The Brazen Laver

“You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar…” Exodus 30:18

I brought him home from the hospital, his hair aglow in the soft afternoon light.  Looking at him, the sleeping cherub with the bowtie mouth, I stood in awe.  I didn’t know he would break my heart.  I didn’t know he would turn my life over and upside down with a love so intense and blinding I would sometimes find it hard to breathe.

I didn’t know that he, and the two others that followed him, would be the brazen laver in which every ounce of my dirt would be revealed.

Of course the God of the Universe had a reason for His command that Moses should place a laver of bronze between the tent of meeting and the altar.  As the priests dipped their hands and feet into the cool water, they were forced to wash away the dirt that prevented them from entering the Holy of Holies cleansed.

One can’t approach the altar with dirt stained hands.

Parenting requires that we gaze intently into the laver, all the dirt revealed in the mirrored waters of our children’s actions; their words, their laughter, their tears and fears, their sin all reflecting a small piece of us.  I tried to ignore the intensity of this gaze for a long time.  With the veil torn and the Holy of Holies available to me, I attempted to merely dust my hands off and approach the altar with a dangerous sense of entitlement.

Grace allows me to be here, I thought.  So I will come without so much of a glance into the mirror.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me a child so much like myself that I found myself stumbling to my knees.

“I can’t do it!” I cried.  “I am incapable of parenting him!”

Drama much?

And in the tumble and stumble of utter exasperation, I saw…I looked. The brazen laver, always there standing between me and the Holy of Holies, but rarely approached with any sense of humility.

In the looking it was there that I saw the dirt and the grime that had hindered my communion with my children and, more devastatingly, with the One who gave them to me.  With trembling hands, I dipped my fingers into the cold.

It was equal parts fiery pain and refreshingly cool.  A washing of Grace.  A hope for restoration.  Face to face with the parts of myself that were so easily reflected in my child, I realized I had been blaming him for my dirt.  I had been trying to wash him clean with mud cake fingers.

That hurt.

But after the gaze inside the mirror and the washing clean of my selfish, tainted heart, I found myself finally, fully approaching Him.  I stood inside the Holy of Holies.

Me.

The one who left the waters blackened with filth.  I am permitted to stand before Him.  What love is this that desires and accepts communion with me?  Who am I, that the God of the Universe would be mindful of me?

I see my dirt much more clearly these days, though if I’m honest, I would tell you I am often tempted to pass right by the laver before moving into communion.  I don’t like to see my tainted reflection.

But then I look at their faces, each one bearing the beauty of His mark.  And my heart aches to usher them into the Holy of Holies, to see them bowed low before the altar, clean and whole.

It starts with me.  They are my reflection.

And they are His.

Click the play button to hear one of my favorite songs of all time.  At around 4:38 start listening closely to the lyrics.  You will get goosebumps, I promise.

My Tribute/Glory To The Father/It Is Finished (Album Version)

Image Credit

The Doctor is In

First, let me start off by saying I thought up all manner of cheesy titles for this post involving doctors.  I finally settled on this one – the most cheesy and least inappropriate of them all.

Disclaimer #2: I really try hard not to push a lot of products on you all over here.  I’ve never been a big fan of product pitches myself so, for the most part, I aim to not recommend or talk about a product unless it’s something I really love and feel would be beneficial to you all.

With that said, when the Rug Doctor contacted me several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in coming to St. Louis to learn more about their product, I initially said no.  To be painfully honest, I simply didn’t care about the Rug Doctor.  However, when they sweetened the deal by offering to fly the kids up with me, I decided to jump on board, not because I had a sudden change of heart but because I wanted to go back home for a visit.

And I really struggled with this decision.  It was a gamble of integrity and I wondered if I’d made the right choice.  Sure I got to go home, but I also had to write about a product now that I knew nothing about.  What if I hated it?  And worse yet, what if my readers felt duped and used?  All because I wanted a free trip to St. Louis.

After arriving, I set the kids up with sitters in our hotel room and I joined the Rug Doctor team and several other bloggers on a tour of the Fenton factory where Rug Doctor develops, tests and assembles their product.  And it was here that I got my first real glimpse at the Rug Doctor and the quality of the product.

From the Rug Doctor website: From its beginning, Rug Doctor has serviced both the professional and the Do-It-Yourself carpet cleaning market through the manufacture, sale, and service of carpet cleaning products and machines.

