Monday, August 31, 2009

Under Construction Forever?

Two months ago, the maintenance supervisor at work announced that the road in front of our building would be shut down until the end of August to widen it into four lanes and make a roundabout. 

The stretch of road is still a dirt-covered mess with giant concrete pipes and construction machinery everywhere. 

I’ve adapted.  I can go over a mile out of my either east or west to get back and forth to my home or to the hospital where I do assessments. 

As I did the familiar left turn at the light where I would have gone straight in the spring, I wondered if I would know when the construction was finished.  Although the construction workers are great at putting up “ROAD CLOSED” signs, you never see a “ROAD NOW OPEN” sign. 

What if I continued to take the long way to work when the straightest, fastest way is wide open.  What if I never bothered to test it out, see how it’s progressing?  What if I became a creature of habit, costing myself more time and gas money than necessary?

It occurred to me that it would be very easy for me to avoid the risk of traveling down a potentially closed road forever since the detour is safe and predictable.  I know there’s been situations, people, and conversations I’ve avoided for so long, I don’t even know if they’re still “under construction” or if the pathway has since become more safe and passable.  

I’ve spent a lot of time building up nice safe walls and skirting around all the issues that threaten to allow people to know who I really am.  It’s a safe place, but to be honest, it’s pretty lonely.  Am I willing to risk exploring those places I’ve closed down, giving those people a second chance, stepping out of my familiar routine to see if there are better ways to live?

It’s worth a shot.  Hope I don’t get a flat tire…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday with the Kids

It’s been one of those rare days that I spend almost entirely with my kids.  When I rolled out of bed, they were both sitting in front of the television watching Flapjack.  I was torn.  I remembered fondly getting up early on Saturday morning with nothing on the agenda but Saturday morning cartoons.  I also remember about mid-morning the wake-up call my mom would give me to turn off the TV and get to work on picking up the house. 

I did manage to get a little assistance for about 15 minutes without too much groaning and complaining.  After some discussion over breakfast, I discovered both my children had projects to work on over the weekend.  First, I helped my first grader find numbers around the house.  He was supposed to cut them out and paste them to his worksheet.  All went well until he wanted to cut into the front cover of my husband’s 2009 Fantasy Football magazine (the draft’s next weekend).

Then we went onto my third grader’s projects, which involved choosing from a list of pioneer learning activities.  She wanted to make dried apples.  I taught my son how to peel the apples with a parer and taught my daughter how to carefully slice the apples.  They spent a good hour peeling, slicing, eating, and arranging apple slices on cookie sheets.  I was so proud of them for getting along and working together and not watching TV.

After a call from our church secretary about prayer requests, I suddenly remembered I had promised to visit my friend in the hospital with her new baby boy. My children, probably antsy from being inside all morning, were a little too loud and rambuncous as we traveled up and down the halls.

After lunch (and, yes, cartoons and computer games), we headed to the church for children’s choir practice.  I got frustrated with my son who would not stand still.  We visited with some friends nearby afterwards, and I had a terrible time getting them to clean up and get ready to go home.  On the way home they bickered smacked at each other.  I had had it up to here (and you know what I mean).

My husband came to the rescue for dinner with pizza and breadsticks, and I squeezed a few loads of laundry in before going to the grocery store.  I had hoped for a little alone time, but my daughter begged to go with me.

My daughter was very helpful.  As I loaded groceries into the car, I had to smile at my daughter’s exuberance, demonstrating how her shoes made her bounce when she skipped.  She slowed down, looked around and said, “the day is dimming, and I am dimming.” My daughter apparently has the heart of a poet.

Children are definitely a blessing from God.  Sometimes that involves exposing our character weaknesses so that we can grow.  Sometimes we just feel fortunate to be a part of their lives.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Battle Lost

I succumbed.  After battling insomnia, I had been inundated with images of big juicy burgers, covered in melted cheese and loaded with toppings.

Around the noon hour, my car magically drifted into a fast food parking lot, where I found myself with a giant cheese burger, french fries, and an iced mocha. 

