Category Archives: Humor

Jessie’s Journal, Part I

So I recently found an old journal of mine from when I was 17-ish. I’ve been writing in a journal ever since I was 11 or so, so this one is probably  Vol. CLVIIEKDV or something.

I covered this particular journal in pictures cut from an travel catalog a couple of hot Australians handed to me during one of those college & career fairs.

I covered this particular journal in pictures cut from a travel catalog a couple of hot Australians handed to me during one of those college & career fairs. BECAUSE ADVENTURE.

When I found it OF COURSE I immediately started reading it, and OF COURSE I immediately started cringing and breaking out into hives and nervous laughter. I was SEVENTEEN AGAIN, minus Zac Efron’s excruciating romantic encounter with his own daughter.

I promised the Twitter I would share excerpts, because I mean, HOW COULD I NOT? Seventeen-year-old Jessie was a GEM, you guys. And also a WELL of emotions and adverbs. Every single adverb.

There’s really no way to set up any of what’s about to happen, so let’s just dive right in.

On Love…Part I [ed. note: everything is in parts and EVERYTHING is in Roman numerals]

Today, I felt my heart beat faster and my stomach tingle and my toes curl when I thought of someone. Could this be it? I know that it isn’t physical attraction [ed. note: WAIT, NOT physical attraction? THAT’S SO MEAN.] So I am perfectly safe in that aspect. So obviously it is their personality. And isn’t that what we need to fall in love with first? [ed. note: NO, SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD ME, FALL IN LOVE WITH HIS PORCHE FIRST. What I mean is, maybe we should marry for money?][JUST KIDDING, marrying the guy while we’re both flat broke totally worked out.]

You guys, I fell in love with a different boy pretty much every other month. REAL, TRUE, LASTING LOVE, OBVI. What follows that delicious opener is a dissertation two solid pages long on dating vs. trusting God will drop my future husband (MY SOUL MATE) into my arms (or vice versa) because I probably had just finished reading I Kissed Dating Good-Bye and DUH, THAT’S BASICALLY WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSHUA HARRIS.

[Love] makes me seem weak and vulnerable and my heart is just bare, completely unprotected, waiting patiently on that line. Love is such a beautiful thing. [ed. note: wait for iiiiiiiiiiit…] Although I have never firsthand experienced it, through little tastes I’ve come to grasp concepts of love. [ed. note: GROAN. GROAN. GROAN GROAN GROOOOOOAN.]

You guys, I was SO FULL OF WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE AND TRUTH back then. I’m pretty sure every single teenage girl I know today is a thousand times cooler and more self-aware than I ever was at 17.

And is love truly a search or more of a stumbling, you just happen into it, you just stumble into someone’s life and something new happens.

THIS IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF TOO MANY MEG RYAN MOVIES. Thanks for NOTHING, ’90s Meg Ryan.

FINALLY, I wrap it up with some profound words:

But why do I need to know [ed. note: I’m talking about needing to know if the 17-year-old boy mentioned above was THE ONE] if I trust God will deliver me someone who I will love forever and perfectly [ed. note: please ask my husband — who is NOT the 17-year-old boy mentioned above — next time you see him if I love him perfectly HAHAHAHAHA]? Each situation is separate and different, so I guess it’s nearly impossible to generalize all situations with one theory or one solution. And about that pitter-patter of my heart? It felt nice…

OMG, THE ELLIPSES! This girl’s story isn’t over yet! Will she find THE ONE? Will she discover what it means to stumble into love? Will there be a Part II? Only time will tell!

(And me. I’ll tell. There will be a Part II, because I have a composition notebook quite literally filled with teenage wisdom, SUPER random poetry, and at LEAST a dozen more boys to fall in love with.)

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Oh, Spring. (Heavy Sigh Followed By Wet Sneeze)

It’s allergy season, which means my daily thoughts are constantly centered around my inability to breathe or wear any kind of eye makeup or carry on a conversation of average length without sneezing at least a dozen times.

It’s just a part of who I am, and apparently becoming an annual part of this blog.

Here’s just a peek into those allergy-centric thoughts. You’re welcome. Or…I’m sorry?