During the factory tour, we had the opportunity to see scientists testing and developing the carpet cleaning solutions with the intent of creating a superior product that truly does what they claim it does.  Rug Doctor’s products are made with a specific ph range that is effective for deep cleaning without damaging the fibers of your carpets or upholstry.  If a batch of product does not test to standards it is thrown out and they begin again.  Quality is of the utmost importance and the employees took great pride in that.

We were given the opportunity to speak with a number of different people from the head of the company to the head engineer in charge of building, testing and improving the features of the carpet cleaning machine.  And I actually found the whole thing very interesting.  It was nice to see a company take pride in who they were and what they offered.

At the end of the day, Rug Doctor informed us that we would each receive a Rug Doctor machine and a box of product so that we could try out it on our own carpets.  I must confess, this actually excited me a little.  The people that owned the house before us had animals and they weren’t big on the whole cleaning thing so our carpets are nasty.  Not to mention the fact that the Rug Doctor can also be used to clean upholstry, area rugs and cars.  Did you hear that?

IT ACTUALLY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO MAKE MY MINIVAN HOT FROM THE INSIDE.  That mysterious brown stain in the back? GONE!

I have used my Rug Doctor in several places around the house and I can honestly tell you that I no longer question my integrity for recommending this product to you.  It is, no doubt, amazing.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this picture:

People of the world, that is a picture of the water that came out of my machine after I used the Rug Doctor on my couch.  MY COUCH!  The place where guests sit when they come to visit.  This is what it was hiding.

Horrifying.

I have also used the Rug Doctor on the kid’s mattresses after bed wetting and it lifted the stain and odor out immediately.  The only stain I haven’t been able to get out is the bright blue one on my office floor, which occurred when I dropped the paint brush while painting the room.  So let the record show that the Rug Doctor can’t correct stupidity.

I can now honestly tell you that I love my Rug Doctor machine.  It is absolutely worth both your time and your money to rent and use one.  I plan on using it on every piece of fabric in my house and I am oddly excited about that.  It was extremely easy to use and it absolutely did what they claimed it would do – deep cleaned my carpets and couch without damaging the fibers.

The best part of all this is you don’t have to actually own a Rug Doctor to use one.  You can rent one at grocery stores across the nation for anywhere from $20-$32 for a 24-hour period.  Add in the cost of product and you’re looking at no more than $50 for the opportunity to deep clean everything in your house.  The Rug Doctor machines are serviced regularly and are quick and easy to rent, use and return.  For more information about what Rug Doctor can do for your carpets, from removing allergens and pet dander to eliminating stains and odor, check out this page.

Disclaimer: Rug Doctor flew the kids and I up to St. Louis for the blogger outreach event.  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.  And yes, my couch was actually that dirty.

*hangs head in shame*

Lazy Monday

I think I’m still in a turkey coma.  Actually, it’s not so much the turkey as it is the stuffing, salad, pies and petit fors that have rendered me all but useless.  My brain has slowly shut down over the weekend.

It’s lovely.

This morning, as the alarm sang in my ear, begging me to leave the warm, plush covers of my bed (which I strongly believe has been sanctified by God Himself as a Holy Place), I found myself thinking over the blessings of this holiday weekend.  Good food combined with amazing family made this weekend my favorite since our move.  A visit from Lee’s parents was the icing on the cake.

Or the whip cream on the pie.

Or the sprinkles on the Petit Fors.

You get my drift.

We topped off a weekend of extreme laughter with a third visit to a church we really like where the message so moved me I found it difficult to breathe most of the day yesterday.  And for the first time, this place we’re in felt like home.  It felt as though we fit here.  As if, perhaps, this thing that we did – moving our family half way across the country – was…right.

Thanksgiving, indeed.  Or perhaps it’s better to say Giving Thanks.  Because this morning that is what I’m doing.

Though my eyelids are heavy and I feel more exhausted than I have in a long, long time, I find myself relishing the fatigue.  It’s only evidence of a weekend filled with laughter, food and love – five days of grace poured over my family.  I am, indeed, Humbly Grateful.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful

Utter peace.

As a child sitting in the back seat of my parent’s Cutlass Supreme, I remember belting out the words to this song:

Are you Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful?

What’s your attitude?

Do you grumble and groan,

Or let it be known

You’re grateful for all God’s done for you?

On days when the tasks of life seem overwhelming and my first, natural and selfish tendency is to moan, I still find myself singing this song softly.  And there is no greater time than the holidays to reflect on the attitude of my own heart.  Am I humbly grateful or am I grumbly hateful?

What’s my attitude?

