Friday, January 28, 2011

Where I Am From

My friend Martha made me do this. I wish I saw her more often so I could still call her Marth Brooks like I used to when we were young and we could still sing country songs super loud together. I could use some fun like that in my life. She has a precious blog called 50 Sticky Fingers which is the best blog name ever in my opinion. Anyway her post today told me to do this and I decided to listen to her. I will let her explain exactly what it is I am doing here. It was a pretty fun diversion. I hope you'll try it too and if you do I hope you will leave me a comment letting me know where I can read about where you are from.

Where I Am From

I am from a round dinette table and four chairs with white metal backs, from Kool Aid and love.

I am from the dark, cool living room with Little House on the Prairie turned on.

I am from an Aloe Vera plant making boo boos better and the morning after a storm.

I am from pizza on the coffee table and stubbornness, from McCoys and Andersons and Braggs.

I am from excitement first and thinking later and fierce loyalty and shyness.

From who loves you baby and accidents happen.

I am from the church altar and going forward at the invitation..

I'm from Oklahoma, fried Chicken and Wacky cake.

From Dad bringing me chocolate milk everyday after Kindergarten, playing at Mom's office while she worked, and Master Lee's Karate center.

I am from a park in Virginia, Make A Wish day, good grades are important but not as important as love.

From family being all that mattered.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Something Other Than God

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could "be like gods" -- could set up on their own as if they had created themselves -- be their own masters -- invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history -- money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery -- the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Like It Was Yesterday.

This is Afton yesterday:

I distinctly remember taking this picture yesterday morning. She was having her first solid foods and loving it. No surprise. She loves loving things. I know it was just yesterday. Maybe the day before.

But then this morning this happened:

That same little baby that I had been feeding yesterday, with all her characteristic zeal, and as you can see, with no lack of panache or style, fed her sister breakfast while I made breakfast for everyone else. Well, while I made breakfast for everyone else, ran upstairs to tell her daddy to come down and see, took a million pictures, and rejoiced in the fact that I had a child old enough to help me. To actually help me.

But wait. When did my baby get old enough to feed babies? How did this happen?

Those old ladies in grocery stores and cheesy country songs aren't kidding around when they say stuff like:

"Don't blink."
"The days are long but the years are short."
"Enjoy them. They grow up so fast."

Because, boy, it really does feel like it was yesterday...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Else I Get Wrong.

I am often...often...overwhelmed by all I want to teach my children. How to use the potty, how to clean up after themselves, how to call 911, what it means to be kind, what it means to be brave, what kind of boys will be worth their time someday and what kind won't. I mean they came to me knowing nothing. It's a pretty big job.

It is even bigger when I consider that they learn mostly by example. Now I have not only what I want to teach them to worry about but all the things I don't want to teach them as well. How to lose your temper, how to make a mountain out of a molehill, how to be lazy ... impatient ... inflexible...unforgiving. How to give the silent treatment, how to cuss, how to worry and gossip instead of pray, how to hate, how to fear.

See, I am already feeling overwhelmed again. But I am realizing something lately. That if I can teach my children the spectacular truth you will hear about below...really teach it to them so that it takes on a life of its own inside their hearts...well, then it won't really matter what else I get wrong.

(WARNING: Mildly cheesy video. Just close your eyes and listen to the words.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love That Story.

Sissy loves telling stories. They all follow this exact formula:
Once upon a time there was beautiful (pronounced "byoo-ful") princess named {insert name here i.e. Ariel, Jasmine, Afton, Ponder, Jessie, Veggie Tales}. She was very beautiful but she was not mean or foolish. And you know what happened? I don't know! And that's the end.
I love that story. It never ever gets old.

Speaking of Veggies Tales Afton recently approached me about something I could tell she had been thinking about for a while. "Mommy, Larry and Bob kinda look like food. Is that crazy?"

I had to be honest and say "Yeah, it kinda is."

These girls make me laugh.

It's a lot of fun living in a castle full of byoo-ful princesses. And that's the end.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Remember Who You Wanted To Be

Somehow I earlier this fall I happened upon Gretchen Rubin's Twelve Personal Commandments. The idea resounded with me. Calling them commandments felt icky to me but the idea was bewitching. It reminded me of another bewitching idea I had happened upon several falls ago.

I hate bumper stickers. I could rant your face off about that, but why? In the fall of 2004 I was a newlywed and living briefly in a Holiday Inn. I came home from work one day and in the Holiday Inn parking lot I saw an old beater with a bumper sticker on in that read "Remember Who You Wanted To Be." The idea resounded with me. It was the first bumper sticker I had ever seen that was worth the glue that held it to the bumper. It has haunted me ever since.

I have seen what it looks like when people forget who they wanted to be. It is sad. It musty and dank and depressing. It is everywhere. I knew the moment I read those words that I didn't want to forget who I wanted to be. What I have never been confident about was how I am supposed to make sure I remember.

I think that is why Gretchen's commandment idea was so poignant to me. What do I do in day to day life when I want to remember something? I make list. I write it down. That is what my personal commandments are - a list to help me remember who I wanted to me.

After I made my list I still grappled with my uneasiness with the word commandment. It is a loaded word. I toyed with other words like reminder or principle but they didn't capture the point of the exercise. Commandment is the only word...commanding...enough to express what I want to do with this list. I want to command myself to remember who I wanted to be.
Not in a biblical sense but in a military sense. My mission is remembering who I wanted to be and these are my marching orders.

Sir, yes, sir!

1. Be here now.
2. Give grace.
3. Laugh.
4. Let your smile make you happy.
5. Suffer long.
6. Don't assume another's neurosis.
7. Play along.
8. Empathize.
9. Go outside.
10. Say I'm sorry.
11. Care.
12. Choose and offer freedom.