Thursday, July 31, 2008

Easily Entertained

Having slept the day away after a minor medical procedure this morning, I was indecisive about the opportunity to catch dinner and a movie to celebrate a friend's birthday this evening. I was also a bit concerned because my belly was making some very indelicate rumblings that sounded suspiciously like a Jackie Chan movie on helium was running in my intestinal tract thanks to gas used to assist in the procedure. I failed to see how that would be socially acceptable. Which proved that I grossly underestimated my girlfriends. I was informed that "We'll be celebrating each other's birthdays when we're old enough to be wiping drool from one another's chins. I think we can all handle it if you let off a little gas." Well, okay then.
After the morning's anesthesia I was under orders not to drive for twenty-four hours, but Don drove me over to meet up with the other ladies so we could all pile into one vehicle for our evening's entertainments. Our driver took every opportunity to make left turns--- and even swung a u-turn after hearing that I have a teensy idiosyncrasy where I refuse to turn left without the benefit of a stop light or stop signs to offer some semblance of right-of-way. My response to such obvious provocation? "Whoo-Hoo! It's an adventure! We're cruisin' around the world to the left!!!" I wonder if our evening was really as much fun as I think it was, or if I am just very easily entertained?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Holy WOW! Word came this morning that prayers for Poland are being answered in a huge way. A single salvation is rare there, and such is cause for celebration. Last week a team of thirty people arrived in Poland to minister through gospel music concerts and evangelism. There were FIVE salvations. Shelley commented this morning that the long-term team has never had a short-term missionary lead a Pole to Christ, and so it is with even greater joy that we can greet the news of such circumstances occurring five times in such a short space of time. What a wonderful beginning to this day to receive such great news! Whoo-Hoo!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Titus 2 MOB

I am headed out later this morning to meet up with a friend for lunch. She is one of those ladies I think of when I consider "3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." from Titus 2. She has a daughter who became engaged a couple of weeks ago, and the engagement has led to the Mother of the Bride (MOB) contacting a group of twelve ladies. In preparation for the daughter's upcoming wedding and marriage, the MOB is forming a prayer team. What a wonderful gift to the happy couple--- months of prayer support to prepare them to enter into their marriage covenant!
I was initially, and am still, tickled by the invitation to join in this team committed to preparing the bride and groom through prayer for the challenges that inevitably come over the course of planning a wedding and in the days and years of marriage to follow. I can imagine no greater gift that we can offer, and the idea of documenting the prayers for the couple in scrapbook form will create a precious testimony of the days leading up to their wedding, and of the unique blessings desired for the pair by the prayer team God has inspired the MOB to form.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I've been reading in Numbers. I find myself taking a census of sorts. How many people live here? How many people will live with us in a decade? Where should we post our banners? Who's in charge of what around here? On whose authority? Are we faithful enough to go wherever we are sent? What if the "where" is not to my liking? What if the where is our mind-numbingly familiar suburban block or an exotic, scary place where our parents' feet have never taken so much as a step? How will we prepare?
The preparation is out of my hands for our future even as it is for something as mundane as the kids taking their vacation with my parents. The kids' stuff did not magically arrive at my parents' destination. (Neither did some of Dad's since his garment bag is still hanging in the entry hall closet.) It required the kids to gather their assorted stuff, me to fold the what-not so it all fit into their baggage, and my Dad to haul it across a couple of states to their destination. Each one of us did the task at hand when it was time to do it. As a result, the kids have the appropriate clothing for their activities during the week.

I did not have to plan the travel route by which that luggage would reach its destination. I did not have to tell the kids exactly which items to pack, but only what sorts of activities they could expect and how many of the basics would be needed. Swimsuits and goggles were important, but dressy clothing was not on the list. Several changes of clothes, pajamas, socks, and underwear were needed because the kids would need to make it through the weekend before the option to wash clothing at Granddad and Grandma's house would exist. Everyone should have a toothbrush. All the sundry stuff needed to fit into the bag or combination of bags available. I purchased any new items that were needed, and hemmed cut-off shorts to extend their usable lives. Once the bags were zipped shut, it was Granddad's turn to load them and see to the transportation os said baggage to its destination.

