Saturday, July 28, 2007


Isn't it interesting how we plan? Now that I consider it, the very idea of planning is a bit questionable. Think about it. We make plans, but we have NO WAY of guaranteeing those plans, or of knowing what any particular day will bring. Just as rules are made to be broken, evidently plans are made to be interrupted. So I say, why not just call any plan an adventure and EXPECT the interruptions? I figure this way, eventually, if nothing goes wrong with my plans, I'll be disappointed at the lack of adventure I've had.

Take yesterday for example: My sister and her family had been in town all week, and we had carefully planned a trip for Friday, my hubby's day off, to a wildlife refuge across the lake about an hour and a half from us. We set out early, wanting to make the 9:30 tour, and made it across the Causeway bridge, down I-12, off our exit, and well out into the middle of nowhere, Louisiana. All of a sudden, our van fainted. My husband pulled off to the side of the road and called my cell to let me know he was having trouble. I saw in my rearview (Angie and I were in her car and had given the Dads the privilege of driving with the kids!)and turned around to check out the situation.

We deduced that the van had passed out from an alternator problem, and started discussing options. We just HAPPENED to be a few miles from Camp Living Waters, one of my favorite places, so I called the director, Keith. Keith's maintenance and mechanic man, David, just HAPPENED to be on his way back to camp, about to pass by where we were. We stood around the van and waited for David, trying to keep the kids inside one of the vehicles and out of the street. My daughter was sitting in the backseat playing a game (thank God for gameboys) and a car whizzed by. Something came from the car, either a rock or some other foreign object, and slammed into the window by her head, shattering the window and shocking us all. The rest of my body's adrenalin flooded into my bloodstream and I shook as I examined my daughter. (Not a scratch or even a sliver of glass on her anywhere.)

Not a minute later, David pulled up and confirmed our diagnosis of a bad alternator. He charged up the van and we made it out to Camp Living Waters on what my mom would call "a wing and a prayer." While David went for the part he needed to repair the van, Angie and I went for picnic supplies. We also just HAPPENED to have most of what we would need for everyone to go swimming, so we picked up a few extra items to help us take advantage of CLW's pool. We sat down to a lovely picnic, and then spent a couple of hours in the pool. (Wildlife tour was obviously missed by this time.) An afternoon shower rolled in and we packed up the kids, made a redneck window with plastic and duct tape on the van, and headed back across the lake toward home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day of botched plans. Actually, the kids were just as pleased to swim in the pool and just as thrilled with the excitement of the unknown, we couldn't have given them a more fun day with our plans. Sure, they might have petted a giraffe, but what's better to six and four year old boys than real life survival and adventure? When I think about it, what's better to a thirty-something mom? I can't think of anything more alive than the adventures of our day.

The reality is, we could never have PLANNED to break down at the location we did, just a few miles from a fun place for the kids. We could never have PLANNED to break down at the exact time we did, just a few minutes before a qualified mechanic was passing by.

So why do we plan? Right now, I have to say I don't really know. There is definitely a place for preparedness and goal-setting. Maybe what I'm asking is why we, as finite humans, make plans as if we have the power to control anything, and then get upset when our plans go awry. I can't count the many times I've planned, expected perfect results to my plans, and been disappointed with the disastrous results of my inflexibility and high expectations. WOW! How many times did I miss the LIVING in the middle of trying to accomplish my plans?

These days, I'm learning to be more about the journey than the destination, and more about leaving the rest to the One who knew all my days before I was even born. I'm learning to let Him take care of the details and busy myself on enjoying the adventures He lays out for me. I'll take a broken alternator and a busted window and a derailed day over a nice, tame, NORMAL vacation activity any day!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cheese Drunk

'Scuse me if I slur my words a bit, but for lunch today I had the cheesiest, most wonderfully delicious pasta dish I think I've ever tasted. It was definitely a walk on the wild side in comparison with my breakfast of bran flakes and fresh peaches... with skim milk of course. I always start the day with the best intentions.

But at lunch, well, I decided to give this decadent dish a try, and off I went into cheesy pasta land and before I knew it, I was cheese drunk. You know. Sorta feels like taking a valium. A sleepy, happy, giggly sort of feeling. It's a good thing I wasn't driving! Though I'm not sure what the citation would have been, I know I was in no condition to operate a motorized vehicle. Maybe its a life of a little too much stress, maybe a little exhaustion, mix that up with a high stress morning that ended well and the relief that came with that, and you have the perfect opportunity for a food high.

I don't know, and really, I don't care right now. I'm just glad God gave me the ability to chew. And I'm glad I had a lunchtime with a friend to slowly and thoroughly enjoy something delicious and cheesy. I'm smiling like a fool just typing this.

Of course, after indulging in such forbidden pleasure, what could I do but bring home the rest for my husband to try? Just following procedure, right?


