Romans 10:9 and my love/hate relationship with Christianity

… because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 ESV)

I have a love/hate relationship with Christianity. It goes something like this:

I love Jesus.

I hate that people say that one must to do something other than love Jesus in order to call themselves a Christian.

I love Jesus.

I hate that we categorize people as believers and non-believers, whom we must somehow save (or not). We forget that we don’t do the saving. God does. When we convince ourselves that we somehow have something to do with it, we are making ourselves God and that’s idolotry.

I love Jesus.

I hate that people act like they know for an absolute fact who gets into Heaven and who doesn’t. It’s as if they don’t believe that God has the power to accomplish something bigger than our minds can comprehend. Here’s an extreme example: Jeffery Dahmer in heaven? Not a chance, we say. And yet, he proclaimed himself to be a born-again Christian. We believe that Jesus performed countless miracles and was raised from the dead and yet we don’t believe that God can redeem the heart of a sinful man? At the core, that is unbelief in the gospel.

I love Jesus.

I hate that a Jesus-loving black man stood in my kitchen last week and told me that he’s been told before that because his skin is black, he is a child of Satan. There is no scripture that gives us a complete physical description of Jesus (except in Isaiah 53:2, it does say that he was rather average), but I am 99.99% sure that he doesn’t look like this:

20120429-134732.jpg

I love Jesus.

I hate that we use New Testament scripture as proof text as to why we are saved…and, we use Old Testament scripture as proof text as to why others aren’t. The Jesus we believe in, that we rejoice in his sacrifice and proclaim “He is Risen!” on Easter morning? He did that to fulfill those laws. Does it mean that we are to just go on sinning? No. But that is a whole study of Romans which could take months. My point is that we should be focusing on redemption and grace. Because, if we really are concerned about people, we aren’t going to do anything but drive them away by making them feel bad about themselves in Jesus’ name.

I love Jesus.

I hate that my faith gets questioned by people who think that Christians are of a certain political party. I have a whole diatribe on that, but I’ll just say that I can be a Democrat liberal and love Jesus at the same time. It makes perfect sense to me, but that’s another post for another day.

I love Jesus.

I hate that people suggest that science is in opposition to creation. If you believe that God created the universe, why is it so far fetched to believe that He used science to do it? We often refer to God as the Great Physician…why isn’t he also the Great Scientist?

I love Jesus.

I hate that we categorize sin. Sin is sin. It’s all in opposition to God and separates us from Him. Just because I can justify my act of anger toward somebody (clearly they acted a fool) doesn’t make it any less a sin than if I murdered somebody. Sound extreme? Read Matthew 5:21-22 and you’ll see what I mean. The point is not that if we get angry, we will go to hell. The point is that one sin is not bigger than the other. Still don’t buy it? Read James 2:10. Here, I’ll make it easy (but you should still look it up and not assume…)

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (James 2:10 ESV)

Nobody’s sin is bigger than anybody else’s. And when we start pointing out other people’s sin (which is SO easy to do), we raise the bar infinitely higher for ourselves. What these passages are telling us, in my opinion, is that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we need a Savior. So, to get back to my original point, we spend too much time pointing out the sins of others instead of telling and SHOWING them the good news of Christ.

There’s a quote that many attribute to St. Francis of Assisi. It says “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words”. There’s no proof that he actually said that, but I digress. It serves as arsenal for people who either want to call Christians out for the rubber not meeting the road or for those who don’t really want the burden of saying the word “Jesus” out loud in mixed company. I can call out both groups because I have landed in each one at various times in my life. I’m not proud of it, just being real. Anyway, I have heard many bible teachers that I respect greatly disagree with the sentiment, saying that we always need to use words…to do anything less would be lukewarm. I think that if all we do is use words, it can be pointless and counter-productive. I can’t just walk up to my agnostic co-worker and read scripture to him and ask if he wants to recite the sinner’s prayer now. Even *if* he didn’t tell me I was crazy and walk away, I would then have to Google a generic sinner’s prayer because I wouldn’t know anything about his life or his story in a way that would make that prayer at all meaningful. You see, I believe that you have to show the gospel in order to share the gospel. Showing it doesn’t absolve us from sharing it, but how do we build relationships otherwise? I don’t take parenting advice from people who I think are terrible parents. Why would I ask somebody about Jesus if I didn’t think they walked the walk?

