Proud Parent

I watched my daughter perform on stage this weekend. For the first time. As a freshman, she won the part of Bloody Mary in her school’s production of South Pacific.

And she was great!

I sat and cried as she made the audience laugh with her antics and her “Tonkanese” accent and then SANG her songs, even after prolonged protestations to her teacher that she couldn’t sing.

I hooted and hollered at the curtain call, tears thick in my throat again. I jumped over seats trying to reach her as she came off stage, but was crowded out by others seeking to congratulate her as well. I didn’t know she could really pull it off. She didn’t know if she could really pull it off. But she did. And I was so proud.

Later that night, I wondered if God feels anything like I did. I watched my child stretch to reach a goal and then succeed, watched her work through discouragement and nay-sayers, tiredness and busyness, to attain a certain level of performance. Is that the way it is when I—a child of God—write? Does He cheer me on, eager for me to succeed? Encouraging me to keep working? Leading the ovations when everything comes together and the creative gift He has given me is played out on a stage bigger than my immediate family and close friends? More importantly, is that the way God feels when I live? When I react to people and situations in a way that glorifies Him?

I think so. I think we feel proud as parents because God made us to feel that way. He made us to understand in some tiny form what He feels for us.

I am so proud of my daughter. And I’m so thankful that God used this time to remind me that He is a my proud parent as well—in what I do, but even more importantly, in who I am while I am doing it.


Ah, My Old Friend

I’m a little old for a security blanket, so when life throws multiple stresses my way I reach for my security books instead.

Like comfort foods, there are some books which soothe the inner voices screaming at me that my life is out of control. So in the midst of house-selling and teenagers and school plays and multiple sports and drivers ed, I have reached once again for the familiarity of plots and words and characters I have known and loved over and over again.

I could have pulled one of many books from my shelves—Gone With The Wind, Train To Estelline, Up a Road Slowly, On the Shores of Silver Lake through These Happy Golden Years, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, Christy—you get the picture. Each of these is an old friend. I know the words so well I skim across them like a boat on a glassy lake. The characters have become close friends. And like a daily-driven road, instinct anticipates every twist and turn of the plot with ease, laying to rest the stress of my already chaotic life.

This is not escape reading, mind you. This is familiarity that breeds security and peace. These are my comfort books, employed when I reach the tipping point between coping and insanity. And I am there.

So I picked up one of my dearest friends last night—Anne of Green Gables. I intend to read her all the way through, from lonely 11-year-old to mother and grandmother. I need the impetuous young Anne, the giddy-in-love Anne, and the sorrow-tinged newlywed Anne. But most of all, at this moment, I need grown up Anne—dealing with a husband and teenagers emerging into young adults. I need a picture of life that is tinged with reality, but calm by virtue of intimacy.

Do you have any security books—books you can pick up and revisit like old friends when life becomes chaotic? I’d love to hear yours. You never know when something new will rise to the status of comfort after a read or two.


Tech savvy

I pride myself on having learned a few things about technology. I’ve had to. My husband is content to let someone else figure out all those details, they just frustrate him. So I have learned.

In November, I bought a new laptop. In January, I began having sound issues. Sometimes I would have sound, sometimes not. Now I am a music writer. No, I don’t write music, I write well with music playing in the background. So no sound on the laptop was a bad thing for me. I lived with it, off and on, for almost six weeks. But this week I decided I’d had enough; I was going to get this fixed.

I walked into the retail store where I bought it and declared my intention to leave my baby with them to fix. They stared at me blankly. Call the manufacturer first, it’s been less than a year. They gave me the number. I took it, forced myself to smile at them, and walked out the door huffing. I knew I’d go home and spend a good hour—at the very least—on the phone with tech support. I really didn’t have time for this.

I got home, gathered laptop and telephones around me (I never have a fully charged cordless phone), and dialed. Very quickly I was speaking with a live person. Amazing. Of course he asked for all the vital stats first. Then he declared that this computer hadn’t been registered; we’d have to do that first. Fine, I said. It took all of two minutes. Then we began on the problem.

I tried to tell him up front that I’d checked everything, but we had to start at the beginning anyway.

“Please click on the sound icon and check the volume settings.”

“They are ALL turned up.”

“And the mute box is not checked?”

I rolled my eyes. “No.” I knew that much. I’d told him so. I was ready to get to the hard stuff.

“Now look at the front of the laptop, near the headphone jack.”

I tipped the laptop up.

“Huh, there’s a little dial thing there.”

“That’s a volume control as well.”

“You’re kidding.” I ran my thumb along the small wheel and opened itunes. Low and behold, I heard music, loud.

I guess I kept spinning that wheel without realizing it, turning the volume up and down and off. I was glad he couldn’t see me blush over the phone.

“It works,” I told him.

“Are you sure,” he asked.

“I’m sure.”

Once again the Proverbs prove true—pride goes before a fall. Next time I’ll claim my stupidity right up front.