Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Wing

I got in the car to take Ellie to school and there was one, single, solitary wing staring at me from the windshield.

It was some sort of insect wing.

This isn't the actual wing because I didn't take a picture. I just turned on my
windshield wipers.

No body.

No legs.

No head.

Just the one wing.

I instantly wondered and supposed all the various circumstances that could have taken place to cause the one wing to be left on my windshield.

They were all pretty violent, 
ending with a one-winged bug hopelessly nauseous, 
spinning in out-of-control circles unable to get where he wanted to go 
because his other wing was lying on my windshield.

It was all very ironic in "The Twilight Zone" kind of way,

and oddly animated.

It was sunny and warm and I had had a good full night of sleep but this one wing on my windshield felt like the beginning of a bad day.

I dropped Ellie off and read my verse of the day from the bible app on my phone.

Romans 8:39

"…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So nothing can separate us from the love of God.


"… not death nor life, neither angels nor demons, 
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…"
Romans 8:38

Not anything in all creation.

Not even a severed wing.


The dictionary defines separate as,

"to keep apart or divide; to put, bring, or force apart; to remove or sever from association"

My study notes say that Paul wanted to show his readers in these verses that suffering does not separate believers from Christ but actually carries them along toward their ultimate goal.

So what can look or feel like separation 
can actually be huge strides forward.

That's a huge comfort to a mom dropping off a college freshman in two days who has felt a bit like the whole summer has been one big fast, barfy spinning-in-circles, not-really-going-anywhere, ride.

There has been a lot of wondering on the various situations of the future and many times we supposed the most ridiculous, violent endings that not even "The Twilight Zone" would think to ironically write.

And most certainly not in animation form.

But God holds us in His hand and looks at us spinning in one-winged circles with a love that not even our crazy imaginations can separate us from 

and then He carries us.

And leaves a wing on our windshield as a reminder.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Romans 8:37

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If Disney World Was Our Real Life or Our Real Life was Actually Disney World

If we were Disney World, I'd definitely be 1 or all 7 of the dwarves that follow around Snow White.

But mostly Dopey and Grumpy,

followed by fleeting moments of Happy 

but realistically, it's more Slap Happy. 

Seriously, where is that dwarf? 

He's like the cousin to Sleepy and Happy 
with maybe just a teence of Dopey, 
once removed.

But instead of whistling while he works,
he laughs uncontrollably at Snapchat filters
until he's exhausted and falls asleep.

Which is really early.

In other words, emotions are running high over here as graduation approaches with all of its 152 million details.

McDaniel is feeling all those emotions by being Cruella one moment and Cinderella the next followed by whatever princess cries uncontrollably for no exact reason.

Makeup cried off.
It's been a season of last games, last clubs, last prom.

Prom turned out fantastic, by the way!

It rained and stormed so hard the night before that we lost a branch from our Sycamore tree.

It landed on our patio, ripping down our strands of lights, breaking only one bulb remarkably, and knocking over some potted flowers.

It rained all morning so we couldn't clean up until around 2.

The sun came out and dried out the grass and everything was gorgeous by 6:00 when we started pictures!

The bald spot in the grass is my fault. I burned all the sticks in the yard in the fire pit
and it burned this nice circle into the grass. 

In keeping with the Disney World theme, it does look like magical woodland
creatures made her dress and did her hair, doesn't it?

The swing my dad made was such a cool photo spot.

Doesn't this look like they are palming Ellie's head like a basketball and holding
her up in the air?

It was such a beautiful night and all the parents came to take photos.

Right as we were finishing up, another big branch dropped to the ground from the tree quite suddenly.

Luckily, people were able to jump out of the way just in time.

Monte loudly announced that the Sycamore had spoken and it was time for everyone to leave.

Just like Pocohontas.

But not.

It was around then that I noticed there was a hole in our house.

The branch from the night before!

Womp womp.

One of my best friends from high school came by a few weekends ago.

I laid out the EXACT SAME SHIRT to wear that day but changed my mind at the last minute.

