Tuesday

And Another...

Spellcheck, Anyone?

Riley's Random Fact for the week...

Did you know?

In the 1996 edition of Webster's Dictionary, there were 315 misspelled words.

Monday

Missing Family

I am blessed with family in many ways. Many of you know my parents are avid blog readers and my biggest cheerleaders. Troy's dad is a blog reader, if not a frequent commenter (he's an email commenter).  I am loved and supported by family near and far, but there is no blood family near. Since I went 500 miles away to college over 20 years ago, I haven't really lived close to my own blood family, and in the 8 years we've lived in this town, we have been away from any of Troy's family, as well.

Another way I am blessed with family is my church family. They are pretty awesome and are my cheerleaders, too. But they aren't my family.

This weekend we had some church family over for dessert to celebrate Troy. In the middle of getting ready for them to be here, I just really missed real family. I wished that Troy's dad could be here for the celebration, and I wanted my own parents to be here to join in, as well.

Julie discussed this recently when they had a very exciting event in their family, as well. 

Sometimes you just need family nearby. There's just no substitute.

Sunday

Forty Things I Love About Him


1. The way he rubs his right temple when he's lost in thought.

2. The cleft in his chin many of you don't know is there because he keeps it covered in fur so often.

3. He's interested in EVERYTHING: history, science, music of any genre, whatever. 

4. He's a counter: tiles on the floor, frames on the wall, probably how many crutch moves from couch to bathroom. A little Rain-Man-esque, but I love it.

5. He sees a better me than I see in myself, which causes me to be a better me: wife, mom, person, child of God. 

6. He's a word person, too. He leans more toward alliteration. 

7. Spelling nazi.

8. He's methodical. Everything: coffee, dinner, getting dressed, going to bed, all has an order. I think about being methodical. Then I think about something else and forget.

9. He FUH-reaks out when I cry and will pretty much do anything to make it stop. Girls, we all have this power -- the trick is to not abuse it. Keep the tears to a minimum and they hold amazing power...

10. He has continued to mature and grow in the time that we have been married. 

11. My favorite thing he has learned: not to take himself so seriously.

12. Sometimes he's just gotta have some chocolate...

13. If chocolate won't do, there better be ice cream.

14. He really does appreciate that I try to feed us fairly healthy around here.

15. He's pretty low maintenance in the entertainment department like I am: we're good with a night at home and a DVD.

16. His beautiful bass voice.

17. When he uses that beautiful voice to lift praises to the Lord.

18. Boots and blue jeans.

19. Suit and tie. Lookin' awesome either way.

20. Between guns and motorcycles, he enjoys expensive, dangerous hobbies (this isn't a part I love). He is adamant and unyielding in handling both safely.

21. Love of guns and motorcycles notwithstanding, he has a secret soft spot for babies and puppies. 

22. He isn't a financial risk taker and takes seriously his role of providing for his family.

23. He gave up a job that would provide lots of material things for his family, but was keeping him from being who he knew he is called to be.

24. Nothing on this earth will calm my soul as much as his touch.

25. He's a fun dad.

26. He's a fair and firm dad.

27.  He has a horrible memory. Honestly, this has caused a problem or two as you may imagine. But he also doesn't remember one time that I have ever embarrassed him or hurt his feelings. I kind of envy that.

28.  He can hang with my family.

29.  He makes me laugh at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected ways.

30. He has allowed God to teach him compassion up close and personal and to have a heart for the broken.

31. He's ambidextrous.

32. He loves to learn. 

33. He is proud of our children for the skills they possess and the gifts God has given them;  He wants them to be the best them God has made them to be. He has never pushed what he thought they should be or do on them.

34. He knows me. REALLY knows me. The deepest, craziest part of me.

35. He loves me anyway.

36. He has enjoyed providing food for his family 'from the land' -- deer, quail, fish, etc.

37. NEVER has he brought me a deer/ quail/ fish/ etc. to clean or deal with or left me a mess after cleaned one.

38. The sound of my name when he says it.

39. Like me, his favorite way to worship is by being outdoors in God's gorgeous creation and marveling at what He made. 

40. God's word is his True North -- the only accurate measure of right and wrong. Bottom line, it's why I picked him.

Thankful for you, thankful God sent you to me, thankful God left you here last week, thankful to celebrate another year of your life on this earth.

