Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Family friendly venting

We do try to teach our kids that certain words and phrases are unacceptable.

For instance, we do not stand for "OMG" or the long version in our home. Saying such a phrase will earn the offender a quick stern glance from Glory or me.

We also shy away from "stupid." No one is stupid, nor are they being stupid. It's just a stupid word and saying such a word will earn the offender a quick stern glance and a chastening from Glory or me. But if Glory or I utter the forbidden word, we'll feel bad, recognize our hypocrisy and apologize to the children, who sent us quick stern glances.

There are a few others, but the felonious phrase at the top of our "DON'T!" list is "Shut Up!"

It should be uttered rarely but pointedly. If "Shut Up" is uttered, there are to be quick and decisive changes in the recipient's tone, attitude or what have you.

But the world stops at "Shut Up" in our home.

A few days ago while we were in the van going somewhere, our three-year-old was trying to say something but his little 22-month-old brother was interrupting him. Finally, Ulie had enough.

"Shut up, Aulay!" Ulie yelled.

The air got sucked quickly out of the van. Everyone gasped. Glory told Ulie that he was not to say such things and tell his brother he was sorry. Ulie was repentant and quickly apologized. Aulay, however, kept pestering him. Still annoyed, Ulie was getting frustrated, but not one to repeat his mistakes, looked for another way to make his point.

"Slow down, Aulay!" he said. Aulay just looked confused and kept pestering away.

And Ulie just grumbled.

That was OK.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Terry Bowen Life Lessons

It was a year ago this month that my boss, Terry, was diagnosed with chronic leukemia. I had hoped then that we wouldn't have to face what we are facing today.

My friend Terry died this afternoon after his valiant fight with cancer. So, his desk that is next to mine will remain empty. I won't be able to tag along with him in our public CPR classes anymore. We won't be enjoying a trip to the local real Mexican food place at the 76 Station anymore.

But, as I write, with his death very fresh on my mind, I am comforted to know that Terry made it home from the hospital two days ago and was surrounded by family and friends when he passed. That was what he wanted.

But moreso I am comforted that he had faith in the Lord Jesus. I will see him again. I have no doubt of that. And, as I write, he is with the Lord, a FAR cry better from this place we call home. That is our hope -- eternal life, of which we have surety, but only in Jesus.

Naturally, I have been thinking of death over the past couple of month, since Terry started his final fight as the leukemia advanced. While we can't stop what ultimately will happen to each and every one of us, there are things that we can do to make this place a better one:

1. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and strength.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These two sum up about what our actions should be based.

Yet, here are some others that I have thought make practical sense.

3. Tell your family and friends that you love them, and mean it and show it.
4. Keep your accounts short with people.
5. Make a will and keep it current. And tell your family where it is.
6. Write notes to your kids, even if they are too young to read. They will have them for later.
7. Take lots of pictures. When you're gone, your loved ones will thank you.
8. Travel a lot together and make memories.
9. Take care of yourself.
10. Pay your debts. Don't leave them for your family to pay.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Five Dollars!

Our oldest boy is just starting to figure things out: his name, his age, how he's doing, and how to answer these important questions.

Over the past couple of months when we've asked him how he's doing, he responds, "I'm Uilleam!"

"Yes, we know you're Uilleam, but how are you doing?"


"I'm Uilleam!" he repeats.

He replies the same when we ask him his age.

"I'm UILLEAM!" he insists.

We've had to talk a lot about money lately, what with the state of the economy, tax returns and so forth. Perhaps overhearing our conversations have caused him to answer in his new way.

"So, how's my boy?" we will ask him.

"Five dollars," he says.

"No, Ulie, how are you doing?"

"Five dollars!" he says.

Then we'll ask him his name.


There was a kid in the Peanuts comic strips whose name was "Five." Perhaps we ought to change Uilleam's name to "$5" since he's going to be faced with issues related to money all his life.

That's probably not a good idea seeing that he now is learning his ABCs, and I'm sure by next week his name will be "Letters."