Pocket-Posting

I have heard of pocket-dialing, but never before knew I could “pocket-post” a Letter to you!  That’s what happened yesterday.

Maybe you got an email in your in-box yesterday (if you are an “Email me!” subscriber) and it said, “Letters to Lindsey {New Post 4149}.”  Then you hurried to opened it, excitedly awaiting what brilliant words could be in that Letter. Would it be just for you? Would it make you laugh? Cry? How will this Letter, “vent, challenge, or simply entertain, but always leave the reader and the writer changed”?

You slid the knife in the envelope (clicked to open the email) and the body of the email mysteriously said, “Terri posted: ‘maps.apple.com’.”

“What’s the secret?” you thought. 

“What keen insight is she leading me into?”

“What is this strange code ‘maps.apple.com’?”

“Is she inviting me to her house for coffee?”

“Is this really her location?”

“Has she been kidnapped and is sharing her location with thousands of subscribers, just hoping that we will search and find her?”

“Is it a clue – somehow ways to parent or how to love a husband?”

“Wait! Is my link different than everyone else’s? Am I the ONLY one who got this glitch and everyone else got some fun blog post, but all I got was an ad for Apple Maps?”

“WHAT IS THIS POST?!!!”

But the truth of the matter is:

I was just as surprised as you when I received an email to myself saying that “I” had posted a blog!

WHAT?!!!!!!

So, here’s the story….

Chris and I were kayaking in the rain on the intracoastal of North Carolina. We enjoyed the slight drizzle and clouds that blocked the heat. Wind was gone, making for an (almost) effortless, peaceful ride. We had checked out the inlet between the islands and were making our way back to our summer home in Sunset Beach, using the incoming tide for a welcomed boost to our paddling. More than an hour into our trip, we decided to use my phone to navigate and thereby avoid a dead-end in the grass-bordered trails of water beyond which we could not see.   

map of water trails in the intracoastal

I set my phone down on my kayak and hoped its water-sealing was true to its hype. I glanced down ever-so-often to be sure our blue dot was heading in the direction of open water of the intracoastal. Once we recognized where we were, I put my phone back into my pocket.

That’s all I did.  Cross my heart! 

Upon arrival at our dock I received an email that “Terri” had posted a blog. I had evidently taken multi-tasking to a whole new level! Somehow, I had accomplished a bewildering amount of steps with only the movements of kayaking for inputs:

  •  I changed my location-sharing in settings, 
  • opened WordPress, 
  • clicked “write,” 
  • clicked copy location on the already-open Apple Maps, 
  • clicked paste? 
  • Clicked “publish,” which automatically emailed you and posted the link on Twitter, LinkedIn and LettersToLindsey Facebook page 

and voila! I had sent my location in North Carolina to people all over the world who were, most likely, not wondering at that moment where I happened to be or what I was doing.  

So what is the purpose of this Letter to Lindsey today?

  • Maybe to remind us of the power of the internet beyond our intentions? (I highly recommend the documentary, Social Dilemma.) 
  • Maybe to remind us to live a Godly life so that if it accidentally gets published to the world, it wouldn’t raise eyebrows?
  • Maybe to remind us to be a playmate to our spouse? (Chris and I started marriage as playmates – and do our best to keep that alive. Yesterday, it was in kayaks.)
  • Or maybe this Letter is just for fun, because sometimes it’s fun just to laugh at ME!

I laughed when I realized I had “pocket-posted”!

I laughed that within an hour I received a teasing email from my husband stating, “Great stuff over at Letters to Lindsey,” attaching his forwarded email from my blog, as if he were promoting it.

I laughed that WordPress sent me a notification shortly after, “Your stats are booming!” as if even WP was making fun of my day!

So, dear friend, I am sorry if I wasted your time clicking over here yesterday to see my “new post,” that was not a post. I guess I have officially stepped into grandparenthood, doing something like this – like when my mother accidentally posted on Facebook that she had picked a tattoo for every one of her friends. When I questioned her, she said, “I did what?!”

One comedian quipped, “My pocket has called so many people, I am thinking of getting it a phone of its own!” Maybe my pocket needs its own WordPress account.

But, I am glad my pocket posted, because it made me think of YOU.

And now I know it’s possible to tell the world where I am, in case I am ever kidnapped.

May your day be blessed, and worthy of broadcast,

Terri

PS. Here are some kayak-trip PHOTOS that my pocket must have forgotten to post:

Pelicans lined up to watch the exciting kayaks.

A mama egret and her babies

Me and my bae:)

The ocean view between the islands.

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Remember Covid?

As I wiped the tears off of my 17-yr-old daughter’s face, I knew I was putting myself at risk of getting it (if I didn’t already have it). But if getting sick is the price for hugging the hurting, then it should be worth the price. I stood embracing the girl of my height, my hair color: my princess – whom I hadn’t heard cry in years. She looked down at her phone, revealing the emailed results that her covid test that morning had come back positive.