My role in the equipment of these children for their vacation was simply to provide their clothing and toiletries. The job of transporting what was provided is on Granddad's plate. The children will likely be expected to dress themselves, but there is a reasonable expectation that the grands will give direction as to what mode of dress is appropriate based on the planned activities so that the duckies don't take a flying leap into a hotel swimming pool wearing their pajamas. My place in this tale will recur when the children bring home all their dirty laundry and a load of souvenirs from their travels that need to find a home somewhere.

All of that said, I do not know what God's plan is for me in the years to come. I do expect that it will coincide neatly with His plans for the other people I'm here to serve. I expect the role I play will be one I am able to fill, but that sometimes it will be harder than I like. There will be challenges like needing to find a time to borrow my friend's sewing machine to hem shorts, the price of new shorts may be higher than I want to pay, or retailers may have shifted their inventory to Fall clothing in Alaska although we are enduring 100 degree days when I need to come up with at least six pair of shorts for the girls to have enough on their trip. Still, the tasks that make up the larger job will all be completed, or they will turn out to be less of a priority in reality than they were in my head. Over time, I will see the Promised Land. I just hope that I am faithful enough to go forward rather than foolishly becoming bogged down in details that can detract from the real issue of faith.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And they're off...

And they're off... my Dad's maroon Chevy Silverado rolled away from the curb in front of the house this morning headed north toward an IHOP in search of breakfast on the road. Inside the vehicle were my Dad and my three children. The whole crew is headed for Joplin, Missouri where they will join my Mom. Tomorrow after Grandma gets off work, the kids and both grandparents will pack up to head for Branson, MO to take in the wonders of Silver Dollar City and similar attractions. My kids are big fans of tourist traps (as am I, I must confess...), so Branson will be a dream vacation right up there with Disney and Sea World parks.

Two hours later:
As I head for the hall restroom what do I spy with my little eyes? Granddad's hanging bag full of his clothes for the remainder of the trip. Uh-oh. I call him immediately, but the travellin' man and his herd of followers are ninety miles into their trip. There will be a revolt should that truck make a u-turn in order to head back here now. I'm off to ship the bag to the hotel in Branson where it will await their arrival tomorrow...

Forty-five minutes later...
Or not. UPS charges $16 for the size box needed to hold the folded-up garment bag. The shipping for overnight would be $98, or for the next day $62. Apparently the bag only held shirts. Since Dad had everything else from medications to shorts in another bag, the hanging bag will be hanging in my closet when he returns for it later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Idiosyncratic Behavior

While visiting a friend who was 39.75 weeks pregnant, I discovered that my idiosyncracies have failed to fade as much as previously hoped. I also realized that it was once again time to clean out the cabinets. Said friend was nesting, and I was helping. As we unloaded her dishwasher, I carefully aligned the pattern on her dinnerware while mentioning that I loved the pattern but would drive myself batty if it lived in my cabinets. She informed me that she would be opening up all my cabinets to check out the alignment of my dishes.

I explained to Ab that the dishes do not always align. They usually align. Things get messy in between my bouts of crazed cabinet organization. As I spoke those words, I realized that the cabinets failed to receive the usual right-before-school-lets-out cleaning to help minimize the disaster of children-home-for-summer reorganization. "Reorganization" is not necessarily used according to Mr. Webster's precise definition in this instance, but the goodies in the cabinets most certainly do see a shift during the summer months and Christmas Break as well as to a lesser degree during Spring Break since the children do not share my passion for ridiculous details. Sure enough, our surprise visitor last week was treated to the ugliness of a cabinet door open to expose the chaos within... Ahhh, motivation.
Besides the kids are leaving, and I will avoid the compelling need to organize the cabinets while they are gone by completing the task before they leave. I think there is probably some mental or emotional disorder here. It cannot be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder because it comes and goes. I am not nesting because I will never be pregnant again outside of a regenerative miracle. It's just a deep desire to have one small measure of order. I'm striking out at the craziness of the Universe and the busy-ness of daily life by having ridiculously well-ordered cabinets. It might be a sickness, but I am entirely okay with that.

