Monthly Archives: April 2013

Monday Musings

 

It’s a cool, gray, rainy day in Raleigh.  My parents left this morning at the crack of dawn to begin their journey back to Oklahoma.  What is it with parents who leave in a rush first thing in the morning?  They were out the door at 7:06 which was six minutes past their stated departure time so I’m sure Dad was getting twitchy. Is there something written in the parent manual that says you have to leave before the brew cycle has finished on the morning pot of coffee? My parents aren’t the only ones that do it (I’m looking at you, in-laws) because from what I hear from friends, their parents do the exact same thing.

Dear Parents Everywhere,

You are welcome in our home.  Please don’t rush off early in the morning.  We haven’t had our morning cup of coffee yet and can’t even formulate a proper goodbye.  Take your time.  We aren’t anxious for you to leave, you aren’t in our way as we get ready for school and work, and when you bolt out the door before the sun is even up, we might even think you can’t wait to get away from us.  Sit a spell.  Have another cup of coffee.  Heck, have even ONE cup.  Let rush hour die down.  There’s plenty of daylight left and we’d love to spend a minute or two of it with you.

Lovingly, 

Your Adult Children

It promises to be a restful day.  Mom helped me get completely caught up on the laundry and since she forced me, FORCED ME, I tell you, to put it away, there’s very little to do this morning other than pick up the kitchen and straighten the den and living room from a weekend’s worth of lounging.  At some point I’ll have to think about feeding my people.  We ate out a little more than usual this past week because I was too busy shopping and gabbing with Mom and Dad to be bothered with cooking.  We took them out to Mellow Mushroom and the little Salvadoran place and Five Guys and what little I did feed them at home was really just a prelude for the star dessert that Mom made.

In addition to chocolate pie she made two huge pans of her famous banana pudding while she was here and forever ruined the boys for the easy version I usually slap together when they beg.

Mom’s recipe requires using the Kitchen-Aide mixer. 

You know, labor intensive.  

I wish I could say we went sight-seeing and gallivanting all over town but we didn’t do that this trip.  We mainly spent our time doing the little things around the house that need to be done: folding, washing, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and hammering a nail here and there.

Oh, and making my bed.  Yes, my mother told me to make my bed and then checked up on me to see if I did it. 

Because I’m still a toddler.

But having them here to talk to and visit with over coffee and laundered towels was what I needed more than seeing flowers blooming at Duke Gardens or wandering the shops at City Market.  They are two of my favorite people on this planet and such a delight to have around.   My heart is happy for our time together and sad that they’re gone.  I will miss them until we can see each other again this summer.

I hope your weekend was equally delightful and productive.

Have a nice day.

My parents are here!

Excuse the absence; Mom and Dad are visiting this week. We’ve been running errands, making and eating chocolate pie, planning the appropriate meal to showcase Nana’s famous banana pudding which the kids requested about six seconds after they saw her, and spending all our time talking, talking, talking.

And then collapsing in a joyful heap at the end of the day, grateful for more time to do it again.

We’ve been in project mode.  Travis’ room still looks like it did when we moved in almost two years ago, boxes stacked in the corner, walls blank, and no real closet strategy to speak of.  He wanted a travel theme so we’re going with a navy and grassy green color scheme and using some mementos from our trips over the years for decorations.  We found new bedding, framed a poster from our St. Louis trip, and Mom helped me make a French memo board to put above his bed where we’ll pin post cards and pictures of famous landmarks around the world.  (I’ll show pictures later – super happy with how it turned out.)

Today, Dad and I are putting in some shelving in T’s closet to better manage his clothes and Mom and I are making curtains for his room using the leftover fabric from the memo board we made. (Scored three yards of beautiful navy twill at the Methodist thrift shop for $4. Sweet!) Then if we get all that done, Mom and I are treating ourselves to a little trip to Ulta to play with the makeup.

The day is busy but my heart is full.

Have a nice day.

 

And then the miracle happened

Deus ex machina. 

Do you know that phrase? 

