Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Smart" or "Chicken"

Well, here I am at my computer on a weekday morning when I normally would be at work.  I'll get to that in a minute. 

But for the moment, I'm just imagining what retirement will be like. Get up.  Brew a cup of coffee that I can sip while catching the morning news.  Check my email. Decide how I want to spend the rest of my day. Oh well, a girl can dream, even if it's not likely to happen for a long time!

The truth is, I'm at home waiting out the icy roads.  We had a couple of inches of snow in my little town yesterday.  And as much as driving in that freaked me out, I was a big girl and drove to work. 

But then we had freezing rain baptize our house last night.  And with temperatures nosediving into the 20s, I decided to take the weatherman's advice and stay put until a little later in the morning.

So here I am, having a leisurely morning before tackling the roads again and heading into the office. And I'm working hard to convince myself that it's because I'm "smart" instead of "chicken" that I'll be making this later commute.  Right.  I'll keep working on that one.

But in the meantime, I've already gotten two loads of laundry done and I'm lovin' that!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Destinations

Do you ever hear a song on the radio that's played over and over again without ever really listening to the lyrics?  And then, for some reason, a part of it registers with you and you realize what it's saying.  That happened to me this Christmas. 

One of the local radio stations was playing the song "Believe" from the Polar Express.  I wasn't really paying much attention, when all of a sudden a line jumped out at me.  It's a simple phrase but I absolutely love it and haven't stopped thinking about it. Are you ready? Here it is:

"Destinations, are where we begin again."

I know! It's deep. It's visionary. It's true!  Life isn't just one long journey.  Instead, it's a series of experiences, destinations, that we inhabit for a specific time and then begin again. 

Think about a time when your life was consumed by a particular experience or person or a series of events.  In those moments, it seemed like that was what your life would always be about. But eventually, life moved you past it.  You reached the destination and then it was time for a new start.

I love the thought that, what we often think of as the end...the arrival...is really just the next beginning. We reach our destination. And then we pack our bags for the next chapter that's waiting to unfold.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Good Tiding of Great Joy!

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-11.

So many years ago, the angel brought this message of salvation and hope to a group of lowly shepherds. The same message is ours today.  May you know the great joy of these good tidings as we celebrate the birth of Christ today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Message and Facebook

I'm not on Facebook.  Nor do I have a Twitter account. I've never posted anything on YouTube.  In fact, attempting to write a blog continues to  be a technological challenge for me (as you can see by the fact that I couldn't get the video below to fit correctly!).

I have resigned myself to the fact that technology is here to stay and will continue to impact even more areas of our lives.  But the truth is, I will always be riding on the last float in this technological parade, casting a longing glance over my shoulder at how things used to be.

That being said, I was so moved and impressed by this YouTube video that I found posted on Jessica's blog, at Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility, that I had to share it here. 

While the church continues to debate the topic of how to remain relevant in an ever-changing world, I just want to offer the reminder that no matter how it is presented, whether from an angelic host, writings on a papyrus scroll or posted on Facebook, the message of the gospel is and always will be relevant and it does not change.

The world was in need of a Savior. And God in his boundless love offered his son, Jesus to come into this world as a baby and to die on the cross to save his people from their sins.  That is the unchanging message

But there is also an unchanging question. Do you know Him personally as your Savior? If not, now is the time accept God's offer of salvation.  Then after you do, please post it on Facebook.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Merry Doggy Christimas!

The other night, my son, David, was at home with their Golden Retriever, Cooper, when he captured this peaceful, yet festive picture.   I couldn't resist posting it!  Hope all of you dog lovers enjoy it!


My granddog, Cooper. Photo by David Miles
 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Adventures in My Junk Drawer

It happens every year at this time. I find myself searching for extension cords so I can plug in all of my Christmas decorations. And every year I always come up short. So a few years ago, I went out and bought three or four extension cords to solve this problem.  And that worked for a year or two. 

However, a couple of weeks ago when I was doing my decorating, all of the extension cords had once again gone missing. That's when I found myself dumpster-diving in my junk drawer on the off-chance that there might be just one more cord hiding in there that would allow me to plug in that last string of lights. Sadly, the extension cord never materialized, but let me tell you, that junk drawer is a treasure trove of mostly useless stuff.

As I pawed through the contents, I found a hammer that my dad had given me when I first moved out on my own, along with the cutest little set of three yellow-handled screwdrivers which, along with that hammer,  pretty much made up my first "tool chest." 

There were also three nearly empty rolls of Scotch tape, several "Happy Birthday" streamers that I have hung up and taken down for each of our birthdays since my children were in elementary school...I think I've gotten my money's worth out of them!  I found a package of shoelaces, with one lace missing, three nightlights without any bulbs, a pair of scissors, a timer from a board game, various types of picture hanging hardware, curtain hooks, color coding sticky dots and a ball of string...just to mention a few items.

After digging around in the drawer, it took a bit of rearranging to cram all of that stuff back in there.  And as I shoved the drawer closed, I thought to myself that I really needed to clean that out.  I believe I had that same thought back in 1997 when we moved into the house and I emptied the contents of a box marked "Junk Drawer" into that very drawer.
 
So my question is, does every culture have their own version of the junk drawer?  Or is it just that we, Americans, have so much more useless stuff than everyone else in the world?  I'm pretty sure that the junk drawer was the precursor to the now multi-million dollar industry know as rental storage units. Hey, I wonder if I could find an extension cord in the storage unit...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Merry Christmas Techno Style

I so enjoyed watching this video on my son, David's blog.  So if you want to combine a little holiday cheer with a bit of techno-fun, take a peek and watch this! Merry Christmas!


North Point's iBand from North Point Web on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Comfort and Joy



This past weekend, my daughter, Elizabeth, and I decorated our Christmas tree.  Last year at this time, she was in St. Petersburg, Russia, and my husband and I were facing our first Christmas morning alone.  Needless to say, we survived, but it's wonderful to have her home!

As we decorated the tree, I experienced the familiar nostalgia I feel every year as I carefully removed each ornament from its box.  In my hand, I held not just a colorful ornament, but a precious memory as well. Each glittering jewel tells a different chapter in our lives. I loved the memories that came to life as I looked at them.

Last year, I shared this post about the Christmas angel that sits on the top of our tree.  Our angel tree-topper will always be special to me regardless of how bent her wings become or how wrinkled her halo looks.

I told Elizabeth that when we take down the tree this year, we'll need to pack up the ornaments that belong to her so she will have them next year for her first Christmas as a young bride.  Just as my son, David, did when he got married, she will take the ornaments...and the memories...with her to begin another Christmas tradition in her own home.  And that thought brings me comfort and joy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Story of Jonah

A friend of mine sent me this video.  Take a few minutes to watch it and you will be amazed!  Here is a truly gifted little storyteller!


The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Life of a Hospital Waiting Room Dweller

Yesterday was the big day.  My husband, Bud, went in for surgery to treat the prostate cancer that was diagnosed in September.  To say that the last few days have been stressful would be the understatement of the year!  But to say that God showed Himself faithful over and over again in these past days would also be an understatement.  For He has been magnificant!

Sparing you all of the stressful details that led up to the surgery, I am very happy to say that the surgery went very well, and Bud is already back at home recovering! That, my friends, is the result of a bucket load of prayers!

Yesterday was not only the big day, but it was a very interesting day for my son, my daughter, and me.  Because for about seven and a half hours, we lived the life of hospital waiting room dwellers. 

