Thursday, December 31, 2009

The “NOT” New Year’s List

Many years ago, I remember hearing that our long-time family friends Mary Jane and Terry Martin had a pretty interesting New Year’s tradition. I don’t know if they still do this, but how I remember it is that they used to sit down on New Year’s Eve, write out their individual predictions for what they thought the next year would hold for each of them, seal them up and save them for exchanging and reading until the following New Year’s Eve to see how close they had come … and then start all over again for the next year’s predictions.

I’ve always thought that it would be fun and interesting to do, but for whatever reason, just never did it.

As I take stock of these past 12 months, I can think of a LOT of things that would NOT have ended up on my prediction list for 2009 (had I actually sat down a wrote out a list on December 31, 2008). I would NOT have predicted…

… that I would resurrect my blog and actually post to it on a regular basis (68 including this one).
… that I would never once doubt or waver in my commitment to tithing … and then some.
… that the economy/labor market would still stink, leaving Edward still seeking employment.
… that the Lord would be so faithful in stretching our single income beyond what is actually possible.
… that I would like my new role, still like my company and really like my new boss.
… that I would help lead someone at work to Christ and that they and their children would be baptized!
… that GM would actually have to eliminate product lines like Pontiac just to survive this recession.
… that each of our family members would be serving in new ministry areas at church.
… that we would still be living in this aging townhouse.
… that the Pittsburgh Penguins would win the Stanley Cup against the Detroit Red Wings (and that we would enjoy game 7 from comfort of Pastor Roy's family room!)
… that my mom would go to a Women of Faith Conference with me … and actually ask to go again next year.
… that my best friend would get laid off from a job she’s had forever (but would find an even better job in a matter of weeks).
… that the snow storm of the century (22 inches) would start on my birthday.
… that a routine annual checkup would turn into a cancer diagnosis and the first of two surgeries on my husband’s birthday.

The list could probably go on and on which tells me it’s probably a wasted effort to try and predict the future. No matter how well you plan and no matter how much you think you know, God’s the only one who’s got a shot at penning that list. And as much as I’d love to rip His list open on January 2nd to see what this next year will hold, I know he’ll only let me see it one line at a time … and I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The "M*A*S*H" Story

(a.k.a. my 15 minutes of fame)

I've told this story, oh... just a few times over the last 28 years (even more cool to tell now that I live so close to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History) but now that I have a color scanner and a blog, I figured it was time immortalize it cyberspace…

One of the longest running primetime television shows, M*A*S*H (the show that birthed the term “dramedy”) ran for 11 seasons from 1972-1983. This was my absolute FAVORITE show growing up. I never missed an episode and was glued to the set every week when it was on. I loved the show so much that during a 4th grade art class I made a tin print of a M*A*S*H helicopter that hung on the refrigerator for several years.

In April of 1981, there was a horrible, horrible writers strike that lasted an eternity (okay, it was a few months) that took my beloved M*A*S*H off the air. Heartbroken, I wrote to cast of M*A*S*H, empathized with their plight, pleaded for them to get back on the air as soon as possible and included with my letter the helicopter tin print I’d made years earlier. I wrote a few more letters and then I suddenly got one back…

I wrote back a letter of thanks and then a month later (strike was over and back on the air at this point) I was delightfully surprised to get this package in the mail.

Inside was a wondrous treasure of photos, film strips, projector slides (remember those) of the cast of M*A*S*H hanging my tin print on Colonel Potter’s office wall between the horses and his “grandkids” drawings (I think that made me an honorary grandkid).

Although M*A*S*H was only on the air for another season and a half after that, you can catch several good views of my tin print in seasons 10 and 11 during scenes in Potter’s office.

After the series ended, the M*A*S*H set was moved to Smithsonian’s Museum of American History so, as if having my personal artwork on the M*A*S*H set wasn’t a cool enough claim to fame, I later had my artwork hanging in one of the most famous museums in the world … now sitting comfortably collecting dust in a storage room between Fonzi’s leather jacket and Archie Bunker’s chair, I’m sure.

Friday, December 18, 2009

|| Pause ||

I've never given much weight to the passing of my birthday... a day like any other day. I don't feel any different than the way I did the day before or from the way I expect I will the days after. It's one more page on the calendar which serves only as a marker of what I have or haven't gotten done yet.

I'm not comfortable being the center of attention so a big birthday party with lot's of people would never be my cup of tea so I feel especially blessed that my husband and kids "get it" and have never subjected me that big horrifying surprise party for my birthday. Of course, I really wasn't at risk of that growing up either since my birthday is so close to Christmas. I was never disappointed to have the recognition of my birth overshadowed by the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

I've never had any hang-ups about my age. I've had a hard life, worked for everything I have and have proudly earned every wrinkle and grey hair. None of which would I trade back for the trials that put them there. God has either had purpose or given purpose to each hard-knock and I am thankful for they have made me who I am.

As I sit here at the end of this day, my 41st birthday, as the clock ticks ever closer to tomorrow, I’d like to click the “Pause” button. Not because I want to roll the clock back and stay 40, not because the birthday was so spectacular I want to preserve it forever, but because tomorrow morning I will go out to breakfast with my mother and tell her that her youngest daughter has cancer. Then I will sit the boys down and tell them their mother has cancer.

I'm good at processing this kind of thing for myself, my course is set, my faith is strong – I’ve been dealing with “logistics” for 4 days…. But I have no idea how to put it into words, the right words, the comforting, confident words that reflect my peace and certainty that all will be fine – as it should be – in God’s way, in God’s timing. Not everyone sees it that way so easily.

Praying for the Holy Spirit to fill me with the right words – pray with me, would you?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Christmas "Can Can"

I know for as many people that there are "with me" on this one, there just as many against me (Tracey), but I just love Christmas music. It's one of those wonderful things my husband and I discovered we had in common when we were dating.... Need a pick-me-up in July? Christmas music! Need motivation to clean out your closet? Christmas music! Got the sniffles, a skinned knee, bad day at work? Christmas music!

The only thing that could make Christmas music even better is A Cappella Christmas music – barbershop even. Barbershop quartet music is yet another wonderful thing that brought Edward and I together. So when he caught these guys on PBS last night while I was out, he quickly found them on YouTube so he could share them with me as soon as I got home.

Not only are they talented, but they are hilarious as well. Check out these musical comedians singing the best Christmas medleys I’ve heard in a while - a cappella.

Oh, and I understand they’re going to be here in Alexandria, Virginia on December 21st if anyone was looking for early Christmas present ideas for Edward and I. :-)