“If my fingers were skinny enough and long enough I could totally reach all the way up into my sinus cavity and just scratch like crazy.”

“I’m pretty sure even my brain is itchy.”

“I wish people would stop saying, ‘Bless you,’ every time I sneeze because I’m just going to sneeze again, and they’re going to get tired of saying it, and OMG, it’s happening right now and snot just flew all over my lap again.”

“I am drinking this water and I am so stopped up and I AM DROWNING RIGHT NOW.”

“How bad would it look to just keep wadded up tissues inside my nose?”

“OH, NO. WHERE DID I PUT THAT FLONASE?”

“OH, NO. IT’S BEEN THREE DAYS OF CONTINUOUS FLONASE.”

“How is it even possible to itch BEHIND my eyeballs?”

(On sneezing) “Here it comes. Here it comes, hereitcomeshereitcomes.”

“It’s just a couple of months of mouth-breathing. You can do this. Flonase can help.”

“How many times can I talk about Flonase on this blog before they give me a lifetime supply?”

“On the bright side, Heaven will be allergen-free.”

“I just want to die. Or breathe.”

Seriously, HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY/ITCHY?

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Killing Me Softly With Their Words

I don’t know if you can tell this about me, but I’m sort of a snob about words. I’m very careful about using the right one, and even more careful about not using the right one wrongly. I’ve always been a little weird about that.

But recently I guess I’ve started realizing just how weird that actually is. Here are just a couple of recent examples.

The other night my daughter was fighting sleep. She told me she was not tired. She said she could not fall asleep. In fact, Mommy, she wasn’t going to ever sleep because she was exhausted.

“So wait, you are tired?” I asked.

“No! I am not sleepy. I’m exhausted.”

“But, love, exhausted means tired. It actually means very tired.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Yes, it does.”

“No, it means not tired.”

“I know what it means and it means very tired.”

“No, it doesn’t. I’m not tired. I’m exhausted.”

“You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“[blank stare; giant yawn]”

“Look. You can’t even pronounce it correctly. You don’t even know how to use ‘him’ and ‘her’ properly. You think your armpits are called tickle boxes. I’m right. You are so, so wrong. Now get your finger out of your nose and go to sleep.”

You guys, I got into an argument over the definition of a word with a three-year-old.

My kids are weirdos.

“Look out at the water like you’re really peaceful and serene.”

My son is pretty well-spoken, even if he still has that nine-year-old lisp. Just last night he said this exact sentence: “People’s first impression of you, Mom, is, BOOM. She’s humorous.” (He’s not only well-spoken but SUPREMELY intuitive.)

So I was floored – FLOORED – when I told him to brush his teeth before bed and he looked at me and said, “I done did it already.”

WHATWHATWHATWHAT?

So he repeated himself, carefully, as if he couldn’t quite remember the TERRIBLE sentence he had just spoken.

“We. Do. Not. Speak. Like. That.” My teeth were clenched. I had to remind myself to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. I think we can all guess how well I’m going to react if I ever catch my son doing something actually bad.

And every now and then the little stinker will use “ain’t” on purpose, usually right after using “isn’t” and before remembering the best way to kill me softly.

Parenting: SO not for the fainthearted or grammar-sensitive.

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JBUTTing In

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been contributing (more or less) to a weekly segment over at NorvilleRogers.com called J Butting In.

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Basically, my blogger buddy Clay Morgan tries to discuss pop culture and I won’t let him finish.

In past articles, we have discussed movies, sports, zombie apocalypses, and fast food. I am much more consistent at that site, mainly because Clay says something dumb like, “Tennessee isn’t going to survive the zombie apocalypse and I think you should know that,” and I have no choice but to correct and/or ridicule him.

So head on over there if you want to read completely ridiculous arguments over things that matter zero percent in anyone’s lives, and stick around. There is a lot of good stuff at NorvilleRogers.com, and I’m not just saying that because we spent almost an entire day JUST designing that logo.

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Fancy Pants Make Me Dance Accidentally

I did a little shopping yesterday because I have three pairs of slacks I can wear to work, and two of them are the same color. And because these new clothes were for work, they needed to be fancy. And when I need to be fancy, I shop at Old Navy, especially if they send me an email promising to give me 30% off THE ENTIRE STORE.

