Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun Friday Question!

What is one book you could read once a year and why?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This morning I opened my eyes about ten minutes before the alarm went off. And right in front of me, not more than a few inches from my own face, was the face of my two-year-old son, quietly staring at me. As soon as he saw I was awake he reached out and patted me sweetly, then asked to be pulled "up, up" onto the bed. There the three of us were, cuddling and laughing together. Just one of those moments you want to put in a little box so you can take it out in twenty years and relish it all over again.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gordon, Andy and Stewart: thanks for the memories!

As you may remember, Casey and I took our five-year anniversary trip last year to St. Louis, MO where we saw none other than The Police in concert (here is that fascinating story). I'd already seen Sting in concert five times, so why not see him reunited with his old band? When I found out early this year that they were returning to North America, to cities they hadn't visited, I thought to myself, "I've already seen Sting in concert five times plus seen him reunited with his old band once...why not see them again?" Obviously you can see how logical my thought process can be when it comes to Sting.

From what I've heard, this is it for them: no more reuniting, no more big tours and such, but even before I heard that I had my tickets. I just had to find someone to go with me, because yes, Casey loves me deeply -- he just doesn't love Sting or The Police enough to drive eight-plus hours to see them in concert. So I wrangled one of my girlfriends since one of her two kids would be out of town during that time and therefore she wouldn't feel so bad leaving her husband behind, and the two of us set off early in the morning this past week for good ol' Dallas, Texas.

Meagan is an awesome travel partner, I must say. I knew she and I would talk and talk and talk, but I really thought we'd rest more from the talking, that or run out of stuff to say at some point, but we didn't! Lots of laughs and a few missed turns later, we made it to the hotel to change and get to the show...although we missed some turns doing that as well, but fortunately we only missed the opener (Elvis Costello) and not the show.

Casey and I had thoroughly enjoyed the concert last July...only for me, the one little thing I would have changed was that dratted old wound. I still hadn't had my final abdominal surgery to fix all that craziness, so at the concert I was very aware of that discomfort. It didn't completely ruin the night by any means, but it was just a constant nagging reminder, something that I wished had been different so that my enjoyment might have been closer to 100 percent.

If you like concerts, if you have attended your favorite musician's or band's concerts, you recognize how fleeting that experience is. It is the kind of thing that you just can't hold onto, but it is a powerful few hours that sticks with you always -- again, I'm talking to people who enjoy concerts, because not everyone does. I think Casey is okay with them, but it's not something he will readily attend. He has enjoyed himself, but he was definitely there more for me. As I was saying, the live music experience to me is such a powerful thing, and if you aren't fully in the moment while it's going on, you might truly miss out. For me, I find that it's like a dream, or trying to remember one, and you are grasping at it but can't quite hold on. Then it's gone.

So, having said all of that, I have to tell you that of course this time around there was no wound (woohoo!) and I felt I could completely be tuned in with all that went on. And wow, was it ever an awesome thing. I could tell there were changes from last year, from the setup of the stage to the setlist itself -- and Sting was sporting a full beard! That was cool, but just different...I just kept marveling at the beard for some reason. Oh, and the music...never a disappointment. There were all my favorites, the top one being 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' and the lesser known 'Next to You' which they played on their third (?) encore. So awesome. It was all over much too soon, but as I sit here (wearing my new Police shirt) I know that the entire experience -- from my travels with Meagan and our growing friendship to the ultimate band reunion concert -- will circle its way through my memories for a very long time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun Friday Question!

What, if any, is your favorite type of exercise and why?

(You can answer here in the comments section and/or link back to your own blog!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not-so-blah, Moon, softball and meme idea(s)

It may sound strange, but there is something I enjoy about doing laundry and washing dishes (no, of course not always). Maybe it's the cool spring air this morning, or the clouded light coming through the windows...maybe it's just the caffeine from my morning cup of coffee. Whatever it is, I'm feelin' good. I've been a little blah the past couple of days, and everyone has those blah days. No doubt the weekend's arrival plays a part in my lifted mood, and it gives me a bit of energy -- thank goodness, because I've been pooped the past few days.

Miles has been entertaining us more and more (just in time, what with my folks making a visit soon!). I've lately tried to read Goodnight Moon to him every night before bed, plus one or two other books, but Moon is our constant. His words and talking are getting better and better all the time, so I began pausing before certain words to see if he would fill in the blank. And he did! We got it on video last night, because it's hilarious watching his face on some of the words (the raised eyebrows and the twisting little mouth), but I'm going to try and get a recording on the computer that I can share at some point. I have to do it without him knowing, but I'm sure he'll think it a bit odd that we're reading at the iMac.

Tomorrow is our third co-ed softball game. Last Saturday I did much better than I had done in the first game. I caught two fly balls (I play left field), managing to somehow bruise my right palm on the second catch. I got some okay hits, nothing spectacular...and we didn't win, but we had some awesome innings. Our infield made some incredible plays! The season really doesn't last very long at all, just a couple of months, so I try and savor every game no matter the heat index for the day. Okay, sometimes it does get to me, but overall it's totally worth it.