I had not thought of that since high school when I first learned that it was a literary device used to move a story along.  It could be used to twist the plot, to create an escape from a seemingly impossible situation or to create surprise for the reader.  Literally translated as  god from a machine, using this manufactured situation, the writer could then give the hero a new resource to use to solve whatever problem had befallen him, leading to a glorious outcome and, hopefully, happy ending. 

I was needing some deus ex machina last week.

I had two pages of conference-related to-dos just to get through Thursday and Friday before our attendees showed up Saturday morning.  I was a little anxious, wanting to have everything just so because this event is kind of big in the life of our church and I wanted it to reflect well on them and, because I am particular in general about how projects need to be run (others might say neurotic, OCD, perfectionist, and somewhat controlling, and they would be right), my personal little world was wound around the axle pretty tight.

It seemed like the universe was conspiring against me. The room reservations I’d made, confirmed, and triple confirmed?  Not available when I went to pick up the keys for our speaker who was landing within the next half hour.  Our musician?  Unsure if she would even be able to make it because of the threat of severe weather Friday afternoon.  The time I’d scheduled to do laundry so I’d have an outfit to wear?  Gone because….I hate to do laundry and just didn’t do it.  (Okay, that one was on me.  No universal conspiracy there.)  Stage rehearsal when I had committed to helping our conference chair run through some blocking?  Gone because I left in a sprint after having received an urgent call from Craig telling me Travis had fallen and he feared a concussion.  A vital piece of information that our committee needed so the program would run smoothly? Despite repeated requests, I still didn’t have it in my hands as the guests were filing through the worship center doors on Saturday morning.  

And yet?

God showed up.

He showed up with a helpful hotel manager and a hard-working maid.  He showed up by keeping the winds and the deluge at bay until our musician’s flight landed.  He showed up by providing a wonderful salesperson who found two outfits for me to wear in less than thirty minutes Friday afternoon.  (Okay, I only needed one but I figured while He was on a roll, I’d grab the other one. Who am I to not accept ALL blessings?)  He showed up by protecting Travis from harm.  Yes, he had a nasty little bump on his cheek and forehead, but he didn’t need a trip to the emergency room. But most important of all, He showed up when I didn’t have that piece of information and many people were asking me for what I literally could not provide and in my deep concern, OH LET’S JUST CALL IT PANIC, I turned to Him and said, “I don’t have what I need.  I need You.”

And I can just imagine His tender smile when He replied, “Finally! I know you do.  Sit back and watch.”

It was complete surrender, friends.  I released it to Him (it was always His, after all, and I needed to have done it sooner) and I thanked Him for what He was going to do despite my failings, and I walked into that auditorium and we began to worship.  And God showed up and His presence filled the temple and the things of earth grew strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace, and nothing mattered and everything was made perfect because He was there.

Deus was there.

Inhabiting the praise of His people. 

Bringing hope and encouragement to the hurting. 

Showing Himself as the Great I Am.

And perfecting His plan for His Glory.  

I couldn’t tell you more than a handful of things that our speaker said that day because God had a bigger word for me about His power.  It’s always there for me; He’s only waiting on my dependence and acknowledgement of His strength to accomplish what He’s called me to do. 

Only He can make the way where there seems to be no way.

Have a nice day.

Gah!

It is conference week which means it’s on like bing-bong, Jack.

Please tell me you watch Duck Dynasty.  I realize it’s the complete anti-matter to Downton Abbey but you must watch it so we can be friends or so you don’t think I’ve gone off my rocker by saying things like “it’s on like bing-bong.”

We have over 500 women showing up Saturday morning and there are still great and mighty things to accomplish before then, first of which is breathing into a paper bag and second of which is releasing anxiety about details over which I have no control.  Everything is planned and over-planned and capable people have done what they need to do but I have always over-achieved at obsessing and worrying over details so SUS IS A LITTLE HIGH STRUNG.

Probably finishing the 4th cup of coffee and starting the 5th doesn’t help.

The kids started back to school yesterday and all God’s people said “Amen”.  We are in the last 9 weeks of 7th grade and the boys are looking forward to being done with this school year which has kicked their collective bootays.  Everyone’s a little happier to be standing at the bus stop in warm weather and Mama’s extra happy that the boys are back in shorts and no one is walking out the door with highwaters.

