Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Popcorn's Path

Tonight as I was driving leisurely home from choir practice, I was struck by the beauty of the street we were meandering down. This is a street I drive on every day, several times a day and I am always struck by its beauty. I have picked up the phone many a time to call Mr. Popcorn and mention how blessed I feel to live in a place with a street like this one and I thank him for planting us here. It is tree lined, and the beautiful branches of the trees form a canopy over the street. If you drive up this winding lane in the morning you can look out across a gorgeous golf course and see the sprinklers pulsing over the beautiful greens. People are walking dogs along the shaded sidewalk. At one point there is a picturesque triple decker fountain, aged to a nice patina, with pretty seasonal floral plantings at its base. This street also serves as my running route. Day in, day out, this is my path and I love love love it. Nothing could be more motivating than running along this birdy's paradise. But tonight my focus fell to the lighting along the way. Well placed, eye-pleasing black lampposts confidently dot the esplanade the entire four mile stretch. The light cast from the lampposts onto the street adds a certain something. A certain charm. An added satisfying delight to the drive. The light is so flattering to the landscape, and without any effort, chases away the shadows while showing us the way. Then the light dawns on to speak. This is what God wants Christians to be...well placed lampposts here on earth. Casting the light of Christ to chase away the dark shadows that people encounter. We are mood lighting, adding a certain ambiance and unexpected beauty to places and circumstances that would otherwise be dark and dank and hopeless. As reflections of His light, our paths are beautifully illumined with the warmth of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. You are the light of the world, like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Matthew 5:14

Placid Popcorn

The last few days, well really more the last couple of weeks, I have enjoyed an unusual sense of contentment, peace, well-being, and overall chilled-ness. It feels good. I can't remember the last time I was blessed with a stretch of time where this nothing- going -on -to -speak- of sensation lingered this long. If this feeling pervades your life,then high five up high to you but you're undoubtedly wondering what I'm talking about. But some of you will get it. Some of you will grasp why dull is great. Boring is awesome. Quiet is fab. The busiest I've gotten is quizzing older popcorn for her menu tests at Kona Grill. That menu sounds delish and I work up quite the appetite with each new quizzy session. Back to the issue of contentment...I try to maintain this level of inner mood stability no matter what heinousness is going on around me, but I admit that actually having nothing heinous going on around me makes it so much easier. So thank you God for this lull. Perhaps you're thinking "ok Popcorn, but girl, who really cares?"...I brain is in idle and this is what was on my mind, so not surprisingly Popcorn's Page reflects a certain, well, relaxed tone. All I know is, I'll take it. Wondering what shape your Wednesday is taking...?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Legacies

Today we spent the day in almost exactly the same way we've spent the last 22 Easter Sundays. Getting up early to get ready for church. Hubby calls me the "hinge" since I have to get up first and start things rolling since I take longer than him. Springing three offspring out of bed and running them through the shower, longest hair first since it takes her the longest to dry it...etc. We have our routines and everyone knows the drill. Enjoy our service, then Sunday school...then off to celebrate with my family which at this point consists of my mother, my brother and his wife and their four kids. We eat, we hunt eggs, we eat some more and drink plenty of coffee. The guys change into comfy clothes after the egg hunt and play basketball all afternoon. We rotate houses, but the last few years have been mostly at brother popcorn's house since many times family from his wife's side join us and it just makes sense to have it there, plus his house is nice and big and accommodating. I think my kids are lucky that they have cousins to hang with and have such old fashioned fun every holiday, every clockwork. This adds to their emotional safety deposit boxes one more investment in security, the kind that really counts deep down in the recesses of their identities. We are a big family, an "us",and they know who they are. Each of our children are secure in their place as "ours". Likewise, Jesus' death and resurrection does the same for us on an eternal scale. In dying on the cross, he made the ultimate payment for the sins of all mankind forever. His resurrection evidenced victory over death once and for all for those that believe in Him. He gave us a security in eternal life and an identified us as His beloved people. Because of this, we as Christians know who we are in Him. We are a family, an "us". We know who we are and can be secure in our place as his chosen. We are children of God, blessed redeemed of the Lamb. As the body of Christ, what a magnificent legacy we are privileged to celebrate on Easter Sunday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Popcorn's Problem

