"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday: Kris Creeper

Since 'it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' lately, I figured I'd dedicate this week's Wiseguy Wednesday to a favorite family Christmas memory.

My oldest son has always been a bit of a worry wart. Since he first started talking, I've fielded numerous ridiculous concerns for him. As a two year old he would routinely ask, "Do we have enough gas?" as I was driving up a freeway ramp. We've never once run out of gas in his life, so I can't imagine where he got the idea to be worried about such a thing. But worry he does...about everything. So it was just sort of taken in stride when at Christmas time in his fourth year, he started worrying about the state of the blinds at bedtime. When I would tuck him in at night, he wouldn't let me leave the room unless I had checked and re-checked the blinds. Are they closed? Are all the shades in line? Are the curtains covering the gap between the blinds and the window frame? Can you check just one more time?

After a week or so of this, I finally asked him what the heck he was so afraid of. It had never worked for him before, but I thought maybe this time I could alleviate his fears and stop with the obsessive blind checking, already. I will never forget his answer. With blankets pulled up over his head, he replied with great trepidation,
"He sees you when you're sleeping!"
Poor Santa had been reduced to a creepy peeping-tom at my son's window each night! "You better watch out," indeed!

--The Savvy Sage

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Run-In with the Law...and God

"Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
--Matthew 7:21  

I’ve had a lot of really great experiences in my life, many of which have been spiritual in nature. I don’t think I’ve ever shared one of my more spiritual experiences on this blog yet, but I figure it’s high time. If you don’t appreciate this kind of thing, I give you fair warning: it’s about to get a little spiritual in here. :)

My youngest son is a competitive gymnast and sometimes has meets out of state. One of these meets was in a town about 2 hours from our home. The meet started at 10am, but there was an important hour long warm up beforehand; so we planned to be there at 9am.

We woke up on time, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances, we did not get on the road until 7:45am, which only gave us an hour and 15 minutes to make the 2 hour drive. But I didn’t despair. I was confident I could make up at least a half an hour by speeding a little. By my calculations, we’d only be about 15 minutes late for warm-up; annoying but acceptable. But we could NOT be any later than that!

Well, my calculations didn’t account for weekend traffic. Even though I had my cruise control set 10mph over the speed limit, I was still 30 miles away from our destination at 9:30am when the coach started texting me. Forget the warm-up, we might not even make the 10am start time! And if we weren’t there when the meet started, he wouldn’t be able to compete.

Feeling the pressure from the coach and not wanting the drive to be in vain, I set my cruise control up another 5mph and hoped for the best. Then when I was still about 10-15 miles from our destination at 9:45am, I set the cruise control up to 100mph for good measure.

Well, I’m not accustomed to driving that fast, so after a few miles, I started to feel extremely unsafe (ya think?). So, I did what I usually do when I feel that way: I said a prayer and asked for safety.

No sooner had I thought the request in my head – I don’t even think I finished my request – when an answer came clearly, almost audibly, and in a matter-of-fact tone:

“I can’t keep you safe if you don’t obey the law.”

Then I started rationalizing. But I’m late! The meet starts in 15 minutes and I’m only like 5 miles from my exit! Surely such a short distance at this speed can’t make that much difference. No, I’m fine. I’m fine.

I heard a VERY quiet, “Okay…”

And then I was immediately pulled over. Seriously, from the time I felt unsafe to the time I got pulled over was probably less than 3 minutes. Had I pressed on my break when I heard the I-can’t-keep-you-safe comment, I definitely would have avoided a speeding ticket….5 MILES from my exit at 9:45am. I mean, I could practically SEE the exit!

The police officer was very nice to both my son and I. She said she clocked me at 92 miles an hour in an 80mph zone (I was luckily climbing a hill when she clocked me, or I would have been going much faster…a fact which I obviously didn’t mention). But she only gave me a ticket for 5 miles over ($90). She was also thankfully very fast. She wished my son luck at his meet and we were driving away at 9:50am.

We showed up at the gym – which was thankfully right off the freeway – at 9:55am, and my son was able to hustle through a warm up before the meet started.

It all worked out in the end and I wish I hadn’t had to pay a $90 ticket. But on one level, I’m kind of glad it all happened because it has been a great lesson for me; one that I have often reflected back on in tempting moments. 

The Lesson: If you want blessings, first utilize the first level of protection: 


Whether it's the law of the land, or a law of God (commandments, etc.)...the same principle applies.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Flowers from who?

I was thrilled to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers awaiting me at the teachers lounge. But I was mystified by the card, which read, "With love from A.C. Credmire."

That evening I wondered to my husband about the mysterious A.C. Credmire.

"Oh! That's me," he said, laughing. "When I called it in, I'd asked the florist to sign it, 'With love from a secret admirer!'"

