Saturday, March 29, 2008

Abby's Big Night

Abby danced the night away. We got to sit with some wonderful friends whom we have known for years, and talked the night away. I realized that we now know very few people in home education circles because our kids are growing up. It couldn't be that we are getting old.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Making Them

Last night was the come-and-make-our-wedding-invitations-for-us dinner party.

Wow, what you can sucker people into when you promise them enchiladas and some ice cream.

Our highly skilled and conscientious crew produced beautiful work. I made nary a single one. My job was preparing enchiladas, and doing dishes. My card making skills are best summed up by one of my last trips to the nursing home with our home school group several years ago. I made loads of cards which the kids passed out to residents. Teresa R. planned these events, which were very fun, and truly some were eventful. (Poor Matt resident with mental issues hit him. He has since recovered and will become a police man. Soon, he can throw them all in the slammer. That's another story, another time.) The residents thought that the cards that I made were made by the children. The oldest was about 8 at the time. I am not complaining; this is one of the most complimentary things ever uttered about my cards. This explains why I pulled enchilada duty.

Oops. One funny thing that I forgot about the enchilada crowd was their music. They played classical music, the Beach Boys, and the Arrogant Worms from Canada. The Worms sang about how wonderful the world would be if everybody had a gun. It was a pretty catchy tune, as well as a number about Snappy the Gator who lives at the bottom of the pond and eats children. For your pleasure, I am adding a link to their famous song: Me Like Hockey

My other job last night was to chronicle the event with photos which we will remember forever. In addition to the face shots, I did hand portraits, and Jenn A. did a group portrait of everyone's feet. I would post them for you, but you, dear readers, know my technical limitations.

Abby and I played tennis yesterday despite the cold. She is quickly improving (except for her backhand which needs work) and it will not be long before I will have to post losses, if I report our scores at all.

Tonight is the Jr/Sr dinner for home educators. Abby is finally old enough to attend. I hope that it is all that she has dreamed it would be. If not, she still gets to wear that beautiful green spaghetti strap job with the knockout silver shoes. We all need to play the princess while we can!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tennis, Anyone?

Abby and I played tennis in the rain yesterday morning. I won the first set of the year. I can tell you that and not feel conceited or contemptuous because I do not think that will always be the case so I have to enjoy it while I can.

Ryan and I enjoyed watching our team win in the last 26 seconds of the third (and final) period of the hockey game on Friday night. Ordinarily I despise professional hockey because fighting is so rampant that it can look more like World Wrestling than a serious sport requiring skill and years of training by top level athletes. This particular game got off to a terrible start when two players started to fight, and the referees made almost no effort to stop them. It looked totally staged and blatantly ridiculous in addition to the fact that fighting is ridiculous anyway. After that things calmed down although there were a lot of penalties. The rules have changed since Mr. Sinta and I had season tickets to the U of Minn Gopher hockey games. Now, when a play is out on a penalty and the opposing team scores, the team returns to full strength, but the player remains in the penalty box until he has served the entire penalty term. It is just as well because this keeps the thugs off the ice for longer periods of time.

On the wedding front, Aimee and I purchased materials to make her invitations. She is having a small dinner party at which we are going to assemble all of them. Aimee is the amazing social butterfly. Aside from stealing face book friends, she is darn near perfect. We forgive her for this. She collects friends like some people collect stamps.

For those who desire a good laugh today, check David Hollander's new political site.

It will open up your opportunity to make a resounding political statement to your neighbors, family, friends, and tailgaters. Yes, he is selling funny bumper stickers. We like David. Even though he attended the University of Idaho, he still qualifies as a good guy on our list.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Other News

Today is Good Friday, but I didn't know that several weeks ago when I purchased hockey tickets so Ryan and I could go to the Mother/Son hockey night that our church advertised. It has not been a resounding social success in the numbers. There will only be six of us, and one of us doesn't have any sons, but she is coming because I told her we would have more fun if she came too. It seems sacreligious to go to a hockey game today, but I am not throwing out the money on tickets just because Easter comes early this year. In honor of our day, I made Ryan toast, juice and fried a package of bacon for him. Additionally, when I left his room, I carried out his dirty dishes. He was in shock. I don't know if I have ever made him breakfast before, at least not since he could feed himself. It has actually degenerated to him grabbing a box of cereal and eating it in his room. There is nothing like having college students in your house. They are almost a sub-species of the human race. That is not saying anything negative about them. I hear that eventually they shed their skin like snakes when they graduate, and a nearly mature thoughtful human being emerges.

