Monday, April 30, 2012

Z- Dear Zachary

You have just turned 10 years old. What you don't know is that we have kept a record of many of the funny things that you have said over the years.  Emily has chronicled many of them on her phone and facebook. 

Zachary: "When I was born, my head was with my neck."

Me: "I like the Ewoks"
Zachary: "oh, that's what they're called!! they look like teddy bears!!"
Me: "yeah, they're cute"
Zachary: "but they speak spanish..."

Zachary: My favorite is yellow. I cry just thinking about it.

Zachary: One time I took a nap on my legos. When I woke up they were all stuck to my back!

Emily: The tongue is the strongest muscle in your body.
Zachary: No, your butt is!

Zachary: (Sucks in his belly and counts his ribs) "one, two, three, four, five, six.... six and six is eight!"  (We laugh!)  "Oh it's twelve, I mathed it."

We love you Zachary! Here's hoping that just because you have left the single digits behind you will continue to make us smile.  I'm pretty sure you will.   :)

Auntie Linda

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y- Dear yellow car,

A mustard yellow nova. I'm sure the sticker (when you were new) said something like "golden rod", but you were mustardy, that's all there is to it. You were my mom's car, and I think 4 of the 5 of us learned how to drive at your wheel.
You couldn't quite make it through the 5th teenager. and I've always felt like it was my fault.

In all the years that you belonged to our family, you never had a dent or a scratch... until me. On my way to my first teaching interview, I stopped to visit a friend. I was just stopping to say hi because I was quite early for the interview and she lived right near the school.

As I was leaving her driveway, I did a u-turn in the street. All of a sudden, I heard this excruciating (Interrupting the story to say, that since yesterday's post I am noticing a lot of words I use have an "x" in them!)  loud noise- a horn blaring down on me from just a few yards away. She hit your right front fender and knocked a nasty dent into your lovely yellow paint.

Such a sad day. I called my mom and told her. She wasn't very happy about it, but glad that I was okay.
On the plus side, I made it to my interview and even got the job! (I think the principal was impressed with my ability to stay calm and focused after just having had an accident!)

But here's the confession, little car. You know how first (and sometimes only!) impressions are very important? I have to say that I didn't make a very good one on the girl from the other car  who was involved in the accident.

See, for years I had been trying to break a habit that a picked up in middle school (actually practiced in middle school because I thought it was cool). I was trying not to swear anymore.  Now I had gotten pretty good with it, (going to a Christian college had certainly helped!) but something about the shock of the accident brought it all back to me in spades. That poor girl heard more in the first few minutes than I had said in the last few years! Now, let me just say, I was not aiming these horrid gems her way, just tossing them out in general.
She finally looked at me and told me she didn't appreciate the language and would I please stop.

Even more awkward when I found out that our families knew each other.
I stopped.

And honestly, her comment did more for my rehabilitation than anything else I had tried.

I really remember this quite vividly for having happened almost 30 years ago. I truly hope that girl doesn't remember quite so well. ("No way, Linda? She's a children's pastor? with that foul mouth?")

So anyway, (I did digress, didn't I?) little yellow car, because of the accident, you were never quite the same after that and my little sister, Cindy, did not get to sit behind the wheel of the car that we had owned since she was born.  Just a year before she could drive, we had to say good-bye to our faithful ride.

So, the end of this post, little car, is a sincere apology to you, Cindy, and the girl in the other car.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Dear "X",

You my friend, have gotten sort of a bum rap these last few decades. Your lovely symetrical shape has been associated with some not so good experiences in our lives:

Teachers use you to show students which questions they get wrong, using a blood colored pen for emphasis. I don't know why they do this. Surely a light blue or green ink would soften the blow.

You are what they call the spouses that are not longer spouses. Many try to "x" out that part of their lives that didn't work out exactly as they planned.

Your sound starts nasty words like eXam and X-ray. Two words that I personally, would like to stay away from.

But there is good in you.

All those X's and O's that mean hugs and kisses... (how did that get started, I wonder?)

and  memories of games of tic tac toes on the back of church bulletins (or the "dots" game- that was fun too!- but that has nothing to do with you. :) )

And best of all , from the time we are tiny, dreaming of pirates and princesses, you capture our imagination.

