Timeless truth in a changing world



When Everything Goes Wrong


Yesterday was not my day. We have one of those faucets in our kitchen sink you can pull out on a little hose. Well, we had one. I came out from taking a shower to find that my toddler had broken it. Now it resembles a drinking fountain when turned on lightly and a fire hose shooting across the room when turned on full strength, thus rendering it largely useless. My son, who had been sick earlier in the week but felt better Friday and Saturday, was throwing up again. He’s old enough to leave at home during church, so the rest of us went without him. We returned home to find our house flooded. My first thought was the kitchen faucet, but no. It was the washing machine, which had overflowed. Awesome. So now I’m down a kitchen sink and a washing machine, two things I use a lot. My oldest son and I shop-vacuumed the tile part of the floor and used the carpet cleaning machine for the carpets where it had seeped into the rooms. We pulled up over ten gallons of water. I could have spent all day working on the carpets and steam mopping in the wake of the murky water, but that was not to be. I had to be at our church for the LWML fall rally, which we were hosting. So four and a half hours later, I returned home exhausted only to put in a few more hours on the carpets, and still they are sodden and nasty and have the distinct odor of a wet sock. Like I said, it was not my day.

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Measuring Up


I was almost done unloading my shopping cart when another lady pushed her cart in behind me. I glanced at her apologetically, saying, “You’ll be here a while.”

“I’m in no rush,” she assured me.

I smiled and continued unloading. Half of my groceries were already bagged and loaded into another cart, the entire conveyor belt was full of more groceries, and there were still some left in my original cart. The lady behind me observed all this, and tried to make small talk.

“Big trip today, huh?”

“We have five kids,” I explained. “And I try to do a shopping trip for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to come as often that way.”

Her eyes widened. She took in my three-year old and 15-month old sitting side by side in the double cart, uncharacteristically docile as they looked at her. She hadn’t been privy to their meltdown on aisle 8.

“Do you plan out your meals two weeks in advance, too?” she inquired.

I nodded in affirmation, and her eyes got even wider. With awe in her voice, she said, “You’re so organized!”

I sure had her fooled.

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A Bit of Grace

Come on, come ON! I seethed inwardly as I watched the cashier ring up 20 individual Yoplait cartons v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y before placing them carefully in an insulated bag the customer had brought for just such an occasion. Really? Who does that anyhow? I always get the slowest line! I bounced my baby in the infant carrier to keep him calm as I took candy away from my two-year-old who was grabbing it from the check out selection, all the while impatiently eyeing the progress of the lady ahead of me. When it was our turn at last the cashier said brightly, “I see you’ve got your helpers with you!” “Mmm-hmm,” I said with a polite but tight smile, hoping she’d get the hint and just start ringing up my items. No such luck. “I know all about that,” she continued. “My grandkids always want to come over to ‘help’ me ever since my open heart surgery earlier this year.” Whoa. Hold the phone. You had heart surgery this year and you’re back here already? Suddenly I felt ashamed. My minor irritation at waiting a few extra minutes in line with my kids was instantly small potatoes compared to open heart surgery. So she wasn’t ringing up the items in record time. Maybe she couldn’t ring them up and bag them any faster. Recovery takes time, after all. And even if she was just naturally slow, hey, maybe she was lonely and simply enjoyed talking to her customers. At any rate, she deserved a bit of grace from me.

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Fender Benders

It was not a good morning. At. All. I had accomplished the crazy morning dash of getting the kids ready for school and out the door on time, but as I pulled into the empty parking lot I realized we were on a two hour fog delay. At least, that’s what I assume. We didn’t have fog by our house, and since this was before the days of text notifications for delays and cancellations, parents were left to their own discretion to check the radio or TV for delays. I, obviously, hadn’t deemed it necessary to check, so here we were sitting at school fully ready for the day two hours early. But the day was about to get worse.
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Vanity of Vanities

“John D. and 24 others like your status.”

“Barb S. and 10 others +1 your photo.”

“Greg T. and 6 others commented on your post.”

“@someone_special favorited your tweet.”

Do these statements look familiar? If you’re registered with one of the big social networks, you are probably bombarded with alerts like this throughout the day. And if you’re like most social site butterflies, you get a euphoric kick when people comment/share/like what you have to say. But do you place too much importance and value on your social media success?

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On Grandparents, Babysitters, and Comforters

The first time my newborn son peed on our comforter as I was changing him, I was horrified. We lived in a tiny apartment, and his changing table was right next to our bed, so the distance was nothing for a little boy. I bundled him up, stuffed the comforter in a garbage bag, and hauled everything down the street to the laundromat so I could properly wash the thing. The second time he pulled that stunt, I decided it wasn’t worth the trip to the laundromat, so I simply got out my disinfectant spray and scrubbed the spot. By the third time he did it, I just swiped at it with a baby wipe. Now, ten years later, we still have that comforter, and it has seen its share of use. There are spots and pen marks and even a nice mauve blotch from a nail polish accident that happened a month ago which I have yet to attempt to remove. You see, I’ve learned something over the yearssome things just aren’t worth the fuss.

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Turning Points

It all started because I didn’t call the cancellation line. You see, it had rained that morning, but then the sun came out in the afternoon and cleared everything up. Since we were new to this baseball program, it never occurred to me to call the cancellation line, especially on a day like this. I thought we’d get a mass e-mail or text in the event of a cancelled practice. So I packed up all four kids and went to my oldest son’s practice only to get there and realize it had been cancelled. Dumb mistake. Waste of time. Or was it? Turns out the coach had showed up as well (for clueless parents like me, I guess), and he stayed and gave both of my boys a private coaching session. He taught them how to pitch, something neither my husband nor I could have done properly. And wouldn’t you know itmy eldest son had a knack for it. Matter of fact, he’s one of their better pitchers now. And all because I didn’t know practice had been cancelled.

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The Good Old Days

Two years ago we were living in dorm rooms. Yes, a family of five, with a baby on the way, was living in an unairconditioned dorm on a seminary campus. We had an unfortunate three-week gap between the sale of our house and the availability of our new house, and the seminary was gracious enough to allow us to stay in the guest dorm for an extended period of time. We had the dorm to ourselves, but we had communal bathrooms, dorm quality mattresses, and a kitchenette with only a fridge, a sink, and a microwave. Everything from our house was crammed into a storage unit. It was not fun, I assure you. We had a heat wave of over 100 degrees while we were there, I was eight months pregnant, and I had to get creative to come up with meals for the Crock Pot and electric skillet while navigating through three weeks without an oven or stove. Yet as I reminisced about our stay there, I found myself remembering it with fondness, even so far as to say, “Those were the good old days!”

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Just You Wait


I remember vividly the day our college band director dropped the bombshell on us. It was nearing the end of the semester and we were all freaking out about how much we had to dofinals, term papers, juries, projects… We were so busy and we were all sure we’d never make it through. For a while our director just sat there, listening with a bemused smile on his face. After we’d all whined for a while, he said, “You know, you guys have more time now to practice your instruments than you will ever have again.” You should have heard the hoots and howls coming from the band room after that statement. “Yeah, right! You have no idea the kind of pressure we’re under!” “Do you know how stressed we are?” “We can barely squeeze time in now to practice! Our lives are just insane!” Looking back, I blush to think of how naïve we were. We truly believed that this professor, in his mid-thirties with a child or two, somehow had it easier than us poor, overworked, stressed out college kids. If only. And rather than try to argue his point, he merely smiled and said, “Just you wait.” Continue reading “Just You Wait”

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