The tall family meets the short family. We thought it was a hoot positioning McDaniel (over 6 feet)
by Jenna who is right at 5 feet.
It was such fun laughing and telling old stories.

She gave McDaniel her very first graduation gift.

That made it real.

So did putting this up in the front yard.

Luckily, I warned Monte that I put it up so he didn't sob pulling into the driveway from work.

He's already promised to be a mess 
when McDaniel leaves in the fall.

Was there a sad dwarf?

Sobby, perhaps?

As the to-do lists keep growing, Monte and I keep our spirits light by playing with Snapchat filters.

Can you believe the school sent me registration forms for Ellie for next year?

Can we not just cross this year off our to-do list first?!

Snapchat is a great break from the stress (and procrastinating filling out those registration forms) and it's so cathartic to laugh. Hard.

Monte totally thinks he could pull off this look.

The girls think we are nuts.

Ellie told us the other night at dinner that, in a nutshell, we might want to go ahead and grow up a little.

She'd had enough.

Total evil step-mother move.

I send her even more videos now.

I got into my car the other morning after McDaniel had borrowed it and found out what has been sustaining her crazy busy schedule.

Granola and super dark chocolate.

I ran a bunch of errands and forgot about the mess in my car until the NEXT morning when I found melted chocolate smeared everywhere in a sad half-hearted attempt at cleaning.

So, like a good member of Snow White's dwarves, I sent her a video at school.

Yesterday after 3:00 the power went out. It was a hot day and I was 18 loads into a big laundry day.

The girls had a concert to go to downtown so Monte and I were stuck outside on the patio watching police helicopters fly overhead, playing trivial pursuit and trying to remember where we'd put a flashlight.

Sadly, I couldn't remember where our flashlight was 
and couldn't name more than 3 members of the Jackson 5. 

Monte wouldn't count LaToya.

We never did figure out what the police helicopters were about.

But we entertained ourselves with our good friend, Snapchat.

The first of the graduation parties is this weekend and baccalaureate is Sunday.

By Sunday evening I should be ALL the 7 dwarves rolled into one, rocking back and forth in a corner sucking my thumb.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now

I only have a quick second.

There are a million something else's I should be doing right now.

Like vacuuming since there are 18 kids coming over for prom pictures Saturday.

I spent two days planting flowers for OUTDOOR pictures.

But the weatherman announced that while it's been beautiful and delightful all week 
it's all going to change on Saturday.


Maybe even some thunderstorms .

I feel like I can't even talk in complete sentences anymore with all the to-do lists in my brain so I'm just going to communicate via bullet point.

• We got rid of our trampoline.

We have been planning to get rid of the trampoline since the fall. The girls just don't use it like they used to and it took up an enormous chunk of the yard.

We bought the trampoline years ago from friends who were moving to China.

We naturally thought it would be easy to find someone interested to buy it from us.

Monte took pictures and posted it to our street's Facebook page with an asking price.

No bites.

Monte posted it to some other type of buyer/seller type site and got some freaky responses and decided to immediately shut it down.

Monte works in a sales environment so he decided to work his talents and try to sell the trampoline to any and everyone he knew in the office.

No interest.

So he dropped the price to FREE to anyone who could move it.

Still no takers!

It took our daughter bouncing on a friend's trampoline while babysitting her Young Life leader's kids and seeing the joy in their eyes as they were jumping to suggest that we offer the trampoline to them.

So Monte did.

And they accepted!!

It took them no time to take it down.

I really wasn't sad to see it go until I told the new owner to be sure to tell his daughter to have sleepovers on it like our girls used to.

Just another punch in the gut that things are changing and that time is cruelly marching on--all over my heart and face and a few other places I'm not going to talk about here.

Monte has plans to build a fire pit in the area where the trampoline used to be.

In the meantime, I'm hoping the weatherman was wrong and we can squeeze 18 dressed up kids in front of the bushes for prom pictures.

• Disco balls rock

I bought a disco ball for McDaniel's surprise 18th birthday party. 