The pandemic had cancelled her senior homecoming game, senior play, junior and senior trips, junior and senior proms, senior retreat, among the plethora of other cancellations (including her grandfather’s funeral over a year ago). But now, the country was finally opening, and a black-tie dinner was scheduled to celebrate the seniors at the famous Angus Barn Steakhouse where they would give senior awards. Christine’s formal attire was at the tailor to be picked up in time for the banquet. We scheduled our own “senior trip” with some of her girlfriends to go to the beach the day after the event – before summer jobs and colleges distanced the high school friends.

The decorations for the graduation party – a balloon arch among them – filled our basement, including a poster-board of pictures of her from youth till now, several of my favorite pieces of her art and rose-gold plates and flatware. “Class of 2021” decked the halls and the caterer had the final count for tacos. A 40-minute video of snippets of her local theatre’s performances when she was “Alice” or “Dorothy” or the co-emcee for the Christmas play at church was loaded to loop in the background during the hours of mingling. We had hoped to add a Jane Eyre shot from that night – since she was so happy to have a local theatre performing when the school could not.

But now the theatre’s show “mustn’t go on.” The positive test crushed the party plans. The formal attire would stay at the tailor until the newest and personal quarantine was done – long after the event for which it was bought.

Though I had seen the opening night, my family never saw any of Christine’s theatrical performance as Jane Eyre, since it got cancelled by the second show. (She was amazing!) The graduation party the following day would be turned into a 2020-retro-style drive-by-and-wave for carryout tacos and I expected the RSVP’s numbers to reduce greatly. The poster-board moved to the driveway, the video stayed in my memory.

God is always on plan A!

I have repeated that to myself a lot this year with all of the cancellations. He is never wringing His hands, wondering what’s going to happen next. He has it under control. It was His plan A to have a different kind of grad party. It was His plan A to have her theatre performance recorded on opening night, so we can hopefully watch a video later. It was His plan A that some of the girls could not make the rescheduled beach trip. It was His plan A that all of her classmates would gather in their formals and have a nice dinner together with the senior parents for the awards ceremony, while Christine and I sat home and watched on Zoom from the couch. (I too tested positive later.) I think I almost cried when cancelling our hair appointments for the formal, since we had planned so long ago to get dolled up together.

But you know what else was in that “Plan A”? Blessings in the mix.

I was having her graduation party catered the next day – something I have never done in my home! God blessed us, because the food wasn’t ruined by sick people (us) touching it, and some people felt safe stopping by to get some, thanks to His planning a caterer before I knew we would need it.

The backwards “1” somehow seems appropriate.

His plan A involved being able to move the balloon arch outside.

His plan A allowed that she and I could sit on the front porch while people drove by, dropped off gifts, stopped to talk to one another – or even came and gave us a “risky” hug.

His plan A didn’t need any of my plan B’s; it was perfect and memorable.

Messy moments make the most memories.

But do we remember?

I had intended to write this letter four weeks ago, but while Christine’s covid was a runny nose for a few days, I had more of the nastiness of its fame – even cancelling my own trip to Florida the following week. When I sat down today (finally) to write you, I was surprised I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember what I had thought was worthy of gratitude or the drama that had tried to steal it. I had to look back at my prayer journal to remember all of the gifts I had received out of God’s plan A – which felt like my plan B, or C or Z.

  • Friends dropped off care packages – including freshly-squeezed juice for our health, our favorite snacks, coffee and even an Angus Barn care-package of a table cloth, homemade crackers with cheese and their famous chess pie, so we could enjoy a little bit of the princess-treatment while we watched the senior formal event from home.
  • After the graduation drive-by party, friends stayed with her out on that front porch till well after midnight. They were sharing, laughing and enjoying each other, making her feel so special, despite her feeling otherwise.
  • Health has become a greater blessing!! WOW! Sometimes we don’t recognize the blessing in health until it has been taken away… and restored. (See My Brain Tumor Letter to be reminded.)
  • That Tuesday at the formal awards event, it was announced that she was the valedictorian! What an honor! And you know what her speech was about? (I won’t spoil it, but the 5-minute speech is attached below.)

During those weeks of sickness, often when the delivery man arrived at the front door (where I liked to sit outside reading), I felt like I should be falling on the ground, yelling, “Unclean! Unclean!” (But that would have been weird.) Staying away from my family to stop the spread was tough and left us feeling like outcasts. But what a feeling! … to be reminded that THIS kind of outcast is EXACTLY whom Jesus reached out and TOUCHED!! The ones who were contagious! The ones who were “unclean!” The ones who were deserted by all! (Matt 8:1- 4)

When someone says, “Remember covid?” I am guessing I will remember the feeling of guilt over going “the wrong way” down the grocery aisle. I will likely remember the funny inconsistencies of “mask on,” “mask off,” “vax on,” “vax off.” On a more serious note, I will remember the angst of my son and his wife being separated from their son in ICU when my first grandchild was born prematurely, because somehow the hospital deemed it “safer” to have moms and dads visit at separate times from each other for the 7 weeks we waited to meet our little guy. I will likely remember my temper tantrums when I was “done with it,” as well as my cocky feeling that I must have been immune, because I had been exposed so many times and had never gotten it… till four weeks ago.

