Archive for May, 2014

Summer’s Revenge

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

“… the wind sprang up afresh, with a kind of bitter song, as if it said: “This is reality, whether you like it or not. All those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.” It was as if we were being punished for loving the loveliness of summer. ”
― Willa CatherMy Antonia

 

Every year, I write an annual reflection on summer at the end of the season.  Last year’s reflection was the most interesting ( in a  twisted sort of way) by far. I thought I’d post it now as the official kick off to summer 2014. Read on and you’ll understand why I posted the quote above. Then pray like you’ve never prayed before that this summer will be nothing like LAST summer.

 

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Summer’s Revenge

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

 

What a quote. It’s brimming with hope like a hot cup of french press coffee at 6am.

I wish I could relate.

I love summer- always have.  In fact, I write an annual reflection on summer, when its glory fades into fall and the kids go back to school.

Since I was a kid, summer’s always been about freedom. A time to throw off the shackles of  schedules and “have to’s.”  A time to break free from the confines of winter for outdoor adventures.  A time to daydream and not be anywhere on time (well, except swim practice).

Not this summer. Nope. Not at all.

This summer, there was no sunshine at our house. There was rain and lots of it. There were no hot, sticky days. No sitting outside on the porch sipping an IPA unless we wanted the black cloud of mosquitos to enjoy their own bottomless beverage of choice. In fact, summer was full of all sorts of bugs in the Davis household. Real ones, stomach ones, and the dreaded of all bugs- LICE. “What?!”, you say? “Your kids made it through the whole year of school without lice, but they got it in the summer?” Ding, ding, ding, ding! Congratulations.

So, it’s no wonder that I cannot resonate with Mr. F.Scott Fitzgerald.  Lice  sucked the summer fun out of us all.  We spent all of July nit-picking and comb-boiling. In fact, I almost caught my entire house on fire because I fell asleep while my nit combs boiled away to something unrecognizable. Thank goodness for the putrid smell of burning plastic (as well as smoke alarms) as a signal to my subconscious that something was DEFINITELY not right! The nit combs were forever immortalized at the bottom of my favorite stainless steel pot, like some fossil of a prehistoric worm.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, my kids and I got the stomach bug, too.  In fact, I think I actually contracted lice from my daughter while were both laid low on the same bed after a night of retching. Brilliant. After that I went on a compulsive shopping spree at…wait for it…Walgreens. New nit combs- check. Electronic comb for lice (that doesn’t work, by the way)- check. Lice repellant shampoo- check. Probiotics for mom’s digestive health- check. Gummy bear probiotics for kids’ digestive health- check.  A couple of neon sharpies (just to make the trip worthwhile)- check. Nothing like dropping $100 at Walgreens.

Finally, when it seemed as if all the bugs had moved along to some other hoston their parasitic journey, we drove to Bent Creek to take a family hike. With camera in hand, kids in tow, and baby on back, we were ready to emerge from the pestilence into the outside world.

Not so fast.  As the 6 of us scrambled out of the car, I yanked the sliding door shut on the van and watched with terror as it literally fell off the car.  It’s a curious feeling one gets when you’re 40 minutes away from home, you have 4 kids, no cell reception, and your car has no door.

Thank goodness for the Boy Scouts of North Carolina. If this tragedy had taken place in Philly, I think we would still be standing in the same spot, staring at the gaping hole on the side of our car (or paid an outrageous fortune for a tow truck).  A former boy scout who happened to pass by just happened to have rope, a wrench, and his wits with him.  By the grace of Jesus, Duane, the boy scout, another man, and Aidan got the door back on the track and tied on to the car like a Christmas tree. Just in case you’re wondering, he used a trucker knot. Also in case you’re wondering, we did not go on a hike that day.

Whew. I hope you’re laughing. We weren’t.

But now we are, I think.

In the middle of all the calamity, I should report that we enjoyed a beautiful week at the beach with Duane’s family in early August without any sickness or any bugs. It was like Christmas morning for 7 full days. Nights on the porch listening to the ocean. Runs down the strip.  Boogie boarding with our kids. And even a trip to a water park. Even at 35, I still get a kick out of water slides, especially if my kids are going down with me! (Thanks for putting up with my child-likeness, Duane!)

I haven’t given up on summer just yet. Sliding Rock still awaits in the off-season as soon as the tourists go home. We’ve gotten to go on some beautiful hikes since the car door incident.  And Duane even paddled down the French Broad river in a canoe the other day.  The familiar conviction is returning that life just may be beginning over again in the waning days of summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites: Anniversary Edition

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

friday

 

It’s Memorial Day weekend–the weekend when the pool opens, the grill is smoking, and everyone on the planet celebrates their wedding anniversary.

