Tag Archive: sisters


Back From Vacation

Several years ago, Shelah, Carey, and I started dreaming. We wanted to take an East Coast trip to see some of the sights and visit Carey’s family. Our original plan was to drive, but as time went by, plans changed. What we actually did was fly to Raleigh, N.C., and we included Stephers. From there, we rented a car (a red Prius, sometimes known as Red Devilspawn and most lately as Shuttle Pod Prius) and drove to Greensboro, N.C., to hang out with Carey’s family. We put about 1,100 miles on that Prius, because we went to Boone, N.C., and we also drove it from N.C. to Charleston, S.C. and then down to Orlando, Florida, where we happily exchanged it for Disney’s Magical Express. We spent six nights at Disney’s All Star Music Resort and had a lot of fun at the parks during the day. When that was over, we were happy to board Magical Express and catch a flight back to the Pacific NW. It was a great trip in so many, many ways, but we love living here in Oregon. It was good to come home.

(Here, it cools off at night! How awesome is that!)

I’ve got some other thoughts, but I think I will write them into some additional posts.

Waiting, Waiting

A little before 7am, Carey tried to wake me up. I was very confused about why she was in my room, making noises at me. It didn’t make any sense, especially not since I didn’t get to sleep until 4am. She wasn’t terribly coherent, either, which didn’t help my sleepy befuddlement a bit. Carey had been awakened by Mom knocking at the door to let us know that Rach was thinking about having that baby boy, and could we please take Kimberly to church for her youth group beach trip?

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I sat up and tried to think. It didn’t go so well, but somehow still we ended up with Kimberly and safely delivered her to the church, and Mom got out the door to go meet Rach and Ben at the hospital. We’re all still waiting, one of us more actively than most, for that baby boy to show. It’s pretty exciting!

P.S. Kimberly has decided. His name is going to be David.

It’s Not About You

My sister Shelah likes to say this. Most of the time I hear her pronouncing these words, it’s been an attempt to remind another sister that there are other people also living here. For a while there, Shelah said it so frequently that it became background noise! Really, though, I think she’s making a good point. In fact, I think there’s actually more than one good point to be made from it.

One is the context in which Shelah used it. It was an admonishment not to be selfish and a reminder that the world does not revolve around you. It was a (sometimes much needed!) reminder to behave better and remember others nearby.

That’s all good, but I think there’s another, more subtle benefit to this admonishment. It doesn’t have to be all about you. It’s not required, demanded, forced, which means that sometimes it can be easier to let things go, because they are not about you. Relationships inevitably produce friction between the people involved. Sometimes that friction occurs because those people have some problems with each other. Other times, though, friction occurs because one or both of those people is having a bad day and become unusually sensitive to little things. Things that are normally fine are somehow so completely irritating or upsetting or otherwise emotionally charged. Molehills ARE mountains!! And sometimes the person-having-bad-day is easily offended, and some of sort of conflict breaks out.

If it’s your turn to be the unfortunate offender of a person who is having a hard time thanks to life in general instead of with you in particular, you might try offering a simple apology that deals specifically with whatever the (minor) offense was, such as, “I’m sorry that what I said was upsetting. It didn’t come out quite right, and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” Sometimes that’s enough, and sometimes they’re still grumpy butts who are still having a bad day and still feel snarly. At times like that, minor conflicts are easily escalated into mountains, and this is a fantastic time to remember that it’s not about you.

Don’t get sucked in. Don’t take it personally. Don’t accept blame for their bad day. Don’t get huffy about their snarling. Don’t make an effigy of them and burn it, or turn their picture into a dart board. Don’t worry about their audition for a part on Sesame Street as Oscar the Grouch.  Give them some grace. Be a good friend or neighbor. Remember, instead, that God loves ’em – bless their grumpy, little hearts -and that they’re having a hard time that is not about you. It’s much easier, I think, to then forgive the conflict and let it go. Makes for lighter living and better sleeping if I remember that often enough, it’s not all about me.

What do you think?

Excellence and Timothy

Silly me! I had this all set to post last week and forgot to actually post it! Last Wednesday night was actually April 25.

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Last Wednesday night was the last Awana meeting until next fall starts the cycle again, and per longstanding tradition, it was the Awards Ceremony. Somebody from my family is always there, because somebody in my family is always up for an award. This year was no different. Kalyn earned her Excellence Award, and Kimberly brought home a Timothy.

Awana, an acronym for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, is an international organization for young people aged 3 to the decrepit age achieved by high school seniors. Its purpose is to “lead kids worldwide to know, love and serve Christ.” It was started in 1941 to reach kids in the Chicago area and seems to have grown steadily since. I’d guess that’s due to Awana’s fun factor. Kids are absolutely encouraged to memorize Scripture and study the Bible, but there are also crafts, story times, and games every meeting. In fact, Awana clubs have the opportunity to meet regionally and compete against other clubs during organized events. Bible Quizzing matches are often featured alongside of the tug of war and various running races.

As I indicated in the first paragraph, my family has been involved with Awana for quite a while. I started, assuming my memory isn’t faulty, in 1st grade. I was a wee Sparky running about in my red vest, saying verses from my campout themed manual and earning tiny jewels for the bronze crown decorating my vest. Jacob was probably in Sparks, too, but I don’t really remember that. Not long after, my parents also got involved. They were the Cubbies (3-4 year olds kiddos) directors, and next thing you know, we were all church on Wednesday going to Awana. It took me a while to be terribly enthusiastic about it, like probably 3 years. I know my third grade book didn’t get finished in my third grade year. In fourth grade, however, I completed it and my fourth grade book, which made me the first one to earn an Excellence Award. That was probably in ‘84. Kalyn, as the youngest sibling, is the – hmm… – 9th one to win an Excellence. Other than the words, our trophies don’t look a bit alike. Even the Awana logo has been redesigned, but, given the gap in years, I suppose that’s only to be expected. I continued on my overachiever streak through the rest of my time in Awana, earning the Timothy, Meritorious, and Citation awards, along with various others. I also served as a leader and listened to youngeruns reciting their verses, and I even went to Scholarship Camp, an institution which, sadly, no longer exists. I was closely followed by my brother, sisters, and mother. I am very proud of them all!

Barring Award Ceremonies, I don’t go to Awana any more. In my “old age,” the tiny jewels that I was always managing to lose and the trophies seem a bit cheesy. My nostalgic moments get tinted with my recollection of how Awana was perfectly capable of being nothing more than another evangelical Christian religious program falling very short of actually inspiring kids to “know, love and serve Christ.” Despite the cheese and the overbearing of (my) religion, I’m glad I completed the program. I memorized hundreds of verses. I read through the whole Bible. I had to spend some time helping others. I went to the Games, Quizzing, and camp. I made good friends. None of that is enough to make me love Christ (in fact, as a kid, I was more concerned with not sinning than loving Christ, which I’d classify as religious), but having made up my mind to love Christ, those experiences and that knowledge have been of incalculable assistance. I think my other family members would say something similar.

That makes me hope that Kimberly and Kalyn will continue. There’s value in consistency, in finishing something that is sometimes hard and takes more than a day or a week or even a year to complete. There’s worth in knowing something of what the Bible says without always having to look it up. It’s fantastic to, especially as a child or young adult, have the experience of helping to meet the needs of others. I hope my little sisters do all of that, and I hope one day they get their Citations, too. I think if they do, they, too, will find they’ve learned some lessons early in life that serve them well later.

Congratulations, Kalyn! You are doing so well!

Way to go, Kimberly! You’re even more awesome than a plate of spaghetti!