Friday, June 29, 2012

stop looking at our girl!!!

My daughter Allie and I went to the Ichthus music festival last Saturday.  We've been before.  We've made some great family memories there.  But this year was different.  Allie's brother James [aka my son] is at Governor's School for the Arts, so he wasn't available.  Allie's dad [aka my husband/lover/best friend] worked an Ichthus booth for his workplace, therefore wasn't available to hang out with us. was she and me [I know that's not grammatically correct, but it rhymes, so bear with me].

The one group we wanted to make sure we saw on Saturday is not famous, but a somewhat local group we saw last year, the Abe Parker Band.  We actually know a couple of their members from a past church experience, and happily ran into one - their drummer while strolling the Ichthus grounds.  We chatted, assured him we'd see them perform in a while, and headed on our way. 

During their performance, they did a song entitled "Little Sister", which of course, made Allie and I miss James even more.  Before beginning the song, Abe discussed how he's a big brother, and he wrote the song for his sister.  He talked about how big brothers are protective of their sisters. 

My son is a peace lover.  I cannot imagine him ever getting into a fist fight.  He's not a bully or a mean kid or the type of person to scrap it up with anyone.  He's the kid who, as little league catcher, heavily guarded home plate, knocked a runner down, then offered him a hand to help him up. 

Yet once when a boy at church hugged Allie, he gave the kid a look that said, "Get the *&%$ away from my sister, you *&^%$#!"  It was reassuring to note, that no matter how much he and his sister bicker, nobody better mess with her, or he would.

Therefore, the above mentioned song was a special treat.

"I'm always your big brother, you're  always my sunshine."  ♪♪♫♪
On another note.......

Allie and I walked across a Kroger parking lot earlier this week.  So did a teenage boy.  He looked at her, and kept looking.  Longer than comfortable for me.  I don't know if she even noticed.  He was not like the boys she just graduated middle school with.  He was older, muscular, high school football player type material.  He had the look of a kid who drinks a few beers with his friends on Friday nights.  He seemed tough.  He seemed mature in a worldly way.  I could go on..... 

Yes, I realize this is a lot to assume from a glance at someone from across a parking lot, but.... I'm a mom and I want to protect my daughter and I'm simply not ready for this growing up stuff. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a new day

My husband and I have entered a new stage of parenting.  I don't know if this season has an appropriated name.  Maybe:

college prep
post adolescent
good gosh!  my son's old enough to join the armed forces

Whatever the name, it's definitely a different time in the life of a family.  I find myself laughing inside when I hear parents of preschoolers talk about the immediacies of their current situation.  Or elementary parents who are trying to decide what time's an appropriate bedtime for their eight year old. While I don't mean to minimalize these occurrences, we are well past them, and moving at light speed [it seems] toward empty nesthood.

When your kids are 14 and 17, it's pretty much [go time].  Maybe that's what this stage should be called....... GO TIME.

We dropped our 17 year old off on Sunday for 3 weeks of Governor's School for the Arts.  It's an honor to be accepted.  It's the result of hard work and effort, plus some natural talent [actually, a lot of natural talent].  It's basically three weeks of pretend college.  The students live in a Transylvania University dorm.  They have a roommate and eat in the cafeteria.  They can order pizza at 10:30 p.m., if they so desire and haven't spent all the money their parents sent along.  And, most importantly they separate into groups and work on their particular art form.  Intensely.

During the orientation on Sunday afternoon, it was stressed that this opportunity can and most likely will afford scholarship opportunities.  As well as other opportunities that otherwise might not have been attainable.  So....once our son completes this three week intensive, it's time to seriously look at the next steps in his life.

Meanwhile, there's the girl.  As in our 14 year old daughter.  She will begin high school in the fall.  This means we will be exclusively high school parents.  No preschool, elementary, middle school people in the house.  It will be 2 high schoolers and 2 adults.  [And if you know my husband, you realize it will be more like 3 high schoolers, and 1 adult! - I ♥ you, Chip!]

I realize that once we get our son settled and situated into his post high school lifestyle, there will be little if any time to breathe a sigh of relief until we begin the process again.  And this time, it looks like we'll be dealing with an even broader spectrum of possibilities, since our daughter doesn't have a very finite, specific interest in one thing, like our son does.  Although, maybe that will change and she'll decide to devote her life to taking down the coal industry or manufacturing organic dog food or photographing for National Geographic.  I can see her doing any of these.

