Garden Party

Leah you came from the north at just the right time
Your humor, friendship, and grace put a smile on her face
Not a worry was ours when she was out till all hours
With a clear voice and strong choice you humbly explained
Politics or world views could not dim the good friends you remain
Tree, Pop, Chamber, Uh uh, Youth Arts, and State
You two could write, act, and sing you own tango some day
Seize the day, especially Waffle Cone Wednesday
When you’re feelin’ groovy, take in one more hometown movie
Now ‘s your time to shine, my you look fine
At Express make it wrinkle free for your trip
Like Portia and Joy underneath all the sass
Stay true to each other and bring it to the New Kids Class
Now it’s time to turn west and lest we forget
Dream Big, Shine, Break-a-leg, Glad we met! 

Dear Leah,
It’s just a good thing you two are going to be
together in the fall, because I think we would all
need therapy to get through the good-bye’s.
I really don’t have the words to explain what you 
have meant to Melissa, besides someone 
already wrote them and put the song on 
broadway. Hold fast to your friends and family
but reach out to new horizons every day. I want
backstage passes to all your performances.

Congratulations and God Bless You, Leah!



Let's Get It Started

Mary Mary, quite contrary, actually you’re not!
You gave new meaning without all that scheming
To the word friend ‘specially from Melissa’s end
You’ve hung on tight to the ride of your life
Our prayers will ask for minimal strife
We know you’ll soar you can sleep on our floor
Take the good with the bad ass
Look out for your friend and all her sass
Grab the future and fly, touch the sky, T.C.B.Y.
Hold fast to your morals, get a dress at Express
I’m sure this note is making you feel groovy
Take in one more skeetown movie
And now I must close to keep my pride intact
As you go rolling on life’s river
We were proud to know Mary, that’s a fact.
Dear Mary,
I had to make this silly and funny or I would 
probably be recovering from a nervous 
breakdown. Seriously, though, we’ve all been 
blessed to have you in our lives. And I’m sure
this is only the beginning of what God has 
waiting in the wings for you. With much love, 
affection, and quite a few tears we wish you
nothing but the best life has to offer.

Congratulations and God Bless You, Mary!


Come What May

Family. Webster defines it as: All the people who live under one head and in one house. If that's the case I would have to disown Ben and Jennifer and I'm not willing to go that far. Daniel's secondary? description sits better with me: All the people who are descended from the same ancestor: a clan or tribe. And yet, as the circle of life keeps spinning forward and boyfriends and girlfriends turn into well let's just say it: wives/husbands, the secondary description kinda goes null and void. I heard a toast at a wedding recently when the patriarch grandfather said, "You two have incorporated two households and hundreds of people into one big family." I also heard this wise man's daughter say, "As long as my kids find someone that puts a smile on their face, I'm happy." Annie puts a smile on Ben's face, and everyone else whose life has been changed by just knowing her. I don't know her that well, yet, but I know her well enough to love everything about her. She is kind, funny, caring, relaxed, easy going, considerate, and thoughtful. We all fell madly in love instantly, the moment she touched our lives. I don't think Ben could ask for anything more. Actually Jen asked God long ago to bring someone strong and full of faith into his life. And in His perfect timing, in waltzed Annie, ready and willing to be that answer to prayer. All that does not minimize Ben's major life changing decision to leave Chicago and work at Springhill as his way of listening to what God had waiting in the wings for him. That must have been the hardest choice so far for him. And now he is using his God-given talents and skills to change lives. It warms my heart to just drive onto the grounds, see his office, read his scripts, and see how he interacts with his colleagues. I can't wait to sneak up into "club" this summer and see all of his hard work multiplying and capturing hearts. After all, I believe to this day, that it was in that very place that his heart was captured, first by God and then by Annie. 
And as she starts her 5th summer of serving full time I pray Jennifer receives the wishes of her heart that are promised to all in Psalm 37: 4 "Delight yourself in the Lord: And He will give you the desires of your heart." Even as I say this now I am convinced He already has. She wants to travel, she wants to sing, she wants to capture God's nature on film, and she wants to share His love! Hello? I do believe she's been granted all those things. Sometimes I stand in awe of her maturity emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. She is so strong and independent in so many areas of her life, and yet she remains patient, compassionate, tolerant, and sympathetic in her friendships and acquaintances. She deserves every good and perfect gift that comes her way. I am convinced that someone strong and full of faith (or ready to share her faith) will come into her life and put a smile on her face. 
Tonight I was just thinking of what hideously crazy, effortlessly funny, and endlessly talented kids make up this "family." I wanted you to know that I could not exist if it weren't for family. Somehow I always end up writing about Melissa on here, I guess cuz we live in one house. It doesn't mean that the rest of the tribe or clan is not always on my heart. You all make my world go round! I could not love you more! God Bless You!

