Friday, April 27, 2012

Three Reasons To Say I Love You

You may already think you are in charge of this blog just by reading the title.  You already know why.  But as is the par for Flying Pants, we’re going somewhere else with this. 
“I love you” are possibly the three greatest words you can say.  The three worst words? “There’s no Frostys.”  Seriously, though, expressing the sentiment of love is a wonderful, encouraging thing.  I am a big fan of saying it because you mean it, not because it’s three words that fill up dead air space.  So, with that in mind, I humbly present three reasons for saying THE WORDS:
1) You have children. 
When children are young, telling them that you love them not only lets them know they are loved, but saying kind words in a loving tone teaches them to use soft voices and loving tones.  Children’s behaviors are often “caught” more than they are “taught.”  Your actions as a parent teach volumes.
When children are tweens/teens, saying “I love you” can be what shores up their day when they are battling issues like self-esteem, peer pressure, and doubt.  Regardless of how old they are, and how much they think they know, they still need to be told that they are loved.  And I would also add “You are special” and “I’m praying for you.”  Anyone that has ever gotten the word “fine” as an answer to “How was your day?” knows that a lot more went on than is being told.  Reminding your teen of your love and your care may not be immediately embraced with open arms, big hugs, and “Yes, Loving Parent, thank you so much,” but anything that gets said enough STICKS.
2) You have a spouse.
Ooey-gooey love in dating and the first years of marriage is sure to elicit many affirmations of love.  And I say, go for it, say it a million times a day if you want.  This is the easy part.  But when you’re up for the third night (and I mean from 11 pm to 6 am or later with NO sleep) in a row with a colicky baby, saying “I love you,” caring for your spouse, and meeting his or her needs is the kind of cement that holds a marriage together.  Or when one partner is facing a difficult challenge, like illness, a loved one’s death, or financial woes, saying the words is like saying “I’ll be here for you, even when it’s tough. We’re in this together.”
3) You have friends.
Having a friend that you love makes life great.  Letting them know you appreciate and love them goes a long way.  Check out this video that my friend Brenda, who I love, shared with me:
So go show some love already.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who Needs a GPS?

REally.  Seriously.  Who needs a GPS?  If you have been a place a gazillion times, do you really need a voice in a box to tell you where to go?

I didn't think so.  I was taking Young Son and Youngest Daughter to Busch Gardens for Spring Break.  We have been there countless times and have never gotten lost.  We took off south, cruised through Orlando, and set off even further south to the Land of Reasonably Priced Theme Park Food.  It wasn't until we were seeing signs for towns south of Tampa that I started to wonder if we had gone the wrong way.  (Yeah, not much gets past me.)  After Young Son determined that we were indeed further south than we needed to be, we turned on the GPS and I put in the address.  After taking a tour not only through a construction zone and school for crack dealers, we ended up on the other end of Busch Blvd., effectively placing us in the "still hopelessly lost" category.

One legal U-turn later, we were FINALLY headed towards Busch Gardens. We ended up having a great time once we got there. But getting there was a task of beastly proportion.  The GPS got us there, kind of, after taking a crazy route.

It's kind of like being the middle child or an artsy kid or a kid that walks his own wiggle.  Everyone can read a map and know how to get through high school, go to college, get a job, get married or want to, and do their own thing.  But when you have your own bent and want to do things the way that makes sense to you and sometimes just because it's not the way everyone else would do it, getting "lost" and taking a crazy route is not so crazy.

My friend Steve Raye, "Satchel" to most, was the most popular guy in our senior class and everyone loved him. After graduation, he made pizza and floated around the country, makin' friends and takin' names wherever he went.  He made Gainesville his home and got himself a wife, kids, and an awesome 
restaurant/art gallery that is famous. Satchel's Pizza is an innately cool place, even without awesome pizza and Lightning Salvage, an eclectic art gallery that gives a local artist a chance. Check it out at He followed his own GPS and is successful by the standards he measures success by (and, by the sales figures, successful by any means).

Finding your way may mean you get a four-year degree.  Or it may mean you follow your dream to art school.  Or maybe you have a four-year degree and want to go to art school  Whatever it is, GO. Find  your way, whether it's khaki-Dockers-and-polo-bound or if you have absolutely no idea where you're going next.  And leave the GPS at home.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sweet Smells

Ask anyone in my family about the watermelon incident of 1986.  After they stop chuckling, he or she will explain that we left a watermelon in our car in the middle of July in Daytona Beach, FL.  It was a mistake, really, because only a foolhardy individual would do such a thing.  Imagine our surprise and dismay when we came back to the car a day later to find the watermelon had exploded all over the interior of the car.  Just for fun, one day, leave a sliced watermelon in your car on a hot day.  Actually, don't, because it STINKS.  Although we cleaned the car with the vengeance of a scorned woman, on really hot days for years to come it would reek slightly of watermelon.  

Conversely, because we have a variety of citrus trees at our place, for a short time every spring I can take in a huge,deep breath and take in the scent of beautiful, delicate citrus blossoms.  I don't know what it is about this smell, but I will purposely sit outside, be still, and just enjoy breathing in.  (And out.)  It is a far cry from the nose-wrinkling stench of bad watermelon.

Ephesians 5: 2 reads like this:
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
I often think about this verse whenever the citrus blossoms are in because I wonder if my sacrifice is a sweet smell to God, or if I am the bad watermelon.  I wonder if I am living too much for myself and not sacrificing enough for the sake of Jesus, because my default sins are pride and shallowness.  Whenever I am not in God's Word enough, I can tell because I become critical and prideful and elevate myself above other people, thinking I'm all that.  Just ask Oldest Daughter, because I will make conversation about people that is not edifying and she is the first to yank me up and convict me of being shallow and prideful.

