Van the Man

    I finally get to do a little brag blogging! Today is the birthday of my father and friend. Often times I hope for the opportunity to tell people why I think he's so wonderful, and June 17th throws me the perfect pitch-- but where on earth do I begin??
    My dad is the epitome of all that stuff Christ is always saying: "Turn the other cheek. Love. Be kind. Be honest. Be good. Be giving/ caring/ wise/ disciplined/ hard-working/ merciful." Sheesh-- I can barely think of a strength he does not  portray.
    I don't know what translation of the Bible he owns, but it much really push being goofy on its readers. He's such an oddball. Like, he thinks peanut butter pairs with everything. Have I ever told you the one where I found him eating peanut butter and chicken broth out of a saucepan ?? No one has made me laugh harder than that man. Once we were touring a house my brother was thinking about buying, and my dad stole ice cubes out of the owners' freezer... because he loves eating ice. Who does that???
         He knows when it's time to laugh and be dad. Just as well, he knows when it's time to step up and be my father, and motivate me to step up as well. In all the jet black moments in my life, I can't think of one that was absent my father. He never fails to set a premium example when he's at church, at work, or even on his own couch. My dad and I have been through hell together on more than one occasion. Thanks to him, it has always been a round trip.
    I will long count on looking to him to seek a model of the balance I've talked about recently. He has found so much balance in his years: husband and father. Accomplishment and humility. Accountability and encouragement. Love and strength. Loyalty and candor.  Justice and mercy.
       One June morning I landed in his cradling arms in a pink blanket-- and every day since those same arms have consisently reached, directed, and embraced me, and inspired me to make better use of my own limbs.
     Happy Birthday to my hero, who is loved and admired by his community-- and probably getting a little embarassed by now. ;)

                                                           He's a Jolly Good Fellow




      Sha-BAM! Made it to 21. And while I'm up for a midnight snicky-snack, I thought I'd voice a little of what's on my heart as I flip past the last page of chapter 20.
  Last year was a hard birthday for personal reasons. I was in a very adverse place in my life,
 and it was a bit of a "just survive" day. Not so this year. Thank God.
       I really believe it was just a series of unfortunate events over the past 5 or 6 years that has turned me into quite the "shutter-outer" of people. I never thought I'd see the day where I would become weary of that-- but here I am. 
     I think it was a couple dark or empty moments recently that had me looking around wondering where everyone was. I couldn't figure out why no one was reaching out to me in an hour of need. It didn't take long for me to put 2 and 2 together. I hadn't been reaching out either! I haven't been participating in much give OR take with you fellow mortals. Too risky.
     I'm committed to taking a new direction with myself. I'm in a very peaceful place in my life-- no chaos, no adversity, minimal stress. I finally reached a point where I'm able to really give of myself and I am SO ready to start doing so. Is it scary?? ... Well, actually, no. I get to exhale for once. It's nice to stop playing defense on auto-pilot. I finally get how to change "walls" into reasonable and effective boundaries.
   I'm finding so much balance these days-- balance between connecting with people and maintaining that boundary. Between thinking and doing, being perfect vs. having control. When to speak up and when to shut up. Being a better listener and being more understanding. I don't need to be that girl who keeps people away anymore; I'm tired of her. It's OK to say no, and more importantly, it's OK to say YES to life and its opportunities.
      But boy, do old habits die slow.


Violation Station

Last night was a bit of an ironic one.
(And let me state for the record: I don't usually stay up this late like I used to, so don't jump all over me for that.)
      It was around midnight when I was driving south-bound down Fleur, on my way to meet my friend Rachel at Hy-Vee. While still a couple blocks away, I was stopped at a red light next to another driver. An orange SUV turned left onto Fleur veeery slowly. Orange SUV turned into the other driver's lane but was still almost halfway in mine. At first I assumed this person was indecisive or not paying attention, so I gave a few seconds of grace, when OSUV swerved into MY lane. I HOOOONKED as loud as Warren (my car) would screech. When OSUV seemed to have no reaction whatsoever, I suspected a certain "influence" was at play. He continued to swerve in and out of lanes with no warning.
     Along came my turn to go to Hy-Vee, but my instincts objected. If OSUV was, in fact, drunk off his/her arse, no way could I just let him/her go-- so on I drove. Suddenly he/she took off and sped down the street faster than a cat in a thunderstorm. And so did I. Sure, I felt a little guilty for speeding, but I figured if ever there was a reason this was it. When OSUV drove into a median, I was good and certain he/she was trashed out of his/her mind. Without another moment of hesitation, I was on the phone with 911 giving the scoop. I presented all the information I had, including the plate number. At that point it was out of my hands. I had to let go, turn back around and go meet up with Rachel.
     Fast forward to a few hours later. I left Rachel's house around 3 am. When I was 6 blocks away from home, I was eager to arrive since the evening's earlier experience left me uncomfortable driving so late. OK, so I guess I was a little too eager. I got pulled over. 15 minutes and $74 later....
     I will say the officer went VERY easy on me and didn't fine me NEARLY as hard as he could and should
have. I'm not saying I didn't deserve a ticket or it's unfair that I got pulled over, but I can't help but be a bit annoyed. On Fleur, I had gone 2 miles out of my way and undoubtedly risked my life to get OSUV off the road-- and the likelihood that he/she ever met a pair of handcuffs that night is slim.
      Evidently karma stepped out for the holiday weekend. I don't know-- you tell me if you find all this to be poetic justice or cruel irony. I believe it to be more toward the latter.
     Oh, and dad, if you're reading this-- sorry. 0:)