Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Famous One

Habakkuk 3:2
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

The other day I was listening to a preacher who described himself as a “second generation Christian.” Naturally I started counting backwards and realized I was a fourth generation Christian That’s based on not knowing for sure the faith of the generations before my great grandparents who immigrated from Hungary. All I know for certain is that my gramma’s mother accepted the Lord when her children were small and that’s where the spiritual lineage began in earnest.
I was chatting with a woman at work about two young people who had died in the snow after using crystal meth. They didn’t need to die; they wandered away from a vehicle with a half tank of gas and kept calling 911 from their cell phones but were too disorganized and stoned to tell the dispatchers where they were or to follow instructions that would have easily saved their lives. My co-worker asked if I worried about such a fate for my own kids. I don’t. Naturally this led to a discussion about my gratitude to God for his hand on daboyz lives, about their relationship with the Lord being their greatest protection against sad endings like the one described above. From there I shared that our faith has always been the foundation our family rested on. I talked about imperfect people parenting imperfect kids but God making up the difference in our lives. About the Mr. and myself meeting in high school and our own faith guiding us away from dangerous choices.
This wasn’t a long conversation being that it was happening in the middle of a work day while we multi-tasked and juggled our workloads. The impact on my friend may have been very nominal. But the affect on me was great.
I have nothing upon which to depend but my belief in my God. I have seen well-meaning Christians act foolishly, rashly and unkindly. I have been that well-meaning Christian more times than I can count. It is only God that is consistently right and good. So good in fact, that his righteousness covers over all the ineptitude that I bring to daily life.
I can see why those little gray haired ladies of my childhood would stand up to proclaim their amazement at God’s wonderfulness. You let enough years roll by and you can’t help but be amazed at how many mistakes he didn’t make you pay for. I used to pray with white knuckles but not so much any more. Now I rest a little more in God just being God today like he was yesterday and last year and in 1971 and four generations back.
This fourth generation Christian has heard of the fame of God and stands in awe despite the fact that I refuse to be a gray haired anything.
I pray that my fifth generation kids will recognize his deeds because they are just as real today as they were in the days of Habakkuk.
And I claim my sixth generation grandchildren for the God of my great grandmother.
Let us always make Him famous.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


It was so weird.
You guys know that Jay has Celiac and that Mac has been not all that healthy for several months. You know that Mac is being screened for Celiac and the tests have been inconclusive.
Last Wednesday I came home and Mac was on the couch being off on winter break from school. It was about 3:30 and he was in his pajamas. Not that unusual on a day off of school. But then my chest kind of tightened up. You know that feeling when your gut has recognized something before your head has caught up? He was sick...again.
Something in his complexion, the tone of his voice, his posture. The too familiar look of not feeling well.
"You sick?"
"What's the matter?"
"I don't know. My throat. I'm stuffy."
No fever. Said he was drinking plenty of fluids. Had eaten.
And I went upstairs and put my head down on my desk and cried.
I thought about calling someone or e mailing someone but didn't really want to talk about it. I got into my bed in my work clothes and cried and cried and cried.
Why cry over a sore throat? Because I've lost track of the sore throats and upset stomachs over the last six months. And I honest to God could not deal with one more anything.
It's remarkable to me how fast the bottom fell out of my heart.
As I've said before, all tests are negative so far and he's gaining weight and eating. In fact, he's now up four pounds! I'm claiming him healed and whole.
But boy, for a little while there it was rough. About a half hour really of crying and praying and crying. Desperate is the way I'd describe myself. Despair. Not again God, no more!
Despair can sneak up on you, ya know?
Mac's fine.
It's me that had the problem.
When I saw him sick you want to know what I did between feeling his forehead and laying my head down to weep? I got on the computer and looked up symptoms, illnesses, diseases. I reread his lab results. I wracked my brain for the missing thing that would explain it all. I did some research on some very ugly diseases with a knot in my stomach.
After fifteen minutes of that with too many tears in my eyes to read the monitor any longer it was then I dragged myself to bed to cry and whisper my dread to God.
I didn't find anything on the computer except confirmation that my son has had all the flu and colds that we've all had all winter. And that he has an excess of snot, which is not fatal.
I learned something else, I am a beggar.
I am a beggar for mercy, grace and one more day.
I walked around thinking I'm bullet-proof but I'm not. I'm a beggar.
Please God, just pull me up and take care of this.
I was a beggar from the beginning. Just needed a reminder of my status.
Because only when the beggar reaches out her hand does she get the bread she needs.
Next time despair knocks you down, reach out your hand to God before you Google your other options.
I'm begging you.

