Tuesday, February 02, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Last week Monte woke up mad at me because he found out that I was dating someone else while I was dating him.
So this dream took place circa 1994/95.
He was so mad in the dream that he decided to drive over to the apartment of this "other guy". His anger caused him to rethink things on that drive and he contemplated diving more heavily into his hobby of time travel.
Yes, time travel.
His anger caused him to speed a little on the way to confront this "other guy" and he had to force himself to slow down so as not to exceed the appropriate speed limit that would allow time travel possible.
So he was driving a DeLorean...?
Did he dream within the plot of Back To The Future?
He was pretty mad still when he woke up.
I'm just glad he never mentioned
a time travel hobby when we were dating.
Last night, I had a dream that I saw a black llama in our yard. I pointed out the llama to Monte and he went outside to check it out.
The llama STOOD UP on its back legs, positioned its front legs into a boxing formation and punched Monte square in the face.
More than once.
Monte got in a few good punches too.
I sent a text for help to neighbors who came quickly.
One brought a BB gun.
I don't know what happened next or who won the fight, or if any llamas were harmed in the making of my dream, but I know I felt this incredible gratefulness for our neighbors.
Neighbors you can call when your husband is
getting clocked by an upright llama in your yard.
After I told Monte the dream this morning (and how proud I was that he held his own with the llama who seemed 20 feet tall standing on its hind legs), he postulated all the possible meanings of the dream.
I rejected them all.
Sometimes all a dream is
is the feeling it left you with.
Like I'm feeling SUPER glad Monte isn't into time travel as a hobby (and that he doesn't drive a DeLorean, for Pete's sake).
And I'm thankful I live by some of the neatest, kindest, MOST FUN people I can count on to show up when I text them there's a llama boxing Monte in the yard.
Tuesday, October 06, 2020
McDaniel is a coaching a JV high school field hockey team.
She's never played.
And knew very little about the game
Her team had a game just 30 minutes away from us so we drove to watch it Saturday.
It was an over 2-hour drive on the bus for her and her team so I decided to make each of them snacks bags for after the game and on the way home.
Snacks for 20 ended up filling a few leftover Amazon boxes.
The set up on this football field/track was bizarre and included lots of locked chain link fences.
We drove to where the bus was parked right by the track to see if we could get to the team on the other side from there.
Monte hopped the fence and we handed him the boxes.
On the way back over, he struggled.
McDaniel couldn't watch and walked away towards the car.
I looked back to find Monte stuck in a straddle position over the fence.
I quickly joined McDaniel by the car.
After awhile, Monte marched towards us with a grumpy face.
"I'm hurt" he said.
Then he turned around to reveal an enormous rip in the hind end of his jeans.
|Is this inappropriate?|
The entire pocket was flapping in the wind
revealing the color of his underwear.
Which wasn't white.
I can't remember if I fell down or leaned over or just blacked out from laughing.
Monte was mad.
His jeans were new
and he really liked them
and he just wanted McDaniel
and I to see if he was bleeding.
McDaniel muttered something about refusing to look at her father's behind in a high school parking lot.
It was all up to me.
Reassuringly, I saw no blood and then told Monte to take off his jacket, tie it around his waist so we could walk all the way around the stadium and track to deliver the snacks he had earlier set by the fence.
We got to visit with McDaniel during the varsity game and sat off by ourselves while her team enjoyed the snacks.
Three girls came over and asked McDaniel permission to go to the bus to get a blanket.
We watched as they walked around the track, forgetting to warn them that the gate was locked.
We saw one of the girls jump the fence.
McDaniel worried since she had concussion.
We watched intently as the girl tried unsuccessfully to get back over the fence--almost exactly where Monte had torn the back end of his pants.
All of a sudden, an older gentleman emerged from the bus (one of those big charter ones) and helped the girl with ease right on over the fence.
"The bus driver was in the bus the entire time?!
He could've helped me??
Why didn't he offer to help me?!"
I envisioned the bus driver trying to take a little nap when the ruckus of shaking chain link caused him to open his eyes to see Monte stuck in a straddle on top of the fence.
I'm sure he got caught up in wanting to see how this situation was going to play out. He might have even recorded it just to make sure the bus drivers back at home believed it really happened.
The whole thing was funny all over again.
Until we got home and Monte made me check
for a "flesh wound"
in the middle of the kitchen.