Happy Birthday!



Friday

Book Review: Perfect Fifths


I picked up this book in the library because I knew I had seen a positive review of it... somewhere. I brought it home and tried to wade through it. I'll be honest:I still haven't finished it, and am not sure I can (I'm almost 200 pages in, though, so I think I can at least speak with authority about its mediocrity). 

I finally realized that I had seen the review in one of my writing magazines, and re-read the review. It's the fifth in a series, and I haven't read any of the rest of the series. I was happy to see that many of the reviews on Amazon thought this was the weakest of the series -- it at least validated to me that I'm not crazy or deluded or whatever.

I also cannot recommend the book because of my 'honor the Lord' banner up there. Not only does the character's lifestyle not do that, the language doesn't come anywhere close. The 'F-bomb' takes a break for a few pages throughout the book, but it's enough through the book to be wearisome.

Oh, in re-reading the review, this series is SUPPOSED to be for young girls! Great morals... or not. 

Overall, thumbs down. Don't bother.

Thursday

What's Your Favorite

For some reason, the family talked turned to School House Rock last night. This is one that Roxanne always mentions:


Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday

Passing the Buck

Why, yes, I do have something to say about the latest televised marital woes. But this gal says it best. 

I'm still so very, very sad for all of them. And very angry with the mom and dad, while still sad for them -- that they seem to be without friends that will hold them accountable to the vows they renewed last year.

Bless them all.

Tuesday

But Wait! There's More!

We never get tired of these:

Did you know?

The winter of 1932 in the U.S. was so cold that Niagara Falls froze solid. (A depression AND a miserable winter? Wonder what the suicide rate was? Blech...)

Monday

Just An Ordinary Day

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

Our schedule was amazingly light. Even for summer, the kids and I have been so busy rushing out the door in the mornings for me to teach swimming lessons that they also attend, or to get this one to basketball camp, or that one to summer track. This was the first day since school had been out that NONE of that was planned. I was on my way to the gym for the first time in weeks, then we would hit the pool and Ashley had youth group stuff in the evening. Nothing but F-U-N on the calendar (yes, I am one of those sickos that count going to the gym when I want as fun).

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

The call of 'Mom!' sounded not quite right just as I was on my way out the door to the gym. One look at Riley's face with the greenish tint to it let me know he really wasn't feeling well like he claimed. Was he only dehydrated (it is impossible to get that child to drink water) or was it worse? No gym for me...

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

It was the first day in at least a month that I was headache-free all day! My migraine battle has turned into a chronic headache battle. They aren't all migraines, but I have daily headaches. It makes living life fairly difficult and, like many other things like that, everything gets done for other people first before I take care of the family. The house has greatly suffered and we recently had a discussion that mom could no longer be in charge of dinner since 4-8 p.m. is an impossible time for me. Headache free and at home? What shall I do? Yes, I even cleaned out some cabinets! Definitely NOT an ordinary day!

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

When it was determined that Riley would survive, I finished my cleaning area, and tried to get started on an article I have in the works. Hmmm. For some reason, no one wants to talk to me at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon. Maybe they have 'fun' on their calendar, too. I left messages all over town for folks to call me back, knowing I would need to actually call THEM back. Ashley, who had been wallowing all over the house telling me how BOOOORRRRRREEEDDDD she was, and I left to go run a few errands. Final stop? The grocery store since the cupboards were bare here.

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

Walking into the grocery store, my phone rang. It was an unrecognizable local number. Assuming it was a source for the article, and knowing I wasn't planning on conducting an interview in the produce section, I sent the call to voicemail. Ashley and I perused the produce for what was on sale and checked that against our list. We laughed over the twin babies that looked like little balding men. We sampled coffee cake. After about 10 minutes we made our way over to the bread aisle and I thought to check who that phone call was from.

