Friday, August 29, 2008

Burial at Sea

William Sandry Northridge
November 18, 1926 ~ August 17, 2008

On Moday, I attended a memorial service...

a time to say goodbye to my Uncle Bill

He was a man of character

a compassionate conservative

a gentle soul
with a memorable laugh

an advertising executive

who followed in his father's footsteps

and a Navy man

who participated in the liberation of the Philippines in WWII

It was fitting that he was buried at sea

You are loved and will be missed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One jump ahead of the hoofbeats...

One hop ahead of the hump
One trick ahead of disaster
They're quick, but I'm much faster
Here goes, better throw my hand in
Wish me happy landin'
All I gotta do is jump!!!

Before I became a mom, I didn't realize how much brain power and energy I was going to have to exert to keep up with my kiddos. Not just keep up with them, but at least a couple steps ahead!! If I'm not proactive, we'll end up reactive... and the whole scene becomes quite unattractive.

We just returned from 3 fun filled days at Disneyland and Disney California. When I was a young adult, I loved the spontaneity and freedom of roaming the park from early morning until midnight, deciding the day's events on a whim. With my boys, that just isn't feasible... they need a plan.

It all started about 2 weeks before the trip. I mapped out all 3 days with the precision of a hippo on a high wire. Day 1 we'd venture into the Right Half... Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, Day 2 we'd explore Adventureland, Frontierland, and Critter Country, and Day 3 would be all about Disney CA. We looked at maps and decided on which rides we'd conquer first, we YouTube'd them (because it's important to see if the Abominable Snowman is really scary or if he just looks like a big, hairy dog). Next, we figured in some parades and shows and tried to figure out how we could win a once in a lifetime prize, because it is The Year of the 1,250,000 Dreams or something like that. Gramma and Poppy gave the boys each a very generous $25 to spend, so we discussed the importance of taking time to seriously ponder the crucial and valuable souvenier purchases to be made. And last, but not least, the most important planning of all was to prepare for change and to be flexible.
Are you tired just reading about all this Disney planning and organization?? It might sound a little compulsive, but it honestly made for the best Disney trip we've ever had... especially since Son #1 doesn't do well with surprises, carefree romps, or not being privy to when his toy acquisition will go down. Since we got a late start on Day 1, we traded Day 2 for Day 1 so we could hit Nemo first thing on Day 2, which was then Day 1. On Day 1, really Day 2, we stopped at Day 3 for lunch, because Husband wanted to eat at a restaurant in the other park. On Day 2 we did Day 1, but had to do Nemo during the fireworks because the line was 70 minutes long at 8:25am... amazing!! Day 3 was pretty much Day 3 except for Soarin' Over CA which we did on Day 1 which was actually Day 2, because we'd eaten lunch there and figured we could Fast Pass it while we were there! In the long run, it all worked out famously, and because we were oh so flexible, we had the pleasure of running into some friends on Day 1, really Day 2, because we ate at Day 3. Then we ran into some old college friends on Day 2 which was really Day 1, while we were literally flying high on Dumbo.

All in all... good times. On Day 2, really Day 1 for those of you still paying attention, a cast member handed us buttons which made us honorary citizens of Disneyland. I'm not sure what this means. I wanted to sleep in Sleeping Beauty's castle and be in the 1,250,000 Dreams Parade at 3 and 6:30 so I could do the figure 8 wave and ride in a Grand Marshall car with my boys, but apparently they felt the button was all the prize I could handle. Note for next time, cast members: I am a lot tougher than that... I could definitely handle an all expenses paid Disney Resort Vacation. I promise to jump up and down and be extremely excited for the video camera. Really!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Very Merry Unbirthday to Me

My birthday is in the Fall, when the crisp leaves of our liquid amber trees are shades of orange and red and yellow. The air is crisp and fresh, the days are short, and my hand knit scarves find a permanent home around my grateful neck. Some of these autumn days are enticing and my backless Mary Jane's seem to have an extra little spring in their step. Other days seem a bit ominous, with foreboding clouds lurking in a gray, dimly lit sky.

I have a true affection for Fall days of all kinds. Except for my birthday. My birthday, for many years, most of my adulthood I would venture to say, has been plagued. An unexplainable dread descends upon me on that day. Year after year, I experience an overwhelming depression which gives birth to inexplicable tears and a disposition which is irritable and discontented. Searching my heart, I have tried to understand this phenomena... I am being selfish? Do I have specific expectations? Am I desiring recognition? I am literally embarrassed to be in the presence of people on this day; it would be far better if I crawled into a hole and emerged when it passed.

My loving husband has made his best efforts to make this day happy or at least tolerable for me. In recent years, he has covered the whole week in prayer, knowing that there must be some sort of spiritual warfare involved. A faithful warrior he has been, but victory has always eluded us.

A couple Friday evenings ago, we unexpectedly broke through this cloak of darkness. I leap-frogged, if you will, from a blog to a blog to a blog and found myself reading an account of a woman who has experienced similar unhappy birthday symptoms. As I was responding to her heartfelt words, I had an epiphany, a sudden emotional realization as to where my own personal dread was rooted.

On my birthday, about 17 years ago, I was a guest at a birthday party for my uncle. I didn't feel comfortable with people knowing it was my actual birthday, because I didn't want to take away from an evening that was lovingly prepared in honor of him. My brother and sister-in-law arrived late to the party... they had recently decided to sell their home and move to the mid-West, following a man who we suspected to be a false teacher and false prophet. Although I know I must have seen them after that night, and said goodbye to them as they ventured off to a new life, I don't have any recollection of those moments. My birthday was cemented in my mind as the night I lost my brother, and the night my family would no longer be whole. I suspect the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy each year since.

Upon this realization, the floodgates were opened... I sobbed tears of sorrow and pain, tears of release and understanding, and tears of faith and hope for what God will accomplish in the future. Patrick prayed over me, thanking the Lord for His revelation, praying for my healing, and praying that Jesus would come and release my loved ones from any captivity they have become entangled in.

This year will usher in a new type of observance. I know the Lord will be faithful to provide the details, but I know that most importantly this year's birthday will include prayer and fasting and trusting that our Great God will accomplish great things!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I took a blogging break...

But now I'm back!!

There were a few things I had to take care of...

For instance, Mr. Willow Tree needed a haircut. Now that he has a new 'do I won't be tempted to play "Limbo Rock" anymore when visitors walk up my front path. Although that would have been fun.

Then I drafted up the Family Responsibility Management Plan or F.R.M.P. This plan will revolutionize the organizational structure of our home. Week one of implementation was a great success. Thank you family team members! :)

And then there was the great "Backyard Beach" operation. How many wheelbarrow loads does it take to move 3 cubic yards of sand from the driveway to the backyard?? We lost count, but the whole operation (research trip, weed removal and cleanup, grading, moving pea gravel, putting down weed barrier, and moving the mountain) took a whole Saturday! The boys now have the sweetest sand box under their play structure! I see a luau in our future!

I've also been working on another post... an emotional one for me. Hopefully I'll post in a couple days! In the meantime, you may want to stop by my husband's blog... he is chronicling our story. He calls it Beauty and the Beast. You've just gotta love teen romance!

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