May 30, 2010

A Time to Celebrate

What fun it was to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary. Last night we went to a dinner theater and saw John Davidson, the handsome guy from Hollywood Squares, in Becky's New Car.

First, we dropped Dani off at her teacher/babysitter's home. Lorretta and her husband were so ready for her and had the entire evening planned with dinner, swimming, a visit with the animals (three dogs, two doves, a couple of geckos, and a chinchilla), and last but not least listen to Loretta's husband play the guitar. I knew their evening had gone well when I called after the play to let them know we were on our way and heard the background filled with the sound of Dani strumming a guitar with all her might. They'd taught her to sign Jesus Loves Me, so she'd strum a few rough cords, stop, sign the words, and resume playing. When we arrived she was wound up like an eight-day clock trying her hardest to recreate what she'd heard Loretta's husband play. Their service to her was mesmerizing.

Once at the dinner theater, we were escorted to our small but nice table that sat six. If the room were a globe we'd have been on the equator, smack dab in the middle of the room. The view was great, not too close and not too far away. Just right.

Of course no one has control over who they sit next to, unless their group fills a table. You'd think the seating order would be up to theater management, but it's really up to God and who He carefully places at your side. Interestingly enough the other two couples at our table were celebrating their wedding anniversaries as well. One couple was celebrating seven years, while the other rather young looking pair shocked us with forty years under their belt. Over salad we shared polite conversation. Things like where we live, how many children we had, dogs stories, and our professions. As God would have it, when we shared about Dani and her Autism, the couple celebrating their 40th anniversary expressed deep concern for their 2 year old grandson who is exhibiting questionable signs of Autism.

I couldn't get over the fact that out of the hundreds of people in the audience, God planted us on the equator next to these heavy-hearted grandparents. Apparently their son has not come to see the warning signs in his son, leaving these grandparents at a loss how to broach the topic. As we listened to their story it was clear that in the grand scheme of things there was little we could do to help, but we shared our experience, listened to theirs, and offered a little hope and encouragement. Yet another pair of perfectly good strangers to pray for.

The evening was a wonderful change of pace. Jimmy and I hadn't been on a date since my mother passed away in 2006, so to be foot loose and fancy free for an evening was a slice of heaven. The food was delishy, the company was outstanding, and maybe...just maybe we helped another family facing the challenges that lie ahead of them.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
be sympathetic, love as brothers,
be compassionate and humble."
1 Peter 3:8

May 24, 2010


How does a grown man rip a 12 1/2 inch slit in his blue jeans by the simple act of getting into the driver's seat of his car after church? I was with him and can attest to the fact Jimmy wasn't doing back flips in the lawn, rescuing a child about to be hit by a car, or any other jean-splitting activity. He was easing himself up into the SUV as he's done a thousand times before.

I heard the rrrrrrrrrrrrip but didn't know what had torn till he pointed to his crotch revealing the damage. "Aren't those the $80 jeans you got for $20?" I asked in disbelief. "Yep and I'm glad they chose to tear now and not in church or out on a photo shoot" he replied still assessing the damage.

Driving out of the parking lot, we inspected the foot-long tear as if he'd narrowly escaped a crocodile attack. Then, after scrutinizing it from nearly every angle, we began to speculate the timing of this untimely event. "How would you have gotten out of church with that long tear if it had happened in there? How embarrassing would that be? Oh...wait a minute...I know... your Bible would be have been big enough to cover it. You could have walked out holding it low in both hand. Yeah, that would have saved you." I said thinking out loud.

Giggling as we contemplated every angle of this odd and potentially embarrassing incident, we eventually meandered home, changed our clothes, and headed to the grocery story for Sunday dinner supplies. Thankfully all our apparel remained quiet and intact.

This is what you might get when you buy
well-worn jeans.

May 22, 2010

A Bit of Heaven

Seems the human connection simply cannot be broken. Eric Whitacre's virtual choir proves the point. With each choir member sequestered in his/her home singing solo to the same music, they combine to make a heavenly sound.

Only human beings connect through cards and notes, watch one another on television, hook up on facebook, and chat, text, and twitter non-stop. Animals don't attempt these endeavors. After all, if a dog barks it's less for others and more for himself. We on the other hand possess an inborn passion to connect with other human beings on some level be it ever so small. It's part of the unbreakable bond created when God made us in His image. We are like Him and one another all at the same time. When you mix our strong desire to unite with various talents and advanced technology you get something very special, the sound of heaven here on earth.

"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Genesis 1:26-27

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Revelation 5:13

May 16, 2010

A Little Gem

A good book is hard to find and I don't know about you, but if it doesn't grab me on the first sentence, my desire to finish is seriously threatened. That, however, was not the case with Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This true story of two polar opposite men forging an unlikely but precious friendship was so touching I didn't want it to end. Not only was it a fast read, but nearly impossible to put down, especially toward the end. I giggled my socks off at certain points and cried uncontrollably in others. Not far into the book it became apparent I had to watch when and where I read it, since my emotions would whisk me off to who knows where every single time. I quickly learned it was best read alone and in private. When I finally finished reading this little gem I handed it off to Jimmy and said, "That's the best book I've ever read. Enjoy!" He smiled, not so surprised after seeing me, the book and a box of Kleenex having become a tidy trio.

