Thursday, August 30, 2012

Conversation Dates for Daughters

Good Thursday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie will be playing JV volleyball tonight... so look forward to volleyball pics in the morning!

Shocking, I know.

RANDOMNESS #2 - When I helped Austin move into his dorm last Friday, I ran into a gas station a few minutes away from JSU. I knew the public bathrooms in the dorm would be busy with so many extra people helping kids move, and I thought I would avoid a "waiting in line" problem.

I was wise.

When I came out of the gas station and walked to The Big Gold Van, I noticed a beautiful horse in the middle of a field nibbling grass, and I thought to myself, "Forget The Boy. I'm going to take some horse pictures!"

And I did.

I walked up to the white fence, and the horse noticed me and came to greet me.

Fun Fact - I don't normally pet horses. I have ridden them from time to time, but I've never been a chick who feels the need to walk up to an animal with a giant head and rub. Go figure.

But this horse was different. This horse was a kindred spirit, I think.

I have no way of knowing, but it was such a pretty horse and such a sweet horse and such a smart horse... I think it was a girl.

And in my head I named her "Aurora," which is Sleeping Beauty's real name.

If my tiara had been in The Big Gold Van, I would have put it on her giant head during our photo session. Yes, I would.

I talked to Aurora. I petted Aurora. I took pictures of Aurora.

And before I left, I put my camera down and hugged Aurora.

That's right. I hugged a strange horse behind a gas station.

Which is so unlike me.

I'm usually so dignified.

I know this story would be so much better if I had actually jumped the fence and rode Aurora bareback around the green pasture, but I had to mop The Boy's dorm room and clean The Boy's bathroom and make The Boy's bed. (Actually, I didn't HAVE to... I wanted to!)

But I think I'll be visiting Aurora again.

I also think I'm going to start telling people I own a horse, but I board her on a small gas station/horse farm in Jacksonville, Alabama.

That sounds legitimate, doesn't it?

See what I mean. "She" is beautiful.

And just look at those eyelashes.

I cannot wait to see her again... and next time I will have apples and carrots and sugar cubes.

Not only do I like to bribe children to love me. Apparently, I now like to bribe horses to love me, too.

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Okay. I've decided on the fate of A Simple Life. After four years of blogging and soon-to-be 1,000 posts, A Simple Life will become a twice-weekly blog which will contain a little bit of everything I love (pictures, randomness, dates, ways to embarrass your 16 year-old daughter, recipes, traditions, parties, etc.).

This new format will begin next Monday, September 3, 2012!

When August is over and done, I hope you'll still come visit on Mondays and Fridays.

I'll still be here! (I'm just going to semi-retire!)

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 999th post for A Simple Life. The countdown ends TODAY!

Believe it or not, as of this very moment, I have 149 entries for the 1,000th Post Contest. That's right... 149!

Several of you have well over 15 entries. Some a little less. But I'm only drawing ONE name out of the bowl, and it could be you!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me ( or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest until tonight, August 30 at midnight.

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

FOOD POISONING FROM A 5-STAR RESTAURANT - Originally Posted June, 2010

I may have told this story before, but in case I haven't (or you've forgotten), this one definitely falls in the Mishap category.

Mike and I celebrated our 20th anniversary 18 months ago. We decided to spend a few days in Charleston, South Carolina. It had something for both of us. History and plaques galore for my plaque reader and beautiful homes, scenery, etc. for me. It is definitely a "walking" city, which we both love, too.

We stayed in a very old and beautiful bed and breakfast on the edge of downtown Charleston. Gorgeous. We were very pleased with our accommodations. This was definitely going to be an anniversary we would never forget. (Boy, were we right!)

The first full day in Charleston, we put on our walking shoes and we walked... and walked and walked and walked. We had chosen two restaurants we wanted to try while we were there, but for some reason, instead of stretching it out over two or three days, we had lunch at our first pick and dinner at our second pick on the first day. Both restaurants were five-star and the food was delicious. However, on our leisurely walk back to the bed and breakfast, Mike mentioned he wasn't feeling quite right.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I don't know. My stomach is a little upset," he said.

We walked a little faster and made it back to our room. Within 30 minutes, Mikie was sick. And I don't mean a "little bit" sick. I mean "throwing up a lung" sick. After a couple of hours, it wasn't getting any better. He didn't have a fever, so we had to conclude it must be food poisoning.