So, instead, I do my best to follow what Jesus said in Matthew when asked “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)

Love God. Love People. No other rules or conditions. And, essentially, I think what verse 40 is saying is that the whole of the Law and Prophets (Old Testament) is dependent on these two commandments.  Think about it, if we all loved God and loved people, what purpose would a commandment not to murder even have?  There would be no murder.

If you are like me, the commandment to love our neighbors is overwhelming.  Because Jesus doesn’t tell us to love the people that we like.  Or love the people we agree with.  We are to love all people.  How on earth do we do that!?  Well, that’s why the first commandment is to love God.  I have found that when you love God, it is easier to love people. Not easy. Easier. And honestly, I find that it’s easier to love people who are not Christians because I don’t expect as much. And, then I realize that I’m putting conditions on them (the Christians) which is exactly what I’m irritated about in the first place.

This really started out as a pithy list I had going in my mind about why I hate religion. The truth is that I don’t really hate religion, there are a lot of good things about religion; but I think it can sometimes distract us from what our mission as Christians really is. And it’s not pithy. It’s complicated. And, it’s important.  But, sometimes I just can’t shake this thought from my mind:

Seriously.

I should note that I have many Christian friends who might read this and wonder if I am judging them. If I’m honest, perhaps I am. But, the way it plays out in my mind is how I am raising the bar for myself. So, it’s a self-reflection in that regard. On the other hand, I have many non-Christian friends who might read this and wonder if the only reason I’m friends with them is to convert them. No. In fact, you are the reasons why these thoughts begin to bounce around in my head. Why I examine my own interpretation of my faith and the scriptures. Why I am constantly trying to learn more, and in that process realize that there is so much I don’t know. Why I feel so strongly about loving the people whom God has seen fit to put in my life. Why I am content to let God be bigger than I can ever imagine. And in the process of knowing me, I pray that you might get a glimpse of the Jesus that I love. And, if you ever want to know about my faith, ask me. I’m an open book.

Advertisements

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

At my husband’s previous job, they made a big deal out of “Take Your Child to Work Day”.  So, Jake asked a couple of weeks ago if he could come with one of us to work.  I explained that his dad’s new job didn’t really do anything special and that he’d be bored stiff at my job.  Although I do have a bunch of filing that needs done and if he really wanted to, I would put him to work.  He thought for about .08 seconds and said no thanks.  Then, he sat up straight, eyes wide and smiling big and said “Can’t you just work from home that day?”

Nice try, Eddie Haskell.

It reminded me of a situation a few years ago when I did work from home.  Jake had come home from school and I told him that he needed to practice the piano. From upstairs, I could hear the piano playing and was really proud of how much time he was spending on it that day.  I went downstairs to tell him that and found him laying on the floor watching cartoons while our digital piano played his pieces over and over — with mistakes and corrections and all.

These are just a couple of reasons why I was not surprised at all when he was cast as Puck in the school play.  Child was born to play Puck.  He made another feeble attempt this morning at trying to convince me to take him to work.  When I told him that would include making lunches, he decided he would just go to school. 

And, then he walked off without his lunch.

The Gospel and Maple Bacon Breakfast Cupcakes

Let me start by saying that I am not a cook.  I can cook and I do manage to make some decent meals, thanks to cookbooks and other people’s recipes.  For the past several years, we have had groups of people meeting at our house regularly, so I’m always on the lookout for new things to serve.  I break a cardinal rule though and serve things that I’ve never actually made (or even tried) before I feed them to others.  Fortunately, this has never really been a problem.

