Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Soul Sister

I found this picture in the archives today and it made me think of a few things.
1) I miss La Fiesta.
2) If ever there was an Amiga of La Fiesta, it would be me.
3) Cory did not enjoy my outfit that day.

I can count the times that Cory disliked what I wore on one hand. He's easy to please. His hard-lined opinions don't typically extend to fashion. But I clearly remember him giving me a look on this day. His look said, "Say whaaaaat?" Or something like that.

What you might not be able to see is that my shorts were navy and white pinstripes.


Because I'm a sucker for seersucker.

(Don't even get me started on springtime in DC. Seersucker suits with polka-dotted bow ties! Have mercy.)

I have this....this....problem. I really enjoy throwing oddball things together on the off-chance that I might be on to something. You should try it.

She sure has.

Do you hear that? It's my heart, swelling with stripey, flowery, clashy pride.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Thought I Was Done?

It's a breezy kind of day today, the kind that makes the stack of papers on the island scatter across the floor when you're not looking, the kind that makes you look over your shoulder for a pop-up shower that never comes.

The days are taking on a new kind of rhythm and we're rinsing the house in air with the perfect tinge of cool. Maybe this is what they mean when they talk about fresh air. Warm air just never feels very fresh. Maybe it's just me.

I went to bed last night a little groggy, a little stuffy, very sure that I had come down with a lightening-fast cold. I woke up dreamy and well, so I chalked it all up to allergies. Blast 'em.

Clearly, things are changing. The light has a little less glare. There's a filter sliding across it, and we all know what that means, but I'm not about to say it, because for now? It's still Summer.

Go ahead. Hate me. I will holler about Summer every day that I am able. It's just that good. It's good in a bathing suit in June and it's every bit as good in a three-quarter sleeved cardigan in late-late August.

The garden is winding down. It's a crying shame out there. A lawless place. Even still, there are tomatoes and peppers and the errant tough bean.

Speaking of law, I happened upon this earlier today: "Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are." Romans 3: 19-20, NLT

Only in the past year am I beginning to understand the purpose of the law, in light of Grace. "The law simply shows us how sinful we are." I love the "simply" here. It might as well say, "Duh, people." "Duh, Shannan." The law can never be kept, and isn't that a relief? "People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood...So we are made right with God through faith." (Romans 3:25b, 28)

I cannot do perfection. I cannot do striving to live a life that is seen as blameless and honorable to those around me. I can't try everyday-everyday-everyday to balance the scales between successes and failures and hope that the God grades on a curve.

But I can do faith, because above all else, there is grace.

I did not start this post intending to say all of that. I guess that's just what late-Summer air will do to a girl.

What I really meant to do was wrap up my weekend. Since I've already talked your ear off, I shall employ bullet points.

  • A single onesie hanging on a line might just inspire thoughts of additional babies. Might.
  • Self-explanatory. (aka Duh.)

  • See bullet #1.

  • I call this kid Jack-o-Lantern Teeth. Since this shot was taken, he's two more down.

  • I've always been enamored of bugs with flowers. Juxtapose me, baby.

  • Many layers of proof that Summer is still among us.

  • This poor guy found himself in the midst of the impromptu vintage tractor parade and, well, he fit right in. Although I think he wondered why we were all waving to him.

Finally, a story.

I wanted a picture of my cousin Vickie and I. I asked my mom if she would do the honors, though it's important to note that I only had the big camera with me.

Just as we were lining up, Vickie said, "Remember, I just had a baby!" I followed with, "Just take it from the chest up."

This is what we got.

My mom was all holding the big, beastly camera a foot in front of her like it was a $19 Sony digital, acting like she could see the picture on the backside of the camera even though she couldn't. Have mercy, it was a sight.

We saw the final shot and it cracked our business UP.

Vickie made me promise to post the picture on my blog because she's got a sense of humor and doesn't take life too seriously. (Just my kind of lady.)

This was attempt number two. We were at least moving in the right direction.

The third time was the charm.

I love you, Mama! It's obvious that I get my mortal fear of technology from you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More is More is More

I like to think I fall somewhere neatly in the middle of the blog photo continuum. I probably average ten? Eight? I don't know.

The kids and I spent another weekend in Ohio (Daddy had to work) and I'm officially smitten. After 35 years, I've decided. I took about eight hundred pictures to prove it.

I apologize for the fact that I have now blogged about Ohio enough that it has its own category. It can't be helped.

It was a combination of the company (my like-a-sister cousin from PA was visiting with her brand new baby) and the end-of-summer-ness. Not too hot, but still plenty warm. More food than you could shake a stick at. Cool nights that ended late. Church with friends. It was all just so good.

Next time, Cory's coming. No two ways.

And now, I'll shut up and let the pictures do the talking. (Okay, I might have a word or two to share, but I'll do my best to keep my comments brief.)

I don't remember this cat's name. My mom names all of her pets old fashioned people names (sound familiar?) and on top of that, she changes her mind sometimes and switches them around. This is Janet or Carol. Or Clara. Or Harriet. Or Leonard.

My sister had flowers everywhere in the house because she's cool like that and because she knows flowers are my love language.

Flower Patch Friends, meet Henry, our guest of honor.

I mean, really.

This is my Mama. She's super funny and she also thinks I'm funny, so SCORE!

That matchbox trailer with the miniature cars used to be one of my favorites...

My Dad gets around on this golf-cart. It has revolutionized Papaw and Grandma's house.
(Where was this thing when I was five?)

