My Declaration of Love for Dirt Cheap

Dear Dirt Cheap,

Your name made me think, “Probably not interested.” Even as I stepped through your doors, I thought, “Chaos. This is total chaos.” I pressed on in spite of my initial overwhelmed heart in search of something I have a definite immediate need for: towels. As I strolled through your aisles I became more and more impressed. All brand new items at 60% off or more? What is this place?

Are those Target office supplies for 60% off?  A Target shower curtain for $5? Wait, oh those winter tights are .25 a piece? Is that a new down comforter sold normally at $299+ for $50?!

I cannot express to you enough how deeply wrong I was about you. I was proud. And prejudice. You have made my transition into adulthood so much less stressful, and for that I am ever thankful. I believe I can now. And it’s all thanks to you.

Even though I didn’t walk out with what I was looking for (towels), I am so incandescently happy.

Yours only when I’m in Memphis,



Memphis and Mississippi friends: check out Dirt Cheap. It’s all brand new home goods, clothes, tools, etc that stores like Target, Bed, Bath + Beyond, Kohls, and other stores couldn’t sell. And it’s marked down something ridiculous. $98 total bought me a wall decal/chalkboard from Target, 4 pairs of winter tights, a down comforter, a rug, one shower curtain, two bars of all natural soap, a desk divider/organizer, a window curtain panel, and one large bed pillow. How does that even happen?

Here’s some pictures of a few of the items I purchased that I’m in love with:

Isn't it rustic dreamy?  $4.
Isn’t it rustic dreamy? $4. Ignore the chaos around it. Everything I own is in boxes and bags all over the place.
The Threshold desk organizer. I have a brass wire 2 drawer organizer that sits on a desk, BUT I can't put anything small on it because the wire's so big it falls through. Problem solved! $2.70 for this.
The Threshold desk organizer. I have a brass wire 2 drawer organizer that sits on a desk, BUT I can’t put anything small on it because the wire’s so big it falls through. Problem solved! $2.70 for this.
It's a sheer window panel. This one's gonna take a little work. There wasn't a second match to this, so I'm going to cut it in half and cut the previously mentioned shower curtain in half and have 1/4 sheer pattern and 3/4 white curtains on my window. :) This panel was $5.
It’s a sheer window panel. This one’s gonna take a little work. There wasn’t a second match to this, so I’m going to cut it in half and cut the previously mentioned shower curtain in half and have 1/4 sheer pattern and 3/4 white curtains on my window. 🙂 This panel was $5.
So, this is my 2nd favorite purchase. It’s a stand up (or hang up) wooden chalk board with a ceramic vase attached for pens, which I’ll be using for fake flowers. 😉 I want to write a monthly word of encouragement, verse, quote or prayer and use that to help me refocus. I love the possibilities with this one. $15

Missionary Prayer Cards

I love design and I love the fact that I get to use this passion in a couple different facets of my job as a Career Missionary with Cru. Prayer letters, prayer cards, outreach materials, etc. YUM. It’s slightly therapeutic for me to mix and match patterns, colors, overlays, new fonts (Thanks Maggie) and see what works and what doesn’t!

Here’s what I’ve been playing around with for my prayer cards. I haven’t decided if I’m going to put magnets on the back so that people can put these on their fridge or not, but… I probably will. I want to create something for people to put in their Bibles as well to remember to be praying for our ministry. But right now, I got the hook up with a friend who is printing these for me at cost, so I don’t want to do too much. You know. I’ll only be able to afford so many Starbucks gift cards for payment.

Prayer Card 1:


Prayer Card 2:


I’m still tweaking these of course. And, yes I’ll have my real phone number in these. I’d rather the interwebs didn’t have access to that. 😉 Sorry guys.

And I got to play around a little after realizing I didn’t need to create a back to these if there was going to be a magnet for a back. 😉

Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 9.31.45 PM


Top Four French Language Mistakes #FRENCHPROBLEMS

Many of you know I work for Whirlpool in their French Canadian department. Quebecois is very, very different than the French I learned at university and not even remotely the same as the Frolof I spoke in Senegal. Needless to say, talking to customers all day long in what I feel like is a third language makes for some interesting times. Here are a few of my favorite embarrassing moments from work! Enjoy!

Do you know the exact date of purchase?

I ask this question on EVERY call. And for the first month, no one said anything to me about this. Instead of saying, “la dah-t da sha” I was saying, “La dah-t da shaat.” The first means, “the date of purchase,” where the latter means, “the date of the cat.” Yup. Oh Lord. Check out a French video of a cat wiping out below to see my sentiments on the issue. PS- I’m the cat.

