Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear 2010

Dear 2010,

I mean this is the kindest way:

Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

There, I've said it.  'Cause you know, I've dealt with:
  • Daddy having a mini-stroke at 4 a.m.
  • 3 snow days (aka not leaving the house for 3 days)
  • One close friend losing her grandfather to Alzheimer's
  • The same friend losing her father to cancer two weeks later
  • One friend's father lost a toe
  • A friend losing their home
  • The possibility of losing my job
  • An ice storm
  • Stomach virus
  • The flu
  • Bronchitis
And that's just December.  I'm not going to recount what happened the other 11 months.  December alone has been brutal.

And as I type this, there are still nine days left in the year.  I honestly can't remember when I've seen a year that was filled with so many trials.  And it wasn't just for me, it was for everyone.  I can honestly think of two people who would classify 2010 as a "good" year.

So I will not be sad to see you go.  In fact, ushering you out may be the best part of the entire year.  And because I feel a song comin' on, here are my final words to you, 2010.  Take heed.  Pay close, attention.

Sincerely,
Robin

     

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Now Let Me Clear My Throat

Okay, I'm not too proud to admit that as recently as two weeks ago I thought I ran my life. 

You see, Christmas break was coming up, and here were my plans:

  1. Sleep late-every single day.
  2. Catch up with friends.
  3. Go into my classroom and get some stuff done.
  4. Be proactive and get some planning done for the new year once I returned.
There were various sundry items on this list as well.  But last and certainly not least:
  • Hit up the after Christmas sales in a major way.
My class was supposed to have their Winter Party on Thursday, December 17th.  Due to a large amount of snow and ice, school was canceled  Thursday and Friday.  I did not leave the house (except for a very embarrassing attempt at shoveling the driveway) from Wednesday until Saturday. 

Sunday I went with my parents to Sam's Club about 20 miles away and was fine.  Monday I woke up with a headache but thought nothing of it.  (First mistake.)  I went into my classroom and worked like a little busy bee, bringing home a ton of stuff with me to do over the next 14 days.  

By Monday night, I was sick with the flu.  And I mean sick.  Like, today marks day 10 with it.  And over the past ten days, I have finished off three bottles of cough syrup, three Kleenex boxes, three bags of cough drops, and one Mucinex tablet box. 

And because I waited until Sunday to seek medical attention, the doctor told me I would just have to tough it out.  Which means all my grand intentions for this break have been just that.

But all is not lost.  I've gotten caught up on my twilight sleep.  Which means I saw an ad for this. 

Doesn't it remind you of that episode of "30 Rock" with the Pajamarals? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Thoughts: The Television Edition

Soo...last Monday I went to my friendly family physician, feeling perfectly well.  While there, I procured for myself a flu shot.  From the last vial they had in the office.  I was feeling pretty smug about it, because I had seriously procrastinated this errand.  (And you're probably wondering what this has to do with a post that has television in its title.  Just wander with me for a moment.)

As I was skipping out the door, the very kind nurse informed me that it would take 14 days for this vaccine to take effect. 

So the countdown began. I figured those two weeks would just fly by, and since I'd already had a stomach virus at the beginning of the month (one that had me throwing up for 15 hours straight and made me miss a field trip), I figured I'd suffered enough and could make it through 14 days unscathed.

Nope.

With 6 days remaining until I would be flu free, I got the flu.  Yuck. 

And because I have the flu, I've spent more time watching tv since I don't know when.  So here are my random thoughts about television:
  • Stacey London:  You make your living by telling women to buy $300 tops and $500 pants.  When I see your shampoo commercials and you're telling us to spend our money wisely, I can't help but think that's the pot calling the kettle black.  (But then again, you'd get mad at me 'cause I'm the woman who walks into The Limited and rarely buys stuff from the full price racks.  Love those clearance racks!)
  •  Triple A Lady:  Really?  You are being interviewed for the evening news.  Your sole task is to give us, the battered consumers, the 411 on how to obtain the cheapest fuel possible.  And what wisdom leaves your lips?  "My advice is to look around and see who has the cheapest gas.  If one station has cheap gas, then chances are the stations around them will try to keep the same price."  Really?  Um...I already knew that.  I could also go one step further and tell you that gas is cheaper right off the interstate than it is 30 miles away from the interstate.  How come I'm not on the news.  Really?
  • Saturday Night Live:  Okay, so I spent two hours of my life last night (or the night before?-this is all starting to take a toll on me) watching the SNL Christmas special.  While there were lots of funny moments, the sketch I really wanted to see was the very end. And they cut it short!  The one with Mary Katherine Gallagher, Whitney Houston, Penny Marshall, and Rosie O'Donnell all practicing for the high school Christmas concert is hysterical.  However, because they showed so many other sketches (and had to fill up way too much time with Gilly-yuck) they didn't show the complete sketch.  Which should be a crime, because Molly Shannon and Whitney Houston competing to be the queen bee of the choir is Simply. The. Best.
  • Godiva:  Seriously?  You're pouting at us because we only eat your chocolates on special occasions?  Um, are you aware there is a recession currently happening?  Do you know the rate of joblessness in America?  (I know in Kentucky it's about 10%, so that ain't good.)  And you're hocking eight pieces of chocolate for $14?  Do you know much chocolate that will buy at Wal-Mart or Kroger?   (Granted, it's not as good, but still...)  Y'all need to come to terms with reality.  And lower your prices.  Then I will feast on Godiva every day of the week.  Promise.
And because I said "Really?" a couple of times earlier, and think Seth Myers is super cute, and this post needs a little something to make it funny:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Social Media Christmas

This video gave me chills.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
I would like to point out that I always thought we were friends.  I always spoke well of you.  Never bad mouthed you.  And always celebrated those snow days you sent us. 

But now you've made me wonder what is going on.

I will admit, I LOVED the snow day Monday.  I mean, who doesn't love a three day weekend?  The two hour delay Tuesday was so considerate as well.  You were a little bit (read: month) ahead of schedule, but with the holidays and all, I understand a girl gets confused.

Then Wednesday came.  And we heard about your impending wrath on Thursday.  Do you know what it's like to have over 20 kids who firmly believe they will not be going to school the next day?  All day long, I heard, "We don't need to study for our spelling test-there's going to be no school.  What are we going to do about our party tomorrow? There's going to be no school!"

And then they were right.  No school, for two days.  Which means I have not been anywhere for two days.  And I am going a little stir crazy.

Girl, what is up with you?  Just let me know and we can work something out.  I'm getting desperate.

Sincerely,
Robin

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Reminder

Okay, so I don't have permission to reprint this, but I am giving credit to the author, so I hope I don't get in trouble.

If you haven't read Roy Lessin's thoughts on our greatest need, please see below.  He sums everything up so eloquently:


Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need had been education,
God would have sent us an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Saviour.

*You can read more of Roy Lessin's wonderful devotions on his blog: Meet Me In The Meadow .

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Winter is Good?

So it's been unseasonably cold here the last couple of days.  It snowed (not even for the first time) on Friday, and the predicted high today was 22 degrees.

You read that right.  The high temp was 22 degrees.  In Kentucky.  In early December.

Which brings me to this post. 

