10 October 2006

I'm here; I'm here.

It's been a long time - yes - but when life grabs you and whips you around you kinda have to let go and let God, you know? I am moved to explain the fact that I thrive on my relationship with God. It's what gets my blood pumping, and out of bed every morning. I am daily amazed by His presence and by the truths of His grace, mercy, encouragement, and love for us. Some days, I am so captivated by Him - watching His hand moving in my life and the lives of my family - that I forget that time doesn't stand still waiting for me to be sated of this understanding. I'll never be sated. Perhaps that's why the optimism is inveterate. Perhaps that's why I have nothing to say during conversations rife with anger. Perhaps that's why I choose to let go and let God. It's powerful - not weak - to recognize your limitations and recognize a being who has none. It's purposeful - not ignorance - to believe that you don't know everything, that you don't have all the answers. It's peaceful - not fearful - to put your trust in the One who created you and loves you more than anyone else can. I truly believe that God knows the number of hairs on my head, what I did yesterday, what I asked for forgiveness for today, and that I'm going to ask for it again for the same thing tomorrow. I am drawn to Him morning-noon-and-night by a deep need for the unconditional love that only the grace of God can satisfy. In a fit of what was declared 'teenage drama', I declared to my oldest brother that "I think God gives us our teenage years to search for something - and He wants us to find Him". I don't think that's such a dramatic statement anymore.

"Ask - and you will receive; seek - and you will find; knock - and the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7

Today's conundrum: Will there ever be truth in advertising?

Future conundrum: Why do some people never apologize?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

11 August 2006

(Stamps foot and sighs)

I remain optimistic...
...because I believe that we will always be attacked for ___________ (insert reason here).
...because I believe that we will always be persecuted for ___________(insert reason here).

...because I believe that it will always be about power, not ____________(insert reason here).
...because I believe that it will always be, until He comes again.

Anyone else tired of - but optimistic about - all of this?

Today's conundrum: When will our self-righteous media ever realize that they are one of the greatest enemies to our safety? Further, will they ever get sick of their own self-aggrandizement? Will we?

Future conundrum: Will the real Wonkette please stand up?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

02 July 2006

Seriously, folks

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned confidence? Is it just me, or are we always at odds because we are always uncomfortable in our lives, in our skins, in our communities? Can we not feel vital until we've been important? Have we come to expect to be always at odds with someone about something or someplace? Are we living in the literal Mudville post-Casey's defeat? Our little neighborhood in a quite town of some 15,000 has decided to create a gateway to the "subdivision", including a sign, "plantings", etc. The idea of a "gateway" bothers me. A lot. There, I said it. We moved here but nine months ago and chose our home for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was NOT in a "named community" - a rarity in this little burg. Without it's name, known only to the county auditor and those willing to look-it-up, it felt unpretentious, non-nouveau riche, not hopelessly and desperately seeking attention. It felt like a natural part of the town - meant-to-be and unashamed to be un-named. The proposal to call attention to it now seems vulgar. Currently, as cars and people pass up and down our streets, I think nothing of it. When the sign goes in, and the citizenry pass through, I will feel...embarassed, like we are having to shout from the roof-tops, or out the windows of our cars, or from the signage at the "entrance" of our neighborhood that we belong - just like the rest of you - to this community and we will be heard. I want to ask: what is the big deal? (I'm sure some would ask that of me as well.) Why draw attention? Are we not secure enough in our own little world to not care who knows about us? Do we need to be able to say - "oh, we live in ..."? While I will grant that a patch of grass with a stop sign, a street sign, and a rock are not too asthetically pleasing, that patch of grass without a "subdivision" sign is a sigh of relief that at least one neighborhood feels comfortable enough with itself to leave the name-calling out of it. Perhaps it's the teenage rebellion in me still which hates to be pigeon-holed or found typical. Perhaps it's that fact that we moved from an area of the country known for its subversive segregation. Perhaps it's because I can't get behind something that screams for attention, unless it's a two-year-old which then enjoys the luxury of my understanding. Perhaps it seems so sad and perhaps not worth my attention. (Sigh.) Nonetheless, I am rebelling over a sign. Don't tread on me.

