Tuesday, March 31, 2009
My above picture is my latest take on my 2009 word, EXCELLENCE. 7 of 8 took six steps last week, the most she has ever taken. She is now almost 23 months old, working so hard to overcome the effects of a neo-natal stroke. The little insignia on the photo says, "Excellence is learning to walk when it would be easier to keep crawling..."
The amazing MirusPeg had this photo essay of her 2009 word, BALANCE:
AVT Coach chose this image as her 2009 word, ABUNDANCE:
Fly Girl had this compilation to represent her words of FAITH and JOY:
And Mommy Victory showed us her continued work toward greater DISCIPLINE as she is working toward feeding her family healthy meals:
Be sure and visit these amazing ladies to see more wit and wisdom as we walk through the year!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
I do not write alone.
I barely visit the restroom alone.
And if I were to only write when I could write without interruption, well, I'm guessing all my posts would be approximately 4.721 words in length.
As I've been sitting here typing away, I have given instruction for 4 of 8 to hit the bathtub. I given a step-by-step procedure for slicing cheese. And presently, 3 of 8 is standing at my shoulder, trying to determine if Cup O'Soup can have an expiration date.
You know how brain researchers say that you can't hold two thoughts in your head at the same time?
They apparently never bothered to interview mommy bloggers.
The irony of my writing environment really hit home when I was working on yesterday's Sunday Selah. The main theme was on distraction, how distraction can keep us from yielding spiritual fruit. And in the middle of encouraging others to focus on the Lord, to focus on the Word, I was simultaneously issuing edicts on sibling relationship guidelines and the rules for playing Skip-Bo.
I know I am not alone out there.
So I want to hear your best weird blogging story. Where was the strangest place you wrote a post? What are the most hilarious circumstances surrounding your blogging happy place? Come on, 'fess up. If you really do have a lovely ivory tower surrounded by blooming vines where you compose in quiet, feel free to tell us that (though we may have to engage in a little mocking...) But if you find yourself hiding in your master closet so that you can finish four more sentences that don't include random items that need to go on your grocery list, be sure and tell that one too. Write a url of your post and your name in the Mister Linky's box below or write your experience in a comment.
And as I was typing the above paragraph, I actually had to scold a couple of the kids that it is not allowed in this house for them to eat grated Parmesan cheese out of the container, pouring in into their palms and popping it into their mouths.
We use a spoon to eat straight Parmesan cheese, like civilized folk....
Sunday, March 29, 2009
It's an amazing thing to me, the way verses can sneak into the Bible.
You read a passage a few times, you think you've got the basic gist of it and then WHAMO, you happen to come upon that chapter and verse again and it seems like there's a wealth of new information and insight there.
I'm thinking hard on the above verses. They look new and freshly profound to me.
Especially in this strange economic gardening season we are in.
I probably could have rattled off to you that the Word is like a seed, sometimes sown where there is no soil to support it, sometimes sown where no root develops, sometimes sown where there is great harvest.
But it's that convicting part that seems to have slipped into spiritual amnesia for me.
Worries of this life. Deceitfulness of wealth. Desire for other things.
Interestingly, the seed sown into this situation does yield a plant that does grow, that does develop a root system, that for all intents and purposes looks like holy horticulture. It's not until a closer inspection for harvest takes place that the truth is revealed--there is no fruit, no discernible by-product evident under the foliage.
Worries of this life.
The Greek expands this verbiage, showing that 'worries' or 'cares' is best rendered 'distractions'. The distractions of this life. The little fire alarms that go off, the potholes in the schedule, the fretful state of finances, the irritations, the scratchy circumstances that rub my soul wrong.
And 'worries of this life', the distractions, that sounds so innocuous, so less intrusive than rocky soil or affliction or persecution, the other conditions that the seed of the Word encounters in some hearts.
Less sinister sounding, equally debilitating.
I need to shift my distraction to delight. Because that's the next part of the passage.
