Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Decisions are hard.

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 30

Our kids have been faced with an unending list of decisions in the last few years. Virtual or face to face. Mask or no mask. AP or Honors. Baseball or golf? Band or drama? College, trade school, gap year?

Ultimately, our kids decide. Then we all throw two cents of advice at them thinking we know what they should do. Who do they listen to? Hopefully themselves, and maybe one cent of the two we throw.

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

Paulo Coelho

I pray I will support all of my children’s decisions. Because when you’re standing at the fork in the road, having loved ones who support you will make the moments after 100% better.

Please pray for Ukraine.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Stay strong Ukraine

USA Today reports, “Ukrainians returning to Kyiv as Russian forces pulled out over the weekend found a shocking trail of destruction and death, including slain civilians lying on the streets with their hands bound.”

Please pray for those families and loved ones going through this war.

Father of all, we pray to you for all of the lost Ukrainian souls, and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

I write my story

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 29

Kindergarten is a blur except for recess 
and a girl who cut in line

In first grade the Tree House was Magical for some
I found the wood and built my own

Harry had a wand and Hedwig
I widdled a bow and arrow
and wove a leash for our dog

The Giver and Jonas were dystopian
Me my family and bike are utopian

The Hunger Games tangled with win and loss
Everyday I failed
Everyday I succeeded

Stories are in books
I write my story
I live my story
I am my story

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

When cardinals are here, angels are near

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 28

The other day my husband met a gentleman whose sole job is to ensure trucks are let in and out of a construction area safely and without harming pedestrians. A noble job and one that requires patience and a keen eye.

I could imagine this must be very hard, to be vigilant and always ready to usher kids or adults across a noisy construction area. More significantly, he guards this area without a screen staring back at him, just the sun shining and the world around him, observing his surroundings. While on his shift, he told my husband a story. As he was just closing the gate for what seemed to be the 38th time that morning, he saw a red streak go by and land near a home in a short distance. As if called to a service, the cardinals landed by an elderly woman who stopped in her tracks, bowed her head, hands folded in prayer.

He recognized this gesture and explained that spotting a cheerful cardinal means a lost family member is safe and happy. “When cardinals are here, angels are near.” He went on to note that the mere sighting of a cardinal is known to bring on emotional feelings. Some feel the vibrant red is a spiritual, and uplifting symbol that those we have lost will indeed live forever.

He told the story as rotely as if reciting the alphabet. Hearing this reminded me of a cardinal I saw in our backyard yesterday who caught my attention with a loud string of whistles and trills. His song made me think of my husband’s grandmother, Sissy who always had a story to share or a prank to pull. How lovely to know cardinals can give us hope that our loved ones who are gone are safe, happy, and watching over us.

Today when we are distracted by so much, it’s easy to push our memories and feelings aside – and forget to look up, find hope, and be grateful. I love that this gentleman who ensured everyone’s safety all day took a moment to observe the love and hope all around us and share his story.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Teach your kids to ask questions

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 27

My son and I have good discussions. Great discussions. Hard discussions. I remember lots of knocking and kicking when he was in the womb, no doubt he was planning to buy a big Ford something-or-other truck, load his bike in the back and drive to Moab in Utah to ride. 

When putting him to bed at age 3, he would ask, “Why do you and Papa get to stay up?” We didn’t even curse when we replied…simply gave the parental response of you’re the child, we’re the adults. (Athough sometimes I wanted to be the kid long enough to take a quick nap, let someone make me lunch and not have to get up 30 times to pee.) The interrogating continued and on the second day of kindergarten, he asked WHY!? he had to go again…he ALREADY went to kindergarten!

As he got older, he asked to play baseball and soccer, then give archery a try and why not gymnastics and tennis. Maybe mountain biking and guitar? Unicycling sounds fun and the saxophone – let’s get one! Swimming grabbed his attention for a minute as did basketball and even church retreats. Chess was fleeting…too much sitting. Then came badminton, ping pong, rollerblading, skateboarding, Ripstick, and scooter-riding cross-country running, and frisbee golf. Check! Check! Check! Then there was the creation of fidget spinners, paracord bracelets, and dog leashes. He can hammer leather, solder, weld, sew, change the oil, build a bike ramp, pitch a tent, cast a fishing rod flawlessly, take stunning photos and edit the perfect video. It’s a lot…but he’s not afraid to try or risk failing.

Ironically, our discussion this evening was all about the things we “didn’t let him try”. For the most part, the list includes:

1. driving four-wheeled vehicles with a lot of letters like ATV, SUV, SxS, along extremely muddy trails, and

2. whatever his friends are doing that he’s not.

I get it. I remember wondering why everyone knew how to swim so well when I moved to the east coast. Of course, I couldn’t blame my parents…we lived in a land-locked state, and of course, the Rio Grande River is not known for water skiing.

As he entered middle and high school, his questions continued at home and in class. He admitted tonight that he hesitated to raise his hand in elementary school in fear of getting the wrong answer, he certainly saved all those questions for home!

I spoke to our son’s teachers at a conference in 8th grade and beyond and the one consistency they spoke of was he asked great questions. “Not the off-the-wall questions either” one teacher stressed. “He is content-driven.”

My son leans in the direction of calculated answers. His brain craves knowing why –  like a flower craves the sun. He completely bypasses wondering and simply asks, Why? How? When?

Raising kids who ask questions is a challenge. Thinking back, if I could tell my 16-year-old self one thing it would be ASK! Ask for help on the physics test, ask someone to go to prom, ask why the point was taken off on your essay, or how you can get your grade up. Ask if you can go to the Braves playoff game or skiing with a friend.  

We each had a cavern in our souls to be filled with answers…all we have to do is dig for them…and simply ask.