Wednesday, May 28, 2008


When I was in high school one of my close friends had Alopecia, a disorder that causes the hair follicles to just shut down. It wasn't something she talked about, even to me. And I only remember one time where her mother took me aside and referred to it rather obliquely. Consequently I didn't have a clue about why my friend's hair was seeming to thin more and more.

Some kids made fun of her hair - not to her face, that I know of. But this specter of being somewhat outcast hung around her. I wish there was more that I could have done. I wish I had known what it was about. Instead I did all I knew to do - I kept being her friend.

Those thoughts filled my mind last night as I sat in a salon watching Little Miss History get her long hair cut off. She donated it to Locks of Love so that some young girl, like my friend, wouldn't have to face the jeers and rejection brought on by a disorder for which there is no cure. I am proud of LMH. After a moment of shock at seeing how short it left her hair, she vowed to go back to growing it to donate a second time.

Here's a visual of what LMH did:

Before: A fish tail braid for our Memorial Day BBQ.

After: a new 'do!

I am so thankful for Locks of Love and the great work they do. Oh, and that friend of mine? She's a beautiful, confident mom of two...who happens to wear a wig.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wardrobe Malfunction

Warm weather has FINALLY arrived in Chicago. I've been gearing up for it the past couple of weeks - gearing up in the literal sense of plotting out my three girls' clothing for the next season. Mind you, this is no small undertaking.

First there's all the trying on of last year's stuff (because they need to be convinced that their favorite t-shirt/dress/pair of shorts definitely does not work anymore. That's followed by all the shifting from closet to crawl space and retrieval from crawl space to closet. Hand-me-downs are great, except for all the work it takes to store them and then find them again later.

And then there's the big trip to Kohl's with (hopefully) our extra 15-20-30% off coupon. And a trip to Target for whatever we missed at Kohl's. Plus maybe a Gap run and... Let's just say it's a lot more shopping than I ever care to do at one time. But you do what ya gotta do.

So we completed that whole process this week (for the most part). And today when the hot weather arrived, I was one satisfied mom, smug in the knowledge that I'd made the transition in time...until I went into my own closet. I must say that we seemed to have had a particularly hot and humid winter because all my clothes seem to have shrunk. Especially my shorts and capris, along with a skirt or two, which don't seem to be working that well for me any more. But I am determined that the wardrobe shift is done. There will be no more shopping trips or digging in the crawl space. There is only one solution for me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lazy Days?

There's something wrong with staying in bed until 6:30am and calling it "sleeping in". But try telling that to my husband.

Now it's nearly 8am. I've had breakfast and gotten dressed. Time to hurry off to Home Depot and beat the rush of weekend gardeners to get my annuals.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be totally decadent and sleep until 7am!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Midnight Comes Too Soon

With her love for all things royal, it's no wonder that the Uber-Princess locked on to this Steven Curtis Chapman song, Cinderella. It's a poignant song about seizing those moments with his daughters before they're all grown and it touches me every time I hear it. And today, learning of the tragic death of his five-year-old princess, Maria Sue, I know I won't ever hear this song again without tears. Join me in praying for the Chapman family as they grieve their loss.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Our school year will be wrapping up next week. Already. I'm not yet prepared for the summer schedule, but I'm getting excited for it to be here. The Musing Family is going to have some fun. We're going to learn some new things, see some new things, and spend a lot of time enjoying old, familiar things.

Today, however, marks the beginning of another end. As of next Sunday I will no longer be coordinating our church nursery. I've begun completing some final tasks and handing off materials and duties. Today I sent out my final team email and I'll attend one last meeting.

Two years ago I stepped up to take the position of nursery coordinator. Little did I know what the job would entail. I enjoyed teaching the two-year-olds. I appreciated the care my daughter had received in the nursery. And I had a vision of what could be for that part of our church. But nobody warned me of the stresses of the job: recruiting a team for one of the least thankful roles (changing diapers? No thanks!); scheduling and staffing when the number of kids is increasing and the number of available adults is shrinking; watching parents arrive with their kids on Easter Sunday when the only volunteers that you have to work with are your own children.

There have been the joys too: seeing a child run into their classroom because they're so excited to be there (that would be a two-year-old, NOT a baby), watching a weary mom heave a great sigh of relief as you give her a one-hour break free of charge, listening to your team members get to know each other and connect in different ways.

It's been an interesting ride, this job of coordinating the early childhood wing. If given the choice I'd do it all again. But I'm not sad to pass it along. I'm more than ready. After this I'm going to have some fun - try new things, see new things and enjoy some old familiar things. Summer may not arrive for a week (or three), but my vacation starts this Sunday and I'm packed and ready to go!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Youthful Exhuberance

"I--(put your finger there for a space)--A--M--(finger again)--S--O--(put your finger down)--E--X--C--I--T--E--D--(okay, go down a line)--F--O--R--(finger space)--Y--O--U--(finger down)--T--O--(move down again)--H--A--V--E--(leave room)--A--(now a space)--B--A--B--Y".