Arriving at the hospital at 10:45 in the morning, makes you a late comer for finding any available real estate in the family waiting room. As we walked into the room, I felt like we were being checked out by a hundred pairs of hostile eyes.  It was if those who had already put in a few hours of waiting were challenging our right to just come walking in at 10:45 and expect to find a seat.

With nearly every seat filled in that place, it took a bit of doing to find a place to plant ourselves for the seemingly endless wait.  Eventually, we found a little spot by a post where we pulled three chairs in a cluster and that became our home away from home.  That's when the "fun" began.

I don't know what it is about waiting rooms, but they often seem to be in the bowels of the hospital which of course means there are no windows.  So after a couple of hours, you begin to lose all sense of time. Is it still really daytime?  It feels like an entire day has passed after only a mere three hours of mind-numbing waiting, so you figure it must be dark outside. And being in the depths of the building also means that there's no cell phone service.  So, eventually, you walk out to where you can use your phone and you're totally blown away to see that it's still daylight!

There is a tricky thing about leaving "your space" to go and make that phone call or to slip up to the cafeteria for a bite to eat (that's a story for another time).  Your group can't all leave at once or a claim jumper might come and take over your little waiting space.  Any leaving has to be done in shifts.  And someone has to stay behind and "guard" your stuff. I think it should be like camping. Once you've set up camp, that space should be yours until you break camp and leave.

The mother in me really showed through yesterday.  Before we left for the hospital, I packed a bag to bring with me.  Originally it contained my purse, a book, a folder for all the hospital paperwork and a bottle of water.  But then I started thinking that with both my kids being there, I should pack a few things to eat.  So out came by book and in went two more bottles of water, some apples, caramels, Tootsie Roll Pops, biscotti, and Triscuits.  Afterall, hospital food is expensive and I'm cheap.  And it would have all worked out great except for the fact they don't allow food in the family waiting room. 

So, here I am with a bagload of food that we can't eat, no book to read and a seven and a half hour wait.  Both kids were stunned that I hadn't brought a book with me.  Hello!  I was trying to keep you from starving like any good mother would do! Besides, I figured we could have some family time.  Well, that lasted until both of them whipped out their laptops and I was left to read year-old magazine articles where Sandra Bullock was still singing the praises of Jesse James. 

After a few hours of waiting, you begin to establish a bond with your fellow waiting room dwellers.  Even if you never make eye contact with any of them, you are sharing a very signifcant day of your life with them.  You look at the different groups and wonder what the relationship is between all of them.  Who are they there for?  A parent?  A sibiling? A child?  And as people's names are called out over the P.A. system and a someone gets up to go and talk to the doctor, you wonder if they are receiving good news or bad.  And you wonder what you will hear when your name is called.

By late in the afternoon, there were lots of seats available in the waiting room.  Most families had already received word and were with their loved ones.  But there were still a few groups that had been there before we even arrived.  There had been one large table where four or five women had sat with their laptops all day.  I had wondered if they were sisters, waiting for news about a parent.  I have done that with my sisters for both my parents.  And when they finally left, a little part of me felt like I was part of their group.

When we received word that the surgery had gone very well, we still had more than two and a half hours to wait for my husband to come out of recovery.  But, those last hours were much more relaxed. I could now listen to an elderly gentleman, who was waiting for his wife, talk the ear off of another lady in the waiting room, and smile, because I could hear my own father's voice doing the same thing. Suddenly, I knew that our time as waiting room dwellers would not go on forever.  No sir, we would soon break camp and move on!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nestled All Snug in Their Beds

It was Thanksgiving at our house this weekend!  Since my husband will be recovering from surgery when Thanksgiving actually rolls around, we decided to do the whole thing this weekend.  So why not have a sleep over?
Maybe not nestled snug in their beds,
 but stretched out on the floor after a turkey dinner!
It was the anticipation of everyone arriving Friday night that got me through a very long and difficult work week.  But by 6:00 p.m., the whole gang was there, including our "grand dog" Cooper, a golden retriever.

A little feasting on pizza helped stretch our stomachs in anticipation for the big turkey feed to come the next day. Then after dinner, we laughed our way through several games before settling in front of the fireplace for a little visiting before heading to bed.

Saturday, we had a leisurely breakfast. Then the gang enjoyed a relaxing morning of movie watching while Thanksgiving dinner came together in the kitchen.  After dinner, we took a few minutes to read the "thankful" notes that we had been stuffing in our "Thankful Box" all weekend.

But one of my favorite moments of the weekend was on Friday night when we were "nestled all snug in our beds."  Everything was silent. And as I lay there listening to our sleeping house, I was so grateful to have all of us (and a dog!) in the house instead of the usual two. It felt like old times. It felt like family.

I know that for the rest of the country this weekend was just another plain old Friday and Saturday.  But for my family and me, we were definitely in the holiday spirit!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Salute You!

Today is Veterans Day.

As the wife and daughter of two former Marines, (not ex-Marines, I learned the hard way there is no such thing!), I am especially grateful for the service and sacrifices that our service men and women have made to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in this county. 

It is easy to take for granted the liberties that are ours in America.  But they did not, and do not come without personal cost to those who have chosen to defend this country and to their families as well.

Today, take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families throughout this country's history.  Without them, we would not enjoy the freedoms that we do today.

So, on behalf of a grateful nation (and wife and daughter), I say "Thank you" to all of our veterans for their service to this country.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Cherished Old Friend


My cherished old friend
 The other morning during my devotions, I was reading in my nice large-letter edition study Bible.  I requested this Bible about nine years ago when I really started noticing that the lettering in my regular Bible was "shrinking."  So, my husband gave me a lovely large lettered...but still not large enough..study Bible for Christmas that year.

And it's great.  Except for one thing. The pages look so bare. I don't mean that there isn't any print on them.  It's just that the margins are clean and there's very little underlining to be found.  And there's a reason for that.

I bought a Bible on April 23, 1980.  It has no concordance or study notes.  Just a few maps in the back.  But throughout those sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments my spiritual journey for the last 30 years is recorded in the margins of those pages. Dates, underlines, and notes chronicle the struggles, the joys, the griefs and the triumphs that God was walked me through.  It is a witness to my journey as a Christ follower.

As I read the dates next to a particular Psalm, I can remember the pain that I was experiencing at the time and the comfort that those words brought.  When I skim the underlinings in my favorite book of Philippians I once again find the joy and strength that prompted me to underline those passages in the first place.

My old Bible is better than any leather bond journal that I could ever write. Here, mingled on the slightly yellowed pages are my words and God's Word. This well-worn book is a memorial to how these living Words have intersected and changed my life.  It is quite simply, a cherished old Friend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Not to Wear...Or Mad About Plaid

The weather is starting to cool down so a little fleece and flannel feels pretty good with the autumn chill setting in. But when my husband donned this little outfit, I BEGGED him to let me take a picture.  I mean, no one would believe it if they didn't see it with their own eyes!

So, because he loves me, and because I pleaded and looked pathetic, he agreed to let me snap this picture. Of course there was one minor condition, I couldn't show his head...he hadn't combed his hair yet!

Behold, the Plaid-O-Rama, otherwise known as my very good-sport husband. Can you ever have too much plaid in one outfit?  Uh...yeah!


Fall Fashion 2010
Okay, try to uncross your eyes now! :-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apples, Apples, Apples!

I had a delightful Saturday morning!  My friend and neighbor, Cynthia, hosted an apple party for the neighborhood.  Cynthia and her family had recently headed to Eastern Washington to pick apples.  And in a typically generous gesture for her, she invited her friends and neighbors to come spend Saturday morning making pies and crisps out of the apples they brought home.