Isaiah 14:3
And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Now & The Not Yet

The Now and the Not Yet lyrics by AMY GRANT

No longer what we were before, But not all that we will be.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door, On all our compromising,
When He appears, He'll draw us near,
And we'll be changed by His glory, Wrapped up in His glory....

We will be like Him ,For we shall see Him, As He is.
No longer what we saw before, But not all that we will see.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door, On all our disbelieving,
When He appears (holy, holy),Our view will clear,
And we'll be changed by His glory, Wrapped up in His glory....

But I'm caught in between The now and the not yet;
Sometimes it seems like Forever and ever, That I've been reaching to be All that I am,
But I'm only a few steps nearer, Yet I'm nearer....

No longer what we were before ,But not all that we will be.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door, On all our disbelieving,
And He appears (holy, holy),He'll draw us near,
And we'll be changed by His glory,
Wrapped up in His glory....When He appears (holy, holy),
He'll draw us near, And we'll be changed by His glory, Wrapped up in His glory....

Ok, ok, I realize that it is decidedly uncool to acknowledge Amy Grant in 2007. But cool is something I’ve never been so let’s put that on the list of the now and the not yet...
I’m just soaking in the glory of the future and embracing some pslams that are speaking to me today.
It’s so good to know that I’m not yet all I will be. Not yet.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

February 25, 2007

Matthew 23:23
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


1. Garlic
2. Onion powder
3. Pepper
4. Oregano
5. Crushed red pepper
6. Kosher salt
7. Basil
8. Dill
9. Parsley
10. Cilantro
11. Cumin
12. The Mr.

Friday, February 23, 2007

No Worries...

Isaiah 54:17 (King James Version)
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

I just printed this scripture up on my printer.
I was loading the dishwasher with half my mind on the Lord and the other half just wandering when this verse came to my mind. I didn’t know where it was located, I would’ve guessed somewhere in Ephesians among the spiritual warfare passages. How great is it to have internet search engines to solve these mysteries?
Despite my lack of specific location, I’ve known this verse for longer than I can remember. It’s an old-timey Sunday School verse, don’t you think? I’m sure I’d recited it for Sister Sherrel or Sister Allen and they’d write it in their little notepads, keeping a tally of those who learned their verses for a prize at the end of the quarter. Don’t tell anyone, but I’d usually learn it on the way to Sunday School in the car just well enough to spit it back out in class.
I’m also sure I’ve heard this scripture preached from pulpits for the last thirty five or so years. A promise for the Believers that they could be attacked but not defeated.
Today it was told to me again in my heart and to me it seemed beautiful and new in its oldness and familiarity. I was so thankful to have heard and learned this scripture so it could float back to me while I stood in my kitchen not looking for God and yet finding him.
I can’t think of much to say beyond the scripture itself. It seems so perfect to me today. It seems like all I need, all I might ever need. My belly feels full and my muscles feel strong under the weight of the words.
I’m going to put this scripture somewhere to remind me about my promise. In fact I’m going to print up a few more to place all around me. I’m going to live in the middle of this verse for a while.
In fact, I’m going to live in the middle of this verse forever.

Isaiah 54:17 (King James Version)
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sunday School

Did you go to Sunday School?
Did you have your very own Sunday School book to follow along and take your turn reading the story every week?
Did you sit in small chairs around a kidney-shaped table to color with crayons from a basket where you hunted for unbroken ones?
Did you get a quarter (or a nickel or a dime) from your dad that you clutched in your sweaty palm afraid you'd lose it before offering?
Did you see Jesus multiply the loaves and the fishes and Noah and his ark and Joseph's coat of many colors on the flannel graph? Did you ever get to smooth the figure of Moses on to the green flannel board for the teacher?
Did you have stiff and squeaky shoes and a special coat you wore only to Sunday School?
Did you learn to pray and raise your hand to share your prayer requests?
Did you bow your head to thank the Lord for animal crackers and weak Kool-Aid in dixie cups?
Did you rush with all the other kids up out of the basement and search for your mom and dad for morning worship and for just a moment feel afraid you couldn't find them?
Did you get hard hugs and smiling eyes from Brother_____or Sister_____?
Did you ever get a post card that said, "We missed you!" when you were sick?
Did you ever get a pencil with Jesus fishes on it on Promotion Sunday? Did you ever get the perfect attendance pin?
Did you ever dream that those were the days that laid your foundations?

