Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I've definitely had some great adventures already. I took the kids shopping for a couple hours resulting in the loss of a bank card (not mine). A Christmas party in which I very out of place and even a little frightened. We went with a friend of JD's and after being there maybe 15 minutes, I leaned over and said "Do you have any Xanax? I need it!" At least my social anxiety attack was entertaining to JD.
I also got to go 4-wheeling with Brandon (the oldest). I let him drive me around. It was cold out, but seeing the very colorful sunset as we cruised around and spending that time with Brandon was worth it. We had some trouble restarting it on occasion and we had to give it a little shake to get it going. He wants to take me out again this weekend, but I'm not sure my bum can handle it.
JD loves Glee!!!!!! That makes me extra happy.
Another exciting thing for me has been living out my Jillian Michaels fantasy in the gym. This past fall JD began running and since then I've been waiting for my opportunity to train her. To push her to her limits. She has survived 2 days - we'll see if she can move tomorrow. Today she even muttered "I hate you," which made me clap and feel victorious. (yes. I am slightly demented) The only problem is she keeps talking about paybacks being hell and I'll find out when I get my gift on Christmas Eve. Dun...dun...dun... (to be continued I guess)
That's another thing. So the deal was that my present was simply coming here and a few small things for the kids. And JD wasn't supposed to get me anything either, even though I knew that would be impossible for her. But I think she may have gone a bit overboard. And then her mom wanted to get me something. And her friend that went to the Christmas party with us got me something. It feels a bit overwhelming to be so spoiled and loved on in so many ways. I might complain alot about it, but it is appreciated.
That wraps up (Christmas pun intended) the week so far. Merry Christmas everyone.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
On a better note, I am geared up for Christmas. My whole life I have only missed one Christmas with my family when I was living in Hawaii. On a bit of whim I decided to head to a friends for Christmas this year and give my best friend the gift she wants of spending time with me. And anytime you can spend Christmas with children, it adds a wonderful sense of magic and joy to the season. But because I am going away, all my holiday shopping had to be completed 2 weeks early.
Most went quite well. This week all I had left was something for Wayne, my mom's new husband (I haven't quite adjusted to the term step-dad yet). What does one get for that kind of person? I don't know him very well. I was given a few very unhelpful ideas. Finally I decided on a classic car ornament and some chocolates. I know it's not the most personal or perfect gift, but it will have to do for this year.
Then on Thursday, I got an email from an online supplier I had ordered from that my order couldn't be fulfilled as the product had been discontinued and they didn't have any left in stock. They apologized for the inconvenience. Of course it was the one gift that took me days to find and pick out. Back to the drawing board I went and began my search again. Found something else I liked and ordered it. Friday night was delivery jackpot night when the UPS man (He wasn't bad looking Kelly) showed up with 3 packages. I opened the first 2 like a giddy child. I couldn't figure out what the 3rd one was. After noticing the return address, I was even more confused as I opened the box to find the so-called "backordered/discontinued" product.
Ummm.... so I have something I didn't pay for (it's not cheap) plus already replaced. Yes... I am trying to do the right thing and return it. Hopefully at the sellers expense. Just in case you were thinking about ordering from Online Fitness... apparently they don't have a clue what's going on over there.
I am ready for Christmas! It's a little strange to not have lights and the tree up here at home, but the Christmas spirit is alive in my heart this year. Next weekend I'll celebrate with my parents (separately of course), attend a Christmas play, and eat too much. Then shortly I will be off to the Canadian frozen tundra to freeze outside, sit by the fire inside, laugh, love, wrap gifts, see delight in the kids eyes and be happy.
Hope your Christmas is full of the same joy and happiness. And above all that the true Spirit of Christmas is the One you celebrate.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
It was going to be a whirlwind weekend of visiting 3 places in just a little over 3 days and I wasn't sure how any of it would go. I was hoping for the best but anticipating the worst. God simply shattered my expectations.
