Sometimes It Hits You Right in the Feels…

“When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they’re not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They’re upset because they’ve gone from supervisor of a child’s life to a spectator. It’s like being the vice president of the United States.”
—Erma Bombeck

My kids have attended parochial school their entire school careers. I have never been able to make the services at their high school where the whole student body is in attendance until this Wednesday.

I have to say, it was really beautiful- to see the teens participating on almost every level and nearly 2000 teens all either worshiping or respecting the beliefs of their classmates was quite a moving experience. But, it absolutely KILLED me to hear the choir. The Girl sang with the school choir. She is making her way through her first year of college now, and I’m making my way through the first year after 18 years without the person I have often referred to as My Sense of Humor.

And then, a student began to sing a lovely worshipful tune, her voice quite similar to that of The Girl. My Girl. I just about lost it, right there, I miss my first born so much!

Unwelcome Firsts… No Parent’s Night… Time to Move On and Move In

“How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

We have attended every one of both of our children’s Parent’s Nights offered by their schools. From preschool, to parochial K-8th; from splitting our time between two schools; all the way through the 12th grade.

Except for tonight.

Tonight, three of us are hanging out in a hotel, waiting to move The Girl into her dorm room. I’d rather be home with both of my kids jumping on my bed and fighting for room as we tuck in and argue which cartoons to watch before bed. Would it be Phineas and Ferb? Bugs Bunny? Don’t tell me they’ve grown up enough to watch The Simpsons, I don’t want to hear that.

Time to move on and move in!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Farewell Dinner = Sushi Win for Me!

“It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

Tonight The Husband and I took The Girl out to get dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. She is leaving this week for college and is she filling up on In-N-Out? The best Mexican food this side of the border? Nope. She wanted to sit at Nakamura-san’s counter at Akai Hana, one of the best restaurants for sushi in the San Diego area.

Her farewell dinner = my win!

Tonight’s new-to-me masterpiece was salmon roe. Previously familiar to me only as bait that I once used to fish in our local lakes with my father, our Sushi Chef caught this fish on an Alaskan trip and prepared the roe with mirin (a sweet cooking wine) and other ingredients that he said way too fast for me to understand…

Salmon Roe Sushi
Salmon Roe Sushi

The flavors were so fresh and light, I could hardly believe how delicious the tender roe could be.

Adios, muchachita!
Adios, muchachita!

It was a great meal spent with wonderful people… just the three of us. “My sense of humor is packing up and leaving,” I joke about her inevitable departure. On to bigger and better things for her!

On Being Flexible…

The setting goals is always an interesting endeavor. We often accomplish more, we are encouraged to do better… “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (Norman Vincent Peale) We need goals and drive to accomplish them.
But, we must also be flexible. In being flexible, we are open to surprises and blessings we might otherwise have missed! “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” (Albert Einstein)

I’m temporarily setting aside my month’s goal of attending to home fixer-upper chores this month. There will still be time to repair the damage from barstools gouging into the wall under our kitchen counter, and I will eventually repaint my stair risers to cover up six years worth of scuffs. Instead, it looks as though we will be swapping over my two teens’ rooms and adding on a third one. Teen, that is, not rooms- oh my GOSH, I don’t think I could put up with remodeling a home… I’ve heard the horror stories.

We have never played host to an exchange student or any houseguest for more than a month at a time- usually, it has been my mom and we have had a ball with her long stays. But my parents, on the other hand, many years ago they have had a few of my friends live at their home for one, three, twenty-five months at a stretch. They made me proud. To know that my parents were ready, willing, and able to help out a friend gave me such a good feeling about my family. They taught me well.

If we can, I look forward to having one of my teen’s friends hang here for his senior school year, as my parents did for my friends.

It will be a pleasure.

June Read: The Alchemist- Finished, and Loved It!

“If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves His children.
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist p.103

What a nice, uplifting, positive book! A fast read, but deep. Pick this book up to join Santiago, the Andalusian shepherd boy as he travels from Spain to the Pyramids of Egypt to discover his treasure.

Here’s quite a Life Nugget, if this doesn’t sum up what it feels like to start making your own decisions in life, I don’t know what does:
“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” (p. 68)

So, keep making those good choices. You know which ones they are- the healthy ones. All the little good choices you make are like streams of goodness leading to your river of what is your very own ocean Overall Good. Been making bad choices lately? Little choices that are not healthy? Big ones, maybe? They are draining your ocean of Good. Fill yourself with what is good. Be carried away by currents of goodness.

One of my most favorite parts of the adventure is the story that the alchemist tells Santiago just before the two part ways (page 156 in my book) and begins with these words:
“I want to tell you a story about dreams,” said the alchemist. The boy brought his horse closer…” My. Favorite. Part. If you have the book, go look it up, right now!

And my favorite line from the book:
“Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” (p.58)

Does Santiago’s quest end with riches and treasure, as the Gypsy woman, the king, and the alchemist all suggested? You have to read the story to find out. One of my last favorite lines from the book was this:

“(Because) wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

Get into a good book!
Get into a good book!

Finally Finished My May Read: “The Screwtape Letters,” by C. S. Lewis

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
C. S. Lewis, from “The Screwtape Letters”

CS Lewis
CS Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”

I finally finished a book that I started several years ago. Can I perhaps tempt you to read it, too? (LOL… OK, I’ll stop). In “The Screwtape Letters,” Lewis provides much food for thought, and the main thought of the book is Temptations.

C. S. Lewis, well know for his Narnia series, is almost as famous for his theologic essays and stories. In “The Screwtape Letters,” we read correspondences between the earthly tempter and demon “Wormwood” and his under-worldly advisor, “Screwtape.” The whole of the story focuses on Wormwood’s need for advice as to how to best lead his assigned human astray from “The Enemy,” God.

In one letter, Screwtape shares with Wormwood: “…as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, ‘I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.'”  This really struck me, and I stopped reading to think… reminded of how the modern screen conveniences, in particular, allow me to become easy pickings for my own personal demons. Good grief, that could be me looking back at all the hours I spend wasted in front of a TV, smartphone, or computer. Sobering, to say the least.

Screwtape then closes this letter with what many of us will recognize (in reverse, of course)… how many times have you heard this idea preached from the pulpit? Or maybe you’ve read it in a book:

“But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”

May Read: C. S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters”

CS Lewis The Screwtape Letters
CS Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”

Ever start a good book but never get around to finishing it?

“That’s just crazy talk,” say all the bibliophiles. I know, I know…crazy!
The first time I picked up C. S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” life just got in the way of my finishing it. I still have the book and intend on starting over from Chapter 1 tonight.

This time I picked up the book, I noticed to whom it was dedicated: J. R. R. Tolkien.

Happy reading, all!

CS Lewis
CS Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough
or a book long enough to suit me.”

“You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.”

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.”

C. S. Lewis