Friday, April 30, 2010

Prom Season

Ok, I really don't want BLR to turn into a sequence of memes, but since I'm not currently doing a Bible Study to occupy today's post and I encountered this prompt, I thought I'd answer.

Not because the proms I went to were so incredibly magically wonderful, but because it's fun to see how the event that is a prom has such interesting regional variations. Anyway, this is part of a series hosted by Mocha With Linda; you can click on the image to see her response and all the linked-up answers...and, if you're blogging, why not do a little reminiscing and linking up as well?

It's spring. And for many high schoolers, that means PROM!

Share your prom memories. Did your school have a junior prom or just a senior prom? What did you wear? Was there a party after the prom? Did you go with a date or with friends, and if it was a date, was it a one-time date or a boyfriend/girlfriend scenario? Did you go to more than one prom (like, being someone's date at another school or year.) Where was your senior prom held? Any particular songs come to mind when you think of prom? As always, pictures are great!

First up, let me say I am not going to attempt to look for those ancient yellowing prom photos. It could turn into an all-day safari into old albums and boxes in the attic and, well, I'm not that anxious to see the pictures anyway...

Prom in rural Indiana in the 70's had a pretty set ritual. I don't think my high school(Tri-West)was very far outside the norm for our area. The Prom itself was a dinner AND dance, and if you were a Senior it was free. It was also free if you were a Junior who had met your quota of magazine sales (the number '6' is in my head for the number of sold subscriptions necessary for a free entry). Tickets were...I kid you not...something like $15 for lazy Juniors or dates from other places.

Our prom was always at the Indianapolis Airport Hilton (rumor had it that someone in the administration of our school district had connections with someone who worked there). There was an atrium area with a small roundish indoor pool and roses in plant pots adjacent to the room in which we had our dinner/dance and it was a nice place to stroll when the band was on a break.

Dinner was served buffet-style, and I seem to remember that my Junior Prom was the first time I'd ever had the opportunity to eat fried shrimp. However, I was afraid I wouldn't like it, and it looked to be messy to eat, so I didn't try it and opted for the 'steamship round of beef' (I don't know if that's what it was really called or not; that's what I remember as it seemed an odd thing to call a beef roast) or the 'coq au vin' instead.

After dinner, there were photos and the band cranked up. Try as I might, I can't remember the theme of the prom my Junior year; it was 'Dream On' when I was a Senior (taken from Aerosmith) was 'Over the Rainbow' for the prom I returned to when I was in college, as my high school beau was a grade behind me in school.
(I actually had to retype that; 'Dreamweaver', by...???....was a big hit then and was one of the songs played, too, and I forgot until just now that it was actually 'Dream On' that was the official theme. We did a video shoot at church a year or so ago that was a tongue-in-cheek telling of the story of Joseph, and 'Dreamweaver' was the background music. It played over and over and over while the scenes were shot; I kept having Prom flashbacks...).

Dancing went until midnight or so, then everyone changed clothes and headed out to the local bowling alleys. We didn't rent the places; they just stayed open late on prom nights and we'd go in groups of 4 - 6 and bowl until 2 or 3 AM.

Then we'd head home for a few hours of sleep or, if someone had connections to a family willing to host a breakfast, we'd go have breakfast and perhaps play ping-pong or pool or some other thing if it was available. Cat naps on the sofa were not unheard of...

After breakfast, we'd head home, change clothes again, grab sandwiches and go spend the day at a State Park. Turkey Run was the hands-down favorite, but Shades was in the same general area and one year the group my date and I were hanging out with went to Shades, just to be different.

I don't know how much of that sequence of events is still part of the prom ritual in that part of the country...