In the midst of turning into a popsicle, I am trying to remind myself why winter is good.  So here goes:

  1. Christmas:  How can one hate the decorations, the hustle and bustle, the smells, the exchanging of cards, the parties and the fellowship? Not to mention the music and special episodes of your favorite television shows with Christmas themes. 
  2. Hot Chocolate.  The best recipe is on the side of the Hershey's box.  That, with whipped cream, makes me stomach winter better.
  3. Snow Days: Now that I work for the public school system, I can appreciate snow again.  (At UK, we never got out for snow.)
  4. Basketball Season: we know when there is a nip in the air, the Cats will be running.  And we can't wait. 
What do you like about winter?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is That Humble Pie? Pass Me A Slice, Please!

I would like to point out I have not taken a sick day in three months.  While I don't have the constitution of an ox, I do generally make it to work, well or ill. 

And that brings us to what has been the last 27 hours of my life.

It all started yesterday morning when I saw my friend Melanie walking to her son's classroom.  We caught up about Thanksgiving, and she mentioned she had strep.  And I made the famous pronouncement around 9:30, "I can handle just about anything but strep."

Famous last words.

We switched for math at 10:00 as usual, and I was fine.  By 11:00, when math was finished, my head was beginning to ache.  Like the familiar pains of a migraine.  And I couldn't understand why. 

By noon, I was miserable.  At 1:30, I escorted my class to the program in the gym and my super sweet team mates watched them so I could die in peace.  In all seriousness, I did throw up three times and then take a blanket and lie down in my teammate's room until the program was over,  I made sure everyone got home.
Then I went home.

I can honestly say I have not been that sick in years.  I threw up for 15 hours.  At 1:30 a.m. it occurred to me the big pronouncement I had made to Melanie, in full earshot of other people.

I'm taking it back.  After 15 hours of not being able to keep down water or mulitple doses of Phenergan, sore throats aren't the only thing to take me out.  A nasty migraine will also take me down quickly, too.

But all is not lost.  For my birthday, my best friend Laura Faye got me these beautiful serving pieces:

So while I'm eating my humble pie, at least I'll be serving it in style.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Reading: Secular Titles

Okay, friends, here is part two of the holiday posts.  As a school teacher, I've come across some great books for all kinds of holidays, so here are a couple of my favorites:


  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  Follow the hysterical journey as the Herdmans bully their way into a small town's Christmas pageant.  I love this book so much I still read it every year, even as an adult.
  • It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky.  A super fun book of poetry, and I can vividly remember buying this book from the Scholastic book club in the fifth grade.  Not only that, but I got to go and read it to a kindergarten class.  You will adore the poems-they are both silly and heartwarming.  I read the poems (out of the same book) to my classroom every year.
  • Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco.  I could write a whole post on her, but this book is about a young child who accompanies Santa and their flight.
  • Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco.  If your kid doesn't believe in Santa anymore, this is a wonderful story that weaves both Christmas and Hannukah traditions together in one book. A great story of God's ultimate plan.
  • The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco.  Another beautifully written story for those too old for St. Nick.  This one, too, incorporates elements of Christmas and Hannukah.  A wonderful story about giving being better than receiving. 
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett.  If you have younger children, they will love this tale of a small boy who loses a mitten and all the animals who come to dwell there.  The illustrations alone tell the story!
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  No explanation necessary.
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.  Again, do we really need to delve into an explanation about why this is on the list?
Okay, that's it for now.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Reading: Sacred Titles

Hi Friends,

After a long break, I'm back. 

Big smile.

And while there may be a part two to this post, right now I want to share with you some of my favorite holiday books to read again and again during this season, since Advent is almost upon us.

Come Let Us Adore Him: Stories Behind the Most Cherished Christmas Hymns by Robert J. Morgan.  This book chronicles the stories behind some of the most popular and lesser known hymns (at least to this Methodist).  I loved reading the story behind "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come" because it informs about Martin Luther and how he not only helped a convent of nuns, but married one and she bore him a son.  Luther wrote that song for his song to help understand the importance of Christmas.  And that, dear friends, is just one incredible story!

The Glory of Christmas: Inspirational Writings from Charles Swindoll, Max Lucado, and Charles Colson.  Some insightful soul poured through the collective writings of these men and compiled them into one book.  The writings are brief, but can be thought provoking, so don't allow the brevity to fool you.  They make excellent devotionals.

Joy To The World: Inspirational Christmas Messages From America's Preachers.  Edited by Olivia Cloud.  True to its title, this book is an assortment of Christmas messages.  Some of the pastors are well known, other are obsolete to me.  However, they all offer a unique perspective on the Virgin birth.  It is amazing how 2,000 years later people are still looking at it from different angles.  There are nearly 50 messages in here, and almost all will speak to you.  Kenneth Ulmer's "A Good Place To Stop" speaks to me every time I read it.

So there you go, friends.  If you're in need of some good Christmas reads, there's three.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Yes, friends it's THAT time.

It's basketball time in the Bluegrass.
 
And oh, how we've waited. 
 
So after watching Big Blue Madness (though as a die hard UK fan, it will always be known as Midnight Madness to me), here are my questions that need to be answered:
 
  • What will be our overall record?
  • Will we beat Tennessee?
  • Will we beat Florida?
  • Will Brandon Knight replace John Wall as the all around go to guy?  He looked pretty good last night.
  • Now that Cousins is gone, who will our biggest showboat be?
Stay tuned for more updates.


 
 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Birdie's Wings

were in danger of being clipped.

Okay, not really.

But I felt like if I had opened my mouth just one more time in the Ft. Myers airport, I might have wound up on the "No Fly" list.  How come?  Glad you asked.

So here I am, returning from my vacation where of course I have to have something unusual happen.  Because I don't do boring very often.  As I am sauntering through the airport, what do my eyes spy?  A Starbucks.  And since I don't often pass one without partaking, of course I simply must stop. 

Then I continue my sauntering on down to security.  As a precursor to the rest of this post, let's just talk about the fact it's been a long while since I've flown.  So long I'd forgotten how strict security is nowadays. 

Was I about to get schooled.

So with my newly tanned skin, hot pink backpack and winning personality that is growing sadder by the moment because I will depart, I approach the security gate. 

With my boarding passes and license in one hand and coffee in the other, I approach the first checkpoint and willingly hand over the paperwork.  The gentleman carefully examines everything and waves me on through. 

I walk on to the second part, where I  obligingly unload three gray tubs worth of stuff and remove my shoes.  I merrily walk toward checkpoint number two when one of the security guards stops me and says, "Hold.  You can't pass through."

  Having been nothing but a picture of compliance, I could not fathom what I had done.  Especially as I was hearing, "That's a security threat."

"Pardon?"

"Your coffee.  It's a security hazard."

And this is where my big southern mouth about got me in trouble.  Because I will readily confess I don't watch the news as often as I should (when you leave at 5:30 a.m. and don't return until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., it just doesn't happen).  But for the life of me, I couldn't recollect the last time this country had been terrorized by coffee.  And then, after that thought exited my head, this one came: I'm more of a security hazard without my coffee than with it. 

The portrait of utter confusion was I.  So much so that the security guard looks at me and says, "Okay, if you want to, you can finish your drink over there."  Pointing to a row of chairs which is adjacent to the clear cube where you go if you fail the metal dectector (or whatever it is nowadays, as you see I am painfully behind on this stuff). 

