The Parable of the Sippy Cup


Earlier this summer we spent some time with Andy’s aunt and uncle, who graciously let us stay overnight while we were on our way back home from the farm in Idaho. We had a wonderful visit catching up. His aunt casually mentioned a rule they have in their home: “We don’t mail Sippy cups.” It was a gentle reminder to make sure not to leave anything behind when we left.

Well, lo and behold, a few days later, she contacted me to let me know that she had found a shirt we had forgotten. She was planning on mailing it even though I insisted she keep to her rule, and NOT mail the proverbial “Sippy cup.”
She assured me that a shirt is not a Sippy cup, and she dropped it in the mail.

Immediately, in my mind I formed the line-up of *cough* males in our family that might have owned the article of forgotten clothing, because, let’s face it, 99% of the time it’s one of them. But then, I thought of Jesus’ disciples, who upon being informed one of them would betray Him, asked, “Lord, is it I?” Instead of immediately placing blame on someone else, they thought first of their own weakness and imperfections. I was humbled and repentant. I spent the next week or so wondering if it could have been me! I could have left a shirt behind!

When the package finally arrived, with this lovely homemade card, I was relieved to discover it wasn’t my shirt. I’m thankful for the effort and expense Andy’s aunt went through to get it back to it’s rightful owner. And I’m thankful for the reminder that we should always refrain from judgment and jumping to conclusions. None of us is perfect. Some of us forget things wherever we go. Just not me.

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#52Stories Week 13

I’m playing catch up!  This is pretty therapeutic for me to write these things down. I hope someone appreciates it someday.  In the mean time, I am appreciating it.

#52Stories Week 13

Who taught you how to work?

To be honest, probably a lot of people!  But most notably, my parents and grandparents.

My dad was always at work.  It seemed that way anyway, especially when I was little. When he wasn’t at work, he was working on some project: demo or construction in our basement, digging up a garden, planting, chopping or watering trees or fixing cars. I liked being outside in the garage helping.  This was just the tip of the ice burg. My mom had a huge list of honey-do for him.

My mom was also always working. In the garden, cooking, cleaning, day care, Burger Bar, knitting, sewing, or coming up with some other clever project she thought might make her successful.  Always busy, always working, usually cheerfully.  I remember enjoying time in the garden with her. I don’t know if I was that helpful, but I remember being there.

My grandparents, grandpa in particular, had multiple jobs. He was a teacher during the day, janitor at the school in the evening, then a security guard at night.  When he was at home, he was mowing the lawn, painting the house, moving rocks, or planting trees in the yard. He always tried to involve us grandkids in as many projects as possible.

Grandma was no less busy with jobs, in and out of the house. Even now, she hasn’t slowed down much and churns out a hand-made afghan or two each day. I fondly remember collecting pink crab apples from her tree and making jelly in her kitchen. She was constantly cooking, enough to feed an army.  I spent many Sundays helping her there in the kitchen, cooking and washing dishes after a big family meal. Whenever we were finished putting everything away, she like to turn off the lights and announce loudly, “This kitchen is closed!” before taking a seat to relax and tell stories.

The “work” we did never seemed like work. It was a pleasure to be with them, my grandparents, and even my parents. I guess that’s the hallmark of a great teacher…making the “work” actually seem desirable.  I still have much to learn from them in that department. I think my kids would rather go to the dentist and have a root canal than willingly work at home.  🙂

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52 Stories Week 11 and 12

#52 Stories

Weeks 11 and 12

Do you like to dabble in lots of different hobbies?

What hobbies, interests, and talents do you have in common with your parents, grandparents, and other ancestors?

I never considered myself to have a hobby. I equated hobbies with things like collecting stamps, and scrapbooking and stuff, and I don’t really like to do those things.  I guess a hobby is something you like to do with your spare time, right?  I think that’s where the problem comes in. Spare time. What’s that?

If I had free time, what would I enjoy doing?  Hmm. I guess I would like to S-l-e-e-p. Can that please be a hobby?  I can for sure tell you what I don’t like to do in my spare time.  But what do I actually end up doing with spare time?  That’s trickier. Usually cooking something, or eating something. Lately, I’ve been reading, but I can’t say that’s my passion or hobby, because generally, I don’t do it much.

I also like to travel, but in addition to free time, travel requires extra money, which is also fleeting. Seeing that I’ve been in our new house for almost 8 months and not once left town, I can’t really consider that a hobby either. Just something I like to think about doing.

I have tried my hand at a lot of different things: sewing, knitting, crocheting, painting, scrapbooking, baking, cooking, exercising, music, and more. My grandma taught me how to crochet. A dear friend gave me pointers and encouragement on painting. I taught myself how to knit. My mom taught me a lot about cooking and sewing. My grandma always enjoyed and encouraged us to play the piano and sing at church. My dad and grandpa had loads of books around the house.  My other grandfather was an entrepreneur for many, many varied things. My grandparents were engrossed in family history.  I had lots of good examples in my life. Examples of drive and passion for whatever hobby was before them. I think I just haven’t found that one true thing that lights me on fire, that I would rather stop all other things to pursue. I think that means that I have to keep going, keep trying new things until I find it. Until then, sleep.



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#52 Stories Week 10


Week 10

New month, new theme!  This month’s theme is Goals and Achievements.

The question this week is:

What were your favorite hobbies and pastimes in your childhood?”

