Sunday, March 26, 2023

Daddy Daughter Dance

 Yesterday was the Daddy Daughter Dance at our church.  For the last 20 years or so, this dance has been the highlight of my husband's and my daughters' years.  

Every year, since my eldest was 3 years old, this dance meant a new dress, special hair, a fancy dinner out, a beautiful corsage presented by daddy, and so much more. But even though they love to dance the night away, this Daddy Daughter Dance has never really been about dancing.  This dance is still and has always been about the special bond my husband has with our girls.  Early on, I remember my husband and daughter choosing to go out to dinner just the two of them, instead of with groups of girls and dads that were forming; they wanted the time to themselves.  And over the years, this dance, this precious event, became sacred to them.  Even when covid canceled the dance for two years, dad and daughter had a special dinner and danced in our living room.

Over the years, the dance preparations have varied slightly.  For years, it was just my eldest daughter and my husband.  Then for many years (until my eldest graduated from high school!), it was both girls and daddy.  And now for the past several years, it is just my youngest and daddy.  My amazon photos of the dance number over 300(!), and each one brings a smile to my face as I remember those little girls and see their faces gazing up at their daddy and their dad, in turn, looking upon them with love. Such gift.  Such grace. 

I've heard the sentiment before that "a daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she judges all men".  During all the years of attending this dance together, my girls have seen their father treasure them.  They have learned from his example, his words, the way he treats me and others what it means to be a man, and how a man should treat a woman.  A girl loves her father like she loves no one other -- she looks up to him with an adoration she has for no one else.  A father can shape how a girl sees herself and is taught by him she is worthy of being treasured someday by her husband.  

This year, the pictures I took of my daughter and husband were at church instead of in our living room.  After I took their pictures, I walked out of the building as they walked into the gym toward the dance.  As I walked out, I saw so many girls I know (some from my class who have been talking about the dance all week!) and their dads, all dressed up, holding hands, so excited.  As I got in the car to go have dinner with my son (another tradition we've made over the years), my eyes filled up.  My tears were happy tears - for all these precious girls and their adoring daddies, and for my own girls and husband. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I prayed for all of them and thanked God for the gift they are to each other. And ultimately, I am thankful for all of these earthly fathers who point their daughters to their heavenly Father.  

At our church, the committee that hosts our Daddy Daughter Dance goes all out.  The decor, the food -- the whole experience is unbelievable.  These men and women spend hours transforming the gym into a wonderland.  The girls' faces light up when they walk into whatever theme has taken over that year - they are so excited for the evening. I am forever indebted to the servants who make this dance happen, year after year.  They, too, have always understood that it's so much more than a dance.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 4

Teenager:  "I'd love to go back to my childhood and do it all over again. . ."

Me, holding my breath: 

Teenager:  ". . .and do it exactly the same way!"

Parenting often feels hard and messy and exhausting and sometimes I find myself wondering "Did we handle that right?",  "Did I give them a good foundation to launch from?", "Are they ready for the world, loving Jesus first and foremost?".

And the answers to these questions?  I don't know.  But we know that God does and can see just how each of their stories will unfold.  Each day we trust and pray that God holds them close and gives us wisdom when we ask for it. And we also cling to the sure knowledge that as much as we love these precious children, we know that God loves them infinitely more  - how grateful I am for that!

So while we wait and watch to see how God shapes their lives, I'll hang on to little moments of encouragement like this one.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Upon Finding a Displaced Fork

About 27 years ago or so, my now-husband and I went to Target.  After talking to an employee (who I knew since I had worked there for 6 years!), we were given portable scanners and given free rein of the store.  I vividly remember my then-fiancee darting in and out of the aisles as if he was James Bond.  We were laughing and thinking about our wedding and also registering for wedding gifts.  

Among the things we registered for that spring day was silverware. Not as fun as some of the other things we chose, but a necessity nonetheless.  We chose a pattern we thought would stand the test of time and then moved on to fun things like towels and shower curtains and blenders.

Fast forward to this past week.  I was getting in our "teen" car, a 2003 Rav 4 that is hanging on by a thread.  My almost 19-year-old son was driving us home from a college visit, and I looked down on the floor of the passenger seat and saw a fork.  And I was suddenly back in Target, registering for our wedding gifts.  

I thought of us that day, only a few years older than this man-child who was driving me home.  We were so excited about the future:  each other, our wedding, our impending move to Colorado, and just the future in general.  Everything was wide open - opportunities, joy, and happiness were on the horizon. 

I am absolutely positive that I could not have envisioned our beautiful newly-registered-for forks lying on the floor of a beat-up car being driven by our third adult child.  

Maybe others are better at picturing what's ahead, but it appears I'm pretty lousy at it.  In some vague, other-worldly way, I could dream of children and the deepening love that marriage brings over the years, but I really couldn't foresee it with any detail at all.  

So many years have passed since we chose silverware.  So much life has transpired.  So many years filled with good and hard and everything in between. So much beauty, even in the challenges and sorrow.  And I wonder, if God grants us life and marriage and parenthood for another 27 years, what will life look like? 

Will I be taken off guard again by a random fork or similar relic of our earlier years?  Perhaps being used by a grandchild or great-grandchild?  

As I already said, I can't really imagine it.  But I do know that God can, and I'm thankful for that.  Whatever is in our future, I know God is already there.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

2023 Goals

 2022 was not the easiest year.  We had a fair bit of loss, disappointment, and sadness.  The year started off with challenges from the start, and it remained so throughout.  Many times during the year I thought "I hope next year is better!".

