Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A New Kind of Love

A few weeks ago our son, Paul, and daughter-in-law, Erin put a new floor in their townhome. They invited us to come up for dinner one night so we could see their work. Well, it wasn’t so much THEIR work that got the floor in; they had help. Lots of it. However, Paul and his friend eventually got the job done as Erin cheered them on. But I digress.

Before dinner we were sitting around, admiring their handiwork and talking and all of a sudden Paul asks if we’d like to see a video he made. Paul makes random videos all the time so this request didn’t seem so odd. Of course we said yes, because, well, it would’ve been rude to say no.

This is the video he showed us. Don’t read the rest of my blog before you watch it. It’s only 45 seconds long. Go on, you’ve got the time. You may have seen it before if you’re on Facebook, but hey, watch it again. It’s pretty spectacular. (Hint: you might need to double-click on the screen to get the full view.)

Wasn’t it great? O.K., I understand if you aren’t quite as over the moon about it as I am, but hey, that’s my grandbaby we’re talking about! That’s right! I’m going to be a grandma, or Nana, as I like to call it. It sounds a bit younger to me.

For years other grandparents have been telling me that there is no explaining the love they have for their grandchildren. They say it’s like a new kind of love that you won’t know until you become a grandparent. I wasn’t convinced.

To hear my children tell it, I’ve been bugging them for years to have kids. I seriously don’t know where they get that stuff because, to be honest, I’ve been a little nervous about the whole grandparent thing. What if I didn’t get that kind of love that everyone talks about? I don’t want to be a failure as a grandparent and I just wasn’t so sure that I’d be as enamored with my grandchildren as everyone else seems to be with theirs.

Well, let me tell you this; I need worry no more. The very instant I knew I was going to be a grandmother, I was head over heels in love with that little one. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced! Paul and Erin asked me to keep it a secret for a few weeks and I’ve been beside myself. I actually walked through Target one day and started telling random people that I was going to be a grandmother. I’m sure they were thrilled. Had I stayed much longer I probably would have heard over the speaker, “Nut case in the baby aisle, please send assistance immediately!”

I’ll make a noble attempt not to make EVERY post about my assuredly adorable grandchild but trust me, it won’t be easy. February can’t come soon enough!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

When Did This World Go Mad?

Tonight, I’m a bit annoyed. I logged on to the internet earlier and a Yahoo news page came up. The title of the lead article was something like “Plus-size Model Speaks Out.” Apparently model, Crystal Renn, posed for a photo-shoot and when the picture came out they made her appear as though she were a size 2. She “spoke out,” it seems, because she’s very comfortable being a size 10 and was offended that they’d photo-shopped some weight off of her to make her look thinner.

Wait a minute! Let’s go back to the original title of the article; “PLUS-SIZE MODEL SPEAKS OUT.” Since when is a size 10 a plus size? I wear a plus size and while I personally wouldn’t be offended if someone wanted to take some weight off of me in a photo, I am offended for all the size 10 women in the world. I haven’t been a size 10 since I was oh, well, maybe 10 years old! I would love to be a size 10, or for that matter a 12; neither one do I consider to be a plus-size.

Other people must have been annoyed, also, because when I went back to watch the video again I couldn’t find it. It was gone. Hmmm…

But, there is one other thing that annoys me about this story. Here’s what bugs me. Why is a size 10 girl modeling for plus-sized clothes? Nothing against Chrystal Renn, she’s a beautiful girl, but seriously, why isn’t she modeling normal-sized clothes for the normal-sized women? When did this world go mad? It’s no wonder women have weight issues. If you are considered one of the “larger women” at a size 10 why bother trying?

Furthermore, why can’t real plus-sized women model plus-sized clothing? Would it be wrong to put someone who is a size 14, say, in a clothing catalog where the smallest size actually IS a 14? Is that too much to ask?

One last thing; while I generally don’t feel comfortable discussing my dress size with the general public, I really can’t stay silent one more minute. Yes, I would prefer to be smaller, yes, I know it’s healthier, yes, I continually try to lose weight; but the truth is that I am so much more than what I weigh. I refuse to let my weight define who I am as a person any longer. I hope you do, too.

