Wednesday

Memories Exploding Into My Thoughts

Today I came home from teaching the babies to swim. Since Riley was the only one at home, of course the TV was on (hate the thing, have I mentioned?). And, like any red-blooded male, he had it tuned to Mythbusters where they were, of course, trying to blow stuff up. Because, what good is Mythbusters if they aren't blowing stuff up. Better yet? When I first walked in, they were trying to blow up a bra! ("Epic fail," reported Riley.)

They put a soda can in a kiln (yes, an oven for baking pottery that bakes to thousands of degrees) to see if it would blow up. Guess what? It does! Whoo-Hoo! One for the Mythbuster exploding team!

Which, actually, took me back a little. I actually have a story in my past about exploding soda cans. I told it to Riley, and thought I would share it with you here. I'm inspired by Bob, who frequently writes things on his blog for the grandkids. And, coincidentally enough, the exploding sodas happened at Bob's parents' lake house, where I went with Bob's daughter, Julie. Julie and I were roommates for several years in college.

Have I already told this story on the blog? Oh, well... humor me.

So, as mentioned, Julie and I went out to her grandparent's lake house. I think it may have been Labor Day weekend. Not sure, but I do recall it was HOT. There was boating, there was game-playing, there was eating, there was general frivolity, but there was definitely heat.

I THINK that was the only time I went out to the lake house, so I guess we stayed a night, maybe 2? Julie's parents, Bob and Barbara, brought some "goodies" for Julie from a recent Sam's shopping trip. A few snacks, I'm sure, and a flat of Diet Cokes I definitely remember. Barbara knows how to speak love language: Diet Coke and children's books. Love it.

I don't recall at what point we put the flat of Diet Cokes in the back of Julie's little white Civic hatchback (with the "Howdy Honda" emblem on it that always made me laugh), but evidently long enough before we left for them to warm up considerably.

I guess we put them in, then loaded stuff, maybe ate lunch, said good-byes, took grandad's pulse (it was a family tradition), what-have-you... then climbed into the car for the trek over the bumpy gravel road before we would ever find pavement, sweet pavement.

We probably weren't 100 yards down the gravel road before we heard the absolute loudest POW.shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh you have ever heard. We thought the bumpy road had caused Julie to blow a tire.

"Should we turn around?" (I think we did at this point).

And again. POW.shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

"What in the WORLD???"

We were SCARED to death! It sounded like someone was shooting at us. It was SO loud, we had no idea what was going on. Every time there was a pop, we would scream, but since we weren't injured, or the car wasn't broken, we were just trying to get back to the lake house at this point. We were laughing, but quite a bit rattled, too.

I think the third POW.shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. is when my head was turned enough to see the Diet Coke geyser shooting up from the hatchback making the shhhhhhhhhh sound after the POW.

Ah. It all began to make sense now. But the sound still scared the bejabbers out of us every time it went off.

So, Bob and Barbara, and maybe even Julie's brother Rob, know that they have waved us farewell, sent us on our way, we made it about 1/4 mile away, turned around (at about 15 mph) and burst out of the car screaming and laughing and "get a towel" and "oh, my word!"

They were most bumfoozled by us, I'm sure. But probably no more than usual.

So, there is a little science project for you, boys and girls: soda cans + hot car + bumpy road = GREAT explosion. You have been warned.

Saturday

One Year Ago Today....

(I received this phone call one year ago today. I can't help but remember, and celebrate the moment my life COULD have changed forever, and praise God that it was not. I'm especially mindful this year of those whose lives are changed in a blink. Hug and love on your family today. SS)

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

Our schedule was amazingly light. Even for summer, the kids and I have been busy rushing to teach swimming lessons that they also attend, or to basketball camp, or 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 become a chronic headache battle. 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

Wednesday

Don't Be Fooled

I think I have alluded to this before, but as I have entered into the blog world again, (who knows for how long...) I feel it is worth saying again...

I have been guilty of reading a blog for months, perhaps even envying this seemingly perfect life the blogger has going for her, then she will up and confess that things have really been difficult at her house, and she has really been struggling with 'x', 'y', and/or 'z'...

