Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Sunday Roast.....

Yes it really is Saturday. But it's Sunday in Australia and that is where the content of this post takes place.....

When I started blogging (oh my goodness a year and a half ago) it was totally for reasons about myself and everything ME. I never figured on all the perks of meeting people, building relationships, and being able to travel the world through others and with others.
So, you can imagine the flood of emotions that I find myself in this morning to see my interview posted on David's site. I feel the silly giddiness that gets exhibited at the academy award shows. I also feel the modest hot blush building on my cheeks because it is always hard to receive attention.

Once I get Pippin on the plane Monday morning I will come back and share about our long and fun filled weekend. But for now, it would be my honor if you felt like visiting the interview.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Acts of Kindness....

Maybe 3 months ago I spent an evening talking with the youth group about perceptions and how they instinctively happen. It is not that we set out to make a conscious decision to judge people. It is just that with every action and attitude we see someone display it subconsciously gives us a glimpse into their persona. The things they say and don't say; do and don't do; how they choose to wear their anger, frustration, grace, happiness, greed, or tells us something about their character that we aren't even aware of picking up on and cataloging in our mental database.

I was reminded of that today.
Truthfully I don't always think of others. I am human and there are times when I just want to do my things and ignore the world. Those are the days when I feel consumed by my own wants and needs and figure someone else should take a turn at being nice.

But today was different.
I wasn't thinking when I left home with my errands and grocery list that today was the eve of Thanksgiving. The traffic and busy people soon got me to realize it and so I made a conscious decision to be nice and enjoy the day.

At the grocery store I pushed my cart around and smiled making eye contact with each person in the isle. I picked up dropped items for people who had rushed in for those quick things that wouldn't balance right in their arms. I played with small children to persuade them that running errands can be a fun thing to do.

Then I ran into a sweet friend from Romania and her 2 grandsons who are students in my church class. We all hugged and joked for a few minutes about the busyness of the day and then exchanged secrets on the best purchase deals of the week.

After we said goodbye, the gal who had been stocking shelves nearby came up to me and said with an air of awe, "Do you know her well?" I smiled and said yes but it didn't seem like a good enough answer for her as she stood there just staring at me. So I explained that we go to the same church.

That obviously satisfied her because a vault of statements came forth from her.
"That is wonderful."
"Church is a nice place to be."
"I've been thinking about going to church again."
"Too bad I have to work."
"At least tomorrow will be quiet."
"We used to try and go do the holidays with my husband's folks but it didn't work well."
"So stressful it was."
"Tomorrow we are staying home and not going anywhere no matter what."
"How about you?"
"It sure is crazy here."
"I can't believe all the people."
"You seem great though."

After smiles and conversation we parted and I finished my shopping. But as my husband bagged groceries and I paid for everything, she appeared again with comments and conversation. Again she proclaimed that she was staying home for the holiday and nothing would make her leave home at all.
With a sudden rush of emotion she grabbed me and gave me an endearing hug. She looked at my husband and told him I was a sweet special angel and he had better take good care of me. Hubby agreed as we smiled and walked to the exit.

In the parking lot he leaned over and said, "Who was that and where do you know her from?"
"I have no idea", I replied. "We just started talking in the store today."
He hugged me big and kissed my cheek.

So aside from the idea that this story makes my cheek blush with brings me back to the importance of taking time for people. I don't mean that we have to become best friends for the next 50 years with each person we meet. I do mean that a smile or kind word can mean the world to someone.

I don't know what exactly I did today that impacted this person but I do know that somehow I changed her world for the better and she finished her day with a lighter heart.

It really is easy and infectious to touch others lives. I just wanted to encourage you in that today.

Po-TA-to Po-TAH-to......

As you can imagine, I have been running to and fro with my list of things to accomplish for Pippin's trip. She leaves in just 5 short days. Oh my! The funny thing about my list though is that every time I check off one thing that has been accomplished....I find 3 more things I must add.


Last Sunday I taught in one of the childrens' classes. Oh so very cute!
Imagine the scene......
I sat at the table with all of the boys eating snacks and discussing the important issues on their minds. You know, things like scrapes and puppies and action figures.
Directly in front of me were brothers "I" and "D" ages 6 years and 4 years respectively. These sweet boys are true boys through and through. Both volley through the usual sibling rivalry as they impatiently wait their turns to be heard.