There were 2 calls and 2 messages from that same number and a call and message from home. Hmmmm.... something must be up. I'm quick that way. I listened to the first message: "Sarah, you don't know me, but I'm with your husband. He's been in an accident. I think they are taking him to (name of hospital)." *click*

These thoughts went through my mind in the 3 seconds after I let out the involuntary audible gasp:
--Accident? But he was on his motorcycle today... that means...
--If I throw up right here, who will have to clean it up? 
--Should I check out? I hate to leave all this here. But I don't have time to put it away at home...
--Should I take Ashley home? I may be at the hospital all night...
--Should I go get Riley? How bad will he look? Do the kids need to see their dad now?

Gathering my purse and recyclable bags(!) we hustled out of the store while I listened to the other two messages which, blessedly, had a little more information. Troy had been alert and able to dole out phone numbers. Riley manned the phone at home and relayed the info to me and seemed to be super great to stay put, so Ashley and I headed to the hospital.

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

Pulling into a parking spot at the hospital, a rescue helicopter was directly over my car about to land about 100 yards away. Seeing one of those helicopters always makes me think of my friend Trina. Almost 9 years ago she saw the helicopter carrying her Kelly land at the same hospital, then take right back off headed to a hospital that could potentially tend to his head injuries better. Kelly didn't make it. I always wonder whose life is changing forever when I see that helicopter. Was it my turn? If Troy was alert, he wasn't in that helicopter, was he? Was he? Where had the accident been? How fast would the vehicles have been going? My stomach rolled over again. It was dubious comfort to realize no one needed to clean up the parking lot of the hospital if I threw up there...

Hurrying into the ER I asked the first staff person I could find:
"I'm trying to get some information about my husband who was in a motorcycle accident?" "You'll have to go to registration."

"I'm trying to get some information about my husband who was in a motorcycle accident?"  "They are just finishing up his paperwork right there," she said pointing to a paramedic and another registration lady.

"I'm trying to get some information about my husband who was in a motorcycle accident?" The female paramedic who had been working on the paperwork had her back to me and turned in such a way to KEEP her back to me and walked away. HELLO??? Can you just throw me a little information? Please? 

Sign papers, get looked at disapprovingly for not having my insurance card, wait as she hustle-bustles back to find out about if we can see him or what and FINALLY takes us back.

Y'all for someone who had been hit by a moving motor vehicle and lay on the road waiting for the ambulance to get there, he looked amazingly good! I was too freaked out to take an iphone pic! He was strapped to the backboard, head taped in place, the whole 9 yards, but only complaining of his ankle hurting.

I could go on and on. The gist of it is this: I'm not sure the helicopter person made it. I saw lots of family shuffle back to a corner room, dazed and weepy. I was there with my husband who was in a motorcycle wreck and was going home that night with a broken ankle. How could we possibly be so blessed? 

I'm still quite weepy and humbled to wonder why, in the blink of an eye, everything went right for us when they can go so horribly wrong for some wonderful people. But our hearts and mouths are full of praise for the outcome of what could have been awful.

I didn't sleep well that night. The simple joy of the weight of his arm across my stomach -- like it is every night -- , or the warmth of his chest against my back -- like it is every night -- , or his toes reaching out for my foot -- like they do every night -- were all such simple pleasures that I am so thankful for that I didn't want to miss any of it in slumber, nor could I unwind enough to let the day go.

It was an ordinary day. Only it wasn't.

I will praise you with the harp 
       for your faithfulness, O my God; 
       I will sing praise to you with the lyre, 
       O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy 
       when I sing praise to you— 
       I, whom you have redeemed.
Psalms 71:22,23

Sunday

Good Things Out There


So, remember these days? When I did Good Things Out There? And remember how I was going to feature a precious little Etsy shop each week? Yeah, me neither. I totally forgot about all of that.

UNTIL...

I happened across my neighbor's/Ashley's math teacher's/Reese's mom's blog. And on her blog she mentioned her Etsy shop. Oh, yeah. I like Etsy shops. And y'all? Hers is PRECIOUS! I almost picture stuff this cute inside my head, but if I am ever going to attempt it, it simply fails in execution. And? for me? She's local (like, walking distance local!)!! So when I need a wedding gift -- BAM





Beth Moore - Living Proof Live Pittsburgh from on Vimeo.