And yet, even through all the tears, frustrations, and worries, I knew God was with us.  I often prayed during those moments, "gift, gift, gift".  Even the bad parts of the year were gifts from God and I knew it.  And it helped sometimes, but sometimes it also just helped to cry, mourn, grieve, and offer it all up to God.  

As 2023 approached and I thought about the new year, I made some loose goals, one of which is to listen to a podcast of the Bible in a year, which has already been a wonderful blessing.  I also thought about a word for the year.  I tossed around a few ideas, but I kept coming back to the word I've held onto for a few years now:  fiat.  I've blogged about the word fiat (you can read it here), and everything I wrote then still holds fast today.  Among the hardships of the last year, I could always see God's hand working; I could often see the blessings coming from the challenge, and even if I couldn't immediately see it, I knew God would work it for good. 

And so I continue to pray fiat.  To pray God's will in my life -- that God, who knows far better than I what will be beneficial for me to experience and endure, will continue to bless me and my family as He sees fit.  

Our pastor's homily on Sunday centered around the phrsase "Know God and make Him known".  As I approach this coming year, being open to God's will, I will keep this in mind too.  After all, everything in the Christian life boils down to this: to know God and to grow in myrelationship with Him, and to make Him known in everything I do, to everyone I encounter. 

So no matter what curveballs I may feel 2023 brings me, I want these two prayers to hem me in: let it be unto me as God says, and to know God and make Him known.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Random Thoughts, Post-Christmas

Oh wow!  If ever I resonated with a meme, it's this one!  The older I get, the more this is me.  Staying home brings me serious joy, and it appears I'm becoming a hermit in my old(er) age.  Wearing comfy clothes, doing chores around the house, hanging with my family. . .what's not to love??  I am afraid I may become a complete recluse when I retire!  Maybe send help?  Or don't and just come and visit me - as long as you bring wine and don't mind how I look in joggers and a sweatshirt. :) 

Here is our Christmas tree this year:  

Our tree began in the normal way, with fun family decorating and silliness and banter.  The tree looked lovely, covered in all our family ornaments, just as it always does.  But a day or two into its tenure in our home, the tree was being attacked.  Or rather, the ornaments were being attacked.  Picked off, one by one, by. . .you guessed it - Duke the wonder dog!  Yep, the ornaments appeared to be tasty treats to our naughty boy.  So one by one, over the next few days, I began un-trimming the tree, until only about the top third of the tree remained decorated.  I got used to the look after a while and it reminded me of all our toddler years.  Of course, Duke is a lot of the work of a toddler without all the rewards. . .but that's not the point here. 

Just before Christmas, I did this silly sheet with my students:  I think my teacher wants_____for Christmas.  The answers all made me laugh.  A couple of my favorites:

Umm. . .no thank you! One wild canine is all this family can handle. 

Ok!  I don't know what a crazy Batman car is, but I might enjoy fitting all my children in it.  
Apparently it's crazy big!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Week-ish in Pictures


I saw this on the interwebs the other day and it seriously cracked me up. 
 Just what every new mamma needs - a drum solo. 

Duke strikes again!  I bought these Culver's cards as a Christmas gift, laid them on the counter when I got home, and ran upstairs quickly.  When I got back down a few minutes later, Duke had snatched them and was happily chomping away.  Thankfully, though it took them a while to figure out how, Culver's was able to give me new cards so I didn't have to gift these Duke-ified cards as a gift.

Our sad Christmas tree.  Duke (him again!) has been trying to eat the ornaments, so our tree now looks like we have a toddler.  The last few days I've been trying to add a few ornaments on the lower part of the tree to see what he'll do, and he has left them alone, so maybe there's hope for the future.  Maybe.

I bought this T-shirt this year and it brings me a lot of joy whenever I wear it.  Teaching the Christmas story to my students is hands down my favorite part of teaching (and also teaching the Holy Week story).  This phrase caught my eye the Christmas of 2020 and has had my heart since -- what a thrill of hope Jesus is to this oh-so-weary world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

On How To Find An Iphone

1.  Wear leggings without pockets.

2.  Juggle multiple items in hands while helping early-dismissal children get coats and backpacks on.

3.  Tell early-dismissal children goodbye and take rest of class to library.

4.  Realize at end of library time that phone is missing.

5.  Retrace steps and repeatedly ping apple watch fruitlessly.

6.  Realize that phone might have fallen into a student's backpack and gone home with the child, even though no memory of such a thing exists in one's mind.

7.  Email husband and ask him to check my location to see if phone might have left the building.

8.  Try to wait patiently for husband to email back, carry on with teaching PreK kiddos.

9.  Encounter several people in the building and hear lots of good advice and well wishes for lost phone.

10.  Finally hear back from husband and learn that phone is, indeed, about 6 miles away.

11.  Feel ridiculous.

12.  Determine which child lives at that address and call his mom, my friend.

13.  Wait while she kindly goes to check and verifies that yes, my phone is tucked away safely in son's backpack.

14.  Continue with the day, needing my phone multiple times and having to figure things out without it.

15.  Feel ridiculous.

16.  Print directions to her house from MapQuest like its 1999 because I HAVE NO PHONE OR GPS OR ABILITY TO FUNCTION APPARENTLY.

17.  Leave school in the windy, freezing cold, and promptly lose the printed directions to the wind.

18. By some stroke of luck, stomp on the papers and save them.

19.  Drive as if blind, relying on printed directions and not a disembodied voice, and wonder how we ever survived without GPS.

20.  Arrive at student's house and walk up to door, admiring all the Christmas yard decor. 

21.  Feel my watch go crazy with missed texts and calls.

22.  Greet my friend and her children and thank her profusely for helping me end this wild goose chase.

23.  Feel ridiculous.