Wednesday remix – part two, from the middle OS

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My middle OS Aaron is at it again. My arm is no longer confined to a cast and a sling but I relinquish my blog to him so he can continue exaggerating his dolorous journey to the Quilting Symposium. Here is part two which means that yes, there will be a part three. I had no idea he had this much teenage angst!

Mom and I not at the symposium

Fully aware that the decision I had made could possibly claim my life, I rode in the car with my Grandma and very excited mother. We pulled into Peace College and stepped out of the car. My heart pounded, vision blurred, muscles tightened and senses heightened. I became completely conscious of my surroundings as we walked to the symposium. 


I spot a tent pavilion on my twelve o’clock with two ladies guiding us toward the quilts, another middle-aged lady on my nine also approaching the tent, a lady with a small purse on my four o’clock sitting on a bench, a lady on my three o’clock heading to the symposium, a lady, a lady, a lady, a lady. THEY WERE ALL LADIES! Was I the only male in attendance? Was I the only person under 40 interested in…I mean NOT interested in quilting? I now stood in a desert, devoid of all teenagers, males and attractive young girls. 

Where had I to turn? I was completely on my own. I carried my mom’s backpack with all her essential quilt symposium tools and followed her and my grandma to the front desk. The ladies there gave us sheets of paper with all of the vendors in attendance listed. 

Quilty things

“If you get all of the vendors to sign this, you can enter it in for a raffle prize afterwards.”


“Thanks so much.” I wanted that raffle prize badly, but did not have the dignity…or lack of dignity to go to the vendors and ask their signature for my chance at a quilting prize. 

Then the inevitable happened. And I knew it would happen. My mom looked at me, gave me her purse, and said, “I have to go to the bathroom. Stay here. Come on, Mom.” 

“You want me to just stay here?” 
“Yeah, wait for me and your grandma.”

This was where the nightmare began. In the midst of a tornado of frenzied quilters, my mom left me alone to go to the bathroom. I thought she loved me, now she just leaves me here to wither away in my own dark corner of the Quilting Symposium

Someone remind me, what am I doing here???
“I hope they’re ok. I hope I’m ok.” With every passing second, I drew nearer and nearer to my impending doom. If it seems like I’m exaggerating, (and those of you who know me know I am very careful on never being too dramatic) I’m not. I felt sure they had left me at the symposium. All hopes of a safe return home were now smashed. Goodbye world. Goodbye friends, guitars, graduation, college.            
One of these things just doesn’t belong here!

“There you are. I’ve been just standing here forever.”

“Oh, haha, people probably thought you were a little cutie.” Thanks, Mom.


We entered the venue starting with a wall of aprons, of which my favorite was the pastel orange and purple. 

The mother of all machines

Then to giant long arm sewing machine. This was the T-Rex of all sewing machines. The Queen of the quilters. This thing could embroider the southern border of the U.S. We continued on with empty bladders and frenzied nerves.

(to be continued…)

Sew blessed

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Since I will never have a daughter, I have missed out on shopping sprees for dresses. I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself, it’s just a fact. I have also missed temper tantrums, crying fits with a moody daughter who can’t find anything to wear which is totally fine with me. Since I’m wildly crazy about my OS, I don’t spend a lot of time lamenting the fact that I don’t have a daughter, I just yank up my big girl panties and move on. Sorry for that word picture.


But in lieu of dress shopping, I have the privilege of guy shopping. Recently my OS Aaron announced to me, “Mom, you have to take me shopping!” I wasn’t sure of the reason until I inquired. That’s when Aaron emphatically reminded me of the Snow Ball, his school’s upcoming dance. It was like a V-8 moment…you know where the guy gets whacked up the side of the head? How could I forget?

However as soon as my 15 year old OS told me that, I also translated his sentence. Really what he was saying is, “Mom, I need for you to buy me some new clothes for the dance.” That’s when I asked my son, “Aaron, with what am I going to buy you some new clothes? I’m not sure we have the money for that.”

I could see that he was dejected but attempted to understand. I felt badly because I desperately wanted to do this for him.

That’s when I started to pray. “Lord, help me find a way to get Aaron some new clothes for the Snow Ball.”