You mark the spot where treasure lies.         X


Thursday, April 26, 2012

W-Dear Wayne,

You surely already know how much I respect you and love you and credit you with so much of what is good in my life. I talk about you and Debbie often and think of you  even more.
You were my youth pastor. You made it all real for me.
You took me on my first foreign missions trip (to the Dominican Republic!)
You married me.  Well, wait, you didn't marry me... you were in charge of marrying Gregg and me. 
You encouraged me.
You challenged me.

If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have gone to Eastern College ("University" now). If I hadn't gone to Eastern, I wouldn't have met Sharon, Kevin, Stephen, Jet, or Amy. If I hadn't met Sharon, I wouldn't have met Scott. If I hadn't met Scott, I wouldn't have met Gary. If I hadn't met Gary, I wouldn't have met Gregg. If I hadn't met Gregg, you wouldn't have officiated at my wedding! 

If I hadn't met Gregg, I wouldn't have met Tammy. If I hadn't met Tammy, I wouldn't have met Kim. If I hadn't met Kim, I wouldn't have been able to work in an awesome Christian group home for two years.

If I hadn't worked in the group home, I wouldn't have met Chuck and Marliss. If I hadn't met Chuck and Marliss, I wouldn't have worked at a Christian social work agency.

If I hadn't worked at the social work agency, I wouldn't have met the foster mom who made my wedding cake and flowers for free!

If I hadn't met Gregg, I wouldn't have moved to North Carolina. If I hadn't moved to North Carolina, I wouldn't have become Children's Pastor at one of the best churches in the world!

If I hadn't become Children's Pastor at one of the best churches in the world, I wouldn't have met all of the absolutely fabulous people that are some of my closest friends.

If I hadn't become Children's Pastor at one of the best churches in the world, I wouldn't have become the children's Pastor of another one of the best churches in the world.

And there you have it.  The 12 degrees of separation that take me from youth group in the 70's right to the here and now.   :)

Thanks for being there when I needed you!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V- Dear Valentine,

I don't like your day very much. In fact, it is my second least favorite holiday on the whole calendar. It's not because I have had lots of your days with no beau... there have been very few of your special days that I have been alone. (And I actually enjoyed those!)
Here's the thing. It's too much pressure. Too much expectation. Even after being married for 22 1/2 years to the same man, I don't know what to get him. It can't be too expensive, cuz he's a gotta get a deal kind of guy. It can't be clothes because he picks out his own. It can't be candy, cuz he's trying to lose some weight...and I don't think he probably wants flowers...

When I was dating, it was almost like playing russian roulette. My gift to "him" (whoever "him" was at the time) had to be of the same emotional and monetary value of the one I was about to receive. Who needs that pressure?!

I think the elementary kids have the right idea: let's hand out a little "be my valentine" card with a lollipop attached and leave it at that.  If we could do that, Valentine, that would make me love you more.


Monday, April 23, 2012

U- Dear Uncle George,

I can never in a single letter say how much you and Aunt Cynthia have meant to our family. I mean if it weren't for you two, the five of us children  wouldn't even be here!

Mom and Dad met at the rehearsal dinner for your wedding. The story  is that my dad had a date for the evening but that after he met mom, he took the date home early and then came back to the party to hang out with her. what a great romantic beginning!  A year and a half later they were married. And as soon as we started being born, You became our Uncle George and Aunt Cynthia.

I have so many memories of our families together. Birthday parties, picnics at the swimming pool, puppies, puppies, and more puppies.

But I digress. There are some "just you and I" moments.

You taught me how to play chess. I love how you showed me how to move the pieces and immediately, we played. I think the most common phrase I heard during those first few games was "Are you sure you want to do that?" I'd take the piece back and try again... and again... and again.  I'll never forget the first time we had a stalemate. I was ecstatic. (I never did win a game though, did it?)

There were two pieces of advice that you gave me other the years that have done me more good than just about anything else anyone has ever told me. the first was when I got my first job as a teacher. You told me that a lot of people try to impress the principal and board members but that the most important people to be friendly toward were the school secretary and the janitor. these were the people that get things done.  You were absolutely right!

The second piece of advice was to to use two phrases to keep the peace. the first was "yes, dear" and the other was "really?" (when someone is complaining over and over and wanting you to get all riled up along with them)  Over the years, I saw you used these techniques over and over.  You were a great peacemaker!

Uncle George, I miss you.


T- Dear Tumnus,

I'm so glad that you didn't die when the white witch froze you.



(To my A-Z cronies: I know this is short. But I have too much to do and besides... I really am glad Tumnus didn't die!)

