Coinciding with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I set-up an office Olympics where I work. We had three teams: Fiji, Jamaica, and Barbados. I chose tropical locales because, frankly, it has been a long cold winter here and we all needed a hint of the islands. Over the course of three weeks we had a variety of different events such as Recycling Basketball, Paper Airplane Javelin, Lemon Fencing, Synchronized Office Chair Swivel, Finger Skating, and Rubber Band Archery. Each activity only took about 15 minutes out of our day and it was well worth it. The resulting laughter and just the simple act of getting out of our individual offices and workstations and coming together for a few minutes every day around something other than work was refreshing. The closing ceremonies were this past Friday and included a photo slide show (set to the Olympic theme song, naturally) of the participants and spectators at each of the events.
What I found to be the most rewarding part of the whole experience was seeing how everyone in the office rallied around one of our co-workers in particular. She is a quiet lady who works hard and keeps busy. She hails from outside the United States, and has a lovely accent and a gentle spirit. During the office Olympics, her team needed someone to sign-up to compete in Rubber Band Archery and she agreed even though she admitted that she didn't know how to shoot a rubber band. She approached me in the hallway one day and I thanked her for volunteering and she said, she was nervous about it because she didn't know what rubber band archery was. I told her that it isn't a thing... that I just made it up as a fun activity...that nobody knows what it is. She was so relieved to hear that! Have you ever been sure that everyone else knows about something and you are the odd, clueless man out? I explained that I would be setting up some targets and that rubber bands would be given out and that the object was to shoot the rubber band with your fingers at the targets and try to hit them. Nothing to worry about!
The day of the event arrived and I set up a bunch of paper and plastic cups on the ledge of an empty cubicle and let the competitors from teams Jamaica, Fiji and Barbados have a few minutes to practice. She stepped up to the line and acted like she had been shooting rubber bands her whole life. It was like the heavens opened and shined down on her and her alone for those few moments. She knocked those cups off the ledge one right after the other like a sharp shooter, stretching each rubber band back nearly to its breaking point before letting them fly. The staff who were gathered around cheered and watched in awe, even those who weren't on her team. Turns out that someone on her team had sent her a link to a YouTube video of how to shoot rubber bands (Is there nothing you can't find on the internet these days?) and she had been practicing at home since she had signed-up! She ended up winning the gold medal without breaking a sweat and a conversation broke out around the office at how her approach to rubber band archery closely resembled her approach to everything that she does. Her colleagues raved about how if there was skill she didn't have or a program she didn't know how to use, she would pay close attention as it was taught and she would work at it diligently until she became as good or better at it than the person who taught her. Everyone in the office started seeing this quiet, sweet lady in a different light and by the time the closing ceremonies came around last week, when a photo of the rubber band archery champ came up on the screen, the whole office clapped and cheered.
It took stepping outside of the normal routine to be able to see her uniqueness for what it was. Now when we step back into the norm, we will have a new found respect and a clearer picture of who she is and what she is capable of.
How can you create opportunities in your family, your job, your church, your group of friends to shake off the old routine enough to give people a chance to let their uniqueness show and give yourself a chance to notice it? Give it a try! You'll be glad you did.
When was the last time you cried because of a single word? Were they happy tears or sad tears? This morning, on my commute to work, I was listening to music and looking out the bus window and I began to think about a phone conversation from the night before. I went over it in my mind and ended up misty-eyed. Not because of the conversation, but because of a single word uttered by the caller.
The word was "unanimous." What?! Not bringing you to tears too? Perhaps I should explain. My husband went through the interview process for an interim-pastoral position at a church in our area the past few months and it went very well. All along the way we were encouraged and the pastor search team seemed to be encouraged as well. When you apply for a job at a church in our denomination, however, the committee doesn't typically get the final say. It is the committee's job to present their best candidate to the church as a whole. The church then takes a vote about whether or not to hire that candidate. Can I confess something to you? The process intimidates me. This is the second time Jason has made it through to the voting-part of the process with a church and both times made me uneasy. I inevitably flash back to high school where I ran for student body office positions every year and never got voted in. I was never turned down for something that I had any control over... If I wanted to be on the honor roll, I worked hard and made the honor roll. If I wanted to be on the cheerleading squad, I practiced until I made it. If I wanted a summer job, I showed up in a suit or dress, respectfully asked for an application and proved that I would be a good employee, and I got the job. But when everything came down to an anonymous vote... it never worked out for me.
