my journey with truth

Archive for the ‘Smithville’ Category

Fact: I own over 50 pairs of shoes.

I joined our church’s Financial Peace class in August, and before the first class I decided it would probably be a wise financial decision and a step toward resisting consumerism (which I got a big boost of help in resisting when I moved to a town without a Target – you seriously can’t go in that place without spending $100.  Lists be damned, you just can’t stick to them when they dangle that dollar section in your face and have such a good clearance and home furnishings section.  I can always justify a Target purchase… and that’s a problem).

But today marks four months without buying a pair of new shoes. I have only had maybe 2 situations where I truly felt upset about not being able to buy a pair of shoes I found.  And sometimes when I have to go to Walmart, it makes me sad that I can’t stop in Payless Shoe Source that shares the parking lot.  And then I get emails from Zappos.  And Piperlime.  And DSW Shoe Warehouse.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  I’ve been a very good girl this year four months.

An additional confession: I have railed against Crocs since my first encounter with them in college.  I maintained they are garden shoes and ugly though possibly okay for children because of the ease of getting them on.  My last pair of shoes bought before my year-long vow was a pair of purple Croc ballet flats.  FOR SHAME.  I secretly love them.  Not as much as the lavender maryjanes in the photo above.  But I definitely wear the Crocs more than those.


[WARNING: This one’s long.  What else is new?]

When I found out I was being appointed to Smithville First UMC, I was SO EXCITED.  I have had Smithville on my radar since we did a Neighbor 2 Neighbor one-day mission project roofing and painting houses when I was in middle school and of course “Hope Floats” is one of my favorite movies of all-time.  So naturally, I got online and started searching to find out everything I could about my new hometown.  The Chamber of Commerce website is awesome, and I learned all about the Rec Center, the dog park, the community gardens, Rowdy the Tiger mascot, Jamboree, etc.  The most exciting thing I learned about?  The annual Festival of Lights, which, by the way, is featured in the last scene of Hope Floats (see photos).

So when Karen, my senior pastor, asked if the youth might take lead on a float, I replied that I’d been dying to ask if we could do one for the church.  Then when I found out we have a member who drives trucks and would pull and big ol’ trailer for us with a cool cab, I was even more excited.  We had a conversation rather early in the summer with the women of ACE (Association of Citizens for Education, Smithville’s first education foundation to benefit SISD teachers with innovative teaching grants) where Karen had the idea that maybe we could support ACE with our float and give them a little free-ish publicity.  There were a couple cute ideas about giant papier-mache pencils and such tossed around, but not a huge convo.  Months passed, a huge fire broke out in case you didn’t know, and blah blah blah.  The closer the need to begin on the float got, I didn’t have any ideas for the church to fly solo that didn’t feel super cheesy.  It felt like all I could come back to over and over was a manger scene.  Let’s be real – ZZZZZzzzzzzzZZZZZzzzZzzZZzzzzzzz.

I mean, I know that’s the “reason for the season” but if I said there’s a Christmas parade in town and we’re going to do a float, what would you expect?  And see the funny thing about how you’re answer would be a manger scene is that the real-life, first Christmas manger scene was so unexpected.  God incarnate.  Sheesh.  But that’s a different soapbox for another day.  The Festival of Lights theme this year was “A Cowboy Christmas” and the best I could come up with was angels on horseback with cowboy hats on.  Not really.  That was my friend Nic’s idea.  That wasn’t ever really going to happen, obviously (only because they don’t allow animals in the parade.  Just kidding.  I’m obviously not that ridiculous.  Though somehow I sort of think the idea gets better when you imagine cowboy angels on stick-horseback).

I kept joking about how it was a shame there wasn’t a float-building class in seminary, but then I’d had some experience with floats when we lived in Comfort.  Anyway, it was like I had allllllll these ideas for an ACE-themed float, though.  So I approached Tina, my friend obsession of Smithville who happens to be the Vice President of ACE, and floated (ha) an idea by her scribbled on a napkin.  She was excited, really excited, and grateful for the church’s offer, but a little worried about the ambitious nature of the float scheme.  I was determined we could do it, described how we’d re-use a lot of stuff already lying around, and we went with it after approval from an ACE meeting.

Many, many, MANY, many hours of labor later, we had a rocking float.  Despite the fact that tempera paint doesn’t like to dry on felt, the threat/reality/threat of rain, the computer fritzing out on me when of course the projector is finally working, and about 15 logistical shifts and changes.  I think we went through 4 tubs of tempera paint, 200 straight pins, approx. 25 yards of felt, something like 40 packages of tissue paper between the chicken wire star and the apple pinata that had 2 incarnations, and I truly do not know how many strings of light; we hot-glued, we staple-gunned, we hammered, we un-screwed, we re-screwed, and sewed.

