Day 23: Time flies

3 Mar

img12 img14

Let’s see.

I’m guessing these pictures are from 2006 or 2007

Around ten years or so ago that McKenna, Delaney, and Sydney looked like this.

I remember the day well.

It was a warm Spring afternoon (somewhat like today, which was a beautiful 77 degrees in March; the first hint of Spring in the air), and I asked the girls to go out into the backyard for an impromptu photo shoot.

I remember telling Sydney to just ‘act like herself,’ and she proceeded to be the perfect little almost three-year-old.

You can almost see in the girls’ facial expressions–in their eyes, almost–what they were thinking and feeling.

Teenage McKenna is a little bit enamored with her youngest sister, but also a little bit ‘put-out’ with having to spend some extra time with each other. That’s how girls that age are…in love with their family one moment, a little perturbed with them the next.

Pre-teen Delaney is loving on Sydney, and also imagining “I don’t think I was ever that silly.”

And Sydney? Well, like I said: she’s being a pretty perfect toddler. Laughing, giggling, hamming it up.

I can still see all three of my girls today in the girls in these pictures.

They are still all beautiful; and their personalities still shine through.  They remain enamored and in love with each other, yet also have moments of sisterly aggravation.

When you look at pictures like this, time truly does fly.

McKenna is about to be a Mom herself; she’s about to embark on the adventure that is captured in this photograph with a little one of her own.

Delaney is a college sophomore; a few months away from 20. She has become an amazing young woman…a study in intelligence and complexity.

Sydney is in fifth grade. She is a scholar, an artist, an athlete, an old soul…and still pretty silly.

And I’m still behind that camera (although not as literally as I used to be; I don’t capture things quite as well on film as I once did). I’m watching it all, taking it all in, remembering every little detail.

Because, before I know it, ten more years will have passed.

 

 

Day 22: ?

2 Mar

Life is extremely busy.

I’m at a loss.

And there is no writing today.

Day 21: Voting Day

1 Mar

It’s Super Tuesday all across the South today, so I am heading to the polls to vote in another election.

This time around, I’m voting in the primaries and casting my choice for a presidential nominee.

It’s also the first time that my middle daughter, Delaney (who is 19), gets to vote in a presidential election.

I’m not always a fan of politics, but I’m a huge fan of elections so I’m pretty pumped about Delaney getting to make her voice heard. (And that she’s excited about it herself–and has put a lot of thought into her choice.)

All of that got me to thinking about my first elections.

Even though it wasn’t an “official” election, I do fondly remember the presidential election we had in my third grade class in Austin, Texas, way back in 1976.

My class cast ballots in the race between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

The class went in favor of Ford, while I myself voted for Carter.

That seems pretty par for the course for how it’s gone ever since.

Time went by, and Carter and Reagan came and went.

In the meantime, I went to high school and saw Ronald Reagan (with my entire American History class) present a speech as he was getting ready for the 1984 election season.

(I also had the amazing experience–truly one of my life favorites–of meeting Jimmy Carter much later in life, when my three girls were all young. We went to his Sunday School class in rural Georgia.)

My first opportunity to vote came while I was in college. The year was 1988, and I was 20-years-old.

I voted for the first time for a president, and was a huge fan of Tennessee senator (and eventual vice president) Al Gore in the primaries. (Alas, Michael Dukakis became the Democratic nominee.)

I so remember being a college student in love with the process, surrounded by mostly people who favored someone else.

But that’s okay.

And that’s kind of the point.

As Americans, we can get behind whichever candidate we choose–whether those around us do so or not.

As Americans, we have that right (the amazing, peaceful right) to support and cheer for (or against) the candidate we support.

Whether that person was Ford back in my 1970s childhood or a Clinton in the 1990s and 2010s…what a thrill to get to do so freely.

 

 

Day 20: Leap

29 Feb

(Today is Leap Year, which is pretty cool. So let me try and write a poem about leaping.)

leap

“Leap”

An

uncommon,

unique,

rare,

special,

extra

day.

Maybe I should

sleep,

work?

relax,

overexert?

wonder,

ignore?

this extra time.

Instead,

I think I will…

Leap

into open arms,

into an opportunity,

in faith,

for joy.

 

Day 19: Jesus was a radical

28 Feb

radicallove

I’m reading the book Rediscover Jesus as part of my Lenten season this year, and a certain passage really spoke to me today.

