When We Unplugged the TV … We Created Our First Children’s Book

I’ve had it … done … so over it.

Never listening …

Always talking … making noise

Telling me I should lose weight … smooth my wrinkles … take drugs with scary side effects

So … consider yourself unplugged.

That’s what we did about a year ago. We cancelled our cable TV service and haven’t regretted it for a moment. The decision was brutal. The consequences? Surprisingly fruitful.

We talk more. Walk more. Read more. And when we get bored? Well, we write a children’s book together. The one below is based on a true story told by our Grandson Ryder. I hope you enjoy the outcome of our new found creative family time.

Goldie: A Boy

(Of Course)

Cover Page

Written by Nana & Evan

Illustrated by Evan

Published by Grampa

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The story begins inside a sandwich bag.  I look up … down … side to pg 1side. I’m not alone.

 

pg 2                A door opens. I see a school sign. Fish know all about schools! We all swim happy laps in our bags.

A real teacher carries us to her classroom. She picks pg 3me to be first. Holding my bag up in the air she asks, “Who wants the first fish?” “Me! Me!” said a blonde boy with a big smile. “I’ll name him Goldie the Fish.”

 

 

All the other children named their fish Goldie too. pg 4

 

They call my boy Ryder. He introduced me to his Dad. He seemed grumpy on the drive home. All the Mom’s and Dad’s wanted to know why the children had a bag of fish. “What about candy hearts and Valentines?” they asked. pg 5

 Ryder’s Mom was nice. She asked if I was a boy or a girl. He told her I was a boy of course. That’s why he named me Goldie.

Pg 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My boy must have known I was coming to stay. Next to his bed was a bowl fit for a Kingfish and fully stocked with food. Fish Bowl 1

 

 

 

 

 

In the morning I exercised with a mess of guppies and then ate them for breakfast. When Ryder said good morning, he didn’t seem to mind.Fish Bowl 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch was grand. A bluish fish with more guppies on the side. Ryder didn’t seem to mind and even served me dessert from a small box. Fish Bowl 3

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner? Exquisite! A tasty, plump yellow fish, some wormy looking thing and more guppies. Ryder was still smiling when he said good night. Fish Bowl 4

 

 

 

 

The next morning I hear my boy yelling for his Mom. They point and stare with mouths open. Fish Bowl 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day Ryder asks Mom if I can go to school with him. “How are all the goldfish doing?” the teacher asked.

pg 12

My boy holds me up for all to see. pg 13“My Goldie is great!”

 

 

 

4th of July – A Time to Celebrate Our Freedom to …brag on Grandchildren

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Smitten image of Grandpa … watching a rocket soar.

With NO apologies, I’m using this blog post as a virtual wallet to show off our Grandsons. You’re welcome to counter with your own Grandchild boasts. Go ahead… it’s not a competition but rather a testimony of God’s grand crop of good fruit.

This weekend our five stunning grandsons will be together in our home to celebrate the 4th of July… that means blowing stuff up with Grandpa! I could go on about their many accomplishments in academics, sports, drama, blah –blah –blah. That’s all super, but I’m more enamored by their hearts, character, ability to love and their quirky senses of humor.gboys7

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Last year’s safety talk before the fireworks begin.

God promises good fruit for trees that stand firm. Celebrations like this prove His promise is alive and well. You see it in their eyes – hear it in their giggles. “Hey Na-Na … hey Na-Na … Na-Na? … Grandpa said it’s okay to spray you with the hose.” You feel it in the hugs. You question it during the tattling and mischievous acts. And, when the apologies, forgiveness and moving on occur, you cherish it. God’s promise shining in all they do.

Ryder, six, our youngest, is a sprite determined to do whatever the older boys do, plus one more. He steals hearts using an effective kindergarten version of Clark Gable’s grin. He’s half and half – love/stinker. His smile could light the ocean if ever the moonlight ceased.

Next comes ten year old Ty. Look out world! Wise AND willing to do whatever it takes to “get ‘er done.” We’ll find out what that means later. I just know it will be amazing. One of my favorite things about Ty, is that he’s always shown gratitude for God’s beauty – trees, sky, wildlife.

