Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just 3 ways I want to be like Mom

Just Three

She’s indecisive; I’m decisive. She’s a worrier; I’m not. She’s compassionate; I’m not that either, unfortunately. But she is my mom. And even though we’ve always been different in many ways, I hope to become like her in all the good ways. Here are just three:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Identity crisis

Mark with his birthday waffles and ice cream
For a few minutes, his name was Travis. You would think, after waiting three and a half years for our fifth child to join us, we could have come up with the right name for him. But when he arrived, his identity and name remained a mystery. 

It didn’t take long, though, to figure out this baby boy was not Travis at all. He was Mark. In naming all the others, I let Ken have the final say, but this time I insisted our boy take his name, “Kenneth,” at least as his middle name. After all, I’d borne the man four sons and, by gosh, one of them was going to carry his father’s first name.

Today Mark Kenneth is 14 years old and is, coincidentally, much like his father. Yet, although we've known him a decade and a half and feel certain we got the name right, we’re still figuring out who he is. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just 3 obsolete words deserving a comeback

Just Three

The other day I came across a very fun article suggesting 20 obsolete English words that deserve a comeback. To be sure, those words were outdated, but they were fun to say aloud and interesting to learn about. Here’s my vote for just three:
  1. Brabble: (verb) – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Now, where was this word all those years when I needed it? “Stop brabbling about which Marvel Comics superhero is the coolest!” I don’t know about you, but we have more brabbling at our house than I’d like to admit. So, even though it’s a “dead” word, I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to have plenty of opportunities to help this one resurrect. As a bonus, you can also use “brabble” as a noun. What a great word to dish out right in the midst of some stupid debate—I mean brabble.
  2. Deliciate: (verb intr.) – “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” Much like the word “delicious,” this one seems as if it should apply mostly to eating. Happily, though, its meaning is much broader. It also helps describe the behavior of the Epicureans in my life. You know, the ones who not only like peeled grapes but find them even more enjoyable while reclining in their the silk pajamas with Bach symphonies playing in the background. 
  3. Kench: (verb intr.) – “To laugh loudly” Here’s a great verb to describe being hit by one of those hearty, unexpected guffaws that can both surprise and embarrass but ultimately delight you. Phone calls with a certain friend are sure to make me kench, and I always feel better after talking to her.
And the runner-up is Freck  (verb intr.) – “To move swiftly or nimbly” To think, I’ve been frecking all my life and never knew it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hitting singles

Singles and home runs both get us around the bases

Years ago someone asked the conductor of the San Francisco Symphony how many hours the orchestra had to rehearse for a performance. We all waited for his concise answer, anticipating a specific number. “Well, there’s the short answer and the long answer,” he said. “Together, we rehearse about 10 hours, but these musicians have been practicing for years and years, developing their talents.” In other words, they had to hit lots of “singles” before being part of any “home-run performance.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just 3 ways to beat the laundry blues

Just Three

Just like the poor, laundry will always be with us. To avoid getting overwhelmed by this seemingly endless task, here are just three ideas:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Introducing . . . the interrobang

The interrobang is not easily found on a keyboard

I love words, I love punctuation, and I love writing. Putting the right words with the right punctuation to send just the right message in just the right way feels like a getting a hole-in-one, a bullseye, or a slam-dunk. (OK, I admit I'm too short to have ever made a slam dunk, but I bet it feels great.)

Anyway, I recently learned about a sweet little punctuation mark that has somehow eluded me all these many years. Introducing my new friend, the interrobang! (Go ahead. Say it aloud. You know you want to. Saying it is almost as fun as using it.) You may think this strange-looking animal is new; however, truth be told, it’s been around since I was born in 1962.  Developed by Martin Speckter, the interrobang was created to help add clout to advertising text. But, for some reason, it never quite caught on.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just 3 tips for mealtime madness

Just Three

Studies have long touted the benefits of families eating together, especially the undeniable superior academic performance of children who eat at least four meals a week with their parents. I wonder, though, if all the glowing statistics still bear out if mealtime is chaotic and—dare I admit?—contentious. In a house with lots of boys, we often resort to showing off muscles or quoting lines from favorite movies during meals. At other times, Scout humor and similar inane banter are enough entertainment around our table. Still, it’s good to have a few strategies to improve that daily family time. Here are just three:

Friday, June 3, 2011

We are all "Gideons"

This plaque, a gift, reminds me of God's gifts

Sitting in our garden window is a plaque from my sister that says, “Faith is not just hoping miracles will happen but recognizing when they do.” Many times God gives us too much to handle alone. This, however, is by design—divine design—to allow for miracles and to keep us from becoming prideful. 

I think of Gideon whose army was reduced from 32,000 to a mere 300 men. God deliberately set Gideon against great odds so he would acknowledge that the miraculous victory came by God’s hand and not by his own. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just 3 tips for getting kids to help

Just Three

OK, I admit it. Lately, I’ve let my mothering skills get a little rusty. Not surprisingly, my once-clever job charts no longer fly with my three teenage boys. But even though they’re almost grown, there's still work to do, and I’ve somehow forgotten strategies for getting them to help. Here are just three that I now remember being effective with kids of almost all ages: