Saturday, June 2, 2018

Full Circle

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It became abundantly obvious that day 
when he stood next to that mama tiger's cub
that he had come full circle.

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Where this mom had once stood a little intimidated
by the presence of that big wild cat next to her tiny, happy boy,
now her cub was dwarfed by him.

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It was almost as though she had noticed too.

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He has come full circle in ways too numerous to count.

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Baby Ben

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And he's been teaching us to say goodbye

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almost since we first said hello.

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Tonight he graduates.

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Of course we are proud of him.  He's our son.
But this one thing struck me as so appropriate.
He's a guy who values honor more than honors.
He is, indeed, graduating with honor.

"He has told you, O man, what is good:
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice,
to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"
Micah 6:8

Friday, June 1, 2018

To the Class of 2018

Dear Class of 2018,

We go way back.

Andrew Collage

I met you the day we moved into the neighborhood, 
when you toddled across the yard to meet my tiny son.

Ben Simser Collage

I watched you grow up on the baseball diamond, 
from picking dandelions in the outfield to picking runners off at second.

Colin Collage

You played whatever game was in season in our backyard with the neighborhood kids.

Roy Collage

I watched the beginnings of your football career.

Sam Collage

You did have a pretty serious game face when you were on the pitcher's mound, just learning.

Elizabeth Collage

When I was your age (and much younger),

Jean Collage

 I swam with your mom.

Erica Hiller Collage

I just met you for the first time this year, 

Erin Collage

and I'm so thankful to know you.

Whichever it is with you, there will never be another class that graduates from high school with my firstborn.

Here's what I want you to know:

When I was your age,  it never once crossed my mind that I would be a photographer.  In fact, when I started my photography business four years ago, I STILL never dreamed I would be a senior photographer, and that I would love it.  Instead, all along, I just kept taking the right next step, from one chapter to the next.  This year when you(r mom) showed up on my doorstep, I felt so grateful to be ready for you.   Just look at all the fun I had with you!

Your life will be like that.  You might know exactly what you want to do.  You might not have a clue. But your actual future will unfold one day at a time, and it really just comes down to taking that day's best steps.

Your college plans are not the most important thing.  Your career plans aren't either.  But with each new thing you do, you will meet new people and grow in new ways, and these are the things that will change you forever.  So choose well for today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

One more thing:

I think God did an amazing job on you.  He made you to add beauty and richness to this world unlike anyone else.  I hope you'll stay in his hands and let his light shine through you, no matter where your journey takes you.

Congratulations, Graduates!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Waiting for Perfection (a.k.a. what we've learned from lefse parties)

Raising up a new generation of lefse makers!

Lefse Party 2018 is a wrap.  We've done it for a few years now, so it's probably safe to say it's a tradition.  It's a really odd thing to do for a couple of reasons (and probably more).

First of all, everyone is invited.  And by everyone, I mean I advertise it on Facebook, and we call and text some people, especially people we haven't had a chance to visit with for too long.  We have no idea who will come, or how many, we just put it out there and wish we had the time to invite more. This year we had neighbors, church friends, marching band friends, a high school friend, and a friend we met years ago on Facebook who quickly became a real life friend. There were old friends and new friends, friends born on three different continents, plus lefse is Norwegian, so that makes four.  It's risky business inviting all these random people together, but seriously, it is just so much fun.

Second, who has lefse parties?  Well, in Norway they might, and there are probably still some families who get together and crank it out.  I may have heard someone say that in her family you got in trouble if you didn't get it thin enough.  But not at our house--if you make it and it turns out warm enough to melt the butter when you spread it on, it's good enough for us. And if it's not warm enough to melt the butter, there's always the microwave.

Here's the thing:

If we waited for everything to be perfect, we would never have people over.  I can think of so many reasons not to.  Guest lists, space and seating issues, hideous carpet and not-so-clean house, social awkwardness, inadequacy issues (that was a whole post in itself once), time on the calendar.  All real.

Community is too important to wait for perfection.  That's why we started lefse parties.  It's one thing that I can handle.  I threw a couple of soup mixes into pots, and made a quick veggie tray so people could have an excuse not to make dinner when they got home.  We served water and coffee to drink, because that's what we drink at our house.  People seemed pretty ok with that!  They had fun making the lefse, and they were pretty content to just visit.  I mean, some of them have come all of the years now.  Some of them didn't even know what lefse was!  They came for the togetherness.  They got the invitation and took us up on it.  I hope next time even more people will take us up on it.

Our society has gotten pretty hung up on perfection.  If that's the standard, eventually we're all going to end up disqualified.  It's grace that allows us to actually do things that count.  I'm so glad we didn't wait.

Jesus is perfect.  The rest of us are a work in progress.

"By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Hebrews 10:14

Sweet grace.  What an invitation!  It's for everyone too.  I'm taking him up on it.