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You have small eyes, Mimi.

Cindi Blog

So observed 4-year-old Konnor on Monday.

“Why, yes I do,” I replied.

“Why do you have small eyes?”

“This is the way God made me. He made Mommy and PopPop with great big eyes, but Mimi has little ones.”

Such a sweet, innocent conversation. It’s hard to feel bad about your little one noticing you have small eyes when the conversation is just so matter of fact from a pure heart. There was no judgment in Konnor’s voice; instead he was merely observing and stating a fact.

Truth be told I DO have small eyes. And even though I had an eyelid lift nearly two years ago, my left eye started drooping after a year which gives the appearance of the eyes being even smaller than they actually are. And the reason I have droopy, small eyelids is because of my parents. (Not placing blame, just stating a fact. It’s heredity plain and simple.)

Of late, I catch myself looking over my shoulder as I pass a mirror. Sometimes leaning forward to get a closer look and often pulling up the skin over my eyebrows to see how a brow lift would take years off my appearance.

Sigh…the passing of time…the very thing that made me a grannie (growing older and having children old enough to have their own children) is also the thing that causes my face to reflect my age and my body to wince at new aches and pains that weren’t there yesterday.

We fight aging so hard: cosmetics, dyed hair (or hair transplants), pills and potions, anti-aging diets, more exercise, surgery, changing our attitudes. Nothing wrong with any of these but thankfully God sees us differently—quite differently!

He sees the passing of time coupled with the wisdom of experience and states in Psalm 92:12-14: “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (NLT).

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” (2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV).

So yes, I have small eyes, made even smaller by droopy, saggy skin. I have grey hair, LOTS of grey hair. I ache when I move about, I tire more easily in general, my brain gets a little mushy every now and then making new things harder to learn…all the typical stuff about approaching age 60.

But God is not finished with me yet. And I’m not finished with me. And I know my grands are not finished with me. According to God, if I keep my relationship with him healthy, then I’m flourishing, producing fruit, am vital and green, and am being renewed day by day.

Hmm, all in all, I’d say I’m in very good shape after all!

Mimi

Brussels Sprouts are my Favorite!

So said 4-year old Konnor the other day…completely out of the blue.

We were enjoying a McDonald’s ice cream cone and chatting about nothing in particular when he sincerely stated how much he liked Brussels sprouts. What? Did I hear him correctly? So I asked “What did you say?” and he repeated that he liked the way his mommy makes Brussels sprouts.

Of course, I later told his mommy about this and she said “That’s funny. Not sure what that means since he’s never eaten them! LOL; he’s a mess.”

Back in the day, Art Linkletter (an old-time entertainer with a heart for kids) had a show entitled “Kids say the Darndest Things.” In the show he would interview kids and they would either reveal a truth people wish they wouldn’t have, or they would just start making up all sorts of outlandish stories with great embellishment. Of course, Art would egg them on the entire time so the stories became more and more grand. It was great entertainment.

Konnor told an outright lie on Monday but it was so unexpected, so funny that I saw it not as a lie but just as a cute kid-ism. Of course, the problem is that it WAS a lie. And how easy it is to do that. Easy for kids to do…easy for adults to do.

As adults we lie all the time but think it’s excusable for various reasons. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or we want to be supportive to our boss, or we are trying to impress someone, or we might say something to help us feel like we belong. And I have a feeling we’ll never run out of excuses for our lies.

The fact is that while we would all no doubt tell our children and grandchildren that lying is absolutely wrong, we often believe that as adults we have enough wisdom to know when it’s actually appropriate or acceptable to lie. We can assess situations and make good decisions to purposely avoid or not tell the truth.

Years ago I was challenged by a friend to not lie. Period. About anything. (Much easier said than done.) The challenge also included “white lies” (they are after all, still lies) and exaggeration (my biggest downfall). Exaggeration? Really? It’s a lie, too? Most indeedy.

The challenge wasn’t a two-week or one-month thing, it was a lifetime challenge. And I must admit, I still lie but it’s definitely much less than in the past and I’m also much more aware of the lies. At times I’ll say something and then almost immediately follow it up with “I’m sorry, that was a lie.” Because it was.

God tells us in Proverbs 19:1 that it’s “Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool” (NLT) and in Proverbs 11:3 we learn “Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people” (NLT).

I want to be someone others can count on. I want my words to help and not harm. I want to be a woman of integrity and I want others to be able to trust my words. Here’s my prayer to that end. Perhaps you’ll considering praying along, too: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation [thoughts] of my heart by pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14 NLT).

Mimi

p.s. I’m including a link to a recipe for Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts posted by Rachel Schultz (http://rachelschultz.com/2012/12/15/pan-seared-brussels-sprouts-with-cranberries-pecans/). I have never on purpose eaten one of these but if I’m ever going to have them, this is the recipe I’ll try. Photo downloaded straight from Rachel’s website, too. Don’t they look yum!

I cannot tell a lie…but that doesn’t mean I need to blurt out the truth.

