Sunday, July 8, 2018

Shooting Stars

All of my life I have been a nature girl.

Part of it was likely due to the time and place that I grew up.  It was in the '70s and '80s, when kids everywhere roamed the back roads and trails.  Or at least the kids in my close knit community that surrounded various lakes and ponds and 100 ft. tall pine trees.  Walking, biking, swimming, laying out, volleyball in someone's front yard with a net hastily tied between two trees--that's how we rolled.

Oh, the night sky in that place--to this day it remains a stunning display of stars, without too much background light to block the brilliance.  So many hours were spent just looking up at that sky, wishing on the first star of the night or searching for various constellations.

I was always, always, searching for shooting stars.  Statistically speaking, given the number of hours I spent looking up at night, combined with the clearness of an out-in-the-country sky, I should have had plenty of sightings.  It even became something of a joke during youth group outings for a while--everyone would see the cool awesomeness of streaks in the sky when I had turned away or headed inside to load up on snacks.

In college, there was even a season of using the 'shooting star challenge'-like Gideon's fleece- to determine who God did or did not want me to date.

       "OK, God.  If I see a shooting star in the next 5 minutes, then I will know that it is Your will for me to date ____________"--(I used this approach multiple times--wanting to make sure I was in the center of God's plan and all.)

Fifteen minutes later with no special celestial activity:

     "OK, God.  If I see a shooting star in the next 5 minutes, then I will be sure that ____________is NOT for me."

Five minutes and 2 seconds later:

     "Well, I guess You're fine with me dating him, then.  Right?"

(I was so spiritual in my dating choices back then, don't you know? ☺️  But still no shooting stars.)

Fast forward a few years--

I was two years into a five year dating relationship with the incredible guy that would eventually become my husband (chosen without the benefit of any celestial confirmation, by the way).  We were both working at different camps that summer.  Every other Saturday the staff would have a free night off between one set of campers leaving and another set arriving the next day.  This was a luxury and one that we usually spent together out in the real world, dressing in regular clothes and going to see whichever movie of the week held the most mass appeal.

One particular week the movie was Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner.  I was all ready to pile into one of the cars that was heading into the nearest real town, when I got the news that there was a pretty significant meteor shower on tap for that night in the area, with a good chance of little cloud coverage and excellent viewing.  And if my childhood lake provided a clear night time sky, it did not even compare to the one at that camp and the minimal outside light pollution.  So, I semi-reluctantly decided to stay alone at camp to try my chances once again at finally seeing at least one of those elusive shooting stars.

The projected time frame for optimal viewing was between 9:00pm and 11:00pm.  I headed to the pier on the camp lake around 8:30pm, armed with my pillow, blanket, Skin So Soft lotion (the insect repellent of the early '90s) and my mini-boombox loaded up with new batteries and a Rich Mullins cassette tape.

It was quiet and peaceful with the the camp nearly empty, and I spread out my stuff on the pier, popped in the cassette, laid back, and prepared for the event that I had literally been waiting on for almost two decades--my first glimpse of a shooting star.  My excitement level bordered on downright giddiness, especially as my watch edged closer to 9:00pm.

9:00pm came--and went.  Plenty of bright stars that were twinkling, but none of them moved.

9:30pm - nothing but the sound of Mr. Mullins playing for me and the fish and the tree frogs.

10:00pm - Nothing.  I flipped the tape over for the second time, wondering how long the discount brand batteries would hold out in my portable music machine.

10:15pm-ish - The staffers started to return to camp, singing "Everything I do, I do it for you-u-u-u" enthusiastically as they unloaded and converged on the kitchen for some late night snacks.  I started to contemplate loading up and joining them, but decided to at least stay until 11:00pm, just in case...

Shortly after that, the song Awesome God started to play for the second or third time that night.  Awesome God was, and remains, probably one of the most recognized songs that Rich Mullins is known for.  I liked it--it was my favorite song on that particular tape, with cool and catchy '80s sounding lyrics.

Only this time, it was different.

Oh, when He rolls up His sleeves
He ain't just puttin' on the Ritz (see what I mean?)

Our God is an awesome God.

(And during that particular line - Our God is an awesome God- a single shooting star shot across the sky.  WIN!!!)

There's thunder in His footsteps
And lightning in His fists.

Our God is an awesome God.

(And once again, during that single line, synced up perfectly with the lyrics, a single shooting star came from the opposite direction.)