As I walk across the tiles of our home, dirt crunching beneathe each step reminding me of the need for yet another sweep, vaccuum and mop, am I humbly grateful for a tile floor on which to walk?

As I make beds yet again, and strip soiled sheets off of beds just one more time adding to the never ending pile of laundry, am I humbly grateful for the simple luxury of extra bed sheets and a machine that washes the clothes for me?

As I search the refridgerator for food to prepare for dinner only to find that I need to run to the store yet again, am I humbly grateful for the convenience of a store just down the road and the money in the bank to buy more than enough food?

As the three little people gifted to me screech through the house, arguing over invisible pies and other insanity, am I humbly grateful for the gift of my children?  Am I grateful that I have been given not one but three blessings to care for, nourish and guide to adulthood?

Sometimes it is so much easier to be Grumbly Hateful.

Then I read a story like this one about Jonathon.  Alone.  Abandoned in the jungle.  No one to love him.  No hugs, no promise of a next meal.  No washing machine.  No one.  And yet, when presented with a small package of food and gifts his eyes light bright.  Humbly grateful.

This Thanksgiving, as I scrub floors and wash sinks, as I prepare food and make beds, I do so with full knowledge and understanding of just how blessed I am.  Life is easy, it is grand, it is full – not because of, but rather in spite of, all the “stuff.”  Yes, I’m grateful for beds and a roof and a yard and…everything.

But mostly, if I boil it down, I am grateful for Him and all He’s done for me.  Humbly Grateful.  I read this quote by Abraham Lincoln yesterday, taken from his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863 when he officially declared the last Thursday in the month of November to be a holiday of Thanks.

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God . . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy”

This often forgotten and overlooked American holiday of Thanksgiving is so full of opportunity to remember, to praise, to thank.  For more information on the history of Thanksgiving, visit the website, Celebrating Holidays.

Thanksgiving is more than just remembering the Pilgrims landing on Earth first gathering and shared meal between the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621.  From our earliest history, Thanksgiving was about acknowledging with grateful hearts the One who has given us far above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine.

Today I am Humbly Grateful.

My new favorite room

The office is nearly complete and I have fallen in love with it.  It all started with the paint which I absolutely adore.  It makes me extremely happy.  Ridiculously happy.  Giddy, even.  My blue walls make me giddy.

I still have a few things to do to make it just right.  I need a plant to cover up the boxes screwed to the wall, which were installed by the previous owners and need to be removed at some point.  Likely just before we decide to sell this house and move again.  Because that’s how we roll.

I also want something to go over the desk.  I’m thinking a mirror, but I’m open to suggestions.  I may get rid of the behemoth black chair, too and get something a little prettier, although that chair happens to be ten shades of comfortable so I may let her stay for that reason alone.

For those of you who are decorating savvy, I am completely open to suggestions.  Do you have any ideas of ways I could make this room even better?  I want people to applaud when they walk in the room.  A rousing round of applause from everyone who visits.  That’s what I’m aiming for.

Pictures of the happy office.

Hey Mom

The boy who doesn’t need sleep pulled a fast one on me the other night.  What with his fuzzy head and killer smile, it’s really not that difficult for him to have me at his beck and call, but Saturday night was no less than a supreme use of his killer cuteness.

Supreme.

After keeping him up way too late the night before when we went out to dinner with friends (Friends!  We have friends!), Saturday found him in desperate need of a nap almost from the moment he woke up that morning.  It is his nature to fight sleep until the very last moment and fight the nap he did.

But finally, he gave up the fight and fell deep into slumber.  So deep, in fact, that I could not rouse him to save my life.  I picked him up.  I shook him.  I gave him a cup of juice, which he drank in his sleep. I sat him on the couch and he promptly fell asleep sitting up.  He fought waking as much as he did sleeping, which means by the time I finally got him to move around he had had far too long of a nap.

Which led to bedtime disaster.

For over an hour he was up and down and I, who had not been so lucky to get a nap, was at the end of my rope.  Using my sternest and firmest mom-voice, I let him know in no uncertain terms that should he set one more toe out of his bed he would suffer the wrath of Zombie Mommy.

He blinked twice, totally not buying my empty and, let’s face it, lame threat.

Thirty minutes later I was piled up in bed with my iPad, gloating in my victory over his near-four-year-old crazy.  Lee was out for the night and I finally had a bit of peace and quiet.  Until…

I saw his tiny little eyes peek around the corner.  I ignored him, hopeful that maybe he would remember my threat (and yes, I actually told him that if he got out of bed I was going to turn into Zombie Mommy…oh yes I did) and abort his current mission to drive me insane.  I kept my eyes on my glowing smart board until I heard a soft rustle.  I looked down to see him on his stomach on the floor.  He was in nothing but a t-shirt and his Buzz Lightyear Underoos and his tiny little spaceman backside stuck up in the air as he army crawled slowly across the floor.