If you would like to add your 'Good Thing' button to your blog, copy the code into an 'HTML' box on your sidebar:


Saturday

For Father's Day

Originally in Abilene Families

My daughter became adult-sized long before she was adult shaped or even out of elementary school. Passing five feet tall in fourth grade, she had a difficult time growing into her long legs and ginormous feet that she inherited from her mother.

One night several years ago, due to events none of us ever understood other than the gravity of the earth, her feet came completely out from under her while walking into the kitchen. With hands full of dishes to put away, the entirety of her adult-sized body landed on her tailbone on the tile floor. While my husband and I stood over her trying to help her, it quickly became obvious that even if there were something you could do for an injured tailbone, we didn’t know what it was, and simply watching her cry and writhe in pain was heartbreaking.

So he squatted down and without a groan or moan scooped up her adult-sized body as if she were still a toddler and carried her to a more comfortable spot
-because she’s still his baby girl
-because she needed him
-because he’s the daddy.

Isn’t it only fitting that Father’s Day fall a month and a week behind Mother’s Day? That’s about right for poor ol’ Dad. It’s reminiscent of the car choking its way into the hotel. Mom takes the kids to the pool to get them out of the way. Dad shows up over an hour later with battery acid burns on his hands, grease on his clothes, steam still coming out of his ears, and holes where he bit his tongue trying not to say “no-no words” in front of other hotel guests. The kids want to know what took him so long, mom is ready to go eat, and dad just needs a nap, but the car is drivable again and all is right with the world and the family vacation.

One of my most consistent memories of my own father is the sound of his bare feet shuffling down the tiled hall after everyone else was in bed. Before I could hear his feet, I had heard the clicks and flips of locks and switches as he had locked the house up and turned off all the lights, tucking the house in and keeping us all safe the way daddies do, and being the last to take care of himself like daddies do.

Daddies’ jobs are a study in contradictions. Daddies teach the Little Leaguer the ultra-tough perfect power triangle batting stance, yet are ready to wipe the tears when the game doesn’t go our way. Daddies may be called on to salvage Barbie from a deep sea expedition in the toilet, or to sit in on a tea party. Daddies protect the attic, basement, yard, and home from rodents, insects, mean dogs, spiders, and unwelcome salesmen, yet can whip up a mean pan of brownies when company comes or just because it sounds like fun.

Daddies have it tough in their task, but I have learned that they aren’t burdened down with a guilt gene like we moms are. They measure out punishment the way it should be: by being firm, fair, and consistent. Later, there might be a sno-cone just because.

Your house may not have such a warm, fuzzy image of a daddy – for whatever reason. But I have found that Abilene doesn’t have a shortage of men who will love on young people in much the same way. My family has done Little League, youth basketball, public school P.E., soccer, Sunday school, sports camps, and bazillions of other activities. While we have encountered some people we would rather not see again, the majority of the men who will spend their time devoted to such activities have blessed us beyond measure and I’m thankful those men will give love, time, and encouragement to children who need to see a daddy in action.

For this Father’s Day I hope you let Dad know you appreciate him. I also hope you let him rest and put his feet up. You never know when you’ll need him to pick you up off the ground – and he’ll be right there to do it, too.

(for Father's Day, I was also tasked with writing this article about an AMAZING family. You may want to click over and read about the family from Rwanda).

Friday

Book Review: Handle With Care

Handle with Care: A Novel
I'll be honest: my first reaction is to give this book a thumbs down. But as I examine what makes me think that, it's how I feel. This book got under my skin. It is VERY well written, which is part of the blessing/ curse. I would NOT have liked some of the characters in person -- and I don't think that was what the author intended.

Let me back up. This is a story about a family with a daughter with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, OI, or as you probably know it, Brittle Bone Disease. The deal is that we have a friend with brittle bone disease. Here's Matt with Ashley and another friend.
This picture was actually taken when Ashley did her research project on OI and ask Matt quite a bit about his disease. We are also relatively good friends with the parents and have been in some close situations with them. While they have had their moments of doubt and struggle, I'm sure, they have done an AMAZING job -- not only of raising a special needs child, but of expecting the best out of him and his sister.

