Friday, June 13, 2008

Off For the Summer

Without fanfare, I'll just quietly mention that tomorrow morning my boy will be leaving for the summer. It may be a blessing that he's taking the computer with him. You will at least be spared my silly posts about missing my boy for the next eleven weeks.

Eleven weeks.

Sigh.


Prayers welcome.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

T-Shirt Slogan of the Day

As seen on a second grader:

"The only difference between you and me is that I am a genius who will someday rule the world and you're just an idiot."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rant

I haven't written a complaint blog in awhile, but I have some things to say.

First of all, it has occured to me that we have excused ourselves as parents of raising dignified young ladies who know what it means to act like one when we have attached shorts under skirts and allowed them to be worn to Kindergarten. While I can appreciate the desire to not have our children's underwear on display for all the world (or class) to see, at what point did we abandon the idea that there was a proper way to behave (sit) when wearing a skirt, and certainly a limit to the places in our life where such attire is appropriate. If we allowed our daughters to wear skirts only to church until they demonstrated a true understanding of what it means to be a lady in a skirt, then perhaps we could allow them to wear them to more everyday places where they might have to amend their behavior accordingly.

That said, I know my sister is screaming at her computer at the moment and thinks this was a direct comment aimed at her. It's not, not at all, Jules. I've just seen far too many skorts on the playground, and far too many young girls sitting cross-legged on the floor in a skirt, and far too many young ladies prance around like they were in jeans when they are not. Just as I try to teach my son to hold open doors, give up his seat and to thank the person who made a meal for his supper, I hope that there is similar consideration being given to the generation of daughters that we are raising. Ultimately, I hope my son is to marry one of them. And I hope she knows from an early age how to act like a lady and to dress appropriately.


Secondly and perhaps more vehemently, I am greatly disturbed at the proclamations our children are making emblazoned on their t-shirts. Have we really, as parents, not seen past the intended humor long enough to realize that if we are truly finding these statements funny (and accurate) enough to plaster them on t-shirts and adorn our children with them that something is seriously wrong with our parenting? At what point is "Parents for Sale: Buy one get one free" actually funny? Or "You can't make me do chores if you can't find me" funny (even if it's in camo?) How about, "I'm a princess", which seems innocuous enough but really, are we trying to raise self-centered daughters? How about "Hear no sister, see no sister, speak to no sister"? Or "I'm not listening." Everyday I see children walking around with these shirts and I wonder at what point will we start to understand where it all went wrong? Will we ever see that in simple and small ways we have been not only allowing but actually laughing at all the bad habits and qualities we don't want to instill in our children?

Thirdly, I hate when people start a list and don't have a third item. But I really don't have a third item. I just had to vent about the other two things to get it off my chest. And I know some of you out there *cough* Jules *cough* are shaking your head at me and calling me a fanatic and someone who has taken things a little too far, you can chalk up these issues alongside my strong opposition to Halloween and Santa Claus (and yes, I do boycott both). The truth of the matter is, I'm okay with that.

Narnia - C.S. Lewis

I haven't finished the whole series yet, but I just wanted to mention (since I try to do book reviews on the books I've finished) that I'm currently entrenched in the Narnia series. I had never read any of the books until I was newly married and visiting my in-laws in England. My sister-in-law (then about 11 years old) had a mural on her bathroom wall from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Only I didn't know what it was. She was simply aghast that I hadn't read it and immediately forced her book upon me. I read it, but talking animals and fantasy just really isn't me.

But when the movie came out a few years ago, I was geeked. LM and I had read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I was eager for him to see this amazing technological movie. We both loved it. And I have grown to love how beautifully C.S. Lewis captured the Christian story and tucked it into a captivating children's story.

Now, with Prince Caspian in theaters, I realized I had never read any of the OTHER books in the series. So I have taken it upon myself to read them all. I have thus far read book #1, The Magician's Nephew, then I skipped over TLTWandTW (cause I've read it) although I'm going back to that one because they keep referring to things I don't remember. But then I read #3, A Horse and His Boy and then #4, Prince Caspian.