S- Undear Satan,

Let's get a few things straight.

1. You WILL NOT  get my marriage.
2. You WILL NOT get my family.
3. You are already defeated by my Jesus!
4. I might mess up an awful lot, but I belong to Jesus, and I am FORGIVEN!!!



Friday, April 20, 2012

R- Dear Remmy,

We met you even before we moved into our new home. Wanting to show us that our new neighborhood was a friendly one, your short little legs carried your tiny body through the  strip of woods that separates our houses. We  watched you come across the meadow, making your way through the tall weeds. We could barely see the top of your blond head as you scampered our way. You were adorable as only the young can be.

Once we moved in you visited with us almost every day.  Every time we saw your happy countenance we smiled and  felt at home.

You are 4 years older now. You've been through a lot. I'll never forget the day that the mayor of our tiny town came to our door and said that you had been hit by a car right in front of our house. I raced down to the edge of the road, and there you were sitting there obviously in pain, but still with that smile on your face. When they put you in the car to go to the doctor, you seemed so hurt that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to see you on this side of heaven again.

Fortunately, I was wrong. the doctor took really good care of you and you are back to your old routine of visiting us through that same meadow.  You waddle now instead of scamper, and you've gained a bit of weight. and I must say it's a little comical to see a lab without a tail (the results of the car accident) but you manage to show your pleasure at seeing us by wagging your entire body.

My favorite thing about you is that you show up at every event that we have at our house, especially the bonfires. (Our friends think you belong to us!) You love hanging out with all of our friends and you especially love eating all of the burnt hotdogs and sneaking' the chips off of unsuspecting teenagers' plates !

Your owners will be moving in the next few months and we will miss you.  I just wanted to say thank you for being on the welcoming committee and making us feel like a special part of the community.

Live long and prosper, Remmy.  And watch out for those cars.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Q- Dear Quiet One,

If you are quiet because your spirit is at peace and you are content with what is going on around you- It is good.

But if you are quiet because you are afraid to speak out, fearing that the words won't come out quite right, or that you don't understand exactly what is being talked about; that you might make an unintelligent blunder... that someone might laugh at something you say (that isn't really supposed to be funny) or even worse, respond sarcastically, please, please, please, listen to me.

 Everyone (and really I do mean everyone!) that you are talking to has had moments when words don't come out right and when they are embarrassed about something that came out of their own mouths. I personally have about 10 comments a day that I wish I could retract. (Maybe there is something to be said for keeping your thoughts to yourself).  :)

But you have so much to offer!  The people around you don't realize the depth of your feelings, the passion that you have for life and love. The lyrics to the songs and poems you write often bring me to tears. I want others to know how absolutely amazing you are. I think that because you are so quiet, people don't know the real you.

And yet, they do. They'll come and tell me of your sweet spirit and your gentle smile, and your silent laughter when  you think something is funny. They tell me you are brave when you share your soul through your writing. They say that your faith in God is inspiring.

And "they" are right.  It is good.  I love you, quiet one!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

P- Dear Philip,

I no longer have a little one at home and I miss the openness and honesty that comes along with having a four year old around. Your mom has shared some of those great quotes over the last few months.

 You are one very funny dude!

Philip: Mammals have hair. People who don't have hair are reptiles.

Phillip: Spaghetti is healthy if you eat it with a fork. It's bad for you if you eat it with your fingers.

Philip: I can spell gps. G-P-P-S

Mom: Are you sure it has 2 p's?

Philip: Words always have more letters than you think.

Philip: Mommy, who's the Arthur of this book?

Philip: Daddy, I can't see my eyes.

Philip: Mommy, that basket of clothes got knocked over by no one. No one did it. Not ever. Not me. (This is especially funny because of my "n" post.) 

thanks for making me smile, Philip. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

O- Dear Oak Hill Road,

Strange to write a letter to a road isn't it? But when I start to go down memory lane (excuse the pun) I can't help but think of you.
At one end is the bus stop, near enough to our home that on a cold winter morning, we could wait inside our kitchen door until we saw the bus pulling up to the neighbor's carport. (It also helped that we knew the bus driver, Mrs. Sponsler, a friend of the family's. If we weren't waiting outside, she would actually honk the horn and wait for a few minutes. ) At the other end (okay, not really the end, but as far as I was allowed to go in my elementary and middle school years) was Sam Jones' house. In between those two points was my world.

