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    I did not know Sherrie Decker.  I can count on one hand the times I’ve been in the same room with her, but I can’t honestly say that I knew her. 

    My mom did know her…once upon a time before her last name was Decker.  In fact, Sherrie-lore was big in my house as I grew up.  She was mom’s friend during high school.  She was never seen without perfect hair and make-up.  She belted out musicals crossing the street to seminary.  She spread happiness.  Honestly, I thought the stories were more fiction than fact.  Then I met Shanon – definitely the daughter of such lore (although I have caught her without make-up once or twice).  We married brothers & became joint Scott-in-laws.

    It’s impossible to measure the influence of one life.  When I called Cyndee last week to share the sorrow of Sherrie’s passing, I was shaken by her response.  Yes, my own response had been instant tears, but I mourned for Shanon.  No one should lose their mom at 26.  I ache as I consider the ramifications.  But, Cyn’s instant tears were for Sherrie…the girl who coaxed her out of shyness, accompanied their mutual love of musicals, shared a penetrating example of gospel living.

    At the funeral yesterday I felt that I finally had my proper introduction to Sherrie.  The stories helped.  As a young child, she was once nearly late for school, so prayed to be on time.  Amen was said and a dog appeared, chasing her into  speediness that got her there on time.  One year the bank account didn't allow for a true vacation, so, undaunted, she made her own by transforming their home into a Hawaiian paradise for the weekend.  On days that scripture study didn’t happen in the morning, she sat in the hall outside her children’s rooms at night reading aloud so all could hear.  She honestly didn’t let her husband see her without make-up for the entire first year of marriage.  And she always freshened up with make-up & perfume when he was on his way home from work.  Yes, the stories were priceless.  The legend melted from stone to skin & bones. 

    But it was more than the stories that told me who she was…it was the feeling.  It was watching Shanon and her family mourn & Remember & Love.  I know that Sherrie Decker loved her children fiercely.  They all spoke at the funeral, and I knew she had given them the greatest gift possible – strong faith in God & in themselves. 

    No, I didn’t personally know her, but this woman did personally influence my life.  She helped shape my Cyndee...who shaped me.   And she hugely shaped the Shanon who is now my family.  I am grateful for her life that rippled to reach even me. 


    slow down, Aidan

    I want to remember all the things Aidan says.  I want to remember his face when he says them.  When he was 2 1/2 I raced him up the stairs, spread out my arms and said, "I'm the winner!"  He was close behind with arms wide, shouting, "I'm the loser!"  Months before that he came into my room and wowed me with his first simile.  "Come downstairs, Mom."  "Just a minute," I stalled.  "Come on, fast like a cowboy."  I came with a melted heart (what English teacher mom wouldn't?).   Tonight I tucked him in for bed, and pulled up his two blankets.  He didn't want them both, so I said I'd put one on the top bunk.  "That's not your responsibility.  I'll do it later," was his retort.  He's 3.  Where does he learn these words?  How do these concepts hatch in his tiny head?  He's moving & growing so fast.   Too fast.  I want to hold & keep him mine forever, but his mind already moves beyond what I've taught & thought.  We were at Jim's parents' the other day.  Papa typically farewells A by saying, "Goodbye, Fred."  A beat him to it this time with a grinning, "Goodbye, Freddy, Old Pal."  He asks me if  Jesus can help Darth Vader be good.  He points out when I'm not being good.  He says, "I think I can forgive you."  I'm sure I'll need much more of that.  Oldest children seem to grow up far too quickly.   Thank you, Aidan, for being delighted & delightful, for keeping me company, and for a mind that's always moving.  I'll have to work hard to keep up.


    how much is enough?

    When it comes to sleep, I don't think any answer suffices.  I slept a record full 12 hours last night.  This doesn't happen.  Jim has a stay-up-all-night disease and I have a want-to-go-to-bed-together issue, so I typically end up dragging my body into bed well beyond its ready state.  Then I'm grumpy and blame him, which makes absolute sense to a sleep-deprived mind. 

    Sometimes I do go to bed alone early (or early in comparison to his beyond midnight).  When he shows up hours later ready to talk, cuddle, whatever, I turn demonic.  I seldom remember these heavy-lidded rants, but in the morning he shares.  I grimace and nod because, although memory is fogged by dreams, I know my evil side well enough to know that it's all too true.

    Last night Jim miraculously didn't feel well, so I happily went down with him at 8:30.  Yes, I exult in his illness because it brings me extra hours of beloved sleeping delight by his side.  I'm not nice.  Or perhaps it's just that I honestly can't function without sleep.  There are those who get this and those who don't.  It's not a choice thing, as in - I choose sleep over Jim.  It's simply I can't choose Jim unless I have chosen sleep first.

    "That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep."  Aldous Huxley. 

    I get that, Aldous.  Now I just have to convince my Jim.  


    Christmas past

    I’m stunned by how quickly the present becomes the past.  Swoosh.  December is gone, leaving memories and whiplash in its wake.  The whiplash will demand soothing soon enough, but for now I’ll pen the memories into permanence.

    For me it was a holiday of miracles, family & delight. 

    The Turkey Miracle.