The weekly meal started in Olympia as a group of people who all went to church together gathered weekly to share life with one another outside of Sunday worship. In the beginning, many of us didn’t even know each other at all — we just happened to live geographically close to one another.  Food has a way of bringing people together.  Think about it….put a group of strangers in a room together.  The extroverts will be able to do okay, but it can still be awkward.  If you are an introverted kind of person, it can be downright painful.  Put that same group of strangers in a room together and add food or beverages and it instantly  becomes a party.

When we began hosting these weekly gatherings, I used the meal as a way to protect myself…to give myself something to do and focus on because I am terrible at small talk.  As we all began to get to know one another more intimately, I began to really enjoy serving others, feeding them food they really enjoyed in a welcoming atmosphere.  This wasn’t a church “small group” per se, as we regularly invited friends and neighbors who didn’t necessarily go to our church — or to church at all.  And when we had new people join us, the meal was a much better ice breaker than any kind of cheesy ice-breaker game or question (although those do have value in certain situations).

You see, I believe that meals are a way to remind us of our daily need for God both on physical and spiritual level.  Jesus calls us to remember him and his sacrifice through a meal that Christians call communion.  Not only that, one of the first things Jesus does after being resurrected from the dead is to break bread with the disciples that he meets on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:30).  The next morning, when he appeared to the rest of the disciples, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” (Luke 24-41b).   After he ate (they gave him broiled fish….), he went on to speak the most important truths of the Bible to them (read Luke 24:44-49 and you’ll see what I mean).  When we eat together, we commune around these truths.  The word itself is both a noun and a verb.  The noun refers to a group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities — a synonym being community.  The verb refers to sharing one’s intimate thoughts or feelings with someone — a synonym being to communicate or converse.  So the meal, to me, is a time that we nourish our bodies with food, but we also use that time to share our thoughts and feelings with other people, which leads to building a community.  And, in our fast food nation, I think this is somewhat lost on people.

In addition to eating, I think it’s important essential to celebrate God’s goodness and grace.  I desire to extravagantly bless others as a way to display God’s glory.  When I serve people, I want to serve them in the best way that I possibly can.  This might be by preparing an extravagant meal, opening the best bottle of wine or just knowing somebody’s favorite thing and serving that.  When you consider Jesus’ first miracle (John 2:1-11), it is significant that when Jesus turned the water into wine, it was the best wine.  When the disciples gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish back in Luke 24, it was probably the most extravagant thing they had.

Which brings me to the Maple Bacon Breakfast cupcakes.  We have brunch with a group of people on a monthly-ish basis.  Bacon is always a staple and it’s usually a topic of conversation — that is, how much everyone loves it.  So, when I saw Maple Bacon Breakfast Cupcakes on Pinterest recently, I knew that was my next brunch item.  I pinned it to my recipe board and when I went to make my shopping list, was dismayed to realize it was only a picture and there was no recipe.  So, I searched for a recipe that sounded do-able.  This morning, I got up early (not my favorite) and realized that we did not have any butter and had to change my plan.  I decided to use pancake batter for the “cupcake” portion, but was not sure it would rise, so it actually turned into a science project (also not my favorite).

Did I mention I’m not a cook?

For a second, I almost scrapped the entire project.  But, I was honestly driven out of my desire to provide something for this group that they would love.  To be extravagant.   To bless them.  So, I winged it.  And, they turned out fantastic.  Here’s the recipe:

Start by cooking up some bacon.  I wanted to use applewood smoked bacon, but we couldn’t find it.  I would definitely use thick sliced, premium bacon.  I think I did about 12 pieces.

2 cups pancake batter (it doesn’t matter what…I used some that I had bought in Mexico last month and never used.  I actually put it in a carry on bag to bring home and it wasn’t until the TSA Agent started looking at the seals that I thought maybe it was a bad idea….”Hi Dad?  I know I’m 41 years old, but I got arrested for having pancake batter in my carry-on.  And, I’m in Mexico.  I think they think it’s cocaine.  … Hello?…”)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Sift the dry ingredients together.  I think sifting is important when using the batter, because it made them light and fluffy.