Tonight, we rode down Main Street for about 10 minutes at a speed of 5-ish miles per hour.  It was exhilarating.  There is something magical about Christmas lights.  There was something magical about driving past beauty queens as we moved to our spot in the line-up.  There is something really fun about riding on a trailer, four and a half feet up in the air with your legs dangling over, waving at a bunch of people waving back.  Not to mention, there’s something SUPER SATISFYING about winning the “Most Beautiful Local Lighted Float” on your first try (especially when you were working on a Friday night til 12:30am on it, and got up in the morning to work on it, gave up a Saturday afternoon earlier in the month, and wrangled youth to work on it for 2 Wednesday nights, besides the nagging the congregation for help and lights, etc.).   That’s right.  My float was the prettiest!  At the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS!

If you thought that’s what this post is about, you’re wrong.  There’s nothing hard about telling you my idea and execution of it got a prize at the local parade.  No… it’s the part of the story I left out so far that is painful and a little embarrassing to tell.

So.  I kept telling people we needed to leave the church at 6 in order to get in the line-up in time to be considered by the judges for prizes, “not that I think we’ll win one, but just because for all the effort we’re putting in, it would be a shame to get there too late to possibly win a prize.”  I went back and forth internally about it, though.  Sometimes I thought “THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME – NO ONE CAN BEAT THISSSSSS” and then I’d think “OHMYGOSH, the Festival of Lights is a really big deal.  People are going to show up with all kinds of crazy coolness and I’m going to have put everyone through this for what?  Some PR?  Some feel-good mojo?”  Something clicked this afternoon.  Maybe it was after we’d come up with our book cover and tracing it out with the aid of the projector turned out as cool as it did.  Maybe it was once the lights went on.  Maybe it was when the apple pinata showed up or the awesome kiddos or the school desks Michele Rutherford just happened to have in her garage to lend us.  I suddenly had an extreme desire to win.  And a confidence that we could.  We just might.  Holy moly.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee (high-pitched almost-dolphin noise of glee).

We get down to the line-up and I begin my obsession of trying to figure out if the judges have already gone by.  Then we see this big ol’ white, 4-door ram with the “Judges” magnet pull up next to us and I get all kinds of waving and smiling going on.  Tina shouts out “THIS ONE!  This float is NUMBER ONE!  NUMBER ONE!  Look at this float!  It’s number one!” and we’re laughing and all.  And then it happens.  I see that they’re trying to find out what float number we are in line.  I literally see the front passenger judge’s mouth make the shape for the words “What number are they” and crane around to see where our number is posted.  And then it happens.  The kiddos in front of us who are marching in the parade to rep for the safe-walk to school program (like safety patrol?) hold up their #12 paper, and the judge stops craning and I hear not just see her say “Oh, they’re twelve.”  I am about 1000-238,406% positive they were looking for OUR number.  The kids were cute, they had on reflective vests and some strings of light and stop signs, and their cause is super respectable.

So I did what any self-respecting pastor competitive freak would do and sent one of the youth to run after the judges’ truck and clarify that the FUMC/ACE float is number 13 (lucky 13) in case they wanted to know.  He comes back and it’s clear he went to the registration table, not the judge’s truck.  I think “surely if we win, it’ll be clear it’s us and not them.”  Yes, I just referred to the little elementary safety kids as “them.”  See the scratched out words above.

The judges’ truck comes back around maybe 10 minutes later and they hand a prize out the window to the library lady who was with the safety kids and say “You won for ‘Most Beautiful Local Lighted Float'” and the library lady does a happy dance and I say aloud “WHAT?” (not shouted, but aloud) to Tina, who I don’t think heard me when I talked and talked and TALKED about how I thought the judges got our number wrong.  She, like a good momma should, shushes me and is like “Lizzie.  Be nice” thinking I’m reacting because I’m a sore loser, which I guess would be true either way, but it wasn’t that I thought the kids weren’t worthy of getting it if the judges were going to fall for that sort of thing.  It was the sting of possibly winning and then not getting to actually win.

