Friday, November 30, 2007

Found It On the Web Friday #2

Don't click it! Don't do it!

Don't! Don't! Don't!

DO NOT!!!!

You have been warned!

That is all.

Found It On The Web Friday.

I'm thinking about a new look for Kirby:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Bit About Me - Pictorial.

My favorite color: My favorite food. We have concluded in this house that I am Joey from "Friends":
A few of my favorite things:
Where I was born:
What I most struggle with:

Age at next birthday:

Place I'd most like to visit (again):
My favorite place. What can I say? I'm a mom of two small children!
My childhood dream:
My adulthood dream:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can I get an amen?

Not long ago, Good Morning America did a segment on this book and, let me tell you, I'm buying it on title alone. My 3 1/2 year old daughter is already quite sure of her fashion sense and will let me know, on no uncertain terms, what she is and is not willing to wear. One day, not long ago, she cried the entire way home from the mall, all because I bought her a brown skirt.

Brown! *gasp* What was I thinking?

I should have known, considering that every time I do her laundry, the lint from the dryer is a solid PINK. Well, at least for now, the clothing battle is only over color. Oh, I see the writing on the wall, all right. And, you can bet, I'm armed and ready with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Writing on the wall doesn't scare me...

...the fashions for young girls they have out these days scares me! Exactly for what "profession" are we preparing our little fashionistas?

I'm happy to say, just when I thought London never listens to me, she made me proud. Awhile back, when I was in the shower, London decided to get herself dressed. She walked into the bathroom to let me know that she had picked out a pair of panties and, in addition to that, pulled on a pair of panty covers - the little "bloomers" she wears over her panties whenever she's in a dress or skirt. She then says to me,

"I'm wearing these, Mama, because a lady never shows her panties".

That's my girl! Score one for decency!

Keep an eye out for more on this topic as my daughter gains more and more interest in her fashion style. And though I may occasionally get the color wrong, that's not enough to stop me from being interested in her fashion style as well. And if I have to use that Mr. Clean Magic Eraser directly on her clothes - well, I won't. But, anything that falls under the heading "skanky" will meet with the flaming end of a lighted match - that, I can assure you!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hug Update #3 - the other two things.

Lesson Learned Number Three: Sharing God's love is like taking a really big happy pill.

When I returned from Wal-mart, I had what seemed like 72 bags to unload in the house and an unbelievable amount of groceries to put away. Remember, I had been there THREE hours without my kids! Mama did some serious shopping!

Normally, I would not be at all happy with this amount of work ahead of me. And since I was gone so long, my children were mysteriously happy to see me, thus planting themselves right under my feet as I tried to maneuver around my painfully small kitchen. But, you know what? I was ELATED! Literally walking on air. Skipping, no less!

Yes, I'll admit it. I skipped!

I found myself giddy. Smiling uncontrollably. Clapping my hands as I spoke (okay, I do that anyway, but still...) and finding not one single thing my kids did annoying or bothersome! I did not go over to Wal-mart on my mission to hug to personally get something out of it. But, boy howdy, did I reign in the joy! A joy that literally lasted for DAYS. I tell you what, folks, I'm addicted!

I like watching Joyce Meyer in the mornings and one thing that I have heard her say again & again is: While you're waiting around for God to bless you, get out there and bless someone else first. If you do this, God will bless you in ways you never imagined. This is so true! I did not see the blessing of God's joy coming my way. My mission started off small and simple, I was upset that hugging was being vilified by the overzealous politically correct and I wanted to do my part to counteract that.

My mission did turn into trying, not just to do something for the act of hugging in general, but for those people out there who may just be in need of a hug. What I ended up with was something for me in return. Now I'm going to get greedy. I want more of God's joy! But I can't just lay out my hands and ask for it, like some expectant child waiting for her toy. No, I must work for it. But that's okay, because this is work I'm happy to do!

Lesson Learned Number Four: I kind of missed the point.

