Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prom 2013

Last Saturday night was Daniel's Senior Prom and from all accounts, it was a fantastic and fun night for all. Daniel asked his friend Karlee to be his date for their last dance of high school (they have gone to two other dances together as part of a group). He asked her in a creative way again this year, by writing a fake parking ticket and leaving it on her windshield. One of the choices of how she could get out of paying the fine was to attend the prom with Mr. Daniel Ryan.

Again this year, the parents of one of Daniel's friends offered to host the group in their home for dinner, which made for a much less-expensive evening for the prom-goers and gave other parents peace of mind to know where their kids were before the prom (not that this mom was worried about any underage behavior). The group met before dinner to take pictures and let all the parents come to get pictures too.

First, some formal poses

Then the silly, um, creative pics

 Class of 2013!

It is so fun and refreshing to see these "kids" having good, clean fun like teenagers should. And after the prom was over, they made a "run for the border" (Taco Bell) and headed back to the dinner house to hang out for a little longer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Letting go

This post is going to be a real look inside my head and heart. In fact, I probably won't post it right after it's written, but I need to get these words on the page.

I have been learning a huge lesson about letting go this year. I don't know why I didn't think about how Daniel's entire senior year would be a gradual letting go process, but that's how it has been this year. I've had to start letting him grow up and be more independent, which is exactly what is supposed to happen. He got a car back in July and that gave him a new level of independence. Then in February he started his part time job at the Lifeway Christian Store downtown, giving him another step in his growing up experience. In less than two months, Daniel will graduate from high school and then in July will turn 18 and get to go on his first international mission trip to Honduras. And then in August . . . off to college!

I am really OK with how Daniel is growing up and becoming a man. That's been the goal since he was a baby and I'm thankful that he has grown and matured and am confident that he will be able to take good care of himself when he's living on his own. He might eat PB and J sandwiches for every meal, but at least it's protein! :-)

I've also realized along the way that I have to let go of my own plans, hopes and dreams for Daniel's life. Yes, I am in full support of his plan to become a professional musician and am proud of the hard work he puts into becoming a better drummer. But God is in control of all things, including Daniel's life and my own. I've had to surrender the whole college decision process to God over and over again because I keep trying to take hold of the reins.

The biggest thing I've had to let go of over the past couple of months is the (my) dream of Daniel attending Belmont University. I think it was his dream for a long time, too, which is why I latched onto it. But after we found out that he was not going to receive any scholarship money from Belmont, Daniel told me that he had already been letting go of that dream, especially since he had such a good experience learning about the music program at University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

What I came to realize is that Daniel's dream is to play the drums professionally and if he can get the education he needs at UT-K and doesn't have to come out of college carrying a huge load of debt, that is what he wants to do. He was offered both academic and music scholarships at UT, which is made the decision even easier in his mind. And I'll be proudly wearing a big orange T on my shirt come August!

At Daniel's baby dedication, we chose two life verses for him. Proverbs 3:5-6 was our encouragement to him to trust in the Lord with all of his heart and to lean not on his own understanding and to acknowledge the Lord in all his ways and see how the Lord directed his path. The other passage was Colossians 1:9-14 and was our prayer for him:

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

We also shared a song performed by Christian recording artist, Clay Crosse, called, "Give Him Roots." From the day Daniel was born, his dad and I knew that it was our job to give him a strong foundation in the Lord while at the same time help him to spread his wings. These words are still my prayer almost 18 years later:

"Give him roots, and give him wings
And he'll grow up to do great things
Let him know the joy that he brings
Teach him the value of the truth
Oh you gotta give him roots, give him wings."

I will continue learning the lesson of letting go. It will be (and has been) heart-wrenching at times and it will continue to be my challenge as we walk through the next few months. Thankfully, Daniel and I have a good relationship and I know in my heart that we will always have a special bond. It is my prayer that just as my parents gave me "roots and wings," that Daniel will someday continue that legacy of raising his children to be who the Lord plans for them to be.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's official!

The wait is over!!! Scholarships were offered. The deposit has been paid. Daniel will be attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, this fall!

We are so thankful that the college decision process is over and that we can now move forward with making plans for freshman orientation, move-in day, finding orange t-shirts to wear to football games! Go Vols!

I'm not going to change my blog background (my favorite color is red) and Daniel's favorite college team is still going to be the University of Louisville Cardinals, especially after their big win in the NCAA tournament!

It will be exciting for Daniel to attend a school that is a major sports contender and I'm sure we'll find reasons to head east to see him (let's see, football season, basketball season, parents weekend, just to name a few). He's also excited to be a music major and to be able to focus on playing the drums. It's going to be great!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sister Saturday: Spring Has Sprung!

I stole borrowed that tag line (and the photo) from my sister's Facebook page. Doesn't she have the cutest girls?!

They have been getting along so well and are really sweet to watch as they learn to "play pretend" together. Jeanette gets a front-row seat to their pretend games and will send me little quotes or tell me stories. I always love to hear about them!

The other night I was visiting at their house and they both started hanging upside down, one on the ottoman and one from my lap. They just giggled and reached for each other and were having fun being sisters! So fun! Happy Spring!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Favorites: Rice and Bean Chips

Oh. My. Word. These chips that I found at Kroger (on sale 2/$5) are soooo good! They also come in some kind of chipotle flavor and a sea salt variation (those are good, but not as good as the other two). YUM!

