Observations - the Neglectful Giant

You know I notice things. I'm looking all the time. Enormous amounts of self-discipline are required of me in church - so many things to take note of, observe, wonder about. Sometimes I come up short on that self-discipline stuff, of course. BUT - in almost every other arena of life, I feel quite free to LOOK, many times to evenSTARE... intently. I don't get caught very often.
Rabbit Trail: Early in our dating years, My Wonderful Husband warned me as we were approaching a busy downtown gathering place, "Don't get caught staring at that guy(man carrying on an animated conversation with his own hand), please." How well he knows me! But I had already gotten a real good look.
Anyway. Tonight, walking through a parking lot, alone, I observed an enormous man get out of his two-door car and go, very quickly, into the building. An elderly woman was struggling to get out of the same car from the backseat. She was reaching for the car door's window as she pulled herself forward, but the door was wagging back and forth dangerously. She was calling out to the man, "You ought to help us ladies out of the car!"
Holding my arm as we walked the building, she told me about her upcoming 80th birthday. She was hoping to have yellow pound cake with caramel icing.

While inside, I contemplated the giant man who neglected to aid and protect a woman of his own family. I must admit that I contemplated him negatively. I tried to remedy my negative attitude and attempted to generate sound reasons (excuses) for his behavior. Couldn't think of any. Failed at that. Obviously, the sweet, elderly woman had called aloud after him reminding him herself of behavior she was expecting but did not receive....

The next jump in scrutiny is just a short teensy one, of course - right to my own sons. Would any one of them ever exhibit such disregard toward a woman in their care? Have I done enough to make them (hahaha) thoughtful? To cause them to remember to be protective? To compel them to consider the needs of others above their own desires?

Finished with my business and 'contemplation', I made my way to the exit. And there they stood - the elderly woman and the giant man. Do you think I could walk away without saying a word? Would I allow myself to deliver a scathing look at him and offer a sympathetic glance toward her? If I hadn't had so very much time to contemplate, then I could have been better behaved and even possibly have minded my own business. But alas!

In the end, the man received my 'encouragement' very well, laughing and giving me his hand as he pledged to make sure his Aunt was helped safely to the car. She beamed while I reminded him how precious she is.

My boys heard about the incident during another car ride, as we endlessly travel here and there and back again. I (re)emphasized the responsibility and honor available to Every Man as he takes advantage of each opportunity to safeguard those entrusted to them.

I sure hope they remember!


Stupidest Idea Ever

As a Mom Among Men, I thought I'd invite you to laugh along with me just for a few minutes today. These "toilet seat lifters" must have been invented so that some man out there might be spared the hard work of lifting and/or putting down the seat(s) after he has 'made use of the facilities'.
Just take a look at these:

"The Peacemaker" toilet seat lifter - for loose cannons. I did NOT make that up - it's the advertising slogan.

the Flipper - the "Save your marriage toilet seat". Again, I cut and pasted the product slogan for your entertainment.

Now I ask you - what do you think the condition of that apparatus will be after just ONE day - right next to the toilet and on the floor....? Come on! Any Mom who lives Among Men will roll her eyes with me as she mourns the terrible knowledge of just how that well-intentioned invention for the lazy will certainly end up.


Feeder Desperation

All kinds of desperate birds come to the feeder when the snow has been this deep!
A lovely red-bellied woodpecker - but what a sad name for him. Wouldn't something about his red head have been better? To be known by a belly characteristic --- just a nightmare.


Funeral Reflections

I don't do well at funerals.
You might think, "Who DOES do well at funerals??" Then you haven't been to many funerals, or you might just be very fortunate not to have met some of the individuals that I have, who seem to thrive on the funeral act. Anyway, enough about them and more about me: I don't do well at funerals. I am a private griever - perhaps only because I've had the luxury of not needing to mourn my very nearest and dearest ones. Crying/sobbing/weeping seems best as a solitary activity, at least for me. Those who are able to leak during the memorial services do not offend - I admire and sympathize with them all the more. I just can't join them - someone else's tears seem to dry mine up.