But now, I want to remember the blessings. Immeasurable blessings!… when I seek to find them. I am grateful I had written them in my prayer journal – and now for you – so I don’t forget them in the mess.

Oh how He loves you and me! Sometimes God’s “plan A” taking over my “plan A” is just the reminder of that love that I need. I always want to “remember covid,” (but I won’t give it the dignity of capital letters) because it’s a reminder of blessings of His plan A in this battle called life.

In love,

Terri

You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness… (Deut 8:2)

P.S. My daughter’s 5-minute graduation speech summarized the feelings well. No, I did not help her write it, and maybe I uploaded it at the end of this letter, because I knew if you saw this, you wouldn’t want to read any of my stuff ever again:)! She’s pretty special!

Christine Brady’s 5-minute Valedictorian Speech

P.P.S. I won’t put the whole 40-minute home-movies video to loop at your next family dinner, but here was one of my favorite snippets: 9-year-old Christine in our church’s Christmas program with a little parody on Let it Go when she just “couldn’t control her desire to decorate.” Also, in lieu of the cancelled senior musical, the school did “Seniors Got Talent” in which Christine sang, “Don’t Know Why” (below).

A snippet of her song in a show, age 9.
Christine singing “Don’t Know Why” with her school’s jazz band

When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?’ 21then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22‘Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ (Deut 6:20-23)

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Mom at the Base

“Crime is down 29% every Mother’s Day,” my son informed me, leaving that warm-fuzzy feeling about how much boys must love their moms to not commit crimes on Mother’s Day.

“Must be the moms that are doing all of the crime!” He finished.

Ha!

Mother’s Day always has mixed feelings, doesn’t it? Grief over loss of my own mom. Grief for those who wish they could be moms and just can’t. Joyful gratitude for moms and their influence on society. Thankfulness for my kids giving me my own motherhood journey.

“Behind every great kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it up.”

– a dish towel at the mall

In soccer, stats are kept on 1. Goals scored and 2. Assisting the goals. (The “assist” statistical point is given to the last person who touched the ball before the goal-scorer got it.) The assistant to the assistant gets no credit! My boys are both midfielders. Sometimes they score goals; sometimes they assist goals; but more often than not, they are instrumental in moving the ball down the field and getting it to the right person, and their names are not even in the final list of stats, despite how grateful their teams are that they exist!

Moms are midfielders. We do all we can to get things aligned so hubbies and children alike can get all the “goals” for which they aim, and often we are barely visible… except maybe decreasing the crime rate one day a year. 😜

But one mom got my attention last week – “a mom at the base”. I don’t mean the base of a baseball field where she was running her own home-run. This mom was on the floor of the stage, “being” the bungee cord which had broken right when her daughter was about to perform.

It was the senior talent show, a replacement for the senior play which – like so much of my daughter’s junior and senior years – was cancelled in January due to Covid. Campbell Griffin (who will be drumming for Liberty University next year!) was decked out in her prom gown (Prom had been cancelled too), and ready to play a drum solo! It was such a unique act, which got more unique when her drums started to fall forward. She prevented “going out with a bang” by catching the drums in the nick of time with one hand and standing them upright with fierce prom-gown-hidden strength. However, she then had to stand holding them for them to remain upright.

I was watching from the piano on the side. I did the “mom move” of yelling to someone backstage to “come help her!” That’s when I saw the “ultimate mom move,” as a woman RAN from the back of the auditorium, leapt onto stage in a single bound (I think – but I didn’t count) and then knelt on the stage next to the wheeled platform that held the multiple drums. Looking up, she said, “Go ahead,” while she bowed her head (maybe to brace for the noise she was about to incur).

And Campbell played. Wow! Did she play! It was a great drum solo, and I hope her mom’s hearing has come back by now. My phone captured what I could from my side seat. It was too beautiful of a “mom-ent” to miss.

Campbell Griffin on the drums; Mom at the base.

Of course, what I haven’t mentioned yet is that Pam Griffin happens to also be Vice-Principal of the high school. In addition, she impressively received her doctorate from Carolina University just the week before. No job is too big or too small for this impressive “doctor,” and I love her wonderful representation of “mom” (my favorite title) for the Senior Talent Show.

