Roller Skates and Leg Warmers

Martha Claire, my 5 year old, went to her first roller skating party yesterday.  I can’t believe she is big enough to roller skate.  Of course, my 9 year old is already “so over” roller skating and has moved on to roller blading.  When did this happen?  It wasn’t so long ago I was sporting the leg warmers and jamming out under the disco ball to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” at the Jelly Beans roller rink.  Okay, it was kind of long ago.  But, it really was just yesterday my little ladies were as high as my knee.  Where does the time go? 

I did manage to skip out of chaperone duty for the party.  Richard took Marfy and stayed for the whole 2 hours and 15 minutes of chaotic roller-wheeling bliss.  He made it about an hour and a half before he texted me in his anguish, looking for relief.  Brahahahaha…so many ballet and piano lessons, tennis clinics, soccer practices, PTO meetings, gymnastics classes, princess parties, and choir rehearsals to make up for!  I could not muster much sympathy for his tortured soul.  I love watching my children experience every moment of life, but it’s good to have a break sometimes, especially when it involves 200 kids, cake, and wheels.  Richard did observe that Marfy was actually grooving by the end of the party, albeit a jerky groove, and she did manage to find some balance on her wheels.  This is more than I can say for myself.  Last time I tried my feet on skates, it was not pretty.  Roller skating is NOT like riding a bike, the body can forget what was second nature in 1984.

The end result is that Martha Claire has developed a new interest.  She wants to rule the Roller Derby.  Or, at least be able to stay on the floor during “fast skate.”  But,  knowing her, it’s likely to end in a long and decorated career in the Roller Derby.  It’s good to have goals.  While I was out shopping this weekend I did come across some leg warmers for the girls.  I was horrified and excited all at the same time.  They might find their way into stockings this Christmas – the circle of life, shaped kind of like a disco ball… come on, it’s a celebration!

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Try the Carrot Souffle. Trust Me, It’s Delicious!

Carrot Souffle.   Perhaps the name is a little off-putting.  Don’t let it be.  It’s one part carrot, one part egg, one part butter, one part sugar, and all parts amazing to eat.  It doesn’t taste like carrots, it’s like an orange-colored creme brulee.  I have a close friend who introduced me to this delightful delicacy, and I must admit I thought it was a well-kept family secret, but it turns out that even Emeril has his own recipe for it.  Still, after a taste of the spongy orange concoction, I couldn’t believe how good it was.  Very unexpected.  Imagine.

So, that’s life – how very unexpected.  Unexpected love, unexpected friends, unexpected deaths, unexpected living arrangements, unexpected job opportunities, unexpected layoffs, unexpected babies…you get the picture.  I had a great life plan in my head 20 years ago,  and so far about 1.5% of my life looks like my original plan, thankfully.  God’s plan for my life has been incredibly better than the one I would have chosen.  I have come to really look forward to discovering those little unexpected things that God has in store for us. 

Two years ago we were preparing for our first Thanksgiving here in Colorado, and we were expecting it to be our first in a decade of married life without any family to celebrate with.  I was pretty disheartened at the prospect.  At the same time that I had hunkered down in an old-fashioned pity party, we got news from my sister-in-law, Christina, who lives in California, that she would be flying out with her soon-to-be fiance, Jason W.  And,  it turned out that Jason W’s sister, Kati, and her husband actually lived only about 10 miles away from us here in Colorado.  So, we made plans for everyone to come and celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with us – Christina, Jason W, and his whole family(parents, siblings, all).  Our Thanksgiving table had just gone from five to thirteen.  At this point I would like to mention that Jason W and his siblings are all originally from Ohio.  Have I lost you yet??  Bear with me, I’ll break it down later,  and all non-relations, relations, and last initials will be made clear.  