The payments are monthly.

[THIS MIGHT BE A LADIES ONLY ONE…] Let me preface this with, I have not said this to a customer. Sophia, a girl from Haiti, was practicing a script with me and helping me  learn some new vocab. She just told me the French word for monthly. It is mensuell. Don’t confuse it with another word that sounds just like it, menstrual otherwise you’ll be telling your clients their payments are in menstrual cycles.


My name is Mary Lou.

This is another pronunciation issue. In my defense, in Senegal we always said, “Je m’appelle” or “Mon Mary laa toodo.” We never said it this way. So, there’s my defense. Here’s the case: Yawo, a friend from the Togo, was listening to calls with me helping me if I didn’t understand or was confused on some vocab. He stopped me and said, “Mary Lou, stop saying the “m” at the end of ‘Mon nom est Marie Lou.'” I looked at him and realized what I had been saying:: My man is Mary Lou. Bless it.

Me as a man.

And lastly and most embarrassingly…

You can find your model and serial number on the back.

It all happened so fast that I can’t remember which definitive article or possessive article I used before the word back, but I am maybe 50% certain I used the word “votre” meaning “your” or “la” meaning “the.” I want to say that I used the word “la” because I would have a better defense, but I am pretty sure it was possessive.

You know that little French word, derriere? You know how us lil’ old Americans think its so funny to pretend like it means your butt? Well, mixed with the right articles, it does mean that in French. It also means behind, as in “My Chapstick fell behind my purse.” I was trying to tell the woman, that she would have to look behind the appliance to find her model and serial number. Instead? I either told her that her model and serial numbers were located on the butt -OR- on her butt.


Here’s to another day at Whirlpool hoping I don’t get fired! Please enjoy this video below that will show you my French isn’t all that terrible…. 😉


My Night At The Mansion

It all started at a mansion. What a cheeky start, huh?

My really good friend was house sitting the largest and best decorated home in [all of what I dare to believe] America.  The house was amazing. This mansion where it all started had over eight bedrooms, a child’s playroom, a gym, a prayer room, a designated man-cave with a zebra skinned rug, an island in the kitchen made completely of marble that was [not exagerating] bigger than the kitchen in my sister’s house, an indoor pool, and a grotto that puts Hugh Hefner’s to shame [sorry honeys bunnies.].

If I had a permanent address, I’d say I was living the high life by having a sleepover in a place like that! Considering the fact that I don’t have a good enough answer as to why my license says I live in East Tennessee, my car is registered in Illinois, and I am temporarily couch-surfing across the East Coast, I can claim that I’m not living in the lap of luxury despite popular beliefs. [I think I made that up. I’m pretty sure living out of a suitcase is not luxurious to anyone.]

Oddly enough, while I was sitting in the world’s most lush guest bedroom the Lord began to rock my heart in a really deep way. I was reading “The Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer when I felt such a burden of spiritual dryness. Surrounded by the American Dream, I began to recognize that I felt like my hunger for God was rocky. In every sense, I oftentimes desire more from God. I long for more out of my prayer life. And I want more of Him in the day-to-day study of the word. There’s a part of that book that really struck my heart. It’s about being so centered around the intellect that we miss our hearts.

I know without a doubt I am wired to depend on logic and intellect; some of that stems from fear of emotions having seen them displayed in unhealthy ways. Combating my desire to “know” in exchange for constant dependence in an intimate, grace-filled relationship with Christ is a daily struggle. And sometimes if I’m honest, it’s not even a struggle because I stop fighting. And I know that might be something some of you are going through too. Daily fighting off pride, independence or complacency gets tiring when we’re doing it in the flesh. If there is anything I’ve learned through my night at the mansion it is that God: The Master Illustrator shows up in complete, unabashed surrender.

One of my prayers that night was that my heart would stir for the word in a way that helps me to fall in love with Jesus. Now, what I’m about to say might make some of you take a step back and think, “This girl is off her rocker.” Bear with me! It’s not what you think.

I had a vision, and no it wasn’t like a prophetic-incense-burning-3D-projection-from-heaven. It was more like the Lord wanted to cast vision in my heart for how He wants me to have a renewed heart for Him and His word. I just pictured myself in that room reading scripture as if it were a love letter to me. Studying it. Reading it over and over again. Yet, not even noticing that the Author of that letter was sitting with me. God was showing me that oftentimes I read the word because it’s something I’m supposed to do and know, but I completely ignore the Person who wrote it.