I didn’t tell the Hubs of my prayer, it was just between God and me. I didn’t tell my friends so they would feel indebted to buy an apron so Aaron could have a new pair of pants or a sweater. I kept it just between the two of us, the Lord and myself. And do you know what happened? He heard my prayer, as He always does and this time, He honored it with a yes. In a week’s time, I had enough apron orders that I was able to say to my boy, “Aaron, I’m going to take you shopping and buy you some clothes with the apron money I earned this week.”


So last Saturday I took my middle OS out to lunch (used a coupon) and then we went shopping (with a coupon.) Our time was even more blessed because of who got us there (the Lord) and why (sweet folks wanting an apron). In my wildest dreams and prayers, never did I imagine that God would bless me so richly through aprons of all things!

The hugs and love my OS lavished upon me were reward enough. We had silly times as we tried to find pants that fit his trim frame and less than tall stature. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The pants were too big or too long, nearly impossible to get the perfect size but alas we found a handsome outfit worthy of my boy! We left the store excited about the upcoming dance and envisioned all the ladies swooning around him as they admired his muscles, beauty and fancy new threads! HA!


I have been sewing like a crazy woman. My sewing machine is whirrrrrring all the time. There is fabric strewn throughout the house and I’m having a blast helping my family and being creative. The Lord truly does give us the desires of our heart and this moment with Aaron is one of many blessings I’ve received through His goodness manifested in APRONS. More to come, I can’t wait to tell you more stories like this!

Stinky Boy

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It is safe to go outside and bre- athe. Wher- ever you live in the con-tiguous United States, I imagine you have noticed how suddenly the air quality has improved. I know why, my friends. I know why.


My oldest OS took a shower. That putrid smell you have been inhaling is gone! After three days of extensive field training at Camp Buckner, my odious oliveshoot received a much-needed and merited blessed encounter with hot water, soap and shampoo. All is well! The fog has been lifted!

If Nate smelled anything like he did when we picked him up for Christmas break, that child certainly was ripe without a shower for three days. During Christmas break, Nate’s flight had been delayed and he came home a day late. He had to return to West Point and since it is fairly shut down during Christmas, he returned to WP unable to wash up. When we picked him up, I felt like I was hugging Pigpen…remember stinky Pigpen from the Snoopy cartoons? My boy was a handsome yet acrid mix of perspiration, bad cologne and an onion-like smell, ew.

This time at Camp Buckner, affectionately known as Camp Fun-Fun, my Soldier has not enjoyed slumber on a soft cot with a Green Girl each night. To the contrary. This week Nate had his first experience sleeping on a rock. I never thought about having a child who has slept (should I say, passed out!) on a rock. Hmmmm… He pulled security for two nights and maybe got only six hours of sleep in two days. He chomped on David’s Sunflower Seeds (it’s better than chew!) and kept vigil all night taking only small naps while his buddy kept watch. I have seen my OS grumpy from sleep deprivation so I pity anyone who had to endure his wrath. On the other hand, that might be something special Nate just saves for his mama… 😉

At one point, covered in muck and sweat, his Company did a six mile ruck (hike/march) up a mountain. Nate likened it to climbing up a very steep gravel road. Then his foot began to ache and he feared that somehow it was broken. He hobbled 15 minutes on his lame foot in order to get transported for medical attention. A smelly, overtired 19 year old with sharp foot pains must have been quite a sight. My own experience with a broken foot left me rejoicing when he told us that he just had tendonitis and merely needs to tape his foot and take some anti-inflammatory medicine.

I don’t know what to think when my son relays this information. Am I worried? Yes. Am I proud? Absolutely. Am I scared? Sometimes. I love hearing his stories and at once find it all terribly exciting tinged with some maternal anxiety, after all this is MY boy.


Before I became the mama of a Soldier, I was immune and ignorant to the sacrifice of our service people. The scales from my eyes have been lifted, as the Bible says, because I am learning firsthand all that we require and expect from our military. And how many of us don’t truly appreciate all that’s done for freedom.

They don’t get to sleep on comfy beds every night or enjoy time with their family when they are out on a mission. Instead they protect us.

