Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grafted Together

I love my job. I get to work for some of the most amazing people in OKC. I really love all of my customers and here is just one reason why...

Today, I cleaned for the Bingamans. They just might be the absolute sweetest people ever created. Not even kidding. They're the kind of people who genuinely care about you, no matter who you are, and you feel how much they care about you from the moment you meet them and in every little conversation. They always ask questions about you, not just to make small talk, but because they really want to know what's going on in your life.

I want to be more like that. It usually doesn't even cross my mind to ask people questions. I'm self-centered. And easily annoyed. But I digress...

Today Mr. Bingaman was going to have lunch with one of his dear friends who recently lost his wife to cancer. He told me of his friend's heartache and described them as "one of those couples who was just grafted together at the heart." I find that description to be overwhelmingly beautiful.

I automatically asked myself, "Are Ron & I like that?" And I automatically answered myself, "Yes. Absolutely."

And for the rest of the day, my heart was stirred with thoughts of the one I'm grafted to. And gratitude to the One who has grafted us together at the heart.

Lovely thoughts to ponder on a Thursday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


As parents, we mark so many firsts in our kids' lives. Their first smile, first word, first steps, first haircut, first loose tooth, first day of school. The list is endless, as is the joy we feel as we celebrate those milestones (unless it's the first time they flood the bathroom or their first trip to the ER). I really don't think we'll ever get to the end of the firsts with our kids, which is a really wonderful thing about being a parent.

But this month, it has hit me with gut-wrenching force that I'm in the big, fat middle of a season of lasts. All 3 of my babies are about to cross over into completely new phases of headed to high school, one to middle school, and my little one to first grade. So that means May 2010 holds the last fleeting moments of these precious things:

Pulling up to Summit Middle School every afternoon to
find Gage and his funny friends...

and sweet girlfriend.

Watching every morning as Jacey walks Corban into school at Angie Debo.
(This was the one & only year that these 2 will attend the same school).

Waiting every afternoon in the cul-de-sac behind the school
for Jacey to walk up with her sweet friends.

Jacey's elementary school career. No more homeroom parties...

Or class music programs.

Kindergarten. My last baby has finished Kindergarten.

There will never be another Beach Day...

Transportation Day...

or Kindergarten Program.
(She wants to be a Zookeeper when she grows up, btw).

There will also be no more of that half-day nonsense....not at all sad about that! :)

It's a bittersweet season. It's so fun to watch my kids grow into who they're supposed to be. But it also makes my heart hurt just a bit.

Soon, we'll begin of a whole new season of firsts to celebrate.

But for now I'm going to savor the lasts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Celebrating Sylvia

This morning, I got to hang out with my new friend and co-Bloomie, Sylvia. Sylvia is full of joy and exuberance. She's one of those people who constantly beams and you can't help but be affected by her attitude and love of life. She has overcome a lot of obstacles in her life, but you'd never know it by just being with her. She's very transparent, though, so if you got to have a cup of coffee with her, she'd be more than happy to tell you her story. It's a story that includes a really rough childhood, which led to some really big mistakes, which made for even rougher teen & early adult years. But the greatest thing about Sylvia's story is that she didn't let anything keep her down. With every obstacle, she rose up and fought to live life well for herself and her 5 kids.

Today, we got to celebrate because Sylvia has reached a Bloom milestone. She has completed her training and has officially started her own business and begun to clean homes for her very own customers! We get super excited about that kind of stuff because so many people never make it this far. I have so much faith and confidence in Sylvia. When I look at her, I see what she's overcome to get to this point and I see all the amazing things she'll accomplish in the next few years as a leader and business woman.

GO SYLVIA!!! I'm so proud of you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Syndrome

Mother's Day is just a couple of days away, which means all the school kids have been busy making treasured gifts for their moms. The gifts usually include a plant or flower of some kind and a card full of sweet little drawings and misspelled words written by sweet little fingers.

Teachers these days are so crafty and creative. They want your Mother's Day gift to actually mean something to you, so they ask your kid all kinds of questions about you, then put their answers in permanent ink so you can treasure it for all eternity. A wonderful idea for most people, I'm sure. Me? Not so much.

Why? Because those thoughtful little gifts cause my MDS (Mother's Day Syndrome) to kick in. MDS is a disorder that causes a mom to break out in a cold sweat and have an elevated heart rate at the very moment she begins to read her child's answers in the sweet little Mother's Day card. And all she can think is, "What has this child said about me?! Has he/she exposed every one of my weaknesses as a parent? Or as a human being?"