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
Come what may
Come what may
I will love you until my dying day.

P.S. Call me!


Just A Little Bit

I’ve had all kinds of plans for this week, trouble is, so did everybody else.  Let’s see.  Honors Convocation.  I had planned on it, Melissa hadn’t, and so it seemed kinda fruitless to go watch someone else’s kid gather their money.  Instead I went to the beach for a couple of hours, lots of thinking and writing.  Also on Monday I turned into what proved to be a sounding board for Jennifer’s life from about ’97 to present.  I swear she is going to be ok!  I asked her what makes her heart beat faster?  She said it used to only be Springhill, but now she has her new venture into college when she returns from what might be her last summer at camp.  The whole gang was out in the circle drive to welcome her home for the summer.  I think the city wears her down, and pressures her to perform to its expectations and rhythms.  She likes to march to her own drum.  Everybody needs a little time away.  So Tuesday I had stuff to do like watch Rob and Amber get married and listen to Bo and Carrie sing 6 ridiculously boring songs.  All this after an afternoon of dealing with Sears and a lemon lawnmower.  $93. to repair a  $210. mower we used for 3 months.  Them:  it needed a new blade and a tuneup.  Me:  Oh, because it was so well built or because the thing we call a lawn is in, actuality, a rock garden?  Them:  Well it should be under warranty.  Me: Ya’d  think?  Them: That’ll be $93.  But Mark and I got to go out to eat at Logan’s.  So, yeah!  And then I was just about to finish Rob and Amber’s wedding when the choir banquet crew showed up and took the TV and living room hostage.  I went to bed.  Now it’s Wednesday.
 Work = It’s hard to get through to, and take design criticism from a young engineer that has absolutely no right side of a brain.
High School =  A system where kids that have been caught and MIP’d get to travel to Washington DC and sing at the White House and the typical, strong-willed, opinionated, independent thinkers get nailed for leaving class 10 minutes early for lunch. Just think of it this way…this surely is your last detention.
Bathroom Tile Job = hopefully finished by the time I get home.
TV = torn!  2-hour Lost season finale… a 2- hour American Idol season finale that could be summed up in about ½ a minute. AND basketball.  TIVO = my hero.
Dinner = Pizza or cereal
Pistons = Deuce

Class Clown = hat trick, 3-peat, trifecta.  Makes a parent proud.


And So The Story Goes

Around the first or second week of the school year Melissa (in one of her rare sharing moods) started describing one of her chamber choir songs. She went on and on about the dynamics, the harmony, etc. etc. and I was kinda hearing, "blah, blah, blah, (I really do need to expand my taste in music horizons) Right at Melissa's favorite line in the song one of her alto friends looked over at her and said, "Can I hold your hand? cuz I love this part?"

Every teen needs to belong to something/and or someone that makes their heart beat faster. Something that, even though it's pleasurable, teaches you about life right in the midst of your fun. Something to point to. It might be a sports team. It could be a boyfriend. A teacher. Befriending an outcast. A week away at camp. A trip to the dome. It could be as simple as a movie or as ostentatious as a shining moment on stage. It could be writing or just reading a good book. Maybe it's travel or adventure. While for some it could just be sitting at the edge of the water and painting the horizon. I do believe that the two programs that have filled the "I-need-something-to-belong-to-void" in our family have been Springhill Camps and the MSHS choir program. And I hate to use the word "program" at all because it doesn't really have so much to do with the "program" as it does with the people in the program. Let me speak, in my geeky mom tradition, of the choir program. I will even blatantly plagiarize lines from some of the POP songs to reiterate the lessons that I hope have already been learned.