So, a kitchen full of women peeled, sliced, sugared and mixed giant bowls of apples while others rolled out pie crusts and made crisp toppings out of oatmeal.   The smell of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and apples filled the room as we assembled pie after pie and visited with old and new friends.


After all the "hard" work was done, we gathered around the kitchen table and enjoyed steaming bowls of soup, salad, chips and salsa, all washed down with freshly squeezed apple cider.  And to top it all off, there was  apple crisp for dessert!


As I walked home, carrying my apple pie that was ready to pop in the oven, I thanked God for the blessing of friends.  Those few hours spent  enjoying food, fun and fellowship were a salve for my often weary soul.  Thank you, dear friends, for creating a Fall memory for me to treasure!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Snow, Dr. Seuss, and the Grandma Thing

I've really been thinking about "The Grandma Thing" a lot lately.  Maybe it's because I sat next to my daughter-in-law, Monika, with her baby bump at my niece's baby shower last Sunday. Maybe it's because I've been having a blast shopping for baby girl clothes.  And maybe it's because we are over half way there and I know that the next few months will fly by and it will be February before I know it!

But there are a couple of things that make me a little apprehensive when I think about becoming a grandma.  I believe I handled the motherhood thing pretty well. We ended up with two fantastic kids and I'd like to think that I had a little something to do with that. 

But every grandparent that I talk to tells me that having grand kids is the BEST thing ever.  So I really want to do it right.  I want my granddaughter to be absolutely crazy about me.  I want her to beg Mom and Dad to take her to Grandma's house.  I want her to think I'm crazy fun!

But here I am, confessing to the whole world, that I have two grandma flaws.  I'm not happy about it, but I admit it.  From a grand kid's perspective these could be deal-breakers, at least that's my fear.  So here they are.

Number one...I hate snow.  No, let me re-phrase that.  I HATE SNOW! I know that I must have liked it when I was a kid and it meant I got out of school.  It must have been fun to play in when I didn't have to worry about driving to work in it. But that was a very long time ago and nowadays, even the mention of a possibility of snow makes my palms sweat and my heart beat fast.  So here's my dilemma, can a grand child really love a grandparent who hates the white stuff?  I just don't know.

And then, there's the other thing.  I don't like Dr. Seuss.  Never have, never will.  I know that makes me un-American or something, but I can't help it.  He annoys me.  In fact, he annoys me so much that I wrote a poem about it. It explains my feelings better than mere prose ever could so I'll share it with you here.

The Trouble with Dr. Seuss
By Laura Miles

I do not like this Dr. Seuss
I think his books are all a ruse
to waste my time, they’re of no use!

I try to read and think they’re fun.
But every single one seems dumb.

The words repeat, repeat, repeat,
sometimes they rhyme, sometimes they don’t!

I do not like these books at all.
I do not like them, big or small.
I do not like them red or blue,
I do not like them at the zoo.
I do not like them with my lunch,
I do not like them in a bunch.

And now I find that it’s no use,
I can’t stop talking like Dr. Seuss!

But what kid doesn't adore Dr. Seuss?  Oh, wait  a minute...I didn't like him, even as a kid!  Hey, maybe there's a chance that my granddaughter won't like Dr. Seuss either.  Maybe she'll follow in her English-Major-Grandmother's footsteps and prefer Robert Frost!  It's possible!  Hey, I think I'm feeling better! 

But then again, there is still that whole snow thing...




Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn in My Little Town



Alas, this is a picture from last autumn's colorful display!

I love autumn in my little hometown.  And today was a perfect example of why.

After running a few errands, I ended up at the library.  I'm not sure why, but libraries always make me feel comfy and cozy.  Maybe it's that whole settle-down-with-a-good-book thing.  But libraries and autumn shout "Cozy!" to me.

I was delighted as I pulled into the library parking lot. Every tree in that lot was doing its seasonal metamorphosis. Up until now, it has felt like fall has been slow in bringing out its big paint pallette.  Sure, a few trees have started changing colors. But today, the flames of fall were out in full force.

The trees were magnificent! The fiery orange-reds were brillant. Some trees seemed to be blushing a pale pink from their inner leaves out toward the tips of their branches. It was all so beautiful that I whipped out cell phone and started snapping pictures right and left!

There was a woman sitting in her car, also enjoying the splendor.  After watching me taking my pictures, she called me over to her car so I could see the spectacular view she was enjoying.  We chatted a bit about the beauty of the season and then I headed on into the library where I continued to breathe in the feel of fall. 

On my way home, I couldn't help but appreciate the small town feel of my little town. I drove past the local coffee shop.  I smiled as an older couple, walking hand-in-hand, crossed the street to the park.  And I thought about how just down the road a ways, there are fields full of pumpkins ready to be picked.

 The feel of autumn has arrived and I'm glad, because it feels like home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Time for Prayers

I have a habit.  I admit that I'm addicted to it.  And when I don't feed this habit I suffer.  My habit?  A daily prayer time. 

Over the years, I have gotten in the habit of getting up about a half an hour earlier than I need to in order to spend time in prayer before I head off to work.  I treasure this time with just God and me.

My life feels so busy and overwhelming on a daily basis that I need the strength that comes with prayer  Yet, sometimes I forget to spend some quiet time with Him before I rush into my list of requests. I did this the other morning and was stopped short when I realized how I would feel if one of my kids walked in, and without even saying "hello," began asking me for things.  Even if they were asking for good things...for others, I'd still miss their greeting!

Right now, there are many people in my life who are in need of prayer.  So I pray for new jobs, restoration of relationships, courage to end relationships and move on, healing of diseases, and strength to simply endure painfully difficult circumstances.  And I do so because I believe, not only in the power of prayer, but most importantly in the One who hears my prayers.

My prayers are heard and answered by an omnipotent, loving God who desires the very best for us.  And while His ways are not my ways, I know that He desires my prayers. Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged, even admonished to bring our requests before God.

So, I'll continue to feed my habit.  I'll continue to come before my Heavenly Father, pleading for the needs of my friends and family.  And I will be diligent in watching for the answers to my prayers which are sure to come.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You're Beautiful

It's been a while since I've included a song in a post.  But recently I shared this song with someone I love dearly who needed to be reminded of this. And the truth is, I think we all could stand to be reminded of this from time to time because this world is pretty good at convincing us that the opposite is true.

Take a few minutes to hear the truth about you.  It's a beautiful truth that God wants you to understand and embrace.

I Love the Night Life

I don't know what's been going on recently.  Usually, I'm a get-home-immediately-after-work-and-don't-venture-out-until-morning kind of gal. But lately, it's just been one night out after another.  Get a load of this schedule...and try not to be jealous.

Monday, I got my eyes checked after work. 

Tuesday, I got a haircut after work.

Thursday, I went to Costco and bought two pairs of glasses frames after dinner.

I mean the evenings really fly by when I'm out gallivanting like that every night.  Oh, and it doesn't stop there.

This coming Monday...I'm getting my mammogram, after work. 

Nothing like livin' on the wild side!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Eyes Have it!

I went to the eye doctor yesterday.  I really should have waited until Halloween.  My freaky-looking giant black pupils gave me a distinctly scary-eyed look that would have been perfect for All Hallows Eve! 

As I sat in the little room waiting for my pupils to finish dilating, I thought about how these appointments always go.  The assistant briefly greets me, and takes me back to a tiny examining booth where apparently small talk is prohibited.  Even though we are the only two people in this closet-sized space, and we are breathing each other's air, it's important not to acknowledge that I am a human being...only a pair of eyes.