Same Kind of Different as Me has all the fine qualities I love in a book. It is touched a spot in me few books ever reach and gave me food for thought sure to bring about change for the good. One of the greatest truths I gleaned is how much God loves every person, no matter how poor or underprivileged, and perhaps uses these unsuspecting individuals to do His most grand work.

If you are looking for a good read consider this humble book. Just be sure you purchase a box of tissues too. You'll need it.

May 9, 2010

Picture Perfect Mother's Day

Friday afternoon, when Dani came home from her Adult Day Hab program, she promptly took her backpack to her room and commenced fishing around in it as if on a hunt for a special prize. I didn't think much about it as I began to settle in for a nice relaxing weekend.

After a quick and successful rummage through her things, she appeared at my side proud as a peach presenting me with my now early Mother's Day gift. Holding it in my hands, I couldn't believe my eyes. No wonder she was proud as a peacock. It was a framed picture of herself smiling from ear to beautiful ear. Seems they'd been hard at work all week helping her and the other special needs folks make that special something for that special someone on that special day...Mother's Day!

It's ironic Dani hates to have her picture taken and yet her gift to me was a priceless photo of herself. I was touched as I gazed at her delightful face, both next to me and in the frame. Truth be known it's been a tough road these past 21 years with Autism, but I am proud to be her and her brother Drew's mother. Motherhood is a privilege, an honor, and investment into the future. Nothing could ever replace or duplicate the bond a mother has with her children. Moments like these prove the point.

I hope this Mother's Day brings you joy and may the Lord bless you and your family abundantly!

May 2, 2010

5K (cholesterol) Run Complete!

According to Life123 a marathon is one long road race totaling 26.2 miles. The marathon originated when an ancient Greek soldier, Pheidippides, ran from Marathon to Athens to relay the message that the Persian army had been defeated. As legend has it, once the words “We have won” came out of his mouth, he dropped dead on the spot. This fable prompted the first Olympic marathon, which totaled 24.8 miles, the distance Pheidippides ran.

In 1908 the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles when King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wanted the royal family to see the beginning of the race. The course was changed to begin at Windsor Castle and end at a racetrack, thus changing the distance to the now standard 26.2 miles.

Beyond the marathon there is the ultra-marathon, which can be 30, 50, or 100 miles, the half marathon (about 13 miles), and last but not least the 5K, a race for folks like me who want to get in shape without dropping dead like Pheidippides.

I ran my first 5K about 10 years ago in a run for Autism, then proceeded to let running slide as life got busy with our little Dani who suffers from the disability. A few months ago, after turning 50 and hearing my cholesterol was too high, I kicked back into gear and began training again. I had four weeks to get into shape for this race and believe it or not…I did it!

Today’s run was for a family who has three terminally ill children and it was heart-warming to stand amidst hundreds of people at the starting line to pray, sing the National Anthem, and then run as one body in unison for one cause. There were men, women, kids, parents pushing strollers, and dogs all along the way. One little pooch was zig zagging in front of me making me giggle as I seriously tried to run. He seems to want to run along side me, which would have been fine if he’d have ran in a straight line. (You might recall Cocoa Bean got kicked off my running schedule for the same wavering offence.) Another doggy had to make a pit stop along the way bless his heart. His owner patiently waited as his fury friend made a deposit in the grass. As we ran by I said to the man, “I’m glad that isn’t you doing your business roadside.” We all chuckled and continued on our journey. I usually run alone so it was fun to have folks to wave and talk to along the way.

At one point I took a quick glance at my stopwatch and was happy to see the end had to be near. A few paces further and I saw the bright colored balloon arch over the road where we had begun the race and felt a jolt of energy pulse through my body. It was downhill the rest of the way and Coldplay was playing strong in my ears. I turned my music up a notch and commenced running past the runners I’d followed from the beginning. Once past the “finish line” I heard the announcer on a bullhorn say, “5K runners you’re not done. Keep going up the hill, turn right, run around the chair and come back. Then you’ll be done!”

Now, I gotta tell you I’d given it all I had by that point and the thought of conquering another hill was beyond discouraging, but I had no choice. I had to finish the race and the only way I could do that was to change my mindset and move forward, even if it involved another hill.

I equate running hills to eating elephants, one bite at a time. As I approach an incline, instead of dreading it I envision each step as a bite into the hill. Before I know it I’m up and on my way, happy to have eaten another elephant.

After finding the chair that I’d rather have sat in than run around, I trotted back down the hill and crossed the finish line, AGAIN. Folks were cheering and Jimmy was taking pictures of his ole bride. My attention, however, was drawn elsewhere. Out of the entire crowd all I could see was my little Dani patiently leaning against a tree waiting for her mama to arrive. Just the site of her was so precious it brought a smile to my face. Beaming from ear to ear, I took a beeline straight to her and planted a big kiss on her forehead. Bless her heart for all she knows I ran to someone’s house, grabbed a cookie, visited for ½ an hour and ran back. She has no idea the hard work it takes to run these bones down the road, but she and her daddy waited in the cold rain to cheered me on and for that I am most grateful.

I'm the one in black (#220)
My coworker, Shauna, and her husband
are to my right.
By our stance I'd say we were listening
the National Anthem.

We're off!

Crossing the finish line the first time.
By now it was raining.

Crossing the finish line the second time super pooped.

Now I need another goal. What might be my next 5K (cholesterol) run? I have something in mind and I'll give you a hint. It involves some very big elephants.