As I had taken two sips of my coffee and was not about to throw away a full drink, I jauntily strolled over there and took a seat in my socks.  Smiling big and waving at the people who were walking by me, I just explained my predicament.  In fact, I did so much talking that the security lady finally looked at me and asked, "Aren't you worried you're going to miss your flight?"

"No, I'm good.  My flight doesn't leave for another hour.  Thanks for checking though."

So as I'm sitting there, the thought occurs to me...If my coffee's a security threat, then so is..."Ma'am, I guess now is the time to tell you I have a bottle of water in my backpack," I confessed.  Sip, sip, sip. 

"This bottle?"  Holding up an unopened, half frozen bottle of water I was really looking forward to on the flight. 

"Yes ma'am.  But I haven't even opened it.  You can have it if you want."

"So you're surrendering your bottle of water?"  A sad nod yes.

By this time, I realized that the security thing was a bigger deal than I orginally imagined.  So much so that I had already tried to (unknowingly) sneak contraband coffee and water aboard a flight.  And I began to seriously get nervous about a snack pack of Pringles inside my backpack.  I wondered if I 'fessed up if I would wind up on the "no fly" list.  This was one thing I didn't want to find out. 

So I finished my coffee and tossed the container in the trash.  As I'm walking through the checkpoint, I did thank them for letting me finish my drink.  And I did utter these words:
"Y'all have to realize I teach elementary school.  It is my goal every day of my life not to end up on the six'o'clock news.  So I am definitely not going to do anything that can ever be misconstrued."

And because my life is never dull, one lady says, "Oh, we can make sure you wind up there." 

And I smiled and replied, "I know.  That's why I want to stay on your good side." 

And we all had good laugh.  And I went on my merry way to the other side of the security gates, where there were plenty of overpriced snacks and water. 

But there was not a mugshot on the news. 

It's the little things in life for which I give thanks.

Disclaimer:
I am in no way minimizing or mocking security personnel.  It is not their fault they have to be so stringent.  I am sad they need to be so strict.  I have the utmost respect for security personnel and am thankful they keep us safe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

H2Oh My Goodness!

Okay, so when you go on vacation, it's probably a relaxing, rejuvenating time.

Me?

Trouble just hops on the next plane and follows me to my destination. 

For real, y'all.

So I seriously had two days off between May and August.  When you take into account that between those months my father had a stroke,escorted him to the emergency room twice, took him to various doctor appointments and therapy sessions, took two summer classes, trained one hundred teachers in a program for the school district, and changed grade levels, it made for a very busy summer.  And just the teensiest bit stressful.

Which is why I decided for my 30th birthday, I was going to the beach.  It had been six years since I'd gone to a beach.  And after that summer, I just wanted to be by myself.  I have the best family and friends, but I really wanted some time to myself.

And where does one go to be by yourself after a long, hard summer?  You go to Captiva Island, Florida.  It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the next island over (Sanibel) is one of the best islands for shelling. 

So needless to say, I was pretty psyched about my trip.  And the first 20 hours was unbelievable.  Just what I'd signed up for:
So after a very nice day of traveling and outlet shopping (Miramar, here's your shout out!), I retire to my room.  Since this was a Tuesday, TNT was doing a girl a serious favor and showing several hours of "Law & Order" reruns.  (Can we just have a moment of silence because it was canceled?  Big, sad sigh.)  Anyway, I put the tv on sleep at 9:45 and was fast asleep before the show went off.

Only to be awakened around 4:00 a.m. needing to use the restroom.  So after returning to the bed, something just wasn't right.  I laid there for a moment, trying to figure out what it was.  Finally, I pinpointed it down to the sound of water.  Thinking, "Silly, it's Florida, it rains everyday here," I tried to roll over and go back to sleep. 

Only to listen to the sound and think, "That sounds like it's inside the room."  Which was when I got out of bed, put on my glasses, and looked outside the window.  Not a drop of water was falling, yet I was definitely hearing something.  Which was when I turned on the light and completely freaked out.

In the sitting area of my room was a nine foot waterfall.  Falling directly on my laptop, which I just bought in June.  And my four day old Blackberry. 

(Not to mention it was saturating the carpet, the coffee table, the end table, and the couch.  But I was a little more concerned about my stuff 'cause I'm selfish like that.)

To my credit, I didn't scream or cry.  But I sure did wake up.  And grab everything and move it to the bed. 

Then, being a responsible patron, I called the front desk.  And that's when I about lost my temper.  Here's why:  

"Front desk."
"I'm in room 1832 and my ceiling is leaking.  BADLY." (Please note the proper grammar, even in the wee hours of the morn.) 
Bored voice: "So...?"
"I THOUGHT you'd like to know about it.  It's a really bad leak.  It got ALL OVER my computer and my Blackberry."
Bored voice: "Are you saying you want to move rooms?"
Irate voice: "Yes, I'd like to move rooms!"
Bored voice: "Alright.  I'll send security to move you." 

Let's take into account several things.  One, I have never called anyone in my life at 4:05 in the morning.  Two, I did not appreciate my call being responded to in a boring tone.  Three, I felt SO vindicated the security man showed up and told me he'd seen leaks at the hotel before, but never anything that bad.  (I mean, I'm talking about 9' waterfall.  No joke.)

So yours truly got the pleasure of moving rooms at 4:30 a.m.  Trouble was, the second room they put me in was not as nice as the first. 

So I figured with all the trouble I'd been through, I deserved (and there's not a lot I deserve in life, but this I did) a room as the first one.  Which after some discussion (that's another blog post) I got. 

So in 24 hours, I had three different rooms.  And once I finally got my third room (the one I lobbied for), I went to take a shower. 

Guess what?

No water.  Because it was directly under my old room.  And they'd turned off the water to it. 

Another call to the front desk. 

But two hours later I had water.  And clean hair. 

And life was good.

And friends, that was just the first day.  There's still more to come!  Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dear Trouble

Dear Trouble,
Stop following me.  I mean it!
Sincerely,
Robin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What God's Saying To Me Right Now...

"Come away with me to a quiet place and rest." Mark 6:31

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Rocks

Okay, so I've already referenced turning 30 once this month. 

But I've been known to beat a dead horse.  So I will share with you the best part about my 30th birthday.

We could start with the fact that I had about 80 messages from friends on Facebook.  That made me feel really important and loved.  But what really put it over the top happened at school.

You have to understand a couple of things before I begin this story.  One, I had left the house that morning (Tuesday) knowing I would not be returning until really late Friday night/Saturday morning (thank you George Strait/Reba McEntire/LeeAnn Womack).  This was because I happened to be dog and housesitting for my best friend who was at the beach.

Due to the fact I was out of town, I had officially "postponed" my birthday.  I informed my family I didn't want to do a cake just yet.  The previous weekend had been spent on the lake and the upcoming weekend would be spent preparing for the family reunion in Tennessee on Sunday.  Plus, I was going to be gone four days.  I didn't see a point in having a cake just yet.  I told my family I just wanted two things: a cake from a very specific bakery and "30 Rock" season 4 on dvd.  So my birthday was postponed until September 21.
Plus, I had already celebrated it with my friends.

