Monday, June 29, 2015

I Have to Use a What?

I Have to Use a What?

At my last dental visit, the gal that scraped the tarter and gunk from my teeth advised me to get a waterflosser ~ aka ~ a WaterPik.  I value good oral hygiene so I went straight to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked out the best WaterPik system I could afford.

I took it home and stuck it in my closet because 1) life was busy, 2) it seemed complicated and 3) I wasn’t so sure about the whole “it’s time for a WaterPik” thing.

Yesterday, I pulled it out of my closest and I had every intention of filling the reservoir with water and plugging it in so that it could “pik” my teeth.

And here it sits…


Hmm... Well, the only other person on the planet that I know that used a WaterPik was my 98-year-old grandfather that recently died ~ and I just tossed his water flosser in the trash!

As a child, my teeth were very crooked and dull and I was embarrassed to smile.  And my bottom jaw stuck out. Way out. I couldn’t even eat a sandwich.

Eventually, I got braces and had extensive oral surgery to reconstruct my jaws and fix my bite.

I came through the whole dilemma with a smile and straight teeth.  For years, every time I went to the dentist, the comment was, “Wow! You have a great bite and amazing teeth!”

So, was it me turning 50 that caused my teeth to require a WaterPik? My husband is a year older and he wasn’t advised to get a WaterPik. (Wait, he was advised to get a Sonic Care toothbrush.  So there. Ha!)

What happened to the free toothbrush and dental floss?  I used to walk out of the dentist's office with a little dental goodie bag and I was good to go for another six months. 

When my blondish hair became less blonde and more, ahem, silver, my wonderful stylist helped me become blondish again.

When my arms became too short. I mean when my 20/20 vision started to deteriorate, I bought my first pair of readers to give me a little boost.  Then I bought a stronger power. And stronger. And then I bought a lot of readers and stashed them all over my house so that at any spot in my home, I was no more than five steps away from 20/20 vision.  Eventually, it became impossible to rely only on readers so I bit the bullet and got glasses. Then I got contacts when it became clear (no pun intended) that this was my new way of life.

I come from a long line of silver haired, glasses wearing women so I was prepared for the eyes and hair but I was not prepared for a WaterPik. Again, the only person I knew that used a WaterPik was my elderly grandfather.

There are changes that age brings about and then there are choices age brings about.  More and more, I find myself saying, “I’m fifty years old. I am not doing that anymore!”

For instance, I’m getting out of the all night lock-in chaperone line.

I’m also not in the furniture moving business anymore.  I don’t remember my fifty-year-old parents hauling my furniture up three flights of stairs. (In reality, my forty-year-old knee injury kind of dictated that one.)

I’m also not eating a pint of ice cream before bed.

And I’m not apologizing for not liking food that still has eyeballs. Or mushrooms. Or olives.  And if you try to trick me into eating them, I’ll spit them out like a toddler! Really, I will! And I won’t feel bad about it.

I am going to try to listen more. Pray more. Love more. Laugh more.

They say that with age comes wisdom ~ not just a WaterPik tooth flosser! I believe that is true.  I believe I’m a little wiser than I was a few decades ago.

But I know I’m not as wise as I will be a few decades from now.

I spent a lot of time with my 98-year-old grandfather before he died and I loved his wisdom.  Maybe, someday, my grand-kiddos will listen to me – and then when I’m gone, they can toss my WaterPik in the trash.

Blessed are those who find wisdom,
Those who gain understanding. Proverbs 3:13

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

I guess I will be wise – and get the WaterPik out of the box, fill it up and use it – like a wise woman who wants to have her own teeth when she is 98 years old.

All kidding aside, I know that the wisdom that I need most in this life can only be found in the Lord and in His Word. 

Are there changes you need to make in your life to become wiser? Do you need to read and study God’s Word more? Do you need to surround yourself with wise people that can help you grow in God's wisdom?

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

I'm So Mad!

I’m So Mad

I am so mad!  Really, I’m not mad at all.  But if you ask my teenager or young adult children, they will tell you I am mad.

Why do they say that?  Because when I text, I use periods at the end of sentences. Oops! I did it again! And, I reply to texts with “K” instead of “ok!” or


Or Okie dokie!

Or  :) :) !!!!!

But never “OK!” because that is yelling!

I’ve also learned not to respond with “sure.” Apparently, that has negative connotations and people think I’m mad.  Somehow, I type “sure” but when it goes through cyber space an amazing transformation happens and when it is received, it actually reads, “nope, not at all, not okay, maybe, I guess it’s okay!!!!”  Sure!

“Can you meet for lunch?”
“Well, you don’t have to if you don’t want to!!!”

Welcome to my world!!!!!

It seems that grammatical correctness equals “mad” in the teenage/young adult world. Periods at the end of sentences are bad!

