Monday, May 31, 2010

A Simple Thank You

Three day weekend ... the ending of school ... the beginning of summer ... pools opening ... family cookouts ... parades ... No matter what a person does, there's only one true significant meaning of Memorial Day: to honor our fallen heroes and remember their families.

Saying "thank you" seems so insignificant. I've rewritten everything in this post, because words are just not enough. Today I am just thankful to God ... for my eternal life, for my family, for my country.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Forever Words

My Granny always said to be careful what you say and make sure you would sign your name to it. She referred to both spoken and written words. Now, this was "back in the day" of actually having a conversation with someone face to face, talking on the telephone (a luxury to many at the time), or writing a person a letter or card (and actually sending it to them through the "snail mail"). I know, I know ... so old fashion!  But one thing is for sure --- words were forever.
Today we have advanced modern technology tremendously. We have the world-wide-web that connects us to the Internet to send an email (which is actually a slower means of communication these days), post a comment to someone on any of the hundreds of social networking websites, write our thoughts and messages in a blog (such as this), gather any information we may need or want with just the click of a button. We have cell phones to carry with us wherever we may wander, with the means to send a text message through the cell phone to relay to someone else. Whatever the means, one thing is for sure --- words are forever.

My Granny had no idea that her forever words would have such a deeper meaning (and warning) today - 24 years after she went Home with Jesus - than they did "back in the day". For example, when we hand-wrote a letter or card to someone we most always proofed it (looked over it to make sure it sounded appropriate). Today, we "hit the send button", sometimes without even a second glance at what we've written. Or we send a text message, and afterward wonder if the person will understand what we're trying to say. I for one find it challenging to convey my thoughts over an email or text. I want to make sure that the receiver will have no doubt or misunderstanding of what I'm saying. And this goes for my "tone" of emails, texts, status updates, tweets, blogs, and the list goes on. Do I always succeed in my over-cautious proofing of my words? Not always. Do I always clearly convey the point/message that I'm trying to say? Not always. But what I am (trying) to perform is a heart-attitude check on my forever words. By doing this, I find that I have less damage to try to "undo" later. However, words are forever.

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." In my opinion (and only my opinion), the person who made-up that phrase had absolutely no communication with anyone else. The fact is, words can hurt ... words do hurt ... words have the power to destroy.

However, there are words that have the power to heal ... to uplift ... to encourage ... to support ... to motivate ... to appreciate ... to be positive. Our pastor has said many times that "Words Matter" -- he actually had a series on this as well. And he's right ... words do matter, because they are "forever words". We can't take them back, we can't "un-print" them, nor "un-send" them. We will use more forever words to restore and repair what we tore down when using less-positive forever words.

I've seen so much technology developments in my lifetime, and I know there's more coming. Lucy will be a pre-teen in ten years. No, I'm not wishing time away (actually the opposite -- wishing it would slow down). But I wonder what technology advancements will be by then? Just when we think we've seen about all the "modern technology" there possibly could be, something new comes along. How will Lucy's generation be affected by technology? Will her generation be so flippant with forever words? Will she "proof read" before she hits "send"? Although I have no idea the answers to any of these questions, I do know that her Granny will always tell her to make sure you can sign your name to it.

For months the idea of blogging was in my head. I often wondered, though, do I really have anything worth writing? and will I use my words in the right way? I do not have the answers, but I do know that my name is signed to it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Twenty-six and counting ...

Wednesday, September 21, 1983:
                I was sitting at the university student center with the usual hometown crowd in between classes, and casually flirting with this guy.  He was the one I had wanted to talk to ever since he had transferred to my high school back in early 1979.  But today, out of nowhere, he asked me out on a date -- my dream had come true!

Saturday, September 24, 1983:
                I went to work at the grocery store as usual that morning (I had the 7am to 1pm shift every weekend).  After work I rushed home so I could have plenty of time to get ready for my big date – shower, wash my hair (of course roll/curl/etc), re-apply make-up, find the perfect jeans and shirt to wear … But, when I got home, our electric was out - with no ‘estimated time’ when it would come back on.  (That’s country life!)  So, I went out to the back deck to re-apply my make-up and chat with my Mother (who tried to calm me out of my no electric/I have to look perfect/what about my hair crisis).  Forget about washing my hair, forget ironing my perfect shirt.  Oh well, I thought, he won’t ask me out for a second date anyway.  (The second date would have been monumental – meaning that I had another chance to impress my dream guy.  But that would be out the window now).   I don’t remember the jeans, the shirt, the hair … but our first date led to the second date … the third date … and …   

We dated for the next 8 months.  In late April/early May, this guy asked my parents for their permission to marry me (yes, very old fashion but very considerate).  My Granny was bed-ridden, so I knew she would not be able to come to a formal wedding.  And my Mother was taking turns with her sisters taking care of Granny, so planning a wedding was the not an immediate priority. 

Monday, May 14, 1984:
He picked me up from work that evening and we headed to the jewelry store to pick out my engagement ring.  We were ‘formally’ engaged for two whole days, and then …

Wednesday, May 16, 1984:
I called in “sick” to work, and the 22 year old guy and the 19 year old girl hit the road to elope.  Oh, we had to stop at the bank to get a check cashed (no ATMs back then) … and then the gas station … and then to the mall’s jewelry store to get our wedding bands … and then we were ready for a lifetime of ----

No, we really didn’t know what we were getting in to. 

No formal wedding attire --- blue jeans and flannel/plaid shirts

No wedding pictures --- a casual ‘photo shoot’ later from my Uncle (who takes pictures better than any professional)

No wedding party --- just the minister and his wife

No wedding reception --- we went to Pizza Hut before we hit the road back home.  A few weeks later we had a wonderful household shower given by my Mother, sister and cousins (and attended by many family and friends)

No clue as to what was next ---  but, here we are … 26 years later.  God has truly blessed us over these years.  We have a beautiful daughter (who the doctors said would never be) … a wonderful son-in-law (who serves our country with pride) … and the most precious little granddaughter in the world (Lucy leaves me speechless).  God is good.  And Granddad and I look forward to the next 26 years God gives us together.