Lent 13: driving the curves

25 02 2013

This is where I learned how to drive–in Southern Vermont. There is no lack of curvy, winding roads in my former stomping grounds. And so I approached the learning process with fear, trepidation — and a little excitement. My dad told me, when he first started teaching me to drive, that he wanted to make sure I knew how to drive the curves. And he did. And, I loved it.   Lent 13: driving the curves

I still love to drive the curves–in Vermont. The curvy, winding roads of life, however? Not so much. I’m not wishing for a bunch of perfectly straight roads-that actually sounds boring. But at times, I’d like to have a bit more variety, and not so much curve.

As I write this, I can’t help but think of those in my circle of friends and family who are currently on a stretch of  really hard curves. Illness, medical procedures up the wazoo, loss… lots of loss… death of loved ones, depression, strained relationships, lack of adequate finances, feeling utterly overwhelmed. It all can feel a bit out-of-control, much like driving too fast on a curvy road.

One of the things my dad taught me, about driving in Vermont, is that you don’t put the brakes on very much as you approach a curve. Obviously, if the situation warrants it, brake! But if you’re driving at the normal speed, and it’s a normal curve, keep driving into it. Don’t give it too much gas, don’t give it much brake… keep driving.

Easier on a Vermont road than on the road of life. And yet, I also have learned that–for the most part–one has to drive into the winding roads of life as well. Even when we change direction, even when we pull over at rest stops, even when we have to stop and fix a tire, switch drivers, whatever… we still need to get back into the car and drive into the rest of the trip. It takes more guts and white knuckles than I think I have, most of the time. But thanks be to God for his strength, for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, for the love and grace of Jesus Christ… and for the community of faith, that helps sustain.

Grace & peace & blessed driving.





real, and pretend

13 08 2010

A couple weeks ago, Jim, Kajsa, Abby and I drove to Vermont for a week’s vacation at my parent’s house, along with several other family members. The day we drove to VT from Harleysville was a rough day. Kajsa was pretty sick, I was getting sick and in fibro pain, and we were all tired of being in the car. When we finally crossed over the VT border, (from NY state into Bennington),

Kajsa in the "Real Vermont"

I said, “Kajsa, we’re in Vermont! Yeah! Finally, we’re in Vermont!! Isn’t that great?”

Kajsa looked around out the window.. she looked at me and asked, “but where’s the real Vermont?”

“The real Vermont? What do you mean? this IS the real Vermont, Kajsa… we’re in Vermont!”

no, the real Vermont.. where is it?”

“Kajsa, what do you mean?” I asked.

“The house Vermont.. The real house Vermont.”

a-ha..

“Do you mean Grandma and Grandpa S.’s house?” I asked..

“Yes”, she said. And then I had to break the news that the “real Vermont was still an hour away….

Last weekend, Kris and Phil were visiting, and on Saturday we went to Philadelphia on the train. On the way back, on the train,  I was once again tired, in pain.. ready to call it quits for the day. I laid my head back on the seat, and closed my eyes. Kajsa was standing up on the seat between Jim and me, a bit more energetic than either Jim or I felt. Pretty soon, I heard, “Snip, snip.. snip, snip… Mommy!”

“What?” I opened my eyes and looked at Kajsa. She was holding two fingers as though they were scissors.

I cutting your hair, Mommy… with my little scissors.  You like it? I’m being really gentle.”

Kajsa, in Philadelphia

“Oh, thanks”, I said.. hoping she would keep “cutting” without needing much conversation.

“Snip, snip… snip, snip… Mommy! Look at your hair… you like it?”

“Yes, Kajsa.. thank you.” Then I thought I could give her another task. “But Kajsa, now we have a problem.”

“What, Mommy?”

“There’s hair all over the train seat. Look at that mess!”

She looked down at the seat, and there was the teeniest moment of silence before she smiled and shrugged, “I’ll just push it on the floor.”

“oh, Kajsa! we can’t do that! That’s garbage! And we can’t leave garbage on the floor.. ”

“Why not?”

“Because first of all, that’s not the right thing to do, but second, there’s a sign (and there was a real sign..) over there that say, ‘Please take your garbage with you, when you leave the train.”

Again, a bit of silence, then she turned and asked, “Is that real or pretend garbage?”





Finally, another post.

24 08 2009

There are two reasons to suspect the end of the world is near: First, I’m finally posting again, after a long break. And second, I made a cake from scratch this summer. But in case neither of these leads to the world’s end, I’ll continue. And since so much has gone on in the past two months, I’ll resort to summarizing.

Travels:

Iron River, MI (Covenant Point Bible Camp, speakers.);

Milwaukee, WI  (Miller Park, for the annual District Clergy Brewer’s game);

W. Townshend, VT (my home, and Grandma and Grandpa Stanley); and while in Vermont: Weston, Londonderry, S.Londonderry, Townshend, Brattleboro, Pike’s Falls, Newfane…

W. Orange, NJ (to visit the Lehrer’s, friends we met in China.. and one of Kajsa’s “Ling Sisters”);

New Hope, PA (with the Lehrer’s, to meet up with the Robinsons.. another Ling Sister);

S. Plainfield, NJ, to be with friends from Pilgrim Covenant Church;

back to VT;

Madison, CT (to see my sister Susie & family);

Back to Madison, WI.