Then add the following to the dry ingredients:

1 cup milk

2 eggs

Bacon grease from the bacon you just fried.  This was an afterthought and I have no idea how much I used…maybe 2 tablespoons?

2 tablespoons maple syrup.  This was also an afterthought as I wanted the cupcake portion to have a sweet and savory quality.  I think it was the perfect amount, but I would make sure to use pure maple syrup for best results.  Grade B might even be better, but it’s hard to find sometimes.

Minced bacon.  I don’t know how much I used — maybe 1/2 cup?  It doesn’t matter.  It’s bacon.  More is better.

Mix all of these ingredients together enough to blend them but not too much.  Pour into cupcake papers and bake.  I experimented with the time….I have a convection oven that converts for me automatically. I put the first batch in at 350 for 18 minutes.  This converted to 325 for 16 minutes.  I watched them closely and ended up taking them out at about 13 minutes. I think all ovens are different, so  just keep an eye on them and use a toothpick to determine if they are done.

I ended up making 2 batches, which made 24 standard size cupcakes and an additional 12 mini cupcakes.

Maple Frosting – this is not my own recipe…I just found it online

1 stick of butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup (again, I used Grade A, but Grade B might be better as it’s a little darker and has a richer flavor).

I topped them with a piece of bacon and voila!

 Peace to you.  And, be extravagant!

Why yes, I did bring a suitcase to the chess tournament

My son started playing chess last year at school.  They had very good club, led by a chess master.  He learned a great deal and had enough confidence to go to a tournament that spring.  I don’t know what I expected from a chess tournament, but I was completely blown away by the experience.  This is a culture all its own.  In general, it seems entire families are involved in the game.  And it is highly competitive.  The kids are precocious and the parents are largely of the tiger-variety.  That particular tournament went on for hours.  It was pretty unorganized.  My ipad lost its charge halfway through.  I was forced to make small talk for an excruciating amount of time.  Anyone who knows me well knows that any amount of small talk is excruciating for me. I was beside myself with happiness when Jake did not win any certificates or medals and we were able to get out of there before the awards ceremony.

He joined the chess club at his middle school, but ended up dropping it because it’s run by a parent and is really just a free-for-all.  He said he didn’t really learn anything and that none of the kids really took it seriously.  We went to New York in December and happened upon the Village Chess Shop in Greenwich Village.  It’s a fabulous little shop that’s been there for over 40 years.  It’s open 24 hours a day and you pay a per hour fee to play.  I imagine it functions much like a mission, whether anyone involved really thinks of it that way, especially at 2:00am. They told us about the US Chess Center in DC and suggested we look at classes there.

The US Chess Center is fabulous.  Their primary mission is to teach chess to children, especially those in the inner city, as a means of improving their academic and social skills.  The Saturday classes draw kids from all over the DC Metro area and they hold tournaments as well.  The first tournament that we attended here was well organized, but still insane as far as some of the parents are concerned.  They don’t allow parents in the room at all and we are not allowed to lurk and look in the windows during play.  Apparently, sometimes parents will try to give their kids cues — and yes, that’s cheating.  The last thing Jake would want me doing is trying to help him in chess.  I don’t even know which direction a rook can move.  I have seen parents throw fits over whether or not their child is going to play another child with a lower rating.  I have seen parents get asked to leave because they don’t follow the rules.  I once witnessed a little boy — who could not have been more than 9 years old — get berated by his mother because he lost.  She told his that this was not how he was going to get a chess scholarship and made him call his father to explain the move that he made that lost him the game.

Yes, chess scholarship.  They have them.

So parents don’t just ruin baseball and football games.  They aren’t just crazy on “Dance Moms”.  Some parents are just crazy.  I’ve decided that there must be something missing in their lives to have so much invested in how well their children perform in competition.  (Maybe it’s the same thing that is making 50 Shades of Grey end up in the #1 spot on the best-sellers list…)  Don’t get me wrong…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging your child and cheering them on and being proud of them when they win.  But, to place the kind of pressure that I see some kids endure is doing them a disservice, I think.  I always tell Jake that you can learn more from losing than winning.