Of all our grandsons, Jarod, eight, is the one I’ve butted heads with the most. Why? He’s a  genius and knows how to use it. If something blocks the way to what he wants, before you can say “no” he’s built a bridge across the obstacle and is standing on the other side – smiling. He doesn’t know it, but I’m writing a guide for his future wife entitled “Jarod’s Bag of Tricks.” She’ll need this to counter his SUPER CHARMS.

Mathew, eleven, studies life … quietly, carefully. I don’t think he misses much. He has so many talents and gifts he could easily entertain himself with self-amusement, but instead he looks around. Wise, beyond his years. He’s our King Solomon, the one with the thoughtful answers.

Our eldest, Evan, at sixteen stands at the cusp of manhood, a young man of God. It feels like yesterday we were giggling at a tiny sparrow flapping its wings and now here stands an eagle… powerful… mighty… capable. The coolest thing about Evan is that he seeks after God, after righteousness. He wants to do what is right. He’s a humble eagle with a big heart.gboys3

All our Grandboys stand, proof of God’s amazing creativity. Each different… yet perfect in love.

When we’re young we dream dreams of who and what we want to be. I can’t say I remember wishing to be a Na-Na and yet this role has been the best blessing ever. Thanks God.

Okay… all done for now. Please feel FREE to share your own Grandchildren boasts.

Have Teens Crossed Over into the Twilight Zone?

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into…

The Twilight Zone?      TheTwilightZonePoster1

Nope… you’ve entered into a Christian youth group such as the one on Wednesday nights at Vineyard Christian Church in Yakima, Washington.

If you’re like me, you approach teenagers gingerly, or not at all. When God tugged at my heart to support my husband’s decision to help with the youth group I replied…

“Really?”

I get God choosing my big-hearted hubby to work with youth… he’s just like them only biologically challenged. But me? Please. I had already survived a couple of teens. Why would I do that again? (Note: My teenage grandson gets a disclaimer because… well… I know him. He’s a great kid, different from all others. He’s… mine).

God ignored my whining. He’s had a lot of practice with that – i.e. the Israelites. My first night I climb the metal steps to the designated youth zone, deafening noise blasting through the door, I wonder what heinous acts of mischief are underway.

teen8I’m expecting huddles of teens practicing eye rolling and sulking techniques while jabbing at each other with verbal sticks. If I had a tattoo it would read SKEPTICAL across my forehead. After all, at their age, I’d already involuntarily ridden in a cop car and could have penned the book “Smart Mouthing for Dummies.”

Walking through the door, I catch them, inhibitions set aside, getting their goofy on – carefree as toddlers in a room full of balloons. They pause mid giggle when a new youth walks through the door to shout a welcome and usher them into the zone with non-verbal cues saying, “it’s okay… check the annoying awkwardness at the door. You won’t need it here.” teen7

Baffled, I settle in as the youth leaders, who need badges so they can be identified as such, gather the group for worship. Not ready to trust, I’m incapable of entering into a time of worship myself, so I study each face. Some sing freely, ethereal in stance. Many rest in quiet reverence. A few, like me, witness, question, contemplate. Later I learn that the group is a hodge-podge of faith – ranging in time – cradle to not yet – and depth – deep to highly doubtful.teen9

A tear drop surprises me when it splats on my hand. I sop pools from the worry lines on my face with a tissue. My thoughts travel back to a pizza parlor buzzing with cheerleaders and jocks from my junior high days. Feelings of shame and embarrassment surface along with the details of my failed attempt to join the group with a simple “Hi.” My moment of courage swiftly shot down with bullets of mocking, finger pointing, name calling and snobbery. Wanting to show indifference and prove myself unscathed by their attack, I pull a fat cigar from my purse, (stored for just such an occasion?) and flipping the Zippo lighter open, puff away Clint Eastwood style. The audience review? The Good the Bad and the Ugly – minus the good part. I stared them down in a “go ahead, make my day” manner. Smoke swirling round my face as I sent a subliminal scream across the room, “I don’t need any of you. Not now, not ever.”

Is that when my heart hardened? That vengeful day puffing away on the cigar? I don’t really know. Maybe.

I continue searching faces finding nothing to discredit the sincerity of these young people. The spirit of worship remains as they divide boy/girl for prayer groups. Emotions shaken, I choose a safe place for continued scrutiny.