But that still didn't stop me from wistfully wanting a birthday cake on my actual birthday.  It was petty, and childish, I know.  Especially since I could have had one.  But I've been spending a lot of time on this website and sometimes they show some absolutely incredible cakes.  So I spent a few minutes silently wishing I had a cake, and it was a pretty one.  Because I live in the Bluegrass State, and we put on this little horse race every year known as the Derby, I thought it would be so fun to have a cake that looked like a Derby hat.  And resigned myself to know that wouldn't happen.

I forgot we serve a God who surprises us when we least expect it.

Tuesdays are busy days.  Tuesdays are days full of meetings-we have to plan as a team and we have faculty meetings.  During our team meeting, I saw one of my kindergarten students from last year walk us.  I thought nothing of it.  Then she returned.  With this:
And that's when I started to cry.  It turns out her mother had called the school and talked to my assistant from last year to find out when my birthday was.  This lady (who makes cakes as a hobby) wanted to do something nice for my birthday. 
And it was beautiful, looks like a Derby hat, and delicious-vanilla with raspberry filling. 
I felt so loved by not just that family, but by God himself.  He remembered. 
And that is why 30 rocks.

Because the cake was so pretty, here are some more pics of the other angles:


    

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Background

If you've noticed, I have a new background! 

It's a hint about something I'm doing in the next week and a half!

Can't hardly wait!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where Do I Begin?

It's been so long since I've last posted.  Here's what I need to catch you up on:
  • my family reunion
  • the weekend at the lake
  • turning 30
  • the George Strait/Reba McEntire/LeeAnn Womack concert
  • and there's probably more, but I just can't think of it now
Can't wait to catch up with you.  Hope you're doing well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Remembrance

On this day, nine years ago, the unthinkable happened.

We lost our fellow brothers and sisters to people who didn't agree with us ideologically.

I was in college on that September morning.  It was the most beautiful, perfect morning you could imagine.  And in the weeks that followed, we tried to make sense of it. 

On UK's campus, lots of activites were held.  That Friday, my math teacher let us out early so we could attend a service to honor those who lost their lives.  Lots of prayer vigils were held. 

And lots of spiritual discussions took place. 

The Wesley Foundation was a very important part of my life.  A year later, at our Monday night dinner, pastor Bill Hughes made this comment, the one that has remained with me for the last eight years:
"That was the day evil tried to triumph.  This September 11th, let good triumph instead." 

And we discussed ways to make sure evil didn't get the upper hand.  On the first anniversary, some people baked cookies and took them to the local fire house.  Others went to the VA to thank them for their service.  We brainstormed small ways that we could ensure that September 11th would be a day of service, not one where evil would have the upper hand.

And in this way we can live out the Scriptures:
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's My Birthday!

There will only be one day when this song will be as meaningful as it could possibly be.  (Except for the line about drinking less beers, because I don't drink.  And hanging out with my wife, because I don't ever aspire to have a wife.   A husband, yes, so maybe we'll just substitute that instead.  Tangent #1 of this post.)  Anyway...

I spent part of this past holiday weekend (I'd seriously like to thank whoever decided to come up with Labor Day, but I understand even the origins of that are disputed.  Tangent #2.)  with my extended family.  We went to Norris Lake in Tennessee and had the best time riding boats and tubing (although in all fairness, when you get dumped-twice-in choppy water doing 40 mph, it does hurt.  And I am feeling it today.  Ouch.  Tangent #3.)

For most of my family (who are awesome, and we are just alike, loud and fun-Tangent #4) it was the first time they'd seen my father since his stroke.  And since it was a family gathering, we told lots of stories. 
I have alluded to the fact that my father likes to tell tales.  And I've been privy to a many of them.  However, I'll share one that I could not remember.  For reasons that will become obvious in moments.

It's no secret I was born with a lot of hair.
Myself as a newborn.  And my father.
Still not convinced? Okay, you asked for it:

Three months old. 
And this is where our post gets funny.  Because my dad loves to see just how much he can get away with, he told my mother, her mother and sister (because they across the road when I was this age) that he had an aunt whose hair was just like mine.  It always stuck up and it would never lay down.  And for a long time he had them going:


Since these last two pics are from May 1981, Dad had three women living in mortal fear for 8 months.  And if that weren't bad enough...

My other grandmother and I at Myrtle Beach in 1981.  10 months later, and still spiky.  30 years later, everyone still recalls I looked like a porcupine.

If I hadn't gone to the lake this weekend, I would have never known about Daddy telling everyone this.  I think it's hysterical.  On a completely different note, to show you how much hospitals have changed:

Yep, that's my dad smoking a cigarette in hospital room after my mother had delivered me.  It's nice to know hospitals have made progress.

Monday, September 6, 2010

1000 Gifts #114-154

  • #114 Hearing a kid come to school and talk about being baptized the previous day
  • #115 Hearing the kid who sits across from that kid asking about being baptized
  • #116 Seeing the name Emily "hidden" in a camo painted truck
  • #117 Not working 15 hours a day
  • #118 Unexpected card from a friend 
  • #119 Cool mornings
  • #120 Good music on the drive home
  • #121 Completing an assignment
  • #122 Watching kids be kind to one another
  • #123 Sitting in the car to hear the end of a great song
  • #124 Hauling a rocker from my classroom to the truck by myself
  • #125 Hooking up my dvd player
  • #126 Unexpected emails
  • #127 Not setting an alarm clock
  • #128 Feeling appreciated
  • #129 Having plans
  • #130 Law enforcement officers showing you their raccoon eyes (long story)
  • #131 Having a game plan
  • #132 Nutella and pretzels
  • #133 Kind text messages
  • #134 Nice notes left in your mailbox
  • #135 Silver plated serving ware with a snowman
  • #136 Phones ringing
  • #137 Dusk
  • #138 Photos taken
  • #139 Dogs hanging their heads outside of cars
  • #140 Labor day trips
  • #141 Cousin get togethers
  • #142 Pontoon boats
  • #143 Speed boats
  • #144 Tubing
  • #145 Barbecues with 30 people and they're all your family
  • #146 Boats suspended 100 feet in the air by a crane
  • #147 Dogs jumping off houseboats and swimming to your boat
  • #148 Sore backs
  • #149 Squeals of delight
  • #150 Trail mix
  • #151 Friendly employees
  • #152 Safe travels
  • #153 Tylenol
  • #154 Knowing a friend is praying for you

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dear Friday

Dear Friday (And I Ain't Talkin' About Joe),
You sure took your sweet time, didn't you?
Sincerely,
Robin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dear World Equestrian Games

Dear World Equestrian Games,

I would like to take this brief moment to thank you.  Because the Games will begin very shortly, and if I don't do it now, I'm afraid it just won't happen. 

First of all, thanks to you, we're getting a couple of extra days off from work.  I know that you would like for me to come and see the horses compete (and let me tell you, dressage is the most astounding thing I've seen for quite some time).  However, this has been quite a last three months for me.  I'm thinking it's probably best for the Bluegrass (and my nerves) if I keep a low profile and keep away from the massive crowds the Games will draw.  But you do have my most utter and sincere thanks. 

