Monthly Archives: September 2012

More Of Yesterday, Less Of The Day Before

I had big plans for Saturday. Or at least what I hoped would be fun ones. Mo had to work, so I took the boys to one of our favorite coffee houses. We then stopped for a loaf of bread to feed the ducks nearby. It was gray with a touch of drizzle, but we laughed, we joked, we enjoyed.

And then everything unraveled.

We stopped at the office supply place with just two things on the list: glue and poster board. All of a sudden I was pestered for a tower of 150 crayons. I could feel myself starting to lose my cool. Not needing a five-pack of poster board, we made our way to the exit, with the boys continuing to ask for things. Upon reaching the car, I screamed and pulled out the Santa card. For emphasis, I even tried to make the tires squeal as I peeled out (unsuccessfully).

Next stop was Fred Meyer, with the same two things on the list: glue and poster board. I was again pestered for crayons and, on top of that, an Angry Birds iTouch cover. I became frazzled at the check-out, and—unaccustomed to paying cash—left my 73 cents behind. I strapped my 3-year-old into his carseat as he pulled apart his “sleeping hat” (the acrylic cap thoughtfully handmade by a coworker years ago). As I buckled myself in, the tears started to flow, and did so all the way home. I wondered what I did wrong. I felt like a complete failure with spoiled, bratty kids.

I had set out with the best intentions and ended up in tears.

My morning had fallen apart.

Yesterday I woke up early. It was still dark, but the sky was clear. I headed out for my long run at about 6:30, with a couple of stars lingering in the sky. It was still, peaceful. I set off on my adventure, which is how I’ve come to view my long runs. I didn’t know where my route would take me, I just ran. Through the quiet neighborhoods and past my favorite park, I then rounded a bend downhill, and stopped. The big, brilliant red sun was just starting to rise and hung over the foggy Snohomish valley with the mountains off in the distance. It was breathtaking. I was moved to tears. I said a prayer of thanks for being at that very place at that very moment. As I continued into the second hour of my run, I could see the big round, bald head of my dad smiling above me. “You can do it, kid,” he encouraged. Again, some tears.

I had set out without a plan, and ended up in tears, but for very different reasons.

My morning was magnificent.

Which left me wondering about the difference between the two days. Saturday, I had an agenda and tried to make the day into what I thought it should be. Yesterday, I set out with a spirit of adventure, and more of a willingness to be led.

Things went from melancholy to magnificent, from over-planned to orchestrated.

Our Pastor is reminding us about living with “less of me and more of Jesus.”

I think Saturday was heavy on the Kira.

So, that is my hope and prayer for the week, that my life will take on more of that equation:
less of me, more of Jesus.

For more of yesterday, and less of the day before.


Mmmm…Mighty Menu Makeover

The corn dog is dancin’. The ham is hustlin’. The waffles are wacky. The peaches are perky.

Or so my son’s school lunch menu tells me. I peruse it as I make my shopping list, often struck by the descriptions. I appreciate the creativity and imagination that goes into putting together the daily menu. But it leaves me wondering: who is it aimed at, really? Is it the students? Who, upon awakening, enter the kitchen exuberantly and energetically after a restful night’s slumber and—eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving—announce, “Mom, I’m really in the mood for the Gobbler Turkey Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Rock ‘n Roll today!” Or is it targeted at moms, to help ease the guilt of a barren pantry? Who, after discovering that they finished off the last slice of bread and are fresh out of juice pouches, say, “I see that there’s a Fantastic Chicken Burger at school today! How does that sound?”

Which leads me to another thought: if my own dinner menu received an overhaul laced with some of the same upbeat, positive words as the school menu, perhaps it would illicit a different response, something other than “Again?” or “Boring.” Maybe I could pump up some of my meals, exaggerate them a little, to encourage excitement at mealtime. Something along the lines of the “Justin-Bieber-loves-this-and-look-what-it-does-for-his-hair-casserole” or “This-is-Peyton-Manning’s favorite-and-he’s-having-quite-a-comeback-soup.” Or something even simpler: Savory, Lip Smackin’ Spaghetti. After all, some of our family favorites are already fondly named after their creators. Penny’s Potatoes. Andrea’s Enchiladas. Maybe more fun, energetic names would help spice up our meal times. Maybe I can learn a thing or two from the school lunch menu.