I wore the same dress to my Junior and Senior proms; it was an awful color for me but I didn't have the sense to know it then. A pale yellow poly voile print; with front lacing (just for trim...and I added a couple of crocheted loops above what came on the dress so that it wasn't *quite* so low), tiered skirt, and ecru lace 'angel' sleeves. Very Gunne Sax, although I don't think it was an actual Gunne Sax dress. I seem to remember that it cost $54. I kept all my dresses until about 10 or 15 years ago when, in a purging fit, I cleaned out almost all my sentimental garments.

On my return as a college kid, I wore a fairly plain ivory poly crepe floor-length dress that I'd had an a-line skirt w/an empire waist and spaghetti straps. The only trim on it was a brown/orange/ecru butterfly applique on the bodice center front. It was also an awful color for me, even though I'd spent HOURS on the dorm roof trying to soak up enough sun to make an ivory dress work.

I did go to all three proms with the same date...and the less I think about that relationship now, the less humiliation I feel. So I'm not going there.

In Alabama in the 21st century, proms are quite different. They're incredibly expensive, for one thing, and so far none of my kids have expressed any interest at all in going. The two older ones didn't, and The Actor, who is a Junior this year, also skipped this year's prom. Here, it's just a the kids go eat at various restaurants around town. My Sweet Baboo and I got a rare Friday night date a few weeks back, and it turned out to be prom night for a couple of high schools in the neighboring county. The upscale shopping center/restaurant development was awash in kids in prom finery, and more than a few parents/siblings/extended family who were hovering around taking pictures. I won't go into what we observed...just that it was a very interesting evening.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It Is Well

I'm struggling to jump back into blogging...

Farewell to my friend Shannon; I'll miss you next time I go to the Atlanta Sewing Expo.

I'm grateful that the violent weather bypassed the Rocket City, even as my heart goes out to those in the communities that were hit. I appreciated 'life as usual' on Sunday in a whole new way, because the storms could've hit here but didn't. Not this time.

Life is hard. The world is broken, in many ways. But God is good. Even when we don't understand...there's so much more going on than we'll ever know.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking Five

Well, probably six (days), actually. I just looked at the calendar and realized that this is the 3rd week of April, which is supposed to be the quarterly internet break.

So I'll be back next week! ;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No Words

I think most of the folks who come by here link in from the sewing blog, but for the few folks who land here from other places, I want to share something I've only briefly mentioned here but posted about over on Sew Random.

I have a sewing buddy that I first met via the internet, then met in person at the Atlanta Sewing Expo, and consequently learned that she grew up in The Rocket City and I've actually had lunch with her a time or two when she's been here visiting family.

Shannon Gifford is not just a sewing buddy, though...she is a gifted instructor, having published a wonderful newsletter full of instructions and tips, written fabric handling guides for one of my favorite online vendors, and even had several articles published in Threads magazine.

Since last...May?...she has been fighting a vicious foe, sarcoma, and the doctors have recently stopped treatment as the cancer is not responding, but continues to grow.

That is devastating news. I really don't have words for it.

But I want to point anyone who is here to the blog she and her husband have been posting...A Couple Copes With Conquers Cancer. The faith that they have absolutely glows through what they've written.

And Shannon's husband, Mike, writes the most amazing posts. My heart aches for them in this time, but I am in awe of the love and faith that is reflected in the blog posts.

Go read them, if you have time. I guarantee a blessing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Managing Stress" and the Foggy Fifties

How embarrassing.

On Sunday mornings, I teach the High School girls MPact class. This is a new class for us, and, aside from an occasional drop-in, I have one student.

Since we're just starting, we don't have any stash of lessons to pull from. And the teacher and student books only come with half of the available lessons; in theory, that's so each class can tailor the lesson selection to suit their students.

In actuality, if we cover the required number of lessons through the school year, with a bonus during the summer so girls have an opportunity to catch up, we have to cover every lesson written.

When I made up the syllabus, I did a 4-year schedule, trying to spread the 'extra' lessons out so that we wouldn't have to have a big purchase of extra lessons in any given year.

