Author Archives: jeffatwood

What exactly is a “Super Model?”

So I learned this morning that the recording artist Seal and the “Super Model” Heidi Klum are getting a divorce.

And while that is undeniably tragic for their family and their children, it leaves me with the question, “What exactly is a ‘Super Model?’”

Wikipedia has a definition.

So does

As I understand it, a “super model” is basically it is a pretty person who does pretty person things and gets paid a pretty penny to do it.

As a person who is, and never was, in any danger of being lumped into any “model” category at all, I have some questions:

–          What exactly is the difference between a regular model and a “super model?”

–          Is it size, shape, snootiness, poutiness…?

–          What throws one over the edge from getting paid some money to be pretty to being paid tons of money to be pretty?

–          When does one know that one gets called up from the minor league to the majors? (“Paging Miss Svetlana Irvanaskomi, the 4:53pm Beauty Express is about leave for Super-ville…”

–          Do you ever get moved down from “Super Model” to “Regular Model?”

–          If so, I can only imagine the drama involved in that discussion. (“Uh Sven…we’ve been looking at some of your recent work and frankly, it’s just “Regular. Plus you seem to have put on a lot of weight…at least 8 or 10 ounces, and that is unacceptable.”

–          Is it like being named to the Supreme Court or Queen of England, the title is yours till you die?

–          Surely this is some sort of Statue of Limitations? I for one do not want to see an 88-year-old “Super Model” parading around in her altogether.

–          Is there some sort of international authority or committee, like the United Nations or beautiful people, which makes the distinction?

–          “On behalf of the International Galaxic Super Committee on Super Modeldom, the IGSCSM, we are proud to confer on you the title “Super Model.”

–          Do you get a sash or crown?

–          Is there category beyond “Super Model?”

–          Maybe “Super Duper Model?”

–          Or “Ultra-Super Deluxe Model?”

–          But never, ever “Super-Sized Model?”

The Cow didn’t make it…

McKenzie drew this years ago, maybe 4th or 5th grade. I can emphasize with the cow.

I now have daughters aged 13,14, and 15. Can I have moment of silence please…?

Macie turned 13 on Saturday.

So I now have daughters aged 13, 14, and 15.

Can I have a moment of silence please?

And by moment of silence I don’t mean prayer or some sort of governmental ordained “quasi prayer but not REALLY a prayer if you get what I mean wink wink so we don’t offend anyone” or a “time of meditation” or any mumbo-jumbo like that.

I just mean can I have a moment of silence.

One moment.

You can pick when it is, it doesn’t really matter to me, because beggars can’t be choosers right, but just any small moment of silence.

Is it too much to ask that a Daddy can get just ONE MOMENT OF SILENCE!

Just to clear my head.






Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my family. But they are just so loud. What with all the WORDS, and the questions, and the doors opening and the doors closing and the stomping, and the shrieking, and the singing, and the dancing, and the fussing, and the Skyping, and the giggling, and the talking, and the phones, and the beeping, and the buzzing, and the Ipads, and the Ipods, and the IPhones, and the TV and the texting and the everything…


Ahh, that’s nice.

Wait a minute, where is everybody, why is it so quiet around here?


3:00 am in the morning

Tomorrow our sweet Mary McClane will be 13. My BABY will be a teenager.

Which means tomorrow I will have daughters aged 13, 14, and 15 at my house. Let that sink in for a moment in you will…

While all three of the girls are completely unique and amazing in their own ways, they have one distinct similarity.

They were all born at (or within a few minutes) 3:00 am in the morning.

3:00 am in the morning!!!

Really…what are the odds that all three would be born in the exact middle of the night? Even from the very first moment they were here on Earth, they were keeping me up, worried to death.

So at our house, it wasn’t just the crying baby that kept us up, it was the whiny, tired Daddy too.

And while the babies have (sadly) grown up, I am afraid that as the daddy gets older, he is just as cranky and fussy as ever.