Dad chopped some wood across the road. "Now that's a tree!"
(Silas is there for scale purposes.)

A bunch of old tractors drove past like our own personal parade! The good ol' boys waved and one even gave us the thumbs up.

Three of my second cousins. (Cassidy, Ashely, Amanda)
We were all a little freaked out to see that Cassidy and Ashley appear to be twins separated at birth.

My Dad's got mad gardening skillz.
(They do not appear to be hereditary.)

Silas was so exhausted today after church that he wandered in and tucked himself in on the couch for a nap.

People. This has never happened.

And just before we left? Calvin yanked another tooth. The second one in 4 days.

Happy Monday, Sugarplums. I'll rock it if you do.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bigger Still

I've thought about lots of things today. I've thought about little boys who grow up brave and taller and one day decide that they would like to pull their own teeth from now on, so they do. My fears regarding the little bodies in my care sometimes teeter on the irrational and I tell God my ideas so he'll know what to do. I remind him of important things, because I'm the mom and I know. I know what they need. And then He reminds me that His love stretches wider and if I sit still enough, I could swear I hear him laughing a little. He understands why I do these things I do. He's been down this road with me before and it's got to be exasperating, but his sense of humor and his limitless patience cover and all the while, he's telling me again-again-again about his biggerness. It's thicker and stronger and tougher, his love. It's gentler. His heart breaks harder and his cheers scream louder. For a while, I remember. So I find something else to talk to him about.

I've thought about how easy it is to just make an appointment and go to the doctor when I'm not even sick. I sign my name, scan over a list of possibilities like "muscle weakness", "sinus trouble", "chronic stomach pain". No, no, no. I sit in the room with the paper blanket across my lap and it's cold, but it's easy. The doctor, she gabs the whole way through and it helps. She says, "You'll be forty soon" and I pause for a moment because she's thinking of the wrong girl. I'm still mostly sixteen, twenty-two on a bad day. But I do the math and it hits me for the first time ever in my life - I'll be forty soon(ish). It's jarring, but it's okay, because where I live, women usually live past 40.

I've thought about the architecture in a small city that I like to call The Big City, because it's much bigger than a cornfield. I've thought about the people here, and the things that keep them busy. They may pay closer attention to crosswalks and parking guidelines than I'm apt to do, but other than that, we're pretty much twins.

My mind wanders back to one of those muggy nights under the timbered bubble of the church camp tabernacle. "If you believe that you're called into full-time ministry, I want you to come forward." I squirmed in my seat, not because of what he said, but because of what he forgot to say: Of course you're called. Of course you are. I understood this churchy-talk. I've heard it a million times before. "I'm called." "I was called." "Full-time ministry." blah blah blah. But doesn't it leave a pretty wide escape hatch? How many times have I exhaled, thankful once again that I was safe from the troubled, boring life of "full-time ministry"? Those words were never for me, they were for the four unlucky people trudging up to the front. Stinks to be them.

If it had been me, I might have said it something like this, "If you love and trust Jesus, then you're a part of his legendary, exciting plan. He wants you to work full-time, every single day for the rest of your life, to show those around you His great, big love. If you don't know Jesus but you want to, then come on up. Otherwise, Go. Get on with it. Get busy. Go find people and love them. Find the person you're most intimidated by or the one you're a little scared of. You're not going alone. He'll tell you how to love them."

So there's good news and bad news today.

The bad news is, everything we need is just a phone call or a mouse-click away, so we don't really understand what it means to trust. We have doubts that don't make sense and worries that flow from our own self-righteousness. We have home-body tendencies and inborn desires to run scared from the world around us.

But the good news is, the world is large enough to highlight our weaknesses. And God is bigger still, big enough to cover all of them with his loud, wild grace.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And It's Only Thursday

This week I have:

* Gotten stung by a big, fat bee. On my elbow.

* Inadvertently made an entirely beige meal for dinner. (Pan seared cod, roasted cauliflower, brown rice.) It was real ugly.

* Left my van windows down in a torrential downpour.

* Had a milkshake with an oldie/goodie.

* Bought a new computer.

* Remembered how much I loath technology + change.

* Decided to quite writing my book.

* Listened to this cd to death.

* Decided (officially and permanently) that this girl wrote the soundtrack for my every pondering.

* Went to an estate sale at one of my favorite houses on our road. An old lady house (the best kind.) Vintage hankies were ONE CENT each. Tablecloths? Fifty cents.

* Decided to soldier on with my book.

*Put one of my children in time-out eight hundred times for telling me, "I spanka you bottom". But I'll not name names.

*Eaten my weight in watermelon and greek salad.

What's your highlight so far?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Kid Confounds Me

Silas is not known for playing with regular toys.

That's kid stuff.

He'd rather spend his time tormenting his sister or honing his art.

So when he pulled his bucket of Legos out on his own and started building, it was a first.

I tried not to look directly at him for fear that I would break the spell.

First, he built the ever-popular tower.

Then he set to work on something that seemed a bit more...sinister.

I watched from the corner of my eye as he crafted two of these puppies.

And all I could think was, how does this crazy kid already know about guns?

I mean, how cliche can we get here?

With both weapons in hand, he headed straight for his brother and...

...gave him a blow-out.

He moved right down the line while we sat reading library books.

He was like a rockstar with his double hair dryers.

I've never known such volume.

He even did the sound effects.

Don't mess with me, yo.