Friday, November 30, 2012


I'm crying as I type this because I just laughed so hard that tear production was the result.

What in the H-E double toothpicks were some of these people thinking!  I can tell you, with a bit of shame in the font, that most of the really bad family pictures were great ideas gone wrong, courtesy of Mom's desire to get a "cute" photo.  Keeping that in mind for this year and this house.

So, as a courtesy to you this holiday season, because I know laughter is the best medicine and several of you are hacking your heads off in my air space and I am ready to knock your block cure for what ails you: Ridiculously Awkward Holiday Photos

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I left this movie with tears in my eyes.

I think I expected a rendition of A Few Good Men, with an intense courtroom scene where the airline (the big, bag company who was in the wrong) was brought down by the little guy who had done no wrong and only wanted the truth to be told.

Wow was I wrong.

If you watch the trailer for Flight then go see the movie, you'll realize that you have been set up.  But, I'm not going to spoil the reason you've been duped;  you just have to see the movie.

For personal reasons, this movie hit close to home.  It was a scathing portrayal of the damage we can do to ourselves and those around us when our choices make us think we are so invincible that we are untouchable.

The movie did a really poor job of trying to weave the whole "Jesus is your Savior" into the context of the film.  It skated around the subject leaving blithe statements and unanswered, tough questions.  For every "Jesus meant for this to happen", I wanted to cringe.  I wanted to scream to the uninitiated:  "My God doesn't cause airline accidents to happen, but He DOES redeem those who are affected by them in, sometimes, profound ways."

And, at the core, this is what the movie is about.  If you can get past the nudity at the start, the cursing throughout, the rampant drug/alcohol use and the ridiculous portrayals of Christians, you will be touched by this movie.  Mr. Denzel Washington has proven, once again, that he is worth the price of admission.

A better gauge of the importance of this movie is how many people decide to heed the message, realize their lives need changing and that they are worth the fight, and make bold moves to do so.  There is nothing in the gross revenue numbers or overall rankings or even the awards shows next year that will show the impact of this movie on its viewership.  And that is a shame.

But, God knows what this movie will do in people's lives.  And that is my huge takeaway from this movie:  People make horrific choices until they are faced with their own demons and just can't lie one more time.  Sometimes it takes a massive event to make that happen;  other times change comes on the wings of a breeze.  Regardless, most lives that are drastically turned around find that the polar opposite of their crummy, messed-up existence is Jesus.

Two pinkies up for the underlying message of redemption and forgiveness and healing, with a side of wishing that, somehow, the message could have been made with a lot less drugs, sex, cursing and nudity.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude (credit to Louie Scwartzberg)

In this week before Thanksgiving, I am pausing life to be thankful.  And this video is a great jumping off point.

I believe the author, bare buns withstanding, got it almost right.  He touches on the fringes of thanking God but doesn't quite get there.  But, with a bit of imagination and a touch of gratefulness in your heart for the work he created, we can all jump past that obvious exclusion and realize we are to be eternally thankful for everything the video highlights because of our God.

I certainly needed a kleenex while watching.  Maybe you will, too.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Running Part Dos

Well, it wasn't the race he had hoped for, but the San Antonio marathon is in the books! 

I seem to be the proud peacock around here, not Mike.  Even though he finished in what I consider a respectable time (did I mention he FINISHED?  Accomplishments number one!), he was disappointed. 

He was a full thirty minutes on the course longer than he had expected, the weather being his biggest enemy:  95% humidity and 81 degrees with full sun right about mile 15 or so.  Can you say &^#)_?  These were conditions that most of the runners weren't 1) expecting and 2) didn't train for.  Just ask the chick that dropped to the pavement or the guys who started wilting on the course and went from a good running pace to walking, at best. 

What I will remember about this first finished marathon is the answer to prayer:  Mike's right knee gave him absolutely no trouble.  Didn't even make a peep.  Now, his left knee?  The one that started throwing a hissy fit late last week?  About killed him.  But, thanks to my Ironwoman friend's advice on using KT tape, Mike now realizes that he can continue to train without much trouble from his bum knee.  According to him, KT tape is a running savior.

This morning I spoke with a friend who runs long distances and she understood what Mike was going through.  I guess, when you've trained for one result and have that in your mind as the goal, it is hard to shake that idea.  It is difficult to see finishing and having your bad knee cooperate as victories.

About the only thing I know to compare the disappointment to is childbirth.  You think it will go this way and then something veers sharply another direction causing a train wreck of emotions and regret and sadness about what you THOUGHT the experience would be.  Now THAT?  I get.

Despite the rather gloomy post-race letdown, we enjoyed our short time in San Antonio.  The place we stayed, courtesy of Dad and Patty, was amazing.  The course actually hit one block over from our hotel at mile 8.4, so we were there when Mike passed and that was huge for all of us.  

The drive down took us off-roading as a wreck outside Austin had 35S almost at a standstill.  We enjoyed driving a parallel road that boasted some beautiful ranches and rolling, treed hills.  The drive home was smooth sailing.