Some aspects of my life defy the norms. I enjoy a happy, long, satisfying, and stable marriage. I run several miles a day and eat healthy foods most of the time. My weight is ok and I'm somewhat fit for my age. Here's the defied norm: I have high blood pressure. When I was first noticed there might be a problem, I was experiencing some stress that had ebbed and flowed for many years in our lives, but was peaking (again) at that time. So I just thought that was the cause of the spike in my bp. I thought if I meditated and prayed and listened to plenty of pan flute music, that it would go down. I just needed to "let go and let God" and amp up my detachment quotient. I didn't want to take medicine because I am pill phobic, and afraid of side effects. Those scary medicine commercials list the heinous possibilities so fast because they don't really want to have to admit that the "helpful" medicine might make your arms fall off. Anyway, it didn't go away with all my fervent praying, humming, chanting, or floating up denial river. The diastolic and systolic readings kept getting higher, scary high. Long story short, I cried uncle and admitted I better get on something to control it. My bp is now normal thanks to my medicine. I feel much better, even though I didn't even realize I felt bad when I was ignoring the issue. The only side effect I have is that 9 minutes after I take it, I fall asleep. That's not really a big deal, as long as I am ready to pack it in for the night. What's the moral to this whiny blogstory?Simply this: denial bad, medicine good. And there are some things in life that crop up that there's no explanation for. Stubbornly hanging on to that notion and ignoring the problem is stupid and can be dangerous. You probably have something perplexing you right advice? Put on your big girl panties and take that medicine, go see a counselor, fix a relationship, whatever it takes.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Popcorn's Waiting Up Worries

I forgot to add waiting up for people to get home as one of our spring break activities. Why is it that we worry when they are home and out late, but sleep fine when they are off at school??? I like for us all to be home, in jammies, on the couch 10:00. Is that so unreasonable??? ok, by 11:00. Seriously, by 11:30.

Popcorn's Spring Break Progress Report

Spring break at the Popcorns so far: Art museum, movies, American Idol, Walnut Cafe, Taco Bell, Smoothie King, The YMCA, late nights, loud music, guests, Starbucks, dvr-ing, golf clubs, driveway basketball, driver's ed, fishing, walking dogs, Walmart, Target, church, cooking,late sleepers, salads, running, naps, hair products, flat irons, hot rollers, wet towels, messy rooms, sinks of dishes, charging cell phones, puzzles in progress, tanning, manicuring, couch sleepers, shower singers, loud laughers, morning grumps, credit cards, checkbooks, stony bull, Darque Tan, blue skies, sad eyes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Sadness

Some dear friends lost their oldest son today. He was 18 years old and died in a tragic car accident. The funeral mass was this morning and the church was packed with friends and family. We knew many, many people in attendance because we've lived here for a long time. The funeral was a Catholic mass and it was extremely Godly, beautiful, and celebratory of this fine young man's life.He was truly an outstanding individual. As I sat among the sea of friends supporting this precious, hurting family, I was moved by the spirit of empathy felt in the quietness. The priest would say a few words, and then let the silence float, punctuated by the March wind howling through the rafters. The common thread connecting many families sitting on the pews was sports. Many of men sitting in the church were former coaches of my son's little league days. In fact, this is how we knew the family of the young man being honored today, my husband coached with his dad.These men mentored my son in the ways of sportsmanship and male camaraderie when he was just a little guy new to that world. These are my husband's friends, men whose sons he in turn has coached and mentored through the years out on the baseball and football fields. Today I saw them emotionally supporting the bereaved family and each other in a way that spoke of their spiritual strength. They had tears in their eyes as they embraced the parents of the young man. The hugged each other and shook hands in a way that said, "I'm here for you, whatever you need", without having to say a word. In this sad circumstance, they modeled for their sons, now teens on the cusp of adulthood, what it means to be tenderly supportive of those you care about; a valuable facet of a man's character. I know the family must have felt overwhelmed by the show of support they received this difficult morning. I could see their brimming eyes watching as the lines of their friends filed forward to receive communion and a blessing from the priest. I could see in their faces how much it meant to see friend after friend pass by their pew as they knelt. It seems that when people are dealt a death, the bodily presence of friends and loved ones is a primary and vital source of comfort. It was heartfelt love poured out on them from all directions which won't heal their pain, but will divinely console their brokenness at least for today. May God bless and cradle my friends in the coming days with His love and mercy, and everlasting tenderness. Amen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Popcorn's Preview

