Friday, July 29, 2016
She wore a cotton day dress
all flowered and sensible
With her orthopedic shoes
for her fallen arches
And a smile that lit up the room
She wore a smile to cover
the secrets and the scandal
With her beautiful eyes
and snow white hair
And those mints in the
“be careful” glass jar
She wore costume jewelry
and a corsage every Mother’s Day
With her clip-on earrings
to hide that one earlobe
longer than the other
And a heavy green coat that
buttoned at the neck
She wore her title of Nurse
proudly although she hadn’t
worked in decades
With her sister Bea
And unspeakable memories
too frightening to repeat
Sometimes I see her
long after she’s been gone.
God’s gift to me. A reminder
that she isn’t far.
She wears a cotton day dress
all flowered and sensible
With her orthopedic shoes
for her fallen arches
And a smile that lights up the room.
There’s a wooden sign at a store in downtown Charlevoix that says, “Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.” I know that it’s meant to be hung up in a little girl’s room because it’s displayed in the baby section. However, when I saw that sign I wanted to buy it for myself; for totally different reasons. Last year I got my first motorcycle. It was matte black, which to me said “guy’s bike.” But we knew that our sons would want to ride it too, so I thought that would be a good place to start. What we didn’t know was that the boys would want to ride it, but would be vehemently against riding “Mom’s bike.” So this year, they both decided that they would buy their own motorcycles. Since Sammy rode mine the most, it really made more sense for him to buy it from me. Suddenly, I was on the hunt for a replacement. Tom came across one that was white with pink flames. I was in love. It screamed “Dawn’s Bike.” You see, when I was young I was a girly-girl, a bouncy curls and dresses girl, an “only boys wear jeans” girl. I thought Pinky Tuscadero, the motorcycle-riding girlfriend of Fonzie (remember Happy Days?) was so cool with her pink name and her pink scarf around her neck. Knowing that about me, you can see why I fell in love with this pearl white with pink flames and blingy rhinestone emblems bike. But the more I thought about it I wondered if that was maybe a little bit too “girly” for an all-grown-up woman. Would I get sick of it? Do I really want the attention that a Pinky Tuscadero ‘esque motorcycle would get? It would match my black with pink flames helmet though. Then Tom found another black motorcycle on Craigslist that had everything that this one had without being too “girly.” Maybe I should be safe and get that one instead? I wondered. I flipped and I flopped, finally rationalizing that if I got sick of the pink, we could always repaint it. The decision was made. On the day I got the bike I stopped at the Secretary of State’s office. On my way out, two women walked past me as I was getting ready to leave. “That is the most beautiful motorcycle I have ever seen!” said one, and the other woman replied with “Yes, that is really pretty.” So I guess I did make the right choice after all. “Sunshine and pink?” you ask. “Yes,” I say. “Now anything is possible.”
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I hear and read complaints by Christians about how “God isn’t allowed in the public schools.” I beg to differ. If you don’t see God in the schools then you aren’t looking hard enough. Sure, we aren’t allowed to pray (out loud) or read the Bible to kids, but He definitely is in the schools. Here are just a few examples.
On the Monday before spring break, my friend and colleague posted this on Facebook:
As a teacher, this week is hard. It's hard to get homework ready for students who are leaving early, or will be returning late. It's hard to keep students interested when their minds are elsewhere. But the hardest, most heart-wrenching thing for me are the students who know that they don't have a fun-filled spring break to look forward to, and their worry is if they will get any food next week because they aren't at school where we make sure they get breakfast and lunch. So when I get a text from a friend saying, "hey- are you making food bags for some of your students like you did at Christmas? If so, I will help you," it literally brings me to tears. So thankful! So blessed!
The results were overwhelming. By the time they left for spring break, 70 children had bags loaded full of food (heavier than the average kindergartener) to take home thanks to Sara, and the community members who showed up with food and bags.
I saw God there.
Last fall as it got colder more and more children came to school without what they needed. Children arrived without socks, clean clothes, or with worn out shoes that no longer fit. Stephanie and Theresa came up with an idea for a “kids closet,” spread the word, and it began to take shape. What we have now is a fully stocked room with underwear, socks, clothes (sizes 2T to mens and womens large), shoes, boots, and winter snowclothes. If children have accidents or forget their boots they simply go with an adult to get what they need, returns not necessary.
God was there too.
God was in school when a teacher took 3 special needs children home with her for the weekend so their dad could stay with their mother in the hospital when she had major surgery.
He was there when we collected food and gas cards for the family who took weekly trips to Grand Rapids to take their son for his chemo treatments. He was also there with the children who sold ribbons and had bake sales for that same family.
I saw God in the public school when the teachers spent their own money on school supplies and paid field trip fees for kids who didn’t have them. I saw Him with the teacher who tutored a girl after school for free because she knew it would be a financial burden on the parents.