Abby is breaking all the sales goals that they have set for her at JC Penney's. We are happy for her, but we are not taken by surprise. This child was trained by her older siblings to be persuasive since she could talk. They also taught her to walk at 12 months. This made her very useful to them. They were always sending her out to us with requests for whatever it was that they thought we would say, "No," to. She has many naturally endearing and useful qualities: a will of iron, a desire to come out on top, a winning smile and she is beautiful. At one point, she wanted to be a gymnast in the Olympics. Dad said, "No way." Another time, she decided to be an actress in Hollywood. She had just landed the understudy for the lead in a local play. Dad reiterated, "No way." Next year is her senior year, and then she is headed to Portland for Bible college. Funny thing, the name of the school is actually: Portland Bible College. Amazing how that works. I am reasonably sure that she has no plans to return here to live. The bird will have permanently flown the coop. No worries. She can always pay her way selling shoes or managing underlings. At times I think we should have gone the Catholic route and given her another middle name, "Bwana."

And now, in this premiere post, I announce a new family member, Brent T. You can call him Mr. T. I am getting a son in law in just a matter of weeks. He is going to take great care of Aimee. We know this because she owns her own hand gun and knows how to use it. No, not true. She has her own hand gun, but actually he adores her. She is like the Princess Bride. She is moving from her exalted and wonderfully spoiled position in one household to the next. He even knows how to cook, and he enjoys it. He is currently scouting out real estate and looking to buy her a home. He spoils her in countless ways which I will not begin to reiterate here because eventually you would be bored, and I have other things to do today, like go to a hockey game tonight. She will be one well taken care of woman.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Details

This afternoon we drove to Weiser and Aimee selected her wedding flowers ( pale yellow roses) at a small and interesting shop. I met Brent's mom who is delightfully honest and down to earth. We toured all over the church, measured things, brought home a hymnal to select songs and talked about cake and the reception. Over spring break, we are going to make the invitations. Aimee said that we waited to long to order them to be printed, but we are going to copy some beautiful ones that friends of hers made for their wedding. We are brainstorming about what to do for Aimee's entrance because this church does not allow instrumental music. I suggested that everyone could whistle the Wedding March. Alternatively, we could have someone announce, "Let's all look at Aimee!" Aimee did not have big musical plans for her wedding, but wanted the Hallelujah Chorus for the recessional. We are thinking that if we could get a car with big speakers in the parking lot positioned just right, that we could blast the building, not use any instruments, and still get the effect. Well, probably not. I hope you know that I am kidding about the musical plans. Something will work out. Brent's mom is going to see if they can bend the rules for us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Bride Is Making Herself Ready

I accompanied Aimee and her entourage to the mall to order her wedding dress this evening, as well as shop for bridesmaid dresses. Unbelievably, we found dresses that work very well with her dress at the same shop.* She also chose her veil and a small, delightful tiara. We ventured to Penney's for undergarments and returned for the fitting all in one night. (Of course, there will no doubt be more fittings later, but for now, we are ready, except for shoes.) We were so happy that we went out to eat to celebrate a successful hunt. It seems sometimes when you look back on something that could have taken hours or been very stressful that obviously God's hand is in it, helping you out whether you realized it or not at the time. Isn't He good?

I tried to take photos of the event, but the employees informed me that the designers do not allow such a thing to happen because we might try to copy their designs. Oh well, our waiter took our portrait at the restaurant.

Tomorrow, we will work on flowers.

I have been impressed with how prepared she already is since she hired a photographer, reserved the church and the pastor etc.

Aimee is studying Marriage Without Regrets (Precepts) in her all-female Bible study, they are attending the Family Life Conference in two weeks due to the generous gift of a good friend, and they are going through pre-marriage counseling at their church. I told her that we had been married for years before we did that much work on our marriage.