I didn't understand the verse that was my inspiration as clearly as I thought:

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other". ~ John 13:34, 35

While getting ready to leave for Wal-mart that day, (I figured since I was going to be soliciting hugs, I, at least, better shower) I wanted it to be evident in my appearance that I was doing the work of God. With the likes of Fred Phelps among us, I feel that Christianity sometimes gets a bad rap, so I wanted it to be clear: this was a Christian who was reaching out and being kind. I picked out my favorite bejeweled cross and strung it around my neck - however, while adjusting the length, it broke. No big deal, it was a simple fix. I took it downstairs with the intent of getting hubby's needle-nose pliers and fixing it. Well, one thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was heading out the door to start my mission.

It wasn't until talking to the last of my hug recipients that I reached up to feel my cross that was around my neck and I realized it wasn't there. I had forgotten to fix my necklace and put it back on! "Oh no!" I thought, "One of my main reasons for doing this was to get God's word out. How would anyone know that they were reached out to today by a Christian if I weren't wearing my cross!" I was a bit dismayed but, nonetheless, overjoyed about the hugs I had given/received that day. Over the next couple of days, I thought back over how I had forgotten to wear my cross and, sadly, felt like in some way, I had failed a certain part of my mission.

Then God made it clear to me:

"This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other".

Get it? I didn't. Not at first, anyway. It doesn't say, "when they see the cross you wear around your neck" or "the bumper sticker you have on your car" or "the t-shirt you're wearing". Which are all wonderful and I'll continue to display, but by THE LOVE. It's the love we show, the love we give out, the love we have for one another. THAT is how others will know we are God's disciples doing God's work. It's not about the uniform - it's about the heart, the attitude and, especially, the actions.

I think God broke my necklace! Okay, I don't mean to sound accusatory. I think God was happy with what I was taking on that day, but to some degree said, "Let me just fix one thing". Those three hours I spent in Wal-mart seeking out people to hug wasn't just ME doing something for THEM - it was about God doing something for me, afterall. I desperately want to grow as a Christian and, sometimes, become a bit frustrated at the sloth-like speed of which I am growing. I didn't want to sit around and wait to be blessed anymore. I wanted to be a blessing to someone else, so I was. And, as it turns out, God was setting ME up for a blessing all along.

He's kind of sneaky, huh? Okay, maybe not sneaky, but a pretty good strategist, wouldn't you say? Not only did I not have any idea this task would leave me feeling so elated, but I also didn't realize that I would finally get the chance to move up a few steps in my walk with Christ. How cool is that?

A hug. An easy, quick, painless hug. Something that is so simple, yet so powerful. There is so much inside the hug itself and so much more inside the people doing the hugging. I'll never take them for granted again, nor will I ever view them in the same way.

I will also never refrain from giving one or receiving one. I hope you don't either.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hug Update #2: The Four Things I Learned.

As I said in my last post, I felt I was playing it safe. I wanted to stretch myself - really get out there, ya know? I was looking for people, who not only willingly accepted hugs, but people who may just be in need of a hug from a goofy, big grinned, redhead on a mission. But how will they know that they can get their daily dose of affectionate embrace from me?

*snap* I got it!

All I need is a big ol' sign on my chest letting them know I'm here for the hugging! So I went to Micheal's Craft Store and bought a make-it-yourself button, then came home and printed out my message on yellow paper w/ black ink (the road sign people will tell you black on yellow catches the eye more easily than any other color combination) and, Wah-la! Here you have it:

I was in business! But one question remained: Where do I find these people? Well, that was easy. Where does anyone find anything they are in need of these days? WAL-MART, of course! In desperate need of some groceries and time away from the kiddos, I kissed hubby good-bye and set off on my mission. This was going to be good! I was a bit nervous, but not about the kind of reception I might get. I was nervous about getting NO reception at all. What if no one wanted to hug me? What if the world had already gotten so cold and I was too late? No! No! I would not accept this. *shakes head fervently* I WILL hug someone today if it's the last thing I do!

"As God as my witness! I shall never go without hugs again! Not me, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, cheat, kill or steal - as God as my witness! I'll never go without hugs again!"

Ahem. Excuse me, got a little carried away there. I'm back now.