I went on my lunch break. I was able to actually try on a few things AT THE STORE without a small child waving at strangers from under my fitting room door that is literally* six feet off the ground.

I saw the pants on my way to the register with my lunch break drawing to a close. So I grabbed what I hoped was my size (I was being optimistic), paid for my fancy purchases, and was on my way.

I tried them on this morning thinking, “I was really being optimistic yesterday,” and promised not to cry if I couldn’t button and latch them. (What is up with the pants and the latches lately? They’re just giving me more opportunities to not fit into the pants.)

But GOOD NEWS! They fit! And I loved them.

You guys, I LOVE THESE PANTS. I love them so much I’m going back for its sister colors. I love them so much I texted a picture of them at 5:57am to my sister and told her to BUY THESE PANTS. I love them so much I selfied with them.

You have to understand, I have three simple but hard set rules for selfies:

1. Only selfie with the first pumpkin + chai latte of the year.
2. Only break Rule #1 for humor.
3. Only break Rule #1 by abiding by Rule #2 no more than three times in a calendar year.

I love these pants so much I was willing to break all my selfie rules and I was not doing it for humor and I was going to smile and I was not going to make a silly expression and I was even going to hashtag OotD on Instagram and probably even tag Old Navy in hopes of getting a gift card for more of these fancy, fabulous pants.

Seriously, you guys, these pants are the shiz. I love them so much I just used the word “shiz.”

I could have woken up my husband and had him take a picture of me.

“Honey, get up. What time is it? No, you’re not running late, it’s only 5:30. I just need you to take a picture of me in my pants.”

But then it wouldn’t have been a selfie. And also the whole cranky husband thing.

So I set the camera timer to 5 seconds. The second option was an EXCESSIVE 15 seconds, and I just don’t have time for that. Surely I could hop in front of my phone, decide on a flattering pose, and SMILE all within five seconds.

You guys, turns out I can’t.

Instead, I end up with an intentional selfie of a 100% unintentional twerk.

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But these pants look amazing.

*Not literally

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Would a Buttram By Any Other Name?

In honor of my husband’s and my tenth wedding anniversary, I thought it would be prudent to lay some things to rest.

I’m talking about the glory of my married name.

I remember when I first found out my husband’s full name. This was back in college and I had caught a glimpse of his student ID. Back then, our IDs had our full name, date of birth, and social security number. (Not joking; we recently found our old IDs while cleaning out our home office and THERE IT WAS, all nine digits. Not an extra wise idea to put that information on a small piece of plastic issued to a bunch of 18-year-olds, but it didn’t include the dashes, which would totally throw off any would-be identity thieves if you ask me.)

So I saw his ID and his full name and I had wanted to laugh, but this boy was really cute and I really liked his first and middle names, so instead of snickering I just said, “Well. That’s a strong name.”

“It builds character,” is what he said.

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So I go to the same dry cleaners every time. There are three extremely polite women who work there, and all three women call me Mrs. Buttram (as opposed to “Jessica,” I mean, not as opposed to Lady Buttram, Grand Duchess of the Dodge Journey who picks up her dry cleaning three weeks late), and all three women pronounce my last name differently.

The first lady I’m pretty sure is just messing with me. She’s younger and a little edgier than the others. And once, I even saw her taking a smoke break in the parking lot.

This lady – this hardened, world-weary lady – she calls me Mrs. Butt-Ram, and she says it SUPER unapologetically. I know I corrected her the very first time she mispronounced it, but only that once. Because I figure, whatever gets her through the day, right? Besides, I can’t really say I blame her; when asked to spell my name over the phone, I would to say, “B-u-t-t (lengthy pause, lengthy pause, lengthy pause) r-a-m” until my husband made me stop.

The second lady is older and really southern and always tells me about their alterations services, and I think it’s because she’s the one who does the alterations. She also says my name about thirty-seven times in our three-minute interaction. She calls me Mrs. Byootrum. Like, “Isn’t she a beaut (byoot)?” Or even, “Let’s race around Willie’s Butte” in the spirit of Cars.

