Thursday, June 18, 2009

These Are the Things He's Learning

Daniel began a new job this week. He worked at Target for two years and we enjoyed that because we enjoy Target. But he had to go and upset the apple cart by getting a different job for the summer. He likes Denny's, so he got a job there. They're going through this massive orientation this week because our Denny's is not a very good one and corporate is determined to set this aright, so he is benefiting from lots of training though he will only be there a little less than three months. And here is what he is learning.

He has learned to say "yes." Daniel tells me that Denny's policy is to say yes to customer requests as much as possible, say 99.8% of the time. If you ask to sit in a particular booth, yes you may. If you ask to substitute pancakes for that side of toast, yes you may. If you ask to have a specific waiter, yes you may. Yes, yes, yes. I like this. I think we all need to say yes 99.8% of the time. Good PR, if you will. And mighty nice too.

Daniel is also learning how to tie his own apron in the back. When he was at Target he pulled the long apron strings around to the front and tied it there. But Denny's wants their employees to look sharp so they must tie their strings in the back. Now this is a no-brainer to me, this tying the strings in the back without any assistance. But then I grew up, like most little girls, tying my own dress sashes with no problem. I really hadn't considered that boys never have the opportunity to master this important skill until Daniel proceeded to practice over and over this evening, even timing himself and checking the results in the mirror. Here, here! Let's hear it for the boy! He's learning something new that girls can do in their sleep. But hey, he's willing and he's taking it seriously!

And finally, Daniel learned this morning to iron his own uniform - his idea, not mine. He learned quickly too. That's right, the guy we had to threaten with his life to get his haircut, beg to wear a decent pair of khakis to church, and coerced to wear a belt maybe once a year, is now willingly dressing in nice black pants that he has properly ironed each day! He wears a neat black undershirt under his pressed button-up uniform shirt, tucks it all in, puts on a belt, and finishes it all off with a pair of nice black shoes he bought with his own money. Moms, there is hope. Hang in there. I'm amazed, proud, thankful, and trying really hard not to put too much stock in all this. After all, his room is still and mess and he still doesn't know how to make his bed! But he's got a great learning curve!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heavy Reading

Some may think I goofed when I picked one of our summer reading selections for our women's ministry's Breakfast & Books club this summer. I'm thinking I picked a really hard read but I'm counting on it being worth it.

I've often heard other Bible study teachers and writers say they enjoy reading biographies about Christians who have paved such a road of godliness ahead of us. They've lauded the drive, commitment, zeal, fervor, and sacrifices of such godly heros and heroines as Jim Elliot, William Carey, Eric Liddel, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Corrie Ten Boom, Gladys Aylward and George Muller. And while I am vaguely familiar with some of these people and the lives they lived, I've rarely read an entire book about a hero of the faith. So I decided we should read a biography this summer - me and anyone who chose to join me.

Our summer reading list also includes a fiction book (The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser) and a devotional book (A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss), but I am reading the biography selection. I've chosen Elizabeth Elliot's A Chance to Die about Amy Carmichael. I began the book yesterday and realized immediately that it is not an easy book to read. While it is beautifully written, the vocabulary is rather old-fashioned and reflects the time of Miss Carmichael's life. And because the author is talking about a different place and time, contemporary readers may struggle to understand what she's talking about at times - I know I'm struggling! But I've decided it is worth the struggle.

Perhaps I have become spoiled by easy reading, contemporary lingo, and simplistic storylines. This book will definitely be a stretch for me, but isn't that what I'm after? To be stretched? Indeed it is. I fear we've all become a little complacent in our personal and spiritual growth, depending on video driven Bible studies, study helps found on Internet web sites, and 30-minute sermons to feed us our "daily bread." But enough of the milk toast already! I'm ready to flex my study muscles a little and read something that isn't necessarily going to entertain me. The ideas and concepts may not jump off the page at me; instead I may have to read a few paragraphs over and over in order to really follow the author. Yes, I'm determined to read this book and enjoy it for what it is - the life story of a godly woman who left her comfortable world to live for Christ and others. I'm not going to demand twist and turns, wrenching love stories, superb character development or a dramatic ending. Instead I'm going to learn from a simple woman who chose to live a simple, yet extraordinary life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So Past Due!

I probably do not have anyone even reading this blog at this point because I've been so unfaithful in writing it. I have no one to blame but myself. But today I am turning over a new leaf, a pretty green summer leaf that is!

I'm going to try to blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at least, this summer. I have got to work some routine into my summer or I'm going to catch a full-blown case of my kids' contagious laziness. I'm determined to be productive. In fact, I need to be productive. I have college and braces to pay for!

Today, I'll begin with a little about Daniel's graduation from high school. He graduated May 21 ( I know, that seems like forever ago now! Like I said, I've been pitiful about blogging!). We had such a great week. Both sets of grandparents drove in from their respective states, Georgia and Texas. The weather threatened rain all week, but no wet stuff ever really materialized. So that simply meant that the temps stayed nice and low - in the 70s and 80s, tops.

James and I got to go to Daniel's dress rehearsal on Wednesday night and take all the pictures we wanted. It was such a neat night. All the parents could just get on the football field and right in there with the grads. The administration just conducted the rehearsal as though we weren't even there and didn't seem fazed by our noisy conversations, flashing cameras, and laughter. I'm so glad we had that opportunity. With over 600 graduates it's impossible for everyone to really see their graduate on the Big Night, so this up-close-and-personal experience made up for all that.

Here's Daniel receiving his parking passes, tickets, and commemorative program in lieu of his diploma on the rehearsal night.

Graduation night we all went to an early dinner at a local Italian restaurant and headed to the stadium. We were there nice and early. Graduation went off without a hitch and we got the boy graduated. But the neatest thing was the big party the grads had at the school afterwards. Project Graduation is sponsored by hundreds of community members and organizations. It's an all-night, drug and alcohol free party at the school with tons of games, food, and prizes. The theme was "It's a Jungle Out There", fitting for graduates, I thought, and they had decorated the whole school in a jungle theme. The grads had poker tournaments, basketball tournaments, BINGO, Guitar Hero, tricycle races, etc. And they all got to choose from hundreds of huge gift baskets that included things like microwaves, bikes, IPods, etcs. They also had huge cash prizes and even airline tickets as door prizes. Daniel had a blast and, of course, slept the entire next day!

The day after graduation we hosted a party for Daniel in our backyard. Lots of friends came to help us celebrate the big event. We had hamburgers and hotdogs. We had spent all day getting ready for the party, with grandparents doing the bulk of the work. They helped us plant flowers, string party lights, clean off the lawn furniture, and prepare the food. Kudos to great parents/grandparents!

Here's our all-grown-up grad with his two grandmothers, Nana and Mammaw.

Here's Abby with Tiffany and Blake.

Notice how we segregated into girls and guys tables/areas! Here's Carlos, J.R., Papa, Mike and Ben.

And some of the girls at the girls table, Abby, Tiffany, Blake and Lilly. Wasn't it a beautifuly evening? And our yard looked so pretty and festive.

Thanks to all our family and friends for helping to make this a great graduation week. And congratulations to Daniel! We're so proud of him!