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Friday, January 6, 2017

5 Things on the 1st Friday: 1/6/2017

Happy First Friday of 2017, Friends! 

It's gonna be a good year, 'kay? We always start strong here in my house because January holds lots of reasons to celebrate for our family. We've got lots of birthdays and an anniversary which makes it so much more fun and cancels out all my whining which includes but is not limited to WHY MUST IT BE 27 DEGREES? WHY MUST THE WIND BE SO COLD? WHY DO I HAVE TO WEAR A COAT EVERY.SINGLE.DAY???

Here are my five favorite things from the week.

1. Wedding Memories

We'll celebrate our 22nd anniversary tomorrow, so I pulled out the photo album this week. Does anyone have a Wedding Album anymore or do they just have a youtube video of the dance they worked on for six months while watching Dancing with the Stars? Our dance was awkward and boring, but our wedding reception was a darn good time especially at that point when we hijacked the band to play the Texas Fight Song. I will never tire of looking at us. What do I see? Well, first I see a huge dose of youth, then a good measure of clueless and also, just enough faith and hope that God's grace would be sufficient to sustain us.  He delivered and we are grateful.

This should have been his first clue that I would not feel real comfortable with using knives, forks, spoons or other everyday cooking utensils.

2. Stevie Wonder, For the Win 

Maybe getting through the first week back from vacation was a little bit difficult. Maybe you realized it was the first Friday of the New Year and all those resolutions about being organized and getting up early for quiet time so that you were awake and full of all the joy and all the peace before the kids woke up and being mindful and patient and a brand new you didn't quite pan out this first week like you thought it would. Maybe you even got yourself all psyched up for a run, made it to the end of the block, turned around, came home and ate two bags of Cheetos while watching 90210 reruns. I mean I'm being completely hypothetical.

Hypothetically, you might have gotten into the car, running late to the 3rd one's orthodontist appointment, frustrated and grumbling and then you turned on the radio and heard this.  You need a little pick me up? If this doesn't work, I can't help you. Thank you Stevie Wonder for saving the day.

3. The 52 Lists Project Journal

I am - quite obviously - one who likes to write down all the thoughts and all the feelings and all of the memories all of the time.  The computer and the blog make this easy and fun, but I miss handwriting in journals. I still keep one, but as I spend more and more time here, it has tended to have more empty space than full. I found this fun journal at Anthropologie and bought 5 copies of it to give as Christmas gifts. I ended up gifting myself one as well. There is a list prompt for each week of the year including some serious - Goals and Dreams for the Year and Difficult Things You Have Suffered - and some less so - Favorite Characters from Books/Movies or People Who Brighten Your Day. I think this makes a great birthday gift for those who have birthdays early in the year.  You can find lots of pretty journals here. (Psst. Add some colorful pens to the gift, too. I'm very picky about pens. These are my favorite!)

4. A Moment To Remember as Someone Turns 16

There's a boy I know. He who shall not be named. He doesn't like attention on himself. He'll never be one to brag of accomplishments or talk about himself too much. He will not be the loudest voice in the crowd. He, in fact, is not a huge fan of crowds. He won't post a zillion pictures of himself and he prefers that I not either. 

He's sarcastic and cutting. He does not hand out compliments easily. He jokes and teases and it can hurt a gal's feelings is she happens to be a tad (or a ton) on the sensitive side or if she forgets that she just needs to hang in there for the joke at the end. If she loosens up she can be in on the joke and he will crack her up like no one else. But she's a mom. And she doesn't loosen up easily. She worries and frets - most often about things that have not even happened. She projects and imagines, based on her own personal fears and what the culture tells her she should fear. 

But in some moments, God will nudge her and remind her that if she'll just take a breath and watch what is in front of her in that specific moment, rather than spending her time conjuring up moments in the future, she might be surprised to find rest and trust and peace and enormous gratitude.

Seven months ago that mom was a big bowl of worry. Was she doing right? Were they listening to her? Was she too caught up in daily tasks and insignificant details?  Should she talk more to them? Talk less? Hover more? Hover less? 

Then one Sunday evening she got shocking news that a friend had died. He was gone - tragically, suddenly, unbelievably. The boys all seemed to have scattered. Her husband sat on the floor in disbelief. She stood in shock, stunned and sickened and shaking, staring out her kitchen window in silence. And then the tears came in a rush, pouring in streams down her face. She tried to muffle her sobs. Her boys had seen her cry a zillion times, but not like this. She tried to quiet her grief.

And then, there was a moment. A fraction of a moment really. 

The sarcastic one? The one who isn't much for deep, meaningful conversations? Who, she had decided, in recent years, was lacking a bit of empathy or at least was becoming quite quick to shun emotions?  That one, now at least 6 inches taller than she, walked up behind her. He rested his chin on her shoulder and wrapped his left arm around her. He placed his right hand on the top of her head. He said nothing. There was a sigh, and then one or maybe two light taps on her head.  And then he was gone.

And in those very few seconds, in the midst of grief, pain and worry for her friend's family, along with a huge dose of fear for her own family, who seemed suddenly so much more fragile, he was there. And with his presence came peace and trust and comfort - all of it wrapped up in the brief touch of a 15 year old knuckle-headed teenager.

No photo. No birthday wishes. No more words. 16 years ago the sweetest kid showed up. He tries to hide sometimes, but he still shows up when his mama least expects it and in the briefest most gracious of ways.

5. OK, I Lied. One Photo.

But I'm not writing his name. You can refer to him by the name we called him when he was nine which is when this was taken. We called him Little Thunder. We might should have changed that to PigPen.

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