I read in a commentary that the sweet smell of this biblical sacrifice comes after the sacrifice has been burned.  So what I take away from that is the idea that I have to present my sacrifice and wholly lay it on the altar before God.  I have to not only think about making a sacrifice, not only blog/fb/twitter about sacrifice, but follow through with doing what God has called me to do and get it done already.  That's when that sweet smell pleases God.  

It's not always so easy.  I have to put myself in the backseat and diligently, purposefully seek God out and NOT be the watermelon.  I have to clean my life up like we tried to clean the car from the watermelon, and discard pride and shallowness.  Although the citrus blossoms only smell great for awhile, it's nice to know that whenever I get real and get serious about my walk with God, that I am a sweet smell to Jesus.  And not a stinky, rotten watermelon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Driving Problem

I live in Jacksonville, FL, the largest city in the continental United States.  It is roughly 840 square miles wide.  It just seems much bigger when you drive it.   For example, for me to drive to work each day is 22 miles.  I take a suburban route because I don't like highway traffic.  However, I have a commute nemesis that I secretly dislike.

It's Dunkin Donuts.

I don't have an actual problem with the donuts themselves, although I do think they have a funky aftertaste and I prefer Krispy Kreme a whole bunch more.  It's more the people that go there.  And not actually the people, just their entitled sense of right of way to get in and out of the Dunkin Donuts parking lot.

Whenever traffic is moving and there is no cause to stop, it befuddles and maddens me to see perfectly good cars stop perfectly good motion to let people cross traffic to get to Dunkin Donuts.  Huh??? Is the need for baked goods so overwhelming and such a universal desire that there is psychic communication between drivers to stop the flow of traffic?  I apparently am not as spiritual as I thought, because I do not get that vibe in the vicinity of Dunkin Donuts.

And then there's the people who, once in possession of the Promised Land manna (aka donuts), have to zip out of the parking lot to deliver their little piece of heaven to whoever.  It's as if they think they are transporting organs for transplant. Edging their sedans and their SUVs out into traffic, as if suggesting that if I were really a nice person I would let them in. After all, they have VIDs (very important donuts) to deliver.

I happen to have a Christian-type decal on my car, so I have to show the love of Christ and let people in. Arrggh.  I don't do it with a happy heart.

So, if you happen to be driving in Jacksonville, which is highly conceivable for all 9 of my followers, go ahead, stop at Dunkin Donuts.  I will be at Krispy Kreme, having made a right turn into the parking lot without inconveniencing any other drivers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hi. My Name's Terri, and I'm a Notification Junkie.

When I was at Cumberland College,  the College of the Kentucky Mountains, (now known as University of the Cumberlands) I was fortunate enough to serve on the Campus Activity Board, which planned all kinds of fun events for students.  (Shout out to Kime and Jeff Harris and Charlie and Kim Higgins, who were also on the board as freewheelin' single folks and eventually married.... aww) But, as usual, I digress.  One year we planned a series of games for Spring Fling and one of the activities was the twirly whirl, which, for you uneducated folks, is taking a baseball bat, standing it up straight, putting your nose on the end, and running around the bat like a crazy person at least ten times.  I'm not sure how it messes with your equilibrium, but try it and then try to walk normally.  Im-possible.  Really.  Try it.  It's kind of fun.  Or at least have your kids do it and laugh at them.  (evil mommy moment)

I love facebook and it is a great way to keep in touch with people.  I really enjoy being a part of people's lives and seeing their kids grow and all the neat stuff that happens in their lives.  With that said, however, I have to admit that I am a notification junkie.  I can't let a notification go by without looking at it.  And then get distracted by something else or someone else and then I wonder what my kids are posting and have to check out their pages and all of their friends are so cute and sweet  I enjoy their pics.  If you are familiar with the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, then imagine that adapted to facebook.  It never ends.

So, with a great majority of my time spent on keeping up with facebook, I neglect to actually call people or go see them.  I see people at church, out and about, and at work, and we talk about facebook.  It turns into a dizzying, uneven existence, kind of like the twirly whirl.  Instead, I want to have real, deep relationships with people and I want to know all about them, not just what their statuses say.  I want to talk to them, not text them or get a notification that they liked my status.  So I am taking a break from Facebook.  Just to step back and enjoy this time in my family's life, to enjoy the friendships I have, and to appreciate all that is around me.

Last night I facetimed one of my dearest friends who lives  hours away and we had a nice, long talk about everything and nothing.  I talked to my dad about an upcoming decision he has to make.  I invested my time into people, not Facebook.

So will I ever go back to Facebook?  It's hard to say.  I am kind of enjoying being facebook-free.  If you do see me on there, please say hi.  And then I'll probably call you to say hi back.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The List

I feel as if I am a reasonably intelligent person, and I read on a number of topics that I am not actually super concerned about just because I want to be well-versed on a number of subjects,but mostly so I can remain family Jeopardy champion. A little Car and Driver magazine here, a little ESPN web page there. I'll even gladly admit to my lack of skill in the accounting world. But there's one thing I will broadcast from the tallest cell tower - Man Things I Don't Understand.

I am happy for the differences that exist between men and women . I love that women are soft and pretty and smell good. It's a great way to be. But there is an inherent difference between the two sexes that CANNOT be reconciled! Knowing the stats of a baseball player for his entire career? Umm, okay. Grunting monosyllabic responses to questions phrased as a question? Hmm. Having the ability to actually be thinking about nothing? That defies Girl World at a cellular level! Spitting for distance? Ice fishing ? Debating the virtue of the Hail Mary at the two minute warning? And I hate to go here, but the inopportune scratch?

I know there's much, much more that we, as women, don't get about men. ( If only men were as simple as women. ) what would be on your list?