Psalm 34:11
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good News & Stuff

Hey Guys!
Was running late this morning and had nothing to post that got my blood pumping so here's an off the cuff buncha stuff for ya.
Mac's biopsy results from Friday for Celiac Disease were negative, as were his initial labs. He is up two pounds although he still has no appetite to speak of, he is more aware to eat even if he's not hungry. The next step is another round of labs on Friday. If that is inconclusive, genetic testing. We're going to get Friday's bloodwork and continue to pray. I'm ready to call him healed. Please continue to pray for his health and our wisdom.
Tomorrow he and his Grandpa (my dad) are headed west to Albion College for a campus tour for football recruits. We thought that it was too late but the coach called and still wants him to come and take the tour and consider the college. Another thing to pray about!
On to an unrelated topic, on the way home I was listening to our local Christian radio station, which I never listen to on the way home because the guy irritates me. Anyway...the topic was churches that have heard angel's songs during moments of intense worship. I am neither convinced nor skeptical on the topic frankly. But they played two tapes. The first one was so powerful I almost had to pull over. As soon as the "angel's songs" started on the audio tape I was overwhelmed with such a feeling of worship I was crying and driving and trying to figure out what just hit me. The second tape did not have the same effect on me. Did anybody else hear this? Thoughts?
So I think that's all I have to say for now.
Oh, one more thing. I bought a giant box of Little Caesar's Crazy Bread with dipping sauces for a fundraiser from this weird guy at work and have no room in my freezer. I guess I'll have to eat it all tonight.
Hope you guys are all having a great day.
Love you and thanking you for your prayers on behalf of daboyz!


Monday, February 19, 2007


Psalm 34:2
My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Let’s define the terms here. Let’s say the soul is internal, emotional, essential and eternal part of us.
Let’s say that boasting is the expression of that which we are proud.
I woke up this morning neither happy nor sad but just awake and figuring that was as good a start as any. Then I heard those Spring-heralding birds outside and there was a little lift at the corners of my mouth. I started thinking about tulips blooming and blue sunshiny skies and open windows and deep breaths in that didn’t freeze my lungs.
You might wonder why I would find so much pleasure in these little ideas when I’m a self-proclaimed winter lover?
Because sometimes when you’re not really looking for it God talks to you. We all have the experience of praying and intentionally trying to hear him, but like in any good relationship the other person will approach us when there’s something worth saying even when we aren’t asking for it. Today He did that. He told me something and I’d like to pass it on because I think it goes for you too.
That’s it. If you’re in a rush, you can leave now and take that with you.
I’m given to melancholy, depression, pessimism and doubt. I am wired for low self-esteem. There are a million things I could dwell on to pull me down. Not because my life is hard but because that’s how satan talks to me. And yes, sometimes people you don’t want to hear from butt in with their two cents too.
If you would’ve asked me a little while ago what I was boasting in this morning, I’d have probably cracked a joke and dodged the question. There are too many things I need to work on to be sitting around boasting.
But then God spoke to me. The glory of it is that I am not in a depressed state. I’ve been in that dark hole where I’m begging for a reason to get out of bed. I’m not there. I’m really quite content, reality of my various short-comings and burdens not withstanding. I was just feeling neutral and still, God noticed me! He wanted me to feel better than neutral! He wanted me to be encouraged, to know I was noticed even when I was neither doing great spiritual things nor in great desperate need. His eyes wandered the earth and fell on my in my ratty bathrobe with nothing particular happening and he stopped by to tell me to be encouraged.
Listen to the birds, notice the brightness of the sun turning the seasons back toward spring, remember the flowers pushing up last year and know that the hand of God will pushing them up through the earth this year. Realize the finest details do not escape Him.
You don’t have to be sad or happy to talk to the Father who loves you. In fact, he loves you so much he stops by to chat even when you’re about other business.
It reminds me of my Grampa Gerstein. Let me insert here that were my Grampa Gerstein alive he’d be thrilled at his multiple mentions in this blog and probably be printing them up. I assume in heaven he’s forcing Paul and Mother Theresa to read my blog.
Anyway, my Grampa was a dropper-inner. You never knew when he’d show up. Sometimes you’d look out into your back yard and there he’d be inspecting the trees or pulling weeds. Usually you’d see out your front window as his gray sedan pulled at a slightly too fast speed in front of the house and slammed to a stop blocking the approach to the driveway. Then in one motion this would happen; he’d slam the car into park causing it to rock a little, leap out and head up the walk. I’d rush to the front door to let him in. Generally he’d have a bag of cookies from the grocery store, specifically the maple shaped ones with maple frosting sandwiched in there. My favorites.
Sometimes he had an adventure in mind like heading toward the old Farm to check out antique shops or going out to lunch, probably at Dimitri’s or going to the apple orchard or finding a roadside stand to buy fresh green beans.
It didn’t require a celebration or a tragedy to inspire a Grampa drop by. He just wanted to see my face and give me some of my favorite cookies. There was encouragement in the air.
Today, if there’s nothing around you to find pride in and your soul is in neutral, God wants you to be encouraged. There’s a bird singing to you, there’s a flower that will bloom for you.
As for me, I think I just may go buy some maple cookies.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