Must be all the sleepless nights…

Kinder, gentler hurricane names…

The ill fated-tornado warning earlier this week got me thinking about natural disasters.

More specifically hurricanes.

And even more specifically about hurrican names…

I think I have figured out why the hurricanes all of a sudden seem to have real mild names like Flossie or Gustav or Josephine or Hanna. Hanna is not a bad name, the girls have lots of friends named Hanna. It’s just that Hanna is the name of a middle schooler, not a life-threatening storm.

But I think that the International Association of Storm Namers incorporated has a plan. They give the storms these kinder, gentler names in order to psych out the storms.

Like in sixth grade…if you heard about a kid named Eugene you just knew, even before you met him, that he was a geek and most likely was in the math club and played clarinet in the band. In the same way, if you heard about a kid named Spike, you knew he was trouble.

Just like the parents who by naming their son Eugene destined him to a life of nerdly ignominy, I think the hurricane naming guys have decided that perhaps they can do the same thing with storms. They think that they can shape the destiny of a hurricane just by giving it a prissy sounding name.

Like Gustav. Or last year there was a storm named Flossie.

Think about it. When a storm comes to their first day of “hurricane orientation” and they learn that their name will be “Flossie,” what kind of self-esteem and respect are they going to have….”Hi my name is Flossie…I am going to level a dozen small islands and take out half of southern Florida.”

No way….

It will be, “Hi…I’m Flossie…I think I will be a tropical depression…because frankly I have a prissy sounding name and I am a little bit depressed about that to start.”

Let’s hope that my thought is right and hurricane “Hanna” has all the bluster of seventh grade girl.

(on second thought, i may be all wrong on this…after three girls move through middle school, I am thinking that maybe we don’t want to name storms after seventh grade girls….)

A thousand reasons I am glad I am not a single parent

This morning The Beautiful Bride leaves for the Dallas market. She will be there till late on Sunday. Between this trip and the one to Atlanta last week, she will end up being gone for 10 of 12 days.  While it is a rough stretch for all involved, it is certainly survivable.

That said; I cannot imagine being a single parent. I mean, there are like  a thousand reasons I am glad I am not a single parent.

Between getting everybody up and fed and lunches made and out the door to two different schools, then to the office, cut out early to grab the girls, then home and homework and dinner and showers and laundry and feed the dogs and “do we have groceries?” and “I need $27 for a school trip” and “I left my ___ at school” and then do a little bit of email because I left the office early and take the garbage out and pick up Madison’s medicine and “oh crud, she has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow” and “I need to get this project done at work” and “I need to get this project done for biology class” and clean the stuff up off the floor and “Did anyone feed the dogs” to “Can you cut the crust off my sandwich” or “Madison’s having a seizure?  to “Are my PE clothes clean?” and then you run out of time for homework and you run out of time for work work to “Did I ever tell the girls I love them today” to “It’s time for bed, c’mon” then five minutes later it’s “No really, turn that off it’s time for bed” to toss and turn and think about what did not get done to “I really need to get on the treadmill in the morning but I really need to get 30 minutes more sleep when will it ever end…” oh never…

We will make it through the next five days.

Not whining, really.

Because I know that at the end of the five days The Beautiful Bride is coming home and all will be well.

But for so many parents in this world, there is no one coming home in five days, and I am pretty sure that all is not well.

Looking at life through “green-colored ‘noculars”

When Madison and I take her annual birthday trip to Disney, one of the highlights is watching the show in front of the castle. We’ll watch the show three or four times, and her comment every time is the same. “Don’t they do a great job.”

Every year she carefully packs her green plastic “noculars” so she can “see better.” I have tried to look through the green noculars. You cannot see better using them, but she is convinced that she can.

Early on, I tried several times to get her to put the green ‘noculars down. Partially I think because I was a little bit embarrassed that my teenage daughter was watching the Cinderella Castle show through green plastic binoculars and I was concerned what other people would think of me because what she was doing. Partially because I was afraid that she was missing out on the Disney World experience because she was not doing it “right.”