So, here I am — at another chess tournament.  I’m a total fish out of water.  But, I’ve learned to bring my ipad charger.  Today, I brought two so that I could loan it to a newbie (it’s already spoken for).  I brought snacks and drinks and I have plenty of work to catch up on.  I ended up putting it all in a rolling suitcase because I took Metro in today.  I’ve also spent enough time sitting on the floor to know that a folding camp chair is a good idea as well.  At the last minute, I wore my Life is Good that says “Smile”.  It’s a reminder to myself that this is just a game as well as a not so subtle message to others who get too worked up about this stuff.  Unfortunately, the people who should get the message are not the ones who do.

I want to point out that not *all* chess parents are like what I’ve described.  They are the ones who have laughed at my shirt.  They also are the ones I loan my ipad charger and folding chair to.

Discovery

This morning, Jake had an orthodontist appointment. My plan was to drop him off at school afterward and then go home and crawl back in bed. No amount of lipstick is going to help me today. The achey, fatigued feeling I had yesterday had turned into a cough and fever. As we left the parking lot, the radio announcers were talking about the Space Shuttle Discovery which was headed toward DC to its new home at the Smithsonian. I had been looking forward to it, since my office is right on the Potomac River in Georgetown. I knew we’d have a front row seat to the show, but I’d decided to just watch it on TV. Jake asked if it would be visible from their school and I said no. “Awwwww, that’s too bad”, he said. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him sitting there in his Nationals jersey and wearing the ballcap that he got on opening day. Taking him out of school for that was never even a question. And here we are, just a few miles from where we could view this historic last flight of the shuttle that spent almost exactly one year in space over a span of nearly three decades (according to Wikipedia, the spacecraft spent 365 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes and 29 seconds in space).

So I kept driving. This was something Jake shouldn’t miss. This the kind of thing that makes living here special. It’s the kind of thing he will remember forever, unlike whatever he was going to miss in the 2 additional hours that he’d be out of school.

As I got closer to Georgetown (I decided to park in my regular lot and walk over to the Key Bridge), I started to get really excited. This was a little surprising to me since I’ve never really been all that enamored by air and space programs. In fact, I usually try to avoid the Air and Space Museum when we have visitors that want to go there. This, by the way is pretty much blasphemy since the air and space program has put food on our families tables for years. My father retired from the airlines, Lloyd’s step-dad spent his whole career at Boeing and his dad did contract work for NASA after retiring from the military.

It was an amazing sight. The shuttle strapped to the top of a 747. It was unreal. As we stood there watching and taking pictures as the plane escorted Discovery on a victory lap over DC, I heard Jake start to hum “God Bless America”. (I could not make this stuff up if I tried). Then he turned to me and said “Thanks for bringing me to see this, Mom. It makes me proud to be American”.

So he got to school in time to attend 4 of his 7 classes and he witnesses a little piece of history. If the truancy officers contact me, I’ll just send them these pictures. They don’t in any way do justice to the event, but I hope you enjoy them–especially those of you who weren’t in a place to decide whether or not to go and witness it in person.

20120417-150734.jpg

20120417-150746.jpg

20120417-150755.jpg

20120417-150803.jpg

20120417-150833.jpg

20120417-150847.jpg

20120417-150858.jpg

20120417-151716.jpg

Lipstick junkie….be funky….

I have long held the opinion that one should never tell a woman that she looks tired.  Because really, it’s just another way to tell her that she looks like something the cat dragged in.  The proper thing to say is “Honey, you need some lipstick”.  Only if you’re a woman though.  Men are not allowed to tell a woman she needs lipstick.  Ever.  You also shouldn’t tell her that she looks tired.  Instead, if you are her significant other, always tell her that you think she looks amazing.  She will know you are full of shit, but she’ll also know that you love her and that will keep you out of the dog house.  If you are of the male persuasion and not in an intimate relationship with a woman though, just ignore the fact that she looks like hell and make a mental note to just go a little easy on her that day.