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ronald McRomance

I got hit on! Any mom over 30 will understand my elation at this. I was in McDonald's purchasing my son's choice of lunch as a reward for his valiant endurance of before-school immunizations. I stood there in my mommy uniform of shorts, tshirt, and tennis shoes, reciting my litany of mommy phrases like "Stay right beside me." and "No running." and "You want a cheeseburger or nuggets?" My makeup bag and I hadn't seen each other in a couple of days, and the earrings were missing from one of my ear piercings.

We ate our rewarding, if unhealthy, lunch and laughed along with the other people in the place. (This is a common occurrence in New Orleans. For some reason, people here greet everyone in a place and will carry on conversation at the drop of a hat.) One guy asked me if I was married. I answered yes, I was. He said "If you weren't I'd be over there by you, cuz you just a beautiful person. You got a beautiful smile."

Now, no need to remind me of the social couth or character of a person who flirts with married women in front of their children in McDonald's. I know all that. But I gotta tell ya, it still made my day. Pitiful, perhaps, but God bless that guy wherever he is. He brought a smile to my face and a reminder that there are more layers to womanhood than bathing kids, tying shoes, doctors office waiting rooms, and dishwashers.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I got tagged

Christy has tagged me and invited me to share another list of wierd things about myself. Here's her list. Refer to it for contest rules and what to do to join in the weird list game.

OK, here goes:

1) I always, always, always have polish on my toenails and the weirder the color the better. Purple, blue, green, neon, I'll wear it all.

2) On the subject of nails, I cannot STAND to have fingernails of different lengths. If one of my nails breaks, I'll cut them all. I keep them short these days for piano playing, but in past days of longer nails, I found every imaginable way to repair a crack or split in the nail to keep from having to cut them all and lose my manicure.

3) The nail thing reminds me, I have weird preferences about men. NO, and I mean absolutely NO long nails on guys. No way. I prefer as little white edge as possible. Also no crocs. Crocs shoes are not sexy. No spitting either. My man doesn't spit unless he's brushing his teeth. That is the only appropriate time.

4) My favorite way to eat eggs is scrambled, but the smell of cooking scrambled eggs makes me gag.

5) I'm a good knife peeler. I can peel an orange in a twirly spiral with a knife. I'm good at apples and peaches too. I cannot, however, use a potato peeler. The last straw was the slice I took out of one of my fingers with a potato peeler two weeks ago. Just gimme a knife.

6) I still have a permanent retainer from when my braces were removed in seventh grade. It's still glued to the back of my teeth.

7) Speaking of teeth, I have a "thing" about teeth. Loose teeth are one of my worst nightmares. My daughter losing a tooth literally puts me hiding under the covers until it's over. If you would like to see me pass out, simply show me someone pulling a loose tooth. I'm getting lightheaded just typing this.

8) Of all thrill rides in the world, I'm most afraid of the ferris wheel.

Weird enough for ya? Hope it made you smile! And ummmm... I'm tagging Matthew, Jim, Greg, although you guys will probably not play. And Alli, you've already been tagged, but I'm taggin' you too... and that's it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Git 'r Done!

Have I mentioned that I love Monday? It is hands down my favorite day of the week. I love the freshness of a Monday. Today I accomplished much, another feeling I love. I'm not really sure why, but a good accomplishment just makes my heart feel happy. Doesn't have to be much. Today, I'm happy that I conquered the red tape at the Social Security office and replacement cards for my kids are on the way. I'm happy that I conquered my sink of dirty dishes and all the garbage cans in the house. I conquered some business stuff that has been nagging at me, and all in all, am feeling on top of things.

I know SO well that it's only a feeling. But I like it nonetheless and will savor it while it's here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

My Very Own Miracle

On our vacation, just after we crossed the FL line, we stopped at the welcome center rest area. (State welcome centers are the best places to stop. They're always in the best condition.) On our way in, I saw a mother with two children. One was about the age of my son, and the other was about two. She was alone, and on her way out of the rest area as we were on our way in. As I passed her, my heart went out to her alone with two children. I've made the trip from Lakeland to New Orleans alone with my kids a few times, and it's not an easy thing. I counted my blessings that this time, my husband was with me and we each took one kid and went to the restrooms. We all got our complimentary cup of OJ, and headed back out to the van.

Much to my surprise, the mom I had seen on our way in was still there, parked right next to us! I noticed her car was packed full and mentioned to Matthew that she must be moving. Immediately, God spoke to me and told me to go give her some cash. I had cash in my purse because a sweet lady from our church had slipped me a little cash for our trip before we left.

Of course, I started to debate with God, feeling like I was surely crazy. Before I could talk myself out of it, and with Matthew's encouragement, I jumped out of the van and knocked on her window. She rolled it down and I said, "You are gonna think I'm crazy, and probably I am, but God told me to give this to you." I shoved the cash into her hand and said, "I hope you know He loves you, and I love you, and... well I hope you have a good trip." I waited for a second, unsure of what she might say. Then she spoke, "You have no idea. I've been driving all day since early this morning. I left my husband today. I'm trying to get to my mom's house. I just got my last paycheck and we got out. I've been praying the whole way, and now you're here."