So, without further adieu–I know you see it coming– my favorite for the week is:

 

duane

notthatsophisticated

hippies

ThatsMoreLikeIt

On May 26th, we’re officially teenagers. We’ve been married 13 years! Does that mean our relationship will go through awkward changes, acute attitude flares, and hormonal imbalances?

I hope not!  But if the next 13 years are anything like the last 13 years, I’ll be one happy girl.

By the way, 

duane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

made me this coffee shelf and chalkboard wall:

 

 

CoffeeShelf

 

 

No wonder he’s my favorite.

 

 

Happy Friday, y’all. And, Happy Anniversary to everyone on the planet.

 

 

 

 

Photo Feature Thursday: For the Love of Flowers

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

PhotoFeatureThursday

 

 

Ack, this week has been crazy; hence, Photo Feature Thursday instead of the usual Wednesday.

I’m very excited to post this gallery today. I had the privilege of documenting the work of a friend’s local flower business, For the Love of Flowers. I caught up with Dottie Edwards and Kim Jagoda (co-owners) as they were prepping for a weekend wedding with a woodland theme. Both of them are extremely talented with a keen eye for the creative arrangement of flowers. Here’s the proof:

 

 

If you’re in the Asheville area and you need flowers for any occasion, look them up! You can contact them through their For the Love of Flowers website.

Happy Thursday (it’s almost Friday).

Friday Favorites: May 16

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Friday Favorites

 

 

Happy Friday, y’all.

Here are my favorites from the week.

1. NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts=brilliant.  This morning we listened to Ben Solee.

Minimalist musical genius.

2. Favorite Photo

flowers, wedding

This photo is a preview of what’s coming up on Photo Feature Wednesday. Stay tuned….

3. Steak au Poivre at Bouchon in Asheville. No picture, you just have to trust me. It made me weep (wink, wink-Nat and Mindy).

4. New Orleans Nightscapes by Frank Relle. Eery and captivating. Really excellent portfolio.

Check it out here:

That’s Not Fair

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

parenting

 

If you have kids, you’ve heard it a million times:

That’s not fair.

My three oldest kids are  three and a half years apart from start to finish.  It’s amazing how often I’m walking on egg shells because of those three little words.

Are there enough cookies for everyone to get two? Who gets the last sip of my soda?  Who gets the last scoop of green beans (ok, just checking to see if you’re paying attention)?

“Why does he get a playdate?”

“She got to go swimming yesterday.”

“He ate all of the cereal.”

That’s not fair.

 

parenting in weakness

 

We love “being fair” as humans, probably even more as Americans. I work, I get what’s due to me. If she gets a piece of chocolate, I get one, too. It’s only fair. Curiously,  “fair” is seldom used to defend someone else; instead,  it’s used  to defend the rights of the person who wants what the other person has. It’s primarily self-focused.

So, we have a couple of little phrases of our own  in response to That’s Not Fair:

#1 We live by grace and mercy

AND

#2 Rejoice with those who rejoice.

#1 In God’s kingdom, do we really want what’s fair?  Fair looks a lot like Jesus NOT dying on the cross and us paying for our sin instead. If God played fair, we’d be in a heap of trouble. Now, we don’t hammer this into their heads every time they say or imply: that’s not fair. But the concept  informs our responses to their pitiful pleas, though there are times that I respond in a  sing-songy, “Remember-children-we-live-by-grace-and-mercy.”

But that’s mainly to annoy them.

There are times when someone’s going to have a playdate and the other isn’t, when one has 3 birthday parties in a month and the others don’t, when there’s only one piece of chocolate cake left (in that case, I get it!). How do I want them to respond in those moments? See #2.

#2 Rejoice with those who rejoice.

{Ok, we’re seriously working on this one folks. It doesn’t come naturally to ANY of us.}

In Tim Keller’s sermon, Blessed Self-Forgetfulness, he exhorts us to let go of having to be first, having to be the best, in order to actually enjoy the accomplishment of another, just because it happened… just because it’s beautiful. He used a hypothetical  example of an Olympic ice skater who’d be totally content to come in second place  just because the artistry and skill of the gold-medal winner was so stunning, she could rejoice simply because it happened.

Seems far-fetched, I know (that’s why it was a hypothetical example). Tim Keller  admits that this kind of “self-forgetfulness” is way outside of our paradigm.  But isn’t that one of the beautiful, yet arduous, things about being in community: learning that we’re not the center of the universe, that there is joy when we love one another, instead of always demanding what’s fair.

When the curtain closes on this brief parenting gig, that’s really one of the things I want them to remember. I want them sitting around the table together, making fun of me, rolling their eyes at all the times I said, “Rejoice!” when someone got something that they didn’t. But I also want them to remember me praying, not only for them, but for my own heart because I want what’s fair, too… for meoften.

(And “fair” looks a whole lot like a trip to Italy. Just sayin’.)

 

**How do you respond to That’s Not Fair in your home or community?

 

 

 

 

 

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