The last time Jason went through to the church-vote-stage of a hiring process, the vote came back as 83% "for" and 17% "against" (if I remember correctly). I remember where we were when we got that call as well and how it gave us both a moment of pause and deep concern. Who were the 17%? Would they be angry if he accepted the job? Would they make ministry difficult? Did we really want to walk into a position knowing that, right off the bat, 17% didn't think it was a good fit?
Fast forward to this morning. As I sat on the bus and replayed the phone conversation with one of this new church's elders from the night before, as he said "The vote was unanimous, we would like Jason to be our interim pastor," my mind singled-in on that one word, "unanimous," and I started to cry silent, happy tears, surrounded by a bus full of strangers.
One can certainly minister for many years in a church that didn't vote him or her in unanimously, and conversely, just because a vote IS unanimous doesn't mean that there aren't those who aren't 100% on-board but just didn't want to rock the boat by voting against the majority. The point of this post isn't about church voting policies or the sometimes gut-wrenching process of finding a ministry position in the United States. The point is - there is tremendous, encouraging power in being accepted, 100% accepted. It is even more encouraging to be accepted when you have been 100% yourself.
I am reading a devotional book right now by Angie Smith entitled, "Mended." In it, she quotes the following from the book, Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale,
"'Do you know the story of Rabbi Zusya?' he asked. 'He was a Chasidic master who lived in the 1700s. One day he said, 'When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me, 'Why weren't you Moses?' Rather, he will ask me, 'Why were you not Zusya?' "
The quote goes on to say,
"Churches should be places where people come to hear the story of God and to tell their own. That's how we find out how the two relate. Tell your story with all of its shadows and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who's authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life. They need you, not Moses."
What an encouragement to be 100% fully who God made you to be. Sometimes you will be accepted as such and other times you won't. Sometimes it will be unanimous and other times it will be more like 83%-17%. Regardless, God didn't call you to be anything other than who you are.
Today I am thankful that, this time, it was unanimous, and I am also asking God to remind me that it has always been that way with Him where I am concerned. He knows me fully and is unanimously for me. Totally undeserved and completely phenomenal!
Romans 8:28-31 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He alos justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
In February, when it became clear that we would be moving out of rural America, where a monthly mortgage payment on a 2,400sf house was right at $1,000, into one of the most expensive urban areas in the country, where you can't even find a tiny, one bedroom apartment in a bad neighborhood with rent at that price, we had to adjust our thinking. What had been unacceptable to us for the previous 13 years (aka: the thought of apartment life), shifted to becoming highly desirable as we began to get an idea of what it would cost to live in the DC metro area. An hour long commute to and from work, would have been completely unthinkable in any other context and yet here, shockingly, it doesn't seem so bad because it would save thousands of dollars each year. Our perspective had to be altered to suit our new reality.
It was funny to me today to hear myself tell Jason how much I was loving apartment life. I love it because the apartment is small so it is easy to clean. I love that we have absolutely ZERO responsibility for keeping up a yard or maintaining the exterior of our dwelling. I love that we don't accumulate too much "stuff" because there is just no where to put it. I love that it is easy to heat and cool. I love that we have free access to a swimming pool (that we don't have to maintain) and a fitness center. I'm just altogether completely pleased with something I DID NOT WANT in the first place. Go figure.
When Jason and I got married almost 15 years ago, we lived in an apartment for two years. We hated it. We complained about it. We desperately wanted a house, where our neighbors weren't so close and where we would have more space. We then rented two different houses for 3 years total and we complained about each because, although each had their merits, neither was "our own place." We then bought our first house and the excitement quickly wore off and we complained about all the things that needed to be done to fix the place up and make it more modern and more "us." After three years, and a lot of home improvement projects, we moved across the country and bought a bigger, nicer house and thought we had arrived. Turns out, bigger, nicer houses take bigger wads of cash to maintain. They can also be harder to sell, and when it was time to move on from there, it took two and a half years to find someone who wanted to buy our bigger, nicer house. Boy did we complain about that! In the meantime we came to know the joy and heartache of renting OLDER homes (80-100+ years old). Everyone who visited us raved about "the character" and "the potential," while we put off saving for Tim's college education in order to pay the astronomical heating bills for those old houses and , you guessed it, we complained.