I was driving in to work this morning and I thought to myself, “this is a bright lipstick day”.  I’m exhausted — it’s a body aching kind of fatigue.  It’s bordering on a “maybe I’m getting sick” kind of feeling.  So, I made a mental note to put some lipstick on before I got to the office.  And, of course I forgot.

The FIRST thing that my (male) co-worker said to me as I passed by his desk on the way to my office?  “Wow…you look tired this morning”.  I tried to muster a snarky response but I’m honestly too tired for snark today.  So, I promptly pulled out my new purchase from bareMinerals:  Pretty Amazing Lipcolor.  The color is “Confidence”.  Perfect.  I put it on and guess what the very next thing somebody (female) said to me was?  “You look so pretty today!” Somebody at bareMinerals knows what they are talking about.

Now, I could dwell on the idea that she seemed a little too surprised in her reaction.  But, I won’t.  It did remind me of the time I was in an elevator with Jake, who was about 2 years old at the time.  This well-meaning woman told me how absolutely beautiful my little boy was.  As I smiled and thanked her, she followed it up with “he must look JUST like his daddy”.  I must have needed lipstick that day.

 

Laundromats and Memories

Lloyd has this habit of reading my mind. I do it to him, too. I guess we are beyond finishing each others sentences and are now at the point in our relationship where we don’t even have to talk. He and Jake went out to run some errands this afternoon. Before they left, I thought to myself that I should have him wash the car. But I didn’t say anything. He washed the car. While they were gone, I almost called to suggest he run by the pet store to get the cat a new collar and tag. I didn’t. Guess what he came home with? So, we were telling Jake how that happens to us a lot and that we have been together for 20 years, so it’s to be expected. As any good pre-teen will do, he jumped on the chance to point out that I was wrong—that we had been together for 19 years. I reminded him that we had dated for a while before we got married. Then I realized that it was exactly a year ago today that we became an exclusive couple.

As I’ve written about before, our first “date” was in December 1991. And yes, I came home from that date announcing to my roommate that I’d found the man I was going to marry. But it was a little more complicated than that. We both had other relationships that we were involved in and neither one of us was that interested in another. But, something just kept drawing us together. He worked overnights at a local radio station on the weekends. I had insomnia and we would talk on the phone for hours….sometimes his entire shift. On my 21st birthday, he asked if he could make me breakfast, which I thought was very sweet. I went out at midnight to celebrate, but managed to drag myself to his apartment that morning. Okay, I had decided to blow it off, but he called to wake me up, so I went. Anybody who knows me well knows that I don’t really talk to anyone before 10am, so this was really significant. Other than that, we saw each other at the Evergreen where we both worked and occasionally, I would give him a ride to or from campus because we lived close to one another. Beyond that, our worlds just didn’t really cross paths much. He did tell me once to stop by anytime though and right after I ended the aforementioned relationship, I happened to be at a party in his apartment building. My friends convinced me that I should go over and visit him. I knew that he wasn’t going to work for a couple of hours–and I had some liquid courage in me (I was 21 after all), so I knocked on his door. He answered and seemed a little surprised to see me. Turns out, there was a girl there and they were watching a movie, “What about Bob”. I knew her and wasn’t really impressed with the situation, so since he had invited me in, I stayed and watched the rest of the movie with them. Awkward is probably an understatement. I didn’t care. Shortly after that, he mentioned that his band was playing at a local bar. So, I talked a couple of my friends into going with me. He was surprised that I showed up. Same girl was there. He left with her. Again, awkward.

I don’t know why we kept hanging out after all of this. But we did. And on April 7th, I took him to the laundromat so could both do laundry. That was the night he kissed me for the first time. 4 months after our first date. I had kissed a couple of guys before (okay, four), but this was different. I didn’t know this kind of kiss existed. This was what fairy tales talked about–the kind of kiss that would wake Sleeping Beauty. True love’s kiss. This kiss left Westley and Buttercup’s kiss in the dust. He felt it too. I’ve often joked that he married me because I would sit through a 9 inning baseball game without complaining. Tonight, as we told Jake this story, he said it was that kiss. It was about that time that Jake asked I he could please be excused from the dinner table. He was appalled that this all involved a laundromat. Honestly, I had no idea that he even knew what a laundromat was. And let’s face it….no 12 year old wants to talk about kissing. They especially don’t want to talk about their parents kissing.