I don’t correct her either, because I really don’t want to hurt her feelings after she’s said it wrong with such enthusiasm and consistency. “Your total is $18.47, Mrs. Byootrum, and Mrs. Byootrum, have I told you about this month’s specials? Well, Mrs. Byootrum, this month we’re offering 25% off all alterations. Yes, we do alterations now, Mrs. Byootrum! Thank you for your business, Mrs. Byootrum, and ya’ll have a great evening!” I mean, correcting her would just break her heart.

The third and final lady pronounces my name one hundred percent correctly.

So, without further ado, how to pronounce my last name: Buh’tchrum. The “u” and “a” sound the same, a short “u” as in, “You can stand under my umbrella (ella, ella).”

So there you have it! Now you know what I’ve known for eleven years, and have willingly taken on for ten. All in the name of luh’ve.

This post is inspired by one of my favorite Jamies, who sent me a screenshot of an honest query from one of her readers showing sincere concern over how, exactly, one should pronounce B-u-t-t-r-a-m.

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I Was a Teenage Letter Writer

So I feel like we’ve come a long way together. I feel like I can really open up to you. I feel like it’s time you knew the kind of person I really am. Because that’s what happens on this blog. Vulnerability. Realness. Raw grit. We don’t hold back, and we can’t stop.

Sorry, I’ll move on.

This particular story starts when I was in the sixth grade and a youth pastor and his family moved in next door. They inevitably invited us to their church, and shortly after, we became members. At the tender, impressionable young age of 11, I was baptized into the United Methodist Church and confirmed later that year, embracing my newfound religion like I was the unpopular but pretty when I don’t wear my glasses female lead in a teen flick and Jesus was the jock who looks past it all.

I was the kind of Christian girl some might say was often “moved by the Spirit.” That’s just a nice way of saying I was deeply emotional. I wept at every altar call. You guys. Every. Altar Call. I rededicated my life to Christ at every opportunity to the point where (not the same) youth pastor pulled me aside after one particularly moving sermon and said, “Again?” (Just kidding — but I’m one hundred percent sure he was thinking that). I shed tears whenever I gave my testimony at Fellowship of Christian Students (which was often). And I was most definitely the girl in the front row at YoungLife meetings with her hands raised in the air, eyes closed, so overcome with emotion I could barely mouth the words to “Shout to the Lord”.

Verdict: Sappy. Boy, was I sappy.

Coupled with the fact I’ve always fancied myself a writer, and we are entering some dangerous ground, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m talking bad-poetry dangerous. I’m talking write-my-own-praise-songs dangerous. I’m talking lengthy-heartfelt-prayers-in-a-trembling-voice-during-Sunday-School dangerous.

I’m talking love-letter dangerous.

To recap, I: a). was (am) a Christian, b). was (am) a sentimental, weepy little thing, and c). was (am!) a lover of the written word. You guys, a storm was a-brewin’.

It was the summer before ninth grade and, like every summer in southern Alabama, it was ridiculously hot. Our church’s youth ministry did everything in their power to keep us busy and well-hydrated, which meant opening up the Family Life Center every day and organizing indoor tournaments (from basketball to kickball to ping-pong), pool parties at the houses of those lucky enough to have swimming pools, and the occasional lock-in weekend at our local laser tag arena. It. Was. Awesome.

And being the dedicated, emotionally invested Christian I was meant I was pretty much at every church-related function on the schedule.

And he, oh, he…

Sigh.

He was my Sunday school teacher’s son. (You can cue the Disney princess music now if you’d like.) He was also going to be in the ninth grade, though we went to different schools (probably why I didn’t stalk notice him sooner). AND he was also at church whenever the doors were open, usually creaming everyone else at pool. A fellow ninth grade Christian church-frequenter? MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, if you ask me.

(However. I would like for the record to show he noticed me first, thank you very much.)

(He just didn’t know what he was getting himself into.)

We flirted the only way fourteen-year-old Christians know how: he teased me for sucking at pool, I showed off during kickball, he sat next to me in Sunday School, I wrote down his prayer requests like there was going to be a test. We were totally on our way to being Zack and Kelly, the Kirk Cameron-approved version.