See that word accept? It's the Greek word paradechomai. It does mean receive or accept, but it also means to delight. To hear the word and to delight in it, kingdom addition. Hearing plus delighting equals a harvest.
Distraction by this world, by its worries, by its wealth, chokes the Word.
Delightment in the Word propagates blessed bounty.
I need to be looking with kingdom eyes. I need to be hearing with kingdom ears. I need to be delighting with a kingdom heart. I need healing from my distraction disorder.
I need some holy Ritalin.
Good thing Jesus is the Great Physician.
Medicine for my soul.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
4 of 8 spent her days last week at Drama Camp, a five day extravaganza of script writing, plot pruning, costume designing, singing, dancing fun.
And I have to admit, I was a little trepidatious about turning 4 of 8 loose on the stage. I didn't know how she would feel in a boisterous group, trying to listen for instructions. I didn't know if the camp counselors had experience with the hearing impaired. And I didn't know if 4 of 8 would get a little shy on stage, if she would clam up.
She loved it. She reveled in it. She stayed in character, she made the crowd laugh.
I definitely think she has the bug now. She's says acting is better than soccer.
That's a big wow.
And of course, the whole experience was sweetened by the fact that SH, 4 of 8's spectacular BFF, was also at the camp and is a veteran of song and stage. She showed 4 of 8 the ropes, she encouraged 4 to not hold back, to act full-out, to project, to enunciate.
So we learned a lot last week. We learned that 4 of 8 can grab hold of a character and sell it. We learned that people understood her just fine. We learned that best buddies in real life can have a ball being social opposites on stage. We learned that seeing 4 of 8 act on a public stage makes us a little teary-eyed.
Oh, and I learned one more thing...
It is really, really hard to discreetly nurse a flailing 22 month old whilst sitting in the audience in a theatre designed in the round.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
You know how when you get ready to donate an old computer keyboard and when you pick it up, your diamond solitaire that's been missing and you didn't tell you husband about its misplacement, that diamond solitaire, well, you know how it falls out of the tray underneath the computer keyboard?
And you know how when you are going through some old magazines and a check from your birthday falls out from among the pages?
And you know how when all your power tools, included your power drill which was your favorite present from your husband ever, you know how you're getting ready to throw away that old box in the garage and then you hear a little metallic clang and then you realize your power tools are buried in the bottom of that box?
All those things have happened to you too?!? That makes me feel so much better!
These pictures are kind of like that.
I found one of my favorite old purses when I was going through some last boxes from our most recent move and these picture were inside. They are from the Spring of 2005. We had zipped back to Oklahoma and were able to attend a fund raiser where Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995, was speaking. She had recently received her cochlear implants and 4 of 8 was SO thrilled to get to meet her and to wear the Miss America crown.
She was such a delight to meet and such an inspiration to 4 of 8. I'm so thrilled to have come across these pictures.
Plus, I'm thinking I'm working that blonder hair...maybe I need to chat with some Aunt L'Oreal this weekend...
If you don't remember Miss America 1995, I'm linking the youtube video of her incredible ballet and winning moment. She is our only Miss America who is hearing impaired and her story continues to make this mama to a kid with those issues a little weepy and proud...
the link to the dance
(apparently the embed code was removed by request)
...and Miss America 1995 is...
Now I wonder what other treasures I might find secreted in the nooks and crannies of the house....
(post edit note--that microphone and black box I'm wearing in the photos are elements of 4 of 8's FM system. The FM system would make my voice 25dBs louder in her hearing aids and really helped us get better diction into her speech. However, I did go around having to explain that I wasn't trying to be Madonna on tour...sixkahlas remembers those days!)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Can you guess what's under this humble canvas cover?
It's a treasure chest.
This is the doll chifforobe that my grandfather built for my mother during a Christmas in the depths of World War II.