--Geri Willes

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


"She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression." 
--C.S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters

Do you know someone who has a hero complex? You know, someone who always seems to be hovering around in people's business so they can be the first to swoop in to the rescue of all the poor, unfortunate souls around them? Well, I do. And generally, I try to be grateful for any help I receive from them. But sometimes, I can't help but notice that some people's service seems more about getting what they need out of life than giving what others need.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that hero-complex helping isn't valuable. It's still helping, regardless of the motivation behind it. And I'm also not saying that all conspicuous service is the hero-complex brand of helping. I've just given a lot of thought to how truly humble service could be achieved, and the following picture quote illustrates one of the answers I found in my journey to overcome my own hero-complex. If you want to help people, no need to bust out your super spandex unitard and cape. Live uprightly, care deeply, and just stand there shining! If people need you more directly, they'll come on their own terms. Afterall, it's not about the helper, it's about helping

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday: Gravity & Adversity

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” 
―Khalil Gibran

If you're ever having a bad day, just think of the following quote and try to remember that while gravity and adversity are sometimes inconvenient, they are both necessary and desirable for life. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

"Every act of Love is a work of peace, no matter how small. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." 
--Mother Theresa

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irrational Fish Fear

"I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot." 
–Kevin James, Sweat the Small Stuff

This quote reminded me of an amusing BFF experience, so I thought I'd share. {L} and I have been best friends since we were both part of a marching cymbal line in Marching Band at 14 years of age. Yes, I said the cymbals. No, neither of us made a career out of playing them. We just had too many flutes in our band, so we both converted to drum line for marching season. We had WAY more fun making super awesome high-fives than we ever would have hanging out with the flute section. But I digress... 

I have always had an irrational fear of fish. In my *mind* they are harmless, but if one touches me, my body goes absolutely berserk, thus polluting my mind into an uncontrollable panic - kind of like the quote suggests. I have no idea why this happens, but it is unpleasant and humiliating to turn into a screaming, flailing, banshee-woman in front of strangers. So generally I try to avoid swimming in bodies of water that contain fish.   

Don't ask me why my husband and I ever bought a jet ski, but we did. We were young newlyweds - about 20 years old - with no children to spend our dual income on and we thought it would be fun to go to the lake on the weekends. I was fully aware that my fish-fear may cause a problem, but I thought the jet ski would be fun enough to overcome it. Besides, I wasn't planning on falling off the thing.  

Well, one day I had a day off in common with my brother and {L} (hubs had to work), so we planned a day out at the lake together. My brother backed the jet ski into the water at the dock and waded waist-deep into the carp-infested water to disconnect the jet ski from the trailer. Without touching the water, {L} and I hopped on and drove the jet ski over to the dock and waited while my brother parked the truck. By the time he came back, {L} was standing on the dock and I had removed the seat on the jet ski so that I could store the car keys underneath. 

But when my brother went to hand me the keys, he let go of them before I was ready and...plop! They dropped down into the disgusting water. We blamed each other for a minute (as siblings usually do) before the horrifying realization hit me that if we ever wanted to leave the lake, someone had to dive about 10 feet down in that cesspool to get the keys…and my brother was wearing contacts.

I refused to do it and so did {L}, who apparently had equal fish fears.  My brother tried to do it anyway, but after several dives, found the task impossible without being able to open his eyes under water.

So, between my irrational fear and my brother’s contacts, we were at an impasse. And by this time, we had attracted a LOT of attention from other boaters at the dock. I was absolutely refusing to dive down there, and my brother was starting to get extremely irritated at me. Other boaters tried to offer me incentives, “Lady, I’ll give you $20 if you’ll dive down there!” Yeah…I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone whose irrational fears can be overcome by a measly $20! I wondered if they were willing to pay me $20, why weren’t they willing to help me out and dive down there themselves? Oh yeah. Because they wanted to WATCH me freak out! I was entertainment! At that realization, I dug in my heals. I WILL NOT DIVE IN THAT WATER! I would rather LIVE at the lake forever than sell myself for the entertainment of half drunk fools!

So, after about 10 minutes of this, {L} shouts out, “Oh, everyone just SHUT UP! I’ll do it! I don’t see why I should have to,” she glares at me, “but someone has to do it! I’m not getting stranded over some DISGUSTING fish!”

It took her about 5 minutes to mentally prepare herself with a series of squeals and shudders, but jump in she did, while the gawkers looked on. 

About 10 seconds later, my hero launched herself out of the water like a dolphin. She plopped herself belly first on the dock, chucked the keys down in my direction and screamed at the top of her voice, “FRIENDSHIP ISN’T WORTH THIS MUCH!” Then to the great amusement of the gathered crowd, she started jumping around making all the sounds and gestures you would imagine a completely disgusted person making.

I was entirely cowed and utterly ashamed of myself, but we ended up having a fabulous time that day.  I did get my comeuppance, however. That was also the day that I was thrown from the jet ski in the middle of the lake. A stupid underwater weed scraped my leg and I had a panic attack that manifested as a vision of a giant carp, mouth agape, chasing me back to the jet ski. I don’t think I ever swam like that before or since.   

But the experience wasn't entirely without merit. I now know I would be utterly useless in an emergency…but fabulous comic relief. Yay. And I learned that I have the most breathtakingly phenomenal best friend on the planet! Love ya, {L}! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough stand between you and one of your monsters shouting, "FRIENDSHIP ISN'T WORTH THIS MUCH" like a contradictory battle cry.