"Managing Stress" was on the list for this year; it's one of the 'extra' lesson units and we were supposed to start it back in February. However, due to communication glitches, the material did not get ordered in time for us to start it when scheduled.

I turned in the order again, and we spent the first Sunday doing the project for that class.

When the order came in later that same week, I found that I had written down wrong item numbers for about half the stuff...including the student pages for Managing Stress. Why? Who knows...other than I was doing the list late at night. No easy excuses; I just made several major goofs.

So, we didn't have the literature for the next Sunday. I adjusted the syllabus, switched one 'extra' unit scheduled for later with one that is included in the basic book that I had on next year's list, and we did 6 weeks on Addictions. The material for Managing Stress came in correctly next time so we were ready to cover it when we finished the Addiction unit.

I also ordered the CD ROM version of the teacher book, since ALL the units are on it; otherwise, we'd have to purchase 3 extra sets of the printed pages. I loaded up the CD, found the unit on Stress Management, and printed it out.

Posted a notice in the bulletin that we would be doing a six-week study on Stress Management; I copied the blurb from the front page of the teacher's set in which it said we would be looking at the 'umbrella method of time management'. Sounded like a good stress management tool; I worked through the first lesson, which was on time management and priorities, and got my backside kicked in the process. Teaching myself, I was, and seeing many shortfalls.

Then I got to class Sunday morning and pulled out the student pages to give to my one student.

Wait. That didn't look right.

AS I compared the student pages to my teacher pages, another girl walked in. She'd been in the Junior High class 3 years ago and wanted to join us...she saw the announcement in the bulletin.

Yay! For more students! Only...

Gulp. The 'Time Management' lesson I prepared wasn't the first lesson in the 'Stress Management' was the first lesson in the 'Time Management' unit (which is also an extra and not in the basic lesson set).

Another goof. Looking at it, I saw that the unit was clearly marked 'Time Management'...I guess I see time management as my biggest stress issue and just pulled the wrong thing.

Or the Hormonal Foggy Fifties struck again...

We laughed at the irony of how much stress has been involved in trying to get this unit pulled together, I did a quick scan of the student pages, prayed for wisdom, apologized for my goof and winged it.

I've got the correct teacher pages printed for this Sunday. Whew.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Dozen: More than You Wanted to Know

I *really* didn't want to be up past midnight tonight...that makes two nights in a row. But My Sweet Baboo is on a business trip, and I couldn't hit the hay until I'd talked to him. So, while I'm up, I might as well paste the post, no?

This week's questions are all over the place. Click on the image to see the 'link-up' post...maybe even answer the questions and link up your answers!

1. How do you feel about "Gladiator" sandals, also called "Roman" or "Jesus" sandals? A fashion yea or nay?
Seriously? You’re asking ME to offer up a fashion pronouncement? Me? When I’ve honestly toyed with the idea of writing a book called Confessions of a Fashion Klutz? To be honest, in my world comfort trumps style in footwear and all those ‘Gladiator sandals’ have flat-as-a-board soles; no arch support at all. Makes my feet ache just to think about wearing ‘em. But for someone whose arches don’t demand coddling, some of the less extreme versions are kind of cute...the tall, super-strappy versions look rather costumey to me.

2. What is your favorite pizza?
Ham, onions, mushrooms on thin crust. If I’m feeling decadent, extra cheese. Not so particular about where it comes from, so long as it's not Papa John's. The Best Pizza In The World was made by a little mom-and-pop shop on the west side of Brownsburg, IN in the late 70’s. I don’t know what blend of cheeses they used, but, oh, wow, was it good. Long gone, now…

3. There are plans in the works to sell roughly 1,000 items from Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. This means you could buy Picard's chair for your family room. If not a Star Trek item, what prop, background, set, etc. from what TV or movie would you buy if you could?
[Ex: Hurley's "I Love my Shih tzu" shirt from LOST, the plantation home "Tara" from Gone With the Wind, or Tracy's tambourine from the Partridge Family.]