So here we are living in an apartment - back to square one - and paying more for it each month than we ever dreamed of paying for housing in our lifetime, and we are happy. It is up to us now, to catch a clue and stay that way, and stop complaining. Obviously, each living arrangement has its ups and downs - but at the end of the day, it is a roof over our heads and a place to sleep, prepare and eat meals, and be a family. It could be better and it could be worse.
Someone posted this quote on Facebook today: "That thing you are taking for granted is the very thing someone else is praying for." I'm taking two lessons from that today:
1. Habitual complaining is lame. It shows utter disrespect for those who are going without and a lack of trust in the One who directs our paths. May I learn contentment and joy in the here and now, whatever and wherever that may be.
2. I should always examine why I am praying for the things that I am praying for. Bigger, better, cheaper and easier aren't the goals of life. If I am praying for something that someone else is taking for granted... maybe it is because they are self-centered... but maybe it is because it isn't really worth praying for to begin with.
"This then is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."
Amen. Have I told you how much I love our little apartment?
Today three delightful, hard-working ladies from the moving company are here packing up everything that we own. They have gone about their work pleasantly and with a sense of pride. While they were busy packing-away, a dear friend stopped by to chat and we stepped into one of the rooms that they were not working in for a lovely hour or so to catch up without getting in their way. When I bid my friend farewell, I walked through each room that they had completed and sighed... "This is real!" I thought. I joked with them that I guess there was no going back now and one of them insisted, "Nope, you are moving!"
I went upstairs to, ahem, use the facilities, and only after I'd committed to that act did I realize - THEY HAD PACKED THE TOILET PAPER. Wow. Talk about total commitment to the job. "You ARE moving!" Well, no kidding. We sure can't stay here without toilet paper!
As I reflect on that moment of shocking realization that the T.P. was in a box somewhere and not on the roll, I'm now laughing at myself... how often do I get ahead of myself in life... planning for what is coming a few steps down the road and inadvertently missing what is obviously important in the here and now? Answer: Too often.
Life lesson for the day - Don't neglect the needs of today while planning for the future... or if you prefer: pack the toilet paper last for Pete's sake!
If I had gone to the Cheesecake Factory today by myself, I never would have tasted these. These are Avocado Eggrolls and they are DELICIOUS. I never would have ordered them on my own though. Never. I have my standard order and I don't vary from it much. I have my Cheesecake Factory favorite and I stick with it.
But today, I went with my husband, my son, my mother-in-law (Sandy), and my father-in-law (Jim). Jim and Sandy like to go to the Cheesecake Factory near their home sometimes and just order appetizers and drinks. Having tried several appetizers, they now know what they like best, so they ordered the avocado eggrolls and some calamari for us all to enjoy before our entrees, and I am so glad they did! I enjoyed every bite.
So this got me thinking... We really are better together, folks. We weren't meant to walk through life alone - picking out our favorites (places, food, books, movies, jobs, stores, bible verses, activities, etc.) and sticking with them. We were meant to walk through life together, to rub shoulders with many different people and experience their favorites along with our own; opening our senses to the world as THEY perceive it. We won't always love the world as others show it to us. Sometimes we won't be able to relate at all, but even if we don't share their view we will have a clearer, broader perspective when all is said and done.
Once during my childhood my grandparents traveled from Florida to visit my family in Arizona. We were so excited to take them to see the Grand Canyon! We couldn't wait to show off the beautiful scenery and watch them take their first breathtaking glimpse of God's creative power on display. I will never forget them getting out of the car taking a look over the edge and NOT BEING IMPRESSED AT ALL. It was just a big hole in the ground to them. For a long time this frustrated me. I just couldn't understand it. I even blamed them for not having a stronger reaction, but at the end of the day: they saw it. Whether it moved them or not, they saw it. They had that experience in their back pocket for the rest of their days and no one could take it from them. For me the Grand Canyon was a place where God was to be worshiped and where my imagination ran wild. For my grandparents the Grand Canyon was a place that made them glad they lived in Florida where there are lush green trees and warm, sandy beaches and not in Arizona where deserts are beautiful, but harsh and desolate too.
