Monthly Archives: July 2011

I’m Typing This Post With My Thumb

I’m typing this post with my thumb.

It rained here yesterday and my over-seventy-year-old house’s electrical system is ill-equipped to handle modern day conveniences like the Internet….or electricity. Usually I can MacGyver my way back online but this time I can’t get all the lights to flash on the modem of the one computer I’ve been able to get up to speed since the last storm, which I think means I have to call the cable company. I’d rather go to the dentist.

So I’m typing this post on my phone with my thumb.

I’m watching carefully to make sure the auto predict text function on my phone doesn’t hijack my post like it does my text conversations. Once I was texting a friend that my kids had been overtired that week so I was enforcing “early bed times,” but my phone was convinced I meant “early beatings.” Fortunately my friend did not call Child Protective Services.

So, I’m calling the cable company today. I don’t know what I’ll do while I’m on hold since I won’t have Pinterest to entertain me (this is where I would hyperlink the post I wrote about how I play with Pinterest while I am on hold. If I weren’t typing this post with my thumb.) I guess I’ll catch up on my Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends games.

I also need to pack. The kids and I are taking a two-part road trip over the next few weeks. Phase 1 begins tomorrow.

But before I call the cable company I’m taking the kids to an introductory fencing lesson at the library. Because before you cram three kids in a minivan to drive for miles and miles you should teach them how to cause each other bodily harm. Makes the conflict over who gets to watch the Despicable Me DVD first much more entertaining. On second thought, I’m making a mental note to check the vehicle for all long, pointy objects before we depart.

So that’s what’s happening here. For the Question of the Day, I’ll give you a choice. Or answer both! First, any fun games besides Words, Hanging, and Angry Birds I should play while I’m on hold with the cable company? Second, any funny predictive text story you want to share?

Please Forgive any mistakes in this post. I have fat thumbs.

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Goin’ BANANAS!

I’ve been trying not to use the word “busy” so much. I noticed that I was leading off almost every conversation with a detailed description of how full my calendar is. But isn’t everyone’s?  I think my busyness was becoming my favorite go-to excuse for why I wasn’t doing something. This post from my friend Kay resonated with me and since I read it, I’ve been more cognizant of how often I’m tempted to wear my busyness like a medal of honor.

That said, this week my family has several opportunities to fill our time. (Is that better?!) Truth be told, this week has the potential to be a little bananas.

In honor of our exciting and somewhat challenging calendar of events, I tried a new dessert on the grill last night. I pinned it to my Looks Good Enough to Eat Pinterest board a couple of weeks ago from the Eighteen25 blog and since we were grilling hamburgers for supper last night, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

 Doesn’t that look delicious?  Grilled Bananas!!

And they couldn’t be easier.

Slice a ripe banana down the middle. Try not to cut it all the way through. Then fill the banana however you want. We raided my baking pantry and found marshmallows (I found those are good to add first. Space them out and they will help your banana stay open enough to add more treats.), chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and Heath bits. You could also nuts, Nutella, peanut butter or peanut butter chips, marshmallow fluff….the sky is the limit!

Put your bananas on some heavy duty aluminum foil and grill them over medium heat until the  bananas are warm and the toppings get “melty.” I don’t think I left ours on quite long enough but they were still yummy.

It tastes kind of like a banana split without the ice cream. Try it!

I’m still in love with grilling! I’d like to find more desserts we can grill. Do any of you have any grilled dessert recipes we could try?

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Five Minute Friday: Full

This Five Minute Friday thing is getting to be a habit! Once again, I’m linking up with The Gypsy Mama. She gives a writing prompt and we’re supposed to write for five minutes without critiquing or editing ourselves. Today she asked us to give our best five minutes for this writing prompt: FULL.