It's the sister I'm the most fascinated with. She is lovely. Probably 3 or 4 years older than Matt, she has her own set of interests and skills that she excels at, and her parents have exhausted themselves to see to it that she is able to participate in those things when she is able. She also supports her brother in what he does, and he is frequently doing something wonderful and smart and academic. They have created a family, when I'm sure the temptation would have been to create a system surrounding one child.

I don't think any of us with two able-bodied children can ever fully appreciate what it takes to create some semblance of normalcy with a special needs child. But Matt's family does what they can, all that they safely can while keeping Matt safe, and same for sister.

What does this have to do with the book? The family bugged me -- because they didn't pull it off nearly as well as Matt's family does. Not that I could! The family also came across some tough decisions and didn't choose the way I would have... or did they? That's what I mean that they got under my skin. They made me think. They made me choose sides. They made me formulate a plan. Which is the best kind of book.

So, the book was well written. And uncomfortable to read. And chafing. I think you may like to think on it a while...

Thursday

Get OUT!!!

'Kay, my life just got WAY more fun .... see? That is Ashley (please be sure and notice any of the bajillions of dollars worth of orthodontia you can see in that mouth), me, and Riley on.... LAPTOP DAY!!!!!!!!! And can I tell you why even THEY are so excited about my laptop? I have been saving and saving for PRECISELY what I wanted. Tuesday, when I got my check from subbing for jury duty, I made plans for yesterday being LAPTOP DAY!!!!!! And it was indeed.

I got a MacBook with the aluminum cover. I had a Mac YEARS ago and loved it, but Troy is always a PC guy (in computers only, mind you) but when I got my iPhone I remembered how much I loved Apple products. So I got JUST what I wanted. Whi
ch is why it has taken me so stinkin' long to get one.

However, how awesome was it that I walked into the ACU Bookstore with my little fistful of dollars to see the sign 'All Mac Laptops on Sale'?? Woot!! THEN little scruffy-faced college dude tells me that not only is my laptop $200 cheaper than I thought, but if I buy (Ashley, she thinks) an iTouch, it will be rebated fully, annnnnd, how 'bout we throw in a printer for free? 

Um, how 'bout Oh-stinkin'-KAY!!!!!!!!!

So now I have a laptop, Ashley and Riley have an iTouch, I have a printer to sell and a few extra bucks to stick in the vacation fund! Just every once in a while, the good Lord says, "It's good to be patient with your dollars."

So, I'm still learning lots (hey, how do you steal pictures off the internet with a Mac since you can't 'right-click' on the laptop...?) and the kids and I (as pictured above and below) are loving the photo booth and camera app. Which means, Mom and Dad, sadly, I am good to go to SKYPE now. No more calling in my towel.
I decided she must have a name. Amelia came to me... as in, Earhart. Partly because she was brave, adventurous, and daring. Also because in "Night at the Museum 2" she is VERY talkative and wordy and s*xy, to boot (yes, I've seen pictures, I don't think the original Amelia was burdened with such womanly ways). Anyway, we think Amelia suits her just fine. And, yes, she will probably get lost at least once. Hopefully not FOREVER though!

So, Happy Laptop Day to you!

Wednesday

Today's the Day!

Big day for me! To be a REAL writer... I've been saving and saving... and FINALLY! After last month's substitute teaching when the P.E. teacher had jury duty, TODAY is the day.

Any guesses?

Tuesday

Riley's Random Facts for the Week

Remember these? You just need one of these sometimes.

Without further fanfare:

Did you know?

Cheetahs are the only cat without retractable claws.

Monday

No, I mean a REALLY Good Friend

On Friday, Roxanne sent me a link to an article that pertained to something that happened 19 years ago. The article had me going through old letters from Roxanne looking at things from around that time.

