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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well Seasoned

It must have been midnight by the time I finally came to. The moon was big and perfectly round. I had never paid much attention when the moon was full before. Well, maybe I would from now on. I couldn’t believe that I had fallen out of a moving car so quickly! I couldn’t even remember how it happened. Was my seat belt not buckled? No matter. I was stuck in the snow on Colorado’s I-25, just now realizing how cold I was. Thank goodness my coat was on before the fall. I tried to roll over and zip it up. To my bewilderment, I was “working.” My arms and legs felt fine. It was as if I had never fallen at all! In fact, maybe I hadn’t.

Suddenly, I heard hooves on the soft ground behind me. I turned around and looked up, to be greeted strangely by an odd looking dwarf. “Mr. Tumnus?” I asked in utter shock. “Why, yes, that’s me! How in the world did you know my name?” Before I could answer, we were skipping along the path to his house. There was no highway anymore. I made a mental note to take a break from C.S. Lewis books with the grand-kids. Something was definitely not right, here. But despite the bizarre circumstances, I was enjoying myself too much to try to figure out exactly what was going wrong. From my earliest years, I had wanted to be Lucy Pevensie, crossing over into the most magical of worlds through a closet. And here I was! In Narnia! There was snow everywhere, fir trees, and we were on our way to what I had always pictured in my mind as the coziest of cottages: complete with fire in the hearth, tea, something deliciously sweet, music, and a friend, too – be he imaginary. I skipped along the path. Abruptly, I found myself in a very comfortable chair, the smell of something like honey filling my olfactory senses. But Mr. Tumnus was someone else now. Who was he? He was a very good person. He was the Hero of the books—the Jesus-like lion, Aslan. No, it wasn’t Aslan. He wasn’t a lion at all. He was Jesus, Himself. But He felt like a father too. And we were talking. And presently, He wasn’t preparing tea. Instead, the wonderful aroma of vegetable beef stew came wafting across the room. It smelled like my own grandmother’s stew from long ago—another life time it seemed: before grand-kids, before my own children, and before my adult years. The Father figure was talking to me about my life. He reminded me about how I used to not like my feet, and wear shoes that were too small. He said that he knew every single time that I had felt insecure as a teenager. He even reminded me of when my own mother had suffered at the hands of lymphoma, and I thought that she was going to die. I had had to grow up then, and help take care of my family. I practically raised my two youngest siblings. The man recounted these things to me in perfect detail. As he spoke, He added spices to the soup. With each of my life events that he retold, He would add another spice: sage, rosemary, parsley, and others that I was completely unfamiliar with. But with each spice, the smell grew more wonderful. I was a little concerned that He was adding too much, but He assured me that each spice made the soup better. He explained that this was a special kind of soup; that no matter how much good seasoning was added, the taste would improve. The possible improvements were infinite. I was so intrigued by this concept that I was unable to listen for the next little while. There was not a single recipe that I could think of that worked that way. Eventually, adding more of something would ruin the dish.

The Man continued recounting snippets of my life… the difficult break up in college, my marriage with my best friend, the painful birth of my first child, the indescribable joy of raising children, trouble with co-workers, friends, or bosses, pleasure trips, worry over my children’s health, their boyfriends or girlfriends, etc...

He finally served me a bowl of His brew. It was nothing like anything that I had ever tasted before. I wanted to go on eating it forever, and yet at the last spoonful, I felt satisfied. He explained that my life was like His soup. Every experience was a lesson. Whenever an event impacted me, and I learned something from it, His hand was seasoning me. He was adding another spice. “And so you see,” He continued, “in a way, your life is just beginning. Every milestone is a chance to be more ‘seasoned,’ more useful for my kingdom. You are much “tastier” now than you were at the age of 23. A simple broth is OK, but the soup is more edible, and more delicious with my special touch. In the same way, I can use You the more you grow and mature in Me. “

I loved the thought. I wanted to write it down so that I wouldn’t forget it. It made me feel like my life was just getting started. I wondered what new adventures would rise before me when I got home. Home?! I had to get home. I clearly wasn’t Lucy anymore. I was back to my normal self: Sixty years old, but I felt like I was twenty! The soup had made me feel young again. It was amazing. Nevertheless, I knew that my family would start to worry if I stayed away much longer. I rose to leave. The Man was not there anymore, but His Presence still was, somehow. I didn’t recognize who was escorting me to the door. I didn’t even know if it was a He or a She. Whatever it was, it was shining so brightly. I tried to shield my eyes and follow at the same time. As we approached the exit, the light began to fade, and I was being pulled along by my leader through the open door. It was Spring outside, now. The grass felt so soft, that I decided to lay down in it. As soon as I did, however, my escort, who was still with me for some reason, would tug at my hand and call out my name. The name was not my given name, but it sounded so familiar, that I knew he was calling to me. I tried to continue, but I could not. Even though I felt happy and young, I also felt very tired. The voice called again “Mimomo! Mimomo!” It said, over and over again.