"How can that be?" I'll wonder... "You've been here blogging all these great and wonderful things, some of them so funny and/or insightful. You can't be struggling."

Then the shoe will land on the other foot. Someone will tell me what an awesome marriage I seem to have, how great my kids must be, whatever. Um... of course. And, again, since I haven't been blogging this doesn't hold as much weight -- it could leave you to wonder where all I've been and if we are okay (if you have given us a second thought and honestly, I don't expect to cross your mind ever at all...).

When I do blog regularly, or facebook, or Twitter, or however else I communicate -- I will leave you with the impression that all is super-great with my family. And that is a delicate balance for me. If you know me even a very little bit, you will know that I am 100% about being authentic -- whether I know you virtually or really, I think you deserve to see and know who I really am, "warts and all" as it were.

However, my commitment to authenticity only goes as far as my obligation to my family -- not only to protect them physically, but to protect their spirits and hearts. I will not use the internet as a sounding board or a place to air our squabbles or vent about what's going on over here, or whose breathing is loudest, or who currently needs to curb the eye-rolling or whatever. Those things all blow over and get outgrown -- but float around the internet FOREVER. I won't do that to my family. If it's a funny story, I will check first. This story? (not mine) I never would have told on myself or my husband. But I HOPE she checked with him before she posted -- because it is HILARIOUS and allows us to see her as a real person.

So in the absence of turmoil, sometimes it appears that all is roses when we may or may not be shutting doors a little too firmly over here, and there may or may not be threats of no technology if the huffing and eye rolling doesn't stop. And... since I won't share family turmoil here... ummmmmmmm... maybe something funny will happy at swimming lessons that I can tell you, or perhaps you will suddenly develop an overzealous interest in my hip pain caused by walk/ running 11 miles.

So... check back later for warm fuzzies, maybe drama, and all manner of fun!

Tuesday

Training Tuesday

'kay. Well, I didn't immediately revisit my 11 miles, but since I did, in fact, post yesterday, I'm sure you gathered that I at least lived to tell about it. And live I did.

I'm learning lots about this ol' bod of mine -- more all the time. Sadly, most of it is stuff I KNOW -- stuff you know, too -- but am just too hard- headed to internalize and live out. For instance, I was better fueled and hydrated for this run, and felt energized, but unfortunately truly had the wrong equipment (shoes) for the distance I was going and am currently in worse shape than ever: stone bruises on my feet, hip trouble, etc. It has affected my training and I'm paying the price.

Ruthie, as mentioned, is training me. She is also gearing up to train some folks for the next half-marathon. The hook to this one, though, is that you can raise money/ awareness for a mission of your choice. Details are here. You can participate from anywhere on the planet -- as long as you can receive the training schedule via email. She isn't starting to train until July 12. I'll try to have a few thoughts along the way between now and then. But if you can go walk 2 or 3 miles right now, you can follow the training schedule and be ready for the half in October or November.

Why in heaven's name would I go through this? What in the world would possess me to torture myself so? Believe me, I have given up on running hundreds of times in my life. Evidently I've started it just one more time than that. Right before I left for my run Saturday morning, while munching on my bagel, I came across a blog that summed it up really well for me (this gal is HILARIOUS and I am currently way too tired to come anywhere close to being hilarious...) So, to explain me, and why I do this crazy thing, check out The Sport of Selfishness.

And, every once in a while, if you non-runners will indulge me, I would love to be able to process all that I'm learning here on the ol' blog. I don't know that I need another blog, but I need to think this through. It's a new thing for me, running consistently. And I want to stick with it.

For now, I am WIPED OUT. Summer only feels like summer temperature-wise. I have run kids and me back and forth and hither and yon today. Whew. Then, I act like it's summer at the end of the day and stay up too late, but still get up about 5:30 to run while it's still cool, or to attend a weights class at my gym before I teach swim lessons. Do you know what that makes me? Exhausted and grouchy!

