Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Best


This past Sunday, I was very fortunate to witness my nephew being baptized.  He’s ten, inquisitive (we call him the question man), sometimes naïve but other times, very deep and intuitive.  He takes things at face value and simply believes in the truth.  He decided he wanted to be baptized (for all the right reasons), and he was lucky enough to have his dad do the honors.  We all thought it would be a simple process until his father gave a little speech just before dunking him in the water.  I don’t remember all of his words but I do remember this:  He quoted, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  This auntie cried like a baby.

It was a beautiful moment…one of those moments that touch you deeply, that don’t come along often.  An incredible moment between father and son…and the big father, too.

It made me ponder the people who come into our lives.  The fathers, the mothers, the siblings and friends.  The world is a web of people, seemingly so far away from each other but then so close.  My nephew (and niece) were adopted from China, from a world far away.  I try to imagine what life would be like without them.  I can’t.  I try to imagine my sister and brother-in-law not being their parents.  I can’t.  Those four were put together by something so much bigger than you and me.

Taylor and Rachel in the front - with their dad, Trey, and mom in the back.

Taylor and Rachel in the front – with their dad, Cousin Trey and mom in the back.

They may say one day, “I have the best mom and dad in the world.”  To them, it’s true.  My children may think it.  Lots of people feel the same way about their own parents.  You hear it over and over.  My dad’s the best.  My mother is the best mother ever.  But what does that mean, and why do so many of us have the best?

I believe that many of us are blessed to have the best parent (husband, child) for us in our particular situation.  Have you ever noticed how families have their own personalities?  The way I parent my children may not be the best for another child or family.  Each family is different, each is unique.  So many of us are blessed to have the best – the best for us, for what we need, for who we are.

So there’s no reason to dismay – yes, there are many, many best daddy’s in the world.  There are many, many best momma’s in the world.  If we only look, we may find that for us, for our needs, for our personalities and desires, we have the best.  The best friends, the best spouse, the best family.  Some families may only have one parent, and that only amplifies the blessing you are to a child. (To those single parents, I think you should get a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day gift every year – you deserve it.)

The catch is to acknowledge what you have, to appreciate it for what it is.  I truly believe people are put into our lives for a reason.  We may never understand all the reasons, but there’s a plan much bigger than I’ll ever be able to grasp working all around us.

Aren’t we lucky the world isn’t made up of only one best?  Instead, we all get to experience that emotion, that feeling.  When we’re truly blessed, we find ourselves with what is the best for us.

And I have.

My babies with their 'best' daddy!

My babies with their best daddy!

Please Cover the Booties!


With summer, I’ve had time to channel surf some.  And for better or worse, I’ve become much too interested in the show ‘Naked and Afraid’.  It’s on the Discovery Channel and based on the title alone, the premise of the show is pretty self-explanatory.  One man and one woman are left naked in a remote wilderness and they quickly become afraid. 

The show begins with each contestant saying their name, age and then reciting their survival skills.  Goodness – if it were me, I’d say, “Hi – my name is Traci.  I’m 45.  I can bake a mean pork chop, and I love indoor plumbing and air conditioning.”

(Honestly – I doubt I have any survival skills at all. Can’t build a fire, can’t fish with my bare hands, can’t make a shelter out of bamboo. But if you need to learn how to read, I’m your woman!)

I really think the contestants are about half nuts.  There is no way I’d go into the wilderness with a complete stranger for 21 days – With No Clothes On!   Modesty is part of my DNA, and covering up all important parts is not a want, it’s a must.  Cleavage is even off-limits. The show blurs all the important parts but still the booties are a major distraction.  They aren’t sightly.  They actually make you think about beginning an exercise regimen.

What draws me back to the show are the people – how they act, what the say and do when things quickly fall apart. When these participants are stripped of everything, the person they thought they were may or may not disappear.  So often, they believe they’re perfectly suited for the worst until it actually happens.  They believe they’re the ultimate survivalist until day ten comes with very little food, if any at all.  I can’t help but enjoy watching what happens to people when they’re put in dire straits.  I believe that’s when true colors emerge.  It’s easy to spout off what you believe you are…it’s not so simple to be that person, especially when things are not comfortable. (Doesn’t that sum us up in every day life as well? It’s easy to say but so much harder to do. It’s easy to say I’m nice, kind, patient, but do my actions really portray those words?)

I just hope and pray I’m never forced into a live or die situation in a South American jungle!  Without a few of the basic necessities of life, I’m afraid I’d be the most pathetic person on the planet. :)))

My idea of roughing it!

My idea of roughing it!

Summer, Week 1


I have a list of projects I want to do this summer.  It’s not a long list, and after today the list may have dwindled down considerably!  My first project was to re-do the deck.  Well, I re-did it.  Lord have mercy, what was I thinking?

The process started over the weekend, including the removal of nine, rotted boards.  My guys replaced the planks, and then we proceeded to strip and deep-clean the other planks.  The toxic stripper began to strip the pealing stain while also removing my toenail polish and burning a hole into my leg! (I am not kidding.)


Deck with rotten boards gone and just a little stain left.

Deck with rotten boards gone and just a little stain left.

After the deep-clean, we had to wait for at least 24 hours of rain free weather.  That brought us to today – a Thursday, by myself, with no one to help.  I started at 7:30, finished up around 4:30, and I may never be able to move again.

Note to all teachers and any other person who usually works indoors:  manual labor is freaking hard!

Deck Over aka chocolate pudding!

Deck Over aka chocolate pudding!

I used a product called Deck Over and it worked well.  The only problem was that it had the consistency of chunky cake batter.  It went on slowly and thickly but the end result was really pretty.

The finished project!

The finished project!

Now it's time to sit and read!

Now it’s time to sit and read.

I did manage to read a little and write a little this week – along with the daily grind of living in a house with three other humans and two dogs.  Time off is truly treasured for me, and once I’m recovered from my deck ordeal, I plan to work on an old bathroom.  It needs gutting but it may only get a gentle scrape.  I’m not ashamed to say I’ll be paying for help on this next job, but still – pray for us all.  We may need it to survive!