I opened my eyes. Two of my grandsons were hovering over me with worried faces. “Mimomo! Wake up! The movie is over!”

I smiled. Jon David and Luke were sitting on either side of me in the love seat in my family room. We had been watching “Narnia” together again. After finishing the book the day before, they had begged to watch it. As I often do during mid-afternoon down time, I must have fallen asleep. I drew them close to me, one in each arm. I knew that it was no coincidence that I had dreamed about new adventures starting. Six grandchildren is enough for about a hundred adventures! Not to mention adult children, spouses, and most of all, my husband. I could not wait to see which ingredient God would add next. He had given me such a unique gift. I felt like I had a new life, and it was starting today, right now, at 3:00 P.M.!

So many good thoughts and memories flooded my mind. It felt like the more I lived, the more life was given to me, instead of the other way around.

I got up and went into the kitchen to fix the boys a snack. I noticed Buddy stirring a pot over the stove. “Oh, what’s for dinner?” I asked in surprise. “Vegetable beef stew,” he said.

I smiled.

Dedicated to Mom: Happy birthday!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Now you see it, now you don't...

Jon David, my son, so fair
With straight, long, blond, whispy hair
Lookin' like a skater dude
And working on that attitude.

Your locks, we let you grow them out
And then, well, we accidentally cut them off too short when you asked us to trim you up a little for hair cut day @ the Caulleys...
But I love your precious face!

Sweet, Luke Jomberdy Jombers. Big Ole Kindergardener.
If you want a school pic, let me know. Quantities are limited. ;)

A pic taken from the inside of my kitchen. Priceless.

Am I forgetting something? ;)
How is Caleb, you ask?
OH, he's good. Sweet thing. He's real good.

Yep, all is normal in the Caulley house today.
I should mention that today is Caleb's 15 month birthday! Happy day, sweet boy!

Friday, November 19, 2010


The bib is majorly needed with this fourteen month old, at meal times. That he makes a mess when he eats is an understatement. He manages to rip off velcro bibs. So, I bite the proverbial bullet and purchase these really nice snapping bibs that also provide a food catcher in the front.
Even I couldn't have come up with how he would get around making good use of this one... He turns the bib backwards! No kidding! This is not an uncommon sight at our house.

Yea. A lot of good the bib is doing now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall moments with brothers

We'll start with Jon David. Man, this kid is growing up... It's kinda chilling to watch it. He has decided that he wants long hair for now. And we have decided to let him have it. This school year has presented him with a few unexpected challenges, but God is faithful, and Jon David has become a little more mature through life's lessons. He is applying himself in his school work right now and doing well.
After ending his soccer season with a bang--4 goals at one of his last games--he is playing basketball, and loving it! Yea... shoulda given the brag post warning I guess. Sometimes, I feel a pang in my stomach when I think that he is past the little kid stage... There are many days when he comes home from school, plays outside, comes in for dinner, and then wants to play a video game before bed or something. Our interactions are becoming more rare. We did have a little date, though recently. Well, I like to call it a date. I took him to buy some new shoes, just me and him. He was thrilled! I bought him a pack of gum at the check out, and this thrilled him to no end.
During the drive, he did say that he was starting to "like girls." AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!
Don't worry. As it turns out, after my initial cranking of the air all the way down, and straining with every inch of my ear drum to hear his answer to my question: "So what do you do with the girls. Just hang out or something?" He answered that they were just friends, and that they just sometimes played together I guess. So I think I misunderstood him. Whew!! Yikes... and at the same time, maybe I'm not too far away from that.

Luke James... the other day in the car, he told us that if you don't win at soccer, its' OK, you still get junk food. :)
He and Jon David have both been praying differently lately. They are processing things differently. Luke recently said that the people at church said that if someone does something bad to you, that you should do something good back. I told him that the bible says that too. Ha! On a separate occasion, he said that the people at church said that the bible is like a mirror. Thank you Southside children's ministry, for these great conversation moments!!! Thank you God, most of all.
Luke and Jon David are a huge help with Caleb.

Here is Luke, swinging Caleb. Caleb loves it when Luke gives him an underdog.

And last but not least...

Caleb's clothes and crack-ups

Well, I debated about whether to blog about this or not. I hope that this post is not taken as an overly bragging post... I just feel really blessed, and thankful for the people who have given us clothes for Caleb.
Above, if you can get past this priceless expression, he is wearing one of my favorite shirts. There is a monkey on it. Sadly, he is already outgrowing it (you can see the neckline getting a little stretchy).