I don’t have much urge to own a piece of a movie/TV show set, so I really had to think to come up with something that I’d be willing to buy if I had more money than I could possibly use. I finally decided upon something from the first movie I remember seeing in a theater -- Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Big enough to be useful and kinda snazzy to boot.

4. Name a local food or restaurant that your area is famous for.
Someone told me about a year ago that The Rocket City, statistically, has more restaurants per capita than any other city its size, or some such thing. I’ve no idea where that info came from, but you can imagine that, with so many to choose from, none of them particularly stand out. The places that were unique and notable when we moved to town 30 years ago are, by and large, long gone. So I’ll probably have to go with the idea of local food…this being the South, there are almost as many barbecue places as churches. Pork barbecue, beef brisket and, in the cooler months, Brunswick stew. Don’t forget the white sauce.

5. What is your current favorite snack?
Thinly sliced Cracker Barrel Vermont White Cheddar cheese on Triscuits, washed down by Welches’ grape juice. I’m normally not a brand-loyal type shopper, but in this case the brands matter.

6. Hypothetical: You are required to be a reality show contestant. Which show would you choose based on your probability of success? (You cannot choose "none.")

A. Dancing with the Stars
B. Biggest Loser
C. Survivor

I had to get that out of my system.

I’m only about 30 lbs overweight, so even if I lost all that I couldn’t win Biggest Loser outright. But I’d certainly consider myself a winner if I lost 30 pounds. That would be my pick…I could sure use some help doing exercises that don’t aggravate the back issues I’m currently dealing with.

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being uninhabitable and 10 being cleanliness that meets the standards of OCD, how clean is your vehicle's interior?
It’s actually not too bad…I’ll give it a 6. The house, on the other hand…

8. It doesn't feel like Spring until _________.
6 years ago I’d’ve said ‘...we sleep on sun-dried sheets.’ But our current abode, while it is much improved in the square footage department over that house, lacks a clothesline. So I’ll go with ‘...I hear birds chirping through the open windows in the evening.’

9. Something that made you laugh really hard recently is ____.
I have laughed recently, really hard, at some oddball thing at the dinner table. But I don’t remember what it was that happened or who said what that set it off…it may have been that I was just unbelievably tired…

10. Tell me about a goal you're working toward.
Folks that read the sewing blog know this one...I have a friend who’s doing chemo therapy for breast cancer. This friend also happens to be a seller of fashion fabrics via the internet, and I have *ahem* several pieces of fabric that I’ve purchased from her. So my goal is to sew 12 garments from fabric purchased from Ann: one a week, for the 12 weeks that she’s doing chemo, praying for her as I sew. I kept up with it ‘till the 8th week, when I got bogged down doing volunteer work and couldn’t get to my sewing machine. But I’m only one garment behind; I’m hoping to catch up.

11. Share a thought-provoking or inspiring quote this week.
In honor of my friend Shannon, who is dealing with end stage sarcoma, and my cousin Sheila who lost her 10-year battle with breast cancer over the weekend:
‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’ – Tom Batuik.

12. Name one thing that you do as a parent that you absolutely know will make your kids happy. If you're not a parent, feel free to substitute "friend" or nomenclature that works for you.
Buy chocolate milk at the grocery store.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reader's Reflections: The Shack

I mentioned in the Random Dozen meme a couple of weeks ago that I was in the midst of reading The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. I finished it last week, and thought I'd take today's post to talk about it.

It's not a comprehensive book review or anything like that, but those of you who have read it know that this is one of those books that provokes conversation! I'll try to word this so it won't spoil things too much for others who still have it on the list to read.

I really didn't have trouble with Papa being Elouisa. As Elouisa says, the purpose in taking on that personage was to completely wreck Mack's preconceptions. Which it did, so the purpose was accomplished.

