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Another summer has come, and gone.

It’s not personal, it’s business..

The business of life, that is. And so it goes.

Little Frau and I had all the little eagles in the nest this week, not once, but twice. We shared a meal or two. We shared a memory or two. And, as the week drew to a close, we stood up in the wee hours of this morning at the end of a summer tradition, watching You’ve Got Mail, together, and we woke the not so little eagles from their perches around the family room and directed them to their beds.

They will resume flying the coop again soon. One will move out, and then move on. The other two are licensed to loco-mote without us, and often do.

As the children’s rhyme says “First comes love, then comes marriage…”. Hopefully we have provided enough of the first to sustain each as, well, you know the tune.

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That’s if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you’re the only one who knows.
*

*Lyrics by Billy Joel

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Sometimes when you dream…
Your dreams come true.
In extraordinary ways…
Suddenly, a day can be so amazing…
And sometimes when you yearn, you burn the air.
And then you are not the same.
And the world is-

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Oh. I apologize. Perhaps I should say “good morning”. Now, where was I? Oh, yes.

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Once upon a time, I met a little woman. Sometimes, she is known in the space here as “The Little Frau”. And the rest is history. History, in the making, that is. You see, life comes at you fast. So fast, sometimes, that you don’t see what is coming next. Sometimes that can be bad, but more often than not, it is good. Very good.

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Having number one son surprise you by signing up to be in a musical is just one such surprise. And, may I say, the performance was amazing. The beginning and ending lyric vault moments of this nostalgic post today are courtesy of “Little Women”, the Musical. A team of kids performed it wonderfully at his school the past two nights.

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As I look around this morning, the women, and the men, in my life are not so little anymore. Sometimes they seem to me larger than life.

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As a small child, I used to lie in bed at night and wonder what adulthood would be like. I hoped it would be good. I had no idea it would be like this. I think I like it, warts and all. That is an understatement.

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It was not so very long ago that I sat around another’s breakfast table, a strange man in a strange house, learning of other’s ways that had not been my very own. This morning, the tables were turned, as one shared his breakfast within the routines that have become ours. Truthfully, it doesn’t seem all that strange from where I sit today.

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In days gone by, I’ve visited with others about their kids, and others about their new grand kids, and the miraculous stories between them all. Amazing is an understatement, especially when we compare reality to those “sometimes when you dream” days gone by.

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Lest I neglect the obvious, life is no cakewalk. But life can be very good. I think that is how God intended it. The challenge for us is to find the good, or even better, to help create it.

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May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:19-21)

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She asks how I am,
And so, how am I?
My days are the usual day.
I wake up, I go out,
Time goes by.
My days are exactly the days
I have lived since arriving here.
In fact, how I am is amazed how
This comforts me year by year.
I work and I eat.
Life is muffins and jam.
The house is nice and quiet now.
That is how I am.
. Thank you, Professor Bhaer for helping open my eyes to it all.

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But, even as I write this now, the natives are awaking. The house will not be so quiet soon. The dream lives on.

Sometimes when you dream…
Your dreams come true.
In extraordinary ways…
Suddenly, a day can be so amazing…
And sometimes when you yearn, you burn the air.
And then you are not the same.
And the world is-
….Amazing. Christopher Columbus, indeed.

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I’ve had this shirt for 20 years. I’ve only worn it once. Actually, twenty years, and a day.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “it takes a year and a day to get there”. Well, here we are, and it feels like mere moments have passed.

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The shirt became my property around 3:30 AM, May the 20th, 1992 as Little Frau was being sped into emergency surgery to allow Little Frauline to make a safe arrival into this world. It seems she’s always been a busy bee, and had herself entangled sufficient to prevent moving on to more productive activities.

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Breaking free was a lesson she did not have to be instructed on twice. In fact, she’s become quite the social ninja, if you will. She’s been to Japan and back, and many points in between. And today, at 4:05 AM, she turned 20 years of age. I’m glad to call her a friend.

Today, I have been cleaning out my closet. Some things are trash, some are garage sale fodder, but others carry more sentimental value and deserve a good home. I think I will give the scrub shirt to the Frauline. I shan’t be wearing it again. It just wouldn’t be the same.

So, Happy Birthday, Hannah. Love you so.

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There was a girl I knew who always wanted to be the one to stand out from the crowd
Always believed that she was gonna live her dreams
That what went down was gonna come around
For all the doubters, non-believers, the cynicals that once were dreamers
One of these days you’ll open up your eyes
And you’ll realize…

It was an interesting weekend, and that Lindsey Lohan tune playing off the iTunes library punctuated the late Saturday evening feelings fairly well: a child of yesterday who has moved on to…other things.

The house was empty yesterday, save for Little Frau and myself, but the driveway was very full. 2 people and 3 cars, soon moving to a 5 to 4 ratio. You see, the young ‘ens, number 2 and number 3, will begin driving soon. My father in law recently asked Little Frau how we would afford a fourth set of wheels to be shared by the soon to be twin drivers. Her answer? “Dad, The Lord will provide”. It seems that provision came this weekend, courtesy of the cream puff Toyota that a “little old man” down the street is looking to sell. But, I digress. I also may have just gotten myself fired, but that’s a whole different story.

Back to the math behind the aforementioned 5 to 4 ratio. The twin wanna be drivers are growing up, and were away at a weekend youth retreat. Their older sister is currently away preparing for finals at college, and then is “coming for a visit” over the summer. 5 people, 3 licenses, 4 cars, and one bright orange bedroom.

Scratch the orange bedroom. After spending time getting the lowdown on the aforementioned cream puff set of wheels from its owner, I spent my Saturday priming, and priming some more, and painting to make the newly minted guest bedroom a lovely shade of beige. The childhood days are gone for one, and seem to be fleeing fast for the other two. Little Frau and I find ourself alone for the evening, and now for the weekend, more and more these days. She describes it as our “Postpartum Pre-depart-em” phase in life. And, so, we paint.

