WASSUP?!!!

The year was 2002 and I needed an email address.

I don’t recall if we had internet in our home yet, maybe dial-up.

So I signed up for a one hour computer slot at the public library and began the process of

registering for an email address.

The most stressful part was choosing the email address name because

technology was new and one wrong move meant being saddled with a

terrible email address FOREVER.

I’m a percolator meaning snap decisions aren’t in my DNA.

Naturally, I am in a library, needing to make a monumental decision and the only thing

bubbling up in my mind were the popular Bud Light commercials at that time.

Of course.

Do you remember these guys?

Over the years, I have used NetZero, Hotmail, Yahoo and GMail all proceeded by

wassuphelen.

It has become my “forever” email address and the source of laughter when people

have a flash of recognition.

Here’s a bit of WASSUP Helen?!

 

*****

Caleb left Sunday for a week of outdoor school.

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He is our final child to experience this 6th grade milestone.

There are 5 or 6 outdoor school sites for our area and it is amazing to us that

all three kids will have gone to Camp Howard.

No matter how long one has been a parent, goodbyes are never easy.

Six days feel long.

It’s good for all of us.

No screen time for him but instead trudging around the great outdoors and

learning campfire songs.

No carpool, practices, youth group and the “do you have homework” question.

It is a sweet blessing to press the pause button for a few days yet I know we will be

anxious to have our boy back home despite the loads of laundry to come.

*****

While Caleb is gone, Carl and I have an added responsibility.

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Meet Grover.

Caleb has wanted a guinea pig or hamster for the last two years, at least. Or a puppy.

It took us some time to completely warm to the idea.

As I have written often on this blog lately, this is a time of transition for our family.

One such transition involves Caleb being the youngest by a couple handful of years.

When we learned we were to have a third child, we heard some unhelpful comments:

“Did you plan this?”

“Oh my gosh, I am so glad it’s you and not me!” and often there was silence,

followed by hysterics.

However the helpful comments were of this variety:

“My brother was born when I was 16 and we are very close as adults.”

“I loved having a little sister so much younger than me.”

“My sister is 12 years older than me, she fascinated me.”

It’s evident, I remember both sets of comments.

But those comments steeped in experience,

I shellacked them to my front and back, propelling me

towards unknown territories  and harnessing me with secure hope.

Carlen and Courtney have been the such a sweet and crazy force

in Caleb’s life.

They have remained present in his life even when it meant a lot of juggling.

I am sure part of it is because it is what we do as a family.

We try to show up for one another. But I also believe they remember how

often Caleb was in the back of  our van or stomping around bleachers or being told

to be quiet during their school events.

His sisters are in their 20’s and forging their own paths.

Part of getting a guinea pig was to give Caleb his own thing and a companion.

We got Grover for Caleb.

But we all adore him.

He has a very sweet personality and his guinea pig antics are hilarious.

I had no idea.

As a parent, we try to do the best for each child and for each season.

We try our best to make everything equal but in reality, nothing is ever equal in

every season. There are patches of time when one child simply needs or demands

more time.

The only aspect in parenting that must be consistently equal is the size of love.

I was reminded by one child how we never got her the lizard she wanted.

Her recollection was that all she had to do was clean her room.

Mine was that it was not to be a one time event 😉

Sigh.

Good thing Grover is so cute.

He has covered over a lot of parental missteps and taught us all a lot about empathy.

*****

Carl and I have been working to give our basement family room a

much-needed facelift.

It has affectionately been called the cave for years because of the wood paneling.

Painting over the darkness created a brighter and  more spacious room.

One side of the family room has a built-in bookcase.

We spent weeks sorting through our book history.

There were yearbooks, encyclopedias, textbooks, cookbooks, a few too many

diet books, fiction and a lot of non-fiction books.

We parted with bags and crates full of books.

I am not saying it was easy for this book lover but it was necessary.

I kept only books I loved, would read again, still want to read or have significant

sentimental value to me. (Shhh…I still have more favorites in my office.)

I removed and recycled  all the book jackets and  this small act completely

changed the look of each book.

Then I organized them by spine color as is so popular now.

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We could use some less loved and saggy furniture and few other items to complete the room

but I am realizing how often I avoided this area because it didn’t bring me joy.

A couple of gallons of primer and paint and some deep cleaning and a new room was born.

