Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 OUT


Well, we made it.

In 2013 new sweet lives came into this world around us and made us celebrate, other sweet lives departed and made us weep.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice.  Mourn with those who mourn.”  Romans 12:15

People we love got married.  Family and friends celebrated birthdays and anniversaries.

People we love got divorced, diagnosed, dumped and deluded.

Rejoicing.    Mourning.

Some new neighbors, friends and classmates were introduced with hellos.

Others bid us a heart shattering goodbye.

Rejoice.  Mourn.

Sometimes thriving.  Often just surviving.


Another trip around the sun.

Some folks have changed in almost unrecognizable ways….like my 14 year old who dwarfs me now and my husband rocking the beard.

Some folks have not changed that much and are still 5’2 and buying pants that don’t have a number in them.

Sometimes “mourn” means get your @$$ to the gym.

One of my favorite lessons this year was about anguish and *joy* coexisting.

As I ponder these directions to rejoice/mourn–10 opposing words all in one sentence, contradicting emotions bent towards whoever is doing one or the other, it strikes me:

We put off our lonely mourning to rejoice with someone else’s good fortune.

We lay aside our selfish, possibly well-earned celebration to sincerely mourn with someone else who hurts.

In this, we unite.

In this, we don’t stay lonely, even if we do stay sad.

I vote for more rejoicing in 2014 and less mourning.  It may not be so.  It probably won’t be.

But when we mourn, at least we can do it together.

And that gives us reason enough to rejoice.

*Edited to add the word JOY.  Of course anguish and grief coexist.  Duh. *

#NameTag Tag


My family has invented a fun game for church.

We didn’t invent it on purpose, it just kind of evolved.

At our church-in-a-highschool, we have a very lovely team of First Impression Greeters.  Yesterday it was pouring rain and one of them met us at the car with two huge umbrellas.  No matter the temperature, there are greeters opening the doors for attendees to walk in like royalty.  Then the first table to the right is the cheerful Name Tag Patrol.  They pride themselves on learning people’s names and study faces like they are in training for the CIA.  In addition to memorizing, they draw smileys and decorate the corners.  Some write in all caps, some in D’Nealian, all are dedicated and overjoyed when people show up.

Which makes me frustrated when my teens blow right past them and stealthily plan their ninja avoidance every week.

But #NameTag Tag has changed all that.

You see, in #NameTag Tag, the nametags are ammo.

By the time we are seated in the auditorium for worship, one of the parental units–typically me, has at least 3 misleading nametags on her back.


This is very confusing to visitors who certainly want to meet me, and in addition just serves to make me talk to people EVEN LONGER, delaying our departure after service.  Forgive them Father.  They know not what they do.

Last week one of my boys stumped one of the Greeters and she wrote “Shannon’s Kid” on a nametag rather than ask which boy was which.  One of my girls immediately obtained that ammo around the corner, and sneakily placed it on the back of an unsuspecting non-family member about her same age.  A cute one.  We watched across the auditorium to see how long it stayed on.  (While simultaneously nodding and remaining riveted to the sermon on avoiding stress and finding joy.  See?  We were TOTALLY listening.  It was in Philippians).  After the last song, we watched and waited to see who would help out the non-Shannon’s kid.  Turns out it was the actual Mom.  Good times.

This week all 6 of my family happily received their nametags.  None of us left with our own.

And #NameTag Tag was henceforth and forever more name tagged.

Christmas Hooliganism


I think it is safe to share this story now.

There are two malls closer to me than my favorite one.  Sometimes I go to the Nice Mall all alone just to eat lunch at Nordstrom Café and get an accessory for under $15 at Charming Charlie’s.  On this Friday before Christmas, I had $20 cash to spend and wanted to soak in the Christmas decorations.  This was my kind of Dave Ramsey cash challenge. 

I parked, grabbed a peach ginger sweet tea To Go from the café, and made my way around the ornately decorated shopping center.  I found clearance gift items in Charming Charlie’s, delicious samples in Williams Sonoma and a sip of coffee in Harry & David.  I decided to walk all around the mall and enjoy the lights and sounds and sights of other shoppers.  I stayed on the upper level and enjoyed occasionally looking over the rail at the many families pushing strollers making their way towards Santa.  With nostalgia, I remembered the many years I carried my four wee ones all dressed in coordinating fashion to get their pictures taken too. 

When I got to center court, I gazed down at the multitude snaking around the endless line leading into and out of the snow globe on the way to the Big Guy’s chair.  I roamed around estimating how many families were in line and feeling blessed for an instant that this was a line I could currently avoid.  As families and children exited the snow globe, dusted in charming snowflakes just in time to pose with St. Nick, I began trying to anticipate which kids would enjoy the moment and which would vigorously resist.  I was particularly charmed by a sweet preschool-aged girl with a dozen little beaded braids.  She was clinging tightly to her Mama’s legs and I prepared for a loud showdown.  To my surprise and delight, she climbed up into Santa’s lap and hugged him tight, cheek to cheek and grinned a huge cheese for the photographer, holding it like a pro.  I was so enchanted I whipped out my phone from up above, zoomed way in, and captured the moment myself.  

Then I looked at the next few families in line.  A few groups back, there was a set of infant twins in matching Christmas dresses.  I predicted that at least one of them would protest.  As their turn finally arrived and they got positioned on Santa’s lap, studying his face, I once again rose my phone to snap the shot.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the security guard walk over to the 5 adults in the party waiting for the twins to get their photo. 

Uh oh…I thought.  Something is about to go down.  As I gawked, they all looked up at me together.  One of them looked at the mall cop, shaking their head as if to say, “No.  She’s not with us.”  At that moment the Mall Cop hollered and pointed directly at me.  “Ma’am.  NO.”  I quick nodded, put my camera away and hastily retraced my steps back to the parking garage. 

I admit for a moment, I expected to see a swarm of cops jogging and communicating into their shoulder walkie-talkies, describing me to each other.

“White female in floral jacket.  Not much over 5 feet.  Could stand to lose a few pounds.  We shouldn’t have any trouble catching her.”

Then, even though I know we don’t use film in our cameras any more, I had the vision of them pulling the phone apart and ripping out the ribbon like it was 1963. 

With the adrenaline pumping and the wits of Jack Reacher, I successfully eluded the imagined army of mall cops & the families I had stalked, kept my camera phone in tact, and did not have to be bailed out of mall photo jail. 

I did however get coal in my stocking. 

…and some really cute photos.




I’m opening my gift
Christmas two thousand & nine
I hope it’s not clothes,
But a book would be fine.
I got a Kindle 2nd gen
Because you’re a savvy buyer
I read it every night, but now, ooo
Kindle Fire!

Late at night
My book light was on low
You say please turn it off
I say I’ve got one page to go
You say you need your sleep now
It is time to retire
No lamp required–ooo
Kindle Fire!

You had a hold on me right from the start
The colors so bright my book list warms the coldest heart
My searches all jumping, recommendations clearly seen
Well your games, books and apps make me the reading queen.

Well Romeo & Juliet,
Articles wild and tame,
I can read them all
And search for more of the same,
Goodbye T.V.
The world I will now acquire
When I turn on my new–oooo
Kindle Fire!