A parent of several teens was having a glass of wine at the end of a very long and busy week ~ wait a minute, every week with a passel of teenagers is a very long and busy week so that should probably go without saying ~ anyway, one of the teens made an observation, “Mom, I don’t remember you and Dad having a glass of wine at the end of the week being a ‘thing’ in the past.”

My reply would be, “Because we didn’t have teenagers!!!!” (Notice there is no period at the end of that sentence!)

When the kids were little, if they got out of bed, the farthest they would probably go was to my bedroom.  How is it that a kid could walk down a flight of stairs and across the house in the pitch dark to come into my bedroom to tell me they were scared? Apparently, they weren’t afraid of the dark or of falling down the stairs or running into a boogie man in the living room... I digress. 

When the little kids turned into teenagers, I worried they would go a bit further than my bedroom.  Case in point.  One Friday night my “mom sense” told me to open my bedroom door.  As I opened the door, I caught five teenage girls all gussied up and sneaking down the stairs – hushing each other.  When I asked where they were going, someone actually said, “To the car to get “Suzy’s” hair straightener!”

Uh, girls, I’m not stupid! I did my fair share of sneaking out (sorry, mom and dad!) and you did not change your clothes, put your make-up on and pull out that sloppy bun to help “Suzy” get her straightener out of the car at 11:00 at night! 

That was the week we activated the house alarm.  Not to keep people from breaking in – but to keep my people from breaking out!!!! 

When the kids were babies and then toddlers and even that awkward stage before preteens, I worried about them.  I worried about their bumps and bruises and innocent boy-girl crushes.

When the kids could leave the house on their own, my worry grew.  My knees became calloused from kneeling in prayer to plead to God Almighty for their protection and safety ~ protection and safety for their physical, spiritual and emotion lives.

Parenthood.  We do what we do the best we can do it.  We make mistakes and we have some successes. 

We text grammatically. We forget to use the appropriate emoji. But, kids, we aren’t mad.  We try to use your lingo but sometimes old habits invade our texts and we place a period at the end of the sentence.

We. Love. You.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love,

I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 1 Cor. 13:1 msg

I don't want to be a rusty gate ~ I just want to send a quick text. K?  

I welcome your comments - especially if you can relate.  :)
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Baby Bird, Baby Bird

Baby Bird, Baby Bird

It’s that time a year when baby bunnies and baby birds are venturing out.  Today I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a little bird in the middle of the street flapping its wings.  I thought it was hurt until I got closer and realized that it was probably just in the middle of flying lessons.  I was sure that there was a momma bird sitting in a tree overhead chirping out flight instructions. 

I learned the hard way not to get involved with this procedure.  Once, I found a similarly aged little fellow flapping around in my yard.  I immediately called the local bird sanctuary and they gave me instructions about how to get the baby bird in a paper sack without touching it.  I gathered up all of the supplies necessary to save the bird and went back out into the yard.  It was about this time that the lady on the phone cautioned me that at that time of the year, a lot of birds are learning to fly and that there was probably a momma bird nearby that was keeping an eye on her baby. 

Really?  Maybe you should have lead with that. 

I left the bird alone and went back into the house.  I peeked out the window every so often to check on the bird.  During one of the bird checks, I saw the baby bird flap its wings and take to the air – where it was joined by its momma - that apparently had been supervising the yard flopping activity.

That episode of “Shelly Saves Another Little Critter” was foremost in my mind when I saw the little bird in the road. 

I didn’t want to stress out the little bird any more than it already seemed to be so I slowly drove past him.  I thought about stopping to help him out of the street but I didn’t have a paper bag and I was confident that the momma bird was nearby and would not be happy with me for messing with her baby. 

As I was watching in my rearview mirror with excitement to see the baby bird take flight, a large utility truck turned onto the street and was barreling towards the little bird.  The little bird was flapping its wings ~ trying to move.  It flapped and moved.

The truck kept going.  

The bird flapped again and lifted itself off of the street. Then landed in the street.

For a second, I thought the truck’s wheels would straddle the bird.  For a second.

I sat helplessly and watched the truck completely flatten the baby bird! Completely! 

I just sat there in my car.  I was mad at myself for not moving the bird out of the street. (That’s the last time I make that mistake.)

I just sat there.  

All of a sudden I was flooded with emotions.  I wanted to cry. I wanted to call my friend, Jessica, who cries easily so that we could cry together. I wanted to turn around and follow the truck and let the truck driver “have it.”  (Husband, you are welcome that I restrained myself!  I knew that if I chased the utility truck driver and chewed him out for running over a bird he probably didn’t even see, my sanity would be questioned. You are welcome, Husband.)

I just sat there.

Then I questioned why I was sick to my stomach over a baby bird. A bird. 