After a quick wipe down with a damp tissue of a monsterish-looking machine, it is swung towards me and I am instructed to look into the eye piece and focus on the image of a hot air balloon hovering over a country road. I think I pass this test with flying colors.  I see the balloon.  I focus on the balloon.

Then it's time for the eye drops which I feverishly blink into my eyes.  This should be a sign to Miss Assistant that the whole eye measuring thing where she tries to actually touch my eyeball with some ridiculous tool is not going to go smoothly. After multiple attempts, she finally decides that my eyeball isn't numb enough so in go some more drops.  Finally, the assistant either gets the measurement she needs or simply gives up because we move on to the next step.

And it's this step that always makes my palms sweat.  At this point, the assistant starts flashing lines of letters for me to look at and in a no-nonsense-voice instructs me to tell her "Which is clearer, one or two?"  "One," I say with confidence.  "Two or three?" "Two!"  "Three or four?" "Uh...three."  "Four or five?" "Five...I think, yes, five."  "Five or six?"  "Can I see five again?" (This is where the palms start sweating.) 

This exercise goes on for thirty minutes or so.  Well, maybe thirty seconds, but it feels like minutes.  Suddenly, I'm stripped of my ability to make a confident decision.  What if I make a mistake and choose the wrong number?  What if I tell them that five was clearer when really it was four?  Will I end up with a pair of glasses with coke bottle lenses?  Are they going to mock me when I leave because I can't make a decision?  Really, it's too much.

So, I'm relieved when suddenly the torture comes to an end and another assistant wisks me away to an actual examination room where I can sit and wait for the doctor.  I always wonder if those little examination rooms have hidden cameras in them.  There you are, waiting and waiting for the doctor to come in and in the meantime, you might accidently need to adjust your underwear or make faces at yourself in the mirror with those freakish eyes.  I mean, some people might need to do that.

But thankfully, the doctor's visit is over in a blink of an eye (get it?).  After a quick look into my eyes, he writes me a stronger prescription for a new pair of specs and I'm ready to face the glaring light of day as I hop in my car and head home.  Really, the whole thing is not such a big deal.  I spent the rest of the night with my owlish eyes, squinting every time I walked into a brightly lit room. 

But now the real fun begins..trying on glasses frames that I can't even begin to see because they have stickers all over the lenses and they're not my prescription.  Oh well, if I don't get it right this time, there's always next year to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What a Guy!

I just have to tell you, I am married to a wonderful man!  These past weeks have taken a toll on me.  I've been stressed and overworked, and as much as I try to leave the ickiness of work at work, I'm not always successful.  So guess who has to be a round Mrs. Groucho.  That's right, my poor husband.

But Friday night, he showed me how much he loves me.  I arrived home after a very long week that was topped off with my weekly grocery shopping.  As I pulled into the driveway, I saw my husband, Bud, standing there, waiting for me.  He does that sometimes. Just because. 

But as I got out my car, and started toward the trunk, Bud came and took my arm and steered me toward the house.  He wouldn't let me get an armload of groceries.  Instead, he led me into the house, up the stairs where he flung open the bathroom door. 

There waiting for me was a steaming bubble bath, glowing candles, and soft music.  It was my very own little spa! So, following my husband's instructions, I soaked and relaxed  and felt totally pampered. And for the first time in weeks, I was able to let the stress melt away.

I'm very lucky in that my husband tells me all the time how much he loves me. But Friday, he didn't just tell me, he showed me. What a blessing from a great husband!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pink

I've always liked the color pink.  My sister and I shared a pink bedroom growing up.  I still remember the name of the color of the paint...it was called "Shrimp."  Fortunately, it didn't look like the color of any shrimp I've ever seen.

There's just something about pink that makes me feel safe and secure.  I suppose that's silly but maybe it harkens back to wearing lots of pink when I was a little girl when I felt safe in my parents' care.

Anyway, I was wearing pink today.  And it turned out to be very appropriate because my son called with the wonderful news that our grandbaby is actually a GRANDDAUGHTER!  I'm thrilled... of course, I would have been thrilled with a boy also!  But now, I have an excuse to buy lots of pink...not to mention ruffles!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Love is...

Do you ever get a little tired of all the "special" emails that people feel certain you would want to read, so they forward them to you? I admit that I've "accidently" hit "delete" when I'm sure I meant to hit "save" after receiving a boatload of forwarded emails.

But once in a while, I read one that I'm really glad I did.  So, I'm giving you advance warning, if you don't want to read a "forwarded email," you'd probably better stop right here and move on to someone else's blog.  Because here is one of those emails that I'm really glad I read.  It came from my husband and I'm pretty sure he sent it to me because he knew it would make me cry.  But it's a good cry.  So enjoy...especially the last one!

What Love means to a 4-8 year old.. .


Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouths of babes.
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?'

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined See what you think:
_____________________________________

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love..'

Rebecca- age 8
________________________________________

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different..
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'

Billy - age 4
______________________________________

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'

Karl - age 5
________________________________________

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'

Chrissy - age 6
________________________________________

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'

Terri - age 4
________________________________________

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'

Danny - age 7
________________________________________

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that.. They look gross when they kiss'

Emily - age 8
_____________________________________

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'

Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
______________________________________

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'

Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
________________________________________

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'

Noelle - age 7
________________________________________

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'

Tommy - age 6
_______________________________________

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'

Cindy - age 8
_______________________________________

'My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.

Clare - age 6
________________________________________

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'

Elaine-age 5
________________________________________

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'

Chris - age 7
________________________________________

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'

Mary Ann - age 4
_______________________________________

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'

Lauren - age 4
________________________________________

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)

Karen - age 7
________________________________________

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.'

Mark - age 6
________________________________________

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'

Jessica - age 8
________________________________________

And the final one

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there..

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,

'Nothing, I just helped him cry'

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comfort in a Bowl



I have a confession to make.  It's not pretty, but it's true.  All of the stress I've been under lately has led me astray.  I haven't been exercising, sleeping or eating like I should.  All of the good, healthy habits that I have been cultivating over the past year or so have pretty much gone by the wayside.  And here's the worst thing of all.  I've sought comfort in a bowl.

That's right.  When I just couldn't take it any more, I headed to the freezer and there I found my friend.  There I found ICE CREAM.   It started out innocently enough.  I grabbed a small bowl from the cupboard and put in just a couple of small scoops.  It was delicious.  Smooth, sweet, and creamy.  A balm for my hurting soul.

Certainly you can't blame me for deciding that, if a little was good, a little more was better.  So after another trip to the freezer, I did begin to feel better.   It's amazing how a little creamy deliciousness can calm frayed and fractured nerves.  It's also amazing how, when you make two trips to the freezer night after night, the ice cream carton empties out pretty quickly!

Thankfully, I think I'm getting this whole thing back under control. I know that the answer doesn't lie at the bottom of an ice cream bowl.  And I sure as heck don't want to end up in some 12-step program for ice cream abusers. 

But here's what I've learned...when life hands you a "rocky road,"  a little dish of the frozen stuff can help get you back into "mint" condition. Three cheers for chocolate, strawberry and vanilla!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food for Thought

Seen on the wall of a pizza parlor in Oregon:

"What if the hokey-pokey really is what it's all about?"

Two thoughts about that:
1.  Wow! That's almost too depressing to even consider.
2.  You, Oregonians, are some deep thinkers!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Those Nice Lantz Girls

Growing up, that's what my sisters and I were called.  "Those nice Lantz girls."  Now, only my youngest sister still has the name, but at heart, we all still proudly wear that title.