So. Despite my vehemence regarding not posting photos of the inside of my fridge, or a close-up of my "office"... I offer for your perusal the interior of my kitchen cabinets:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Now?

The whole idea of seeking after happiness is a warped one. Where does the idea that we have a right to happiness come from exactly? Newsflash: we do not have a right to "Be Happy". I am familiar with the right to the pursuit of happiness. There is a lapse between the original version of that idea and the modern mindset. "Happiness" seems to be all wrapped up in an assortment of shiny packages from possessions to power and prestige. If "happiness" isn't present one really ought to see someone about that...
On the other hand, there is joy. Joy is an outflow of the Holy Spirit--- a sometimes indefinable "something different" about a person. I'm not interested in being happy. It does happen, but "happy" is an emotion--- not a goal. Joy is more difficult because it is not a result of anything I can do, but of what has been done for me. It requires me to submit all my own will to the Will of an omniscient God who is fully in charge, but who chooses to allow me free will. (No, Alice, we're not going down that rabbit hole.) I'm not going to "pull one over on God", or likely to find Him waiting to smite me at the first sign of my disobedience. Choosing my way any time it departs from His way, I am going to miss out on a measure of the relationship He offers by choosing my own wants and desires over His commands.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


There is a cobweb swaying in the breeze from my ceiling fan. If the fan stops moving, I will be able to see the grey accumulation of fluffy ick on the edges of the blades. That, and the Texas heat, are all the reason I need to keep those fan blades spinning. Theoretically, I could snag a duster and do away with both the cobweb and the fluff. It would also indicate that I can find nothing better to do with my time than dust.
This post is not for the neatnick. That soul would not last long here. Our house is organized, and the kitchen is clean, but my floors are not a place where one would ever want to apply the five second rule. (If you never apply the five-second rule, you should go to Hints from Heloise now... this post is not for you.) There are some things that I choose to ignore in the interest of doing things that are more meaningful in the greater scope of the universe. The household chores are always available, and while they they will be more time-consuming if left for later, the tasks will still be at hand tomorrow while I might miss out on something important if those chores become too much of a priority.
A friend gave a perfect example of this ideology: her family of six moved into a home, and there were boxes everywhere begging to be unpacked so they could see to the daily trivialities of sleeping on sheets, cooking in pans, and eating on dishes. Rather than unpack, and begin to turn the new house into their home, the family took the unusual opportunity of having a home decorated in "Cardboard Box" and "Maze" to play Hide & Seek. I believe they ate pizza off of paper plates. That's my kind of Mom.
Those types of opportunities come along, and I want to take them rather than being a slave to my housework. That said, I do know the chores must be done. So today we will play a little catch-up around here. The laundry, the dishes, the floors, the potties, and the dusting are all waiting... I guess I'll even flip off the fan while it is still relatively cool.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Office.

I can take a hint. Eventually. I mentioned to a friend the other day that my desk is a mile-high disaster stacked with papers and odds & ends. (The photo is post laptop screen dying, but predates the new machine...) Dusting it wasn't an option with the mountain o' what-not, so I figured I'd just plant something in the dust once there was sufficient accumulation to support plant life. I was generally okay with this "Ignore the mess." solution. The friend in question offered to come help me sort the mounds o' stuff into more manageable little piles. Since organizational skills were not really the issue, I failed to take her up on her generous offer to save me from myself figuring my little Hobbit hole was comfy--- and in winter I would be well insulated in my nest. (It didn't sound quite so rodent-like in my head.)
Then a visitor stopped by thinking we had bumped a meeting forward a week. The whole house was an example of delayed gratification by the clean fairy. The children's laundry from the past few days had escaped the hamper (which was somehow empty save a square of toilet tissue, a Barbie head, and an orange washcloth of indeterminate origin since ours are green...) to cascade down the hall immediately off the entry. I received an order of dinnerware complete with mounds of packing in individual boxes which failed to reach the bin for recycling day... a couple of weeks in a row. Those were scattered all over the entry thanks to Bella who has thoroughly enjoyed this new world of hide, seek, and bat-the-box-around fun. The worst spot in the house was my desk though. So our guest was seated in the living room where he had full view of my disaster area. There was shame. The guest was gracious, but he has only visited here on three occasions, so he has no way of knowing whether we are really living like pigs, or if this is a fluke.