He had eaten shrimp and grits (a famous Charleston staple) for lunch, and then for supper he had done something we both had questioned when talking to the waiter. He had ordered the pork.

"How would you like that cooked, sir?" the waiter had asked.

"What do you mean? I want pork cooked well. Very well," he responded.

The waiter then gave us a five minute description of this particular pig and how it had been raised, killed and later prepared for this particular five-star restaurant. "Most people eat this dish medium rare," he finished.

I looked at Mikie and shook my head ever so slightly to indicate, "If you eat pork medium rare, you will die." We had been married 20 years. He knew exactly what I was thinking... mainly because he was thinking the same thing.

"Well, I'll have it prepared medium well," he compromised.

The snooty waiter left, his suggestion having been tossed, and I leaned over to Mikie. "Are you sure?"

"Medium well should be fine for pork. It will be delicious, I'm sure," he said, sounding very convinced.

When the meal was brought to our table a little later, it was beautiful. Mike declared the medium well pork fabulous, and we enjoyed our dinner. Little did we know two hours later he would be so very, very sick... and so very, very loud.

Something I learned about Mikie soon after we got married was he was not a quiet sick person. He wanted to be heard. Something else I learned soon after Mikie and I got married (and excuse me if you're eating... which you shouldn't be doing so close to a computer anyway), before he gets sick (like food poisoning) he yells.

"She must have meant to type 'moans loudly,'" you're probably thinking to yourself.

Nope. He yells. And then he gets sick. It's really quite awful. I've been known to leave the house when he has been sick before because the yelling is so incredibly loud it gives ME a headache... and there's no sense in both of us feeling badly.

But I was in Charleston, South Carolina, and it was the middle of the night, and we were in a tiny, thin-walled bed and breakfast (next door to honeymooners, I might add). There was nowhere to run. Finally, around dawn, the sickness subsided. The yelling stopped and the moaning took over.

"Could you please go downstairs and ask them to fix me a piece of toast with coffee and water?" he asked.

"Of course, Babe. As soon as the other guests have finished breakfast and left the dining area I'll slip on down there," I said sweetly.

"I'm pretty sure I'm totally dehydrated. I really need the fluids."

"Of course you do. And as soon as everyone clears out, I'll run downstairs to the dining room and get you everything you need."

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to die soon. I think I need it NOW," he declared.

"Mikie, I love you. However, you kept this whole bed and breakfast awake last night yelling every time you got sick. They're going to know I'm your wife. It's going to be totally embarrassing."

"More embarrassing than me crawling down the stairs and into the dining room on my hands and knees... and telling them my wife WOULDN'T get me a cup of coffee," he threatened.

"Okay. Okay. I'll go," I said, albeit begrudgingly.

I went out the door. In the hallway before I headed down the stairs, I heard my name being whispered, "Belinda... Belinda."

I walked over to the window where my name was being called. "Hey, Mikie. Are you whispering?"

"Yes," he whispered again. "Could you hear that?"

"Oh, yeah," I said. "So I imagine the pre-sickness yelling and the post-sickness moaning is definitely the topic of discussion downstairs right about now."

"I'm sorry," he whispered, and I made my way to the dining room.

As I walked in, the conversation died and everyone turned to look at me. I smiled weakly, walked over to the lady in charge of breakfast and asked for water, coffee and toast.

"Is your husband okay?" one of the guests asked me.

"Oh, yes. It was just a little food poisoning," I responded. "He's much better this morning."

"We thought he was dying," one of the honeymooners said.

"Well, if you asked him, he would agree with you," I said, trying to appear cheerful and failing miserably.

The eight people sitting around the breakfast table looked tired, but they were kind and concerned. True Southerners. As they filed past me on their way to a "fun day in Charleston," they each offered their condolences and told me to tell Mikie they hoped he felt better soon. I was touched.

The woman in charge of the kitchen brought me what she thought I had asked for... orange juice, hot tea and a toasted English muffin. I didn't want to push it, but I knew I had to take up at least ONE thing Mike had actually requested. I decided to keep the English muffin, traded the orange juice for water and poured a cup of coffee while she was in the back getting the water.