But here’s the thing…she was doing it “right.”

For her.

Frankly she has a huge time using her green ‘noculars at every show, I don’t think she could have any more fun. The green plastic “noculars” are part of the fun.

And that’s ok.

The thing I continually learn from Madison is that just because things don’t happen the way they always have or the way I would like them to happen doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just different.

Sometimes you just gotta be willing to look at life through “green-colored ‘noculars”

The night the Beautiful Bride almost didn’t make it over the hill. But then laughed so hard she almost wet herself.

The Beautiful Bride has been at America’s Mart in Atlanta for the last few days (118 hours but who’s counting…) She and her younger sister Jennifer came home last night, leaving a couple of the Show Offs Art in the ATL to finish up the market. The Beautiful Bride has 48 hours to catch her breath before she heads to Dallas on Wednesday morning for the marker there. (But I’m not pouting about that yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves….)

She called me last night on the way home to tell the story of the adventure that she and Jennifer had just had. Seems that she and Aunt Jen can have had a bucketful of adventures in the last couple of days, but the one last night takes the cake.

They were just passing through Chattanooga on the way home, filled up on Olive Garden and Hershey Bar’s they took from the SOA booth when the fun began.

They were headed up the hill, into the darkness that is southeast Tennessee on a winter night when the car began to lurch. Cue the banjo music…

(I am paraphrasing the conversation below, because when The Beautiful Bride recounted it to me, she was laughing so hard I am certain that she wet herself.)

“What’s wrong with the car?” said The Beautiful Bride.

“We’re out of gas,” replied Aunt Jen.

“No we’re not…”




“No seriously, I don’t know how his happened, but we are out of gas.”

Up the hill they went.

Into the darkness





Pull onto the shoulder, hazards on.

Five MPH inching up the hill.

(Can you hear “I think I can, I think I can…)

Then another sound to go with the gas tank going dry…this one like a freight train starting up “Bump…bump…bump…bump.”

Very rhythmic…And then for some reason The Beautiful Bride found humor in this and began to sing along…



Top of the hill…



Crest the hill, and then a bit faster. The car is completely out of gas.

“Wait…there’s light at the exit…just keep going.”



They rumble down the shoulder, and Aunt Jen arm wrestles the now dead car (no power steering) off the exit and points it down the hill towards the somewhat-scary-but-any-port-in-a-storm Kangaroo market.

They make it to the bottom of the heel, Aunt Jen is dragging the steering wheel to the right to take a wide swing into the parking lot and they silently slide up to the pump, tapping the brakes to bring the fuel less wonder to a halt.

“Well, we’re here…”

And they exploded into laughter which was still resonating 30 minutes later when they called.

I think the thing that made me happiest (outside of the fact that they were not squashed like a bug as they moved at 5 MPH on the shoulder of the interstate) is the fact that The Beautiful Bride can laugh at almost any situation. She realizes that sometimes things happen that you can’t control and many times your options are to 1) freak out; or 2) laugh until you nearly wet yourself.

And I am so glad that can nearly wet herself almost any time…

Bracelet guys and non-bracelet guys

I have spent a long time studying people and I think I have it figured out. In this world there are two kinds of men: Bracelet guys and Non-bracelet guys.

I think this distinction cuts all sorts of socio-economic barriers and goes beyond other identifiers. And I think the reason that this is the key identifier for groups of men is that these GROUPS NEVER CHANGE. Guys who are bracelet guys are always bracelet guys.  And guys who are non-bracelet guys are always non-bracelet guys.

This distinction does not work for other groups because there is always some movement between the two groups, no matter the distinction. For example, Hat Guys and Non-Hat Guys. Hat Guys will always wear hats. To their job, hunting, church, Grandma’s funeral, whatever…a Hat Guy will always wear a hat. A Non-Hat Guy will almost always never wear a hat. But sometimes he will…maybe if it’s cold or he’s going to the Kentucky Derby or some other “hat-wearing” sort of event.