One by one the girls share, trusting that their personal package of hurts will be handled with care. They speak of divorce, abandonment, abuse, bullying… dreams crushed… innocence stained… hateful words tossed their way… trust shattered. Hands touch shoulders, stroke hair, pat knees.  teen3

The leader, a Mom with a big life of her own, tenderly guides them along. Her soft voice speaks words of hope and encouragement to willing, open hearts and ears. Heads are bowed. Names lifted. Prayer received and given like wise Moms partaking before passing an oxygen mask to their child.. breathing in life, before giving it away.

Prayer time ends. Laughter and chatter return. Volume cranked up.

I feel odd… as if something broke… not busted into pieces, but blasted open, exposing light and air. My thoughts return to the pizza parlor and the faces spitting mean words my way. I look closer. They’re young… fragile… hurting… scared. I see God’s children living in a shattered world. My heart breaks… for them… for myself. I’m grateful for groups like this one where our youth can be safe and real with each other. A place where it is more cool to be kind than cruel.

We live in a world where beauty and ugliness coexist. Blessed lives… cursed lives… joy… sorrow. A place where acts of kindness and unimaginable horror live side by side. Where the unthinkable occurs – children are murdered… children commit murder.

What do we see when we look at our youth? Or anyone, for that matter? Do we have expectations of light? Or darkness? Do we expect, imagine, judge based on our past hurts? I know I did…I know I do… I hope not to any more.

HAVE YOU MET WITH JESUS AT THE WELL?

well imageThe Samaritan woman? You know, the one from the Jesus at the well story? We could be great friends. I picture us meeting at Starbucks…

Hurried, face flushed, she places her Venti nonfat caramel macchiato on the table where I’ve been waiting, wondering why she’s late.

“You’ll never guess what happened to me this morning,” she’d say. “I met a man who knew everything about me. I can’t explain it. He knew the details of my past and present without me saying a word. He spoke and I walked away changed.”

“Yes, I know Who you’re talking about. I know Him too,” I’d say.
We’d be great friends. And boy, would we have some stories to swap. Yes, indeed. No, not the bourgeois ugly stories of our past. Why bore each other with those? Instead, we would share that glorious encounter with Jesus.  Like how she felt when Jesus spoke and asked her for a drink. A lowly woman, Samaritan at that. Not worthy to be near this man at the well, let alone serve Him a drink. Then, this stranger engages conversation revealing that He knows … her darkest secrets.
So similar is my encounter with Jesus. Alone, ashamed and broken. He beckons for me to approach. He points to a mirror reflecting all, even what no one else could know. Shifting my eyes from the mirror to Jesus, I stand awaiting shame, condemnation, certain death by smite. Instead in His eyes, I see something unfamiliar, new and life giving. I see GRACE.
If He had not revealed the soiled reflection in the mirror, would His love have worth? If He loved me only because He did not really know me, would that love matter? The power of my grace encounter comes from knowing that even with secrets revealed, He loves me. He silenced the nagging, gnawing words in my head that scream “you are unlovable!”
Like the woman at the well, I’m told to go and sin no more. And like her, my heart’s desire is to do as He says. Will I succeed? Yes, sometimes. Will I fail, yes, too often. But, when I do, Jesus will be there, at the well, asking for a drink. My prayer is that I will always be willing to serve Him, whatever He may ask of me. My gratitude for His Grace is undying.

 

John 4
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

TMI – TOO MUCH Information – Writing About S E X

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Confession: I’m writing this blog because I can’t face the blinking cursor on the screen today. You see, I’m at the scene in my book “In Spite of Us,” when that three letter word… S E X… needs to be addressed. Blink… blink… blink.

I’m the Mom whom, when two neighbor dogs presented a perfect opportunity to talk to my children about… S… E… X… well… I choked, telling them a silly story about the doggie dance. Focus successfully diverted, we searched the car radio finding the perfect song to accompany their dance.

Fast forward years later? I still avoid the subject. At least, this time I have a legitimate concern. You see, I’m writing about two people before they knew God. A couple stumbling in the dark, clueless. Who are they? They’re not strangers or make believe characters in my head…

That couple is … us.

