Thursday, October 30, 2008


I drink alone at my house. And I'm talking about coffee. Kevin might have a cup once every few months, but it's only when he really needs to stay awake for work or something. He doesn't enjoy it; it's necessity for him. He likes the smell of it, just not the taste of it.

I, on the other hand, am addicted. I'm sure that some of it is the caffeine, but I'm also quite addicted to the whole coffee experience, in which I indulge twice daily. Once a week I allow myself the luxury of a frou-frou coffee from Starbucks, Cups, or Sneaky Beans, but most of the time I just enjoy my regular coffee at home. I have a 12-cup pot, but I only make one lonely cup in it at a time. (I buy fair trade coffee, so I can't afford to let any go to waste!)

I do doctor my regular coffee up with plenty of sugar and creamer. My grandfather watched me make it once and asked, "Do you want some coffee with that cream and sugar?" If I had to drink it black, though, I would just rather not drink it at all. It tastes like burnt water to me.

I think I had my first cup of coffee when I was 14 years old. My friend Jennifer made it for me, so I started out with all the cream and sugar. I didn't become a coffee addict, though, until after my first baby was born. So it's been almost eight years now. My children all associate me with coffee, often giving me mugs and such on holidays. When we were at the State Fair earlier this month, Caleb excitedly pointed out to me the Cups booth, which was shaped like a giant red coffee cup. He wanted me to see where I could get some coffee! And Callie always tells me that I smell like coffee on Thursdays, when I usually get to spend some time writing in a coffee shop. (I'm okay with smelling like coffee, except when it's my breath they're smelling. I'll be the first one to admit that coffee breath is awful!)

Drinking coffee is a comfort to me. I love that it's warm and sweet with just a touch of bitterness. I love how it makes me feel. It's actually very calming rather than stimulating to me. My morning cup helps me ease into my day, and my afternoon cup helps me get through the rest of it. This break in the afternoon is a good time for me to sit and talk with my kids about their day at school or work on homework with them . . . or play on Facebook.

Yes, I enjoy my coffee. And I'm okay with the fact that I drink alone. But when I do get to enjoy it with friends, that just makes it even better.

My morning cup is done now, and so is this post.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Last week I got to be part of a service project at my children's school. We collected school supplies, backpacks, and uniforms for the children involved in Stewpot Community Services in downtown Jackson. The classes competed against each other for a chance to win a pizza and brownie party, which will be awarded to the two classes who donated the most. All other classes will receive cupcakes, since ALL the classes did such a wonderful job. I am so proud of these students and just wanted to share with you what they were able to give in five days' time:

19 packs of manila paper
21 packs of construction paper
43 3-ring binders
51 packs of colored pencils
59 packs of gluesticks
70 bottles of glue
74 packs of markers
76 backpacks
79 pairs of scissors
91 primary writing tablets
92 erasers
96 boxes of crayons
139 pens
190 packs of notebook paper
230 spiral notebooks
254 uniform tops/bottoms
487 folders
1803 pencils

Also donated were: highlighters, pencil sharpeners, sandwich bags, dry erase markers, post-it pads, hand sanitizer, watercolors, pencil holders, rulers, school boxes, book covers, protractors, rubberbands, index cards, portfolios, tape, activity pads, a dictionary, and a ream of copy paper.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lunch Money

Caleb has been on a kick recently where he wants to buy his lunch at school instead of taking it from home. "I want to be lunch money today," my little kindergartner says. Happy to only pack one lunch instead of two, I gladly give him the $1.60.

We were surprised yesterday when he said that he wanted to "be lunch money" when we told him they were having fish. So when I picked him up yesterday afternoon, I asked him how he liked lunch.

"It was great!," he exclaimed.

"Really?," I asked.

"Yes. It was a fish what was a square, and I put ketchup on it and ate the whole thing!"

"Great!," I said in a bit of disbelief.

"And it was in a booger."

"I'm sorry?"

"It was in a booger!," he repeated.

Laughing, I had to ask him to explain himself.

"Well, not like a booger what's in your nose. Like a cheesebooger!"

I could hardly stop laughing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

While He's Here

"Take him home and love him while he's here."

