Wilma Learns to Dance

Regular readers know about my mother-in-law Wilma and the crazy situations she finds herself in.  It’s kind of like watching an episode of I Love Lucy where she and I invariably end up playing Lucy and Ethel.

Take a gander at the picture below…  See if you can figure this one out.


Is it 1988?

So here goes my legitimate attempt at an explanation.

Wilma is going to be part of a flashmob.  Owing to the fact that I cannot think of those words without falling into a fit of uncontrollable laughter I should probably leave it at that.

My Son the Garbage Man

One evening a few nights ago the four of us were straightening up around the house before dinner.  My wife had just come home from the store, I had just loaded the dishwasher.  Our kids were, well, they were being kids.

My precious daughter was practicing gymnastics.  Taking a running leap at the ottoman in our living room, she flipped herself right over the top of it and landed with perfect precision.  On the dog.  Neither party was harmed.

My son was watching TV.  Or building something out of Legos.  I think he was doing both.  Yes, he was building something out of Legos that he saw on TV.

Realizing that God gave us children in order to make our lives easier to glorify Him I thought “Hmm..  How can we continue to shape these two angels into the young man and young woman they were called to be?”

It was time to assign a chore.

This wasn’t too hard with my little girl.  “Sweetheart?  Can you come help Daddy by feeding the dog?”  This merited the response “Feed him to who?”  “It’s to whom, cupcake, and I meant give him some food.”  Strangely, the same terrier who had just received the full weight of my daughter because he had foolishly lain on the ground where her mock balancing beam was, now eagerly and with tail wagging followed her into the pantry.

“Son? do you think you could give me a hand taking out the trash?”  My son looked up from his Legos and said “No”.

I looked back and said “Excuse me?”

The thing about my son is that I have long since known he is very honest.  It’s not that he’s trying to be disrespectful or shirk his responsibilities.  It’s simply that I need to wait the three seconds for him to formulate the reason why he won’t help at this particular juncture.  And that reason made sense.  He was in the middle of a particularly difficult Lego connection and stopping right this instant might cause him to drop the pieces to the floor where the dog would then eat them (owing to his hunger because our daughter had not yet fed him), and then the dog would die.  So sayeth my son in his explanation.

The other thing I know about my son is that he will always come around to doing what is right.  He may say no at first and protest but, when reminded of the primacy of obedience to his parents, he will always do what he is told.  He’s a good boy.

With that in mind, I allowed him the two minutes to finish his task.  He, in turn, came and took the already tied up bag of trash from me.  “Careful son, it’s heavy,” I said.  “I’ve got it, Daddy,” he replied.  “Now just take this and put it in the can in the garage,” I told him.  He must have still been thinking about the Legos…

A minute later I looked at front and noticed that my son the garbage man had taken the bag all the way to the curb.  Well, we’ll work on following precise instructions but I was still impressed that he got it all the way out front.


Too bad trash day is a few days off.

It’s a Small World

Three years ago I had occasion to attend an event called “Bring 1D to the US”. This “event” was a two-day attempt by the British boy band One Direction at building up excitement and a fan base in the lucrative US market. It so happened that fans of this group in the Dallas area were more insanely rabid than their counterparts in other cities.

Anyway, don’t judge me. My 16 year-old niece Bridget was visiting and I’m a good uncle.
The first day was a crazy affair. Imagine if you will, over 10,000 teenage and pre-teen girls (and a few dads, uncles, etc.) stampeding through the narrow doors of a mall, rushing to get their hands on a deliberately limited supply of tickets for the actual concert which would take place on the second day.

Let’s just say…

We almost died.

But we got our tickets. And, we met some new people — fellow 1D fans. In fact, one young lady who stood with us as we slowly snaked through the line, made such an impact on my niece and me that we asked her to get in a picture. I posted that picture in a post at the time.

Random girl (L) and Bridgie (R) proudly display their entrance tickets.

Random girl (L) and Bridgie (R) proudly display their entrance tickets.


And I captioned it just like that. “Random girl”. That’s because Bridget and I could not remember her name when we got home.

Today, I walked into a classroom to sub for another teacher. I overheard two girls discussing One Direction. To my surprise, that group has outlived the life expectancy of the average British boy band and is still around (despite an apparent lack of talent). Sorry, I had to throw that in there.
I interjected when they mentioned that fateful day of a few years back. “Wait, were you guys at Stonebrier too?” I said. Looking puzzled, the girls asked me to explain my own presence at that event. I told them about Bridget and our experience. And while I was speaking with this girl I noticed something about her.


Talk about a small world…

Prayer and Discernment

Regular readers (both of you) will have recognized that, despite my best efforts, this hasn’t been my year for daily postings.  We’ve been over this a few times so there’s no need to rehash it now.  And there’s really not a problem with it either.  In January, I resolved to post more frequently yet with full knowledge that there would be days (weeks) where nothing happens between the stories in my brain and the keyboard of my Macbook or iPhone.  We’re all good.