And the Lord He wasn't jokin'
When He kicked 'em out of Eden.
It wasn't for no reason that He shed His blood.
His return is very close and so you better be believin'
That our God is an awesome God. (Once again, a single shooting star)

Then, the chorus came, with about 20 shooting stars keeping perfect time with music (WHAT!?!)--

Our God is an awesome God,
He reigns from Heaven above.
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God.

(Shooting stars stop and the sky returns to normal as the song continues.)

And when the sky was starless in the void of the night
Our God is an awesome God. (Yep, a single shooting star again.)

He spoke into the darkness and created the light.
Our God is an awesome God. (Again.)

The judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom.
The mercy and grace He gave us at the cross.
I hope that we have not too quickly forgotten,
That our God is an awesome God. (And again.)

(The same thing happened with the chorus as before, about 20 shooting stars.)

Then, the chorus repeated a few more times--BUT, this time shooting stars came from EVERYWHERE, going in all directions across the sky.  It was like the most spectacular fireworks show, all in perfect time with the music.  Three hundred of them would be a conservative estimate in a short amount of time.

'Our God is an awesome God' is repeated twice, with a short instrumental part, as the stars continue to light up the night.

The song ends with 3 notes - something like Dum! Dum! Du-u-u-u-u-m-m!

And I kid you not - with those last 3 Dums, there were 3 perfectly timed humongous shooting stars that covered my entire sky viewing field.

And then - nothing.

I stopped the tape, completely and totally awestruck, waiting for the residual flashes in the sky.

There were none.

I quickly rewound the tape and replayed the song, willing and hoping for a repeat performance.  The song was the same, but the sky had returned to its regular sparkly beauty.  I waited for three more hours, until there was a full cloud cover and the batteries had drained away, just in case.  But there was not even a hint of flashing brilliance.

So I loaded up my night time stash, with a mind and heart absolutely full of wonder and privilege of what I had been able to witness.  I told everyone at camp about it the next day.  I shared it with the rest of my campers that summer.  I have told various friends and youth groups about it over the years.  I am reminded of it every single time I hear the song, as well as when I make my yearly drop offs/pick ups for summer camp for my children, at the same camp of that long ago summer.

Many seem to think it is a great story, and it certainly is.  Some have come back years later and said it inspired them to seek for glimpses of God and His wonder in their own lives, and I love that.  Most probably forgot about it over time, which is understandable.  It has taken me almost 3 decades to actually get this story written down, more for my own benefit than for anyone else, because I know that nothing I write or describe can do it justice.

So many wonder how I 'keep my faith' or 'stay positive' or whatever when the storms of life are raging all around.  I suppose I have all kind of reasons or verses or explanations for that, but in so many ways I think it is best explained in this story of a girl that was stretched out on a pier one night looking for a single sign, and was graced with what surely must have been one of the best planned and orchestrated concerts of awesomeness in the history of man.

 It was not random.  It was not coincidence.  It can't be rationally explained.  The God of that song, that is filled with wisdom and power, chose to display both in a beautiful expression of love, just for me.  That is just the kind of God that He is.  He loved me then, and He loves me now.  So I will just rest on that promise for now, and cling to it in all manner of storms that are sure to come.

And you know what?  Even though I still love looking up at the night sky, I have never seen a shooting star again.  And I'm totally fine with that.

The pier today, but it still looks the same as it did back in the day.

Where I was on that fateful night

The view from my back--only during the day and with clouds

Saturday, November 4, 2017

My Friend Died Today...

My friend died today.

(Even after 10 minutes of staring at that one sentence, I still don't know what to think or how to begin processing that.)

I am not a stranger to people dying.  Life in general and cancer in particular have a way of bringing people front and center that die in horrendously sad circumstances, and way too soon.  This is most definitely the case with my friend.

My friend chose to end her life today.

I am not quite sure what do with that.  As the hours and days go on, and heartfelt Facebook posts are made, and people rally around her husband and son, tiny bits of the puzzle will fall into place.  Small details of her story will emerge--a story that is not mine to tell.

But I do have my own stories--

--We met on our very first night of college at the Baptist Student Union--me as a Freshman, and she was a Junior College transfer.  It was also the night she met her future husband, but that would take a couple of years to make official.  We were in several Bible studies together over the course of our college time together.  A few years ago, I came across some old Bible Study journals from those BSU days, tucked away in the corner of my old closet at my parent's house.  The very first prayer request entry was a request my friend had made for her then boyfriend/later husband--something about wisdom about a major.  As I flipped through the journal that day, I was reminded of what a pray-er she was.  One that I learned from by example.  I told her about that some time later, letting her know that I would show it to her one day.

