Perspective

Perspective can be funny. It's taken me several weeks to process the loss of a young family friend to cancer.

Things that make me weep:
Hearing a mother pray for the audience at her son's funeral.
Seeing a father, overcome with grief, sob over the coffin of his firstborn son.
Watching strangers in a small town stand on street corners holding #teamnoah signs and orange balloons to show support to the grieving family.
Holding your youngest child as she weeps at the thought of how difficult life can be at times.

Things that make me smile:
Hearing a selfless mother pray for an audience of people who loved her son.
Seeing a tough police officer/father not afraid to show emotion.
Seeing a community come together to show support.
Seeing just how sensitive my daughter's heart is and how she aches for others.

Sometimes life is not fair. I am honored to have known one of the strongest fighters around. Rest in the Lord's arms, sweet Noah. You fought the good fight and you won. I'll see you in Heaven.

I Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus."

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Two weeks

I know there are better titles but titles often elude me and I went with the first thing that popped in my mind. 

The answer is: Two weeks.

The question is: How long did my dad just spend with me in California?

I made Dad an offer he couldn’t refuse. I flew to Albuquerque and drove him back to spend a couple of weeks with our family. Ahead of time I fretted. The house isn’t clean enough. The guest sheets are only 250 TC. I work too much. The hot water goes out after 3 1/2 showers. Sometimes a 3 year old who lives here throws tantrums. The cat is weird. I don’t cook every day. Dad might get bored.

You know what? All of those things happened. Tantrums, leftovers, weird cat, working, and yes, I’m sure some boredom.

But (every good story always has a but!) it was good. I dare say it was even great. Dad spent time with two of his great granddaughters and got a glimpse into our life. We ate steak and chile rellenos and drank coffee. Lots of coffee. We had good talks about spiritual things, recipes, dinosaurs, Spain, parenting (I’m still apologizing to my parents), family history, our Texas ranch and other childhood vacation spots. We visited Yosemite, had fish & chips at the beach, drove to Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and marveled at God’s creation. We stood together near the world’s largest tree with tears in our eyes and agreed that the very spot felt like a cathedral. 

I learned I am more like my dad than I ever knew.

And I am so incredibly proud of that.

I love you, Dad. Next time you come, we’re looking at apartments for you.


Paul

About 2 1/2 years ago during an internet genealogy search, I found a treasure: my dad’s first cousin, Paul. I got to meet him in Dallas a couple of times in his latter years, and correspond with him. My life became richer for having found him.

A few weeks ago I missed a call on my cell phone. One look at the caller ID told me news was coming that I did not want to hear.

At 91, and in his own home, Paul went home to Jesus. He had prepared mailings for his family to fill in the date and mail when the time came.

Life goes on and I’m looking forward to staying in touch with his daughter, another newfound cousin I’m learning about in my adult years.

Do.

Do. Little word, big meaning.

Yesterday I visited the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. It wasn’t something that was on my bucket list or I had planned to visit. It was across the street from my hotel and I had a couple of free hours to kill. Once I researched a little bit and learned that they had a special JOHN DENVER exhibit, I knew I had to visit.

You see, as a young girl, I fell in love with John Denver. Not just “Hey I like this guy.” Love. True love, y’all. I watched his [ok, they were corny] movies, owned every album, and had full intentions of marrying him when I was older. Except, you know, he was nearly my parents’ age.

In 1976, my older sister (let’s be real, she’s everybody’s favorite person in the world) had three concert tickets to see John Denver with our mom and her friend. Sister/Laura, in her kindness, gave me her ticket because she knew I would enjoy it more than she would. I was 11 and took in a cassette tape recorder, extra batteries, and made my first bootleg concert tape. [Regarding ‘first’, no comment.] This was my first concert ever and it was magical. But I digress…

Back to the exhibit. There was a filmed interview with John and one of his talking points discussed each individual’s contribution towards creating a better environment.

“There are so many things that need to be done that sometimes it seems overwhelming. I try to remind everyone that no one person has to do it all, but if each one of us follows our heart and our own inclinations, we will find the small things we can do and together we will come up with enough to create a sustainable future and a healthy environment.”

He was an early tree hugger, for lack of a better term. We likely would have never run in the same circles [which would have been awkward had we married, of course].

But tree hugger/environmentalist mentality aside, my takeaway is this:


Find what needs doing. And do it.


From menial tasks like emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the dog bowl, changing the sheets, doing taxes…to the bigger picture. Make a difference in the life of a child, buy a bag of groceries for someone in need, bake a treat for the new neighbors, pray for that person you said you would pray for, help your widow neighbor with the trash cans. There are a lot of things that need doing. And it’s high time for me to start doing them.

Inauguration Eve, 2017

I am sick of the political rants, the hateful memes (both sides, don’t fool yourself), the verbal attacks against those who voted differently, the name calling, continued dissension. Some people seem to just enjoy stirring the pot. I like what Ellen shares here. We really are more alike than different. That doesn’t make YOU right and ME wrong, or ME right and YOU wrong. It means we each love our country and have different ideas on what’s best for our country. AND THAT’S OK. Tomorrow, whether you like it or not, we will have a new President. If you don’t like him, that’s your choice, but unless you denounce your citizenship, the rights and responsibilities of it, and move to another country, Donald Trump WILL be your president. I urge you to stop the negativity, set an example for those around you, wish the man and his family well. Let’s hope he does such a good job that we are all rushing to be the first in line to vote him in again. If not, many of us will vie to be the first in line to let him know “You’re fired.”

