Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We're Over Half-Way There

One decade
Ten years
520 weeks
3640 days
87,364 hours
5,241,600 minutes

According to current life expectancies for males in the United States, Nathan has already lived 13% of his life.  He's officially reached the point where his time under our roof is shorter than what has been spent.  He has reached the double digits in terms of age, and he is beginning his slow climb to manhood. He stands just a foot shorter than me, and I see the years sliding through my grasping fingers although I try my very best to slow them down.

Yet in spite of his growth and the passage of time, he is still my little boy.  He sits near me with a companionable arm slung around my shoulders, or stays in my arms for a long good night hug.  He leans into my hand as I touch his head in passing, and gives me that special smile that he's had since he was a toddler.  Yes, he's still a boy but I see glimpses of the man he will become.  I see it when he is concentrating on a project or struggling to hold back tears when he feels they are not appropriate.

The years are slipping away, so I must use the time I have left to teach him all the things he needs to know before he leaves home.  Trevor and I work diligently to show him what it means to be a man and a husband, in charge of a household and family.  He's only ten, but these lessons are learned in small steps over time.  We teach him to respect and cherish women, not because they are somehow inferior or weak-minded but because that is how God created us to be.  We try to model kindness, generosity and good stewardship, but above all we try to model the love of Christ.

This can be a terribly slippery slope if we insist on being legalistic and rigid, but such a teaching opportunity if we allow ourselves to remember that we can only love like Christ because of the grace we have been given.  We fail over and over again to show that love in a million different ways, but letting our children see that we are not perfect is important.   I think our children see our sin more clearly than anyone else because they live with us and watch our behavior so closely.  It's impossible to model perfection for them since we are imperfect, but it's in our imperfection that Christ is seen more clearly.  We can show them that we are fallen, but forgiven by His blood.  We can model lives that delight in God and glorify Him by the million other ways that we are able to show His love because He first loved us.

So today I breathe a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift that was given to us ten years ago.  A prayer for his salvation and a prayer for a long life spent serving and glorifying the One who made him.  A prayer of protection and a prayer that he will not always be happy, but that he will always have joy.

Happy Birthday Nathan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Blues Primer

I was going through my email folders, and came across this gem that my uncle sent me several years ago.  It is just as funny today as it was then and so I wanted to share.

Blues Primer
1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning..." 
2."I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you
stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with
the meanest face in town." 
3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it.
Then find something that rhymes...sort of: "Got a good woman with the
meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in
town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound." 
4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a
ditch-ain't no way out. 
5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues
don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues
transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft
an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin'
plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die. 
6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults
sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the
electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis. 
7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place
in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just
clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the
best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place
that don't get rain. 
8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male
pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you skiing is not the
blues. Breaking your leg 'cause an alligator be chomping on it is. 
9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting
is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster. 
10. Good places for the Blues: 
   a. highway 
   b. jailhouse 
   c. empty bed 
   d. bottom of a whiskey glass 
 Bad places: 
   a. Dillard's 
   b. gallery openings 
   c. Ivy League institutions 
   d. golf courses 
11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you
happen to be an old black person, and you slept in it. 
12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if: 
   a. you older than dirt 
   b. you blind 
   c. you shot a man in Memphis 
   d. you can't be satisfied 
  No, if: 
   a. you have all your teeth 
   b. you were once blind but now can see 
   c. the man in Memphis lived 
   d. you have a 401K or trust fund 
13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger
Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also
got a leg up on the blues. 
14. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the
Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are: 
   a. cheap wine 
   b. whiskey or bourbon 
   c. muddy water 
   d. nasty black coffee 
 The following are NOT Blues beverages: 
   a. Perrier 
   b. Chardonnay 
   c. Snapple 
   d. Slim Fast 
15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues
death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to
die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a
broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a
tennis match or getting liposuction. 
16. Some Blues names for women: 
   a. Sadie 
   b. Big Mama 
   c. Bessie 
   d. Fat River Dumpling 
17 Some Blues names for men: 
   a. Joe 
   b. Willie 
   c. Little Willie 
   d. Big Willie 
18. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't
sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis. 
19. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit: 
   a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) 
   b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,etc.) 
   c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) 
For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, Jakeleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple
Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.") 
20. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you
cannot sing the blues.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Almost Time!

Was it really just Thanksgiving?  It doesn't seem like it's been over three months since my last blog entry, but the calendar doesn't lie.  It's already Mardi Gras I didn't even finish the Giving Thanks Challenge from last year, which makes me feel a little ashamed and a lot guilty.  I had such good intentions when I started that challenge, not the least of which was to commit to blogging more regularly.

Yes.  Well.  (sigh)

So a quick recap.  Thanksgiving in Louisiana was wonderful, Christmas in Oklahoma was fabulous and we saw the New Year in with good friends.  January and February brought several feet of snow and our first experience with sledding.  Now we are coasting into spring, and with it comes Spring break!!!!  I don't recall the last time I took an entire week off from work, but that is exactly what I am doing next week.  Amber, David and my nephew Travis are flying up from Louisiana to see us and I am stoked to have the entire week to hang out and just have fun.  We don't have any concrete plans and nothing but time.

Travis turned one last month, and I can't wait to see him again!  He has grown so much in the past few months, and I can't wait to hold him and play with him to my heart's content.  Nathan and Grace are excited about seeing him too, and Gracie wants to feed him.  I keep explaining to her that he is a big boy now and can eat with his hands, but she keeps insisting that he will need help with his spoon!

My parents came to see us the kids this past weekend, and we had a great time.  We didn't tell Nathan and Grace that they were coming, and so Trevor played a trick on them.  My mom called right before they arrived, so Trevor called the kids into the living room in a stern voice and made them sit on the couch.  They were sitting there wondering what they had done, when Nannie and Papa walked through the door.  I wasn't there, but apparently the joy was palpable and their relief was great!  I couldn't get Grace to let go of Nannie's hand all weekend, and I was starting to feel a little shunned by the time they left Monday morning!

So now I am almost halfway through the week, and I am having a hard time concentrating at work since in my mind Spring break is already here!  I'll do my best to post some pictures and anecdotes next week, and to be better about blogging in general.