This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Watch Where you Step....

Well....we've gotten us some rain 'round here.

I believe we used the term "Gully Washer" when I was growing up.


But it's good.  We need it.
And we need it to stop for a while, too.

So I've learned that my precious little puppies apparently don't much care for the rain.

Forget the fact that ONE of them is a freaking duck dog and is BRED to swim and LOVES to swim and WON'T GET OUT OF THE LAKE/POOL/POND/WATER when he has an opportunity to swim.

They don't, it seems, like water that comes from the sky.

When we let them out,
They only went as far as my special quiet clean and only-for-me peaceful screened in porch.

And did what dogs doo.

Pun intended.

And this morning as I was rushing around like a dumb chicken being chased by the headless horseman getting ready to calmly walk out of the door.....

I spied it.

And as I always often sometimes do when I simply do NOT have time to deal (please for the love of everything holy PLEASE tell me there is someone else who does this!??!?!?)....
I closed the porch door (oh-so gently) and walked to the garage and got in my car.

Then, as we shot out backwards narrowly missing my already cracked sideview mirror cautiously backed out of the garage I asked my precious offspring,

"Did any of y'all see what the dogs did on the porch?"


"I said, did any of y'all notice the mess on the porch?"


"Ummmm....when you went outside to water the dogs and play with them....."
and here my voice got an octave lower and a little more quiet...
"Did. Any. Of. Y'all. Notice. What. The. Dogs. Did?"

Silence accompanied by three nodding heads visible in the rearview mirror.


Just stares.

Ok.  Different tactic.

"Why didn't you clean it up?"

Well THEN the proverbial floodgates opened.

"I knew we would be late for tennis!"
"I had to brush and floss my teeth!"
"I didn't like the smell out there!"
"I don't know how!"
"I had to go to the bathroom!"
"I thought we were leaving!"
"I didn't know it was my job!"
"I had to write a 750 word essay on bunions!"

Yeah, well....
Bucket load of lame excuses.
Actually.....the bunion one was kind of original.

Here's the deal.
Nowhere in any of their lists of chores does it specify:
Clean up the back porch if and when one of the blasted fur balls defiles it.

Nor have I ever told any of my children,
"If you walk out onto the porch and see a pile of doggy sunshine... then clean it."

But SERIOUSLY?!?!!?!?!

Should I HAVE to spell that out?

Come ON!

My kids are relatively darn clever!
They make good grades and seem to function pretty well in this world!

Our house might not be pristine....
But I am SURE they know that what was happenin' on that porch was not ok!!

Technically....they didn't break any rules or disobey me.

But when they saw something "not ok".....
They did nothing.
They didn't even tell me about it.
(Probably for fear of having to help clean it.  Told you they were clever.)

If I asked them (which I did!) whether or not they think they should have told me....
or cleaned it up themselves....

They would have said yes.

See....they know it would have been the right thing to do.

Instead....they did nothing.

They didn't really "commit" any wrong.....
But they certainly "omitted" doing something right.

Don't I get it.

A few thousand years ago a guy named James taught that
"To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
James 4:17

If we know how to do something to improve a situation.....
and we chose to NOT do it....
It's not ok.
It's not good.

And we might pretend (as one of my a-hem...angels did for a moment)
that we don't notice something bad going on.

We switch the channel.
We change the subject.
We step over the pile.
We tsk-tsk and quickly "forget".

When you know....
You know.

You can't unlearn something that you have just been exposed to....
no matter how desperately you may want to.

Proverbs, in its wonderful simple direct kind of way, says:
If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Proverbs 24:12

Here's what I figure.

If our eyes are opened to something.....
It's for a reason.

And I am pretty sure that the reason is not so that we can avoid dirtying our shoes by stepping over and avoiding an unpleasant mess.

(Although there are certain piles on back porches that should definitely be stepped over!)

We can't save the world.
But maybe....
Just maybe.....
We can do one good thing.

Helen Keller once said:

I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do something I can do.

And I know we've all heard the story about the starfish on the beach.

So the news comes on and there's a story about the hundreds of thousands of kids dying from treatable diseases and starvation in a country far far away.

Say you don't turn the channel.
Say you watch and you take it all in.
Say you feel the hope....the wish....that things were different.

That's a first step, I think.

Your eyes are open....and you've acknowledged that there is a yucky situation.
God showed you something.....for a reason.

What is it?

What should you do?

I have no idea.
But He does.
He put this in your lap for a reason.

He knows the role you're supposed to play.

Is it a donation?
Is it an adoption?
Is it mentioning to someone else who can do something?
Is it prayer?

We all have roles God wants us to play.
But if we close our eyes to the situation.....
I guarantee you....
we won't find them.

My pastor talked about the sin of commission vs the sin of omission.
We are responsible for trying to right the wrongs.

Yeah, we are.

Even if it makes us uncomfortable.
Or late for tennis.
Or unable to complete our essay on bunions.

I'd like to tell you that my kids all marched back into the house and cleaned up the mess.
They didn't.
I took them on to tennis camp and came home to deal with it myself.

But I tell you this.
They will get a cleaning lesson later.
And they will have to walk the dogs EVEN IN THE RAIN.
And they will be in charge if another mess occurs.
And if they try to pretend that they don't see it....
My supply of gloves and thick paper towels might disappear
forcing them to use kleenex and bare hands.

It could happen.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Date Night.....

I had myself a hot date tonight.
Good news is.....he already loves me madly.
Bad (and good!) news is....I had to share him with two other ladies.

Ah well.....take what you can, right? of the hour (aka my nephew) picked a dinner spot and then chose to "take" us chicks out for ice cream.

(Good man.  Good good man.)

As we were driving I totally tuned out to the incessant talking was focused on driving and only half listening to the chatter in the back seat.

Then I heard the word "tornado" and (as always) my ears perked up.

"We had the second biggest tornado you know," said my nephew to his other dates.

"And even though it wasn't super big...if it sucked up that house (pointing to a rebuilt home) while we were right here then we would probably be in heaven."

The girls loudly agreed with him.

As they discussed which houses had been "sucked up" and which hadn't....I thought about what my now 7 year old nephew remembered from that night in my basement.

So I asked him.

"I we-member dark trees falling by the window.
And noises.
And my head was getting wet 'cause water was falling on it.

And I we-member a lot that lady who came over and was all wet. ...and she couldn't find her husband because he was at work.
(The neighbor we found crouched in her shattered home and brought over to our mostly intact basement).

And I we-member how that one house was knocked in half....
and how it was we-lly dark in that room we were sitting in."

Lots of memories.
Pretty vivid for happening when he was 5.

But then he continued.

"And know what I we-member most of all, Aunt Shannon?
Better than anything?"

Me...."What's that?"

"That God was there with me and I knew he was."

Hard swallow.
Shaky smile.
Don't turn around.

"That's right, Harry.
How do YOU know that?"

"'Cause he didn't let me be dead.
And he protected all my family."

Sweet boy.
Sweet sweet boy.

"And you know what else?"

Oh geeze.
I'm driving.
My heart hurts.

"What's that?"

"I'm gonna get chocolate ice cream.
Not coffee.
I don't want to be up all night."

And back to happy land he went....
Greeted eagerly by two little girls who wanted to discuss the merits of
coffee ice cream vs lemon ice cream.

Do I ever pray that his sense of thankfulness will stay with him DEEPLY forever....
even if he gets to the point where he can't quite remember WHY he feels it
because it happened so long ago.

Out of the mouths of babes....and all that.

It's awfully cool how God uses them to bring us such unexpected reminders of gratitude.

And how these beautiful children lead me to ice cream.