Monday, September 26, 2016


The word serendipity has always been one of my favorites!  I believe serendipity isn't just coincidence, I believe it is God at work.  In 1996-97, Ted was finishing his Junior year in college at SWOSU.  It was common for Computer Science majors to apply for internships for the summer between junior and senior year.  Ted was no different-we worked on creating a resume that we thought would reflect his willingness to work hard and learn.  He didn't have lots of job experience, like many college students, so we researched ways to round out his resume.  One of the things we learned was that if you had a hobby you were passionate about, it was okay to include it.  So being an "aquarium enthusiast" went on his resume.  Little did we know how those two little words would eventually bring threads together in our tapestry of life.

Ted's resume wound up with a distribution center team at Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.  The manager asked if any of his team members wanted an intern.  A guy named Lloyd, being an aquarium hobbyist himself, noticed the words "aquarium enthusiast" and said "I'll take this one!" Soon we packed up and moved to Arkansas for twelve weeks....and the years since then have flown by!

>>>If you'll humor me for a few moments while I shift gears serendipity will weave the threads of this yarn together shortly.<<<

Last year I was searching for the perfect calendar.  A friend showed me her bullet journal created in a beautiful Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebook and I knew it was the answer to my calendar dreams!  I bought myself some pens and created my perfect calendar/journal/notebook!  I don't only keep dates in this notebook, I use it for doctor notes, meeting notes, things to tell the doctor, the kids community service, etc.  My pink Leuchtturm is hugely important in my life!  At first my doctor, kind of teased me about it but during the year she quickly came to realize how important and effective it was.  I rarely leave the house without it.

>>>Again, humor me while I add another thread to this yarn.<<<

Our sweet Melissa is playing school volleyball for the second year.  What that means to me is that I make one to four trips daily to Bentonville West High School in Centerton.  To help make my life a little easier, I partnered up with two other moms and we established a carpool.  Every third day, I drive three giggling girls early in the morning to practice.  Centerton is kind of a "bedroom" town, a lot of the residents commute into Bentonville or Rogers for work so when I drive carpool I'm going against the flow of traffic.  

A couple of weeks ago I was driving the girls to practice.  When I got to the intersection of Main and Bliss I noticed a notebook in the intersection.  I knew immediately that it was a Leuchtturm 1917 and I gasped, I knew that notebook had to be important to someone.  I had goosebumps...I told Melissa if we hadn't been on our way to practice I would've stopped and had her grab it.  By the time I got to the school I knew I had to turn around and go get the notebook.  The girls thought I was crazy.

By the time I got back to the intersection, traffic had slowed down the notebook was still there.  It was open with pages flapping, I could see the tire marks across the pages.  I hopped out and grabbed the notebook a quick glance told me it was a mowing business and this was the record of receipts.  In the nearby gutter  I could see pieces of paper so I thought I would retrieve them as well.  As I pulled into the apartment complex I could see that there was a check.  I stopped and picked it up, it was made out to a man and woman with "Happy Life" in the memo.  When I approached the gutter I saw there were several checks, gift receipts and a wedding card to the couple from the grooms parents.  I looked through the notebook and noticed the man had used the notebook to write out the vows he said to his bride.  Wow.

There was no name or contact information in the notebook however a couple of the checks did have the last name of the newlyweds.  After I got home I realized the last name was was the same as the maiden name of Lloyd's wife.  Two little words on a resume for an internship led me to find the owner of the notebook. Serendipity.

We never know how the threads of our life will twist together.  Our tapestries are all unique, we get threads and we leave threads in the tapestries of others, we don't know how or when they will impact someone else.  Serendipity = Crazy Blessed Make your thread beautiful, make your thread worthy to stand the test of time, most of all make your thread a reflection of you...crazy blessed child of God.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Holding Hearts

In February 1994, I learned I would become a Mom.  Little did I know that almost 22 years later I would feel the way I do about each of our wonderful daughters.  Friday our youngest turned 12.  She's solidly in the double digits and well on her way to becoming a productive young adult.  My little sharp shooter asked for a "hotel sleepover" with her friends.  She doesn't ask for a lot so we worked hard to make it happen!  The possibility of having six "tween-agers" caused me to want an extra adult so I turned to our oldest for help.  She was excited at the chance to be there for her little sister, spend time getting to know her friends and help me out!  The evening was so much fun filled with laughter, crafts, games, movies and of course chocolate!  When it came time for the "adults" to turn in for the night, Anna and I shared the king size bed.  That is when it hit me....