Thursday, October 01, 2020
My favorite thing to do while I work out or do errands or make dinner is to pull up my Apple music library of songs I've downloaded and hit shuffle.
It surprises and pleases me to no end the vast variety of songs I like enough to download.
I love that this morning during my workout I went from DJ Khalil's Elevate from the Spiderverse soundtrack to Aretha Franklin's Precious Lord, Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend which was recorded live at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Both of these entire albums are so good.
Do people say albums anymore?
Check out some of the lyrics from Elevate:
Gotta go hard (gotta go hard)
I ain't got time to waste (I ain't got time)
I gotta go high (gotta go high)
I gotta elevate (I gotta elevate)
They wanna fight (they wanna fight)
I'm just gon' let 'em hate (I'm just gon' let 'em hate)
I gotta go high (gotta go high)
I gotta elevate (I gotta elevate)
You better choose a side, you gotta choose a side
You gotta pick
You better do what's right or you gonna lose the fight
Those words popped out at me.
Especially after the dismal dumpster fire that was the presidential debates this past week.
I think we all need to elevate about 14 notches,
thank you very much.
And not take the bait to fight.
Then Aretha Franklin came on with a gospel version of You've Got a Friend but instead of "me" she changed it to "Jesus".
Check it out:
When you're down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and meditate on Him
And soon He will be there
God can brighten up even your darkest hour
You've got a friend in Jesus.
It was so reassuring to know that in a country so divided, there is a way to turn--up.
Not stick our heads in the sand in avoidance but seeking a truth that is lasting.
In a season where people are fighting for and and against every imaginable topic and issue, we have a friend we can count on that doesn't care how we vote (seriously).
Let the haters hate.
Let's do better.
And in case you were wondering,
the next song that came on was
Harry Style's Watermelon Sugar.
Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Recently we went to an outdoor wedding.
I got to talk with friends I haven't seen in awhile.
While talking at a table with one lovely friend,
a praying mantis seemed to fall from the sky right onto her shoulder.
She swatted it away but before long, it reappeared on the back of her chair.
I flicked it away.
took aim with my finger
and flicked it right in the face.
It was out of character for me,
and kind of gross because it took a few times
to get it to release its grip and fall away.
But I'm no hero,
my friend casually flicked it away
like it was NO. BIG. DEAL.
I forgot all about it until days later when I was outside watering my flowers.
I didn't see a praying mantis,
but I remembered the one I saw.
I wasn't sure why so I went inside and did a little research on them.
Up until then, I would've thought the praying mantis was relative to the butterfly,
a beautiful, peaceful creature thinking calm thoughts
as it hangs out on a screen door
looking to be spiritual.
They sit in wait,
ready to pounce at any moment,
with those Popeye legs folded
in a praying like posture.
They feed on moths, crickets and grasshoppers
but they will also eat birds (?!)
and the female has been known
to eat the male after mating.
Their closest relatives are termites and cockroaches.
No butterflies in that family tree, not even twice removed.
So their reunions must be fun…
As I looked through the images, it struck me how,
after reading of their strength and strategy,
they looked more like a boxer ready to fight
than a creature of peace ready to pray.
I've been pondering that…
how I underestimated the praying mantis.
Prayer is our weapon for battle, for sure.
It might seem to others to be a peaceful,
but it can be powerfully explosive and active.
Especially to the enemy.
I've heard Priscilla Shirer say that when we put on the armor of God, it's prayer that activates it.
It's why some call their prayer areas at home war rooms.
We need to remember to pray.
In the opposite school of thought,
I've been pondering how the praying mantis
is an example of how things aren't always what they seem.
Sometimes what seems like an innocent praying creature falling from the sky onto our shoulder isn't that at all.
It's the enemy with its fists up ready to attack if we aren't ready.
Or willing to notice.
It will keep coming for us
until we flick it right in the face
sending it sailing away.
Now, that might sound overdramatic, but things beyond flesh and blood usually are and it's when we are laughing them off or underestimating their strength that they crawl back and sit on the chair behind us waiting to prey on us.
We need to remember the enemy.
It's when we remember
that we can recognize it.
And casually flick it off our shoulder
we know who
and what it is.
It's when we rest in the ignorance that our enemy is related to a butterfly instead of a stone cold killer of birds and boyfriends that we find ourselves in trouble.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
We got new neighbors in the midst of this global pandemic. They have sweet twins, one boy and one girl who just turned 8. With another boy due in January.
