Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fond Memories

Our memory is an incredible thing. I guess I'm noticing it more because of Bryton's lack of memory. I can't wait to have family traditions that he'll remember, enjoy and hopefully carry on through his life. I feel for those Alzheimer patients. If there is anything devastating to lose, it's the memories that bring you happiness and joy every time you think of them, you know, those memories that make you smile. That being said, I have compiled some of my fondest memories after much thought and have listed them below. What a great place to come and remind myself of some of the greatest times in my life... small times and big times. I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me.
(Starting with the longest ago)

1. Swimming at Casey's house during the summer. EVERY summer! That's a classic. (Not to mention me always getting mad at Cole and going home, then Casey having to be mediator to make it better. Poor guy.)

2. Neighborhood flashlight tag. (Ditto the Cole thing here.)

3. Helping my dad make rice krispy treats ( I get my awesome rice krispy treat skills from him, my mom can't make them to save her life) and Snowballs with my mom during Christmas time. (She dominates the snowball category.)

4. "Forking" all of the meat that went on the grill. Didn't matter what I was doing, after mom would season meat she'd call me in to fork it to death :)

5. Fastforwarding some - Hanging out with Amy 8th grade - Senior year. Hanging out at her house in general, but specifically, driving to Pooh's to tan, almost dying after having a full soda bottle chucked at us, her taking me to church (the whole reason I'm where I am today), going up town and dressing up to go out, jamming to some christian music in her room, making food in her kitchen, hard candy, fortune cookies, chicken strips, french fries and heinz ketchup :)

6. Hanging out with Carrie B and Jabbi - both at school, on the weekends, after school, etc. Carrie and I made an awesome cake for the rink once, and Jabbi spent the week with Aaron and I in Myrtle Beach over New Years.

7. Kristin Duncan and I and our nights at Long Branch, and the night she introduced me to Aaron, and going with her to Chicago... we had great times.

8. Me and Mindy Piper -- too many nights in Pinckneyville, hanging out with Nipper, decking ourselves out for football games. We had so much fun together.

9. Dagan - praise God for him my senior year. We did a lot of talking and he hung out a lot!

10. Sabra and our trip to Steak n Shake after working the rink. And poor Super in the back... that's all I have to say about that.

11. Speaking of the rink... every bit of it. Hanging out with friends, stealing trolli burgers & dogs (right Matty?), Lance and Aaron playing washers, Zeke flying across the rink floor, me getting tied to a pole, Rachel, Sabra, Heather H and I trying to play hockey with just the four of us... awww bliss ;)

12. Cherry Vanilla Fruitopia - and swimming at the Morris'. Those were great summers.

13. 3 words, Par 3 Course. We had such a great time there, girls driving the cart and hitting a few shots, struggling to find golf balls, fighting mosquitos, getting home at 1:00 am. TOO fun!

14. Rachel and I meeting our boyfriends at Kokopeli for dinner. Then going to miniature golf. Wish there was still miniature golf around here.

15. Aaron rink and personal duties: Sam's trips, buying flowers for the Valentine's Day skate, going shopping during a blizzard on December 23rd because he had done NO shopping for Christmas yet. This was all before we were dating, but we really enjoyed each others company.

16. Our first dating Christmas at Aaron's parents house when his whole family was there (he's going to think I'm crazy) or just when his whole family is there in general. I loved being there with his family. Going to hear the orchestra downtown, loving Neno's quirkiness, and Chuck's, well, Chuckness, helping his mom prepare meals, hanging out with Mark and Jayden, Jayden's hippopotmus for Christmas. I just love it... I even remember having a headache and sitting out on the porch, and playing cards with the family late at night. I just love... family. Maybe that's why I'd like a bigger one myself.

17. Visiting Aaron's parents during the summers of our dating. Vividly I remember taking late night convertible rides, looking at the Fenton Castles, eating custard at Fritz' and Ted Drews. Playing in the sprinklers in the morning... playing with Zeke... going for walks in their park, etc.

18. Traveling with Wild Week in 2004. Meeting so many amazing people, feeling needed, having amazing new experiences, missing Aaron like crazy, him sending me his sweatshirts when we were in Glorietta, feeling better in my own skin then I ever had. (The 2nd best time about feeling good in my skin... now, weird after just having been pregnant.)

19. Helping in the youth group. Working hard all day with 1st graders and still being so excited to have Stomp on Wednesday nights and Fuel on Sunday nights.