I haven't done a 'tribute to Roxanne' blog post (have I? I honestly don't remember), though she has somewhat done one about me. (or two) While I was chuckling over letters, my kids asked me where I met Roxanne. It kinda all started here: But really, how cute are we? That was our first grade picture and let me say that I, like most of the rest of first grade, didn't appreciate the wise soul that is Roxanne. She is someone that was born an 'old soul' which is great and wise, but not-so-fun in 1st or 2nd grade. She was also a little, um, how might one say, LOUD. Roxanne has presence. Still does. Needless to say, her friendship wasn't always appreciated in elementary school, but in my very tiny school where my enormous class of 17 or 18 was the biggest (and worst behaved according to every teacher we had) sometimes you would take what you could get. If nothing else, she was simply always there.
In time, Roxanne and I did land in the same circle of friends, then we formed a ridiculously close friendship during play practice, on chorus trips, and out of town football games. Our friendship thrived on written communication. If you think I am a lover of words... wow. You just need to hear all of Roxanne's. After Roxanne teaches 8 sections of Language Arts and talks to her husband and children all day, she is about half-way through using her words for the day. So she calls me.
Roxanne has written me notes and letters and cards and emails and all manner of communication. Besides letters from my grandparents, parents, and Troy, I have VERY few letters that I saved from college other than the ones Roxanne wrote to me.
Reading back over those letters of 19 years ago made me laugh at the pie-in-the-sky (and always trying to lose weight) two of us. It made me wish I could gather both of us together sit us down and say, "Listen up, girls..." But I wouldn't have dared to do that, because I know we wouldn't have listened. We had plans, we had dreams, we had hopes, and we had 5 more pounds to lose. (Um, Roxanne, why is it that YOU were going to marry the cowboy and now it is I that lives in the desert, married to a cowboy, with a deer blind needing a home sitting in my back yard?)
My friendship with Roxanne -- just like my relationship with anyone else on this earth, I guess -- has gone through seasons. I wouldn't ever say a really bad one, but there have been many times it's been a blessing that she lived 350 miles away from me. Sometimes I had plenty (as my mother would say) "to say grace over" in my own life, I didn't have the strength or capacity to carry anyone else's burden, nor did I ask her to carry any of mine.
I have confessed to her more than once that were it not for her consistent "callin' to check on ya" to me that I would have let our friendship fall by the wayside in our twenties -- in that season of young adulthood when everyone feels the need to shed 'childish' ways and relationships, even those that may be of infinite value.
We are in a very comfortable season of frienship right now. I think it came about with the myriad of changes in Roxanne's life in the last 12-18 months and the one major one in mine (quitting work), it was easy and comfortable to turn to someone that didn't require much explanation or pretense. Through the sloughing off of externals that signify major change for each of us, we see that we still have each other.
As the event of last week brought out those letters, and I re-read them, I thought again of this friendship I have. This crazy, amazingly blessed friendship. The letters I was reading were from the summer of 1990 -- months before I even met my husband, who I am soon to celebrate 17 years of marriage with! That is a LONG friendship!
Roxanne has presence, as I've said. She also doesn't hold back: words, love, emotions. I vividly remember Poppa Max chuckling and saying, "You know, when you've been hugged by Roxanne, you've really been hugged!" As a teenager I confess a limited patience with such ooshy-gooshy emotion. It was too much for me, who put a LOT of effort into trying to always appear to be completely collected and even-keel.
So I read her proclamations of her friendship love for me -- that sounded similar to scripture you read about Jonathan and David. I have confessed not-too-long ago that their friendship just makes me uncomfortable. What I know now, my 2009 self, with same-sex attraction swirling everywhere, is uncomfortable with the love professed between Jonathan and David. I had to re-think those words as I read what my 1990 self would have read from a dear friend: the same type of profession of friendship love, a gratitude of a friendship that understands and that is unmoving.
And above all, I am grateful. Few people can claim such a friend ever in their lifetime. I have been able to claim such a friend FOR a lifetime.

Saturday

One Thing for Today

I keep forgetting to tell y'all:

I did finally make a blog roll, but like the rest of my life, it isn't organized how I want it. Right now it is updated as often as a post is made. So, newest posts are on top and I'm going to guess that Vonnie and Donna -- two of my teacher friends -- are still hovering around the bottom.

Progress, not perfection, people...

Friday

Swimming Babies

So here's a question I invariably get: can you teach my two year old to swim?