February 18, 2007

Psalm 116:7
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Things That Relax Me

1. Silence.
2. Reading.
3. Aloneness.
4. Pajamas.
5. Eating (I know, so wrong yet so wonderful.)
6. Worship.
7. Home.
8. The Mr. holding my hand.
9. Laughing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


The Mr. left this Sunday morning for church a few hours ago. I’ll go later with Daboyz and meet him there.
I always get up before he goes to chat for a moment or two and start my coffee. This day was no different. We chatted, giggled a little. He kissed me good bye.
I’d done a little writing this morning, a little scripture study, a little news-watching and had my coffee. I walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror for the first time that day.
I looked exactly like Phyllis Diller, only not that good.
And this man of mine never batted an eye, never looked twice. He acted like he does when I’m all dolled up and looking good. Never mind good, looking presentable! Or even not crazy!
It made me laugh out loud and realize that it’s a good kind of love that doesn’t take note of my unloveliness. Or at least loves me too much to point it out.
It’s exactly the way Jesus loves you. And me.
And Phyllis Diller.

Song of Solomon 2:16
My beloved is mine, and I am his...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Matthew 27:1
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.

Muddling through senior year decisions with Mac and watching the news coverage of the death of Anna Nicole Smith has me thinking about decisions.
I’m going to step outside of the range of political correctness and make a bold statement. I don’t think Anna Nicole Smith knew Jesus as her personal savior. We can do the Christian thing and say we hope her final breath called out to him, we don’t know the state of her heart. That’s all true. And I still say the evidence points toward a death away from Christ. I will wrap up this harsh train of thought by stating that if my suspicions are correct, she is now in hell.
Shocked? Don’t be. One day you will be able to confirm or dispute my theory.
As for decisions, I find it astounding that anyone can be so poor at decision-making as to deny the gift of the cross. Apparently, for some, this falls into the category of “too big of a decision.” Faith in Jesus will cost, what? Nothing. But nothing is too much to sacrifice?
Anna Nicole made decisions to pose nude, do legal and illegal drugs, have sex with multiple partners, put herself on display for public consumption and have two children. These decisions she was able to commit to. It was the Jesus decision that was too big to make.
If I sound ticked off, I am. Not at Anna Nicole. Well, maybe a little bit at Anna Nicole. I’m angry in that way you get angry when you watch someone you love do stupid things that hurt them. Did I love Anna Nicole? Frankly until she died, I never thought about it. I thought she was a ditzy, sleazy junkie. I watched her reality show and mocked her speech and imitated her the way she said her dog’s name (shh-pie). I thought she was tragic and beautiful and wasted and used up. I will admit I never said to myself, “I love her.”
When my son walked into the basement on Thursday as I was doing laundry and told me she was dead, suddenly my heart realized I had loved her and I was so sad for her.
Sad and angry that she waited too long to make a simple decision. That she stupidly made so many others that destroyed her. I don’t know if she committed suicide, overdosed unintentionally or died of natural causes. I do know she lived a sad and used-up life and died without dignity. And yes, probably without Jesus.
We make so many decisions. We are so bad at it. We pretend that not making a decision relieves us of responsibility. We don’t admit that not making a decision is a decision in itself. There is no escape.
The easiest and most important decision is the one that slips by too often.
Decide that the death of Jesus was enough.
Don’t be one of the ones that decide he should die for no reason. Even if you don’t think you have decided, you already have.

You Sexy Thang

True story.
We're sitting in front of Annapolis High School waiting for Mac to come out after taking his ACT. The Mr.'s cell phone rings, a friend of ours car has broken down. Wondering if we can suggest someone who can help him out.
What follows is a transcript of the exchange between the Mr. and myself...

Dean: "I wish I was mechanical."
Me: "Me too. I wish you were anything."
Dean: "I'm mostly just sexual."
Me: "Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Well, at least you're funny."