This time, though, there was somewhat of a reason that makes some sense.  There were a few things that I did not feel comfortable sharing at the time; though I probably alluded to them and certainly appreciate your prayers.  This past academic year (the one concluding in a few weeks) saw my first real effort since completed my master’s in administration at putting that degree to use.  It was a good effort but nothing panned out.  There’s actually a sense of relief knowing that nothing is changing.  I’ll start my summer vacation soon and have the full two months off to spend time with the most important people in my life.

This could have been me but my hair's blonde (what's left of it).

This could have been me but my hair’s blonde (what’s left of it).

All along throughout this process — interview after interview — the question was posed to me.  “Why do you want this job?”  My answer always came back (quite honestly) to the notion that this was something I had been discerning in prayer.  OK, I know…  But I work in a Catholic school environment so you can be honest and say things like that.  Ideally, the people asking the questions would want to hear things like that.  Discernment is a process of prayer that begins with a seed planted by God in one’s heart.  I like to think that seed manifests itself in a budding desire toward something.  The process continues, all in God’s time, as the discerner petitions, prays, and then listens.  It’s that listening part that can be so frustrating.  Sometimes one can hear the voice of God so clearly in the words and actions of the people surrounding him.  For instance, if you seek a job and you get hired, well, there’s your answer.

For me, though, each time I’d interview I’d get called back (in one case four times).  Each time I’d think “OK, this is going well.”  But in the end, nothing.  After the last rejection I reminded myself confidently that I had been discerning and that this must be God’s way of saying no.  I mean, it doesn’t get much clearer than that now, does it?  And then last evening I had a chance to visit with the superintendent of schools.  We were both at a gala fundraiser for another school.  She approached me and said “I’ve been meaning to write a note to you.  I wanted to tell you that even though your time didn’t come this year, it WILL come.”  She thanked me for having interviewed all those times and I thanked her for the opportunity.

The thing is, I had truly come to peace knowing that my answer from on high was “no”.  I was comfortable knowing that I’m meant to be a teacher and nothing more.  It’s a noble profession.  So you can’t exactly support a family on it and there is the issue of a large amount of student loan debt I incurred while thinking this was my “calling”.  But I’m OK with this.  Doing some soul-searching I can see that I may have been proud in thinking that I should “be” more than who I am.  Was I doing this because I believed it was God’s will or because I wanted to finally be like all my friends who have “real” jobs where they get paid handsomely and get promotions and bonuses?  The world looks on these people as successes.  I look on myself as… a teacher.  But if anything smacks of pride; that attitude I had was it.  I had forgotten that we shouldn’t care what the world thinks but whether we’re doing the will of God EVEN if that will is for us, sometimes personally unfulfilling as far as our personal goals are concerned.

St. Therese, the Little Flower, once said (paraphrasing here) that she wanted to conquer her pride by praying that God treat her like a child treats a rag doll.  “Play with me as it pleases you, Lord, and if you desire to toss me in a box and never see me again, I am happy to have been yours.”

What bothered me about her statement last night was this notion that I might have to go through this whole thing all over again.  Oh well, I suppose I’m ready. Only this time, Lord, you’ll have to speak a little louder.  And to all my friends and the two of you reading this, thank you for letting me vent my little musings once in a while and for your always kind comments.  I continue to pray for you each and every day.  May you have an easier time discerning His will than I did.  Please God, we’ll all get it right and end up in the same place one day.

A Modern Day Edmund Hillary

A dad’s job is apparently never done.

Tonight I have managed to get Mt. Laundry broken into several smaller mountains.

The question now arises: will it ever end?

What Your Utensil Drawer Says About You

Mine says…

My life is controlled by small people who call me Daddy.


See what I mean?

Where there maybe used to be neatly organized silverware now resides an assorted collection of plastic forks and dosing cups.

And I ask myself, have my kids been sick that many times in the past few years?

The Adventures of Lap Child & Super 80!

Harvey Millican:

Throwback as I’m once again traveling between the same two airports. Enjoy, and perhaps I’ll bang out a sequel.

Originally posted on Harvey Millican: Raising Your Kids Without Lowering Your IQ:

Tonight, my dear ones, I am back in the air. I write this from about 35K ft and somewhere, from the looks of it, over the northern reaches of Virginia. The pilot informed us we had a “strong tailwind” so that means we should be landing in the Fatherland within the half-hour. While I’m sitting here I thought I would write a purely fictional account of my travels aboard this swingin’ luxury jet. Then I realized the truth was stranger.

20121120-025211.jpgFirst of all, the MD-80 (also known as the Super 80) is the workhorse of this particular airline’ fleet. I do believe it is the only plane I have ever flown with them, and I’ve flown quite a bit. In fact, if you live within a hundred miles of DFW International Airport, this one airline is pretty much the only game in town. My wife and I happen to live…

View original 891 more words