Keep in mind, I grew up with images of married couples like Lucy and Desi pecking a kiss on the cheek before retiring to their twin beds decked in matching chenille spreads. Both wearing more armor than a roman solider… her in the full boudoir attire – duster, nightgown, feather puff slippers, night cap and he all buttoned up in pajamas, robe, and slippers. It’s the picture our parents attempted to plant, unknowing that a sexual revolution would blow in with the sixties not only stripping off dusters and slippers, but leaving us without our bras for support.

Stop! I see you rolling your eyes… (especially my single friends). You know where I’m going with this and you’re right. Yes, If I had it to do over, I would honor the marriage bed today. Stop it… you rolled your eyes again. I know it sounds like I just downed a triple cheese burger, fries and large shake and now while bursting full, I’m claiming I would choose to abstain.

A little background… 

Thank You God that I’m not the same person I used to be. Time was when I thought God was some jerk in the sky hovering with his giant rule book waiting to smite people who wouldn’t obey. All this fuss while ignoring that people were hurting all over the world. So, I plugged my ears, froze my heart and turned my back on a nit-picking God of legalism.

But He didn’t turn His back on me. He stayed. Massaging my heart. Whispering… a truth. Revealing a lie. Never leaving me. Returning my scolding hand to His face with open, welcoming arms of Grace… for years… plus more.

Mind boggling transformation and brain renewal take time. It’s a process. Today I love God’s book of rules. I no longer picture a mean old rule mogul waiting to pluck the wings from helpless victims. Instead, I see a doting Father who wants His beloved children to receive the blessings that come when His loving and supernaturally thought out commands are followed.

Staring at the blinking cursor I’m still a little tempted to write my story all spiffed up and Christianized. But it wouldn’t be true. And worse? It would dilute the magnificence, the wonder, the super-sized power of His miracle. If the sins of our ancestors like King David and Bathsheba, were omitted so as to keep the story G-rated, the Bible would be a thin, trite paperback story rather than the Greatest Story Ever Told.

So, with God’s help, I will conquer the blank screen.

Note to our children… we apologize for the TMI and the PDA in this blog.

Note to our grandchildren… we were just dancing.

New Blog Name – “In Spite of Us”

ynAWarning … I’ve decided to walk the tightrope without the net. I’ve made some changes to the blog and I want you to know what to expect.
The main change is the name, “IN SPITE OF US,” after the book I am writing – one keyboard click at a time. Other than that, I will continue to post the same random stories but occasionally will share excerpts from the book or reflect on the agony of the writing experience.
“In Spite of Us,” is a book in progress about a completely unremarkable couple, doomed to DEATH by stupid choices. Two people coerced into a blind date, attraction acknowledged along with RED FLAGS waving. Yet, they continue… a stiletto heel and a biker boot… limping along with clashing lifestyles, heading toward a mass grave, overflowing with hopeless relationships. earsB

 

listenAtapeA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A double memoir told through the opposing voices of myself and my husband, TESTIFYING TO GOD’S GREAT LOVE. A God who never gave up on us.

smokeBdrinkA
My heart for the blog is to show that although my walk today may outwardly appear to be simple and ordinary, it is in Spirit, truly remarkable with His miracles around every corner. Yes, I still question and unfortunately whine with the best of the Israelites, but hopefully, before the Amen is spoken, Praise His Holy name.

 

prayAMy prayer is that the book and blog give glory to His deeds, lighting a path of hope for others, who may feel undeserving, as I once did and still do, without a huge daily dose of His Grace and Mercy.
I hope you enjoy the changes and keep following as I wrap my toes around that tightrope and reveal my heart. togetherB

SEIZE THE SUN – A Seattle Mantra

bikini2

You learn to seize sunshine in Seattle. As a teen in the late 1960’s, if the clouds parted and the temperature peaked 60 degrees, my newly licensed friend and I slipped bikinis over goose bump skin and cruised the lake.

In my mind’s eye, we circled Lake Tapps, in a yellow Corvette Stingray, hair sailing behind us, voluminous breasts overflowing our string bikini cups, every head turning our way. Reality recalls a sluggish Renault Gordini, empty bikini cups and a red headed, freckled little brother in the back seat, beaming a victory smile from the moment Mom said he could tag along.

Four decades later, living on the God blessed eastern side of Washington state, I still practice my Puget Sound training, seizing golden orb moments. Bikini days are gone, but I get a thrill knowing I don’t have to wear socks for several months and my car radio still blasts 60’s tunes.