We've had lots of over the fence chats, driveway talks and side yard discussions over this long socially distanced shelter in place time.
The twins had a very small, mostly family birthday party that we got invited to.
We sat in the backyard and ate bbq and watched an epic girls vs. boys kickball game.
Monte and I never wanted to play kickball more in our lives.
Alas, we were not asked to join.
So we cheered from the picnic table.
Sitting in our neighbor's backyard gave me a chance to see my yard from a different perspective.
Monte and I noticed a piece of trim hanging a bit from the side of our garage that only they can see.
Some of my Rose of Sharon limbs were scraggly
and haphazardly growing through the fence.
But the worst thing I discovered were these vines that had taken over the backside (or my neighbor's side) of the ornamental grasses and forsythia that separate our yards.
They were covered and I didn't even realize it!
I spent Saturday pulling the choking vines from my plants.
Some had bloomed with the daintiest little misleading white flowers
while I uncovered brown leaves underneath on my forsythia bush.
And isn't that just how it is?
When we don't change our perspective every now and then,
take the time to actually leave our own yard,
we can't clean up what we don't see.
We assume everything is ok because it looks good from the comfort of our own back patio.
From our safe distance,
we might even get a glimpse of the vine's tiny white flowers blooming and think all is well,
never realizing the damage
its vines are doing to the plant underneath.
My yard cleanup was much overdue and it's going to take some serious maintenance to stay on top of.
Lots of pruning.
I might even have to dig up and replant.
But now that I've seen my yard from another's,
I can't pretend I didn't.
Sunday, April 12, 2020
We've been under an order by the state of Ohio to shelter in place for over a month now to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
We watched Easter service from our couch.
We have plans to order in for dinner since going to the grocery store requires a mask, gloves and waiting in long, measured out lines.
I miss my church family and my actual family, that we'd probably have driven out of state to see this Holy weekend.
This seems more authentic.
Talking about Mary seeing the resurrected Jesus first in our pajamas, the smell of bacon still in the air.
There's something in the air that feels like the Whos from Whoville just might start singing "Fah-who foris, dah-who doris" because, despite the Grinch, Easter came anyway, as it did all those years ago, without cellophane wrapped baskets and bows. It came without a big bunny bringing presents, tons of candy and food. It came without a special program at church and a packed sanctuary full of lillies. It came without gathering.
Pared down, it feels bigger to me. More.
That in this time of sheltering in place and hunkering down, that we can see more clearly the honest truth of what it means that the tomb was empty.
It means what was thought of as defeat, wasn't.
It means that all who embrace the cross has new life.
This is such a season for change.
Some of us are handling that better than others.
Some of us are obeying the social distancing rules better than others.
Some of us are offering grace better than others.
Whole states are proving how important a governor is by the way they are being protected or not.
It is so interesting to think how God is working in all of it.
It's been a test of what we think we have control of.
What remains is so true and pure it hurts.
It's neighbors delivering food and support to one another.
It's gratitude for the helpers like teachers and first responders.
It's an invitation to take a step towards who we were always intended to be.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Fear will keep you from living your life, hugging your neighbor, shaking a hand. Fear will put a barrier between you and anyone else and it will justify itself over and over and over again until you don't leave the house.
Some fear is important. We should fear lions and guns and spending more than we earn.
But if we sit around and think about the worst case scenarios every day, that isn't living. It's dooms day prepping--with or without the bunker full of beef jerky, hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
I recently read Melanie Shankle's new book, "On the Bright Side" where she referenced a story in Exodus that changed how I look at fear and my community.
I am blessed to be surrounded by a community of God-loving women. I have more opportunities to be part of studies, groups and prayer than I have time for. I sometimes let that fact stress me out (I can suffer from FOMO, fear of missing out, which might be the silliest of all fears).
In Exodus 15:19-20 Moses and his people, including his sister, Miriam, had just crossed the Red Sea safely thanks to God who kindly parted it. Their enemies who were chasing them did not, thanks again to God who promptly put the sea right back together again.
After Moses and his people were safely on the other side, Miriam and other women grabbed their tambourines and began playing music and dancing in celebration and praise of what had just
There are a few things I find fascinating about that:
1) THE WOMEN PACKED THEIR TAMBOURINES.