Regardless of whether our time spent with others trying new things, exploring THEIR favorites, shows us what we have in common or brings into stark contrast our differences, it is time well spent.
So my question today is, when was the last time you sampled someone else's favorite anything? When was the last time you stepped out of your routine and asked someone to show you a piece of the world through their eyes? A new sight, a new taste, a new perspective/opinion, a new hobby, a new labor, a new way of doing something you've always done?
You never know... it might just be a hole in the ground, but it could be THE GRAND CANYON! It's worth a shot.
This is a genuine Guess watch. Well, most of one anyway. Are you impressed?
When I was in junior high school, Guess jeans were all the rage. They were also very expensive. I longed for a pair of Guess jeans with all the longing a pre-teen girl can long with (and that's a lot of longing). If only I could have even one pair of Guess jeans with the upside down triangle on the back pocket, I knew that I would have arrived.
There were times during those years of desperation when I actually had enough cash in my pocket to buy a pair of Guess jeans, but I was raised frugally, and I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on a pair of pants, even though I longed for them! I knew I could buy an entire outfit for the cost of one pair of those jeans, maybe even two outfits if I caught a good sale, and that knowledge kept me from fulfilling my longing. I knew the price was impractical, even if the pants were appealing.
Instead, I settled for a Guess watch - the cheapest one I could find that still had the logo prominently displayed. I cherished that watch. I wore it so much that the band eventually broke. I wore it anyway. I clung to this one item in my collection of clothing/accessories that at least resembled something that my peers had deemed valuable. As I was going through boxes and trunks of old mementos trying to prepare for another move, I smiled when i came across this watch. Then I asked myself WHY had I kept this broken watch for so many years? Through so many moves (California, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Ohio)?
I think it is because I was so proud of my little 11/12 year old self! Looking at that watch made me remember a little girl who had enough resolve to have restraint, enough conviction to satisfy a craving with a "taste" of something rather than a feast, enough sense to choose to be satisfied. With a few more years under my belt now, and a great deal more perspective, I can look back at those pre-teen years and realize that if I had owned a pair of Guess jeans, it wouldn't have improved my social standing one little bit. It might have made me feel differently about myself for a little while, but not very long. Something else would have come along that I "had to have," and the cycle would begin all over again.
At some point growing up I had known my parents' favor when I exhibited financial discernment, and it kept me from walking down a path in junior high and high school where fitting in would become increasingly more demanding and expensive. Today, my husband and I (by God's grace) are debt-free. What a life-long blessing reaped from an early lesson learned! Now I long to be faithful to pass on similar lessons and point out the inner beauty and potential in the young people I cross paths with.
Looking back at that watch makes me want to be more intentional about praising the young people in my life for the intangible things that make up their character. It is so easy to give compliments on the external things (beauty, style, athletic ability, talent, performance), but it takes more careful attention and care to compliment young adults on the inner strengths they possess; the intangibles that can help prevent externals from becoming all-important. Traits like kindness, spiritual insight, joy, compassion, frugality, generosity, and patience.
Some suggestions for focusing deeper in our compliments:
Instead of "Good game!" - "You are a great team player! I love how aware you were of your teammates and their strengths." or "You exhibited a lot of patience in that game. It was a long one and you never gave up or gave into frustration." or maybe "I can tell that you are a great leader on your team. The other players really seem to respect you as a teammate and I enjoyed watching you in action."
Instead of "You are so talented!" - "I could see the joy you have shine through while you were playing (singing, etc.). It made me enjoy the music even more." or "I know it must take a lot of practice and hard work to prepare for a performance like that. Keep up the good work, your discipline is paying off!"
Instead of "You are so nice." or "What a sweetheart you are!" - maybe we could be more specific like, "You just went out of your way to help me with that and you didn't have to. Your kindness is a blessing!" or "I have noticed that you are always looking out for others. I know it isn't always easy to be compassionate, but I know that God will use that kind of an attitude to bless many. Keep it up!"