Consider yourself inspired and have a happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Our younger son, Mac, is graduating this year. Jay graduated last year and it seems like I did a lot of posts about the matter and so I’m trying not to do the sequel this year and drag you guys along. Been there, done that, huh?
I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that “these kids today” really have it made. Do they? I think not. I think it’s hard, being a kid. Turning eighteen, graduating, decisions. When I hear an adult waxing eloquent about the ease of coming of age compared to the old days or the stresses of being whatever their own age is; I think one word...arrogant. Give me a break.
Mac is a really good kid, a fact for which I take no credit. It’s all him and God. Someday, with his permission, I’ll post his testimony. He wrote it a few years back and it says it all. He’s a young man who works diligently at finding the God-path and walking it. If you think that’s easy, you’re not on the path yourself.
There’s a weight of decision-making on the backs of teenagers. It tells them that one wrong move, one misstep and all is lost. There’s a voice whispering in their ears insisting that if they don’t have it all figured out and tied up before commencements, they are failures. I think that’s why so many of them give up before they reach senior year. And we, wanting to inspire success and greatness in our children add to that burden. It’s a barrage of pressure. I’m going to tell you right now, it’s a wrong message. I’m going to tell you what I have told my boys, there are three things that will change the course of your life in a way you can’t reverse...
1. Not serving God.
2. Getting married unwisely.
3. Having a baby before you should.
That’s it. Taking the wrong classes or changing your major or even, gasp, failing a class is not fatal. Mercy means wiggle-room in life. It means you can learn from mistakes or miscalculations. It’s OK. You can try and change your mind. You can try and fail. You can try and try again until you get it right. Just try.
Mac’s senior year hasn’t gone as perfectly as I hoped it would. There’s been no small amount of quietly handled difficulty over here. It’s his life so I’m careful to respect the way he wants to deal with it.
It’s Saturday morning, February 10 and Mac is taking his ACT right now. If you’re a parent, you are thinking to yourself, “it’s pretty late in the year to take his ACT!” You’re right. It’s past the deadline for a lot of schools. The problem is, this fall Mac was sick a lot. He missed a few weeks of school all together. We couldn’t seem to keep him healthy enough for two weeks in a row to take the test. In fact, he’s there and sick right now. We just couldn’t delay any longer. Back in September we kept thinking we had enough time. No time left.
In August the kid was planning on playing his third year as a varsity football player. That plan didn’t work out either. You know the story so I won’t delve back into it.
Six months ago he was wondering about football scholarships, living away at school, which school to choose. Six months later he has been too sick and thrown too off course to have all the options we would've liked. No, he wasn’t in a hospital bed. It’s just been one bout of sickness and doctor’s visits after another burning through several months. Some doors have closed.
In fact, we just got his senior pictures taken because frankly, he’s looked pretty crummy and I was waiting to get him looking healthy and strong! Well, Prestige Photo will have to touch up his dark circles and maybe people won’t notice his suit coat kind of hanging off his body because of the weight loss. He’s still cute.
So many things didn’t go as planned. So many small details we thought we had control of that slipped through our fingers. Life got in the way of the ideal senior year. It’s forcing us to change our plans. And it’s making us realize that all those little details weren’t all that important because God’s plans cannot be changed.
This morning Mac got out of bed to go take his ACT. Achy, dark circles, sore throat. Mouth so full of canker sores he can hardly speak clearly. Nervous because of the school he’s missed all year and this week and wondering if it’ll cause him to score low.
He’ll probably go to Henry Ford for a year or so (our local community college) instead of straight to a four year college. I think that’s ok. I think he does too. It just means some doors have closed. Realistically, he can’t pursue college football. His ACT is happening too late. His health is still unpredictable. His weight is down. He hasn’t played in a year.
I think God made these decisions because like I said, Mac and God are tight. So we look at these events with a mixture of relief and regret.
It’s ok though. It takes a man of great faith and substance to have his plans rewritten by God and to still serve Him.
Before he left this morning to sit through a five hour test when he should be laying in bed sipping tea Mac said this, “It’s probably good that I stay at home and go to Henry Ford. Now I can keep working with Fuel (junior high ministry) and Alive (youth ministry) as a leader. I’m gonna call Adam (youth pastor) and tell him I’ll be here next year.”
And so with dark circles and decreasing body weight, esophageal scope scheduled for next Friday and additional lab work this week Mac went to take his ACT too late to fulfill every possible dream. And with a swollen and sore mouth he put his life again into his Father’s hands.
I don’t think he’s lost a single opportunity.
Psalm 119:2-3
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Springing Up!