I hadn’t had a french fry from a fast food place for ages.  I savored the taste of crispy golden Idaho potatoes.  Before long I had to take a bite of the burger, perfectly juicy, complemented with fresh crispy veggies and thick slather of condiments.

I managed to get mayonnaise on the steering wheel and turn signal lever before I returned to work.  Although the drive thru window attendants had been speedy, they had left me with a measly three napkins and no straw.  I did manage to keep my clothing dribble-free, with the exception of a sesame seed or two.

Needless to say, I had blown my high protein, low calorie diet.  I had been so good, living on protein shakes, yogurt, fruit, nuts, and lean meats.  I had even lost a couple pounds.  I’m pretty sure it came back in that one hundred percent ground beef.

It wasn’t until I finally found a straw that I could truly enjoy my indulgence.  Not finding one in my husband’s well-stocked glove compartment, I had to hunt one down in the business office.  Only after fighting off a co-worker could I enjoy the smooth, cool, caffeinated loveliness of my beverage. 

As I enjoyed the rest of my lunch, I skimmed through a library book about writing nonfiction books.  Although my insides were unforgiving for my misstep, I was in a caffeine-induced state of ecstasy about the books I planned on writing.

The taste experience was well worth the insult to my body as well as my pocketbook, although sometimes less is more.  I feel somehow duped by the glamorous pictures of fast food meals that in my semi-awake state made me feel subconsciously like my life was incomplete without them.

Perhaps next time I will be able to withstand the onslaught of late night TV commercials.  Or maybe I’ll just turn off the TV.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clouds in my Coffee

In case you wondered, Captain John Smith is credited with introducing coffee to what is now North America.

I’m not a habitual coffee drinker.  I own a coffee maker, but use it only occasionally.  I’m more of a social coffee drinker, picking up a cup when it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, really.  I’ll drink a cup of institutional coffee as well as a cup of Starbuck’s- although I can tell the difference.  Nothing is better than a really good cup of strong coffee, tempered with just a bit of milk and sugar… and maybe a little mocha on a cold, rainy day. 

Even before I drank coffee (which wasn’t until college) I loved the smell of it.  It’s like those commercials where the actor opens the can and takes a deep breath. 

I drank a whole carafe of coffee in college once.  My husband-to-be and I were studying for Greek finals.  I had to stop drinking when the tremors started and I was talking a mile a minute.  After a point, you can’t concentrate to study any more.

I like the effect a small dose of caffeine has on me- increased alertness and energy.  Sometimes I have a cup just to drag me from “can’t open my eyes” to normal. 

Outside of chocolate, I like a nutty flavor to my coffee such as hazelnut or almond.  Caramel is a good accent, too.  Fruit flavors rarely mix well with coffee, even though, technically, coffee itself is a berry.

My mom introduced me to chocolate covered espresso beans a few years ago.  It was a double dose of addiction.  The only way I can stop is to remind myself that I’d like to sleep at night… and even that’s not always enough.

My favorite song with coffee is Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” 

Coffee is a good lesson in how something hard and bitter can become wonderful and fragrant with the right kind of treatment.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One of those Days

If a day could start off on the wrong foot, today was the day.  I was awakened by the alarm in the middle of a dream where I was about ready to check out some fluorescent floating robots at a birthday party.

I had to drop off my children at school because they didn’t have time to make the walk.  By the time I got to the office, I remembered I had to email a report that morning.

I headed out about 10 minutes later than expected.  I drove right to the spot where I’d seen the name of the hospital on a building earlier in the week.

Shortly after my low gas light came on, I pulled into a private parking lot, sure I was going to be towed.  I entered the building and discovered it was a business office, not a hospital.  Thank goodness for GPS.

I found the real hospital, and followed the signs to the main entrance.  I headed toward the visitor’s parking lot.  Every single spot was taken, and even the road surrounding the lot was full.  I headed to the parking garage. 