--My friend was one of the most genuine people I have ever met.  She had a sweet Southern drawl and a 'bless your heart' mindset that was evident in every interaction with her.  We reconnected about 15 years or so after college, when a chance meeting at a local library brought us back into each others lives and she introduced me to the homeschool group and people that continue to be part of a tribe that still claim me as their own.

--My friend didn't forget the seasons of struggle.  No matter how many years have passed since my automobile accident that CHANGED. EVERY. THING, she would ask how I was doing.  Really doing.  When one of my children got cancer, and then recovered, and then relapsed, my friend knew to still care and ask the behind-the-scenes questions.  And when another child decided to go his own way and fell off the traditional church radar, my friend was one of only two people that ever told him that he was missed.  I thanked her for that, in several different ways.  I am so glad that I did.  Her simple text months ago sent me on a journey of re-evaluating the ways that I interact with and encourage other teenagers in my own circle--the ones that are forgotten or have slipped off the radar and are just desperate for someone to notice and care.  My friend reminded me how simple it is to do that. 

     That old Bible Study journal still exists, now in a box in the deep recesses of my own closet.  One day I will run across it, and my mind will go right back to my friend--a reminder of her genuine heart and her crazy deep love for her people.  I will pass it on to her husband and son, hopefully serving as some small reminder for them of the true heart of my dear friend.  Because no matter what those puzzle pieces are that were part of my friend's last moments, I know--I KNOW--that her amazing love for those two, and so many others that she has touched over the years, did not die with her.

     I hope it will bring them some measure of peace--the kind that my sweet friend is without a doubt resting in right now, in the arms of her precious Savior.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Another Merry Christmas--music

I LOVE listening to Christmas music.  Some of my earliest holiday memories involve singing and dancing in the living room while listening to a vinyl 'All Star Country Christmas' record playing in the background.  One of my favorite songs from the record was 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus', which was amusing but a little disturbing to my preK imagination.

I was a sucker for singing chipmunks wanting a hula hoop, and hearing about Grandma's tragic encounter with that reindeer.  The Charlie Brown song still sets off a reaction of dancing side to side like the little curly headed twins that were part of the Christmas pageant (I was and remain a girl with hopelessly naturally curly hair.)

When I started driving, a new music component was added to the mix--cassette tapes.  I usually liked to listen to the radio when driving (with the windows down and the T-top open), but every now and then a trip to the mall right after babysitting would line up just right, and I would purchase a tape.  And then proceed to play that tape over and over and over in my little red Civic.

I don't remember the FIRST tape I bought--I was a huge fan of mix tapes, and had plenty of them.  However, I do remember buying the Beach Boys Christmas tape and Amy Grant's 'Tennessee Christmas' tape at the same time (it must have been a GOOD babysitting gig beforehand), and quickly fell in love with Amy Grant's tape in particular.  The tape is long gone, and I don't remember the specific songs, other than the title song, but I do remember playing it over and over, and getting all kinds of feels from it.  Seriously, who would even think of choosing the parades and New Year's Eve tans of California over another tender Tennessee Christmas, where to love circles around me, like the gifts around the tree...?

That was over 30 years ago.  (You have GOT to be kidding me!)  I still love listening to Christmas music.  While my kids listen exclusively to digital music on whatever little rectangle devices are in vogue, I still prefer hard copies, and have graduated from tapes to CDs.  I have seen holiday music trends come and go, and tend to gravitate to old school (Rat Pack, Tony Bennett/duets, Dolly and Kenny).  Needless to say, I was very excited to realize that Amy Grant has released another Christmas album, this one also called 'Tennessee Christmas'.

The first track immediately took me back THERE--the back roads and lakes and friends I grew up with.  A good place.  The song itself is slightly different, but not in a bad or distracting way for folks who loved the original.  And sadly, it brings to the forefront images of the massive destruction of eastern Tennessee by wildfires that are currently still raging..

The next 12 tracks are an eclectic combination of songs with different feels and sounds and genres.  I get the feeling that Amy Grant and the makers of this album just sat around and said, "OK, what are some of our favorite songs that we sing at Christmas time?  'O Come, All Ye Faithful'?--Check.  'White Christmas'?--Sure.  And don't forget "Baby, It's Cold Outside'."

My favorite songs are some of the ones that Amy Grant wrote herself, and that were new to me.  'Melancholy Christmas' kind of has a depressing feel about it (with lyrics about posting on social media and wondering if you will get any 'likes'), but was very real and raw.  Christmas may be commercially promoted as all happiness and bows, but that is not the reality for so many that struggle with all the feelings that Christmas can bring up.