So here goes:

FULL DAY

Woke up way before early

Celebrated a friend’s fini flight*

Proudly watched a little girl show off the skills she learned at ballerina camp this week

Finished the day with five hours at the water park

FULL STOMACH

Pepperoni pizza

Jumbo Coke

Funnel cake

FULL HEART

Laughter and special memories made with special friends who are moving away too soon

Gratitude for the opportunity to watch a little girl follow her bliss with pointed toes in pink ballet slippers

Peaceful exhaustion as we relish being home together as a family for the first time in a long time

 

I’m just too tired to type so that’s it for today. I hope your weekend is full of wonderful things!

 

*A fini flight is a military tradition. When an aviator completes his or her final flight before leaving a duty station, he/she is met and hosed down with water by their squadron comrades, family, and friends. 

 

 

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Morning Meetings with Daddy

Almost every morning before I can talk myself into getting out of bed to get the day started, a little boy runs into my room like the house is on fire. Before I can even talk him out of a good-morning-first-hug-of-the-day, he anxiously asks, “Where’s Daddy?”

Many mornings I can tell him his daddy’s still around, getting ready for the day. By the time I get my sleepy bed-head off my pillow and stumble out of bed, Kelly and my youngest son are in the middle of their morning meeting. My son makes himself a nest on the floor with his pillow and blanket outside the bathroom door while his daddy shaves and gets dressed. Some mornings Kelly listens to play-by-plays of the Phineas and Ferb episode we watched the night before. Sometimes my son asks Kelly random questions and I marvel at Kelly’s ability to come up with reasonable responses before he’s even had his first cup of coffee. Occasionally, they’re both quiet as Kelly goes about his routine and they seem to just enjoy being in the same room together.

Kelly has a busy job and he is often away on business. My son has never been much of a morning person, but he’s figured out that if he wakes up early, he can have his daddy all to himself and not have to share him with his brother or sister. Those few minutes together are precious to both of them. My son is heartbroken when he wakes up and his daddy is already gone and he’s missed their time together.

It’s usually hard for me to make a complete thought before I get out of bed, but this morning, as clear as the sky on this beautiful summer day, I wondered, “How would my life be different if I were as eager to get up first thing each day to spend time with my Father?”

Honestly, most days I treat my time with God like just another chore I need to fit on my To Do list. What if I ran to Him each morning, excited to spend a few minutes with Him all to myself? How often am I upset when I miss our morning meetings?

I feel blessed to have a husband who is jealous of his time with his children and makes them a priority in his life. I am thankful my children want to spend every minute they can with their daddy. And this morning I am humbled by a Father who calls me to Him through a lesson taught by  my seven-year-old little boy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Someone is expecting me.

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; 
   in the morning I lay my requests before you 
   and wait expectantly. 

Psalm 5:3

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A Thank You Letter

Dear Protestors,

I’m not going to include the name of your group in this post, because I really don’t want to hear from you. Plus I know that you consider yourself a church and I have a real problem calling you that.

But I am writing this letter to thank you.

Surprised?

I wouldn’t think you get very many thank you letters.

Honestly, when I first heard you were coming to protest at the funeral, I wasn’t thankful. I was angry.

But then I saw these pictures on our local newspaper’s website:

….and I wanted to tell you thanks.

The people who came to show their support for those who attended the memorial service don’t all run in the same circles. Most of the time we’re just people who pass each other in the grocery store who don’t know each others’ names or stories. But last Friday, we were family. And when someone in your family needs you, you show up to do whatever you can.

Thank you for giving us a chance to come together and take care of one another.

Thank you for reminding us that love beats hate every time and that a friend loves at all times.

Thanks for reminding us that we aren’t just  a “little c” church, a group of people who get together on Sunday to sing songs and listen to a sermon. We are called to be a “big C” Church, the Body of Christ. His hands and His feet. Jesus with skin on.

I can’t pretend to understand you or the way you try to use other people’s pain for your own purposes, but I do know that you intended to harm us, but God used it for good.

So, thank you.