As a kid, I loved to be outside!  I think riding bikes was my favorite thing. (Nothing like riding a street bike over rough dirt!!)  We used to have a big hill kind of far from our house. My mom didn’t want us to go there because she thought it was too far away on a busier road and therefore dangerous (it was, but as kids we didn’t believe it) but sometimes we would sneak off there and ride up and down.  Sometimes we would ride our bikes on the huge pile of dried horse manure in the pasture behind our house, or through the field dodging prairie dog holes.  We would also go to a place we called the ‘creek,’ which had a huge drainage pipe under the road, and some inclines and dips around a really pathetic stream behind our street. We thought it was the coolest place. There were broken bits of china and metal scraps in the dirt, and all kinds of probably garbage, but we thought it was treasure. We even caught turtles and crayfish there, and somehow carried them all the way back home.

Sometimes I would invent an obstacle course in our back yard and vault over things using a long PVC pipe as a pole. I also set up agility courses for my dog, Fuzzy.


He wasn’t very agile, but he was compliant, and I felt so proud that I could lead him around.  I also loved feeding the horses and cows that were our neighbors.  There was an old tractor in the field with the cows, and my brother and I would try to sneak into the field and make it all the way to the tractor before the bull would notice. We weren’t supposed to go there. And we weren’t supposed to feed the horses.  Our old neighbor would always lecture us about feeding horses too much grass and horror stories of them getting bloated and the aftermath treatment.  She loved to tell us horror stories.

As a kid I also loved to climb trees. We had a tree house that my dad built for us, but I also liked to scale the big trees we had around our house with really high branches, (or climb on the roof of our shed, or our house which were other forbidden activities).  I have lots of scars on my legs and elbows from those trees, and bike accidents, too. Our road was dirt, and we loved to ride over the deep ruts, seeing who could go over the most, or survive the longest bumping up and down. Sometimes we went further than our bikes.  I loved being outside so much that when I was a teenager, I moved outside and slept in a tent all summer long.

It’s funny to think about this, because now, as an adult, I don’t really like being outside much. I’d rather stay inside. I’d rather never camp in a tent, ever. I don’t know how I survived an entire summer in one.  I don’t ride a bike much, though I still enjoy it on occasion. And, I don’t think I could climb a tree if I wanted to, which I don’t want.  It’s funny how life is so carefree and you feel invincible when you’re younger. Who cares about huge scars on your knees or elbows?  But now, I wince at the appearance of just a wrinkle or grey hair, and I try to prevent my own children from doing dangerous things, like jumping on the sofa. Heaven forbid I let them ride a bike a mile away to a drainage culvert to pull garbage out of the mud.

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#52 Stories Week 9


Week 9

What qualities in friends do you most admire?

  1. Honesty.  I appreciate an honest friend, even when they have to tell me something unpleasant. I mean, who wants to go around all day with things stuck in their teeth all because no one would tell them??  Do me a favor and tell me, please!!  Honesty is the best policy.
  2.  Realistic.  They accept me for who I am, with all my flaws, and are realistic about expectations in our friendship. For instance…realizing that I am a really bad communicator and introvert, and might not speak to them for months or years, but still allow me to be their friend, and we can pick up where we left off, with not too much awkwardness. Maybe that’s called patience?
  3. Maybe there’s more.



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#52 Stories Week 8


Week 8

Who was your first best friend?

I was a very shy child. It was kind of a struggle to make friends.  Luckily, as a child I was always surrounded by family, immediate AND extended.  I had plenty of friends outside of family, but without a doubt, my cousin, Christine, was my first and most enduring real best friend. (Love you, hon!)

She and I were always together at all family gatherings, sometimes up to mischeif. We made sure to spend as much time together as teenagers, sometimes days on end doing all kinds of crazy things. She is the one that I am totally confident in, totally comfortable with, I can be totally honest with, totally crazy, lazy and just be me with. Even now, after all the kids between us, when we get together, we create this kind of crazy energy that only we can. I think it scares our husbands.  I love that about her, and I love that about us.  BFFs.  For reals.



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#52 Stories- Week 7


Week 7

What have been the most important and valued friendships in you life?

This is tough! It’s like trying to limit myself to only one flavor of ice cream. All of them!  They are all important and valued!  But, I would have to say that the most influential friendships I’ve had are the ones that helped me become a better person, to stretch beyond myself.

As a child, I was soo shy. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable saying ‘hi’ to my friends.  I spend a lot of time being embarrassed.  My brother knew this and would purposely call out my friends’ names to make them look our direction, and I would be completely mortified!  I can only imagine how it looked to my friends: Me totally embarrassed to see them.  I’m grateful for those friends who continued to talk to and play with me when I was so awkward and weird.

I had a dear friend growing up, Linnaea, who was a free-spirit. She loved to be outside and play make-believe, usually fairy princesses or some other thing, like mermaids, or the like. If you know me, that is totally not my thing, it never has been, and never will be. I loved to be with my friend, but those imaginary games were torture to me. I always volunteered to be the bad guy, like Gollum, so I could be by myself and not have to pretend to be fairy and prance around. She seemed cool with that. We always had fun.

We did get into a lot of mischief together on other occasions. On time we pulled a bunch, actually more like a bushel or more, of vegetables from her mom’s garden thinking they were ready and presented them to her mom, so proud of our help at harvesting.  I think I went home shortly after that. Another time we pulled out all the eggs her parents had collected from their flock of organic hens….hundreds of them. We sorted them, weighed them and organized them, then…we forgot to put them all back in the fridge.  I’m sure she took a lot of heat for that one.  And a few times we may have left our muddy shoes on in the house, forgot to close the gate to the chicken coop, or let the turkeys out, and maybe rearranged everything in her mom’s feng shui meditation room.  Maybe.

Amazingly, she was a good friend who miraculously welcomed me back again and again, even after our costly deeds. Bless her dear parents.  Linnaea passed away at age 11. I was 12. To say her friendship changed me would be an understatement.  Losing a friend always changes you. If you let it, it can make you stretch yourself and become a better person, and this was the case. My friendship with Linnaea was one of the most important and valued friendships in my life.



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