O.K., I’m done ranting now. Thanks for listening. And if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, feel free to call. One thing about my shoulder is this, it’s soft.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Same Time, Next Year

I got back last night after a three day getaway at Dummy Lake just outside of Cumberland, WI. I’ve made this trek to Cumberland for 11 of the last 12 years. It all started when Ruth, who I worked with at the Elementary School many years ago, decided to host Chick Week. She invited, as she puts it, the women she liked to come to her cabin. Usually the second week of July is designated as Chick Week every year. We are encouraged to arrive and depart as our schedule will allow. Over the years we’ve added a few women and sadly, in 2000 we lost one to breast cancer. We range in age from the early 50’s to the late 70’s. Actually, we are a pretty unlikely group when you think about it.

We have different political views, different religious views, different lifestyles, and different body shapes. We do, however, have one thing in common. We all love to laugh. Oh, and eat – we LOVE to eat. (I guess that’s two things.)

The thing I like the most about these women, though, is that no one really cares if my clothes match, or if I have make-up on, or what I look like in a swimsuit. It is truly a stress-free time away.

We do all kinds of crazy things when we are together. Somehow we started the tradition of doing a craft every year. This is usually a source of great entertainment because, quite frankly, some of us are not all that crafty. I tend to fall into the “less crafty” group which probably has more to do with my perfectionist tendencies than my actual crafting abilities. This year we made scarves which were super easy, and fun. One of the girls (and I use the term “girls” VERY loosely) commented on my lack of whining which basically means that I’m better at making scarves than I am at say, making Christmas ornaments out of modeling clay. (Oh, that was a painful year.)

Of course, no girl’s getaway would be complete without a little shopping (though it isn’t our main source of entertainment.) Bargain Bills in Rice Lake is ALWAYS on the agenda. Bargain Bills is a store FILLED to the brim with stuff you don’t really need. It’s great. Some of it is dirt cheap and some not quite such a bargain. It’s not a store for the faint of heart because it goes on forever. Food, kitchen supplies, gift wrap, furniture, automotive supplies, gardening gear, home improvement items, toys, stationary, Christmas ornaments, craft supplies, yarn, and candles are just a few of the items you’ll find at Bargain Bills. Some aisles I’ve never dared to enter.

There is always some great competition around the card table in the evenings. I can honestly say it’s the only time of the year I enjoy a game of golf (the card game, not the chasing of little white balls.) Prizes are furnished by all of us and let’s just say that winning a prize isn’t always a real win.

Every year, I come home from the cabin refreshed and relaxed (though not necessarily rested.) And, we always part ways with the promise of “same time, next year.” I can’t wait!

Monday, July 5, 2010

When Did Singing the National Anthem become a Spectator Sport?

Yesterday our country celebrated Independence Day. My husband and I spent it going to a parade and later watching fireworks (with time out for a nap in between because, well . . . because I like naps.) We usually go to the parade in our little town of Cannon Falls, but this year we were invited to join some friends in Apple Valley. And, since there was a picnic involved also, not to mention some fun friends, we decided to branch out from our regular tradition.

The first thing that I noticed about the Apple Valley parade, that I’ve never seen done in Cannon Falls, is that they start by singing the national anthem, also known as The Star Spangled Banner. Other things were different also, of course. The Apple Valley parade has more marching bands whereas the Cannon Falls parade has more horses and tractors. But, it’s the national anthem that I want to focus on.

Here’s what I want to know? When did the singing of the national anthem become a spectator sport? Have you noticed that nobody really sings along anymore? Oh sure, they’ll stand up, a few will even put their hands over their hearts, but nobody sings. Are they afraid someone will make fun of them? Don’t they know the words? What is it?

I have a theory that it all started when the singers at ballgames started using their own little renditions that only another professional singers could follow. Those renditions, though usually beautiful, leave the average person wondering which note to hit next. But, maybe it’s more than that; I don’t know. I just think it needs to change.