Whether you are scoring the goal, assisting the goal, assisting the assistant to the goal or simply cheering from the sidelines, 

Whether you are playing the drums, holding the drums, paying for drum lessons or listening to the incessant drum-practice,

Whether you are the vice-principal, the newest doctor in town or a mom like me who relates to the wise dish towel above,

May you be blessed this Mother’s Day and always.

Thankful,

Terri

“The home is a place where the mother impacts every member of society, teaching them respect for authority, virtues, relational skills, compassion, honesty, and the application of biblical truth to life.”– Stephen Davey

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

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Love Song for Mom

Dear Lindsey,

Motherhood has probably never been so gratifying as when my teen and adult “kids” collaborated and publicly performed a song about their love for ME!  (WOW! Video below.) Did you know (yet) that your kids love and appreciate you?! Let me tell you: they do! – whether or not they let you know.

Does your heart melt like mine when Garth Brooks and Scotty McCreery sing about their moms? It is as though we long to hear our kids’ feedback.  Will they ever IMG_4482notice our work?  Do they care about their exhausted, frizzy-haired “taxi-driver” yelling at them from the front seat on the way to the endless tournaments and practices?  Will their stiff hugs ever soften to enjoyment for longer than 0.25 milliseconds? Do my sideline cheering and encouraging words ever make it through their ears or make a difference? Do they know how much I love them? I think Scotty ought to be hunting my son down right now to get his hands on this song! 🙂

I have heard that the best way to tell your kids you love them is to have them overhearView album “Videos” you tell others how much you love them. (But beware:  I am guessing the opposite is true too – our kids feel unloved if they overhear us telling others complaints about them!) I got to experience this “indirect LOVE” first hand from my four kids when they sang to a crowd about their love for me! Not only did my oldest son write a song for me (WHAT?!!! And I am happy he has written many for his wife too!), but then he was sweet enough to invite his siblings to share the spotlight when they sang about their “first love” in front of a group of my friends at my 50th.

Girlfriend, this song is for YOU. Providing encouragement for the journey, it shows that

  1. Motherhood is valuable,

  2. Kids are thankful (even when they don’t show it yet), and

  3. God is raising our kids despite our failures! (Because the Lord knows there are many!).

These lyrics remind us that our calling in motherhood is so much higher and longer than the diapers and bottles.

Originally an idea of Casey and Nate (then ages 20 and 17) and sung by them for my 48thbirthday in the music nook of our house with our intimate family, this song made my heart melt right down my cheeks. What a special gift! They upped their game when the other siblings joined and sang for the crowd.

If you have read many Letters to Lindsey, then you are already acquainted with these singers from their younger years: The “Tea Party Fashionista” (Christine) starts it off with harmony provided by the youngest brother of “Fishing For Memories” (J.R.). Next up, “Ronaldo” (Nate) brings in the bass, while the “Pianist ” (Casey) closes it out with his turn on chorus. It was truly a magical gift from a magical bunch of young adults, all of whom I could not love more.

How could I possibly deserve a present so incredibly, over the top, untouchably, beyond-my-dreams perfect?! I couldn’t. I don’t. I still stand amazed at this gift.

Frankly, I still stand amazed that I get to be a mom – their mom. After years of infertility and then the later brain tumor, I don’t take the gift of motherhood for granted.  I wish no one would.

 

 

Love Song for Mom

By Casey Brady

Dec. 20, 2017

The first hand I held on a cold winter’s night

The first time I hurt, she held me oh so tight.

When I’m just not sure, she looks into my eyes,

She knows just what to say to make everything alright.

And I know wherever I may go, she’ll always be there for me.

The first love never truly fades away.

It’s a kiss goodnight, a sad goodbye and a hug that takes too long.

This is a love song for Mom.

When the laughs were all around, she was always smilin’

When the tears were fallin’ down, she’d have Band-aids on the island.

All the tournaments and practice, I don’t know how she did it;

But when she cheered, I tell you this, we knew we could win it.

And I know wherever I may go, she’ll always be there for me.

The first love never truly fades away.

It’s a kiss goodnight, a sad goodbye and a hug that takes too long.

This is a love song for Mom.

Birthdays, bikes and hard falls

Dirty clothes and soccer balls

Years of teaching right and wrong

Patience ‘cause we took so long.

And I know wherever I may go, she’ll always be there for me.

The first love never truly fades away.

It’s a kiss goodnight, a sad goodbye and a hug that takes too long.

This is a love song…

And I know wherever I may go, she’ll always be there for me.

The first love never truly fades away.

It’s a family night, a cherry pie, or a drive that takes too long.

This is a love song for Mom.

This is a love song for Mom.