From the parking garage, I headed down an elevator and walked at least a mile through the labyrinth-like passageways to the main lobby, in high heels.  When I finally got there, I had to apologize profusely for being late and for not calling (since I left my phone at home).   

My pager beeped.  The lady at the service desk reluctantly allowed me to make a long distance call, and it turned out to be not urgent.

I made the long walk back to my van, and before exiting got in line to pay for parking.  As I dug through my purse, I realized I didn’t return my cash the night before.  I tried to explain my situation to the clerk and she said I could write a check.  A $2 check. 

An hour or so later, I headed toward the third hospital for the day, closer to home, when I noticed my car wouldn’t accelerate smoothly.  I checked all the gauges and the engine was running hot.  I decided to stop. 

I am so not a car person.  I popped and propped the hood, and checked the oil and coolant.  I ended up buying a quart of each and filled up. 

When I finally got back to the office after stopping at home to switch cars, grab my phone, and take care of business at hospital number three, it’s past noon.  After answering emails, returning phone calls and checking with co-workers, I was completely exhausted and took my lunch break. 

I nuked my lunch of 4 day old leftovers and took it out to the car and then crawled into the back seat to try to nap.  Fifteen minutes after I clocked in, I found out I had accumulated too many hours over the pay period  and should have gone home at lunch.  So I went home and back to bed and started over! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Squirrel!

He stared right at me, watching as I lifted another bite of taco salad to my mouth.  His black eyes fixated on me, neither his nose or tail betraying a twitch. 

Was he that hungry?  Would he come after my delightful combination of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, chili, sour cream and seasoned tortilla bits?  My car windows were open. 

Suddenly he jumped (or did he fly?) off the chain-link fence out of sight.  Was he going to sneak in behind me when I wasn’t looking?

After watching a movie about talking guinea pigs I was nervous.  In the movies, the special agent guinea pigs’ human-like intelligence was revealed when a system was developed to communicate with them. If rodents had such capabilities, what would stop them from ganging up on humans and taking over?  Who’s to say they’d be on our side?

I suppose a squirrel would only go nuts over… well, nuts.  What if I had been eating a bag of roasted peanuts like they serve at baseball games?  Would he talk his squirrelly friends into raiding the car?  What if they chewed the brake line or something more sinister?

I wonder if there are levels of intelligence in the rodent world like there are in the human world.  The squirrel that was staking out the small child on the sidewalk yesterday and suddenly darted out across the road in front of my car, might be on the lower end of the squirrel intelligence scale.

Either way, I think we underestimate the growing legions of squirrel, guinea pigs, hamsters, and other rodents who are conspiring together to take over our world.  I’m sure the brazen little fella on the fencepost was on some scouting mission of sorts, trying to find our weak spots and preparing to attack. 

Beware, my friends, beware.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Step Back

I’m reading a book called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  I’m completely humbled by it.  Did you know our spouses aren’t responsible to make us happy or meet our needs?

What really cut me to the quick is my tendency to criticize or judge too quickly- not just my husband, but people in general.   I realize that I have far too many faults and failures to judge anyone else.  It is far more rewarding to look for the good in others than focus on their faults.

I only had my eyes opened a couple hours ago, so I don’t have any amazing insights yet.  It’s been a little difficult seeing the best in my children, when they leave their broccoli on their plate and then devour an entire pint of blue moon ice cream between the two of them. 

Something else the book mentions is respect.  I’ve always heard that respect is to be earned.  Instead, Thomas suggests that we owe all people respect, especially those we are so close to that we know their flaws.  

It would be really hard to live up to standards like that.  I know I can’t do it by sheer will power.  I have to rely on God to give me a spirit of grace to be able to see the good in people, and to treat them with the respect that people deserve just because their His creation.

It is so easy to worry about myself and make sure that I get what I want out of life.  But I’ve found that the biggest joys come from what I can give to others.  Besides, I don’t think God blessed me with so much to squander it on myself.

I’ve been trying to fix my life.  Maybe it’ll come together when I take my focus off of it for awhile.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Kid Again

"Oh, to be a kid again," my co-worker said wistfully.