And "Another Merry Christmas'?  Oh, my goodness.  Simply beautiful.

Mary's in a nursing home
She puts her favorite records on
Reminds her of the years long gone
Another Merry Christmas

Billy's home from overseas
The pride of his whole family
Still fights a war that no one sees
Another Merry Christmas

It's happy and sad
The good and the bad
Someone's up, someone's barely hanging on
It's everything all at once
If we're honest enough
Everybody wants to be loved

Every year on Christmas Eve
Jill hangs four stockings
Now just three
Wonders if there'll ever be
Another Merry Christmas

Our painted old nativity
Is fragile like the lives we lead
Silently reminding me
God is with us

Another Merry Christmas 

I think this CD is a keeper.  

I THINK most of the audio tracks are available on YouTube.  This is a link to the second song, 'To Be Together'

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Messing Up

From March 2011

I think one of the most difficult parts of being a parent for me is dealing with 3 kids who have tunnel vision.  They only see events and circumstances in terms of how it affects them, which is often at odds with the overall big picture for the family.  Most of the time they just can't seem to grasp that the plans and decisions my husband and I make for them are not some master scheme to make their lives more difficult and less fun, but are truly part of something bigger and better for them in the long run.  They complain and whine and argue more than I ever thought any children of mine ever would.  Seriously, those kinds of kids were the products of bad parenting and uninvolved parents, right?  Judge not...

Which brings me to my Bible reading for today.  My new Bible has a reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day, and each of the passages for today all pointed to stories of misinformed, bad judgment making, often whiny people who made bad decisions because they didn't see the bigger picture--that life is not all about them. 

The Old Testament story was from the book called Numbers.  It tells of a time when Moses and the Isrealites have been away from Egypt for over a year, but still not in the Promised Land that they were headed toward.  God had been using this time to give very specific details and instructions about what He required from each of His people, because He knew that they had to be prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually for when they actually went to the Promised Land, otherwise they would accept and follow the customs of the people who were already there.  Th0se people had their own ideas about gods and worship, which did not include the true God.  God, knowing the big picture, was getting them ready.  But the Isrealites, what did they do?  They complained.  A lot.  Today the complaint was about not having meat.  "Oh, Moses.  We are so hungry!  We never have anything good like we used to--fish, onions, melons.  You know, when we had it so good and easy in Egypt (You know, when we were SLAVES!).  All we have is manna, manna, manna--all day long."  Even Moses got in on the complaining:  "Why me, God?  Why do I have to deal with these whiny people?  I don't know why you have made them MY problem, God.  Can't you just give them meat and be done with it?".  My reading ended with God about to go off.  Seriously, had Moses never heard the story of Job?  It's supposed to be the oldest recorded story in the Bible, happening long before Moses was even born.  Did he not know that there are times when it is best to just back off?  And, for that matter, why have my kids not learned the same thing about me yet?

The next reading is one of the saddest in the whole Bible for me.  Jesus has been telling His disciples for several days that He is about to be killed, but they aren't getting it.  They happen to be having a meal when a lady comes in and breaks a jar of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus.  I mean, picture it:  meals were definitely segregated by gender at that time, and in busts this girl (reportedly a 'bad girl' at that) who starts pouring stuff all over one of the men.  There is a lot of symbolism and backstory here, but the focus is on Judas's reaction.  He wasn't the only one that was angry. Several others went off on the lady, basically calling the whole thing wasteful and inappropriate.  Judas took the stance that it was a waste of money and that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  I've heard several commentators say that Judas probably really meant this, and wasn't just being goody-goody.  He was the disciple in charge of the group's money, which probably meant he was the most trustworthy of the twelve, so he would be the one with the most insight as to their finances and responsibilities.  He knew that the Passover was the next day and that there wasn't even any money to cover a place to have the meal together, much less the mandatory food involved.  By the way, Jesus took care of that problem just a few verses later...

So, this is the breaking point for Judas.  He leaves that meal and immediately goes to turn Jesus in.  This latest scene is just further proof for Judas that Jesus is not who He says He is, and that He has lost His mind.  When I was little, I just thought of Judas as the bad guy in this story.  The older I get, though, I see this disillusioned man who truly loved Jesus and believed in His vision--up to a point.  When Jesus's teaching became too impractical, he just couldn't follow through.  This is the lure of and disillision of money.  We can become so imprisoned to it that we lose sight of what really matters in God's economy, an economy that makes no sense in a world focused on 'stuff' instead of people and relationships.  I don't think Judas was money or power hungry.  I think he just didn't see the big picture, only his perception of it.

