Monthly Archives: August 2011

We’ve Been Freshly Pressed!

Hello, subscribers, RSS feed readers, FB friends, and others who are scrolling through. A quick and happy note to share some exciting news.

big red super star

WordPress, my blogging platform, picked up last Friday’s post I Like My Bike for their Freshly Pressed lineup today. Click Freshly Pressed to see for yourself.

I Like My Bike won’t be on the front page for long. If it’s gone when you get there, scroll down and hit the Earlier button. Look for the shiny, purple bike.

Thank you for your readership, comments and encouragement. You’re the best!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

What better song than one of my favorites If I Stand by the brilliant Rich Mullins.

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You Deserve a Break Today

one of those days

Ever have one of those days? Yesterday was one for me.

Worked all morning on Thursday’s serious blog post when, oh, look at that. It’s noon! And by the way, the post is mopping the floor with me. Hmm. Wonder what’s for lunch?

Stumbled to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of ambition. But I got nothing.

No caffeine in the house. No appetizing morsel awaiting me in the fridge. Blood sugar is plummeting. Approaching meltdown status.

Suddenly I felt the urge to escape. To break free from the four walls of the house. Flee from the heavy subject matter I’d been tackling. Make a run for the border. Come on, baby, drive south!

That’s it, I thought. I’ll simply escort myself out. Next thing I know, I’m in the truck driving down our friendly neighborhood street. Headed for some destination yet unknown to me.

Had I been showered and dressed I’d have gone to the mall. Where else does a Gen X girl go when in flight?

But a shower had evaded me that morning, I hadn’t even brushed my hair, and I was still wearing Monday’s outfit. Nix the mall.

Bread Company? Been there. Qdoba? Done that. Chinese? No. Salad bar? What?

How about a drive thru? Nu-uh. That would mean I’d have pick up and go home to eat alone. I was escaping, remember?

The truck, sensing my distess, turned south on a major thoroughfare.

“Ah,” I said. “I know where we’re going.”

The truck didn’t answer. It just carried me forward, meticulously obeying traffic signals all the way.

“We’re going to McDonald’s, aren’t we?” I said.

happy meal 4 me

Sure enough, we soon arrived at the Golden Arches. Three dollars and 71 cents later, I had lunch, CNN, and people watching. And no one cared about my hair or how I was dressed.

There are healthier options than a cheeseburger, like making a salad at home. More ecological means of transport than the truck, like riding that shiny purple bike. Maybe I’ll try those today. Or tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow’s looking better already.

But I’m reminded how my grandparents used to take us kids to McDonald’s as a special treat. How the Happy Meal was elevated to near comfort food status.

And I for one am thankful McDonald’s will still do fine for lunch in a pinch on a day otherwise in peril.

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon. Psalm 31:24 The Message

Bad Day by Daniel Powter. We all have ’em.

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Dream Sequence

Remember earlier this month we got a new Mac to replace our dying Dell?

Over the weekend, took the Mac back to the techies at the store for the data transfer. The wait was five days when we bought it. Now it’s only 48 hours. Gulp.

True, it’s been a bit of a circus hopping between two machines. Will be nice to have everything on one computer again. But I was becoming proficient.

Felt like I was commanding the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. “Uhara, pull up the photos on the Dell. Spock, hit Publish on the Mac. Beam me up, Scotty!”

Maybe it’s the anxiety of being laptop-less for a couple days that got to me. Whatever it was, last night I had the strangest dream.

I dreamed I traveled to a writing seminar where there were no computers. It was old school, the way we used to do things. Back in the 80s.

In the course of my stay, I ran out of paper. So I wrote poetry on the bed sheets in my room, folded them, and turned them in as my project. My thesis. My magnum opus. And I passed with highest honors.

Read into it what you will. It was sweet and it was mine.

Now give me back my laptop, Mac guys, before I start writing on your sheets too.

And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.”

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.” Genesis 40:8 NLT

Last night I had the strangest dream… Oh, I already said that. Enjoy Blue Lagoon’s fun 2004 cover of Matthew Wilder’s Break My Stride.

as seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Dreams by Langston Hughes (1926)

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is
a barren field
Frozen with snow.

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I Like My Bike

Cindy II (not to be confused with my homegirl, the unflappable Cyndi Tew)

This post was featured by WordPress Freshly Pressed on August 31, 2011.

My friend Corey turned 40 this year and announced he would now be living as if he were half his age. I promptly decided to adopt this philosophy.

Of course there are many things I can’t do now that I could do when I was 20.

Well, I may still be able to do them. But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

Staying up past a reasonable bedtime? No longer a good idea. Drinking more than an occasional glass of wine? Not good either. Eating half a five-dollar pizza all by myself? No.

There are other things though. Things I haven’t done for many years that are good for me. Enter Cindy.

Cindy was my first bike, complete with a banana seat and streamers on the handle bars. A horse was not in the cards, but I could name a bike just as well.

I received Cindy way before I was 20. Probably around age five or six. I’ll never forget learning to ride that bike. How wonderful it felt to be free and go fast.

Somewhere in the murky years of high school, I gave up bike riding. And skating. And swimming. Fun things I once enjoyed. Why do we do that?

fun on ice…

Then a couple years ago, I decided to take my little boy skating at Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park. It was a perfect December day. He was too young to be on the ice for very long. I, however, had a ball.

We went skating again this past winter. He got the hang of balancing and moving at the same time. But all he really wanted to do was spin around in circles and fall and laugh.

We go swimming too. Although momma doesn’t always let her hair get wet, the water is like a long-lost friend.

