Sunday, July 5, 2015

God Bless America

Without a doubt, one thing America does right is hamburgers. So in honor of our country's birthday yesterday, I prepared an American feast of hamburgers, homemade onion rings, sweet potato fries and (you won't believe it) cherry malts. It was hard to tell what the kids liked better--the menu or the fact that Mommy allowed them to have dessert with their meal. A celebration indeed!

Later that evening, we summoned our friends in high places and watched the fireworks beside the runway at the Chandler Airport. We sure beat the crowds and had excellent views of the show. The kids even watched them from the pack of a pick-up truck. How much more American can you get?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thank You, Rob Thomas!

I had a hot and steamy four-mile run this morning. Wait. That makes it sound much better than it was. It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful. I managed to stay positive and turn what could have been a really ugly experience into a character building workout. Music always helps, and during these hot runs I usually find myself singing, "Well it's a hot seven inches from the midday sun." Then that makes me think of that hilarious Marathon Thoughts video that never gets old. Here it is again.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Amazing Matthew

After taking the kids to a rather impressive free magic show at the library yesterday, Matthew is now obsessed with magic tricks. He has a book and reviews YouTube videos to amaze us. It's comical! Maybe he'll even master juggling. But not with knives. Blindfolded. On a unicycle. I told him that stuff was off limits. :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Another Fateful Day

Today I heard this song on the radio, and I reflected on our visit to the King Center in Atlanta two weeks ago on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has always been a hero to me. He's known as a civil rights leader, but he was truly fighting for human rights and he always did it peacefully. While on this campus, I was in awe and felt like I was surrounded by greatness. Though much of the focus is expectedly on Martin Luther King, Jr., the tributes to his wife, Gandhi and Rosa Parks were equally as moving. All these individuals made a real difference in the way humans treat other humans, and they encouraged and inspired others to do the same and without violence. Their work was difficult and noble and done with both grace and dignity. They are true examples of how much good can be found in the human spirit. I was grateful to be there. Reading the plaques and viewing the exhibits was so moving that I wiped away many tears. I'd like to think I'd be one of the people who stood up for justice in the 1960s if I had been there. Would I have participated in sit-ins? Would I have been brave enough to be a Freedom Rider? I would hope so.

If only everyone else believed in equality and peace as they did. Any peace and calm I felt from being there was quickly shattered when, in an ironic turn of events, the news that very same night announced that there had been a mass shooting in a predominantly African-American Methodist church not far away in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine innocent lives were lost to gunfire in a church during Bible study. There is absolutely nothing peaceful or just about any of that, and I sincerely wish that we as Americans can will do what we need to do to change our ways. When will we realize that enough is enough? Hate gets us nowhere and violence is never the answer. Our issues may be complex, but behaving well is so simple. Talk, don't fight. Love, don't hate. We're all one. We're all in this together. Why are we so aggressive? How's that working for us, America?

I'll leave you with two of the most thoughtful and encouraging quotes I read that morning and hope that you, too, take a moment to reflect on our reality--the real roots of our nation's and world's troubles--and choose to accept that we need to address them with grace, dignity, and without violence. I, like Martin Luther King, Jr., "refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vacation's Over.

After a two-week family vacation to Atlanta and North Carolina to spend some time with our families, we are back home in Arizona. Brian went to work today, and I'm back to work with laundry, cleaning, organizing, and grocery shopping. Elizabeth and Matthew are enjoying their own house and their own things again.

I'm also back to the blog. I didn't really care for how things were going here lately; posts sounded more like lengthy Facebook status updates. And you know how I loathe The Facebook. So I'm going to do my best to stay away from that kind of thing. You may want to prepare yourself for more opinions and vents from me.

Until then, I'll let you know we had an excellent vacation visiting and sight-seeing and relaxing. Events on our timeline include seeing Martin Luther King's birth house as well as the inspiring King Center, going to the Cyclorama for a Civil War history lesson, visiting Bald Head Island, and boating on Lake Allatoona. Other events: Elizabeth lost a tooth; so did Gigi; Matthew got sand rash; my mom had a mild stroke. Everyone, including my mother, is fine now, and I'll address my mom's episode in a later blog. This one is sounding more like the old ones that I'm trying to get away from anyway.

So starting now we're on track. See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shark Week

My family visited Sunset Beach, North Carolina, for a week or two every summer when I was growing up. It's the southernmost beach in North Carolina, and it sits on its own private island accessible only by a bridge. Since only about ten years ago, the bridge was a single-lane swing bridge that opened on the hour for boats to pass through the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. You had to time your trips on and off the island because traffic would back up excessively during some hours of the day. Our parents were always trying to "beat the bridge," but my brother and our friends would always love to watch the bridge move. It was really fascinating, but like all other places, even Sunset Beach had to change with the times.

The beach faces south and is about a mile and a half long. Unlike the Pacific, the ocean water is warm, calm, and there isn't a lot of seaweed running into your legs. There are some shells, but the sand is mostly soft and smooth on your feet.

The only beachgoers there are beachhouse renters or owners. It's non-commercial and, therefore, very private. It's the opposite of Myrtle Beach which is a mere thirty miles down the coast. It's slow-paced and always was. The new bridge brings a few more visitors on the weekends maybe, but for the most part it's very quiet and peaceful. Some might even call it boring.

Until now.

It seems that in the past week, several neighboring beaches have reported shark attacks or sitings. This kind of thing is rare, but the timing makes this a scary situation for us. The threat is real, and although we enjoy riding the waves in on boogie boards, none of us thinks it's worth an arm or a leg. Several sharks have attacked in waist-deep water, and some have been sighted in water as shallow as two feet deep.

So as we head to the beach tomorrow, we plan to stay on the sand for a week. Sand castle building, walks, paddleball playing, and Frisbee throwing will have to keep us occupied. It's a shame, but the ocean is the sharks' home, not ours, so if they aren't being hospitable, I'm not willing to visit.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What the What?!

So there's a heatwave going on in Atlanta, and sharks are attacking on our beach's neighboring beaches.

I'm really trying to stay positive here, but I don't predict much relaxation on this vacation.