So here we are doing Whistler, B.C. and sharing the Olympic spirit.  One of my sisters had the great idea that, since there are five of us, and five Olympic rings, there would be one ring for each of us to sit in.  Right!  Like maybe ten years ago. Those rings are BIG! It would not have been pretty to watch us try to hoist ourselves up into them. But I do love how my sister, Martha, is on tippy-toes and still nearly hanging herself in the far right ring!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Words of Encouragement

One of the last pages of my Bible is filled with quotes that I have jotted down over the years from sermons I have heard.  I'm claiming this one today:

"At the time of our worst despair, God is often preparing our greatest blessing." 
 ~Pastor Ray Armstrong

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Finding Strength Without All the Answers

This summer started with such joy!  In the first part of June, our daughter became engaged to be married.  Then two weeks later, our son and daughter-in-law told us that we would become first-time grandparents in February.  Such rejoicing!

However, shortly after the news of the grandbaby, came the news that our son was being laid off from his position as a young adults pastor. Suddenly, the joy was a bit clouded by the uncertainty for the future.  We continue to pray for God's provision in this area.

Then two weeks ago, we had lay offs at my work.  My boss was laid off and our entire work group has been thrown into uncertainty.  It has felt like a hostile take-over and the morale is painfully low as we all struggle with this crushing blow.  I don't know who I will end up working for or with in the days ahead.  What I do know is that my work family is being torn apart.

Last week, however, came the most difficult news.  On Wednesday, we found out that my husband has prostate cancer.  Gratefully, the cancer was found early, but we are now trying to come to grips with this new and frightening reality, as we search for the best course of treatment.

In these past day, I have found myself crying out to God, asking "What happened? Why did the joy and blessings so quickly turn to such painful struggles?"  "Why all of this; why now; why us?"

But every time I start to utter these questions, I am brought up short, because I have asked these questions before. Only then I was asking  "Why ALL of this; why us?" as I tried to grasp God's goodness to me throughout my life.  While so much of the rest of the world is suffering and broken, God has graciously poured out His love for me in ways that I don't understand or deserve.

Tonight, He is still covering me with His love.  I may not have the answers to the questions that trouble me at this moment.  What I do have, is the assurance that nothing is touching my life that hasn't first gone through the Father's loving hands. I have not been abandoned, nor am I a helpless orphan.  I still have a Father who allows me to ask the "whys" until I am able to move forward in His strength...with or without the answers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Letting Go

Letting go.  It seems like I have been working on this for such a long time.  There are so many areas where I have been struggling to release my hold. 

Not long ago, I was puzzling over why this is so difficult for me... especially when it involves people and things that I know are right to let go.  Maybe it's selfishness.  Maybe it's insecurity.  And maybe, it's that sense of loss that comes with letting go of something that I've loved and needed.

I've come to realize that, for me, the process of letting go needs to happen in layers.  I can't simply open my hand or heart and release that which I have been holding close.  There is not a single thread that binds it to me.  Instead, it is a tapestry of countless threads that has been woven throughout my life.

To release it means there will be a hole where once there was something precious.  Maybe if I knew what would fill that hole, it would be easier to let go.

However, the only thing I know for sure is that if I don't release that person or situation, I will either end up strangling it, or it will end up strangling me. Neither one is an acceptable choice.

So, here I am.  Letting go...a little at a time.  And the amazing thing is that only as my grip loosens, will I have strength to embrace something new.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Restless

I don't plan on turning this blog into a "Top 40" of my favorite songs. But lately, this song has been playing on the radio, as I've travelled to and from work. Each time I hear it, it draws my heart to a place of peace and hope.  May it do the same for you.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Be Still My Soul

My world turned upside down this week.  Just as with so many other workplaces, we had lay offs at my work.  My boss was laid off and suddenly, this tight-knit "family" of coworkers, who have shared so much together, was split a part.  The confusion, pain and sense of loss is intense for all of us.

It is in times like these that I am reminded how temporal and fleeting everything is in this life.  God never promised us safety and security in this life.  But He did promise that He would never leave us or forsake us as we travel through the pain and struggles of this world. 

So it is to that promise that I run today.  It is in that assurance that I must find my strength and confidence to move forward regardless of the pain. For I know that He is still in control.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sisters

Once a year my four sisters and I have the opportunity to get away together for a long weekend at Whistler B.C.  This is that weekend.  At this very moment I am sitting in front of  a window that opens onto gorgeous mountains and towering condos that overlook the Whistler Olympic Village. 

While the sun is streaming in right now, there have been moments of clouds and showers. But regardless of what the weather is doing, it is a time of relaxation and refreshment from the struggles of my everyday life...which seem to be rather intense at the moment.

Here's the thing.  There are five women staying in a two-bedroom condo.  We are different in many ways from one another.  Most are more liberal in their thinking than I am.  Some are way more athletic than me (although I did manage a 7.5 mile walk yesterday morning), and all of them choose red nail polish for their toes while I'm definitely a pink girl. But none of that matters.  Here's why.

Being family creates bonds like none other.  Sadly, for some, they are painful bonds.  But for my sisters and me, the ties we share are priceless treasures.  There are so many things that only the five of us understand.  There are silly sayings that have evolved over the years that send us into gales of laughter.  There are sweet memories of our childhood that only the five of us remember.  And there are shared sorrows and struggles that knit us even closer together.

So despite our different lives, for these four days each summer, my sisters and I get to be a family again. We shop, eat, talk, and laugh.  But most of all, we get to just be "girls" again...regardless of what the mirror might tell us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Truth

Letting go.  One of the most difficult things to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Breaking Free!

How would you describe yourself?  Are you a rule-follower, a risk-taker, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person?  Are you predictable or wild and crazy?

I have to admit that I'm pretty much the ultimate predictable rule-follower.  Always responsible.  Always dependable. Always frugal. Sounds pretty boring, right?

Well, last night, I threw caution to the wind!  I went totally crazy!  I opened a new carton of yogurt without finishing the old one just because I wanted to!!  That's right,  Did you catch that?  I didn't finish the old one!!

When I did my predictable Friday night grocery shopping, I bought TWO cartons of that expensive Greek yogurt I told you about in an earlier post.  It was on sale and was the same price as my usual yogurt, so I bought it.  I figured I'd be responsible and just finish up the old yogurt and then I'd have this delicious treat waiting for me.

But last night when I went to pack my lunch for today, something inexplicable came over me. I looked in that carton of almost gone yogurt and suddenly snapped the lid back on and shoved it to the back of the fridge .  Instead, I pulled out one of those cartons of creamy, honey-flavored yogurt and boldly filled my little plastic container.

I felt frivolous!  I felt empowered!  I felt...a little guilty!  But it didn't matter!  I was breaking out of that old predictable pattern of ME! 

At lunch today, I enjoyed every honey-laden spoonful of yogurt. And I'm looking forward to another helping of it for lunch tomorrow.  It's great to have something so freeing to look forward to! 

Of course, I still need to do something with that old yogurt carton that's in the back of my fridge.  Maybe once everyone has gone to bed tonight I can take it out to the garbage can.  And hide it under some vegetable peels or something.  Okay, so maybe I still have a little ways to go before I totally break free...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Hiding Place

I have some wonderful things happening in my life right now. And I give thanks to God for them. 

But as often happens, our blessings are often closely followed by struggles that are simply a part of life in this broken world.  And so it is in my life.  Right there next to the joyous blessings are some very tenuous and uncertain situations. 