Then I pull up Green Girl in Wisconsin's blog last night, and what should my little eyes discover? Someone has challenged bloggers to open up their offices via photographic posts and yet another somebody has suggested the same be done with our refrigerators. (Uh-uh. No. No freakin' way. The inside of my fridge will neither be photographed, nor will it appear on this blog. Not gonna happen. It does not matter that I cleaned it out earlier this week.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Katie's Kitchen

Katie flipped through food magazines while we were sitting with a friend's little girls yesterday. This morning she perused the offerings on the food channel. She concocted a menu, and then she asked if she could make dinner tonight. Like I am going to say no to someone else cooking the evening meal here?!
I run Kate to the market to pick up the odds and ends she needs to prepare her meal. Katie reads through her recipes to wrangle the items on the lists for her meal. An impromptu math lesson with someone from the meat department helps us figure out how much ham is in a cup. We total up the prices of Katie's purchases so she also knows what the meal costs. (She thinks food prices are too high for these "Do-it-yourself" items. Ain't it the truth?)
We go to visit friends, but dinner time is approaching. Don picks up Katie who goes home to make dinner while Evan, Erin, and I hang out a little longer. (How cool is that?!) We arrived home just as she reached a point where she needed a hand. Oven preheated to 400, water on the boil, ham cut into a zillion one inch cubes, and she was flummoxed as to which baking dish she should use. We decided to wait until we saw how much macaroni would result from her boxed mac & cheese dinner before zeroing on any particular dish.
I drained her macaroni because the pot was heavy and hot--- and I had visions of the steam or the water burning her hands or arms. She mixed in her cheese and ham cubes before we discovered that there were no peas in the freezer. Uh-oh. She spooned her mixture into an oval baking dish (Oval dishes prevent crunchy, dried-out corners.) and topped it with Mom's home-made bread crumbs and and shredded cheese which was then tucked into the oven for fifteen minutes to heat through.
We raced to wash a pound and a half of strawberries and slice them up. The strawberries joined ice, strawberry yogurt, and, um... cherry Kool-Aid in the blender for Katie's fruit smoothies to close out her meal. Once the slightly disturbing smoothie mixture was ready, Katie hurried to get her salad and macaroni onto a plate and individuals ramekins for serving while I poured the neon red stuff into footed glasses and topped each smoothie with a dollop of whipped cream and a slice of strawberry for a garnish. Enlisting Evan's help, Katie dressed her salads and served up individual plates of Macaroni & Cheese bake with green salad and a fresh Strawberry Smoothie.
It only took two loads of dishes to clean up and a full load of dish towels in the laundry to finish the clean-up. I am considering a strongly worded letter or e-mail to the people at Kraft foods who wrote the smoothie recipe. When your child prepares a dish, you have to eat it... or drink it. And you cannot complain even if the item is so tart that it makes your eyes cross and your lips writhe with contractions. It was a good opportunity to talk about why we try out new recipes before presenting them to other people.


