead of the thin t-shirt weight pink one that is covered with hearts was to bribe her with matching-mommy tights. Phew! That was a close one. I don’t even know why I packed that silly pink heart dress. I’m so sick of it.


Here is my niece, Rapunzel, the day after conference. We walked to Starbucks together just her and I. Bug stayed with Grandma and bounced on the bed with her cousin SuperChic. Rapunzel is growing up so fast. I just want to squeeze her before the little girl in her is all gone. But she sort of looks little here. Maybe it’s the angle. She is ONLY eleven after all.

bouncing cousins

Little enough to join in the bouncing when we got back to my mom’s hotel room. What’s the fun in staying in a hotel room if you can’t jump on the bed a little, right?


They bounced themselves silly and then they plopped down and were quiet for one whole minute.

that bottom picture

Since we’re going through the pictures one by one, I might as well ramble about this one. That picture on the bottom scared me sooo bad. You don’t see a face there on the right do you? Let me explain.

Bug and I had our own room and I slept fitfully because we happened to be on the same floor as a band from Guatemala who were performing in the Rose Parade. They were great kids except for the fact that the guy next door to us didn’t have a key and had to pound on the door every hour all night long. I’m not even kidding. I guess his buddies slept soundly because they never opened the door right away. What he was doing up all night, I have no idea.

Anyway it’s a good thing the meetings were about how the world will persecute us and how we should be thankful for the good things and the bad things because I think I would have gone out there in my pajamas and given those tuba-playing band members a piece of my mind if I hadn’t have recently decided to take up praying more often. So I prayed and I prayed and only broke down and called security twice. Which did nothing, really.

Later on that night I had a terrible nightmare all about werewolves and vampires and friends who turned into red-eyeballed clawed creatures. I woke up in a sweat and right there on the wall was this creepy photo of a theatre staring back at me. Except instead of buildings and palm trees all I could see was a masked man wearing a fedora and a dead body where the street lights hit the road. I stared at it and stared at it and the face would not go away. In fact the face was so strong I didn’t know why I didn’t see it in the day time. It even seemed like the masked guy was smiling at me with a wicked grin. It creeped me out so bad I almost called my Dad on the phone to come over and sit with me until the nightmare would shake itself free from me.

God works in mysterious ways because just then as I sat in my bed shaking with fear over some silly picture on the wall, the guy in the band next door started to bang again. I have never been so thankful for stupid high school kids who like to stay awake at three in the morning. I don’t know if they were on drugs and I should be thankful for that but their banging comforted me. They didn’t speak English but just knowing that they were there and I could scream out if the masked man in the picture suddenly came to life comforted me.


So that’s my story. Let’s just say I was very glad to wake up one last time and see that the sun was finally up. I stared at that photo in the light and I couldn’t for the life of me see that scary face again. I guess I should have taken a photo of it at night. I did think about doing that at the time but I was too afraid to get up and get my camera because everybody knows if you get out of bed when you have a nightmare, the bony hand under the bed will grab your foot!


  • Joy

    I feel the same way about faith and my blog. I work with a christian organization and every now and then I get very self-conscious about things I write about on my blog. However, they are my real life and I usually come to the conclusion that if people have issues with that they should be praying for me more. :)

  • Kari

    I have to say, I really like the orange tights/red shoes combo. It make the outfit. (That dress is gorgeous!) I also love T-strap Mary Jane’s on little girls – so adorable.

    It sounds like you had a really great time at the conference!

  • Clownfish

    We were in Burbank on 12/22! We saw my Grandma’s old house and went to Martino’s Bakery (on Victory Blvd) and got a dozen of the best tea cakes you’ll ever eat (family tradition).

    I’m glad you had a nice time. And I’m glad you are able to guard from the past (duct tape) but can let-in the good stuff that you recognize as being good.
    – Happy New Year B! –

  • bethany actually

    Yikes! Next time you have a creepy-face-in-the-picture experience, feel free to call me in the middle of the night. I’ll probably be up anyway, and I’m so rational I could probably talk you out of it. :-)

  • bethany

    welcome back :) am very jealous you got to see my parents, and somewhat jealous of going to a conference. but not quite. i’m not settled enough as to who i am now to go back into that environment yet. would love to see any notes from my dad’s meeting though if you have any. LOVE the tights. they rock. no cleanup needed, please … it’s you being you and it’s perfect. now if i could only do that for myself! don’t believe in blog preaching either, fwiw. thx for sharing.

  • nicole

    i don’t really expected to be hated for my faith but i do think it is important to be true to who you are and to live your life in such a way. actually i have lots of thoughts on the matter but its better to chat about it one on one. happy new year.