I think the oddest thing about this particular time is that I remember experiencing these years myself  somewhat clearly.  I remember being 17.  I remember packing up for college.  I remember the first day of high school.  And it doesn't seem that long ago. 

I'm not sure I'm ready for one of those "UK Mom" bumper stickers or tee shirts [am I this old?].  And the thought of a "University of Louisville Mom" sticker seems even more far out, though the rebel in me thinks it might be somewhat fun to display in Lexington, [home of Big Blue Nation] Kentucky.

Today my younger sister, my only sibling, turns 40.  Which makes me feel older than old.  Like the title of this entry, it's a new day. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lucky Lady

I'm not a big believer in luck.  But I don't want to get philosophical, or deep into the sociology of the family.  I simply want to get this point across:

On Father's Day I'm reminded I've been very blessed in the "man" aspect of my life.

Not our Rambler, but this is what it looked like.
My dad is a great dad.  I don't know anyone more patient and less apt to anger.  Yet I remember a night when a group of rowdy teenagers threw a water balloon at my bedroom window.  The glass was thin, it could have easily broken the window.  The balloon hit hard, and they sped away by car. I was young, just a small child.  My dad jumped in his 1963 Rambler and took off after them. [Mind you, this was the 1970s.  An adult male could give kids a good talking to.  Dad DID NOT take the shot gun along.]  He got a good look, but didn't catch them.  Being a junior high teacher he knew all of the high schoolers on our side of town.  These guys were from "uptown" as we called it.  He didn't know them.  But I realized that my dad, though reserved and friendly, didn't respond kindly to anyone who might hurt his little girl.  My dad gets an A grade in the protector and provider categories of fatherhood.

Likewise, my husband is a super dad.  His decisions are based on how they'll affect his family.  His free time is spent his kids. My husband is a bright man.  He has an advanced degree.  He's a type A, competitive, driven male.  He could quite easily fit into the workaholic category.  I have no doubt, if he desired, he could be rather successful in the worldly sort of way.  Yet, that's not his priority or his aim.

If you asked me as a mother, what I desire most from my children's father, I would say:

Someone who allows our children to be who God created them to be.

In other words, freedom.  Molding them and helping them become who they are.  Not necessarily becoming someone terrifically prosperous or famous or "world changing".  A dad who works so his kids can achieve what they're meant to.  Not a father who drives them to become the next great athlete or academic all star.  But a dad who wants them to be content and secure.
Happy Father's Day to my husband for doing just that!  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

most important

Happy 22 years of wedded {mostly} bliss 
to my sweet husband! 

June is a celebratory month.  It was when I was a child.  My sister's birthday is June 19.  Always right around Father's Day.  Sandy, our childhood dog's birthday was in June (yes, we celebrated it).  And let's not forget Flag Day.

Our daughter was born on June 11.  My sister's husband's birthday is in June.  When my husband became a father, Father's Day became all the more significant.

So.....June 9 [our anniversary] comes in the midst of a bunch of other days that hold some special meaning.

I've noted that sometimes that's how marriage goes.  There are multiple people that vie for, and often need our attention.  And in the midst, we have to make time for the most important.

I haven't always done a great job with that.....making my husband the most important.  I've found it takes a concentrated effort.  Children and work and home chores and parents and countless other people and things cry out for time and energy and affection.

I hope my husband knows he's the most important person {to me}.  He's the one I chose to grow old with and would choose over and over.  And no matter what, I'm here.

In lieu of a card, I shared these lyrics with him:
click on the link to hear the song

If you forget the way to go
And lose where you came from
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am

Be still and know that I'm with you
Be still and know I am 

~ Isaac Slade

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 things

Here are three things I don't recall ever hearing a pastor say in church:

1.  I have a heart for ABC neighborhood, where a lot of needy and poverty stricken individuals and families live.  It's a part of town that needs renewal.  Therefore, my family is relocating to this neighborhood to live amongst the people there. Yes, we have children, but we believe in God's provision and protection.

2.  Driving an Escalade is wrong.  If you drive one, you should sell it or give it away quickly.  You're not only wasting money that could be spent in a myriad of better ways, you're hurting the environment.

3.  Our church is switching directions.  Not necessarily because God wants us to, but because I do.  I've decided I don't particularly want to do XYZ, so we're not going to.  Instead of lying, I'll just be honest.  Frankly, I'm in charge here, so come along with me, or find another place of worship.