This is what I just read on a CaringBridge website that Kevin's cousin forwarded to me. This is what this baby's parents were told when they finally got to take him home from the hospital. I don't even know these people, but my heart can hardly handle reading this statement. The doctor who made the statement wasn't being dismal; he was simply being realistic in light of this baby's extremely rare disorder, which will most likely not allow him to live very long.

I truly cannot imagine it.

No matter how many times I read stories like these, I am convicted of just how spoiled and selfish I am. For some reason, I feel entitled to complain when my kids won't leave me alone for two seconds; they want to (GASP!) talk to me and hug me and laugh with me ALL THE TIME. And I get annoyed because I think they're driving me crazy sometimes. HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT??? My children are perfectly healthy. (Katie can't eat gluten, but that is a minor inconvenience.) They do not have special needs, and they are very independent for their ages. I have it so easy.

I can remember running into an old college friend a couple of years ago, and she shared with me about her little girl, who also has a rare disorder that will most likely greatly shorten her lifespan. We both stood there crying as she shared with me about her daughter and about what their days are like. A mother's will is strong--she will do whatever it takes to take care of her baby. But a mother's heart is incredibly tender--it shouldn't have to bear such things.

This is just one more instance where I see God's intervention in people's lives. The parents who share on the CaringBridge website know that God has a purpose for their baby boy's little life, and they have already been able to share their faith with so many people because of what they are experiencing. That doesn't negate their pain and their questions; it doesn't erase the sorrow that they are experiencing now and will experience later on when the inevitable happens. But it does give them hope beyond their human understanding. And they know that God weeps with them when the pain is just too much.

My heart aches for those who experience such tragedy with a child. But the truth is that I'm not guaranteed to have my three healthy children any longer than they'll have their baby boy. So really every parent should be sent home from the hospital with this advice:

"Take him home and love him while he's here."

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Curse

True Story:
During my sophomore year at Mississippi College, my friend Missy and I rode to the MC/Samford football game (We were just going for the trip to the Galleria after the game.) with our friends Will, Chris, and Campbell. As on all good road trips, we got to talking about relationships, what we like/don't like in guys/girls, and all that good stuff. Well, at some point in the conversation, Missy mentioned that she preferred that a guy not have a hairy chest, and I agreed with this.

Those three guys would not let this go! They gave us the hardest time about it, probably telling us we were being superficial. After much torment by them, I finally looked at Missy and said, "You watch. Now one of us is going to be cursed and marry somebody like Kevin Partridge."

Fast forward:
I have been happily married to Kevin Partridge for ten years now! And, yes, he keeps me warm. Kevin also says that in the version of the story that was relayed to him, the word that Missy and I used was much stronger than "preferred." I'm sticking with this, though.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


For Father's Day this year, the kids and I told Kevin he could go buy some sod for the yard, which is something he's wanted to do for a long time now. We have lots of pine trees, which both block sunlight and continuously drop needles and pine cones (The pine cones drop like GRENADES from 100 feet up!). We also have a dog who likes to run fast and furiously, tearing up the grass with his nails like he's a tiller, when he's working to protect us from "certain danger." So the yard has taken a beating and needed a patch job.

Two days ago Kevin finally went and purchased the sod, filling the back of our minivan with wet grass and mud and bugs. (Glad he took the tarp!) In lieu of going to work out at the Y that day, I decided to offer my services in the yard. It was actually a lot of fun, especially since the weather was so nice, and there weren't any mosquitoes out. The work was hard, but it felt good.

Even little Katie did a lot to help! She was mainly in charge of watering with the hose, but she did help me "carry" a few pieces of sod. Oh yes--and she was in charge of stomping on top of each piece after it was lain down, making sure it was good and in place. I was proud of her. She worked well and had a lot of fun doing it. She did take breaks now and then--laying in the sun, resting in the hammock, playing in the van, and having me pick her up so that she could pick berries off a tree.

The effort took a few hours. We were dirty and tired. But then we stood back to admire the finished product . . .

It looked like a bad toupee.

The squares of sod were obviously a different color than the rest of the yard. They were more yellow. We are told this is normal and not to worry--that it's a process, and the reward will come in the spring when it all starts looking the same. We hope so. While we were laying the sod, one of our neighbors named Mr. Bass came walking by. (He says we can remember his name because bass have big mouths, too. He's an elderly gentleman who has been in this neighborhood forever and walks his dog "Ol' Andy" every single day, a flat cap on his head and iPod earbuds in his ears.) He stopped to see what we were doing and commented, "You're making the neighborhood look bad!" Even though he didn't crack a smile, we're hoping he meant it as a compliment--that we were doing a good thing.