…and in water

When my husband received a reward certificate with an option to redeem for a bike, I lobbied. I had my eye on a sleek, expensive model at Big Shark Bicycle Company in the Loop. But a free bike? We had nothing to lose.

My son was as excited as I was when the bike arrived in a big box last week. We unpacked it, all shiny and purple.

He helped my husband put it together. Insists I wear my helmet as we ride around the neighborhood.

When I’m with him, we go slowly. He’s still learning. When I’m alone, I fly.

Someday I hope he’ll fly beside me and know what I remember. How wonderful it feels to be free and go fast.

good night, sweetheart!

So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time—the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time—compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth. Ecclesiastes 8:15 The Message

Be free, go fast, and meet me back here next week!

How could I forget to mention the bicycle is a good invention?

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Somewhere in Pennsylvania

wall flag

Driving this past summer between Pittsburgh and Gettysburg. Needed to stop for lunch.

Made our way off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, through a little town, and into a Pizza Hut. The buffet’s a crowd pleaser.

Sat down with our salads and slices. Remarked how this Pizza Hut was unlike any other restaurant we’d visited.

The place was decked out in Star Spangled Banner. Flags hung from the windows, the ceiling, the salad bar. All awash in red, white and blue.

salad bar

It was June 14th. Flag Day. Though it really didn’t matter. I’m a pushover when it comes to Old Glory. This was my kind of place.

Had the iPhone handy, so I snapped a couple pictures. After our meal, I walked the restaurant and snapped a few more.

Flag of Honor

That’s when I saw it. A large banner centered behind the buffet:

Flag of Honor. This flag contains the names of those killed in the terrorist attacks of 9.11. Now and forever it will represent their immortality. We shall never forget them.

Flag of Heroes

And centered on the other side, another banner:

Flag of Heroes. This flag contains the names of the emergency services personnel who gave their lives to save others in the terrorist attacks of 9.11. Now and forever it will represent their immortality. We shall never forget them.

Chilling, dignified, fearless patriotism. Alive and well in a small town pizza joint.

the wind farm

Soon we were back on the Turnpike. Green hills and forests surrounded us with billowing gray clouds overhead.

A wind farm south of the road offered the only hint of motion for miles. Low mountains rose in the distance, ahead of the quiet rain now spattering our windshield.

Picked up the iPhone again. Googled the county where we ate lunch: Somerset.

Mapped it in relation to the town in Pennsylvania: Shanksville.

Somewhere just north of us it happened. The hijacked plane plunged through these skies.

In this air, Todd Beamer prayed The Lord’s Prayer and concluded: “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”

There was no sign. No fanfare. No convenient off-ramp to pay respects. The highway speeded us through, leaving the place behind in the rain. We’d crossed hallowed ground and nearly missed it.

The people there will never forget. Will we?

overhead

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NIV

Alan Jackson’s Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning bids us to remember.

This is the first of three posts commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9.11.2001. The second post The Angry American was published on September 1, 2011. The final post If You See Something was published on September 10, 2011.

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Who’s on First?

sprinkler fun 2006

Tomorrow is my only child’s first day of first grade.

I could laugh. I could cry. I could ponder his early childhood. The day he was born. How fast he’s grown.

How much fun the years have been. How we waited so long for him and how we can’t imagine life without him now.

Lots of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends are thinking such things about their kids this time of year.

So, since many of you are already doing that, let’s do something different.

think puppies

Let’s think about puppies. Cute, but it’s not working.

How about ice cream. No.

Asparagus. No.

Chips and salsa.

Oreos.

Steak?

independence day 2010

No, no, no. Exit the food section.

Republican hopefuls for 2012. Ugh.

The Cardinals.

The weather.

Shoe shopping.

Fall sweaters.

Soap.

Bubbles.

Tears. Tears. Tears.

Captiva 2009

My friend Jenn calls this the emotional roller coaster of raising children.

Another friend Kaisa once offered this sage advice: Children are like the ocean. Go with it or you’ll drown.

So here we go. Forward march in the constant exercise of trust. God, help us. Here we go.

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. Isaiah 26:3 AMP

Put yourself in a time out to savor the perfect back to school song. I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends by The White Stripes.

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Birds on a Ledge

Stroll through the city with me. Come on. Let’s go for a walk.

Down along the river. Across the bridge then back again. It’s early evening and quiet here. Silent compared to the bustling day.

Look up to the top ledge of a building. Under the signage, still unlit as the sun begins its descent. What are those dots against the concrete? Is that dentil molding? Decorative relief?

One dot moves near the middle. Then a flutter far right, a quiver to the left. They’re birds. Hundreds of them perched in a row across the building. Lined up one by one on the ledge.

image by wili_hybrid via flickr under creative commons license

In comes another, furiously flapping.

“Make room! Make room!” beat his wings.

And they do make room. Comfortably he is enveloped in the rest as if he’d always had a place.

Another lands. And another. One leaves, diving off the edge and lifting up. More come. Some go. Most stay.

The evening sky reaches above the building and the ledge and the ones resting. It’s filled with dots. Thousands more birds in endless, circling flight.

There are plenty of high buildings here, plenty of ledges to make for safe rows. Room enough to keep them all.

Come settle, little flying ones. Break from your wandering journeys, your weary circling and dipping and floating away. Come. Land. Many find rest. And still there is room.

“The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.'” Luke 14:22 The Message, from a parable of Jesus

Landed by North Carolinian Ben Folds. If the piano alone doesn’t move you, please check your pulse.

This post is in fond memory of Dr. George Worrell.

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