Today's conundrum: Is it wrong to want world peace? Does that make you a complacent know-nothing?

Future conundrum: Is it wrong to not care about world peace? Does that make you a complacent know-nothing?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

21 June 2006

One Giant Leap for tIO...

It's not that I can't commit. I'm married. I have children. I have a mortgage and furniture that cannot be moved under cover of darkness or without assistance.

It's not that I won't adapt. I have a whole set of adapters to use whereever I am with whatever appliance I choose. And I know what Bluetooth is and how to use it.

It's not that I haven't tried. I have this blog, don't I?

Too many technological demands are required of us these days. Should I post on my blog? Should I create a space on My Space? Should I finish that draft for the web site? Should I read "the Borrowers" to my children? We've just finished reading "Farmer Boy" and it certainly does something to you to be reminded of "the simpler times" when "free time" was not some arbitrary concept of a much-sought-after way to live. They may not have jetted cross-country in hours, but those who had less access then weren't bombarded with minute-by-minute reminders of what they were missing just five miles away. We, on the other hand, feel left out if we don't know what's going on in Namibia or can't connect with someone - anyone - within seconds 3500 miles away. This passion to connect (and to be connected, both literally and figuratively) drives us to desperation and distraction. It seems to me that "in the olden days", people put their heads down and did what was necessary to exist - hopefully happily and well - right where they were. We are admonished to "live in the present" and "spend quality AND quantity" time and "have it all" NOW! Reading anything historic leads me to believe that their lives were very present indeed. See Bedel for further reference.

This is my struggle: to put my head down and do what is necessary, both happily and well. I've been deemed an "early adopter" by the neural networks, and - while a but impressed with myself for that - wonder what I did to merit the moniker. I just can't get my head around the best uses of our time. It's a tough spot to be in, especially when I'm charged with raising children who need to learn the value of spending your time wisely. Inevitably, I return to what I know - reading, making music, throwing a ball into a glove or through a hoop, cooking and baking, knitting and sewing - and less to what has come to be, e.g. anything that plugs in. Not very savvy, if you ask me. My children are entering into a new world, one that I'm not sure of and not fully a part of, and I want them to not only be active but succeed. Perhaps it boils down to my needing to be brave, and go into this new world. So, here I am taking the leap. Look out...

Today's conundrum: Aside from our faith, how do we inject a sense of permanence into a "world gone disposable"? Perhaps the permanence we seek isn't found without our faith that this world will pass away and all things will be made new. They will be made new. They will be made.

Future conundrum: I have these tiny bugs - springtails - which are neither harmful nor destructive. I have yet to uncover their purpose. How is it that something is not harmful, not destructive, and seemingly without purpose? Why are we wired to need a purpose? He is clever, non?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

17 May 2006

The first "post-game analysis"

Blogging, blogging. blogging. It can be a full-time job (not that I would know).

Here we are in the full bloom of May. Anyone else out there under water? My older son stated very matter-of-factly: "God must have plans for all of this rain. But do you think He wants to rain-out ALL of my games?"

We are a Little League family. Given my adoration of the sport, you must imagine how I feel when it hits me every game day that I have a Little Leaguer. Jubilation! I worried about what kind of sports parent I would be. Would I be the one screaming from the sidelines, or pacing behind the bench, or throwing the first punch?

I needn't have been concerned. I was raised by two people who love sports, and who, more importantly, are sportsmen. (PLEASE NOTE: Gender neutrality is observed in all TIO blogs.) My father was a coach - who also instilled a love of the game in his players. Do your best. Have fun. Run it out. Hustle on and off the field. Cut your hair and wipe the dirt off your lip. My mother was the consumate fan - who also kept those around her both informed of the count and the best stain removers and hand sanitizers. Cheer for your team. Never boo anyone. Bring snacks. Don't leave before it's over. They both believed in writing on home-run balls, hot showers for sore muscles, and rewarding effort with kindness and a pat-on-the-back - but rarely ice cream.