Anyway, as I trotted into Wal-mart I realized that my big button was not going to do the work on it's own. I had to put on my big smile as well. I needed to look approachable. Very approachable. Like, "I wanna give that girl a big ol' hug" approachable. So smile, I did! I smiled and tried to make eye contact. Tried to make eye contact. Tried to make eye contact. Tried to make eye contact. No, I'm not skipping like an old 45. I was having some serious difficulty making eye contact!

Learning experience Number One: people don't make eye contact anymore. I never noticed this before. Hmm...could it be because *I* didn't like to make eye contact with people? Heaven forbid I make eye contact and someone would want to talk to me! *shiver* Dealing with people I don't know is not my forte. So what the heck am I doing trying to hug them?

God works in mysterious ways...

So I make my way through the aisles of Wal-mart and it really wasn't long before I had my first bite. A sweet lady in the facial creams & cleansers aisle. She said she thought my button was cute, so I held my arms out and gleefully said, "They're free!" She laughed and said, "Well, sure!" and gave me a big, grandma-style hug - all squishy and warm!

That is when I found myself at the start of Learning Experience Number Two: Once you hug someone, they'll want to talk to you! My first huggee was in need of a particular facial cleanser and wanted to know if I could help her find it. After reading the ingredients on one of the jars in her hand, we quickly surmised that she, indeed, had the one she was looking for.

After that, I got four more hugs (two from the same person) and a "hand hug" (I think that guy was a bit shy) and listened as people told me their stories. I heard from one man about his battle with cancer. Another about his reasons for leaving the Catholic church and why he found his non-denominational church so much more inviting. Another quickly told me how he likes to hug everyone at church and still another told me about how he was able to rid himself of physical ailments that had been bothering him for years once he learned how to forgive people and let go of anger.

Wow! I really didn't see that coming. The way these people just opened up to me was something that actually took several days for me to fully absorb. It made me wonder about the rest of us. While we are walking through our daily existence, doing our best not to make eye contact, are we really waiting for someone, a total stranger even, to take notice?

Well, after three hours and a lot of sharing, I headed back home with my mission accomplished - for that day, anyway. The people were out there, alright. They were right across the street, no less. And I couldn't help but continue to reflect on the two things that I learned while in Wal-mart:

1. We have become a people, either because we are unwilling or afraid, who no longer make eye contact. For whatever reason, we don't connect with each other is this simplest of ways. And,

2. We have become a people who, once a connection is made, are hungry for one another.

A hug. A simple act of love. A simple connection between two people. Two people who may not even know each other.

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other". ~ John 13:34, 35

When I first read this verse, not that long ago, I thought that showing the love we have for one another meant some great act of commitment; some great show of love. I realize now, like most people, we make God out to be more complicated than He is. Showing God's love can be a great act of commitment or it can be just the simple act of hugging someone.

Hugging them in Aisle 6, right next to the facial cleansers, for that matter.

So what about the other two things I learned from all of this? Well, you'll just have to stay tuned!

Found It On The Web Friday.

Okay, I'm a little late today. Technically, I didn't find this on the web. I saw it in one of the 3,512,875 catalogs I get in the mail this time of the year and laughed to hard I ran upstairs to find it online so I could post a pic.

All for you - because I love you and I want you to laugh, too.

Someone, please, get me this t-shirt for Christmas:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hug Update #1

Whew! One holiday down, one to go!

Everyone is healthy again and my home is (almost) back to normal, so I am finally able to give you an update on my hug challenge. Except, I won't be giving you the update all in one post. There is a lot to tell, my friends. I learned more than I expected to. Well, to be honest, I didn't expect to learn anything. I was just trying to not let hugging go down without a fight.

And the fight continues on! I have been convicted and honestly feel like this is something God has put before me. There are many ways - MANY WAYS - to get out God's message of love. Hugging is as simple as it gets, if you ask me. And I'm a pretty simple person, so we make a good team!

The first day of my hugging challenge, I hugged two members, Dan & Jan, of my bible study group. After hearing my story, they were quick to oblige and told me how, during their trip to China, they taught their Chinese hosts (whom they now consider friends) to hug. They explained to me that in China, hugging is something that just isn't done - not even among family! Something I can't even imagine.