What are your ideas? What inner strength were you encouraged to embrace as a young adult that has paid off later in life? Can you still remember a particular phrase or person that helped keep you from focusing on the wrong things?
The next two weeks will be filled with goodbyes for our family. As our move date rapidly approaches, each time we see someone now, we aren't sure whether we will see them again before we move, so we end up taking a bit more time and a bit more care when we say each goodbye. The students at Lock Haven University have a special place in our hearts. I first opened my own heart wide to them all when I arrived in Lock Haven several weeks before the rest of the family in 2009. I remember attending the first New Life Student Fellowship meeting of the school year and introducing myself as the wife of their soon-to-be Campus Minister. I remember telling this group of strangers to feel free to call me or Facebook or just stop by the house I was staying at any time. I invited the girls to come over for dinner one night and told them to be sure to RSVP so I'd know how many to cook for. Their unique way of responding is now a cherished memory documented in the picture below. To say I loved it would be the understatement of the century. I loved that I had opened my heart to them and they responded by showing me that they were so grateful that I had.
Whenever we open our hearts to others, we take a risk. We risk rejection. We risk being hurt. We risk learning things about ourselves or them that we didn't want to learn. Certainly, there are those who we initially open our hearts to that end up becoming people that we need to be careful with. Jim Cymbala, Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, says it this way in his book, Fresh Faith:
"Don't you know how to say no? This is not your house! You don't have the right to let in everyone/thing that wants to enter."
Pastor Cymbala is refering to the fact that, as believers, our hearts are God's dwelling place, and that when He takes up residence, He also takes up ownership. We don't get to choose who we let in and who we keep out any more. He decides. "You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price..." 1 Corinthians 6:20 NLT. Sometimes we agree with Him. Other times we don't. The result should be the same: obedience. We can't keep people at arms-length any more just because they are different or difficult. Nor can we continue to allow others to remain close to us and sin in the way they treat us or interact with us (emotional/verbal/physical abuse, causing us to stumble,) without speaking up. We have to love them enough to set up boundaries that keep them at an appropriate distance to encourage their healing and repentance and not enable their sinful tendencies in our relationship.
Many more times, however, we will open our hearts and be rewarded as a result. Sometimes through finding a kindred spirit, other times by learning lessons we needed at just the time we needed them. Sometimes by finding a catalyst for our own maturity, other times by being able to help another along on his/her journey. We have found all of these things in our relationships with students and friends here in Lock Haven. As we prepare to move, we will once again, open our hearts wide to the people in our new church and city, and wait expectantly to see how God asks us to respond to each and every one.
Until then, we will spend the next two weeks, reassuring those who have a special place in our hearts just how precious they are to us and how very privileged we have been to walk with them these few years. We don't regret opening our hearts to any of you one bit!
I just finished the first week of a training program that is supposed to get me off the couch and running a 5K (3.1 miles) in nine short weeks. The first week involves a 25 minute workout that alternates 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking, three times per week. As the program progresses, walking time will decrease and jogging time will increase. Yikes!
In the spirit of not taking myself or this very minor accomplishment too seriously, here are the top five things I learned prior to 7am today during my 25 minutes of jog/walking:
1. Ants, apparently, get up earlier than I do and are tougher than I am. As I was stretching at the track before my workout, I noticed little bits of "stuff" moving slowly on the ground beneath my feet. I realized they were hundreds of tiny ants carrying food-stuffs many times their body weight to an unknown location. They reminded me that I have a hard enough time carrying my own body weight. Show offs.
2. An idea of blogging about a Taylor Swift song and relating it to a deep spiritual truth, is probably the runner's high talking. Mid-way through my jog/walk, I actually had this "brilliant" idea to somehow relate Taylor's single "Our Song" to my relationship with God. Those endorphins can create CRAZY TALK in your brain, I tell ya. Beware!
3. The only place it is acceptable for me to wear spandex shorts is at the track at 6:00am when no one else is around. I think I burned more calories constantly adjusting those crazy shorts to keep them from sliding down or riding up than I did while actually jogging/walking. Thank God for long, baggy t-shirts.