The last couple of days have been something of a whirlwind. The most pressing issue from a blogging standpoint would be the unfortunate demise of my computer. Fortunately, it was a slow death. The screen went some time ago, and it's been a process of watching bits (The "delete" key developed a nervous habit of checking out on me.) and pieces (The speakers failed to exist according to My Computer after someone hit the mute button.) fail over the past couple of weeks. During that time, I was transferring irreplaceable data to cds. Today, I attempted to pop in a cd to continue the process of writing the 2008 photos to disc. Apparently the disc drive no longer exists. Hmmm. That seemed to present a problem in the process of saving information I was unwilling to lose.
Don informed me that it was time to pony up the cash for replacement of my poor, balky machine because there is not really any "fun" in dysfunctional. We have been in and out of the assorted electronic, office, and discount megamarts to compare options and prices as well as trawling on-line for a deal. Don has read on-line articles and explained stuff I don't really understand to me so we would both be reasonably educated consumers. I can spout off information about 32-bit processors and 3 Gig hard drives and 64-bit processors and 4 Gig hard drives as if I actually have a clue what that means. (Okay, so that info is not entirely lost on me, but I remain a content technophobe despite the need to garner sufficient information not to get snookered by a dishonest salesperson.) Don and I each walked into the store with our own ideas of what we would leave with, but equally resigned to the purchase.
The dream machine was $50 more than the best price we have found it for over the past weeks at the same store, and $60 more than our top price. The next model down by the same manufacturer serious downgrades the goodies, but only a offers a slight price cut. We cruise the aisles, read the little placards under the open box "specials", and discover that a brand that was totally outside our price range is on sale this week. That drops it into our top price range by $20. Ooooh, goody.
The sales person answers our questions about comparing two machines by regurgitating the information written on the little placards. I explain (nicely) that we can read, but that I would like to hear his opinion. This fellow manages not to try to up sell more gadgetry or techno-wizardry (A friend made the comment today that I agree with, "Quit trying to outfit me with a Ferrari when I just need a Honda!") which would have blown his sale immediately. He also avoids the bizarre technique of talking down to the Little Lady. He recommends one machine based on merits that can be clearly demonstrated, or at least sound good. I smile at the salesman because he has just given the correct answers on this morning's pop quiz, and he is to be rewarded with a sale.
My beaming face is quickly replaced by a wryly raised eyebrow as our young sales person then attempts to score bonus sales of additional stuff we do not want or need. I tell him that we would simply like to purchase the computer with no other services or external whatzits. He wisely rings up the purchase and thanks us. (Good call. Several salespeople have blown sales by misjudging the amount of baloney we will tolerate. One actually cussed in his presentation.)
So. Hopefully, Don will finish the data transfer from my ailing machine to the shiny new one tonight or tomorrow morning. Then I will be back on-line as usual.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Evan Delivers

Evan and I were able to serve up three pot roast dinners within about an hour of one another at different locations! He did such a great job in the kitchen, that I am tempted to beg him to join me in my little kingdom again today.
I did get tickled because he was going a wee bit slow with the potato peeling. I buzzed threw peeling one potato. Evan was watching, and he made a comment about being pretty impressed with how quickly I peeled the potato with my left hand. In a moment of pride (uh-oh), I encouraged him to keep trying to peel the potatoes because it would get easier as he garnered a little more experience with the device like I had racked up over the years--- only to realize that my right-handed son had been doing a pretty great job with his left hand. Things went along quickly after he was told that he could use his right hand even though he had only seen me demonstrate with my left hand prior to that time. (Oh, you literal child!) We had a good laugh at how much slower I was with my right hand than he was with his left!
We made our first delivery eight minutes late, then we stood staring at the lovely newborn sleeping in that household for far more time than we really had... Evan and I both had to tear ourselves away from the side of the crib where the little one slept even though we both knew that we had two more dinners to go!
We hurried back home to put the finishing touches on the second dinner to be delivered. That one was due for delivery one minute after we left the house with it, so we were definitely late with that one. As we drove down the street, I explained to Evan that we were headed to the house wear we used to feed Stitches the cat after her person moved overseas and had to leave the ancient behemoth behind. Evan absolutely remembers that kitty as being foul-tempered even three years later, so he knew right where we were headed.
As we slowly drove up the street, I found it ironic that a car looking just like my friend Lisa's was parked outside what I thought was the house where we were headed. Well, duh! Lisa was at her Mom and Dad's house as we arrived to drop of the dinner, and we also had something for Lisa in the car, too. The couple with the new baby had dinner delivered by Lisa the night before, and they had her dish ready to go when we delivered. So I had Lisa's dish and her "Thank You" note that I could drop off making the dinner run a two-for... Bonus!
We headed back home to complete our final challenge... er, meal of the day. Evan and I were both very glad to sit down to the roast, potatoes, and carrots we had worked on all afternoon. The prepared "shortcut" additions to the meal fell flat (salad and rolls), but the dessert of fresh raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries totally made up for the dry rolls and ho-hum salad. Whew!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boy Wonder

