Tag Archive | Mondays with Mimi

His legacy lives on…

In the past, I’ve shared a few posts from Joshua Rogers, whose blog is entitled “Finding God in the ordinary.” He’s a wonderful writer but more importantly using every day happenings, he is able to point to God in simple, yet often profound ways.

On Facebook, he recently shared the obituary of Ken Fuson, a man I had never heard of. Typically, I would not take the time to read something like this, but because it was a post from Joshua, and based on some of the comments, I decided to read on. And boy, am I glad I did!

It’s a bit of a long obituary but it reads quickly because you are captured from the start. It’s witty, intriguing, encouraging, uplifting, somber and written by Ken himself before his death. I rarely comment on Facebook posts, especially about someone I don’t know. But after reading this, I just had to leave my thoughts: Never heard of him but can’t wait to meet him in heaven. This was amazing and had me crying. I’m sharing it on my own blog. One word says it. Wow.

I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.

KEN’S OBITUARY

Love, Mimi

Karaoke With Dad

I love this picture. That’s me and my dad singing together this past Christmas.

Our granddaughter Zoe had received a karaoke microphone (pink and sparkly of course) for a Christmas gift. You use it with Karaoke songs you play from YouTube and boy is it fun!

Coming from a family of musicians, I have played instruments in concert performances and sung before crowds large and small. So, you would think Karaoke would be a natural fit.

But for me it’s not.

It’s actually rather intimidating. When I would sing gospel music in church, I was intent on worshipping God and/or conveying a message to those listening. And I was generally aware that the Holy Spirit was with me so I was comfortable and actually enjoyed using my talent to sing for God. Playing the clarinet in various concert bands throughout my middle and high school years was the same.

But for some reason, singing Karaoke is a completely different story for me. So, for the most part, I’ve stayed clear of it. However, this was with my dad. And it was a completely different story.

Gone were the nerves, and on came the joy of singing…especially singing with my father. I think the last time I sang with him was just after Tim was born in 1979 when I was a guest singer at his glee club concert.

Were we any good? Boy, that’s a loaded question. OF COURSE, WE WERE. But mostly, we were just having fun and enjoying the moment.

So, when my DIL Sarah recently sent this picture, it just made me smile. And not only smile, but I had that kind of soul-satisfaction that comes occasionally when something was so good that you feel it down to your toes.

No, I’m not ready for my own Karaoke microphone…

I’m not going to run out to purchase my own mic. But I’m going to remember that great feeling of being free, throwing caution to the wind, and just enjoying the moment. And I’m going to look for more opportunities to do something similar again, hopefully in 2020.

How about you?

Comment below and tell me what you’ve experienced recently that was both exhilarating and enjoyable. Maybe it’s something you used to do when you were younger and just decided to try it again. Maybe it was something you had never tried but in a spontaneous moment, you went for it.

I’m sure if we look for them, we’ll find plenty of opportunities to step outside of our comfort zones and find adventure waiting. My hope is that a year from now, I’ll be reporting back on at least a few new things I attempted.

Here’s to an adventurous and glorious 2020 for all.

Love, Mimi

Out with the old and in with the new!

(Originally published December 30, 2015)

What’s Mimi up to with those trash cans? you might be thinking. Well, Orange County, Florida recently switched things up a bit. Beginning January 1 we go from twice weekly trash pick-up with regular old trash cans to once weekly pick-ups in huge trash cans on wheels.

Change is not always easy…

…and Orange County has been trying their best to get us ready. Lots of info came our way throughout the fall along with two new rolling containers (one for trash, one for recycling). Each household has received specific instructions on exactly how and when to use them, too.

So we’re in for some change: new pick-up days, larger containers that hold a lot of stuff (yay) but that also take up a lot of room in the garage (boo), and while currently a green container holds recyclables, the new ones are blue. (I betcha lots of recyclables are going to end up in the wrong container for a while.)

There’s been a little griping here and there but no doubt things will work themselves out over time and soon the old ways will fade away, replaced by the new system.

At the start of the new year, some of us may be desperately looking for something new—a new adventure, a new job, a fresh start while others may be lamenting change and just as desperate to hold on to the familiar.

On any given day I may lay claim to any of the above thoughts but as Greek philosopher Heraclitus states “There is nothing permanent except change.” While I can argue that some things don’t change such as God’s love and provision for us, his statement with a little tongue in cheek drives home a good point.

My prayer.

So, my prayer for the coming year is that I will treasure what has been a blessing in my life, hold tight to precious memories, and at the same time I will boldly and courageously accept new challenges and look forward to what God has in store.