Last night we did dinner and a movie. We went to see Vantage Point. It was entertaining to all of us. I like a fast paced flick, which it was. It was a fun way to spend a spring break evening. If I were going to rate it on a popcorn scale I would give 3 out of 5 kernels.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Popcorn's Palm Sunday

I have to report that yesterday was a lovely day. I was able to sit in the choir loft at church and look out into the congregation and see all three of my beloved children sitting there staring back at me. The Pastor's sermon was insightful, as always. Mr. Popcorn's Sunday School lesson was especially good. Then lunch afterwards with the family was fun at a cozy table at one of our favorite restaurants. It just doesn't get any better.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Popcorn's Profession

I received this in an e mail today... Jeff Foxworthy's list How to Know if You are a Teacher. I had to laugh because it's darn accurate...

1.You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
2. You get a secret thrill out of laminating something.
3. You walk into a store and hear the words "It's Ms/Mr. _________" and know you have been spotted.
4. You have 25 people that accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under twenty-five minutes.
6. You've trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day: lunch and prep period .
7. You start saving other people's trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
8. You believe the teachers' lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
9. You want to slap the next person who says "Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off."
10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
11. You can tell if it's a full moon without ever looking outside.
12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says "Boy,the kids sure are mellow today."
13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
14. You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
15. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
16. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
17. You can't pass the school supply aisle without getting at least five items!
18. You ask your friends if the left hand turn he just made was a "good choice or a bad choice."
19. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
20. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer and finally,
21. You understand instantaneously why a child behaves a certain way after meeting his or her parents. (as a parent, this one makes me nervous because as a teacher I know how true it is!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Perplexed Popcorn: Synchronicity

Have you ever been unfamiliar with a car, a word, a phrase, a person, a t.v. show, a whatever... and then the minute you are introduced to it that is all you hear, see, or notice for the next few weeks??? Or perhaps you can't get someone off your mind. A friend that you don't hear from or talk to very often...then all of a sudden there is a message on your answering machine from them or someone connected to them. Or perhaps on your birthday you dream about someone that has meant a great deal to you and for whatever reason you've lost contact with them. Then before you turn around you see them at the grocery store. Another way it happens is when you randomly run into people whose only connection with you is a mutual friend that you share. You run into two or three individuals that cause you to think about that mutual friend several different times over the course of a few days or even weeks. The next thing you know, the actual friend you've had brought to your mind will call you, or you'll see them at a restaurant "coincindently". Coinkidink? I don't think so. This is evidence that what we see going on around us is not all there is unfolding. There seems to be so much more. A series of encounters that oldest popcorn daughter and I had this week has this whole synchronicity thing on my mind. It made me realize the precision timing required for this kind of chance encounter to occur transcends random commonalities in our schedules. We ran into an old friend of hers at Walgreen's. They chatted for a few minutes and then we left. She asked if he was "still dating so and so?" I said that "No, he doesn't date her, blah-de-blah does." "Oh" she said and that was the end of it...we thought. We drove to Target, and as we were searching for a parking place, daughter points and says, "Isn't that so and so's mom???" Yes, indeed it was the girl's mom that we had just been discussing only a parking lot away. This oddly happening after several years of not discussing these people with each other! The only thing I can think to do when something this jaw dropping happens is immediately pray for these individuals who have clearly been put in front of me for a reason. The timing is too perfect to ignore. Perhaps their guardian angels are synchronizing their footsteps with ours to prompt prayers for God's extra loving care for that moment. Is it possible that a situation in their life needs immediate prayer from us? Or is the other way around? Perhaps we're the one in need of prayer. Who knows? Do things like this happen to you? Next time it does, take a second to offer a little prayer for these angels unaware. Hopefully, they're returning the favor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Popcorn's Princess Part II

She'll be home tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Popcorn's Parley

One of the many interesting (and beloved) things I find about marriage is the never ending and on going discussions between a husband and wife that overlap daily life. Those topics my husband and I banter about in between the going to work, the taking kids to school, the bill paying, the church-going, the meetings, the endless errands of existence. It is a very private thing between us. We talk about things in a way we would never talk to other people in the ultra safe environment of the marital conversation "vault", to quote Seinfeld's George. We might bring something up at lunch on Monday, and not pick it up again 'til dinner Thursday. No intro to the conversation is needed, we just start chattering about it again and we know right where we left off. Some topics have gone on for years! Can you believe that? If we are out in public and something happens or a comment is made that reminds us of a recent topic, we catch each other's eyes and grin. No words needed, we "hear" what the other one is thinking by virtue of years and years of conversational closeness. Marriage has countless behind the scenes layers, this is just one of the treasured many.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Popcorn's Praise Team