I think of my OS with leaves stuffed all over his helmet, camo paint covering his face and ears, exhausted and reeking to high heavens and I experience a mixture of humility and gratitude. Whoa. There are so many servicemen and women out on the real battlefield doing the same, risking their lives for you and me and countless others. I have a cousin who is an Army Chaplain serving overseas, what a brave and selfless man!

Soldiers gobbling up those MREs, (meal, ready to eat) hobbling around on a wobbly leg, finding a grit within themselves most of us can’t imagine and we take it for granted.

So today as you enjoy the fresh summer air or as you are soaking in a tub or relishing the hot water flowing out of your shower, take a moment to lift up those in the military who didn’t have that luxury. Pray for them, their families, thank them in some way.
We can all breathe a lot easier because of our service people even if they haven’t bathed in days…

My Own Good Friday

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When I was in middle school, back then called junior high, I had a fleeting moment of courage, when I stood up for someone and risked it all. Her name was Carol Plalonski (I have slightly changed her name but it sounded pretty similar) and Carol was the “new girl.”


Not the prettiest girl, Carol was tall, rather clumsy and plain. As I recall, she had a slight curve to her back and her shoulders slouched forward and well, Carol didn’t seem to worry herself about the really important things in life like boys, flavored lip gloss, blue eye shadow and mascara. 

Almost from the moment Carol walked into Jefferson Junior High, she became the target for all pre-pubescent angst and torment. Kids would tape words on her back and she would just lump down the hall while everyone pointed and laughed. Oh, how I hated seeing her with the words “DOG” and “WOOF” affixed to her. I seethed with anger and felt entirely helpless but what could I do? I had my own problems! (See self-explanatory photo)

It was scary because if I did something then everybody might turn on ME and then I would be the source of scorn. But one day, I mustered up the courage and said “enough is enough” and as Carol walked down the hall with one of those words on her back, in a moment of brazen anger, I ripped that nasty message of her back. Whenever I think of myself as being a wimp, I summon up that memory of taking a stand, fighting for the honor of another person and taking a risk.

My middle OS has been doing something similar and today I was deeply blessed to receive a message from a dear mother who wanted to let me know that my son was a fine young man of God. She sent this to me on facebook so now I shall forever use that message as the reason I need to check my facebook 800 times a day, but I digress. 

In typical, yet disappointing 9th grade fashion, some of the guys in my OS’s class are pretty rough on the girls. Countless times my son has come home and told me about the insulting comments his peers say to the ladies in class. One time, a guy ticked Aaron off so badly, Aaron smacked his binder into the guy’s nuts which I believe must have made quite a statement. 


Recently, another freshman girl, Lauren (not her real name) stood up in class and articulated her concern about all the high school drama and tension. She announced that something had to change. Then Aaron, with the teacher’s permission, stood up and addressed his classmates. He challenged the guys in the class to “step it up” and start acting like “real men.” I only learned about this after the fact when Aaron came home and said he had a cool story to tell. He hadn’t planned on doing that but I guess he had his own “Carol Planonski” moment.

Now he and his friend Zack have begun a freshman Bible Study on Wednesdays. Boys that previously sat outside the classroom and chided the kids, actually attended this week. Aaron’s charisma and transparency with his own struggles are making a difference. This week when a classmate began teasing one of the girls about her really curly hair, Aaron turned around to the kid, looked him dead in the eyes and said, “Andrew, shut up!” Normally I do not condone those words but I believe, in this instance, they qualify as “words aptly spoken.” (Proverbs 25:11)

This mom wrote me to say that her daughter is amazed how the Lord is leading through Aaron and Zack. Her daughter can’t wait for the Wednesday Bible Study and it is showing her that God can use just one person to “change the tide.”

As our family prepares for Easter Sunday, I can truly say that it is a Good Friday. To God be all the glory and honor and praise. 

A Father’s Day Gift Every Dad Wants

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The tear fest has been re-activated as we are inching closer to the day of sending our boy off to West Point. I think the only one excited about Nate leaving is Aaron because he will be the head honcho (or so he thinks) around the house. He will be the oldest (theoretically) and that’s important for a guy stuck in the middle.