"You don't mean that," I said. "To have to start all over?" She agreed that it would be hard to have to go through growing pains again.

It's more fun to do kid stuff as an adult. For lunch today our family went to Red Robin and I had a prime rib sandwich instead of a gourmet burger. I did have a sparkly peach drink with a cool squiggly glass and bits of peach floating in the drink.

Then it was time for some shoe shopping. My husband didn't like the dragon design on the black dress shoes we were buying for my son. I let him get them.

My daughter wanted pink soccer cleats. My husband thought it would be more practical to get something neutral so her brother could use them in a few years. I let her get the ones she wanted.

Then it was off to Chuckie Cheese's where we used up the token stash my husband kept from their last visit. I played skee-ball, horribly. I did win two tickets.

The three of us who played games put our tickets and got a plastic microphone. It makes echoing noises.

Then, unlike my kids, I collapsed into a heap on my bed with a slight headache and slept for the next hour.

That's what's cool about playing like a kid. You can go back to adulthood at your convenience.

We can always use more play in our day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lucy, I'm Home!

I must really love my sister a lot. Only for her would I drive to her house in the next town at 8:00 at night to let her dumb dog out.

I'm not an animal hater. Lucy, a big rotweiler mix puppy, is not that bright. She's one of those dogs that would probably lick an intruder to death.

First of all, I couldn't get in the house. There's a code to get in and I had the right code but wasn't pressing the buttons hard enough or something... and then I had to figure out how to clear out the sequence so I could start over. The lighted keypad kept blinking at me, and I hoped there wasn't a limit on tries. I was afraid a silent alarm was being sent to the Sheriff's office that some goofball was outside pushing buttons.

As I called my sister's cell phone, the garage door started to rise. I hung up. My six-year-old son went in with me. I had flipped a coin to see which child was staying with Dad and which was going with me. So, without forethought, I took the child with me who is afraid of and allergic to dogs.

It occured to me as I entered the house, that I didn't know where they keep her cage. Shortly after our arrival, however, I heard, "Bang, bang, bang," and a high pitched whine. As soon as I let the dog out she jumped on me. I knew Lucy did this, but I didn't plan on it. "Where's the spray bottle?" I shouted to my son. He was perched on the back of a couch in the living room and gave me a frightened shrug. I spotted it on the kitchen counter and make a beeline for it, Lucy jumping on me the whole way. I grabbed it, pointed at her face and shot. A fine mist covered both of us.

The water helped, though, and I was able to get her to go outside. Then she waited on the deck stairs as if she needed an escort. I never did actually see her go... but I left her out for a few minutes before she pawed the sliding door to come back in. Meanwhile, I set the spray bottle to "stun."

I was able to sit down on the couch and with a few squirts of water had her sitting on the floor beside me. I praised her, rubbing her face. She kept putting her paws on my leg until I realized she wanted a belly rub. As my son watched a cartoon on TV, I make sure Lucy remembered where her food and water was. I let her back outside one more time.

The cartoon ended, and I say, "C'mon Lucy, time to go in your cage!" My neighbor's dog does it. Not Lucy. I cajoled. I bribed. I pushed. I pulled. I raised my voice. Nothing was convincing this dog to return to her plastic dungeon. After about 10 minutes, I tried to call my sister and got a "the wireless customer you have called is not available" message. I walked back to the cage and tried again. As if she knew I was going to tell on her, Lucy went straight into her cage without a struggle. I rewarded her with some praise and food. Maybe she's not such a dumb dog after all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Homework Blues

As the first week of school draws to a close, my daughter has unchecked homework in her backpack on a Friday night. 

I don’t ever remember homework on the first day of school, but her teacher has had her reading about pioneer life and working on story problems in her math workbook.

I’m a little worried about what’s to come.  Her teacher last year rarely assigned regular homework.  It was mostly special projects or finishing something started in class.  Although my daughter enjoys reading and learning, too much homework can be discouraging.