4. Getting spiritual while exercising is for the advanced, not the amateur. Toward the end of my workout, as I finally realized this was going to end (eventually) and wasn't, in fact, going to kill me, I had the bright idea to pray for my friends and family during each of the 90 seconds of walking (praying for myself was all I could manage during the 60 seconds of jogging... more specifically, praying that I'd suck it up and not be a wuss and quit). Sounds reasonable enough, right, except that when I would pray while I walked I would lose track of time and the 90 seconds of blessed walking would go by too fast or I'd feel gipped somehow or I'd go longer than 90 seconds and mess up the rules of the workout plan (I'm nothing if not a rule follower). Bah! #AmateurProblems
5. Having something poking you in your shoe while jogging can make you look insane. If you were hiding behind a tree or sitting in a car somewhere, or were flying overhead in an airplane, or had concealed yourself in some other way this morning, and you had the misfortune of watching my workout while I thought I was all alone - I apologize and I feel I must explain. I HAD SOMETHING IN MY SHOE! All those crazy moves, random kicks and shakes, and the stomping, and toe tapping all while trying to continue moving in a forward direction without falling down, must have made me look a bit off my rocker. Perhaps I am...
Starting on Friday, I will be jogging for 90 seconds and walking for 2 minutes for a total of 25 minutes a day, three times per week. Heaven help me! I'll keep ya posted on the hilarity that ensues and the poignant lessons learned. I know you're on the edge of your seat.
PS - I love the little girl in the picture above. I don't know her, but I love her. I found her on Pinterest. I am not making fun of her, I am making fun of myself... she is, quite obviously, trying to dodge the bubbles that are about to land on her head and that is serious business indeed.
Today I took Timmy and three of his buddies (ages 9-11) to an amusement park and water park for the day to celebrate Timmy's 11th birthday. We met up with another family (including 2 more of Tim's friends) when we arrived.
Someone at some point commented that I am brave. Someone may have been right, however, I am also BLESSED. I laughed so hard today... I had to have burned some serious calories, right? Preteen boys are nothing if not funny. I got a kick out of listening to all of their silly conversations and joining in, when it was cool to do so, and I vowed to remember as many funny moments as I could and write them down when I got home... here's what I can recall:
- Cameron (after going on a ride called the Crazy Mouse): "Miss Carla, My stomach feels turned over." I hear ya buddy!
- When it was time to sing Happy Birthday to Tim at lunch, somehow, they broke out into the hallelujah chorus instead. We put two candles in a watermelon and he blew them out. Nontraditional is kind of our thing. (pictures below)
At one point the boys were pretending to predict what each others' futures would be like. Here are some of their predictions:
1. Timmy will marry a very short woman and move to Europe where he will tend to Alpacas for a living. He will have seven children and all will be well until one of the Alpacas decides he doesn't care for him and he will kick him so hard he'll be sent into orbit. (What a way to become an astronaut!)
2. Daniel will join the circus and be a clown. He will not make people happy. He will make them anxious and sad. (I can't remember the rest of this one, but for whatever reason it made us laugh like the dickens, even Daniel.)
3. Cameron will be a lion tamer with a whip until the lion one day gets hungry and eats him. (So sad...Imagine the funeral! I think his little brother came up with this one.)
4. Morgan requested that his future include some sort of athletic prowess, so the boys decided that Morgan would be playing professional football one day and that during a game he will go up to catch a pass and somehow instead of catching the ball he would catch his sister and spike her in the endzone for a touchdown. He would do a jig to celebrate.
OVERHEARD ON THE WAY HOME:
Tim: "Can Morgan sleep over tonight?"
Me: "Nope. We already have company. Aaron Batdorf is staying over, remember?"
Morgan: "Aaron Bad Elf???"
Tim: "No! Aaron Bad-Orf. He's not an elf, he's like really really tall."
Morgan: "Maybe he is an elf, he just has a height impairment."
Cameron: "Let's sing a song! You guys start with 'Wimoweh, wimoweh' and I'll come in."
All the Guys: "Wimoweh, Wimoweh, Wimoweh, Wimoweh"
Cameron: "In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight, In the jungle the quiet jungle the lion sleeps tonight."