My grandfather wanted to go fight for his country. He was the right age, in his early twenties. He went down to the military office to sign up. But ultimately he was turned away. One of his legs was significantly shorter than the other, the result of a very bad leg fracture when he was twelve. He and my grandmother weathered the war, pinching pennies, making ends meet.
WW II was beginning to wind to its climactic close the Christmas that my mother was five. My grandparents had scrimped and saved, hoping to give her a wonderful doll.
She was the Madame Alexander bridesmaid doll. The bride doll was the 'it' item that year, but proved too elusive and expensive for my grandparents' humble budget. My grandmother fashioned her a veil and she debuted Christmas morning, much to my mother's astonishment and delight.
My grandmother made a gorgeous wardrobe for her, using bits of fabric from worn-out clothes. She stitched, she designed, she delighted.
The chifforobe and doll were handed down to me when I was a little girl. I played with it all. It seems impossible to me now that such a treasure was entrusted to me, a wondrous play thing, a heritage of make-believe.
The drawers are full of sweet little slips, skirts, blouses and dresses, hats, scarves and little accessories.
And hidden away from sight is a little secret. Can you guess what this is?
Materials were scarce. My grandfather drove a Dr. Pepper truck during the war, delivering carbonated elixir to stores and soda places. He was allowed to keep a few crates and these he dismantled and used the lumber to make the chifforobe.
I find such a joy in turning over the little drawers and seeing this artwork from the era.
And when I see 6 of 8, now about the same age as my mother was when she received this gift, when I look at 6 of 8 looking at herself in the oxidized mirror, I am struck that I used to look in the mirror the same way...and my mother probably did too. And my grandfather probably gazed at his own visage as he nailed in the trim work and attached the hinges. And I find myself the owner of a little time machine.
And the message contained in that little time machine is this: times can be tough. Resources can be scarce. The future can be uncertain. But a parent's love for a child can draw on tremendous creativity. A parent's love for a child can imagine beauty in a Dr. Pepper crate. A parent's love for a child can make a diet of pimento sandwiches taste delicious because it means that child will receive a beautiful doll. A parent's love for a child can stitch rags into ball gowns. Because when it's all said and done, it's not about money and savings accounts and 401K's and mortgages. It's about heart and ingenuity. It's about making do. It's about making Christmas bright, even when times are not.
And that message is perhaps the most precious gift this little doll cabinet contains.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Some cute little shoes got left at my house after my weekend company hit the road. I put these pint-size sneakers on my dining table to ship back to my buddy but kept glancing at them as I went about my day.
And then I decided that I just had to have a picture of them.
I can't imagine what my poor neighbors think, seeing me laid out on the front yard with camera in hand, passionately taking pictures of plaid Converses.
But then I guess they're getting used to it.
There was just something about these small shods that I wanted to capture, a memory of my friend's child, not just his little face and smile, but the little shoes that are taking him everywhere right now.
And I began to think about all the little items and accessories that have been part of the mosaic of my children's worlds, the things I haven't necessarily recorded for the photographic record but have been such a part of the memories of the kids' various stages and seasons.
The little blue rubber boots that 5 of 8 wore everywhere, even when they developed splits at the soles and carried the unique scent of sweaty four-year-old boy.
The pink beaded slippers that 6 of 8 wore to a friend's wedding which were then dubbed "My Wedding Shoes." Eight months later, they were still her very favorites, scuffed, dirty and too small.
The technicolor knitted cap that adorned 1 of 8's head for several months when she decided it was the height of fashion.
2 of 8's first pair of toe shoes.
So you may find me in the front yard over the next few days, taking pictures of shoes that are in too bad condition to donate to Goodwill and too well loved to ever giveaway. You may see me taking photos of a knitted hat that has seen better days.
And you may see my neighbors peeking out of their windows trying to figure out what in the heck I'm up to now.
But can I just encourage you to pull out those lovies, blankies, slippers and shoes that have been the adored accessories of your children's childhoods? Can I just ask you to take a couple shots, to put to memory card a little photographic tip of the hat for the items that have meant so much to your baby, your toddler, your little one?