20. Getting married. If I could relive any one week of my life, this would be it - wedding and honeymoon. I'll never forget how I felt walking down that aisle, or seeing Aaron watch me walk down the aisle, or talking during one of the songs about how funny it was going to be leaving in the convertible when the wedding party had decorated the truck, and that I had lipstick on my teeth :) And that he thought I was beautiful. Even Ken's message was perfect. Then staying up most of the night in the hotel room talking... and then flying together for the first time the next day. And everything that went wrong, our luggage getting lost, Aaron leaving his credit card behind... it was awesome, and perfect. Going golfing, and hiking, and watching movies, and playing miniature golf, and eating ice cream... and enjoying each other -- it was awesome. We saw an amazing double rainbow... we joked that it was God's blessing on our marriage :)

21. Newlywededness: waking up early on a Saturday just happy to see each other and going out for breakfast. Coming home to a clean house and candles lit. Our first married Christmas together... listening to Christmas music, eating cookies and decorating the tree -- a family tradition :) Playing Tiger Woods golf, and watching everwood, 7th heaven on Monday nights.

22. Select times on the road.

23. Telling Aaron I was pregnant on Easter. Plastic eggs with a puzzle that said, "The Easter Bunny brought more than eggs this year, we're having a baby!" And seeing his face... wonderful!

24. Watching the 2008 Olympics in the comfort (on uncomfort) of our upstairs air-conditioned apartment, eating yogurt covered pretzels. Did I mention I was 7 months pregnant? Loved it!

25. Bringing Bryton home. I would say "having Bryton", but lets be real, you push for 2.5 hours and then be too tired and exhausted to enjoy your child... it was very much worth it, but not my fondest memory :) Giving him his first bath, Aaron enjoying him. Touching his little toes / hands.

26. And... currently. There are just times in your life when you can feel that they'll be times you'll remember forever... and I'm living them... and I know it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

He Doesn't Need My Help

I don't know about you, but I appreciate feeling needed. To know my husband, and my son, wants and needs me by their sides means a lot to me. I love feeling like a task could not be performed as well without my being a part of it. Maybe it's a pride thing, maybe it's just the satisfaction of feeling that you have something to contribute, either way, I'm trying to revamp my thinking.
Pastor spoke this morning on worry. That's like me, the pot, calling the kettle black. I found humorous (as did my dad) that Joe began the sermon with "Don't Worry, Be Happy" *do do do do do do do do do do doooooo, do do do do do do doooooo, do do do do do, Don't worry, be happy now*. You know the song. So do I. Why? Because it was my theme song when I was growing up.
I worried about EVERYTHING. To the point of my mother making me listen and learn the lyrics to this particular song probably 5 out of 7 days of the week. Really. I'm not kidding. Sad huh?
Anyway, I worried about not having teeth when I was old, about ever finding the job I wanted, about never getting married, never having kids, dying. I worried about where everyone was and why they were there, I worried about money. I worried about that a lot. I got used to ordering the cheapest thing on the menu and then feeling guilty for what that would cost my parents. I worried about everything... and, I've carried that into my adult life.
Until I met Aaron, I did the same thing at restaurants. He brought me out of that a little. What is $2.00 to get what you realllllly want? After all, we wouldn't be eating out if we couldn't afford it. But I still worry about my teeth falling out... I worry about being alone, with no family, in my old age, I worry about ever fulfilling my ultimate purpose, I worry about a career and what that will entail. I worry about never finding my niche. I worry about what I wear, the to do list three miles long, and the fact that my basically black furniture is dusty... AGAIN. I worry that I'm not doing enough... and then I worry that I'm doing too much. I worry that we'll never be able to retire, I worry that my kids will never understand how much I really love them, that something might be wrong with one of them, and most of all, that if I don't worry about these things nothing will get done, I'll never find that job, I'll never love my kids enough, and I'll be alone forever.
And what good comes from all of this worrying? Nothing. Nada.
Worrying doesn't produce the job I've always wanted... it doesn't make my kids healthy, in fact, it makes me sick! Worrying doesn't put money in a retirement fund, it doesn't give me a huge family when I'm 75, and it doesn't add any fulfillment whatsoever to my life. In fact, it steals from me the joy of my baby's smile. It steals from me the joy of my savior's grace.
So why do I continue to do it? It seems, I feel as if I don't worry, things won't get done. Without worry I'll never finish that to do list. I consciously know that completing that to do list will eliminate that worry, thus, I've began to use worry as a motivator. The same with a career. Looking for a job currently (during a time when they are virtually non-existent), my searching for a job comes because of the motivation that comes with worrying about it. I don't want to worry about it anymore, so I look a little harder and make it something to not be worried about.
It's about me. I have to solve my worry. It's my way of "helping" God out... taking care of it. You know that verse that says, "God helps those who help themselves," yah, it doesn't exist, but I may as well make a t-shirt that says it because that's how I live.
But what happens when I'm worrying about things that I can't fix -- the death of my family, my death, sickness, life circumstances... if I can't "fix" them, then I am unable to stop worrying about them. No motivator will fix those problems. So how am I supposed to handle them when I don't let God handle anything?
You see, He doesn't need my help to meet my needs. I don't need to feel like God needs me... I don't want to feel like God needs me. If God needed me, He wouldn't be God... I would be, and I can't handle all of that stress.
I feel like I've kind of rambled on about this, but it's really been self-discovery for me that I use worry as a motivator. Knowing this forces me to address worry as it stands in my life and allow God within me to guard my heart and my mind from worry.