If you know this story in the bible, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt for a long time and Moses pleaded for their release many times but the Pharaoh always said no, until now. They didn't have much time to pack, because it was likely Pharaoh would change his mind. IT WAS GO TIME. So the fact that Miriam and so many other women quickly assessed their belongings and decidedly included the tambourine is amazing. It was typical after a battle to celebrate victory with tambourines and dancing. So in the midst of a very scary exit with lots of unknowns, like food, water and shelter, these women planned on needing some music for a victory celebration in the future. They packed for it. They packed for joy. They packed for dancing. They packed for celebration. They packed for victory. THEY DID NOT PACK FOR FEAR.
2) THEY PROCESSED THEIR FEELINGS THROUGH MUSIC AND DANCING. I imagine after I ran across a dry ocean floor after being pursued by an enemy who got swallowed right up by the same ocean, I'd need a minute or a week to lie down and recover. But no, these women planned on the victory. So they unpacked their tambourines. "Miriam sang to them: Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea." Exodus 15:21 (NIV)
Talk about a worship time!
Right before that, Exodus 15:20 (NIV) says, "Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing."
This made me incredibly grateful for the faith-filled women in my life. The ones so excited about their bible studies, book clubs and prayer times that they think enough of me to invite me in. They are tambourine packers.
They are the ones who praise God not just after the storm but during it. And they encourage me to do the same.
3) THEIR TAMBOURINE PACKING WAS ENCOURAGEMENT.
It occurred to me that when Miriam and her fellow tambourine packers, were running along that ocean floor with raging walls of water on either side of them, that they might have heard the muffled rattling jingles of their tambourines in their backpacks (or whatever time appropriate carry-ons they used). And it wasn't just one tambourine. The above verse said ALL THE WOMEN, so that means a lot of tambourines were rattling and jingling across the Red Sea. What a wonderful soundtrack of encouragement to keep going. Keep going even if you are scared. Keep moving towards victory. There will be a time for music. There will be a time for dancing. Keep moving towards joy. Anticipation. Celebration.
I am so thankful to be in a community of tambourine packers. Because it wasn't just that the women looked at Miriam and thought, hey, that looks fun, I think I'll join in. They had their own tambourines because they had packed them as well. They anticipated the goodness of God. They had faith. They had hope.
We need that. We need people around us who anticipate God's goodness. Who are packed with hope and faith and ready to unpack and celebrate at a moment's notice. It's the best kind of contagious. We can be that person for others but by golly, we need a village of dancers willing to whip out their tambourines to encourage us. God knew life would be more livable with hope. Victory much sweeter with music. So He gave us Miriam to show us that we too, can be tambourine packers.
So we find ourselves in the middle of a world trying to scare us to death.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
I so wish that I had someone in my mom life early on to tell me it was all going to be ok. Before you go feeling sorry for this younger version of myself, I had a supportive mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and aunt who was speaking encouragement and life to me. Not to mention countless friends. But they all lived far away.
When I was nine months pregnant, Monte got a fantastic job opportunity in Columbus, Ohio. We were living in Atlanta. The nursery was painted and ready. The onesies were already washed and folded in the dresser. This was not what we planned.
We moved to Columbus sight unseen just one month after I had given birth. One month. We didn't know a single soul. No one.
This letter is what I wished someone would've told me then.
Dear Young Mom Me,
YOU ARE DOING GREAT!
Seriously. You are! No one knows how to do this right away. Motherhood is a process. You will learn as you go, what each cry means, poop color and reason they are sleeping so long at nap time. But hear this: the meaning is rarely death. No matter what the makers of each new baby gadget says, YOUR BABY WILL NOT DIE if you don't use their gadget. The marketing of these companies prey on us poor insecure moms and they'd stop doing it if it wasn't effective. Don't fall for it!!
Do yourself a favor and stop beating yourself up for not doing whatever latest fad on the internet says about parenting. And don't judge others for not doing mothering the way you do. OFFER YOURSELF GRACE. It will be easier to extend to others once you do and you will be a whole lot more fun to be around.
Instead of obsessing over your baby 24/7, look for people to do life with. It will be healing to be transparent in friendships with people that understand and not judge. Surround yourself not only with women in the same life stage as you, but also with women who are just a step or two ahead in parenting stages and some who are WAY ahead. They will make all the difference. They will know why you are overwhelmed by teething and can offer advice and bring you a lot of peace that no one actually dies during potty training. The not dying thing is big with you. CHILL OUT.