And could you do me one more favor?
Would you mind taking those photos out on your front lawn, laying on your belly and sending your lower back into cramps? It would just help me to know I'm not the only one.
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's been little slices of heaven the last couple of weeks.
My in-laws were in town, then I traveled out of town to and got to see some old friends and then this weekend had some other dear friends come to visit.
It's been "Old Home" week, as my Mississippi grandmother would say.
These are all people I miss dearly, miss the more local interaction I had with each of them when we all lived in the same town. It has been a deeply felt loss to not be living our lives alongside one another geographically any longer.
But there is a bit of the mysterious in getting to have these little pockets of time with people I have known and loved so well.
When I look in the precious faces of my visiting loved ones, I am struck with how I have memorized them, how I can anticipate so strongly the next gesture that will follow, the cadence of speech, the twinkle in an eye. When I sit chatting with each of these people, I know that I will come away refreshed, renewed, inspired. And I know that as they are looking at me, as they graciously play attentive audience to my silly stories and meandering philosophical ponderings, that they too have committed me to their hearts.
It's a sweetly comforting thing, to feel that the spirit in each of these dear friends is so recognizable, so known to me, familiar, well-trod pathways of friendship and relationship comfortable beneath my feet in this journey. And it is so powerful to know that while miles now separate us, and if the Lord tarries, that the confines of time may one day separate us until we are all called home, I carry the contours of these amazing people's hearts with me everywhere.
I do love to take my pictures of these long-distance compadres, I do love our frequent phone conversations and emails. But to talk face to face, to be able to anticipate the next burst of laughter, to see the track of a tender-hearted tear make its way down the well-known crinkle at the corner of a beloved eye, it is both a chance to learn anew and to also memorize again the poems of colloquy and countenance, tone and turn of phrase.
Old Home Week.
One of my favorite events.
So what do you notice when you get to spend some time with an old friend? Do you see the way things have changes or do you bask in the memories and the familiarity? What makes you feel like you're enjoying a piece of Old Home pie? Write your thoughts in a post and put the url of that post, along with your name in the Mister LInky's box below, or put your thoughts in comment form.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
If a couple of throw pillows are nice, then I'll triple the niceness.
If I could have a couple people over for dinner, then I'll make it a blow-out sit-down dinner party for twelve.
And if a couple of quiet minutes with the Lord would be refreshing, I'll probably pull out my Greek dictionary and my commentaries and my notebooks and my highlighters and sticky tabs. I'll search for the hidden meanings. I'll look for the huge revelation. I'll tackle the big questions.
And if just a couple things make up what my purpose on the planet is, if the Lord has just a couple of expectations of me, I'll probably think it's got to be bigger and more complicated and more demanding and more challenging.
And then He will sweetly lead me to a little verse in His bestseller and He'll show me this again:
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man."
And I'll be thankful again for expensive but simple grace.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
For those of you familiar with the deep thoughts of 6 of 8, you are in for another doozy. For those of you new to the Octamom site, you should know that 6 of 8 is our 5 year girl who is possibly the only sixth child of eight children I know who somehow still seems to operate as though she were an only child surrounded by nine people (including her parents) who play her constant audience and staff. (You can read more on her inspiring one-liners here, here, here, and here.)
So as I'm rushing trying to get dinner on the table last night, 6 of 8 stopped me in my tracks with this one:
"Mom, do you know what my favorite words are? They are YES, NEW, THANK YOU...and, um....oh, PLEASE..."
I think that explains so much, don't you...
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Look what I got to do yesterday...
This is my adorable next door neighbor baby. His mama asked me to take a few pictures of him. I agreed, if I was allowed a little time to snuggle him and smell his head and kiss his toes.
His eyes are just the deepest shade of chocolate.
...and his eyelashes are sooooo long...
Let's face it; Neighbor Baby is dreamy...