I originally bought these to be "my" chips, since I've not been eating corn/tortilla chips or pita chips very much. In fact, since this brand was on sale and you could mix and match, I bought some pita chips for D-man and the rice and bean chips for Moi. Didn't take long before I'd come home and find "my" chips opened and almost gone! A-hem, D-man, thanks for eating "my" chips! :-) Needless to say, I started just buying two of the rice and bean kind and calling it a day (yes, these could be gone in a day at our house).

I also discovered a tasty treat to make with these chips. Layer some on a plate and scatter some chunks or strips of cooked chicken breast (I usually buy the pre-cooked kind that has southwestern seasoning) and then top with shredded cheese. Microwave or put under the toaster oven to melt the cheese and you have some yummy nachos! Add some avocado and/or salsa and it's even more better!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What kind of influence am I?

The other day I was driving home from work along a stretch of road that has a center lane designed to be a turn lane. The thing is, I'm pretty sure it's illegal for cars to get into that lane when there is still a quarter mile until the intersection of the desired turn. Regardless, I observed a car that got into the turn lane way early in order to bypass the longer stream of traffic. Soon after that first car did it, there went another car following along, and then another and another. I think I observed at least five cars that were influenced by that first driver's action.

My sister was telling me about an adventure she had taking her girls downtown to story time at the library. She had trouble finding a place to park in the convenient garage, so she had to park on the street. After realizing that she didn't have enough change to pay the meter for the entire time needed, they ended up walking for several blocks around the downtown area to find a place to get some change, then had to double back to the car to feed the meter and then walk again to the library. If you've ever walked around a lot with preschoolers, you know that dawdling always happens and sometimes whining and crying can be the end result. Jeanette saw that this was a possible outcome during their adventure, so she decided to adjust her own attitude and keep her voice and demeanor upbeat and see how it influenced the girls. Thankfully, it worked and it turned out to be a fun morning for the three of them. When my sister was telling me the story, she made the comment of how it's kind of scary (or eye-opening) how much of an influence her attitude has on the girls and their behavior.

We all have a great deal of influence on those around us, whether we realize it or want the responsibility or not. Family members, co-workers, friends, even those who casually observe us out in public (or on the road) are heavily influenced by our attitude, our behavior, our words and our mood. It makes me stop and think, "What kind of influence am I?"

Last week, Daniel and I were getting gas in my car at the local Kroger. After I finished pumping the gas and was about to get into my car, a man parked on the other side of the pump approached me asking for some money for gas. Since Daniel was there with me, I decided to go to the attendant and pay for $10 worth of gas for the man and his family. I talked to Daniel about what I had done and why and we talked about ways that we can safely help people in situations like that.

The very next night, Daniel needed for me to come with him to get gas in his car so that I could load money onto his Kroger gift card. After Daniel finished pumping the gas and was about to get back in the car, a different man approached him and asked if he could spare any money. Daniel told him that he only had a little cash, but that he could give him a couple of dollars. Daniel had left his wallet in the car, so he opened the door to get it and gave me a look that told me that he had been influenced by my actions the night before.

I don't tell these stories to put the spotlight on myself or to judge others. I only hope and pray that our actions influenced the people who needed help and that they will someday be able to help someone else who is in need. We have no way of knowing if either of those people make it their occupation to panhandle at local gas stations, but even if they do, I pray that our kindness to them will be something that they remember.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter weekend was wonderful! On Good Friday, my mom, Daniel and I were able to worship together at the later service (the Masseys went to the earlier service). On Saturday, Daniel worked and then Mom and I went to see him at the store. It was like we were celebrities among his co-workers ("Daniel's mom and grandma are here!")

Easter Sunday started bright and early (actually, dark and early) for me since I had to be at church by 7:00 to prepare to sing with the choir for all three worship services (8:00, 9:30 and 11:00). It was awesome to sing over and over again that "He is risen!" and to help lead the congregation in worship. Daniel came to the late service and after church, our friend Rebecca took this photo of us. Remember, I said that I had gotten up and out of the house early that morning, while Daniel was still in bed, but somehow we managed to wear matching colors! I love this mom/son picture!

After church, we came home and I rested while Daniel worked on homework and watched basketball. We had planned our family dinner to be later in the afternoon and I'm glad that it worked out that way. We are all much more relaxed and rested and had a fun time together at the Massey's house. The photos below are from our time together.

Monday, April 1, 2013

He is risen!

On Easter Sunday morning, I woke up early to get ready and get to church by 7am to sing with the Easter choir. I tried to build in enough time so I that I wouldn't have to rush (this is my chronic problem--a time warp that happens in my house anytime that I am getting ready and think that I've allowed enough time).

One of the things that can get me tripped up (sad to say) is when I take time to read the Bible. Of course, if I'd get up earlier, it would help, but that doesn't happen every time. Anyway, yesterday morning, I got to thinking about what it must have been like for the women at the tomb to discover that Christ was risen. I got out my Bible and read the account from all four gospels (maybe that's why I lost track of time), but the account from Matthew stuck out in my mind.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.
 When I got to church and was participating in the worship services, almost all of the songs carried the same theme, "He is risen!," "Christ is risen." And then this passage from Matthew 28 was read. I've said before how much I love it when God "layers" His truth for me. Since I was in the choir, I got to sing the songs and hear the scripture read three times throughout the morning. And then I found the photo that I posted at the top of this blog. Even though it is the day after Easter, the message still rings true:  HE IS RISEN!