Monday, January 7, 2013

Friday, September 28, 2012

Abby's Birthday Project

Yesterday was Abby's 18th birthday and she decided to celebrate in a slightly different way. A few months ago we saw a post on pinterest called the Birthday Project. For her 38th birthday, Robyn Bomar decided to complete one random act of kindness for each of her 38 years, all on her birthday. She later wrote a blog post about it which went viral. Inspired by her giving, lots and lots of other people have copied Bomar's general idea with their own acts of kindness on their own birthdays. When Abby read about it, she was sold and the plans for her own birthday project began.

Here's what she did.

1. In the wee hours of the morning, she and Pedro went downtown with a bucket of sidewalk chalk and left some temporary graffiti. In various locations they wrote, "You Are Loved."

On the Liberty Bridge:

On Main Street:

While they were out vandalizing drawing they found someone's driver's license on the sidewalk, so she . . .

2. Put it in an envelope and mailed it back to the person.

Then we:

3. Left a bag of cookies in the mailbox for the mailman and a note that said, "Thanks for bringing our mail."

Then Grandma joined us and we:

4. Took flowers to a former teacher.

5. Took cookies to her brother and 6. a friend at school.

7. Went to Liquid Highway drive-through to get her free birthday coffee and gave the barista a large tip. 

8. Left some money with the barista to pay for the next customer. We would have done it ourselves, but nobody was in line behind us. 

9. Took breakfast to the homeless lady who sits in front of the old Fresh Market.

10. Went to the Dollar Tree and left dollar bills in the toy section.

11. Visited the lovely people at The Blood Connection and, 12. along with Grandma, donated blood.

13. Took a bag of cookies to her co-workers and bosses at Appalachian Outfitters.

14. Took a burrito and a cookie to David Howell, her youth minister.

15. Took a big Costco-sized box of wipes to the Meyer Center for Special Children because, evidently, they always need wipes.

16. Had lunch at Nosedive where Grandma paid for the table next to us. Instead of their check we had the waiter give them a card that said, "Today is my birthday and I'm celebrating by giving to others! Have a great day!" These are available at They were quite surprised and wanted to hear all about what she was doing.

17. Took cookies to her co-workers in the Table 301 office.

18. Birthday dinner at Mellow Mushroom. Left server a 50% tip. Can you tell we have a special place in our heart for servers?

As Abby explained to the gentlemen whose lunch we bought, this was the most fun she had ever had on her birthday. Thanks, Robyn Bomar!  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

doing without t.v.

Years ago, my friend Candace told me about a summer when her family turned off the t.v. All summer long. No television. At all. I had been thinking about it ever since and two weeks ago mentioned the idea to my husband, Justin. I thought he would immediately say, "No way" and maybe add an, "Are you crazy?", just for effect. College baseball is on right now. I was wrong. He was all for it and a week later called DirectTV himself to suspend our service. 

The kids weren't thrilled when they got the news, but they accepted it with pretty good attitudes. So it's been a week now with no idiot box. We are still allowing DVDs. I do miss my cable news a little, but not as much as I thought I would. Don't worry, Megyn Kelly, I'll still be your biggest fan when I get back August 15th. I don't miss Zack and Cody or Carly and Sam AT ALL! Or the stupid yellow sponge with the box-shaped britches. I miss Hannah a tiny bit. We are reading books and doing puzzles. The kids are spending more time at the pool. It's like vacation. And sometimes the house is quiet.

So far, so nice.


Monday, May 11, 2009

To Abby on the occasion of her confirmation

Dear Abby,

As I watched you and listened to your statement of faith yesterday I realized that I needed to tell you some things. I couldn't be any more proud of the girl you are and the young woman you are becoming. You are beautiful outside and in. You are thoughtful and kind and intelligent.