Winding around the first corner, on my lime green banana seat bike, there was McLain's, the best place in the whole neighborhood to go sledding. They had a fabulous hill in their front yard. We would spend hours torpedoing down the icy slopes and trudging back up again.  And when our limbs were frozen solid, we would shiver our way into the house, warm our hands by the big fireplace and sip delicious hot chocolate.

Next was Stoners'. They had a pool, an irish setter, a doctor for a dad, and a teeny tiny grandma named "mimi". We played lots of cards,  and spent hours playing board games like Life and Risk.  I remember listening to album after album of Jim Croce and Cheech and Chong. (I'm sure there were others too....) And in their basement (which was very cool because our old house didn't have a basement!) was where I learned my infamous ping pong serve.

On the other side of you, (You thought I forgot that I was talking to a road, didn't you?!) there were the Staz's and the Stevens. My first babysitting jobs were with those families- It all seems like it was just yesterday, but those babies already have babies... Where does the time go?

But the best place of all, at the end of  you, road, was Jones' farm....

And that is a story for another post.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

N- Dear Nobody,

Carly Simon says You do it better.

Louis Armstrong says You know the troubles I've seen

Whitney Houston says you don't love me like he does

and finally, Igor from Young Frankenstein) says I ain't got you!

And at my house it seems, you are a very busy "body":
Who did the dishes? Nobody.
Who fed the dog? Nobody.
Who took the trash out?  that's right. Nobody.
Who spilled that drink? Nobody.
Who put that dent in the fender... Nobody.
Who left the garage door open? Nobody again.

Normally, I'd end a letter with some sort of phrase like "Thanks for all you do", but... well... you know, If I were to write that....

Nobody would sign it.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

M- Dear Marliss,

I am sooooo happy for you! You are proof to me that the tapestry of life is a glorious one.  I've never doubted that God's side of the cloth is magnificent, but the way that he has woven the last few years of your life has convinced me that the knots and stitches on this side have a beauty all of their own.

A number of years ago, you lost your beloved Chuck. You were such an amazing couple. There was no question at all that you were best friends.  I remember telling my hubby that I couldn't imagine separating your names- you were always "Chuck and Marliss". Together in everything.

I watched you trust God through the next few years. I can't even pretend to know what you were going through, but I know there were a lot of lonely times. Friends and family were there for you, and you just hung in there, choosing to remain faithful to the One who has all of the answers.

Then you had more bad news. One of your closest friends had cancer. You prayed, and loved, and comforted their family through it all, and all too soon,  (in our opinion) Susan went to be with Jesus.

During the next year you were there for John in his grief. Since you had so recently been through the same type of loss, you were able to help  him begin to walk through those tough waters of sorrow toward healing. (In fact I think you are still helping each other.)

Then somewhere along the way, that friendship turned into something more. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during that first tentative "could this be more?" conversation.

Now you are Mr. and Mrs.  I thought it would be a little bit strange when I saw you together as a couple, but it wasn't. It was natural, it was good. it was right.

Congratulations to both of you.

I love you both!


Friday, April 13, 2012

L: Dear Lord,

This A-Z challenge has been a little more challenging than I thought it would be. I'm kind of tired of being nostalgic and looking backward at all those memories and writing about things in the past that I can't change. So today, I'm taking a break. Today, I want to talk you, Lord, about... whatever.

It's even pretty cool that I can do that, you know? Talking to the One who created the Universe? Amazing! 

But even more amazing is the fact that you listen! I can talk about everything that happens in my puny unimportant day, and it's important to you just because it's important to me. Incredible.

And since we are chatting and Easter is still fresh on my mind,, let me just say thanks. Thanks for caring enough about our relationship to send your Son to repair it.  There isn't a word in the English language to express my appreciation for that miraculous plan. 

So I guess for today, I'll stop trying to find one.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

K- Dear ....

Okay, I have a question: Can I pass on a letter? This one is bound to get me in trouble... I have way too many friends whose name starts with "K" and they all deserve a letter. But that's not really the reason that I want to pass.

There is a particular person that I would love to write to. But the subject matter is way too intense for a blog letter. Even if I changed her name (But made sure it still started with a "k" of course), she would know and be horrified that a a very devastating part of her life was written about and  read by hundreds (okay, tens) of people.

But if I were going to write it, I would tell her how sorry I was that the event happened. Everyone that knows about it knows that it wasn't her fault. It really is one of those things that "just happened" and it really stinks that she was involved. Mostly I would say that I was sorry that I wasn't the friend I needed to be at the time.