Second, in order to really convey the element of festivity that accompanies these Games, there is a plethora of free entertainment that will be commencing this month.  Some are better than others (because my mother tried to instill in me some values, I will refrain from saying who I think should not be on the bill).  Can I just say how psyched I am that he is playing a FREE concert in Lexington?  Were y'all aware that I WORK in Lexington?  And that I have traveled cumbersome distances (okay, so it was 70 miles one way, but still) to see this man because he's that funny?  Someone seriously needs a pat on the back. 

I guess because I'm a good Kentuckian I should say something about this helping the economy, but I'm staying out of serious topics like that.  Among other reasons.

I know you're incredibly busy.  I seriously appreciate the time and attention you have given my letter.  I am truly honored that the first time these games were held in the United States, Kentucky was chosen.  You couldn't have selected a better location.  Our people will make you proud.  So, in short, thanks again!

Sincerely,
Robin

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Flaws and All

Like a'll yall, I sometimes have theological discussions at Starbucks.  In the drive-thru lane.

'Cause that's how I roll.

And (sadly) I'm not joking.  And since Starbucks is trying to sucker people in by offering half priced drinks if you show your receipt from the morning, and since I have an addiction to a certain drink that will soon require an intervention, I've been there lately.  A LOT.

Last week I was getting some caffeine for the drive home (because working 15 hours a day will flat wear you out), but I had on my sunglasses.  And the super trendy barista commented on how she really liked them.  

When people comment on them, it always brings a smile to my face, because my favorite author gave to me.  (Why she gave them to me is another post, but I'm getting off task here, but at least it's taken me a couple of sentences.)  These shades are a few years old and have on them.  Throughout the years the years, a few of the rhinestones have come off.  But that doesn't deter me in my quest to look as queenly as possible why keeping UVA rays from my irises.

So I start telling her the story about how my favorite author gave them to me, and how I love them, even though they are missing a couple of rhinestones.  And the barista looks at me and says, "You know, I think that makes them look even more beautiful.  There's this new age idea, I think it comes from Japan, that talks about how some crystals or prisms are worth even more because of their flaws."  And we got to talking about how the flaws are really things that ought to be more readily embraced, then shunned.

Which brings me to God.  And how He has without hesitation accepted us.  And because He is a God who is known to be extravagant and good, He will often take those very same flaws and use them for the greater good.  Take for example:
  • Peter:  wildly impulsive (remember he was the one who cut off a guard's ear?)  God took that fiery passion and love for Him, and used it to help build the first century church.  Peter kept that same "flaw" (being impulsive, caring too much) and God harnessed it.  Peter preached the Gosepl and healed the sick.  God used his flaws in a major way.
  • And speaking of healing, remember the story of Jesus and the blind man? Popular talk around the town was if something bad happened, you'd done something to deserve it.  But Jesus took this man's flaw and we still read about it.  If you keep reading, you see how this man put some of the religious know it alls in their place.  And at the end of the story, he calls Jesus, "Master" and worships him.
  • And while we're on the subject of worship, we can't help but talk about David.  Bless his heart.  And David did have a flaw or two (adultery, trying to cover up his adultery, then sending a man to the front line to have the man killed so he could marry his baby mama), but despite all that, the Lord loved him and used him.  One of my favorite passages is written by him.  David was the original worship leader. 
And as a Christian, it encourages me to know that God embraces these people and still uses them, flaws and all.  He doesn't stop trying to shape them and make them into the best they can be, but he doesn't throw up his hands in exasperation and say, "That's it! I'm finished!!"  And that gives my soul some peace. 

So the next time I'm having a theological discussion with a barista at Starbucks (and y'all, it's just a matter of time), we'll talk about how this idea of embracing flaws is not New Age.  It's actually Old School. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dear Solicitor

Dear Solicitor,

This is just a friendly letter (remember how we were made to practice them repeatedly?  It's paid off big time for me-I write friendly letters every day) to warn you that you really might want to think twice about coming to my house.  (On second thought, it's probably more of a persuasive letter, but we'll see.)

Consider the most recent case.  Now my people have tried to be as courteous as y'all will permit (and yes I know it's your job to try and get us to purchase whatever super duper doo hickey you're trying to sell).  The problem is, you don't ever interrupt me at work, when you would definitely have my full attention and energy.  You interrupt me at home, when I am wore out and just want to try to get a moment's peace and quiet.  (Please note that reads "moment".  Cause I get very few of them.)  And my family is the same way.

Which is why historically when people call or show up, they are politely told, "No, thank you."  We may have to be a little more firm if you persist, and I know your job requires just that.  And some people, i.e. my daddy, have been known to get right hostile.  Because at our house, you're interrupting one of several things: a nap, supper, or Judge Judy.  And depending on the potential consumer, your life may be much easier if you interrupt supper than Judge Judy.  There are some things in life you just don't mess with.

So Wednesday, the doorbell rings at 6 p.m.  When no one rushes to answer it, the ever so thoughtful last solicitor kept ringing it urgently and frequently.  We've been expecting a visit from the preacher, but since his mama raised him right, we knew by the door bell incident, this wasn't him.  And I'm wondering, Mr. Solicitor, why you ain't in church on Wednesday night.  'Cause you gonna need it soon.

Daddy abandoned his nap to answer the door (I was awake but unable to answer it), I hear the salesman.  And then I hear Dad invite him inside.  They exchange pleasantries, and I can't make sense of it all.  Cause this is not normal.  As I'm trying to decide if we need to take my father back to the hospital, Daddy calls Mama, who sets him straight.  The extremely doorbell happy man was a salesman for the City's Memorial Garden.  He was trying to sell them burial plots. 

Daddy, fresh from his nap and still groggy, heard, "I want to mow your garden."  And he, being no fool, was all about someone coming to cut the grass.  Mama, on the other hand, is now irate because not only did she have to explain this little miscommunication BUT someone did not get their nap out, nor their Judge Judy.  And we like routines here.

Is there really a further explanation needed for why you must avoid us? 

Sincerely,
Robin

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

So a while ago I was in college.  (And since I'm going to embark on my first tangent, let me just say I tell everyone in school to stay in school forever.  Because it's the greatest time of your life. Seriously.  But that's another post.)

And one day I just really thought I would be Ms. Thing (okay, atleast I'm owning it now) and not test God, because I knew what Scripture had to say about that.  But I thought it'd be fun to see how He'd come through for me.

I needed bread.

You see, I had deli sliced turkey from Walmart, but no bread.  And I was residing in a Christian dorm, so God was practically on speed dial all the time. 

So walking back to 508 Columbia Avenue, I decided to pour out my request to God: "Lord, I need bread."

And walked back, knowing that God would provide.  Because He always does.  I even opened my door.  After all, I wasn't asking for much-just two slices.

But as I'm learning more and more, God had other ideas.  And while I sat watching my television (using just rabbit ears, thank you very much), no one came.  And I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. 

Cause I knew Scripture.  I knew that God would provide.  I knew that God was loving.  I knew that God cared.  So why hadn't he filled my request for two slices of bread?  At that point, I could have even made do with even just one.

So I ate my turkey-without-bread-sandwhich and never said a word to anyone.  Watched tv with the door open.  The Wesley Foundation was freakishly quiet that afternoon, too.  My anonymous bread donor never arrived.  (Nor did anyone else.)  But I had more important things (i.e. work) that needed to be addressed, so I couldn't pout for long.

And I learned a lesson.  No more silly requests before the Lord Almighty.

