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Showing posts from June, 2015

summer busy

june is fading into the fireworks which announce the beginning of july and make everyone say something like, "where is this summer going?"  how can it be july already? i guess summer flies by - at least for us - because we stay very "summer busy."  summer busy is different than regular busy.  regular busy means that there are a million of things you have to do, many of which you would rather not do.  but summer busy is when you are busy taking trips to grandparents houses and going to the zoo and to robotics camp and swim lessons and somewhere in there you have to fit playing with legos and putting together a puzzle.  while i still have a million things i have to do, i am glad that my schedule lightens a bit in the summer so that i can enjoy some 'summer busy' with my family.  here is some of what they've been up to the last few days. here you have one of Caedmon's newest projects.  he is making colonial style shops out of legos.  this, for exa

happy birthday, vasko popa

happy 93rd birthday, vasko popa.  you would be 93 today, but you never made it to 70. i must confess i had never heard of you until i found you on a list of today's historical birthdays, but i liked the sound of your name as it made me imagine some exotic eastern european soda in a glass bottle, drunk in small glasses over ice on hot slavic days.  so i looked you up, and found you were a yugoslavian, like my ancestors, even though you came from what is now serbia, so maybe our ancestors might not have gotten along real well.  still, i'd like to think we could have overcome those differences over a glass of cold cola, which i would raise in your honor for your birthday.  i would tell you that i just read some of your poems this morning, and the one called "in the village of my ancestors" really spoke to me.  it reminded me of a good methodist hymn i have sung many times whose title is really a question, "and are we yet alive?"  and of course this is an un

just learning to drive (happy anniversary)

sixteen years.  if a child had been born that day, he'd be driving now, exploring the world from behind a steering wheel, beginning new adventures. thank God that didn't happen. still, something was born that day when we got all dressed up in the most expensive clothes we've ever dared to wear, and stood up in front of a great crowd of our family and friends and made some pretty intense promises to one another.  it wasn't our love, no.  that was born long before that day, and continues to be reborn in these days, without crowds or expensive clothes.  but something else was born that day, as we exchanged vows, rings, and knowing glances.  a marriage was born.  it was signed, sealed and delivered, like any new birth, and we lifted our glasses and we sang songs and we shed more than a few tears of joy.  it was a beautiful birth. and today that marriage turns sweet sixteen.  still just a teenager, still just figuring this thing out, in so many ways.  just learning

who's the real cracker jack?

cracker jacks.  that's what she called us.  when i asked her what a cracker jack was, she told me it means someone special.  still not sure if special was good or bad, i looked it up, and the mirriam-webster dictionary says it is "a person or thing of marked excellence."  special, indeed. "you're all my cracker jacks," Rita said, talking to our whole group from her chair, like a queen offering a royal blessing.  then, one by one, we approached her, knelt down toward her, and shared a special hug, as the tears streamed down. it's always this way.  you plan a mission trip.  you gather support.  you get people to commit. you wonder how your tiny little skill set, which involves barely knowing the difference between a hammer and a wrench, will possibly be able to help someone who lives a 10-hour drive away from you.  but you hope that somehow, someway, you'll be a blessing.  by the end of the trip, it finally sinks in, if it hasn't already, th

summer bucket list 2015

it's that time of year again: summer.   the time when everything slows down and we can really take a deep breath and just relax.   the time when we try to suck the very marrow from the bones of life, enjoying every fleeting second, taking advantage of the extra time together, and making adventures and memories that will shape each of us for the future.  here at our house, we do this by making a bucket list with things we hope to accomplish during the summer.  we don't always get them all done, but it gives something to aspire to. and we have a blast. in fact, we've already begun, by making a mix cd that is meant to be part of the soundtrack of our summer.  here it is: we went with a jungle book theme, because we just got done reading kipling's "jungle book" at bedtime.  we chose songs that each of us like, and some ones i thought the kids would enjoy listening to in the van.  it's fun to get them to listen to some other music, to appreciate al

the storied life of a.j. fikry

do you love the smell of a used bookstore? if you are walking down the street of some small town and you see an untidy little book shop nestled between some boutique for old rich women and a great grey square bank, do you feel that the universe might collapse in on itself if you don't go inside and possibly even buy something? do you think that stories are more than just little black squiggles on a page?  that they have the power to change move connect us in ways we desperately need? if your answer to any of these is "yes," then i have just finished a book that you should read. "the storied life of a.j. fikry" was an unexpected gift to me from a friend, and it turns out that one of the best gifts imaginable is a book you didn't know existed.  further, it turns out that said book can captivate your imagination and, if the timing is right, do far more than entertain you for a few hours.  heck, it even turns out that it might just

the lost week

i am alive.  at least, i'm pretty sure i am.  and, if so, it's no small accomplishment. after all, i've lost a bit of everything over the last 10 days: weight, energy, health, time, bodily fluids, any remaining patience, a year's supply of toilet paper, dignity, and whatever was left of my sanity.  it all went down the toilet. it started on friday night.  shannon had left on friday morning for a long weekend in texas with her girlfriend.  i was prepared to hold down the fort: just the guys having a boys weekend.  it started off on the right foot, what with me taking the kids out to dinner, us watching a movie, and me getting them all put into bed. peace. until about 1:30 when i vaguely heard a child calling my name, rousing me from sleep.  it was the youngest.  he had vomited in his bed, then lied in it for awhile.  in a sleepy stupor, i got him cleaned up, then put him into my bed to wait while i stripped his bed.  i finally got everything cleaned up, too