Thanksgiving was a blast.  We had a wonderful time with Jason W’s family.  Carrot souffle was served, and demolished.  Everyone loved it.  We also enjoyed getting to know Jason W’s sister, Kati, and her husband, Jason P.  (now you understand the last initial)  In the months that followed Thanksgiving we began seeing a lot of Kati and Jason P.  Soon after the holidays they found out they were expecting their first child and we were privileged to walk through their pregnancy and the birth of their first child with them.  The past two years we have shared a lot of life with them, and have grown to cherish them.  We call them our framily.  We’re more than friends, and we love them like family, but there wasn’t a name to call them, so we made one up.  Framily. 

So, what is so unexpected about a girl raised in Georgia and a boy raised with parents in both Tennessee and California meeting in college, getting married, and eventually moving to Colorado?  Not much.  What is so unexpected about a family raised in Ohio with two of the children going to college in California and meeting their spouses there, then one of those couples moving to Colorado?  Not much.  The fact that my Tennessee husband’s California sister married Ohio Kati’s Ohio brother, though, and then we move to a home that ends up being 10 miles away from them,  AND, it’s nowhere near Georgia, California, Tennessee, or Ohio.   AND, we like each other!  Unexpected.  I don’t believe in coincidence that big.  I do believe in God.  He works in amazing and unexpected ways.  Ways that teach me that unexpected gifts come in unexpected packages like framily and carrot souffle.  Don’t be afraid to give them a taste, you might miss something delicious.

The Dishes Don’t Know It’s Sunday

I have a confession.  I’m a little bit of a control freak.  Household control to be exact.  A place for everything, and everything in its place.  This freak streak runs so deep in me, I was sure my children would be born with a natural inclination to put things away.  Umm, not so much.  Of course, my passion for order tends to bubble up in me at the most inconvenient times, like when we’re leaving to go out of town, having dinner guests, or most often on Sunday mornings while we are getting ready for church.  My husband is not a big fan of my last minute dish washing, coffee pot cleaning,  or floor sweeping.  He’ll usually ask me if what I am doing is on the critical path to getting out of the door on time.  Well, if it’s on the path to retaining my sanity, I consider that critical.  And, yes, my husband uses the phrase “critical path” in everyday conversation…

I am sure there are technical terms for my obsession with orderly perfection.   I think I just came up with my own – OOPS (obsession with orderly perfection syndrome).  I know that my idea of control is an illusion.  I know that God alone IS in control, I just don’t function well in chaos.  Perhaps not everyone can relate to household OOPS,  but maybe they can relate on another level – controlling their children’s appearances and behaviors, controlling their careers, controlling their spouses, controlling their weight, etc… These are not all bad things by themselves, but we can abuse them by the amount of attention and energy we put toward them, and where we place them in our priorities.  Some of us need to analyze our priorities every once in awhile.  We are not crazy enough to need professional help, just crazy enough for it to interfere with our peace of mind sometimes.  Can anyone relate?

It is Sunday.  Holy day.  Set aside for worship.  I find I am really wrestling with my OOPS today.  I blame this in part on the mountain of dishes waiting in the sink when we got home from church this afternoon.  (small disclaimer:  I am not condemning dishwashing on Sunday, nor am I justifying not ever doing the dishes – I’m sticking this in here for all my lawyer friends, you know who you are)  I need to take a moment and think.  Why am I stressing out?  Have I put my clean house above recognizing the Sovereign Lord?  Today of all days?  Fact is,  after every meal there will be dirty dishes, even on Sunday.  Rest.  Peace.  Daughter, “Be still, and know that I am God.”(Ps 46:10)

Tuckerese

Veteran’s Day…There is so much to think about today.  So many men and women who have served in the name of freedom, and so many who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  My thoughts are fleeting, though, because it is a school holiday as well, and the house is full of the noise of youthful momentum and boundless energy trapped indoors by the snowy weather.   I’m afraid today will hold no deep contemplation as a result, just a little light-hearted typing of some things I want to always remember.  Right now, the energetic sounds are happy ones, there is peace among the people!  I love to listen to my children talking to each other when they are getting along.  I just love listening to my children talk. 