Don and I recently realized that many of Caleb clothes say things like "monster" or "rascal"... I hope that these are not self-fulfilling. Ha!

Caleb is a trip. Some days, I feel like my sweet 14 month old has turned into a viking. He just shows no fear, and charges forward around the house experimenting with toys, grabbing, throwing, etc...
Here, he is swinging around the magnetic rod that goes to our "go fishing" puzzle. Did he hurt himself? Nope. He's tough!
He does love balls, and is quite good at throwing and rolling it. I love doing this with him.
And I should interject at this point that Caleb seems very smart, and loves to cuddle too. I think I may be overdoing the warrior profile. He loves for me to read him books, and is catching on when Daddy says "gentle" so that he will stop hitting. :) He loves his brothers, and will sit with them on the couch, play with them, and also tolerate them when they are a little rough with him. Back to the craziness: in his defense, sometimes he has to be a little crazy to get around in this household. ;0

The guys watching AFV. I admit, sometimes, I like TV!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The taco and Coach Saban

Luke's kindergarten teacher assigned each child from the class a "community helper" to dress up as for their parade on Friday. Luke's assignment was a coach. Ha! I was so thankful. He liked it so much that this was his costume all week-end, trick-or-treat and all.
Jon David wore an army costume for his school party on Friday (sorry, no pic of this one), and borrowed our friends' home made taco costume for trick-or-treating. Let me just say that this was a true taste of celebrity. Everywhere we went, people were pointing to the "taco"! I thought Jon David would love the attention. I think he did at first, but the weight of the thing, and the constant barrage of comments got to him after a while. He wanted to take it off. It's hard to be famous! Poor guy. ;) Brandie and Joey, thank you guys so much for loaning us your art work--a Wilmore costume winner last yr, no less!!!

Above: Brandie holding Caleb. Thanks again! Btw, I just threw on a make shift Jedi costume on Caleb--left over from the older boys' b-day parties in the Spring. Poor kid. What do you do? He is the third... Oh well, at least he wasn't tormented by a stuffy costume, right?...

Above: Jon David with his school friend, Jacob. Sweet boys. Like Jon David's hair? Yes, it's long. And yes, he likes it that way. We have decided to let him grow it out if he wants to. My sweet little skater dude.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Field trip with Luke

To the pumpkin patch at Bi Water farm!

Mom, I have to openly apologize to you for not having taken a single picture of you or of us together while you were here... Perhaps I was truly enjoying the moment too much! :)
I had a wonderful time on your birthday date.
Mom and I had dinner together, and it was so special to be a part of her celebration. Each one of us (Dan, Dave, Sarah, and me), got to take her on a date. I loved it so much, and am very grateful that God gave her to me to be my mother. Thanks, Mom. I love you!!! I'm debating about how much to blog about all of this.
More later!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why I can't get anything done.

Don has been calling Caleb godzilla, a nickname I am not fond of: for one thing, it's an exaggeration. However, like most exaggerations, there is some truth there...

As terribly blurry as this picture is, you can still make out the print: "little monster." You can't see his hands, so technically, he could be armed and dangerous. OK, he is not armed. But he is arguably dangerous.
Here are a few illustrations of my precious treasure making everyday chores very difficult.

First of all: the dishwasher. A Caleb Thomas favorite. He finds it irresistible when it's open. When we close it, there is much fit throwing and thrashing about.

I thought I would try to vaccum our disgusting floor--which by the way, stays disgusting almost all the time.
So, attempt number one:
Don't let this innocent look fool you.

Mmmm Hmmm. See what I mean?

Below, Jon David is um, helping??

And below, this was taken during the actual act of vacuuming! Yep, imagine the loudness and all. So during some of the chore, I had one arm holding the vacuum, and the other holding Caleb back. It was quite a work out. Some of you might suggest that I do this while he is napping? But if you think about it again, you might conclude that this is not such a great idea either. However, believe me, I am open to ideas at this point.

And then, there's the old trusty dump-a-box-out activity... ugh.

OK, so eventually, I settle him in front of a video. I think I asked one of the boys to sit with him. This often helps a lot. He loves his brothers. Notice the location of the sippy cup. Hee hee.
I return to the kitchen to load the dishwasher :)

A few blissful minutes of uninterrupted cleaning pass. When I return to check on things, here is what I find:

Unusual you ask? Nope.

Oh, and finally, Caleb has discovered that the pantry is a treasure chest of food. He has learned the art of providing his own snack. I have seen him retrieve his own cracker and feast all by himself. Here is further proof of said pantry discoveries and experiments:

Did you miss it? Let me help:

Ah. The joys of children. Yes, they are a joy. They are. They really are. I love them. I love toddlers too. I do. I really do. :)
Really, I do.


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