Or, is it too soon to put my 15 month old in lessons?

Or something along those lines.

Believe me, people -- I was that mom.

I put my three year old in swim lessons. SO excited for that baby to love to swim as much as I do. And I sat in a steaming hot swim center wrestling an 18-month old while she screamed as if her life were in jeopardy as those poor high school swim teachers wondered what in the world they had done to deserve such a horrible job.

So. After being a mom a few more years and teaching way more kids to swim here is my current philosophy on swim lessons (drumroll please) (and what I would tell that frazzled, sweaty younger me):

Save your money. (or, more accurately, spend it differently). Instead of spending your money on swim lessons for your 3 year old, spend it on a pool membership for your family. Do not try to teach that baby anything. Let her learn on her own. Let her play and figure it out in her own time (which she did, given enough water play time).

That is pretty much my philosophy for kids 3 or younger. When I taught private lessons (which I don't anymore) I wouldn't teach any younger than 5. At my group lessons, they will take them as young as 4. I have some 4 year olds that are doing GREAT. Another group has two 4 year olds that scream the ENTIRE 45 minutes. So, it can depend on the kid.

Other random thoughts/ philosophies on swimming and children:
1)Once they are in lessons, it can be like walking: once they are ready, it just clicks. Boom. They are swimming.

2)To actually swim: face in, alternating arms, blowing bubbles, and kicking-- is so many motor skills a child is generally about 6 or 7 years old before they can really master the crawl. They can safely move the water at 3 or 4, depending on strength and comfort in the water.

3)If your child was safely swimming and/or comfortable in the water at the end of last summer, DO NOT assume they have retained that knowledge and/or comfort level over the last 9-10 months. My babies will lose confidence over the weekend of swimming lessons. 9-10 months can be a LIFETIME for these guys. For that reason, sometimes it can also be better to sign your child up for swim lessons later in the summer rather than earlier if your child has been hesitant about the water (another mistake the younger, dumber me made). Most people want their kids in swim lessons immediately so that they will know how to swim the rest of the summer, but sometimes you spend the whole session just getting the child comfortable in the water instead of teaching him/her how to swim.

4)If you have a GOOD swim lesson program (like the one where I teach) kids continue to learn strokes and skills far beyond the crawl and backstroke. I have been challenged as a teacher, and both of my kids (ages 13 and 11) continue to take lessons (now in what's called 'Guard Start') and are challenged and grow as swimmers.

My children basically got comfortable in the water the summer that our house flooded. Sounds awful, doesn't it? No, I didn't throw them in. We had to move out of our house, and we ended up at some apartments that had a pool. What else would we do? We went to the pool. Every day. My kids (Ages 5 and 7 at the time) played in the water. I was lonely and bordering on insanely depressed and just sat by the pool every day -- not even reading. Just sitting. Barely awake. It's a wonder my children were safe. But they were safe, venturing a little further out every day. Figuring out what they could do on their own.

Maybe it was the next year (no, it was two) that the director of this swim program asked me to come be a teacher and it allowed my kids to have swim lessons for free.

I think it is crucial to get your children comfortable and safe in the water. SO crucial, in fact, I would recommend this: if your finances do not allow you to belong to a pool and/or get swimming lessons, I think you should treat it like a family vacation. Scrimp and save all year long to invest in that for your family. It's that important!

And then go do a big fat cannonball for me!

Thursday

Two Things Quick

Off to teach the babies to swim. Thank you, Lord -- the sun is OUT for the first time in two days. We've been standing in the pool under the clouds shivering while the babies turn to toddler pops saying, "I'm not wanting to do that very much right now." Good times.

So I must 'hustle with a t' as Riley says (and got from Coach Brady) but wanted to tell you two things:

Brian could really use your prayers. Not many more details here, but he's battling cancer, an awesome man and dad, and is fighting hard to be a dad for lots more years. I will try to fill you in later. Just pray for Brian to be strong today and for the next few.

Lighter note: this looks fun: go vote for one of Roxanne's former students!

Wednesday

Wow. Where To Start?

Okay. Y'all. Seriously. I'm coming back here. I really am. Did you think I had just slap forgotten my password or something?

