Monthly Archives: May 2014

Five on Friday: The Buck Up Little Camper Edition

Moving the ball forward today.  There’s a new rally phrase I’ve been chanting to myself for a couple of weeks and it’s “Bias for action” and even if it’s just an inch in the right direction, that’s a start.

“Bias for action?”

I’ve got the lock on nerd, people.

1.  The kids are excited about high school, so I need to be as well.  This anxiety is mine, not theirs, and they don’t need to catch a case of the heebie-jeebies from me.  They can, however, absorb confidence.

Fake it ’til we make it.

2.  The church serves God’s purposes and not mine.  If my heart’s desire is to see Him glorified, He will take care of all I need and all I lack.

3. Water, vegetables, and occasionally walking around the block will make me feel better.


Sorry, it had to be said.

4.  Instead of looking at what hasn’t been accomplished by this stage in life, focus on the growth that has occurred.  I’m getting better at managing conflict, at speaking up when something needs to be said,  and sewing straight lines.


New quilting project on the brain.  If all these seams match up, it’ll be a miracle.



5. Freedom to be myself means freedom to adhere to what, when, and how I want to write.  My feelings were hurt several months ago when someone said the blog used to be funnier and I’ve sat on those words for a while, figuring out why they cut to the quick.  At first I was sad because I’m a pleaser and I want everyone around me to be happy.  I want you, the reader, to love coming here and if you don’t know me in real life, to feel like we could be friends. Yes, I can be funny (laughter is my love language) and most every day you will see a genuine smile on my face and joy in my heart.  But when I started this blog project on a whim five years ago, my kids were 10 and in the big middle of providing daily doses of blog fodder doing silly things little boys do.  Now they’re 15 and while there’s still plenty of fodder, I can’t write it all  down because it can be hurtful, painful, NORMAL,  and not at all for public consumption.

So I choose authentic.

Some days that will look funny.  Other days it won’t.  And if I don’t write for a while, chances are the often serious, thinky, drawn-to-order, must-have-life-in-neat-organized-categories side of me needs to sort things out quietly and internally.  And if there’s occasionally something angsty in this space, it’s probably because this visual learner is just trying to make the swirling thoughts static for a second to make sense of it all.

There’s value in being quiet and equal value in speaking out loud.

I am what I am.

6.  And to end on a high note (AND LET’S NOT TWITCH THAT THE LIST DOESN’T STOP AT FIVE), proving that opposites attract, here’s a picture from last night of Tommy and his best friend after they played their final middle school band concert.


Onward and, hopefully, not too much more upward, at least for the kid on the right.

Have a nice day.


My laptop has been sitting on the kitchen bar for a couple of weeks now and every time I look at it I think, “I should write” and then I don’t. I’ve been doing other things – it’s May with all the crazy that comes with the month- but I’ve mainly been marinating in a toxic stew of low grade anxiety with occasional bouts of hyperventilation over Big Life Questions such as 1) am I royally screwing up my kids, 2) do I have what it takes to lead this conference, 3) I’m six months from 45 and am I where I wanted to be at this point in my life, and 4) is it time to close the chapter on blogging?

1) I hope not.

2) I hope so.

3) Talk to me in 20 more pounds.

4) Jury’s still out.

We’ve got a lot of changes coming down the pike – the kids leaving middle school for high school, saying goodbye to the familiarity of the year-round calendar to go traditional, and having a passel of boys turn 15 next month which means learner’s permits and driving lessons.

I still get nervous when they ride their bikes to the pool so HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CALMLY HAND OVER THE KEYS TO THE VAN?  

I don’t like change. I just don’t.  This is the woman who took years to learn to say Costco when they changed their name from Price Club, who still can’t confidently navigate Windows 8  even though she upgraded months ago, and whose favorite waitress at Pho Super 9 automatically yells “B7” to the cook as she walks in the front door. The point is, I like routine. I like predictable.  I like known. And everything coming down the pike is anything but those three.


Someone hand me a paper bag to breathe in.