Part 1: Finally face to face
I arrived at Courtney's early evening. It was supposed to be earlier but I got a little lost in the middle of a pitch black nowhere about 20 miles away. But I finally made it and ironically I wasn't nervous at all. I was warmly welcomed into "This is my family. We're like Italian, but not." The first thing I thought about Courtney was how beautiful she was in person and how she doubts it. (I am fully aware of the irony) That first night we all hung around in the living room, talking and laughing. Her nephew calling me Miss Tia and talking my ear off. Of course Stacey was there for me to get to know a little too, which was great. I was a little tired, but comfortable.
I do not generally handle changes in plans well. It tends to stress me out. Initially, I had planned to only spend one night there, but God had other plans. I didn't even blink an eyelash to having to stay another night. God knew before we did that more time was needed. That something truly special, even if it was a little hard at times, was going to happen. He knew he had designed this friendship to be something unique from the beginning. There was no where else I wanted to be that night.
The following day we talked. I played with the kids. I fell in love with the kids (but if you know me at all that isn't anything new). Cute. Sassy and quick witted. Dylan comes in from playing outside and says, "Tia, we know you like to run. Would you like to run around with us?" I ask, "Where are we running to?" "Around the house." So I got a little bit of a workout that way. Later the kids helped me do situps while one hung from my neck in front and the other pushed me up with their legs. It was quite fun and allowed Courtney a nap since she got up early for me.
Dylan and Ali
(i don't have the one of me and the kiddos yet to post)
We met up with Erin for dinner that night and I finally got to meet her too. She was chic and spunky and even though my time with her was short, it was nice to spend time with her. Back at Courtney's, I watched Toy Story 3 with the kids (the first half at least). After the kids went to sleep and Stacey had gone home for the night, Courtney and I stay up talking. It was honest and raw, funny and embarrassing at times. I felt God's presence with us, gently asking us to be brave and open. Little sleep was gotten that night, but something far more worthwhile happened. By the time I needed to leave that afternoon, it was the hardest thing to do. The kids kept asking if I was coming back later. I stalled as much as I could, because I knew when I pulled away I was leaving a piece of my heart there and I would need to find a way back as soon as possible. Just as I was about to get in the car, Ali came running out of the house and threw her little arms around me and squeezed a little more love in.
My life has been so altered by something as simple as an online book club. Some of these women are now my closest, most trusted friends. No one has pretended to be anything she isn't. These ladies have listened, loved, encouraged and shared their own stories. It has been so amazing to see the ways God knit relationships together through that medium. Thank you God for these women in my life, for the friendships I've always longed for. Help me be a good friend to them as well.
Part 2: A family reunion
For many years I was close with a family here in Michigan. Julie was my best friend and the kids Aaron and Abi felt like my own.
Abi and Aaron when I first loved them
When they moved away it was one of the saddest days of my life. I visited them in North Carolina 4 years ago for Thanksgiving and due to certain circumstances the relationship ended shortly after that. I was crushed and felt I had lost everything that meant something to me. I had no way to express to the kids that I wasn't abandoning them. It had been 4 long years.
God is a God of reconcilation and he used an 11 year old girl I love to get me to lay down the shield. I had been emailing with Abi and she wished she could see me. She remembered so many of the memories we made like dressing alike and watching sunsets together. And so 4 years later I reentered their lives. I wasn't sure at all if things would fall back into place or be silent and akward the whole time, but I trusted God was working.
The first night we seemed to be getting our bearing and reacclimating to that flow we used to have. Julie talked to me like there had been little break and I soaked it up. Before bed we had a little impromtu worship session with Aaron and I playing guitar.
After church on Sunday things settled. Abi and I went thru photos with all our memories in it. She showed me all the things I gave her she still had. She even sang me her newest song which was really good. Then I told Abi I was going to go spend some time with Aaron whether he wanted to or not. She said, "You are still his big sister."
