Archive for April, 2011

bring May flowers,

Spring Breaks,

and the end-of-the-school-year-chase.

International Day.
Grandparent’s Day.
3-D extra-credit projects.
Soccer games.
Circulatory System Brochures.
Curtain Please!
Plays, plays and more plays!
Dances.
Field Trips.
Wax Museums.
Soccer games.
Character Lunch.
Junior Proms.
Teacher Appreciation Week.
Book Reports.
Science Projects.
More soccer games.
Spring Fling.

May’s forecasts even more densely packed calendar items…

(And, yes, we are still expected to grocery shop and do the laundry. Gotta keep those soccer uniforms clean.)

Time to grab your track shoes,
take your vitamins,
maintain a sense of humor,
safeguard the kids’ rest,
(They get so mean when they are sleep deprived…)
and hug each other.
Often.

It’s too easy to forget the reason we run this obstacle course in the first place is for the kids.

Our kids are hardworking and talented.
They are eager and beautiful.

The next couple months can be a festival of stress, or a time to soak in their childhoods and invest in family relationships.

God grant me the wisdom to celebrate this time of year and dance with my children in a festival of Thanksgiving.

Well Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

I. AM. SO. MAD.

It happened two days ago.

I. AM. STILL. NOT. OVER. IT.

I wrote you a post.

It was beautiful.

Generational.

Poignant.

Lovely.

Sentimental.

But, not saccharine.

It was a post that wrote itself.

I wrote it by the pool as my kids swam in their uncle’s pool in Florida.

It was fun to write and its results pleased me.

As I finished I went to hit “Save Draft,” and the computer sent an error message.

“Your computer is not connected to the Internet.”

I’m sure you anticipate the punch line.

The computer ate my post like a hungry Early Bird dinner at Golden Corral gobbles up fresh brownies when the dessert bell rings.

I couldn’t back arrow to it.

I couldn’t find it.

The husband, usually my ace-in-the-hole Help Desk rescue, couldn’t retrieve it.

It was gone.

User Error.

I think the phrase User Error frustrates me more than parking tickets.

At least with parking tickets, I know what I did to earn the penalty. With parking tickets, it’s pretty simple: I either parked in the wrong place, or I stayed in the legal space too long. My bad all the way with parking tickets.

User Error however, maddens me, because I often don’t know what I did wrong, but still have to pay the price. In this case, a pretty lovely and feel-good post that captured a sweet, family moment.

User Error puts all the blame on me without apology or explanation.

User Error creates paranoia and suspicion.

When will WordPress next fail me?
What does the computer have against me?
What did I do wrong?
I didn’t mean to hurt you, Internet Connection!
I’m sorry!

Aren’t relationships like this sometimes?

Do you ever feel that seizure of confidence with a person during an interaction, that toggle that signals something’s amiss?

At least computers tell you upfront, User Error.

I wonder what it would be like if people came with User Error messages.

What would it be like if we knew immediately that a behavior or comment had hurt another?

I wonder if it would make us more careful and forgiving.

What would my days look like if my family and friend’s foreheads came equipped with User Error screens.

It’s loss enough to have the computer eat a good post,  I don’t want my User Errors to blister my relationships.

May I seek the Face of Grace in all my interactions to avoid User Errors and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

I had deeply humbling experience at church Sunday morning.

The family and I decided to visit the local Assembly of God church in Fort Meyers.  The Baby and The Oldest girls were especially excited to attend as they hoped to see Dan & Louie of the Dan & Louie Bible Stories CDs they so enjoy.

The Baby got the complete set of Dan & Louie stories for Christmas from her Mamma S, and she had remembered that the church that produced them was in Fort Meyers.

I sensed that the building was large when we drove up, but dismissed it from my attention when The Husband pulled up into a “First Time Visitor Parking” space.

As we entered the church, I asked the greeter what services they had available for children, and he offered to escort us to the children’s registration desk.

That sounded as benign as vanilla pudding, so I agreed to follow him.

Along the trek, I began to notice the scope of the building after we had passed a cafe, Christian bookstore, and several information desks and kiosk booths.

Apprehension began its prowl when the greeter indicated that the children were served in another building.

The kids’ space we entered was banked by a wall of computers where parents registered their children.

The Husband and I approached the Help Desk to get information about how to sign up the girls.

The volunteer was pleasant enough. He dutifully explained the process of how we could sync a beeper to the children in case we needed to be contacted during the service in regard to their needs.

