Texting with Tess

Here is a recent texting conversation with my Ex-Roomie. She is the one who up & moved to Seattle for some new adventures, which you can read about here.

She makes me laugh & can still annoy me from miles away.

Part of her Princess Powers, I think.

franTesska: ...In other news, i just got my WA license plates too!

Me: Hooray for shedding your uterine linning! Boo for getting license & being more settled. Is it a good photo?

franTesska: It's okay pic. I'm smiling, but my hair is funny. i actually got the card awhile ago but now my car will be branded washingtonian too. i went to the office just now, did my paper work, paid, and they handed me my plates and tabs, too easy!

(HA! I just realized that she texted "license plate" and I read "license". See how nice she is not to make fun of little ol' illiterate me?)

Me:  Stop sharing things that emphasize you not being here!

franTesska: I'm such a tease! i like to selectively forget the being gone part. :( and instead emphasize the getting settled and being responsible part :)

Me: Way to spin "the story" in you political favor!

franTesska: I AM royal after all...

Me: Yes your majesty....i forgot....please forgive me (am bowing & walking away backwards).  Speaking of royal pains in my a....did the British royal Fam call & let you know the new baby's name or did you find out on the internet?

franTesska: You told me!


Boys & their bugs

 I had a lovely day with my nephs
(one of the many names I call my nephews)
this past week.

J putting flowers in his teeth
We stopped by my house where they "helped" me carry water bottles in from the car.

During this short stop,
J happened upon a snail
which he picked up
& proceeded to carry with him.....everywhere.

Snail, J & a roly-poly
He talked to me about how his mom pays him money to collect the snails at his house,
& that he has to take them to a certain place to dump them.

I told him that he could carry it with him to the empty lot behind my place
& dump this particular friend there.

J trying to show off the roly-poly
He then began to explain that his mom lets him keep some of the snails he finds
& that he really wanted to keep this particular one because
"he really likes me".

A boy & his bug

 I just couldn't break up this sweet friendship
 so I asked Jude if he wanted to take his snail friend to the park with us.

He wanted to.

He talked almost the whole way about how his snail was really friendly
& obviously liked him a lot.

Frankly, I have to agree.

That little snail did not retreat into his shell once, the whole time Jude had him.

He slithered all over J's hand
& tolerated being switched between hands because of the slime
& needing to hold hands to cross the street.

He did not retreat while we (E & I) played on the play structure
& J sat next to him on the picnic table,
gently picking him up when it looked like he was getting too close to the edge of the table.

He did not retreat when I asked J if he thought his snail friend would like some water.

J said he thought he would,
so I carefully poured a tempting snail pond near enough for said snail to drink
or absorb
or whatever they do with water.

And whatever they do, he did.

He seemed quite happy in his puddle of fun on the picnic table,
so we poured some more.

He did not retreat when we stopped in a patch of grass to watch a construction worker drive a back hoe.
Never has construction on a public restroom been so intriguing

He did not retreat as J dutifully held his slimy & curious friend on the trek back.

E, J, me

I assumed we would leave this new friend in the back lot
like we had talked about earlier.

I was wrong.

J began to get upset when I mentioned this
& when it became clear to J that this new sluggish friend
was not traveling in the car with us back to J's home.

I began to get upset when J started to dance in frustration,
(which sometimes can be a wind up to a break down).

It was so sweet.

This passionate & tender boy,
making friends so quickly,
with something so strange.

(Yes, I know I am probably making it harder for his parents
to teach him right & wrong & not to manipulate people
& that just cause you are one of the 7 cutest wonders of the world,
you do not always get your own way.)

But seriously, this boy loves bugs!

So, like all whipped aunties, I compromised.

We found an empty planting pot and put some leaves in it.

I drew the line at putting a make shift lid on it to keep J's friend "safe"
(read trapped)
I promised I would keep an eye on him and let J know how he did.

The poor little snail was tuckered out & slept
(I am assuming this as I did not hear him snoring,
nor did I poke him to see if he was alive)
in his shell in his guest pot for two days.

On my way to work on Monday,
he was gone,
but there were 11 snails of all different sizes sliming their way across my sidewalk.

I let J know his friend went back home
because he missed his friends & family.

#1 of the 7 cutest wonders of my world

#5 of the 7 cutest wonders of my world

It's amazing the things I will tolerate
because someone little & precious befriends it!


Metric Gnomes & Star Wars

Baby got skills,
and by "baby" I mean Jill.

Do you see my very pregnant sister-in-law doing a handstand?
I was standing right in front of her and saw her legs kick up
and then the baby sort of squiggled around as he moved towards her head.
It was cool in a very Alien sort of way. 

The boys wanted to join in once they knew that having a "big belly" 
wouldn't prevent them from doing a handstand.

 Here was Jill's reward for so cool a handstand whilst being so very pregnant.

She got to watch Star Wars, Episode IV, for the first time in her life.

Yes, I did just say "first time in her life".

Yes. She was born in 1981.

Yes. She should have watched it before now.

