Monday, July 30, 2007

YAY! I TOTALLED MY CAR!

No sarcasm, I'm serious! This is good news. It's good news because over the last few weeks I've become convinced that my old Cutlass Supreme was coming to the end of it's glory days.

In little ways she started to let me know, "I'm tired." It was in the squeal of the belt as I parallel parked, in the air conditioner that suddenly stopped working (after being recharged) in the gas mileage that was gradually drifting lower and lower, and in the odometer that read 171,774.

Well, God bless the kind gentleman who thought he could make a blind left turn, and didn't wait for the green arrow. I couldn't see him, he couldn't see me- but in the end it comes down to his fault.

So the good news: my lovely Oldsmobile goes out with a bang, no painful decisions about life support and repairs, no drawn-out attempts to sell her, and a'car shopping we will go!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"PENNIES FROM HEAVEN"

...Is my favorite card game. It's a form of canasta. My friends from college, Heather and Tom came to visit this weekend. They were two original members of "The Euchre Group" in college but "Pennies" has far outranked Euchre for thrills and sheer complexity (as much as cards can thrill).

It starts off with taking a pile of cards off the top of the deck (made from four decks shuffled together) for the person to your left. If you happen to pick up the correct number of cards (24), you get 100 bonus points! My favorite moment is later in the game, when you get to pick up your "pennies," a mysterious, reserve stack waiting in front of you. In my mind, I hear the sound of a slot machine or a Mario brothers game, when you find a coin, {Bling! Bling! Bling!} as you leaf through the cards and find wilds, sevens, and red threes awaiting.

Problem: we needed a fourth. That's shorthand for, "This is a four-person game and we have three players." I don't have many card-playing friends around here. Maybe this is in part, because there is much more to do around here than in rural Indiana. (In large part!)

Well, I was pondering what to do about it. I thought about many people I knew. I racked my brain to think of people who mentioned enjoying card games. (Not many). I knew several folks who seemed like possibilities, but all were busy or didn't really want to play some complex, new card game with people they had never met. Saturday afternoon, I prayed for a fourth. I know, there are certainly more worthy things to pray about. But I asked God to provide a fourth.

Well, Sunday, we went to church and ran into Jen. Jen is a good card player, and she has the right balance of competitiveness and just-for-fun-ness. Saturday, Jen was busy. Sunday she was not. Not to mention she's played a lot of cards so she can catch on to new games pretty quickly. I invited Jen to join us, and she agreed. As we talked about the game, (a very complicated thing; a full game takes 2-3 hours as you earn 20,000 points!) Jen said, "It sounds a lot like "Hand and Foot." (or is that hoof and mouth?)

"Pennies" and "Hand and Foot" turned out to be two variations on the same game. Last weekend, while Jen was vacationing with her in-laws, her mother-in-law taught Jen and Cliff, her husband, "Hand and Foot" or essentially, the game we were playing. Apparently the women in the retirement community in Arizona enjoy a good game of cards as much as I do. God did provide a fourth. How about that?

(And Heather, Tom and I had a great visit catching up and hanging out! We did a lot more than just sit around and play cards. But we sure liked sitting around playing cards.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A CELEBRATION OF BEING A GROWN-UP

Well, sometimes it seems like adolescence is such a glorified state in our society that we forget the joy and honor in being an adult. God forbid we ever grow up or grow old. Maybe these statements won't reflect on your younger days, but thinking of a younger me, and other teens that continue to be in my life, here's a compilation of a few happy truths I have stumbled into and hope to live in my adulthood.

In honor of an email about my ten-year high school reunion:

Let the reign of EGOCENTRISM end!
Inside every head is an exisitence every bit as intricate and complex as my own.

It can be gratifying and rewarding to serve others, and not just to receive.

I can know my limits and I don't have to push them in order to prove myself.

I can talk to others without being wrapped up in my image or trying to control what they think of me. I don't need to be preoccupied with fitting in or standing out.

I don't have to surround myself with people who look, think and act just like me. Variety is good.

For most drama, I can sleep on it and may have more perspective tomorrow. It probably isn't the end of the world.

Some of those risks I kind of want to take can be deeply destructive. It's not the end of the world to be a little cautious.

This probably isn't "the last chance I will ever have to..." whatever.

Everyone feels like a freak sometimes.

It's ok to tell people "no."

I can give myself a chance to grow and learn new things. I don't need to let fear prevent me from enjoying activities and situations in which I'm not skilled. (Because I don't have to be the best, or even very good, to be fine.)

Any other thoughts?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

MANY HANDS, ONE BODY

I asked you if you cared...

...and you called me and invited me to go hiking.
You met me for breakfast and lingered over coffee, even missing your class, just because you wanted to stay.

I asked you if you cared and you showed me a magnificent mansion with a stone pool, with fountains cascading, and you said, let's swim by the light of the moon. Then we danced until our feet curled up and could dance no more.

We talked and you stammered, and it was awkward in a nice way, because I knew it mattered to you.

I asked if you cared and you took me to the fireworks. You drove me down a street for a front seat view across a glistening river. The road shuddered beneath us as the grand finale exploded, and you gave me a wink and asked me how I liked it.

You gave me a basket for the kids at the shelter, with cupcakes, string cheese and sparklers. We celebrated freedom and I pushed you on the swing, and you told me you loved me. Then you asked me to push you higher. And because I cared, I did.