Guess we'll find out in the spring.

Thus It Begins . . .

Yesterday I picked Callie and Caleb up from school, and Callie handed me a picture. It was torn out of a coloring book--a picture of Disney's Ariel and Prince Eric sitting in a little boat together (during the song "Kiss De Girl") on one side and a picture of Ariel combing her hair with a fork (a.k.a. dinglehopper) on the other side. It was very nicely colored and had a girl's name neatly printed in crayon at the top of the page. Did you catch that? A girl's name. And it wasn't "Callie" or "Katie."

I asked, "What's this?," and Callie told me that the little girl (Name withheld to protect the innocent . . . or the guilty, depending on whom you're asking.) handed it to her in the carpool line and said, "Give this to your brother." Oh my goodness!!!

So I looked at Caleb and asked who she was, and he said she was in the other kindergarten class. "Is she your friend? Is she nice?," I asked. He said yes but that she chases him all the time at recess. He said this kind-of grinning and kind-of rolling his eyes at the same time. Then he blurted, "I don't like the kissing part, though! That part can be for YOU, Callie!" Thankfully, he was referring to the picture, not the game at recess.

I just kind-of smiled to myself and left it at that. Who can blame the girl?! He IS a cutie!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


This past Friday, my mother volunteered to let all three of my children spend the night with her, and I excitedly let them.  This meant that Kevin and I had a full 24 hours to ourselves!  Just the two of us!  We love, love, love our children, but we need, need, NEED time by ourselves, too.  It's good for all of us.

We started our evening on Friday with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, La Cozuela.  We talked and talked about life, our kids, and whatever else came to mind, all the while filling our bellies with chips and salsa, fajitas, quesadillas, and huge glasses of Coke.  We didn't have anything pressing to discuss; we just enjoyed being together.

Next we went to Lowe's to check out the flooring department.  Since our dog (Uncle Rico) insists on periodically relieving his bladder on the living room carpet, we thought it best to plan for a new floor.  So we browsed around the store and ended up talking to one of the sales guys for quite a while.  Actually, we did more of the listening than the talking as he rambled on about different things (none of them flooring).  He was very nice, and we enjoyed the conversation.  I think he was hoping to just chat with us till closing time.

From Lowe's we went to a wonderful place that I haven't visited in nearly three years--Marble Slab.  If you've never been to one, you really must seek one out and partake of the amazing ice cream!  I actually had several coupons in my purse, so we had fun handing them out to all the other customers in the store.  Then we perched ourselves on a bench outside and enjoyed our frozen treat of Swiss Chocolate and Sweet Cream ice creams mixed with Reese's peanut butter cups in a waffle cup.  Oh my goodness, it was good!

Next we went to Blockbuster and rented The Bourne Identity, since we had never seen it and heard it was good.  We enjoyed the movie but mostly enjoyed getting to watch it as loudly as we wanted without having to worry about which child we might be waking up.  We finally went to bed around 2:00 in the morning.  We're such college students.  However, we did get up the next morning around 8:30, which seems crazy to us for a day with no children home, but we really had more running around we wanted to do.

So we headed out to NUTS (Neat Used Things for Sale), Hudson's (a store that buys the inventories of other stores that have experienced storm damage, fire, etc.), Ellis (a similar type store), Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators (which we continually called Liquid Lumberdators), and Floor Trader, since we were still shopping for flooring.  In the midst of all that, we also enjoyed lunch at Broad Street and went to see our neighbor's new baby at the hospital!  Lastly, we went to Callaway's Nursery and then back to Lowe's (looking at rugs this time), and we came home with some new plants, which we are hoping not to kill.

It was such a full but very fun 24 hours together!  We no longer take for granted getting to hold each other's hands while walking through a store or parking lot.  We also have a greater appreciation for uninterrupted conversation with each other.  Even after the kids came home, we fed them and put them to bed and then retreated to the back yard, where we sat around a fire in the fire pit, ate cheesecake, and talked if something came up or just simply sat there enjoying being together.  We must do this more often! 