Then, on the other hand, maybe stew is just stew. It doesn’t have a fancy name. Maybe it is boring. It’s just the experience of having a warm bowlful together on a crisp, chilly Fall day that makes it memorable.

And They’re Off…

It’s 9:06 a.m.

Two minutes past the last time I looked. The drive to the grocery store feels almost leisurely, subdued.

It’s because I’m alone.

My youngest is not at home hangin’ with Grandma. Or with his dad. Or at drop-off daycare.

He is at his first day of Preschool.

And I am alone.

After several pictures at home and a few at school, he dropped his book bag in the basket and I watched him walk into his classroom. He did not turn around. He did not look back. He did not wave. He only looked ahead, around the corner, entering the classroom eagerly and with great curiosity. It was like the gates opened and he took off, free to roam and run, free to explore and learn. Free to fully grasp whatever was in store.

I could not peer, I could not linger, I could not be a part of it.

So I simply turned around and walked back to the car, heading off to Fred Meyer without having to look at “xbox” (Matchbox) cars for the first time in years.

Now I listen to the sounds of the quiet, empty house while he is off building his own community, making friends, learning Bible stories and growing up.

It’s a beautiful, strange, wonderful, joyful and bittersweet day.

It’s 10:22 a.m.

And I am still alone.

Second In The Sunshine Streak

I first heard it on the skylight,
A sound from long ago,
At three a.m. I realized,
No record now, oh no!

No rain for 48 long days,
The record is 51,
We in the Pacific Northwest,
Have been relishing the sun,

A storm blew in as we slept,
First place will not be ours,
We’ll sigh in dismay on our brown lawns,
And in our clean and shiny cars,

The morning brought us fresh, cool air,
That I breathed in at dawn,
And though the streak is over now,
The beauty lingers on,

The leaves with hints of red and orange,
Create a magnificent display,
A breeze that blows by softly says,
A transition is underway,

The rain has left us quickly,
Today the sun is back for more,
And now we’ll just enjoy it,
With no more keeping score.

Letter To An Unappreciated Friend

My Dearest One-and-Only —

I’m writing to say I’m sorry and also to express my deepest thanks. I know I’ve been hard on you.
I know you’ve felt taken advantage of. Rightfully so. I know in the midst of the day-to-day I haven’t really taken the time to simply stop and say “thank you.”

Things are different now. I can’t deny that. I think you, too, can admit it. The simple act of walking down the stairs first thing in the morning isn’t quite what it used to be. It seems to take some concentrated effort. Truth be told, I can barely see the numbers and letters on my cell phone anymore. My 9-year-old has to read my texts aloud when I don’t have reading glasses on. A blurry photo of my sister and that guy from Grimm now alerts me when she calls.

You’ve obviously heard the quips about getting old. That seems to be what we forty-somethings do. We try to make light of it, but I can understand how you’d feel disrespected. I know I’ve been demanding, just expecting you to show up and do what I ask. Run 45 minutes. Or 60. Or two hours. Quite honestly, I’ve viewed you as a workhorse. Admittedly, I’ve looked at you with disdain, thinking if you were just a few pounds lighter, we’d be faster. But I also understand that Cheez-Its aren’t the most nutritious food source. I’m working on that.

For those things, I am truly sorry.

But more than just empty words, I hope the steps I’ve taken recently show my sincerity. Like applying those ice packs. Or the soothing Maui Excellent Volcano Oil Gel I’m using to massage you tenderly and gently. I hope they’re both bringing you some comfort and relief. I think we can agree that the new foam roller we got for stretching and working out kinks is the best $14 we’ve ever spent. Hurts so good.

I’ll close with this reminder: just two months and three days until Marathon Day. I realize now more than ever that we’re in this together. I apologize for not listening to you. I hope you’ll forgive me for overlooking your needs. Here’s one thing I can promise you: I will continue to be thankful for you each and every day.

With gratitude for you and all the behind-the-scenes players —
(including the patellar tendons, kneecaps, quads, hammies, cardiovascular system, feet, arms, and yes, even eyeballs),