Ok all you winter-time-whiners; there’s good news for you. Spring officially arrives on March 21 this year but there’s a hint on the air if you listen closely.
You have to be an early morning riser to notice such things so you long-winter’s-nappers are reaping what you sow!
For the last few days when I get up early there is the tell-tale chirp of birds in the air that is distinctively absent in the depths of winter. Spring is coming. It’s the first sign every year.
Lift up your heads, get out of bed, take off that stocking cap you’re sleeping in and listen! God is waking up the earth!

Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mike's Lighthouse

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.
Dwight L. Moody

(This lighthouse is a gift made by my friend, Mike, whom I've written about in a prior post. He is a living lighthouse.)

February 11, 2007

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I can't find...

1. My gray turtle neck.
2. My beige trouser socks.
3. My three white bras.
4. My one black bra.
5. My long sleeved black t-shirt.
6. My diamond pendant.
7. My engagement ring (don't worry; I lost the diamond years go. It's just the setting)
8. The nursing module I was working on.
9. Daboyz vaccination records.
10.My mind.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Photo Finish, Courtesy of Ed & Shel

Paddle This

Please note that this photograph is of a paddle boat filled with paddle boating, life jacket wearing people. The paddle boat is the only thing that is accurate. The people do not in any way resemble those in this story.
We have these friends, Ed & Shellie. We've been friends for approximately 80 years. Ed and Shell have about the same luck we do and so any event that finds all of us together will invariably end in some ridiculous mishaps and great hilarity. Usually only the four of us find our adventures hilarious. Spectators have been known to be rather offended.
Ed and Shell have gone up north with us to my parents' cottage a few times during the summer when our church was having church camp a few towns over. We did this because Shellie and I refused to stay at the actual camp what with the dorms, lack of air conditioning and absence of cable television. These are the reasons I love Shellie.
During our cottage stays we play games, eat too much and laugh until we either blow pop out of our noses or pee our pants. Then we know it's time for bed. My mom and dad have this giant fish pillow at the cottage that cracks us up every time. We took the giant fish pillow, which we named "Big Fish" on some adventures and took its picture in various situations including driving the van and playing poker. I wish I could find those pictures, I'd post them. Ed & Shell, shoot me those if you have them.
One particular summer my parents, at the recommendation of the family at large, purchased a paddle boat to keep at the lake near the cottage. We would make great use of it we all exclaimed! What fun we would have!
So off Shellie, daboyz and myself went to take a spin on the paddle boat.
Shellie and I were paddling and daboyz were riding on the back. Being focused on good times and laughter I did not make them wear life jackets. I realize this is shameful but really quite typical behavior on my part as Ed and Shellie bring out the wacky in me even more than my baseline of wacky.
So we're giggling and paddling and it's really hard. REALLY hard work. We manage to get out into the middle of the lake and we are done. Can't get back. Floating in the middle of Moon Lake with two small boys who are not wearing life jackets. Of course, also laughing hysterically.
Eventually Dean and Eddie wandered down to the shore to see what had become of us and there we are, floating and paddling but the boat is clearly malfunctioning because it's going nowhere. After much gesticulation, arm-waving and shouting it's decided that Ed will hop into my dad's row boat and row out to us to save us. Ed is no longer laughing, however Shellie and I are now nearing pee pee pants mode. We don't understand why he's so irritated with us because it's the dumb boat that doesn't work. We're paddling for all we're worth!
He rows out to us and throws us a rope which we hang on to and he begins to drag us back to shore. The paddle boat, Shellie, daboyz and myself. Let me just insert here that it is no small tribute to the manliness of Ed Wyatt that he was able to drag us across the lake by power of his oar-skills alone. If you're wondering where the Mr. is in all this, I think he had wandered back into the cottage for a Brazier Dog.
So Ed's rowing for all he's worth and Shell and I are nearing manic laughter when the rope snaps. Ed has to then pull the rope in and throw it back to us, now shortened by half. So now he's dragging us and we're slamming up against the back of the row boat with every pull on the oars. We're still laughing and peeing. He was mumbling and I'm not sure exactly what the details were but there was a lot of "freakin'" in there.
Just as we're nearing shore I made a startling discovery! The paddle boat was not defective, daboyz were sitting on the back causing the back end to sink and the front end to lift up out of the water! The paddles were not even in the water! This is why our paddling was for naught! Ha ha! Funny! More laughing!
Ed said "freak" a few more times, we leaped from the boat and he informed us we would not be rescued the next time we ventured out in to open water.
Later that day Ed took the Big Fish out on the lake to do some fishing but we weren't invited.
The paddle boat remains in dry dock.
Matthew 14:24
but the boat was already a considerable distance from land...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Nacho Nacho Man

Another story that's hard to believe but sadly true.
Many years ago the Mr. would stay up much later at night than myself. This is much different from today when I go to bed much earlier than my husband.
Anyway; on this particular weekend night, the Mr. decided that he would enjoy some late night television while I slept. To make things more interesting he decided at midnight to go to the local Mexican joint for a little (lot) take-out.
Long story short; I awakened after midnight laying on my stomach to find the Mr. had spread out his Mexican buffet on my ample backside and was eating a lovely midnight snack watching television in bed while I slept.
His response when I stirred?
"Hey! Keep still! You're spilling my nachos!"
I share this story only because I figure if I have to live with the memory, so do you.