P.S. Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this one time that I’ll probably ever give you any attention on my blog to caution you about being so sure you have a corner on knowing who God is and how He works. I read somewhere that you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when He hates all the same people you do. I certainly have never claimed to know everything there is to know about God. In fact, the longer I know Him, the more I realize I’ve barely scratched the surface of who He is.  But I know that if you don’t know love, you don’t know God, because God is love and He doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him.

I doubt anything I could say would change your mind, but I know God could. Ask Paul. He was convinced he knew who God hated, too. But then he actually met God and he ended up giving the rest of his life for the very people he’d help to kill years before.  It’s all in the Bible. Book of Acts.

I really don’t know what else to say to you, so I think I’ll close with this prayer. These aren’t my words. As a matter of fact, they’re Paul’s. But they are my hope for you.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Amen.

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Five Minute Friday: Loss

I didn’t like any of my other ideas for today’s post so I decided to participate in Five Minute Friday again. Every Friday, The Gypsy Mama offers a writing prompt and suggests you write about that subject for five minutes with no stopping, no editing. I almost turned around without looking back when I saw this week’s prompt, but I’m going to gut it out anyway.

Today’s writing prompt? Loss

By the way, she said we could use more than five minutes for this week’s assignment, but I’m not planning to camp out here for too terribly long.

Here goes:

I was dusting the living room. The boys were watching Indiana Jones with their daddy. It was the newest one, the one I haven’t seen. Besides hearing the occasional crash or explosion, I was hardly cognizant of what was happening on the TV until one sentence stopped me in my tracks.

“We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.”

I’ve been slowly chewing on that sentence ever since and felt the weight of its partial truth.

I see it every morning when I look in the mirror and see that the night has erased a little more of my youth and replaced it with a new line or spot that wasn’t there before.

I feel it when I hold a friend’s new baby and realize my season of raising babies seems to have passed away.

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

But mostly I live it everyday  that I’m here and my daddy isn’t.

Before he went to Heaven, I’d lost people I loved before. But losing my father has changed me in ways I never realized it would.

It’s not the same as when I felt homesick for family because I could at least call and talk to them in between visits. Knowing I won’t speak to him again this side of Heaven has left a gaping hole in my life that has threatened to consume me.  Time has not worn the jagged places smooth. They are as sharp as the day he died. I just try not to stay so close to the edges as I did right after it happened.

Today my friend is taking her son to his very first memorial service. He will try in his nine-almost-ten-year-old best way to say goodbye to his soccer coach and two of his teammates. His mom will try her best to comfort him, but she will know as I do, that this won’t be the last time he says goodbye.

Yes, usually it’s just goodbye for now. But knowing that doesn’t always make the pain of the loss hurt that much less, now does it?

Until Heaven, I will rest in the hope of my salvation, ever thankful that God has promised that hope will not disappoint (Romans 5:5), because Heaven certainly knows that we can certainly be disappointed here. And I’ll continue to be grateful for the glimpses of Heaven that I see here.

Well, that was ten (remember, she said we could break the rules) minutes of not-so-cheerful, wasn’t it? I don’t even really mind not reading back over it to edit, if you want to know the truth. I’ve written about loss more than I ever wanted to on this blog. I try to file most of those posts in the My Grief Observed category over on the sidebar to the right. They’re posts I’ve written about my journey through grief.

 I hate to leave you for the weekend with such a morose taste in your mouth, so I’d like to share another link I found with practical ways to help us teach our children gratitude. This is a list of 100 Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference from We Are That Family. This weekend the kids and I are going to write letters and draw pictures for Tekalign, our sponsored Compassion child who lives in Ethiopia. Does anything on the list jump out at you? Anything you might try this weekend?

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Life is good….?

Until about a week ago, my oldest’s favorite t-shirt was a Life is Good shirt that a Boston buddy handed down to him a couple of years ago. Sometimes even clean clothes he doesn’t want to put away end up in his laundry hamper, but amazingly that shirt is never dirty.