Life is a work of art- you gotta paint it colorful
Can make it anything you want
Don’t have to stick to any rules
You don’t need a high IQ to succeed in what you do
You just gotta have no doubt just believe in yourself

Doubters, non-believers, once were her dreamers
One of these days you’ll open up your eyes
And you’ll realize
…that orange sherbert walls we’re about as juicy as it could get…and we have chosen Lowes Sand 3 as the new color palate of choice.

There was a girl I knew who always wanted to be the one to stand out from the crowd
Always believed that she was gonna live her dreams…
…and we still do.

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Way back In 1985, I first heard the tune “Friends” during an OC Spring Sing performance. For the remaining weeks of that term, everyone was running around singing the tune. I had never heard of Michael W. Smith before, and had no concept of how his music would follow along the jagged path of adult life.

Not so many weeks later, I met an adjunct professor, a young man named Barry, and watched his courtship and marriage to a young lady named Tonda. Little did I know of the friends from our future families, young ladies yet to be born.

I struggled with what to say at this time. Smith’s words from 85 have been rattling thru my brain since learning last evening of the passing of Barry and Tonda’s dear Rebecca, and knowing what a friend she has been for my Hannah, but two of those “young ladies yet to be born” from our days past.

A short time ago, I read my Hannah’s words about Rebecca, and her use of Smith’s “This was her time” to honor her friend. In closing these thoughts, nothing seemed better to share about friends. Thanks to our Lord and Savior, they are forever. You see, back in 85, these young ladies were yet to be born, indeed. Born, and born again, they both were. And now Rebecca has arrived for life eternal. Her friends look forward to each of their unique appointed times to follow. It will be beautiful, indeed.

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

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I made a road trip today with a friend. It involved several hundred miles and started very early. Accordingly, there was the requisite stop at a Starbucks along the way for some liquid rejuvenation, AKA caffeine. While in the shop, I secured the free “pick of the week” iTunes card, and there was reacquainted with a good friend from my past, “The Monster at the End of this Book“.

You see, when my children were very young, this Sesame Street classic starring our old furry friend Grover was a fan favorite from the bedtime bookshelf. And, of course, the classic line “do not turn another page” was always read with a mimic of the distinctive Grover howl.

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Grover feared desperately the prospect of encountering the monster at the end of the book. As it turns out, the monster at the end was simply the lovable Grover himself.

Which brings us back to today’s road trip. You see, our destination today was the funeral service of another friend and mentor’s mother. It was a beautiful service, with tales from her life, her loves, and her family. It is a great family, and several generations from the mature to the very young were present today to celebrate her life. There were tales of sunshine, and the shadows that are present anywhere there is sun.

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But, the shadows are no more for Mildred. She is on to her Heavenly reward, the Land where there is only Son and no shadow.

Which brings us back to the book. Many in this life consider death to be the Monster at the end of our book, and yet, the monster is really not much to fear at all.

I Corinthians 15:54-55: When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

I was glad to rediscover Grover on our trip today, and I was even happier to learn more about Mildred. It’s a great story, and there were no monsters in the end.

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March 15, 2010 to March 15, 2011: spring break to spring break – it’s been a good year. In many ways, it’s been a difficult year. And it’s been a growth year.

Here’s a twist on a proverbial question of old: If a tree falls in the woods, and I don’t post a link about it on Facebook, will anyone still read my blog? Hmmm.

About this time last year, I needed to change some things in life. I was letting stress and events drag me down. Admittedly, I was depressed, and it was not a healthy thing, for me, or for those around me. With advice from friends and Frau(who, I might add, is also a friend), I began to exercise regularly, and I began blogging. It felt good; it still does.

But there’s something about myself that I must admit: I don’t do well with moderation. No mater the subject, shopping for clothes on clearance sales, buying golf clubs on eBay (thankfully, I kicked that brief habit years ago, for I don’t really play golf), to eating the kids candy at Halloween, I am not good at practicing moderation. It’s a good thing that I don’t drink.

The same goes for blogging. In the past year, I have blogged over a hundred times. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but I am beginning to feel a little like Tim Hawkins as he describes a funny experience in this video:

You see, when I write a blog entry, I usually (almost always) put a link to it on Facebook, and it has drawn in over 2,340 reads so far.

“Go forth; preach the word; tell them about my…problems”. Maybe it’s all a little skewed for context, here. I don’t know. Just thinking out loud, again.

I wrote a lengthy entry about all of this, how my mind was racing, and the question of narcicism in an entry about a vacation drive thru Wolf Creek Pass last July. I had just read the Don Miller book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and I wanted to tell a better story, as well as live one. I still do. But, maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to keep being quite so vocal about it? Facebook link, vocal, that is. Just wondering.

I posted some song lyrics, as I often do, a few weeks ago from a Broadway musical tune from Wicked: Changed for Good. Here is an excerpt again:

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…

I’d like to agree with those lyrical sentiments. But I also want to be careful to avoid becoming “noise in the machine” of life, or ever move toward talking, just to hear myself thinking…

Paul had something to say about gongs and clanging cymbals in 1 Corinthians 13:

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

I want to avoid such, at all costs, and be one who truly loves others.

So if, while digging away at the root of the problem, something I think and write is helpful to another, great, but the broadcast will likely be toned down, even if the frequency happens to go up.

With apologies (or not) to my current subscriber base of of Frau, Fabio, Mom, etal, “let the bad analogies continue”.

After all, it has been a Good Year, but instead of sharing it from an altitude of 30,000 feet, I might just be content to circle above the stadium full of closer friends, instead.

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