We ended up watching some western that we couldn't quite grasp what was going on since we missed the beginning. On commercials I started to talk to him some more. Eventually he laid down on the floor with me and I started to run my hand through his hair like I used to. Told him he used to let me do it for hours. He said he still would. Eventually, he just turned the movie off and we talked. It was a hard conversation, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I got to look into that boys eyes and let him know that I loved him and that he isn't alone. Even at 17, I got to hug him tight. It was getting late and I needed to go to bed. There was a look in his eyes and I asked him what he was thinking. He simply said, "How much I've missed this." I don't know if it's possible for a heart to swell and break at the same time, but right then mine might have.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which side you are on) my sister, Tiffany lives many hours to the cold north of me and we don't see each other all that often. This past weekend she was able to come home due to a work seminar close by. (the government is good for something)
Saturday was to be spent with my mom and new step-dad Wayne. We arrived around noon and after lunch and picking up some things for dinner, we went back to the house to hang out. I wanted to give my mom and sister a chance to talk and catch up, so I convienently took a nap. Or tried... because the clocks chiming every 15 minutes was a bit hard to sleep through. Then we had dinner. It was a good dinner... in theory. Steak, salad veggies and creamed potatoes. Except, when my sister went to get the milk to finish the cream sauce my mom pointed to the vanilla almond milk and thought nothing strange of that. Meanwhile, I am looking at my sister and she is looking at me. I am biting my tongue. Something like this was bound to happen... usually does. Overall, it didn't taste much different, but you could smell the vanilla and that kinda grossed me out.
As I mentioned, Wayne is new to the family. He hasn't spent much time around my sister and I and seen us dance, sing and get crazy. Tiff asked him after dinner if he was thinking, "Am I sure glad I had a boy." He said he was enjoying us and missed having voices around the house. I thought that was sweet.
In post dinner sleepiness things start to go downhill. When I am tired, they tend to go that way fast. My mom casually mentions that her 'honeybun' bought her jewelry on their honeymoon. Tiff asks my mom if her nickname is cupcake.
Enter tired Tia.
I take off on this theme and start with cinnimon roll, french toast, waffle.... How about bacon? Candian bacon? Tiff and I are both laughing. "Oh sauage patty, can I get your help?"
*Rolling now* Mom is looking at Wayne. He is looking at her. She says, "So glad they have their own sense of humor. I don't get it." Through fits of laughter I tell her it's not even that funny, but it's making us laugh which make it funny. Yeah... she didn't get that either.
Then I bring out the big guns. "Twinkie? Ho-Ho?" And Tiff responds with "Ding Dong."
We couldn't catch our breath.
I knew things would only get worse as the night went on and by the glazed bewildered looks in mom and Wayne's eyes they might not be able to take much more without having nightmares. We took our leave for the night and came home to laugh to ourselves until we fell asleep.
The following day we had breakfast with dad and planned on having Thanksgiving dinner that evening. After coming home to get some things done around the house, I went to my dad's for dinner. Even though it was a little early and a Sunday, everything else felt just like Thanksgiving. The turkey smelled great. The Lions played football and lost. Couldn't be more traditional.
Eventually, I had to leave even though my sister tried to lock me in the bedroom. It was a great weekend.
I love you, Tiff.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
She has become one of my dearest, most treasured friends. She has blessed me in countless ways through sharing her story, her prayers, hugs, tears and laughter. While we both turn another year older this month, we also move into another year of this friendship. We pray that God will continue to bless it and weave it in beautiful, unexpected ways.
Looking forward to another year of wonderful memories...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today, Ms. Sassy was craving some Thai food for lunch, but neither of us wanted to get it. I casually mentioned to Mr. Chatty 1 that Kelly was looking for someone to get her, I mean us, lunch today and wondered where he was going. (We didn’t want to be picky and demand he go where we wanted, we do have standards) God was listening because Mr. Chatty 1 called and asked if Thai food sounded good. Ummm… Yeah! Drunken Noodles for Ms. Sassy, which I tasted and it was yummy. For me, Pad Khing. I usually get a curry dish, but I went with something different today. Crazy! It was good too.
I do plan on giving Mr. Chatty 2 some grief about us getting lunch from Mr. Chatty 1. He has owed me a lunch for 4 years now and still hasn’t taken me. (In his defense, he keeps his frig stocked with diet coke and his office often contain licorice and lemon cookies for me) It’s important to still give him a hard time. Let him know that I see how high of a priority I am to him, while Mr. Chatty 1 follows through immediately. Now we know who is of what caliber *wink wink*.