As of yet, I'm still unemployed for my summer, so I should have the whole series finished by say, Tuesday (I'm done subbing on Monday). I'll keep you posted.

As far as book reviews go, I cannot say enough about this series. Maybe you're like me and you don't go for talking animals and science fiction, but this book series is still a wonderful way to present the Christian message.

Do Hard Things - Harris and Harris

I've been searching.

For a way to awaken my son to a Christ-centered life. I recognize I'm not the strongest example; I'm still working it out for myself. But I wanted to do everything that I could to challenge him, motivate him, teach him, encourage him and raise him with a heart for God. I've been battling with the best way to get a pre-teen to do devotions; I've experimented around with our prayer time; I've bought him a new Bible, taken him to church, gotten him involved with youth group. But somehow, I felt it was all lacking the punch.

Leave it to Stacy.

God planted Stacy in my life years ago as a spiritual compass. I know she would argue against being thought of as such, but she truly has been for me. When I've had questions, she's had answers, or suggestions. When I've questioned my journey, she's been encouraging and faithful, leading me down a path God would be most pleased with. This time, all she had to do was recommend a book.

But oh, what a book.

It's not like any other. It was such an obvious and clear answer to prayer. Here it was in black and white. All my questions on how to challenge my son and motivate him and to encourage him to truly give his life (and not just his Sundays and Wednesday evenings) to God.

Alex and Brett Harris put together not just a book, but two lives (and I'm certain their whole family is the same way) that is all about living for God. The most amazing part, and the part that most directly answers my prayers is that they are TEENAGERS. This book was such a challenge to me in my own walk with God, but it speaks directly to teenagers (and pre-teens) and challenges them to take their energy, their spirit, their fearlessness and to put it all to work for God. In ways we would never expect out of teenagers. It challenges the notion head-on that teenagers are worthless, rebellious, and useless.

This book is the very first assignment LM has on his summer reading list. I hope that it's message will permeate through the rest of his life starting with the day he opens it up. I hope to have his reaction to the novel in many forms, but I hope, more than anything to have a teenager on my hands who cannot do enough for his Lord.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Easy Money

I went in to the bank the other day. Something I very rarely do with all the amenities the ATM affords me. But I went in. A man who seemed half my age asked if he could help me. I explained that I needed something notarized (my teaching certificate - yea!) and to make a deposit (my stimulus check - yea!) and I needed to sign a signature card for my savings account (savings- yea!) and I also needed a few coin rolls so I could bring in our loose change (money - yea!) He ushered me back to his desk to help me on all counts.

As it turned out, the notary in the office was working the drive-through, so this young man watched me sign my certificate and then took it to her in the drive-through window to have her notarize it. While he was gone, I noticed there were a set of keys, work keys, several keys sitting right in front of me on the desk. They really were much closer to me and the end of the table than they were to the young man when he was at the desk.

When he returned, I pointed out that the woman had only notarized one portion, but I needed both parts signed. He apologized and went back to the drive-through window, leaving the keys still sitting in front of me.

He came back again and proceeded to print out my signature card. He got a pen for me to use to sign the form and when I finished he took the form to some other place in the bank to file or something. He returned and started to enter in my deposit information when he commented that he's always losing pens. "This is the third pen I've used, I think," he said, "since you sat down here. I'm always losing them."

"Better to lose the pens than these keys, I would expect," I said, trying to suggest he put them in a better place.

"Oh yeah. They aren't even my keys," he replied, leaving them right where they sat on my side of the table. "I'd probably get fired if I lost those keys."

"It'd be a shame if someone walked off with them then," I said again, with a little more nudge in my voice.

"Oh yeah, and it'd be so easy to do just that," he said without a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

"I guess with all the security cameras in the place, it'd at least be obvious to the police who took the keys," I was grasping for straws here but without simply screaming YOU ARE AN IDIOT I didn't know how else to make the point.