Blessings and love to all.

Mimi

Jesus, where are you?

Christmas 1991. If you ask me to tell you something about that particular Christmas, I’ll come up empty. The best I can do is use my kids as a reference and see if that triggers any memories.

Tim was 12 and Kate 11. That means 5th and 6th grades. Hmm, what else? I’m sure I can pull out pictures which will jog some memories. But no matter what job I held, no matter what church we attended, and no matter what was going on in the world, it must have been a crazy busy year. And it must have really gotten to me.

Why you ask?

Because I wrote a poem. I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night adding more and more things to my mental to-do list…the Christmas to-do list. The list that would ensure Christmas would be perfect for all my loved ones.

This list was supposed to keep me on track and stress-free. Instead, the opposite happened. I became filled with stress over how much there seemed to do. And in the wee hours of that morning, after this realization struck me, another reality presented itself ever so clearly. In the middle of trying so hard to have a wonderful Christmas for everyone, I had completely missed the reason for the holiday…Jesus.

Jesus was nowhere to be found.

Shopping, baking, concerts, get-togethers all took up time. They became the centerpiece of all my efforts. I was stressed out, tired, melancholy, and certainly not enjoying this beautiful time of year. I didn’t even understand why I was feeling this way. But for some reason, I put a pen in my hand and began writing. I don’t think I had written a poem since grade school. But I wrote and wrote and what you see below is what I wrote that night in 1991.

I poured my heart out. I had been so busy, that I took my eyes off of Jesus, the one who gave me new life. The one I was supposed to be celebrating. With tears streaming down my face, I realized I was the problem. Jesus wasn’t missing. I had left him out.

I learned a lot that night.

Christmases are not always perfect. And I don’t always do the best job at keeping Jesus at the center. But I learned that it’s up to me to find him. And the truth is that he’s right there. I had just covered him up with my to-do list. Once I could set it aside, I was able to uncover the greatest gift of all.

My prayer for you this year, is the one I have for me and my family as well: that amidst the Christmas joy we share with others, we will clearly be able to experience the joy of Jesus.

Jesus, Where Are You?

In the still of the night my mind cluttered with thoughts

Of the approaching season and the gifts to be bought.

There are lists to be made and things to be done,

Never enough time—certainly no fun.

 

Jumbled thoughts steal my time and my plans go awry.

I meant to be with You Lord—I did! my heart cries.

Yet somehow the busy-ness and crowds came right in

And took up the space where You should have been.

 

“Jesus, where are you?” my heart longs to shout.

Do You have anything to do with all that’s about?

We say it’s because of You that we rush and we spend

Vast amounts of money, much more than we intend.

 

A gift for Sally and Susan and John.

One more for Mary and Alice and Tom.

Quick bake a cookie, trim a tree, tie a bow.

Christmas will be here before you know.

 

Christmas day dawns, everything is all set.

The presents are bought—wrapped all pretty and yet

As I look through each room and the preparations I’ve done.

There’s just one thing still missing—Jesus, God’s Son!

 

It seems I made time for the pies, gifts, and friends.

But what it boils down to right in the end

In the midst of the rush and the gifts and the carols

I left out the One whose birth angels herald.

 

It is this One who the season should be about.

Let’s forget all the rest and His praises shout!

Yes, the presents are fine and the food is great, too,

But Jesus was born—for me and for you!

 

Let’s remember His birth at Christmas this year

Let’s remember God’s gift to us—Jesus is here!

Let’s not get caught up in all the ways of the Earth

But rejoice that in Jesus we have second birth!

Mimi

I’m not an idiot, Greg!

We have an unspoken agreement here. I break glass things such as dishes; Greg vacuums up the broken glass.

In one of those crazy everyday happenings, I dropped a glass bowl while drying it with a hand towel. It shattered but thankfully, it stayed pretty much in my small, galley-like kitchen which meant clean-up wouldn’t be a big chore.

Because Greg does all the weekly vacuuming here, it’s natural for him to be on clean-up duty. I let him know I broke the bowl and needed his help. I was in the middle of baking two different items, in my socks, no shoes, as is usual, and needed to continue on. There was no time out while the clean-up happened. That being said, at 65, I know a thing or two about broken glass. You need to be careful so you don’t cut yourself. Therefore, it is imperative to be cautious while wearing socks near the broken glass. It’s really a no-brainer.

My dilemma

…was that I was in the middle of thickening the broth on some homemade creamy chicken soup when this happened. I felt I couldn’t just walk away during the vacuuming. I decided to stick around, turn down the heat, and be nearby should anything else require my immediate attention.