If you think that God isn’t allowed in the public schools you aren’t looking hard enough. He doesn’t need to be invited. He just shows up. And if you don’t believe that you are grossly underestimating the power of God himself.
Monday, March 7, 2016
My new favorite author is Jen Hatmaker. I recently read her book For the Love and enjoyed every minute of it. My favorite chapter was the one about LAP (leggings as pants) and TAP (tights as pants). She’s a girl after my own heart on the subject, especially when she says:
Leggings-As-Pants (LAP) is permissible if the following rule is obeyed: Your privates are covered by a shirt, sweater, or dress. Privates heretofore are understood as areas north of upper thigh and south of muffintop. I don’t want to see your hinterlands…I am just shopping at Target and feel like I’ve gotten to second base with you.
Jen is about 8 years younger than me so this might be a new phenomenon for her, but if you went to high school in the mid 80’s like I did, leggings as pants are not. We just didn’t call them leggings. We called them “stretch pants” or “stirrup pants” (for which I am anxiously awaiting a comeback). We wore our beloved stretch pants under cute swishy skirts in capri length (except we didn’t call them capris either), or ankle length, with either Tintables pumps or flats. If we wore leggings as pants they were always under a long, oversized sweater, sweatshirt, or tshirt. Never were our “hinterlands” on display for the general public (unless you were writhing around on the hood of a car in a Whitesnake video). In those days we thought that leaving something to the imagination was a good thing when it came to stretch pants. And we never wore tights as pants. We just didn’t. It’s weird.
And while I’m on the subject, tight jeans aren’t new either. These days I find the banter about skin tight “jeggings” to be quite comical. If you are my age, you undoubtedly jumped up and down, swiveling your hips to and fro to pull up those Jordache jeans that you saved up your babysitting money for, and then laid on your bed like a mannequin, in order to get them zipped. There was no stretch in those jeans. It took a few deep squats and a prayer in order to get them to the point of walking in a somewhat normal manner without blowing out the zipper you worked so hard to pull up (maybe with pliers). When you could bend over, you pegged the ankles, slipped on your flats or pumps and off you went. But before you left you tossed on that oversized sweater or sweatshirt to cover up the unsightly muffin top, because again, we understood the importance of leaving something to the imagination.
I loved the 80’s. I loved the hair, the clothes, the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” music, big, oversized shirts, and the stretch pants. I love the return of those fashions and colors. I’m glad it’s back in style and I’m happy that women my age can enjoy the trends without scorn. But I tend to agree with Jen when it comes to covering up. Wear what is comfortable ladies, just please remember to leave a little something to the imagination.
Monday, February 22, 2016
My husband Tom has been on a quest for the perfect cup of coffee since we got married, and I’m not entirely sure why. When we met he was drinking instant coffee from a dirty mug with powered creamer. When we would visit his family at their family business he’d drink day old coffee from the coffee machine in their garage. “It’s not any good unless your tongue goes numb!” he’d say. We got one of those Mr. Coffee automatic drip coffee makers as a wedding gift, which provided me with my one cup in the morning and filled his thermos for the rest of the day. Then somewhere along the way he said “This coffee doesn’t taste very good.” Suddenly we were on the hunt for a different type of coffee maker because his friend, who is a chef, said that the water has to be brought up to a certain temperature in order to properly brew and that the only way to do that is with an old fashioned percolator. So we got a percolator. It took a little longer in the morning but I got my one cup and he put the rest in the thermos and took it to work. About 10 years ago he decided he was drinking too much coffee and it was getting to him. We talked to some friends who had a “Toddy” cold brew system. It was a little labor-intensive but you ended up with coffee that was supposedly more smooth with less caffeine (unless you drank the concentrate without diluting it). We did that for a while until Tom gave up coffee altogether. I continued on with that system for my one cup of coffee (until it got to be a chore for just me) then a I tried series of other quick ways to make just one cup in the morning until the invention of Keurig, which only brews one cup at a time. The Keurig was perfect because I was the only one who drank coffee. Then Tom decided he missed it and was ready to come back. Around that time Sammy and Robby started drinking coffee so my little one-cupper wasn’t enough and we switched to a better model that kept the water hot. But Tom wasn’t happy. “It doesn’t get the water to the right temperature. The coffee from the gas station tastes better than this does!”
“Then get your coffee from the gas station because it tastes fine to me.” Nevertheless, we found ourselves in Bed Bath & Beyond, replacing my Keurig with a Bunn automatic drip coffee maker. So we’ve come just about full circle. An the funny thing is, it has all, always tasted the same to me. Will Tom ever get his perfect cup of coffee? I’ll let you know when his tongue goes numb.