Friday, October 10, 2008

Fresh Flowers

My thumb is about as far from being green as it can be, but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate living, growing plants.  I have a few houseplants that I've managed to keep alive, though I wouldn't call them thriving.  Kevin takes care of all the plants and things outside, and he's much better at it all than I am.  I couldn't tell you the names of anything with leaves, except maybe for a rose or a tulip, because they're easy to recognize.  If there are no actual flowers on the plant, you can certainly forget my knowing its name!  I know what I like and what I think is pretty, but that's about the extent of it.

One of my favorite things to have on my kitchen table (you know, besides warm brownies) is fresh flowers.  I love a bouquet with lots and lots of colors!  It really brings me so much joy.  And it doesn't matter where they come from--whether they're clipped from our yard or bought in a store.  Most of my flowers come from the clearance buckets at Kroger, and they usually last a week or two!  

A few days ago, Katie and I went to the Farmer's Market and saw lots of beautiful mums.  So I let Katie pick out two (pink and purple, of course), and I picked out one (a dark orangey color). Katie loved helping me choose where to place them out front, and she took great pride in watering them herself.  Each day she looks at them and exclaims that "They've grown!"

On the kitchen table, I currently have a single bunch of white hydrangeas, which my sister-in-law had leftover from a wedding for which she did all the flower arrangements.  (She's incredibly talented, by the way!)  They are so pretty, dainty, and delicate.  I really marvel at God's creativity when I look at flowers!  And it's okay if I don't know all their names, because He does, and He wants me to enjoy them . . . even if I get them on the clearance rack. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Alone Time

I am one of those people who really needs time alone. It sounds awful to some of you, I know, but I really crave time by myself. I like to just sit and reflect on things, to be alone with God and my thoughts. That's why these Thursdays that my husband makes it possible for me to steal away by myself for several hours is such a wonderful gift. When I'm at home every day, I am constantly conversing with my children (an always wonderful but sometimes draining experience), working around the house, talking on the phone, or feeling guilty because I'm sitting down for a few minutes when there is so much to be done! So I literally have to leave my house and go somewhere where nothing is expected of me (including spoken words) in order to have truly fulfilling alone time.

As I was growing up with four siblings, alone time was hard to come by then, too. I shared a room with my older sister Julie for all but about one year before she went off to college. And for several years, my two younger sisters had to walk through my room to get to their own (which was really awkward for everyone the first time Kevin and I slept in my room after we were married). Then for some unknown reason later on, my little brother's dresser got moved into my room, so he had to come in there just to get some clothes! Was this a cruel joke? My dad always called my room my "ivory tower," because I tried to make it my haven and spent a lot of time there--and because it was upstairs, I guess.

To truly get some time by myself in the Bevell home, however, I had to lock myself in the bathroom. It's not exactly the most scenic and inspirational of locations, but I was guaranteed some isolation. Granted, it came at the expense of being willing to be the last in line to take a bath, but I welcomed that sacrifice. Of course, this also meant that I might have to wait an even longer time for the hot water to be replenished for my bath, but hey--that just meant more alone time while I was waiting! So into the bathroom I would go, locking the door behind me and turning on the fan so that I didn't even have to hear the noises outside the door. There in my personal refuge, I lingered in a hot bath--sometimes reading, sometimes praying, most times sleeping. An hour was my usual time, and everyone knew this about me. As a teenager, when I'd have a friend come over to spend the night, she would go ahead and tell me good-night before I took my bath, because she was sure to be asleep when I came back. I always thought I would love to have a Jacuzzi, but each time I've had the opportunity to use one, I found it much less relaxing than my regular ol' bath. The rushing water and constant jetstream make me feel a bit stressed, actually. I prefer the really still water, because it is calm and peaceful--much more conducive to my possibility of a retreat.

Now that I'm married with children, alone time has to be even more deliberately and creatively sought after. I don't take baths every night like I used to, because once the kids are in bed, Kevin and I like to spend that time together. (On the nights that I do take a bath, Kevin often goes ahead and tells me good-night before I lock myself in and turn on the fan, just like my friends used to do!) There are occasionally evenings that Kevin has to work, so I snag some quiet time there, but mostly I am coming to depend on these Thursdays. It helps me make it through the rest of my week when I know I am going to have this time.