©Casey Brady 2017

 

IMG_9348Now that young composer is married to a mom who will be celebrating her first Mother’s Day this week. If there were any line of the song with which I disagree (and it makes me cry every time), it is “patience ‘cause we took so long.” In retrospect, one thing is sure about this young man and his siblings’ childhood: it was a flash of time: a beautiful, God-painted, gloriously-colored, unpredictable, flash of time, and I thank God for allowing me to live it with them.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Terri

Col 3:4 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

For more music by Casey Brady:

 

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The Best Present: Being Present

Dear Lindsey,

“Sometimes I feel like… somebody’s watching me!” so the song goes! I loved when my husband put that as background music on Instagram (@CBrascal) to a video of my dog watching him through the window. LOL! Is there ever a time that “I feel like somebody’s watching me!” is a good thing?

YESSSS!

-when parents watch their kids! I don’t mean watching them at the playground to keep them safe, (though they should). I don’t mean watching kids do their chores (though I suppose it’s one way to make sure it’s done properly).   I mean a distinct moment in my teen years, when my dad’s love transcended responsibility.

At seventeen, I was a serious musician, though I would not have described myself that

sax pic

2016 Church “retro” band

way. My music teachers would tell me that they had practiced 6-8 hours/day, so my measly 2 seemed like I was less than a musician, but looking back, I realize that I could probably have called myself a musician anyway. There were many hours up in that bedroom on my saxophone. Whether it was preparing for a competition, learning new music or just enjoying music the way I do, I was alone. A lot.

The first day it happened, I was taken off guard. My dad came into my room and sat on my bed, waiting for me to finish my song. At a break, I asked what he wanted. His reply made me laugh at the time.

“Nothing. I am just here to listen.”

If my dad were a musician, I might have thought he had ulterior motives of judging me.  (because don’t all teens feel like they are being judged?) But this is the man who said he had no musical ability, because he had given it all to his kids. He often quipped that the only instrument he played was the radio.

 

“Listen to what?” I asked.

“You,” He said.

“Me? Do what?”

“Play the saxophone.”

“Well, what do you want me to play?”

“A song. Or scales. Or whatever you want. Just go on. I am just here.”

 

So I began to play. Doesn’t someone’s enjoying what you enjoy make what you enjoy so much more… enjoyable?

I am no linguisticologist, but I do make up words like that one. Similar to en-courage in a former letter, “En-joy,” seems like it would mean “putting joy into” something, although its meaning usually implies getting joy out of something. My dad’s “enjoying” my music was actually “putting joy into” me. Don’t you just love that?!

Kids spell “love,” “t-i-m-e”.  One author says that speaking love to kids doesn’t mean just spending time with them but spending time with them doing what THEY love. My dad’s time that day was stopping his busy schedule to join mine. We weren’t playing duets. He wasn’t giving me requests. He was “just there.”

This habit of him sitting on my bed while I practiced became a daily event. I would go through more songs, more scales, more ideas, just to have him stay. Soon, he added requests, “I’ll buy you a steak dinner if you learn ‘Yakety Sax!’” I loved the challenge, even though I didn’t play that kind of saxophone.

Eventually, he joined my world in a different way.  To wish me luck on a performance, he would sign my saxophone reed before I walked out the door. He chose the words: “Good luck, Saxy Lady,” which made us both laugh.

I doubt my dad loved scales. I don’t know if he loved a saxophone playing alone in the house.

But I know he loved me.

Now, when I read my daughter’s writing, watch my son’s soccer workout, see my youngest soar in the air on a wakeboard or listen to a story that I don’t quite understand all the way, I often think of my dad. I hope my love as a parent speaks as loudly as my dad’s: “Just go on. I am just here.” Being present is the best present.

 

 

Blessings,

“Saxy” Terri

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Angels Can Do No More

Para español, haga clic aquí.

in memory of Dad…

Dear Lindsey,

It was a cold, rainy day when I walked into the thermodynamics exam at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I was broke – instant coffee for breakfast, followed by a ½-can Spaghettios lunch and the other half for dinner (Don’t tell my mom.) – kind of broke. I didn’t have the newest calculator that was sweeping the engineering geeks by storm: the “Scientific” one. My free solar version from the summer bank-telling job was barely helpful in the interpolation of the hundreds of pages of tables and figures in the back of my thermodynamics book. Nothing was helping me figure out WHICH table to use. My lack of sleep (from staying up studying half the night) and lack of breakfast probably only exacerbated my lack of knowledge for the subject at hand: thermo, as we affectionately called it.

I could hardly believe when the buzzer sounded that the test was done. Had I written down ANY answers? I felt like I had spent the entire hour thumbing through tables, trying to remember which one to use! The heaviness was felt through all of my classmates as we exited the room. Nobody felt great about the exam, but I didn’t even feel like I had completed it!  I contemplated, “What IF I got the ones right where I had at least written down an answer? Maybe I would get a 50%??” Ugh. Failure.