Hey! My girls have jumped ship just when I was counting on them! Both of my girls were included in the equation when I signed on to make dinners for two friends' families tonight as well as our own, but both girls had better offers than endless root vegetable peeling. (They have run off to friends' homes to go swimming and hang out for the rest of the day.) Uh-oh. I am preparing three pot roasts (already defrosted), a zillion pounds of potatoes, and have solved the carrot-peeling issue by switching to teeny baby carrots that are not going to need their peels removed. I am feeling pretty thankful for those bagged salads right about now, too. This is still do-able.
As I am contemplating the level of in-over-my-head that might be occurring, I help Evan prepare his frozen meatballs for lunch. Nuke the meatballs, thinly cut fresh basil and heat it on the stove, place slices of mozzarella cheese on leftover hot dog buns, and then place all of the above assembled into sandwich form back in the microwave to warm the buns and cheese. The boy was pretty impressed with Mom's version of a meatball and mozzarella Hot Pocket. (I was really thankful he did not put ketchup on it. Ew.)
As I continued to prepare a rosemary and basil oil for the potatoes, Evan informed me that he is willing to help me out with making the dinners for our friends. Heh? What's that you say? Hmmm. I am very interested to see how this will go. Evan usually does very well in the kitchen, but he is not typically interested in what goes on in there so much as what comes out. Much as I will miss working with the girls, I am excited about hanging out with Evan. Whoo-Hoo!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Find It Make It

My mother-in-law has been given a view of some of our household meal times that is a bit off. While we were bustling around her kitchen last week, I commented to my mother-in-law that we have "Find it/Make it" nights when no one is in the mood to cook lunch or dinner. She looked at me as if this was the most bizarre idea she had ever heard, and sort of gave a little laugh that left me with the impression that she did not quite get the concept.

There are rules for the nights when our family rummages around the pantry and fridge to individually satisfy their belly rumblings:

  • No cold cereal.
  • No frozen waffles.
  • Find It/Make It must include at least three food groups.
  • Katie cannot make rice for a total of six months because she did not clean up her mess three times in a row.

Rather than ask me or Don about Find It/Make It, my MIL waited until later to explore this wacky new idea. Katie explained it to Gram saying that everyone just finds whatever they want, and makes their own meal from the assorted available foodstuffs. (So far, Kate's description holds water.) She gave examples, too. According to Kate, she told Gram that the kids "make a bowl of cereal, frozen waffles, or whatever..." (What?! Kate's description leaks like a sieve.)

This conversation between my mother-in-law and my daughter does explain why Don and I have to repeat the rules of Find It/Make It very time we go that route for lunch or dinner. Katie has not noticed that every time we have a FIMI meal, Mom and/or Dad offer some specific choices and suggestions from the types of fruit and veggies that are ready-to-eat to entree choices. (FIMI usually occurs when I have cooked several meals and have a variety of veggies and fruit prepared for easy snacking. At the very least, a previously frozen entree or sandwich must be included in the child's meal.) The idea behind FIMI is to encourage a certain level of independence in our offspring, provide opportunities for those who will eat leftovers to do so, and to have meals where everyone gets to choose exactly what he or she will most enjoy.

So. I am cringing because my mother-in-law has been painted a picture of her grandchildren foraging for carbs while their lazy parents fail to feed them properly. I'm irritated because the child who I typically can expect to "get it" in most situations, has so totally missed the point of our FIMI meals. Ahhh. Well. I will resist the temptation to e-mail this text to my mother-in-law in my defense.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Do You See What I See?