The second day, after dropping off my daughter at preschool, I asked Miss Kate, who handles the front office, if I could give her a hug. She gleefully responded with a big bear hug I did not expect but was all too happy to receive.

The third day, while at a movie in the park put on by one of my church's (I'll explain that another time), I asked the Pastor's wife, Carolina, for hug. I knew who she was but really didn't know her personally. That was, I think, the second time in several months that I've ever spoken with her. It's funny, after you hug someone, you do suddenly "know" them. I feel like I made a friend with one simple gesture.

The fourth day, I was busy late into the evening doing some scrapbooking when it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't hugged anyone that day! I jumped up, headed to the front door and excitedly announced to my husband, "I have to go find someone to hug!" and went off in search of a neighbor. I found Dean & Debbie and their kids taking an evening stroll. After a bit of chatting, I explained my challenge to them and not only got hugs from them but their kids joined in on the fun, as well. They told me they were a very "huggy" family, and it shows!

Prior to searching out my neighbors, though, it had dawned on me that my choices in huggees had all been people I knew and knew to be Christian. I felt I was playing it safe. I wanted to stretch myself with this challenge. I wanted to get out there! I was sure that there were not only people who were happy to hug but, more importantly, people who needed hugs! Those were the people I wanted to find.

But how? Where? Who would they be? How would I know them?

Questions and quest on! I found them (some of them anyway) and I'll tell you all about it next time. Stay tuned!

It gets good, people! It really does!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Small Hug Update

I actually have lots & lots to tell you about my hugging challenge but *sigh* I simply do not have the time right now. Poor Punkin Pie has just gotten over 4 days of what I can only assume was a cold/flu combo.

Ick and double ick.

When my kids get sick, my little world comes to a halt. Everything - and I mean everything - gets neglected and put on the back burner. I never realized just how tiring it is to take care of a small, sick child. And when all she wants you to do is snuggle with her on the couch...well, how do you say "no" to that?

It reminds me of a poem. A poem I don't remind myself of often enough:

Cleaning and scrubbing
can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up
We've learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs,
Dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby
and babies don't keep.

So today, I'll be catching up on all the "house" stuff and, if I actually get it all done today, *laugh*snort* I'll be back to catch you up on all the "hug" stuff!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Found It On The Web Friday.

A user on created this video to Casting Crowns, Stained Glass Mascarade.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My New Favorite Product

Years ago, I talked my Sweetie into buying one of those food sealer, vacuum-thingamajigs. It was roughly 50 smackers, if I remember correctly. Not to mention an extra $11 for a box of bags. There was measuring, cutting, sealing, vacuuming, and sealing again involved but that was okay, because I was being resourceful and saving money. Happy, I was, sealing & vacuuming, vacuuming & sealing and thinking of all the food I was no longer going to be throwing away and imagining all the wonderful things we could do with the money we saved!

Ahhh...good times.

I think I used it 3 times and back to the far, dark corners of the pantry it went. After awhile, sealing & vacuuming got replaced with things that are actually fun!

Then along comes Handi-Vac by Reynolds. I call him "Burt". Burt is so easy to use, it amazes me that no one came up with this sooner. I mean, really, HOW long has it been since we first put a man on the moon? Let's get with it, people!

Burt even comes with his own batteries plus three quart-size bags to get you started. The instructions are clear - basically, you are holding Burt against the designated blue spot on the freezer bag and pressing a button - and there are even pictures. I'm guessing, they used pictures to show the monkeys in their test lab how to use it. Yes, I know, cliche' but really, a monkey could use it!

Burt is extra speedy and does not require the 10-20 seconds to vacuum the air out of the bag that the manufacturer states. The bags are also reusable! Yay!

And, if I ever run into the designer in packaging who came up with the box design, I'm going to kiss him! Not only is Burt the first item I've removed from hard plastic packaging without muttering a few "colorful" words, but because you don't rip or damage the packaging in any way, you can use it to store Burt if you so desire. A little bed for Burt, if you will.

