Monthly Archives: June 2007

Mommy’s World

Malia pictureIf you hang around our family long enough you’ll eventually hear one of our “made-up” tunes. Mostly they are melodies we know with our own lyrics replacing the originals. A favorite with the kids is a personalized version of the Elmo’s World theme song. Well today, JBelle got in on the fun and started making up lyrics for the E’sW song for me:

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy likes Daddy, her coffee too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

(Then she added a second verse.)

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy likes coffee, her blog too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

(Scary how perceptive children can be, huh?)

Personally, had I been making up the lyrics it would have gone something like this:

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy loves Daddy, her sweet children too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy cooks supper & cleans it up, too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy does laundry, & folds it, too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
La-la La-la, La-la La-la
Mommy’s world
Mommy loves Daddy, her sweet children too.
That’s Mommy’s world!!

(One more time)

THAAAAAT’S MOM-MY’S WOOORRRLLLDDD!!!!

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Filed under by Malia, JBelle, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess

Plum good, or not

Malia pictureDB offered The GMan a bite of his plum. After taking a bite, The Gman responded, “I can’t like it!”* He then looked back at DB and said, “You can like it!”

*”I can’t like it!” is something we hear from The GMan on a regular basis. It has a couple of variations including, “I can’t want it”.

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Filed under by Malia, The GMan

Home is where…

Malia picture

…they have to let you in.

…you hang your hat.

…your heart is.

Sometime in the next week or so (I don’t remember the exact date), David and I will have lived in Nashville for ten years. We moved here in June 1997 from Virginia. When we packed up our belongings, put them in a moving truck and headed west, I didn’t feel like I was moving to a new home. Instead I was leaving my home and heading for a great unknown. It took quite awhile for Nashville to feel like home. We lived with my in-laws at first and that wasn’t home. Several weeks later we got an apartment, but it still wasn’t home. A few years later we moved to a little duplex and that felt more like home but not quite. When JBelle was born, I was so crazy from the horomones and major life change that I was convinced that Nashville would never be home and that we needed to move south to Tampa to be with my parents. But we stayed, Nashville did indeed become home, and I’m very glad that it did.

There are still places that are home to me for various reasons. I wrote a few weeks ago about Blacksburg and Virginia Tech and how that is home for me. There’s also a camp in Pennsylvania that we go to every year. Last year, I wrote a poem about how that place is a home for my heart. I couldn’t share it on my blog last year, it was still too fresh and personal but time has passed and I feel stronger now.

Welcome Home

There is a saying that goes
Where you find your heart is home

This is most often said
to remind us that home is not always where we lay our head

As years go on and years go by
I have often come to find

Pieces of my heart have found homes
in places where I used to roam

I think our hearts find home in a few ways
not just in the places we live always

There’s a sleepy little town in Southwestern Virginia
And when I drive by I’m filled with nostalgia

Farther south in the sunshine state resides
a parental home of comfort and light

Some are the places we return to often
and others we regret we see so seldom

A piece of your heart may be left somewhere
and you find you long to once again tread there

I was warmly greeted the other day
with “Welcome Home!” for I had found my way

To another place where there is a part
of my grateful and oh so blessed heart

But “Welcome Home!” what an odd salutation
for isn’t camp only a week in duration?

A temporary home maybe, a transient abode
we come, we go, there is barely time to unload

But when we do leave, a bit of our heart stays here
making camp a home of our hearts year after year

For it’s not about little green cabins and dining hall meals
our hearts stay because of who we meet here

There are those in our cabins and those in the kitchen
those who teach Bible and those who will listen

And though we love dearly those who are The Boss
The one we truly meet here died on a cross

For camp would not hold our hearts the same way
Without The One who meets us here each day

Through Christ we have all come together
and it is through Christ we find a Savior

For upon this earth He once did roam
and one day He will say to us,

“Welcome Home!”