Managing pants length with teenage boys who grow overnight is, um, challenging.

In other news, I’m running again.  Well, let me rephrase.  Yesterday’s run was more of a wheezed walking with intervals of jogging right up to the point I inadvertently ran through a curtain of bag worms that were hanging from a tree branch over the sidewalk and then it turned into an all-out sprint complete with head shaking, arm-waving, and bouts of jerk-kicking as I attempted to get the crawlies off my head, back, face, and chest.  Oh, it was a sight for the morning commuters, I’m sure.  I was so covered that thirty minutes after I got back, I was still picking them off my neck and arms as they continued their crawl out of my hair.

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After that little episode, there’s no wonder why I’m a little over the edge.

 

Have a nice day.

 

 

Five on Friday: The Sibling Edition

Somewhere in Oklahoma, three men just read the title of this post and are steeling themselves for what’s to come…..

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According to Facebook, there’s a new national holiday called Siblings Day.  I’ve not heard of it before and I’m hoping it’s not a recognized card-sending event because somewhere in my desk drawer I have a growing collection of beautiful  cards unsent for various events through the years (high school graduation card for my nephew who is now done with college and married, 40th birthday cards for people who are now 52, a “congratulations on your new home” card for my friend that’s moved four times since then…you get the picture).

But who doesn’t love a bandwagon and I’ll jump on this one even though I’m so far behind at this point I’m liable to be left sitting in the middle of the road eating dust so today’s Five is a pictorial review dedicated to my siblings whom I adore.

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Clearly, the adoration started early but I’m hoping Paul washed his hands before sticking his finger down my throat.

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I’d like to think Steve was wrapping his protective arms around his baby brother and sister to keep us from an untimely death but more likely than not, it was to keep us from scampering off into the sunset.

We were wiggly ones, we were.

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Love the color coordination on this one and how Jonathan rocked the plaid overalls.

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One of my favorite pictures ever.

5.

sibs

And they lived happily ever after.

Have a nice day, boys.  I love ya’.

Be my guest

What an interesting week in the news. 

What little news I’ve heard, that is.  I’ve put the house on media restriction since I have a little one who has become a bit of a news junkie like his mom and who is currently building a bunker because he’s convinced that Kim Jong Un has a missile pointed straight at his bedroom. 

I told him that nobody’s taking out North Carolina because we gave birth to Krispy Kreme.

For now that seems to be working.

The big news for me was that Margaret Thatcher died which means that my imaginary dinner party lost one of its most-honored guests.  Do you have a guest list for the perfect imaginary dinner party?  I keep one in my head and update it from time to time depending on who fascinates me.  Mrs. Thatcher had been on the list since its inception along with Jeanne Kirkpatrick (distinguished alumnus from my elementary school in Duncan, Oklahoma, and who inspired me to study politics), Peter Jennings (who said “Nicaragua” perfectly on-air), Jesus (someone has to say the blessing), and Tom Selleck (who smiled at me from the poster on my closet door and was my first celebrity crush).

If I had to stick to people who could knock on the door tomorrow, these days my list would be a little more eclectic:  Uncle Si (every party needs a good storyteller), Charlie Rose (to keep the conversation flowing and make us all feel a little smarter), Michael Weatherly (geeky NCIS fan girl alert), Cardinal Timothy Dolan (we still need a blessing), and Alton Brown (because someone has to cook).

All-male guest list.  Hmmmm.

Of course, there’s always the fictional characters guest list:  The Dowager Countess from  Downton Abbey, Father Tim from Mitford (blessing), Charlotte (from the web), Cherry Ames (who I wanted as a big sister), James Bond (the Daniel Craig version, please and amen), and Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy would be welcome at my table.

Or Lizzie could stay home. 

Just sayin.

There’s the Biblical list:  Paul (can we get a definitive answer on what was the thorn in his flesh?), Martha (I so identify with her), Joseph (the Old Testament one because, wow, talk about someone who learned how to bloom where they were planted), Moses (who taught me about deserts), Peter (brash, impulsive, no filter, and yet beloved), the lame man at the pool and the woman at the well (would love to see where their lives went from there), Joshua (who taught me to be strong and courageous), Nehemiah (who taught me about leadership), and of course, Jesus because He is my very breath and life.

