Wednesday, July 28, 2010

they said it

It is well-documented that our 2 year old son loves pretty girls and is a hopeless flirt (see above: a flirting collage of him and our friend Nicole, who visited earlier this month). Usually I just think it's cute, but yesterday at the pool it got out of control:

[Dexter, playing in his favorite spot on the steps. Pretty young teen-aged girl walks past him to get into the pool.]

Dexter: Hey! Look what I can do! [flips under the railing and grins up at her]

Girl: Wow, that's really cool!

Dexter: [follows her along the side of the pool, still grinning and talking to her - I can't hear what he's saying so I walk over to them]

Me: Why don't you ask her name?

Dexter: What's your name?

Girl: Natalie. What's yours?

Dexter: I'm Dexter.

Natalie: Well, Dexter I think I'm going to go swim with my friends now. Nice to meet you!

Dexter (apparently desperate to keep the conversation going): I have something in my pants!

My reaction: nervous laughter, think Brandt reacting to bikini-clad Bunny on the Big Lebowski. Ahhh, that's marvelous.


[on the way home from the pool. Nate is quiet for a few minutes, then pipes up with this input on our future family size.]

Mommy, when are we going to have enough kids for Red Rover?

Not for awhile, dude, but we are working on it. :)

I did not ask them to pose. This is exactly what they looked like at the red light when I turned around, so I had to snap a picture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the art of hospitality

Last weekend Jon and I were treated to dessert in the home of a couple from our church. Frank and Sue are simply gems and we had a lovely evening together. The view of downtown Seattle from their Alki condo was incredible, the strawberry shortcake was great, the coffee was perfect, and the conversation was lively... but my favorite part of the hospitality they offered us was the art on their walls. From the moment you step in the door, you are walking into their stories, richly and beautifully told by the works that hang in their home.

Frank's brother married a Brazilian woman after the War. Three exquisite oil portraits in the entryway bear the faces of her maid and the so-called street girls who lived in her city.

Sue cared for her ailing father for many years before he passed away. She kept a special account of funds earmarked for his medical needs. When he died, the account had just enough money left in it to purchase a large watercolor painting of the Washington coast. The small silhouette in the bottom left corner reminds Sue of her dad; he loved to walk the beach by himself.

Above the fireplace is a collograph by Sandra Bowden. Words of scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 form the backdrop of the piece, which Frank and Sue purchased to mark their 60th wedding anniversary. 60th. Wedding. Anniversary.

Sue tells me that the colorful abstract piece in the hallway reminds her of creation, with its bursts of green and blue. One of our mutual friends painted it, another man from our church now in his eighties. She agrees to let the church borrow it for our upcoming in-house art exhibit.

Frank and Sue showed us that true hospitality is more than making a great dessert and good decaf: it is inviting others to share in your stories. If there is anything better than art to facilitate that sharing, I sure can't think of it.

[Side note: Jon has been serving on a committee at church with Sue and loves to tell the story of their first meeting. Each committee member was asked to give a brief testimony of their Christian life and Sue started by saying, "Well, I met Jesus in the 'thirties." No, not her thirties. THE 'thirties. Classic.]

Thursday, July 22, 2010

they said it: deep thoughts, by nate

My five-year-old has been thinking some deep thoughts lately. I love it.

[at breakfast the other day.]

Nate: Mom, when are we going back to California?
Me: Not for awhile. Why?
Nate: I don't want everything to change before we go back.
Me: What would change?
Nate: Everything. [pause] The thing I really don't want to change is Splash Mountain.

waiting in line with friends at splash mountain in june.

[walking a trail near our house. for the uninitiated, salmonberries are similar to raspberries and are native to the NW.]

Nate: There are no salmonberries today.
Me: Yes there are, I see one way up there.
Nate: That's too high for anyone to reach. [pause] Why would God make a salmonberry grow where no one can reach it?

after his last swim meet of the season.