Here’s the thing. My family has this most delicious, most terrible-for-you dessert. Easy to make, a show-off piece when done and something my oldest, now almost 34, absolutely loves. Sure wish I had a picture to show off.

When the kids were young and I would make the cake and serve it after dinner, Tim would be known to polish off most of it the next day for breakfast and lunch. So the cake has affectionately become known as “Timmy Cake.”

Since we went to dinner at Tim’s house last night I decided to make Timmy Cake. I baked my layers, cooled them, removed from them from the pan—they were just perfect! At this point I always slice each layer in two and put the four layers into the freezer for a bit. With firmer layers it’s a bit easier to frost.

In all these decades I’ve never had a layer mishap until the other day. The first two layers made it into the freezer just fine but layer 3, now that was a problem. I had no sooner set it down on the shelf when it came tumbling right out upside down onto the floor, breaking into many pieces.

What? Timmy Cake with only three layers? I don’t think so. No one was around so with the three-second rule in mind I scooped up the broken pieces, rearranged them on the plate and found the perfect spot for them in the freezer.

Interestingly enough after I finished icing them, no one would ever have known. I chuckled as I shared the story with hubby knowing he wouldn’t be grossed out enough to give up eating the cake but we agreed we could tell no one else. So why did I break that promise?

Well, I was having a great conversation with my mom and feeling like she could use a laugh I shared what happened. We laughed and again both agreed it was a funny story but that we wouldn’t breathe a word.

So dinner last night…there were seven of us around the table and it was finally time for Timmy Cake. Big pieces all around, lots of yums sounding as we enjoyed our delectable treat when all of a sudden Grandma (Gigi, my mom) blurts out about the cake falling on the floor and me scooping it up so I could still serve it.

WHAT???? Did she really say that? Now this is the Mom who knew my son and his wife were going to get engage for several months before any of the rest of us knew it. We even went on vacation with her and she never breathed a word. Never told the secret. Did she really tell everyone we were eating laundry room floor cake?

Well, yes she did. Maybe it was the two glasses of bubbly. I don’t know…but it really was quite funny and we all got a very good laugh out of it and probably a story to tell for years to come. And that is why my title says I cannot tell a lie (I actually fessed up after Mom let the cat out of the bag) but if it had been left up to me I simply would never have blurted out this particular truth!

Love you, Mom!!!

Mimi

p.s. You make a chocolate cake according to package directions and “frost” it with cool whip that’s had melted unsweetened chocolate added. So delish!

Let’s not get tired of doing what’s good.

A new year seems a perfect time to set goals, reflect on the past 12 months, assess your place in life, you know…just generally take stock of your life.

Last year I set five specific goals. Four I met quite easily and the fifth is more ongoing but definitely something I made strides with. As I thought about 2011 I knew I wasn’t interested in setting goals again. Goals are manmade – attainable with human effort. Meeting my goals last year didn’t really bring the satisfaction I was anticipating. Instead, it simply showed that with persistence I was able to accomplish something I set out to do. And that, my friends, was actually quite disappointing!

This year I’m not setting goals or planning any agenda. Instead, I’m looking toward God doing something in my life that’s so big—so far beyond my abilities—that when others see it, and when I see it, we’ll know it was God, that it had to be God because I couldn’t possibly have done it on my own!

And now for the Mondays with Mimi story. I’m not watching Konnor this week. Everyone felt my shoulder needed another few days of healing before I spend the day alone with an active two-year-old. But since we were missing him so much, we went for a visit Saturday. What a fun time.

Since surgery, my shoulder has been bandaged with a baby’s disposable diaper. Apparently, the flexibility of it lends itself to covering a wound quite nicely. But over the past few days it’s been itching like crazy so tomorrow is doctor day and I’m thrilled to be having the diaper removed.

Meanwhile, I explained to Konnor about my boo-boo, that he needed to be careful and not touch my shoulder, that the doctor was taking good care of me and look he covered it with a diaper!

And boy did that make an impression on Konnor. Probably five or six times during our visit he would come over, look under my shirt and mention “Mimi has a diaper on.” Funny, just the time we’re trying to get him OUT of diapers, his Mimi ends up IN them!

Of great interest to me is Konnor’s ability to argue a point and stand his ground, trying to control a situation. I watched him at supper try to get out of eating broccoli. He would spit it out, make excuses, make silly faces, ask me to get him down, anything to avoid those little green trees. Once he even asked his mommy ever so nicely if he could please leave the table and go play with his toys. But Kate stayed the course and eventually won because he eventually ate the broccoli. (To Kate: you go, Girl!).

As a parent or grandparent, it’s so much easier to give in. Big deal that he doesn’t eat his broccoli. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is to raise a wonderful kid who will grow into a wonderful adult. It means teaching life lessons that will be with him forever: to eat a balanced diet, to listen and obey his mommy and daddy, that he doesn’t always get his way. And staying the course can be difficult and tiring. At times you just want to give in. But not giving in is the more difficult position to take and yet so worth it in the end.

Galations 6:9 sums it up: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” What a great word of encouragement.