Tia’s Quick and Easy Mooching Tips
1. Facial expression is very important. The best approach is generally the sweet and innocent look. Smile and bat your eyelashes just slightly. But if the day isn’t going so well, a harried, stressful about to cry look can often be equally as useful.
2. Develop a code word or phrase. Of course this will take some time and training, but saves time and hassle in the long run. My phrase of choice “Are you busy today?” or “How generous are you feeling?” With that and #1, I generally have a diet coke on my desk within a reasonable amount of time.
3. This of course is the most important rule if you wish to get more than one thing. SAY THANK YOU ALWAYS!
And just think the holidays are coming up…
Saturday, October 30, 2010
This year, November is once again starting off well. Next weekend my sister will be home. I love spending time with her. We always end up laughing hysterically and acting like little kids and getting use out of all our inside jokes. She wanted my whole family to go out to dinner together while she was home to celebrate Thanksgiving, but some poo-pooed the idea (I'm not naming names, but it wasn't me). So I'm thinking maybe I just make Thanksgiving for her and I on Friday night. We'll see.
The second weekend of November, I am traveling to North Carolina. I will finally get to meet 2 other friends I got to know last year and spend some time with them and get to meet their families. I am hoping the time together is stretched and blessed. While down there, I also am planning on seeing friends who are very dear to my heart. I haven't seen them in 4 years and I know it will do my heart good to be with them again.
As yet, there is nothing planned for the second half of November, which is typically when the black cloud likes to descend. I am praying for some opportunities or projects that will be fulfilling and purposeful. Trusting that "so much more" will happen.
“It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.
They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,
Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:
A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world
And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.
Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.”
- Wallace Stevens, The Region November
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Sometimes when you let pent up wild horses out, the run so hard and fast they break a leg and you have to shoot them.
"Dreams are the eraser dust I blow off my page.They fade into the emptiness, another dark gray day.Dreams are only memories of the plans I had back then.Dreams are eraser dust and now I use a pen.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Emotions are the dashboard of the heart. They warn us that something is going on inside, whether it’s the joy of being in love or crushing pain of a deep hurt. What do you do when a light comes on? I think most of us simply wipe the dust off the dashboard, especially if the emotions are not pleasant ones, and call it dealt with. How often do we take the time to look under the hood to find out what is really going on? In ourselves or in others?
We do not get excited about jumping into anything that doesn’t make us feel good.
Fast forward a week or two... my dashboard was completely lit up with engine trouble. The problem wasn't new. The drill was familiar. Something triggers the hurt. Emotions flare. React. Find a quick way to get over it and get everything back to status quo as quickly as possible. And that's what we do. I began to realize that perhaps I am still stuck in this hurt because I've never let myself uncover and expose its source without trying to immediately cover it right back up and believe its fixed.
Why? Why can we let ourselves hurt and deal with the real pain of it so we can move on. No more "Stop it. Get over it. Change your attitude. Everything will be okay. I’ll pray for you." Why don't we say, "That's a lot to deal with. Cry if you need to. What is really behind this anger and I'll be here to listen no matter how long it takes."
I am beginning to understand these things. We walk through the waters of life - sometimes cool and refreshing, other times rocky and storm tossed. Hurt and pain... they are like the rip current underneath. When it comes up and grabs you, the best thing to do is swim right next to it down the beach a little ways until its gone. But too often we don't. We struggle and fight, almost drown just to get back to the spot on the shore that just pulled us under. We might be okay there for a little while, but that current... it's comes right back and pulls out to sea again.
It's not easy on our own – in fact I think it’s impossible. We need each other - to laugh, to cry, to listen, and to love. Sometimes we need more. We need to learn to read our dashboards and it will help us read each other’s. To ask hard questions and be willing to wait for and hear the hard answers...here is where deep healing takes place. The place where the critical wound is exposed and you touch it with strength and love.
What does your dashboard say today? What about those around you? Do you see a light on that maybe you can take a look at with that person? And ask them to open up and find the problem?
So then... remember the sad little boy?
The following week the little boy, all smiles again, bounces up to Pastor smacks him one great high five. Pastor asked mom, "So, did you ever find out what was wrong last week?"
