Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's Play A Game!

Google your name + the words "glamour shot". Post the first image you get.

M, k. Here's me:
susan + glamour shot

And here's you, sissy.

cathy + glamour shot

HAHAHA! I swear to God, that came up. Fun game.

Hey, I didn't make the rules. I'm all about playing the game.

Monday, January 6, 2014

He Likes The Darkness

actual screenshot. yep.
I love free apps for my iPhone. There are several sites where you can get them and AppsGoneFree is one. Everyday I receive an email highlighting the new apps that you can buy for free for a limited time. Good marketing. There are games, maps, music, photos, and so on. Today I got this one. It's a game called He Likes The Darkness. Yeah. I immediately thought, this one could preach.

I'm reading the game description: "Help Paul survive by gathering all of the brightest stars in this platform game. Paul is a big fan of the darkness." Whoa. Whuh? I immediately think of Saul, the Apostle Paul before he got his new name, looking on with sinister approval at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Thank God I'm not sinister. I immediately check my attitude. I know what happens when I get all self-righteous. The description goes on. "You're able to help him darken his world by collecting all the bright stars in each level." OK, I don't know about you, but I don't need a rocket scientist to prove to me that the quickest way to darken a room is by unplugging the light. Spiritually speaking, it's obvious what happens when our stars are "collected" from us, yes? And, "Of course, without the light of the stars it can become difficult to navigate the various platforms...," No kidding. I picture me in my bedroom walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the dark. Barefoot.

Job 12:25 NIV
They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.

me stumbling in the dark inside a zombie house
Yeah. Like drunkards they walk. Anyway... I wonder how many stars has the enemy collected from my life, my heart, my soul? Just what am I now blind to that I could once see? How serious is this, Lord? What are you telling me? Is my discernment off-kilter these days? Is your voice in me a bit more muted? I remember there being a time when the idea of glazing over the rotten lyrics in a song or the bad parts in a movie, just to hear or see the good parts wouldn't have even begun to appeal to me. I didn't spend so much time overlooking the offensive. Rather, I made choices based on how it would edify and deepen my love for God and others. How far had I gone in the dark, without even knowing it? Or did I stop noticing? How much have my eyes adjusted?

More description. "… so try to gather them (stars) in the most logical order." When we consider how brilliantly deceiving the devil is, wouldn't we be ignorant to underestimate his keen ability to form strategic plans for the collection of our lights? Our truths? Our peace? Our love? Our relationships? And he always starts with the dimmer lights, doesn't he? The ones we don't notice so much. The "peripheral" lights that don't seem all that necessary. I think to myself, I'll just lower this standard a bit if it will get me a larger dose of approval on that one. Or do I even think it through? What standard would he bait you with? Do you know? What star of righteousness (right living) does he dangle in your face falsely labeling it "pride"? This made me think some more. This stupid free iPhone app made me ask questions that needed to be asked. God can use anything

1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

devouring lions are not a pretty sight
And finally, "Oh, and you're timed the whole way through. Good luck!" un-huh. Indeed. It wouldn't be fun without the pressure of being timed. In this crazy, spazzed-out world we live in it's not often that we don't feel like our lives playing beat the clock, with every minute resting on the success of the last. We can forget that slowing down to check our lights is required. This is not new insight. But we get lazy. I do. I get complacent. Sometimes I care too much about fitting in to think about tuning up. But I got reminded today. And I pray "Lord, if I don't do it, if I neglect to keep my walk with You the priority, if I fail to see the dimming light, please let me stumble a bit before I just walk blindly into a wall and really do some harm."

Ephesians 5:8 NIV
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Oh, how He loves you and me
Jesus emphasizes how cool the light is. How necessary and life-giving it is. And how darkness leads to only to death. That's all it leads to. Lose a light here and a light there. Soon enough, darkness. I remembered today that I can never underestimate the logic and skill of the "light collector", who is only out to trip me up and cause me to love the darkness more than the light. The devil wants to tell me there is only shame in the light. How wrong he is. But he says it just the same. And he does it all for free.  FREE. Just like the silly app.

And p.s. I tried the game. gah! It's infuriating.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is it Real? Or Memorex?

