Friday, May 30, 2008

Something to Celebrate

Dear Hubby,
Happy Anniversary! I can't believe we're celebrating 10 years of marriage! In some ways it has flown by, and in other ways--well, it seems like we've been married FOREVER. So much has happened since May 1998! Job changes and more moves than I care to count. Becoming parents and bringing up boys. Achievements. Losses. Arguing. Making up. Cancer. Spiritual adventures. Planning. Discovering. Learning. Growing together.
Our wedding day is mostly a blur to me, but a few details stand out in my mind. Like standing in the back of the church on my dad's arm. All the activity, all the planning led up to that one moment when the doors opened and I took my first step down the aisle. I saw you and everything else melted away. Funny how I still feel that way. You are my balance and my calm when life swirls around me. You keep me focused and just one look or one word from you can reassure me that I'm OK.
We've been through a lot, haven't we? We had no way of knowing when we promised "for richer or poorer" that we would face lean times. We never could have imagined that "in sickness or in health" would bring us face to face with cancer. "For better or worse" is what we promised, and we meant it. I am so proud to be married to someone who is serious about me, serious about our children, and serious about what we're building. We are not even close to being the same two people who exchanged vows a decade ago. No, I think we are better. Better together than we ever could have been apart.
Thank you for being my companion, the father of my children, my best friend. You are my soulmate. I loved you when we said "I do", but the love I have for you on this day is deeper and stronger. Thank you for walking by my side down the path of life, and for carrying me when I couldn't walk on my own. Thank you for teaching me that we don't always have to agree, but we do have to make up and mean it. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for praying with me and for me. Thank you for loving our sons and being a good example to them. Thank you for being careful with my heart and loving me unconditionally. Thank you for being my partner, my husband.
I love you with all my heart. Here's to the rest of our lives and to living happily ever after!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Daily Brush Strokes

These are excerpts from an entry in the Women of Faith Irrepresible Hope devotional book. Patsy Clairmont is the author. If you know anything about her, you know that she is funny and Spirit-filled. I read it this morning and it struck a chord with me; I thought it worth sharing.
My friend Pat Wenger and I love to play with watercolors. It's not that we're especially good. Neither of us is dealing with a full color palette, but we're nervy. We often giggle at our colorful results, tilting our pictures in all directions trying to find an angle that might help others identify our mysterious offerings. Pat painted an orange once that looked just like a bagel while I dabbed away at a lily that took on the appearance of a mortified giraffe.
Recently Pat decided to try her brush at a beach scene with two young boys playing at the shoreline with their red plastic pails full of dreams. I thought it quite an ambitious project, especially with the history of our previous results. Yet the picture turned out amazingly well. The sun-drenched beach and white-capped water were visually pleasing and the children endearing. Pat and I decided it helps to paint what we love: sunny days filled with those most important to us.
Pat is the mom of three grown sons and a grandma of five, so she has a passion for boys, buckets, and beaches. She raised her sons near an ocean, so surfs and sailboats were a daily part of their landscape. And Pat was the kind of mom to join the boys in whatever they were doing. Her eyes ignite with glee when she speaks of her sons' childhood days. It's not that it was all easy; it never is. But there were more days of smooth sailing than of rough seas.
And isn't that true about our lives? When we count them up, more days are easy than chaotic, which gives us hope during hard times that eventually things will smooth out. Some rugged years tend to dim that truth in our churning minds, but if you're like me, when my head clears I remember the good ol' days when my toes were buried in the warm beach while the children built castles and feasted on sandy hot dogs.
I love conversations that begin with "Remember the time..." because more than likely we are going to reminisce about some fun-filled days..........
It's easy to underestimate the value of life's routines. We tend to want to escape the commonplace, yet routine gives predictability to our existence; it helps forge steady places. Also, it's often those day-to-day memories that bring us the warmest flood of emotions later.
When I think of my mom while I was growing up, I remember how sweet she always smelled, the particular care she took with the endless ironing, and how tidy she kept our home. I remember her thoughtfulness of trimming the crust off my sandwiches, the smell of baking powder biscuits wafting through the house, the sounds of her hymn singing while she cleaned, and her compassion toward hurting folks.
I'm not sure I could capture any of those things in my painting efforts...while my painting skills are minimal, my awareness of the hope infused in everyday living grows.
~Lord, when everything is going well, I sometimes forget what brush strokes of hope those days are to my life, to my emotions, and to my sanity. When my attempts to express myself fall miserably short, may my heart praise still be full of all the hues of gratitude. Thank you for the reminder of hope that comes when I look across the waters and spot the sailboat gliding seamlessly across the horizon. Amen.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"My Mommy"

In his preschool class yesterday, Little Middle did a "My Mommy" questionaire in celebration of Mother's Day. The teacher asked him a series of questions about me and wrote down his answers verbatim. Here are the results:

1. What is your mommy's name? Ms. Allyson
(He hears other kids call me this....)

2. How tall is your mommy? 40 inches tall
(This makes him five inches taller than me, and I am ineligible to ride anything at Six Flags.)

3. How old is she? 28
(I wish.)

4. How much does she weigh? 42 pounds
(I really wish.)

5. What color are your mommy's eyes? Blue

6. What color is her hair? Black on bottom and same as mine on top
(He forgot to mention that I pay out the wazoo for that!)

7. What is her favorite food? Salad
(Must be why I weigh 42 pounds.)

8. What is your mommy's favorite color? Pink

9. What does she do while you are at school? She is in her class.
(And spying on Little Middle and Baby in their classes......)

10. What does your mommy like to do or play? She likes to cook dinner.
(I'm the fun mom everyone's talking about.)

HA! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Preschool Theology Discussion

Little Middle: Mommy, is God a boy or a girl?
Me: Neither, really. God is a Spirit.
Little Middle: What's a spirit?
Me: Ummmm.....Never mind. Let's just say that God is a boy.
Little Middle: Is God invisible?
Me: He's invisible to us while we live on earth, but when we go to heaven we will see him.
Little Middle: Can Grandad see God now?
Me: Definitely. That's great, isn't it?
Little Middle: Who else lives in heaven that can see God?
Me: Well, I don't think you know anyone else who has died and gone to be with God. You haven't really lived all that long.
Little Middle: Yes, I DO TOO know someone who died.
Me: Really? Who?
Little Middle: Mary and Joseph.

Alrighty then.