I dictated this morning for the Uber-Princess to write a note to her Aunt who announced to her nieces two days ago that she is going to have a baby. Our children aren't great phone conversationalists, so their reactions to her were subdued. But since then the excitement in our house has been palpable. The Uber-Princess's note is accurate.

Actually the Uber-Princess came hopping into the room as soon as I hung up with her aunt. And she proceeded to do a happy dance, complete with a little tune. Then for the rest of the morning/day all conversation revolved around the coming baby.

Uber-Princess:"Will we have to buy diapers for the baby?"

Me:"No, your aunt and uncle will do that?"

Her: "Can we take care of it?"

Me: "I hope so... when it visits."

Her: "Let's buy something for the baby!" (points to every baby related thing we see in the next three stores we enter).

The excitement is understandable, especially with the Uber-Princess. All of her cousins are older than her - WAY older. This will be the first time she can be the older person. So naturally she's excited, not only to hold and cuddle, but also to teach and train. And I'm excited too. It will be lots of fun to welcome a new baby in the family (and not be the one getting up in the night with it).

Now if October 31st would just hurry up and get here!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sincerely, Mayla

Sincerely, Mayla is Virginia Smith's sequel to her novel, Just As I Am where readers are introduced to quirky, independent Mayla Strong. I wish I'd read that one first, because I get the feeling that knowing the pre-conversion, purple-haired Mayla of Just As I Am would have made me appreciate even more the challenges and changes she goes through in this sequel. Yet Sincerely, Mayla is written well enough to allow it to stand on its own.

Mayla is a single (and unattached) young gal whose life is thrown a curve ball when she loses her office job to her boss's associate-degreed niece...but not without receiving a severance package. At her roommate's suggestion Mayla uses the extra funds and freedom to pay a visit to her estranged grandmother and aunt in Florida. And she leaves behind more than just a job search, but also a stray rabbit that irritates her roommate, an embarrassing crush on her once-oblivious pastor, and a strangely stressed friendship with her gay neighbor. Or at least she thinks she's left these behind. Instead these problems and more find her in Florida.

Mayla is a very real character who handles some of the big issues of our times with both compassion and faith. Yet she also stumbles along and makes mistakes. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was watching Mayla come to grips with her own sinful habits and seeing her deal with them in ways that are true to life and not holier-than-though or otherwise oversimplified.

The only thing this book could have done differently would have been to make me worry more. There were one or two hints at what the outcomes of some of the problems would be that stood out too much. A "smile playing at the edges of her mouth" after a big fight told me it would all be fine. I didn't want to know that. I would have preferred to worry a bit longer about whether things would be okay.

The grit and quirkiness of Mayla's character propels the story along and makes Sincerely, Mayla an enjoyable book. So put it on your summer reading list. And then hope that Ginny Smith will bring us another episode in Mayla's life. As for me, I'm off to find a copy of Just As I Am.

Coming This Week: Virginia Smith Blog Tour

Later this week I'll be posting a review of Virginia Smith's new book, Sincerely, Mayla. You can check out other reviews of her book by following the blog tour links at her publisher, Kregel Publications.

So stay tuned...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Please Pray for Leslie

A young mom at our church has been having an incredibly tough year. She was diagnosed with cancer last Fall. And every time it seems like she's going to do well, something new has come up to complicate things further. Yesterday there was more bad news.

I've been praying and praying, in every quiet moment of my day. But it has always felt like such a pitiful thing in face of the giant challenges facing her. Today it seems even more so. So I'm asking, will you please, please pray for Leslie. Here is her story, starting almost near the beginning.

Please pray.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Awkward Situations

Newbie. We're all there many times in our lives. And some of those times are more awkward than others. That's when it helps to have the advice of someone who has gone before you, who has more experience. I witnessed two people in the last week go through this in circumstances with which I was totally unfamiliar. I don't know which is worse, being the newbie or watching a newbie and not being able to help. So, in light of these two people's situations in particular, I'd like to learn. Somehow though, I don't think I'm going to learn by firsthand experience. That's where you come in. If you know the answers to these dilemmas, please share.

Awkward Situation #1:
You have a cleaning person in your house. Do you follow them around? Do you work ahead of them picking up and putting away? Or do you retire to your couch with a cup of tea and some bonbons and snuggle up to the remote to watch daytime tv?

Awkward Situation #2:
You're spending a day at a spa. What do you wear to get there? Do you really wear those foam flip-flops to drive home? Should you try to make conversation with the nail technician? What about your masseuse?

Clearly I am not going to be struggling with any of these issues any time in the near future. But I hope I have friends who will. And wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell them that "I'm pretty sure you shouldn't chat on your cell phone while getting a facial"?

Thanks for your help.