My oldest daughter, Caroline, had the funniest way of saying words when she was younger.  She called her uncle Patrick, “Paku”(pah-coo).  Cheerios were “charros” (cha-row).  Freckles were “prickles.”  She is so direct, too.  When she was four years old, I told her she had a sign right under her arm that said tickle me, and she replied, “Mommy, the sign says no!”  She would also inform/warn anyone who would listen, “Four year olds talk a lot!”  (I have no idea where she heard that)  She called Martha Claire, “Marfa”, when she was born, which evolved into “Marfy.”  We all have to use that name still , because, well,  Martha is so Marfy.   

At the time of her birth, Martha Claire not only brought new meaning to the word sassy, but she also introduced a whole new word to the English language, courtesy of the impeded tongue of her darling older sister.  We could all only hope to be a little Marfy sometimes – social butterfly, fashionista, hug lover, smart quipper, renowned wrestler (as attested to by her younger brother’s bloody nose last week) and wearer of her loving heart on her sleeve.  Marfy’s special language is not in the pronunciation, it’s the thoughtful way she phrases everything just a little differently than anyone else would.  Prime example would be my last post, “Mommy, were you in college when you found Richard to be your man?”  When she was three years old she asked, “Mommy, when is my birfday?”  I told her it was still many months away, and she asked, “Can we drive there?”   Oh, honey, if we could then mommy’s birthday car would be in reverse!!

 And now, we have a little Tucker man who has introduced his own style into our household language.  My new favorite word is “skuck.”  It is also known to mean “stuck, lodged, can’t get it out no matter how hard I try, so please help, Mommy, please.”  i.e. – My car is skuck in the crack between the car seats.  The refrigerator door is skuck and won’t open.  Fruit snacks are skuck between my teeth, see, “aaaahhh”.  I also must confess one of my closet favorite words.  The boy will not call his posterior normal words like bottom, fanny, tush, rear.  Nope, it’s his booty.  No telling, he’s probably already used the word booty with his Sunday School teacher, so I might as well set the truth free here.  I have no idea where he learned it, but one of my miscreant friends (Kea, you know who you are) even taught him the words to Shake Your Booty via my answering machine after I confided in her about my son’s bad habit.  At this point, we’ve just accepted it.  Our two year old son has a booty.  Now you know.  As for me, I’m just skuck on these precious, noisy, oh-so-talkative little gifts and the privilege of being trapped with them for an 0h-so-fleeting moment.  With that in mind, I’ve got some listenin’ to do…

How I Found My Man to be My Man

Yesterday, my five year old, Marfy, asked me the sweetest question in a way only she is capable of, “Mommy, is college where you found Richard to be your man?”  (Is it okay to want to eat your own kids up when they are so adorable?!?)  My response was, “yes, darlin’, college is where I found him to be my man.”  Simple answer to a plan much longer in the making.  Her question summons up thoughts of high school and our church youth group.  I remember a meeting when our youth minister asked us to all sit down and pray for our future spouses.  I was 16 or so, and a new Christian, so I kept it simple – asking God for my husband to be a strong Christian man who was praying for me just as I was praying for him.  I wouldn’t mind if he were to be easy on the eyes, too, but the Godly man thing, definitely.

For those of you who don’t know my husband as well as others, let me tell you that God answered this prayer in a way that would blow your mind and it is an absolute testimony of His faithfulness, grace and mercy in my life.  After giving my life to the Lord in high school, I spent several years of college in a pit of rebellion and sin.  I won’t go into unnecessary detail, but I am not proud of my behavior during those years.  However, God has used that time to teach me a most important lesson that I do not regret.  A lesson of humility, gratitude, and redemption.  During these years, I came to know a boy in my study group.  We got to be very close friends.  We studied together, spent time together, and got to know each others’ histories.  I knew that he was a Christian.  He had intelligence, integrity, and was becoming a man of character.  He was good lookin’.  (Not that I was lookin’!)  He was even a Republican.  The only thing missing was the “spark.”  It turns out, God was just guarding my heart until the right time.  It happened at the end of our Junior year, just all of a sudden-like.  Love at first sight, just love at first sight… two and a half years later. 