I will eventually post those pictures.

I read a blog post from The Nester a long time ago that she keeps a disco ball as home decor and at certain times of the day it lights up the whole room.

So after the party, I tossed the disco ball into a tray on an ottoman and forgot about it.

One afternoon I walked into this magic:

It really is the coolest thing each afternoon.

When it's sunny.

• I love this filter on Snapchat.

I don't know how Snapchat works and I don't quite understand why things disappear, but this filter CRACKS ME UP.

A toothier, big-eyed me is hilarious. I'm sorry. It just is.

I use it to help me stay awake when waiting on the girls to come home at night.

Monte and I have a little fun with it too.

I also used the filter in a video to let McDaniel know I wasn't happy she used my toothbrush as a shovel to remove the remainder of the coconut oil out of the jar.

I really do have to go now.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have Seen the Lord!

It's the season of contemplation.

What we agree with.

What we believe in.

Who we agree with.

Who we believe in.

In one way or another, it's all contemplated.

As believers in Christ, we can over think it.

And by "it" I mean the whole thing.

We over intellectualize the sacrifice God made by giving up His only son for our forgiveness.

We make it about laws and rules and dates and times and commentaries and personal theories as we throw stones and fiery darts at anything that disagrees with us until we are so far from the heart of the matter that we don't even know what's the matter anymore.

And people certainly don't think of Christ 
when they see us coming.

In John 20:17-18 after Mary found the tomb empty and wept, Jesus revealed himself to her and told her to go tell the disciples.

"Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

"Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:  'I have seen the Lord' 
And she told them that he had said these things to her."

I have seen the Lord.

I have seen the Lord.

It's so incredibly simple.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to show off her knowledge of who He is.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to provide proof that she had in fact for real seen Him.

Jesus told her simply to go tell that she saw Him.

She was in His presence.

When Jesus preformed miracles he didn't ask them to research its validity, or their own worthiness of the healing, He simply told them to go tell others.

In a nutshell their healing became their,

"I have seen the Lord!"

I think if we think hard enough, we all have examples of situations where we can say, 

"I have seen the Lord."

Not literally the face of God.

Where's the faith in that?

Watching a loved one suffer from illness but still possess a joy and humor in their pain,

I have seen the Lord.

Seeing grace and peace that surpasses ALL understanding in someone who has every right in this world to be bitter and angry, 

I have seen the Lord.

Witnessing a newborn baby yawn,

I have seen the Lord.

Recovering from an addiction of any kind,

I have seen the Lord.

In a time when it's become more popular to be entertained at church than educated, 

easier to slam someone's theology on social media than talk to them face-to-face, 

trendy to be super extra careful not to offend an ever growing list,

we need to go back to John 20:18.

We need to tell someone the news,

"I have seen the Lord!"

Because it's filled with hope 

and love 

and forgiveness 

and faith.

It's personal yet for everyone who will just open their eyes to see.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Planet Earth 2

Have you seen any of the BBC's Planet Earth 2 series?

The series is broken down into segments, each episode takes on the animals of that particular segment even if they live across the globe from one another.

One episode was about islands.

We learned about the 3-toed sloth.

Oh my goodness.

This sloth was hanging out in a tree when he heard a mating cry.

The slowness in which he reacted is quite fast for his species according to the narrator, David Attenborough.

He's looking towards the mating call. 
David Attenborough has the type of soothing voice 
that could make Winnie the Pooh seem harsh.

And his brother played John Hammond 
in Jurassic Park!

Back to the sloth.

After hearing the mating call, the sloth jumped into the water and started swimming toward the cry.

I'm not sure why but this struck me funny.

I've never really had a reason to believe a sloth couldn't swim but I sure didn't expect him to look like a tourist on vacation rather than a sloth on a mission to find his soul mate.

He's doing the doggy paddle.

I didn't get the feeling that there was a great deal of urgency.

He got all the way across this inlet only to find out the mating call wasn't for him and he had to turn around and super casually swim back.

Womp womp.