1 Corinthians 7:3
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Big Boy Blues

One day many years ago when I was a small child and my sister, Amy, was smaller yet she committed an unspeakable act that I will speak of here today. For those who read the following account and doubt its validity; there are witnesses to the event although only one has historically been brave enough to step forward. That would be Kathy, whose blog you can link to at your right.
In the 1970s and in our collective experience, the pinnacle of fine dining was Big Boy's. Regionally this superior restaurant chain is also known as Bob's Big Boy and Elias Brothers. It is delicious.
I have always loved Big Boys. From their garlic and oil salad dressing to their soup and salad bar. From the Big Boy Com with fries to the breakfast buffet. All superior. This being the case it was a treat indeed to dine at Big Boys, whether the one in Southland Mall or the one up the road on Telegraph. And let us not forget the Big Boy by Sears in Lincoln Park.
My Grandma Trent was as much a fan of Big Boy as we were and we would invariably eat there on our frequent Saturday mall pilgrimages.
One day however, a dark cloud descended on the happy fat boy in the checkered overalls. And that dark cloud was named Amy.
For some reason I do not recall, Grandma Trent made arrangements with Amy to take her to Big Boy for lunch one Saturday. Kathy, my aunt, was four years older than myself. Kathy and I loved Big Boy.
So my grandma brings Kathy over and DROPS HER OFF for my mom to babysit while she takes Amy only to Big Boy! And here's the topper; as Kathy and I stand there with tears sparkling in our eyes, my grandma turns to Amy and leaves it to her to decide if Kathy and I can come to Big Boy.
You wanna guess Amy's answer?
And so Kathy and I sat on the stoop as my grandma and Amy pulled away to have lunch at the most delicious restaurant ever with place mats you can write on.
For those of you who admire Amy today; let this be a footnote to her reputation.

Jeremiah 3:7
I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Argyle Socks

There is no lesson to the following account of true events.
I have a hiatal hernia which causes me on occassion to require a procedure involving the insertion of a scope into my esophagus to measure the damage or lack thereof.
Many years ago this condition was causing me some pain and so my doctor felt it was time for the semi-annual scoping which is done outpatient in a hospital under light sedation.
This particular time my mother accompanied me to the hospital because one is not allowed to drive home afterward. Onto the stretcher I went in hospital gown and argyle socks. Off to the outpatient surgical area I went leaving all my belongings and clothing with my mother.
At some point during my procedure my mother started experiencing some discomfort and figured, "Hey! I'm right here in the hospital! I'll just go to the emergency room!"
And so I came out of anesthesia in my argyle socks and hospital gown to find my ride had disappeared with my clothing.
And so I had to wander to the emergency department wearing this ensemble in search of my mother and my clothing.
Eventually I found her, got dressed and somehow got home.
This probably explains a lot about who I am today.

Psalm 27:10
Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

February 4, 2007

Isaiah 22:18
He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die and there your splendid chariots will remain— you disgrace to your master's house!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Superbowl Promises

1. Not to have a wardrobe malfunction.
2. To have no idea what's going on.
3. To be unable to name the teams involved.
4. To be looking in the other direction when something exciting happens.
5. To talk continuously about unrelated topics while the Mr. tries to watch the game.
6. To at least pretend to be terribly hurt when the Mr. doesn't listen.
7. To eat too much.
8. To start whining about going home to get to bed because I have to work on Monday by 7:00 p.m.
9. Not to care.
10.Go Pistons!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I Like Winter