So where do I fall? I surprised myself. During the first game, I video-taped my older son's first Little League at-bat, which resulted in a run. I set-up chairs for my younger son and myself, and sat - cheering for each player on both teams - until the game was called for darkness. Then, as it was our turn to bring them, I got up and handed out the snacks to the team. More accurately, I opened the boxes of rice-crispy-treats and CapriSun Sport drinks and stood back to avoid being trampled. The surprise for me was this: I wasn't nervous for him. I didn't think that he was succeeding or failing - regardless of what I did. It's not about me. Further, I don't want to go out there and do it for him. I thought I might. This is his sport to learn - and love - now.

Post-game, my son was giddy, and his younger brother asked him repeatedly how baseball was (to play). "Is it good, John? Is it fun? Is baseball good?" His reply made me misty: "It's the best fun ever, Teddy."

Today's conundrum: Have we become a "my way or the highway" society? Parenting is rough when you're fighting against this societal phenomenon. We all struggle with pride. We all want to feel/be important. But when your child is astute enough to question the difference between obedience and a need to control, where do you go for back-up? I don't want every moment, every decision to be a battle. That's just silly. But, I do want a balance between their "coming to heel" and becoming responsible people. I think back on my life and wonder how I made it this far. Stupidity is sometimes masked by youth and inexperience, you know. But still, how do you govern your home without vascilating between being a Shrek and a pollyanna? The "Golden Rule" still rules as a better way to live, I think.

Future conundrum: Is it possible to have a meal entirely comprised of food with the word "pop" in the names, e.g. popcorn, Poptarts, popovers, soda pop? Is this responsible? Is this healthy? Comment to your heart's content.

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

26 March 2006

My first love

So where was I?

Oh, yes. Football. Well, I'm over football now, FYI. You see, at heart, I am a true baseball fanatic. I prefer baseball to any other sport - even Aussie Rules. Even tennis. Even (insert sport here).

Spring has sprung, officially; and they are training hard in Florida. They haven't started Johnny yet, and I haven't fully accepted him yet either. Oh, now wait. I can hear you all cringing, and writhing on the floor in anguish that someone else has declared themselves a Yankee fan. I'll have you all know that I have been since birth, as my father is and deemed it so for me as I drew my first breath. Yes - I have lusted in my heart for other teams (the '85 Royals or the Mets - gasp - of the Lee Mazzilli era). I have never strayed, however, from my first loves: Ron, Bucky, Dave, Reggie, Tino, and Donny Baseball. I could go on and on, but will stop short and state that one of the happiest days of my life was the day I experienced first-hand a Yankee victory parade through the Canyon. Having spent my entire life in Indians/Reds/Tigers/Cubs/WhiteSox-country, I was finally able to scream myself silly in a frenzied, jubilant celebration of MY team's victory. Moreover, I shared this altered state with 1/2 million others. Sheer bliss.

So, welcome, Spring! Let's line the base paths, dust the plate, and kick the rubber. I'm stretched and ready. And, may the Yankees pennant soar high once again in October!

Today's conundrum: Why does the teachers' union exist? Why as a faction of the AFL-CIO? Will the real educators please stand up? I'm inclined toward believing that teaching is actually a self-serving profession. At what other job can one demand the attention of so many for so long? I am further convinced that the checks and balances ascribed to the profession are mere ruses. "No child left behind" has frustrated competent, thoughtful educators and allowed average and seriously poor teachers to hide behind governmental "teach to the test" standards. [Aside: please note that I distinguish between educators and teachers.] When we enroll our children in a school, we expect them to be taught (not right from wrong..we'll take care of that at home, thanks) - not forced to work for work's sake. Perhaps it's all just a question of numbers - PAC monies, governmental and corporate sponsorship, state funding, bottoms-in-seats at the games, drones needed for the future. Perhaps it comes back to "thoughtfulness", which, dishearteningly-so, became a dirty word in the 60s, when it was replaced by the self-agrandizing "tolerance". What's the saying: those who can't, teach. And those who teach should realize that they are not God's gift to humanity. Jesus was.

