Thursday, April 30, 2009

(Not so Little) Licorice Sticks

“Mommy! Now we’re not going to be able to listen to licorice sticks anymore!” Basden eyed the overflowing basket of library books and CDs in our laundry room, ready for today’s return from their three-week hiatus in our home. She lightly tossed the Karen Harper CD from hand to hand, studying the front cover.
“Oh, sure we will, Basden. I copied that song on my laptop, and we can listen to it anytime.”
Engrossed in a spread of baseball cards, Branson piped up from the next room, “Hey Mom, isn’t that illegal?”
I mumbled some sort of answer and avoided his question, hoping RBIs and home runs and win/loss records would keep his mind on baseball and off of me.
Of course I knew it was illegal. Kinda. Just one song. I’d thought through it, for oh, about five seconds, before I burned the CD. I didn’t even like the other songs, but that one jingle - Six Licorice Sticks - summoned delight and giggles in my girls.
And after all, it was just a library CD. Kind of scratched up already, and Karen Harper would never know - or probably care.
But Bran’s comment buzzed around my brain like an annoying horsefly, loud and bothersome and too big to ignore.
So returning home from dinner, I promptly opened Itunes.
“Hey Bran, come here.” He peeked around the corner of my desk and plopped down in front of my laptop, mesmerized as always by a computer screen flowing with music files.
“I owe you an apology, B. You were exactly right about it being illegal to download that CD. I knew it was wrong, but convinced myself it didn’t matter.”
We continued on for a minute, Bran shrugging his shoulders, not too concerned with Mommy yet again righting a wrong. But I’m counting on the fact that he heard my words and will remember me pressing that delete button. And that even 36-year-old Mommies who know what integrity is supposed to look like have to be reminded at times that it really does matter - even when we think others aren’t looking.
Interestingly, Branson and I have been memorizing a verse in Matthew this week together.
Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness! Matthew 25:23

A few days ago we wrote this verse on a little notecard and talked through the importance of being honest and responsible in the little areas. Like not taking his Ipod to a birthday party when I’d asked him not to. Or when Dad says sure to getting a couple of Milk Duds, he doesn't mean emptying half the box when we’re not looking. I wanted Bran to understand that if I can trust him in little things like Ipods and Milk Duds, then I can trust him in bigger ways, and it ultimately broadens his freedom.
So the lesson comes full circle, and I get a simple, knee-jerk reminder from my nine-year-old that I, perhaps even more so, am responsible for integrity in the little things.

Lord, thank you for sharp reminders that the way I handle “little” things indeed matter. People see, and more important, You see. And most important to my heart at this point, my nine-year-old sees.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Same Kind of Different as Me

I think I might be the last person in Tarrant County to read this book. Despite my anticipation to read it - for literally years now - for some crazy reason I've just now gotten around to picking it up.
I've heard that response from others - family, friends, and even the Barnes and Noble lady - but they couldn't have overestimated the impact. What a powerful story.

The book's tagline sums it up: "A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together."
My favs:
- Comprehending the story through (modern day slave) Denver's dialect. Besides all the meaningful stuff, HILARIOUS story of his solo road trip to the Colorado mountains - UP the Colorado mountains - a homeless man in his 60's, with no travel experience whatsoever and a week-old driver's license.
- Drawing insight from (art dealer) Ron Hall's self-deprecating and honest interpretation of life-changing events and friendships and relationships.
- Laughing out loud - often. And of course, spilling buckets of tears in the process.
- Learning about a woman's character and commitment to serve and embrace a shunned group of our society.
- Reading about that woman's tireless best friend serving with her, and then never leaving her side as they struggled through Deborah's devastating sickness and eventual death. What a deep friendship.
- The quality of writing surprised me - it's really, really good. Lyrical and descriptive and page-turning. The dialogue is so true-to-life and conversational, it's easy to imagine just sitting around a campfire and listening Ron & Denver tell their story in person.
- Really impressed with Lynn Vincent, who collaborated with Ron and Denver in writing Same Kind of Different as Me.

So, my meager thoughts on this locally written best-seller. My only regret is that I wish I would have read it earlier! Thankful they put their story in words. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baylor Girls Reunion 09

I spent last weekend near Colorado Springs with eight of my favorite people - our 14th annual girls reunion since graduating from Baylor. Oh, how the years go by! Like every other year, we ate, talked, laughed and cried through the few precious days. With glorious 360-degree views from our mountain-top cabin (not that we ever stepped outside to see them), our conversations and laughter ricocheted around the cozy living room nearly as fast and furiously as the snowstorm outside. GREAT food (amazing, Jude & Michelle!), interesting and insightful conversations ("naming it"), and belly-aching laughter (thinking huge cokes, a hot pink bra & the Baylor library). There's something a little magical about catching up with friends who knew you back when, especially amidst flames crackling in the fireplace, a blustery snow storm swirling about our snug cabin, and bountiful platters of crackers and olives and cheeses, not to mention caramel gooeybars.

Birds continuously flitted in and out of the aspen and evergreen trees, representing the regeneration of this burn area which was devastated in the 2002 Hayman fire. Burned trees and all, it's beautiful.

Headed out for a hike

My weekend roomie - somehow Cammi and I found ourselves cackling with laughter several times in the middle of the night - let's just say the fold-out couch didn't quite sustain us...

Kristin & me

Loved our time, friends, and missed you girls who couldn't make it to Colorado this year. Until next year (rumor has it we'll be at Jill's ranch...)

Notice the chic coffee sleeves in the first picture? Kirsten has spent the past year developing Raven & Lily. This non-profit creates partnerships with indigenous artisan groups and offers impoverished women a chance to earn an income for themselves and their families. Kirst just returned from India with an armload of handmade scarves, coffee sleeves, cards, and more.