The Greatest Fans in Baseball

I have finally learned first hand the purpose of a rain check. You see, it has been my experience with rain checks that they typically have nothing to do with rain. When someone asks you to dinner and you have prior arrangements, or in some cases simply do not want to go, you quip, "Oh, rain check." In other words, we'll do it some other time.

Well, Aaron and I, along with our good parent pals Brian and Jill, had tickets to Friday night's Cardinal game vs the Milwaukee Brewers. The forecast did not look great, but according to, who I have since found to be quite unreliable, there was less than a 10% chance of rain up through 10:00.

Well, long story short, at the beginning of the second inning you could see 40,000 fans watching a large dark cloud quickly move over the third base line. Notice, the beginning of the second inning, we had not even made 8:00 yet. Before we knew it everyone was huddled in the concourse awaiting news that the game had indeed been postponed and we went home to find out when the rematch would happen. (We joked that Albert and his buddies were hanging out in the Clubhouse playing Wii Sports -- you know, taking batting practice and all. Imagine it, it's really quite funny - Wii people striking out Pujols and Schumaker. Ahh, well, we thought it was funny.)

So anyway ---
#1 Greatest Fans in Baseball Moment - 40,000 fans hanging around for more than an hour to hear "the game is postponed". But this isn't the biggie.

Fast forward to Monday - the rescheduled game time.
Here we gather once more to watch the Cardinals go through eight, yes, I said eight, pitchers (that we know of, we left at the top of the 8th inning) and get a beating from the Brewers. However, one thing happened in the midst of that game that I hope to carry out in my own life. It is the epitome of being the greatest fans in baseball.

For those of you who know Braun of the Brewers - who despite his small stature and seemingly powerless frame has a pretty incredible batting average - you know he's quite the left fielder too. During last nights game, he made several amazing catches, all of which cost us several runs and the chance of even making the game a competition. After one amazing diving catch in left field the majority of those sitting near us (we have the privilege of being about 12 rows off the field, just to the right of being behind the visitors dugout) gave a standing ovation and a round of applause to this particular player as he returned to the dugout. Several men tipped their hats. What was a seemingly small gesture was really sportsmanship at it's finest.

And, me, being the analytical I am, can't help but wonder how this applies to those of us in the Christian faith. Would people look at us and consider us the greatest fans of our faith? I mean, 40,000 people who love the Cardinals (and maybe 2000 who love the Brewers) hung around for more than an hour on Friday night in hopes (and there wasn't much hope, let me tell you) that we could once again be back at our seats rooting on our teams. Many Christians I know wake up on Sunday mornings and if it's raining, they go back to bed. People spend dollar after dollar sporting all of the Cardinal attire they can - and we as Christians sometimes just find it hard to talk about Jesus. Several fans sat near us with score books. I really couldn't believe it... fans, keeping tab and tally of every move of the game. Yet we find it difficult to pick up our Bibles daily. Devout Cardinal fans can stand and applaud and support those on the other team, but we as Christians can get so stuck in our religious circles that we don't even know how to love people in the world.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not knocking loving Cardinal baseball, or your favorite team in general. I, myself, find baseball and hockey games to be two of my favorite things to spend my time doing. In fact, if some season tickets to either ever fell in my lap I would heed the opportunity to be one of those lunatic fans that knows everyone in all of the seats around her. I really just dig going. So I'm not knocking baseball or being a fan of it.
Instead, what I am questioning is our commitments, our priorities, because if those season tickets fell in my lap, I'd be selling or giving away Wednesday and Sunday games because I have a Jesus and a ministry He has given me that far outweigh my commitment to the Cardinals. I hope that people know that I love Jesus first, my husband second, my child a close third, friends, family, and church family, and then the Cardinals (and the Blues if we must get specific...). If people know me as a Cardinal fan before they know me as a Jesus fan, I've failed. It's that simple.

I do count it a privilege to be considered one of many of the greatest fans in baseball, but I can only pray and hope that I can one day stand before the Lord and He can greet me, "Welcome home good and faithful servant." That, my friend, is being the ultimate fan.