Um, I have SO much I want to tell you. Can't think of one thing right now.

Migraines? Getting MUCH better. Besides starting a medication as a preventative, I also am generally following the guidelines in this book (which is worth the click over for the cover photo alone). The title of the book is "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Solution." Part of the solution is to eliminate potential triggers from your diet. Not YOUR triggers, 'cause you likely don't know what they are, but any of a list of about a million six things that he, Mr. Migraine, says are. Which leaves me eating lots of meat and day-old bread (fresh bread is too yeasty, see). And I don't exactly like meat. So bread it is.

I actually have, by 'cheating' here and there, figured out one of my triggers and I am very, very sad. Almonds. Which explains why those mornings I had my healthy wheat toast with almond butter, I would be unable to go for a run... I'm too scared to see if peanuts are also a trigger which will eliminate peanut butter and, in short, most of the joy of life as I know it.

Blah, blah, I've found one or two more, Mr. Migraine also says if you are a migraine sufferer to get off of caffeine now and forever more and never look back. We'll see. I am currently off of caffeine... for.. I don't know (people keep asking me, but I swanny, I'm too groggy to tally it up) almost 3 weeks now? I keep waiting for that 'never felt better' and 'have so much energy' yada yada that people talk about. The basic problem is that I have established a very busy life that can only be maintained with a large dose of caffeine. Not sure how to remedy that. Summer is helping with lots of naps!

So soon I will regale you with stories of swim lessons, and what happened with the State Track meet and the Clyde relay teams, and so on and so forth, and why I got Pink Floyd's 'Brick in the Wall' stuck in my head last night.

So moving on. Back in the land of the living. Make it a great day!

Tuesday

Quote For Today

One of the many joys of Facebook has been finding out that one of those guys that was in 8th grade when I was a senior has become a really godly husband, father, and police officer. I have enjoyed hearing his thoughts. Today he posted a simple quote that really has me thinking:

"Most Christians don't have fellowship with God; they have fellowship with each other about God." - Paris Reidhead

Monday

Pooling in the Low Places

Y'all, I am a slug. I don't mean I'm lazy, I mean I am having issues trying to figure out my health that have taken every last little droplet of my energy (and blood pressure, evidently) and left me in a puddle on the floor. A totally healthy, migraine-free puddle, mind you, but a slug, as well.

All is not yet right with my health. I am getting there! I am finding how not to get migraines and how not to have energy. When I find out how to not get migraines AND have energy, I will completely be in business. Unfortunately, it requires a wee bit of energy to think through this process and try to solve the situation, and I don't seem to have any. I told the Lord today that I know He is in it and He will either lead me to a solution or give me enough strength to do His tasks for me each day. That's all I can ask for now.

So, while my brain is slogging through life, I shall just point you to someone else's words that I am still pondering. Evidently my brain isn't in TOO awful condition because these words were spoken yesterday at church, I interpreted them into sign language while simultaneously making a mental note to self: "Ooooh, that is GOOD. Remember for later."

I tried to find if this was recorded on video and if it was it hasn't been posted on our website yet.

Our congregation supports a ministry that was started by a young man who grew up in our congregation, along with his wife and another couple, who feels called to minister to the homeless. Matt Wallace, and his wife, Nikki still work with Dry Bones Denver.

Yesterday during church we connected with Matt using Skype. Matt was explaining why he and Nikki feel called to work with homeless and said (I'm quoting the best my muddled brain can remember):

"Nikki and I believe that grace is like water: it flows down and runs in streams and pools in the low places. That's where we want to be: in the low places."

Again, I was interpreting, but I really wanted to stop and ponder on grace pooling in the 'low places'. Isn't that the truth? Isn't that where grace is needed most and found most often?

My recent prayers have been to look like Jesus more every day. First, let me flat-out confess that I doubt that anyone around me would be able to tell that about me. But this statement made me think about that prayer. Where did Jesus aspire to go? The low places. Where could Jesus be found when not with his Father? The low places. If I am to look like Jesus, where should I strive to spend my time?

May I seek out the grace that has pooled in the low places today.
 
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