Fast forward to work that afternoon.  And Tangent #2.

Tangent #2 is this: I LOVE Texas.  It's probably because they have some of the most awesome singers ever (George Strait, Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, Chris Tomlin), their men are very courteous (that's another post), and their state is beautiful.  In fact, I am almost as arrogant about the state of Texas as a native Texan.  Almost.  If you knew me in college, you would agree.  Which brings me back around to...

Work.  LF came in that afternoon carrying a Kroger bag.  "Hey!"  she said brightly. "I was at Kroger this morning and saw this and had to buy it for you."

Peering into the bag, I am stunned.  Inside the bag is not one, not two, but a whole loaf of Texas Toast.  "It's toast," LF laughed, "TEXAS toast!"

I laugh with her, but cannot get over the timing of the whole incident.  The Lord provided bread for me.  And in typical fashion, He did it in His time.  However, He gave me more than what I ever expected, and better than what I expected.

And the fact that He does that, isn't that the best thing since sliced bread?

Monday, August 23, 2010

1000 Gifts #92-113

  • #92 Calm Monday
  • #93 Hugging a friend in the hall
  • #94 No accidents on the playground
  • #95 Everyone getting home safely
  • #96 Strawberry lemonade
  • #97 Laminating center games
  • #98 Following a tractor home
  • #99 American Flag, Christian Flag, and Kentucky Flag billowing in the wind
  • #100 Looking all around you in traffic and seeing UK tags
  • #101 Seeing thoroughbreds grazing at sunset
  • #102 Enjoying a sitcom
  • #103 Pressing on, even when it hurts
  • #104 Heat waves
  • #105 Chatting with baristas
  • #106 Teamwork
  • #107 Getting to bed early
  • #108 Not setting an alarm
  • #109 Good advice from a friend
  • #110 Kind voicemail messages
  • #111 Care packages
  • #112 Invitations
  • #113 Clean hands

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hebrews 11:1

About a month ago I was watching tv.  And I gotta tell ya, I was amazed by one commercial I saw.

I forget which camera it was advertising, but I distinctly remember the commercial saying you would see the results before you took the picture.  And that's just counter intuitive to my brain. 

Besides publicly admitting I'm not sure how the science of all that works (how can you show an image if it hasn't been captured yet-without capturing it?) , I just thought how as a Christian, wouldn't that be nice.

Wouldn't that be nice to know how this relationship will go before I invest a lot of time and energy?
Wouldn't it be nice to know how this situation is gonna play out, so I will know whether I need to be concerned or not?
Wouldn't it be nice to know....you get the picture.

However, by the same token, I can think back over the last few years. Years when my faith has deepened because I didn't know how the end would play out.  I had to put my trust and my faith in God.  Not knowing the results before they happened led me to a better place in my walk with God.  It's allowed me to be a better minister to others.

And I can't help but think that God does wondrous things in us while we are putting our faith in him.   Knowing sure would have been nice, but it would have made us more self-reliant instead of God reliant. 

The author of Hebrews writes, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see."  (Hebrews 11:1)

Right now I'm going through a season in my life that is requiring lots of faith.  And I've thought about that camera, and how I wished I could see the outcome of what's happening.  How nice it would be to see the results because right now in the midst of it I can't tell what the conclusion will be.

And I will publicly admit it's hard to see how God is working.  But I know God cares, even in the small things about my life (I have an upcoming post about that, and it involves bread of all things).  And I know that God is sovereign.

God is working good out, even when I don't see it or feel it. 

And faith is trusting that the picture will come out well before it it is taken.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Day At The Market

So my BFF named LF and I went to the massive indoor flea market in Louisville a couple of weekends ago.  And because I'm not quite ready to tell the day in words, pictures will have to suffice:
This is the truck and trailer that nearly backed into LF's new SUV.  It's a good thing they had the trailer on the back.  With the body painted camo, we never would have seen it coming.

Look at the city on the plate tag.  Is there an explanation needed why I only claim that city on Derby Day?

I don't know what's more distressing: this sign or the fact I bought something from this woman.

For reasons I can't explain, the Steelers get plenty of love in the Bluegrass. Hence a 10' tall center in the middle of the Expo center.  They wanted people to pay money for this.  Seriously.

Consider yourself warned: next Game Night, I'm bringing my mini-corn hole game.  And class will be in session.  And ye shall be schooled.

Though it's taken many a Kroger, Taste of Kentucky, and Highway 127 Yard Sale, my Derby Glass collection is complete with these six glasses!  I now have all the glasses from my birth year on up.  Now if I can just find an adequate spot to display them...

Love this motto.

After Daddy's stroke, this especially holds true.

Again, another thing I saw it connected with me because of everything that's gone on this summer. Needless to say, it was a productive day at the market!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Help Wanted: A Good Speech Therapist

Okay, so it hit me like a ton of bricks just how much time I spent with small children I spent last year.


How? You ask. (So glad you did, by the way.  You are always so gracious.)


I have a subscription to Rhapsody.  Which means when I get two seconds I can listen to music and put it on cds.  This past weekend I had a free hour, so I took my list of songs I had been wanting to put on a disc downstairs and prepared to make a cd.


You can search by song title or by artist.  The whole thing can be pretty finicky, so I usually just search by artist.  I can normally tell who is singing the song, but don't always get the song titles as precise as the Rhapsody search engine demands.

Which leads to today's post.


I LOVE a certain song I'd been hearing on Redneck K-Love.  (Yeah, I know there's another name for it, but most of the time I can't remember it.  And I call it that out of respect.)  And I'm kinda ticked because the other (read: secular) radion stations won't play it.  And I don't know who sings it, because RKL doesn't usually announce the artists they've just played.


So I searched "Three Things I Wouldn't Trade For Anything" on Rhapsody and came up empty.  Changed the "Three" to "3" because the search engine is that picky. Still nothing.  Then I tried it and switched "trade" to "change".  Nada.  Zilch.  Zeee-rooo.


Out of frustration, I went to Google.  And typed in the few words I could remember.  And what do you know?  


This is what I found.  (You can click on the word "this" and it will take you there-my hyperlink is being weird.)  As it turns out, being around a lot of people missing teeth will do something to your ability to differentiate sounds.  And boy did I have a big laugh when I realized that.  And it has only added to my enjoyment of the song.  


One day, my life will be normal! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

1000 Gifts #64-91

  • #64 Tired feet
  • #65 Knowing you've done your best
  • #66 Crickets singing
  • #67 Throats clearing
  • #68 Exhaustion
  • #69 Five layer sunrises
  • #70 Frustration
  • #71 Epiphanies that arise out of frustration
  • #72 First days
  • #73 Hot water
  • #74 Journey's end
  • #75 Starbucks gift card
  • #76 Co-workers who "get it"
  • #77 Morning recess
  • #78 Computer lab teachers who stop everything to help
  • #79 Reflecting
  • #80 Library books
  • #81 Phone conversations with a friend
  • #82 Hitting a stoplight at JUST the right time
  • #83 The workroom piled high with fresh copy paper
  • #84 Running off copies without jamming the copier
  • #85 Chuckles over car messages
  • #86 Grieving with a friend
  • #87 Catching up with an old neighbor
  • #88 George Strait blaring on the radio
  • #89 Admitting you need help
  • #90 Helping a stranger find a good book in Joseph Beth
  • #91 Encouraging a friend in Walmart

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hey, Kettle! This is Pot!