The price is a very reasonable $9.99 at Wal-mart. The bags are a bit more than regular bags but considering you can use the bags again and again (without cutting them down like with the vacuum-thingy), you can really get your money out of them.

My rating for this little gem is:

5 Mommy Kisses! (out of a possible five)


cash advance

So, like, if you, um wanna see what yer blog's, like, intelligence factor is. Just, like, uh, click on the link up there, ya know and it'll tell you. It's like so cool! 'Cept that it gave mine, like, this totally bogus rating! "High School"! Puh-leeze! My blog is, like, totally cool and stuff and, like, this rating system is, like, so bogus. Fer real, dude! It's, like, sooooooo not kosher, ya know what I mean?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Plate Runneth Over.

When I was a kid, I had to finish everything on my plate. Many nights I was left alone at the table after everyone else had finished their meal and left. It was not unusual for me to sit there for an hour at least, picking at my plate still loaded with food. It wasn't that I didn't like the meal, it was just that it was too much for me. I simply could not handle it all. There was one dinner-time rule, however, that often saved me: If either one of my parents had loaded my plate, then I didn't have to eat it all. They'd simply concede that their eyes were bigger than my stomach. But if I had served myself, well then, too bad. I should've paid more attention to what I could handle and not have given myself so much.

Oh, how this rings true even today! Except, it's not food I have a hard time managing - it's my time. I have a tendency to "fill up" my plate, or rather my calendar, with a bit too much. It all looks yummy when I'm first piling it on but when the time comes and it's set before me, I find that often I have a hard time swallowing what's there. And even though it's not really food, I find that the physical results are quite similar: upset stomach, lethargy and that overall feeling of being "stuffed". What's worse, is there isn't a sweet dessert to look forward to at the end.

This month and next, I'm making it a priority to dish up a little less. A low-cal (as in calendar) diet of sorts. London's soccer is over and I won't be signing her up for anything else until after the first of the year. And even though this is the time of the year when I usually start to pile things onto my plate, I'll be resisting the urge to even "just have a bite". Nothing will be added that isn't pure all-out fun and, other than date night with my hubby, nothing that will require a babysitter.

They say a trick to weight loss is to use 9 inch plates instead of the standard 13 inch. On a 9 inch plate, it appears you have more food and so "visually" you believe you've eaten plenty. I'm thinking I will do the same with my 2008 calender. Maybe if I get one with teeny-tiny boxes I will only commit to what I can write in the box. Perhaps, the days of "my eyes are bigger than my schedule" will come to a halt. Well, who am I kidding? They won't come to a halt but I have faith that I can get them down to bite-size pieces.

I refuse to stuff myself any longer, I want to enjoy my days like the French enjoy a meal. They are not something to be rushed, half-chewed and barely tasted. Instead, I want to sit back, enjoy what has been set before me and linger in the moment surrounded by family and friends.

Yes, that is what I want: Not to fill up my plate, but for what's on my plate to fulfill me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One hundred forty-two plus One.

Today was awesome! I thought for sure I'd cry during the service because I always cry when I'm witness to a baptism but I didn't. I was just too elated! I was so excited but not just for me, you should have seen all the people turning their lives over to God this morning. Last Sunday, they asked people to sign up to be baptized today. They had 65 people sign up! Sixty-five people publicly declaring that they are committing their lives to God - Wow! How awesome is that?

Well, it gets even better. Spring of Life Christian Church offers two Sunday services - 9 am and 10:45 am. I attend the second service. During that service, Pastor Kevin announced that during the 9 am service, 66 people came forward to be baptized. Praise God!

But wait, it gets better!

During the second service, 77 people started life anew in Christ Jesus! That's a total of 143 people baptized this morning!