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Filed under by Malia

Imperfect Perfection

Malia pictureOne of my favorite features of NPR is the essay series called, This I Believe. Last week, an essay by a journalist from Athens, Ohio caught my attention. The title of the essay, A Marriage That’s Good Enough by Corinne Colbert, was intriguing to me since I try to regularly write about marriage here. I had to read it through a few times to really let what she was saying sink in. (I encourage you to go read it especially since the rest of this post probably won’t make much sense unless you do!). My first read through left me feeling a little sad and a little sorry for the author. But as I read it through a few more times and as I read some comments about the piece at Sk*rt, I was impressed more and more with the wisdom in her words and the maturity she brings to her marriage. While the circumstances and dynamics of my own marriage are quite different from Colbert’s, I can see how there is a certain truth to the settling she writes about.

I tried to think about how I would define a perfect marriage. Surprisingly, all the things I kept coming up with seemed so far-fetched and ridiculous. For instance, how exactly does one achieve a perfect level of communication? Being able to read each others thoughts may initially sound appealing since it takes the guess work out many scenarios but if you really think it through, do you actually want someone (besides the Almighty) to have access to all your thoughts? I certainly don’t. And always saying what’s on your mind leaves little room for discretion and tact. Or how do you define the perfect sex life? The answer for one spouse can be vastly different for the other. Of course, in perfection you’d find the solution to fit both needs but still…I think that would get boring after awhile.

The sixth thing I want to teach my children is that relationships, whether they be couples, friends, co-workers, church family, etc., are not perfect. There is no “happily ever after”, there is no fairytale (because if there is, where’s my team of mice to help with the dishes and the laundry??). What there is are flawed, imperfect, humans who must “settle” for each other and show each other grace and live by “The Golden Rule”. Those who constantly chase this elusive concept called perfection only end up getting burned out and disappointed with others and even more so with themselves.

In almost twelve years of marriage, I’m beginning to realize that all the imperfect things about me and David have been woven to together to create a marriage that works but is most certainly not…perfect.

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

He Said/She Said: The 5 Things I Want To Teach My Children

Malia pictureWhen David suggested this topic for a He Said/She Said post, I thought sure – no problem, right? Turns out this little exercise wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be. You’d think I would have already considered these things and in many ways I have but actually sitting down and defining them was a bit difficult and almost overwhelming. I started by thinking about the things that my parents had taught me and then thinking about things that I wish they had taught me and then thinking about what it means to raise a child to be a functioning adult. Good grief that was a lot of thinking and a lot of deep thoughts. But I’ve managed to come up with five things I feel are worthy of teaching to my children, so without further ado: The 5 Things I Want To Teach My Children.

1. To think for themselves. I don’t want them to ever accept what anyone says as truth until they have dug into it, studied it and made it their own. I want them to constantly question what they are “taught” to find out if it fits with their beliefs and ways of viewing the world.

2. To be confident but not arrogant. I want them to be able to stand up for themselves but more importantly stand up for others. There is a lot of injustice in the world, some of which they will experience themselves but far more is experienced by others. I want to teach them that you can be strong and assertive but at the same time be kind and compassionate.

3. Money management skills. When I graduated high school, I could balance a checkbook. It took me years to figure out how to make a budget and more importantly, how to make it work.

4. Civility. Starting with polite speech as young ones and moving onto being repectful to everyone they encounter (whether it’s the President of the United States or a bum on the street) as they get older. I want them to have poise in difficult situations where the temptation will be to call names and say things to puff up their own pride. To instead show love and extend grace for no other reason than the person(s) they are dealing with are also beloved children of God and occupants of the planet where we all live.

5. The 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. A natural and vital extension of civility is being respectful to this dusty rock we currently call home. As I get older I feel a call to live more simply and to do what I can, personally, to limit my impact on the earth’s resources. I want to pass that calling onto my children as well.

I suppose some of you may be wondering, after reading that list, why I didn’t include one or more items along the lines of, “I want to teach my children about God” or “I want to teach my children to pray” or “I want to teach my children that Jesus Christ is Lord”. And my answer to that may sound snarky and a maybe a bit “holier than thou” and possibly like I’m backtracking because “oh my goodness I forgot to mention God, now what do I do?”. But the truth is I don’t want to teach my children those things. I have to. I have to because a) it’s commanded (Duetronomy 6:5-9) and b) it’s who I am. I am a Christian and I am a parent. I must teach my children about my faith, how can I not? This doesn’t mean that I brainwash them and it doesn’t mean that I cram doctrine down their throats. It does mean that pray with them, teach by example, answer their questions, read them Bible stories and demonstrate Christ’s love for them in all that I do. I don’t want to teach them these things, I will teach them, along with the other five things, and trust that God will lead them where He wants to take them in this life.