The thing I need to remember is that they are not tenuous or uncertain to God.  And just as He fully knows the blessings He has chosen to shower on me right now, He also knows  the outcome to  the uncertainties that are touching my life.  And best of all, He has promised that I will never have to walk through them alone. He is with me.

During times like this, I am so thankful for songs that  provide an oasis from the struggles; that offer refreshment and renewed strength.  Songs like this one.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Quote

 I keep a little note pad where I write down quotes that speak to me.  It is filled with words from many different sources and from many different people. 

Occasionally, I love to go back and read them.  Nearly all of them continue to speak to me just like they did when I originally wrote them down. 

Here's one by Jan Karon from her book, "Home to Holly Springs." It may be short, but it's powerful.  Take a moment to really grasp the truth of it. It will leave you humbled and hopefully, grateful to a God who daily showers us with His grace.

"Grace cannot be repaid."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Feeling Positive

I don't know about you, but some days it's just a little hard to get that positive mojo going.  I'd rather stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head.  Please tell me you've had days like that too.  Please!

But I've found the cure for those gloomy, negative times.  All you have to do is watch this video a few times and look out world, you'll be raring to go.  I promise!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weddings!

Well, they did it.  Chelsea and Marc are finally married and the rest of the country can now go back to their everyday lives. It must be tough to have millions of people trying to catch a glimpse of what most of us would consider a private occasion.  But I imagine Chelsea is pretty used to the publicity by now.  And who knows...she'd probably have been a little disappointed if everyone chose to watch baseball instead of trying to catch a glimpse of her special day.

All of the hoopla kind of took me back to 1981 when my husband and I got married.  Ours was a small private affair on an April afternoon.  Some of you may remember that there was another wedding that took place a few months later that year.  I think it was in Britain...yes, and as I recall...it involved Prince Charles and the soon-to-be Princess Diana.

I always felt a little sorry for the Prince and Princess, trying to pull off their nuptials in the shadow of our wedding.   But given the circumstances, I guess they managed.  Although, we were much better at keeping the paparazzi at bay.  I don't think they got one picture of me slipping through the crowds in a big floppy hat and sunglasses.  Just shows how discreet we were!

But now that the Clinton/Mezvinsky wedding is a thing of the past, I'll be focusing my attention on my daughter's upcoming wedding again.  I admit, that I was a bit sidetracked there for a few days.  But no more.  We've got a wedding to plan here!

So just for the heck of it, I'm  including a fun video by Francis Chang.  I played it for Elizabeth and Joel a few weeks ago and I hope they take it to heart.  You can never have too much romance in a marriage!

(If you have trouble with the video hanging up on one spot, just drag it a teensy bit past it and keep watching!)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Contagious Compliments

I stopped to do my grocery shopping on my way home from work last night.  Nothing unusual about that.  I do it every Friday. 

When I got in the store, I grabbed my cart and started fishing through my purse, trying to extract my shopping list. That's when I heard a female voice saying "You look lovely." I looked up to see a smiling young woman, holding a large grocery-store-bouquet of flowers in her arm like a beauty queen. She was speaking to an elderly woman who had just happened to walk past her. The older woman answered with a rather surprised "Thank you."  Obviously they didn't know each other.

I smiled to myself thinking, "Not your usual grocery-store exchange."  That's when I heard the young woman's voice directed at me.  "I like your jeans," she said.  "And your sandals are cute too."  Oh.  This is a little strange...and uncomfortable.  "Thank you," I said and began pushing my cart down the aisle. When I walked past her again, she told me, "Oh, I didn't see your necklace before. It's beautiful."


As I walked away, I heard the now familiar voice offering compliments to other shoppers.  This young woman was finding beauty in every person she saw and was openly sharing it with them. 

Maybe she was conducting some kind of social experiment and was noting our stunned reactions.  Or maybe she truly was taking the time to notice the positive in others and wanting them to see it also.

I'll never know her reasoning.  I don't have to. What I do know is that in those few moments, I saw a smiling young woman bridge the gap between complete strangers by offering them an unexpected compliment.  At first, it felt strange, almost intrusive. 

But as I continued my shopping, I noticed I was offering a smile and a little more eye contact with my fellow shoppers.  And somewhere inside, it felt good.

Maybe this was the simple secret this young woman wanted to remind us of:  It just feels good to be nice to others.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Risk - No Longer a Four Letter Word

What words do you think your children will remember you saying to them?  Do you send them out the door with a special saying?  I think my kids will remember me asking "Do you have a coat with you?" whenever they walked out the door.  Hmmm...maybe I could have come up with something a little more inspiring. :-(

I was talking with my friend, Jody, the other day. She is the mother of two small children.  Somehow we got on the topic of the values we want to pass on to our children and how those values had first been passed on to us by our own parents. 

With most of her child rearing days still ahead of her, Jody was telling me of some of the things she and her husband want to instill in their children while they are still young. She said that one of the things they tell their kids every day when they drop them off at child care is "Take a risk today."

I was stunned by the wisdom in that simple sentence.  There is an implied, yet clearly understood support that underwrites those words.  In encouraging their children to "take a risk,"  Jody and her husband are saying it's okay to reach beyond what is comfortable and known. That it's a good thing to do, even if they fail. And should they fail, mom and dad will be right there to support them.  What a marvelous gift! 

One of my favorite movies is "You've Got Mail."  I've watched that movie countless times, and there is one scene that always stops me cold.  Kathleen Kelly is describing her life to Joe Fox in an email. This is what she writes:  "Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"

Shouldn't it?  I think so.  I remember my mother telling me that I was "always a cautious child." I've
always chosen safety over bravery, security over risk. And because of that, I've missed out on so much. 

Yet in the past couple of years...after watching my children grab hold of life with both hands and embrace risk... I have begun to stretch myself.  It is often in small ways. Ways that others might not notice or even consider a "risk."  But I know.  And I know that it requires me to be a little braver than I like to be.  And I'm happy to say, I can see where it's making a difference.

My daughter shared a saying with me that I have posted at my desk at work.  I read it often. It says,  "To live without risk, is to risk not living."   I think I'll try to follow Jody's advice and "Take a risk today."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pushing Buttons

The other morning, I was changing the radio station in my car as I drove to work.  I do that alot.  When the DJs on one station start jabbering for too long, I'm quick to punch the button for another station that, hopefully, will be playing some good tunes.

That got me thinking.  What do the radio stations that I have pre-programmed in my car say about me?  Ever thought about that?  If a stranger was to get in your car and punch the buttons on your radio, what would they know about you?

Actually, I think my radio station choices make me look pretty well-rounded. The far left button, starts out with some country music. I started listening to country when I got my little Ford Focus about five years ago.  It happened kind of by default.  My old car only had five radio buttons, but the Focus has six. So suddenly, I had room for one more station, and country won out.

Next to country is a talk radio station.  That one ended up there by mistake.  Originally, it was an Oldies station, but then one day I punched the button and it had changed to all talk radio. I would change it but that would require me to dig out the instructions book to figure out how to re-program the button.  So far, that hasn't happened. 

Next to the "too-much-talk" station there is the "light jazz" station.  That one is totally a token station for when my husband drives the car.  I'm not too into the jazz; the songs never seem to end, but he likes it. And like I said before, I don't know how to re-program the button. *smile*

After the jazz comes a little classical music.  It's soothing when the traffic gets bad and I need to chill.  And then comes the Christian radio station. I hit that button so often that the number is actually worn off of it.  The final button takes me to the easy listening, contemporary station.

