May We Never Forget

Remembering those whose lives were taken 13 years ago this somber day.  In my little neck of the woods, the skies are gray and drizzling. It is appropriate.

On September 11, 2001, I was pumping gas at Dodd’s Service Station when Mr. Dodd himself asked me if I had heard about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I had not so I walked into his office where the regulars were gathered around the television. In my naivete I  wondered how a pilot could have made such a horrible error when the second plane hit in front of our eyes and the realization of intention vs. accident began to sink in.  The ‘terrorist’ word was uttered and all innocence with it’s proclamation.  We were a nation under attack.

I broke the bewildered fellowship and drove to Chattanooga with lump in throat and legs shaking while listening to frantic newscasters speculate on what was happening and if it was over and where these people may strike next. I arrived at Sam’s Club, stepped out of the car and stood stunned and motionless with many others as the deafening engines of airplanes being grounded from every conceivable direction to the local airport felt like the end of the world. I fully expected a Boeing to land right on top of us and had that been the case, I don’t think I could have moved from that spot such was the shock.  That pause – that moment when time stopped and perfect strangers turned eyes to the sky and joined in fear and grief and sobs – remains one of the most surreal moments of my life.

For posterity’s sake….do you remember where you were that dreadful day? Feel free to share it here but more importantly, don’t ever let die those details nor fail to share them with your children. Our freedoms are a rare gift and will become rarer still if we fail to recount the cost.  Praying today those who lost loved ones feel the comfort of a God and nation who will never forget. Praying God will thwart the evil ones who sow this madness, that He would shine on them and turn them from their wickedness. And perhaps most of all, I pray He comes quickly and crushes the True Enemy under His beautiful feet.


A Weekend Football Throwback:                            Lights Out – 2009

I found this post quite accidentally and the timing of it lent itself to an edit and repost.  This took me right back to a fantastic time in Ider Hornet football and one I am looking forward to repeating.


Luke’s dad has a saying we all repeat often: “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts it’d be Christmas every day.” I’ve had to remind myself of that more than once since our 35-13 loss in Friday night’s round three state play off game. I know everyone says it, but the score in no way reflected the intensity of the game in which we were leading 7-6 as late as the 4th quarter. The tide turned quickly and unfortunately we just didn’t catch any breaks. But, there’s no amount of replaying the game in our minds that will change the result so – all ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ aside – it is what it is. After 13 games in which we finished 11-2, it’s time to shut down the stadium lights on the 2009 season.

If I were a man, I would recap by quoting undecipherable statistics or by telling you what a “physical” team we have become or how we have finally learned how to “put four quarters together”. However, being a girl who just recently learned to appreciate the beauty of a perfectly-executed onside kick, I can only express my thoughts through the emotion of what it felt like to sit on the edge of those bleachers with my heart in my throat Friday after Friday. It may mean nothing to a group of teenage boys that there was a middle-aged preacher’s wife in the crowd who finally wanted to understand the game because of you and I’m not asking for it to. But, you guys who know me understand that just because you don’t care won’t keep me from telling you.

I’ve never known much about the history of our school’s football team save for overhearing the retelling of past golden days by the men of our community who were either members of those teams or a witness to them. I’ve learned much about the pride our town takes in past victory. It thoroughly amuses me to watch the faces of these guys as they remember old coaches and remarkable plays. With that said, would you players like to know what you have done for those guys? For our town?

You’ve given us fresh legend.

No one has to look back any further than a couple of weeks to have a new smile on their face over your accomplishments.   They don’t have to reach into past coaching eras because we have that man today who has led our team to the winningest season in school history.  These men are no longer recounting the plays of when they were on the winning team because now the pinnacle of their gameday pride is in their very own sons.    Boys, I hope your parents don’t mind sharing because I think I speak for our community when I say you are our sons as well.  Personally,  I couldn’t have been any more invested if my own kids were on that field.

No, I don’t have a child on the Varsity team yet, but I will.  Would you like to know what you’ve done for them – especially the one who served as your water boy?  Instead of talking about the jersey numbers of his favorite college players, he is talking about yours.  He wants to emulate you.   You didn’t ask to be some kid’s hero, but that doesn’t keep him from looking up to you and being proud that he was able to be a part of this history-making team in this small way. This mom thanks you for embracing him and being individuals I’m not afraid for him to esteem.

Seniors (and I’m especially talking to you, Casey, TD, and Dakota), I know it’s so hard walking off that field for the last time but as much as you have been a gift to this community, let the adoration of the crowds and the school spirit that you’ve fired be one that will be the stuff of the tales you tell someday.  More than that, keep your perspective.  God, not football, is life.

But I’m pretty certain He’s loved watching you, too.

We are so proud of you, boys! Thank you for a great run…You started fast, now FINISH STRONG!

A portion of the Game Three 90 yard Spirit Line:

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The Water Boy and Water Girl in Action:
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Update 2014:

Sam McKay has dreamed about playing on the big field since his tenure as water/ball boy and before.  Friday night he had his first Varsity start as a 9th Grader and to say he was living the dream is an understatement.  Our team is small but mighty and their underdog win calls to mind the awesome season of 2009.  Looking forward to watching this kid and his team brothers tear it up this fall!



How To and How Not To Decorate Your Boy’s College Dorm Room

This past year has seen many changes for our little family not the least of which is our oldest son, Sawyer, graduating high school and moving away to college. Granted, he is only 1 1/2 hours away but that feels like a million miles when he isn’t at home for good night hugs and washing my dishes.