The young man looked all around the ceiling and then chuckled and said, "Actually, I think this is the one spot in the bank where the cameras can't see. I like it that way so I can jump on every now and then and check my email on the computer."

With that, he stood up and walked behind the bank counter telling me he'd grab me some coin rolls and meet me at the other end of the counter.

Is it too much to hope that it was a staged set-up and somewhere there was a hidden camera and a man behind a curtain waiting to either arrest me or tell me I'm on Candid Camera?

All I know is that I wasn't so confident about putting my deposit in the bank afterall.

Self-Conscious

I was reading a story to Kindergartners the other day. A very cute story about a fish, when a little boy sitting on the floor in front of me interrupted me to say, "What is that brown stuff on you?"

I tried to ignore him and kept on reading.

"Miss Jane? What is that brown stuff all over you?"

Maybe it was the all over part that got me, but I grew concerned. And tried to figure out how I could see my reflection in a room without mirrors. The little fish in our story was going to have to wait. This matter needed clearing up and quickly.

"What stuff?" I asked nervously, looking at my shirt and capri's for any sign of something amiss.

"THAT stuff" he replied, pointing at me.

I gave him a very questioning, concerned look at which point he stood up and touched my arm.

"Oh, that. Those are FRECKLES."

Apparently learning about freckles is not a part of Kindergarten curriculum.

Air Zoo

War planes, veterans telling stories, simulators, 3-D flight movies, a cockpit you can climb in...what's not to love about the Air Zoo? LM thought it was awesome!
Planes, planes and planes!


LM got to sit in a cockpit. I wasn't certain he was ever going to get out.



A WWII veteran told us about some of the planes.


LM took a moment to jump around on the moon.



LM loved the blackbird. He wanted one of his own.


But we thought the navigator seemed a little lifeless.


I think a local aeronautical museum added to the ever-growing list of reasons why LM is glad we moved to Michigan.

The Parade

LM's band teacher is one of the few teachers that has ever challenged LM. He pushes. He won't settle for getting-by. He wants LM's best. And LM respects him for it. So do I. He has always said that he hopes that LM will eventually attend the high school in town where he is band director. It isn't likely, for a variety of reasons, but we haven't burst his bubble of hopes on that one yet.

And while I understand that the high school band he directs is undergoing rebuilding years, and I can understand the significant changes that have already taken place, it is difficult as a parent to want your child to participate in a high school band that had to join with the middle school band kids in order to have enough to march. The same ones who had t-shirts emblazoned with their school name as a uniform, the same ones who had two evening practices to learn how to march.

This one:


When this is the other high school's marching band.


I Still Don't Get It

At George's baseball field, on the fence, is a sign.


Let me enlarge it for you.

I'm sure there's an explanation, but for now, it mystifies me. I mean, I know there's no crying in baseball, but no swimming?

Just Practicing

I know, I haven't been around. I haven't posted, I haven't been reading, I haven't been commenting. Truth is, I'm practicing. Well, not intentionally. Actually the one working computer we have in this house was taken over by the Romans. Well, a project on the Romans anyway. But in all actuality, not having access to a computer at home for much of the last week is really just a practice run for this summer. You see, in a week, I will no longer have a home computer. In fact, in a week, I will have no computer at all. For the summer.

My computer died several months ago. I had problems with it that I was going to get fixed until the power jack quit working for the second time and I declared that no more money was going into that stinkin thing. So it sits. Dead. On my hope chest. But it's hopeless.

And in a week, LM will be off to PA (and TN, too) and I won't see him or his ever-working despite being ancient computer until the end of the summer.

So, my dear Inter Nets, this is me, posting for about the last time in awhile. And while there is a part of me that is already starting to twitch at the very thought of not having daily access to email, I have to say, that I've been thinking a lot about how impersonal my life has gotten with the aid of technology and this summer challenges me to actually use the PHONE or to visit people IN PERSON which are radical concepts if you are anyone besides my sister.

Before I go, however, I have a few posts to get caught up on. With that, read on.