That's pretty much it.  My life in music genres. Since I rarely listen to music except when I'm in my car, it's nice to know that it's all there at my fingertips.  And then, of course, there's my CD player...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Secret No More!

Okay. Here it is. I've kept it in for a month. But it's a secret no more! I'm going to be a grandma!

My son, David, and daughter-in-law, Monika, found out on Father's Day (how appropriate!) that they were going to have their first baby. They wanted to keep it hush-hush until after the first doctor's appointment which wasn't for a few weeks.

So for the past month, I've had to keep it zipped. I'm good with secrets. Really I am. But this one just about did me in. After all, I've waited for a long time to have the title of Grandma bestowed on me by someone other than a little boy at Ross.



Now we are counting down to February. There's even the possibility that baby could share my birthday or my husband's birthday. But hopefully, the sweet little one will have its very own birthday.



With a grandbaby on the way, not to mention my daughter's wedding, I'd better look at getting a second job. Baby showers and bridal showers don't come cheap!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Words from the Past

We had a leak in our laundry room this weekend that resulted in the need to pull out a whole lot of "stuff" to get to it. Once my handyman husband had it fixed (thank you, honey!) I started sorting through boxes that hadn't been touched in years.

That's when I came across a folder that had the acceptance letter for my first...okay only...short story that I've ever sold, as well as a copy of the check I received for it. Thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents. That's what they paid me. And it felt like a million bucks!

As I looked through the folder, I also found several "thanks-but-no-thanks" letters for various other things I had written and submitted.

It's funny, when I read these things now, it almost feels like someone else wrote them. There have been a lot of years of living since those words spilled out on those pages.

But while I have changed in many ways, I still recognize myself in much of it, especially in the poetry. I'm not sure if that is good, or bad, or simply the way life works.

I wrote the following poem many years ago, but I think I needed to read it again today.

SCABBY KNEES AND BRUISED SHINS

Jesus,
this path you've chosen for me
is awfully rough at times.

Even with You at my side,
my progress is marked by a
constant succession of scabby knees
and bruised shins...
souvenirs of the tumbles
I've taken.

But if You stay with me,
I'll continue to get up and start again
because I know that each step
I take with You,
brings me that much closer
to heavenly ground.

So, Jesus,
if you see too many
scabs and bruises healing,
give me a nudge.
Maybe I've been sitting
and resting too long.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer At Last

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest! Last week we set records for some mighty hot days. And while it has cooled down a little, it finally feels like summer is here to stay for a bit.

I've enjoyed the warmth and the special feel that only summer brings. But it's also made me a bit nostalgic. During the past couple of days, I've thought about some of my childhood summers and the things that I miss. For instance:

Summer dinners comprised of only fresh corn on the cob, picked just minutes before from my dad's garden.

Helping my mother can everything from pickles to pears.

Playing frozen tag outside with the neighbor kids after dinner.

Babydoll pajamas.

The smell of freshly mowed grass coming through the window of our basement bedroom.

My mother's giant bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad, and shrimp salad.

Eating juicy wedges of watermelon while sitting on the back patio steps.

The smell and taste of sun-warmed raspberries that had a way of ending up in my mouth instead of in the baskets as we picked them in the early morning sun.

Camping trips to the ocean every year where we had a blast digging razor clams.

Listening to the sound of my parents' voices outside by the campfire and the crackling of the fire while my sisters and I tried to go to sleep in the tent...usually with little success.

Anticipating the return of my grandparents who spent their summers in Kodiak, Alaska as cooks for the fishermen and the trip to the airport to pick them up.

Staying up "late"... as in 8:30...since we didn't have to get up for school in the morning.

And probably, most of all, the absolute innocence of the times, knowing that my parents could do anything!

It was all a very long time ago. But that's the good thing about sweet memories; I can call them up at anytime and it's like they happened just yesterday!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Say "Yes" to the Dress...But Which One?

Well, the quest for the perfect wedding dress has begun! With two days of shopping and three bridal shops behind us, my daughter, Elizabeth, and I are no longer quite the wedding gown novices we once were.

So far, the problem hasn't been not being able to find anything we like. Quite the opposite. We've found more than one dress that could "be the one." And the fact that she looks gorgeous in just about all of them, makes it even harder! I wonder how difficult it would be to get Randy from "Say Yes to the Dress" to come and help us decide.

Right now, we have two top contenders. Of course, these are not the same top two contenders that we had found after the first day of shopping. NOOO! Day two helped us eliminate one of the original dresses, only to be replaced by another gown.

So now, we're doing the split screen thingy. We bring up the picture of the first gown on the computer and then the picture of the second gown and compare the two. And yep...they're both beautiful!

The next step is to bring in the friends and family to check out the two dresses. I have my doubts about this actually helping in the decision-making, but I suppose it's all part of the process.

Elizabeth and I have talked about checking out another shop this week. I can't help but think that we'd only be asking for trouble. I mean, do we really need MORE choices? I just don't know.

But, I will do whatever my bride-daughter wants to do. Afterall, she is my only daughter and I've enjoyed every minute of this experience with her. So...bring on the shopping! And if push comes to shove, I've got a quarter in my wallet that we can toss!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

God Bless America!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Be Still

It's quiet. Everyone has gone to bed. As I sit by myself, I feel the week's dirt and grim slip from me.

All the rushing and doing has stopped for a few hours, at least until morning's light slips through my window and it all starts again.

What would my life look like if the peace I feel at this moment enveloped me throughout my day. What if I simply refused to measure my step with the hectic pace that usually rules my days.

Would it really be terrible if I let a few things slip; if I said, "Sorry, but I just can't help you with that right now"? Am I as indispensable as I seem to think that I am?

What was that, Lord? What did You say?

"Be still and know that I am God."

I want to, Lord, I truly do. Please help me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"The Service of Passionate Devotion"

Oswald Chambers' classic, My Utmost for His Highest, is part of my daily devotions every year. Today's lesson resonates with me each year, and the notes and underlines on the page are evidence of that.

The following excerpts from this selection titled, "The Service of Passionate Devotion," reminds us of what God truly desires from us.

"Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on following after a particular belief or doctrine."

"Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People don't really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord's primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people--the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a "doormat." The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yes, it is like a grain of wheat that "falls into the ground and dies"--it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).

My penciled-in summation at the bottom of the page was this: "It's all about loving Jesus!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

It's been raining. A lot. I thought it was time to paint my toenails and pull out my sandals. But so far, rain boots have been the more appropriate footwear. We are already into the middle of June, and have yet to see temperatures hit 75 degrees. And the rain just keeps on coming.

If I needed any confirmation that it's really soppy around here, I found it. You know it's wet when a pair of ducks moves into your neighborhood and takes up residence in the water filled ditches along the side of the road!

For the past week, I've spied Mr. and Mrs. Duck, happily lounging in their new puddle-pad and looking right at home. It's not that I want this feathered pair to leave, but I'm afraid that if the sun doesn't come out soon, I'll have webbed feet to match theirs.

The weather service is hinting at a little break in the rain for the weekend. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some sun to brighten Father's Day. I don't think that even the ducks would mind that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Off to Haiti

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was praying my daughter home from Russia. Today, I'm praying my son and daughter-in-law into Haiti. They will be there on a mission trip, working to help rebuild homes and share God's love with people whose lives have been shattered.

Over the past few years, as I have watched my children step out in obedience to follow God's calling, I have seen His faithfulness time and time again.

