Friday, August 30, 2013

Things I Learned in August

Inspired by Chatting at the Sky, I am once again going to try to do a post on what I have learned this month.

I did a similar post in June but was on vacation the end of July so I skipped that month.


I think I just fell asleep,

that was so boring.
So here we go:


1. Death is so much easier to bear 
when I KNOW where they are spending eternity.

Since January, I have lost 3 family members, all siblings.
(You can read about that here, here and here.)

But they are all together right now in heaven in the presence of Jesus.

I KNOW this.

It is hard to not smile at that fact.

And should put a fire under me to pray hard 
for those I don't have that absolute knowledge.

2.   My family is such a blessing.

We aren't a perfect group, 

this big, huge loud extended family of mine, 

but we try to stay close in our huddle.

Even if some don't seem to be willing to wear the team jersey.

God so perfectly places us in our "family huddle" 

and we each can say what we want about who we think are the best 

bench warmers, 
water boys, 
and cheerleaders.

But it is our huddle, win or lose.

And I thank God for them. 

3. It is easier to have a bad day then to watch your kid have one.

This whole starting a new school business

whether it is middle school

high school

or college

is hard enough to experience firsthand

but gut wrenching to watch from afar.

It seems this week has been a week similar to 

"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"

Remember this?
Or as Ellie put it,

"A Diary of a Wimpy Kid day"

These books and movies are cute.

It was a week of:

•losing a student ID

•getting a book bag stolen

•nearly pooping their pants in front of 
a large group of people while swing dancing
(I did not just make that up)

•switching to a class only to find out the teacher 
is a bitter-stingy-with-the-good-grades-suspected-
puppy-kicker kinda person who seems to hate you

•tripping over the boy bent down by the locker next to you and falling spectacularly and two older boys have to help you up. 
And you are wearing a dress. And you hurt your knee.

•auditioning for a part in a musical that you practiced and practiced and practiced for and the judges, seemingly coldly, cut you off early into your monologue. Before the best part. And this was the same day you hurt your knee falling spectacularly over the boy bent down by the locker next to you.

Gut wrenching.
(And a little funny. C'mon--a near pants-pooping while swing dancing? I am only human.)

But here is the great lesson for me.

They are all fine. 

Everyone of these Alexanders (or "Wimpy Kids") that picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and moved on

even if they were limping

from their bad days.

And here I am,

a little dizzy from the roller coaster ride

and stiff from the time spent on my knees 
in prayer on their behalf.

But they are all fine.

4. You can tell Siri on your iPhone to text people.

This may not be anything new to you, but this was downright, "Shut the front door" awesome for me.

Being the "iPhoner" I am

who still can't pick up her voicemail without calling the
person back and hanging up quickly in a panic.

Plus, Siri says Carisa "Ca-reeee-sa"
which is funny stuff.

I think that is it.

What lessons did you learn in August?
Super Sunday Sync

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Jacked Up Jaw

We went to our beloved Fripp Island this summer.

Such a bonus that I unknowingly captured an egret in this picture.
 Can you see him?

Insert a happy [sigh] here.

No place is like Fripp for me.
Actually my entire family. 
We all feel exactly the same way.
And we don't feel exactly the same way about ANYTHING else.

This year we had the added pleasure of getting to see my dad's older brother, Doyle and his son, Doyle Jr. whom I had never met.

Long story.

I think it had been 16 years or so since I had seen Uncle Doyle.

He spends most of his time in Brazil but has rental properties in North Carolina that he was working on and was able to make the drive to Fripp.

So glad he did.

My family standing by the brick we bought for my parents years ago
at a park in Fripp. So a piece of them is there always.
Insert another happy [sigh].

On our first day at the beach Ellie and I did what we love to do:

jump waves.

Fripp has some of the warmest water EVER.

Like bath water warm.

I have read why and can not intelligently pass that along to you now 
but something about jet streams and coastlines and whatnot.

You can walk out REALLY far into the ocean and still be waist deep.

I like that.

Until I came home and watched a special during Shark Week where this team of, I don't know, sharkologists, came up with this torpedo tracking device to follow great whites around in a beach area in Cape Cod and this 18-foot shark,

let me say that again,

18-foot shark

swam so close to the beach in like 3 feet of water,

let me say that again,

3 feet of water!

It made the sharkologists call the "authorities" of that beach and shut it down due to "shark activity".

Wasn't that the entire plot of Jaws?

Not to my knowledge has there ever been a shark sighting at Fripp.

I will chant that to myself under my breath the next time I am there jumping waves.

Plus, gators are the thing to be on the lookout for at Fripp.

But I digress…

Ellie and I were jumping some pretty awesome waves when her 

jump up 

and my 
jump down


As in her head and my chin.

To say I got my bell rung truly and accurately describes the collision.

Because I heard the DING

and the DONG.

I thought I knocked Ellie out so I busied myself pulling her out of the water and checking her head for bleeding while my tongue did a roll call over my teeth to see if there were any absences.