Instead, I've heard {something such as} this:

1.  I have a heart for XYZ neighborhood, and I hope you will too.  Sign up today to coach a kids' team, or help clean up this neighborhood, or work in a program that will help families there.  As for my family, we live in the suburbs and our kids attend Christian school and are thankful you pay us a lot so we can live comfortably.

2.  A family recently gave a needy mom a gas card so she could afford to drive to work for a week. Yipee for them!  Or, a family loaned their Volvo to a college student to drive home for the holidays.  Aren't they lovely?  Or, isn't Chick-fil-A the absolute greatest place?*

3.  Unfortunately, our church's plan didn't work out.  But really, that's a positive thing because we feel that God is calling our congregation in a different direction.  Let me lay out "Plan B" for you..........

I try not to be a mean spirited blogger.  And honestly [really] I'm not trying to be mean in this entry.  My husband, children and I have had many church experiences.  Many of them have been difficult.  Often we've been misunderstood.  It weighs on my brain sometimes, how the Church is, more often than not, laissez faire about just about everything I deem as imperative in the New Testament:

Basically the Sermon on the Mount.

So, please accept my snarkyness.  And please know if you own an Escalade, I whole heartedly believe you need to get rid of it. 

*{for some reason Christians vivaciously promote Chick-fil-A, even though it's technically fast food, with all the other fast food downfalls such as fried food, paper products hazardous to the environment, and just think of the typical chicken farm - gross!}

Saturday, June 2, 2012


We have become a family of campers.

This fact is fine with me, as I happily grew up in a family of campers.  I'm actually a third generation camper, and possibly a fourth.  I've camped in the desert, as in right smack in the middle of nowhere on government land I was free to roam to my heart's content.  I've camped at Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone and Mammoth Cave.  And I've beach camped in Galveston.

When my husband Chip crossed over the line, from non-camper to one of us, I was quite pleased.  He was skeptical at first.  Now he's become a pro, and he even purchased a pop up trailer last year.  He loves it.

I recently came across this really cool plan Kentucky State Parks offers:

Family Adventure Quest offers prizes for photographing Kentucky State Parks and answering trivia questions related to to the parks.  Since we're campers, daughter Allie is a photographer, and lastly, we're always up for an adventure quest, we signed up.

Some of Allie's work at Blue Licks State Park

Family Adventure Quest requires a team name.  After discussions and input from the fam, I had no plan.  I had almost submitted the necessary paperwork with us labeled as the Minor Keys.  We like music, we like songs in minor keys, so why not?  Then I realized there's a band named The Minor Keys.  So.....not wanting to copy or be classified as fans of a group we know nothing of, I chose another name:

what matters most

More than at any other time in our family's past, I currently realize nothing matters more than cherishing our time together.  Our eighteen summers are nearly up with the first kid, and the last few with the second will fly.  The times stolen away are priceless.  

Enjoying beautiful Kentucky [or wherever we end up setting up camp] is refreshing.  And we've developed some camping rituals as of late such as listening to NPR podcasts [This American Life, Wait Wait....Don't Tell Me, and others].  While many outdoorsy types like to grill burgers and hot dogs, 75% of our family is vegetarian.  So.....we've found pasta with a store bought vodka sauce makes for a nice camping dinner.  Yes, I know.... not your typical campground fare.  But, for some reason, our kids have taken a liking to vodka sauce.  Sometimes we find a restaurant in the closest town.  We've tried the lodge restaurant at Blue Licks State Park.  The kids have also introduced themselves to Clif Bars, and there's no better place to enjoy one than in the wilderness, right?

We try to hike at least one trail at every campground.  Our purpose in this is to prepare to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.  [not really, although it would be fun]  Honestly, I like hiking and I think the family humors me.  

Hiking at Green River Lake State Park

Some people, with big rig trailers, bring along televisions.  I find myself feeling sorry for folks who can't leave the tv at home for a weekend.  Kind of like I feel sorry for people who have to play a movie in the mini van while transporting their kids across town.  But then, I'm not the world's biggest fan of television. And the point of this entry isn't the pitfalls of too much technology.'s simply that time away is refreshing.  Even time away from one's shower.  

Sunset over Green River Lake

Strange as it might be to some, I'd always choose the extended camping trip over Disney World.  Who needs Gatlinburg when you've got the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to explore?  Give me vodka sauce in the wilderness over waiters in odd costumes any day.  There's an old song, Silence is Golden, and it's  Just look at the above sunset.