Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deathly Hallows...

Well, my day started off pretty slowly. I'd looked at all the news about HP7... apparently the NYT got a copy from a store a day early and did a review of it a day before the release and JKR was pretty upset about it. I knew I would spend most of Saturday devouring the final installment of the story of the "boy who lived", but I figured that I'd just get a copy on Saturday. Last year, we pre-ordered and I stood in line diligently with a hundred other fans at Waldenbooks in the mall. It took several hours of standing in line to actually get the book "at midnight" and the next morning, there was a pallet of them at Wal-mart... so I figured I could wait a few hours and avoid the drudgery of standing in line. But all of a sudden, BAM! I get this in my campus email:

Well, what is a guy supposed to do? I didn't want to stand in line at Books-a-million or Hastings, but by golly, I'd stand in line at the campus store. Well, apparently a bunch of other people thought the same thing:

But that is ok... we had a fun time and I only had to stand in line for about 20 minutes. For a last-minute effort, I have to applaud the Campus Store. They tried to give it a little of the Potterverse flavor by including some free treats:

So, I also thought that, being that this was last minute and most of the hard core fans had probably already pre-ordered online or at one of the major chains, I *might* get lucky if I dressed up... so I pulled out an old Jedi Robe (yes, I'm that geeky), shaved off the goatee so as to be a more believable Harry Potter... donned a lightning scar tatoo and printed off a Gryffindor badge I found online and thought that I might just win a prize. $10 bucks... not bad for little effort. Anyhow, I finally got my copy:

And I'm ready for any shocking revelations that JKR is going to throw my way.

After driving home and tossing up this blog post, the time is officially 1:17am and I'm headed downstairs to read in the comfy chair. Happy reading, Potter fans!

My thanks to the planners of the Campus Store HP7 release party:

Shannon, Scott and Anthony


edit: I finished the book at 4:55pm on Saturday. All is right with the world, but I need a nap.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I lift my eyes unto the hills...

Mary Hannah: Daddy, can I run up the hill?
me: Um... sure, honey.
Mary Hannah: Thanks!

She takes off running. Seeing MH in such a hurry, Eleanor runs after her and, not to be left behind, Ethan takes off running as well.

A few questions:

Q: Why did she ask my permission?
A1: I'd like to think that we've instilled in her a sense of safety when we are in public places. I think she knows that she's not supposed to go running off from us without letting us know where she is going.
A2: She wanted my attention so that I would watch her, watch over her and make sure that I knew that she wasn't going to go too far.
A3: From experience, she knows that there are things she may be unaware of that could hurt her or threaten her. For instance, I have drilled into her that she isn't supposed to cross the street without an adult. I explained to her that she is not tall enough to see over or around parked cars to view oncoming traffic and likewise, drivers would not see her until it was too late to stop. Another example: she is not supposed to grab things off the counter. It could be a pan of hot water just taken off the stove which looks alright, but will burn her if she touches it. It could be that the towel she is pulling off the counter has a sharp knife on top of it and when she pulls the towel, the knife could slip off and harm her.

I think the bottom line is that in MH's life, I am the authority figure that she looks to for protection and guidance. If I had told her she couldn't go running up the hill, she might have pouted or questioned my decision, but she would have obeyed.

Q2: Why did she want to run up the hill in the first place? What fun is that?
A1: To see what was up there to see, ala The Poky Little Puppy.
A2: To be adventureous and brave while still under the watchful eye and nearby refuge of Daddy.
A3: Because that is what kids with lots of energy do. I remember when I was very young, at my great-grandfather Firestone's house, there was a steep hill that my siblings and cousins liked to roll down. Why? Because it was a blast. We'd run up the hill and then lie on our stomachs, fold our arms over our chests and barrel roll down the hill, trying our best to avoid the rocks and tree stump.

Sometimes we takes risks. We especially like to be daring when we know there is a safety net to catch us. Sometimes we want to see just how far we can go and still be "in sight of Daddy". Sometimes, we just want to push ourselves by going all out and seeing what happens.