Of that 143, let me tell you about 1. She is a friend of mine. I was standing in line, waiting to prepare for baptism when I realized she was behind me. I turned to find her wiping big, wet tears from her eyes. I asked her, "Tears of joy?" She replied positively. She then started to tell me how earlier in the week, she had prayed to God asking for direction. She prayed for God to speak to her through scripture. What came to her was this:

"And I tell you, Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God." ~ Luke 12:8 [Amp]

She then proceeded to tell me that she began to feel a push while seated in service that morning and she asked God, "If this is what you want me to do, please let me know." It was at that moment that Pastor Kevin turned toward her side of the congregation, looked right at her and recited the above verse.

She immediately got up and got in line to be baptized!

Some of us realize what we need to do but take weeks or, like in my case, months to act on it. Some of us hear God's call and immediately get up and go forward. I think there is a unique story behind each and every one of the 143 baptisms that took place this morning but, in all honestly, I think when you really break them down, they are, in fact, the same story:

We feel a void.
There is a nudge.
We get a word.
We hear a call.
We get up.
We go forward
and declare to the world:

I'm with Him.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A New Day, a New Beginning.

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." ~ Matthew 3:11

Sunday I will be baptized! Though I was, technically, baptized as a baby, that was not my choice. How a baby can decide to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior is beyond me but I understand why my parents did it. They were only trying to secure my salvation so, by no means, do I hold their decision against them. I certainly appreciate the intention.

But this time around, it's a decision I make, on my own and for myself, without hesitation but at the same time, without flippancy. I want to declare to the world that I belong to God - a child of His very own. That He is my Father in heaven and His Son is in my heart and that I belong to a family tree whose branches reach all corners of the earth.

Please, think of me tomorrow morning as I take one giant leap forward in my sometimes difficult, yet still beautiful, walk with Christ.

God be with you, as well.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Found It On The Web Friday.

I really do enjoy the company of my children and don't mind taking them just about anywhere. However, when I rob a bank, I have the decency to leave the little ones at home.

Now, can someone tell me who to write for my "Father of the Year" nomination?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm bringing HuggyBack

Hugging has been in the news a bit lately for both good and ridiculous reasons. Apparently, at a middle school in Mascoutah, IL, hugging a friend good-bye is a violation of school policy. Megan Coulter, 13, was given two days detention for doing just that. This, in of itself, is ridiculous but read just what the school policy has to say on the subject:

"Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved."

Are you kidding me? Poor taste? Poor judgment? Discredit to the school and persons involved? Remember when we all thought the Borg were cold and unfeeling? Wow. Just wow.

I read another article on hugging that states that 1/3 of us aren't getting enough hugs. The blame being put on the "politically correct zealots" (see above). Well, that just won't do. As someone who loves to hug, I'm taking a stand! Won't you join me?

I propose that each of us reach out and hug at least one person today who is not a family member. By all means, continue to hug your family and even increase the number of hugs within your home, but I want you (and me) to go out of our way to hug someone we might not otherwise embrace. I further challenge those of you who are really brave and affectionate to do this at least once each day this week. That will be the challenge I will take on, as well. I will report back on my Hug-a-thon next Thursday and let you know how it went.

Please, do the same. I want to hear about your hugging experiences. Who you hugged, why and their reaction. Need a little motivation to get you going? Check out this video:

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other". ~ John 13:34, 35


Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Death Will Teach You.

1. Don’t put off.
When my Dad was diagnosed in 2001 with pancreatic cancer, he was given 3-6 months to live. There was so much we could’ve done together but he died just 9 short days later. Why didn’t we do those things before? It’s so easy to let “daily life” become more important when you don’t realize the “whole life” can leave you at any time. There are no guarantees.

2. Say what needs to be said.
Two days after his diagnosis, he was hit with a stroke that robbed him of his ability to carry on a conversation. Luckily for me, my Dad and I never held back on the “I Love You’s” , the “I Need You’s” and the “I’m Proud of You’s”. There wasn’t anything I needed to say or anything I needed to hear. This, alone, was an amazing comfort to me then and remains so today. Tell that person whatever it is you need to say or they need to hear. No one ever regrets speaking in love, but people do regret not speaking when it’s too late.

