Sunday, October 21, 2007

Too Much Power

You know a 2 year old has too much authority in your home when you hear the following conversation:
"Mommy put me nigh-night."
"Daddy wants to put you nigh-night."
"No, mommy put me nigh-night."
"But daddy will be sad."
"Be sad daddy."
"You'll make daddy cry."
"Cry daddy. Be sad daddy. Mommy put me nigh-night."
"Will you give daddy a kiss?"
"Yes. Mommy put me nigh-night." Kiss

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Howey Cow

Micah's talking a blue streak these days. His latest phrase is "Howey Cow!" as in Holy Cow. You may be wondering if he appropriately interjects this charming phrase. I'll let you be the judge.

Tonight at supper, he asked, "What for supper, mom." I replied, "Look and see." Micah replied. "Howey cow. Dat soup!"

I gave him a banana to which Micah urgently said, "I open it!" I gave it to him and he worked very deliberately to remove the peel. The tip at the bottom was a bit brown so he started picking it off and said, "Howey cow, dat gwoss!"

The boys were all home from school today so when Drew came upstairs this morning, Micah said nonchalantly, "Howey cow, Dew's here."

We have these two adolescent kittens that we haven't managed to get rid of. Occassionally they are waiting by the door and try to get in when you open it. This happened to Micah the other day and he said, "Howey cow, Charm. Go out."

He was squeezing toothpaste on his toothbrush and quite a bit came out. He said, "Howey cow, too much!"

You get the idea. I don't know if it's as funny in writing as it is in person but I still laugh every time he says it. So I guess I'm getting my laughter prescription refilled daily. That's a good thing!

The boys and I went to have pictures taken today. They were thrilled to spend their day off in this way! (not) But they were good sports and got to go to Dick's afterward for their basketball shoes so it wasn't all bad. They turned out pretty good. You can view a slideshow of some selections below of the unedited versions (not cropped or zoomed).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Return to Righteousness

For those who have followed this blog, you may recall my question to my friend Judie about righteousness. (See Sept. 26th entry.) Today she shared this verse with me from Hosea 10:12.

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."

We were talking today in Sunday School about hard to break bad habits, our "unplowed ground", the things we don't let God get ahold of and have His way with. But if we seek righteousness, we must allow Him to break up our unplowed ground, no matter how hardpacked. He promises if we seek Him He will come and shower righteousness on us and we will reap the fruit of his unfailing love.

I have a feeling that's just the tip of a very large iceberg that God will teach me about righteousness. But I loved the verse and thought it was a good one to chew on for awhile.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Crazy Quilts

It's been awhile since I've found to write. My tea is beside me, my house is quiet (Micah is still asleep and the others have left for school) and how I needed this moment of peace. The past two weeks have been a blur. My friend and c0-worker's last day at work was two weeks ago and she entered the hospital on October 3rd. Her battle with cancer has been winning of late and while we still hope for a miracle, it is likely that the battle is coming to an end. But as I told her, that means real life begins for her while the rest of us remain in the shadowlands, missing her. I already miss her deeply. We have worked five feet apart for ten years.

Grant said, "It must make you sad to lose a friend who you've finished each other's sentences for ten years." I said it does and asked how he knew that. He said, "When I hang around I listen to things and then I bring them up later." I wonder what else he has heard.

Grant has been very volatile these last two mornings and last night on the way to piano he started talking to me about how many times I've almost died. (Four that I know of but he only knew of two. I didn't tell him about the other two.) He doesn't really know Vickie and this is affecting him. Think how her grandkids must feel.

What God has shown me more than anything through this time is how amazingly varied life is. Like a mult-colored crazy quilt. Some want their quilt to be made in a specific pattern with coordinating, store-bought fabric and they want to be the designer. But real life is a quilt made up of a scrap from here and a scrap from there. Each scrap was taken from an experience that brought meaning to your life, whether through tears or joy. Each one brings back a memory of a person, a lesson learned, a trial or a triumph. Each one is a different shape and a different texture. In our hands these scraps look like so many rags. But in the hands of God they are sewn together in a pattern that is rich and warm and full of depth and strength. If we see our experiences through God's eyes, we can look forward to the next piece, knowing that God will make it beautiful and use it in an important way in His design. But if we keep looking longingly in the store window at the quilt that follows rhyme and reason, we miss the beauty of what God is doing.

My grandma made several quilts from scraps. I never got to ask her the story of this fabric or the other. But I always wanted to. God has given me the richest friendships at this point in my life. I know the stories of some of their scraps. And I see how God is putting them together beautifully. And when it comes right down to it, perhaps that is what life is all about. Knowing and being known by God and others. Not trying to act like we are a coordinated, store bought fabric quilt and just coming clean with the fact that God is sewing our scraps together. What an amazing gift to wrap up in our warm scrap quilts with a good friend and tell the stories of our pieces and how God is knitting them into a beautiful thing.

A friend sent me this speech from Anna Quindlan. She says it way better than I. Vickie and I have been so fortunate to have had a rich friendship and working relationship. We have been through a lot of scraps together. Her quilt is almost finished. Her life will be numerous beautiful pieces in mine.

This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of at American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.

"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk or your life on a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul. People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and them to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.

Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face.

Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived".