Friday, December 3, 2010

Where does time go?

It's been almost 8 months since the last posting. My how things have changed!
My wife has had both knees replaced.
I have a new niece.
My daughters have booked a trip to Japan for 13 days (they leave in 23 days).
My middle child spent a month in Iceland as part of the study abroad program.

There are other things but these seem to be on the top of the list for now.

The girls are headed to Japan. It gets more and more real the closer it gets. Brittany, the youngest (21) is excited and getting a little anxious. She spent a month in Iceland so is ready but still it is a big trip. Laura, the oldest (25) has not traveled much except with the family but is really looking forward to this. The trip was a present from Diann and I. We cashed in a ton of frequent flyer miles and hotel stay points to book the flight and hotel for them. They are going first class there and back so it should be a nice trip.

I think this will be a huge benefit to them. I can only imagine the confidence it will build and the horizons it will expand. The world is a much smaller place than when I was young and people should get out there and see it. I have and I want my kids to do the same.

My son (17) wants to go. I have to have someone here to our hold our hands while my wife and I worry.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing...

Have you ever been someplace and thought "what am I doing here?" or get the feeling you should be some other place or just wonder if this is where you need to be right now?

Have you ever been doing something and think "why am I doing this?" or got the feeling you could or should be doing something else or just wonder if this is what you were meant to do?

I've had that feeling. I listen to that feeling. It is part of my inner/moral compass. It helps me make sure I'm not being wasteful. It helps me rethink things. It helps insure I've got all the information I need. It is not always a comfortable feeling but it is one I listen to. It helps me.

Yesterday I was with my daughter just to tag along while she got her car inspected. She wanted some company so I tagged along. After she got her car inspected the battery died AND her window (electric) would not go up. 7 hours later new battery, new alternator, new window motor (that did not work and has to be done again tomorrow), new serpentine belt and the phone number of a mechanic that thinks she is cute.

It was a long, tedious day and very expensive for her. She needed someone there, to support her, provide a calming view and to help her out. We met some nice people, spent some good time together and even had dinner together afterward. I was there when she needed me.

There was a different voice during this time. Not the one wondering if I should be someplace else or the one wondering if I should be doing something else.

This voice quietly said "This is where you need to be, This is what you should be doing." Paying attention to THAT voice is even more important than the other voice. Don't miss those moments. They are precious.

I was right where I was supposed to be. I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Divided yet whole...

My wife and son are visiting her parents this weekend. I'm home with our two daughters. They did not want to make the trip. Both had a long week and just wanted to chill out at home. I can understand that so I stayed, too. I had some spring chores to do in the yard and such.

So, this weekend we are a family divided. Divided by distance but not in our hearts. Funny thing about technology, you can allow it to separate you or you can use it to keep you together. My son sends me pictures from his phone when he is away. It let's me know what he is up to and it also allows me to share his trip. That keeps us close. He'll share all he did when he returns, which is always good to hear.

We'll regale him and his Mom with our feats of wonder, too. Sharing keeps us close. It reminds us who we are and why we are. Those memories are the bonds that bind.

I'm no expert but I suspect that while Jesus walked with the disciples and performed miracles he was not just doing it for the people affected nor to legitimize him as the Christ. I suspect it was to provide a bond for the disciples for when he was gone. They'd need that to carry on the great commission.

We are planning to visit friends this summer in OH. They are such wonderful people and we adore them. I've learned that with trips it is not just the trip itself that can be fun and provide memories but the planning and time leading up to it can also be fun and memorable. We talk about the trip and the last visit. We laugh, we cut up and we long for going and being with people we like.

I'm planning a trip to the Air Force museum in Dayton. I'm not sure everyone is as excited as am I but it is all part of the give and take of a trip. Besides a little bit of education never hurt anyone. And, it will be something else we can laugh at and talk about. Another memory to bind.

Today is Easter. I'm not with my whole family but we are still together. We don't have to be next to each other to love each other and share the times we have.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Somethings I just don't get used to...

I turned on the switch in the dining area a bulb blew. Nothing new about that. I guess over the years it has happened a hundred or more times. Yet, I still jump. You'd think I'm used to it by now, but no.

The reason may well be it does not happen often enough in a short enough span for me to get used to it and to suspect it will happen. I get lulled into a false sense of security that the lights will come on when I hit the switch since the do so often. Then, out of no where...BAM!

We think we'd learn but we take things for granted until they don't do what we expect.

I think life is that way. We can assume things will always be like this (good or bad) until they aren't. We can assume our wives will always be there and then something changes.

We think our kids are perfect until they aren't.

I love my kids and they've not disappointed me. Are they perfect? Nope, but they do have a sense of right and wrong. I've not assumed they'd know this and always do it. I try to be in their lives, asking questions, reading report cards, attending events and being involved in their activities at school or elsewhere. I figure if I find it and nip it in the bud early it is never a problem.

I wish I could do bulbs like that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Enjoying the success of others...

If kids have taught me anything (and they've taught me so many things) it is to enjoy and celebrate the success of others. That simple lesson has spilled over into so many areas of my life in so many ways.

I'd like to think I was not jealous of others success before. I just didn't know how to enjoy their success and celebrate it. I was never mad about it, never envious nor resentful. I just didn't know how to enjoy it and celebrate it. I guess I was neutral, happy for them but not sure how to respond because I didn't know what or how to feel. Plus, like many kids and young adults I was focused on my world too much.

Kids changed that. They go through so many trials and each is a major success. From the first da-da (I'm pretty sure they said that first...) to the first step, potty training (that was easy to celebrate!) to the first date, college and job. I didn't learn to celebrate these because they were milestones or because they were just my kids. I'd learned that they make them a better person, they are a reward for effort and I was really, truly and genuinely happy and excited for them. The joy on their face, the happiness I knew they had. I felt it. I enjoyed it and I celebrated it.

I'm sure God gave me kids to learn many things and I've tried to hear what he was wanting me to know and learn.

A follower of this blog, Becky, makes the most wonderful ceramics, especially birds! She, like other potters I know, makes amazing art and pots with clay. I truly enjoy her work. Her talent makes us all better. I have friends that work hard in their church, helping others and making the world I better place for all of us. I enjoy their success and celebrate the talents they have. I have a friend who is the CFO of a major company. I'm so happy for him and all that he has accomplished. He's a great guy and went out of his way to help and befriend a lowly freshman at Carolina. He's made an impact on people his whole life.

I'm fortunate to know and have known some amazing people. They make me better by knowing them and for that, I'm glad to celebrate!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blowing my top...

Brittany, the middle child, the college girl is heading to Iceland this summer...well in about 2 months! Yesterday a volcano erupted in Iceland about 40 miles from where they will be staying. This volcano has not erupted since the 1800's and it has to pick NOW to erupt! AND the experts are predicting this is precursor to the eruption of one of the active ones that just so happens to be about 40 miles from where they'll be staying!

She says the advisers are on top of it (the situation, not the volcano) and that the monks in the monastery (next to the hostel/school where they will live) take lawn chairs out and watch the volcano when it erupts. This is supposed to make me more comfortable??

So, to reassure my self I do a little more research and find that Iceland straddles the American and European tectonic plates and is actually splitting itself apart by 10 cm per year!

I'm trying to keep calm but when you are a Dad and your baby girl is involved and it is about volcanoes....well let's just say its hard to not build up a head of steam of worry. If I'm not sleeping well now what will in be like when she is actually there?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Real or paper?

I don't like paper plates. I can eat a sandwich from them and can handle them for picnics. But otherwise, I like real plates. My kids would prefer paper plates every meal, but then they have to do the dishes.

I think there is something civilized about real plates, solid flatware and real glasses at a real table. I think it provides a sense of permanence that is important to a family. I think it also helps us slow down, enjoy the meal and talk both during and after.

I do admit that when I'm standing over the sink or dishwasher paper plates are a tad tempting!