Monday, September 27, 2010

College visit

I got back yesterday from taking Tim on a college visit.  We were gone from Thursday very early in the morning until late afternoon yesterday.

My impressions of the college are favorable, although not overwhelmingly better than the local college.  There are things I like about both, but it isn't my decision.  Money will be a factor as well.

Impressions from the trip:

Goshen MCC sale had an elephant ride.  The group of prospective students I was with had several who were very excited about riding an elephant and paid $7 to go in a tight circle twice, while being photographed by friends, and while squealing and laughing.

The MCC sale served very little ethnic German/Russian food, but did serve Mexican, Kenyan, Indian, and BBQ, as well as things like chocolate covered fruit kabobs, apple fritters and fruit smoothies.  I ate Kenyan meat pies and a kind of bread flavored with cardamom, also from Kenya.  Both were deep fried, which does go along with my at home feeling of an MCC sale.  I also had a diet Pepsi.  It was not from Kenya.

Airtran only serves Coke products, which meant no diet Pepsi or Dr. Pepper.  I had to be content with Fresca, which tastes good but has no caffeine.  When you haven't slept much, caffeine would be nice.  The Atlanta airport had Starbucks, so I got some there.

By 10:30pm the day after only getting an hour of sleep the night before, your brain not only thinks slowly, it actually feels different.  There is this sense that it's moving, accompanied by an inability to focus your eyes.  That is the point where it is good to end the conversation, no matter how stimulating it is, and go to bed, and don't check email or facebook on the way.

When people offer themselves wholly to God, amazing things happen.  They don't become perfect.  They don't get all the answers, or even very many of the answers.  But their willingness to share humbly both the ways they have stumbled and the questions they are asking inspires me.  And inspires others.  One woman shared in detail with me how as she prepared to be a speaker at a Women's conference, God told her to tell about a behavior she had struggled with that she was ashamed of.  She had already overcome this behavior by becoming accountable to other Christians, but was not interested in sharing it widely to a large group of women she'd never met.  She decided to follow that leading, even though it meant not sleeping or being able to eat because she was so afraid of what they would think of her.  That step of becoming vulnerable to those women freed them to be able to confess the behaviors that they struggled with.  They were able to stop hiding and to resolve to be accountable.  Family members of those women contacted her in the following weeks thanking her for whatever it was she had said in that meeting because it had changed lives.

I haven't spent a lot of time hanging out with Tim when he is with his peer group.  This weekend was probably the most time I've ever spent around Tim while he is with people his own age.  I tried to give him space even though we were often in the same place or at the same events.  There were times when I thought I might be crowding him, but mostly I was impressed at how often he included me in conversations.  It felt good. 

The kids sometimes would be sitting around tables waiting for the next activity.  One would absentmindedly start tapping a pencil, and then another would tap a counter rhythm until most of them were focused, smiling, and tapping or stomping or slapping their legs or clapping.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pedaling uphill and against wind

I think I've always believed that if I was open to learning as much as I could throughout my life, and put it into practice as well as I could, that there would come a point where I could coast.  I would be wise, and not make any more mistakes, and know how to handle anything that could come up.

God's having a good laugh about that.  If my birthday is a prelude of things to come, I still have quite a few lessons to learn and "how to coast" isn't one of them.

The biggest lesson that is obvious today is how to maintain my own emotional equilibrium regardless of the state of those around me.

The next biggest lesson is how to accept myself when I can't do that, and learn to live gracefully with anxiety until it subsides.

Another big one is to see people who strongly and disrespectfully disagree with me as still carrying God's image.  I can do that fine when it is theoretical, but when it is at my dining room table, well...

And this lesson:  people who are behaving badly are often really hurting.  Actually, I knew that before too, but it's also easier when you are talking about people in another country rather than people you spend time with.

I did have some small successes by the end of the day with making space for conversation without ultimatums or accusations.  It was only 10 minutes.  But it happened.

Other lessons I had today:
  • I am deeply loved by many very good people.
  • Lunch out with trusted friends in the midst of a rotten day can make the sun shine brighter and put laughter back into the moment.
  • Facebook is great for getting lots of birthday greetings.
  • My kids know how to make me feel loved (actually this is from yesterday).
  • Sometimes you get the most amazing notes at exactly the right time (thanks again, Annette).
  • Being given a Dove chocolate at midnight for the first moment of my birthday is a great way to start the day.
  • Peach cobbler with ice cream can cover a multitude of sins, especially when everyone is tired of fighting and looking for a good reason to be friends again.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Spelling

It's come to my attention (thanks, Dave) that my web address is misspelled.  How embarrassing.  I'd like to change it but I don't know what that would do to those who come to my blog. 

So this is what I'm thinking.  I'm going to change it to the correct spelling next tomorrow.  From now on, my site address will be as follows: 
http://vintage-navelgazer.blogspot.com/

The difference is in the name, vintage-navelgazer.  I used to spell the navel with two 'a's, but that indicates something that has to do with a navy.  I want the navel (with an e in the second syllable) that indicates a belly button.  So tomorrow my site will change from
http://vintage-navalgazer.blogspot.com/
to
http://vintage-navelgazer.blogspot.com/

Hopefully this won't mess up the few readers I have.  It will certainly save me a daily mortification that I'm publicly misspelling my identity.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Things I Did Today

  • Had a good visit with Dave and Cookie
  • Wrote an email
  • Had a good visit with Laura
  • Read two "Francis" books to Luke
  • Made a giant potato salad
  • Played catch with a big blue pillow on the front porch with Luke
  • Payed the credit card bills
  • Sang silly songs with Luke
  • Watched "Curious George" with Luke
  • Listened to an old "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"
  • Played chase with Luke around the dining room and hallway
  • Updated the calendar
  • Walked up and down the driveway with Luke for a half hour drawing lines in the sand with a golf club and a whiffle ball bat
  • Cleaned a car seat
  • Drew trains with Luke
  • Read Timbrel
  • Sat outside on the driveway with Luke until it was so cold outside that he only wanted to sit snuggled in my lap to keep warm, and still he didn't want to go in for quite a while
  • Read part of the new Newsweek
  • Ate Peenie Buddy Sammie's with Luke
  • Got Luke through the bath tub just in time for a snuggle with Papa when he came inside between the two fields he was working this evening
  • Played ball with Luke