God Waits in the Wings and Blesses Us

Our 9-year-old daughter, Anastasia, is quickly outgrowing her bike. She likes to participate in the kid triathlons around town and is on the Youth Tri-team at the YMCA. Last fall, in the season’s last event, I watched her riding down the street, pedaling as hard as she could only to have a kid on a larger bike shoot past her. Not only was the bike bigger but it was a road bike. Needless to say, she noticed.

She decided then that she wanted to save up for her own road bike, sensing that she was losing most of her time on the bike (I know, she’s only 9 and already this competitive. Lord help me!).

If you’ve ever priced a road bike before, it doesn’t take long to see that they are crazily expensive – even the kid’s bikes (that they outgrow). Luckily cold weather was approaching so I told her if she really wanted one then to begin saving and we’d look for a used one the next spring. I gave her the amount we’d pay to help out with it if she could cover the rest. However, internally I figured she’d lose interest and settle for a larger, much cheaper, mountain bike.

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Promise of Spring: A conversation with my 20 year old self

The fruit trees are blossoming.  The promise of fruit – someday.  But definitely the promise of spring’s entrance.

I used to correlate spring’s arrival with the bathing suits’ overnight appearance at Target. Summer is almost here, I would chant in my head seeing spring as something to survive to get to freedom.

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Really. Well. Thank You. Really.

I love sarcasm. I'm practically a "Daily Show"-o-phile. That's the show  where nearly every word that drips from John Stewarts mouth is laden with subtext. I used to watch SNL when David Spade was on there. The Hollywood Minute killed. 

But a few years back, my friend was deeply convicted that his sarcasm was getting in the way. He asked me (as a show of solidarity) to kindly consider not using sarcasm when I was around him - it would be too tempting to join in. Over the last several years, I've come to see what my friends sees: sarcasm does more damage than you think. Here are 5 reasons why:

 1. Sarcasm makes you look snarky.

I used to think it made others seem smart. Witty, even. A well-placed sarcastic comment can bring the house down, leaving someone else looking idiotic.

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Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Today my second son, Josiah, turns 17 years old.  Let me tell you a little about him:

Josiah is a very smart, witty, and charismatic man. He spent a long time fighting the best in himself, but about two years ago turned a major corner. When he was young, I used to joke that given his personality he would either be President of the United States or the greatest criminal mastermind the world has ever known. 

I was wrong.

I now think Josiah has the potential to launch a movement that can really change the status quo.

He has a deep love of music, and I think resonates with lyrics in a very deep way. On his wall in his bedroom is a painted tree, and for leaves, Josiah posts meaningful lyrics from songs he loves. He's not a "reader" like the rest of us. I think he's a lot more like his Oma than he realizes. He can be stubborn (like me) or playful (like his mom). And he's got two brothers who love him to pieces.

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Twelfth (& final) Consideration: The Extraordinary

Last night I heard an extraordinary story of a single hummingbird.  You see there was a huge fire in the forest where the little bird lived.  As the trees burned, the animals whose homes were on fire ran towards the river.  There were elephants, raccoons, beavers, foxes, bears, and many others who gathered to watching it all burn.  As the fire’s destruction raged on, they stood on the banks immobilized by fear and awe.

But the little bird thought to herself, I can do something.  So she beat her wings as fast as they would go and, as rapidly as a bird can, she fluttered back and forth between the fire and the river carrying a few drops at a time to help put the inferno out.

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Eleventh Consideration: Silent Reflection

I grabbed Sabrina Ward Harrison's The True and the Questions this morning for permission to delve into a time of reflection.  This week makes room for that as people take the rest of their vacation time and relax - or in our case, work on our homestead.

(Yes. More planter boxes are going in... stay tuned.)

As I paused from the morning routine, I ran across this prompt: "In the silence I understand..." So I went with it while embracing my own silence.  In the silence I understand that mystery is incomprehensible. I know that there is more I don't know than I do. I realize I shouldn't workout directly after eating. I understand that this year is coming to an end... and then I found my writing stride.

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Tenth Consideration: Turning off the Computer

This tenth one is one I thought long and hard about the last couple of  days.  What should I post so I can put up something prolific on Christmas?.... (A time when I am sure you're all checking email and Facebook)

Then is dawned on me in such a simple way - I don't want to be on my computer on Christmas. I love connecting with people online, but today is a day to be with my community; to be with my husband and our family, to be with the Trinity -- all of them in unique ways.

So in considering what turning off my computer means right now, well, it means being present to what's around me and right now, it's not technology.

Have a blessed and happy Christmas and I will be posting 11 and 12 in the coming week!

A Gaelic Christmas Blessing

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Ninth Consideration: A Sense of Humor

Today I have tale about a Christmas Card that began with this photo:

Our first Christmas.  What a joy it was.  People loved this card because it wasn't super posed; we weren't dressed up.  We were just ourselves.  So we took their lovely compliments and the following year sent out this gem.

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Seventh Consideration: Home.

“I’m not sure if people know what ‘home’ is anymore,” a fellow church member expressed during a conversation from earlier this year.

This comment struck a cord with many as we nodded and contemplated the meaning of home. As the Christmas season is now upon us, I can't help but consider home once again.

Many consider the two to go hand-in-hand this time of year – home and Christmas. Some wait to go home. Others work on creating a home, and more still do not have safe homes at all.

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Sixth Consideration: Traditions (That started in the 80s)

The 80s returned last night… in all their glory.   My husband’s employer (which will remain nameless to protect those involved) had their first themed Christmas party and it was also the first time spouses were invited.

As I crimped and hair-sprayed, I secretly wondered if this was a cruel joke and if we would be the only ones to show up in a full length sweater dress and neon jump suit.  Luckily, we were greeted by side pony tails, animal print spandex, and pop rocks – lots of pop rocks.

What was the bane of my week (“Seriously? 80s? What am I going to wear?” Etc.) became a delightfully fun event.

As I put on two inches of blue eye shadow, I screamed – with a little delight – “I look like my mother!”   When my hair creation was done, I was surprised to resemble my first-grade self.  A little girl who wanted a perm soooo badly that I believe I had three before I was 10.

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