And then one afternoon, my friend overheard him telling someone else he had a crush on me and she reported back to me quick-like. BOOM. Yeah, it happened. Open the floodgates, people, the floodgates of EMOTION.

How did I use this piece of intelligence, you might be wondering? Did I squeal? Probably. Did I wonder when he was going to ask me out? Inevitably. Did I finally have the courage to call him that night? My sources say yes. (Hey, thanks, Church Directory!) Did I automatically start envisioning our wedding day? I won’t rule that out.

What I didn’t do was Chill. The crap. Out.

What I eventually did, when he didn’t ask me out the next day or the next, or after a few weeks, then months, which may or may not have included my phoning him excessively a few times from the corner of my bedroom closet so my mom and little sister wouldn’t know I was like, so in LOVE with a boy, was write down my feelings on three sheets of college-ruled looseleaf.

And then give it to him.

I know, you guys, I KNOW. I’m groaning and cringing and shaking my head right along with you.

What made my love letter so different though was the way I appealed to God’s will in this whole messy affair. That’s right, friends, I absolutely called in the God Guns.

I wish I had the foresight to photocopy this letter for my (and your) amusement years and years later (with the added bonus of using it as a humiliation-inducing deterrent for my daughter warning her against the follies of boy-craziness), but if I had the foresight to do that, then I probably would have been wise enough not to write it in the first place, MUCH less give it to him.

While I have since blocked the painful specifics of that letter from my memory, I do remember inciting God’s perfect plan, His involvement in our developing friendship, and how He MUST have had a greater purpose for us. Surely I wouldn’t like this boy so, so, SO MUCH if it wasn’t for some God-divined reason, right?

Well, fourteen-year-old Self thought so. I even lamented this to my best friends who in turn wisely offered to pray for me, assuring me God sometimes puts a comma where we think He put a period. (Which only led me to believe we would one day get married and look back over our missed opportunity, laughing heartily at our pre-pubescent silliness. Pretty sure that’s how it happened in The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Logan Likes Maryanne!)

Needless to say, I didn’t marry that boy. We never even went on a date (and by “date” I really mean “get dropped off at the mall by our parents at the same time”). We actually never even spoke of that letter ever again. And I’m pretty sure I was the reason he stopped going to church. OMG, just kidding, you guys. He didn’t stop going to church. But he did sit as far away from me as possible for a while (and avoid basically all eye contact) after receiving THE LETTER. But I mean, can you blame him?

Needless to say, that was the first and last love letter I ever gave a boy. (Notice I said “gave” — I have, in fact, written several love letters since then, I’ve just had the sense to not give them away, or, more accurately, to give them to my husband, who, having read them, is legally contracted to stick around and still wants to sit beside me in Sunday School. Love you, honey!)

I’d call myself an incurable romantic but that sounds much too normal.

What I really was was a dope who honestly thought God’s will was bent on cosmically aligning the fates of a junior high romance. Don’t worry, Self these days is much more in control of her faculties and tear ducts.

These days, I know my depth of emotion and sentimentality are things about me God designed, whether intentional or by accident (just kidding). Had I given Him the room to fully cultivate those desires and traits in me, I would probably have a much (ahem, MUCH) shorter list of Embarrassing Moments. (But that would be boring, wouldn’t it? WOULDN’T IT?)

It is who God created me to be, and a small inkling of His own depth of emotion and tenderness for His creation. In fact, aren’t we all inklings of God’s character, our very best Selves just a scratch of God’s infinite goodness? We were all fashioned to be His reflection; we just sometimes let our lesser Selves get in the way and write three-page (front and back probably) love letters to fourteen-year-old boys. (None of that sounds like a good idea, honestly. What was I thinking?)

I know God delights in romance. He Himself wrote the greatest love story of all time when He, a star-crossed Lover separated desperately from His beloved, did the only thing He could do to restore that relationship: He bought our freedom, our passage and now-rightful belonging into Heaven’s kingdom, at the cost of His own Son’s demise. What a best seller, right?

If only I had trusted His pen over mine all those years ago.

(But in the spirit of full disclosure, I should confess if the government ever makes time-travel available to civilians and not just to scientists and Denzel Washington, I am SO jumping at the chance to slap that letter out of my fourteen-year-old hands.)

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