I found a lot of things that were spoken by Elouisa/Sarayu/Jesus to be things I've often thought or even recorded in my journals; in some cases the thoughts were expressed much better in the book than in my head. Those are things I want to go back and underline, once I've actually purchased a fresh, un-grapejuice-stained copy for the Princess and feel free to mark this book up.

But do you know what the book stirred in me more than anything?


I found myself fighting the concept that someone as normal as Mack...sure, he'd been through a horrific tragedy, but that degree of tragedy is not uncommon to man...had such a visitation. Some part of my brain kept asking, 'What's so special about him? How come he gets such an amazing gift? His sorrow was great, to be sure, his life a mess...but he was not unique in that.

Then I had to wonder why I was jealous of a fictional story character.

And in wondering that, I found that I have been neglecting my own invitations from 'Papa'. Not to go to some remote place and have a supernatural experience, but to just set aside some part of my day to spend in His presence. Who knows what secrets I would be privileged to share if I would just answer those invitations...right when they're issued...instead of trying to work a Quite Time into the schedule somewhere?

Sort of like what happens when I fix a nice supper for my family, but one of my older kids has an obligation somewhere and just grabs a bite on the way out of the door. I've just been grabbing a peanut butter sandwich and scurrying off, rather than sitting down to the meal. How can I be jealous of someone who took the time to belly up to the table and eat?

You see how the book provoked me.

I'm looking forward to reading it again...with a ink pen in hand, for underlining and making notes.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I think I hear Papa calling. ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Random Dozen...Goin' deep....

More randomness....

1. Define a great relationship.
Wow, nothin' like jumping right into the deep end. Are we talking friends here? Or the Love of a Lifetime? Or the relationship between Saved and Saviour? 'Cause I'm not sure one size fits all here... I'm gonna take the easy route and talk about friends. A great relationship is one in which there is no judgment, lots of laughter, open ears and closed mouths, and intentional maintenance.

That's pretty pitiful, but I haven't had any coffee yet.

2. Why is it called a "drive-through" if you have to stop? (Real question: What was the last food/drink you purchased at a drive-through?)
Answer to the first question: For the same reason we drive on a parkway and park in the driveway. Answer to the real question...and this is the absolute honest truth...I can't *remember* the last time I purchased something at a drive-through. It's been months...maybe even over a year...

3. As I type this, the Butler Bulldogs are getting ready to play in the NCAA championship game. Every Hoosier is hysterical about this except me. So in honor of the Bulldogs ... what is your favorite breed of dog? (I tried.)
I was pulling for Butler too! Sooo close.... anyway, I am *so* not a dog person, so I'd have to say my favorite dog is the underdog. Like Butler.

4. If you had to move to a state besides the one you currently live in, where would you move?
I'd probably be back home again in Indiana...

5. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
My mother reads this blog. How can I answer that one?

6. Who's the funniest person you know?
Pastor Pat Aube...our College/Career Pastor.

7. Did you get enough sleep last night?
Our windows were open and the blinds caught the breeze all night...since we've just opened the windows, I'm not adjusted to that yet. So, nope, I'm sleepy...

8. What's the first thing you thought about this morning?
Ripping the blinds off the window....

9. Grilled or Fried? --HONESTLY
Depends. Grilled steak...fried chicken.

10. Are you afraid of the dark?
Isn't everybody, deep down? At the very least I'm afraid I'll step on or in something or run into something. Just yesterday, while passing through the dimmer portion of the semi-lighted sanctuary on my way to staff prayer, I reached down to grab a Kleenex from a box on the floor and smashed my face into the back of a chair that I didn't see. Had a slightly fat lip the rest of the day... so, yeah, my klutziness keeps me a little uneasy in the dark.

11.When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What profession did I want? Oh, I wanted to be the person who made ice cream cones at the Dairy Bar (I actually did that for 3 summers as a teen), I wanted to be an ice skater, I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to be an astronomer, I wanted to be a high school band director.... What did I consistently want to be through all of that? A mommy.