Though helpful, he did not engage us with us personally, smile or offer a reassuring look.

I began to feel my chest tighten as I realized that I did not feel able to put my kids into this program like logs-floating-down-river-for-transport- assembly-line.

So I signaled to The Husband that I didn’t want to leave them, and maybe I should stay with them in kids’ church, and that he and The Boy should go hear the message in the sanctuary.

I headed around the corner with the girls into a space almost as large as the sanctuary of our church at home. The walls were painted royal blue and red. The room was filled with bleacher-style seating like a stadium.

All around us people milled about in activity. Groups of children without adults were playing in stations on gaming equipment, with play dough cups and a tag game. Youths with microphones attached to their heads talked to each other in preparation for the lesson or Worship.

No one looked at us or greeted us.

I realized my temperature had risen and that I was over heated and uncomfortable, and decided to go find The Husband and The Boy in the sanctuary.

We made toward the door as a kind man held it open for us when my lips began to tremble.

In an instant, I  felt enveloped in a compressed sleeve of fear.

The fear constricted my chest and I could not breathe.

There was enough pain that I wondered if it was my heart.

The oxygen starvation inspired desperation.

I hazarded a step or two out of the doorway and faced the wall for privacy.

My only focus was to catch my breath so I could escape, and get us out of there, but I couldn’t find my center.

It seemed like I stood with my face pressed into the corner of that wall for 40 years.

Eventually, the siege passed.

My chest opened up, and I could wipe my face and tend to my girls.

We left to find The Husband and The Boy.

I took his sunglasses off his face and shifted gears.

More than any other thing, I wanted to get in our car and drive away.

I was embarrassed, and tired and felt so far away from my Savior.

However, I didn’t want my girls to associate my response to the church, or to think there was something wrong with their program.

The husband plugged the girls into kids’ church while The Boy and I found seats in the sanctuary.

We stayed for the message, ironically about courage, encouragement and discouragement.

I opened my heart to Praise and tried to press the rest away.

My home church never seemed so precious or far away.

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

My family safely arrived in Florida despite tornado-related flight delays.

As I previously mentioned the postponement, I offer the tornado context with humility.

I wonder if I would have been able to hang on to my happy Zen with the same gracious grip had I known we were flying into tornado warnings.

There were enough generational allusions to the Wizard of Oz that we had to agree to, “Stop it already, my little pretty.”

We hit Fort Meyers late with a robust agenda for the evening and next day, so our initial entry into the area felt more like work than vacation.

Today we slept in and woke up to sunshine and vacation.

It was a pancake morning and afterward the kids poured into the pool like maple syrup.

They swam like giggling porpoises in an eighty-degree pool, jumping from the steaming hot tub back to the pool as I left for a long run.

The time alone gave me time to filter recent experience.

It occurred to me that this visit with extended family is much like going to the ophthalmologist.

You know that part of the exam when the doctor puts that big, metal mask in front of your face and each time he adjusts the lens she asks you, “Which is better, 1 or 2?”

The beauty of family, of course, is that there is no exact prescription. You don’t have to walk out the door with one pair of glasses.

Like the best of buffets, we get to love and be loved by everyone.

The versatility of our family allows us to benefit from seeing our children from the unique lens of their love.

Each of the family members who love our babies helps us see them in a different way:

D: Their D honors this season in our lives. Her children are now grown, and when her eyes light our babies, they magnify the honor we have been given to have this season with these little people and be their parents.

Uncle T: The Baby couldn’t wait to get to Uncle T’s house, because his eyes sees each of our children as individuals of incredible potential. His perspective helps us appreciate the enormity of their futures, an easy thing for us to lose sight of when buried in laundry and bills.

G: One of D’s adult daughters, I see The Oldest Girl’s face when she looks at my girls. Her lens of love for her mother is entirely unconditional, and I am filled with wonder to imagine what our relationships with our children will be when they are adults.

Pappaw: Pappaw’s eyes have the steady gaze of a patriarch. They are our earthly lens of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Mamma-in-Law: Her eyes are like baptism. Her gaze renews our sense of wonderi.

Tia: Tia’s love endures and stands watch over our babies like a sentry. She helps us guard what is most important.

L: L’s eyes connect us to the simple delight of reunion. As much one of us as one of our own, she helps us see who we are as a family.

The members of our extended family help us see the gifts of our nuclear family more clearly and we are grateful for their lenses.

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!