From then on, we’ve been pretty much inseparable. Twenty years later, there is nobody I’d rather spend my time with. People often ask me how I knew that Lloyd was “the one”. I think you just know. And the first kiss should be one that leaves you knowing that this is somebody you never want to live without. Yes, it may embarrass our kid now, but he knows his parents love each other and there’s a lot to be said for that.

By the way, I’m not a freaky “date” person. There have been many April 7ths that have gone by without me even thinking about it. Since it was then that things became “exclusive” it seemed like the natural date to call our anniversary at the time. And then, by sheer coincidence, the date Lloyd proposed was December 7th, 8 months later, which was kind of cool, so that’s why it sticks in my mind. Kind of funny that it came up today though.

 

lloydstephtride.jpg

Vacation according to Jake

We have been in Cancun for several days now. I’m not sure how many because I don’t know what today is. I know that it is the opening day of baseball stateside and that fact is driving my baseball fanatic son crazy. Truth be told, it’s driving my husband crazy, too. But, there is TV here and as luck would have it, the Nationals are not playing at home until next week, so we aren’t missing it.

This is the second best vacation Jake’s ever had, he says. Spring training in Florida is still #1. It is the best international vacation ever though. And no, it’s not the only international vacation. He’s been to Canada. 😉

We are here with our dear friends, whom we met because our boys became instant friends when they were in choir together in Olympia. They are among the few people that I would spend a week with and the truth is, the trip wouldn’t be as fun without them. Our kids keep each other busy and free from boredom. Apparently, you can get bored sitting by the pool. I don’t get it, but it’s what I’ve been told. The adults keep each other busy and free from throttling our kids when they get bored. It’s been a great week so far. Lloyd always dreads taking me to the beach because he’s afraid I’ll never leave. After this vacation, I think he might have to worry about both of us — meaning me and Jake.

The surf lesson started it. I wasn’t sure he’d like it, but Jake will try anything once. And after he got up a couple of times, he was hooked. After his two hour lesson (shared with his buddy), he wanted to know if he could have a lesson every day that we were here. I also want to take a minute to give a BIG shout out to Dave at 360 Surf School in Cancun. He was awesome and really made the difference for the boys. He also saved Jake from getting pulled out by the current when Mr. King of the World decided that he could go further out than was safe. Dave didn’t miss a beat and swam out to get him as the lifeguard stood by and watched (although I am sure he would have helped if needed). He also used it as a valuable teaching lesson, which made a much bigger impact than anything we could have said to him in that moment. If you are ever in Cancun, definitely look him up.

20120404-115810.jpg

20120404-122726.jpg

20120404-122915.jpg

20120404-122941.jpg

20120404-123239.jpg

Last night, we went to Margaritaville Cancun to celebrate our friends’ granddaughter’s 10th birthday. It was a blast. We all sang Jimmy Buffett songs at the top of our lungs. Jake had his first “piña colada” and shortly thereafter was on stage dancing. Give this boy a stage and he is completely at home. It’s a little scary sometimes to see him embrace the party scene the way he does, but I envy that he is willing to have fun without worrying what other people think. I wish my dad could have been with us. When I was in 5th grade he took me to see my first concert–Jimmy Buffett at the Greek Theatre in LA. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a Coral Reefer Girl when I grew up. I still want to be a Coral Reefer Girl when I grow up. Now, watching my son sing “Margaritaville” while wearing a Fins Up hat made me smile as I realized we had three generations of Parrotheads in the family.

20120404-141808.jpg

<a

20120404-142611.jpg

The best part of the night though was doing Tequila shots with my bestie and then hearing Jake say: “Well, that was awkward”.

20120404-142345.jpg