I thought we all were, the children of God.
When it hasn't been your day, or month, or even your year...I'll be there for you.
I thank you for the music.
Wait! There's no mountain too great, hear the words and have faith.
Quickly, flow the years.
We're all just friends....sharing one wonderful, one short day.
I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
Live your story.
Hold to the truth in your heart.
Souls in the wind must learn how to bend.
Dreams see us through to forever.
It's time to trust my instincts.
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

I can't hardly think about the fact that we are closing the door on this chapter. To hold back the flood of emotions and keep me from embarrassing myself beyond repair, let me just mention a few of the people and images that will always be on standby in my VCR memory bank.

The Choir Staff: You might not know it, but the the fire was lit back in August of 1997, when Jennifer came home from her first week in high school and announced, "I love choir, we're singing Christmas music already." Somehow you start out with these kids as "just" a teacher. And then you worm their way into their hearts and become almost like family. And not unlike the mother bird, you push them off into the world musically wiser, and emotionally richer, only to welcome them back as alumni and friend. Thank you does not seem like enough.

The Choir Friends: There is a wealth of emotions, attitude, pride, passion, humor, sentiment, opinion, and views that you have brought to the table. From "Ding, ding, ding went the trolley" until the final chord of last night's closer, whenever Melissa has been with "choir friends" I've never REALLY worried about her. Very concerned on a few occasions, but nothing that kept me awake past 4 or 5am. Thank you does not seem like enough.

Pre & Post Friends: I don't have to mention any names here do I Meg? I know you have much loftier goals in life than just making it into a "speciality act". And truthfully, I don't need anyone or anything to define the special act you are and have been in our lives. I think there have been times in Melissa's life when she would have literally curled up and died a little emotional death, if she hadn't had you to confide in. When I looked up and saw you sitting tall, proud, and dry-eyed, waiting for you name to be called, I could not hold back the flood of tears. Your heart is about as big as your belly was in the opener. Your tenacity, humor, and caring spirit will take you far. Let it. I left out some lyrics earlier in this post because I can't find any other words to describe what you have meant to Melissa. And some times when I speak for her I get in a ton of trouble, but she can bite me.
"It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a hand-print on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend."
Thank you does not seem like enough

Parent Friends: All I can say here is that we must have been sisters in another life. We share a lot of the same values about meddling, neurotic behavior, house cleaning strategies, and so forth. And yet we have our differences, ie: pets, curfews, and alarm clock usage. I just want you to know that it does not take alcohol to make our few hours on friday nights happy. 
You walk your talk when it comes to demonstrating personality traits we strive to teach our children; acceptance, respect, humor, and an unbelievable non-judgmental attitude. Sometimes I get jealous of Meg and Melissa, because they became best friends long before we figured it out. Who would ever think that you don't dance and Howard doesn't rock and roll? When evening rolls around and it's time to hit the town, where do you go? Why, down the street....of course! And let me just close by using up my last set of lyrics from the show: You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend, never had a friend like Kate. Thank you does not seem like enough.

Even though Melissa seems to have already closed the door on this chapter in her life, I'm reluctantly starting to take the lid off of my firefly jar. It just doesn't seem time to say good-bye. Would somebody hold my hand? I don't like this part.


Walk Off

Amy ~Ashley ~Meghan ~Melissa ~Kathleen
Congratulations on your careers as Singing Sailors
As you “walk off” tonight, may your hearts be full of unforgettable memories.
Just as your friendships go back far beyond these four years in choir...
Carve your futures to hold abundant opportunities to rekindle & reconnect
And because we love to meddle, here’s a thought...
Use Pop Go The Sailors as your rendezvous point
When the middle of May rolls around and you’re reminiscing times gone by,
Pick up the phone and call an old friend....
"They're sailing right behind!"
Let the music play on.
With much love and many tears we wish you Bon Voyage and God Speed.

We are...(your) family.



Now when people ask to see a picture of the kids, I can pull out my iPod photo and give them a good scroll. Not too mention the ridiculous amount of music I have at my finger tips; the size of half deck of cards. The most amazing part, and the reason Mark still believes in a higher being, was that I didn't go over the edge when he bought me a mother's day gift. I'm not his mother. Oh well! You know the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." And now, I say, " an Apple a day."