When I returned to my dorm, I called my dad. (Because in the ancient days, phones were actually hooked to the wall.  They had a long cord attached that – with the right angling – could clear all contents off any desktop. SO I had to wait till I got to my dorm to call my dad. But I digress.) Along with a quirky sense of humor (like when I took a picture of the “chip on his shoulder” below), Dad and I shared a love for engineering, and he loved if I called about anything – especially engineering!

Once, I was stuck on optics and the science behind light prisms. My professor, Dr. Young,

Chip on Shoulder dad

was one of the authors of the textbook, written by Sears, Zemansky and Young. His name increased the book’s cost to $250, and his class required the “new edition,” so we couldn’t purchase it cheaply from former students. (Did this dude know I was eating ½-can Spaghettios meals?) I knew asking this professor any question about prisms would avail no different explanation than what was already in the book, since he had authored it! When I called Dad, he promptly sent me his engineering book from thirty-four years prior, (Who saves these things?!) so I could see what it had to say about prisms. I was shocked when I opened the package to find that his book’s explanation of prisms looked the exact same as mine! His book’s authors? “Sears and Zemansky.” $4.

Fast-forward to my thermo-failing day, and I called Dad. I wasn’t really looking for engineering help this time. I think I was just looking for a shoulder to hold my tears. I told him I thought I had failed my test… with less than a 50. He said, “This is the first time? Oh that happened to me a lot! Haha!”

I wasn’t laughing. Basically choking a cry.

“Well, I haven’t thought about thermo tests in years,” he said.  “Did you try your hardest and give it your best?”

“Yes!” I said, emphasizing my belief in my word. “I did! I re-did all the homework so I knew what I was doing; I stayed up half the night re-reading, understanding! I thought I was READY!”

That’s when he said something that has impacted my thinking ever since:

“Well if you did your best, then angels can do no more.”

What?! He wasn’t going to be mad at me for my bad grade?! He wasn’t going to lecture me on what I should have done? He wasn’t going to try to get me riled up to protest the teacher for making it hard? He was just going to leave it like this?!

I haven’t thought about thermodynamics or exams in a few decades, but one day my son woefully told me that he had bombed his science exam. I remember the car ride home from one of his first weeks of high school, hearing him go on and on about the injustice that it was too hard, the self-abasing comments about “how stupid he was,” and even sibling comparison on how he’ll never be as good as his older brother.

I finally cut off his words and said, “Did you do your best?”

“WHAT?!!!” His choleric personality took those as fighting words and he began strongly arguing, “YES!! I DID! I did everything I knew how to do to get ready for this stupid test!”

And I passed on my dad’s advice, “Then angels can do no more.”

Leadership gurus say it this way, “You can’t be guaranteed success; you can only deserve it.” [but be sure you deserve it.]

Girlfriend, as life goes on, I see some places where maybe I got proverbial A’s to show for my massive effort, but I see many other places where I have set goals and reset goals and reset goals and felt like such a failure at the lack of completion. I always feel like I have to pick myself up by the bootstraps and ask, “Did I really do my best? My BEST?!  REALLY?! Then angels can do no more!” When my best isn’t good enough for success in God’s timing, then at least my best effort gives a cushion in the waiting room.

My strong-personality son finished that bad-test-day with some words beyond his years. As evening approached, he quietly came to me and said, “Mom, do you know you are not like other moms? All my friends get into trouble for bad grades. You and Dad are the only ones I know who would tell me something like you did today. If you had punished me for my grade, I wouldn’t have wanted to try harder next time; I wouldn’t have wanted to try at all.”

I guess I, too, had a dad who was not like other dads. He helped me get an A in things that matter.

Blessings,

Terri

Col 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”

Dad n me

Dad and me, chillin’.

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The Making of a Name

Para español, haga clic aquí

Dear Lindsey,

Six-year-old Nate spoke from the backseat of the car, with his take-charge voice, “Mom, can we stop at the name-changing place on the way home today?”

Stifling my laughter with my mom-smile, I asked him what he meant. He clarified, “I’d like to change my name, so if we could stop by there, I’ve decided what I want it to be.”

You’ve got to love his choleric style! No apologies for dissing the name that my husband and I painstakingly decided hours after his emergency birth on the hard-wood floor (a whole story in itself!). No sandwiching it with, “I love the gift of the biblical name, but I was considering I might take a new one.” Simply, “Let’s stop by that ‘name-changing place’ so I can do better.”

“What name would you want instead of ‘Nathaniel’?” my curiosity was piqued.

With the sincerity of asking a waitress for salt, he said, “I want to change it to Ronaldo.”

Today, I barely have to describe who Ronaldo is, but in 2006 when this statement occurred, Cristiano Ronaldo was just coming onto the scene of our newly formed soccer-fan eyes. Nate was sure he was worthy of the name.  I hated to shatter his dream. “Sorry, bud. There is no such thing as a name changing place. But if you want that to be your nick-name, you could probably just start using it and see if it sticks.”