There were not.

A little while later I had a pretty intense pain in my ear. I thought it was just water so I went up on the beach and laid on my side to see if it would help.

It didn't.

By dinner time, my throat was sore and my ear still hurt.

I thought I might be getting a cold.

The next morning, I could barely bite down and my ear just ached and my throat still hurt.

Ellie came down for breakfast rubbing her head and saying how sore it was from our collision.

That is when I finally put it all together.

I jacked up my jaw!

I didn't know what to do about it since I had an entire week's worth of vacation ahead of me and no intention of heading across the bridge to an urgent care, so I just took some Alleve and dealt with it.

By chewing gum (to loosen up my tight jaw)

drinking coffee (to make me happy)

and eating lots of good chewy food (because we were on vacation).

I found out a week later that I did everything wrong. 


Even though we had the most comfortable king-size bed at the beach house

and we watched episodes of Laverne and Shirley with our girls every night before bed

(they had NEVER seen the show before! How is it I have failed them so?)

I still had nightmares almost every night.

Nightmares involving getting my jacked up jaw wired shut so that I had to talk somehow through gritted teeth 

and have my friend Carisa rub raw cookie dough on them for nourishment.

Pretty odd, huh.

Because I don't even prefer raw cookie dough.

My dentist was on vacation when we got back into town so we got in touch with a friend who is also in the business.

The business of teeth and jacked up jaw fixing.

He so very graciously saw me on a Sunday night.

Which I was ever so happy about since I could not take another night of dreams 
where Carisa was rubbing raw cookie dough onto my teeth!!

Not that she wouldn't do it if I asked.
God love her sweet heart.

The good news of the visit was that I had not broken my jaw and it would not require wiring shut.

When Ellie's up and my down, collided, 
the pad thingy that sits in between my jaw hinge squirted right out.

Medically speaking, of course.

In other words:  I jacked up my jaw.

I got fitted for a mouth piece that fits over just my two front teeth and would help relax my jaw hinge enough to allow that pad thingy to slip back into its rightful place.

Hope I didn't just bore you with all the technical details.

I was also given some dos and don'ts:

•Do take ibuprofen 3 times a day.
•Don't chew gum.
•Do change to a soft food diet.
No. Words.
•Don't drink coffee or other caffeine.
For the love of Pete!
•Do wear the mouth piece each night.
•Don't let the dog chew on it.
Oh my!

Can I just say that I have never craved crunching into a carrot or an apple more?

That the thought of chomping into some bubble gum 
and chewy taffy tormented me?!

I drank smoothies and ate soup for the first two days.

Then I had the brilliant thought of putting regular normal chewing-required food and sticking it into the blender.

Do you know what happens to chicken with red peppers 
once it is blended?

It turns into vomit.
I am completely serious.
Dead ringer.

But I was so palette bored (if that can be a thing)

that I ate it anyway.

Much to the disgust and horror of my family.

Hey, the vomit turned out to be tasty! 

Don't judge. I had a jacked up jaw.

And I couldn't figure out how to blend jelly beans without ruining my Ninja.

I am happy to report that my jaw is 1,000 times better!

The dog is pretty freaked out when I wear the mouthpiece 

(the girls call me "Bucky")

and it makes me drool like a faucet.

Sorry, that was gross.

[Oh, NOW she apologizes?]

But I am no longer eating vomit.

And am still afraid to try chewing gum or taffy.

And I should probably confess that I never quit drinking coffee. 
I know! 
I am usually such a rule follower!

I didn't want to become Monte's nightmare.

Super Sunday Sync

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When We All Get To Heaven

While on vacation the end of July, we got the sad news that our dear Uncle Barney (actually, my great-uncle) passed away suddenly in his sleep.

Uncle Barney and Aunt Marilyn. Look at their sweatshirts. It lists all
their grandchildren by name. Maybe even great-grandchildren.

He was my grandmother's younger brother.

He died on Sunday. My grandmother's birthday (the first since her passing) was Monday.

Never one to miss a chance to sing,

Uncle Barney arrived in heaven just in time to 
sing his sweet sister Happy Birthday.

We were at our beloved Fripp Island when we got the news.

While on a bike ride around the island, the song,

"When We All Get to Heaven"

kept running through my mind.

I haven't heard or even thought of that song in years.

I could only recall the words to the chorus:

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing and shout the victory!

God is so faithful to comfort his own with a sweet memory.

The thought of Uncle Barney with his sisters and brother and parents let alone his "friend Jesus" (as he always phrased it)

well, it was hard to be anything but praise-filled

even though I will miss him so much.

Uncle Barney was so funny.

Great Uncle Bob (who married my parents and
Monte and I) with Great Uncle Barney. They were
proving that when they open their mouth they
look just alike. And people wonder why I am

He always told us as kids that my grandmother had dropped him on his head when he was a baby.