This isn’t my first observation of this phenomenon. I first became aware of this issue while watching the Olympics last winter. Did you hear those Canadians? They sing their national anthem with wild abandon; kind of like their proud to be Canadians. Imagine.

Well, I say it’s time for those of us in the United States to sing our anthem with pride. Granted it’s not the easiest anthem in the world to sing, but it’s not the hardest either.

There is one place left where the national anthem is sung, on a weekly basis, by the entire group. That is at Rotary Club. My husband is a member and every now and again I am with him at a meeting. Generally, the singing of the national anthem at Rotary Club is followed by breakfast so it’s pretty much sung with a “hurry up, we have to finish this so we can eat” beat. They are usually “proudly hailing” while I’m still seeing the “dawn’s early light,” but hey, at least they are singing.

So, next time you’re at a ballgame, or a parade, or anywhere else the national anthem is being sung, do me a favor and join in. Let’s see if we can’t at least match the Canadian’s enthusiasm. We have our issues in America but one of them shouldn’t be that we don’t know how to sing our anthem. Warts and all, America is still a great place to call home.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Do You have a Happy File?

Tonight I’ve been cleaning off the bookshelves in my office. These poor bookshelves are quite the mess. When I sold Creative Memories they held scrapbooks, refill pages, decorative paper, photo tape, stickers and practically everything you’d need to create an album that would someday hold the memories of your life. Once I quit the selling process I condensed the items that were left and added a few books . . . and then some DVD’s . . . and some CD’s . . . and well really anything that I needed to stuff someplace seemed to end up on these shelves. So, in an effort to tidy up a bit, I thought I’d spend an hour or two rearranging. So far, this is where I’m at.

Basically, the mess that was on the shelves is now all over the office floor. Hmmm…..

Oh well, it’ll get done.

As often happens when I’m in the middle of a mess, I find something that belongs somewhere else and well, that leads me on a bit of a rabbit trail. It’s a fun trail until you realize that you have to eventually get back to the mess. Tonight’s trail led me to my “happy file.” Do you have a “happy file?”

What’s a happy file, you ask? (Please, pretend you’re asking for my benefit. I like to think that people are chatting with me when I write.) A “happy file” is a place you stick note cards, printed out emails, or a simple piece of paper with something on it that makes you feel . . . well . . . happy. Most of the notes in my happy file are filled with a kind word of encouragement from a friend or family member. A few are just something that made me laugh.

I’m not going to tell you about every note in my happy file but there are a couple I’d like to share. This first one made me laugh. It’s a little note the size of a gift tag. Actually, it is a gift tag that Scott found one year when I was wrapping Christmas gifts. He took some of my fancy-edged scissors and dressed the sides up a bit, taped on two pennies, and then wrote a note. From the looks of it, he was about 8 or 9. Here’s what it says:

Do not read until cristmas (he wasn’t our best speller)

Two pennies like these share the love of god

To Mom

From Scott

All I can say is thankfully his theology has matured! You can’t throw stuff like this away. Sometimes you just need a good laugh.

Obviously, that isn’t what sent me to my “happy file” tonight. That note has been there for years. Tonight though, I found amidst some old Bible Study lessons a note written to me from a friend. I think I was having a tough day and couldn’t come up with one thing I liked about myself. Do you ever have days like that? My friend refused to let me wallow in my own self-pity and said to me, “Well, I could come up with five of your good qualities right now,” and she did (actually she got all the way to seven.) This is how the note reads:








Woman of God

I’m not sharing this with you to brag about myself. What I realized as I read it is this is of course it feels good to know that someone thinks of me as having all those qualities. (That’s why it’s going in the “happy file” after all.) But in the end, there is only one thing on that list that really matters to me and it’s the three short words, “Woman of God.” That’s what I want people to remember about me . . . . that I served Jesus.

And actually, I’ll consider my time on this earth a success if, at the end of my days, someone can say, “I met a woman once who told me how much Jesus loves me. It changed my life.” That would go in my “heavenly happy file.”