We talked a few more minutes and I tried to encourage her. With a promise to pray for her, I went back to my van and she pulled away. I sat there in tears. God had just done something amazing. This woman was African American, driving a car much nicer than mine, and dressed nicely. She could have potentially been hurt by my assumption that she would need money from me. She didn't appear to be in need, and I had no way other than God's whisper to know that she needed a friend. I was sobered by the thought that I had passed her casually on my way into the rest area, having no idea that she was having a life-altering day. Guess we never really know what's going on in the lives of the people who cross our paths. I had almost driven on without doing what God put in my mind to do.

It was risky, and slightly crazy, and an absolute miracle. The Patriarchs used to set up monuments at a place where God did something major in their lives. Guess for me, that Florida Welcome Center will be a place where He did something major in me. He sent me on an unlikely assignment, and He touched someone through me. He added some solidity to something He's doing in my heart for single mothers. He gave me a moment of absolute certainty that He is present and active in me.

To anybody that thinks Christ-following is boring: Honey, no way! As a matter of fact, it may be the only life of true adventure there is.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Rest Stops...

On our trip to Florida, we camped in a tent on Pensacola Beach. We loved it! We had never done any tent camping before and it turned out to be a fun adventure. Our kids went swimming in the lagoon and caught little crabs much to their fascination... and ours! In our attempt to "get a life" we just might have found a fun hobby to share that doesn't include the words "baptist church" in it!! That'll be a first for us! Thankya Jesus!

In Florida, I also had some time to myself to enjoy the place where I grew up. The picture above is of a blue hydrangea that's been growing at my Granny's house ever since I can remember. It's still there, and the sight of it conjures up such indescribable feelings of comfort and peace. My Grandmother is in heaven and is enjoying much more beautiful sights than this, but to me right now, there isn't much more beautiful than that flower and the way it reminds me of her.

It was good to hide away at home for a while. I needed my mom's arms around me and my dad's kiss on the cheek. I needed deep discussion with my brother and raucous laughter with my sister. I needed a visit with my Christy and a general rest stop of love on my journey. There's that darn lump in my throat again...

Monday, July 02, 2007

High Class Wedding

While I was in Florida, I had a chance to attend the wedding of my double second cousin. (Look it up.) My Dad and I drove three hours to High Springs, FL to attend the wedding out at the Florida Bible Camp. We had such a great time together, and at this wedding, I learned a lot.

I learned that the term "shotgun wedding" in my family means a wedding where there is a shotgun in every vehicle parked on the premises. We drove a few miles out into the woods and came to the camp in the early afternoon. Everyone was relaxed, no fussing, no feuding, no stress. The groom's father was kicked back in his lawn chair in front of his camper. The groom's mother was making a Wal-mart run to pick up the wedding flowers.

We sat around a table "shootin' the breeze" and laughing together. Family and friends began to arrive, everyone in jeans (unless they didn't want to dress up). Yummy smells started to come from the grill. The bride arrived, and then the groom. The preacher changed out of his shorts into dress slacks and a tie, and the groom did the same. We all got seated and ready.

The wedding ceremony was short, sweet, and simple. After they were pronounced husband and wife, we all had a yummy dinner together with more laughing, talking and general breeze shooting. A simple cake was brought out and we all enjoyed a piece.

On the trip to Florida, we had heard a radio report that indicated the average wedding budget these days is $27,000. This particular wedding probably cost around $27.00. There was no "bridezilla," no champaigne toast, no china plates, no gown with a train, no fussy bridesmaids, no grouchy mother, no stressed out father. At this wedding, there were loud sounds of laughter, soft whispered "I love you's," straightforward encouragements, and subtle gestures of friendship. And for all the lack of pomp and ceremony, the couple came away just as married as they would have been if they had spent a fortune. That young couple had something money can't buy. The bride's parents are still married, the groom's parents are married nearly 25 years, the groom's grandparents are married around 45 years and his great grandparents on both sides each nearly made 60 years together. I realized that I share the same heritage. My own parents celebrated their 45th anniversary this month, and my grandparents had almost 60 years together when death parted them.

I left that camp proud of who I am and where I come from. This young couple may not have had a fancy wedding. Some would have considered the affair downright primitive. But they left there wed nonetheless, and with the knowledge that a wedding is merely like the kickoff of a football game. You really win or lose in the plays of the game. No emphasis on a fancy day, but I'd say most people at that wedding understand where the emphasis really belongs: on the day-to-day living of life together.

My family may not be high class. We aren't rich and famous. But we know how to say "I love you." We are behind each other when it really counts, and we hold hands after 45 years of marriage. Come to think of it, that might just be the highest of class after all.