I like winter. I think I first learned to appreciate the experience of winter when in fourth grade Mrs. Weinlander read the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to us in class. Laura had a singular outlook on the pioneer experience and the hardships thereof. She taught me some lessons all those years ago that remain with me. One of those is, I like winter.
Laura talked about “The Long Winter” in a book originally entitled “The Hard Winter”. Her publishers didn’t think anything with the word “hard” was appropriate for children and so it was changed. No doubt that the Ingalls experienced more than one long and hard winter, but Laura saw some deeper truths about winter that leave me liking winter; long, hard and otherwise.
I like that winter limits my choices. Summertime leaves me no excuses from being on the run constantly. More hours of daylight keep me on fast forward from early morning until late evening. But in the winter it is dark by 5:30. Some pioneer part of my brain understands that this means I should be home if at all possible seeing that my family is fed and warm. I should be winding down and heading toward a “long winter’s nap”. Even if earlier in the day I’m making plans for running here and there in the evening, once home with the darkening sky and quiet cold air closing in I’m easily convinced to stay in. “I’m in for the night.” That’s my theme in winter.
I like that winter forces me to be prepared. I’m a creature of comfort and the daughter of a former boy scout. I require a pre-warmed car and boots that have been in front of a heat duct. I do not start my day without an extra big mug of strong black coffee. I plan ahead to ensure that those creature comforts are in place and so I’m better equipped for my days in winter. My coffee pot is ready the night before. Out come the flannel sheets and electric blankets for cozy sleep. My sweaters and long johns are freshly laundered and sweet smelling from the fabric softener that prevents static cling. My cupboards are stocked for blizzards as though in the suburbs where I live I couldn’t make it to Krogers in the snow. As soon as the weather man predicts snow I make a pot of homemade soup and check that my favorite herbal teas are ready and waiting. Then when the snow comes and I’m warm and ready; I feel safe and extra blessed.
I like that winter is quiet and still. It makes me quiet and still too. It is a singular experience to sit on my soft couch with the extra bright winter sun streaming in. Warmth juxtaposed against cold. The deep snow muffles my house and insulates it against the traffic and noise of my neighborhood and sound that usually rumbles through my living room takes on a faraway quality. Icicles hanging from my front porch are prisms casting rainbows against the gray blue sky. Wintertime rainbows reminding me of the God of promises. In a world so different than my childhood world, the click of the furnace is the same gently ushering back the warm winters of 30 years ago. Snow days and my mom making scrambled eggs for breakfast while my dad shoveled snow and we were all together. My Grampa Gerstein still alive in heavy boots stomping into the house after clearing their drive while my Gramma tucked homemade afghans around me and homemade soup simmered on the stove. My dad would pull back the hood from his snorkel coat and his “Trent” hair would stand on end while my mom poured him a cup of strong black coffee. Today my boys “Trent” hair stands on end and I sip my strong black coffee and wonder at the differentness and the sameness of life marching through almost 40 winters. Winter is the gift of still and quiet.
I like that winter is cold on the outside and warm on the inside. There is something miraculous to me about walking in from bone-aching wind to enveloping warmth. Since childhood it has seemed like magic. It is luxury to feel my hands and feet thaw. The sharp tingle as the sub-zero assault retreats from my body and my skin absorbs the heat after coming in from outside. I like the smell of heated air against the icy inhale of winter wind. And the scent of wet coats and scarfs as they dry against the heat ducts. It all means we are safe and warm and winter didn’t get us. It is a miracle, it is a blessing, it is God’s provision that we are warm and pink-cheeked while winds howl and icy snow pings against the windows.
I like that winter means the earth is resting to get ready for new life and harvest and then rest again. God teaches me that this is the way of life; to rest, to live and to reap from the work and love and laughter and tears of it all. To store up and to feast from the treasures of the earth and of the heart. There is enough gained in the summer time to live safe and well-fed in the winter time. In life too there is enough joy to store in the heart so that we can survive the winters of grief.
I like winter. I like the memories of my childhood when we’d visit my grandparents in the evenings after a blizzard and feel like we were pioneers in suburban living rooms. Nothing but each other to depend on. With pizza for dinner or homemade soup we’d sit together looking out through darkened windows with only our own reflections looking back and realize that the faces in the windows were really all we needed at that moment; and forever. I had two grampas and one great big dad all willing to drag me across snowy front lawns on saucer sleds and two grammas and a mom to warm me with hot chocolate and cookies when I couldn’t stand any more snow down my mittens.
I like the smell of my dad’s heavy winter and coffee and cold (which has it’s own scent) when I take it from him now because it’s the same as then. I like my mom’s scrambled eggs and my gramma’s soup for the same reason. I miss my grampas but their faces are clearer in my mind when I’m looking out over a snow covered yard. If I’m very still and quiet like I have learned to be in winter; if I listen closely to the neighbor’s snow blowers, if I breathe deeply the perfume of strong black coffee and listen for the click of the furnace; I can see them again. Caring for their families. Reminding me I have always been beautifully cared for. I have always been warm in winter.

I like winter.