The kids have been at their grandparents' house this week. Don was working. I took a little time to indulge my inner shutter bug.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not the Mama

Today I went over to a friend's house to stay with two of her children while their Daddy headed up to the hospital to check out both my friend and the couple's newborn. The third-time new mother had prepared a brilliantly drafted list of helpful hints for the care and feeding of her two elder daughters (ages 2 and 4) during the absence of their mother. It was titled "Yikes! I have the ____ Girls. Now what do I do?" In several pages, my pal had very helpfully covered everything from potty habits to discipline. I consulted her outline on caring for the wee ones and saw that it would be lunch time while the Daddy was out. I prepared some macaroni and cheese, and threw a couple of little cups of applesauce in my bag just in case the girls were hungry.
As I left my house I called the Daddy to let him know that I was running a few minutes behind, but that I was bringing the girls a simple lunch. He said that was perfect because the girls had just been asking for something to eat. (I told him how his awesome wife had covered this detail well in advance.) I arrived at the house and let myself in per the Daddy's instructions. I prepared the girls' plates without seeing or hearing anyone, so I called for the girl to come to the kitchen for lunch.
The little one gave a whoop and came tearing into the living room yelling "Mama! Mama! Mama!". Ooh. Whoops! Not the Mama. She was so dejected to see not her Mama, but just some imposter Mama with her lunch. Poor baby! I settled both girls at the table, and brought their plates and drinks to them feeling like a total heel. "Your Mama will be home very soon--- and she will be bringing your sister, too!" I promised.
Suddenly I had a light bulb go on in my head. My camera was in my shoulder bag, and I had taken photos of the girls' Mama and their new sister the night before at the hospital. I pulled out the camera and set it on the table. I picked out a photo of Mama and her newest wee one and set the camera with the photo on the LCD screen on the table across from the new big sisters. The two-year-old solemnly informed me and her big sister that she was wearing a shirt "like Mama's...", which her sister confirmed with , "Yes! They are both GREEN! The same green!" After that, everything was fine.
I exhausted the camera battery so the girls could have lunch with their Mama. I meant to take pictures of the proud parents entering their home with the newest addition for the first time. My best intentions were not what was needed today. I am sure that photos of the baby's trip home would be nice, but there is nothing as precious as those little girls who thoroughly enjoyed lunch with their Mama in the final hour of her absence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Picture This

Flying seems to have been a big fixation for da Vinci. I'm more intrigued with the images of his ideas than I am with the ideas themselves. Visual images spur my mind on to new ideas.
There's a TV show called something like "Man... Moment... Machine..." and I am thinking of it as I consider the last couple of days. While visiting Don's parents, we made a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to check out the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. Features included artwork, writings, sketches, and working models of some of da Vinci's whatzits. Don's cousins and uncle are big photography buffs, and it was almost as interesting to see what would catch their eyes and the camera lenses as it was to see the tangible genius of da Vinci.I am not an artist like Don's cousins when a camera is placed in my hands. I am more of a historian. The camera documents life and emotion, and I am intrigued by the option to look back over time and savor days that went too quickly and those that seemed to drag on for far too long.
My own love of the preserved photographic image goes back to a wooden cigar box on which my Mom decoupaged photos of herself, my Dad, and I. The box had a clasp that held the lid on, but when it was opened there were piles of photos inside waiting to give glimpses of our lives and the lives of those dear to us. From black and whites showing off my grandparents in younger days to the slightly grainy square 70's shots of my cousins and I playing on a backyard swingset or surrounding a decorated Christmas tree.
A couple of decades later, I love to watch moments, days, and events unfold in images that capture the all-too-brief moments of joy, sorrow, confusion, anticipation... the shot of a newborn's first cry, the scene outside the car window that will always remind one of a trip long past, the frozen image of a flower that bloomed for a day or two, or a summer day...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Some More S'Mores

Whoo-Hoo! 4th of July means S'Mores. I really, really LOVE S'Mores. That's why Sylvia is fixing the super yummy warm marshmallowey-chocolatey-graham crackery goodness for our great combined brood of children while I am just stuffing my face. Mmmm. S'Mores...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