"Oh yeah. He was upset because he didn't get the doughnut he wanted."
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
We live in a barcode world. Little children love scanning the items at the checkout – they learn quickly that the black and white square makes the machine beep.
It’s amazing isn’t it - information stored in what appears to us as meaningless black lines and a handful of digits. But to the one who knows how to read it there is infinite value. What doesn't have a barcode these days? Even our mail is scanned to determine where it came from and where it is headed.
As Christians, we are marked with the Holy Spirit. God's own barcode- revealing whom we belong to and the destination we are guaranteed.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
If the Holy Spirit doesn’t mark you, you still have a delivery destination. We all have a barcode.
The bible tells there will come a day when we will be forced to make a public choice. Everyone's barcode will be visible and known.Revelation 13:16-17 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Those living without Christ, they already bear the beast’s barcode. It says you belong to the world, to the flesh. What appears to be of great benefit at first will become misery.
Revelation 16:2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.
When Christ returns, He’ll scan the multitudes looking for His own.
Matthew 7:21&23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven... Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "
Matthew 24: 41&46 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Where are you headed?
Who’s barcode do you bear?
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
After having noticed it, she walked up closer and said, "Oh.... it's a wing. I thought it was a football."
Last night, on a perfect fall football watching weather night... I agreed to accompany my friend to her oldest son's high school football game. It's been YEARS since I've been to a high school game. Within minutes I remembered how easy it is for me to get into the game.
And my friend... I think her mind is focused elsewhere (like nursing school, as it should be). She couldn't remember her son's number. She defintely knew more about what was going on than that first year, but still isn't quite up on all the points and rules and such. She asked for reassurance that a field goal was 3 points and was amazed I knew what intentional grounding was.
Let me side note here so you don't think I am being rude and slamming my friend. I love who she is. And I am fully aware that not everyone even wants to know all the ins and outs of football.... or anything else for that matter. And I might be completly stupid about something she is passionate about, like nursing. Disclaimer over.
We sat in front of some dads. You know the ones that coach from the stands and think the kids can hear them. But they were hilarious, not the mean, nasty kind. My favorite line from the night was when one of our players was down. Someone said, "He's hurt, but he made a good play." Men. The battle wound is worth it... Cracked me up.
Apparently her son's team hasn't played well so far this season, but they were playing quite well during the first half. Everyone was excited that they might win this game. And it was the quarterback's 18th birthday to boot.
With about 2 mins left in the game the score was 17 to 10, our favor. The other team was about midfield with 3rd and 10. The pass was incomplete, but they got called for interference. 15 yards closer and another shot for the other team. We manage to push them back and now they have 3rd and 20. AND THEY GET THE FIRST DOWN! Then they go on to score the touchdown and get the 2 extra points. With 1:38 left, it is now 18-17.
Everyone is into now. We can still win.
they throw and interception and the other team scores another touchdown.
Still over a minute left.
A touchdown & point would tie it.
Even the announcer said his heart couldn't take much more.
But they fell apart. Literally. False start. Snap over QB's head.
And the game was over.
And boys with heads hung walked back to their bus.
And I remember that with the game there is excitement when you think you might win and defeat doesn't feel so good. In the end... it's still just a game.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I simply love the stained glass window in the church.
I hope no one noticed the girl in a dress crawling around
the floor in the aisle with a camera.
It was my idea for my sis and I to sit.
Looks good and we got to rest.
All in all it was a great day. My sister and I had fun together. We danced at the reception... even a swing number. I came home exhausted. Fell asleep sitting on the couch and once I crawled into bed didn't move until I woke up the next morning. My mom and Wayne seemed really happy and in the end.... that's all that really matters.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This was taken on the grounds of the house LMM grew up in.
Just in case you missed my other favorite photos hop on over to Overlapping Differences and check them out.
In order to get to our tour boat, we had to take the ferry to Grand Manan Island. We sat up top, let the wind blow our hair and listened to these adorable French kids (from actual France) chase each other around because there was a shark. A whale was even spotted from the ferry. But I was praying for better.
View from the ferry as we left for Grand Manan