Obsessive is a strong word but not entirely an incorrect one when talking about my stress over his dorm decor because BABY LEAVING HOME and I wanted to pack as much awesome as would fit into a 10×10-ish room.  That’s when my buzz was killed with the reality that 1.  Boys have no emotional investment in the texture or color scheme of their bedding, 2. They do, however, prefer their room not look like Pinterest went there to cough, choke, and die.  So basically no burlap, chevron, monograms, Christmas lights run along the ceiling, gallery walls, or pallet wood projects allowed. Seriously, what is left?

With that in the front of my deeply disappointed mind I hunted and gathered using pictures like these for inspiration.  Obviously the architecture (hello brick wall and windows, I see you there) of a staged studio photo shoot lends a little more to the room than the tile floors and boring beige walls of a Real Dorm but they did give me a general direction.





As moving day approached I pulled the goods I had collected out of all the closets and boxes to get some sense of what we had and what we still needed. Our living room looked something like this for more days than I would like to confess. No, this is not even a fraction but this is the last time I was emotionally stable enough to look at the pile without bawling.





The emotions went downhill.

This is the last picture of Sawyer with Luke as a full time resident of our home. (Contrary to this picture and my checkbook this is not a sponsored endorsement of Under Armour.)




This is the last picture of him driving away as a full time resident of our road.

(Someone hold me.)





We arrived on campus bright and early expecting a zoo but gratefully we were able to check out a cart and get straight to the room within minutes. Sawyer’s scholarship upgraded him to an upperclassmen’s building and my guess is the older kids are jaded enough by now to stay home until the overzealous Freshmen are out of the way.  It’s a wise move especially if you don’t want to share an awkward moment in an elevator with a crying 40+year-old woman holding a bonsai tree.


And now for some of my favorite things:

1.  Framed Album Covers:

Okay, it’s confession time. Luke said it repeatedly and now I’m admitting these album covers are all about me and nothing about my son. (Who am I kidding.  Very little of it was about him.  It was my therapy.  When I can’t control my emotions, I control my environment.  Or yours. Whatever.) We were at a yard sale where we happened upon a stack of 70’s and 80’s records for 50 cents.  50 CENTS.  I had no idea what I would do with them so I picked up a few that delighted me mostly because I owned the majority of them at one time.  I passed over Rick Springfield for Hotel California.  (Don’t judge me…it’s classic) As iconic as Purple Rain is (I played the grooves off that one in the day which begs the question, “Where was my mother?”) it wouldn’t have been the best choice when trying to establish one’s manhood in a new environment. So, I picked up Men at Work because Men at Work = Manly.  I really bought this one because the better part of my teenage years I would sing about vegemite sandwiches and to this day have no clue what those are exactly.  I also picked up another that didn’t make it to the wall by Blood, Sweat, and Tears. I didn’t know a single song on the album but the cover art was great. I had Sawyer pick a couple he liked best and that one didn’t make the cut even though I tried hard to make the case for the analogy to the next four years of his life. (Blood, Sweat, and Tears…get it?) He didn’t get it.  I’m just glad he liked the Eagles and Land Down Under Enough not to kill the one crafty project that didn’t break the No Pinterest rule.



2.  The Bonsai Tree:

I mentioned toting a bonsai tree in the elevator which I watered with my tears.  Sawyer is a meticulous boy who likes serenity.  I’ve always joked him about his need for zen which prompted my buying him a rock garden as a kind of gag gift for Christmas last year. He loved it with an unexpected intensity.  He’s told me for the last few months that he wanted a bonsai and it just happened that I found one when shopping for some last minute things before he left.  Luke asked me if it came with instructions on how to care for it and I assured him Sawyer would have a pair of Mr. Miyagi scissors and complete instructions Googled before we could get back to the mountain. I was right. I think bonsai care is even more detailed than even he anticipated so for now the tree will live in the window so Sawyer can stare at it when life gets too chaotic aka when we come to visit.  (I feel like I’m going to get letters about all the Eastern Mysticism.  It’s a joke, y’all.  Worry about us when he joins a yoga class.)  It also allowed me to sneak in the green plant that every room needs to feel alive without letting him know I read it on a home decor blog.

Not Pinterest.




3.  The things he chose to bring from home:

* Star Wars figures.  You have no clue the grief these have caused over the years when the brothers rearranged them in Sawyer’s room just to hear him freak out.  And then there is the book of blueprints for all the star ships just in case in his spare time he decides to construct the Millennium Falcon on the front lawn.




* Not one but TWO copies of The Simarillion.  When I asked why he brought them both he said, “Just in case any of my friends want to borrow a copy.” Because every college kid wants to study the history of Middle Earth and the genealogy of Aragorn. He’s so thoughtful.

* A picture of him and his favorite high school teacher.  Please note there are no pictures of his mother on the shelf.

* A  Josh Garrels poster.  He will be devastated if you recognize the name because apparently it’s awesome to have a playlist filled with artists no one else knows.

And here is a pan of the finished thing.  Not quite the Pottery Barn photo but comfortable all the same.  There is a living room that I’m dying to get my hands on but at this point I’m trying not to frighten the roommates. I’ve thrown a rug on the floor and hopefully over the next couple of months and with enough brownies, they will let me continue my work.




Poor baby, can you see the homesickness in his face?



Luke and I drove separately which worked well because I needed to have one last cathartic cry unhindered by a husband who is trying to tell you it’s going to be okay when you’ve just left part of your heart somewhere you are not and NOTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY EVER AGAIN.  But thankfully Luke called to comfort me by repeatedly saying what a bad move it was to leave Sawyer’s bed so high because he was sure he would roll out of it in the night because he wasn’t used to a twin size. “And Lis, if he rolls out of that he’s dead or at the very least severely injured.”  

So there are the anxieties of moving your son to college and worrying whether or not he will roll out of a smallish bed and die before he wakes or if you are lucky, he’ll just turn into a stoner and flunk out.

Where’s a good rock garden and bonsai tree when you need one?

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