    Knowing full well that I would not have much time to pull together Christmas dinner (I hosted for my fam & some friends at my house), we shipped our happy little 23 lb turkey to the meat processing shop down the road.  They cure & smoke the little beasties until they come out tasting little like turkey and everything like moist & flavorful divine.  When I dropped off the bird they weren’t sure about the smoking “when”, so said they would call me with pick up info later.  Well, the weekend came and there had been no phone call.  Saturday was a full day out of both fun & need-to-finish.  We tried to call the place throughout the day, left messages, prayed little prayers.  No luck. 

    When we got home at 4:00, there was a 1:30 message on the machine.  “Um, just wondering if you’re going to pick up your turkey.  We close at 3:00 today.”  I listen twice, trying to dissuade panic.  No time or space for spiraling.  Everything’s okay.  Everything’s okay.  “Jim, I’m going to drive over to the meat processing place for a sec…”  I get there, run to the door & read the sign “Merry Christmas - Closed Sunday & Monday”.  Breathe, breathe, no spiraling.  No panic.  I’m trying so hard.  I come home to tell an effortlessly calm Jim (damn him!).  “We’ll figure something out,” he assures.  I e-mail the store, pleading with them to free my imprisoned Christmas turkey, then go to bed.

    Sunday morning Jim writes a note to post on the shop’s door…just in case.  He drives away and through some amazing combo of luck & tender mercy drives back with our turkey.  Random events brought the bird home.  The butcher’s nephew’s car broke down.  Coming home from helping The Nephew, The Butcher stopped to check on The Animals behind The Shop.  He had been there a few minutes, was leaving in a few minutes, and this happened to coincide with the time that Jim came.  Thank you for the Tender Mercy & for my Calm Jim.  

    Funny side note – before we had even related our fiasco, our friends who came for dinner yesterday told us they received some weird phone messages from some weird person on Saturday about picking up a turkey.  Um…that was us.  Our desperate calls had all been to the wrong number. 


    I’m overwhelmed when I consider how blessed I am in family & friends – and that the two categories merge so perfectly.  My family are my dearest friends. 

    On Christmas Eve we went to Jim’s parents’ house.  We ate, talked, chased 2 very tired little ones and read Luke 2.  We went on to Cyn’s house to spend the night.  The boys woke up around 7, then we headed back to the Scotts’ at about 9:30 for breakfast and presents.  At 12:30 we went home to prep for dinner, then Mandi’s family & Cyn arrived at about 3, and stayed until 9.  Beautiful days with people we Love. 

    Delight.  The delight came in rounds.

    Jim’s delight was actually the earliest.  He took advantage of my incapacitated flu state on Thursday when a big box arrived at the door.  He opened it to find his gift – two swords (the scimitars used by Drizzt Do’Urden in our favorite fantasy books).  He did a little two sword dance for me that appeased my angst at having his best presents opened so long before Christmas.

    Second round had to be MY Delight.  Most women dream of expensive jewelry or designer labels.  Not me.  I dream of kitchen.  Stainless steel gives me chills.  Blenders, mixers, processors make my knees weak.  On Christmas Eve eve (can you call it that?!) when I was baking my Yule Log (meringue mushrooms & all), Jim came in the room with a big bag of Sur La Table – kitchen nirvana.  The first thing he pulled out was kitchen twine.  I squealed in delight, then we laughed at my nerd level, imagining anyone else in the world opening a gift of kitchen twine and the resultant “um…thanks”.  But my excitement was genuine.  Then came a mandoline with a ceramic blade – imagine cutting paper thin potatoes or beets!  Next was a microplane zester/grater.  Last - the mother of all – a chef’s coat.  I am by no means a chef, but I love to be in my kitchen Trying.  Now I can do it in style.  Thank you, Jim – for the gifts & for knowing me so well. 

    My delight was doubled when I opened the gift from Mike & Kay (Jim’s parents) on Christmas – a scroll saw.  I have wanted a scroll saw for years.  Watch out, wood.  Fun projects will come. 

    The boys were dumbfounded with delight.  Seriously, Aidan basked in the magic, but Davyn had huge trouble taking it all in.  We couldn’t get him to even look at us when we tried to take pictures Christmas morning.  


    He was awed by Santa’s gifts.  I was awed by everyone’s generosity to these two little guys.  It touches me to see how much love is given to them.  I am grateful to have family with such a rich supply of Love & generosity. 


    Aidan flits from gift to gift today, but I think he was most excited to wake up and build his birdfeeder with Jim.  Davyn did flit all morning as well, but is now zonked out in bed.  I could use a long winter’s nap myself. 

    There is so much more to be said about Christmas…so much more was felt & enjoyed.  I am grateful for a time of year when everyone wants to be kinder, gentler, more loving, more generous.  But most of all I am grateful for the remembering of Christ and His life & birth.  I was listening to Christmas music during the Christmas Eve eve baking, and heard “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.  I’ve sung the song millions of times, I’m sure, but this time the words stood out.  “God and sinners reconciled”…there is certainly rejoicing to be done in that. 

    Swoosh.  Next Christmas may be here tomorrow. 


    the best of buddies

    I showed Aidy the picture of him with the boots on my blog, expecting him to be ecstatic.  Instead he went into instant fit, and I could not get to the bottom of it.  The root of his angst became clear when he showed up a few moments later with D's superman clothes & both pairs of black boots from my closet.   He wanted a retake that included his brother.  So, here it is.  And now I have future bribe material for the both of them. 



    And this one's just because I love these boys.