Future conundrum: Will Aardman make another W&G movie? Will we ever play another W&G playstation game? Will Peter Sallis win a BAFTA or Oscar for lifetime achievement? W&G rules!

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

25 February 2006

Mommies are cool (among other things)

Congratulations to Ben! - and that team from Pittsburgh, too. The recovery post-XL was short and sweet. Unfortunately, the hacking-cough-sinister-sinus-slime virus hit shortly thereafter, and our fight, while valiant and vigilant, is ongoing. Thanks to a little something called the immune system, and a little something else called antibiotics, recovery is imminent. Amazing, isn't it, how wonderfully we are made?

So, I piled the family into the car this morning, and trekked off to the Starbucks for a latte. (I really should buy a stove-top espresso-maker. Much cheaper to "make-your-own".) Then, we walked, scootered, and tricycled through the green, and stopped at the shops. BTW - I'm always thankful for those establishments that buck the trend on opening/closing times. For me, part of the thrill of shopping is to have the impression that the world is completely unaware that you are getting something wonderful. Then, you have the thrill of springing it on them later at a most amazing and opportune time. At a lovely little shop two doors from the toys and trains, I bought a ring. Well, it's a ring to me; others more likely use it to whip unruly locks into a chignon. Now, my children think I can grow a flower on my finger. "One of my many talents," I tell them. Mommys are so cool.

Today's conundrum: At what point do you have enough? I've been giving considerable thought to the book "The Number". I haven't read it yet, but its concept thoroughly intrigues me. You should know that I believe money to be the root of all evil. Having it - and any form of it - bears great responsibility. I worry about stepping-back and gaining perspective on what it means for my children, and raising them to be respectful stewards of all that's been given to us by God. Apart from Him we are - and have - nothing.

Future conundrum: Although I love them, are EZ-Passes, IPasses, or whatever they've named them in your area really tools used by the government to track your every move? Are we being lulled into denial by convenience and our obvious excitement about all-things-tech?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

05 February 2006

It's all about the XL

Detroit: the Bus stops there.

"This is the inveterate optimist SuperBowl special. Reporting live from the heart of Cardiac Kids country..."

Today will be an interesting day in sports. Superbowl XL + the run-up to the winter olympics = hyper-happy-drive. Anything going on in tennis or world cup or yachting that I should know about? I am relieved that Madden finally made it into the HoF. Reggie White, too. But Aikman? I'm optimistic(inveterately) that someone out there has a D-fence for that one, and I'd like to hear it. Why not LC? - or Richard Dent? By-the-way, da Bears have more HoFers than any other team. "Time there was a time there was a time..." But, now..." Here we sit waiting for 6:18pm EST. Waiting for that clean-shaven no.7 to take the field and take command. Waiting for the Bus to run - and run - and run. Waiting for the hype to over-Alexander-ate the reality. Waiting for something to better "wassup" or Nike. Waiting for Polamalu. Waiting for Monday to officially quarterback the game.

Today's conundrum: Are gummi bears truly gummi and bears? Or are they harvested and candied from their Black Forest homes as my husband terrifyingly proposes to our children?

Future conundrum: Why, when we are freed by our salvation in Christ, are we still tethered to our freedom-less sin? Makes me think, and think, and think...and then act, with His help and encouragement.

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

28 January 2006

An adventure on the soapbox

Globalness. My husband, in his business, actually distinguishes between "being international" and "globalness". There you go. Sit back; have a laugh. No, it's not a word. But some concepts are just bigger than any word in the known English language. Globalness sounds pretty big to me. To his credit, my husband is working to eliminate the rampant use of "leveraging" in the documents his firm produces. ("Leveraging" - pervasive in the colloquial, but also not a word.) Truly mesmerizing, isn't it? Especially when you hear something frequently. It matters not how incorrectly words are used. (That was a VERY correct sentence, wasn't it?) What matters - and does so conclusively to the detriment of our lovely language - is the frequency with which you are exposed to the misuse. Please know that I am not immune; and when I realize my errors, I stand corrected. (By the way, how did that phrase - "I stand corrected" - come to be?) Therefore, I admonish you to consider your communications - verbal or otherwise. Little (and big) ears are listening.