And then there is David.. King David.  He decided that he didn't have enough wives and concubines to satisfy his needs when he noticed a lady named Bathsheba.  The problem was that Bathsheba was already married.  Well, I guess it wasn't too big of a problem for David, because he brought her over anyway, and when she came up pregnant, he just had her husband killed.  David had lived a life full of God's presence and provision, and truly loved Him, but at this point had become too big for his own britches, so to speak.  He had forgotten that there are boundaries that God had placed on his life, until God sent a man named Nathan to remind him.  This Psalm is one of my favorites, because it shows David's brokenness about what all he has done, and his need for God to make him right again.

Create in me a clean heart, O God. 
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

I love that last line:  and make me willing to obey you.  David got it.  He had messed up and only God could make that right.  He was restored.  Moses got it.  It took him a little longer and he still didn't make the wisest of decisions at times.  He didn't get to see the Promised Land, but he was restored.  And Judas--well, this one is tragic.  He did betray Jesus, and the weight of it all caused him to kill himself.  He couldn't get past what he had done, and didn't believe God enough to know that he could have been restored, too.

Three stories.  Three different outcomes.  All serve as reminders and examples that only God has the big picture in mind, and even when I don't understand the circumstances, He's got my back and wants what is best for me.  Maybe my kids aren't the only ones with tunnel vision issues.

 (taken from Numbers 11, Mark 14, and Psalm 51)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Being Mad at God

A re-post -- from February 2011

Today while I was driving from one appointment to another, I heard a radio interview that has really stayed with me.  It featured a lady named Rebecca Alonzo, and she was telling the story of her childhood that is detailed in her new book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven.  Her father was the pastor of a small church in North Carolina when she was a young child, and the thorn in his side was one of the men who attended his church, Mr. Watts.  Mr. Watts had ruled the church and the town with an iron fist until the new pastor came to town, and began a campaign to get rid of him from the very beginning.  When this didn't immediately happen, Mr. Watts began to stalk and harrass the family, to the point of bombing their house several times.

One day, Mr. Watts encouraged a neighbor to attack the pastor and his family, and on Easter Sunday, the neighbor walked in to the family dinner and shot Rebecca's parents.  She was 7 years old.  Her mother died immediately, and her father suffered injuries that ultimately led to his death a few years later.  Rebecca went on to tell what happened after that, with her and her brother going to live with her aunt, the subsequent trial with minimal punishment, and her intense confusion and anger with God.  It was a devastating story.  But then she made this statement, "I got to the point where I realized I needed God MORE than I needed to be mad at God".  Wow.  I know many adults that never come to this realization, and their life circumstances aren't nearly as tragic.  She was a teenager at the time, and has written this book in part to help others who find themselves in the same cycle of fear, anger, and confusion.  Yes--bad things happen, even tragic things.  Believers aren't immune to that.  At all.  And sometimes, just realizing that these things matter to God can make all the difference.  No, they might not change the circumstances, but they can change the outlook.

It's OK to be angry about circumstances, and I think it is even OK to be angry at God.  He understands and can handle it.  But how tragic it is when a person stays in that place, and remains distant from God because of it.

"I got to the point where I realized I needed God MORE than I needed to be mad at God".

You can read more of Rebecca's story at

Monday, December 15, 2014

May we all be rebels like that

I don't know about you, but the Christmas season around here can be a bit stressful.  There are the all of the additional events and activities that pop up all month long, but then you have the cooking and shopping and wrapping and ...

Each year I TRY to keep a focus on the whole reason for the season, especially with my kids.  I do a pretty decent job of that.  Well, kind of.  I do have the best of intentions, though.  Sometimes we do a cursory run through Advent activities, and I have a special book I read to the youngest each year.  Some years we even finish that book before Easter/summer/beginning of school.

One thing that I struggle with, though, is keeping the season fresh and focused for ME.  Sure, there are lots of books and blogs and various reading materials out there.  They saturate many of the bookstores I frequent, but quite frankly, most of them are pure fluff with a pretty red book cover.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it just doesn't do it for me, so I generally pass.

Then I read a blurb for a new book that was available to review, and almost passed on it because 1.  I don't have time to read anything, much less a fluff book, and 2.  I hate that so many of my very limited posts these days are review posts.  I decided to bite the bullet, though, and see what this new offering was all about.