I had an episode today because Corban brought home her gift for me. It's a cookbook compiled by her Kindergarten class. All the kids made their own page to showcase their favorite food that mom makes, including the recipe and all the ingredients needed. There's also a picture of the kid in a chef hat and apron, holding a spoon and a bowl, and there's a little cartoon bubble with a quote from the child about why mom is special. So precious.

And frightening.

As I began to read the book, all my brain could do was wonder what was going to be on her page. I was afraid it was going to go something like:


Chicken McNuggets

Hop in your car and drive to McDonald's. Talk into the talky thing and tell the lady you want some chicken. Please pull to the first window, then the second window and then they hand you some chicken.

My mom is special because she only yells at me sometimes, not all the time.

Lucky for me, here's what it really said:


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie Mix





Put the cookie mix in and crack the eggs into it. Then you mix it all together. Put them in the oven.

I love my mom because she plays at the playground with me.


I haven't always been so lucky. Here's a sample of some of the cards I've received in the past. The bold print is the sentence the teacher gave, the italics are my beautiful offspring filling in the blanks:

All day long, my mom... takes a nap. (this one had a lovely picture of stick-figure me in bed with lots of z's above my head)

My mom is so smart, she can even... eat a whole roll in one bite. (also with a picture of stick-figure me with crumbs all over my face)

It was so funny when... you burped a long time ago. (That never happened!)

I love my mom because... one time she played with me. (And if you keep giving me cards like this for Mother's Day, it'll never happen again.)

My mom's favorite tv show is... a tornado watch. (Pick any other show and it's more my favorite than a tornado watch.)

M - Much Love (Awww)
O - Open Minded (Okaaaay?)
T - The Best (Yay for me!)
H -
Honest (Always)
E - Excellent (Yes!)
R - Rather Cunning (Really? You're in 2nd grade. How do you even know these words?)

Oh well. At least I have a whole stack of cards to look back on and laugh.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I usually love Sundays, and yesterday was an exceptionally good one. We started the day at Urban Celebration and got to worship with friends we haven't seen in a while. It was cozy & refreshing, inspiring & challenging. The message was all about unity, especially breaking down racial walls. I'm still processing all the stuff that goes along with that and wondering how my life would look if all the walls were broken down. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that later.

The most wonderful thing about yesterday was that it was Ron's first Sunday off work since last September. He works at Cross & Crown Mission and they have youth activities, a community dinner and a worship service every Sunday evening throughout the school year (they also do a LOT of other stuff all week long. You can check it out here). But every summer, beginning in May, they take a much needed break from Sunday stuff.

Sidenote: I don't think people realize how much work it takes for the people who administrate and run church services every week. If it seems effortless and easy, it's because a small number of people have worked extra hard at it. So, next time you see someone who's involved in running the big show at your church, tell them thank you. Anyway...

Yesterday was our first Sunday to have the daddy home ALL DAY! It was glorious! We spent the whole day at the OKC Zoo, which has been vastly improved since the last time I was there. I always thought the zoo was great, but they've added so many cool exhibits and are continuing to build new and better things. My favorite part was the Oklahoma Trails, which is a huge exhibit showcasing all the plants and animals found in Oklahoma. We saw a grizzly bear swimming beneath a beautiful waterfall, bats, raccoons, bison, alligators and a whole lot more. It made me appreciate how diverse and rich our state is. And it only slightly unnerved the girls that all those wild beasts live right here in OK.

It really was a perfect zoo day. The temperature was perfect and all the animals were out, but I think the thing that made it the most perfect was the freedom we felt. Freedom because we've officially crossed out of the baby/toddler stage of parenthood and fully into big kid mode. We've actually been in this mode for a while, but I got a fresh appreciation for it being in a place with so many little ones. When you're in big kid mode, you don't have to pack up everything you own to go out for the day. I went into the zoo armed with nothing but chapstick and 2 band-aids in my pocket (we almost always need band-aids). No stroller, no baby wipes, no sippy cups. And NO crying children! We passed stroller after stroller of crying children, and just laughed because it's really funny when it's not your own kid! It felt so liberating to walk around with happy, independent kids and it made us so thankful to be past that stage of parenthood (if you're in that stage, just enjoy and laugh your way through it. It feels long while you're in it, but it really does end before you know it).

2 of our big kids on the zoo tram

In our big kid mode, we only had one little glitch. While we were looking at the anteater (a really weird looking creature), Jacey realized her leg was bleeding. She cut it on something, but didn't notice until there was a lot of blood running down her leg. Nice. But who saved the day? That's right, MacGuyver Mom stopped the bleeding with the zoo receipt and whipped out a band-aid. Ta Da! Episode over. Gotta love big kid mode!

It was a really refreshing Sunday. I can feel summer coming and it's going to be full of those. Ahhhh.