Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photostory Friday: Undeniable

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Some days it's just undeniable.

There's no doubt about it. 

She's all yours. 

Inside and out. Top to bottom. 

When she announces in her loudest voice, to the entire electronics department at Target:

"I'm from planet weirdo! ....... And THIS IS MY DAD!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

365 Week: 12

Old Friends and contrast.

This week I met up with some old and dear friends under very different circumstances. 

Day 78

March 19: Here's Matthew playing his favorite position -- keeper. Matt inherited his father's athletic ability: 

Naturally average at everything.

But when he plays keeper he really steps it up. It's amazing what a little confidence will do. 

Day 79

March 20: This is Matthew. He's dancing. 

He does this in public.

Without shame. 

I'm not sure where I went wrong. 

Day 80

March 21: This was such a wonderful day. I've already referenced it in my previous post, but today I got together with some long lost friends. I went in to the day with a little trepidation, wondering if I would have anything to say to people I hadn't seen in 18 years. It turns out we had a lot to say. It was a happy day. (Oh, these are the toes of my friend Ellen's three year old daughter -- the rest of her is pretty darn cute too!)

Day 81

March 22: Have you ever played Liar's Dice? It's also called Perudo, Pirate's Dice, and probably a lot of other things. If you have seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it's the game that Will and his father play with Davy Jones. 

I taught the game to my kids, and now they regularly beat me. 

It turns out they're pretty good liars. 

I'm so proud. 

Day 82

March 23: Another old friend. Spring! 

She popped her head up briefly on Monday (it's snowing as I write this on Wednesday). We moved into our home last July, and didn't know about these little Spring flowers in the front yard. I don't even know what they are, but I think they're pretty. 

Any idea what they might be?

Day 83

March 24: Self Portrait. Something new I'm adding this week -- a self portrait a week (until I get bored with it anyway). And yes, that is what I look like  -- I generally have that thing attached to my face.

Well, not usually at work, but no one was looking. 

Day 84

March 25: I'm sitting in my car waiting to see another old and dear friend, and it's raining.

The rain seems somehow appropriate. 

The circumstances are different this time. Her brother has passed away, and I'm about to go into the viewing. 

A life of such promise, suddenly gone. I feel I should say something, but everything is inadequate at a time like this. 

Emily, I'm so sorry. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Facebook was invented for days like this...

When Sharon was diagnosed with cancer two months ago, everything changed.

The way I looked at the world.

The way I thought.

My priorities.

I realized that the list of things in this world that truly make me happy is a rather small list. And high on that list are my friends. I've always made friends easily, but I haven't kept up with many of the friends that I once knew. Then along came Facebook, and suddenly, at my fingertips, were many of the people I once knew. Many people I thought I might never see again. Which brings me to yesterday...

Through the magic of Facebook, (and texting, and phone calls and every other form of communication we couldn't have imagined eighteen years ago) I had a wonderful afternoon, with some dear and long lost friends. Face to face.

As it should be.

 Occasionally, you will find someone who can't let go of high school. It was the greatest time of their lives.

If those three years were the best of your life, you need to get out more -- It's a big, beautiful world out there. But high school is an intense social experience, and we forge relationships that can endure. Yesterday six old friends gathered in a park to reminisce, to talk of life and love, of heartache and disappointment, of memories and blessings and of the hand life had dealt each of us.

One is my best friend whom I have spoken with nearly everyday of my life. One I hadn't seen in nearly twelve years, the others it had been almost eighteen. We're all in our mid-thirties now -- that was a lifetime ago. 

Two of us were once a couple, but no one is married to anyone else. Two of us are twins -- who are actually triplets, one of whom has twins of her own. Two of us live in the middle of nowhere -- one in Utah, one in Arizona. Four of us have lost our fathers. We have eighteen children between us -- one has seven, one has no children. One has lived a few miles from me for nearly thirteen years, and I had no idea. We have all been married, but two are no longer. Life has not been easy for anyone, but yesterday I sensed happiness in each of us.

For that I am grateful. 
A whole bunch of Balls.

Aaron wanted to know what the macro setting on my camera does. It takes very close up pictures of your nose. I edited out the big black hair.

You're welcome. 

Apparently the maturity level just got to be too much for Dave!

If you look in  the background, you'll notice that the kids are in the process of hi-jacking some poor woman's kite.

The toes of a very hungry and very tired three year old. 

Which of these two is not like the other...

Reminiscing on going to the Homecoming Dance with my best friend's girlfriend, so he could go with someone else. All according to his plan...I had a great time Ellen!

I realized at this point what the kids were doing with the kite. 

Okay, Dave isn't the only one with maturity issues...