So, as any self-respecting pastor competitive freak and J as opposed to P in the Myers-Briggs schema would do, I sent the same youth (who had now seen the truck in question in person) after the judges truck to innocently ask “So who won the prize?”  He came running back to and (bless his little honest heart) unflinchingly approached the library lady who was informing Jill Strube that they’d “won” that in fact, “the judges said the ACE float won,” thus confirming my theory that the judges had mistaken who was with whom and which number was which in the line-up.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure Tina was right to tell me to be nice.  Because somewhere deep down, I wouldn’t have been okay with the cute, sweet, safety kids with their vests and stop signs and little strings of lights beating my almost 30-foot float with hand-maid, mostly re-used materials.  Yeah, that’s me trying to justify myself by pointing out that we tried to be as green as possible in the making of our float and that while of course a little group of kids walking down the street can’t compare to a classic 1960’s Ford cab and 30 feet of lit-up trailer behind it no matter what else we’d put on it, at least we weren’t one of the manufactured floats like the beauty queens and all ride on.  I’ve seen the websites where you can buy that stuff.  Really, I should kind of be ashamed of myself.  But I’m mostly really excited we won.  Which is totally sick, I guess.

If I’m completely honest, I should say that sometimes I wonder if I’m going to end up alone.  And sometimes I wonder if the only way I won’t end up alone is to settle for not being alone as opposed to being with someone who truly delights me.  I’ve been thinking of these things especially since moving to Smithville.  At times it seems like the balance for loving this little town is that I have to give up finding someone while I live here, and so the more I long to stay here in this appointment for a longer duration, the more I feel like I am giving up some piece of my hope for a partner in this life.  Because we all know that you can’t have everything, that nothing is perfect.

Then I met my friend Tina and her husband Andy.  They are lovely.  I mean, Tina is my friend and all, so of course I like her.  And you’d think whoever she’s married to would have to be great.  But no, really.  They, together, are lovely and wonderful.  And their love story is delightful.  And everything about their story actually sounds like a sweet, sweet story you couldn’t write better, and Tina has said that everything she wanted in a partner she has in Andy – so they seriously are like the closest thing to perfect for each other.

One night, I confessed a little to Tina that there are times I feel like I should give up dreaming of some “perfect-for-me” guy.  And that at times the dreaming I do sort of feels like that scene towards the beginning of Practical Magic where Sally makes up characteristics about a man who is to be her true love, but all the characteristics are too much or too silly for one person to actually exist with them all.  So that even if I kept dreaming, what good would it do?  What man could fulfill 26 years of dreaming?  It’s not just unfair to me, it’s unfair to men, right?  So sometimes I think I should give up dreaming up with whom I want to share my life.

That’s when Tina was all “Bullshit.  Keep dreaming.”  And I thought of her and Andy.  And so I confessed to her that I actually had written a letter to Santa a little over a year ago, sort of as a catharsis as writing exercises often tend to be (hello, blog).  I said I should probably tell her the list because she’s obviously got good man mojo (and she actually kind of has generally good mojo for getting things done or bringing good to her when she’s made up her mind about something).  So here’s the letter for you all.  Judge me all you want.  Or find me this man:

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a man to share my life with.  He doesn’t need to want to get married right away, but I do not want a man who does not want me for the long-term.  It would be great if he could have as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  • wears a good cologne
  • calls me ‘sugar’ or any variation of ‘sugar’
  • perceives me as sassy and/or feisty and likes that about me
  • frequently be found to be wearing a dress shirt and tie, a dress shirt with a sweater over it, a dress shirt and sweater vest
  • have played football or soccer when younger, maybe baseball
  • be a really good kisser
  • doesn’t back down and is passionate about what he believes and loves
  • preferably not an only child
  • knows how to tease me about stupid stuff
  • holds my hand
  • has a dog, but not a crusty small kind (not required, but doesn’t like animals is a deal-breaker)
  • has a little bit of a fix-it gene of some sort, even if it is computer-related
  • gets me flowers every now and then
  • is Methodist? that may be asking too much.  Could you find one that understands my vocation and still loves me?
  • likes to dance
  • loves his family
  • likes to go out and be with friends
  • pushes me to be more outdoorsy
  • cares about broken things in the world
  • likes to travel and explore new places
  • cooks and likes to cook together, preferably with loud music in the background
  • lets me sit in his lap to do the crossword together
  • tells me lots of stories from when he was younger
  • likes to argue a little bit

I know this is a lot to ask, and I plan to keep thinking about it.  Of course, it’s probably too late for this Christmas, but maybe you could try by next year?

Lots of love and I’m trying to be a very good girl,


  • None
  • myjourneywithtruth: i had it in my office at my internship in Corpus Christi two summers ago. ellen davis is brilliant and glows with an aura of holy.
  • amy h: i love this quote. i think i may need it hanging on my wall where i'll see it daily. perhaps in front of the toilet? by the door? bedside table? i'll
  • chaz: That post made me really sad too. Mostly because I want to take young Lizzie by the shoulders and shake her (gently?) into sublime realization that sh