I've been wanting to come up with my own meme for the 'Fun Friday Question' or something to that effect. Of course, if no one ends up answering the question then what's the point? Maybe I'll just share a special themed photo each week, but I'd much rather have some interaction with friends/readers/fellow bloggers. And if you have any suggestions concerning the meme idea, please feel free to share!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby birds and 'worth a thousand words'

Here's the most recent photo of the baby birds (eggs seen in April 26 post). I took this one six days ago, but when we looked at them a few days later they weren't even fluffy anymore! I mean, they had all these grown-in feathers, and one of the babies was even staring at me with its beady eye. Poor little things, they were cowering in there as I tried to peek in. They were so cute!

Ah, and this photo showcases Miles' ability to be just as goofy as his parents! This is just a random fun photo, taken last month at our local Double Decker Festival. We were riding one of the city's double decker buses when I took this, and fortunately got the last few spots on the top deck. This was our first time on the bus...but due to the cooler weather that weekend, it wasn't quite the magical springtime ride I was hoping for. Still, I did get this priceless shot plus a few others, so I had to share.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wishing you a happy Mother's Day

First time I held Miles (he was almost 48 hours old)

Me, two months out of the hospital...Miles, five months old
and wondering why his Mama is trying so hard to make him smile

Just before Thanksgiving 2006
(Miles was seven months old)

Miles' first night in his 'big bed'

Saturday, May 10, 2008

See the cover? Now read the book!

Last night was our first co-ed church league softball game. We were actually supposed to start last weekend, but because of the monster weather everything was canceled.

When we first moved here in early April 2004, they were just about to start playing. I had missed the 'official' sign-up, but was still allowed on the team. Back then we had an all-girls team...and we were not that great. Let me put that a different way: we were pretty good in some respects, it's just that the other teams were really good. I mean, some of those girls were scary-good, and it seemed like they did nothing but practice day and night. But we had lots of fun and just laughed our way through the losses (and occasional wins by forfeit, whee!). Good times.

I don't think anything happened in 2005...well, I think the guys had a team, I don't fully recall. Then in 2006, well...I could not have cared less what was going on in the co-ed softball church league world, as I was mostly lying in a hospital bed trying not to lose my mind.

Last year I joined the co-ed team -- no more girls' team, but that was a good thing, because now we were actually getting some decent scores, if not winning. It was fun! I still had some health issues I was dealing with, mostly the wound. I didn't even know how fast I'd be able to run, because being sick for a long time saps so much of your strength that running might not even be an option for a while. It was that way for me, at least. But I found that I could get around the bases decently, albeit a bit slower than my teammates, but they knew why and so weren't bothered by it.

And now, here we are...the 2008 church league season has begun, and I'm stronger and have no more wound, woohoo! I don't think I get all that competitive with the softball -- play a game of racquetball with me and then you'll see that side come out. With softball I just enjoy being on a team, watching the plays and cheering everyone on. It's just fun. It's supposed to be just fun.

But last night, the opposing pitcher said something that got under my skin. I'm fine with it now, but at the time I was just a little irked, that's all. I had been up to bat once and hit a pretty pitiful pop fly. I even rolled my eyes as I ran to first (although the fly was caught during)...I knew I could do better than that. I'm no super-slugger by any means -- it's been a while since I had some real 'guns' on these arms, and yes I did so, stop laughing!

So I get up to bat the second time, and as I'm standing there -- within earshot, mind you -- the pitcher turns to his team and says, "Probably just gonna be a fly ball." I know, I know, it's just a church league, who really cares, right? But then why does the guy even have to make that comment? Whatever, I thought...I'll just let some of his bad pitches go by before I hit the thing. And they were, and I did. The funny part was that I only hit a little grounder that went to him, but he attempted a throw to second for the previous batter and I got a double, ha! For my last at-bat I had a nice solid hit -- not a pop fly -- that I was pleased with.

I guess my thing is this, and I know I have surely done this to others but it still bugs me: Why must people assume what you can or cannot do just by looking at you? Yes, I am on the thinner side, my arms are on the thinner side, and I am a woman. So? I have been able to do one-armed push-ups in my time, squat my own weight and dead-lift 150 pounds. I have borne a child and afterward lived through near-death. But because I look the way I do, I will most likely not be able to do much physically? Don't count me out.

This really sounds like a ranting post, but I promise it's not. I think we've all had our moments like this, where people assume any range of things about us based on what we look like. I have a friend -- a woman who was blessed with looks like you wouldn't believe. I mean, this girl is so beautiful. But she did not grow up in the easiest life by any means, and that's all I'll say about that because it's her story to tell. However, I will say that she told me about a time when she was applying for a job and the woman she was talking to made a comment -- based solely on what she saw in front of her -- about how my friend was probably one of those girls who got everything she wanted, or had everything she ever wanted, something to that effect. Huh?!?