But privately, there have been lots of tears over the last few days. My brother-in-law's funeral today was very difficult to get through. I will miss him very, very much - and I find that I regret not really knowing him better than I did. How much time we waste on small things like food, weather or just complaints when we could be spending energy on building deeper and more authentic relationships with those we love the most. I resolve to ask more questions and listen more closely; to waste less time taking coats and to kiss more cheeks; maybe to stay a little longer than we thought we should.

I'm thinking the Martha and Mary story might have more applications than I previously knew...

(frosted cobwebs because every blog post needs a photo)


Shoveling Out - Again

This driveway has been shoveled MORE this February than ever - and I mean ever!
My guys are shoveling us out of our third snowstorm,
and this is one of those wonderful times when it really pays to be a Mom Among Men!


A Passing

My brother-in-law, Mike, loved his family - especially all his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. He teased and laughed with them and never hesitated to give a kind word of encouragement or admonishment when needed.
He loved his wife, Tammy, with open arms and a whole heart, and we all saw the evidence of their happiness.
He was very ill the last couple years of his life and many were the struggles they had to endure as his health deteriorated. There aren't words to frame how difficult and frustrating it was for them as a couple, and for him as an individual.

Last night, Mike went on to be with the Lord, to that place we all dream of. He had received Christ as his own savior and Mike knew where he was going to be:

"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye,
'Tward Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

O'er all those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more."*

He's there! Right now! God's grace is amazing, and so very incredibly gracious! After quite a struggle, Mike is now whole and in perfect health. What a comfort to all of us who are left here, mourning his loss, but rejoicing in his victory over death!

To commemorate his passing, our family wants to share free copies of a condensed version of the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It's called Touchpoints: Heaven. (Click to hear the author describe the book.) If you'd like to have one of these copies, email me (email address on my profile page) and I'll get one to you, or to someone you love. Perhaps through reading one of these copies, someone else will end up in heaven someday, who otherwise might not have - and that would make Mike very, very happy!


Lizard Surprise!

In preparation for a school project, I took this picture down from the dining room wall.
Rabbit Trail: It's one of the few special things I was given when my grandpa died in '06. It's in my childhood memories, having always hung on the dining room wall in my grandparents' home on a dairy farm in central KY. My grandma rarely changed the decor - too much farm work waiting, too many meals to cook and serve, too many muddy boot-prints to clean up.
When it was lifted away from the wall, this fell out:
These plastic animals originate from the 90s when my boys loved their 'animal box' (small storage box chock full of plastic/rubber/resin animals). Those days are over, of course, but our young nephew, who visits occasionally, asks for the box right away! Plastic animals will travel, and so there is a tiny plastic Rottweiler residing in one of the wells of the treadmill; there's aneensy, weensy salamander near the floorlamp in the living room; another dog (I'm sorry to tell you it's a pooping dog) squatting on the windowsill behind the curtain at the top of the stairs. And apparently, someone* helped this lizard find a place to live behind the picture frame. I wasn't even startled when it dropped at my feet. Random Items Hidden Out In The Open are a defining characteristic of our home. The only one that spooks me a little bit when it catches my eye is the small turtle who peeks out from the canned foods shelf in the basement.

* not my dear little nephew, who is much too short to have played this trick...


Winter Feeder

This little dish feeder is right by our front door, and just outside the window next to the computer. So I get to watch as the birds gulp down every seed - so quickly! Not one has ever made a nest in that birdhouse, though. Why not??? Location, location, location! Food right on your doorstep. But the birds don't listen to me...

More snow on the way today!


White as Snow

Sparkly snow in our backyard - I took this photo from the kitchen window. Even with the kid tracks and grass sticking up through it, doesn't this snow look so clean and pure? Reminds me of this scripture:
"Come now, and let us reason together,"
says the LORD,
"Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18

(Check out this short clip from a pastor we listen to online)


Looking for Hearts

I haven't been able to find these anywhere! I'm starting to feel a little panicky - it is February 3rd, after all...
If you find some for yourself (lucky!), you can prepare my special Valentine Day recipe - find it here.