In keeping with the bizarre things that just HAPPEN to me on the highway, consider this:

I'm driving down the highway the other day.  Since this is where I spend approximately 20% of my time, it stands to reason I may on occasion chat on the phone. 

Sue me. 

For the last couple of days I'd been trying to get in touch with a dear friend of mine who has been through it lately.  It's odd (and not in a good way) how our summers have mirrored each other.  We both teach school, and we both have brown hair, but she's way more funny. This summer we have both been dealt father illnesses.  I found out the latest last week and was trying to call her and catch up.  This is complicated by the fact I'm now working and we're separated by a time zone.

Which is why I was so glad to be able to talk to her when she called the other day as I was driving home. 

And because in Kentucky there is no shortage of idiots, I have a biker who passes me by and yells, "Get off the phone before you wreck!"

It took me a moment to process what he'd said.  Because the top was down and the wind was loud.  And he was gone before I could even give him an Evil Eye or Benevolent Smile.  I would like to think the proffered advice was said out of a place of warm, caring concern.  However, let's consider that age old axiom, "Don't point a finger at others because there's three pointing back at you."  This gentleman:
  • Turned to face me the entired time he offered these wonderful and concise words of wisdom
  • Was on a motorcycle without a helmet
  • Was talking to a total stranger (Didn't his mama tell him about talking to strangers?)
And because I am a well read woman, the sage words of Bridget Jones came to me (and sadly I can't recall which book it's from):  "That's the pot calling the kettle dirty bottom."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dear Y'all

Dear Y'all,
It's hot outside.  That's all.
Love,
Robin

Monday, August 9, 2010

1000 Gifts #11-63

In keeping with the gifts God gives, here are some more:
  • java chip frappucinos
  • pink lemonade
  • sounds of lawn mowers
  • cha cha slides at weddings
  • chicken dances at weddings
  • john wall dance at a wedding
  • a friend finding her bridegroom
  • smell of freshly cut grass
  • cousins visiting
  • daddy out of the hospital
  • spontaneous recovery
  • friends who call to let you know they are thinking of you
  • warm casseroles
  • warm summer nights
  • good communion times
  • good praise times
  • playing pit
  • playing spades
  • planning family reunion dishes
  • reading
  • prisms casting small rainbows on your books
  • riding home with the top down
  • planning to meet up with friends
  • hugs from co-workers
  • someone who understands your pain
  • humid nights talking on the deck
  • watching Mama point to a plant and say, "This plant came from a seed I planted 3 years ago"
  • receiving forgiveness from God
  • receiving forgiveness from a friend
  • two minutes of peace and quiet
  • strangers in the doctor's office talking about their gardens
  • finding candy bars from last week's class in my backpack
  • singing in the shower
  • vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles
  • long chats with friends
  • surprise emails
  • beautiful sunrise
  • remembering your family
  • fresh bearclaws from cousins
  • ceiling fans whirring
  • good devotional books 
  • turtles
  • surprise baptism from water fountain
  • air conditioning
  • new UK mini-cornhole bags
  • playing tabletop cornhole with LF
  • buying Blizzards for a good cause
  • white cheddar mashed potatoes
  • friends who greet you with a squeal
  • seeing someone put flowers on their sweetheart's van window
  • hearing your students from last year missed you
  • sunshine
  • supper with Mama and Daddy

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life Is A Highway

You wouldn't be-lieve what I witnessed on the road yesterday.  But I'll give you a hint: I've seen some bad drivers in the past, but I have now seen everything.

We've discussed the fact I commute to Lexington every day.  School starts next week.  Which means my classroom must be readied for the year.  I'm an early bird.  I can get more accomplished in the early morning hours before kids come into the building than I can after they leave.  Therefore, I try to get to school as early as possible, in order to maximize my productivity.

Which means I left the house at 6:15 on a Friday morning.  And was cruising through Nicholasville (the southern gateway to Fayette County) at 6:45 a.m.

I was in the left lane, adhering to speed limit.  There was a lane merger in the right lane, which is why I wasn't in that lane.  I check my rear view mirror, being the super responsible driver I am, to find a white Honda who has decided it would be loads of fun to ride in my backseat.  Being the utmost courteous driver, I check the right lane, see no one is merging, and head on over.

Deciding to express my frustration at having uninvited guests in my backseat, as they are passing me, I turn to give them The Evil Eye.  However, they were not available to receive The Evil Eye.  How come?  They had far more pressing matters at hand.

Like the dvd they were watching on all four screens in their car.

You read that correctly-this car had two very long screens installed in the sun visors, and two in the head rests.  And they had the system going while there was no traffic.  I was not impressed.  And thought I had seen it all.

Until today.

Heading back to my classroom, same highway, just a little bit further south.  I spy a biker couple.  He's infront, she's behind, and they've got a trailer, and they're hauling something.  I had to do a double take.

It's not every day you see a motorcyle hauling a red casket down a major highway.

Since the people on the bike didn't look bereaved, I'm assuming there was not a body inside the casket.

Two drives, two very weird things witnessed on the way to work.

Pray for me come Monday morning.  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Family Tradition

Today was a wonderful day.

Today I got to do something I have not done much of all summer.  I talked (which is normal, 'cause that happens.  ALL the time.)  But it was at someone's house.  In chairs.  Like an adult. 

Not in my car, rushing from point A to B.  Not marching around the neighborhood in the twilight or evening hours.  It was so refreshing to just sit and have a face to face conversation with a lovely hostess.  If you ever want charming company, I can tell you to visit my friend Melanie.  She makes super yummy cupcakes and has funny stories.  After hearing about how they celebrated her friend's birthday, I am making it a point to stay on this lady's good side.

Anyway, at one point today we were reminiscing about something and Mel was saying something about her grandmother.  Which got me to thinking about my grandmother.

My dad's mother passed away when I was sixteen.  Daddy was raised in Tennessee, and I've grown up in central Kentucky.  My parents made it a point to try and visit her monthly, but there was always a house full at that Granny's.  There was always at least one cousin, and more often than not, one or two aunts and uncles there.  Lots of people to have fun with, and lots of animals to pet.  A creek, cards games to play or movies to watch.  My mom and dad would visit with my grandmother (my grandfather having passed away when I was three) and I would talk to her, but not that often.

As a result, I was not as close as I would like to have been.

I can tell you a lot about her.  I can tell you she loved the Lord, that even though she went blind from glaucoma in her middle age, that didn't deter her devotion one bit.  She knew as much of the Bible by heart near the end of her life as she did when she was sighted.  The local gospel radio station would hold memory verse contests.  My granny knew so much they station actually asked her to stop calling in with the answers.  Because she was putting everyone else in the county to shame. :)

She's been gone for over a dozen years now, and the hurt is not so fresh.  I wish I had not been so preoccupied with dogs, cats, and cousins.  But every so often, something will happen that brings her memory to light.  And it will make me smile.

A while back, Mama and I were discussing something.  I can't remember what it was, but it was something I wasn't too excited about.  Mom said something, and I had an immediate reply for it.  And Mom just looks at me, smiles and says, "You have your grandmother's wit."