Today's conundrum: Why are there boys in the Girl Scouts? Conversely, why are there girls in the Boy Scouts? Hey, everybody!...(imagine Grover hollering at...well, everybody)...girls and boys are different! We are interested in different things. We learn and experience life differently. We react to life differently. God made us wonderfully unique as genders. What is going on? - big leap - Will history bear out just how horribly the "I-know-better-than-you" baby-boom generation, who gave us the glorious 60's revulsions, destroyed the better fabric of our republic? I certainly hope that posterity will see what I see. Long live John Adams! Huzzah!

Future conundrum: When will "black" be the "new black"? I go through phases where I see no need to wear color as anything other than an understated accessory. Of course, I call them phases because there are times when black plays that same understated role.

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

23 January 2006

Bears win! Bears win!...

Oh, wait. I already tried that. The Steelers won, which is good, and now Ben will get a chance to shave and dress for THE big game. I won't watch, and maybe he'll win. That's not inveterate optimism; that's just what you do to help your team win. That's why I miss whole seasons of Yankees games, particularly 1996 through 1999. Right now, I'm wondering if I should have watched less Alias and ignored Keen Eddie altogether.

By the way, today's mantra is "forgiveness". In the memorable words of Ken Medema: Give it up...let it go...throw it down.

Today's conundrum: Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? I loved that show, and the computer game. Please note that while I enjoyed my childhood/youth, I do not want/desire my children to relive my life. However, I certainly think that the value/enjoyment of that show/game would be beneficial to them. Do it Rockapella!

Future conundrum - Will animal prints, either in decor or in fashion, ever truly be stylish? OK...stylish, maybe, but classy? Tasteful?

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

16 January 2006

Bears win! Bears win!

OK...so that's what I wanted to post. But, as the song says, "two out of three ain't bad". Actually, the Pats lost, too. But, you didn't necessarily know that I was rooting for them. So, one out of three is just 33%. We'll get 'em next year. (See...the inveterate optimism is real!)

Todays conundrum: Does anyone, other than Martha Stewart, actually cook every recipe in a cookbook? It is my personal goal for this year to do just that. My super-hyper goal is to achieve that once each quarter of 2006. My first "victim" is Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson. LOVE her. My husband and I actually make ourselves giddy imagining that, were we to move to London, we would of course be friends with her and Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp, from "Location-trebled".

Future conundrum: Will the real silent majority please stand up? And who is silent, anyway? Everyone I talk with definately has an opinion, though some are better than others at both articulating it and doing so respectfully.

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!

15 January 2006

And so it begins...

On a day full of snow and sun, with Rothlisberger and Urlacher on the fields, and the ripples of laughter bubbling up from the rumpus room.

With each post, I intend to bring a little bit of my inveterate optimism to life through antecdotes and narratives, ideas, conundrums, and questions to ponder. I will espouse views and set upon diatribes which would be abject in polite company (read: discussions of faith and politics). In fact, at times I might sound a bit cynical or even rancorous. I'm not. However, be forewarned: I am someone who knows what I want, knows that it's out there, and likes to talk about it.

Enter my motto: I believe...

On to Today's Conundrum: Where can I find two high-backed wing chairs in cherry or chocolate leather with nailhead trim and mahogany Chippendale legs? And when I say "wing chairs" I'm talking about wings that almost wrap themselves around you, shielding you from drafts and cocooning you in the radiant warmth from the fire. Further, I would prefer to find them at a tag sale or from a reputable dealer who wants to make a fair profit from me and not gouge the joy out of the sale.

Future conundrum: Why won't those in the service industry respond to service calls? Ponder and let me know...

Thanks for perusing this blog. Blog you again soon!


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