OK one little Dexter story too:

This morning he was staring at himself in the back of his spoon and singing "I love you! I love you! I love you!" Yeah, no self-esteem issues there.

this is normal at our house.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

summer goal

Nothing against my dining room table, but when real, honest-to-goodness, popsicle-eating, shorts-wearing, sprinkler-running summer finally made it to this corner of the country, we stopped eating at it. I've made it my warm-weather ambition to serve more meals outside than in: at the pool, on the T-ball field, in the backyard, anywhere the sunshine finds us hungry.

This morning we had a few guests -- all the more reason to have breakfast outside.

Take your time, Toby.

P.S. If you read between the lines of this post you find out: 1. My cooking skills are lacking (If you can serve it in the car on the way to Target, can you really call it a meal? Um... in my world, Yes.) and 2. I'm lazy (eating outside = no crumbs to vacuum and no table to wipe). :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

good pain, bad pain

During the first trimester of my pregnancy with Nate I remember telling a friend, "Of course I'm getting an epidural! I don't need to be a hero - I mean, you'd get novocaine at the dentist right?" After a few childbirth prep classes I had changed my tune and decided to prepare some strategies for natural pain-management (although, for the record, I was not opposed to an epidural if that's what ended up being best for me and baby). Why the switch? My perspective changed because the classes tapped into a lesson I had learned years earlier as a swimmer with chronic over-use injuries: "good" pain = keep going, "bad" pain = stop. When I learned to approach the pain of labor as "good" pain, I could put to use the strategies I had developed as an athlete to keep myself in the zone, focused, and intent on reaching my goal.

[Disclaimer: Everyone's approach to childbirth is unique and everyone's labor & delivery is different -- NO judgment here whatsoever, just sharing my own experiences and perspective.]

Anyway, I'm wondering if a lot of our struggles as human beings can be traced back to this good pain/bad pain dichotomy. Aren't a lot of the messes we find ourselves in related to our inability to decipher between these two types of circumstances? Sometimes I experience pain in the form of frustration, opposition, confusion, apathy, etc and it makes me want to stop, when deep down I know I'm supposed to keep going. Other times I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, self-critical, etc but I don't give myself permission to stop, even though that's exactly what I need to do. If I could step back and evaluate whether I am facing a 'good pain: buckle down, grit your teeth, and stay in it' situation or a 'bad pain: stop, give yourself grace, and allow room for healing and recovery' situation, I'm guessing it would prove to be pretty helpful. No time like the present...

Today I need to keep going. The bad attitude I'm indulging does not qualify as bad pain, so its time to put one foot in front of the other, find reasons to be thankful (of which I have plenty), and keep doing what God is asking me to do. How about you? Do you need to stop or keep going today? (Or maybe both?)

Friday, July 9, 2010

backyard naptime laziness

I want to sit so still
that the trees forget I'm here
and go back to whispering gossip
in their rustling dialects.
I want to stay quiet
until the robin resumes
his halted hopping,
stopping now and again
to be sure he's alone.
I'll hold my breath
to see the rippled grass
without my breeze across it,
moving with the earth
like everything does when we aren't looking.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

driveway labyrinth

A few days ago the boys and I were dropping something off at a local church and we noticed a large labyrinth painted on the cement ground of the church courtyard. We couldn't resist a few trips around the "maze", as the kids called it. Since we've also been in the midst of a serious sidewalk chalk phase, Nate asked if I would draw him his own labyrinth in our driveway. Our driveway was completely full of chalk graffiti already, so we had to wait for a rainy day to wash away a space. Today was that day.

Here are just a few reasons why I love labyrinths:

+When two or more people walk a labyrinth together, even though they are all going to the same place they are almost always walking in different directions.

+You can't rush or else you get dizzy.

+There are no decisions or wrong choices, you just keep following the path.

+Sometimes it seems like the path is going the wrong way based on where you are supposed to end up, but it always ends up being right.

+They are ineffective by definition -- nearly the exact opposite of the shortest distance between two points.

+They are full of intentional 180-degree turns.

Our driveway labyrinth kept the boys busy for quite a while. Here are some things I overheard them say while they played:

"I don't know where I'm going!"

"I'm lost."

"You have to just follow, follow, follow."

"I'm not where I'm going yet."

"Which way do I go?"

"Just keep going."

"I'm on my way!"

"This is taking a long, long time."

"You're back where you started."

"I got there just in time."