We hugged, and ate and talked of the roads we have travelled and the joy of seeing each other again. 

We laughed.

A lot. 

Ellen, Beki, Esther, Dave and Aaron...thank you for a wonderful afternoon. Let's not wait another eighteen years before we do it again. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Photostory Friday: Jackson

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Jackson is my nephew.

Jackson's feet, like Jack himself, are just a little different. They're a little stubbier, the toes are a little rounder. They are nearly two years old, but have yet to take an independent step. They'll be fitted with braces soon, to help correct the areas where they haven't developed "right." 

Jack's eyes haven't developed "right" either. Nor his ears, or his heart or much of his physical body. Jackson's feet will carry him through life, behind the other kids, in many ways. He will always be catching up. 

But in many other ways, there is no mistake -- Jackson has arrived!

The spirit in this little boy is so big and so sweet. He attracts attention just by being in the room. His smile is so serene -- as though he knows a wonderful little secret that no one else knows. 

He may not talk yet, but that doesn't mean he's not opinionated. He's very vocal about his feelings, and isn't shy about expressing himself -- loudly -- in the back yard or in church. 

He may be behind other kids physically, but he embraces and participates in life to his fullest ability -- just like every other kid. The difference? I think he always will. 

I find myself envying him. 

I also find myself thanking God for this giant spirit in the little, imperfect body with the round stubby toes. He is teaching my children -- our whole family -- the art of unconditional love. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

365 Week: 11

365 Week: 11

Odds and Ends

Day 71

March 12: Black and Whites in black and white. My piano is a battle scarred veteran of five moves, and she holds up a lot better in monochrome. 

Day 72

March 13: This is my nephew Jackson. He came for a visit Friday night. Jackson is almost two, and his life has been an uphill struggle, (he doesn't have his hearing aids in, in this picture) and will be continue to be so, but he has an incredibly sweet spirit. My kids think he looks like Harry Potter with his new glasses on. 

Day 73

March 14: The Texas Toast was nice and Texasy, and the steak was medium well. But, I ordered Chili's takeout for one thing -- The Loaded Mashed Potatoes! Cheese, chives, bacon, dirt from the ground -- I'm not sure what all is loaded in these potatoes.

And I don't care.

They're delicious!

Day 74

March 15: Jackson's toes -- we got to see him again today. That's more than I've seen him in the last six months. Jackson is fascinated by his extremities and puts on quite a show with his hands and his little feet. 

Day 75

March 16: Someday she's going to hate me for taking these pictures, but for now Emma is a willing accomplice. That's macaroni and cheese. If you look real close you can see the chocolate around her mouth, which of course indicates that I let her have desert before dinner. 

That's why she likes me so much. 

Day 76

March 17: Kiss Me, my great-great-great grandmother was Irish! I LOVE St. Patrick's Day. All you have to do is wear green -- and if you enjoy getting pinched, you don't have to wear anything at all. 

Of course they may get you pinched in a whole different way. 

Day 77

March 18: My son is odd. 

Go ahead say it...

He is left handed. Sort of.

Matt writes with his left hand, but throws a frisbee with his right hand. He throws a football with his left hand, but shoots a basketball with his right. 

That's weird, right?

Oh, and we endorse Spaulding basketballs at our house. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photostory Friday: The Burden of Knowing Everything

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

This is Emma. 

You've met her before. She's going on six, and she thinks I know everything. At least that's what she told my wife the other day (she also said she thinks I'm kind of weird, but let's stay on topic).

Where she got this notion that I know everything is beyond me. Frankly, I feel I demonstrate my vast stupidity on a regular basis. 

When I was a kid, I always knew there would be someone to come along and fix any problem and answer any question. Someone who knew everything. Rarely was I ever proven wrong. Someone -- usually my parents -- always knew everything. 

Now I am that person. Now I am responsible. I am the one they look to, to fix the problems and answer the questions. To know everything.

Inadequate doesn't scratch the surface. 

Unless you need a picture taken, I would prefer someone else take the reigns. But it doesn't work that way. 

My other kids are entering that "fun" tween stage. In their eyes, I just get dumber most days. I can sympathize with this point of view. It's easier to live with. 

But, let's get back to Emma -- she's smarter than all of the rest of us anyway. There is something empowering in looking in to those eyes and seeing confidence -- in herself and in me. 

If God is in the details, Emma will be there to greet Him upon arrival. NOTHING escapes her attention. Except, it seems, my glaring flaws. I must assume she simply chooses to overlook them. 

You know, if I were more like Emma...

p.s. In the interest of full disclosure, I do NOT, in fact, know everything.