We pulled into the IHOP parking lot.

With Chris gone on business, the kids and I enjoyed a morning out. We ordered our food and began some intense coloring on the kid-menu placemats to entertain the 1 and 3-year-olds while we waited. An older woman watched from the adjacent booth. I wondered if she was musing about her own motherhood memories. I wondered if I would ever have time to muse.

She interrupted our coloring.  “What a lovely family,” she said.  My kids sat straight up, basking in her attention. “What are your names?” she asked with a smile.

“Casey,” my oldest, age 9, said with the confidence of the man of the family that morning.

“Steen,” Christine answered in her 3-yr-old lisp.

“mm mm,” JR, less than two, shook his head “no,” unwilling to speak, so I said, “J.R.” for him and removed the two fingers from his mouth where they tended to reside in shyness. She touched his curly hair in admiration before looking anticipatingly at Nate.

He cleared his throat and paused a second. “Ronaldo,” Nate said with a matter-of-fact-announcing tone.

I choked. I didn’t want to explain to her his real name and hurt his feelings; I didn’t want her to see me laughing and think I was making fun of something. So, I smiled what I am sure was a bigger-than-normal smile, a dam holding back the flood of a story.

She repeated the names, as if pensively pausing on each one: “Casey, Christine, J.R. and Ronaldo.”

Could she tell one was different?I wondered and then dismissed the thought.

“It is SUCH a pleasure to meet you. You be good for your mama and enjoy your breakfast. Thank you for talking with me.” She left.

From that moment on, all of his first-grade math papers bore the name, “Ronaldo.” His water bottles were labeled with “R,” instead of “N.” He never corrected any of us family from calling him Nathaniel, but any time he introduced himself to strangers, he confidently let them know his name was the same as his hero of the time, “Ronaldo.”

I don’t really remember how long the “Ronaldo” name thing lasted, but long enough that it still brings a smile.

Fast forward to August 2017, when Nate (age 17) was invited to play with the Generation Adidas team in Madrid, Spain. Because he was going to Europe anyway, a friend thought Nate might be a good fit for a team in France who was willing to take a look, so Nate headed over a few weeks early to play in France. Not knowing a lick of the language didn’t stop Nate any more than not knowing that name-changing places are not on every corner. The international language of soccer sufficed. Whether France or Spain, one word seemed to be spoken when people saw him: “Ronaldo!” Ironically, Nate’s looks (and hopefully soccer playing) remind many of Cristiano Ronaldo. Nate didn’t tell them his “secret name,” haha, it was just said… a lot… to his face and behind his back. He didn’t know French or Spanish, but he knew the name, “Ronaldo,” in every language.

From youth, Nate has spoken of going to play professional soccer in Europe. His entire life has had many early mornings of watching games from faraway time zones.  (I used to think he was going to have a British accent, because he always played with his soccer guys toy, as a British commentator!).

Speaking it into existence, Nate is currently today on his first leg of the journey, the flight to Paris. I suppose that could be a metaphor for his adult life. This “first leg of the journey” will begin in St. Brieuc, France, where he will live and train with the ranks of the soccer club, Stade Briochin.  Our friend, Dario Brose played there during his professional soccer career and thought it would be a great fit for Nate. His crash course in French is underway; his new cleats – including the required soft ground ones – arrived in time for departure; and my eyes are a little blurry while I write. I am excited to see what time will tell as he branches out to “make a name for himself.”

In a letter I hid in his suitcase (maybe he will find it after he reads this blog, haha), I told him that this is truly an answer to prayer. I didn’t pray that he would move thousands of miles away from me. I didn’t even pray that he would have a career in playing the sport he loves. I prayed that God would make him a man after God’s own heart in whatever His ways are. I am excited He chose soccer. I am proud of the man who is going to the other side of the ocean to live what God intended him to live and be who God intended him to be. After all, one day, some little boy somewhere might ask his mom to change his name to Nathaniel…. like the soccer player…and the one in the Bible. 🙂

Love ya,

Terri

John 1:47-48 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said to him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” and Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

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The Book is Here!

The Audiobook is Now Available

Audiobook Available: Letters to Lindsey

L2L Audio

Hey!

I just wanted to give you a heads up that the Audiobook of Letters to Lindsey is available! Imagine: driving around town, pop in the CD’s, listen, laugh, cry, and don’t wreck!  Though I had fun making the recording by reading aloud the stories of my children as, well, children, (since now they seem so grown up!), the MOST fun was listening to KIDS read the fun kid quotes from the book!

“Why didn’t you have your own kids read the quotes?” someone asked. Well, because my “children” are MEN! and have men’s voices now! My youngest (age 13!) plays the part of the oldest in the readings, but the younger quotes needed some voiceovers!