That's all. "K" is not a happy letter.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

J- Dear John,

I have a photograph of you hanging in my hallway. It is from around 1900 when you were about 25 years of age. You look so dapper with your handlebar mustache and your gentle eyes. (My brother has those same eyes.)

Oh how you fascinate me! My grandfather. My mother's father. You died when she was twelve.She often spoke about how much you loved her. She worshiped you as many young daughters worship their dads.

 I  have one of your last gifts to her - a beautiful Snow White doll. She treasured it. And so do I. I have passed it on to my daughter, your great granddaughter, Emily.

You are a mystery to us. Only one generation removed, yet we barely know anything about you. Mom didn't really talk much about herself anyway, and when asked, confessed that she really didn't know much about your life. Curious.

Here's what we do know:
You were 23 years older than Grandma.
You had been married (and then divorced) before.
You were gassed in World War I and it affected your health for the rest of your life.
You owned a watch repair shop... (I think. Mom wasn't quite sure about that. She once mentioned that she thought maybe you did something secretive for the government. )
When you died, Grandma took in other people's laundry to make enough money to raise your 4 girls.
You left a trust fund that allowed my mom to go to college.

That's about it.
 I just realized that I have never seen a picture of you other than the one hanging in my hallway.
Curiouser and curiouser.

I wish I knew more.


Monday, April 9, 2012

I- Dear Isaiah, Ian, (and Eli too!)

You three are awesome! I love watching you grow up! I'm so blessed to be your Children's Pastor. I see God already working in your lives! I can't wait to see all He has planned for you.

I wanted to talk to you about something very important- something you sort of already know. You are "PK'"s, (youth) pastor's kids. It's a really great thing to be. You get to have a lot of great experiences- ski trips, missions trips, special youth activities, meeting important people, hanging out with teens when you're only 8 years old... it's really a pretty cool life.

There can be a few tough things too. Sometimes you'll feel like you are under a microscope. People might expect you to be pretty close to perfect because you're the children of close to perfect people.. (That's how some people think toward anyone that's in the ministry... but you know- We're just ordinary people that love Jesus!)

You'll probably be at church a lot... a whole lot.  but that's not a bad thing. It can be like a second home. My kids have always enjoyed it. Even now, they take every chance they can to be at church (even when I'm not there!). I Love that!

Here's what I want to tell you;
Don't be afraid to be yourself. All three of you are amazing! Each of you has their own gifts and talents that God has given you.

Smile and forgive those that try to make you conform to what they think you should be.

Love God, Obey your parents, and love your neighbor... that's pretty much the gospel in 9 easy words...
but you know that, you're a PK!

Pastor Linda

H- Dear Mrs. Harmon,

So many times in my life, people have asked what teacher influenced me more than any other. My answer is immediate and certain- Mrs. Harmon, 6th grade, Mount Zion Elementary.

I was 11 and you were 110. Okay, actually you were probably in your early 40's but I thought you were ancient. The first few days of school, you were super strict and I thought that the year was going to be horrible!

but then, something happened. You asked us to write. We wrote... a lot.  One assignment in particular was to write as if we were an inanimate object in the classroom. I don't actually remember what I wrote about that day, but I remember Eric Morris stood up in front of the classroom and talked about being an eraser! (Why I remember that, I have no idea!) I truly believe my love for writing began in your classroom.

We had "club time" in your classroom. You allowed us to create a Nancy Drew Mystery Club and even created some mysteries for us to solve. We had a Shakespeare club and read MacBeth out loud (The only way anyone should read Shakespeare!) You even allowed us to have a Bible club! You were so creative in your teaching, that we didn't even know we were learning!

We created a nature trail behind the school, slashing and slicing through the woody underbrush. We also put together a jump roping show and did tricks to the "popcorn song" and to The Lion Sleeps tonight".

I love the fact that we didn't lose track of each other through the years. I visited your classroom a few times, saw you at some art shows, and we corresponded back and forth through the mail occasionally.  You began to sign your letters, "love, Joan", but I could never quite convince myself to ever call you anything but Mrs. Harmon. :)

I know that I have told you this before, but I need to tell you again... you made a difference in my life, a big difference. Thank you for feeding the creative spark that you saw in me. thank you for pushing for excellence, and thank you for encouraging me, even when that excellence wasn't quite there.


Friday, April 6, 2012

G- Dear Gregg,

Who else could be my "G"?