My son’s sole assignment so far has been to bring in a family picture.  Unfortunately, the only wallet size picture we could find is a few years old.  Our family hasn’t changed that much, I think.

I was reading on MSNBC (“How Much Homework is Too Much?” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31910894/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/) how some school districts are limiting the amount of homework teachers can assign- by minutes. 

As a former student who could easily stretch a 20 page reading assignment into three hours by trying to read during TV commercials, I wonder how such limitations can be met or enforced. 

The rule of thumb is supposed to be ten minutes per grade level.  I’m not sure how that computes with my college advisor recommending two hours of study time for each hour of class. 

I guess the question is, what’s the point of homework?  I agree with finishing up learning activities not completed in class.  I like special projects that encourage learning hands-on and allow them to explore concepts.  I don’t like the idea of busy work just because the teacher has to assign 30 minutes of homework every night.

I suppose I have several years of homework enforcing and checking.  It probably won’t be long until all I can do is ask them if it’s done, since it will be beyond my comprehension.  I’ll try to be sympathetic though, since it’s hard for me as adult to commit to anything for half an hour a day. 

Even though the grades and the sweating over tests and projects will seem insignificant in about 20 years, maybe that’s not the point.  Maybe homework is a lesson in sticking to something until it’s done, in time management, and in organization of resources.  Maybe we all need a little more homework.

That’s homework- not housework, by the way!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Feeling Slothy

The large marquee-like sign outside the Methodist church listed the topic for the next sermon, part of the series, “Seven Deadly Sins.”

SLOTH:  NO CARING

I thought sloth was laziness, like the parable of the grasshopper who played all summer instead of gathering food and went hungry in the winter.  I thought the biggest issue with sloth was a mismanagement of resources, such as time and energy and whatever other talents lie dormant.

Apathy would be a good word for not caring.  In fact, apathy is really the opposite of, or lack of, love.  Most people would say that hate is the opposite, but hate still invokes passion.  That’s why it’s believable when Sam and Diane fall madly in love with each other after fighting so ferociously on the TV show, “Cheers.”

Apathy could be perceived as laziness, especially if it comes from depression.  When I’m depressed, it’s like I’ve closed myself off from caring.  Since I don’t care, I don’t make an effort, which could be seen as slothful.

I suppose that sloth would be selfish.  If I care more about my comfort and well-being than doing anything to make the world a better place.  Then, I guess, I don’t care.  Maybe that’s what the preacher will talk about. 

I wonder how sloths feel about being labeled as lazy or uncaring.  They probably don’t care.  My husband says they don’t feel anything.  They’re animals.  Obviously he’s forgotten about the movie Ice Age. 

Since it is a deadly sin, I suppose I should avoid it.  After I procrastinate about the laundry over an episode of Royal Pains.  Come to think of it, I’m surprised procrastination isn’t one of those seven deadly sins.  Maybe God was waiting to put it on another list.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Discipline?

There used to be a sign on a bulletin board at the YMCA that said, “Discipline is knowing what you really want.”  I used to glare at it every time I walked past, huffing and puffing and drenched with sweat.  I really wanted a nap!

As much as that saying reminds me how undisciplined I really am, it’s true.  If I want to lose weight, I will choose healthier foods and make exercise a priority.  If I want to enjoy an entire box of peanut butter stuffed Oreos, I will pour myself a glass of milk and get started.  The question is, what do I really want?

Every day I’m faced with decisions that reflect what I want at the time.  Do I want a clean clothes to wear to work tomorrow, or do I want to watch a biography of Guy Fieri on the Food Network?  Guy, by the way, is a very passionate, disciplined person. 

The perfectionist in me gets so frustrated with the inquisitive, hedonistic me.  I want to make my goals and go after them on one hand, and I want to enjoy the journey on the way.  I want so many things that I can’t be single-minded about any of them.

I know I am extremely blessed with what I already have, and maybe that makes me too complacent.  If I don’t work for what I want, I’m the only one who will know that there could be something better down the road.  On the other hand, shouldn’t I treat myself with the same respect as I would anyone else?