I wish I could say that great love immediately turned me into a better person.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the most teachable student at the time.  I still continued along the path of bad decisions and irresponsibility.  But, for who He is and in His wisdom, God remained faithful, and somehow that boy, that man, did become my husband.    At a point in the beginning of our marriage, we came to the conviction that we needed God to be the foundation of our relationship,  and for His principles to govern it.  We surrendered our marriage to Him.  Later than we should have, but, thankfully, not later than we did.  Praise God, it is never too late to repent. 

My mother-in-law has told me she prayed for me when Richard was young, long before our lives intersected.  Richard, himself, did in fact pray for me before he knew me.  I’m sure my parents and others prayed as well.  What a generous God we have, who loves us and honors our prayers that are asked in His will.  What patience He has for us.  I am just supposing this, but as a parent I can imagine how eagerly God anticipates the “Aha!” moment when we finally see the big picture and realize what God had in store for us all along.  God knew Richard and me before we knew each other, before our own mothers knew us.  He knew what our choices would be, our sins, our failures.  Knowing all that I would do, knowing what I really deserve, God chose Richard for me anyway.  I found him to be my man, and every day since then found him to be my spiritual leader, my accountability partner, my patient and loving co-parent, my teacher, my audience(I confess, I got some drama), and my best friend.   A prodigal daughter could do worse.  A redeeming Father did His best.

My accent is stronger when I type

It’s also stronger when I go on a rant.  As a matter of fact, most people don’t recognize a strong accent in me at all, it’s just my “y’alls” and “yonders” that gain notice.  This is not surprising.  I’ve got roots in smaller, southern spaces, but I was raised in Atlanta.  The hustle and bustle of the big city don’t leave their mark on your speech like the slower spots in drawl country.  I don’t mind, because the accent is in my heart.  Awww…

So, what’s the big difference between the south and living out here in Colorado?  Well, besides the fact that no one says “bless her heart”, you cannot get sweet tea in any restaurant (except chic-fil-a and Mellow Mushroom), there is no ocean for 1000 miles, and restaurants don’t get overloaded with after-church crowds on Sundays… just about everything.  But, I love it.  Can’t help myself.  I remain loyal to my roots, but I am in awe of God’s creation here.  It is rugged, breath-taking, and big.  The Rocky Mountains are a big deal to me, like, everyday.  I think my children are already getting desensitized to them, though.  I base this on the fact that every time I say, “Wow!  Look at the mountains today!” they roll their eyes way into the back of their heads.  William, who was only 6 weeks old when we moved out here, has ONLY this landscape as the background of his 2 1/2 years.  I can’t even imagine. 

It is therapy for me to go out for a walk and head west toward the shadow of the Rockies and just know how big God is.  A reminder that I need each and every day.  Remember that He is Lord.  Lord of my parenting (which is often spotted with impatience, frustration, mistakes, inconsistency, ….), Lord of my relationships (also often spotted with impatience, frustration, condescension, insensitivity on my part), Lord of my marriage, Lord of my leaders (Romans 13:1 – there is no authority except that which God has established), Lord of my life and all those other “mountains” I so often try to control, even knowing that control is only an illusion (and on my part a defense mechanism, too).  There is so much freedom in His Lordship – and yet, so often I find new shackles I have placed on myself.  That is why I must, symbolically at least,walk toward the mountains each day and know that their creator and mine loves me, knows me and First loved me, and that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to say “Move” and those mountains can be moved. (Matt 17:20) 

Rookie

To blog or not to blog…I’m afraid if I don’t start now, then blogging will be obsolete before I ever give it a go.  I would love to write a novel someday, but my three children have a tendency to prevent me from sitting down for any productive length of time, so I think I’ll get my feet wet here in the blogisphere.  At least it will keep me from playing Bejeweled Blitz.