 It has to be you.

The one who fixes my car, and changes my oil, takes stubborn stains out of the carpet and tills the garden. The one who stops to buy the milk that I forgot to buy, puts up the volleyball net, and makes  delicious dinners on Sundays.
The one who cleans (I mean really cleans!) the toilet bowl and helps to de-flea the dogs.
 The one who takes me for lobster at least once a year and who still wows me when he sings.
 The one who drives for hours and hours on  our cross country trips, cleans the tile in the shower, washes the cars, does the taxes, records Survivor, and teaches our teens how to drive a stick shift.
 The one who buys me flowers "just because".
The one who mows the hard to get spots on our lawn, loves Jesus with his whole heart, and makes some awesome stir-fry.

 You're my kind of guy.

I love you.


Yay! I finally hit my 100th post!

That's all. I just wanted you to know... (I'm not the most prolific writer. It has taken me a year and nine months to reach this goal.)

Now back to A-Z... :)

F- Dear Frank,

I just want you to know that in real life, I never would have called you "Frank" but I seem to be having the same trouble I had last year in the A-Z challenge with the letter "F". Last year I was doing biblical names and couldn't think of any. This year, there just aren't that many "F" names in my past to write a letter to. So instead of "G" for grandpa, you are Frank.

 You were Grandpa Rice...not a flesh and blood grandpa, but real all the same.  Since both my "real" grandpas had died (One 21 years before I was born and one when I was six months old), you were it.

I was both intimidated and fascinated by you.

Your word was law. At least it seemed that way to me at the time. We would come to visit you at your country home (Bleak House- named after the novel) and we would visit outside on the porch or sit (carefully) on the grassy hill.
We were not, I repeat, we were not allowed to stretch our small bodies out and roll down that hill. You had spent many hours working on the Bleak house lawn and you were not about to have busy little bodies messing up your work.  So of course, we rolled. We would wait until you were deep in conversation with our dad, and we would roll , quickly, down the small knoll. If we glanced over to the porch we could see our mom trying to hide a smile while she motioned for us to stop "misbehaving".

You were so thin and your legs stretched on for miles. When you sat on our livingroom couch, you would cross your right leg over your left and then tuck your right foot under your left calf. It  looked like your legs were braided together!

You called me Harry. the actual nickname was Happy Hairy. I just want to say right now, thank you for changing the spelling to "Harry" on all of my Christmas and birthday cards. :)

The last time I saw you, you were in a nursing home. I snuck some kittens in to show you. (I don't know if you were an animal lover or not, but I think you liked the idea that I snuck them in.) It was the only time in our relationship where we spoke of spiritual things. I don't remember exactly what I said, except that I spoke about Jesus and heaven and my faith. Your response was "I wish I could be so sure."  I wish that I had stayed longer that day and maybe helped you along that path to assurance.

There is so much more I could write. Williamsburg trips, England trips, your relationship with my dad, your struggle with alcohol, you rmarriage with Grandma (whom you called "Pot".- What was it with all the strange nicknames?), your love of knowledge... You deserve more than just a short A-Z post.

 I think  I'll revisit you in May. :)

Love you,



Thursday, April 5, 2012

D and E- Dear Dee and Eileen

Middle school is a tough time for just about everyone in the world, but the  trio of friendship that we had in place helped us slide through it relatively unscathed.

Middle school was called "Jr. High" then (I'm showing our age, sorry!) and the three of us were together almost all of the time. We survived crushes on science teachers, popularity contests, crushes on ninth graders, geography class (just barely!), and dances where we would try to convince each other to hold the sweaty hands of our 7th grade dates.

Through it all there was two things I was jealous of with both of you...  first was the fact that you both took cathechism classes  (I was baptist- we didn't have anything like that!)  and second, neither one of you used your real first names.  Dee was short for Denise) and Eileen, you used your middle name instead of your first name, Helen.  I have no idea why this was such a big deal. But it was.

It was such a big deal in fact, that I decided to share the secret of my real name. "Linda" was short for "Belinda".

Now, my confession. It has taken me thirty seven years to tell you, I lied.

( I feel so much better now. :)

Looking back, my real question is - why in the world did I pick "Belinda"?? I had the freedom to pick any of the bajillion names in the world, and I pick "Belinda"?  I could have chosen Julie, or Jessica, or Jennifer (the three names I picked most often when I was fantasizing about changing my name) but I chose...