"An English muffin," Mikie whined. "I don't think I like English muffins."

Did I mention after the pre-yelling and post-moaning comes the eternal whining.

Yep... Mikie's a keeper! NOTE - And I need to mention, he's a much better nurse than I am!

Blog Linkage - Short, but sweet!

1. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "Road Trip Fun With Kids." They have some good game ideas for the kiddos if you're planning a road trip. Or going to the mall. Or five minutes down the road to Wal-Mart. Check it out.

2. If you're a picture-taker (professional or amateur), go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on "Photography" at the top of her page. She has some good tips about cropping squares. She's brilliant, I tell you!


Conversation Dates for Daughters

As is the norm, these ideas came from Pinterest... to be exact!

1. She’s a Masterpiece - Dannah Gresh encourages you to thoroughly pamper your daughter during this date. Find a teahouse or swank hotel and make reservations. Enjoy lavishing her with your attention and all the niceties of a girls’ lunch.

Conversation Goal - Try to get a sense of how your daughter feels about herself overall. Talk about how you felt at her age and share what insecurities you might have had about yourself. Respond to her with encouragement, affirmation and love.

2. She’s a Unique Beauty - Dannah’s suggestion? Visit a spa or beauty salon for some girl pampering. After your spa visit, head to a quiet place for lunch where you can further your relaxation with a slow-paced meal.

Conversation Goal - Call her attention to her specific and unique beauty strengths. Yes, compliment her pretty eyes, but also talk about her inner beauty (compassionate, funny, slow to anger, etc.). Try to bring up the topic of how images your daughter sees in magazines or online are usually re-touched photos.

3. The Real Source of Beauty - Now take the focus off the external to the beauty inside your daughter and the world around her. Dannah suggests infusing this date with nature. Go horseback riding, have a picnic, get up early and watch the sunrise or go on a hike.

Conversation Goal - In her book, Dannah Gresh says, “Where does beauty really come from? As girls we sometimes get stuck on thinking it comes from a great haircut or new fingernail polish. Sometimes we think it comes from being surrounded by friends or being noticed by cute guys. But you won’t find beauty there.” Talk about how beauty shines forth from a strong spiritual life, from a relationship with God.

4. Educational Excursion - Even if your daughter is still in grade school, hit the road and visit a college campus or a community college in your town. Let her see what lies beyond.

Conversation Goal - Ask your daughter where she sees herself going to college, or what kind of education she wants after high school. Talk about the freedom and responsibility college brings.

5. Chow Down - What’s your daughter’s favorite food or meal? Surprise her with a trip to her favorite place, even if it’s not the healthiest grub in town. After lunch, drive around a pretty neighborhood and let your daughter point out the houses she likes.

Conversation Goal - Ask your daughter what she thinks makes a house a loving home. Ask her how she feels about her home life. Does she like being home? Does she feel cared for and loved? You can even ask her about meals she’d like to have more often!

6. Faith Excursion - Experience a different worship setting together. Attend a church as a visitor. Present your daughter with a book or CD about faith. Suggest going through it together.

Conversation Goal - Use this time to assess where your child is spiritually. Steer the conversation toward what’s really important in life.

7. Retail Therapy - Yes, we can put too much emphasis on shopping if we’re not careful, but if your daughter likes to shop, teach her how to do it with fun and restraint. Visit some stores that have great buys, but also visit some stores that are great just for window shopping.

Conversation Goal - This outing is a natural for two topics... How to dress and managing money. Use this time together to talk to your daughter about dressing cute, but modestly. You can also bring up the need to budget in life.

The Enchanting Belinda - I loved these ideas. The only thing I would add is scripture. Find one or two verses to go with each and every date. Write the verses on index cards. Tape the index cards to the visor on the passenger side of the car.

On the way home from the date, have your daughter lower the visor and read the verse aloud. Make sure she understands the Biblical reference.

If possible, try to memorize the verse before you pull into the driveway.

Guess what? This website has Conversation Dates for Sons, too. I'll post those next week!

Have a totally terrific Thursday, and I'll try to do the same. I'll be back tomorrow with the WINNER OF THE 1,000TH POST CONTEST, Weekend Happenings, volleyball pics (are there any other kind?) and Randomness.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda


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