Here is a snippet of one of the readers, Teylyr Frey, knocking it out of the park by reading a couple “kid quotes” from the book.

I hope you enjoy the book… again –  in audio form!

 

Happy listening,

Terri

 

You Know You’re a Soccer Mom When:

Para español, haga clic aquí (coming soon)

Just for fun…

You know you’re a “soccer Mom” when:

  • … someone asks how old your kid is and you answer a number with a “u” in front of it.
  • … you go to a Broadway play and check the program for “half-time.”
  • … your “back-to-soccer” pictures trump the “back-to-school” pictures.
  • … your “new car smell” only lasts until the first practice.
  • … you have witnessed true exorcism of devilish entrails when an opposing parent is self-diagnosed as “smarter than the referee’s call.”
  • … your child has a perfected British accent from watching games before he was 5.
  • … church runs over the normal time, and you wonder how much “stoppage time” was added.
  • … “upper 90” has nothing to do with being old.
  • … you give your kid yellow and red cards for punishment in the house. (Yellow might mean time out, but red means Dad is getting involved.)
  • … you call the baseball umpire a “ref.” (I love to watch my baseball-playing nephews!)
  • … football players seem overdressed. (Though I still love to watch football!)
  • … you can’t remember a Mother’s Day that you didn’t celebrate from the sidelines.
  • … you go to Florida to run into your Michigan friends, now that you live in North Carolina. (Because the soccer worlds always collide.)
  • … your kid has more daily multi-cultural experiences than the UN.
  • … the words “Classic,” “Select,” “Challenge,” and “Recreation” rank like school grades.
  • … you spend more on soccer uniforms and equipment than college.
  • … “Nutmeg” is not a spice. (Thanks, Jodi, for that suggestion on Facebook!)

 

… And some days you wish there were some overtime sessions in motherhood, so it would last a little longer – with stoppage time.

Blessed to be a Soccer Mom,

Terri

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Waiting for the Other Shoe

Dear Lindsey

He got in the car and said, “Has anybody seen my other shoe?”  We were on our way to church for our bi-weekly geography class with other homeschoolers.

“You got in the car wearing only one shoe?!” I said, changing my mood from fun Miss Frizzle to Miss Frazzled as we rushed down the road, trying to gain the minutes we had lost by leaving late.

“NO. I was carrying TWO shoes when I go into the car, but now ONE is gone! Christine!” he blamed his sister for not looking hard enough.

Seeing her reading in the front seat, I got her attention: “Christine, if you lost your own shoe, you would appreciate others helping to look. Please look.”

She looked under and around her seat; no black tennis shoe with neon orange laces was found, so she returned to reading.

We got to church. Still no shoe.

We got out of the car and my son slithered over the tops and under the seats, contorting his body to every nook and cranny of the vehicle, but still no shoe.

“Well you will just have to wear your socks to class today. It’s OK – homeschoolers are used to it,” I joked.

As we walked from the parking lot, many of their friends were in the church yard kicking a soccer ball.  Next to the door, there were two Crocs (shoes) waiting for their owner to claim them before re-entering the building.

“Look! One of those soccer kids took off his shoes! You can wear them and see how long it takes him to notice!” I jested – hoping to improve my son’s mood before we got into the building.

That’s when he surprised me the most….

THERE’S MY CROCSI WAS WONDERING WHERE I HAD LEFT THEM!” He ran crocs-at-church and put on the shoes that were sitting outside of the church’s backdoor…. presumably for the past two weeks since our last geography class when we had used that entrance.

I can’t say I have ever gone to a church with shoes on and gone home without them.  I started to ask questions as to how exactly that happened and decided it was best just to laugh, because I was going to anyway!

I asked J.R. if I could share this story on my blog. (I don’t like to publish things that my kids would not want to be shared.) He said, “I guess, if you think it would help someone.” (Ha! So sweet!)

I asked him how he thought it could help someone… or if it was just a story that would make us laugh – which is what the three of us were doing when we saw the Crocs.

He said, “Well you could tell people that sometimes when you think you lost something, God is just saving it for the right time.”

Perfect.

  • When you lose that house you wanted because of someone else’s offer: wait – God might have the perfect one waiting in the perfect timing.
  • When you lose the opportunity to be on that team because you are not big enough:  wait – God might have the perfect team on hold for the perfect time.
  • When you lose that job you thought you would have forever:  just wait – God might have the perfect job (or one you lost before) to offer at the time when you need it most.

Or when you lose your shoe – just know that God might have another complete pair waiting for you to find at just the right place and just the right time.

Feel free to start a comment below with “when you lose” if you have a time when God gave you your other “shoe” at just the perfect time.

Blessings,

Terri (and J.R.)

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

P.S. In case you were wondering: When we arrived home after class, his other shoe was found lying in the foyer where he must have dropped it en route to the car.

found-shoe

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