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?!

 

 

friday joy (wonder edition)

Our summer rhythm of the last decade has been a bit upended this year.

The combination of my returning to work, the hot weather and life events  colliding with

routine  has made me feel like we have lived the past months literally

by the seat of our pants, well make that capris or shorts.

We came off of a few days at the beach back into routine and quickly realized

we had no plan for Caleb’s days.

Gulp.

Courtney was on a road trip taking her college best friend to her first teaching job

in Texas and Carlen was working as she should be.

We limped through Monday with Carl coming home at lunch to munch

and shoot baskets with Caleb.

I adjusted my hours to be home an hour earlier which also meant

a shorter commute time 🙂

and sent out few text message pleas (begging) and

friends helped immediately and into next week as well.

Grateful.

It was a triumph to get to Friday, my day off and what was on Caleb’s mind was doing

something outside of the house.

I definitely had my list of somethings as well but Caleb was the priority.

He began the day by FINALLY mastering the art of paper airplanes by reading

a section out of this book:

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Simple fulfilling joy.

We had a unhurried lunch at Chapel Pub.

I wanted to eat outside because we could but Caleb wanted to sit

in the air conditioning. I couldn’t argue as these days it is a gift

not to be covered in sweat.

Caleb is approaching 12.

There is still the little boy humor which I have been told

and seen plenty of evidence doesn’t evaporate…ever.

We have begun to have conversations richer in-depth and meaning.

We talked about how it feels to not have Mom always, for the most part, available

to his every need.

He expressed his excitement and nervousness for his new middle school but is

still really sad about how much he will miss his friends in other schools.

He’s holding his breath to find out if he will get to learn to play the guitar in

school next year as a year-long focus or one of his art rotations.

He talked about starting a band with friends.

He always politely declines when asked if he wants to see the children’s menu.

It was a first as he took his time over the menu and ordered something other than a

cheeseburger.

He snapped up my phone and took a picture of me.

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He submitted to a selfie I didn’t have in mind.

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This is 11.

We paid the bill and walked over to the library to grab my waiting book loot

and for Caleb to collect on his reading.

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Our next stop was a nickel arcade.

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We raced around and tried our best to amass as

many tickets as a $5 bag of nickels would allow.

I got to play several games of Centipede so my day was complete.

When it came time to redeem the ticket winnings, I found myself

wanting to direct Caleb to other prizes, better “deals”, you know more

bang for your buck.

If this was truly the case of getting a good deal, we should never have

set foot in the arcade as there really is no way to come out ahead for

any outlay of nickels.

In the end, he spent 490 of his 500 tickets on these items:

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A giant pencil and pen and a mini whoopee cushion.

The man at the counter told Caleb he still had 10 tickets to

spend but Caleb said that he was good with what he spent.

But then he decided to buy me two mini Tootsie rolls for 8 tickets.

The counter man said he could have three.

Caleb gasps and with large eyes said “thanks”

and it was the first time I saw the man smile during our visit.

Shared wonder.

We made our final descent towards home but not before

Caleb cashed in his summer reading prize with a  free Slurpee.

(This prize redemption has ceased to change it is always a free Slurpee.)

The days are long and often toasty.

Each moment can easily be filled with essential tasks but what if

now and then we allowed our seconds to be saturated by spending

time in the midst of wonder.

Or lifting our eyes from the relentless black and white lists and

beholding the magnificent shades of wonder which are everywhere.

I recently heard Rob Bell say:

“We need to make it our discipline to not lose wonder.”

I agree.

Wonder is an 11 year-old reaping the reward of the patience practice

of creating until  the first successful flight.

Wonder is found in venturing outside your usual order and tastes.

Wonder does not come packaged in perfectly posed and focused photos.

Wonder is recognizing new paths don’t obliterate the tried

and true ones.

Wonder might just be found while plucking the wrong strings

attempting to bring forth music.

Wonder can be found in a bad investment of nickels.

Wonder is getting something a little extra and puffing up with gratitude.

Wonder can certainly be slurped through a straw.

Wonder doesn’t wait until the house is clean, the fridge is well-stocked

and you are sufficiently rested.

Wonder comes when you let your lungs expand, hands unclench

and surrender to the call,

the practice,

the discipline

of scouting for wonder.

Still need convincing my Friday was full of wonder?

wonder (noun):

  • a cause of astonishment or admiration: marvel
  • a miracle
  • a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising,
    beautiful, amazing, etc.
  • the quality of exciting amazed admiration
  • rapt attention or astonishment at something
    awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience
  • a feeling or doubt or uncertainty

When was the last time you experienced wonder?

Be a wonder seeker.