  • BeachMama

    Your Dad is so fun. He certainly doesn’t look like a trucker, could be the knitting he is holding or because he is aging so well. He should be a model for what truckers should look like instead of the guys that scare the death out of me when I meet them at the truck stops on I-81.

    I can see a bit of a face in that picture, I hate those bad nightmares that stay with you for the rest of the day and make you grumpy.

    Glad you had fun at your Bible conference, it is always rejuvenating to attend conferences.

  • Jennifer

    I like reading anything you write…though I do understand where you are coming from. I hope that you do find a way to incorporate more of your faith into your blog :) Glad to know you had a great time away! :)

  • Ana

    I don’t think the bible talk is putting ppl off… The Blogland has been pretty boring lately (specially for stay at home non-shopping-mamas like me) I was thrilled to see and read this entry, you have given me my daily doses of good reading and blog-loving! THANK YOU B!

  • Sonja

    I’d love to hear more about the conference! (Also, Burbank! Like the BuyMore! Yay!)
    I get creeped out by odd things in the middle of the night all the time. It’s stupid, really, but while it happens? SCAAAAAARYYYYYYYYY!

  • Leta

    Your dad is so cute! I am totally laughing at the creepy story, not because you were scared but because I can completely see myself doing the same thing!

  • Melissa

    This blog is your space and you should write whatever you please. Have a wonderful New Year. May 2010 be filled with lots of great things for you and yours!

  • Mallory Sinclair

    You can be bold about your faith on your blog. It’s where you’re at in your life, and your blog is personal, right?

  • Sam

    Love this catch-up post. The guy in the picture story is too, too creepy. I wonder what that was all about? One time when I stayed at my parents house (which is a 100 year old house that my grandfather was BORN in) I woke up in the middle of the night and there was this WHITENESS at the end of the bed. I was so scared! I figured it might be my great-grandfather’s ghost. I eventually realized it was stack of paper towels, thankfully – the guest room is part pantry!

    Don’t be afraid of sharing your faith. I honestly don’t think about being persecuted for my faith, mostly because I’m determined not to be obnoxious about it. (I don’t think you could be obnoxious, either.)

  • redhead.kate

    I too stuggle with what to put on my blog related to faith/what I believe. Sometimes it comes out, but I guess I feel like people expect a certain writing voice from me (typically trying to be funny) and I don’t know what they would think if I changed that. I do understand that it is my little part of the internet, but I just don’t know.

    On the bed jumping – my 5 yr old cousin is only allowed to jump on hotel beds. A while back, she went on a trip with her grandparents. She made her mom put a note in her suitcase letting her grandparents know the rule.

  • Sarah

    It’s the little tiny details I like in your illos. This time it was the box around Bug’s meeting essentials that caught my eye. So simple and so effective!

  • Jora

    I was thinking about you guys and wondering how the Conference went…..I’m glad you were able to be with your family and that Bug seemed to have a good time! xoxo

  • OMSH

    Ooh, I do want to hear about what you learned in the meeting; I love Bible Conferences. I am always amazed by what I learn when I’m away from my regular life and completely dipped in God’s Word.

  • Madeline

    It was really great to see you and bug at the conference! I still have the glow bracelet that bug gave me in my purse : ) she’s so sweet!

  • the chatty housewife

    I’m glad your ears heard some things that your heart needed. Maybe it peeled off just a few pieces of that duct tape. We all have our own duct tape.

    It was nice to see you and Bug.

    The Guatemalan marching band had some serious jet lag or something. They were on my floor too.

    I liked your black hat. :)

  • Lisa J

    Hey SAJ, It was great meeting you at the conference and seeing your cute Bug in person! I really enjoyed the meetings too (in spite of my active toddler) and was glad to be able to go… In case you don’t remember my name from meeting me, I’m Jonathan (and Joy)’s sister and met you over dinner one day. :)

  • anna b bonkers

    Hmm, a conference I have always wanted to attend and never have. I am interested in what you learned. We have been taking the kids to Sunday school at the meeting now for the last two months…but that is it so far. I still have issues. We have just started going to the open brethren though and it is very similar minus the legalism and judging. It is ok. I miss the familiar faces of the meeting but I shouldn’t complain, it as been years since I really went.

    Freaky story at the end, brrrr….

    Oh and funny how the Lord takes us on spiritual trips huh? I have been on one crazy one now for a few months now and am having convictions and am questioning everything and finding that what I really value is changing too, everything is changing and it is freaking me out because I don’t want to become a freak to Dave. More there but anyway, it is taking me a while to catch up on your stuff! And the cat story…wow there is some scary crazy people out there, so sorry about that!! You are adorable btw.