My only excuse is that I was in Middle school- too busy discussing my latest heartthrobs to be a bit more creative. I would say that I'll do better next time, but I'm really not supposed to lie about such things...

My name is Linda. My name is Linda. My name is Linda.  :)

Thanks for being part of those memories.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C- Dear Carl

Just a quick note to say how grateful I am that you are able to be where I can not be. Living sixteen hours from the home place is always a little bit hard, but it feels even worse when critical events are occurring and you can't get "there" in time.

Thank you for taking such good care of Dad these last few years; helping him to adjust to the assisted living place and  helping all of the rest of us adapt to "the new normal".  What a crazy few years it's been.

It's a bit of a minefield, isn't it? And yet, you seem suited to it. Whether it's talking to a nurse about the amount of medicine that Dad is on, or calming sibling misunderstandings, you have the gift of "calm and certain".

 I think it's amazing to me because I remember the chaos of your teen years... Is it okay that I say that? What a difference 35 years makes, eh? :)  (Just a reminder of how old we actually are now!)

You've done well, big brother. You've done well.

I love you.




Monday, April 2, 2012

B - Dearest Ben, You make me smile.

One of my favorite things about you is that you have the ability to surprise your mom, to make her just a little bit unsteady on her parenting feet. The subject today that did it? Baptism. She has been waiting for years for you to say something about wanting to be baptized. She even brought it up over the last few years, expecting you to have some desire to follow through with this ordinance of the church. But she told me every time she brought it up, you basically blew her off. She couldn't figure it out... until today, when you finally told her that you had been baptized " a long time ago at camp."  Seeing as how I was the one to take you to camp, she called me immediately. 'When did this happen?" "Why has no one told me?" she asked.
I had no idea what she was talking about and truthfully you weren't much help. "Some guy with a beard, when I was around 10 years old... in a lake."  At first your mom and I thought it was an April fool's joke. But you were adamant about it.

So I did some investigating. I called up the camp director and asked him if anyone had ever been baptized at camp.  He responded by telling me a story of one particular counselor who had asked to take HIS cabin of boys from HIS church, down to the lake and baptize them.
So Ben, my mind is creating so many scenarios of how you got in that line.  Did you see others in the lake and just want to get wet? Did you sneak in line so that the counselor thought you were one of his kids? I know you loved Jesus even back then. I'm glad you took the initiative and got baptized, but Ben, YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD YOU MOTHER! :)

Anyway, I am very proud of you. As your "ex children's pastor" and friend, I want you to know that I see God doing awesome things in your life. I'm really excited about your upcoming missions trip. I believe that it is the first of many!

Hug your mom for me,

(Ex) Pastor Linda


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A- Dear Angela and Adele

Dear Ang,

 It's pretty appropriate to start my A-Z posts with you, my oldest friend.... I mean... the friend that I've had the longest. We've known each other since we were a year old, almost 50 years!

My first best friend...My earliest memory of "us" is hanging upside down on your swing set singing "I've got six pence, jolly jolly sixpence" and then later, sitting on a tree branch at my house singing "Billy, don't be a hero".  (What's with all the singing?) We were inseparable... until they stuck us in different classrooms in the third grade. (Whose bad idea was that anyway?)

Then in sixth grade, you moved away. In big people terms it wasn't very far away, but we didn't get to see each other very often and we pretty much lost touch  during high school and beyond. I know those years were hard ones for you and I hate that I wasn't there for you. Forgive me, my friend.

Then after college we found each other again! We even lived within just a few blocks of each other for awhile.    I got to be Auntie Linda to your kiddos (especially Stevie whom I shall always love and adore!) I spent many many evenings at your house, playing cards and drinking Pepsi from a coffee mug. :)

We are far away from each other again. (16 hours by car!) but always there will be a connection between us. We share a history. Our lives are very different, and yet always, there is room for each other. A quick phone call, an occasional text, and an even more rare actual visit.  We meet, and immediately all of the years disappear and we are those young children again, inseparable.   Thanks for being that forever friend.

God has blessed my life with you.
You mean the world to me.


Dear Adele, I really, really love your music and the first time I saw you on an awards show, you were amazingly poised. I thought to myself "What a classy young lady." A few days later you were on another show winning even more awards. I guess you spoke a little bit longer than you were supposed to and they cut off the sound to your microphone. And in an impulsive move brought on by the adrenaline of the moment, you flipped your middle finger to the powers that be.

I guess first impressions can be deceiving.