December 06, 2013
To all the young moms out there whose kids woke up this morning running to the window to look at the snow, begging to go out and play. The moms who will have piles of wet clothes and boots all over the house and puddles of water up and down the hall. The moms who will have to hunt for gloves and socks and hunt for more when the first batch gets wet and cold. The moms who are already tired and who know that while a snow day is lots of fun for the kids, it's also a lot of work for the moms. I only have one piece of advice. . . Enjoy it!
I think back over the years when my kids were younger and we had snow days. I've done the whole routine of getting everyone geared up to go out and then the job of cleaning up afterwards. There have been times when I've been grumpy (to put it mildly) about it. I've complained about tramping snow through the house and the piles of soaking clothes in the laundry room. I've complained about having to hunt for boots and sleds and gloves. Looking back I wish I could take those times back. I wish I would have just enjoyed them more. Yes, I know it's a lot of work piled on to the normal day to day workload. I've been there. But I also know it is worth it. It is so worth it. I look back and those are some of my best memories with my kids -- watching them run to the window to see the snow and having so much fun playing together.
Today it was just Oliver and I playing in the snow and I missed those time when all the kids were together. My big kids are at college and Mary Margaret stayed warm inside, getting her school work done. Jack Henry had gone out earlier and was playing up the road with a neighbor. So Oliver and I bundled up and trudged outside. I realized that even with just one tiny person it's still a chore to get him dressed and out the door. Just like old times, there are puddles on the floor and boots all over the garage. The dryer is full of gloves and scarves and hats getting dry for round two. But I know now what I didn't know when I was younger. One day you will look back and will miss the mess and the activity. You will wish you could go back and do it all over again.
So, to all the young moms, enjoy this day and this snow. Enjoy the mess and the work and the chaos.
December 01, 2013
Two-year-old Ollie and I were watching football this afternoon, and one of the commercials informed us: "At T. Rowe Price we understand the connections of a complex global economy." To which Ollie replied quietly, "I don't understand."
November 30, 2013
November 26, 2013
So Lincoln, Jack Henry, and I are sitting at the kitchen table tonight discussing the NFL. The conversation turns to the Chiefs' wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Two-year-old Ollie, a big Kermit the Frog fan, promptly blurts out from his high chair: "Dwayne Bowe Connection?"
November 21, 2013
Every fall when the weather begins to turn cool, I plant winter grass at Anne Marie's spot at the cemetery. I pull up the thick, brown Bermuda grass and try and rake out the deep roots. I turn the soil over and mix in some fertilizer. Then I plant some winter grass seed and pray that it sprouts and grows. Each day I go and water because even though it's fall, the weather in Oklahoma varies from day to day -- one day it's 85 and the next day it's 50. And every year the same thing happens. When I go to the cemetery to water all I see is ugly brown dirt. Day after day, just brown dirt without a sign of green grass. This year I thought the same thing that I thought last year: It's not going to sprout. It's been too hot. I didn't water enough. I planted the wrong kind of seed. I poke my finger into the dirt hoping to see signs of life, but it's just dirt. I keep going and watering and then one day I see it, the tiniest bit of green poking through the ugly brown dirt. In no time the ground is covered with thick green grass, and even though it's fall and the leaves are falling and the green of summer is all gone, it is spring at Anne Marie's spot.
There are all kinds of metaphors in that -- probably the most obvious is God "turning the soil and raking out the deep roots" in my life so something can grow. Sometimes I feel like it's a really slow process and I take two steps forward and one step back.
I know that for so long after Anne Marie died I was like that dirt -- ugly, brown, no sign of life. I felt so much sadness that I honestly didn't know if I'd come out of the pit I felt I was in. There's a song called Blessings by Laura Story and part of the lyrics are:
What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
When I hear that song I always relate to that part because I remember so well the "thousand sleepless nights." Those dark nights were the worst for me. There were times when I would stay up late with all the lights on just so I wouldn't have to go to bed and lie in the dark crying. But somehow, slowly God began to help me see that He was near. I can't even explain how it happened -- all I know is that He helped me and comforted me and gave me hope. Slowly out of my dark ugly nights the tiniest spouts of life were there.
My life now is a mixture of ugly brown dirt and green sprouts of life, and I know that I will never be whole in this life. Even though there is comfort there will always be sadness, and I've never yearned for heaven so much. Not only because of Anne Marie, but because I will be united with Christ and free from the weight of sin and the brokenness of this world. Another song I love is Beauty Will Rise by Steven Curtis Chapman. Part of the lyrics of that song are:
I can hear it in the distance
And its not too far away
It's the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away and
Say it's time to make everything new
Make it all new
Won't that be a glorious day when Christ reaches out to us and wipes away our tears and everything is made new!
November 20, 2013
Langston University may not have very impressive graduation rates (Oklahoma taxpayers will be disheartened to learn that fewer than 1 in 10 students manages to graduate in four years, and fewer than 2 in 10 graduate even if you give them six years), but it does have an English professor with an impressive command of colorful English words.