It will be fun to continue to work on this space over the next few months.

*****

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I needed a way to bring focus to my 24 hours.

The top notebook contains the 5 W’s which have begun to bookend my days.

I thought about 3 important areas in my life and ended up with 5

to govern my moments and for ease of remembering

found words bearing the same first letter.

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Word (soul care)-be intentional and consistent about being in God’s Word.

Walk (health)-be active, make and schedule ways to add movement into my days,
even if it is simply stretching.

Work (job, household, hard things)-be a worker of excellence, do the work, be grateful,
do my best, be a blessing, extend grace, share the love of Christ, be fearless.

Write (passion/creativity)-be the caretaker of my dreams, make progress everyday,
always be an encourager.

Welcome (vessel living)-extend welcome to those who live within my four walls or come
into them. May I exude welcome wherever my feet take me and look for
opportunities every.single.day.

I am not perfect with this “system”.

Please know this.

If I was perfect, there would be no need to make an entry.

No reason to look back and see the places Perfection came to

the rescue when I stumbled over my attempts to carefully craft life.

I endeavor to write the date at the top of the page either in the morning

or at day’s end and jot a few thoughts or insights related to each W.

Some pages are crammed with words and others have empty spaces,

just as it should be,

just like life.

*****

I will end with a book read and one I am reading.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-I have meant to read this book for such a long time. I am so smitten by this book and it jumped up and made me cry on the final page.
Perfect read aloud.

The Miracle Morning-I may never be a natural morning person but there is such value in rising early. This book has already given me a new mindset and some hope of putting to bed
my habitual snooze button pushing.

Well, you know what I mean. Wink.

*****

WASSUP with you?!

 

 

making up for lost time

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I have packed 3 suitcases in 4 weeks.

4 if you count Caleb’s suitcase.

It has been a month worth of trips devoted to celebration of family,

friendship and milestone birthdays.

On either side of the miles traveled,

there have been beautiful meals shared

in terrain where infant pears clung tightly to branches

and bobbing and weaving between bites as

white puffs of cottonwood  filled the

air like cotton candy.

Selfie attempts were warranted and perhaps unsuccessful.

My heart is saturated with people and  conversations

and with unblemished joy of being numbered among so many I cherish.

The sights my eyes have beheld continue to replay in my daydreams and

I marvel at the hushed utterances of such grace, such blessed and sacred

time.

After the bags were unpacked and laundry piles began to subside,

I did what I always do.

I made a list.

A list of all that needed to be done.

You know the list I am talking about.

The list called making up for lost time.

I wanted to accomplish some chores but I also wanted

to rest up and refuel.

Caleb was away visiting his Grands so my week

could be more concentrated on the multitude of tasks before

my eyes.

Each day I crossed off an item or two.

Most mornings, I set a later alarm.

After several days,

I felt more tired than when I stowed away

my luggage.

Then I read this:

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.
You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

~Dallas Willard
(as quoted in this book)

Despite my efforts to keep my days one part productive

and the other part relaxation, my pace had been a

hurried rush.

I was trying to make up for lost time.

I live my days if I am always making up for lost time.

But what is lost time?

Would I consider a trip to see family,

lost time?

Would I ever tell a friend,

“Yes, let’s get together for coffee

even though it will mean I am losing

time according to my grand list of to-do’s” ?

No, it is called spending time with others.

It is all about adding priceless gems to our lives,

not squandering it.

There is no such thing as making up for lost time.

Time is continuous and is meant to be spent.

Making up for “lost time” is as futile as trying

to gather sand in your arms.

There is simply today and the minutes

we determine to use in the course of our day.

Seems I recall Jesus saying to let tomorrow take

care of itself.

Don’t hurry.

Don’t worry about that which remains undone.

Caleb comes home today.

(Oh how I miss that boy!)

The last few days have been different.

I have slowed down.

In case, I didn’t get the message, I also have

a troublesome knee which makes me take

each step with care and gratefulness.

So what is your hurry today?

What’s your worry?

There will never been an end to laundry and

cooking and bill paying.

There will be another weed to pull as soon as I loosen

ten roots.

I apologize for stating the facts.

As much as I dream,

I will never read every great book written.

There is today,

a gift to be used and not hoarded.

A gift to be cherished and celebrated.

Spend it well and don’t deem it as

moments that demand being redeemed later.