I like what Ellen Degeneres has to say about it.

No matter what your political views are, there’s always room to be kind and hope for the best. If you can’t do those things, you need to re-evaluate your thinking.

I’m officially old.

I must officially be old when electronics start to distress me. If you know me at all, I’m the nerd in our family. I have two phones and [cough cough] four laptops. I am fairly well connected, since all of my jobs require this. (And the Macbook is for sale, so technically it shouldn’t count.) Many days I want to toss them all in the pool and walk away. Then I remember I have bills to pay and this is how I make my money.

I recently witnessed a young couple, both with smart phones; yet “he” allowed his phone to dictate every moment of his life. Instead of interacting with those around him, he chose to isolate himself and binge watch shows on his phone. “She,” however, didn’t have her phone on her most of the time. She simply didn’t allow it to come between conversations and relationships. She invested in the people around her, initiated thought-provoking conversations, played games, and looked for ways to help out.

I understand the need to check your phone periodically, but consider unplugging a bit. Leave the phone in another room and invest in the people you are with. Netflix will still be there tomorrow.


Those you love may not be.


2017

What could 2017 look like if we made changes so that a year from today, we could honestly say that we are healthier in every aspect?

Should we eat differently? Start a new exercise routine? Spend more time with friends and family? End toxic relationships? Read the Bible? Go to church? Declutter our home? Volunteer in the community? Give to worthy causes? Stop complaining when we don’t get our way? Cut back frivolous spending?

Do you hope for big things in the coming year? What changes are you making in your life to allow this to happen? 

If we do the same thing we have always done, we are going to get the same results we have always gotten. 

As for me, I am tired of the same results. It’s time to get serious.

 

Go on. Order the bacon.

I have a friend whose adventures I follow on Facebook. She recently posted of a whirlwind trip she made with her young daughter to NYC to see a couple of shows. They took a redeye from California, arrived the next morning and discovered their luggage did not come with them. Frustrating? Yes. Trip ruining? No. They went to the hotel, checked in, and ordered breakfast. Her next picture was of her and her daughter eating bacon, exclaiming that this hotel has the best bacon she has ever eaten. Instead of stressing about the lost luggage, they ate bacon.

Bacon. Who would have thought?

I remember traveling with our daughters. With four young kids, often eating out was a hassle, not to mention expensive. “Can we order extra bacon?” We would gasp at the menu price and usually say, “No.”

20+ years later, to do over, I would order the bacon.

Hello? Helloooooo?

You know what they say about good intentions…I do have good intentions about blogging. I think of wonderful things I want to write about. The problem is that I think of them when I am in the middle of doing mundane tasks, like buying lettuce, feeding the cat, brushing my teeth. Blog-worthy thoughts don’t come to mind when I am, say, at my computer.

And then I get busy with work. And with life. And I forget that there are three of you who read my blog and may need new material more than once every 10 months.

Life is busy, but not any more busy than for anybody else. 

Going backwards, we have lost a family pet, had a family wedding, had not one but two college graduations, entered into a travel advisor career, took a road trip with daughter and granddaughter, cruised with my mom and sisters, visited aging distant cousins in Dallas, sent a daughter to The Netherlands for a semester, took the whole family to Disneyland for New Years, celebrated a daughter’s engagement. That takes us from yesterday all the way back to December in one long run-on sentence.

Life is always full of ups and downs, the same as it is for others. When the downs feel overwhelming, I feel comforted in remembering that I have Jesus on my side and I hope the same goes for you. If not, may I share a simple truth with you? It’s my blog and I’m going to share it anyway. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

God meets us where we are. That’s all we need to start.

For now, that’s all. I don’t want to go overboard on my first blog back.

C.

Losing One’s Cool

On a recent flight, I was delayed out of my departure city. The delay caused us (and many others) to miss our connection, the last flight of the night. As I waited my turn at the customer service counter to find a better solution than what the airline had already re-booked, a man behind me in line became irate. Multiple times he threw his bags down with a loud, “F~%#! This is unacceptable!” He was clearly unhappy he had missed his flight and the airline could do nothing but get him on the first flight of the morning. Because I was in the mood for a show, I allowed him to go ahead of me and watched it unfold. He ranted on and on for some 10-15 minutes, including yelling at a manager and demanding to be put on a [nonexistent] flight that night. Later he said he wanted his luggage. A reasonable request, except that at the last minute, his luggage had made the flight he missed. 😂 Eventually the agent called me up and it was my turn to rant.

Except that I didn’t.

My mother taught me early on that you can generally kill more flies with honey, so that’s the approach I took. Well over an hour later, the agent had rerouted us to an airport closer to our actual destination on a flight that arrived hours before the originally re-booked flight. She also changed our return flight to match the new airport and bumped us out a day so we still had three full days to visit our daughter.
Worth the wait? Absolutely. Perfect travel day? Not even close. But in this day and age, with the luxuries we enjoy, is it really necessary to be rude to those who really are doing everything in their power to help? I just don’t think so.

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

C.