And because he has that whole prayer thing down plus if we run out of wine…

Have a nice day.

P.S. We have a winner for the conference giveaway.  I’ve put Kristen on the guest list for next week where we’ll be eating a boxed lunch with 500 of our closest friends.

The fellowship will be oh, so sweet.

Five on Friday: Easter pics and a giveaway

So, the cold from last Friday’s post turned into A Thing and I’ve not had the energy to do more than what’s minimally required.  Advil Cold and Sinus (the good kind that you have to sign for at the pharmacy counter where you’re made to feel that you’re going to take it home and use it to cook up illegal substances) was my friend as well as the three batches of chicken soup that kept me feeling warm and toasty inside while it was FREEZING COLD AND SLEETING IN APRIL, thank you very much.  But I’m better now and the weather’s warming up just in time for the weekend so we’re all going to live.

Today’s Five is a peek at the last week.

1.  Craig and I celebrated our 17th anniversary with two date nights.  We went to Mami Nora’s, a little Peruvian place in town, for rotisserie chicken and all the fixings.  It was no frills and low-key, just good food and even better company.  The boys wanted to help us celebrate as well, so the next night we decided to kick it up the fancy meter and loaded up and went to Rolesville for a real meat and potatoes dinner.

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At least I think there was meat in there.

2. Easter was a wonderful day of worship and celebration.  The orchestra and choir raised the rafters in church and my soul was so encouraged to be with the body of Christ celebrating the highest day on our spiritual calendar.

We were running late (as usual) Sunday morning so I didn’t get pictures made before our hair was flattened by the rain, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to document the boys looking so handsome in their matching shirts (I still love to dress them alike on Easter and can’t believe they still let me get away with it).

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And forgive the washed out filter but it was the best way to cover the large stripe of gray roots that I couldn’t cover up.

3.  One is never too sick to miss a hair appointment.  By Tuesday, all evidence of 43 was gone.

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Except for the laugh lines and permanent forehead wrinkle; my fear of needles precludes the use of Botox so, for now, I’m learning acceptance.

4.  The boys are learning to accept a new mantle of responsibility.  Their father introduced them to this newfangled contraption called a lawnmower.

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I think it’ll be a while before they get the hang of it (there were wide swaths of uncut grass on the first attempt) but they liked the folding money that came at the end of the job so, for know, they (and especially their father) are pretty gung ho on the idea.

Plus they got to play with the box.

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5.  It’s been a long time since there was a give-away opportunity on the blog and today I’m having one for local readers (or readers within driving distance or readers who have friends in town or within driving distance).  As I mentioned some time ago, I’m co-chairing an upcoming women’s conference, Life Extraordinary, which will be held two weeks from tomorrow on Saturday, April 20th at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh.  My registration fee ($45) for the event has already been paid for by the conference committee in exchange for staying awake all night sweating the details and I feel so strongly about the spiritual growth and encouragement that’s going to come out of that day that I want to pay it forward for some other woman. I want you to go.  For free.

General rules:

1.  If you’re local, have not yet registered, and want to attend, please leave a comment today.

2.  If only one person leaves a comment, the registration will be hers.  If more than one person wants to attend, I’ll have  a random drawing and announce the winner next Wednesday.

3.  For those who are out of town/out of state; if you have a local friend that would like to come, or want to get out of town and put yourself up in a hotel,  feel free to enter; I only ask that if you’re entering on someone else’s behalf that you check with them ahead of time to make sure their schedules are clear so they can take advantage of the offer if you win the drawing.

4. Please check the conference website for topics, times, etc.  Childcare is not available.

5.  I will contact the winner by email after making the announcement on the blog and will then take care of registering them myself.

In other words, I won’t be sending anyone a $45 check and telling them to register.

Because even though I’m hopped up on cold medicine, I still have my wits about me.   

I think that’s all the information you need.  Please feel free to email me with any questions or leave them in comments.

Good luck, and I hope to see you there.

Have a nice day.