Saturday, September 20, 2008

lessons learned

As my husband carried my luggage out to the car, he said, "This is all you're bringing? Wow! Great job!" Inside I felt a deep sense of joy.

As my friends helped me load my small (yes, I did say SMALL!) suitcase into their car at the airport, one of them remarked, "You pack light!"

As my friend's husband offered to carry my suitcase upstairs, he asked, "Is this it? Boy, you pack light!"

This is a far cry from the last trip I took back in June (see: "blessings & burdens) . And funny enough, my suitcase was half the size of the suitcase I had taken to Charlotte, NC. And this time, my suitcase was actually packed for two of us!

Here's a picture of my traveling buddies :-) Sara and her Chinese talking doll, Ling-Ling!

I am SO glad that I packed light this time, because the blessings the Lord deposited within both us us during the weekend were huge. Sara was able to meet 3 of her "sisters Chinese" that she had only seen pictures of and be reunited with one. I was THRILLED to finally be able to HUG 4 of my precious Chatty Girls after bonding with them online for the past 2 years (only one of whom I traveled with in China).

There's so much more to share, but for now, I'm rejoicing in FINALLY getting victory over my need to carry way too much baggage (both physically and spiritually). For this, I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! It's such an exhilarating feeling; I desperately long to share it with the world. :-) If you've been weighed down with worry, stress, fear, or pain, I pray that God will give you the courage to lay down your burdens, so that you can in turn, be able to receive the many, many beautiful and abundant blessings He has for you.

With love & grace,

Friday, September 19, 2008

a wife's intuition?

Last Friday, my amazing husband woke up at 4:00 (in the morning!) in order to take Sara and I to the airport. I offered to use a shuttle service, but he promised me that he didn't mind. We had thought that all 3 of our kiddos would have been out cold and would sleep on the way. They were WIDE awake.

And so it was that the five of us made our jolly way to the airport bright and early. Actually, it was still pitch dark outside.

My husband, who travels quite a lot himself, tends to get airport anxiety and felt the need to rush. And so, when we hit the first stop sign, he did a "California stop." At which point, I ever-so-gently reminded him of the police officer who seems to live in our neighborhood during the night. Several of our neighbors have been the recipients of not-so-wonderful gifts. Tickets for parking in the wrong direction or for cars that cross the sidewalk. Ouch.

My husband often tells me that I have the gift of intuition and over the years he has learned to heed my warnings. Guess his brain wasn't fully awake to remind him of that helpful fact. At the second stop sign, he made the (bad) decision to do yet another "California stop" at this stop sign:

Now, granted, it is a stop sign at the end of a new neighborhood construction zone. But, there is a stop sign there. So, about twenty seconds later, the other four of us in the car heard him mutter, "Uh-oh." It's amazing how bright those blue and red lights can be in the early morning hours.

Our children were treated to the surprise of having a flashlight shone in their eyes as our friendly neighborhood police officer walked alongside our car. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at that point. Sure, it's nice to be right sometimes, but not when it results in a large fine.

"Where are you off to so early in the morning?" Mr. Officer asked the humbled husband. "To take my wife to the airport." When asked if he knew why he was stopped, but husband apologized and said that he didn't stop at the stop sign. Not a great way to start the day, I have to say. And, right or not, I really felt bad for Geoff. After all, he did wake up early to drive us to the airport.

After checking Geoff's records, the kind officer returned to the car and gave Geoff a warning and a reminder to stop at stop signs whether it's "4:00 in the afternoon OR in the morning." (As my two older kids now quote verbatim!)

Whew. That was close. I'm thankful for the reminder to Geoff to drive more carefully. After all, he carries my heart with him wherever he goes. (By the way, we did get to the airport right on time. Sara and I had time to grab drinks and then board the plane immediately. Who could ask for better service?)

Thank you God, for warnings and reminders. Please help us all to be more careful when we are behind the wheel. Thank you for blessing me with such a giving husband and allowing me to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

three important words

"I love you," "I forgive you," and "I am sorry." All great words when put together, but last week I learned a sad lesson about 3 other important words. Those would be "in the back."

You see, I had been putting off haircuts for my two youngest. By the time Thursday came around, I was out of time. Sara and I were leaving early Friday morning for our trip to Colorado. So, off to Crewcuts and Pigtails we went. It's an adorable little hair place for kids. They have a taxi, fire engine and airplane for the little ones to sit in. They also have 3 tv's, one of which is attached to a Playstation.

You can guess where Liam chooses to sit. Yup, in front of the tv playing "Cars." He struggles with sensory issues and will go absolutely nutty trying to sit still while getting his hair cut. I've learned that it's actually worth the few extra dollars to take him to C&P. Prevents the torture (for him and the hairdresser.)

The only problem was that last week's hair cut resulted in a form a torture...and I was the cause! His previous hairdresser was no longer working there. But, she had told me how she cut his hair the last time - which was perfect! So, I went ahead and gave the directions to the new lady and went back over to help supervise Sara who was happily sitting in the fire engine.

After about five minutes, I looked back over at Liam to discover that something had gone terribly wrong. I quickly walked over to the receptionist and asked if there were notes on Liam's account as to how to cut his hair. There weren't. At which point, I whispered in panic, "Uh, I think I told her the wrong instructions!!!" She looked at Liam and then at me with huge eyes...the same huge eyes I was probably looking at her with.

Then those three little words came to mind, "IN THE BACK". Oh my. My precious 7-year-old was now practically bald!!! Well, there was an area of hair on the front section of his head, but that only helped to magnify the fact that this Mommy made a HUGE mistake.

I quickly went over to the hairdresser and said, "I think I got the instructions W-R-O-N-G." Praying that Liam was too into his game to hear me. Funny enough, when I had told her how to cut it, she actually said, "Are you sure? That's really short." And I said, "yes, I know." HELLO!!!

So, the haircut that Liam was supposed to get was a "zero/one blend IN THE BACK, with a 2 on top." Only, I forgot those quaint little words and he got a ZERO in the back and a ONE on top. Here's what my sweet boy looks like a week later. (Mind you, compared to last week, he's looking like a hippie in this picture!):

Liam was fine at the time. Again, the Playstation was a blessing. It wasn't until we got home and he looked in the mirror (unaided by the Playstation) and saw that his bangs had been buzzed as well! They just didn't look right with such short hair. Sigh.

So, in the end, I learned that the other 3 worded phrases were actually useful that day as well. I told him how very sorry I was and that I loved him. Though not terribly happy with me, he told me he forgave me and loved me too.

Today I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE on account of my son being incredibly forgiving AND the fact that God gave him gorgeous BIG BROWN EYES and a nice shaped head; both of which saved the day and made the short haircut still look decent. :-)