It was like the Charlie Brown of sloths.

The scariest part of this episode was showing the perils of being a baby iguana.

They hatch on rocky beaches and must RUN AS FAST AS THEY CAN to the higher elevation of rocks by the water where their parents are waiting for them.

They must RUN because speed snakes are waiting and watching for them under rocks near by.

Yes. I said speed snakes.

These snakes are HUGE and they got their name honestly.

They are FAST!

I've never rooted for an iguana in my life like I did these newborns.

"GO! GO! GO!! 

My hands are sweating from watching that again.

Did you see that snake lunge at the baby iguana with his MOUTH OPEN in a last ditch effort to stop him?!

Isn't that just like the devil to try to WIDE-MOUTH bite us 
when we are two steps from freedom? 

We went to the Florida Keys for spring break.

It's much more tropical than south Florida.

In fact, the girls kept asking us if we were still in America.

At the pool of our hotel, there was a waterfall spilling over rocks into the pool so that guests could walk under it.

Iguanas were ALL over the rocks.

They were fascinating to watch!

I was an instant fan 
because… Planet Earth 2.

Sometimes, in the morning, we'd see 3 or 4 iguanas squeeze out of holes in the rocks where they had slept overnight.

I can only imagine how cozy
those accommodations were.

The iguanas became our live version of Planet Earth 2.

Except, THANK THE LORD, there were no speed snakes around. 

I would've run the entire way back to Ohio 
if I'd caught even a glimpse of a speed snake 
eyeballing one of my iguanas.

They became our entertainment.

From a distance.

One did come down to the pool deck and sniffed around a few sunbathers.

I preferred them at a distance.

I couldn't believe how dinosaur-like they seemed.

Slap on a back fin and they would resemble a baby Dimetrodon.


There was always a "changing of the guard" of who got the highest rock. They'd raise their head high up towards the sun and close their eyes. They'd remain still, in the same position, for long stretches of time.

Around day 3 of watching my iguanas, I determined Monte had lots of similar characteristics.

He agreed.

I just happened to be videoing my iguanas when I caught this interesting behavior:

After doing some research, I found out that the thingy-do under the iguana's neck is called a dewlap. Males puff it out for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, greeting, warning or 

"Hey, female iguana, you are kind of cute."

Who knows what was happening in the mind of that iguana on that particular day and that particular rock.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool.

They fly off with the iguanas!!

I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and how APPALLED I would've been if we'd actually WITNESSED the iguana snatching when he glazed over a bit and said,

"That would've been awesome!"

After doing some research, I found out that the doohickey under the iguanas neck is actually called a dewlap.

Males puff out their dewlap for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, warning or just a,

"Hey, how you doin'?" 

to any females nearby.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool area.


I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and emotionally expressing HOW APPALLED I'd be if we'd actually witnessed an iguana snatching when Monte glazed over a bit and said, 

"That would've been AWESOME!"

I blame Planet Earth 2.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Treasure Boxes

A lot of life has happened in the last month.

There's no way to explain all of it because there's just too much.

I agreed to teach Sunday School at church this past Sunday weeks ago.

Before Spring Break and before anyone could know my dear friend's mother would pass away.

The days leading up to Sunday were busy with funeral food and details and preparations and standing all day in wedge sandals that pinched my pinkie toes blue.

I was super weary going into that classroom 
Sunday morning.

We talked about David and how he wrote so many of the Psalms.

Did you know Moses wrote some too?

Anyway, we talked about how the word Psalm means "book of praises" and how many were written to be sung.

Our youth pastor typed out some of the Psalms for the kids to choose to use to decorate their treasure boxes along with tissue paper, foam sheets, stickers, markers and construction paper.

They could put things on and in their boxes that they want to treasure up. Keep. 

The kids went right to work.

One girl handed me a marker and a piece of scrap paper and asked me write Jesus on it.

I did.

She told me, with SO MUCH enthusiasm that she was going to write Jesus SO BIG on her treasure box.