As sure as sure can be, "I"'s favorite bible story came up. He said, "David foughted with Goliath. He foughted him good and hard."
Younger "D", wanting to be heard and to correct his older brother's improper use of grammar jumped out of his chair and almost came across the table. "No, no, no!" he proclaimed. "It is not foughted. It is feated. David FEATED Goliath!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Confessions of A Stalker Parent.....

Not long after school started this year, Pippin came home with confusion in her eyes and an uncomfortable gait in her walk. A new guy friend had asked her to the home coming dance...via cell phone text message. It was the first time she had been asked out and because she viewed him as a "buddy" it really threw her for a loop.

She asked for my advice on what to do. Like any other parent, I pondered how best to answer. Being too protective is over bearing and shows untrustworthiness while not saying anything at all conveys the idea of not caring.

So, I pulled the high card. I told her that while I imagine he was really nervous about asking her......asking for a first date in a text message was really lame and wimpy. I know we live in the 21st century but I personally think that a girl's standards should be set a bit higher than that.

She appreciated my advice as she wrestled a bit longer on a decision...only to find out that he acquired a new girlfriend and chose to take her instead.
Sigh....teen boys...........

Even still with all of that going on, he quietly pursues my girl. (Somebody please slap him for me.) I would really love to meet him to observe how he ticks, but opportunity hasn't risen yet.

A couple of days ago, Pippin was sick and stayed home from school. She enjoyed sleeping in my cozy bed and snuggling up while her body recouped. When she felt better she moved most of her things back to her room for a quiet night.....all things that is except her cell phone which stayed forgotten on my night stand.

At midnight her phone rang with a text message. It took me a few minutes of clearing the fog from my brain and my husband shaking me to realise where the noise was coming from. Like any other involved parent, I looked at the phone, saw that it was HIM.......and so I read the message. "Hey, whatz up? How ya doing?"

I was peeved and irked. I tossed for a few minutes while trying to work through the consequences of the actions I was thinking of taking. Then I did just what I wanted to do. After all, isn't it part of the parent creed to embarrass our kids sometimes and give them THOSE stories to share when they are 30 years old?
I texted him back. I wasn't mean or rude, over bearing or callous. I simply stated, "Hi. This is Pippin's mom. She is sleeping right now....because it is midnight. Why aren't you?" See, nothing wrong with that.

The next morning I told her what I did. She was shocked that he had sent a message that time of night and thought what I had done was funny. Even more funny is that he didn't answer back and when she tried to say hi yesterday it was like he was looking for her secret service body guards that were sure to jump out of the bushes if he made any false moves.

giggle giggle......the joys of parenting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's Official....

It's 37 years old, I am from the "other" generation.

Today was an afternoon for the youth worship band to come over and practice for a couple of hours. After that, we had a monthly youth "chill" time at our place. It was technically supposed to be at someone else's home but all the residents of that home had contracted a nasty 3 day stomach bug. So hubby and I figured that if half the group will be here anyway for the music part, we might as well open it to everyone for the evening and give them all a chance to "hang". We enjoy providing the opportunity and giving the youth something to do.

It was a great evening. I had 21 people in my living room watching Kung Fu Panda. (This picture to the side is a horrid shot for color and lighting but maybe it gives you an idea.) Not everyone is in the picture and more came in the door after I snapped it.

They happily ate through 8 boxes of pizza, drank 5 bottles of soda pop, 2 bags of tangelos, a bowl of pretzels, a plate of cookies, and sour heads candy as they watched the daring courage of a cartoon panda pushing the societal envelope of expectations and dreams.

After that, the board games came out. I don't remember what they played. I only remember timers, noises, and lots of bravado remarks.