This was better entertainment than the iPad so I continued to watch as he was completely oblivious to my stares.  He crawled past the foot of the bed, his raspy breath a complete giveaway of his whereabouts.  I heard him crawl to the opposite side of the bed and then it got quiet.

And I waited.

A minute later, I saw his Calvin hair slowly raise up, followed by his white eyebrows and then his saucer blue eyes.  He met my stare, his gaze equal parts delicious and mischevious.

“Hey Mom,” he said, his voice all sugary.  Then his face broke into a naughty little grin.

And me?  Well, I completely lost it and started laughing uncontrollably.  He joined in and together we cackled, me at him and him at me.  Then he crawled up into bed, snuggled close and fell fast asleep.

As a recap – he disobeyed, I gave empty threats, he disobeyed again, I laughed and he ultimately got what he wanted.

That, folks, is how you get this parenting thing done. If you’re looking for any parenting advice, feel free to ask.  Clearly I’ve got this mothering business down…

Why writing a book is a lot like life

I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m writing a book.  I might have mentioned it once or twice…or a hundred times.

*cough*self-promoter*cough*

The thing is, I really believe in this book.  I’ve been working on it a long time…and by long time I mean more than a decade.  Oy. I have started and stopped, re-written and tossed.  I have had two characters remain at the core of the novel this entire time.  They are my friends…at least I think they are.  They may hate me since I’ve taken so long to tell their story.

How’s that for deflection?  I’ll blame my ficticious characters for my unfinished novel.

This latest draft, however, is The One.  You know how people always say you’ll “just know” when you meet the person you’re going to marry?  Well, I just knew the second I wrote the first sentence of this version that I had finally tapped into the core of who my characters are.

I found them.

Now, the challenge is to keep them moving and flowing forward in a cohesive manner.

Stephen King, my writing guru, says that when writing a novel you need to get it out as fast as you can.  Don’t stop to make edits, don’t get hung up on the details – just write.  You can go back later and fill in the holes.

I am finding this very difficult, Mr. King.  I see the validity of this and want to follow this advice, but the temptation to edit is powerful.  Because, you see, there are some moments in the book that are wonderful.  I love how they read and the imagery is powerful and I was obviously in the zone when writing.

There are other moments in the book, however, that are worthy of no more than kindling for a chilly night.  The rest of the book falls somewhere in between brilliant and suckalicious.

The problem with having worked on a book this long is I know exactly where I want my characters to go.  For the most part.  Some of them have already surprised me a bit.  But it’s the getting there that is slowing me down.  I’m so impatient to get to the exciting part – the part of the story that I know  – that I’m frustrated with the journey the characters are taking to get there.  I am bogged down in the details.

Life in general is full ofsimilar  ups and downs, isn’t it?  We have moments of excitement – first day of school, graduation, college, wedding day, birth of a child and so on…We live for these moments and anticipate them never really realizing the journey we take to get to those moments is every bit as important.  Those important moments are the peaks and after every peak we must descend for a bit before we reach another milestone.

But don’t we so often find ourselves impatient in the valleys and plateaus of life?  We get bored and frustrated.  We lose sight of the good of right now and only long and hope for the joy of the next big moment.  But we need the valleys and the plateaus.  They are, in fact, what builds…character.

It’s the same with writing a book.  The journey to the peak of each character’s story is so important, but in the anticipation of the big moment, I am impatient.  I’m bogged down in the details and the climb to the big moment feels endless and frustrating.

I just want to get to the good part.

But if I’m willing to relax, take a deep breath and enjoy the process of each step these characters take toward their individual peaks, I may actually learn a little something along the way.  And in the end, the story of their lives will reveal so much more beauty through the toil of their climb to the top.

And yes, as I wrote that sentence I totally started singing this song.