I don't understand all the hoopla around getting a live Christmas tree. It's already on its way to dying by the time you get it home. My kids always wanted a real tree. I think it was so they could smell the pine, or maybe it was the traditional fun they had when we went to pick one out every year. None are bad reasons for wanting a live tree. And we indulged them every single year because it was an easy way to buy their love. But, of course, there are many reasons for not wanting a live, dying tree. I mean, come on, we all know who cleans all those needles up after Christmas and who has to properly dispose of the body by trash day. Ho, Ho, Ho. It sure isn't Santa Claus. Give me a pre-lit mostly-real-looking fake tree any day. It still screams Merry Christmas To You, if you ask me. I figured my kids would grow up with fond memories and buy their own real trees for their own real homes and sort through their own clogged vacuums in due course. Right? No, they both got fake trees this year. And they love them. LOVE them. "Who needs all that mess?", they asked me. Oh, how much they'll miss.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Do You Believe in Magic?

Thanksgiving a few years back

None of my eight grandchildren believe in Santa Claus. Never have. Their parents taught them from the cradle that Santa is just a Red Cheeked Belly Full of Jelly kinda fun we pretend at Christmas-time. As children, I taught their parents the same thing. I wanted their tender hearts to focus on the real reason for the season, wanted them to be untainted by the commercialism Christmas brings and I wanted to save the postage it takes to mail letters full of hope to a non-existent fat man in the North Pole. So sue me.

But I dearly love Christmas. I have nothing but happy memories of every Christmas I've ever had...and that's a whole lotta candy canes and mistletoe under my belt. And now that I'm an aged parent and doting gram, I find that my neck is not as stiff as it once was.  I've softened in my old age. I've mellowed. I finally believe in Tinkerbell, happily ever after and even Santa Claus. I tease the children every Christmas. " O what is Santa going to bring you? You know Santa sees you when you're sleeping, don't you?" The older ones roll their eyes at me and go back to their texting. The rest of them briefly protest, then roll on the floor laughing. 

Except for Ryan.

Ryan is eight and he puts a unique kind of sparkle in my Christmas heart. The other day I whispered in his ear "You're going to have a good Christmas this year". His eyes got big as saucers and he whispered back "how do you know." "Because" I announced to the whole room, " I was on the phone yesterday talking to Santa. I asked him if Ryan Davidson was on the Naughty list or the Nice list". Ryan patiently but rotely reminded me, "pfft! Gram, Santa's not real!" The other kids in the room shook their heads and went back to watching TV. But Rye kept his eyes on my
Ryan and Me
face, waiting for me to continue. "So I was talking to Santa, right? When I asked him about you..." I could see the skepticism behind his eyes, but I could also see a sliver of eager anticipation. A very small glimmer of excitement and hope that what I was saying could really be true. Oh how he wanted it to be true. "Yeah I could hear Santa's fingers clickety clacking on his computer keyboard, looking up your name." A quiet scoff from Ryan but I continued "At first he couldn't find you on the Nice list. "At this point my daughter looked at Ryan sideways and interrupted "Probably because of all those times he forgot to turn in his homework". Ryan was slightly worried at this and looked back to me for support. "Yeah," I said after giving his mom the stink-eye, "that homework issue came up. But I told Santa that Ryan is the nicest, sweetest, most loving boy I know and he deserves to be on the Nice List—and Santa agreed!" Ryan's face lit up like the White House Christmas tree. He did a little jig halfway across the room before Reason—that hateful Reason—got ahold of him. He stopped mid leap, turned around and looked at me with a sigh and narrowed eyes and reiterated, "Gram. Santa is NOT real". But I saw it. I saw the Christmas sparkle in his eyes before he succumbed to reality. It was fleeting but it was there. And that is all the Christmas magic I need.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let's Play Tent!

Dear Sissy, 

Blankeez. For the whole fam damily.
Just when I thought they were done with the snuggies hoopla out pops the Family Blankeez. This "soft, warm, blue and enormous" blanket covers up to eight people and boasts ONE sleeve on each end. The only way I could have gotten Jim and the kids to share one of these with me for longer than a couple of minutes would have involved handcuffs and duct tape. Do ya think I would have been arrested? And even then, who would have turned the page in that book? Did they think about that?

Love, Squeezie

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Tree's Value

Add caption

“Do not deny a tree its right to influence a child. Who knows? That may be its singular purpose for living."