So, I'll wrap up San Antonio with the best glass-half-full I can muster:  thanks for being the impetus for Mike having a course record to beat.  I think my husband has found his inner runner and I expect that he will be pounding the pavement for years to come, knee willing.

I doubt we'll see you again, Rock N Roll San Antonio, but regardless, we hope you'll rock on!  


Post-Race (proud of our Daddy!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Mike runs his first official 26.2, Rock N Roll Marathon, tomorrow morning.

For those of you who don't know, he actually completed a training marathon in the past, about 10 years ago, but torqued his knee about two weeks out.  That knee injury, a holdover from a soccer injury/surgery when he was a teen, was the end of his running career in that moment. As the knee healed and the calendar moved from Winter through to Spring and back through Summer to Fall, kids and work and life took over and the idea of running long distance fell completely off Mike's radar.

Then he turned the magical unicorn number (40, in case you don't know) and started thinking about the rest of his life.  And things, such as "burned v. buried?", "When exactly IS the Early Bird Special served and am I old enough to take advantage of it?", and "Run, Forrest, Run!" started swimming through his mind.

Then, his twin sister threw down the gauntlet when she started talking about her desire to run a marathon.  What once sounded like a bucket list item to check off once the kids were well into Middle and High school quickly became a phone call to a local friend with a running group, a written check for fees to the training guru, and a four-times-per-week schedule that started in late May and will culminate with a 7:30a.m. start on Sunday.

His right knee withstanding, Mike is ready for this.  He has been commenting that it is time for about two weeks now.  He is genuinely excited and nervous all in the same breath.

And we are stoked for him.  We who will receive updates via text so we know where to dash next and shove our homemade signs at him and yell like crazy people.  We who will be gaining weight on the sidelines just by breathing, while he works off the equivalent of a 10-gallon bucket of lard.  We who will catch him at the finish line and take pictures of his victory and listen to every gory detail of every mile on the almost six-hour ride home from San Antonio.

So, today, if you would say a little prayer for Mike, we'd sure appreciate your support.  He is running in warm conditions (83 degrees projected) so hydration will be crucial.  Clearly, the strength of his knee is also paramount.  I know the mental toughness it has taken to get him this far will serve him well but I also know the demons that can mess with you when you are exhausted.  Those need to be replaced by thoughts from God to give Mike the strength to get to the bitter end.

In advance, I thank you for your support.  Whether you ran with him, passed him on the trail and smiled his way, encouraged him on Facebook, or said a prayer in his name, we love and adore you for doing your part.

I look forward to posting picture of his sweet victory in the days to come!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I have to write fast or the magic of the day will have passed, given that it is 11:42, scratch that, 11:43pm and that our fifteenth anniversary is over in 17 minutes.

Fifteen years.  Who'd have thunk?  Certainly not the people who thought we were captial K, Krazy, for meeting in Spring, having our first date on my birthday in late July, and being engaged in October. I think we calmed a lot of nerves when we had the wisdom not to get married in November or December of that same year, but waited to let the high tide of my sister-in-law's wedding roll in and back out before we even dipped our toes in the surf.

I think we reassured a bunch of people when we found ourselves blissfully pregnant on Christmas morning a year and a month later, then repeated parenthood two years later, and finally capped it off four years after that with our last, "YOU AREN'T GETTING ANY YOUNGER", love child.

When we sold our first nest in the midst of the 2008 housing crisis, we raised red flags again.  And those flags were at full staff when we bought a fixer-upper that required an 18-month, almost full-on, renovation.  Mike conducted business from whatever room was quietest in the moment and I filled vacuum bags with extra helpings of dust and wood shavings and whatever the workers-du-jour drug in.

Clearly living in the midst of a multi-month renovation was crazy, but I had the perfect out:  my brain had been sucked out of me by having children.  But what gave with Mike?  Insanity, by proxy is my guess.  Or maybe the fabled "Happy wife, happy life"?  Or maybe, the idea that we wanted to move into our last home, the home our children would spend the greatest majority of their lives in, and make it our own.  So, that's what we did, even as we raised eyebrows along the way.  And regrets?  We have none.

I'd like to think our entire marriage has been about marching to the beat of a different drummer.  We certainly don't fit the pat answer to the demographic we fall into.  And we like it, no we LOVE it, that way. 

And, I'd also like to think that the fact that we both fall to the right of "weird" on the weirdness scale makes our marriage work.  If you don't believe me, let me show you the part of my brain that recorded Mike doing his interpretive dance to "All the Single Ladies" tonight.  It was the entertainment portion of our anniversary evening.  Or maybe he could get you front seat passes to my interpretation of the munchkins welcoming Dorothy to the Land of Oz.  Or the Cowardly Lion's song?  Your pick.  Just bring your lighter.  You'll need it.

I have no one more to thank than God for the time He has granted us together.  He did an amazing job setting our paths in motion, only to cross at the perfect time.  He opened our eyes to each other so wide that others seemed to fall out of even our peripheral vision.  And, I'm blessed to say that that fact remains true today.