You were always a delightful baby and child. The moment I laid eyes on you I fell in love and I knew it would be that way for the rest of my life. Just like the song says, you smiled and then the spell was cast. When you were baptized, you gazed at me with those gorgeous blue eyes shining as if to say, "I know what is happening and I know how important it is, and guess what? Christ is in me." I thought I was crazy, but then you looked at the minister and he saw it, too. He told the congregation that day how he saw the light of Christ in your eyes.

I still see it and I cannot begin to express the joy that He brings me through you. When I heard you articulate your call to bring Christ into people's lives, it was an echo of your baptism. He has plans for you, that much is obvious. You are a special young lady, Abby; gifted and blessed. Being your mother is a gift from God.

I love you,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ugliest Prom Dress Ever

I've never won anything. Sure, there was that time I won a cartoon drawing contest on a flight from Buffalo to Sarasota. The prize was a bottle of wine; I was seven. And then there was that time when I was 13 and I managed to be the thirty-seventh caller in to Y-100 to win the autographed Commodores album that they never sent me. I'm still bitter about that one. I once took 2nd place in my church's chili cook-off. So you see, I've never really won anything.

I used to think that I held the title for "Most Hideous Prom Dress in the History of Proms". See for yourself:

This tangerine creation was actually custom-made for me. I knew it was dreadful the moment I saw it, but I wore it anyway and crowned myself the queen of ugly prom dresses. I know what you are thinking. Where is my date's matching peach-colored cummerbund? Seriously people! Once he saw me in all my orange glory I was lucky he would even take me to the prom. Do you really think I could have gotten away with asking him to wear a matching cummerbund?

I continued to hold the title for the last 20 plus years, in my own mind anyway, until one fateful day in February. I sat down to fold some laundry, turned on the t.v. and came face to face with harsh reality. Turns out Ellen Degeneres had the ugliest prom dress all along. Check it out:

Wow, I know. Ellen's unfortunate choice obviously predates mine, so I never really held the title at all. You can imagine my disappointment. Like I said before, I've never really won anything. There's always next year's chili cook-off, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Through the Roof

1A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7"Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, 11"I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

Mark 2:1-12

This was Sunday's scripture. Our pastor gave an excellent sermon on it. I love this passage. 

My favorite thing about it is the fact that the paralytic never says a word. He does nothing and asks for nothing. I imagine the times when I have been the paralytic; unable to know what to ask or even to think of going to God. The fact that, in these times, my friends can take me to the Lord gives me great comfort. Knowing that God provides friends who would carry me to the roof and then dig through it to lower my dead weight down to the feet of our Lord fills me with joy.

I'm not always the paralytic, however. Sometimes I am one of the friends. Sometimes God gives me the task of praying for a friend or giving comfort when times are tough. Often I miss the opportunity or shirk the responsibility, but when I act on behalf of a friend in need, He gives me access to His glory. My faith is strengthened when I have the privilege of praying for a brother or sister in Christ.

I must be honest, though, frequently I am one of the teachers of the law. I sit and judge rather than jumping up to help. I somehow imagine that the paralytic maybe doesn't deserve any attention until he gets his act together and asks for forgiveness. The passage does mention that the man had sins to be forgiven. However, as I pointed out before, the paralytic says nothing and does nothing. What does Jesus do? He forgives him and heals him. Guess what? It's not my job to wonder whether or not any of us deserve His forgiveness. I certainly don't deserve it. Praise God he gives it anyway! 

Thank you God, for forgiving me even though I don't always ask. Thank you for sending me friends who will carry me to you. Lord, help me to be one of the friends in this story. Help me to carry my neighbors to your feet. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Answer Key

In the National Geographic paragraph, everyday should be every day. "Everyday" is an adjective meaning routine or ordinary. In their paragraph they should have used the adverbial phrase meaning "each day".

From the school district, we see the mismatching of a singular noun, child, and the plural pronouns, their and they. I know what they are trying to do. The attempt to remain gender neutral by avoiding his or her is obvious. What drives me crazy is that they could have chosen political correctness AND grammatical correctness by using the plural noun children. For the love of Pete, if the school system doesn't value good grammar, who will?