Why Life Is Good
I'm a child of God
The vows go unbroken
I'm a mother 
I haven't had to walk through very dark valleys
Empty nest does not frighten me
My friends are genuine
I have a flower bed
It's Sunday morning
I'm on my porch
The dog thinks I'm pretty much "it"
I have a decent job
I still feel like the best is yet to come

Yep, pretty sure my glass is half full


Hear For The Party

It’s hard to remember, maybe sometime in September
When you two souls came together
Friends you’ll remain, long past this life, and therefore forever
The memories are vivid
Pentwater, Pond, OM, & Moms
The similarities remain
Birthdays, initials, siblings & more of the same
I wish for you both success, love, and dreams
Don’t wait for reunions to connect with each other
No excuse with technology, no matter your geography
Now as you part keep all in your heart
The secrets, the news, the gossip and more
For both mom’s sake, once in a while, meet up at the shore
If it weren’t for you, I’d definitely say
At times, Melissa would have surely lost her way!
Dear Meghan,
You have been a true friend in every sense
of the word. Although we don’t know how your 
stories will end, you have changed Melissa for 
good. Your sense of humor, caring attitude, and
concern for others is profoundly mature. Make 
sure you learn from all our mistakes. We wish for
you peace, joy, and happiness. You deserve 

nothing less. Congratulations and God Bless You!


Who Knew?

I'm done! If she doesn't care, I don't care anymore. I was hoping she could hold out until prom (last year's gorilla costume should have thrown up a huge red flag). And a photo op in ridiculous mortar board hats has no sentimental value to her whatsoever. Heaven forbid we mix and match friends before prom to snap a few photos of kids she went to elementary school with. Who knew that was the freakin unpardonable sin? 
Any shape, form or semblance of caring has all but evaporated and her nonchalant attitude has finally worn me down. 
So yeah, saves me a ton of scrapbooking hours. 
Her pendulum has swung so far to uncaring that unbeknownst to her she has put herself in the same category as the ones who care to a fault. The tone of her---- "whoops, pretty sure I missed NHS induction tonight"----- was the final straw. Just the touch of sarcasm without a hint of regret brought me reeling out of the dark place I call denial instead of living vicariously. She is so blatantly selfish that she can't see her attitude is no better than someone who might need long term therapy if they don't receive student of the month! And I'm now feeling guilty and probably could use a good strong dose of pinot grigio therapy for caring so much about the fact that she doesn't care.
And so we plod on. 
To her, she has 16 more days of high school hell when sadly, even though she will never admit it, only 16 days remain of some of the best days of her life. Too bad she couldn't have chosen this week to flick corn at the principal because she would just as soon not "walk." I'm thinking of heading down to the Walker Arena at around 8:55pm....just in time for the "W's." And to think I almost used "In My Daughter's Eyes" in her video montage. I do believe her head would have exploded. Someday she will look back with regret. And I will proudly say what we've all been thinking..."I told you so." Only, someday never comes.


Time Flies

They told me it was going to go fast.
Them: Enjoy them while they're little...they'll grow up in the blink of an eye.
Me: No, no not my kids
Them: You'll be surprised at how fast their school years fly by.
Me: What are you talking about? 2005 is a millenium away.
Them: Make sure to do the things you can only do once.
Me: I'm with you on that one...No "Cats In The Cradle" playing on a loop in my mind.
Them: Ladies and Gentleman may I present to you the Class Of 2005
Me: Shut up!

In other news: I have a flower garden that still needs to be tucked in at night and a clean porch that I have yet to sit on. Had my parents up for two week-ends in a row. We'll call one work and one play! My two nieces Ashley and Greta came the 2nd time. They played with the digital camera and iPhoto until they had produced, directed, and edited a slide show gift for their parents. Note to John and Deanna: Enjoy them while they're little...they'll grow up in the blink of an eye. Pop Go The Sailors auditions are now a thing of the past. And just because I am also becoming a Macintosh geek I've posted 3 new movies to the web site . Click on music videos, and these titles: Cousins , R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and Popular .
Happy Birthday Marti!!