She's an adult.  A real adult.  She has an apartment.  She has a job.  She has a boyfriend.  She has a dog.  Yet somehow when I look at her with my heart I still see the little girl.  

When I finally tumbled into bed, she had already settled in, her breathing was even and steady, she
was nearing sleep. I almost cried.  It's been years since I slept in the same bed with my oldest.  As I listened to her breathe I was transported back to when she was a toddler.....she and I spent large amounts of time together.  I was crazy blessed to be a stay at home mom-we played games, worked puzzles, went for walks, cooked, watched the very first episode of Blues Clues, laughed, and even cried together.  During the day Handsome went to class, did homework and then headed to work.  Many evenings, he was at work until late, if he wasn't at work then he was at the computer lab writing code for class.  At bedtime, I would curl up with Anna in her little twin size bed and we would read-book after book after book after book until she would drift off to sleep.  Often Handsome would arrive home and I would be sound asleep in her Winnie the Pooh wonderland.

Anna has always been my hand holder.  We have so many pictures of just our hands and still at almost 22, she will grab my hand.  The hand holding is a tradition I've continued with the Little's as well.  When something is important or "big" we hold hands to share the news, when we're tired or sad we hold hands, when we walk down the street we hold hands.  A few months ago when a new family visited our church the family had a teenage daughter as we watched them walk across the parking lot the daughter reached over and grabbed her moms hand and Melissa gasped, "Mom!  I can be friends with her, she's holding her moms hand!!!"

I realized the other night there is something intimate and special about listening to your child breathe.  Praying over them as they sleep and trusting them to God.  It made me think about my Mom and all the prayers I know she has offered over me.  During my 20's, 30's and into my 40's when I'd go home for a visit I always looked forward to laying in her bed with the hushed, end of day conversations as we waited for Dad to lock up the house and come to bed.  Those were treasured memories, we weren't holding hands, we were holding hearts.  I knew we weren't just talking, she was praying for me, for my husband, my life.  I didn't quite comprehend the specialness of those times until I was listening to Anna the other night and I realized that with my parents across the street I no longer have that opportunity with my Mom.  I know she still says just as many prayers, we talk every day-usually several times a day but that quiet time is past.

I'm so crazy blessed to have a Mom who taught me the importance of the quiet moments.  Savoring every moment together.  I'm hugging my kids a little closer these last few days, savoring their unique smells, the feel of their hands in mine, the way their voice sounds, the texture of their hair.  I want to remember all those things so when they are grown and these precious moments have passed so I can always hold their hearts when their hands aren't close!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Deal with it!

Anyone who ever talks books with me quickly learns that Nadia Bolz-Weber is one of my favorite authors.  A few years ago a volleyball mom friend recommended the book "Pastrix" to me, I ordered it and finished reading in just a couple of days.  Her way of "speaking," her philosophy, her love of all people was something I readily identified with.  On my bucket list is hearing her speak in person.  She is the only recorded sermon I ever listen to.  On July 7th she posted one that spoke to me more than any sermon has ever spoken to me.  She started off by admitting that about 15 years ago she had a case of hypochondria.  She spoke of numerous trips to the doctor and just hoping he'd find something wrong so maybe if something was really wrong she'd get a "hall pass on life!"  After one of her many visits, her doctor sat her down and said,
"Nadia, nothing is wrong with you. 
You just have to deal with your life!"
 Just let that one sink in for a minute.

 Nothing is wrong with you.  You just have to deal with your life.  
Nothing is wrong with me.   I just have to deal with my life.