Even when I can smell it from across the room.

My guy has hit a couple of growth spurts lately and the shirt’s getting a little snug, so I was thrilled when Zulily  had Life is Good shirts for a really good price. I bought a couple for each of the kids and now his new Life is Good shirt is his favorite. He wore it three days in a row before I finally convinced him to let me wash it while he slept so he could wear it again the next day. Hey, it’s summer and “What You’re Wearing Today” is not a hill upon which I’m willing to die. Which is why when he’s not wearing that shirt he’s usually wearing some combination of black and blue together because he knows it bugs me when he dresses like a bruise.

Ah life is good, right?

It’s summertime and the living is easy.  We’re staying up later and waking most mornings when we feel good and ready. Homemade ice cream with fresh fruit appears regularly on our dinner menu. I live near the beach and nothing makes me happier to have my toes in the sand. The kids are out of school and we have more time to laugh and play together. My husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads, and we’re all pretty healthy.

So, life is good….except when it isn’t.

I remember seeing someone walk by in the hospital wearing a Life is Good hat the day the neurosurgeon told us my dad had another brain tumor and we were out of treatment options. I remember feeling angry and thinking, “No, it isn’t. Life is NOT good today.”

When everything feels broken, it’s hard to see how life is is good.

My friends just got back from Africa. People die everyday there because they don’t have clean water or mosquito nets. That’s the good life?

Life doesn’t feel good for my friend  She is hurting for her daughter who is currently on the other side of the country visiting her father because the law says she has to.

Twice a day at 10:10, I am not thinking, “Ain’t life good?”

Sunday night, a plane crashed in Alabama killing all seven passengers: a dad, a mom, and five young children. He was a soccer coach and played on the worship team at my church. She was a daycare owner and the sweet lady I chatted with sometimes during Upwards practice. The minute they opened their eyes in Heaven, life was better for them than they’d ever known it, but for the sixteen-year-old daughter who wasn’t on the plane with them, life is not good.

Life is hard.

Life isn’t always good.

After He’d finished creating everything, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

But then sin entered the world and brought with it disease and death and pain. God’s world was broken into sharp pieces that cut to the bone of His perfect creation. Daily I am reminded this earth is not my home. I’m only passing through.

But in the meantime, we live here. Where life is hard, but God is good.

Even when we don’t understand His ways or whys.

Even when we don’t like the people He created because they’ve hurt us.

Even when His people spend more time arguing their philosophies about who He is and what He meant than just doing the things we can all agree He told us to do.

Even when we get it all wrong and completely miss the point of what He’s trying to tell us.

Even when life isn’t, even then, God is good.

And especially because sometimes life isn’t good, I find that I’m more and more appreciative of the times when it is.

For the Braves and the Red Sox.

For the chance to eat hot dogs three times this week. I do love a good hot dog.

For the summer showers that bring down the afternoon temperatures.

For a sweet little girl’s toothless grin.

For the hugs of my boys.

For a husband who listens to me ramble on and on about everything and nothing.

For family and friends who love me like I am.

All of these are precious gifts….perhaps a small foretaste of glory divine.

A few days ago, the kids were fighting and my daughter grabbed her brother by his new Life is Good shirt and ripped a hole in the shoulder seam.  Understandably, my son was very upset. I can’t even sew on a button, but I found some thread that matched and did my best to stitch up the tear. It isn’t perfect; if you look closely, you can see where I tried to fix it, but at least it’s wearable.

Kind of like life here right now. It isn’t perfect anymore and we can’t fix it back the way it was. But every now and then we get a little taste of what life was meant to be and what it will be again one day in Heaven for those of us who believe He will make life good again.

Until then, I’m thankful for lightning bugs.

And 72-degree days with sun and just a whisper of breeze.

And fat little baby knees.

And music.

And memories.

And the hope of the best that is still yet to come.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

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