Other defining summer moments remain, like barbecues, popsicles, hissing sprinklers and welcome evenings with lingering light. I even appreciate the sweaty nights in our two story air condition-less house and the pesky yellow jackets dive bombing my grilled burger.

Besides, summer mostly brings pleasantries. I even have pardon for wearing wide brim straw hats with big silk flowers, claiming, I need to protect my skin. The same skin I abused, days past, hat-less and nearly naked.

I certainly don’t usher in the season solo. The ratio of “howdies” and smiles is ten fold, strolling the streets in the summer, versus a gray drizzly winter day. Soon enough, we’ll be inside, noses pressed to windows summoning subliminal orders for the icicles to “DRIP AND DIE ALREADY!”

So, while it lasts, until my toes turn blue, I’m swearing off socks, parkas with hoods and mittens. I will embrace our Creator’s colorful, aromatic, fresh serving of summer with gratitude.

lake tappsLake Tapps

A DYSLEXIC VIEW OF GOD’S LOVE – A Tribute to our Loving Dog

He packed 110 pounds with broad shoulders, sharp teeth and Herculean strength, yet his ferocity showed only through his ability to love. This week, we said good bye to our big ole yellow lab, Gabriel, like the angel.gabe at work

As I mope around our big old creaky house, missing my shadow, I think how life slips away quickly, especially for our dog friends. Maybe that’s why they love so intensely. Would we love each other better if we knew time were more urgent?

I can even say he reflected all the traits we are called to carry – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and even self-control. Okay, sometimes he had trouble with self-control but only when provoked by pesky cats or chipmunks, or tempted with food.

I strive to love ALL people. Gabe loved freely. No matter who you were. You could stink like sweaty socks or week old garbage … oh wait, he liked that. But, you get the point. He loved everyone, even those who refused to share their food.
He was glad to see you if he was tired and even managed a tail wag when he was in pain. When we would yell and treat each other poorly, he would courageously nuzzle his nose under our hands. His big brown eyes begged for us to stop and forgive each other.

Gabe was somewhat of a local celebrity in Ellensburg, where he worked as the official greeter in our antiques store for more than eight years. He took his job quite seriously, strutting in his tie, like a peacock. He was a great employee and an effective advertisement, as customers returned wanting to see the big yellow dog, who greeted them at the door for a treat and a tummy rub.

I realize it doesn’t sound very Christian-like to say that my dog knew how to love others better than I do, but what can I say? It’s true. I will keep working on it.
To be loved by such a creature is a wonderful gift. God’s love is present in all His creations.

Gabe Aug. 2001 – April 2014

MY TOP 5 BEST EVER APRIL FOOLS JOKES

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Happy Aprils Day

My family hates April Fools Day. Instead of embracing it with glee as I do, they put on armor, suspicious of what the day may bring. Frankly, I think they should quit whining and get over it. For me, it’s a day demonstrating my love, taking extreme measures to make them feel special.

Do they appreciate it? Pffft…. Not a bit. Even my children have no respect for the day. It’s not as if they did not receive training. As toddlers we studied the fine art together pranking neighbors, friends, even the dog. Just when it was time for them to graduate from the basics like “your shoes are untied” to higher levels, the incessant whining and boohooing began. They just couldn’t live by my April Fools mantra – “don’t dish out what you    can’t eat yourself.”

So this year, I am taking the day off. I know they’ll miss my loving acts of impery. I hope you enjoy and use the best jewels from my jester crown.

1. I BAKED A CAKE JUST FOR YOU.
Supplies needed: 1 Car wash sponge
1 can of frosting.
Frost the sponge taking care to make it look the utmost delicious. It helps if you are not the best cook. I had to stop my husband from choking on this because he thought it was just another failed baking experiment and he did not want to hurt my feelings.

2. MY LIPS, MY LIPS, SOMEONE STOLE MY LIPS.
Supplies: 1 tube Orajel Toothache relief.
The victim’s drinking glass, coffee cup, etc. Discreetly squeeze a small amount of Orajel on your finger, swiping it discreetly on the brim of the cup, glass or even an aluminum can. Note: This prank is accredited to my little brother, Danny, who passed away in 2010. He celebrated the spirit of practical jokes daily and always kept a tube of Orajel in his pocket.