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

There's A First Time For Everything

fresh out of the oven and just look at those fingers.
Having been able to spend so many "firsts" with my grandson, Brayden, during his first year on this earth was nothing short of wonderful. I lived near by and I saw him often. Caring for him on a daily basis after my daughter, Lisa had to return to work was just one enormous blessing after the other. I soaked up every minute of every day. That year did not fly by because I would not allow it to. Year One is chock-full of "firsts". Their first smile, first tooth, the first time rolling over, crawling and, the big one, taking that amazing first unassisted step.  A baby's first year is filled with one long and continuous "Bravo!" followed by loud and glorious applause. Lots and lots of applause. "Firsts" are milestones. "Firsts" are what we remember. Shoot, Hallmark must make bank on baby journals and brag books alone that mommies and grandmas fill up with sweet memories of the very first time that perfect little person did anything

first Christmas
There were times, I admit, that I was scared to death I'd witness Brayden accomplishing a very significant "first" before his mommy saw it. That would have killed me. That would not have been good. I've been where my daughter is at, so I get it. But to be perfectly honest, if I had seen it, I'd never admit to it anyway, so who's to know, right?
My point is, after waiting so very long for this perfect little miracle child rolled up into a bundle of dirt and giggles I find myself living almost 800 miles away, navigating my way through so many "firsts" I've already sailed through; like the holidays and birthdays and countdowns to nap time. And then there are the gobs of new and precious other "firsts", like learning to say "please" and "night-night". "Firsts" that melt my heart and make me get all weird and sappy and smiley while I'm in the grocery line remembering the FaceTime we shared the day before. And hearing him call me Gramma, which sounds much different to you than to me.

back pack - back pack
This has all come to mind because yesterday Lisa sent me this collage picture of Brayden. My Little Bear. He's just had his first haircut, a "first" that I was not there to see, and she and Sam  are in the process of planning a vacation that will accommodate an extremely curious and active toddler. Brayden's first vacation. Thus, the back pack, which attaches to a leash which attaches to a parent in order to prevent this bold little explorer from falling overboard from the ship they will set sail on. The back pack looks like the one owned by Dora the Explorer, his first beloved cartoon character. But look at him. He's so small. He looks like a little Kewpie doll with cool sneakers. He may be in the 99th percentile for height, but he's a baby! And I am mesmerized by his little hands. I could watch those pudgy fingers in action all day long. 

happy first birthday, little man
Well, that picture must have really touched a deep chord inside me because after I saw it I immediately wanted to call my mom and tell her to check her email for pictures I would be forwarding. I wanted to tell her all about that baby boy and his new back pack. I wanted to hear her smiling through the phone over every little detail of my brilliant grandson's expeditions. And I wanted to hear her say how big he's getting and how much he looks like my Lisa. I wanted to retell the stories with that profound pride that only a grandma can feel and not be thought guilty of being prideful. I knew she'd glow with me, and agree that something he had done was just so darling and precious and, of course, much funnier than it really was to the average person. 
Yeah, I missed my mom yesterday. Big time. I've done a lot of "firsts" without her already, but that was a "first" of a whole different genre. I wasn't just missing my mother. I was missing the one person who would gush over that little Kewpie kid with the back pack and make me feel like it was all the more real because she knew. What is it about moms that make us care like this and often cling to their hearts?
she would have loved him so much

mom and me
Love can be crazy and unpredictable. It carries a bond that, quite simply, can not be broken. No matter how old I get, there are (and will continue to be) moments and events that cause me to, without even thinking, catch a glimpse of my mom's face with a tender smile and immediately yearn to share with her the most important part of my life right now. I wonder, do you think she can she see it all from heaven? I don't know. I think she's pretty occupied with all the basking in the glory of Jesus and decorating her new home up there. But it's heartwarming to know that if she were here she'd be loving all over my grandson and gently patting his little legs and saying to anyone who could hear, "God love it!". I can see it now. And I know that sissy can too. I know this because when I tell her about my brilliant grandson, I can hear her smile coming right through the phone.  ~Susan

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Totally Rad
Not Ms. Mars ©
I picked up my "charge", ten-year-old Aaron, from school yesterday. On the drive home he was telling me about his teacher Ms. Mars who is really cool and says "rad", even though she's under 40. I said, "What?! There's a "rad" rule?" He told me, "yeah. Actually you should only say "rad" if you're over 40 because you would have actually BEEN THERE - when saying 'rad' was cool." Awww, I thought. Apparently Ms. Mars is so cool she can even break the 'rad rule'. WoW. Then suddenly, I began to feel very, very... old RAD

Monday, October 29, 2012

Never Say Done

I don't need to lie down for this

Wait. Isn't this normal? 
Everything I write is a rough draft 
until I say it isn't. 

And I never say it isn't.