Hypochondria-I've been there.  Many days when the alarm sounds, the kids fight, the phone rings, another task is added to my never complete task list, or the dog whimpers and I wish for a hall pass on my life.  My feet hit the floor and I have to deal with my life.  My life isn't bad but I do have stress, sometimes it feels like too much.  When I see friends and they ask how I am, I often struggle with saying I'm fine.  Actually my answer is generally, "I'm FABULOUS!" because I know there is nothing more I can say.  People don't really care how you are, it's just a question one asks to be polite or a way to put a label on you as the tired person, the happy person, the complainer, etc. I'll be the "fabulous" friend everytime!  They don't care to know that your dog pooped in the house twice that morning and you stepped in the middle of it in the utility room.  They may care that your daughter had a wreck but the phone calls helping her keep it together and not feel consumed with guilt, they never know.  The parents who are aging and the siblings who are in denial, unless someone has been here they just expect a response of "great."  Everyone is too consumed with their own "garbage" to care about mine.

Lately I have realized that the stress in my life is creeping out in subconscious ways.  Recently my teeth and jaws have been hurting and I've had a constant headache.  A couple of days ago I saw my dentist and he told me it's classic symptoms of grinding my teeth in my sleep.  When he looked in my mouth, he was shocked at the damage to my teeth in the last six months.

Some of you may have seen my Facebook post which read:
Because I'm honest, here is what I learned at the doctor today:
1. I'm still fat. (I was just as surprised as you!) 
2. My cholesterol is bad. (Same with my parents & grandparents.) 
3. My thyroid is still off. (Thank you surgeon for not monitoring both my TSH & T3 for a year after surgery. Thank you Lauren for trying to fix it!)
4. No more gluten >period < (My doctors research is showing cutting gluten benefits persons with low thyroid and reduces inflammation.) 
5. Eat three meals a day. (Which is funny because #1, she told me to eat more because I often forget.)
6. Prioritize Dana. (Um, wow. She said, "Seriously Dana, you cook for the dog. You put the dog ahead of you. Take care of Dana!")
The other day when I saw my doctor which prompted the above post, we talked about the number of women who are stressed, so stressed it is manifesting in physical problems. (Thanks Lauren for your time, genuine caring for my health and the health of my family-you're a gem!) It may come as a shock but this is absolutely >>not<<< a new problem. Through my years as a mom, my own mom has shared with me stories about how difficult it sometimes was raising us kids in from the 60's - the 80's; during many of those years she was also caring for her aging parents.  Mom has always been a "bath every night whether you need it or not" kind of woman; when we were young she'd literally fall into the tub shed tears and cry.  Tears of exhaustion,  tears of isolation,  tears from being the glue that always held our family together and cries to God for the strength to do it all again tomorrow.

Cries to God
AKA Prayer

At Beer & Hymns with my Anna-girl, she still holds hands with me!
I've always believed in God.  I've always prayed.  Somehow I came up with the bright idea of our United Methodist Women ladies retreat focusing on prayer and I started researching.  I've only scratched the surface of the book "The Circle Maker" but I find myself being bolder with my prayers and more consistent.  I'm working to create a prayer journal and found advice on a blog using a book I remember from my Mom's arsenal for prayer, "The Hour that Changed the World."   I haven't been bold enough to start but I know it is coming, I feel a little afraid of the difference it will make.   As a nod to old number 6 above to Prioritize Dana, prayer is going to be a 
dedicated, focused part of my everyday life.  Here is the blog entry I am patterning my prayer journal after.  I will be personalizing it for three daughters (and a daughters boyfriend), prayers I love and prayers I will write.  I look forward to having it ready to fill.  This will be my daily "power hour."  My life is crazy blessed and so life is full and I'm so crazy blessed.  They go hand in hand because there is not one single element of my life I'd choose to go without-the good, the not so good, the great, the horrible, the ups, the downs, the happy moments, the sad--every one makes me the person I am.  
My friend Mellissa says, "Today is a good day for a good day!"
I found this one and like it too...
"Not every day is a good day but there is good in every day!"