But the other morning, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about all that was happening with my children. That's when God gently reminded me of three things.

First, He knows. God knows every little thing that will happen in my children's lives. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him. Nothing.

Second, He is able. There is not a single situation that my children could find themselves in that God isn't able to save and redeem. He's got it under control!

Finally, He loves. As much as I love my kids, it's a drop in the bucket compared to His love for them. I can trust Him with them. His love has them covered.

So, as I sit in my little house watching my children fly all over the world to serve Him, I'm reminded that it's all good. God is with them and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Engaged!

Last night, God answered a twenty-four year old prayer of mine. Last night, a wonderful young man asked for my daughter's hand in marriage and she said "Yes!"

From the day that both of my children were born, I began praying for Godly spouses for them. And yesterday, God came through again!

Welcome to our family, Joel! We've been waiting for you.

Oh...and thank you, God. You do good work!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Scattered!

I don't know what was wrong with me today, but I worked all day on getting my house clean. I was so scattered, starting on one task only to leave it to do something else. I had half-finished projects all over my house! Not how I like to do things.

It started like this. When I got back from my morning walk, I was going to fix some breakfast and eat out on our deck since it was our first sunny day in forever...yes, forever. But before I made it into the kitchen to put on the coffee, I was sidetracked by the bedding which I had stripped off our bed before I went on my walk. I figured I'd better get that washing now that my daughter was out of the shower and the washing machine wouldn't scald her when it filled up.

Somehow, rather than heading back into the kitchen, I ended up upstairs where I started to clean one of the bathrooms. But I had forgotten to bring up the broom and dust pan so I had to go back downstairs to the laundry room. However, as I passed through the hall, I noticed piles of mail that had been collecting on the table all week and decided to sort through it and throw out the junk mail.

After creating my "keep" and "toss" mail piles, I noticed how late it was getting and figured I'd better grab some breakfast. By now it was too late for coffee so I just had a couple of pieces of raisin bread and a glass of milk. Instead of sitting down and eating it like a civilized person, I stood at the counter where I noticed that the flowers that we had given our daughter when she returned from Russia, really needed to be put in a smaller vase with fresh water.

So I took a gulp of milk and shoved the last bite of bread in my mouth and proceeded to snip off the ends of the carnations. However, while I worked on the flowers, I noticed that I should really "mix" the coffee since the coffee containers were taking up space on my counter.

"Mix" the coffee, you might ask? You see, we have this little trick at our house. We take some of the "good" stuff and mix it with the "not-so-good stuff" which makes the "okay" stuff that we drink every day. What can I say, we're cheap and it saves a few pennies.

Anyway, I ran back to the laundry room to get a smaller vase for the flowers and noticed that the sheets were now ready to go in the dryer. So I stopped and moved them over from the washing machine, grabbed the vase and headed back to the kitchen. However, as I passed through the hall, I noticed the two piles of mail I had sorted earlier and stopped to take the "toss" pile out to the recycle bin.

Then it was back to the kitchen where I plopped the flowers in the smaller vase and moved on to the coffee mixing. But before I did that, I finished the rest of my breakfast milk which had been sitting on the counter all this time and by now was warm. Yuck.

I probably don't have to go any further with this because by now, I'm sure you get the gist. Like I said, I was scattered. And I'm exhausted.

Hopefully, tonight I'll get a good night's rest. I'll need it because I didn't actually finish my housecleaning.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Deep Thought

Why is it when someone wants you to think that something is really simple to do, they say "It's as easy as one, two, three." Seems to me, if it was so simple, they should say, "It's as easy as one." Think about it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friends

I was listening to the local Christian radio station on my way home from work tonight and Sarah, one of the DJs, was sharing how recently she had started running. A friend of hers had encouraged her to run in a short race with her so she signed up.

But shortly after that, she started imagining how humiliating it would be if she couldn't finish the race. Or even worse, what if she came in last? The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to back out.

So Sarah emailed her friend and explained her fears. Her friend sent a beautiful response that simply said, "Sarah, how can you come in last when I will be running right next to you?"

Have you ever had a friend like that? A friend who is always there to support you, encourage you, help you be the best that you can be? A friend who thinks nothing of giving up the best for your benefit?

That kind of friend is a true treasure. So, if you have someone like that in your life, consider yourself way blessed and make a special effort to tell them how much they mean to you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

She's BAAACK!


Not much else to say except what a sweet reunion. Thank you , Lord, for your graciousness, love, protection and strength while we were apart from one another!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Anticipation

I love blogging. But I also love following the blogs of other people. Within the last month, I've rejoiced with two fellow bloggers as they have welcomed baby girls into their families. It was exciting to check their posts as the time got closer to the arrival of their babies. Then, finally after all of the anticipation, they were bringing their little girls home.

That's exactly where I find myself tonight, anticipating the arrival of my "little" girl. Elizabeth is coming home! A little while ago, I received an email from her which was sent from the St. Petersburg airport. She was checked in and waiting to board.

So, as I write this post, she is winging her way home to us from her nine-month adventure in Russia. On my end, it's been nine months of waiting. Nine months of anticipating this arrival. Pretty much what I was doing 24 years ago at this time. Only then, I didn't know it was a little girl that I was about to meet!

Tonight, sleep may be hard to find. I'll be counting down the hours until we can head to the airport. And just like my fellow bloggers, I'm ready to bring my little girl home!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cannon Beach


I shared a weekend with about 300 women who left their regular lives behind and descended on Cannon Beach, Oregon, for a wonderful Christian women’s retreat. The weather kept us guessing all weekend as dark clouds rolled in, bringing showers, only to be swept away so the sun could shine again.

There were eleven women in our group. Some I didn’t know before this weekend. Others, I had met at last year’s retreat, and the rest, I have been walking through the Scriptures with for the past two years as we’ve met for our neighborhood Bible study. But regardless of how long the acquaintance, before long, we knew we were all sisters.

So, I’m starting out this week, a bit tired from late nights and long car rides. But it’s a blessed tiredness. And the memories I have of wonderful fellowship, worship and teaching will get me through the week, as well as serve as a reminder that sometimes, we just need to leave our regular lives behind for a time of refreshment for our souls.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Journey


It seems like a lifetime ago that I braided your hair and dressed you in your pink and white dress for that first day of kindergarten. You were thrilled to have a backpack, just like your big brother did. And when I lifted it onto your little shoulders, it looked like it would tip you over backwards. But you were determined and ready.

We walked out of our front door and headed to the bus stop, just a few houses down from ours. The other boys and girls clustered around visiting, excited to be returning to school. You stood close to me and observed it all. And when that big yellow bus pulled up, it was time to let you go. My heart clenched as I watched you, barely able to get up the giant first step, and then walk down the aisle to take your seat.

I admit that as soon as the bus pulled away, I ran home and hopped in my car and drove to the elementary school. I had to make sure that you found your way, perhaps more for my sake than for yours. And you did. You found your way just fine because you were determined and ready.

Nearly nine months ago, you once again stood with a backpack, this time at the airport. And this time I couldn’t follow you. This time you were headed out into a much bigger world than kindergarten. And once again, my heart clenched as you walked to the security gate, asking us not to wait. I knew it was time to let you go, and I watched you walk away, determined and ready.

Next week, you are coming back to me. I know you will not be the same young woman who walked away last fall. You have grown, changed, and blossomed in these past months. And as you start the next chapter in your life, you are determined and ready to continue the journey started so long ago.

In a few days, I will see you walking towards me with your backpack, and my heart will clench again. But this time it will be with joy.