While taking care of that, Greg happened to be using the handheld vacuum to get under the cabinets and it seemed there were still a few obvious pieces of glass on the floor that were in my way. So, I stooped down, picked them up, and tossed them in the trash.

And that opened the gates to things from Greg such as “I’m not done yet. I’ll get it.” While that’s what he said with his mouth, what I heard in his tone was that I was being a complete idiot for picking up the glass by hand when he stood ready to take care of things his own way.

My immediate response at being judged like this (or perceiving I was being judged as incompetent) was to shout (twice I might add), “I’m not an idiot Greg. I’m not an idiot!”

What followed was an eyeroll from him along with a tsk-tsk of being fed up with me and how stupid and foolish I was to not let him finish.

So, in my best kindergarten voice (or grown up angry woman voice) I retorted, “I’m going to write a blog about this.” And that’s just what I’m doing. Boy, do I feel better already.

In hindsight, I see many things that went wrong. (1) I broke a glass bowl. (2) It just happened to be in the middle of a cooking session. (3) I called for Greg’s help rather than do it myself because we’ve fallen into that pattern of him cleaning up my messes. (4) He has his way of doing things which often is different from mine. Not better, not worse. Just different. (5) I needed to attend to my cooking and didn’t clearly convey that. (6) Greg was being protective and didn’t want me to get hurt. (7) Greg didn’t realize how important it was to me to finish my soup. (8) I was offended that Greg thought I would be careless and possibly cut myself while picking up those two pieces. (9) I also felt severely judged that in his eyes he thought my behavior in picking up glass was idiotic. (10). Greg probably thought he could do a better job cleaning up than I could. (11) And that definitely bothered me. (12) I wasn’t seeing his perspective. (12) He certainly wasn’t seeing mine.

Whew, makes me tired thinking about all this.

So, what’s the lesson?

Well…I don’t think it’s a particularly deep one. In hindsight, I’m not even sure we could have avoided the tiff. It all happened so quickly. After all, there was indeed lots of broken glass on the floor right in the middle of my work area. And my work couldn’t easily stop at that point, but neither could the clean-up be put on hold.

What did happen, which was good (for me) was that I calmed myself down by simply putting on paper what I was feeling inside. After my brief two-sentence outburst, I didn’t say anything else until after I cleared my thoughts by starting this post.

I was able to then approach Greg with both a thanks for coming quickly to my request for help and an apology for getting upset during the process. I really don’t think either of us did much wrong. I believe the biggest issue was in our perceptions of what each other was thinking. I perceived Greg thought I was being idiotic and he perceived I was (he admitted so later). But in reality, it was just one of those things that happens with couples who have been together a long time (45 years in our case!).

The horrible thing is that often we want to wallow in being the offended party rather than fixing what went wrong. Even after writing the first draft of this post yesterday, it was difficult to go tell Greg how much I appreciated him. I wanted him to come to me apologizing for his own judgment of me. But when we play that game, where we are more content to remain in our misery rather than have a brief discussion and move on, we really let our spiritual enemy win. And that truly is a lose/lose situation for the couple.

I really hate being in discord with Greg but the reality is life happens, we say things we don’t mean to say (or maybe we do), and then after offense has been taken and hurt experienced, we can make it worse by sometimes refusing to do what will truly make it better…apologize.

My hope…

…that in the future I’ll be even quicker to try to fix things, to apologize, to make things right. Despite loving my man with all of my heart, we will continue to disagree on things. We will continue to get on each other’s nerves. But my hope is that I will be more and more willing to put down my flesh (let go of my offenses) as quickly as possible and restore the peace between us.

At this most wonderful time of year, we may find stress coming into play even more than usual. Let’s be on guard and be aware so that when those offenses arise, we can swiftly forgive without allowing them to fester.

Parting thoughts, from God’s Word.

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1)

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (Ephesians 4:26-27, The Message)

Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31 The Message)

Mimi

Gotta love those potato chip crumbs!

The photo with today’s post shows the reason behind a recent phone call to Frito-Lay customer service, after a purchase of a large bag of Ruffles Potato Chips.

Greg and I have different preferences in chips. We both like all potato chips, and most times both enjoy those with ridges over those without. But to Greg, the best of the best is a bag of Ruffles. And it’s hard to argue with that.

When you open that bag and get the first hint of salty potato chip goodness your taste buds start watering and you immediately anticipate the delight that awaits as you reach in for a handful. And as Greg peers inside and sees a full bag of large chips, he just knows he’s in for a treat.