Then I imagined myself sitting on the bed with Jesus, reading verses, and discussing them with Him. The verses about His love for us made my heart radiate with JOY! as I got to read them aloud to the God who authored them. I pictured me reading to the Holy of holies 1 Peter 2:9 about being His special people and being in awe that He would die for me! And I began to fall in love with Jesus all over again.

In total surrender of fears and performance, although I was feeling less than competent or even worthy in this massive mansion, the Lord met me. He illustrated where I was at in my walk with Him and where He wants to take me. I felt a burden lift off my shoulders as I felt God’s pursuit of me and see His heart for me. He is an amazing God!

I am excited to walk in this renewed vision and deeper love for the Lord. I am excited to be in prayer about what I’m reading in the word, getting excited with Jesus, and feeling the weight of what He’s saying. If that’s brokenness for the lost or joy in being His, I’m ready to walk through truth with Jesus because I’m confident He gave us His word to know and have His heart.

Thanks for letting me share about my night at the mansion. The Lord is good and His love endures forever!


Jeggings and Applesauce Street

It’s been 15 days since my feet last touched African soil, my lungs breathed in the fragrant Senegalese air, and I felt comfortable in a culture. It’s a weird feeling, let me tell you, to come back to your home culture and to feel like you have to readjust to what should be normal. There are so many things I’m having to re-learn from how to properly respond to people who talk to you (in English) in a department store and how to respond back in English to getting sick after eating a bowl of oatmeal or even re-learning how to drive. Which, let’s be honest, I never was that great of a driver anyways. It’s a miracle I’m alive! Praise Him!

There’s so many things I’m walking through that make me look so, so incredibly awkward. For instance, yesterday I went to Target to buy some curtains, cleaning supplies and sponges. I walked out of the bathroom towards the carts. My peripheral vision must be off because I swear I did not see this Power-Walking-Get-Out-Of-My-Way-I’m-On-A-Mission man. It was a disaster. So here I am B-lining it to a cart (it was more like a lower case “L” because who walks in the shape of a “B”?), and here he is saving the day with his lightening legs and we just about collide! Less than a foot away from each other, I had no other option but to scream. In Target. I gasped and then said, “Ah, I’m so sorry. I’m not paying attention.” But my words were just thrown in the trash. He was moving to way too fast to stop and care about my apology. #America.

Oh, and then… I was talking to my sister about these new Jessica Simpson jeans I bought for $15. I was so proud that they were the dark shade I wanted and less than $20 bucks! (That should have been my sign…). They were skinny jeans, which I have transitioned out of because I’m not in my early 20s anymore but you always need one pair to wear with flowy tops and boots! And heck, they were Jessica Simpson jeans. If you know anything at all about me at all, you know I LOVE her.

Anyway, I’m talking to my sister and telling her, “T, these jeans are so comfortable. They are so stretchy! But wait, that’s weird. They don’t have front pockets…. oh my gosh! AM I WEARING JEGGINGS?” In all honesty, they have back pockets and felt like stretchy jeans. Can you tell they were Jeggings?

jeggings fail
Who knew?

I see what you did there, America. You got really good at making jeggings that they actually look like jeans. Seriously though, when did the Mom-Jean-Jeggings die and this switch up occur?  So now, I am a slightly-embarrassed owner of Jessica Simpson Jeggings. Sidenote: Transitioning out of skinny jeans because you’re too old never leads to jeggings. EVER.

And lastly, I can’t read street signs in English anymore. It may be because I’ve been reading road signs, advertisements and building names in French and Wolof for so long or the fact that I’m concentrating too hard on not dying while driving that I can’t make out words. I am trying to learn the layout of Memphis right now (that’s where I am for the next few weeks. It was an impromptu decision to come.).

I was driving to Barnes and Noble and kept reading the road signs. “Kate’s Born road… that’s weird.” Nope. Kate Bern. Good try, Mary. “Ger’town to the right, Germantown Parkway to the left. Uh, oh. So, is Ger’town a different road. I’m lost.” Okay, Memphis. There needs to be a Public Service Announcement on that one. That was really confusing. And then the street that was something like, “Appleshire” that turned into “Applesauce Street.”

Here’s to not getting lost this week. I’m not sure anyone would be able to come find me if I tell them I’m near Kate’s Born and Applesauce.