Simply cash in every second with sweet abandon.

 

photo credit: Carl Washington 

springtime musings

Marimekko April desktop

Hello Spring!

Time for new desktops for April.

I have always loved Marimekko.

Marimekko has two desktop options with or without a calendar.

You can make your selection here.

I could never get my act together to post March’s selection

but I still love it. Feel free to download it without the calendar here.

One last option from Dawn Camp, go here.

*****

Last week during spring break, we took a trip to Astoria.

I am so glad we seized the opportunity as it was THE best

weather day of the week.

Carl worked in a laboratory for two years before we married.

The girls were too young to remember visiting years ago.

It was fun to have Carl show the kids where he lived, worked and

we also fulfilled a bucket list item for the girls in visiting

The Goonies house.

Carl lived in Astoria during the filming and his claim to cinematic fame

is part of his truck is

seen in some versions of the film.

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I love this picture of our three. But I am not going to say a word about how old my son

looks. It could be that he has decided to rock the ‘fro these days but my word.

I see the future and I am unprepared.

Like I said, not a word.

*****

During one of the monsoon-like days,my parents were visiting us here in Portland.

It seemed the perfect time to watch 20 Feet from Stardom.

My second time watching it. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and

rent it. If you live close to me, you can borrow my copy.

If you don’t believe me, it won the Oscar for the Best Documentary.

I wrote about how I forgot to eat my Red Vines while watching here.

*****

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My beautiful and brilliant mother celebrated her birthday yesterday!

With each passing year, she exudes more joy and compassion,

more generosity and energy,

and more fully Felicia!

I love you Mor.

*****

I remember I could hardly wait to turn 30.

I suppose it was due to the fact that it felt like I could finally

qualify and call myself an adult.

I also have never really gotten “freaked out” about big milestone

birthdays.

Most likely because I was one of the young ones in my class.

I was barely 18 when I started college.

But as the sands of the hourglass have been quickly amassing,

I have had much more reason to pause turning 50.

It seems solid and weighty.

I feel I am at a particularly critical juncture in my life.

I am career-less.

I wonder what is my vocation?

What is next?

Retirement is closer than it was 20 years ago but

at this point, I won’t retire from any job.

I question if I am stewarding my time well?

It hasn’t been until this chapter in my life that I can accurately

see how driven I was in my 20’s and 30’s.

My 40’s have been the polar opposite.

I think my 40’s have been recovery from burn-out

on almost every role in my life.

So as I simmer in this end of decade soup,

even though I feel quite unresolved

in my identity moving onto 50,

I am looking at this patch of time as a gift.

I am doing a lot of soul digging instead of

wallowing which can be like trying to keep upright

on a downhill slip ‘n slide.

This week I started Donald Millers’s Create Your Life Plan.

Don and Shauna Niequist have created a 10 video module

coaching program to help create a life of meaning.

I have almost done half of the modules and it has been

life-elevating.

It has helped me upend the hard parts of my life history

and find gratitude and understanding.

There is a cost for this program but it is way less than one

therapy session.

They are still offering an early bird special and there is a

100% money back guarantee.

But truly the two names Donald Miller and Shauna Niequist

should be more than enough to convince you.

It would fun to do as a couple, in a small group or of course

individually.

*****

Books I have read recently:

Tatoos on the Heart-my friend Paige sent me this book. After I was halfway through
the book, I sent her a text saying that I had given up underlining and was simply
bracketing sections I loved. I can’t say enough about this book especially since
it is true. (Adult language-heads up)

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair-I read this short book over
an evening. It’s Anne Lamott which is really enough said. But I loved reading her
thoughts about life in a post-911, post-Katrina, post-Sandy Hook world.
So much suffering, how do we live?
Great thoughts,stories and as always excellent weaving of words.

What I am reading now:

Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer-I am loving this book already.

On Writing-A Memoir of the Craft-just because.

Pastrix:The Cranky,Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint.

You could say I am on a memoir feast of sorts.

*****

I hope you have gained a little something from me unleashing the contents

of my mind onto the screen.

I know I have aged a bit just in the writing.

Welcome Spring!

A time of new life, beginnings and perhaps even

a bit of soul-searching.

Bring on the showers, digging in the dirt

and basking in the splendor of blossoms!

*****

P.S. Check out my tweet on the sidebar if you

want to know how April Fools Day dealt with me!