David pictureThis idea was actually first planted in my head by my friend Tony Arnold who was thinking about the same things. The more I thought about it, the more true I thought it was…there are really only a handful of aphorisms or pearls that I can recall being explicitly taught by my parents. Mind you, I am sure that I am the product of far more teaching than the handful of explicit things I can remember. Nevertheless, here are the five things I want to teach my children.

1. Live a life by the teachings of Mark 12:30-31. This is sort of the “New Testament version” of the Shema that Malia talked about in Deuteronomy. This is such a simple but difficult teaching…and you don’t even have to be Christian to live this way.

2. Don’t serve money, make it work for you. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a great book and one I want my children to learn from me.

3. Be your own person but be a good friend. Your satisfaction in any relationship is up to you and you alone. If the relationship is contingent on you acting a certain way, having certain beliefs, or anything related to a consumer good, then that is not a long-term relationship and is not worth the investment.

4. Love beauty for the sake of being beautiful. Music, art, literature, nature should all be appreciated and cherished. These are the keys to what separate us from just being automatons responding to brain chemicals.

5. Never ever ever ever quit asking “why?”. I don’t mean this in some “never trust authority” way. I mean never stop being curious, never accept an answer to a question without it being fully settled in your own mind, never acquiesce to pragmatism when idealism still has a chance.

So, there you have it, the five things that each of us want to teach our children. Do you have any thoughts, any things that you want to teach your children, any disagreements with what we want to teach them? Comment away.

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Filed under He Said/She Said, kids & family

Smurfs – the Movie

180px-opus_blue.jpg  There is a movie that needs to come out soon given all the retro movies in recent years.  Wouldn’t you just love to see some live action Smurf movie?  Gargamel could be played by John Lithgow, Smurfette by Jessica Simpson, Jude Law as Brainy Smurf, and Will Ferrell as Papa Smurf.  Oh what fun and adventures we could have watching that ensemble in a trilogy culminating in the Smurfs finally defeating that dirty Gargamel.

This is an idea I had last night laying in bed thinking I was being all funny and stuff in making up something so absurd to make Malia laugh.  Then I did a search for some relevant material to make it funnier for the blog post only to find this.  It is truly the sign of the apocalypse when my twisted absurd brain thinks up funny stuff that other people are actually considering in a serious manner.  AAAAHHHH!!!  I even said JOHN LITHGOW in the movie and there he is rumored to be involved in the film!  SERIOUS CREEPY!!!

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Filed under by DB

Civility Lost

Malia pictureMy good friend Sheryl has a post up from an article out of USA Today. It’s a top 25 list of things that have seemingly “disappeared” over the past twenty-five years. I chuckled at things like typwriters, Betamax, vinyl records, New Coke, etc., but when I got to #15 my amusement was abatted:

15 Civility

It can be rough out there — whether on TV, radio, the Web or at sporting arenas. Today’s discourse has plenty of “dis,” and it can be pretty “coarse,” too. And whatever happened to thank-you notes? We could go on. (emphasis mine)

It’s a pretty sad thing that an otherwise tongue-in-cheek list also points out a very hard truth. And with the dust-up at Nashville is Talking last week and the continuing fallout from it all, it seems to me that USA Today is not far off the mark with announcing that civility has indeed vanished.

Edited to add: In the comments, Jeanne M. & Slartibartfast have responded regarding being polite. I think there’s a difference between being polite and being civil. Being polite is easy, it’s teachable, and in many situations it’s expected. But to be civil is to respond to others with grace and dignity, to live out “the golden rule” and treat others as you would want to be treated, to have respect for humanity and the opinions and beliefs of others and not be reduced to name-calling and mud-slinging. We can all “be polite” but it’s civility that I see less and less of these days…especially here on the Internet.

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Filed under by Malia, Rant

Home Alone

Malia pictureI’m playing hooky from church this morning. Friday, at the pool, I got a really bad sunburn and I am unable to wear a vital piece of underclothing…know what I mean? Yeah, it’s that bad! I’m well versed in the benefits of and need for sunscreen, believe me. I just made a stupid decision on Friday morning since I was late in arriving for the water aerobics class (outdoors) that I wanted to participate in. Apparently, by the time I got around to applying sunscreen, the damage had already been done.