While all of that was happening, I found myself at the dinning table with two young men discussing the ins and outs of heavy metal music. All of their talk made my head spin. I remember as a teen that I chose to like or dislike a band because of simple reasons. Could I relate to it? Did I like the beat? Was it a good dance tune? Those were the high priorities for me. These boys were different though. They spoke rather philosophically about how bands choose to further their image by focusing on a key element. For example they will make sure their singer is appealing to the eye, or their electric guitarist has finger speed that no one can match. They talked about something called "comedy death metal" with appreciation. Apparently it is when heavy metal type groups create songs that make fun of something like a popular big name coffee shop or national eatery. They discussed similarities and differences between the groups Nine Inch Nails, Demon Chasers, and Led Zeppelin.

Then the older young man told me that when he is ready to relax for the evening he usually will "put on the soothing sounds of Smashing Pumpkins".

Now please rescue me I the only one who sees the instant and problematic irony in the words "soothing sounds" and "smashing pumpkins"?

I pointed it out to him along with my obvious ignorance to the music group and asked if they were indeed soothing or did they demonstrate more of a calling to their name sake. My question made him stop, think, and then admit that he had never thought of the group's name as an actual description. I had humored him with my different look at things.

On another note, thank you so much for your concerns and encouragements with me not being around much and feeling up to par.
I think I am gaining ground. I am still awfully tight and tense but doing my stretches several times a day whenever I feel the head thing come on, sometimes every hour, seems to be making slow improvements. So far I haven't had a relapse of that last 5 day head bender. Everything has a season so I know eventually this will be a thing of the past.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Uganda Updates....

I haven't been around much and I am sorry. I have wanted to write and visit but have been feeling a bit under the weather lately. For a while now, I have had chronic severe headaches and have recently been seeing a physical therapist to try and get things to calm down. My last appointment seemed to aggravate things though and now I am slow. But that is okay. Everything has a season and I will get over this.

I want to share some great and amazing news about Pippin's preparations for her Uganda trip. First and foremost.....she has all of her money that will be needed for the trip expenses! It has been such an amazing thing of faith to walk out. Here were have been believing that she is supposed to go on this trip with a cost factor that we can't even begin to bite into and God kept whispering that everything would be taken care of. On the other side of that has been the other voice that laughs and says, "You are believing in what? Aren't you a fool!" But we have dared to believe anyway.
Last weekend, she was given 3 large donations that made her balance complete. All the donations have been so generous no matter what the size. These are hard economic times that we are living in right now and for anyone to give anything is such an act of generosity. We were most shocked though by my hubby's boss who sent 2 donations. One was a check from the company and one was a personal check.....both being 20 times more than we could have imagined.
I think that speaks on so many levels. It speaks to answered faith and encouragement coming from unexpected places. It also speaks of how the company feels about the work my hubby has done for them over the years. We have been in awe ever since.

As if that was not enough, here is a story that I think will make you smile as much as it did us...

Recently I gave Pippin an old skirt that I had bought some 15 years ago when we were stationed in Okinawa. It is a light cotton gauze material that is flowing and reaches her ankles. She decided it would be perfect to wear in Uganda. The light weight material would really help the 90 degree summer temperatures while the modest covering would give her the freedom to do many different activities during her stay. The only problem is that it is not a current style. So I figured we would go to the big local fabric store and I would create what was needed.

After surfing through a myriad of patterns and materials I realized that now matter what I bought, I would have to make serious adjustments and it would all be pretty spendy. I figured each skirt would run about $30 if I was super careful. Then I would still need to figure out how to make the cute little waist line tassels that she loved so much on the original skirt.
Sigh.......I walked around the store thinking and praying, "Lord I want so much for her to have at least 4 skirts for the trip. I can sew and create my own pattern if necessary but I am not as good as I used to be and this is really going to take time. And the tassels, yikes! You are really going to have to help me with that......"
Then I stopped in my tracks. Right in front of me was a table marked "Manager's Special". It had 6 skirts on it that were beautifully patterned ankle length with light cotton gauze material. They even had the inner skirt lining already in place AND the waist line tassels. Why they were there in a fabric store I have no idea. It is not like they were classroom demonstration products or something because they had manufacture tags on them. Now get this........they were selling for $5 each. I couldn't have even bought a yard of material for that!

As we loaded up with our 4 choices, a sales person walked by and said, "Oh good. I was hoping to get rid of those. I don't even know where they came from."

Would you agree that is pretty amazing?

David at Authorblog award this post with a mention on his Post of the Day. It is an honor.