Now, I’m all about saving the animals.  Ask my kids about how many times I’ve stopped the car to save a turtle crossing the road. I’ve tried to rescue baby bunnies. (Haven’t read that yet? You can do that here.)  Once I rescued baby birds from under our boat. (You can read about that here.)  I’ve rescued hummingbirds. And lizards. (And rescued a daughter from lizards.) But I don’t usually get emotional about the loss of an animal life. 

I try to reserve that for the humans in my life.  And my dogs. But mostly the humans.

So why the emotion?  Somehow, the baby bird represented new life and new adventure and hope.  

And then because of one, big, stupid move, all of that was gone. 

That momma built a nest for that baby bird’s egg, she (or he) sat on that baby bird’s egg and waited for new life to emerge.  The baby bird’s “parents” took great care and concern to find food and deliver it straight to the mouth of that baby bird.  In case you have ever wondered what happens to the poop from the baby birds – well, the “parents” carry it off!  I’m not making that up! I've witnessed it! Gross!

The “parents” provided protection, warmth, food and comfort.

When it was time for the baby bird to leave the nest, they supervised the flight/fall.  And then they watched from overhead, as the bird lay lifeless in the street.

I have three daughters all on the verge of big life changes.  One became a first time mother four days ago.  One is graduating from college and one is graduating from high school.  They are all about to soar into new worlds.

And I am about to have an empty nest.  I’m okay with that. But I will still worry about my little birdies.

My husband and I have sacrificed to give them shelter, and food and kept them warm in body and spirit.  And there were times when we had to remove the “poop” in order to keep the nest clean.

We long for them to fly into their new adventures.  We will be cheering them on.  Encouraging them.

So that was the emotion.  

I’ve spent the majority of my life preparing my girls to fly on their own.  I don’t want one, big, stupid move on their part or someone else’s to cause harm to body or spirit.  To completely flatten them. 

My job is done.  Now I have to give it over to the Lord and let Him lead and comfort them.

Train a child in the way that he should go,
and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Provs 22:6

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

I have no greater joy than to
hear that my children are
walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

So, carry on momma and daddy birds! Carry on, baby birds – but watch out for big, stupid things!

Painting by Nancy House (my very talented mom) 

Can you relate?  Comment with your "baby bird"  or momma bird story. 

Chuckling…even though I wasn't chuckling,
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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Have a Nice One

Have a Nice One

Whenever I check out at the grocery store or department store or corner gas station and the person hands me my receipt and says, “Have a nice one,” my brain almost explodes.  It is only with great restraint that I don’t pipe up and respond with, “Have a nice one what?  A nice walk in the rain on the way to my car? A nice dinner? A nice trip and fall? (Which I’ve done on the way out of a store more than once.) A nice day at the dentist? A nice shark attack? A nice hernia? A nice, big glass of iced tea? A nice life? A nice one what?”

If my kids are reading this, they are probably dying about now.  I can just hear them, “Mom, that is just how people talk.  Chill out!” 

And my reply is, “Well, it’s lazy! It’s vague and insincere.”

Have a nice one!  A nice one what???

I guess I’m supposed to know what that means.  But the funny thing is that the person saying it doesn’t even know what it means.  How do I know that? Once when I responded to the poor check-out person and asked, “A nice one what?” I got a puzzled, blank stare.  They don’t know.  I don’t know.  No one knows. 

Try it. When someone says, “Have a nice one,” ask them, “A nice one what?” 

(Now, I know my kids are horrified if they are reading this and they think I was rude to a check-out person.  So, kids, just know that I was nice about it and used humor. And keep reading – it gets better.)

Why can’t we just be clear? Can’t you just tell me to “Have a nice day?”  Would that be so hard?

I guess we are just all supposed to have a nice one.  Whatever “one” is.

I’m not suggesting we all start speaking in King’s English but it would be nice if a more precise sentence were used.

But wait. 

Don’t I do the same thing in my marriage? I say something and I expect that my husband will know exactly what I mean.  And sometimes I say things only in my brain and expect him to know what I’m thinking.  There are many times when I thought I told him something but realized that the thought never left my brain and escaped my lips. 

“Honey, I told you that!”
“No, you didn’t,” he says.
“I’m sure I did.” I say in a not-so-sure tone.
“Nope.  Never heard about that,” my husband says in a very-sure-tone.
“Hmm...Maybe I thought I said it but maybe it never went any further than my brain,” I admit.

Just like the check-out peeps that drive me crazy with their vague, “Have a nice one,” I’m pretty sure at times I drive my husband, my kids, my family and friends crazy with my vague communication.  Sometimes I make these people that I love have to work to figure out what I mean.  What I need.  What I want. Because I am not precise in what I say and how I communicate.

Communication is one of the hardest things about relationships.  Communication is one of the most important things.

Dear Lord, help me be better about communicating with others.
 Help me to put in the effort to speak and to listen.

Now, everyone, go have a good one!  I mean, have a wonderfully, blessed day!

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