3. FREDDY KRUEGER IS AT THE DOOR.
Supplies: A cell phone.
Go to the victim’s house and stay hidden. Call them engaging in light hearted conversation. With cell phone in hand, knock aggressively on the door. Hide. When they go to the door to find no one is there, tell them to be careful. Wait a moment and repeat the knocking and disappear. Tell them you will stay on the phone in case they need you to call for help. Repeat until you sense it is time to appear at the door exclaiming the ever satisfying “April Fool!” I got lucky on this one because my daughter happened to be watching a scary movie.

4. SAVE THE LITTLE OLD LADY

Supplies: No supplies just a vehicle and a willing, naïve, young victim. I chose my 10 year old grandson. Take the victim on a day trip. Choose your destination carefully. Mine was a 35 mile trip. About midway, pump the brake causing as much jerking as possible and pull over to the side of the road. I told my grandson that I was too old to walk the rest of the way and he would have to walk into town and find help. I warned him not to accept rides or talk with strangers. After taking a deep breath, the brave little man began the trek, determined to do what needed done. After they walk a few yards, start the car and drive past them. Honking and yelling April Fool out the window adds the needed drama. I do suggest that you do this on the return trip otherwise the victim can be quite cranky the rest of the day.
5. WHERE DID IT GO?

This works best for a spouse or a teenager with a car. Skill level: Stealth. Wait until the victim has fallen asleep for the night. Choose a safe, close by destination where you can park their car for the night. Caution: This could have been disastrous because I overslept and the police were called before I made it downstairs screaming “April Fool.” IMPORTANT NOTE: The police are even less enthusiastic about the holiday than my family.

Have fun with these. I will enjoy my day off. My family won’t believe me. They’ll spend the day same as always, peeking around corners waiting for me to pop out and declare

Happy April Fools Day!!!!!!!

DÉ•JÀ VU THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS

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I want to write something fun and light. A bandaid for my heart as well as yours. Problem is, when I ignore my heart it beats the crap out of me, pounding until… I GIVE.

So, go ahead heart, blab away.

One day I was watching my Mom iron a fussy, starched white blouse with a bow. Walking away, she says, “Don’t touch the iron, it’s hot.” The pain I felt testing her warning by placing my hand flat on the iron is my earliest childhood memory. OUCH!

After that, albeit not the brightest child, but with potential, I trusted that irons were HOT. Life provides unlimited lessons. I picture God shaking His head, like the good Father He is, cringing as I take an inevitable life-slap, directly after an I-KNEW-BETTER choice.

Truth is, sitting with my Father, discussing my rebellious nature and knack for selective hearing is often bittersweet. A time of intimacy snuggled next to our Heavenly Father, lapping up His mercy and grace like a rain-soaked kitten in front of the fire.

BUT…

When my children place their tiny hand on the hot iron? It seers my heart.

Even worse? When their adult choices go beyond a dollop of Aloe Vera cream and a scolding… it’s unbearable. That sense of dé•jà vu haunts while ghosts from the past point accusing fingers at not only my choices, but those of my ancestors. I smell the aroma from our historical family recipe, peppered with substance abuse, spiced with unresolved anger.

I’ve stared into this murky pool before. It’s behind me… beside me… and now… it’s in front of me, staring back through the eyes of my children. A family portrait in a gilded frame, eyes forward, posing behind smiling masks.

A tired script – been there – done that. A story written, told, shredded and burned. A noxious weed, pulled, and tossed only to sprout again, not in my neighbor’s lawn, but my children’s yard. A nasty bug, swatted, smashed, killed, and yet… it lives.

What can I do? I’m a Mom. Mom’s do… incapable of idleness.

Back on my Heavenly Father’s lap. Only this time we discuss my children’s choices. With no condemnation, He stirs the murky pool of my past mistakes with His finger. He comforts me while I spit pellets of but… but… but…

In the pool I see a brittle, cold, dying heart. It’s my heart. Or, it was mine, before He softened it. As He continues to stir the pool, four letters swirl to the top –

H –O – P – E

Story Teller – Author "LOVE AND AN INTERVENTION: A Dual Memoir About Second Chances

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