Q3: Why did Ethan and Eleanor follow her?
A1: They didn't want to miss out on something special. C'mon... how many times did you complain that your sibling got to do something you weren't allowed to do? There is an innate sibling rivalry that we'll do anything to avoid being left out, even if it means getting a spanking in the process.
A2: They want to be like her. Neither of them has had the exact same lessons drilled into them the way I drilled them into MH. Sure, they know not to walk out into the street and not to pull things off countertops, but they learned it more from watching their big sister than they did from repeated warnings from me and Amelia. As much as we have modeled and taught MH, she has done a similar thing for her younger siblings. It probably isn't fair that it worked out that way, but I suspect that it happens more often than not between siblings.
A3: They'd been wanting to run up the hill as well, but either didn't realize they could ask and be allowed or just hadn't realized till that very moment how much fun it could be. Sometimes this happens to me. I'll see an opportunity but it will never occur to me that *I* could do _________. Then someone else steps up and asks for it and !shazam! they are allowed. Remember the story of the prodigal son? The older brother asks the father, "Hey, how come you never butchered the fatted calf or gave me so much as a goat to party with my friends?" The father essentially replies, "You've been allowed to do it all along, but you never asked. But in this instance, instead of whining about your own situation, be glad for your brother!"

Some of the people we choose to follow are true leaders and some aren't. Some of the reasons we follow others are self serving and some are altruistic. Sometimes, we fail to step up and take the lead because we're timid or blind or just plain lazy.

Q4: Why did I write this blog posting?
A1: I'm in a rambling sort of mood
A2: The picture made me think of Psalm 121 and everything else just flowed from that.
A3: Hey, it's my blog and I can post whatever I want. lol.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my 11th anniversary. I'm not the most romantic guy, but I try not to be a schlub, either. So, I just got off the phone with the florist. Why can't daisies be the flower of love? *sigh* Really, I don't mind spending the money on roses, after all, my baby is worth a bajillion roses to me, so dropping a little bit of money isn't the issue. Amelia wouldn't mind if I got her roses or daisies or alstromerias. But the point of getting roses is not to swoon over the roses. If that were the case, horticulturists all over the world would be swooning everyday. The point of getting roses is for *other people* to see you getting roses. Be honest, isn't getting flowers at work all about the display of affection? You want your co-workers to stop by your desk and ask, "Wow, who sent the roses?" The sender intends the presentation to be the actual gift to you. It makes you the center of attention all day. Sending roses is a public declaration that you are loved by another.

Truth be told, you don't have to look far to see that Amelia and I love each other. I don't mean that we are disgustingly affectionate in public. I just think that if you spend much time with us at all, you'd be able to see it in how we treat each other. We're consistently kind and respectful. We like to hold hands and talk to each other. We're considerate of each other and usually try to put the other person first. We talk about how our days went while we cook dinner and try not to "fix" things, but just listen. We share a common sense of humor and punnery, and after 11 years, we can even guess where the other person is going with a joke. We absolutely adore our children and feel that they are a blessing every day. Even when we get frustrated with parenting, we lean on each other for support and hand off the parental duties to the parent best suited to handle the situation.

For 11 years, I've tried to best her in Boggle (and failed). For 11 years, we've bookmarked the other's place in a book and tried to see who would finish it first. For 11 years, we've laughed and played and struggled and endured and loved and cried and celebrated and despaired and carried and birthed and slept and woken up together.

When I got married, I was clueless about how much fuller and richer my life would be. I couldn't imagine being able to love any more than the love I had for Amelia. Then we had Mary Hannah and my heart expanded to make room for the love I had for her. Then we had Ethan and I was amazed to learn that I could fully love my wife, fully love my daughter and fully love my son. I was running at 300% love production for my family. Then we had Eleanor. It was around this time that I learned a truth about love: Because God is love and God is infinite, love is infinite. If you can comprehend the love that flows from God and allow it to be the model for the love in your life, you will find that unlike physical things, bound by physical laws of space and time, it is literally possible to give away all the love you have and at the same time get it back ten fold.
That is why I can say that I try every day to give Amelia all my love, knowing that she will return it to me, refined and focused and fuller and more robust. That is what we have together. A deep, abiding, powerful and ever increasing love for each other.
That is the type of love that makes it a bit easier to endure when we have our low moments. Yes, we do argue (rarely). Sometimes I'm moody and sometimes she's out of sorts. But by and large, our good moments not only outnumber our bad moments, but they outshine them as well. When I think back over 11 years, I have a lifetime of great memories and stories and happy feelings... and it's only been 11 years.

So, if roses are for other people to see how much you love your spouse, then this letter is, in kind, a way to shout to the world that I love this woman. I love Amelia. Unabashedly, completely and without reservation. She is my soul-mate, my muse, my help and my partner. She is the mother of our children and the keeper of my heart. She motivates me to be better. She humbles me with her generous spirit. She soothes me when I'm upset and feeds me when I'm hungry. She brushes off my compliments when I tell her how beautiful she is, but she likes to get dolled up and go out when we have the occasion. She completes me. Amelia is a gift from God to help me be.

So today, 11 years later, I just want to proclaim to the world what I said in front of the crowd at our wedding: I love Amelia. She is my lover, my friend, my wife.