He assured us that he had no lasting effects from the fall

then he would launch into all manner 
of head twitching and nodding

much to our delight.

Barney loved to sing!

He was always singing. 

Our family reunions and get togethers always included music. He had a lovely tenor voice and I can still hear him singing in some of the good ol' hymns.

One of the things Aunt Marilyn has noticed so much, is how quiet the house is without Barney's constant singing and whistling.

Barney LOVED his wife, Marilyn.

He took marriage very seriously and invested in it. 

They went on "romantical" (as he called them) weekends each year. They would often stop by on their way to or from one of their weekends when I was a kid. It was good for me to see the intention of their marriage.

It was at my grandmother's funeral that he pulled my girls aside to tell them how blessed he was to have just celebrated 50 years of being married. He said he asked Marilyn if she would give him 50 more.

She told him she'd have to think about it.

She then said to my girls with great inflection,

"This is the most important decision you will ever make. 
Don't make it lightly!"

Oh, how I love my family!

Uncle Bob, Aunt Beverly, Aunt Betty, Aunt Jeanie, Aunt Janet
and Uncle Barney.

During a family reunion at a lake a few years ago, Uncle Barney and Aunt Marilyn were out on a "romantical" walk by the lake at night. Barney stepped right off of the dock into the lake by accident!

We were all in the lobby when Marilyn and a very wet Barney came in laughing. He told his story with great detail and humor.

[See--I didn't get this way all by myself!]

We all delighted in it! 

The family teased him the rest of the weekend, which Barney delighted in.

Barney was the one who stood up and said the beautiful tribute to my grandmother at her funeral.

Spoke of her adjustable spirit.

Wasn't that just yesterday?

I found out that Barney had three wishes regarding his death:

1) He wanted to go before his beloved Marilyn.

2) He wanted to go in his sleep.

3) He wanted to go on a Sunday so he could 
sing in the heavenly choir.

As his grandson pointed out--

he got all three!

If that right there isn't proof that God hears every prayer, 
that He is a God of the big AND small things,
that He loves us so very personally,
I am not sure what is.

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing and shout the victory!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to School

It has been a while since I have posted anything here.

August was busy (I will explain later) and I wanted to concentrate on enjoying the remaining days of summer with my girls.

McDaniel started high school today.



Thankfully, she is at school with only the freshman today so they can get adjusted to the school without getting mowed over by all the upper class men.

That comes tomorrow.

Ellie felt sassy enough to wear cowboy boots on her first day! They made the
freshman all wear the same shirt today.

 Ellie started middle school today.

She was ready last December.

In fact, summer couldn't end FAST ENOUGH for her.

She was THAT excited for middle school!

Ellie was all like, "See ya!"

This is how McDaniel REALLY felt about starting
high school. Ellie can barely hold back her smile.
McDaniel started having nightmares last spring about high school.

Nightmares that involved gangs, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Or basically the plot from an after school special. 
(Remember those from the 80s that explained things like "Roid Rage"?)

We tried to reassure McDaniel. Asked her to pray for courage and peace.

While Monte and I prayed for courage and peace.

We even had her pediatrician tell her flat out:

"There is NO gang activity at your high school!"

Thank you, Doc!

Then she threw in:

"But there is a heroin problem."

McDaniel's eyes

and MINE

grew wide.

A friend showed McDaniel around the school last week and helped her get her locker open and assured her that

"NO, a senior boy will not have a locker right next to you 
and shave in between classes."

Another fear of hers.
Where does she get these crazy ideas?!

She also feared getting shoved into her locker by some menacing upper class men.

She needs to stop watching Disney shows about high school

and remember the fact that she is 6 feet tall!

I guess there is a little basis for that locker shoving fear.

On her first day of middle school, 3 years ago, an 8th grader shoved her into a bank of lockers (knocking her down) and he just walked off laughing.

Monte went through several stages of rage and possible revenge tactics before he remembered he was:

1) An adult.
2) A Christian.
3) A father who was making a very big impression on his daughter with his reaction.

Weeks later she pointed out the "pusher" walking home from school.

If ever there was a stereo type "bully"

he was it.

He would get the part of mean kid from Christmas Story every time.

Whoa. Whoa. WHOA!

He is totally going to be at school with McDaniel again!
Unless he moved.

What if he remembers and tries to shove her again tomorrow?

Unless he moved.

What if (in reaction to possible future shoving) Monte forgets he is

1) An adult.
2) A Christian.
3) A father who is making a VERY BIG impression on his daughter with his reaction???

What if the bully falls in love with her and asks her out?

Unless he moved.

What if Monte forgets

1) We agreed he should never have a gun in the house.
2) He is a Christian?!?!

I am sure this kid moved.

Didn't I just hear somewhere that he moved??

I need a nap.

And to pray for courage and peace.

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

If I could, I wouldn't be so surprised when crazy things happen. And they do. All the time. Much to my surprise. We went o...