Five on Friday: The Mother’s Day Edition

When last I updated, my parents had just arrived for their annual spring visit.  We had a great time.  Mom made pie and potato salad, Dad gave me advice on how to properly refinish the breakfast table (we’ve rained a lot of abuse over that top in the last 14 years), we talked over long meals with missionary friends from Guatemala who live in the area, and even had time to do some touristy stuff and went for a walk through Duke Gardens.

And then Mom and Dad left and I had to hibernate for a while to get my bearings and so I went to my happy place which involves the couch and my nose in a book and got sucked into a trilogy of all things so life has been on the back burner while I finished the series.  I wish I could recommend it to you because the story was good and complicated but OH MY WORD at the profanity and I can’t in good conscience tell you to rush right out and buy it. But the books are done and now I need to focus on the laundry and cook something other than spaghetti for the kids and get strung out on conference planning because we’re kicking off in a couple of months and I need to have some ducks in a row so that I’m not stewing over task lists and can sleep through the 3 a.m. panicked wakeup remembering phone calls to make and letters to write.

Before I get to those calls, though, it’s time for the Five and since I haven’t put Mother’s Day cards in the mail because it snuck up on me and thank you everyone on Facebook for starting to post pictures of their mom for the reminder, today’s list is Five Little Peeks Into My Mom’s Life.

1.  I have never heard my mother swear.  One time, ONE TIME, she said “heck” and to this day I could take you to the sidewalk in the alley behind the Pais store in Guatemala City where she said it because it was the strongest word she’d ever said in my brief ten years of living and I stood in stunned silence and thought the universe was about to turn on its axis.

2.  She pushes herself to learn new things.  Back in 1980, someone gave Mom and Dad a computer to take back to the field to use in their ministry. Up until that point, any writing she did was on an old IBM Selectric typewriter with the letter balls and the correction tape and in those days computers didn’t come with preloaded software.  It was all floppy discs and C prompts, baby.  My mom huddled up with the two-book thick manual and started from scratch learning how to operate that ding-dang thing because there wasn’t such a thing as tech support in our neck of the jungle and wouldn’t you know it, before too long she was developing macros and shortcuts and typing in K’ek’chi on a keyboard that was built for plain ole American.  I’m so proud of her for persevering through that challenge and the myriad of technology changes since then and, even at 80, she’s still tackling new frontiers such as learning how to get off the home page on Facebook, replying to a mention on Twitter, and operating her first iPhone.  I’m happy to report she can now successfully attach a picture to an email and if we could just figure out a way to help her, ahem, remember her passwords, there will be no stopping her.

3.  She is always prepared.  You can drop by her house unannounced and there will be a casserole or a soup in the freezer she will pull out to serve you.  Need something during a trip?  Her purse always has chewing gum, a comb, pens, cough drops, a little film canister with Advil and Tylenol, measuring tape, a rain hat, and, because she lived for 35 years in a country without a Sheetz every three exits, a small roll of toilet paper for the times that nature calls.

Yes, she’s been back in America for almost 20 years and the toilet paper is still in there.  I saw it last week.  Some habits die hard.

4.  She is tenacious, loyal, committed, and humble.  No one knows of the countless hours, the years she has spent tutoring an immigrant family’s young sons, having them in her home weekly for reading and homework sessions, making calls to school on their behalf to get needed services, advocating to judges and social workers when times are tough, giving them a chance to succeed when others have written them off.  And if you’re her friend?  There’s no walking alone through the valley of the shadow of death when she loves you.  She doesn’t fear the hard places in her friends’ lives and quietly supports them through their pain with her time, her presence, and, practically, a pot of potato soup. She does all this without calling attention to herself and without regard for her own personal comfort.

5.  She loves the Lord her God with all her heart, mind, soul, and spirit.  When I think of my mom, I see her seated in the living room in the early morning dark, a single lamp shining on the open Bible in her lap.  She spends time studying her Bible and in prayer every day.  The amount of Scripture she’s memorized is astounding, and she’s been known to re-memorize the same verses in different translations, just to keep it interesting.

She is an amazing woman, the glue in our family, and a wonderful example to me.

Oh, to be like her.

I love you, Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day.


photo (359)