She knows that, not only because I have cursed at  told her many times.
She knows that watching it in 2013 for the first time means the wonder and amazement at the cool special effects might be dampened.

She kept warning Tim and I that we should keep our expectations of her enjoyment of it low.

Here she is showing her pretend excitement at being forced allowed to watch...

 See, isn't it romantic?
All the robots and bun heads and heavy breathing!

I had a very difficult time getting into Star Wars as is because of how long it had been since I had watched it and how recently it had been since I watched Thumb Wars.
I had to stop myself from saying the Thumb Wars lines, so Jill might have a chance at liking it.

I forgot how whiney Luke was.
I forgot how Chewy is like the Holy Spirit, interceding with growls and groans that words cannot describe.
I forgot how much I like R2D2.

Here is something else I like:


So I am a bit behind
in several things.

I am learning to embrace that.
Being behind.
The fact that this side of heaven,
things will not be perfect.

And by things,
I mean me.

Lot's has happened,
and I have imperfectly lived it, since my last post.

Just got through reading through too many sad stories and news accounts surrounding the Boston Marathon and other happenings.

I was driving to an appointment on Monday, when I heard something on the radio.
I immediately thought of my friend running in the Marathon.
I called and texted him.
No answer.
I called and texted a few of our mutual friends to see if anyone had heard from him.
No one had yet, but we planned on notifying each other as soon as one of us did.
I became increasingly anxious as I heard more news reports,
wondering where he was and if he was ok.

This is something I thought about in that moment.
My capacity to understand and process sad things.

I am not sure we as humans can emotionally grasp and deal appropriately with the depth of the horrible things we hear about on the news.
I don't think we were made to be able to fully understand this sort of thing,
to take all the information in and handle it.
It can be helpful in a difficult situation to not fully grasp the extent of something.
I think our minds inability to do so can protect us until we are in a position to work through something. 
But my inability to do so coupled with the medias persistence in presenting the news with one of two attitudes, often leaves me feeling bad about myself.

I have to limit my news intake because of this.

I tend to sense one of two undertones in the media's presentation of anything tragic.
One is a straightforward tone of "just the facts".
The other is a tone of excitement about the drama unfolding,
a certain look in the reporters eye,
a certain type of music to go along with the story,
a desire for a certain effect in the hearers mind and heart.

We as humans don't always grasp the meanings of the words.
3 individuals killed, means 3 families and communities affected.
It means 3 lives cut short.
It means mourning and grief for many more individuals.
For every number mentioned, there are more numbers.
More families and neighbors and friends and witnesses.
Tragedy has ripples.
Numbers don't suffice.
There are real people, and families and communities that are affected by every single number that is talked about.
I get that.

I also get that the media can tend to make me feel manipulated.
Like if the numbers are big enough, people will care.I react to things being presented in a way to invoke some kind of emotion.
I know that about myself.
I react to it in more than just the news. I see it in movies, tv shows, relationships.
I think some of it has to do with the fact that I wish we could just hear the words that are true, understand their meaning and then be allowed to feel whatever we feel.
I don't need the media needs to present a story with a movie score behind it so that I know how to feel.
I am human, I have feelings.

The news should not have to be presented in a dramatic way for us fellow humans to comprehend that it is a tragedy.
We should be able to understand the meanings of words without the dramatic music in the background.
Numbers are never just numbers.
Whether it is 3 people or 1500,
Each persons life matters.
Maybe not specifically to you, but to someone, to lots of people.
Ripples are real.

The problem is that I can't handle those ripples. When I start really thinking about the facts and the meanings of the words spoken. I get overwhelmed and depressed.

Before there was TV, or 24 hour news, or this here interweb, we dealt with and entered into the news of our neighbors and towns.
 Even that is difficult.
Caring about those around you.
But now, we can be bombarded by news from everywhere.
I don't know if we as humans are capable of actually understanding the sadness of all these events.
 I think we can get the facts, but I am learning that the real heartache or hardship behind it, the rest of the story, I am not always able to enter into.
I can't handle that much sorrow, grief, or anger.
I can't handle the knowledge of evil like this.

That is my point.
I can't handle it and I am not sure that I was made to.

This comforts me.
I don't have to get it.
Me fully comprehending or knowing every single thing about a particular tragedy does not make it more real, or more sad, or more of a tragedy.
Words mean things. 
I don't have to somehow manipulate my brain and my heart to fully absorb these sad stories to make them true.
I don't have to manipulate my brain or heart to fully absorb the real extent, the ripples of this tragedy either, because I have a God who fully absorbs, who fully understands, who sees every victim and mourning or confused person, not just for Boston, but the world.
It is too big for me, but not for Him.

This doesn't let me off the hook, in case you are wondering.
It feels more like a place of rest where I can then look out and see what my part can be in the restoration and healing.

How do I come along side my friend who was ran the Boston Marathon on Monday,
who survived uninjured,
but is still grieving?