Happy 15th, my Knight.  As you sleep beside me this evening, I pray blessings over you and us, that the first fifteen years are just the tip of the iceberg in a very long, very happy marriage.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning Different

In the game of life, some of us are dealt aces and some are dealt twos.  I'd like to believe that kids with learning differences would feel as accepted and worthy of aces as those who don't struggle with social, attention, and academic problems, but I know that is a blatant lie.

In speaking with a Mom today at a breakfast for first/second grade Moms at Shelton (our learning different school of choice), I found out that Shelton's reputation among kids on the "regular school" playground is that kids that attend our school are "Sheltards".  WOW.

Sometimes it feels like the deck is stacked against you when you have a kid who is different.  But, I also know that learning differences often add up to kids who conquer the world in unexpected, amazing ways. 

A recent HBO documentary on dyslexia, for example, highlighted two very talented, diverse businessmen, Charles Schwab and Richard Branson (of Virgin Airlines fame).  It seems the ability to think outside the box is tantamount to being able to see what others don't, can't or won't.

After all, when learning different kids find themselves being taunted by the very words on the page, it can seem like they've hit a brick wall that they can't punch through.  But, punch they do, until they figure out which hook makes the bricks fall. 

It is that very persistence that makes learning different kids an amazing breed.  They work 100x harder than other kids.  They are exhausted by school, but yet refuse to give up.  They press on, against ridiculous odds, to mitigate problems that others don't have and that others put labels on, such as "retard" or "stupid" or "dumb".  Statistically, though, these kids are the brightest and the best.  They simply learn differently.

I would encourage you to check out this article on coping skills for children who learn outside the box.  It is well written, informative and worth your time.  Even if your children are part of the mainstream, read this so you can be informed on what your neighbor's child might be experiencing.

As a parent, I can tell you that the process of educating learning different children is a mind-boggling, frustrating, disparaging journey if you think you are alone.  Please know that you AREN'T.  Most parents I talk to find their children dealing with some issue, whether it be social or academic (and sometimes both), physical or psychological.  As a group, we have to find the voice to speak about our children's issues with one another so we aren't all living on islands, going crazy thinking no one understands.  That is a complete and utter lie!

If I could personally speak to every parent of a learning different child in person, I would tell them that there is hope.  I would hold their hand and cry with them.  I would listen to them scream about how hard it is and how unfair it can be and remind them that the difficulties our children are experiencing in this season will build skills they will use throughout their lifetimes.  God is walking them (and us) through these journeys to build character traits that will shape who they are as adults.

I think Erma Bombeck said it well:  "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"

Watching my learning different kids work through life, I can tell you that they will be tapped out at the end.  They leave blood, sweat and tears on the table everyday.  When they stand before the throne of God, they will have used everything they were given, plus some.

And I, for one, will be the proud Momma who had the experience of helping fight their way through their issues and guiding them to their God given talents.

I know there aren't supposed to be tears in Heaven, but when we stand together in front of our Lord, and I know to my core that this journey was worth it, I think there might be a tear or two falling down my cheeks.  And a smile as wide as the Mississippi.

I am so proud of all three of my boys.  I embrace their differences.  I feel blessed to be part of their daily struggles.  And I will never deny to any other parent that what they are experiencing is hard.  But, it is worth it.

Because, in the end, if I know anything I know they are so incredibly worth it.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I just love it when I can introduce you to someone who deserves a break AND be on the cutting edge of what is musically up-and-coming at the same time.  Because, let's face it, sistah ain't listening to Lady Gaga or One Direction willingly.

Take a listen to this.  I totally renounce the stupid commercial you'll have to watch to pay for this unless it is about chocolate, coffee or spas.  Otherwise, just suck it up and know it will be over in a few seconds and you'll get to hear Rhett Walker sing for the first time.
And when your mind explodes into a thousand pieces because this is the best fusion of Christian/Country/Rock in the recent past, you'll understand my giddiness.  I'm betting you've just heard the next big band that will be playing across genres. 

Good music, like good poetry, art, and writing, flow out of some place, they just don't happen.  For Mr. Walker, that goodness came from having chosen a tough path in life.  He had an AH-HA moment when his high school girlfriend became pregnant and he realized he had to step-up.  Being a goof was no longer an option.*  And the rest, as they say, is history.

What I dearly love about this band and this song is that they both speak the truth about real Christians.  We aren't perfect.  We constantly need mercy, sometimes daily or hourly or minute-by-minute.  And Rhett Walker isn't afraid to admit that he falls into that category.

If, like me, you had a genuine physical feeling when you accepted Christ because He touched you in a way that was unmistakable, you will think that this song is about that particular moment in time.  But, if like me, that moment opened a portal of hurt and pain for several years after that, you will also know that this song is about the mercy that flows into us every time we meet with God. 

If you've read this blog for long, you know that I adore artists who intentionally place deeper meaning in what they do.  So, this song speaks to my heart, not just today as I sit in my 46th year, but to the heart that accepted Christ in my twenties.  And, to boot, I find myself rocking out to it, looking something like L.A. Reid when he hears rap music on The X Factor. That must count for sumpin'!

May the peace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you today and always.
"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.  At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone."
~Titus 3:3-8

*For the entire story, click here and go to the ABOUT tab.