I don’t have any answers, although I’m trying to be more forgiving of myself when I don’t measure up to my own expectations, without giving up on my goals.  I’m going to make a living as a writer.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get there, but I’m going to keep at it until I get there.  Because that’s what I really want.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to School

“Will you walk us to the bus on the first day of school every year?”  my 6-year-old son asked me as we walked out the door.  I smiled.  All I could imagine was fast forwarding 10 years to when my son would probably be a head taller than me, wearing a letter jacket.  Would he still let me hold his hand and walk him to school?  Probably not.

Time flies.  I reflected back about 8 years when my daughter was just learning to get around in her world.  How could I have known that little baby with the hardly there blond hair would grow up to be such a dynamic young lady?

Today, I fixed my daughter’s hair for her, and reminded my son to eat breakfast.  I did walk my children to the bus, the pick up point about 3/4ths of a mile away.  I unwrapped my son’s granola bar on the way, and he tucked his wrapper in my hand when he was done. 

There won’t be many more first days of school.  Eleven more to be exact, if you don’t count college.  It won’t be too many years before they ask me to drop them off at the corner, or even worse, drive themselves to school. 

So I’m going to enjoy these moments when my son takes my hand as we walk, and my daughter doesn’t stop talking about her friends and her teacher and what she will learn.  I’m going to enjoy the comments about the car fixed with masking tape, or the tiny dog leashed just out of reach of the sidewalk. 

I’m going to treasure my son trying to get me to play flute with a song he made up on the piano, and my daughter solving puzzles on the computer.  I try to give my kids so much, and in return I learn from them how to find joy and excitement in every moment of life. 

I’m just glad more of those moments will be currently spent at school!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bedtime Stories

I love a good story.  I know I’ve watched a good movie when I keep thinking about the story line and characters for hours, even days after watching it.  The same goes for TV series, or novels. 

After watching G-Force, I left the movie behind in the theater.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like it; it was very entertaining, even with the ridiculous surcharge for the 3-D glasses.  I guess it’s a little hard to identify with guinea pigs. 

After watching Julie & Julia, I’m still thinking about the characters.  I’m thinking about a woman who based an entire career around food, because she liked to eat.  I’m thinking about another woman who jumpstarted her career by writing about someone and something important to her.  What an inspiration!

I wish I knew what it is within the marrow of human beings that is drawn to a good story.  The main character might be someone I identify with, or someone who is so completely different it’s fascinating.  They may struggle with something within or people without or nature itself. 

What was the first story that was created?  When did stories go from telling children about things that are or have been, to telling them about what could be or what they might wish for?  How fortunate are we to have an imagination, to dream about the possibilities.

I appreciate stories that either inspire with the story of someone who “made it,” overcoming the obstacles, or that uplift with laughter, preferably with good clean fun.  I also like stories about doing the right thing when it’s not popular or about fighting for justice.

I think the best stories are true ones.  Truth is stranger than fiction, and some of the biggest heroes live and breathe among us.  People have been through some amazing things, if you take the time to listen.  Have you ever listened to a veteran?  Wow.  It makes you want to record them all and write a book.

Fiction is fun, but people are pretty fascinating stories.  What’s your story?  

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dreaming

What would the world be like if everyone followed their dreams? Are some dreams too unreal to live? Are there people who are more likely to dream than others? Is it okay to be content with the way things are?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

Is it as much our responsibility to live out our dreams as it is to pay the mortgage, get our children to school, and hold a steady job? Are dreams the whisper of a Higher calling, or wishful wisps of a delusional heart?

Are dreams, once realized, valued less, or do they morph into something else? Can dreams be realized then destroyed by distraction or zeal? Are dreams about believing or achieving, or both?

Is it as simple as Disney's Cinderella would say:

No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

I don't know. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

PTSD

They’re everywhere you know.  I see them down the state highway or in the bank parking lot.  They stare at me with their bug eyes and gloat at me as they pass. 