Because both my grannys can be pretty entertaining, I asked her to clarify.  And she explained it was Daddy's mom.  Again, the grandmother I knew was very holy and good.  I had not heard about this woman.  And Mama explained that before I was born, Granny was known for her banter.

And I can't explain to you how, over ten years later, it does my little heart good to know I somewhat possess that trait.  It's nice to know that someone who knows the both of us can see the similiarity.  I guess that's the part of me that wishes she were still here and this is a small way her memory is still alive.  It's our own family tradition.



Meeting my granny for the first time at the age of two weeks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gift From a Child

Sometimes the obvious is right under your nose.

My day job (192 days a year) is teaching children.  Though to be perfectly honest, on my less than stellar days, I say my day job is I wrangle children.  Any teacher or mother will completely agree.

Back to task. 

Because my classroom was not immune to the Silly Band craze of 2010 (and how I am kicking myself for not thinking them up!), I saw a lot of 'em.  They were fine as long as they didn't interfere with instruction, which they mostly didn't. 

And then the year started drawing to a close.  So you get some silliness.  And my kids started doing the wildest thing.

They started giving me their silly bands. 

Seriously. 


At first, I would return them to the child who gave them to me at the end of the day.  I mean, who wants to be the one who took a bracelet from a kid? 
And then, I had a conversation with Jamie.  I was going to hand her the bracelet her son gave me with the explanation that I was really touched by the fact he wanted to share his bands, when she looked at me and said, "No, please take it.  He adores you.  Please keep it." 
And that completely changed my outlook on the bands. 

From then on, I started keeping the bands and seeing them as the selfless acts of love and generosity that they were.  I halfway expected to get a phone call or a kid to come up and want their bracelet back, but they never did.  (And if you're accustomed to dealing with five and six year olds, you know this is nothing short of a miracle.)

They rode around in my car console for the entire summer.  They were a great source of entertainment for passengers.  For me, they were small, colorful reminders that there are people in the world who care about you.  Like the bands, they come in different shapes and sizes, and have different personalities.  And like the silly bands, they make you smile.   And they mean so much to me, because those kids gave me what was most precious to them.  And I think of how often I hold back what is most precious of mine- be it time, resources, or finances.  And I'm beginning to understand what Jesus meant when he said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those such as these.  I long to be more like those kids.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

1000 Gifts

I don't keep up with a lot of things.

To be truthful, the news often saddens me.  I can't tell you what the stock market has done on any given day, or the rankings of any team (unless it involves the Cats-did you see where UK is picked to finish ahead of UT for the first time in 15 years?  Go Cats!)

But back on track. 

There is one blog I try to keep up with (Ann Voskamp's blog http://www.aholyexperience.com/ ).  She and her family live on a working farm in Canada.  Her writing is always poignant and convicting.  She is wonderful.  One of the things she does on her blog is she keeps a running list of gifts she's grateful for.  Some are very, very profound.  Others are very free spirited.  But she writes about how this sense of gratitude has impacted her and changed her and challenges others to try and list 1,000 things they are grateful for.

So that's my challenge to myself.

It's the first day of August.  I'd like to start my list today.  There's no telling when it will be complete.  Some of the items you may not find all that inspiring.  That's okay-you can make your own list.  I'd love to know what's on yours.

So here goes.  I'm thankful for:
  1. Salvation
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Naps
  5. Chocolate
  6. Laughter
  7. Singing songs with my best friend on the ride back home
  8. Sweet smiles from the kids at Sunday School
  9. Hugs
  10. Quiet

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Small Town Girls Look Out For Each Other

In the hope of keeping some anonymity, I will just say that I live in outside of Lexington, Kentucky.  This summer has required a daily commute to the University of Kentucky.  Because my town is small, and we all know each other, it is not uncommon to say to someone, "Hey! I saw you on the highway headed to/from Lexington the other day!"  This conversation will occur in one of three places-Walmart, Kroger, or church.  It is considered a snub if you see someone in one of these social clubs and do not say hi.  You learn at an early age to greet everyone, whether you know their name or not.  :)

So the other day my laptop gave out on me.  And I needed a new one.  Hence, Daddy and I went off to the Walmart looking to see what they had to offer.  Once we get there, I run into my friend Suzannah from church.  She tells me, "I saw you pulled over the other day on the highway and got worried about you."

(On Wednesday there had been a funeral.  Like all good southerners, you pull over to the side of the road to pay your respects, wheter you know them or not.  Seriously.  Even 18 wheelers will come to a complete stop-I've seen it happen multiple times.)

Apparently, she had missed the procession, and I wasn't back on the highway, so she just thought my car had broken down.  And what does one small town girl do for the other?  Turns her car around to go and check, of course.  Because that's how we are raised.

Doesn't it give you a nice sense of community to know that people can be thirty miles away and still look out for one another?  Suzannah's mama would be so proud.

Here, we still want to make our mamas proud.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sassy Sally

Somehow, it's fitting that this post is being written from AutoMate.

My car has seen fit to completely freak out on me over the last month.  Because I've not had enough going on.

Before I start my sob story, let me say I love my car.  Ever since I was tiny (like five), I told my family I was going to have a red convertible.  Fast forward twenty years later, and guess what I bought?  Yep, and her name is Sally.  'Cause she's a Mustang.  And over the last four years she's been exceedingly kind to me.  She never acted up, was always ready to go, and I was faithful about maintenance.  I'm assuming those were her child years. 

Now, she's acting like a rebellious teenager.

So right after Daddy had his stroke, I could hear something sound like it was dragging.  And because I am a southern girl, I asked Daddy what I needed to do.  (To quote Fred Jones, "value comes from being needed" and Daddy needed to know I needed guidance about my car.  Still.)  Dad thought it was the disc pads.  (Still don't know what those are.)  So in the month of June I truck on out to Automate and find out I need new brakes.  I pull out my debit card.

A week later I found out if you use too much force on the handle that raises and lowers the passenger seat, it will break off in your hand.  I got a new handle.  And pulled out my debit card.

Sally then lulled me into a false sense of security and then pulled the equivalent of a 1-2 punch this week.  There will be a separate post about Sunday, because Sunday was the day of six different catastrophes, all of varying sizes.  But Sally saved her big tantrums for this week.

So I go to the mall Sunday to get a new top for my group presentation.  It was such a gorgeous day so the top was down, the radio was up, and life good. I go into the mall, find some things, and mosey back to the car.  Put my stuff in the trunk, slide behind the wheel, put the keys in the ignition, and n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  My car wouldn't start.  So what do you do?

Call Daddy.  Even though he's 40 miles away.  And you're looking right at the Sears automotive store.  Then you call your awesome best friend and she and her dad come and give your battery a jump.  And you go to Sears and get them to come and test your battery.  Guess what?  I need a new battery.  I pulled out my debit card.

Tuesday, I get new tires.  Four of 'em.  I pulled out my debit card.

Wednesday, the plastic box in my trunk that holds my trunk started dangling.  I couldn't close my trunk for it.  Which is why it's Thursday.  The nice fella behind the counter popped the box back in place, but I asked him if there was a way to secure it so that it wouldn't pop out again.  Which is why I am in the waiting room at Automate.  Writing a blog post.  Hoping the teen years will soon pass.

Sally and myself when she wasn't so sassy.