Me (really loudly, out of no where, and high pitched): "Ahh Weeeeeeeee Weee Oh Mamba Weh"
Morgan: "What was THAT?!?!" (laughter all around)
Daniel: "Wait, let's do it again and I'll sing and then we can all come in on that part."
All the guys: "Wimoweh, Wimoweh, Wimoweh, Wimoweh"
Daniel: "In the bathroom, the quiet bathroom, the lion goes tonight. In the bathroom, the quiet bathroom, the lion goes tonight."
All the boys (through giggles): "Ahh Weeeeeeeee Weee Oh Mamba Weh"
If you are ever in need of a good laugh and enough activity to make you sleep through the night - I highly recommend you round up a bunch of 9, 10 and 11 year old boys and take them out for a day of fun. These days are flying by. I am glad today was one for the memory books!
I love my son. I would love him even if I wasn't his mother. I just think he is a fun kid... and a funny kid. He regularly makes me laugh and he surprises me more than anyone else on the planet... just when I think I have him figured out, he shows me he is still growing and changing and learning new things. Do you think that God gives us the delights of 10 and 11 year old boys so that when they are 12-17 year old boys we don't completely lose our minds when their rooms stink to high heaven, and they take uncalculated risks, and they make questionable friendships, and they want to get tattoos of weird things, and they learn how to drive and joke with their mothers about how fast they got the car up to the night before, and they fall in love with a girl and start acting funny, and they choose to play violent sports like football and hockey and lacrosse instead of tennis and golf? I do.
Here are some of the things my Timmy has said and done lately...
1. His screen saver on his school laptop is currently a painting of a primitive house with a sod roof. (Normally it is a Pokemon character or a picture of a dog or cat doing something cute/funny.) If you ask him about his unique photo choice, he will tell you that he is learning about homesteaders in school and how they used what they could find on the land to build shelters and that "that's cool."
2. "Mom, what do you and Dad DO after I go to sleep anyway?!?" (said upon his realization that we don't go to sleep for sometimes hours after he has gone to bed each night).
3. He waved to a stranger (to me anyway) as we walked down the street yesterday. Apparently, the guy is a regular at the local coffee shop where Timmy bartered with the manager for free milkshakes and cookies in exchange for his lego collection (which he felt he had outgrown, sigh).
4. When we left a recent school field trip to the bowling alley, he held my hand and said, "That girl was really nice, Mom." He was referring to a sweet young lady with mental retardation who came right up and introduced herself to him when he arrived and even though she ended up with the lowest score of the day and never seemed to really grasp the rules of the game, seemed to have a great time just being with people. "Yes, she was nice." I'm glad he noticed. I am glad THAT was what he noticed.
5. "Do you think I'm old enough to go on a mission trip, Mom?" Heaven help me! I don't know if I am more excited that he is thinking about such a thing or that he still wants to hear what I think!?!?
6. "Mom, for finals week, I think I want to make a batch of homemade ice cream and just give it away to the college students instead of making them pay for it."
7. He walks the dogs almost everyday for fun and fancies himself quite the dog whisperer.
8. Each morning we ask him how he slept the night before and he'll say things like, "Pretty good, I only got 9 hours of sleep though." or "I was up until like 9:50!" *yawn*
9. We went through the Dairy Queen drive through the other day for a quick surprise treat BEFORE lunch and he asked for a small blizzard. I ordered him a MINI blizzard instead and he said, "Mom, I wanted a small!" "Well," I said, "I guess we could just cancel our order and go straight home for lunch..." Timmy immediately changed his tune: "What was I thinking?! A mini will be just right. Who would want a small before lunch anyway!? Sheesh that would just be silly."
10. He regularly begs me to stand back-to-back with him or put my hands or feet up to his so we can determine if he has grown or if he has gotten any bigger than me in some way. (His feet are bigger than mine and he's got about four inches to go before he looks me square in the eye.)
I don't want to forget these days of innocence and growth spurts and easy laughter and quick forgiveness and tween boy fun. I want his smile and giggle and funny sayings to be burned into my memory. This season will be gone before I know it and we'll be on to new and different things. Each stage with Tim is an adventure, but I think that I'm going to look back at this particular part of the adventure as one of my favorites. :)
Matthew 18:1-3 (ESV) - "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'"
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!