So while it seems that there should be a clear eternal distinction between Hat Guys and Non-Hat Guys, it is not as clear as you would think…

But Bracelet Guys…

Simply put, Bracelet Guys will always wear bracelets. They will wear them to work, to the big game, to Grandma’s funeral, on the beach, in the hot tub, every where.

And it is very easy to tell a Bracelet Guy from a Non-Bracelet Guy. Even when you can;t see the Bracelet. It will become evident in the handshake.

The telltale sign is very subtle, but very clear.

When a Bracelet Guy comes up to shake hands with you, he will look you in the eye, start to reach out his hand, and pay attention now, this is the big sign…Just after they start to reach out with their hand and before they clasp yours, the Bracelet Guy will always do a slight, almost imperceptible twitch of their arm to shake the bracelet loose from their shirtsleeve and then and only then, after the twitch, will they shake your hand. That hand shake twitch is so deeply ingrained in the Bracelet Guy that even if his bracelet had been stolen by Sandinista Guerilla’s back in the mid 1980’s and he had not yet replaced his bracelet, he would still have to twist his arm before he shook your hand.

Once a Bracelet Guy, always a Bracelet Guy.

The Non-Bracelet Guy would never do the twitch. Couldn’t if his life depended on it.

Because Tebow can’t throw and Toby Mac can’t sing…

I was going through an old Moleskin last night and came across the following quote. I have no idea who originally said or wrote it. Would love for it to have been me, but I am pretty sure that it wasn’t.

“Where God will choose to lead you and how God chooses to use you cannot be predicted by how God has worked in the past lives of others.”

So, have you heard of this guy named Tim Tebow? Seems he is getting a bit of coverage these days.

You’ve got the people who hate him. For a lot of reasons.

And you’ve the people who love him. For a lot of reasons.

But here’s the thing that puzzles me. For a guy who plays quarterback he just simply can’t really throw the ball. And that’s the price of entrance to be an NFL quarterback.

You have to be able to throw the ball.

Really well.

And he can’t…at least consistently.

Oh, he did some on Sunday which was great, because I am NOT a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the week before he couldn’t throw the ball to save his life. And so some people are stroking out about “How can he be a quarterback if he can’t throw the ball?” and others are going crazy about “Why does he say all those things about what he believes?” and others are torn up about all the attention he’s getting because one of the first two.

But here’s what I think…

Who cares…

Let me be clear. I don’t think that God orchestrates football games. I don’t think that God made Tim Tebow throw for 316 yards on Sunday. (I don’t think that God is nearly that cheesy.) I don’t think that God really needs a football game to do anything.

But I do think that God has Tim Tebow in a special place.

And I don’t know what that is.

Because the irony is that he really can’t do one of the things that you are really supposed to be able to do to be a quarterback. He can’t throw.

So how can he be getting all this attention…

Here’s what I think.

Because God wants him to.

That’s all…

Here’s another example.

Toby Mac.

Here’s a huge pop star who has sold a zillion records.

But here’s thing…Toby Mac really is not a very good singer. He makes great music and he has a great heart, but let’s be honest…he really can’t sing…He can rap like crazy and makes amazing music, but as as singer, not so much…So HOW can he be a pop star?

It doesn’t matter. He just is.

Or take Moses from the Bible. He couldn’t talk very well. Yet he was the guy that God chose to lead the people out of Egypt and comunicate some of the most importnat truths ever communicated.

How did he do it?

I don’t know. And frankly I don’t care.

I just know that sometimes God chooses to use people in different ways at different times for different reasons. And you can’t ever look at the people of the past (or present) and think “it can’t or won’t be done.”

He uses quarterbacks who can’t throw.

And singers who can’t sing.

And speakers who can’t speak.

What is He going to use you to do that you really can’t do?