Some are white and black and try to blend in with the others, but I can always pick them out.  Others are “gecko green,” “salsa red,” or “sunflower yellow.” 

Even in my dreams they’re there, filling my life with dread.  Their little round bodies, compact and helmet-like, scurry around from place to place, hiding around corners and in alley ways.

I’ve stopped screaming every time I see one.  Even the panic attacks have subsided.  I’ve found if I breathe deeply I can cope.

I still feel as if they’re seeking me out, as if they smell fear.  I can’t concentrate at work, and I have trouble sleeping.  I would give up going out altogether, but then they would win.

My doctor says it’s PTSD.  Punchbuggy Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ahhhh!  Look, it’s another Volkswagon Beetle!  Run!   

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hula Hoop Olympics

As I’m driving to Culver’s, since I was called into work and had to interrupt my dinner-making plans (which frankly consisted of defrosting a frozen dinner), I see a beautiful silver convertible driven by a man with grayish white hair and sunglasses, with his female companion of similar colored hair seated beside him.  In the back of the car are… hula hoops- different sized half circles in neon pink and lime green.   

I wondered who these people really were.  Were they clowns or jugglers, running away from the circus?  Were they on a long trip and used the hula hoops at rest stops to unwind?  Were they serious hula hoop competitors, driving cross country to the national hula hoop Olympics?  Were they returning faulty equipment to the nearest department store?  Were they going to a friend’s house for lawn darts and trying to cheat?

I get tickled by the oxymoronic, or things that just don’t seem to go together.  Have you ever seen doughnuts being served at a health fair? 

I love the For Better, For Worse comic where the dad spanks his son and then says, “That will teach you not to hit!”   

I still think white chocolate shouldn’t be counted as chocolate, but technically it has cocoa butter…

I read an article today about how exercise can combat fatigue.  What if you’re too tired?

Why do they call it a “fair” when the prices on food and rides are not fair at all?

If the early bird gets the worm, isn’t it better for the worm to sleep in?

Why are chilies hot?

Two rights don’t make a wrong, but four rights have you going in circles (even though blocks are square).

We have underwear and outer wear, but not over wear and inner wear.

If pancakes are made in a pan, where are johnny cakes made?

Well, there’s not enough time in the world to solve all these mysteries.  Time to hit the hay and start counting sheep.  No wonder my mom always asked if I was born in a barn!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just Fine

Rightly or wrongly, when it seems like the same song is on every time I get in the car, I think maybe God is trying to tell me something. 

Lately I hear the song “Fine” by Jaymes Reunion ALL THE TIME.  I like it because it gives a new perspective on the struggles we all face in life.  It starts with a question about love and life… and the answer seems to be that we don’t truly appreciate anything until we’ve had to live without it.

The chorus goes like this:

You never really loved until you watch it fall apart
And you never really lived until you felt like you can die
And you never really stood until the weight has pushed you over
You’re pickin’ up the pieces just to find
You’re doin’ just fine

It gets me every time.  What is love if it isn’t tested?  How sweet is life when it’s been plucked from the jaws of death?  How much stronger are we when we’ve overcome obstacles.  Even if it seems like life is falling apart, maybe it’s just coming together.

For years I’ve wanted to “have it together.”  I wanted the career, the family, the ministry, the organized household, the interesting hobbies, and the ability to manage it all with style and grace.

I was informed very early on, but am just now starting to believe that you can’t have it all.  Life is full of hard decisions that we have to make, sometimes to further another person’s goals instead of our own. 

I’m also starting to believe that I’m not supposed to have it all together.  Life is an imperfect, unpredictable, tangled web of desires, responsibilities, intentions, experiences and hopes.  Although I wish for a carefree lifestyle, I know that the things that hurt the most may cause the most growth.  Everything along the way, for better or for worse, makes me who I am. 

So, I’m thinking that I am still working on truly experiencing love, joy, and life.  I’m okay with taking the scenic route to get there.