So... I am off of here so that I may get in bed at a reasonable hour. And? A little 'ew' for your bloginess: I'm sitting outside at dusk/ evening. Troy is home more than usual these days, and the kids are out of school and, in short -- exercise endorphins only get me to dinner. So I am sitting outside blogging watching the stars come out and being completely consumed by mosquitoes. AND in trying to flick a bug off my computer screen? Yeah, I've gotta go get some screen cleaner.

Have a great Wednesday!!

Monday

Out of Seasoning

This verse hangs on my wall in my kitchen:

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6

Indeed. Seasoned with salt.

The problem with that is the truth that Jesus speaks in Matthew 12:34:
"You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."

And therein lies my problem...

Last night I said something (for about the 8 billionth time in my life) that I wish I hadn't. Mainly because it made me sound prideful and judgmental. Sitting there hating that I had said what I did, I began examining why I would say such a thing, and what the person must think of me... Well, she probably thinks I'm prideful and judgmental. And, were I to truly examine my heart? Well, let's just say that the truth hurts.

Oh, it would be so boring if the Lord ever ran out of things to work on me about. My pride will never be completely wrestled to the ground, this side of Heaven. I have to daily, sometimes hourly, pour His words and His truths into my heart to replace the pride that Satan whispers to me and I so readily believe. And pride is what hands me that judgment on a silver platter.

So, thanks be to Him, for one last promise/ thought/ verse:

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23.

Ah, that is a refreshing piece of news to me! The Lord's compassions (some versions say 'mercies') are new every morning!! Today is a new day. Great is His faithfulness, indeed. Praying that TODAY, he will clean out the pride from all corners of my heart, keep my eyes from judgment, my mouth from impure words and talk, and that He will fill my heart with more of Him to share with others.

May you have a wonderful Monday, full of His mercies and compassion.

Thursday

Summertime and the Livin' Is... CRAZY!

Hey, friends.

*sigh* Life is just craziness in so many ways. The BEST part of it? God is SO good and faithful through all of the craziness!

One thing going on (among a bazillion others) is that I am training for a half- marathon. I have been a bit on the down-low about that, on facebook or otherwise. Please hear this first and foremost: I AM NOT RUNNING THE ENTIRE HALF-MARATHON. I committed to it planning to walk the entire thing, then started running a few minutes of the training. I am currently walking 3 minutes, running 1.5-2 minutes.

I tell you this because I would LOVE any encouragement you have to offer. Tomorrow (Saturday) I am scheduled to do my longest training run yet (11 miles). Guess what? It's going to be STINKIN' hot, even early. And? by the way? That is a LONG way for this old body to go.

I did almost 9 a couple of weeks ago. And that was a long way to go, and I felt awful. I wasn't hydrated enough, and hadn't eaten right/ enough. It's a learning process, and as tough as it is, I'm enjoying what I'm learning. Did you know that this stuff we put in our bodies is meant to make us go, and go well?

This article talks about nutrition and what it means not only for your body, but for your brain now and in the future. I want my brain to still be going to good use in a few years, so I shall feed it well.

And Ruth, who is leading up the training for the half-marathon, tells her story of breaking her sugar addiction that started in childhood. The short answer is: keep starting over. I am currently eating more sugar than I was this time last year, but I try to get most of my sugar from fruits.

So -- that is a random "Cleft of the Rock" post. Not at all what you usually come here for, and not what I generally talk about, but what is currently going on in my life. And? I would love to hear about yours as well. What does summer find you doing? (I've got LOTS more summer talk, but this is it for now...)

Blessings to you all and happy Friday!

Friday

Prayers for a Military Family

I don't know Ashleigh personally, but I have introduced you to her here several times.

Ashleigh is a military wife, with two preschoolers, who dared to try to take said preschoolers on an overseas flight to meet her deployed husband in Germany when he got a few days off. Sounds daring, no? Can I tell you that her trip has already been a nightmare of epic proportions and she hasn't gotten out of the states yet?

Will you please say a brief prayer that this trip go through? It's the least we all can do at the end of this week that we honored our military men who have given sacrificially.
 
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