Thursday, April 24, 2008

Look, Mom! New Friends!

So I met these people, see...
I started blogging about three years ago, and after commenting on other blogs, I realized that other people were wandering over and commenting on MY blog. And I started finding new blogs to read. And leaving more comments. And this one fellow was from a small town in Ohio, and it turned out that we had some things in common, and my kids even knew some of the people that he knew, and I was going through some stuff and he was counseling some people going through the same stuff. And then we got to talk on the phone one day, and I got to talk to his wife, too, and I see pictures of their family and their kids, and everybody starts getting connected and getting these little glimpses into one another's lives...

And one day, they said they would be passing by our town. And what would I think if they stopped. And we met each other.

And so we did.

And it was - and remains - one of the absolutely coolest things that's ever happened to me.

I will say that it's weird - a little strange - to meet someone for the 'first time' and realize that you can refer back to things that happened in the past, or events, or photos, and 'share' the experience - but only because you wrote about it. It's odd to realize that these people know a lot - a LOT - about some of your most personal issues, because you've vented and spewed and just thrown it all out there from time to time. It's odd that they 'know' your friends and coworkers and loved ones, because you've referenced them as you've journaled your journey.

So this was, in many ways, a very new thing. Sort of space-age. Life 2.0. Different.

But, oh, so cool - because these people are the real deal. Bill and Pat are two of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met. They love each other. They are comfortable and kind with one another in a way that settled me, simply to be in their presence.

They give me hope - for love and commitment and growth.

They're really nice. And they're funny. And they were so patient with my kids; they 'got' them right away. They boys couldn't get enough of them.

I was so blessed to have them in my home (though they slept in my mom and dad's home) (because there is no room in the Brawley Inn) and so honored that God would give me such a precious gift - a friendship birthed out of an unual method, but one that reminded me that it's quite alright to be authentic, and vulnerable. And honest.
I'm sure Bill will blog about the trip here. But I think I beat him to it...

We had breakfast this morning at the cafe where Sarah works...

I never claimed to have the gift of hospitality. We went out to dinner at the County Seat Restaurant; they came to band rehearsal with us, and then back at the house we offered them ice cream sandwiches. It is what it is.

Syd demonstrated Guitar Hero on the Wii while Bill and Pat looked on...

Remember the story about the possibility of them being serial killers? Or pirates? Or ninjas? (You can read it here.) Well, they came bearing gifts, one of which was a big box. David asked a million times, "Can we open the box? Can we open the box?"

He could hardly wait....

I know this is a blurry picture, but I love the look on David's face...

It was a box full of pirate gear!

A battle ensured...

One pirate decided to practice his rhythm drills.

Bill and Pat also brought dresses from a friend for the girls - they were gorgeous and there were several of them to choose from!

A quick modeling show...

Beautiful people, inside and out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Shannon!

Shannon is 16 years old! It was a great weekend of celebration, beginning with a party on Friday night. We scurried around crazily, cleaning house and preparing for the festivities. er special requests were for two gaming stations (Guitar Hero on the Wii in the living room, Rock Band on the back deck), the trampoline (which was broken - a good friend welded pieces back together and got it fixed just in time) and a bonfire. She had specific recipes for food, and I think we managed to honor most of them.

About 23 people came - guys and girls, a mixture of Shannon's friends from school, sports and church. They are terrific kids, and I was impressed by how they handled themselves and how they treated one another. We had absolutely NO problems, which was impressive - and a testimony to the character of Shannon's friends. They shifted around to play video games, wrestle on the trampoline, visit and eat. At one point they all gathered in the yard to play a game of Capture the Flag, which was loud and intense but fun.

Here's a few pictures...

The food spread, which included meatballs in 'special sauce' (grape jelly and barbecue sauce - who knew??), spinach artichoke dip, fresh veggies, caramel apple dip and a generous supply of junk food.

Here's the crowd as they gathered to pick teams for Capture the Flag.

We had to make a few phone calls to find the exact recipe for the caramel dip, but after figuring it out, we all agreed that it was a huge success. The birthday girl (in her new dress!) was happy!

Shannon and Travis...

Shannon and Erin...

Shannon and Hayley...her best friend...who wrote a song for Shannon as a her birthday gift. Haley secretly met with Sarah for about two weeks to practice; although she is incredibly nervous singing in front of other people, she gathered up her courage and sang the song to Shannon around the bonfire. It was awesome!

We carried our upstairs tv downstairs, borrowed the Playstation and Rock Band disc from Lonnie and set everything up on the deck for Video Game Station #1.

Halay and Darnisha hanging out.

Danielle, Dylan and Travis. And meatballs.

Sunday night we had the family birthday party; our friend Ian tagged along. We had a great meal and a lot of fun, celebrating a very special young lady.