3. Take more pictures.
I have plenty of pictures of my Dad. I have plenty of pictures of me. What I don’t have are pictures of us together. The last one I have was taken in 1991. A decade without pictures of my Dad and I together? That’s just heartbreaking. Don’t wait for a “special occasion”. Everyday you are with someone you love is occasion enough. You can’t say, “Well, I’ll just come back and take a picture when I have a moment”. Moments don’t come back.

4. The joy of not forgetting.
After my Dad passed, there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t think of him. Each time, it was like someone punched me in the chest. I knew time would heal my wounds but I longed for when I could finally make it through a whole day without thinking of him. Thankfully, God knows better than me. What happened, instead, was the thoughts of his death turned into the memories of his life. And the tears of my grief turned into the smiles and laughter of good times remembered. It’s been over 6 years now and, Thank God, not a day has gone by without a thought or two of him. I wouldn’t have it any other way. No one wants to be forgotten.

5. Cherish the gift you’re given.
While sitting with my Dad in the hospital one day across from my step-mother, I said to her, “As much as this sucks, losing my dad when I’m only 32, I think of all the women out there who grew-up never knowing their fathers or not having a relationship with them. That’s so much worse. At least I had 32 good years”. Words cannot express how thankful to God I am for those 32 years. Sure, some people got 35, 40, 50 years or more. Some got 10. Some didn’t get any.

6. Face grief head-on.
It’s often said that there are 5 stages of grief. I was pretty familiar with denial, since that is how I made it through the day those first few weeks, but I wasn’t interested in any other phase except the final one - acceptance. I figured the sooner I got there, the better. So I just jumped ahead to it. If you are familiar with the movie, “Finding Nemo”, you’ll remember the part where Marlin and Dory are supposed to go through the trench but to Marlin it looks dark and scary. He wants to go over it instead, so they do. They end up running into trouble they never expected - didn’t even see coming, really, and ended up worse off. Trust me on this one, there’s a lot of pain you won’t see coming when you just skip across the top of grief. You really do need to go deep and go through it.

7. Lean on God.
What people who have lost a loved one need more than anything is for someone to just listen to them. There is no better listener than God. Pour it all on to Him. He will never tire. I didn’t do this enough. I wonder how much of the pain would’ve been taken from me had I just released my grief to God. The good news is, it’s never too late. I can still give it to him.

8. Everyone grieves differently - Let them.
When I had spoken to a long time friend of my dad’s after his death, she described it as a “real bummer”. I was shocked! “Bummed” hardly described my feelings. Perhaps, that was all she could express, I don’t know. What I realize now is that not everyone celebrates birthdays the same and not everyone grieves the loss of a loved one the same. People do what they can. They are just trying to make it day by day, as well. Sometimes, I wish I would’ve provided more comfort to others instead of working so hard to secure my own.

9. Find comfort in where they are now.
When my dad died, I was actually a little jealous of him. He was now living in a place where all he felt was peace and love. He was restored to newness and fullness. He knew nothing of pain or fear or loneliness. He was with God and he was home. I never wanted my dad dead, but once he was gone, I never wanted him back. I was too happy for him.

10. Forgiveness.
My step-mom and I did not always have a good relationship. My dad was often in the middle of it. Sometimes, we put him there, sometimes he volunteered for the spot. Twenty plus years of, “She said ‘this’” and “She did ‘that’”. Sitting across the bed from her in the hospital room, she holding one hand of dad’s, me holding the other, all of that vanished. Funny how the death of someone you love will focus your mind and spirit. It’s amazing how it will also bring reality into focus and force you to see, clearly, what is important and what, so rightfully, can be called petty. I wish I could’ve gained that vision years before, but I’m happy to report I’m still seeing pretty clearly today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Found It On The Web Friday.

Introducing a new feature. Every Friday, I'll post something I found on the web either awe-inspiring or just plain odd. This video could be both:

Baby Got Book
(don't forget to turn off the music player to the right)

And the winner is...

"Leedo" a.k.a Mema (Paul's mom) who entered this caption:

That Super-Glue really works!
Congratulations, Mema! A $10 Starbuck's gift card is heading your way! Keep checking back for more caption contests! Thanks to all who participated!