*For those who are dying to know: strapless navy blue (kind of shiny, don't know the fabric) just below the knee with a belted subdued bow at the waist. The style is very flattering to her attendants. Her dress is white floor length strapless chiffon gown with a navy tie at the waist, and a white veil with neat hoo-hoo's on the edges. The veil is probably 3 or 4 feet in length and, of course, does not reach the floor. Loosely defined the word hoo-hoo's signifies and attractive and tasteful design detail which I am not able to adequately describe to you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Something Fun to Do

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

"No other tree in the world, as far as I know, has looked down on so many centuries as the sequoia or opens so many impressive and suggestive views into history. Under the most favorable conditions these giants probably live 5000 years or more, though few of even the larger trees are half as old. The age of one that was felled in Calaveras grove, for the sake of having its stump for a dancing-floor, was about 1300 years, and its diameter measured across the stump twenty-four feet inside the bark."

This is from The Yosemite, by John Muir.

I tag anyone who is reading this and wants to play. If you don't have a blog of your own, you may post in the comments.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lingerie and A Miracle in My Heart

I put the L word right on top because Todd was kind enough to reference a site that could help me out. Thanks, Todd.

My other news will be a shocker for you: I reconciled with the people who excommunicated me three years ago. I have removed all identifying names to maintain the privacy of the people involved, but I will post my account. Please be aware that this is an account of what happened from my perspective, and it was a very emotional meeting, probably the most emotional meeting of my entire life. If it was written from the other side, I assure you, it would look very different. That being what it is, it is still worth posting.

I reconciled with the Smiths on Wednesday. Previously, they would not even acknowledge or speak to me. I had tried to contact them a number of times. My current pastor told me to give up trying, and I did. There wasn't anything else to do anyway. However, I had a spooky kind of dream early Wednesday morning, and when I woke up, it was like the Holy Spirit wanted me to go to their house (my former pastors) and try to talk to them. I knew absolutely for sure that they would never apologize to me, but there were some things that I wanted to apologize for because, over time, I could see that I was wrong on some issues. (Some of those issues had nothing to do with the charges against me.) I still don't think that it merited being excommunicated, but, oh well. I was more than a little hesitant to go, so I went after my Bible study group, and showed up at their door unannounced. I honestly did not think I would even get in. I thought that the Lord just would give me brownie points or something for making the attempt, and I would be miserable if I did not try one more time. Mrs. Smith answered the door, and let me in. I was completely shocked. I only intended to apologize to her because Mr. Smith refused to even give me one and a half minutes when I asked before. I apologized to her. Then she said that I really needed to apologize to him, not to her, and she went and got him. He didn't come for about 20 minutes, and in the meantime, Mrs. Smith answered a phone call and talked for a long time. I had asked her point blank to forgive me twice, at this time, and she had not responded. Eventually, when she came back from her phone call, she forgave me. Mr. Smith came in later, and he looked very old and very tired, not at all like I remembered him. He did not act like a pastor or a friend, he sounded like a prosecuting attorney, even though I had come to apologize. He seemed so contrary that I started by asking him to list all of the things I had done which offended him, and I said that I would apologize to him for each one. I think that disarmed him. Then, he kind of changed and said it would be better for me to just apologize for what I thought the offenses were, so I did. They forgave me. This whole thing was an incredibly emotional time for me. I sobbed like I have never sobbed in my entire life. I felt like I was crying all the way down to my socks. I think it maybe shocked them as well. I have been in many counseling sessions with Mr. Smith, dealing with my past, and he has seen me cry more than most people, but he had never seen anything like that, because it had never happened before that day. Then I thanked them for the positive things that came from my time at their former church. (They are no longer in the ministry.) They very kindly wanted to know what the kids were doing and we talked for a short time, and then I left. It does not bother me that they did not reciprocate by asking about how they had offended me because I forgave them a long time ago, or I could not have survived the ordeal. I totally did not expect it, and I was not disappointed. They have very wounded hearts, and they have their own issues to deal with. It was a very healing thing for me to be able to unload all of that grief, and to do what I could do to put the relationship in a better place. As I was driving home, I started crying all over again. I simply could not believe that it happened. To me, it was like watching someone without an arm, miraculously grow an arm right in front of you, or the Red Sea opening up for Moses. Anyway, that's my big news.

It has now been almost three days, and I still cannot believe it. Something inside me was healed on Wednesday. The words that I have used to describe what happened do not really describe what happened at all. They just recount the event. It feels like I am walking around with a miracle in my heart. I guess that is what reconciliation is, and that is why it is so important to the Lord.