Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sand & the Summer Bucket List

Proverbs 14:22 says, "... those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness."

Kindergarten is a chapter closed today... but the lessons we learned will be with us always. At the beginning of the year "E" was struggling with being dropped off  - fearful she would be left alone. Her teacher Mrs. Haddad, helped her through this transition, by having the entire class stand up with their arms stretched out in the air like big X's shouting, "E" You are safe and you are loved!" And "E" would bravely answer, "I am safe and I am loved!"

This year has flown by... the other day "E!" got in the car with a huge sigh and dejectedly announced, "We did plusses (addition) today, and I got them all wrong." When I asked her why she said, "Because I ran out of fingers!"

I know she's ready for summer - I can see it in her eyes when she catches a whiff of sunscreen, or spots a snow cone stand. She's got forts to build, softball to conquer and miles and miles of swimming ahead! And "A+" isn't far behind her - with turning three, more tutu's to collect, boots to burn through, endless dance parties, and pots full of Darjeeling to drink! ("A" really enjoys Darjeeling soaked sugar cubes more than the actual tea - but nobody really notices? Right?)

It got me thinking back to summers spent as a Loy girl in middle-earth Michigan. We were a host of hobbits my cousins, little sister and I - too small for adult stuff, like card games and too big to stay inside with the babies. So we dug holes to China and held epic battles on the farm. I learned a lot that way - stuff like what poison ivy looked like, and which scrapes and cuts really needed tending to and which ones you were willing to suck it up about just so you didn't miss any of the fun. Playing with cousins taught me a lot about fairness and in some situations how tricky life can be...

It started with a spoonful of sand.  I'll be honest, I'd been wondering about it for quite some time... whether it would taste like the cinnamon/sugar mixture my Grandma sprinkled on buttered pieces of crunchy toast.  It didn't smell like cinnamon sugar - but in that sand box on a lazy summer day, you can smell a million things. Honeysuckle dripping from the trees that edged the yard - tomatoes ripening on the vine - green grass recently crushed by bare feet - fresh laundry, crisp and clean, dancing like bodyless people on the line - lavender sweet and heady. So it's no wonder that I didn't smell anything remotely cinnamony.

We cousins had been digging in the dirt with a large silver serving spoon that "somebody else" had brought out. It was that silver spoon that tricked me... if I'd been digging with a stick I never would have thought to try it, but in that spoon, the grains of sand sparkled and glistened deceivingly. My sister was the first catch sight of me eyeballing the spoon full of sand - but as it inched toward my mouth all the cousins gaped at me - jaws slack with wonder and awe. I was the oldest (and perhaps not the sharpest knife in the drawer... pun intended) and this was one of those things that apparently they had wondered about too...

I've been tracking some of the things that "A" & "E" have wondered about this year, so that we could make a few discoveries together this summer. We're calling it the Lessner Family Bucket List Summer 2011. The girls are excited and I'm determining to put aside my preconceived notions about how each one of these things will "turn out"! Sometimes it's our sense of wonder that has been lost and we put off plans like digging to China, and tasting things sparkling glistening things. And then we realize that we're just doing the moments that count and not really being in the moments that matter.

We're making plans for what is good so that we too can find love and faithfulness - less stress and more wonder.

Lessner Family Bucket List Summer 2011
  • Finish Little House on the Prarie @ night by flashlight w/"E"
  • Weekly tea parties - hand written invitations & dressing up required!
  • Wash one load of laundry in a big tub w/my family's old washboard - and dry clothes on a laundry line
  • Eat dinner alfresco once a week
  • Read then watch Charlotte's Web (one of the few books I never read as a kid because a kid in our neighborhood became a vegetarian after reading it and my mom couldn't risk that I'd stop eating hot dogs!)
  • Make a recipe created by "E!" - start to finish by her directions
  • Daddy/Daughter dates for the Stig & both girlies (separately)
  • Mommy/the Stig dates where "A+" & "E!" get to go somewhere fun too!
  • Vegetable of the week - even if it kills them!
  • Make mudpies - despite the water rashoning in our area!
  • From sun up to sun down "E!" gets to be "the charger" (in charge... she makes all the decisions & generally gets to boss us around - I'm praying she makes me take a nap & sends me to bed early!)
  • Camp Allen - the best week of the year
  • Two "Dark Dinners" (candlelight) with REAL CHINA - because "A" wants to know why we have china if we don't use it!
  • Swimming lessons for "A+" (she gets a plus on that one because she got a swimming "suip" w/a tutu from Ms. Lori!)
  • Dig a hole to China
  • Try a spoon full of cinnamon/sugar... skip the sand
More of you Lord, less of me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The BBC, A&E and Me

Just had one of those funny moments that only happen when you work in a school. A teacher friend came in and asked if I'd check her head for lice. There's a bumper crop of cases going around and she was sure she had a few bugs crawling through her tresses. Luckily, she only had a case of "psychological" lice; the kind you probably have now just because I wrote (and you read) the word lice. It's no consolation that lice only come to the cleanest of heads... lice ain't nice!

But it's moments like these that have me looking for the cameras. I'm just sure that Ashton Kutcher (ok... maybe not him, but someone funny) is going to jump out and say, "You've been Punk'd!" Things have happened in my life that only reality tv can top. Like the time I got pooped on by a bird in flight while I was sitting INSIDE a car!?!? Or the time my oldest child dialed 911 on an old discarded cell phone and started talking to a woman on the other end who was very concerned about whether she was home alone or if there was a fire at her house (who knew that even without a SIM card old cell phones still work 911 dispatch?) Add to that the fact that my husband works in mental health and you might think our little family is just an arm's length from "hug-me-jackets!"