12. If you had one word to describe yourself, what would you choose?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Difference

Somehow, my kids picked up on a series of books written about modern kids of ancient Greek deities...which I am not going to mention by name, because there's currently a movie version of the first book in theaters and I don't want to trip search engines. It's an imaginative work, but something struck me as I read through the books along with my kids.

At every turn, for every request, the kids in these stories had to make sacrifices. From a portion of each meal, to gold coins, to spoils of war, the kids had to sacrifice to get the attention and favor of the gods...who, incidentally, were also their parents.

I've heard many folks say that most religions say the same thing...'Look at all the similar teachings!' they say, 'Surely there can't be that much difference between them!'

But it's not the similarities that matter. It's the differences. A counterfeit $20 bill is very, very similar to the real thing. But no matter how many similarities there are, it's not the same...and the differences are what prove it to be counterfeit.

Christianity has many similarities with other world religions...but there is a huge, glaring difference.

Like the kids in the books, virtually every other religion requires people to make sacrifices in order to gain the favor of their god.

In Christianity, God made the sacrifice to restore the relationship to people.

Every spring we are reminded of what God sacrificed in order for us to be able to come to Him. And in the midst of the pretty clothes, and the chocolate bunnies and the dyed eggs and the Peeps, I just want to say that I cannot begin to thank Him enough for what He did...not just for mankind, but for me.

God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Romans 5:8, The Message)

I don't have to offer a sacrifice... I just have to believe.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blogging Bible Study: Philippians Final Thoughts

Well, here's the study all linked up:
Feb. 5 Intro
Feb. 12 Lesson 1 Phil. 1:1 - 11 Affectionate Greetings
Feb. 19 Lesson 2 Phil. 1:12 - 29 Testimony in a Time of Suffering
Feb. 26 Lesson 3 Phil. 2:1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility
March 5 Lesson 4 Phil. 2:17 - 30 Commendations of Coworkers
March 12 Lesson 5 Phil. 3: 1 - 16 Warnings Regarding Legalism
March 19 20 Lesson 6 Phil. 3:17 - 4:7 Instruction on Living as Citizens of Heaven
March 26 Lesson 7 Phil. 4:8 - 23 Gratitude for Concerned Support

I have to say, now that we're through it, that that was one of the most difficult studies I've done to date. Not necessarily from the study itself, but from life. Many days I didn't get a chance to sit down and work on it until late at night, and I would be typing the post as I fought to keep my eyes open. When I managed to sit down and type at a decent hour, I found myself fighting a headache...cause unknown.

I had to work to get that study up.

Generally speaking, having to battle to do something usually means one of two things:
1) I'm out of God's timing/working on my own strength or
2) I'm doing what I should be doing, and the Enemy is fighting it.

Trouble is, I can't always tell the difference.

What did I learn from the study?

I learned not to take anything for granted. Philippians is a short little book and I love it, so I thought it would be an easy study to do to kind of ease back into posting Bible studies. It wasn't. I'm not sure I really did justice to the book, because I was fighting such a battle to get the studies posted. The spark of insight that I found as I did the studies that I posted earlier (they're on the sidebar) seemed to me to be conspicuously absent from this one. Yes, we covered the material and yes, we did discuss some important points, just didn't seem to come up to the earlier studies.

So where does that leave me with the concept of posting Bible studies? I'm not sure; maybe posting a study just because I'm missing teaching a Bible study isn't a good enough reason to do one; maybe I should wait until God puts a burden on me.

Or, maybe I need to just fight the battle and not let the Enemy discourage me.

Obviously, I need to do some prayin' and some listenin' before I even figure out what the issue was here...then I'll be able to see where to go next.

Anyway, for those of you who hung with me and read the posts...thank you! I pray the Holy Spirit used something there to minister to you, independently of anything I wrote. God's good like that. ;)