There and Back Again, 2014

2014 is over tonight.  It’s hard to believe another year has ended.  Time just keeps flying by and I keep looking around wondering where it went.

We celebrated Christmas several times over the last week and I was back in the photo business with my new camera.  (Thanks family for the early Christmas gift!)  Putting together yearly photo calendars for both grandmothers, and working on a photo book for 2014, caused some nostalgia as I looked through photos of the last year.  Having the time to hang a bit with my kids added to it, especially when my 13 year old slept until after 8:00 Christmas morning.  I was the only one awake early, with just George the cat for company.  What happened to waking my parents with the phrase, “We can’t hold them back much longer”, as the kids hovered at the top of the stairs?  It all changed this year.  But that wasn’t all that changed.

  Look at these two.  They are so tiny.royals

And willing to wear matching jammies for their mom.  matching

They used to both fit in my

Now the matching pajamas are just a memory.


And socks are not as exciting as they used to be.


But they are still silly and like to laugh with and at each other.


Christmas 2005, nine years ago.  Bitty Baby had to be in the photo, Coach and I had more hair and less of it was gray, and JMumbo still fit on his dad’s lap,

family 05

Christmas 2014.  The prodigal daughter has her learner’s permit (which she never uses), George the cat is a permanent fixture in the family, and they are all as tall as Coach and I.  Soon JMumbo will shoot past us.  M&M never will, but that means she can wear heels and not tower over her dates.


I tried to get JMumbo to sit with  me in the big chair last night and watch a movie like we used to.  I even made popcorn to bribe him with.  He wandered into the kitchen, stole the big bowl of popcorn leaving me with a little one, and headed back upstairs to the gaming world he likes to spend time in.  Thank goodness for George, he spent some time with me, filling the empty space.  JMumbo was always the one willing to snuggle with his mommy and hang out.  Now his legs and arms hang over the edges of whatever he is sitting on.

2015 will bring more changes in physical size, interests, and aptitudes.  It will be a year where the prodigal daughter starts to narrow down college choices and JMumbo enters high school.  Time will keep moving forward and I will try to keep up, remembering what Bilbo Baggins said, “It’s a dangerous business going out your door.  You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  I’ll try to keep my feet in 2015.


The Best Kind of High School Drama

In the last three weeks I have attended 3 different drama productions.  All were high school musicals or plays and I enjoyed each for different reasons.  I dragged a group along with me each time and it has made me smile thinking about the fun we had, even when I was listening to the other kind of high school drama at my job and combing my hair up into a crazed rooster comb.

Last summer our church’s youth group went on a mission trip.  The difference in how the kids interacted as a result of the trip was evident from this before and after photo:

Before and AfterBecause they are spread across five different schools and a majority of them involved in the arts, we were able to fill the month with drama by attending all the performances.  The first was Grease and one of our kids was the percussionist in the pit band.  He had a solo during Hand Jive and we filled two auditorium rows as we cheered the whole cast on.  The set was incredible, spelling out the word GREASE with each letter turning into another setting for the story.  Inventive and fun, it made me want to recruit their designers.grease

Our school’s straight play was next and close to ten were able to make it to the Saturday night show.  They sat up front and laughed at the jokes and gags (even the impromptu add ins by our kids), loved and understood the Steampunk theme, then chatted with all of them afterwards.  The prodigal daughter introduced the show and worked backstage while JMumbo made 3 costume changes and tried not to grin while being robbed.


Thursday we filled two cars with kids and met another family at the last show.  The Wizard of Oz was up and we were ready to follow the yellow brick road with a whole bunch of our favorite people.  The Wicked Witch stole the show (she was a very talented young man who nailed the part), Toto had his own personal wrangler, Dorothy sang like Judy Garland, I wanted to squeeze the Lion, and the Tin Man tapped his way into our hearts, while the special effects lady rocked our worlds incorporating cool video of the great and powerful Oz.  But one of our favorite guys was the Scarecrow and he stumbled and bumbled his way through, a perfect mix of physical wobbles and spectacular singing.  Once again a reunion commenced in the lobby and more kids made connections.  One of my favorite friendships was captured:

Mary and CamiThe prodigal daughter and her friend, two girls who knew very little about each other before last year, but act like they have been together forever.

This is the kind of teenage drama I love.



Boston Bombings should be a call to action

I would like to say I am amazed by the people who rushed to help in Boston yesterday, but I am not.  Humanity rises to the surface when catastrophe occurs, as it did in Boston, and it strengthens my belief that we want to be a society that cares and takes care because it is the best way to live our lives, not for personal gain.

When asked to pray yesterday for Boston one word entered my head, “Peace”.  Peace for the people injured in the explosions, peace for the people who ran to help and take care of them, peace for their families, and peace for the bombers.  Yes, for the bombers, who probably need the prayers most of all.  Think of how far these people have strayed to believe this is the best way to be heard and noticed.

I know what will happen, the debate over violence will escalate and knee-jerk decisions will be made to prevent other incidents.  And then we will move on to the next tragedy or scandal.  We need t0 take a step back, take a deep breath, and look for the root cause of the problem and it is buried deeply in the psyche of American society.  The desperate need to be noticed in a society that perpetuates bigger and more is better.  We have a black, rotten spot in our core and it is growing.  Let’s take the opportunity to look inside ourselves and focus on what is important; family, community, and health among others, not wall-sized televisions, reality shows, SUV’s, and enormous homes.  The material doesn’t last, Boston proved that yesterday, but the people and the compassion do.