*sigh* I’ll bet Stephen King never busts out with Mily Cirus while he’s writing…

Penn State: The Shame of it All

Post edit: There seems to be some confusion by some to my statement that I won’t allow my children to be alone with anyone outside of family members or friends who have earned the highest level of trust.  The operative word in that statement is alone. My kids will, and do, go to homes to play with people that I don’t know well.  But there is still a level of trust that I’ve developed even with those families and I know that my kids are in a group and are safe.  There are also a number of wise, godly men that have no relation to us that have earned such a level of respect with me that I want and desire them to have an influence on my boy’s lives.  But even those men would agree that taking my kid on a weekend trip alone would be unwise and outright foolish.  When my boys are teenagers, a little more freedom will be given to them to meet with godly men who have earned my trust.  But, in my mind, no matter how trust worthy a man (and yes, I have singled out men in this case because I am specifically talking about male leadership and its effect on my boys) there is never any reason for my boys to be meeting with him in private some place.  Not only does it open the door to speculation, but it leaves them vulnerable.  I won’t do that to them.  I don’t distrust men.  In fact, most people I meet earn my immediate respect and trust after just a few minutes.  That doesn’t change the fact, however, that I don’t want my boys alone with them.

Did I explain that more clearly?  Carry on…

I read the Grand Jury report against Jerry Sandusky the other day.  I wish I hadn’t.  I’m not linking to it here on purpose, but if you want to read it for yourself it’s a short Google search away.  But I’ll warn you that it is both graphic and disturbing.  So disturbing, in fact, that I was sick to my stomach for most of the day after reading it.

I am not a big college football follower so to be really honest, I had no idea that Joe Paterno was a college football coach.  I knew his name by the mere fact that I live with Lee Stuart who is pretty much an expert on all things sport.  I just figured Paterno was some famous Pro-team coach.  That’s how deep my level of college football expertise runs.

Today, however, I know more about Mr. Paterno and the things that I know, I do not like.  Great football coach?  I guess.  But he’s also a man that put football before a child.  He put a game and a program before a little boy.  He and several others chose silence and somehow they were able to sleep at night.

I don’t have a lot of repect for Joe Paterno.

The devastating details of abuse at Penn State go beyond football obsession.  It is more than just money and prestige that kept numerous people from doing the right thing and going to authorities and making sure Sandusky never had access to small children again.  The problem is deeper than that.

Lack of love.

The root of the issue is a selfishness so dark and wicked and ugly that it allows a man to remain silent after witnessing an act so heinous.  Love of a game?  Nah.  Love of life?  Nope.  Love of self?  I do believe so.  The very idea that Sandusky was caught more than once makes me so deeply angry I find it hard to see straight.  What stops someone from going to the authorities after seeing such evil?  What resides in our hearts that allows us to choose right over such wrong?

Where was the respect for human life?  Where was the simple act of putting the interests of someone else – a child, no less – above your own?  It’s baffling to me and yet somehow I know that I possess the same ability to cover up wrong to protect…me.  Perhaps not to this horrific of a degree, but that type of self preservation resides in all of us.  And I hate it.  With every fiber of my being, I hate it.

Reading the report only confirmed to me the thing which I had already determined in my heart the second I found out I would birth a boy.  My sons will never, under any circumstances, be alone with another man other than their father or close family members in whom I have placed my fullest trust.  No youth worker, no teacher, no pastor or leader – no one at all will do anything alone with my boys.

I’ve long since held this position, but reading the report confirms it and then some.  Jerry Sandusky gave every appearance of being trustworthy and good.  Heck, he seemed downright admirable.  Look at all the work he did for underprivilieged and at risk kids!

Yes, look at all the work he did for underprivileged and at risk kids.

There are kids who will never be the same because of Jerry Sandusky and the network of men who silently supported his sick addiction.  How can we sit silently through this madness? At what point does our silence add to the problem?

How did those boys feel, knowing someone saw but nobody came?  Silence can be deafening, you know.

I can understand why those young boys were allowed to spend time with Jerry Sandusky.  Most of them were in need of a male figure and why not let your child spend the night in the home of a seemingly upright man with a heart of gold?  I don’t really blame the parents, though I wonder why they missed the signs.  One mother tried.  She noticed, she knew and she reacted but to what end?

Where was the justice?!

For my part, I won’t ever leave my child in the care of a man alone.  My children won’t sleepover at anyone’s house unless I know the people extremely well, I know what goes on in that household and I have the topmost amount of respect for the people in whose care I’m placing my child.

The risks simply don’t outweigh the benefits.

My sons won’t go to lunch alone with another man.  They won’t participate in Bible studies where they are alone or secluded with another man.  A public place?  A group?  Yes, provided I know and trust the person they’re with.  But alone?  Never.  It just won’t happen.  You see, these boys?  They’re mine.  And I’ll protect them at all costs.