All The Way

Ahhh. Miss Erin was baptized on Sunday. She was excited and radiating anticipation. I was horrified at standing at the front of the sanctuary (even with a tank of water and a seven-year-old for all of those eyes to focus on rather than me). I despise attention, but I was also thrilled to have been asked by this sweet little person to baptize her. I was trying very hard not to curl up in a little ball and rock or throw up, and Erin was excitedly waiting for the beginning of service. The band played "Sing To The King" followed by announcements that I didn't really hear as the Baptism participants lined up.
Erin was the first to go. I headed around the left side of the baptismal and knelt on a block placed for that purpose. Erin went around the right side of the tank before the congregation, climbed the steps to reach the tank, and took my hand as she stepped down into the water. As she entered the water my thoughts were running wild with a flavor of "DON'T SAY ANYTHING WEIRD!!!" Her statement was read to say, "I am being being baptized to show God taking away my sins in public. I want to tell everybody. I am obaing [sic] God." My stomache tied itself into a tiny ball of yuck while I struggled to remain focused on my girl and our God.

Hoping the small microphone to my right would be able to capture my tiny voice (and thankful that anything came out when I opened my mouth), I asked, "Erin... Do you take Jesus as your Savior?" (Since my racing thoughts were playing with other terms like, "lawfully wedded husband/wife", I was really glad to hear "savior" actually come out of my mouth in the final product.) She indicated that all was good in this area, so we moved on to the big moment for which our friends and family had either gathered in the sanctuary to be with us, or would be in our regular venue an hour later to join us in celebrating.

Erin pinched her nose, and, trusting less in me than in our repeated "rehearsals", fell back into the water. (The kid has been baptized in swimming pools all over our town in the last couple of weeks. She finally determined that goggles would not be necessary.) I said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father... (pause due to a bizarre and wrong-headed choice of words here in a rehearsal that I wish to NOT repeat)... the... Son, and the Holy... (Ghost--- er, not old-school Holl!) Spirit." Whew! I watched her going under thankful that the speaking part of my involvement in this day was over.

Except that she did not go all the way under. As she started to surface with a portion of her hair dry, I told her to snatch a breath and tipped her back under to get that very top portion of her head since this was a baptism by submersion. Again, the very top inch or so of Erin's head was barely above the water line. My only real thought was that a half measure during the symbolic moment when she proclaims her faith publicly just would not do for this child who is very much an all-or-nothing person. No partial submersion, she was going under.

As my girl opened her eyes with her head above the water, I said to her again, "breathe", because she was going, "All the way, Baby." This time her head went almost all the way down and her feet popped up out of the opposite side of the tank with the third and final attempt, and that child was definitely fully submerged along the way. As she came up, I was able to laugh and grin at her without a shred of the self-consciousness that had threatened this precious shared moment with my sweet, youngest child. I kissed her forehead as she was stepping out of the water, and helped her with her towel.

We ducked out a side door with big sister Kate (who was taking the photos) and all three of us cracked up. Erin was dripping, Katie was still snapping pictures, and we all three had to quiet our laughter knowing that we could possibly be heard in the sanctuary where two other baptisms were following Erin's.
We later had the opportunity to see the video feed of the baptism, and laugh hysterically at what really did look a bit like a drowning rather than a baptism because the camera could only see my moments of indecision and the repeated dunking without capturing the underwater laughter of my Erin Elizabeth Lou Lulu Libby Little Bit... but anyone who knows me is well aware that I can only go "All the way", and that no half measures will ever be sufficient.

It was a joy to celebrate with our "old" church family who came to see our girl baptized, and a wonderful time of worship with our "new" church family as the girls and I watched Erin's baptism again via video during worship that included "Mighty To Save" and "From The Inside Out" (songs forever tied in my heart to the past months) in the final service of the venue where our Erin prayed with her Daddy for "Jesus in her heart" mere weeks ago. WHOO-HOO!!!