What’s happened, besides our travels, or as part of our travels:

We realized, on our trip out East, that Kajsa gets carsick. Not fun.

I watched more “Blue’s Clue’s” episodes than I care to remember, on that same trip.

Before Kajsa’s birthday, I made (not from scratch) a cake and decorated it like Blue.

Kajsa turned 2 on July 25th.

On her birthday, I made a cake from scratch.

Many friends and family visited. (Hopefully I’ll post pictures someday.)

I had a hysterectomy on July 27th, to remove fibroids and stuff. (I’m still recovering, doing well, though more-than-ready to be back at “full strength”–someday!)

I went back on Facebook. Sort of. I’m back, but not consistent.

I learned how to knit. Or re-learned, since I had once-upon-a-time knit in junior high… I’m loving it.

Oh, and somewhere in there, Brett Favre changed his mind a few times about retirement. And finally signed with the Minnesota Vikings.





“Re-entry” non-blogging

7 01 2009

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just posting photos… Re-entry, ugh. We normally try to schedule in a day after returning from a trip, to adjust…. to unpack in an organized manner. To gather our thoughts before heading back to work, to the world of daily life with all its… reality. But this time we didn’t have that chance, so we’re still catching our breath. You all probably are, too. Re-entry. Ick. Ugh. I think I need a month-long re-entry cushion. Ha ha.

Anyhow, enjoy the pictures. One is at home in Madison…. the rest are in Vermont.

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west of Cleveland

27 12 2008

About 11 miles west of Cleveland. We’re on our way (driving) to Vermont, and were hoping to get to Erie tonight, but when we saw the weather forecasts last night and this morning at 5:30, we realized that we needed to leavedsc_0371 later, and not go so far. Icy roads seemed to be the theme for Chicago and Indiana. So, we did leave Madison eventually, after trying to figure out what to bring with us for a trip to Vermont, which has been quite cold, but is also turning quite warm this weekend. And with a toddler. Who likes shoes but has no snow boots.. and walks better barefoot.. but who can’t walk barefoot outdoors. And who needs plenty of distractions in the long car ride. Needless to say, the satelite XM radio in the rental car we have doesn’t amuse her quite as much as it amuses Jim and me. I love it. Fortunately for all four of us in the car (Jim, Kajsa, Abby and me), I overpack, and have lots of little distractions for Kajsa. But her favorite is Jen’s bag. 🙂

But I digress. The point is, we’re this far… west of Cleveland, at a Red Roof Inn, which accepts dogs. And tomorrow, hopefully, we’ll make it to VT. More specifically, West Townshend, VT.

This past Sunday we tried to get home to Minnesota to be with Jim’s parents before Christmas. But weather was a problem then as well. We made it to Black River Falls, had to pull over and spend the night, and the next morning we decided –sadly, though wisely–to return to Madison and not head to MN. We’ll have to celebrate Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa E. after the New Year sometime.

Yesterday was a good day. We relaxed in the morning, talked to some family, opened presents, and visited the puppies at Jen and Roy’s. So cute. I’ll have to post photos of the puppies later. In the meantime, the photo in this post is of Kajsa playing with some of her gifts. She did have PJs on earlier, but saw her Christmas Eve dress, and wanted to put that on. (So why not? Good Christmas Day dress, too, since next year she will have outgrown it.) Then I put a Santa hat on, and she wanted that on, too. Again, good photo op, so why not?

And yes, those are baseball and hockey cards she’s playing with… gotta love it. She was thrilled to find them in her stocking.

Time to go to sleep, so we can wake up and go past Cleveland tomorrow.





Back…

3 08 2007

I was on vacation in Vermont last week, visiting family. For two nights, 18 of us stayed at my parents’ home in West Townshend, and though it was crazy at times, it was also wonderful. Ok, it was crazy most of the time..

But one of the best parts is that we threw a surprise 50th annversary party for my parents (their anniversary was in June), and it was a surprise! So previous to vacation, during vacation, etc… cat07vermont-1032.jpgI spent much time planning, coordinating, etc.. with the help of others in my family. The photo is my whole immediate family. Including an appearance by Oliver Twist, aka my nephew, Chandler.

Now we’re back in Madison, but life’s still crazy.

We finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows… Whew.

Sad news about the Minneapolis Bridge collapse the other night. Jim’s parents are fine, so we are thankful. And we are thankful to hear about those who narrowly escaped being on the bridge, including a cousin of Jim’s. But we are sad for those who lost loved ones.

Ok, time to run to a meeting…

more later, hopefully including photos of the 2nd Annual Badger + Dwight District Brewers’ Game.





Flickr

2 04 2007

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.