It may seem selfish and lazy to some people, but I am actually quite rejuvenated by sitting still, reading, writing, watching people, and just listening. It's easier for me to hear God speak to me in these hours, because I have fewer distractions. I get to kind-of regroup and re-energize, and I'm always a much better wife and mother and friend because of it. So it works out well for everyone. Besides, why should Daddy be the only one who gets the greetings of excitement and "We missed you!" all the time?!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

State Fair

Yesterday the Partridge Family went to the Mississippi State Fair! Callie and Caleb thought it was especially great, since we got them out of school a whole hour early. (I'm afraid it's not because we're "cool" parents--we're CHEAP parents who wanted to get in free by getting there before 2:00!) This annual family outing is one we look forward to . . . but neglect to save money for.

We usually take our time at the fair, patiently scoping out the rides so that we make the most informed decisions about which ones we choose. I think it's funny how much Callie and I both love rides, and here's my theory on it: She and I both have control-freak tendencies (Note: No need to leave comments about this. Thanks. --Mgmt.), but there is no way to be in control of anything when you're on one of those rides! That's what's so great. I am generally a fairly quiet soul, but I will scream like a crazy person on a fair ride! Callie's the same way. And we're both so task-oriented that it takes something like going to the fair--where the sole purpose is simply to have fun--to help us just to play. It's a fault of mine, actually. I'm just not naturally good at playing. I love watching other people play! But I digress.

Once the options and tickets were weighed, each of us made our decisions. Callie rode the big slide, the spinning bears, the log ride, Gravitron, and her favorite--Crazy Mouse! Caleb rode the Bumble Bees, the log ride, the cars, Crazy Mouse, and his favorite--the dragon roller coaster! Katie, though, had her sights set on one ride alone--the Bumble Bees! She rode it three times and would have ridden it even more. Only once did she ride something besides the Bees; she rode the cars with Caleb, but it was only because the Bumble Bees were temporarily closed. It was really cute. She got so excited about it.

We did some milling around and took in all the sights, sounds, and smells (most of them good). We looked at all the old cars and saw an antique scooter that looked like it should belong to Barbie. The kids got to pretend they were crawling through a house that was on fire, which Katie declined to do the first time around. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the smoke flowing out the doors and windows! Smart girl. But once they had all successfully escaped through the upper story window and down the ladder, they were rewarded with gold sticker badges and red fire hats.

We also visited the petting zoo, where the kids enjoyed feeding carrots to the cute and cuddly critters. Katie only wanted to feed the baby ones. And the poor zebra--he was stuck in one of the corners with a big sign that said "Do not feed." How terrible is that?! The only animal in the entire place not allowed to eat all the food the kids were handing out! I guess that's why he was put in the corner . . . and wearing stripes.

Of course, we had to eat. That's just a given. And out of all those yummy options, I ended up eating a corndog, of all things. It was good, mind you, but it's really all I ate (besides the very yummy free biscuit and honey), and I shared it with Caleb. The biggest crowd-pleaser, though, was most certainly the cotton candy! Colorful, fluffy, sugar that instantly dissolves in your mouth. We had to ration it throughout our stay at the fair, but it was a hit each and every time it emerged. Well worth the $4.

We ended the evening with the free circus, which is always fun and always a little weird. We saw little dogs jumping through hoops, a girl going through about 20 instant wardrobe changes in just a few minutes (You really had to be there. It sounds sketchy, but it wasn't.), an old man doing a clown act, a girl bending and balancing in ways that just shouldn't be possible, and a group of Chinese acrobats flying around in the air on rubber bands! Like I said, always a little weird.

It was a very fine day at the fair for all of us, I'd say. We left with adequate sugar rushes, headaches, and that nice grimy feeling all over!


I am sitting here watching the Presidential debate, and I admit how intimidated and confused I am by politics.  How are we supposed to know what is true?  They each accuse the other one of doing something, and then it's denied.  How do we know?  And can't they both say pretty much anything they want to say right now, but there's no guarantee that any of it will actually happen or not happen?  We have a system of checks and balances--for which I am grateful--that prevents them from going in with a to-do list that is easily checked off.

So I guess that's why I look more at their character.  Of course, this isn't very easily perceived either, but at least we have records to go by and other people who do know them speaking on their behalf.  Plus we get to watch them speak and debate and interact with people.

I don't know.  I don't pretend to know.   What I DO know is that you couldn't pay me enough money to do what they're doing!!!!