I have the privilege of singing on a praise team at my church on Sundays. I sing with six other people, Mr. Popcorn being one of them. My dear friend Super Churchlady is also a singer on our team.We are team "B". There are two other teams that we alternate Sundays with. We all spread out across the stage and help lead the "sets" of worship songs for our congregation. I love this opportunity to minister because I love to worship through song. But the other reason I love it because I love to watch the faces of the congregants as they participate in that part of the service. Each person participates in varying degrees within their own comfort zones. Some are sort of inhibited and barely open their mouths, others throw themselves wholly into the moment and even lift their arms to the heavens. It is sort of a commentary on how different personalities "do life". Some people live with gusto, throwing caution and inhibitions to the wind. Others are content to live within the confines of strictly imposed boundaries. But here's the thing. They are there. They are in church at the end of the week, stopping to offer up praises to God in their own way. For me, standing there singing with all I've got at the end of a long (sometimes grueling) week is confirming for my soul. It confirms for me that no matter what took place during the course of my week, I am going to praise God. If my week was filled with fun and frolic, I will stand and praise Him. If my week was filled with heinousness and heartache, still I will hold that microphone and belt out praises from the depth of my soul. It centers me and realigns my perspective. It serves as a big heaping dose of just the medicine I need to inoculate me for whatever comes down the pike of life.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Popcorn's Pad

I love my house, my home, my sanctuary. I love to take my son to school, and come back
home. I like to take the dogs for a walk, then come back home. Run, come home. I like to have whole days where I never even leave the house. I like to drink my a.m. coffee here, have a bite of lunch at the kitchen island, and then eat dinner right here in my breakfast room. I like every chore associated with this place. I enjoy the cleaning and polishing and decorating. The scrubbing, the sorting out, the organizing. I like folding warm, fluffy, white towels and stacking them in the bathrooms. I like lighting candles in the morning and turning on nice music as a backdrop for my daily piddling. I love days like today when howling winds and rain drop the temperature and the windows frost over and I have no place to be but here, at home. When we leave on vacation, while I enjoy myself wholeheartedly, I am always so happy to get back home. Home to my own bed, my own bath, my own nest. It is here that I find comfy, cozy, contentment.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Patience Please Popcorn

Overall, I am a patient soul. Truly. However, here are some things that make me impatient:

1. Drivers making right turns into parking lots at -0 mph
2. TV watching on a pretty Sat. afternoon (or any day of week)
3. When my printer won't print
4. When my kids procrastinate concerning school projects because I'm the one at the 24 hour Walgreen's getting the poster board
Patience is a "fruit" or evidence that the Holy Spirit is in control of your life. It is an extension of grace to people and situations around you. It is not honking at the car in front of you if she is digging in her purse and doesn't notice the light is red.(be sure to wave because it is probably me.) It is not getting your feelings hurt at a passing remark. It is cutting someone some slack. It is realizing that most of the time what you think was intentional, wasn't. It is gifting someone with the benefit of the doubt. Patience eliminates the need to hold people accountable for every emotional nuance that momentarily stings or annoys. It is a facet of love in action and a refreshing release from the slavery of salving the constant needs of self.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Popcorn's Pooped!

In my world Sunday is NOT a day of rest. Not the front end at least. At the Popcorn house in the a.m. on the Lord's day, you better get outa' the way. Coffee is perkin', alarm clocks a'ringin, and hot rollers are cookin'. You'll find Mr. Popcorn's Bible opened on the dining room table strewn with highlighters and papers with scriptures scribbled in the margins. If you ask the three kernals about Sunday morning memories as little kiddos, I'm not sure they would fall under fairytale. I get sort of cranky when all five of us have to get cleaned up and out the door at the same time early. But the thing is, we have always been glad we made the effort. If Friday night was busy, and you're tired, get over it. If Saturday night was filled with hoopla and you're weary, too bad. Because come Sunday morn, you know where you're goin' and it's not back to sleep.