 
Whereas Aaron seems to be just fine, Mark and I were a mess on Father’s Day. Although the guys and I gave Mark some pretty sweet gifts: DunderMiflin Paper Company t-shirt, frisbee golf discs along with handy-dandy holder and a very clever book (click here), it is the written words of our sons that were the most heartfelt and memorable. 
If only every father received such tender sentiments. What a world we would have if every father deserved such merit.

 
Nathan has quite a knack of making cards for others. They are usually hilarious, the guy could get a job at Hallmark, no problem which would be a lot easier than West Point, but I digress.
 
This Father’s Day, Mark received a different style card which included a picture of Mark and baby Nate. 

In the photo, Nate is perched high on his daddy’s backpack. Now this same precious child is a young man walking onto a new life and places, proud and muscular, confident and ready. Someone wrote that “tears are pride overflowed.” Invest in Kleenex, folks. 

 
 
 

Why Nate is great -18 Reasons

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nateatsevenmonths18 things I love about my son – he turned 18 over the weekend.

1. Nicknames – When Nate was a baby, practically from the minute he “popped” out, we called him “Shakalanna,” “Sheiky Sheiky,” etc. He has new nicknames I am not privileged to share but they are just as weird.

2. Spins and stuff – My son lets me hold his hand when we are walking in the mall. He will spin me around (just once) and let me put my arms around his waist. Not for too long but it sure makes my mama’s heart sing. I feel like the most special person in the world.

3. Honor – I wish I had half the character my son had when I was his age.

4. I love you – Every night, when his youngest brother has gone to bed, my kids have a ritual. Isaac, my 11-year-old OS will shout from the top of his bunk bed, “Night, Nate, love you!” and no matter what Nathan is doing or whom he is talking to, he is sure to shout back, “Night, Ike, love you, too!”

5. Cooking – Nate is not the best cook but he can make a mean salad. He is rather clumsy in the kitchen which is funny because he is so adept at other things. His salad is killer, though.fam303

6. Funny – If Nathan wasn’t my son, I’d want him as a friend. He’s witty and clever. We rarely run out of things to say. I like how he can make funny accents of people he has met. Like the Chinese lunch lady in middle school who would say, “One cookie, 35 cent.” That one comment has provided us with years of laughs.

7. Guns – Nate’s got some sweet guns. He has served as my inspiration for getting back in shape. We compare guns all the time. I’ll never catch up to him but that’s ok.

8. Disciplined – He is self-motivated and driven.

9. Good speaker – Nate is an engaging speaker. He was selected to be one of the students speaking to the entire high school as part of graduation this year. I can’t wait to hear him and will be sure to bring Kleenex as I cry tears of joy.

My three sons10. Cards – Nate will make his own birthday cards on the computer for his friends. They are hilarious and so clever. They are slightly weird but beat any Hallmark card you could ever get.

11. Interesting – My 18-year-old OS is well-read and intelligent. He can talk easily about current events, politics, religion, faith, music and much more. He is very opionioNATEd.

12. The way he treats girls Nate respects girls and has a lot of female friends. He has done well with respecting the ladies and not leaving a trail of broken hearts along the way.

13. Sleep – Nathan has an imperfect side though. He has to get sleep. If he doesn’t, he’s a stinker.

14. Iron – my son irons. Someone is going to be a very lucky wife one day.

Nathan's baptism 15. People  – Nathan takes  pride in a job well done. He has been mowing lawns for years now and has a very diverse clientele. I love how my OS appreciates different cultures and personalities.

16. Family – What a blessing to have an 18-year-old son who likes his family! We enjoyed a birthday celebration at our house. Mark and I made his favorite dinner – Chinese pork dumplings and he had five close friends join us. He didn’t kick us out of the dining room, we all were together.

17. Not a potty mouth – Yes, there is an 18-year-old guy who doesn’t drop word bombs and cuss like a sailor. How do I know? I gave birth to him! Woot!

18. Jesus – My boy has a personal relationship with Jesus. He is not ashamed to tell others about his faith in His Savior. Nathaniel means “gift of God” and we couldn’t have picked a more perfect name for our oldest son/olive shoot.

All moms should be so blessed to have a child like him. Thanks Lord for this treasure!