Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pumpkins Guarding My Front Porch

Driving home from the Y this afternoon, my main plans were to get the piles of clean laundry up off my floor and to make supper before Heather came over for our wives' Bible study later on tonight. Seeing the awesome autumn leaves swirl across the highways, though, suddenly made me want to pull over and walk into a forest to be surrounded by falling leaves. My kids liked that idea, but were slightly disheartened--thinking that we might get pumpkins and carve them instead.

Stopping at the local hardware store, we paid for and chose four medium-sized pumpkins that had good face possibilities. "We have pumpkins!" my kids cheered excitedly to Dad as we got home. "Come decorate your pumpkin!"

We had a blast. It was a little too windy to carve them outdoors (our plastic bags kept blowing away), so we carved them at the kitchen table.We loved it, and talked about what a cool family time it was!

Now the pumpkins stand silent and dark, guarding our front steps. The candles, we'll add later as the wind dies down.

Hours later, Heather and I had a really nice time, learning and praying together as well. Have you ever read "The Power of a Praying Wife"? I recommend it for all marriages.

How are you all? What were you doing on this sunny, windy day?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Dad: A Terrorist or A Spy?!

What? A terrorist or a spy? No. My dad is a missionary, but on his way to Ghana this month, he was detained at our local airport for an hour and a half. Looking at his passport, the officials studied his photo nervously, noting that the photo was cut crooked and didn't have the clear covering over it. "Is this you?" they asked. "Did you put the photo on here yourself?"

"Yes, it's me. No, of course, I didn't put the photo on there myself. This is my passport that I've used for years. See all the places it's been stamped at?" my dad asked, hoping that would alleviate fears.

"Yes, we were going to ask you about that," the officials inquired suspiciously. "Why have you been to so many African countries?"

My dad explained some more about who he is and what he does. They had him roped off in a little square cordoned area for a while, as they emptied his suitcases and searched through every item, meticulously. Eventually another more senior official came over and looked at my dad's passport. "Oh, no, it's fine," he assured the other officials. "That's just the old style of passport," he told them calmly. "He's fine, let him go."

Re-packing his things again, my dad vowed silently that new passports were the first thing he and my mom would work on once back in the states.

--Thankful for our country's security, and laughing sympathetically at my poor dad's adventures, I'm glad he's home safe. Yes, he's a black belt in karate. Yes, he's had amazing adventures and been held at gunpoint several times before... but he's still my dad. I'm proud of him, and I love him.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quiet Music, Quiet House

Sleepy. Tired. Good junior high retreat this weekend. Came home Sun.evening, left to race to the airport for a quick pick up, home. Sleep. Work this morning.

Quiet music. Quiet house. Recuperating. Life's good.

Beautiful rust-colored fall leaves; damp, cold rainy day makes scarves and turtlenecks cozy. Red blanket spread invitingly across my couch by my daughter. "Doesn't it look nice, Mom?" she beams proudly. I hug her, hug my son, and hang out with my man.

Quiet music. Quiet house. Recuperating. Life's good.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Our New Little Nephew From South Korea

We met our Korean little nephew on Wednesday! A whole group of excited extended family met at our house from around the state. Then piling into several vehicles, most of us raced down to the airport. My daughter's excitement to meet her new cousin Jack was overwhelming to her, and her small cardboard cup of chai tea that Grandpa had bought for her kept splashing small drops onto Grandpa's upholstery. (Aiye!)

At the airport, we parked and waited at the bottom of the glass doors, watching each pair of feet descend. Trying to guess who was family by their shoes and pant legs coming into view by the escalator is very interesting, but the minutes scraped slowly by. My daughter held a "It's a Boy!" mylar balloon. My son had had two balloons also but passed them on to me as his excitement grew too much. Squatting down on the floor, he stared pensively up at the escalators behind the security glass.

Then suddenly, yells, cries of delight, hugs, tears, and little Jack was here. My sister in law, brother in law, and two nieces looked exhausted and jet lagged, but happy. And hanging from a shoulder-carrier on my sister in law, was our adorable, chubby, little 9 month old nephew. Thick round jowels, his mouth slack and open in his deep sleep; long dark hair soft under our hands. He was dressed in a blue hoody sweatpants outfit. My sister in law started to cry happily. "I didn't cry a lot earlier," she laughed. "I'm not sure why I'm crying now."

Later in the car ride back to our house to hang out with more family for the day, my nephew woke up. Not recognizing our English, he liked hearing his own Korean name. So, striving to pronounce it right, I said his name over and over to him, watching him smile in recognition and delight.

I got to hold him later. His thick, round thighs and legs were wonderful! "You can't really see his knee caps," laughed my son proudly. John seems to be able to make Jack laugh. That Thursday morning, we four adults woke up to the sound of children giggling and laughing. Walking groggily into the living room, I saw the four older kids crowded around our littlest Korean family member. Pretending to sneeze, John and the other kids were sending Jack into gales of laughter. We watched quietly, eager to capture this moment in our memories....

Monday, October 1, 2007

This is my brother and sister as we rock-climbed for the day at a nearby cliff over the river. It was a beautiful fall day. Soon my green sweater peeled off to the short sleeved shirt underneath.

I think of my brother now, a week after he's gone. I miss him already. I wish he lived closer to all of us. It is a rare thing to capture him smiling on camera these last few years. That picture we're sure is worth a million points!