So here I remain, a woman who knows little about college football but too much about a “legendary coach.”  I pity Joe Paterno, but I do not feel sorry for him.  My heart breaks instead for the young men who were violated by his silence.  Young men who were shown as boys no more than a blind eye and a blank stare.

What are your thoughts?  What rules and guidelines do you have for your children regarding who they spend their time with and how they protect themselves from predators?

Image Credit

Why we’re both scarred for life

First things first: To the individuals responsible for deciding and implementing the change in policy that allows children to leave their shoes on while going through airport security, please send me your name and address.  I would like to send you cookies. 

Or…no, I want to send you a fruit basket. 

An Edible Arrangement!

If I could kiss you, I would. But that would be weird. I feel compelled, however, to do something to convey my sincere love for you and your wise decision. You all don’t get praise often enough, but for this you deserve sainthood.

Oh yes. Yes you do.

Flying with the kids is always an adventure. A well choreographed dance. And when it’s just me, the ballet turns into tap and I am the MASTER. This last adventure with the kids was just short of peaceful. They each had their own backpack, which they were able to carry with nary a complaint.

Suh-weet!

On top of that, I packed nothing but a small bag containing only my wallet, my sunglasses and my ipad. That was it. No sippy cups. No diapers. No snacks. No toys. It was so easy and my bag was so light that I spent half my time looking around in panic, sure I’d left something behind.

Turned out it was just my sanity, but I’ve long since been able to find that so no worries.

Once settled on the plane, things got a little more interesting. There were four of us travelling, but only three seats to a row and everyone wants the window seat. After the heat of my flaming dagger eyes calmed everyone down, we came to the not so convenient decision of me and the boys sitting in one aisle and Tia sitting next to the window in front of us. I watched as person after person looked at her and passed on by until finally a mercifully sweet young couple braved sitting next to the pig-tailed cherub with her nose pressed to the window.

I felt I owed them money about midway through the flight as they helped her retrieve item after item from her backpack wedged beneathe the seat. And of course, there was the dreaded, “Mom, I need to go to the westwoom,” immediately after take off.

My daughter makes it her mission in life to need to pee at the most inconvenient moment possible. Last time, her immediate need resulted in all four of us cramming into a bathroom together.

We like adventure.

When it became apparent that Tia was in imminent danger of springing a leak, we made a beline for the bathroom at the back of the plane.

“The seat belt sign is still on,” the stewardess said gently as we hustled back. She glanced down at Tia who was dancing, her eyes clearly conveying desperation. “Oh,” she smiled. “I see,” and she gestured us on by. Bless those who understand five year olds with overactive bladders!

We made it to the bathroom and I yanked open the door and that’s when time stopped for a moment too long. Yelping, I slammed the door shut again, the vision of his wide, dimpled backside forever seared into my brain.

Why?! Why the unlocked door?! And why the pants around the ankles?! Why?!

Maybe she didn’t see, I thought, slowly looking down at my daughter who had finally stopped squirming. Her eyes were wide, much like my own.

“Dat. Was. Gwoss,” she said quietly, looking up at me.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing as I rushed her to the front of the plane, because Lord knows I didn’t want her seeing that man’s face so she could point him out to her brothers and everyone on the plane.

Let this be a public service announcement to you all: LOCK THE DOOR WHEN YOU USE THE AIRPLANE BATHROOM!

I fully expected to hear of “Air Butt” the rest of the trip, but somehow, mercifully, she never brought it up. Maybe she found it to be as disturbing (or more so…it was pretty much at her eye level) as I did. Maybe she just forgot. I certainly don’t plan to ever mention it to her again.

Sadly, the unfortunate incident only added to my alreadyunreasonable fear of airplane bathrooms. Forget being sucked out – now every time I enter a bathroom I’ll have that image in my mind.

Neat.

Meet me in St. Louey

The kids and I are in St. Louis for the week. It’s been an amazing, wonderful, refreshing week filled with many emotions. How blessed I am to have amazing mentors who love me and pour into me. It is humbling.

Sine I didn’t bring my computer and tapping a post out on the iPad would be terribly painful, I instead would love for you to visit the Compassion site and read some of the amazing stories coming out of Ecuador. They are hilarious and beautiful and very, very moving.

Please check the bloggers out and consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. The experience is one you will never, ever regret.

Blessings everyone! I’m off to try and warm up. Four months in Florida and I think my blood may have already thinned. I’m freezing up here. Of course, I did leave my warm coat at home in the interest of traveling light. I miss St. Louis….I don’t miss frigid air.

Can I get an amen?