Oh, my.

Watch for the Light English

Watch For The Light--Reading for Advent and Christmas, a new book by Plough Publishing House, is a compilation of writings/essays/thoughts from 55 people, spanning a period of hundreds of years.  People like Henri Nouwen, Thomas Aquinas, Madeleine L'Engle, Karl Barth, Brennan Manning, Bonhoeffer, Philip Yancey (my favorite), and Dorothy Day are each assigned a day, from the beginning of Advent until Epiphany (January 6) to give their take on the history and heart and timelessness of the birth of Jesus.

From the introduction:

Even we who genuinely love Christmas often lose sight of its point.  How many of us, content with familiar traditions and feelings of goodwill, forget the dank stable, the cold night, the closed door of the inn?  How many of us share the longing of the ancient prophets, who awaited the Messiah with aching intensity thousands of years before he was born?

We miss the essence of Christmas unless we become, in the words of Eberhard Arnold, "mindful of how Christ's birth took place."  Once we do, we will sense immediately that Advent marks something momentous:  God's coming into our midst.  That coming is not just something that happened in the past.  It is a recurring possibility here and now.  And thus Advent is not merely a commemorative event or an anniversary, but a yearly opportunity for us to consider the future, second Advent-the promised coming of God's kingdom on earth.

More than any other time that I have added supplementary readings to the Christmas story, THIS book has reached into a place for me that has often had to be manufactured--reflection and wonder.  There is power in obtaining a glimpse into the hearts of people, many long gone, whose journeys have uncovered different types of insights into the God story.

One day, after finishing one of the readings for the day, and doing a little wikipedia research about the author that I had never heard of before, I realized something very intriguing--most of these people were rebels.  Or at least not understood or appreciated during their lifetimes.  The very words I was reading would have been considered too unsanitized for the cultural sensitivities of their day.  They would have been ridiculed or ostracized by both the secular culture AND the religious structures of their day.  But (and here is the beauty of it) they would have been embraced by the very God they contemplated.

I just love that.

And I really love this book.  It is a keeper.  You should check it out, too.  You can find more info about it here.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Central for review purposes.  No other compensation was received.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being Metaphorically Rich in Family and Friends

 Not too long ago, I ran across a folder of old writing assignments from high school.  They included stories of Care Bears and unicorns, as well as my favorite, called 'Soap Opera Society', in which I do a pretty impressive treatise of class structure based on soap opera characters.  A future blog post, perhaps?

Anyway, I found this essay about my mom, dated 10/31/85.  Now, I might be completely crazy, but I don't remember feeling this much teenage angst about my mom.  But, being the mom of a couple of teenagers myself, I realize she may remember it as much worse than this.  It did make me laugh, though, and decided to post it here for moms with angsty kids everywhere.

                                                                 Her Shining Face

Sure, there are times when I feel I can't stand her (Wow...).  Sometimes, I just want to yell at her and tell her to leave me alone.  I get flusterated (yep, that is the word I used.  Don't know if I was trying to cute, or if I was just clueless) when she tries to make me as perfect as she can.  But, I still love her with all my heart, even through the rough times.
My mother wants the best for me.  She doesn't mean to be pushy, but at times she is.  She gets on to me for my grades, my clothes, or some other little thing, and sometimes I just blow up (I remember NO blowups.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it).  I don't even stop to consider what would happen if one day she wasn't around for me when I needed her.  I seldom think of all the time, money, and most of all, love that she spends on not only me, but the rest of my family as well.

My mother is the one who encourages me to be the best I can be.  Sometimes, though, I become discouraged because I don't think I can achieve what she knows I can.  If it hadn't been for my mother, I would never have made it through Junior Miss, and I certainly would not have won first alternate or the scholastic award (and most definitely not the award for highest ticket sales, since she sold them for me at work.  And, yes, there was actually a trophy for that).  She motivated me into wanting to win.  It wasn't something she wanted for herself, but for me.  It was when I realized this that I finally felt I had a chance. (I think she saw the writing on the wall a few hours before the competition, though, when I told her how I responded to one of the pre-interview questions--"Are you rich?".  My answer, "No.  I don't even have a job".  I don't think they wanted such a literal answer--LOL).

I'll never forget what my mother did for me during Junior Miss (wow, enough about Junior Miss, already!), or all the other little things she does that I know will continue.  I only hope that even when times are bad, I'll be able to see her shining face to pull me through.

Isn't she lovely?