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Jan 31, 2013


Driving Sam to school yesterday afternoon, I heard a news report on the radio that a man in Oklahoma had been killed when a tornado crushed the shed where he had taken shelter during these crazy storms most of the country has been experiencing.  I immediately looked in my rear view to see if Sam had heard it. 

Of course he had, his big beautiful eyes full of concern.

"Mom, why was there a tornado?  Was that man in his house?  Why wasn't his house safe?  Is he with baby Jesus now?  Will we get a tornado?  The wind is blowing hard today..."

I reexplained the tornado facts we've already discussed with him, toeing that fine line between informing our kids, giving them respect and a healthy fear of dangerous things without scaring the hell out of them.  Not an easy task.

Then I explained that the man from Oklahoma might have been stranded somewhere or might not have had a home to go to and that's why he wasn't in a safe place when the tornado came.  But that he is in heaven now and God is taking care of him.

Those answers seemed to appease him, but his big old blue eyes still looked worried. 

Sam goes to kindergarten in the fall (ugh) and, since he seemed to be concerned about the safety issue, I told him about the tornado drills his school will practice so that if a real tornado ever comes, they'll know what to do and where to go to stay safe. 

His eyes softened a little at that news and he said, "You know, Mommy...that's pwetty (pretty) handy!". 

He's brought up tornadoes once and the Oklahoma man a couple times today, asking if he had kids or a Mommy...I hate for him to worry.  But am proud of his compassion. 

Jan 21, 2013

What is Wisdom?

"The more I live, the more I learn.
The more I learn, the more I realize
The less I know."

I assumed that as I aged, I would gain more understanding.  That somehow my experiences and education would gradually amass to provide me with a certain amount of enlightenment.  Not that I would become brilliant or something.  But I was holding out for wiser. 

However, it seems a world that I assumed would become more black and white as I accumulated years is just getting grayer. 

For instance, the more I learn, the less I understand people and their actions, including my own sometimes.  But at the same time I seem to give them more room for error now.  I don't judge them as often or as harshly as I used to, which I think is good.  Where I seem to be losing insight as to why people do the things they do, I'm gaining appreciation for the fact that I don't know what that person's world is like, where they come from, what they have endured or survived or witnessed. Not that that excuses certain behaviors.  But it does help me assimilate information, which gives me some sense of comfort in these very uncomfortable times. 

There are a few things I feel more certain of now than in my younger days.  My faith is one of them.  But just as with everything else, while my conviction of God's love solidifies in my soul, my mind is less able to explain why.  Maybe it's because the vastness of God and the infinity of his love and his peace are unexplainable, especially to those who haven't felt it.  Now that I'm older, I accept the fact that I will never be able to comprehend it all.  I've done my doubting and studying and questioning and learning and searching, and have arrived at a place where the answers I have found are steadfast enough for my mind to justify accepting the truths I cannot grasp. 

Business, hardships, religion, disappointments, love, war, technology, politics, death, life...I don't intellectually understand much more than I did ten years ago.  But I do feel like I've grown.  Matured.  Where I've accepted my mind's limitations, I've made up for by expanding my...what...spirituality?  humanity?  maybe both. 

Maybe that's what wisdom is.  Maybe it's not merely the edification of one's intellect, but also the illumination of one's soul.

Jan 16, 2013

Christmas Day

I realize that it's January 16th and I'm posting about events on December 25th.  I'm behind...I hope that's not going to be a theme for 2013.  

My parents alternate every other year staying Christmas Eve night at Lori and my houses.  That way they have the opportunity to watch all their grandkids open gifts bright and early on Christmas morning.  I love this tradition.    

This year it was our turn to have them stay, which our kids thought was the best thing EVER.  (And to be honest, I did too.)  We had a lovely lazy morning opening and playing with presents from Santa while enjoying homemade lemon cranberry scones, cheesy egg puffs and gallons of coffee.  It will go on record as one of my favorite Christmas mornings ever.  

Santa did a pretty good job of not going overboard with the kids' gifts this year.  I was proud of him.  

And the kids are both at such perfect ages to truly enjoy receiving gifts.  They open each one like it's their only present and are so excited about it even if it's not that exciting.  I love that about young do I get that to stick?  

He was very serious about his policeman uniform.

And she was very affectionate with Merida.

Later we headed over to Lori's house for Christmas Day dinner.

Lori, of course, had her home decorated like a magazine.  It was the perfect setting in which  to share a wonderful meal and lots of laughs and good times.

Matt's parents were able to come, which was wonderful.  It made the day feel complete.

Chillin' by the fireside.  So sweet.

Lena found a stick outside that she played with all afternoon.  None of us could quite figure out the allure, but it kept her happy and quiet, so who am I to judge.  

We may have overdone it a little on presents there, but really that was for everyone - kids, parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, actually it doesn't seem too over the top.

Sweet Lily girl with her baby...the best dog ever.

So another successful Christmas holiday was had by all.  We were all healthy and happy.  We celebrated with family and friends God's gift of salvation in the form of his son.  We sang hymns of joy at church and loved on each other at home.  I felt our blessings deeply this year and they overwhelmed me.   

Jan 7, 2013

Salinger's Girl

I read a quote today from an obscure short story called "A Girl I Knew".  JD Salinger wrote the story and it was published years ago by a woman's magazine. The quote was beautiful and painted such a vivid picture of this woman with just a few short words.  It provoked me to scour the internet in hopes of finding it, which of course I did. 

The quote was this:

"She wasn't  doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together." 

Upon finding the story, I read it fast and greedily.  Then I read through it again slowly.  It is a beautiful short story written in his simple and effortless way.  Here is the link if you'd like to read it yourself.  A Girl I Knew

Another quote that moved me from that story was this:

"A man can’t go along indefinitely carrying around in his pocket a key that doesn’t fit anything."

I usually don't like short stories.  I prefer diving into characters and stories that don't let me come up for air for days.  But as one gets older, one's perspective changes.  I'm starting to appreciate short stories more now because they leave so much to the reader's imagination.  They sometimes ingrain themselves deeper into my mind than a novel can because of all that's unwritten.  All that's left unsaid is filled in by my own imagination, which makes the story more personal to me.  Makes me feel a part of it in some way.  I mean, I read this story this morning, and I still can't shake it.... 

God bless writers and poets and thinkers and feelers and artists.  They so enrich our lives.