Then she started singing a made up song 
about how much she loved Jesus 
and how he is worthy to be trusted 
and is her strength. 

She asked with a giggle if I heard her song.

I told her I did.

She said it was her Psalm.

I asked her how old she was.

She said she'd turn 8 in April.

8 years old!

I was totally done in by this 8-year-old.

I found out later how hard her life is.

A lot of disappointment.

Way different than mine at 7 going on 8.

Yet she sang her own praises to God and wrote Jesus's name SO BIG on her treasure box.

We talked about what we are thankful for and another girl looked me right in the face and said,


Then we talked about movies and they strongly urged me to see "Trolls" even though it's 

"a bit scary but it's okay because it winds up good at the end."

They also told me to see "Sing" even though it's 

"a little sad."

And we all agreed how good "Moana" is.

When I told them how I caught Monte listening to the Moana soundtrack all by myself in the kitchen eating his breakfast the other morning the little girl with Jesus SO BIG on her treasure box said,

"That is so sad! You should listen to it with him! 
No one should listen to music alone!"

I don't know if she was still referring to the Psalms or not but I went home and told Monte.

I also thought of my own treasure box and the praises I'd fill it with like love and laughter and joy in the midst of sorrow.

I thought of a line from a Chance the Rapper song I saw him sing on an award show,

"God is better than the world's best thing. 
God is better than the best thing the world has to offer."

I thought of how things in this life are scary and sad but we know the ending of the bigger story and to quote my little friends in Sunday School Class, 

"it winds up good in the end."

I thought of how I read in Ephesians 5 in the Message that "Thanksgiving is our dialect."

Gratitude should be our accent.

In a season where I can barely catch my breath,

and it seems like life is dealing a very hard hand to the people I love, 

 this little girl in my Sunday School class 
with the distinct drawl of thankfulness,

reminded me of all my treasures.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dino Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's sad that the only picture I could find in my photos of Monte and I together was a bad selfie in the dark while it was snowing or this:

Notice the leg pop.

Speaking of dinosaurs,

Monte and I rewatched Jurassic World the other night.

I forgot how intense it was!

I had to "go to the bathroom" during one scene 
because I couldn't take the suspense.

And I already knew what was going to happen.

That night I dreamed that Monte was bit in half by a dinosaur.

What kind, I'm not sure.

I thought for certain he was a goner but he kept talking.

Talk, talk, talk.

I thought to myself, in my dream, can you survive being bit in half by a dinosaur?

Somehow Monte was offended that I "killed him off" in my dream.

I tried to explain that HE WASN'T DEAD 
and still had a lot left to say.

The girls went to a church youth group white elephant party around the holidays.

Ellie came home with a dinosaur chia pet.

Not any real dinosaur, mind you.

The made up one from Jurassic World.

Indominus Rex.

Interesting that the word "minus" is right in the name.

Not that I'm bitter,
she gets it in the end.

But I was still excited.

I read the instructions and instantly got to work.

I soaked the whole terra cotta dinosaur and some of the seeds and then painted them on.

It was so exciting.

And drippy.

So much so that some of the seeds slid down onto the dinosaur's elbow and onto the platform.

I was supposed to keep it near sunlight and mist it daily to keep it hydrated.

Here's what it looked like after Day 1.

Day 2.

Day 3.

Day 4.

Day 5.

Day 6.

The box said I should see growth in a week or two.

I stopped spritzing it somewhere after the second week.

I was washing all the seeds off when I realized that I put chia seeds in my green smoothies.


I could've grown my own chia pet anytime I wanted.

Or not.

After staring at this chia-less terra cotta dinosaur every day as I did the dishes, I decided I would paint it.

I bought acrylic paint in metallic gold and metallic silver.

Monte voted for the silver.

Hello there!

I just saw this on some HGTV email I get because I clicked on something one time and now get daily emails.

I'm unintentionally trendy!

Now to hunt for the smallest little plant ever…

Sorry if this creeps you out.
It makes me laugh.
Look at my cave man feet.
And seriously, who wears a white bathing suit?