It's the fact that my husband Ron (hereto for called "the Stig" - It's the stunt driver's name from a gear-head show on the BBC called Top Gear... and, it's a guy thing... sorta) works in a mental hospital setting, that keeps us from sharing photos of our girls. We're not trying to be paranoid, though after my confession about getting Punk'd that may be hard to believe. But it got us to thinking early about how much of our girl's lives we wanted to share with the world at large - and whether pictures opened our family up in a way that we couldn't control.

When I decided to blog, we were again faced with the decision about how much to share. I mean this stuff on the internet is for good... for keeps once you hit "publish." So we had to come up with pseudonyms for the girls - I looked at other blogs - and so many of them had cute little names for their kids. I started thinking "The Princess & the Pea" and decided that someone might end up in therapy over being called the "pee" all their life on their mom's blog and decided to keep praying & thinking.

One night, while catching up on DVR'd episodes of Deadliest Catch with the Stig, it hit me... A&E... as in the Arts & Entertainment Network! So we'll call the little one "A" (and "A+" when she's in a tutu) and the oldest "E" (or "E!" when she's got the drama on full throttle!)

When I was little my mom used to prompt me to say funny things, partially because she was bored - I mean what do you do with a 18 month old in a trailer in Lansing, Michigan all day? And partially because I loved then, and still do, to make people laugh! So, if I wanted seconds at the table, she'd ask me to say, "Oink, oink, I'm a pig... more corn please!" and we'd laugh and make piggy noises until our bellies ached. And it remained funny until one day when we were visiting at a relative's home and  I asked for a refill on green beans with my usual "piggy please". For the first time I experienced being laughed AT rather than laughed WITH. And I hated the way that kind of laughter made me feel...

I have the privilege of working with children. It is a sacred trust that God has allowed me to share.
I am honored to be told each tale of tooth loss, school woes (both the bully & the bullied) and sibling rivalry.
I grieve with the loss of each goldfish, gerbil and yes, one screaming cockroach! 
I am humbled by each prayer for parents (both alive and gone on to glory), petition for the sick and hurting.
I have an extensive collection of NEW band-aids - but could have easily collected used ones as well.
I am grateful for each crayola masterpiece, every dandelion picked with me in mind.
I vow that within this blog, when I share sweet things my children say, or kids that I work with have whispered - NEVER to laugh at them. But rather with a mouth filled with joy & laughter at the wonder, depth and incredible perception of these precious gifts from God.

So in the words of my sweet "E!" here's something to "rememorize"
"When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
Psalm 126:1-3 (NIV emphasis mine)

More of You Lord, less of me...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Training Wheels

When I was about seven, my parents took me to a garage sale. We lived on base (Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico) and I can remember that they were all excited about me getting a bike. Now this idea of a bike was not new to me - but the idea of a USED bike was. My dad was telling me how unlike a new bike, where there were only a few colors to chose from at the store, we could go to the hardware store and pick from ALL the spray paint colors. This idea vaguely intrigued me... and in the end I picked out a teal blue glitter paint, that my dad carefully applied. My mom recovered the banana seat and put those fun streamers on the handle bars. It was beautiful! Until...

Like most parents they wanted me to be safe, and mind you this was WAY before the days of knee pads, elbow pads and head gear. They put two things on my bike to "help" keep me safe.
  1. A tall "Caution & Warning" orange colored flag that stuck up like a cellophane cocktail toothpick impaled in my banana seat.
  2. And a set of training wheels... the bane of the 2nd grade!
Nobody in my grade still used training wheels! I had even learned to ride two wheeled on my friend Gerard's bike to get myself ready for the big day when I had my own bike to ride along the curbs of our neighborhood. He didn't have training wheels... and I did fine on his bike! But my dad would not be dissuaded. I was going to have to build up my muscles - and when he thought I'd figured this balance thing out, he'd be happy to take them off.

Well that bike didn't get ridden much. It sat propped against the side of our house or in the driveway - and I rode other kids bikes. The thing I wasn't able to articulate as a kids was that something was really wrong with this bike - it took a lot of leg muscles to pump those peddles. I did fine on everybody else' bike, I could have peddled to the moon and back on Gerard's bike,  but the second I got on that teal-banana seated-monster, I couldn't get it to move. So I whined... and my daddy said, "Tough nuts kid - try harder!"

That year my mom's parents came to visit. I secretly asked my Papa Bo if he would take my training wheels off. Being that he had no prior knowledge of the beef I was having with my dad about leg muscles and all, he obliged. And while he was at it, he noticed that the brakes on my bike were in a constant state of locked. With every peddle I was braking to beat the band - and in the process working up some killer leg muscles. So he fixed the brake problem - and I'm sure he told me about it... But I was so excited to finally have those goofy training wheels off! I hopped on the banana seat and WOOSH! I was off like a bullet from a gun! Funny thing was - I'd never had to apply the brakes before on that bike... so I wasn't quite sure how to get this thing to stop... So... I ran into the back of my dad's gold Buick!

I was in quite a bit of pain after that - but it was such a beautiful sight to see my daddy running toward me saying, "I had no idea you knew how to ride a bike! Now we've just got to teach you how to stop!"

I have no idea how to blog... This is all new to me. And like my bike, I love what sweet Lauren Pickle Day has done!  My blog is shiny and new and green (and has Queen Anne's Lace on it!) 

My Friday morning prayer & study sisters (and my husband) have gently pushed & prodded me to write these stories (and oh so many more) down. So here you are sweet friends!

I have no idea where to start - but I have a wonderful set of training wheels! I have a heavenly Father who will guide my writing. I hope to look up and see God running toward my blog saying, "I knew you could blog... Now we've just got to teach you how to edit!" 

More of you Lord, less of me!