By the time you have your second child, your community will be firmly in place and you will be a completely different parent: calmer, more grace-filled and way less lonely. [SPOILER: you have another girl, so those instincts telling you it was going to be a boy were WAY OFF. But your girls become best of friends. It's going to be a blast to watch.]
Community will be your recharge after a sleepless night when the kids have the stomach flu. Or ALL the laundry everyday. [TIP: Deem spaghetti night "Naked Spaghetti" because the laundry is not worth it afterward. And it's fun for them to come to the table wearing nothing but a pull-up and Cinderella undies. Trust me, those memories are precious.]
God knew what He was doing when He gave us each other. Enjoy the gift of community.
You are not being lazy if you nap when the baby does. Do it! The dishes can wait. So can the shower. I know the temptation is to stay up late to talk with Monte at night and feel like not everything about your world has changed, but have a bedtime. YOU ARE NO GOOD WITHOUT SLEEP. [This never changes for you.]
And when the kids are older you will learn the magic of rest. Keep the house quiet when they are at school. It will calm your mind, body and soul. Read in a quiet house without the TV or radio on. Your kids are loud--they get it from you. You will be able to tolerate that fact so much better having had a moment of rest each day.
Laugh. Nothing restores you better than a good, hearty laugh. Be intentional about it. [Hearing you and Monte laughing after putting them to bed will become a fond memory of your girls.]
Call a girlfriend. Plan a weekend away with your husband. Then plan a weekend away with your girlfriends. I promise, both will restore you.
One last thing: The Lord is in this with you. He loves you. He's rooting for you. He put those particular babies in your life for a reason. [SPOILER: They grow up running after Jesus hard.] So rest in Him--not in your own abilities to do this mother thing. Him. He sees the whole entire picture in His hands.
It gets easier, I promise. [Until they become teenagers.]
One more spoiler: [YOU WILL GO BLONDE!]
Much love and laughs,
Old(er) Mom Me
Wednesday, December 04, 2019
What an amazing performance! A completely different version of the song and I loved every minute of it!
I've never wanted to play the drums more in my life.
Then He Smiled At Me
I’ve heard it a million times.
But I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics.
Little Drummer Boy: Lyrics
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.
Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?
Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.
I had no idea that this song was about realizing our purpose.
Let me explain.
Don’t you love that this line says, “too”?
But he was lying in a manger.
God is so good to meet us right where we are.
No matter who we are.
Haven’t we all, at some point, felt "not good enough"?
But the pure humbleness of the little drummer boy’s “not good enough” revealed his ultimate need for a savior. That on his own, he was destined for death and that through this baby, death would be overcome.
One day, in heaven, we will feel the same when we are presented with crowns bejeweled. We will be thoroughly aware our own unworthiness, so much so, that we will cast those crowns right at the feet of Jesus, the only one worthy. (Revelation 4: 9-11.)
Speaking for her son and her savior,
Can you even imagine?
I envision them like a swaying gospel choir filling in behind the manger and the the little drummer boy.
This isn’t about giving a gift.
He smiled! This tiny, new born baby, smiled in encouragement at the little drummer boy!
yet still God,
While this very human baby was in need of all the care a newborn requires,
This young boy, had it right.
“not good enough” at all.
Monday, November 25, 2019
It was such a busy time after Halloween that I didn't get a chance to post our annual family Halloween pictures.
I ordered the work jumpsuits from Amazon on the cheap and found the iron on patches there as well. I did iron them on but I think I could peel them off if we need to use these jumpsuits for a future costume.
We snagged Monte's Slimer inflatable online and on sale this summer.
For our power packs, I spray painted squirt guns that I found on Amazon. They are still functional, but I'm a little worried they look like legit weapons now.
Our local high school is under construction so it made the perfect backdrop for some ghost busting. My neighbor Julie took the pictures.
True story: the school was built on top of a graveyard and it is believed that not all of the buried were moved to another location back in the 1960s when the original school was built. Should make for some interesting digging…
Back to the Ghostbusters.
|I just know Monte is smiling under that green hood.|
|I'm 100% positive he's smiling here.|
|What is Slimer doing with his fingers?|
That's a wrap for 2019 Halloween.
The other day I was listening to the podcast The Next Right Thing. It was the episode titled Reflection as Activism. Emily P. Freeman said ...