It says:

“Jesus was a radical. He reminds us at every turn that God’s ways are not a slight variation of man’s ways, but that they are in fact radically different. Embrace any one of Jesus’ teachings seriously and some of the people around you are bound to think that you are taking it a little too far. His teachings don’t invite us to the mediocre middle. They invite us to a radical love.

This radical love is at the heart of the Gospel. There are of course spectacular displays, but most of all Jesus invites us to pass this radical love along to others through the daily events of our lives. At every turn Jesus mentors us in this radical love.”

How did Jesus love in a radical way? What did he actually do?

Well, he…

Ate with sinners.

Told people to love, not judge.

Healed the outcasts.

Ministered to his friends.

Ministered to strangers.

Accepted the little children.

Told a thief he would be with Him in paradise.

So, what can I do to model that sort of love?

Maybe, I should…

Speak in love, not in anger.

Be friendly to everyone I encounter in my daily routine.

Work to fight injustice.

Feed the hungry.

Fight for freedom.

Don’t gossip or speak ill of others.

Encourage.

Do random acts of kindness.

Lift up children and youth.

Respect my elders.

Be grateful.

Smile.

Forgive.

 

 

 

Day 18: Today I’m writing lazy

27 Feb

I have no good ideas today to write about.

But, I’ve had some good things in my life lately.

My writing exercise for today, then, will be a lazy list of good things:

  • Being able to go with my daughter to her doctor appointments, and sharing in her joy and  nervousness about Ramsey Cate’s arrival
  • Sydney getting the all-clear from her orthopedic doctor on her sprained ankle
  • Softball
  • College basketball
  • An unbelievably delicious meal of grits, greens, barbecue pork, and onion strips
  • Date night with Gary
  • A good glass of wine
  • Laughter
  • Friends
  • A surprise visit from my college daughter
  • A glimpse of Spring
  • Not having much money, but making it anyway
  • A fabulous church family
  • Staying up late reading
  • Work that is rewarding, and fun
  • Awesome parents
  • Cupcakes
  • The promise of new things

Day 17: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

26 Feb

teststrips

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

Those are some of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite Broadway songs.

“Seasons of Love” from Rent captures the idea that life is really a series of moments. Moments that, when stretched out from end to end, seem quite long; and yet, when seen individually, seem fleeting and intimate and gone-too-soon.

I thought of these lyrics, recently, when I was looking at the mass of meter test strips that my 11-year-old daughter uses many times, each and every day, to test her blood sugar levels.

On any given day, Sydney may use up anywhere from 8 to 12 of these strips. She pricks her finger, draws blood, and uses the strips to see if her levels are high or low.

That’s a lot of strips over the course of a year. (It’s 3,360 a year if I guess at 10 per day.)

And then there’s the shots of insulin she gives to herself every single day to battle the fact that her Type-1 (or juvenile) diabetes has stripped her pancreas of any natural insulin.

She has to give herself four each day, but on many days she may take 6 or 7.

That’s a lot of syringes and shots. (That adds up to 1,680–if I’m being greedy and saying she only takes 5 a day.)

I often get quite angry when I think about this awful disease and the way it wreaks havoc on Sydney’s body. I get sad when I think how it has changed her life on a daily–minute-ly, hour-ly–basis.

If I look at the numbers–the test trips, the syringes, the bottles of insulin, the doctor visits–I can get overwhelmed.

It just seems so massive, and big, and costly, and piled so, so, so high.

When I look at how Sydney has survived each and every minute, hour, day, week, month, and year since she was diagnosed at 8-years-old, it could all run together and blend into a big, sad story.

But, instead, I like to look at every single moment–Sydney’s own “five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes“–as small joys and victories.

Along with the strips and the syringes are tears and hugs and hurts and smiles. They represent just how incredibly strong she is.

And those small moments create a large picture…a life in perspective, a life with meaning, a life that has taught so much to every single person around her.

The number of test strips will be in the hundreds of thousands by the time she ends her days (unless we can, God willing, find a cure!)…but what a joyous story they will tell.

In the end, her life will not be one of Type-1 diabetes–although that will certainly be part of her story.

How will her life be measured?

By strips and insulin, yes.

But by so, so, so much more.

May it be said the same of you and me, and whatever struggle or cross we bear.

The struggles…the mounds and piles of metaphorical test strips in your life…can be diminished by our

sunsets,

and cups of coffee,

and joy,

and love.

sydneycheer