I am free to think about how to pray, to give, and to grieve because I do not have to carry the full weight of this tragedy.
God is doing that already.
I am now free to grieve and pray and give, in my own limited way,
because the weight of the world is not on my shoulders.
It is on His.
His shoulders are a good place for the weight to be,
because He knows suffering,
because He has experienced it more deeply than you or I will ever have to.
So rest easy little hurting world.
Your God is BIG and He gets it.
Now get to work!


Deck the Halls...

Here it comes, the whirlwind of the Christmas Season.

In my case this December began with some breaking of tradition.

I decided to deck my halls BEFORE my Birthday this year!

Besides being thrilled at the personal growth I feel certain this step reflects,
I must now admit I did it simply because I love Christmas.

I couldn't wait to get out my box of lights and strange collection of ornaments.

Oh, and the Christmas music.

Amy Grant and I have been rocking out.
If you don't believe me, watch out, b'cause I might just come to your house to prove it.

I am now imaging myself in a long winter coat,
hair mussed yet somehow still cool
(just like John Cusack in Say Anything),
standing in your front yard blasting my Amy Grant Christmas CD
& singing loud for all to hear.

I love the sparkle and the cozy gatherings and the hot cocoa.

I love the wonder and mystery of the Holy God becoming man,
choosing to enter in to our weakness and helplessness,
giving generously and freely of all that He is.

This is what thrills my heart and gives me wonder afresh.

 My Mumsy & I (with the distraction of the eldest nephew J) sorted through our family Christmas boxes again, and tried to consolidate, get rid of,  and share some of these family treasures.
This is fun for me, not just because I am the self appointed Family Memory Treasurer,
but also because in "treasurering" I find things like this...
Ornaments hand made by my Grandmother

If your beloved Grandmother hand made ornaments representing you and your three siblings, wouldn't you treasure them, even if said ornaments made you appear hideous, puffy, and slightly monstrous?

I wish I had a photo of the one she made of Tim. It is quite possibly three times the size of the ones shown here, and really the ugliest one of them all. They make me laugh. And they make me miss my sweet and funny Grandma.

These ornaments are now in the possession of the sibling who shares their name, much to my sister-in-law Jill's chagrin because she has to hide her ornament "Timothy" at the back of the tree, and much to my chagrin because I think by themselves they are a little strange, but together they fit monstrously well.

I hope your season is filled with things that invoke wonder and delight...even if it is delighting in the wonder of Amy Grant & I "caroling" in your front yard.

We pretty much sound like this, so don't even think about rolling your eyes...


Shimmy & Shake!

 Have you ever gone to a Concert in the Park?

For those of us who live in this particular cluster of towns, it is a Summer tradition.

I have a confession.

I don't go for the concert part.

I don't go for the park part.

I go to be with friends,

to relax,

& maybe to enjoy watching the slightly inebriated lady who proudly shows off her one dance move (picture a shoulder shimmy shake thing whilst leaning forward....and then leaning back. oh, & picture that over and over and over....).

She is there almost every Friday night, and for some reason, her consistency brings me comfort.

The "friends" I love to sit closest to, in the traditional attendance of auditory art in the great square shaped outdoors, are the Dubs.

This Friday was no exception.
I tagged along with the Dubs and their special guests,
Uncle Karl & Aunt Kristy.

The difference was that I enjoyed the nephews dancing with their Aunt Kristy, all three of whom have way better rhythm & more varied dance moves than the slightly inebriated shoulder shake lady.

It was delightful!

This little man, besides being a great dancer....

is also skilled in the art of comedy!

He climbed up on my blue plastic lawn chair, and proceeded to play "peek-a-boo"....

& "Smoosh-a-face-a-boo"

& "Not-sure-if-I'm-breathing-a-boo"

& "Scrunch-a-face-a-boo"

 & "Peek-a-scrunch-a-boo"

 & "Oh-my-goodness-I-want-to-eat-you-up-course-you're-so-cute-a-boo"!

 After E-baby got bored, 

Pilot J tried out the "Smoosh-your-face-a-boo" too!

Pilot J abandoned me shortly after, because of important frisbee throwing business,

and left me to face the "authorities" by my lonesome.

I think Sheriff E-baby thought I looked suspicious because of the whole
laughing-so-hard-I-almost-peed-my-pants thing.

He let me go with just a warning.

Which really was only fair, since the fun I was having was mostly his fault


Owlish Occupations

I am not sure what "owlish"* means,
but I promise to look it up before I post this blog.

I found it in this neato book called 'Gregg Shorthand Dictionary'.

It was a gift from Brother Brian & Sister-in-law Susan.

I love it!

I've already copied out some words in shorthand in my other blog (also known as a journal).

It is a beautiful book, with brown leather, embossed lettering, a thicker uneven feeling paper.

It's one of those books that feels authentic, and smells old - in the best way possible.

Did you know about my obsession with smelling books?

I love the smells of smart, musty, papery, adventure.


So many things to take in, in one noisy breath.

*owlish: adjective meaning like an owl, solemn and wise in appearance