So hear I sit, all by myself (but not all broken hearted). I honestly can’t remember the last time I was at home all alone. Several weeks ago, David and I had the kids spend the night with their grandparents and we were home alone. But just me (and the dog – who I let out)? I’m not sure what to do with myself! I’m hoping to get some “stuff” done, get laundry started, dishwasher emptied, table cleared off, etc. But for now it’s nice to sit in a quiet house, finish my coffee and read and write without interruption!

What do you do when you get “alone” time?

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess

Science Primer

I haven’t done one of these in a while. It doesn’t ever seem to really help, but it makes me feel better.  Please pardon the interruption for these few words…

Science. What is science and what can it do for you? The goal of science is to understand and share understanding of the natural world. Science is a pathway to obtain truth. The scientific method is used to achieve this goal.* Since there are plenty of places to find out what science and the scientific method are, I will focus on what they are not, since that seems to have many people confused. Science uses many of the same terms as other fields, but the definitions of those words is not always the same. Let me see if I can explain:

1. Science does not “prove” anything.

Proof is for mathematics, logic, or the law. Science, on the other hand, attempts to understand and model the natural world to the extent that humans are able to observe phenomena. Science can reliably and repeatedly test hypotheses, but that does not prove anything. If something is measurable enough and universal enough, it can be a physical law.

2. “Facts” are the basic building blocks of science, not the end result.

Facts (or observations) are foundational to science. For example, someone may note that my shirt is red and then see that my wife’s shirt is red. A hypothesis (or theory) can then be tested regarding shirts: “All shirts are red”. An experiment is conducted to collect more data regarding this hypothesis at a local clothing store. It is determined by observation of shirts at the store that, indeed, all shirts are not red. The facts in this study began with two observed red shirts, which led to a hypothesis, which led to a conclusion.

3. Saying “it is just a theory” is not disparaging nor does it in any way diminish what it is you are talking about.

The model of the atom is the best illustration of this that I can think of. Do you remember this one:

or this: or this:

Maybe not, especially the last one, but they are all “true” theoretical representations of the structure of an atom. As the ability of science to observe has improved, so have the models of the natural world (note how the models are refined through time from left to right). This does not make the first one false, just superceded by a more accurate model of the same thing. Science is extremely rigid in its definitions, and most everything “only” has a maximum potential to be a well-tested theory. I would venture to guess that the structure of the atom will always be a theory and not governed/defined as a physical law.

4. Science has no “-ism”s or Science does not “believe” in anything, excepting its empirical methodology.

While scientists are certainly passionate about what they do, they do not “believe” in what they study beyond the bounds of what is shown through the scientific method. It is not a belief system. The world we live in today would be radically different without the scientific method to help us uncover how the natural world works and how we humans can manipulate the mechanisms of the world to our benefit (eg. medicine, air travel, etc.). While we can appreciate those contributions, there are few that would claim that science is the end of knowledge.

5. Science is not the only pathway to obtain truth.

The rigorous framework of the scientific method is both the greatest strength and the greatest limitation to science. Science does not intend to be able to discover all truth**. There is truth in art, literature, philosophy, religion, etc. that are all (I argue) beyond the capabilities of science to discover. Even within scientific fields, there are theories of phenomena that can not be tested by any currently known method (eg. string theory). Those theories, since they do not meet the criteria of testability/falsifiability, are not scientific theories, but philosophical until such time as they can be tested and reliably observed.

Hopefully, this post will help clear up confusion when it comes to talking about science and what it can “prove” and what it “claims as fact” and in quelling accusations that scientists are rabid believers in some scientific religion. We now return this blog to its regularly scheduled programming.

*As wonky as Wikipedia is, this is actually a very nicely detailed explanation of the scientific method.

**Some would argue with this point. All I can say is, there is more to those chemical reactions in your head when you appreciate fine art or a nice jazz piece than the sum of its parts. Good luck quantifying it.

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Filed under by DB

Bubble Ballet

A boy and his dog and a bubble machine.

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Filed under by Malia, doggie diva, The GMan