But me? Well, I certainly enjoy nice, whole, large chips, but perhaps my favorite part is when you get down close to the bottom of the bag and all that remains are the crushed ones, much like you see in the photo. And why you ask would I enjoy them so much? I have no idea other than to me it’s a treat of pure salty goodness in one mouthful as I lift the bag to my mouth, pour those delightful tidbits in, and start munching even as some strays find their way onto the outside of my hands, onto my shirt, and even down to the floor. Messy? Yes, indeed. Worth it? Oh, MY yes!

(Note: Since the bag of chips purchased was a treat for Greg, I felt I had to write Customer Service after I opened the bag and saw it was filled with crushed potato chip crumbs; no whole ones in sight. Frito-Lay was very responsive, apologized, and said they were sending some coupons for our next purchase. But I had to laugh when the rep mentioned most people don’t intend to eat potato chips with a spoon! I had never thought of that; but that’s exactly how I should be eating them…with a spoon!

So why all this talk about crumbs?

Because while many see crumbs of anything—cookies, cakes, potato chips—and see something that should be thrown away, to many those crumbs are yummy goodness. Chip crumbs to be eaten with a spoon, cookie crumbs to use for a cheesecake crust. What one sees as worthless and throws away, another sees as part of something good, perhaps something even better than its original intended use.

I can see you’re already ahead of me. Often, we look at ourselves or each other and see worthless crumbs. Someone beaten down in life, a has-been, someone who’s past being able to contribute anything of value.

And yet, those very crumbs are building blocks in God’s hands. In Genesis, he took the crumbs of the earth—dirt—to create man. Then breathed life into him.

God is the Master Designer

And that same God can take the crumbs of your life, forming them into a beautiful creation full of His purpose, full of value, full of promise and possibility, and then breathe His very life into them, making them new. Making them into a wonderful creation. Making them into His masterpiece.

Maybe it’s not your own crumbs you worry about.  Maybe it’s the crumbs of your child’s life, or the life of a sibling or friend. The lesson is the same my friend. There’s not a single crumb that can’t be transformed and repurposed into God’s good intention. So, be encouraged and have hope in the Master Designer. He knows what He’s doing. And He has designed each of us to be His masterpiece.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6)

Mimi

Mimi, you’re beautiful!

This past Friday we received an early morning call that Callan was sick. Both parents needed to be at work that day so the request was made for us to come hang with the little guy. We thought about it for all of two seconds and enthusiastically said YES! Who wouldn’t want to spend the day with this sweet kid!

Though he wasn’t feeling well when we arrived, within about two hours there was a noticeable improvement. Then the fun began. Hiding a little pumpkin somewhere in the house so the other two could go look for it. Teaching him Sudoku on the iPad and watching his joy as this math whiz had an “ah-ha” moment when he realized it was really just a math game. He loved it and learned really fast.

Of course, we also enjoyed lots of conversations such as the one where Callan described me and Greg. For me he said I was full of fun and liked to play with him. (And I do.) For Greg, he said his PopPop liked to sleep. (And he does!) Just check out this picture which shows what Greg was doing at the exact moment Callan and I were chatting.

A little while later, completely out of nowhere, Callan matter-of-factly stated, “Mimi, you’re beautiful!” Greg was awake at that moment and heard it, too. And my heart melted. Just melted.

What a sweet thing for him to say…so sincere, so full of love. (Shhh, don’t tell the others, but for that moment, he was my favorite!)

A few words spoken from the heart can mean so much.

Callan’s spontaneous outburst changed everything for me in that moment. It filled me with joy as I was reminded that I was loved. That he thought I was beautiful. And that it was important enough to him that he took the time to express himself.

Can you imagine if we all did that? We often have wonderful thoughts about others but don’t always share them. We may appreciate an effort on their part. We may notice something about them we admire. We just may genuinely enjoy someone’s presence. But I’m  not sure we actually tell that to others on a regular basis.

Callan didn’t wait for the right words or the right time. He just blurted out something that was on his heart. And it really touched me. Not only that he thinks I’m beautiful, but mostly because he took the time to tell me.

I want to be more like Callan.

I don’t want to just think nice things about others. I want to take the extra moment to let them know. It would be so meaningful to them to actually hear our words of praise, appreciation, or love.

The right word, at the right time, is like precious gold set in silver. (Proverbs 25:11)

Callan, you taught Mimi a beautiful lesson this week. And I’m sharing it with now others. Maybe one day, we’ll all be a little more like you and take the time to let others know how much they mean to us.

Mimi