I know I still struggle with judging people by their looks, but I'm trying people...I'm trying. Let's all try together, shall we?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hug it out

The 'Free Hugs (and coffee)' video is done! I was so thrilled to finish it up, although I did have to view it, oh, about a trillion times to make sure it was okay and everything was lined up right. After the DVD was burned, I watched it again. Can anyone say perfectionist? Really, though, I think anyone who spends a large amount of time on a project wants to check and re-check it to see that it meets their own standards.

A couple of notes about the video (which can be seen here or in the sidebar under 'My YouTube Videos')...

When Miles is holding the sign, he honestly wanted to hold it. I never forced that on him. It was very surprising to me that he was hugging people so readily, because he doesn't just hug anyone. I mean, he will some of the time if I ask him to, like giving hugs to someone we know and relatives, that sort of thing. I suppose this was just a good example of him watching us sharing love with people and wanting to do the same. It's scary how quickly children will pick up on what you do and follow suit...but in this case it turned out to be a really great thing.

The one time I look back at the camera and I'm laughing...that was one of my favorite moments. The guy who had just walked by had heard me say, "Would you like a free hug?" and answered, "I can't!" To me that was so funny, and I had turned back to the camera to repeat what he had said, when suddenly he turned and asked, "Why are y'all giving out free hugs anyway?" and I in turn asked (and this is where you see my hand go up in question), "Who doesn't need a hug?" That's when he promptly walked back to me and Miles and decided that he could, after all, take a free hug.

There were so many students involved in the 'free hugs' ministry that day, and I wish I could have given everyone much more time on the video! The problem was that I only had the one camera, and I was trying to get to all the different posts as much as I could, plus watch out for Miles (part of the time). But I sincerely labored over editing all of the footage, and it hurt to cut out hugs that no one got to see, but I had to cut them for time's sake. As it was, I didn't really want to use two songs, but we had so much to show! And picking the songs? That was a monster in itself, but thanks to Casey we finally narrowed it down. I know that not everyone would pick the songs we did...but I think they worked really well, both musically and lyrically.

Okay, I'm getting too technical now. I'll just end by saying that I don't think I ever want our 'free hugs' ministry to end! I think it's something we should do every semester, whether we are taping or not. Really, that's not the point at all...but by taping it and showing it to as many people as possible, I think it sends out a very strong, positive message to anyone who wants to hear it:

God loves you. We love you. How about a hug?

Friday, May 02, 2008


From 12 a.m. Thursday morning to 12 a.m. this morning, our campus ministry's new prayer room held thirty different people in prayer. A schedule was set up, filled, and there it was: twenty-four hours of non-stop prayer, meditation and reflection in that one room.

I was blessed to have a chance to take part in that 24 hours, my time being from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. yesterday morning. Honestly...I went in there not feeling in a hugely prayerful mood, part of the reason being that I was so very tired. Casey's hour in there was from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., so it was tough for me to sleep while he was gone. But I went in, determined to spend my hour as best as I could.

Let me explain that this prayer room has been a long time coming for our student center. It's been something that many people have planned on and wished and hoped for, and with God and lots of help, donations, support and hard work it has finally come to be. And it is beautiful! Four stations have been set up on the four walls:

1) Inspiration -- This contains a bookcase with books on spirituality and prayer, a CD player with music by artists from Jennifer Knapp to Michael Card and others, plus there is paper covering the wall to draw, paint, write poems, or just share thoughts about God.

2) Meditation -- It's really tough to beat this one, and I know Casey is so proud of this, but his Uncle Dan worked for months on a very large, original painting for our prayer room of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Just saying that doesn't at all come close to how powerful this work of art really is. But at this station, you can sit and see how Jesus might have looked as he struggled in prayer, and you can see -- far in the background -- the crowd approaching with their torches. It is a very intimate painting, one that has pulled reaction after reaction from everyone I've seen look at it for the first time. And even though I had seen it many, many times...yesterday morning that setting pulled deep emotions from me.

3) Reflection -- This is a table where you can sit and journal out some prayers, praise, and thoughts. There is a world map above the table so that one might actually look to different places that need our prayers.

4) Mission -- This fourth wall is almost entirely covered in chalkboard paint and is entitled "Prayer Garden." This is where we can write our prayer requests and in turn pray for those who have written something on the wall. By the time I got there, the 24-hour schedule hadn't reached its halfway point and the wall was nearly covered in writing.

There is also a large cross in the room. At the bottom are slips of paper, nails and a hammer. If you choose, you can write out a sin or sins and actually nail them to the cross. For me, this was a very powerful visual in the room.

So, like I said, I went in there during my signed-up hour but I wasn't truly feeling the 'prayerful mood' at the beginning. Before long, though, I was visiting each station and could hardly believe how quickly the time was passing. I needed more time! And before that hour was up, I knew I had been transformed by this one small experience. I am so very excited for what this new prayer room will do for so many students in the future. Praise God!
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